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The Anito Squad are minor villains in Ciem: Ash Cloud recruited specifically to aid Eric Korsicht's unit of Screwworms in their mission to spread mayhem throughout Indiana. They are later reused to aid in wreaking havoc on Cincinnati.

Powers and weaknesses

Powers

  • Enhanced strength: Anitos can, if sufficiently enraged, tear apart an out-of-shape man limb-from-limb. An out-of-shape teenage girl is especially vulnerable to them. Fully realized Centhuen Prototypes like Ciem, however, can usually withstand them and fight back.
  • Enhanced durability: Anitos will eventually die, even from simple gunshots. However, they can take a lot of punishment in a fight before going down. It usually takes someone on par with Ciem's strength to take them down via unarmed melee combat efficiently.
  • Enhanced speed: While not super-fast, Anitos can run at their prey with alarming speed.
  • Ear-piercing scream: Anitos are in constant pain, and fear inaction will lead to far worse pain at the hands of Rappaccini. The little humanity they have left is begging to be set free from the monsters they're trapped inside of, considering even death a form of redemption of the living Hell of their Anito forms. As such, the express the agony in their souls by shrieking in ways which inflict agony on any who hear them.
  • Migraine inducement: Energy waves emitted from Anitos can induce stress on the brains of non-altered humanity, making it difficult for victims to concentrate when fighting back and also making them seem more terrifying. Migranes intensify upon exposure to their sonic screams.
  • Blurred vision inducement: Energy waves emitted by Anitos can result in the non-altered having visual sensory issues in their presence, making them seem stronger and more dangerous than they really are and inducing panic in their victims.
  • Transformation: Some Anitos were capable of reverting to human form, after Extirpon removed their fear of Rappaccini's vengeance, and allowed them to be rational. Hea Pang would eventually assist using Hester's locket to restore their humanity completely.
  • Limited telepathy: Komandantes can give primitive commands by thought to lesser Anitos, indicating which target a specific Anito should go after.
  • Lightning generation: Komandantes can generate lightning in their hair.
  • Strobe eyes

Weaknesses

  • Varied intelligence: Komandantes are considerably better tacticians than other Anitos, who can be readily distracted if a Komandante isn't around to keep them focused.

History

Prototypes

In 1771, Icy Finger operative Roger Loviar created an army of Mujina-Women as a sort of proto-Anito Squad in order to terrorize Hawaiian natives and get Kamehameha I and his troops to surrender the known locations of the Coin Tosser's Ruby and Seafarer's Stomping Ruby, which had fallen into Hawaiian royal possession. The Mujina Squad were replaced later with the Sharkmarchers, demonic man-shark male Anitos, after Loviar transformed himself into a form that convinced the natives he was the new vessel / avatar of their god Ukupanipo.

Loviar knew his tricks would work, after having previously created proto-Anitos by virtue of preying upon Inuit villages in order to search for more Marlquaanite rubies among the Eskimo and Aleuts. The proto-Anitos in that case were labeled "the Qalupalik" by the natives, and entered into their folklore.

A little studying into Loviar's war with Kamohoalii led to Rappaccini deducing that the Mujina Squad and Qalupaliks had been somewhat successful, thus agreeing to work with Gleeful-N'-Young and the Hebbleskins to try the idea again on victims from the Philippines.

Recruitment

In 2014, Pamela Marcones found herself and her son fleeing from a pimp that had tried to abduct her while Eric was away on missions. She hitched a ride with two men on one of their scooters. Alone in the world after most of her family abandoned her for having the child of Extirpon, she found it difficult to avoid solicitation from the dark underworld of sex tourism that was engulfing much of her hometown. The two foreign men took her to a safe place, but asked her to leave immediately when she refused to appear in porn for them to "return the favor."

The two men were followed. And while Pam got away, the men were abducted and forced to give up their lists of previous contacts. The pimp turned out to be connected to Clyde Spendelworth, whose Gleeful-N'-Young operation was growing globally in spite the Purge-Flare efficiently shutting it down Stateside. After the near-success the Hebbleskin Gang had in 2015 with retaking Gerosha before Ciem and the Purge-Flare interferedInferno; and in honor of the fallen trafficker Frank Morvel, Rappaccini of the Society of the Icy Finger commissioned some of his Screwworm Network leaders to create a band of warriors from captured Filipinas.

By 2016, the destruction of Cincinnati was in full planning, as part of an initiative dubbed "Project: Kaiakahinali." The idea was to launch a series of volcanic eruptions on major cities with force yields equivalent to a high-grade nuclear bomb, then flood the world with despair. Korsicht's Marlquaanite ruby necklace, so long as he wore it, enabled him to do exactly that - if the rubies had time to charge enough between attacks. This symbolized the Icy Finger punishing a world that had not committed itself fully to their precise vision for a new world order by making them a metaphorical reenactment of Pele's destruction of the world in Hawaiian flood legend.

While Kaiakahinali was considered an extreme campaign notion at first, Rappaccini became convinced of its necessity following Wishpon's failure to capture the Earth Abdygalis Shard due to Anarteq's interference.Guardian of the Soo

Korsicht's willingness to experiment in demoralization of others and his fascination with children's emotions and motives led to Rappaccini recruiting Eric Korsicht as a Screwworm agent. Rappaccini also commissioned that about half of the Filipina porn stars and prostitutes that the Hebbleskins had captured be given to him in exchange for giving Arfaas more resources to take over Idaho and Montana with, to create Netheel.

Keeping only a handful of the victims for harem-like use, Rappaccini handed over the rest - the youngest and skinniest of them - to Korsicht. Korsicht had his way with a handful of them; but then used unstable Dark Heart Marlquaanite Rubies to fill the captured women's hearts with fear and rage - while making them obedient slaves unable to turn against their captors.

The strongest of these women, who retained some level of intelligence during the transformation process, became known as "Komandantes," while the lessers were simply dubbed "Anitos" after their nearest post-transformation appearance equivalents in Philippine mythology from the pre-Catholic era.

Ash Cloud

See also: Ciem: Ash Cloud

Oraphim Order and Sodality Church member Tyler Brummel and his daughter Lacey, who discovered the plan to put a dome around Gerosha and infiltrated Arfaas' base when he first discussed merging Hebbleskin Gang operations with Icy Finger and Phaletori operations to form the Triumvirate; discover the plans to Project: Kaiakahinali. They plan to give the plans to Randy Lapborn, since they're in the area around Madison. Randy sends Candi to patrol the city nearby in the event that the Brummels are ambushed.

Sure enough, the Hebbleskins grew wise to the Brummel family, tipping off the Screwworms. They send several men with black vans and suicide vests to chase after the Brummels through town, blowing up any police that give pursuit and forcing Ciem to intervene. The Brummels drive toward Madison Juvenile, alerting Lapborn and Grentzwell over comms that the time for subtlety and formality are over. Ciem begins easily disposing of Screwworms, but a terrified Filipina captive is transformed into a low-rank Anito in order to even the odds slightly. Ciem battles the Anito and eventually kills it, but a surviving Screwworm witness escapes. Seeing that Lacey has been seriously injured and fearing that the Screwworms will know to look for her at King's Daughter's Hospital, Ciem instead sends Tyler away and returns to her unit building with the injured Lacey cradled in her arms.

The Last Legs - prisoners turned into a benevolent junior emergency response force after being reformed from Amirah's old Sparks of Vengeance gang - quickly set to work with Madison staff to stabilize Lacey while Agent Lapborn calls in reinforcements to airlift Lacey to a hospital in an undisclosed location. Candi laments that the Anito appeared to be in pain, as if it only attacked because it was forced to; but that there was something human inside it that was eager to be killed and be put out of its misery. Moments of pause in-between its attacks and demonic shrieks suggested someone wanting a way out. Candi is reminded that she can't save everyone, even though she would love to.

Realizing one of the Anitos was killed outside of Madison, Korsicht works it into his plan to save some of his legions of them when attacking Madison for unrelated reasons. Several Anitos descend, and a lot of the inmates are killed before Ciem and Goatgruff can turn the tide of battle.

After Korsicht captures Almin and forces Candi to go to Cincinnati to retrieve him, he unleashes his Anitos to as many places as possible to keep her distracted. Her lament to the Trensons about how conflicted she is over having to kill the Anitos to save them inspires Karen. While Candi is still unable to save the Anitos she fights, she does manage to rescue Almin in time - at the expense of having to leave Grentzwell behind in Cincinnati and return to Madison before her tether's timer finishes counting down. Cynthia and Karen are later attacked by Screwworms in their home; but Extirpon arrives and finishes them off. Karen tells Extirpon what Candi told her about the Anitos, and it inspires him to use his Positive Battery to remove their fear. He redeems about 30 of them, and has the Gray Champion deliver them to SCALLOP to be detained while awaiting a final word on whether or not they can qualify for refugee status.

A few of them are granted status, and avoid deportation back to the Philippines - thus prevented from being trafficked a second time. The redeemed former Anitos eventually being life anew in Toklisana after the fall of America in 2018. It is possible that Rappaccini still possesses enough Dark Heart Rubies to make more Anitos after this, but they are not seen again in North America after the Battle for Cincinnati.

Personality

The Anito Squad originally consisted of prostitutes and porn stars living on the island of Mindanao, driven to that life both by the prospect of a sex tourist from the United States possibly falling in love and rescuing them, or based on their own desperation to make money in an unstable economy. While all eyes were on the drug trade, many women found enforcement lacking of laws against porn and prostitution, leading to men readily taking advantage of these women.

However, they'd heard stories about Gleeful-N'-Young and its leader Clyde Spendelworth being bought out by the Hebbleskin Gang - and wanted no part of that. The Triumvirate decided to be spiteful to these women's wishes, abducting them across international lines and torturing them anyway. The one common theme in many Anitos is fear of more suffering, longing for their suffering to end somehow, and being broken to the point of doing as instructed just to make the pain stop - even for a moment.

In their minds, being turned into Anitos was the ultimate final act of cruelty to which they were subjected - for reasons they couldn't even describe. Not only had their bodies and minds been defiled, their families destroyed, and their freedom stripped away; but their humanity was imprisoned inside the shell of a demonic abomination that made a mockery of their cultural heritage! However, the Anito program infused on them via the Dark Heart Rubies didn't allow them to attack their new Screwworm masters - only targets their masters had approved of. Their outer shells and programs were mindlessly obedient, assaulting targets with intense and savage cruelty without rhyme or reason. Inside, their still-human selves were imprisoned - watching everything helplessly, and racking up intense guilt and shame whilst having no way to stop. When Ciem attacked, many of them fought their outer selves just enough to attack her with less ferocity. Their hopes were that she'd kill them and end their suffering.

Much to Candi's own horror, she was often forced by their actions to grant them their wish. This is a large part of the reason why, when an enraged John Domeck executes Korsicht, Candi doesn't even bother to plead for his life. She only refuses to kill Korsicht herself because she 1) is running out of time on her S'Poler, 2) believes John is more qualified to do it, and 3) wants to prove a point to Darius that she's more than just some black ops executioner slave that exists for his sick amusement.

By channeling his newfound love for the Philippines due to his common law wife Pam, Eric is able to use the Positive Battery side of his Extirpon powers to generate empathy momentum in a few Anitos. This has the effect of creating hope in them enough to destroy their overblown fear of Rappaccini's revenge if their crimes aren't severe enough. Their sense of obligatory loyalty to the Screwworms fades, and some of them are able to make their Anito forms dormant - reverting to human form.

While sent to detention camps to await processing on either reception of asylum status or else deportation, many of the Anitos cured by Extirpon and Hea Pang's combined abilities expressed tremendous remorse for the actions that their captors forced them to commit. A few of them even joined Wilbur Brocklyn's division of the Sodality Church after being granted asylum, in an effort to turn their lives around and forever cast off what had been done to them in the past. They often remained highly vigilant, and frequently warned others to do the same. They realized more than anyone else that if Rappaccini won, they'd be turned back into Anitos as punishment for ever trying to be anything else.

Trivia

  • The power structure of Anitos - and average intelligence level of them - is comparable to that of Gwirdon Treaders from Volkonir, who have more-intelligent Gwirdon Leaders over them with more power and a more human appearance.

See also

External links

  • Anito article on Wikipedia, about the actual mythological creature
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