Shiki, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Atsuko Chiba was the heiress of nothing
. Her father, one of the first programmers under the employ of the Zony Corporation, was a man who had always reached for wealth (and the status that came with it) but never obtained it. The young woman had seen her father endure failure after failure for years, trying time and time again like a hamster on a wheel trying to escape its cage. Tired of seeing such a struggle and ashamed of the man, Atsuko did what she thought was necessary to finally end it: she met and entered a romantic relationship with the wealthy foreigner Gideon Fontaine. Although the man truly did love her, Atsuko-chan certainly did not love him back. Despite that, however, she bore his child: the prodigy Adelaide Chiba.
The moment their daughter was born, Atsuko laid the terms of their new relationship clear: Gideon would not marry her, but be obligated to provide and care for their daughter financially. He could seldom visit, and rarely had the time to do so anyway with his family’s casino back in America, but was granted the privilege to look after Adelaide on her seventeenth birthday-- when she was scheduled to transfer to university in his home state of New Jersey and study there. For a girl who had her life more or less planned out for her, however, Adelaide certainly shook things up a little.
She lived comfortably through her childhood, homeschooled through most of it as her family used her father’s money to slowly rise through the social ranks of wealth and modern day nobility. Through either the blessing of nature or nurture (or perhaps a healthy dose of both), it was discovered early on by her tutors that Adelaide possessed a truly intelligent mind. She was a bit of an oddball, of course. Even an airhead, at times. Her penchant for everything pink and flowery and sunny was something she would never quite grow out of, even as a young adult. But the young girl certainly had quite the eye for observation and deduction.
Her grandfather, who had now obtained a respectable position in the company, would bring her to the Zony headquarters on many occasions ever since she was a toddler. There she’d meet and greet with the company’s greatest minds and assets. Her sunny smile and adorable demeanor garnered favor from them all and, as she grew older and continued visiting, she garnered the title of ‘the little princess of Zony’. It was just a pet name, of course. She held no right to the legacy of the company. That right was most certainly reserved to Kazai Yamashita, if anyone. But Adelaide was certainly beloved as such on some level and it brought her grandfather and mother much joy.
Aside from visiting her dear 'subjects' at Zony and occasionally having play dates with their daughters who were around the same age, Adelaide led a very solitary life at her family's second home in Tokyo. She studied more often than her tutors expected her, too, burying herself in books traditionally meant for students years older than her. It got to the point where, when she was finally admitted to a private school with other students, she completely blew their standardized tests out of the water. Although she still had to go to school, it was never necessarily difficult for her-- besides having to socialize with such large groups of people, and deal with nasty cliques of girls who liked to tease her. When it came to the latter, Adelaide certainly proved that she could be every bit as manipulative and sharp as her mother. The bullying only lasted a month.
On her seventeenth birthday, she was sent to live in America with her father, who now ran a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She saw the man more often than she'd see him in Japan, that was for sure. And he certainly tried his best to connect with his daughter. But,
the truth of the matter was, they were still complete strangers to each other. Gideon chose to believe that his scornful ex-lover had turned her against him somehow. Adelaide, however, recognized that she was still carrying an exhausting emotional weight from her childhood: wondering why daddy hadn't fought hard enough for her. She, more or less, cast her father to the wayside after that. She reasoned to him that she didn't have time as she blew through the exams at the University of Tower City throughout the years.
As hard as it was to develop a connection to him, however, a connection was developed. Three years living with him and joining him on occasional trips to the casino he owned proved to be enough to learn more about the man and appreciate what he had done for her and her family back in Japan. A part of her wanted to stay in America. There was certainly a lot of interesting things happening in Tower City that she cared to explore a bit further. But, as it was, her mother summoned her back as soon as she finished her schooling and got her degree in programming and psychology. Her grandfather had passed months ago, but the woman had waited to inform her until after Adelaide's studies were done. Now, caring only to ensure her wealth was maintained, Atsuko declared that her daughter return to rise for the Chiba family and take the important job she was set for in the Zony Corporation.
Although disgusted by her mother's vile behavior, Adelaide agreed. She would return to Japan and attend a rather late vigil for her grandfather before acquiring a job as a statistician in Zony. Her relationship with her mother was now irrevocably strained. But little did the woman know that there was more to this predestined job that she knew. Chosen for her brilliance with psychology and programming (and perhaps a bit of her popularity), Adelaide was about to embark on quite the digital journey...