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Aahna Ashina, nicknamed "Ash," was a Los Angeles Police Department Blade Runner initially active from April 2013 to November 2019. After escaping to the Off-world colonies, she went by the alias Darja Kady. After her return to Earth nearly a decade later, she became a replicant activist and resumed her Blade Runner career, secretly assisting her replicant targets.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early life and career[edit | edit source]

In 2000,[1] it was learned that Ash's spine did not function properly. As a result, her mother left the night after her diagnosis for the Off-world colonies, to earn money and send it back to support Ash, who was left in her grandmother's care.[2] Ash helped her grandmother run a food stand, expressing disdain for the police officers who would come refusing to pay.[3]

In 2009, Ash blackmailed Zhang with compromising photographs in order to obtain a spinal brace from him.[3] Ash had surgery to install the cybernetic spinal brace, which required re-charging. She remained in considerable financial debt as a result of this surgery.[4]

On April 22, 2013, Ash was assigned to the LAPD Blade Runner unit,[5] performing her first retirement that year.[3] At one point, she was partnered with Lelas, whose behavior convinced her to never again work with a partner.[6]

In 2017, Ash tracked down the replicant Yotun to a shop belonging to a Mr. Malcolm, who claimed to have the capabilities of making replicants disappear. However, Yotun managed to gain the upper hand on Ash by killing Malcolm and throwing his body onto Ash, allowing him to disarm her. He told Ash to tell her superiors that she was beaten by a replicant and shown mercy, saying that she would never see him again.[7]

Assignment from Selwyn[edit | edit source]

After tracking down the replicant Benny – who had killed five people – Ash contemplated selling his eyes on the collectors' market. However, she gave him the option to remove his eyes, which he did and then slit his own throat, to Ash's surprise.[4]

She met with her superior, Wojciech, who informed her that there were no further jobs tracking down replicants at present, but that Alexander Selwyn of the Canaan Corporation had requested a skilled Blade Runner to find his missing wife and daughter.[4]

Ash met with Selwyn in Santa Barbara. Selwyn informed her that his wife Isobel, daughter Cleo, the family chauffeur Arkady, and his wife's spinner had not been seen after leaving the birthday party of Lydia Tyrell. He declined to bring media attention to their disappearance, as he felt it would attract enemies. A further investigation of the home brought no leads.[4]

She took her search to various parts of the city, learning some of Isobel's background before tracking the spinner down to the city's viaduct, finding Arkady murdered inside. Losing energy, the resolved to delay her report until the morning and returned to her home.[4]

A data log was later recovered from the spinner, which showed that Isobel had called a "chop shop," which Ash investigated. There, she encountered a surgeon known as "the Skin," who informed her that Isobel had consulted him about surgery for a birthmark. He then noted that Ash wore a brace. She promptly left as he told her Isobel was going "home."[2]

Ash assigned an officer to tail the Skin, supposedly finding his address at the Carleton. There, Ash encountered Bellingham, an elderly replicant whose appearance was "aged" by the Skin. She questioned him about Isobel and he stated to know "everything" before attacking Ash. She managed to defend herself, but before jumping out of a window, the replicant told her, "Ask Alexander Selwyn why he wants his daughter dead."[2]

Ash later updated Selwyn on the case, but refrained from telling him the replicant's accusation.[2]

Wojciech informed Ash of the Skin's past, including known aliases and an employment history at the Tyrell Corporation. As Ash reflected upon her distaste for Tyrell, she was attacked, resulting in her spinner being shot down.[2]

Ash crash-landed her spinner into an abandoned warehouse. She managed to emerge from the wreckage, but it exploded, injuring her. She was hospitalized, learning thirty hours later that the entire police department was now aware of her brace and resistant to it. Selwyn was also dissatisfied with her performance, so she was dropped from the case, which was transferred to Harry Bryant's division.[6]

She traveled to the Tyrell Corporation, finding that there was a meeting arranged for her with Ms. Elo. Elo wished to hire Ash, telling her that Isobel Selwyn was actually a Nexus-7 replicant, modeled to be identical to Selwyn's late wife. To ensure that she would accept the job, Elo offered, on the corporation's behalf, to cure her condition permanently, making her use of a brace unnecessary. Ash accepted the job and took off in search of Bellingham.[6]

She found her old partner Lelas preparing to brutalize a suspect, but she managed to tase Lelas. By intimidating the suspect, she learned that replicants would seek refuge at a beach south of Los Angeles. Ash determined the location to be in Baja, so began flying that direction.[6]

She arrived at El Santuario, finding Isobel and Cleo under the care of the Replicant Underground. The Underground managed to have Ash stand down, showing her correspondence between Selwyn and Tyrell which indicated that Cleo would be handed over to the Tyrell Corporation as payment for Isobel.[8]

Selwyn then arrived with armed Tyrell personnel, prompting a gunfight. Isobel stayed behind to provide Ash with cover fire, allowing her to escape to Los Angeles with Cleo. There, Ash decided to neither give Cleo to the police nor Tyrell. She asked Cleo of another safe place, to which the girl pointed up in the air.[8]

Escape to the colonies[edit | edit source]

Ash and Cleo escaped to the Off-world colonies, where by 2026, they lived as mother and son Darja and Ian Kady. In the midst of a Nexus-8 uprising, she attempted to leave her workplace to find Cleo, but was stopped by her co-worker Robbens, who feared for their safety.[9]

Ash survived the onslaught, but was subjected to a Voight-Kampff test by Blade Runner Hythe, who happened to know Ash's true identity and attempted to win Ash over by pointing out that Cleo was in the possession of replicants. Later, Ash decided she was done running.[5]

Hythe reinstated Ash as a Blade Runner, hiring her to assist in finding Cleo. This search led them to an aquarium owner, whose information took them to an eye surgeon. The trail then led to the Maze, a notably dangerous borough of Ramanuja. There, they were ambushed by Pellam, leader of the rogue Nexus-8 group that Cleo had traveled with. However, he insisted that the rest of the group was long gone and Hythe retired him.[10]

Ash and Hythe later went to meet with the Heidecker-Vostro representative who hired Hythe - Isobel Selwyn,[10] who claimed to have survived the battle and had been searching for Cleo in the years since. The three followed Cleo's trail to Ramanuja Station, where Ash noticed an advertisement for Arcadia, believing this to be Cleo's destination. However, Hythe then held Ash at gunpoint, revealing that the Isobel she knew had indeed perished and this one was created in order for Ash to lead her to Cleo. From the crowd, Cleo's companion Padraic emerged and tackled Hythe, saving Ash, but was killed with her sidearm. As Hythe criticized Ash for her sympathy for the replicants, Isobel killed Hythe and revealed that she possessed the previous Isobel's memories, and thus was an ally. Ash then decided to leave Cleo in the care of Isobel so they could find passage to Arcadia while she returned to Earth.[1]

Return to Earth[edit | edit source]

Back in Los Angeles, Ash sought assistance from Wojciech in finding Alexander Selwyn. However, Wojciech could provide no solid leads, instead informing Ash that she must rely on her knowledge of the city from her days as a Blade Runner.[11]

Ash's search led her to the remains of the Tyrell headquarters, where she was ambushed by a group of squatters. She escaped, finding refuge with Fost, a Tyrell scientist who worked on the Isobel Selwyn project and apparently still believed the corporation was in operation. Ash convinced him that she was also on the Isobel project and needed data to send to Selwyn.[11]

Fost assisted in Ash's escape from the building, but she did not make it far before being intercepted by a police officer, tipped off by Wojciech. She attempted to flee, but was soon met by four more officers. In police custody, she was interrogated before being sent to Ventura. However, a Resistance group attacked the police spinner and smuggled Ash to a farm where they resided.[12]

The group's leader, Freysa Sadeghpour, requested Ash's help, beginning to repair her brace in return. However, the farm was attacked by a second Hythe, having been tipped off by Pim. Dyson launched a counter-attack, allowing Ash to escape with Freysa and a boy, Ephraim. Back in the city, Freysa finished repairing the brace and informed Ash of their common goal in hunting down Alexander Selwyn, who has now been illegally producing replicants.[13]

Ash returned to Selwyn's former Santa Barbara home, but was met by Cleo's grown lion and Selwyn with four more Hythes.[13] A fight ensued among them, with Ash managing to kill two of the Hythes and the lion. She managed to slip out of the mansion, but as Selwyn and the remaining Hythes caught up to her, Selwyn used a remote to shut down Ash's brace. Then arrived Cleo and Isobel Selwyn, having delayed their trip to Arcadia in order to confront Alexander. As Alexander Selwyn explained his motives, he plead that the three of them become a family again, but Isobel snapped his neck. As one of the Hythes prepared to kill Isobel, the other killed this Hythe and requested the house and to be forgotten, offering to forget Ash as well in return, as well as the remote to her brace.[14]

Ash returned to the city with Cleo and Isobel, sitting down to dine at a noodle bar. Cleo and Isobel confirmed their plans to go to Arcadia, offering to take Ash along. However, Ash declined, deciding instead that she belonged on Earth and would now assist rogue Nexus-8 replicants.[14]

Sepulveda investigation[edit | edit source]

By 2029, Ash lived with Freysa and returned to the LAPD Blade Runner unit, albeit secretly assisting the escapes of replicants. After an anonymous tip indicated that the Sepulveda Sea Wall construction was employing replicants, Ash was assigned to investigate. At the site, she encountered a replicant who immediately ran from her. Before jumping to his death, the replicant said "Yotun redeems," prompting Ash to rediscover records of Yotun, a replicant who escaped her twelve years before.[7]

Ash later examined the corpse of the man she chased, though her colleague, Pearl, believed that he was a human and not a replicant, due to the lack of a serial number on his eye. Ash's further leads took her investigation nowhere and she went to The Diamant. There, she asked the bartender, Evelyn, if she knew anything about the name Yotun. Her question caught the attenton of the nearby Lelia, prompting Ash to follow her out of the building.[15]

Lelia, having been tracked to a cab by Ash, removed one of its doors and threw it onto Ash to allow her escape. Freysa quickly came to Ash's aid and discovered that Lelia had dropped her purse. Inside, Ash and Freysa found an address, which led the couple to a high-rise containing a number of replicants stored within glass tanks.[15]

Afterward, Ash returned to the precinct, where her captain informed her of the grisly murder of Ruskin, a fellow Blade Runner. Ruskin's death – his spine being torn out by hand – was believed to have been caused by the same person who murdered Hyman Bask, a case that was assigned to Ruskin. Ash began her investigation at Ruskin's home, where she found files on the Bask case, leading her to the missing servant Ducasse.[16]

When she returned home, Ash found Lelia awaiting her. Lelia requested Ash accompany her to Yotun, but Ash resisted, instead asking for Yotun's location. Lelia then attacked Ash, managing to knock her out and load her into a spinner, taking off as Freysa arrived home.[16]

Ash came to strapped to a chair, greeted by Kalia, who explained to Ash that Yotun was indeed alive as the result of a miracle, having lived well-past his four-year lifespan. Soon after, Ash was rescued by Jac, a replicant she had helped out of the city the year before, who had since become a lapsed follower of Yotun. Revealing that Yotun has been reviving unshipped Nexus-8s, Jac was killed by Lelia before he could fully explain the motivation behind these revivals. Lelia and Kalia held Ash at gunpoint, awaiting Yotun's arrival.[17]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Concept art by Andres Guinaldo

Ash is the main character of the comics Blade Runner 2019 and Blade Runner 2029. According to the comic's co-writer Mike Johnson, Ash is of half-Japanese and half-Indian descent.[18]

References[edit | edit source]

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