The Firecat's Summoning was a narrative released on the official Killer Instinct website to serve as a rebooted backstory for Orchid in Killer Instinct (2013). It was released in a news post on November 17, 2015.
Orchid is the leader of an Eastern European spy ring known as the Disavowed. All of the members of this organization claim to have been wronged by Ultratech, and their goal is to bring down the megacorporation using sabotage, infiltration, industrial espionage and guerrilla warfare tactics.
An American by birth, Orchid started out her career in intelligence as an operative for the Special Warfare Department (SWD): a covert ops wing of Homeland Security. But after a deep cover operation inside Ultratech’s research and development branch—an operation during which several scientists died in a lab explosion—the SWD claimed that Orchid had become extremely unstable and paranoid. She was disowned by Homeland Security, and accused of murdering her commanding officer. Orchid claimed that she had been framed by Ultratech, but she was branded a terrorist and forced to flee the country, making her way to the Carpathian Mountains. Using the skills taught to her by the SWD, she formed the Disavowed and started recruiting members, mainly from former Soviet states.
One must go back to Orchid’s childhood to discover the roots of her origins as an international spy. She was a military brat raised by her single father—a member of the elite Seal Team 6. From an early age Orchid showed signs of emotional instability and would fly into blind rages. In the sixth grade, while her father was away on a hostage rescue mission to free aid workers taken in Pakistan, she locked herself in a room at school after being taunted by some kids, and started a fire that nearly burned down the building, blaming it on something she called “the Firecat.”
She was placed in a juvenile detention facility for a month and given psychiatric evaluations until her father returned. When he found out what had happened he immediately went AWOL, taking his daughter to an isolated cabin in the mountains that he had set up as a survivalist compound. The Firecat, he knew, was real. He had once seen his late mother—Orchid’s grandmother—conjure a flaming beast in a fit of rage. He knew that during World War II his mother had volunteered as a test subject for a secret military study: Project Aries 9. Orchid’s strange power had apparently been passed down to her from her grandmother’s DNA.
He started training Orchid in hand-to-hand combat, firearms and the melee weapons he’d learned to wield on a military base in the Philippines: the spring batons. He knew that he had to teach his daughter to control her rage and channel it, because he feared that either Ultratech or the government would try to use her and her hidden power as a tool. He set her seemingly impossible tasks—both mental and physical—and helped her find the hidden resources inside herself to overcome these challenges. Orchid learned to run for an entire day without stopping, or to shoot the sword off a Suicide King playing card from five hundred yards with a sniper’s rifle.
The most important aspect of the training, however, was teaching her to summon the Firecat. Anger, her father explained, was a powerful emotion, but it was useless in battle. A soldier had to be laser-focused on simultaneously killing the enemy and staying alive. And to do this they had to practice emergency conditioning—mentally preparing for any kind of combat situation through pre-visualization. He had her create a mental trigger for calling the Firecat, and rather than associating it with something bad like rage or humiliation, he told her to think of something that made her feel proud and strong. Orchid followed his advice and felt her hands start to glow with energy, and then the Firecat burst forth, obliterating an old car that sat in the compound. It was a joyous feeling.
They stayed in the cabin for two years, training in the mountains and woods, until the Special Warfare Department finally tracked them down, sending an overwhelming force. Orchid’s father was too valuable to be put in a military prison, and so he was coerced to return to his duties in exchange for Orchid’s freedom. The last thing he told his daughter was to only use her hidden power unless it was a life or death situation. Orchid was placed in the care of a military foster family while her father was sent on a covert mission to Afghanistan. After a year he was killed in a suicide bombing attack, and his body was not recovered. Orchid never had a chance to tell him that when she called upon the Firecat she was thinking of him—imagining his wise and intense eyes peering into her own.
Orchid was devastated, spiraling into a dark depression. As a teenager she often got into trouble, and ended up running away from her foster family and living on the streets. After being arrested for arson she was questioned in jail by a woman named Major Weaver. She was a commander from the Special Warfare Department who claimed that she had been monitoring Orchid for years. Weaver told Orchid that she had incredible potential, and that she should follow in her father’s footsteps as a patriot and a warrior. She invited Orchid to join the SWD, telling her that she would be able to help avenge her father’s death, which was not caused by a suicide bomber, but rather from an Ultratech drone sold to enemy combatants. And then she gave Orchid a partially destroyed journal as a sign of good faith, telling her that it had belonged to Orchid’s father.
Joining the SWD seemed like the best path at the time, and Orchid plunged headlong into the intense training. Besides courses in espionage and killing techniques, she was taught how to speak Chinese and Russian fluently. She also became an expert in HAHO (high-altitude/high-opening) parachute jumping. In her spare moments she pored over her father’s partially destroyed journal, gleaning from it anything that she could about the mystery surrounding his death. The journal revealed a startling secret: Orchid had a younger brother—the result of her father’s affair with a foreign aid worker whom he had saved in Pakistan. She couldn’t pronounce his name properly—Jacob—and called him “Jay-go” which made him laugh. The woman had disappeared in the foothills of the Himalayas soon after their child was born, and Jacob had not been able to track down her or the baby. He wasn’t present during the birth, but he knew that it was a boy.
Over the next decade Orchid successfully completed missions in Chechnya, Russia, China and Africa for the SWD. During these operations she kept finding clues that linked an international terrorist cabal to Ultratech, but these puzzle pieces were few and far between. Finally, Major Weaver assigned Orchid to a deep cover operation at Ultratech itself, posing as a research scientist. Orchid heard whispers of a program called “the Pinnacle Protocol,” and discovered fragments of information pointing toward an alien crash site. Her greatest and most agonizing revelation, however, was finding out that key members of the Special Warfare Department were under the control of the AI known as ARIA. But Orchid took too many risks and her cover got blown. Surrounded by a horde of Fulgore units, she summoned the Firecat, setting fire to a lab and causing a massive explosion. She escaped the facility in the chaos.
Orchid went directly to Major Weaver and reported her findings, but the woman who’d recruited her told her that she was paranoid and delusional, dismissing her from the SWD. Orchid left Weaver’s office in despair, only to see on a news report later that night that Weaver, along with her entire section, had been murdered in a bombing. And Orchid was the prime suspect. So she fled the country, gaining passage on a Russian cargo ship. Utilizing all of the survival skills taught to her by her father, and the espionage training of the SWD, it wasn’t long before Orchid started the Disavowed and recruited its first members. Using technical data that she’d stolen from Ultratech, she created the electrified spring batons that became her trademark. During one of her covert missions in Europe she met the monster hunter Maya and formed a friendship. Orchid also came into contact with a young Native American named Eagle. He messaged the Disavowed through a forum run by cyber dissidents, trying to find someone to help him bring down Ultratech. Orchid brought him into the spy ring and, after deciding that he was legitimate and not a plant, sent him on a mission to the Killer Instinct tournament.
After Eagle was reported killed in the tournament, she took on the persona of Black Orchid, and entered the tournament herself in the hopes of finding out what happened to the young fighter. She was nearly killed by Jago before she realized that this warrior-monk from the Himalayas—who had the same eyes as her late father Jacob—was her younger sibling. After the tournament Orchid and Jago joined forces with TJ Combo, vowing to bring down Ultratech together. And Orchid and Jago promised each other that they would uncover the secret about what had happened to their father, as well as the reason why Jago had been abandoned at the temple.
The trio of Orchid, Jago and TJ joined the monster hunter Maya at the headquarters of the Night Guard in the Andes, hoping to form a plan of attack against ARIA. But this seemingly hidden outpost was soon invaded by an Ultratech battle force, and the companions were surrounded by a massive number of Riptors and Fulgore units. Orchid stared into the face of death and was just about to call upon the Firecat for one last time, but suddenly the enemy called off the attack, leaving a stunned Orchid to wonder who or what had stopped the Ultratech army from wiping them out.
As she contemplated her last several encounters with Ultratech, Orchid realized that she had spent too much time forcing direct confrontation with her enemies. To improve as a fighter, she’ll need to embrace her skills as a spy and focus on the element of surprise.