While I did go into D.D. a bit (in particular, what D.D. ultimately stands for, both initially and eventually, at Ruby's suggestion), I mainly focused on Whitney. For instance, her stated character is, essentially, "cold while on the job, very loose, caring, even motherly, fun-loving, party-goer outside". I mentally calculated about where she draws the line, and where she wears her mask and when she exposes her face, not to mention, mapping out who calls her Shini and who calls her Sky when she's in Sky Shinobi mode. (Answer: Ruby nicknames her Shini, D.D. is there at the time and sticks with it, Herald also calls her by it, but all the rest call her Sky instead.)
Another thing I focused on is a tactic she's fond of using: intimidation. This has always been a part of her character, but it's something I didn't really flesh out until today. Basically, Whitney is quite fond of verbally threatening villains she faces, describing all the terrible things that will happen if they resist.
At first, this might not make that much sense, for a character who is supposed to be a professional superhero. It's not only unprofessional, but bad for PR, right? So why would she be fond of making them? Well, I actually found some fairly compelling mental reasons. Not sure how much real-life backing these have, but hey, they make enough sense in my head at least!
Basically, for a start, similar to how police aren't going to shoot except as a last resort/out of immediate self-defense, Whitney is trained to use violence as a last resort...and when using violence, to use the minimal amount necessary to incapacitate the target. So, she will try alternative methods first. Threats are not her first move; they're her second-to-last, basically what would immediately precede actual violence.
Talking to them, trying to get them to stand down, even warning them all come first. When the warnings fail, they lead into threats, but all of these are attempts to avoid confrontation. This approach is also a consequence of her being a one-woman army, handling tasks that it would take anywhere from 2-20 cops to accomplish.
As an example of what she, as a professional superhero, is authorized for, she can basically play the parts of both good cop/bad cop in that routine, with the threats representing the bad cop: a valid tactic for scaring criminals into cooperating with the more good cop options presented. So while she threatens as a 'bad cop', she will be respectful and nice and gentle when giving alternatives, as the good cop.
This tactic, however controversial it may be, is also generally allowed for one simple reason above all others: it's actually pretty dang effective at producing tangible results. Namely...people who Whitney just blindly beats up have a 90% remission rate: they'll fall straight back into crime, shrugging the beating off and getting right back into it. (This, incidentally, is one reason why Ruby's rogues mostly keep getting away with it.)
Repeated beatings don't send the needed message. What they learn is that they can get away with being a criminal and only receive a minor thrashing and if unlucky some jail time they quickly get out of. While she tries to talk the criminals down before needing a fight, most don't accept that, either, because criminals talk the language of violence more than any other.
So...criminals she threatens with violence have less than 10% remission. That's because it's one thing to be beaten up and not realize how lucky you are. It's quite another to have it described, in thorough detail, exactly how the heroes are HOLDING BACK on you, and the only reason you live is because of their morals, and the only reason you aren't given crippling life-long injuries is that most of the heroes prefer not to resort to that tactic, as much as they may joke about inflicting it.
Whitney has developed a specialize routine of explaining exactly what she can, legally be within her right, to inflict on them, if they resist...and this is not a pleasant list. Break legs? Totally fine. Cause LiterallyShatteredLives on their hands, permanently freezing their nerve endings so that they can never regenerate and never use an artificial hand? Totally fine. As a professional superhero, she is authorized to act with whatever measures she deems necessary for the situation. Of course she has to answer for her acts after they are done, but short of killing a person (even then, that'd most likely just be a slap on the wrist) or causing wanton destruction or hurting civilians, she's probably in the clear.
This makes sense, since part of her icy cold demeanor is distance. Underneath the mask, we know that she's a nice, compassionate, caring woman. However, while wearing the mask, she is a cold, distant ice queen, who holds almost no emotions. There's also something called "Cold-Blooded Torture", which she happens to be proficient in, or so she claims. (She wouldn't actually, but the villains don't need to know that.)
It's no wonder that most villains get scared straight--they usually don't think about the consequences after being beaten up, but when their potential fate is described, in crystal clear detail, without a hint of bluffing (Whitney is perfectly willing and able to follow through on her threats), they quickly learn how merciful getting beaten up actually is.
Of course, while this tactic is frowned upon, and as a result, is not officially in the rulebook, it is SO widely known and popularly used, that it has been given the closest thing to official status it can hold without having official status. Naturally, this means it has developed a name. That name?
...The ONLY name acceptable for a department mostly staffed by nerds: To The Pain.
Because the few people in the department who aren't Tropers (it's practically their job!) are probably still geeky enough to have watched and/or read The Princess Bride.
I also owe you that description I made for the Air element on Friday. On Thursday, I talked a little (yes, that was 'little', at least for me) about why Darkness is so absurdly powerful. However, Air is actually not that far behind, and is arguably just as strong in the hands of its more skilled practitioners. It's certainly not that far behind overall, at the very least.
Simple: because Air is everywhere. It represents everythingness, to contrast Darkness's nothingness. But it is not tangible: Air is abstract. While it covers things like oxygen and gasses, Air's got a huge market on basically being 'what fills space', 'empty space', and similar definitions similar to darkness, giving great overlap. It is a huge conceptual element, dealing with all the things that exist in the background, out of sight, out of mind, yet driving life as we know it.
However, Air takes things even further than Darkness. For starters, Air is one of the strongest elements of change, right up there with Fire, Water, and Earth. (Fire is change through destruction, Earth is change by growth, Water change by flow/stream/order, and Air is change through Chaos.) Because Air is the most random, it is the hardest to predict. In fact, Air users literally defy probability, redefining the boundaries expected of them.
Air also covers one of the fundamental forces of the universe: the weak force. This is every bit as broken as it sounds: being able to give off radiation, being a near-limitless source of energy, being able to become a nuclear bomb, and also, being able to become intangible, all are abilities loosely tied to that ability.
...What makes Air truly dangerous, though, is that it can also manipulate a second fundamental force. While Air shares this power with Earth (this is the only area where there's a duality in their elements, in spite of them being considered opposites, in contrast to Light/Dark and Fire/Ice which have a ton of overlap), Air holds control over Gravity. Air users are able to freely nullify it, even able to make it as if fighting in a vacuum if it so pleased them, but they can also magnify it, crushing enemies.
So...we've got an invisible, intangible, random element of limitless possibilities. When it comes to countering physical-based fighters, no element is better suited to the task than air. Heck, Air has via cyclones the power to suck attacks: this does not work on all magic, and can only possibly effect four elements (and even then, not really concretely), those being fire/water/earth/energy, but when it comes to absorbing PHYSICAL attacks, it surpasses even Darkness.
In short, Air can do almost anything Darkness can: teleportation (air is everywhere), invisibility, intangibility, vast magical energy, becoming super-tough, and so on and so forth, all while being incredibly random and thus, hard to predict and MUCH harder to counter. There's more to that, too.
Whereas Darkness techniques usually have a Light counter and/or equivalent, aside from the aforementioned gravity-sharing with Earth, Air has no opposite. Yes. That means exactly what you think it means: there is no known way to counter Air opponents. While there are equivalent moves in other elements if you're creative, the Air user will hold a more instinctive, natural mastery of it, because Air is an element that takes almost zero energy to use and little skill to employ. The power of an Air user, as a result, goes unchecked...except by virtue of the Air user themselves.
Let me put it to you this way: there's a reason Hannah, the nicest of the Riders, got Air: because in anyone else's hands, Air has billions of ways to cause suffering and/or death, more than even notorious elements like Darkness. Worse, it can be done accidentally, too, so the only people who should use it are those who use it with restraint like she does.
The main reason there aren't many Air villains, though, is because these powers have a downside: inherent to the element is randomness and chaos. Villains with an agenda, therefore, cannot use the element to its most deadly effectiveness. They simply lack the control, because there is no such thing as an Air Master; it is literally impossible to tame the element of Air. Air users get good at understanding their techniques, and at learning to follow what they want to do. But Air as an element is more, "Magic, do something!" than "Magic, do this!".
Sure, the occasional insane air user presents an incredible threat, because they will cause massive destruction with their abilities, but said insane air users have a short life because they often end up killing themselves by virtue of them being insane and doing something no sane air user would.
Still, Air is one of the most fearsome elements to be up against. It's great to have as an ally (though Air users tend to be too scatterbrained to be effective solo heroes: the nature of the air element means that the more effective you are at using it, the more random your thoughts tend to be, thus, the most effective air users need someone else in their lives to help balance them out and give them a firm planting in reality, usually someone of the earth element), powering up allies and being great at doing exactly what's needed at exactly the right time, but it's also the element to most be afraid of:
A villain who is sane enough not to let themselves die, yet also whimsical enough to let the element run free, can be a foe so dangerous that few heroes stand a chance against them. (Think what would happen if The Joker got superpowers, and you've got a fair idea of what a lethal opponent an air villain can be.)
Soyeah. That's air.
Light/Darkness balance each other, and hold immense power over the world.
Fire/Ice balance each other, and hold immense power over the world.
Water holds immense importance to life, and deals with technical skill rather than raw power more than almost any other element.
Energy holds immense power over the world.
Earth is representative OF the world. (Next time, might talk about it.)
Air holds immense power over everything.
Now granted, no element is inherently stronger than another. They are all held in check by self-limitations, difficulty of mastery, counters of other elements, overlap, and many other factors. While Light/Darkness are considered the two strongest overall, and Fire/Ice are close behind, Water's skill partially lies in how much it's underestimated, and Earth users basically "strong as the situation requires". That being said, Energy has the potential to be the strongest thanks to just how much it covers. Air, however, is equally as strong a potential.