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  1. Closure

    As of this writing, I am closing this game. RL is hitting me hard, and I do not have the energy or inspiration to manage this game, and give you all the fun experience you deserve. Thank you all for the work you put in, I'm sorry to do this, but it's how it has to be for me. Sorry everyone.
  2. In the month since the colossal battle against the Monster many simply called Zil, The world had been shaken completely. Tokyo Harbor had been turned into a low level zone, nearly spelling the end of the massive metropolitan area. Only the pride of the Japanese people, and the deployment of 90% of the JSDF to secure the borders of the zone allowed anyone to live within 2 miles of the water. as it was the first mile was a designated Military zone,, the presence of any persons without authorization was met with lethal force. When Zil had finally rose from the water, a Titan straight out of Toei movies, 400 feet tall, impossibly strong, and a force of nature in terms of power, The collected novas had engaged with their full might, seemingly to little affect. Busses, chunks of buildings, missiles, canon, all were fired, to little effect. Growing annoyed it was only through the sacrifice of Riccochet that Zil's breath attack, an intensified blast of destructive quantum didn't strike the city itself, instead blowing off the top fifth of Mt. Fuji. Redoubling their efforts after the massively televised and gruesome death of one of their own, The gathered novas kept up their assault, losing several more from their number, before Zil turned, and went back into the sea, followed by air, to the Marianas Trench, where he dove, and still resides. it was humbling for everyone, to see powerful novas killed in such fashion, to see the horrors of a monster like Zil, the creatures spawned within his zone killed as they could be, The 5th and 8th American Fleets, as well as the 2nd British and Australian fleets maintaining a cordon as best they can to ensure the safety of shipping in the region. Novastorm had not been idle, it's best minds devoted to creating countermeasures for larger novas, and a special chosen few to develop ways to cancel the zones themselves. Those not working toward this aim were sent out, gathering data on various zones, ,until another request came in, this time one close to home. The Mississippi River system is the longest in the United states, it's tributaries ranging as far west as the Rocky Mountains. It has been well documented that New Orleans has become a zone, Openly controlled by a nova, but still on "friendly terms" for the most part with those who would go there for research, on the surface. The flora fauna of the region however, is not friendly, and is openly hostile.In the last month 24 attacks by Alligators in excess of thirty feet long have been documented all along the River system. Two were slain, only through the use military grade weaponry by militant citizenry. more than that, at least six attacks by "Bayou Shamblers" occurred over 200km from the zone. The request was to find the nests where these creatures were spawning, and destroy it, as well as remove these Primalgators, as they were being called now, from the estuary proper. Calvin knew it was the New orleans Zone, so he called the team together, assembling all those remaining from the Zil engagement, and a few new faces, recent recruits with gifts that could come in handy for the task at hand. After thirty minutes he had gathered them all in the Situation room, and explained the mission. "Allright, questions, comments, or suggestions?" Some would likely not like to be removed from their research projects, but they had to stop this now, if they could.
  3. This is the dedicated combat thread where we can post initiative and actions. Once resolved it will be summed up back in the thread in which the combat is taking place.
  4. Folks, I have some questions for the Aberrant players here, especially those who have played in high-powered chronicles. You see, one of the topics I'm writing up in Aberrant: Nexus - which is about 60% written at this point - will be guidelines for playing high-powered novas and making such chronicles as fun for everyone as possible. This matter was touched on in the "Power Isn't Everything" gray sidebar on p. 67 of the Aberrant Players Guide, but apparently it did not go anywhere near as far as it should have. I'd like to correct that, & it looks like this ebook will be my last shot at doing so. I also write this after having read the archive for the "Children of Quantum Fire" game held here at RPGPost. From what I can tell - and please do correct me if I'm mistaken - not everyone who played in that game found it as satisfying as it should have been. So there's me second impetus to correct this error. So my questions are as follows: 1- What were the problems with playing high-powered novas - 2ndGen or otherwise - that you encountered? Were they due to the geopolitical situation of Earth in Aberrant regarding powerful novas, or something else? 2- What do you suggest that a Storyteller could do to fix those problems? 3- If not everyone was getting the type and level of role-playing action they desired, what could a Storyteller do - either before the gaming begins or during it - to fix that? If you have any other relevant comments, feel free to add them in also _ I might have missed something important.
  5. I'm working on a 1999 Aberrant game for my tabletop group, and to get feedback and just to share the fluff, am going to be posting some of the "news of the world" type stuff I'm writing for the front of the campaign document, like the core book did for the game line. And so, behold random news articles and blurbs from the first year of novas, some of them based on canon, some of them with me filling in blanks on canon, and some of them just made up completely. We start out on N-Day... Headline article of the New York Times, March 23rd, 1998: MIRACLE FIREMAN SAVES CHILDREN FROM INFERNO A collision between a school bus and a gasoline tanker truck on the 400 block of Roosevelt Avenue in Queens amazingly resulted in zero fatalities and only minor injuries when responding FDNY units from the adjacent Engine Company 273 were suddenly reduced to the status of bystanders at what can only be described as a miracle. The collision had resulted when a sudden brake failure on the school bus resulted in its uncontrollably entering an intersection against the red light and directly impacting a tanker carrying several thousand gallons of gasoline to a nearby fuel station. Both vehicles were entangled in the wreck as torrents of spilled gasoline drenched the street. "That intersection is only a couple blocks down from the station house, so we actually saw the crash ourselves before dispatch got the 911 call to us," said Captain Ron Beckwith, commanding Engine 273. "But even with as fast as we got the pumper rolling we could still see it was one of the nightmare scenarios. There must have been fifty kids in that bus and the entire street was soaked in gas for dozens of feet around. Thank God that it didn't go up right when they crashed, but even with some of the older kids getting the back door open and tryin' to get everybody out as fast as they could we still knew that so much as one spark from anywhere would have the whole intersection covered in flames before we could get everybody clear. And sure enough, me and my guys had barely gotten down off the truck and the hoses hooked up before FWOOM, we saw it ignite right before our eyes. We all just froze in shock. Right then we were all thinking, God dammit we're just gonna stand here and watch all those kids die. Just standin' there holding those damn useless hoses like a bunch of idiots. And then… then it happened." In an event that outright defied the laws of physics as we know them, all of the flames engulfing the intersection were suddenly absorbed by one of the firefighters present, in a scene described by Captain Beckwith as "straight out of the comic books I read when I was a kid. It was like watching the Human Torch™ eat a fire in the Fantastic Four, only for real." Nearby security-camera footage as well as the testimony of all eyewitnesses available for comment unanimously agree that the miracle firefighter, whose name is being withheld for privacy reasons, somehow compelled all of the flames engulfing the area to come together into a single stream and then be sucked into his own body, where they vanished without a trace. (See accompanying illustration.) In a few moments the entire intersection was clear of any trace of flame or smoke, and the responding firefighters were able to resume operations. Except for several cases of smoke inhalation and minor crash-related injuries, there were no casualties. According to Captain Beckwith "I went over to [name withheld] right after I'd finished telling the crew to start foaming the place to catch any reflash and make sure everybody was evacuated to a safe distance and triaged, and asked him what he just did. He looked perfectly okay to me – I couldn't even smell any smoke on his clothes! – but the poor guy also looked totally out of it, and who could blame him? It was pretty obvious that he didn't know what the hell had happened any more than I did, so I waved over a couple of the EMS guys and told 'em what I'd seen happen, and said that [name withheld] looked like he was in shock and would they please take him to [hospital withheld]." As of press time, the FDNY Public Affairs office had no further comment except to confirm that the firefighter in question was not injured and was being held overnight for observation. This entirely inexplicable phenomenon of "The Fireman" is only one of many incredible incidents being reported around the world today…
  6. A question for those of us who have played Adventure! well enough to know: how would you create an Inspired character that has survived through to the Nova Age or even into the Trinity Era? IIRC, that's a gap of 80-100 years between Adventure! & Aberrant. Likewise, the gap is further increased by another 12 decades if an Inspired manages to make it to the Trinity Era. The "how" of the characters' survival into the latter Eras is obvious: Optimized Metabolism (as knack or Innovation), suspended animation, anti-aging drugs & so on. What I'm asking is how would you create such a character from the whole cloth. Is it just a matter of adding in a huge amount of transformation points into character creation, or would the process need further tweaking (Boosted Attributes/Abilities/Backgrounds)? If it's just a matter of adding more transformation points, then how many would be needed? I'm figuring that an Inspired who actually lived through most or all of those decades between the Eras would get more points that those who were "in stasis" as human popsicles or the like. And yes, this question pertains to the Aberrant: Nexus project I've been working on.
  7. Just had a random thought. So, the super-secret Nipponese novas in the Trinity era. Capped at quantum 4 and node 2. Can never develop any Taint. Artificially maxed out. All fine fine. But, does Nippon also sterilize them? If not, then all those totally Taint-free novas are eventually going to breed up some 2nd gen Trues. Meaning that Nippon's government will have secret novas that are as totally Taint-free as anything they have going now... but have unrestricted nova power development. And the Nipponese government secure archives escaped Project Rewrite -- hell, some of their oldest government ministers were still alive during the Aberrant War. They will know the full potential power of what they're sitting on. How would their long-range plans change, if they knew that a couple decades from now their youngest nova assets would be, by far, the most powerful beings in the world? It's a thing for thought.
  8. If I wanted to start a high-power Aberrant game in 2030, based loosely on the same themes that Children of Quantum Fire did but not using the same storyline or some of the base story assumptions they did, then I have about 15 years of alt-history to design as Worldwide Phase II only takes me so far. But I'm lazy, so why design it all by myself when I can stea-... errr, be inspired by the brilliant work of others. Besides, traffic been sorta slow in here recently so meh, let's inspire some post count. Now, the reason I don't just steal CoQF's timeline -- well, asides from the fact that I'd be using a shit ton of other people's storyline and characters -- is because I started with a different set of design assumptions than they did, notably about Taint (see my house rules thread for details on that) and about some of the 'A Breed Apart' content that I'm not going to use. Specifically, my starting thoughts were these: On Nova Fertility Not going to use 'Motherhunters' because, let's face it, we are talking about professional baby murderers here. Guys who can get up in the morning and go 'Today I am going to stalk and kill some innocent people and small children whose only crime was in wanting to have a family/being born'. While I grant that you can entirely find some people this evil, in order for the 'motherhunting' strategy to work you have to find an army full of people this evil. Even from a strictly utilarian and amoral standpoint, the 'motherhunting' strategy only works if you actually can ensure 99.9+% clean-out; just getting 80% or 90% guarantees that the surviving 10-20% really direly want to kill you. And since the entire point of the strategy was the eventual fear that 2nd gen novas would become worldshakingly powerful, you can't afford even 10-20%. As any hunter knows, you do not just wound the grizzly bear. "Never do an enemy a small injury" applies here, epically. Also, any world that can reliably find enough hundreds of operatives to do a job this dirty, so reliably that they don't get a dozen Slider Incidents or more on their hands, is a world slightly above tolerance on the grim-o-meter. That having been said, Proteus is certainly going to do something about nova fertility, once the sterilization drugs aren't enough. They just need to do something evil that's a more "ostensibly intelligent people could actually believe this was going to work" evil, as opposed to a strategy that's pretty much inevitably doomed to cause precisely the type of backlash that happened in CoQF. Thetis might be crazier than a shithouse rat, but let's at least write her smarter than this, so she makes a more satisfying thump when she hits the floor. So, what are they going to do? 'Some type of airborne contact sterility virus' is what first comes to mind (even with the risk of a million or several baseline deaths from mutation, etc. Thetis would still do it; like she cares? It's getting 11 minutes to doomsday here! Release the germs!). So, some type of Spanish Flu type incident, but hey, at least Utopia solved it soon enough, right? Meanwhile, nova birthrates crash-dive again... only this time, the novas who were already working on it know enough to figure out that Proteus just fired the next shot in the war... On The Directive My players and me have always had a sympathy for the Directive. Far too often the canon treats them 'Like Proteus, only with better wiretaps but a lot fewer novas, and also much stupider and more ignorant'. Far too often they're depicted as basically the General Rosses of the setting, always out there to get in your way when you're trying to save the world, but never really saving it themselves. Yeah, well, toss that. This is the 21st century and we prefer something more like the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of SHIELD. Even with all the problems that was revealed to have recently. I can entirely buy a Directive that does gritty spy shit all the time and doesn't trust most novas farther than it can spit. But I don't want to buy one that sits around wishing it were in the Marvel Universe so it could build some giant purple robots, let's put it that way. So, what would this 'slightly less of a dick and slightly more on the ball' Directive be doing with its opportunities? Hrm, the first thing that comes to mind is 'Remember General Endicott's exoskeletons? Maybe if it applied some of that blacktech research budget into coming up with something that let the average Directive agent at least compete vs. novas harder than your average mitoid could, they'd be slightly less paranoid-fear all the time.' Besides, as the 'world without DeVries' thread got into, it took massive writer's fiat to delay effective VARG research into the Trinity era anyway. In the real world, we went from the Wright Flyer to the F-22 Raptor in 100 years... for it to take 200 to go from the Nova Age to exoskeletons at least as effective as the ones in the recent Tom Cruise timeloop movie is silly. Also, slightly relax the nova chargen restrictions for Directive operatives. "Absolutely no Taint" stays, because that entirely makes sense (and is even easier to achieve under my house rules), but as the DeVries recruiter always says 'There are no worthless nova abilities, some are just worth more than others.' Yeah, isn't really much of a set of starting thoughts, is it. I'm staring at a piece of blank paper and trying to make it a timeline. So, any random bits from your own prop boxes that you've never gotten a chance to use, that you want to toss in here?
  9. Dumping some house rules ideas here for discussion. Those of you who recognize bits and pieces of these, yeah, I was inspired by some earlier posts around here. My thoughts as I was laying this out were several-fold: To give my players a reason to actually use Last-Ditch Defense and Power Maxing, 'cause I just named two things they never bother to use because let's face it, the canon rules for them suck. Solution: Give them notably more bang for the buck. To actually make Taint a part of the drama, but only by player choice, because another consistent buying pattern is that nobody Taints up anything and takes all the Taint Resistance they can get. So I wanted to increase the opportunities to get temporary Taint, and make it more tempting to risk temporary Taint, while at the same time making it harder to get permanent Taint except by racking up enough temporary Taint to kick you over. I realize that other people have different interpretations of Taint, but this is mine. Solution: Make temporary Taint an inevitable consequence of power maxing (you take temp Taint instead of spend Willpower to max), but make the recovery/downtime period to roll to lose temporary Taint shorter. (The reason to make temporary Taint recovery easier is to increase the temptation to risk getting some, while still allowing people to occasionally powermax without automatically becoming Taint monkeys, while also still allowing for 'Taint is what happens if you push your powers too long' because the rest period is still not trivial to arrange for in the middle of a big project or a war or something.) To make it slightly more tempting to take permanent Taint at chargen because let's face it, nothing is worth it. Solution: Significantly increase the XP cost to raise permanent Quantum after character generation and forbid people to purchase Quantum with bonus points at chargen, but make permanent Quantum bought Tainted cost zero. To let people use their quantum powers more freely, so that fights don't have a strict endurance cap, while at the same time not allowing infinite use. Solution: The 'Quantum Flux' trait, which some of you have probably seen before (I think Steve Kenson's Aberrant house rules originally came up with it.) Unt zo... Changes to Quantum Pool and Quantum Points Quantum Flux All novas have an additional trait called Quantum Flux. Their Quantum Flux is equal to half the quantum expenditure granted them by their Node rating. This is an amount of energy the nova can draw upon each turn to power quantum abilities. Quantum point expenditures each turn below this threshold are essentially free; the energy comes from the fabric of the universe, not from the nova's personal reserves. Points spent from Quantum Flux do not count against the nova's quantum expenditure limit per turn as determined by his Node rating. Example: Jason has Node 1, allowing him to spend up to 8 quantum points/turn. His Quantum Flux trait is therefore 4, and he may spend 4 'free' quantum points per turn. Quantum costs above the Flux rating (up to the nova's Quantum Expenditure limit) come from the Quantum Pool as usual. Quantum costs from Maxing Out and quantum lost to effects like Quantum Leech always come from the character's Quantum Pool. A nova must have at least 1 quantum point remaining in their Quantum Pool to use their Quantum Flux. Otherwise, they lose access to their Quantum Flux trait until they have recovered at least 1 quantum point. Quantum Pool A nova's Quantum Pool is equal to their [permanent Quantum] * 4. Changes to Merits Taint Resistant [5 point Merit] Taint Resistant novas do not receive double temporary Taint for botching a roll while Maxing Out, accrue no temporary Taint for failing a roll for rapid quantum recovery, and receive only a single point of temporary Taint for botching a roll for rapid quantum recovery. Quantum Recovery [1-3 point Merit] Each level of Quantum Recovery increases a nova's Quantum Flux trait by one. Changes to Last-Ditch Defense A Nova may always pay 1 or more quantum points (up to their Quantum expenditure limit) to subtract 1 health level of damage from a single attack after soak. This may reduce an attack to 0 levels of damage. If the amount of damage the nova takes would have otherwise have killed the nova if last-ditch defense was not used, then the nova adds 1 temporary Taint. New Advancement Costs Permanent Quantum now costs (Current Rating x 12) XP to advance, not CRx8. A level of permanent Quantum can be purchased Tainted for zero cost. The cost to purchase permanent Quantum at character generation remains 5 nova points. Due to its increased usefulness via Quantum Flux, dots in the Node background now cost double, both during and after character generation. Changes to Taint Starting Taint Characters are limited to a maximum of four permanent Taint at character generation. Taint, Quantum, and Node No permanent Taint is automatically gained for obtaining high levels of either permanent Quantum or Node. A quantum 5 node 5 nova with zero taint is entirely possible. Buying Powers Tainted Permanent Quantum (and only permanent Quantum) may be bought Tainted, at a cost of 1 permanent Taint per dot. Doing so allows it to be obtained for a cost of zero XP or nova points. How much of your humanity will you sacrifice for power? Losing Temporary Taint Due to the new Maxing Out rules, it is far easier for novas to gain temporary Taint. Therefore, the time period for losing temporary Taint is reduced to one day of downtime (either dormed down or utilizing all quantum powers and Mega-Attributes at a maximum of half normal strength, and botching no rolls), not one month. A nova receives +1 automatic success to the Willpower roll for losing temporary Taint if they spend the entire day dormed down. Botching a roll to lose temporary Taint adds one temporary Taint on a botch, not one permanent Taint. Changes to Maxing Out To Max Out, the nova first takes one point of temporary Taint. In return, the nova gets a number of automatic successes equal to their permanent Quantum rating or a flat 3 successes, whichever is greater. (You will always be able to add at least 1 extra or 3 successes if you max out, even as a puny Quantum 1 nova). Additional successes may be obtained by taking more temporary Taint (gaining additional sux equal to their permanent Quantum each time), or by spending 2 quantum points per success (up to their normal quantum expenditure limit per turn). A nova may not exceed (Permanent Quantum * 3) successes on a Max Out, by any means, without specific GM permission. If a nova botches a roll while Maxing Out, the amount of temporary Taint taken from Maxing Out doubles. The nova does not need to pay double quantum cost to activate the power being Maxed Out. Increase Effect: Each success spent increases the Effective rating of the Power being used by 1 dot to calculate the chosen effect. This is purchased separately for each effect: Dice Pool, Damage, Range, Soak, or Area. This explicitly allows the nova to violate the cap on the rating a power can possess at his Quantum rating. Add an Extra: 3 successes spent will add a new, temporary extra to a quantum power the nova possesses. This explicitly allows the nova to violate the cap on the # of extras a power can possess at his Quantum rating. Increased Duration: 2 successes spent will increase the duration 1 step from Instant to Concentration to Maintenance. Effects at Maintenance level or with a set duration are doubled in duration per 2 successes spent. Increased Mega-Attributes: 2 successes will grant an additional dot in a Mega-Attribute for one use (be it a combat turn use, or a scene long exertion). This may exceed the normal Quantum limits. The nova must have at least 1 dot in the Mega-Attribute already. Add an Enhancement: Spending 2 successes will gain the character a new enhancement for one use (be it a combat turn use, or a scene long exertion). Enhancements with prerequisites still require all prerequisites (which may be purchased via additional sux if need be). (Acknowledgement: Yeah, most of this one was swiped straight from the Taint discussion thread on 200X and slightly tweaked. Good work there, guys.)
  10. I have several campaign ideas I am never going to use. This is one of them. Campaign: The Final Aeons You remember so many things. You remember the old days, when the Aeon Society met in a brownhouse and invited everyone to come look through the filing cabinets for free. You remember Maxwell before he came obsessed with his ideas of the 'ideal' future, and Michael before he was overtaken by his inner demons. You remember Annabelle before she left the Society to fight at Michael's side. And you remember her shooting Whitley through the spine on the day the Second Hammersmith Event was to happen, and her being laid low by Tallon's enraged punch. And you remember how she screamed as she died, with Mercer unhesitatingly throwing her helpless body headfirst into Donighal's telluric engine to jam it with the handiest thing available within reach one second before it would have started a posthuman age in 1943. You remember old Safari Jack mysteriously disappearing in 1955, almost a year before Liberty Cross Medical started producing 'experimental' anti-aging remedies reserved for favored Aeon board members only. You remember Whitley Styles being unable to look you in the eye while explaining to you that the reason the anti-aging remedies weren't being distributed more generally is because 'the field test' of himself, Margaret, and several others wasn't showing consistent results. This while his hair stayed dark, and yours went gray. This after he was finally out of the wheelchair he'd spent the past decade in. You remember the Babel Dossier being moved to a secure undisclosed location. You remember openness being traded for secrecy, help giving way to manipulation, adventures being phased out in favor of black-bag jobs and wetworks. You remember seeing the handwriting on the wall and running for your life. You remember hiding out in the cracks of the world, reading between the lines of newspaper articles and knowing that the ideals of the old Aeon Society were vanishing further and further into the night and fog. But despite your own Inspiration, despite all the impossible adventures you had survived when you were younger, you knew that there would be no happy ending and upraised glasses in the old brownstone this time. It was a new world, a darker world, a world more firmly in the grip of the new Aeon than it had ever been gripped by the King of the World or the Ubiquitous Dragon or the Czar. Your choices lay stark before you; a heroic death vs. impossible odds, or an unremarkable death as you crawled off into obscurity to rot. Because several adventurers, even Inspired ones, could not hope to overcome an entire society of their peers. But people who were more than adventurers? That would be something else entirely. Although you had not seen or heard any signs of Donighal since 1943, you knew he was still out there. You knew that he would never rest. That sooner or later he would recover enough power for another attempt, as his "terrible angel" only waxed further and further. Sooner or later he would progress beyond the power of even the most modern weapons to kill him, if he had not already. And that while they had to succeed in stopping him every time, he only had to succeed once. So you fled to the long-lost golden pyramid of Aton, whose exact location had remained a secret even to the Babel dossier. And amidst the dust-covered ancient secrets that had once been used to empower a maddened, victimized child, you added the products of more modern labors -- the Dixon telluric-ionic power cells, lenses carved from telluric energy crystals gathered in half a dozen nameless lands, even the Mechanitrix's old z-ray projector rifle that had once brought down an artificial moon. And you set up your suspension capsules, with the power-focusing array precipitated above it. And so you slept the decades away, waiting. Waiting for the year when Michael would finally succeed in bringing fire to the sky, and creating an entire new culture of superhumans that you could vanish into, "merely" several more wonders in a world newly full of wonders. The last unfallen members of the original Aeon, to save the world from the unspeakable evil that their old friends and their heirs had become. The idea of the campaign is that the party are powerful novas with Cipher 5 (as they've been in hibernation for decades), that are effectively True 2nd Generation Taint-immune due to their unusual origin (while they obviously didn't know everything about novas, they knew enough about telluric energy to effectively guarantee their eruptions on N-Day by creating a quantum-focusing grid that would, on the day of the next Hammersmith-type Event, make sure to affect them as if they were at ground zero -- and of course they were already all Inspired)... who are 'in the know' re: the existence of the Aeon conspiracy, and devoted to wrecking its shit. Disadvantages are that they're men and women out of time, and about to buck one hugely stacked deck, as they expected to be Dr. Primoris-level super-stalwarts (i.e, novas) going up against a bunch of daredevils and their organization, and didn't expect them to have a Project Utopia-sized nova army. But hey, why not?
  11. So the gaming group I'm am with has started dividing. Long story short the normal storyteller and two others, not including myself are really into the games possibilities and looking to play two or more times a week. the two other players only play once a week at best because of a lack of time and a chance of burning out on game. ,, So, I've been thinking of running a Oneshot with the possibility of growing into more. This is the basic framework of what I have for an idea should I take the Storyteller spot. ,, ,, Players are told to go thru the first half of character creation, but stop before Nova points get spent. each comes up with a backstory and game starts. PCs wake up in a Saw-esqe room, one door out, and no Idea whats going on. ,, (Behind the scenes, a Nova erupted. bare bones info on him/her is that they are a serial killer that hunts humans in a labyrinth style building. The building is old and falling apart, but any viable exit bar one is sealed and booby-trapped. The Nova has Poison and other low end powers for combat. His MO is that he stalks his victims, poisons them with his quantum power that has a delayed effect of making them pass out. He them kidnaps them and takes them to his house of horror.) ,, A message plays letting them know the score. They are rats in a maze. Their only option is to attempt to survive for a chance to escape and get their lives back. There would be threats like traps or starving animals that the players have to navigate while getting stalked by a killer. The Nova, like many a bad guy trope, would torture them by hounding them. Do things that force them to run just as they slowed down to rest, or try to pick them off. ,, (I would actually be going for character sheets, as any player could remake a new character and still keep any character power Ideas without having to copycat the last character.) ,, The endgame a couple of sessions in would be a confrontation with the Nova. At the beginning of the game when the Confrontation is going to happen I have people finish Character creation. They will have a good idea of their character and how they react in games so they can tailor the powers to their character better, and they get to participate in a fight that will make them feel like a badass after going thru a horror storyline. ,, Any ideas that might help to make this take off, Help reinforce the idea of initial helplessness, or interesting traps/organic threats/Nova powers that would mess with the players?
  12. Calvin Aziz was unusually troubled as morning came to Houston. A great many projects were underway, ranging from the development of a large population sustainable space station, down to quantum research on the root of the Surge, as well as why it caused some to become tainted and twisted monsters, and others it granted fantastic powers as novas. He had just ended a call with the Security Chief of Japan, with a most troubling problem. Four Hours earlier, the Japanese Navy had been conducting maneuvers Southeast of the main Islands, when they detected a massive quantum zone forming. It was the first new zone that had been detected in three years, and Three of Japan's fifteen novas had been deployed to investigate. After ten minutes they lost communication with the team, and within a hour, The 2nd JSDF fleet went radio silent. Since then no contact had been made, and The Japanese government sought assistance from the the leader in quantum studies, even as they began to redeploy their fleets. Within Five minutes, the Secretary of State called, asking Novastorm to send a team with all haste to Japan to investigate this new and obviously dangerous new zone. Satellites were already being moved to focus their sensors on the new zone. With the expo having only been a day prior, Calvin sighed. "Whom shall I send?" The company would be Compensated fully he was sure, one way or another. He quickly typed up a summons to The group of Novas who'd been present at the Expo. They were all still at hand, they would do nicely. By assigning half his nova staff, he was gambling big, putting many projects aside for the moment, but a new zone with such prodigious offensive abilities, it was something they had to unravel fast. "You are to Meet in Conference room Seven in thirty minutes, a debriefing will follow, then deployment of all personnel to the incident." He hit send and sent the text to everyone who'd been at the expo, and sighed. It would be enough. He rose from his desk, and began to make his way down. He called up the one nova he knew he could count on to move so many, quickly. "Transit, I will need your services, likely within 1 hour." "How far?" "Japan." "Not cheap." "It never is, but time is of the essence. I'm assembling my team, It will be two drops, on personnel, the other gear." "Standard rates." "Mary will wire half upfront, half on completion, as always." "A pleasure as always, Cal." The call ended as she hung up, and he sighed, two million in expenses already, and that was before the began talking gear. Using a dataslate, he began the process of assembling gear with a priority for scanning gear, with some offensive weapons in the mix for defense, not all novas were gifted combatants. as it came under his personal code it would all be assembled in the dock, crated and ready within an hour. All that was left now, was to bring the team together.
  13. Maybe I'm opening up a can of worms here, but, seriously... what's the big deal with this Body Mod? ,, I know some of you guys just hat it with a seething passion, why?
  14. Mala got me thinking, so, I'm curious: What's your biggest problem with Aberrant? ,, If you change some things... what would they be? ,, I wanna hear it, no holds barred. C'mon, gimme your best. ,, (No dick rule applies, guys. Debate if you must, even trash talk, but in the end respect everyone's opinion. What I like, you might not, and that's cool. We're all adults, act like it.)
  15. Kaitlyn smiled politely and made the umpteenth polite social noise as she slipped away from the self-important Senator from New Mexico trying to convince her to start a new company on her own across the state lines. She loved the expo for the chance for novas to show off what they could do and hopefully inspire another year of innovations and solutions to problems across the globe, but she hated the 'groupies' that invariably showed up, pushing selfish or just downright stupid personal platforms. Hell, even the kids that always tried to sneak into the high security labs were more interesting and promising to her than the dozens of petty politicians and narcissistic billionaires that flocked to the Expo just to be seen and thought important. ,, An arm caught her around the waist and pulled her down onto a man's lap. He was dressed in a suit, because she'd insisted, but it was a tie-die suit because so had he. "Here," her husband slipped a flute of sparkling liquid into her hand and chuckled. "Drink this. You look like you've been chewing on lemons again." ,, She leaned up against him and took a few cautious sips of the drink. "Is it that obvious?" ,, "We can go, if you want," he offered in total innocent selflessness. ,, "Uh-huh. You promised me opening and closing day, mister. I'm holding you to it." ,, He kissed her on the neck, not ready to resign himself to a day of 'Yes, my wife and I actually are happily married,' and 'No, it doesn't bother me at all that she's got a successful career and I get to stay home and do whatever I want all day long, because I'm not a Neanderthal, thank you.' Suit required, attitude thrown in for free. "I know something else we could do...." he murmured against her skin. ,, An arched brow looked down on him from her perch on his lap. "Really, that's your ploy this year?" ,, He sighed and gave her an unapologetic shrug. "Well, I couldn't get Dragon Age III released early. I did try." ,, Kait laughed and kissed him. "I know you did and I'm totally taking a day off when it does come out. Now, the buffet is open and the new lines of computers are being demo'd in an hour. Steven got them up and running a week early so we could bug test, and in return once the boring adult demos for the military and corporations are done, he's installed like every game ever on them and we're going to open them up for the kids and the captive spouses to play on as a sort of 'extended demo' for the rest of the day." ,, His face lit up and Kait couldn't help but smile back. "How big are the monitors, again?" ,, "Wall sized," she grinned and stood back up, fortified to wade back into the fray of media frenzy and nova show-offs (hey, that's what the expo was about, right?) again. Daniel scooted out of his seat, taking the empty flute from her, and kissed her goodbye. "Don't forget to eat and drink yourself, okay?" ,, "I wo-" ,, "....Dr. Weaver!" A petite woman with cinnamon skin and fetchingly exotic features bustled over to the couples temporary shelter. Daniel waved and made his escape before he became part of the interview as well. "Jo Seo-young with the South Korea Yonhap News Agency; I'd like to ask you about the exhibitions this year. It looks like there are six new novas debuting this year...." ,, Kaitlyn sighed, pasted on her PR-smile as the woman prattled off her questions non-stop, and reminded herself of all the good that came out of the Expo every year. Also, watching everyone show off was always so cool. ,, Social Thread! So, here's the deal: Each year, Novastorm hosts a show-off expo for their resident novas (and some select others that get special invites) and R&D teams to present the projects they've been working for the year. It's always held the week of April 1st and started in 2010. This is a big international event, lots of press and people looking to impress. Feel free to socialize with each other, making up media/politician/business owner run-ins, and to do a 'showcase' post of your PC showing off for the Expo.
  16. Please post all approved character profiles and sheets here. If all characters are posted by 4-11-14, all players will get 3 xp ,,
  17. This thread is a fun special project (free xp situation) for you all the players. What I propose is to let each of you create a single zone for the game. A submission is worth 3xp. A submission that I actually use in game, and officially declare Canon, is worth another 3xp. Los Angeles, and New York City are already done, but the rest are open to do. So far Miami, London, and DC are not zone areas. Have fun with this.
  18. April First, 2009. It was a day which would live forever in the History of Humanity, as the Cosmos seemed to make the ultimate April Fool's Day joke... only it didn't end afterwards, The world didn't go back to how it was, It only got wierder. No one really knows exactly what happened, what caused The Surge, but its effects were felt immediately. High Concentration radiant Quantum flooded the entire globe. From Space the phenomenon was visible as a gold-white glow suffusing almost the whole world. For nearly seventy Five percent of the world, it receded within an hour. Where it didn't, well these vast accumulations of still-hot Quantum energy are known as The Zones. Within the Zones, Physics, and normal biology have been grossly rewritten. The Middle East, Perhaps one of the larger Zones, is a Verdant Jungle, populated by monstrous creatures, some of which may have been human, once. In Seattle, The City exists, but it's occupants can only be seen at night. They seem to carry on normal lives, but the town is an eerie ghost town by day. New York City, one of the world's major Urban Sprawls, Called an Urban Jungle, truly is now. Many buildings are overgrown with what seems to be almost sapient vegetation. Los Angeles is a barren wasteland, ruled over by its former residents, now all mutated by intense quantum forces. Within the Zones humans do not remain human long, and as such, they avoid the zones. All is not however dark and bleak. Because the Surge receded so quickly much of humanity remains, indeed The nations of the world are largely present, though somewhat diminished in some regards. The interet functions, though Quantum storms over the oceans do sometimes interfere with all sorts of signals. Perhaps the side affect of the Surge that was most unusual, The Rise of the Novas. Humans empowered with the very forces of quantum itself, Immune to the Ambient Quantum of most zones, The wield fantastic superhuman abilities, and through them, Humanity can explore the zones, and defend themselves from the creatures that emerge and attack from the zones. Perhaps the most ubiquitous change has been the proliferation of the Q-scanner, a device that ranges from the size of a cellphone for personal use, with a range of fifty meters, to the massive two ton thirty mile range scanners mounted on ocean-going vessels. Every vessel at sea requires a small detachment of soldiers, armed for repelling most of the known monsters the world has become home to, or, in rare instances, a nova. Most cities have several Q-Scanners, situated around the city to act as an early warning system for Quantum powered threats. In the midst of the chaos and order of the new and old world, there exist many companies who have hired out their staff as security consultants, both nova and human. More than that, thanks to some nova's vastly enhanced intelligence, There's been a boom in technology, allowing humans to better defend themselves, New medicines to treat many diseases, ways to fortify crops against quantum contamination,, as well as the Hypercombustion Engine, which can run on 1/10th the fuel of older internal combustion engines, ten times longer. While this cut down dramatically on demand for fossil fuels it still exists, and Most countries are in the process of shutting down all nuclear plants they operate. The Game- The players are being pulled together, either with a recent offer of employment, highly lucrative in monetary terms, or already employees of Novastorm Technologies. NovaStorm created the Q-Scanner devices, as well as the cure to most forms of cancer, HIV, and several other major diseases plaguing the world. The medical releases were released as open source, available to anyone, free of charge. The Head of NovaStorm is Dr. Calvin Aziz. A Nobel winning Physicist, and subsequently a molecular biologist of great skill since S-Day. Each of you, as novas, were recruited by him personally. His most Fervent wish is to uncover the cause of The Surge, and that is why he has assembled you. You are his troubleshooters, the Team he sends when a job takes a more unconventional approach. Saying that, you do have great latitude in your personal lives. His only condition is that when the small communicator each of you has been given chimes, you answer. When extreme Alacrity is needed, He has retained the services of one of only five novas in the world with the capability to open gateways between locations, but more often than not re relies on each of you to respond arrive in a timely Manner. NovaStar Technologies is Based in Houston, Texas. Character Creation rules 50 np base starting quantum-3 (can be bought no higher than 5) base quantum pool- 50 Characters start with backing 3 in Novastar technolgies for free Starting Taint may not exceed 3 I am allowing powers and enhancements from New Flesh, Forceful Personalities, and Brainwaves, beyond the APG, and core book. Powers from the Teragen book are not allowed. Warp, Transmit, Teleport and Body mod: Improved Attribute are not allowed in this game. If you have any questions ask me in PM, or in chat. ,, each odd dot of a mega att will provide an additional "Free" enhancement (1, 3, 5) One note about zones, there exist zones that ARE harmful to novas, and can actually cause them to gain temporary taint just by being in the zone. However, Quantum offers them some protection, so long as there is quantum in their pool. It is rumored that there is are zones that will literally drain quantum from any source of it, so They can be a threat.
  19. Okay, so I've never played Trinity, well, I participated in a short lived game here on the forums once about 5 years ago or something, but aside from that, nadda. ,, I know a lot of the novas (Aberrants) lived through the Aberrant War and did the whole exodus thing. What I'm curious of is what happened to them? To my knowledge (and correct me if I'm wrong, please): ,, Cestus Pax went ape shit and is actually a tainted baddy now. ,, The Colony is now comprised entirely of his evil tainted eufiber and is less himself and more controlled by the alien mentality of his evil clothing (only white wolf could give us evil clothing...) ,, Divis Mal is still around but he's not really a bad guy anymore? He's actually against The Colony's plans. (He's the bad ass who run Eden with the other 66 novas). ,, And those are the only three off the top of my head. ,, Anyone have any other dirt on the Trinity era Aberrants?
  20. ,, THE PRESENT Date & Time: November 23rd, 2013, 11:41pm Location: Kaolak meteorite impact crater, approximately 3.75 miles east of Kaolak River, Alaska Coordinates (GPS): N 69 55.146, W 159 55.888 ,, Jimmy Smalls, Major in the United States Air Force, pulled up his collar and hunched his way further into his artic-rated coat as he leaned into the wind kicked up by the helicopter currently coming to rest fifteen or twenty meters away. The helicopter landed, and a moment later disgorged one of its occupants, who made his way to Smalls in the typical crouching-jog that people tend to use around helicopters. By the time the man had reached Smalls and was straightening out of his crouch the helicopter was already several meters in the air again and still rising. ,, Major Smalls saluted at the man’s approach and, once he was within earshot, half-shouted in formal greeting, “General!” ,, Brigadier General Tom Ballard returned a hurried and cursory salute without once breaking his stride, forcing Smalls to fall into step beside him or be left quickly behind. “Where is it?” the general asked, his brow furrowed and his eyes asquint as he peered into the arctic night around them, searching for the reason he’d flown all the way out here. ,, “Over this way”, answered the major, pointing off to their right, beyond the hastily assembled land-moving equipment and even more hastily assembled command tent. ,, They were more than a hundred miles from the nearest settlement large enough to be called a town – and much further away from the nearest actual city – in the middle of one of the remotest and most poorly mapped regions of Alaska’s North Slope region. Even during Alaska’s summer months travelling there would have been difficult, but in the middle of the Alaskan winter getting all of the equipment and personnel out there that they had, and getting them there as quickly as they had, was the kind of feat that only the United States Air Force could have pulled off. It was the middle of the night, but because they were so far north even if it had been daytime it would still have been dark, and there were high-intensity lights set up on poles at regular intervals throughout the makeshift camp, with a larger concentration of light set up around what the general assumed to be the actual point of impact. The temperature was well below freezing; there was hardly any snow at all, however, which Ballard thought strange until he remembered that he was standing in the middle of a recently formed impact crater. ,, General Ballard could see that the tractors and other earth-moving equipment had been busy, hauling away piled up debris from the central cone of the impact crater, forcing them to climb over and weave their way between a few different piles of recently moved rubble. He’d seen the crater’s central cone clearly from the air as he’d ridden in on the helicopter, but from down here on the ground it looked more like a small hill or large mound. Ballard had always found it strange that impact craters like this one often had these raised cones smack in the middle of them. He knew there was a scientific explanation for it, but couldn’t pretend to know what it might be. ,, As they walked the general spared a glance in Major Smalls’ direction. “Give me your report, major. What’ve you got so far?” ,, “Yes sir”, answered Smalls. Taking a breath, he dove into his report, “the object would no doubt have warranted an investigation of some kind in any case, but several anomalous events before and during its descent and impact attracted our notice and sparked the ongoing operation you see going on around you.” ,, “Anomalous events?” asked the General. “Such as?” ,, “The way the object changed course after it collided with the Radiosat 3 satellite, for one. At its mass and velocity, a collision with a satellite shouldn’t have had any notable impact on its course or bearing, yet it did. Additionally, there was the relatively small release of energy in the form of light or heat during the objects descent – significantly less than there should have been. Most of what was released was generated by the actual impact itself. Also, sir, the object slowed down significantly during its descent – down to around Mach 53 at the time of impact – much more so than can be accounted for by atmospheric drag. Especially considering the object’s actual size.” ,, Ballard cast a questioning glance in Smalls’ direction and asked, “Size? How big is it?” ,, “Much smaller than it should be, sir”, Smalls said. “You’ll have to see for yourself to really understand.” ,, They were nearing the actual point of impact as Smalls said this, so the general let the major's non-answer slide and allowed himself to be led to ‘the object’. ,, They crested the lip of the central cone and Ballard immediately found himself being led down into another, much smaller crater that lay inside of it. In the lowest portion of this inner crater’s basin was a crowd of personnel and equipment; as he and Smalls approached, some of the men turned and, seeing Ballard, stiffened in salute. The rest of those gathered quickly noticed this and turned to offer salutes of their own, standing to one side to allow the general access to whatever lay at the center. As the crowd of soldiers and workers cleared away Ballard finally caught site of Lieutenant Colonel Darnell Flowers, his officer in charge out here at the crater site, squatting over something practically at the dead center of it all. ,, The colonel turned and, seeing Ballard, stood to offer him a salute as well. The general returned it and said, “The major tells me there’s something here I need to ‘see for myself to really understand.’” ,, “He’s right, general”, Flowers told him. The officer stood to one side and gestured for the general to look into a recently-excavated pit that opened just behind him. ,, Ballard took a step forward and peered down into the pit. Lights were pouring into it from high-powered lamps, so the darkness wasn’t a problem, but the general was still having trouble working out what he was seeing. After a moment he turned back to Flowers with a curious look on his face. ,, “Is that a… a statue?”, he asked.
  21. ,, My flight from Tyche to the outermost edges of the solar system (as measured by Neptune’s orbit) winds up taking me only 5.8102 x 107 seconds, which OK, yes, that’s a long time, but I think anyone would agree that it’s a significant improvement over 7.0186 x 107 seconds. More than four month’s worth of improvement, in point of fact. Needless to say, my average acceleration has gotten better during my travels. ,, By the time I reach the last few hundred thousand kilometers of the roughly fifteen thousand astronomical units I must cross in order to reach my destination, my average acceleration over the entire length of the journey has reached a whopping 2.651 m/s2, which is only around 27% of one standard gravity. This is still only my average acceleration, however. My actual acceleration by this point is 17.6667 m/s2, which is pretty nearly two full g’s of thrust. There are two reasons for the discrepancy between my actual and my average acceleration. ,, The first reason is that, aside from a few semi-fantastical exceptions that are still not out of the “really neat idea” phase, let alone the design phase, there are no propellants or engines in existence that can maintain constant acceleration, over a scale of years, larger than a very small fraction of a meter per second squared. My own ability to propel myself through space is no exception. At “full burn”, I can maintain constant acceleration for approximately sixty-six hundred seconds at a time before I’m “all out of juice”, so to speak; if I take it easy and go at half-strength or less, the span of time over which I can maintain constant acceleration increases in inverse proportion. ,, Usually I just go full-burn until I’m all worn out, though, because something I’ve gotten even better at than generating thrust or listening for radio signals is regenerating my power levels (or battery charge or whatever it is that keeps us novas going). It generally takes me less than fifteen thousand seconds to regenerate fully, so I can typically manage slightly more than four full-burn sessions per twenty-four hour period. The actual percentage works out to pretty nearly 30% of every day that I can spend at full-burn, which in turn works out to roughly 30% of each week or month or year. And 30% of 17.6667 m/s2 is 5.3001 m/s2, which in turn is my maximum average acceleration. ,, I’m sure it’s readily apparent to anyone, but this is exactly twice the acceleration I quoted above as being my overall average, which brings me to the second reason for the discrepancy between that number and my actual acceleration. I know I’ve covered this before, but it’s worth going over again: in space, once an object is in motion it will remain that way until acted upon by an outside force. What this means in practical terms for me is that, unless I want to crash into another moon while traveling at several kilometers a second (or actually, a whole hell of a lot faster than that, given how long I would’ve been accelerating by this point), I have to start DE-celerating at about the halfway point of my journey. In essence, I must spend the first half of my journey building up speed and the second half shedding it all. The net result, from a mathematical perspective, is that my effective average acceleration over the entirety of my journey can be no faster than one-half of my maximum average acceleration. And one-half of 5.3001 m/s2 is 2.651 m/s2. ,, And there you go: basic astrodynamics. Bet you feel smarter already. ,, Something that really confuses me for a kind a long while is that my trip seems to be taking even less time than it should, even if I account for the steady increase in my average acceleration. The difference isn’t huge – especially not at first – but the discrepancy gets worse over time until I just can’t ignore it. After a while, though, I figure it out: time dilation. ,, By the time I reach the midpoint of my journey and have to turn it around and start shedding speed I’m travelling at fully seventy-six thousand, nine hundred and eighty-seven kilometers per second (that’s just shy of seventy-seven kilometers for every one-thousandth of a second, for those keeping score). A different way to say it is that I’m moving at exactly 25.68% of the speed of light. Of course, my average speed over the entire trip works out to only 12.84% of light speed, but that’s still really fast. Fast enough, in fact, for relativistic time dilation to begin to matter. ,, Overall, the net effect of the relativistic time dilation between my own frame of reference and any stationary observer is about 0.008 seconds per second. That probably doesn’t seem like much, but it starts to add up after fifty-eight million seconds. As a result, to me the entire trip winds up seeming as though it’s taken 5.762 x 107 seconds, rather than the 5.8102 x 107 seconds that it seems like it should have (and that it did take, from the frame of reference of any hypothetical earth-bound observer who might’ve been watching me during my travels). Again, the difference isn’t large, but it’s still strange to think that I’ve effectively moved more than five whole days into the rest of the human race’s future.
  22. “Just find the most Aryan American you’ve ever seen in the middle of the forest. He’ll be friendly. And he should be able to speak German.” ,, The instructions from Wilheim had been unhelpful, to Silvestru’s point of view. The archer ghosted through the woods without a final destination or end point, without concrete instructions, without a defined timeline, and with a description that matched half the strapping farm lads of the area. ,, Worse, this entire affair annoyed her. She hated being sent out to babysit an Allied soldier who was probably coming. Probably. The radio communication had stated that he was, but this was a war. Silvestru held out zero expectation of things happening as they should. ,, She came over a hill and paused, pulling out her map. Tilting it so that the dim moonlight fell on the paper, she glanced at it and checked the position of the stars and the terrain. The valley below was the meeting place for the G.I. Joe. Silvestru thought about going down there but instead she clambered up into a tree, settled against the trunk and waited for the Allies’s miracle. ,, Maybe I’ll have someone else rail against the useless resistance with me.
  23. DISCLAIMER: This is a repost of the prior deleted RP. I thought to edit it to be less annoying, but the changes required to do that would basically gut the entire thing. so consider this an elseworlds story. Any resemblance to characters live or dead is entirely coincidental. Either way, it is my final RP. ,, --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ,, “Everybody dreams. Every dream ends. ,, “Our dream ended as it always had to; with a cold awakening to the harsh light of morn, and bitter disappointment. ,, “I am Chang Zha-Yang, White Rain to some, and a spiritual leader to others. I am the second and final Divis of the Teragen, digger of its grave, and writer of its eulogy. “This is my final testament to the hopes we had, the battles we fought, and the future that we lost. With luck, this record will survive and be of use to somebody, somewhere, and if of no use, then I hope it will at least be of historical note. Let us at least not be forgotten. Surely we’ve earned that much. ,, “Hindsight is the all-powerful, final arbiter of wisdom. So with hindsight, allow me to recount the story of our final years. ,, “Our end came from the place it began, with the philosophy that gave us something approaching unity, and something approaching identity: Teras. We all got it wrong in the end. Even Mal, I think. ,, “My place in all of this has ever been the cynic and philosophical critic. I challenged all I knew and alienated most of them out of my sheer unwillingness to leave questions unasked. It will not be easy to live with. I can never know, even with my perceptions, whether I asked the right questions or – far worse – if I misunderstood the answers. ,, “Some will ask ‘where did it all go wrong?’ ,, “The children. It went wrong with the children. ,, “In our war with Utopia, begun by their sterilisation of our people, we soon realised we were outgunned. The idea that our nova brethren would flock to us when they realised what was being done to them proved to be the fancy of idealists and cretins. The one set were blinded by the dream of a nova society free of human interaction, and the attendant belief that all novas fundamentally wanted that; the other set… just blind. Both sets underestimated the intelligence and the loyalty of our nova brethren, and the entirely human capacity to accept circumstances that are not ideal in the hope of improving them through strife and effort. ,, “It is a sign, I think, that so many of us derided them for this simple nobility of spirit. I believe we lost that somewhere along the way. ,, “Let it also stand as damning truth that in the entirety of our unwinnable battle with Utopia, the only group which hurt them was the Aberrants. It was they, not us, who revealed the existence of Project Proteus. And when they did, all of our naïve hopes crumbled to ash. Exposing flaws in Utopia did not destroy it and send its adherents flocking to our banner. It just caused the nova adherents to redouble their efforts to make Utopia into what it claimed to be. ,, “Utopiate novas were outraged, of course, and some did come to the Teragen. But most accepted their apologies, as I had cautioned they might. And worse was what came next. ,, “Let us call them the mother-hunter wars. ,, “This was an absurdity, a five-way battle between five different factions, three of whom should technically have been on the same side and all of them so utterly blinded by arrogance and ideology that working together was unthinkable. These three blighted idiot pantheons were the Aberrants, those we can loosely call Shen’s Children… and us, the Teragen. ,, “And our opposition were Proteus, the adder in darkness, and Utopia, returning to its role as world heroes, ironically and sadly trying to protect the parents from its own twisted spawn. ,, “It is insane, even to me, that we were never able to find some compromise, some way to cooperate in all of that time. But we Terats never did compromise. Nor did I when I had the power to do so. Let those words be carved on my tombstone. ‘Here lies Chang Zha-Yang’ it will say, and in post-script, ‘She never compromised.’ ,, “Perhaps it would have been a better world if I had. ,, “There were casualties in these wars, really a series of ridiculous skirmishes wherein terrified fertile – and usually married – novas, desperately and futilely attempted to protect their baseline friends and families from the collateral damage of battles fought in their name. Neighbourhoods were flattened. Thousands died. And some of the children were lost. The motherhunter wars ended with the death of the first infant, with Proteus the victor. Everything after was just salt pouring into each other’s wounds, claws scrabbling at the edge of a precipice into which we were all falling, while Utopia buried all of us in negative propaganda. ,, “Let it stand that I stood against these actions from the beginning. It was wrong to seek to hoard the children as we did. It laid the groundwork for our ultimate failure. The Aberrants were right in the petty dispute between we ‘independents’. They sought from the beginning to get those parents away into seclusion, to let them start life anew. We sought to enrol them in our war. ,, “Our war. ,, “That was what it became, after all. We had nominal allies at first. There were occasional points of contact betwixt us and the Aberrants, a few desperate alliances, one or two collusions. But once Andre Corbin had revealed Proteus – with us running some protection to ensure that he succeeded – the Aberrants had no further issue with Utopia. As for Shen’s Children, I believe they viewed us as nothing more than an annoyance… to their disadvantage. Certainly they failed to accomplish their goals, from what little I have surmised about those goals. Like us they wished to destroy Proteus, but they had no interest in working with us to accomplish that, and no interest in trades of information. I believe they killed the leader of Proteus; an act so significant that the project head was replaced within one solar day, and the group went on as efficiently as it ever had. ,, “And so there we stood, truly alone against Utopia. For our warriors it was a glorious day. Finally they could disgorge years of bile and frustration before a public whose eyes were wide open to Utopia’s corruption. ,, “They lost. ,, “One by one our warriors fell. The child prodigy, Glory, destroyed us all but singlehandedly. Where she was not, Caestus Pax was. We bloodied Team Tomorrow, but never hurt those two lynchpins of public approval and Utopian propaganda. And the public, as time has shown, will never back a loser. ,, “Mal let it all happen. ,, “Mal, the most powerful nova to have ever lived, ostensible leader of the Teragen, allowed us to be struck down and pared away to ineffectuality. Everyone that has ever met Mal likes him. I like him. But I will never trust him again, should our paths meet. ,, “He began this. He started it all. And he let it all go to hell. ,, “If that sounds as if I am shunting the blame, banish the thought. But I do not want those key fools to escape history’s scathing. We should all be remembered, we fools, and learned from, so that nobody makes the mistakes we did. My own shameful role in the tale will come soon enough. ,, “Our situation was desperate. The children were the only answer we had. ,, “Glory was too powerful, too overwhelming. She rendered us ineffectual, invalidated us by her sheer power. Shen’s Children could individually have wiped out half of the Teragen if the mood took them. More than one could have destroyed the entire world. ,, “In short; things were out of control. ,, “I can never know if my suspicions were right, if Mal and Scripture placing themselves as sole fathers, with Bounty as sole mother, of all the Teragen’s children was as stupid, narcissistic, self-aggrandising and ultimately destructive to the cause as I believe it to have been. ,, “But perhaps I am absolutely right, and that was Mal’s intention all along. ,, “He taught the children Teras from birth. They lived it from the beginning. We all came to it flawed, we foolish novas. We were weighed down by our pasts, unable to ever quite step away and see what Teras really meant. ,, “Teras… it means to go your own way. Strip away the meditation, the power, and the changes; individuality is what lies at the heart of it. Go your own way; follow the dictates of your own quantum expression. Ignore all else. ,, “And there we were, playing war with the future of children, forgetting that we were not their parents, and our wars were not theirs to fight. ,, “That was our end. Not their action, but our reliance upon it, and our lack of insight into what their action would be. ,, “We gave birth to children more intelligent than us by far, more perceptive, more insightful, more brilliant than we could dream. And they saw through us, I think. They saw the future the Teragen offered. ,, “They declined our invitation. ,, “Puck broke it all. My protégé. ,, “I cannot say that he did not learn from me, and I am proud of him. He learned from me, ever the contrarian, that going his own way mattered more than pleasing his elders. And when he gained the power to walk between worlds… that is exactly what he did. ,, “Given the option, Puck’s option, the children chose to go their own way with him. They left, one and all, and in so doing adjudged us their parents inferior, inadequate to the purpose of guiding them. They went in search of their own battles to fight. ,, “This, then, is the summation of our fatal error. ,, “We terats fought not for ourselves, as Teras suggests, but for the children. We fought for some imagined future where we would all, ultimately, become normal, respectable members of society. All our struggles, all our battles, were born from anger at our infertility and the desire to be a true species, to be able to pass on our genetic code to those who would come after. We wanted to build a place to do that. We wanted to build a society of our own, where we would be normal. ,, “It is pathetic to re-read these words. To know that we betrayed ourselves so utterly. ,, “What is ‘after’ to beings that chase the burning torch of immortality? ,, “What worth have children to those whose own legacy is not yet writ? ,, “For all our introspection, all our posturing, we never asked ourselves that most fundamental of questions. Why are we even breeding at all? What is the point of it? ,, “Our rhetoric, in retrospect, was familiar. That should have been a sign of things to come. Maybe it was. Maybe that’s why the Mathematician retreated so early, why Mal – he has no claim to ‘Divis’ anymore – became so schizophrenic in his leadership. ,, “We fought so that our children would have a future, as if they could not forge a future for themselves. ,, “Some of us arrogantly assumed the children would take up our struggle. Win our battles. Many of us banked on it, as the years wore away our numbers and our sanity. ,, “Instead they decided it had nothing to do with them, and departed for the next world along. They were Terats. ,, “As the final Divis of the Teragen, the sadness and our ultimate failure, is mine to bear into eternity. The other terats; my anavasi, the casablancas, the shattered remnants of the pandaimonion, vigilance, the harvesters… all they have to question is their own failures. Many never had the grand perspective, the chance to affect things. They can be comforted by their own struggles, knowing they tried their best. ,, “But I, through process of elimination, through purity of ideal, was elevated beyond my station. With Mal retreated and the Teragen twice broken, first by Glory, and then by Puck’s departure along with the children and many adult terats that he called friends… I was the last man standing, as it were, the only one of the pantheon who had not suffered enormous setbacks or physical injury. ,, “I believe my wife is to blame for all of that. ,, “She is in chrysalis, but she will waken soon. I can hear it coming. ,, “Lucrezia could manipulate world events in a way I never could. If only she had been with me. If only I had not missed her so much. Maybe that was all of it, in the end. Maybe I could have been the leader we needed, if only I had not missed my wife so terribly, and if I’d had her delicate, manipulative touch to reshape the world at her whim. ,, “If, when you listen to this, you live in Changtopia… well… you already know what we did later. But I don’t know what we’ll be doing when she wakens, and my story is not over yet. ,, “Shen’s Children left not too long after Puck did. I believe they loved our world, but not enough to stay. Two at least remain in the solar system. One is currently terraforming other planets. Another has made a base on the moon, I believe, or Mars. We are on reasonable terms, and she is friendly with some of my closest friends. I don’t know if she’ll be back. ,, “I will not lie; I was disappointed by most of them. I met only two, but heard little of the others that impressed me. Their surrogate father seems to have done a terrible job of preparing them for the world, and a worse one of preparing the world for them. But then, perhaps he had Mal’s view, and always hoped they would depart for greener pastures. We do not know and never will. Shen is dead, and his secrets, taunting as they are, died with him. ,, “Circumstance gave Utopia the chance it needed to become heroes again. ,, “The details are vague. Some Terats were involved in what happened, but only on the sidelines. As wanted criminals, they could not get too close to the action. Some alien force attacked us, or attempted to. Glory, along with other space-capable Utopians, met them out in the deep black of space and crushed them. The footage of those battles, shot by one of the anavasi and a dear friend, has won all of the awards you could possibly imagine. How on earth she kept calm out there, while explosions rocked the emptiness and nuclear forces shattered ships on the backdrop of the boiling sun, I shall never know. ,, “In the meantime, in my role of Divis, I took on an old enemy. ,, “Caestus Pax. ,, “Mal defeated him, and so did I. ,, “Mal turned off his node. While I, unable to face the bully when he came for me, allowed myself to be arrested. I let the world see him for what he was. Public opinion will ever lie with the – in this case literally – tortured artist. ,, “Another dear friend, Sakura – shorthand for a much longer and more complicated name – did not take kindly to my imprisonment. If I can claim a genuine piece of glory for myself, it is that she considered me a true friend, and that she temporarily forsook her innocence and her pacifism to see me freed. If any measure can be taken of a leader it is in the people who gather round and believe in them. ,, “Pax did not take well to my breaking of his public image. Mal took his image as the world’s most powerful nova. As the hero. But it was I that cast Pax as the villain, as the jack-booted representative of the establishment that cannot bear artistic freedom, that seeks conformity and crushes independence. He became a character in my songs. I made him into the symbol of all that the world had witnessed, of all Andre Corbin said of ubiquitous Utopia, of all the dirty secrets everyone wanted to forget. ,, “The children loved that. ,, “For all of this gloating – for this was a victory for me – I would be dead if Glory had not come back in time to save me. But then… I knew she would. ,, “It is not my place to write the end of Pax’s story. He lives on, after a fashion. But the world’s shining knight lies broken, his shell cracked and bleeding. Part of me weeps for him. I have felt the same despair and know how heavily it weighs on the soul. But I am aware that he walked this inevitable path side by side with us. The Teragen and Caestus Pax were like great serpents coiled about one another, trapped in eternal conflict. We had to fall together. Without us he has no purpose. ,, “So here is to Pax, the enemy we deserved. ,, “In these final years I have become Divis and Mathematician both. I hear the future in whispers, and find myself writing sheet music instead of composing. When I write, I hear my songs, sung by me in the near-future, and simply note down what I perceive. ,, “It’s all quite eerie, really. ,, “I wish I could have proven my detractors wrong. But it’s too late for that now. ,, “So how have we left the world, we gods among men? ,, “Not much different than when we arrived upon it, in honesty. Sakura has retired to seclusion with Darion Mográine, another good friend of mine. They appear to have begun a hesitant romance during my imprisonment. I hope it has flourished over these last years. Both have seen too much suffering, and it’s time that the karmic wheel pays out for it. They contact me from time to time, but I rarely answer back these days. She is too good of heart and too easily drawn into these battles, and Darion is a charming sucker for duty, all too moral a man to leave a call to arms unanswered, no matter the cost to his own soul. ,, “Let her raise her children with a man that was once a father. Let them grow up in peace. Let them find their own causes. Let them live as we wanted the children to live all along. ,, “They will be nearing twenty, now. Perhaps we will see them soon, those three darling girls. ,, “For me, the world will always be my muse, friend and enemy. Though today I plant the Teragen’s gravestone, the battle goes on. Teras will not die with the organisation. I may not be Divis in name after today, but I will keep that belief system alive and I will spread it as far and wide as I can. But from now on we all fight it our own way. We will fight and fail and fall or thrive as terats should; alone. Let there be no more grand alliances, no more schemes for power over all Novas. Let us stand with our close friends and lovers and none other, and shape our own corners of the world to our own devising. ,, “And if that makes us weak, if that makes us too easy to pick off… so be it. This was the sword we picked up. ,, “The prospects are not terrible. ,, “Project Utopia are on good behaviour thanks to Glory, another child of the future, but one who has chosen to reshape our world instead of finding her own. There are none in this world to oppose her, now. ,, “I hope Glory lives up to her name, and that one day we will not all be bowed underneath her wing, praying for gods that walk among us, forgetting that we long since drove them away to walk elsewhere, among more fitting company. ,, “But Project Proteus still remains. For all her power, Glory has not crushed that organisation. ,, “No longer attached to Utopia like a suckling parasite, it writhes and grows in the dark corners of the earth, forever perfecting the techniques they’ll need to bring us under heel for good and all. ,, “They were the wisest, those quiet leaders. ,, “Proteus survives. ,, “The Aberrants survive. ,, “We lambasted them for years, those Aberrants, called them fools and cowards, refused their occasional extended hand and took umbrage when they refused ours. Yet in the shadows they still remain, untouched by the events that have gutted the Teragen and handed absolute victory to Utopia. ,, “Those of us who remain militant have nowhere to go. Shrapnel and her idiots are little better than petty terrorists now, easy photo-ops for Glory and her new, revitalised Team Tomorrow. Geryon, still admirably leading Vigilance, has a little less to do than before. He likes to pop up on television and let Glory know he’s watching her, like an overbearing uncle. James was always one of our brightest minds. He knows the future is hers for now. But she’s looked the other way for him once or twice. ,, “Glory has come to me twice in recent months. I believe there are the bones of an olive branch being extended towards me. Perhaps I will accept, and see what she envisions for me. I believe that Pax’s fall has left her without guidance, without a parental figure. It may be she seeks that in me. I have a reputation for wisdom that I have not earned. Still… I do miss Puck. It will be nice to have someone to teach, to watch them grow until they surpass me. ,, “But that is the future. And if you are reading this you already know what has happened to me, where I stand. You do, I say, because whatever happens I refuse to be forgotten. ,, “And so, in hindsight, that final arbiter of wisdom, you stand as the judge of my decisions. I hope I made some good ones.” ,, -Chang Zha-Yang, Divis, November 20th, 2046
  24. They say that in space, no one can hear you scream. ,, But that isn’t how it works, because in space? You can’t scream. ,, I mean, sure, you can explosively expel any air you happen to be carrying around in your lungs into the deep, cold vacuum all around you – assuming, that is, that your lungs haven’t already ruptured due to the pressure difference – but you aren’t going to be making any sound when you do. And once you expel all your air and fail utterly in your attempt at screaming, you can’t even take another breath and try again. Because, you know, it’s space. There’s nothing to breathe out here. ,, I can say this from first-hand experience, because trust me: when your eruption as a nova includes a giant ball of fire falling out of the sky and dropping onto your head, only to find yourself suddenly and mysteriously dropped into orbit around a previously uncharted “cold Jupiter”, spinning through the darkness a full quarter of a light year out from the sun (instead of, say, dead from sudden-meteor overdose, for example) – well, let’s just say that screaming seems like the most appropriate response when it happens, and leave it at that. ,, They say the Refugees came from another dimension, right? And that there are potentially an infinite number of other dimensions out there besides theirs and our own, too. Knowing that, I can’t help but wonder at the highly improbable – hell, the astronomically improbable – sequence of events that led to that meteor even entering the earth’s atmosphere in the first place, let alone to it landing right where I’m standing at the time it hits me. (Which, if you’re curious, is on a small fishing boat off the coast of Mexico, thanks for asking.) I can’t help but wonder how many other universes there are out there where I get to finish my vacation in Cabo – and if those other universes don’t outnumber this one by somewhere around “infinity-to-one” – or what the odds are that I’d be the version of me that’s living in this universe instead of in one of those others. And right about here is where the whole multiverse thing starts hurting my brain, causing me to find something else to think about…. ,, I find out much later that the meteor that sparked my eruption was the source of a major mystery in the days following my own then-presumed death. Afterwards, the scientific community apparently convinced itself, along with the rest of the world, that the meteor (which estimates say was travelling at several dozen times the speed of sound when it hit our atmosphere) exploded in an air-burst when it was only a few hundred meters over the waters of the Bahia San Lucas. Which is why they call it a ‘meteor’ instead of a ‘meteorite’ – it never actually hit the ground. The only thing the scientists can’t explain is why the air burst explosion of a meteor estimated to weigh more than 12,000 metric tons didn’t wipe Cabo San Lucas off the map, because all it did do was break windows for miles around and make a really big noise. Only four people were declared dead in the aftermath (myself among them), though a lot of people were injured by all the flying glass. ‘Where did all that mass and energy go?’ you ask, but they have no answers. ,, Personally, I don’t think it went anywhere, I think it became – specifically, I think all that mass and energy became me, but even now I couldn’t tell you what really happened that day. I can only tell you what I remember, which is this: ,, There’s a sudden flash, like a second sun just popped into the sky or something, and I look up only to be blinded by a light that’s actually brighter than the sun; I’m feeling my eardrums burst under the relentless pressure of a noise that seems like it’s bigger than the whole world, along with the sensation of my skin being baked off by the heat flash the light brings with it – and then, silence. ,, And also coldness. But not just silence as in the absence of sound or coldness as in the Long Night of the Arctic Circle; this silence and this cold do not represent the lack of their opposites – sound and warmth – but the utter impossibility of the existence of those things. Think about it: when you hear a sound, that’s the molecules in the air around you vibrating, and when you get cold it’s because the air around you is cold and it’s sucking away your warmth; in a vacuum, sound and temperature can’t exist. You think you know what real silence is or what true cold feels like? No. You really don’t. ,, Anyway, it’s hard to describe. ,, Whatever the cause, I suddenly find myself floating helplessly in blackness and struggling with a crippling case of vertigo as I stare thousands upon thousands of kilometers straight down at something so large my mind is having trouble comprehending it. It’s a planet, a gas giant, and it’s literally bigger than I have a frame of reference for; it’s forcing a new frame of reference on me even as I stare at it. Distantly, it occurs to me that until just this moment I’ve never really understood what words like ‘huge’ or ‘enormous’ really meant. Later on, when I realize I have an intuitive sense of dimension and distance, among other things, I measure this planet’s equatorial radius as 76,324.607785km – bigger than Jupiter, though not by much. ,, I don’t really have time to think about all this at the time, though, as I realize that I haven’t arrived here alone. The boat I was standing on when the meteor detonated is here with me, along with what looks like a significant portion of the water the boat was floating on. And so are the three friends who were on the boat with me. ,, Tom Kerry, Fred McHenry and Sam Harris. Those were their names. Watching deep space kill people is a terrible thing. ,,
  25. Personal Traits: Name: James Allen Winston A.K.A.: Aurelius Known Relatives: None Theme: Living Singularity ,, Physical Traits: Weight: 112 metric tons (123.46 short tons) Height: 6’3” D.O.B.: January 14th, 1982 Gender: Male General Appearance: James’ skin is a semi-translucent crystalline gold in color. It gives the impression of being comprised of a thin layer of pure crystal, overlaying a deeper layer of equally pure gold. His hair appears as though it’s made of glittering, spun gold and has the same crystalline quality as his skin. The net effect is quite beautiful, if also very alien. ,, Additionally, James has a “third eye” that sits on his forehead in the shape of a large, pearl-like structure. Both this and his two normal eyes also possess a semi-translucent crystalline appearance, only they are cloud-blue in color, rather than gold, and frequently give off a faint light that seems to come from within. ,, Powers, Skills, and Personality: Traits and Personality: James is a friendly and generally outgoing person, but he has spent nearly his entire life living on the fringes of mainstream society, living and working in places and conditions that could charitably be described as “harsh”, and that have often been downright unforgiving. On the other hand, James has also spent a significant amount of time in places most would consider paradisiacal or exotic (or both), and knows how to make the most of his time in these locales as well. As a result, he is a very self-sufficient individual, used to making his own rules and to relying on nothing other than himself for survival. Having spent his childhood on the edge of the societal grid, and the majority of his adult life almost entirely off of it, these traits have proved not only useful but absolutely vital on a regular basis. All of this can cause James to come across as somewhat anti-authority (and, frankly, he is) and as being somewhat “out of step” with the modern world; it also lends a hard-bitten edge to his personality as well as an “air of adventure” that many find compelling. ,, Abilities and Special Skills: James is skilled in the art and technique of boat-building, and knows a great deal about most forms of modern commercial fishing. Years of practice and hands-on application during his time spent building boats has given James a very solid grounding in general engineering principles as well. After having spent so much time traveling to and living in some of the wildest or more exotic places earth has to offer, James has also learned a thing or two about survival – both in the wilderness and on the streets. Finally, James was an amateur astronomer by hobby even before his eruption and has only become more proficient and knowledgeable in this area since his eruption. ,, Nova Capabilities: James Winston is, for all intents and purposes, a gravitational singularity possessing self-awareness contained within an extremely high-density and nearly indestructible carbonaceous shell that itself masses more than 100 metric tons. ,, How this can be is not something science can currently explain, but it is theorized that when the Baja Meteor (see Background entry, below) descended on Winston’s position and sparked his eruption, James not only used a significant portion of its mass to power the immediate transfer of himself and most of the meteor’s remaining mass and the energy from its air burst explosion out into deep space, he also somehow ‘merged’ with the meteor, using what was left of its mass after the transference to construct a new body for himself; one that could survive and function in the vacuum of space. Because this does not explain the apparent presence of a gravitational singularity within his body, it is further theorized that the Baja Meteor itself may have been hosting a so-called ‘primordial black hole’ – a low-mass gravitational singularity formed during the volatile period shortly after the Big Bang. The possibility that some such low-mass black holes might be hidden within asteroids is well-accepted in the scientific community, and James Winston’s eruption provides potential evidence confirming it. ,, Because of his wholly unique physical nature, Winston’s powers all revolve around the direct control of the four fundamental interactions or forces. (Technically, all novas control these forces; most, however, are limited in this regard through mechanisms that are not well understood and may in fact be psychological, and so can often only indirectly influence one or more of the four interactions and sometimes cannot influence one or more of them in any way.) James can directly influence such things as gravitational fields, electromagnetic fields and radiation, radioactive decay rates, and the quantum properties of atomic and subatomic molecules. However, his control in some areas is greater than in others, and so far he has (perhaps naturally) shown the greatest degree of ability in manipulating the gravitational forces in his surroundings. ,, The carbonaceous shell that makes up James’ physical body is extraordinarily dense, massing in at over 112 metric tons, and evidence suggests its makeup is highly complex. The outer (visible) portion consists of a diamondoid matrix that is yellowish in color and semi-transparent, overlaying a deeper substance of unknown properties that is opaque and is the color of pure gold. What lies under this opaque golden layer is unknown, but the sheer density of the shell as a whole would mean that internal temperatures and pressures may be sufficient to induce a superionic state, or possibly even a full-fledged fusion reaction in the matter closest to the shell’s center. Regardless, it can be observed that this shell generates its own, surprisingly potent, magnetic field, which James Winston has demonstrated conscious control over. The shell’s extreme density alone is sufficient to impart it with significant resilience, but in combination with the highly stable diamondoid makeup of its outer layers it becomes nearly indestructible. ,, As a fascinating addendum, when James Winston mimics normal human movement by moving this dense outer shell, he does not do this by “reshaping” the shell and rearranging atomic bonds, but rather by initiating a dynamic change of quantum state in those particles involved, such that their relative positions and whether they are “real” or “virtual” cannot be determined with certainty. The net result of this is that at no time does the shell enter a fluid or otherwise non-solid state during any motions Winston might put it through, which allows the shell to retain its maximum resistance to physical trauma at all times. ,, The singularity contained within Winston’s outer shell is estimated to have a mass of somewhere between 1013kg and 1018kg – a very low mass for a singularity – and an internal temperature of approximately 100 billion Kelvin. Its Schwarzschild Radius would measure only 1.5 x 10-14 meters in diameter, however, which is three orders of magnitude smaller than that of a hydrogen atom. It is believed that James’ ability to deliberately alter the singularity’s charge and angular momentum allows him to hold it in place using powerful internal magnetic fields and complex gravitational interactions, as the singularity itself would otherwise slide unimpeded through most matter. ,, Background: James Winston became a ward of the state of California in 1985 at the age of only 3 years, after his parents were killed during the crash of Delta Flight 191 at Dallas Fort Worth Airport. Like so many other children orphaned past the age of infancy, James was never adopted and spent the next fifteen years in and out of various orphanages and foster homes. Court records show that he ran away on three separate occasions during this time, and was a victim of physical abuse at two of the various foster homes he was placed in. ,, Shortly after James turned 18 and reached the age of majority he left California and travelled to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, attracted by the promise of earning large sums working the various fishing jobs available. Winston secured work on a seining vessel during his first summer in the region and was able to use the experience to gain a spot on a crabbing vessel later that same year. Crabbing typically pays extremely well, and Alaskan boat captains nearly always pay in cash or with a personal check (meaning that accurately reporting income to the IRS for tax purposes becomes an ‘optional choice’ that many fishermen choose not to make), and so James suddenly found himself with a very comfortable amount of padding in his bank account. For the next three years James Winston would travel to Alaska in the winter to take part in the crabbing season, then travel to other parts of the world – usually Hawaii or Mexico – for the rest of the year, taking the occasional odd, usually part-time job to further bolster his earnings. ,, While on a crabbing vessel in 2004, however, James injured his back and was unable to complete the season. Suddenly without his primary source of yearly income, he began looking for other means and, after a few very financially tight months, managed to land a job at a boat-building company that specialized in laying the fiberglass molds used in many small to medium-large boats. Even though the monthly income was nowhere near what he’d earned while crabbing – and even though the job actually required him to show up for work all year round – the yearly income was nonetheless better, and James was surprised to discover that he truly enjoyed his new job. So much so that, in early 2005, he left Alaska for Seattle, Washington so that he could enroll in classes for a specialized two-year course on wooden boat building and general engineering principles as they applied to the wider boat-building industry. James was still in attendance when the Refugees came through the Stonehenge gate later that same year, causing waves of psychics and superhumans to spring up all over the world. ,, James Winston didn’t erupt when the Refugees came through their gate, however, and the next three years were normal years for him (not including the fact that the world now had genuine super-powered beings in it). He completed his schooling and returned to the Kenai Peninsula so he could get back to work. In the winter of 2008 he even took a position on a crabbing vessel again, the resulting payoff for which seriously augmented his bank account. Having some extra cash to burn and feeling a little stir crazy after a long winter (a common enough experience for those living through the Long Night of the upper two degrees of earth’s latitude), James and three of his friends decided to put their summer to good use and take a vacation to Cabo San Lucas. The decision proved to be their undoing. ,, On July 27th, 2008, the Baja Meteor exploded over the waters of the Bahia San Lucas, resulting in several thousand injuries and four deaths; the bodies of those presumed dead were never found however. Those four individuals were James and his three friends. ,, The Baja Meteor itself constituted a long-standing mystery, as its estimated mass and the height at which it exploded both indicated that the damage on the ground, along with the total number of injuries and deaths, should have been several orders of magnitude greater than they were – possibly on the order of a global-scale disaster. The event caused a great deal of alarm in the period following, as the meteor’s approach had remained entirely undetected until after it had entered earth’s atmosphere. ,, James Winston knew nothing of all this, and would not hear the details of his eruption event until more than five years later. The meteor’s explosion had not killed him, as was assumed by authorities at the time, but had instead caused his eruption. In fact, it is highly likely that his eruption as a nova at that precise moment in time was the ultimate cause for the relatively benign explosion of the Baja Meteor, and may have saved the lives of hundreds or thousands of people living in the surrounding region. It nonetheless cost James’ three friends – Tom Kerry, Sam Harris and Fred McHenry – their lives. ,, The events surrounding James Winston’s eruption have yet to be adequately explained, but it has been theorized that, in the instant before the Baja Meteor’s impact, he somehow utilized the potential energy stored within a significant portion of its mass to power the instantaneous transference of himself, his three friends, the small fishing boat they’d rented, and a large quantity of seawater across a distance of more than 15,000 astronomical units. The sudden exposure to deep space as a result of this would have proved almost instantly fatal to Kerry, Harris and McHenry, but Winston’s eruption altered his physiology so that he survived, and was eventually able to return to earth. ,, For reasons that remain as mysterious as the mechanisms responsible for the events of James’ eruption, or for his current physical nature, the newly erupted nova was unable to generate any similar “teleporting” effects after his initial eruption. As a result, he found it necessary to make the journey back to earth through unassisted flight. Detailed records of this journey can be found elsewhere.
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