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Aberrant RPG - N! Prime Interview: Johnny Drake, a.k.a. Dragon

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<font size="4">N! Prime Interview: Johnny Drake, a.k.a. Dragon </font>

by Lisa Hammerstein

N! Prime: Hello, Johnny.

JD: Hi Lisa.

N! Prime: Johnny, let's start at the beginning. Who was Johnny Drake before he became a nova? <table width="40%" border="1" align="right" bordercolor="#000000" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" bordercolorlight="#CCCCCC"><tr bgcolor="#CCCCCC"> <td><font size="4">At my school, principal Munroe bought a bunch of copies to show in the homerooms - At least until he found out that there were naked women in the magazine.</font></td></tr></table>

JD: Well, I was just this ordinary guy who liked to draw. I started as a kid, and people liked my stuff, so I just kept doing it. Then one day I entered an art competition judged by Michael Whelan. He liked my stuff and we kept in contact. He helped me get my first piece published in Heavy Metal last year.

N! Prime: That was The Dragons of New York, right?

JD: Yep. At my school, principal Munroe bought a bunch of copies to show in the homerooms - At least until he found out that there were naked women in the magazine.

N! Prime: Have your nova powers enhanced your art?

JD: I don't think so, and I'm glad of that.

N! Prime: Why do you say that?

JD: Because my art is very personal and important to me. If my powers helped my art I'd always be wondering how much was me and how much was the power.

N! Prime: So, dragons are your favorite subject matter?

JD: Actually a close second.

N! Prime: And your favorite?

JD: Women, of course. I am only sixteen after all.

N! Prime: Well, on that note, tell me about Kelly Munroe. <table width="60%" border="1" bordercolor="#000000" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" bordercolorlight="#CCCCCC" vspace="8" align="left"><tr bgcolor="#CCCCCC"> <td><font size="4">I asked her to pull aside her strap so I could draw her shoulder. Later she took the rest off.</font></td></tr></table>

JD: I had been in a few classes with her, and I thought she was cute. We knew each other and talked in class, but I never really saw her outside of class. I wanted to ask her out, but she had this on-again, off-again relationship with Scott Gillis, and she was a senior, and she was the principal's daughter. Then one day I had an idea for a story and thought she would be an ideal model to draw the heroine from.

N! Prime: Because she was a cheerleader?

JD: Actually, she was on the cross-country team as well as being a cheerleader. So I asked her if she'd like to model for me. She asked jokingly if it was just an excuse to get her naked and I told her she could wear a swimsuit and I'd just draw in the details.

N! Prime: So she was wearing a swimsuit?

JD: At first... I had been drawing for about half an hour, when I asked her to pull aside her strap so I could draw her shoulder, and well, she just took off her top. I stammered something and blushed and went back to drawing. Later she took the rest off.

N! Prime: So nothing happened?

JD: Well, I didn't sleep with her. A couple of hours later I left. The next night, Scott Gillis and the rest of the football team jumped me. They stuffed me into the trunk of his car and drove me out to the football field. They then proceeded to beat me almost to death.

N! Prime: How badly did they beat you? <table width="40%" border="1" bordercolor="#000000" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" bordercolorlight="#CCCCCC" align="right"><tr bgcolor="#CCCCCC"> <td><font size="4">They eventually charged me with eight counts of assault with nova powers, arson, sexual assault, and child pornography. </font></td></tr></table>

JD: Well, I know my right arm was broken, and I'm pretty sure that several ribs were too. The police found about fifteen teeth. Oh, and I was coughing up blood and was seeing double. But I think it was when I got kicked in the head and my neck snapped that I erupted.

N! Prime: Your neck snapped!? How did you know?

JD: I felt the kick and there was this crack that filled my head for a second. I couldn't feel anything past the pain in my neck. At that point time seemed to stretch out and everything went quiet. There was a blinding pain in the center of my head, but it was a pain that didn't hurt. All of the fear and all of the anger just faded away. I don't remember any conscious thought, but I opened my eyes, and there was the painting I have at the end of my bed - a painting I did of a humanoid dragon - at it filled my eyes. It was glowing and getting brighter and I was coming toward it, faster and faster until I entered those eyes and I was the dragon.

N! Prime: And what about your injuries?

JD: They went away when I changed. Dr. Svoboda of T2M has a theory he calls the phoenix effect - that when a nova erupts with physical modifications, the eruption will rebuild the body even if the nova shows no ability to instantly regenerate later, like me.

N! Prime: So what happened then?

JD: I stood up and grabbed Scott. The others had already started running away. I wanted to scare them so I breathed a blast of fire at the ground. They were too far away to get really hurt but a couple got minor burns. I think that's when Chris dropped the camcorder. I then turned to Scott and lifted him off the ground by his shirt. He was clawing at my hand, trying to get away, but he couldn't budge my fingers. I stared at him for a few seconds and he lost control of his bowels. Then I said "I can rip you open like a candy wrapper... Or I can deal with you another way. Do you have anything to say to me?" I let him squirm there for a minute or two. He was too scared to even form coherent words. "What are you supposed to say after you do something wrong to somebody?" I almost laughed when I saw the light go on in his eyes. He managed to squeak out "I'm sorry," and then he looked at me and it dawned on him that he might live through this. I then put on my sternest voice "Good. Now the next time you feel the need to get revenge on somebody, remember that I have every reason to want revenge on you." I set him down. "Now run." And he ran like nobody's ever seen.

N! Prime: You sound like you enjoyed that.

JD: Oh, I admit I enjoyed it. I scared the hell out of him and he deserved every minute of it.

N! Prime: What did you do after that?

JD: I grabbed Chris' camcorder, went home and fell into bed. Next morning the police barged in with tactical gear and aberrant-busters. I went quietly. They eventually charged me with eight counts of assault with nova powers, arson, sexual assault, and child pornography.

N! Prime: Looks like they wanted to throw the book at you.

JD: Yep, luckily Project Utopia helped with my defense. The videotape pretty much covered the assault charges. It didn't show my talking to Scott, but it did pick up the sound. This also led to charges being filed against Scott and his buddies. Kelly testified that posing naked for me was her idea, and to use her words, "Scott was the only guy who forced me to have sex with him." As to the child pornography, well, we argued that the sketches were artistic in nature, and the jury must have accepted it so.

N! Prime: And the arson charge?

JD: After all of the other charges were in the bag, we bargained it down to misdemeanor vandalism in exchange for time served. After all, I did scorch the football field.

N! Prime: What happened next?

JD: Well, Scott plea bargained down to aggravated assault, the others to simple assault. They should be out on probation soon. I got expelled, of course, but Kelly was the one who really got shafted in all of this. Some bastards from the Church of Michael Archangel started threatening her life during the trial. After they tortured her cat, the FBI got involved and now she's someone else in the witness protection program. If you see this, please know that you never deserved this, and I'm sorry for getting you involved.

N! Prime: What happened to the sketches?

JD: I burned them. After all the trouble they had caused, it seemed fitting. A fitting end.

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