I’ve been promising for a while now to do a write-up of Aberrant – there are even several half-written beginnings in my blogging folder. We’ve been playing an extended intro, earning ‘nova points’ rather than XP: this finished last session (and suddenly it’s going to feel very slow, earning new powers) so I thought it would be a good time to do the write-up before the game really begins. Tomorrow night. I may have left it a little late…
It’s 1998. We’re in London.
My character is Chrissie Walker – a petite, dark-haired metalhead, adrenaline-junkie nurse working in the A&E for Kings College Hospital. The other player, Bells (who plays Aaron in Pathfinder), is playing Adam [surname forgotten], a young mixed race individual who’d fallen into a local gang and who has a secret talent for dance.
Chrissie’s background is far more privileged than Adam’s. Her parents were wealthy, although not very demonstrative of their love and never fully supported her decision to go into nursing rather than banking (or any other overpaid industry). They helped her obtain a nice flat – a ‘penthouse apartment’ that she loves for the views but which she mostly only uses for sleeping, eating and studying. It is a tip. She has an elder brother, Peter, who is the preferred child: whilst her room at her parents’ has been commandeered to a ‘hobby’ room, his remains exactly as he left it and is dusted regularly. He did go into banking or something. She’s not really sure, but knows he works stupidly long hours. She does, too, but because she’s saving lives (and removing toys from children’s noses) she doesn’t notice the hypocrisy when she talks him down.
Her very best friend is Bill Drakeford, who runs the Styx nightclub (the side room and basement below his pub, Skiff on the Styx). He was her brother’s friend growing up, but he took her under his wing when he saw that she felt ostracised from her materialistic family. It’s his fault she’s so fond of rock and metal. Their relationship is as close as that of siblings – she generally feels closer to him than Pete because they have more in common.
She’s also very close to Janet who works on reception at the A&E and who’s into the same kind of music as Chrissie, as well as Maggie, the A&E matron and Chrissie’s mentor. She’s an older woman with two grown children around Chrissie’s age (maybe a bit younger; at least one is still at uni). Janet’s set Chrissie up with her new boyfriend’s friend, Jeff Biscuits (it’s a stage name, derived from his love of Jaffa Cakes).
Chrissie is a bit of a fitness freak, often jogging in the local park and using the play equipment as a make-shift gym. She likes to go on ‘adventure’ holidays (scuba diving, parachuting, white water rafting) with her friends – she may not always be any good at the activity, but will try anything.
Adam, on the other hand, never knew his father and so far Chrissie has no idea about his mother, either. He, at 16, lives alone with his dog, Robin. He’s close with his next-door neighbours, Sam and her mum. He has more than a bit of a thing for Sam. They’re members of the same dance class – a hobby he would rather no one knew about – which is led by the irascible, excitable Cesar. He also drives getaway for a local gang and works part-time in a garage.
They meet when Adam is taken on a collection racket. He’s handed a bat and expected to enter the shop – but the shopkeepers are prepared and a fight ensues. The shopkeepers are all knocked unconscious, but Adam is badly beaten and barely makes it outside before passing out. The rest of the gang leave him to bleed on the pavement – as Chrissie walks by on her way home from a long shift.
Because Chrissie got a good look at the guys leaving in the car, both she and Adam were placed in protective custody and given a lawyer by the name of Benedict St John. Not only a lawyer, he’s a physicist and entrepreneur – think Richard Branson, but whose parents were also scientists, businessmen and philanthropists.
Eventually and after some escapades, this was sorted and they were able to return to their normal lives. Until one day, when Chrissie was meeting her brother for lunch and Adam turned up to deliver a package (Benedict had got him a job as a courier as he’d lost his job at the garage). At which point a group of armed individuals arrived and the building went into lockdown. Long story short, in the ensuing madness both Chrissie and Adam erupted as Nova. A wee bit before anyone else…
|So, not very good at drawing, but here's my attempt to show Chrissie as Chrissie (hardworking, metalhead nurse)...|
|...and as Phoenix, the uber-powerful Nova. She gains a few inches and cliche red hair. I just like red hair. Just ignore my bad drawing.|
The British government ‘kidnapped’ Chrissie and Adam, so when given the offer to join Benedict’s organisation they quickly defected. He’s given them fake ID’s as Lisa Moore and Philip (surname forgotten). The media have nicknamed them Phoenix (for the necklace Peter had bought Chrissie shortly before her first big TV appearance, as well as her powers of flight, fire manipulation and the fact that her hair’s all flame red when she’s not ‘dormant’) and Hyperdrive (for Adam’s speed).
They’ve learned they’re powerful, even by Nova standards. They went to space to explore the exploded ISS and managed to bring back one surviving astronaut, Charlie McAllister. On a trip to America, they accidentally saved the life of Chelsea Clinton (accidentally in that they were saving people as the floor fell beneath them and she was amongst them) and are now friends with the president and his family.
They’ve since assembled a mini superteam of their own – a young girl about Adam’s age who can commune with computers (cyberkinesis) whose name I’ve forgotten. Rachel, who can talk to animals and plants and build walls using matter creation. Someone else whose name I’ve forgotten and whose powers are still a mystery to us (but Benedict said will be useful). Most excitingly for Chrissie, her friend and parkour coach, Jean Baptiste – formerly a doctor with MSF who developed healing powers.
So things have been going well – they’ve gone around the world saving lives and having fun.
INTO THE FUTURE…
Quick time-skip to early 1999.
Clinton and Yeltsin wanted Chrissie and Adam to attend as a neutral party whilst they discussed various political things to strengthen ties between Russia and the USA – an historic, important moment. The day went well – Robert, Clinton’s bodyguard and head of security known to Chrissie and Adam from previous encounters, was there along with Yeltsin’s bodyguard, so a total of 6 people were in the Oval Office. Things were going well when everyone blinked and everything changed. Robert was on the floor bleeding and Yeltsin was on the floor dead – two bullets to the chest, one to the head. Outside, chaos and madness: security forces slaughtered by someone who had the time to do a careful job and leave no DNA evidence. Benedict (who is definitely not a Nova) teleported to them and winked away again before anyone besides Chrissie and Adam saw him.
Chrissie quickly checked Robert out: he’d been knocked unconscious and there were signs of a struggle. On coming round, he explained everyone else had gone still and glassy-eyed before a trusted member of the security team walked in, gun drawn. He tried to stop him but couldn’t, and Yeltsin died as a result.
Chrissie and Adam were taken into custody – as Novas, it was surprising that they’d been unable to help. Eventually released (although Adam faced and avoided some serious questions about his past), they returned to London to find a world very much changed; on the brink of war.