Sunday 22 November 2015

Aberrant - Gleaming Secrets

It's been a while since I played Aberrant and even longer since I wrote about it. I put off writing up the last few sessions - initially because I wasn't ready to let go of such a great game, and then because I'd forgotten too much. Fortunately, my GM is lovely and has finished plotting the next Aberrant arc so doesn't need my notebook and has leant it to me - which means I can finish up! If you need a reminder, the last episode is here, and you can see a full index here.  Some of what happened in game feels uncomfortable in light of global events that took place subsequently, but I guess that's one of the dangers of stories.

I didn't manage to see Jen before the press conference. Julia Brooks, the St John LLP PR rep, finished up delivering the company's report on their merger with Triton and advising on their progress with medical research, then announced their public support for a project - the Nova Initiative. Us. She introduced Alastair; we walked out behind him, our clothes shifting into full uniform as we stepped to the stage. We. Adam and I, of course. Jean, Stef, Mark, Robert. No Rachel - still on sabbatical. And Jen and Remy with us. As we walked across the stage, Alastair let his mask slip and I realised just how much like Benedict he really looks. That portrait in the moon base...

Alastair introduced himself and gave details of his father's death. As he dismissed the stand-in, the illusion fell and I saw that the man in truth looked nothing like my former mentor. The orphaned child who'd been standing in as Alastair also reverted to his own image. Poor kid: his whole life he's been someone else. But back to Alastair: he publicly announced he was the child of 2 novas. I'm worried he's put himself more in danger, if we're right about the deaths of other nova families. Although we kept our faces blank, Adam confirmed to me that he was also concerned.

He gave the history of the Nova Initiative, that the death of the Russian Premiere at an event we were providing security for moved us from a more observational role to greater action. Action that was carefully kept from the public (Adam and I raised psychic eyebrows to each other as we thought of things we'd done that had been credited to other agencies). No more: now we, the Nova Initiative, were going to be recognised for what we'd done, and the truth of Vienna (as far as we knew it) would be revealed - he guided the press to the packs under their chairs (referred to a device that couldn't be disarmed; didn't mention it was a nova...). He praised the non-novas who work with us and ended quoting Yeats's poem He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.

The press paused, then rose with questions. He handled them deftly: I saw his mother in him, then. Of course, they wanted to know more about him as nova born. He did bring up the child who died in a car crash as being the only other nova-born-of-nova we know, and stressed that Nicky's all human. Despite being the only person of his type, he said he's not lonely: he has his friends, his family and his colleagues. "I may not be human, but I am a person". Jen was only pregnant with him for three days. A quick bit of maths and a comment to Adam confirmed, that suggested he was born earlier than we'd thought.

Reporters went digging into the history of the NI, so he confirmed Benedict had paid for the set up from his own pocket, not St John LLP funds. He told them we'd stayed hidden because we numbered around 45 novas and 8,500 baselines, spread across the globe. I know those numbers are, well, let's say a little conservative. He did mention a few members who, like Adam and I, are recognised names. Of course, absolutely no mention of Pax's connection with us. Even in the open we're keeping some things in the shadows.

It didn't take long for news agencies to be reporting not only this news, but also the responses from various world leaders, and from Pax as leader of Team Tomorrow. We'd kept him in the dark about our announcement to protect him, but it felt disloyal. Adam, in his public persona as Philip Rogers, came forward to announce that he was setting up a foundation for the victims of terrorism, and all proceeds of his film would be going towards it.

I finally had a chance to talk to Jen. She explained that Benedict had always wanted her to keep her abilities secret because she isn't very powerful - her power lies in boosting another. I can understand, but still felt betrayed, as much by Benedict as by her. We joined Benedict because he was the one who hadn't kidnapped us, then we discover he was behind that kidnapping, and even after his death he's keeping secrets from me and the bit of me that's still emotionally human is screaming that it's not fair. 

Steve, Holly and I took Nicky back to London to give Adam and Sam a quiet afternoon together. Holly had plans to meet friends, so Steve and I went to check in on Bill at the Styx - he wasn't there, but other friends were and Pete showed up too so we had a nice evening. Pete explained Bill's away at the moment. He'll have a bit of a shock when he's back, then...

When Holly was ready, we headed back to Cambridge. Holly helped me put Nicky to bed: as soon as she and I were alone, she turned to me, worried. 

"I... I don't want to tell Dad cos you know how he gets, but I think I was followed earlier." She described a tall, heavy-set man with olive skin in an overcoat and a slender, brown haired, pale skinned woman. The man followed her for a bit, then the woman, then the man again: he'd changed his hat. I'd be tempted to dismiss it as teenage fancy after the fright of the day before, but Holly was upset and I didn't want to take any chances. She agreed to let Alastair get the images from her mind as long as we could keep it secret from Steve. 

Which, of course, didn't work. Dad-senses tingling, he insisted on speaking to Holly alone; as he did so, Alastair told me he couldn't get into Holly's head, which is very unusual and has me more worried. Steve stormed out of Holly's bedroom and said he had to see some people and would explain on his return. Holly, pale, begged I follow. All she could tell me was that it was to do with her mum and why they left Brighton. I flew from the window, but couldn't see him or his car and the overcast sky meant I couldn't fly high enough to get a decent field of vision. I tried shifting the clouds, but they wouldn't budge. Weather manipulation isn't something I practice often, but this should have been straightforward and my fear is another nova's involved. Alastair took Holly and Nicky to the moon base so he could use the device there to try and track Steve for me. He couldn't find him, so needed me to link in and 7 billion voices yammering into my mind... how does Alastair do this? It felt like I was being torn apart, and I was only taking the slack of it.

And still no sign of Steve. 


  1. It's great to see Aberrant still being played. I'm just about to start a new game with my group. I'm looking for ideas for pregen characters, in case any of them are lazy. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Nanouk

      Aberrant's such a great game - White Wolf really lends itself to powerful characters.

      Pregen-wise, I really enjoy Chrissie's combination of strength and fire. Our characters are ridiculously overpowered, complete wish-fulfillment at a point we were all feeling powerless in our lives, so there's a lot more to her than that, but if you're after a character who can cause a bit of chaos and take some punches, mega stamina, mega strength and fire manipulation make a great combination.

      Probably worth having someone with some kind of mind control ready. I think that compliments well witg forcefield, maybe?

      Mega intelligence and mega manipulation are things I'd avoid giving to lazy players ;)

      Adam, the other main character, is all about speed. He can manipulate lightning, which we justify as the static electricity created by his constant movement!

      More unusually, one of the npc's is a sniper who can talk to animals. She's an interesting character, the ring leader of most of the practical jokes in the team (she does have mega manipulation).

      I've not played much Aberrant, just this campaign and a very short one in which we discovered our powers as we went along (the GM awarded them based on what we did and said) - my character had mega strength and bioluminescence, which was an unsettling combination.

  2. It's great to see Aberrant still being played. I'm just about to start a new game with my group. I'm looking for ideas for pregen characters, in case any of them are lazy. Any suggestions?