by Antonio Guzman Molina
When I first started writing these yarns centered on my RPG character, Turbo-Drive™, I did not expect them to turn into this full-blown, super-hero world as they did.
But as I delved more into this character’s background, I found myself adding more to the world he lived in and adding more characters to interact with, until the latest story turned into this 25+ page monster, just to show Turbo-Drive™ in his Avffie persona.
All this to showcase a character for an RPG session in our blog detailing the games. Anyway, no character worth anything can exist in a vacuum. Not without the people, situations and history that surround it and give it shape until these become more important and interesting than the character itself. This is the case of the Metage, the time and place reserved for all Meta-Heroic characters I have created over years of Role-playing in that comic sub-genre. Of last count, they numbered more than a dozen (Dr. Mystik™, The Chess-Master™, Saltimbaquo™, Shinny Beast™, Dr. K, The Shootist™, Reaktor™, Turbo-Drive™, Proteus™, Screwball™, Mannaquin™… just to name a few). And this is because powered fantasies have been long-time favorites of mine, mainly because so few people can play a heroic character just right.
Experiences I have shared in all the Role-Playing sessions I have participated in have been described as anecdotes in one way or another through these stories, and the reactions of the characters have been honest-to-goodness true, which led to an integral basis for the Metage™ setting: people will still be people, even when gifted with Phenomena. Very few will merit the name of ‘hero’ or ‘heroine’. As in real life, people will still be watching out for themselves rather than each other, which is one of the main reasons I love Role-Playing: no matter what kind of character a person plays, their true selves emerge in the game session, whether that person is brave, or greedy or cowardly. Of the hundred or so people I have ever played with, only three or so could have merited being called ‘heroic’.
Still, over time I have created this cast of characters and I needed a place for them to live in my mind, thus the Metage™. The place has grown a little complex and crowded, so that you might feel lost at times, thus I have compiled a small glossary of terms and characters mentioned throughout the stories.
Adventurer: Term applied to Metas who adopt a heroic persona and engage in volunteer work for the common good. This work can be in any number of capacities but usually involves the suppression and control of other Metas, rescue/salvage operations, protection of life and property or simple grandstanding. Many take this route as a means of self-promotion to obtain any number of economic or social benefits, but a few eschew rewards or fame for reasons only they understand, and so go freelance as vigilantes, not following a specific goal or serving a specific Sponsor. This term also helps label those Metas who defy categorization or classification, as each Adventurer is unique and follows only her unique set of rules and Codes. A handful of these Adventurers go on to become celebrated Heroes and Heroines of myth and folklore, even by Meta standards, thus they are honored and admired accordingly. Needless to say these are the Rarest of Metas, numbering less than three-dozen in the last 1,000 years or so.
Avffie: Short for Average Folks. Term used to designate regular people without Phenomena (q.v.). Often derogatory when one Meta refers to another by that term.
Brains: Refers primarily, but not exclusively, to Metas whose Phenomena (q.v.) may involve Mental or Psychic abilities. They are rare even among Metas, as higher brain functions seem to interfere somehow with the mind’s ability to resonate with the Substrate (q.v.) that give the Meta His/Her Phenomena.
Brick: Also Block, Cinderblock, Rock. Terms used to designate Metas (q.v.) whose Phenomena are primarily of superhuman strength and/or resiliency. Metas of this category are often, thought not exclusively, fighters or brawlers and affect aggressive behaviors. They are also the most common form of Meta.
Caster: refers to another category of Metas (q.v.). Those who can manipulate forms of energy for a variety of effects, most commonly various forms of combustion and/or radiation. From creating energy blasts and force fields, to flight and transmutation of elements and/or organics. This is the second- rarest form of Meta, but far more common than the Brains.
Champions: By far the most popular Meta Pursuit (q.v.), associated with a specific institution or community. Champions use their Phenomena for the benefit a specific community, be that a city, town or even neighborhood. They might be sponsored by the government, a private institution or the local authorities, for pay, benefits or for non-profit. The important distinction is that these Metas serve their community, employer or sponsor in a more localized manner, with the Meta often so identified with his/her cause, community and/or sponsor that these become one and the same. This relationship is often so extreme that Metas adopt the color of their nation’s flag or their corporate logo as their personal icon. Needless to say, these are the more popular of Metas and often enjoy great popular approval and access to their Sponsors’ resources, infrastructure and logistical support. In many ways, Champions are similar to Adventurers, but have better PR and are usually more localized, while adventurers have a more international and varied approach to their Pursuits (q.v.). On rare occasions, Champions become associated with unpopular institutions or places and are vilified because of this, such as the Champions who fought on the side of the Axis during the Great War.
Code: A Meta who follows her own set of rules of behavior and ethics, regardless of her social medium, is said to have a Code. This Code might follow closely the laws and culture of which the Meta is a part of, a religious canon or even the rules in a cereal box. Whatever the Meta decides should guide her behavior and serve as her moral compass. A Code is a Meta’s attempt at exercising self-control over her behavior and use of Phenomena (q.v.), and those that do make sure everyone knows by what rules that particular Meta will abide. This accords the Meta with a Code great prestige and honor in the Meta- community and inspires great admiration in Avffies (q.v.). A Meta can break the law and flaunt social norms, but the Meta who breaks her own Code is seen as particularly pathetic and unworthy of respect by other Metas, while a Meta who adheres to a particularly restrictive code might be given leeway even from her worst enemies!
Crusaders: As Champions (q.v.) above, but Crusaders follow a more abstract Pursuit (q.v.). Rather than supporting or associating with a specific community or institution, Crusaders uphold specific causes and ideals or try to achieve a specific goal. They are considered dreamers and idealists by their fellow Metas (q.v.), and can become associated with unpopular causes, as did Metas of the Socialist Block during the Cold War.
Dr. Krank™: Renowned Meta-physician also noteworthy because of the peculiar Phenomena (q.v.) associated with his Recruitment (q.v.). The good doctor looks like a living, breathing, 3-D cartoon, with all the powers, abilities and hysterics associated with animated, cartoon characters, which distracts observers from the fact that the good doctor is the leading world authority in Meta-physiology and Meta-Recruitment, as well as being a rare brain type Meta. Few also realize that ‘Doc’ is also one of the more powerful Metas around in being nearly indestructible (once quotes as saying: “I can’t die unless its funny.”), capable of generating light and sound at will for a variety of feats, creating an arsenal of silly gadgets out of thin air and even animating objects and structures at will for short periods of time. Unfortunately, these powers are tempered by bouts of erratic and irrational behavior, reminiscent to that of the animated characters he so resembles, which limit his effectiveness both as a professional and as an Adventurer (q.v.), or so claim his detractors. Despite the insanity and silly antics, the Doctor has saved the world on several occasions, and an overwhelming number of Metas owe their lives to him.
The Ducheneaux Formula™: First formulated by Nobel-Laureate, Dr. Victoria Ducheneaux, it calculates the potential for Recruitment (q.v.) and potential power level in a person as that individual’s Improbability Index (q.v.). A measurement of how a normal person can accomplish improbable feats such as flight, create energy or alter physical laws by thought alone.
The formula works something like this: Science does not function in absolutes such as impossible events but does allow for the possibility of Highly-Improbable events when Quantum Physics and Chaos Theory are taken into consideration: for example how difficult be for a car to impact a tree at full speed and pass through it undamaged. Common sense and Newtonian physics would indicate the car would be wrecked and the tree knocked down, but when one takes into account the space between electrons on each of the atoms composing the tree and the car, there is a chance –however infinitesimal- that the atoms of the tree and those of the car could conceivably pass between each other without a single electron or nucleus from either object touching as matter is composed of almost nothing at a quantum level. The higher the improbability and the unlikelier the event, the more likely for a person to become a Meta, and the greater the potential power level of said Meta, hence the Improbability Index™ (q.v.).
Event Area™: Territory comprising the former White Sands Missile Range and its environs in New Mexico, forming a roughly- oval area some fifty miles wide and 100 miles long. It is bordered on the east by the Alamo Gordo county seat, and the west by the San Andres Mountains. North it borders the town of San Antonio, and south by the Rio Grande. This territory was the site of numerous Invasions by aliens called the Intruders, whom attempted to enter the Earth via inter-dimensional rifts on at least two different occasions. On the second attempt, something went wrong and the dimensional rift has became a space-time maelstrom that continues to this day due to the unknown accident that occurred during the final days of the conflict. Some believe this rift is the cause of the increase in Meta- Recruitments during the late 20th and early 21stcenturies.
The Event Area at the time of the Incident was the hub of human activity to resist the Invasions, with many military installations, research stations, airbases and even one rocket base. Added to this were the many population centers and facilities that supported the effort… all now trapped alongside the Intruders (q.v.).
Fugitives™, The: A loose association of Meta Adventurers whose only common theme is that all are pursued to some extent by Institutions or Fiscal Entities for a variety of reasons. The greatest non-team of disparate Meta- Personas ever assembled for no particular reason except to defy Authority and Government. Notable on-and-off Fugitives include Turbo-Drive™ (q.v.), The Shootist™, Shinny-Beast™ (q.v.), and Reaktor™ (q.v.), though Turbo-Drive™ has appeared in all Fugitive actions and may very well be its informal leader.
Gorobuso™: A Metanimal (q.v.) haunting the Sea Of Nippon and the Yellow and East China Seas probably since medieval times. The Creature has been recorded at a record 100 meters in height, can disgorge blasts of plasma, emits low-level radiation, regenerates, can generate arcs of electricity, exudes a variety of poisons, and sustains itself through the consumption of a variety of toxic waste byproducts. The beast periodically attacks the urban centers in the areas described in search of said industrial waste to eat, followed by long periods of inactivity that can last for decades at a stretch. The beast has continued to grow over the centuries from a bus-sized terror in ancient times to its current skyscraper-sized menace that affects the economy and weather patterns in that region and hosts its own parasitic ecology. It is believed its current size was achieved due to exposure to the increased levels of radiation and industrial waste it feeds upon, which also enhance its toxicity, and cause it to linger near areas of advanced industrial development, which it can devastate during its periodical rampages in search of sustenance. At least on three occasions it has been destroyed completely, only to resurface years later, slightly smaller and further mutated, the first having been achieved by humans using standard weaponry, the second in a battle with four other Metanimals™ (q.v.) and recently through the intervention of Metas. The creature is very territorial and on several occasions has saved the Area from greater menaces threatening its food supply. One occasion was during the before mentioned battling a group of very aggressive Metanimals™ (q.v.), another was when it inadvertently diverted a Tsunami threatening the area and in another when it destroyed an Intruder Invasion attempting to open another rift in that part of the world. The people of this region have learned to cope with this problem after centuries, and treat its occasional rampages much in the same manner as they treat natural disasters, ensuring property, designing civil programs and establishing satellite, world-wide Gorobuso™-watches.
Great War, The: A Vile moment in the History of Human/Meta relations when a group of Metas decided to form the Zarathustran Axis™ as a world-ruling body composed exclusively of Metas who believed in the truth of Metas as superior beings, whose natural role in Creation was to rule over lesser humans. Unfortunately, the leaders of the Axis themselves could not agree as to what form that leadership should take, and caused some of the worst Human Rights violations in history to be committed in the name of good government. One thing the Axis leadership agreed upon was the obvious superiority of Metas over their lesser human siblings, treating them as retarded relatives at best and animals at worst, with breeding programs established to locate the mythic “Meta-gene” and the weeding out of ‘undesirables’ through brutal extermination programs. The Axis had three ‘Arms’. The Western Arm in Europe, the Southern Arm in Africa and the Eastern Arm in the Nippon Shogunate, where some of the most horrifying racial purges took place. In the end, it was the division of Avffie and Meta which eventually proved the downfall of the Axis, as the Übermensh were at odds with their human serfs and each other, which led to their defeat by a unified coalition of human and Meta allies. To this day, The Great War reminds all Metas what could happen to them and the rest of the world should they forget their human origins.
Improbability Index™: Value calculated through the Ducheneaux formula, indicating a Meta’s capacity for resonating with the Substrate (q.v.) and giving a rough estimate of a Meta’s ability of affecting various Phenomena (q.v.)
Intruders: Alien entities that manifest their presence through rifts opened in the time-space continuum. Once believed to be alien life forms from other worlds, this hypothesis has since been discarded in view of the relativistic distances involved in traveling to distant worlds. Interaction with these entities has been a recurring factor since the late 40’s until the mid-sixties, and have resulted in two major conflicts that can only be called Invasions (q.v.). The motives of the intruders remain enigmatic and cryptic, but are always punctuated by ending in some form of harm to humans, even when unintentional by the more-benign Intruders. They also seem intent on immigrating to Our World in great numbers, setting up bases for their vehicles, altering the local fauna and flora to suit their needs and even exterminating whole populations to make way for their installations. There have been reports of Intrusions all over the Earth since ancient times, but on two occasions, these Intrusions escalated to Invasive proportions on two separate occasions, in two hemispheres of the world, between the time of 1947 and 1963, when great numbers of Intruders attempted to set up major operations on the Earth. These Invasions (q.v.) were eventually halted in the ensuing conflicts, with at least one conflict resulting in the permanent damage to our Space-Time Continuum in the state of New Mexico during the final days of the Invasion. Today, we know this damage as the Event Area (q.v.). Intruders are not of one common species, but seem to be a whole consortium of unrelated creatures vying for access to Our World, some are benign, intent apparently only on studying us, while others are definitely malign, with extermination and experimentation agendas aimed at all life forms on earth. All are utterly alien and unknowable in their methods and intent, and can cause even unintended harm. While most Intruders appear to come from advanced, technical civilizations, notable exceptions have been observed, with Intruders seemingly capable of using only the simplest tools, while others -thought clearly humanoid- are animalistic and incapable of even the simplest tasks. A whole Bestiary of Intruders has been catalogued since the 50’s, and more keep being added each year as new varieties of Intruder are observed. Whether new Intrusions (q.v.) will continue in the future, or some form of communication and understanding with them can be reached remains an unlikely possibility.
Intrusions: Small-scale arrivals of intruders, defined by number of Intruder activities and populations affected by said activities. These can be as small as two people observing an Intruder vehicle hovering in the night sky, to a whole community being infested by parasitic Intruders as long as these intrusions remain localized.
Invasions: Large-scale Incursions by Intruders, affecting many communities and large populations, and always involve armed conflict of some sort. Most notable was the Intruder Invasion I (III)™ from the Roswell intrusion in 1947 to 1952, and the Intruder Invasion II (IIII)™ from 1958 to 1963. The Invasions occurred simultaneously on both hemispheres and resulted in great loss of life and property with the creation of the Event Area and the subsequent increase in Meta-Recruitments. Numerous Intruder artifacts have been left behind and what their technologies will yield after reverse-engineering them is still a matter of speculation. From this area of Intruder lore may have given rise to a group of Human/Intruder collaborators known as Xenophiles (q.v.). Forty-six years have passed since the last Invasion, but the authorities are still waiting for the other shoe to drop on an Intruder Invasion III (IIIII)™…
Kestrel™: A.K.A. Aubine Thibodeau. Meta model and adventuress based mainly in Europe. Her Metalents include flight, heightened senses, superhuman agility, fighting abilities, and attractiveness, with her flight Phenomena manifesting as a set of very beautiful, black wings that only enhance her mass appeal.
Kybele™: Meta adventuress from the Island Community of Lydia II™ (q.v.). She is head of security for the Lydian Embassy in New Amsterdam city, but fulfills various unofficial diplomatic roles, being highly-outspoken and charismatic, unlike her reserved fellow Lydians. Not only is she a Meta, but she benefits further from the genetic engineering and selective breeding all Lydians have. She also has access to advanced Lydian Technology and is an expert in their use. At 6’11”, with hypnotic, green eyes, olive-skinned and a luscious mane of black hair, Kybele poses a striking figure the cameras just love to focus on. She is named after the Lion-headed goddess of war in Lydian myth.
Lydia II™: A utopian City-State in the Elysian archipelago in the Caribbean only populated by women of Greco-Phoenicia-Scandinavian ancestry that has developed in isolation for nearly three thousand years. As a consequence of this isolation and being the preservers of ancient Greek and Egyptian knowledge, the Lydians were able to develop their science, technology and social systems uninterrupted for thousands of years to the point where they are the most advanced civilization on Earth. They developed spaceflight, genetic and social engineering hundreds of years before the rest of the world. There is no disease, poverty nor old age in Lydia, where all its members are perfect physical and mental specimens, able live in perfect health to the ripe old age of three hundred. Lydia II™ is also self-sufficient energy-wise and her standard of living is the envy of the world. No one knows exactly where the Islands are, but many sources locate them somewhere inside the area comprising the Bermuda Triangle, thought a few others point to the Caribbean, and that somehow the Lydians are able to periodically relocate their islands. One thing and one thing only seems wrong with the Lydians, and that is that no one has ever seen male Lydians. To the public at large, this foments the Lydian image as Men-hating Amazons, but the truth is that there are no Lydian men. Lydians have for centuries been reproducing without males through Invivo fertilization and don’t seem in any hurry to incorporate men back into their population. Descended from the women of the Greco-Phoenician city of Lydia, a group of noblewomen and scholars fled their city to establish an ideal society free of the violence of men. Fleeing north, the Lydian women stayed briefly above the Arctic Circle, giving rise to the legends of the Valkyries. East, they were the lamias of middle-eastern lore, as well as the models for the sphinxes. Everywhere they went, men pursued bent on enslaving them, which gave rise to their martial traditions, and created the Amazon myth, as well as their leader becoming the inspiration for the Goddess Pallas-Athena. As they searched for a place in the world, they were joined all the time by oppressed women from a thousand cultures and races, and left behind many colonial cells of their sisters. They finally found a way across the Atlantic, guided by their Scandinavian sisters and settled on an island to build their ideal world. In isolation and peace, they continued to develop the western scientific traditions uninterrupted for three thousand years until their radio transcievers began picking up signals from the outside world. By the time of the first radio broadcast, the women of Lydia had been using radio- telescopes for nearly three hundred years. Decades later, a platoon of Axis Übermenshi stumbled upon the island by accident, wreaking havoc in peaceful Lydian society. It was only upon the unexpected Evolvement of one Psyche of House Orestes that the murderous Meta-commandoes were stopped, when the young scholar liberated ancient Lydian weapons from the museum, and using textbook tactics and her considerable Phenomena single-handedly rallied her sisters and stopped the menace. Almost overnight, the quiet scholar had forged her sisters into a fighting force that would side with the allies against Zarathustran Axis during The Great War. For her actions in protecting Lydia II and in negotiating with the Outer World, Psyche would be re-named Kybele™, after the Lion Goddess who freed the captive women of the Ancient World. Currently, the nations of the world vie for access to Lydia II’s advanced technology, but the women of the Elysian Islands are playing a delaying game with this brave new world surrounding them. They know they are envied and distrusted by everyone and that time is running out for them. They either assimilate and loose everything… or they remove the Islands completely. This time off-world.
Mannequin™: Meta Adventurer… or at least is believed to be a Meta manipulating a series of dummy bodies made of various polymer plastics and dressed invariably in hat and trench coat. From destroyed Mannequin bodies, investigators have noticed these are made of solid plastic with jointed limbs for mobility and a sophisticated remote camera and microphone installed in the head. No computer chips, servos, engines or motors animate these bodies, yet Mannequin drives cars, solves crimes, shots guns and leaps from rooftops as any other Meta Adventurer, making him one of the strangest Metas around. Some believe he somehow controls or possesses the dummy body, using the cameras to see and the microphones and sound system to communicate. He maintains a posh office from which he conducts business as a private investigator for those who can afford his exorbitant fees, but those who can swear by his talents, as Mannequin’s crime-solving and deductive abilities are legendary. It also helps he is virtually unkillable, super-humanly tough, strong, and unstoppable once he is on the case, so much in fact that the FBI, Interpol and Scotland Yard have used his skills to solve Meta-related crimes. He often works in association with the Shootist™ (q.v.).
Maxim, Peyton™: Meta-Billionaire adventurer. He has no obvious, Phenomena, except for his good looks, uncommonly good luck and insane wealth, Peyton is in it for the kicks it affords him to pitch himself against the most dangerous Meta-Rogues on Earth with nothing but his Excellent Gun, his wits and his uncanny luck, phenomenal charisma and a skill for innovation, which has led many to believe he is a very rare type of brain Meta who excels at skill-use; a Meta-normal. He casts no beams of force, can’t fly nor lift cars, thought a few suspect his Luck, abilities at improvisation and innovation might be his Phenomena (q.v.). Whatever his real status as a real Meta, Maxim is out to have a good time, and bring everyone else along for the fun. He has hunted in the Serengeti, Skied on the Everest, Free-fallen on the Moon and danced around the lava-flows of the Kilauea. This trice winner of the Lotto seems to turn anything he touches into gold, and is always at the right place and the right time. What he really wants is for everyone else to share in his good fortune, and has established numerous charities and foundations to help folks out. And when this isn’t enough, he packs his Excellent Gun, boards his private jet and goes out to solve crimes, help pretty ladies-in-distress, stop the bad guys and play some gulf on the side. What few know is that Peyton Maxim is also an inventor of exceptional talent and has invented, discovered or stolen (It is not certain) something he calls ‘Memory Metal’. A substance that responds to low-level bioelectric fields and can simulate a number of substances and textures, using it to fashion for himself amongst other things his Excellent Gun and his Multisuit. It is believed that among other things, he wears the Multisuit at all times, acting as body armor, augmenting his physical traits and simulating an entire wardrobe. Being a low-key Meta at best, and underestimated by the general public for his freewheeling demeanor, only a handful of people even suspect the truth about Peyton’s capabilities.
Metas™: Short for Meta-Humans is a term referring to people able to manifest Phenomena (q.v.) to alter and manipulate the environment around them without the recourse of technical or scientific means. These abilities, or Phenomena (q.v.), border on the unexplainable, as they seem defy most observable laws of nature, gifting their recipients with the power to accomplish seemingly- impossible feats. Phenomena (q.v.) documented include flight; superhuman strength, agility and endurance; generation and manipulation of various forms of energy and the control/manipulation of a variety of substances and states of matter. Rarer examples exist of Metas with superior mental abilities.
Once the province of myth and legend, Metas have always existed, though in such few numbers as to be considered folkloric creations, rather than live human beings with supernatural abilities. They were often considered the gods and heroes of myth, with their testimonials distorted over time through successive retellings. In recent years, the causants gifting people with Phenomena seem to have increased since the mid-twentieth century, with incidence in Recruitments (q.v.) on the rise, from once every few generations to once for every two to four hundred thousand humans in the population. Theories for this increase abound, but the current popular trend seems to be the increase of energy emissions generated by our technical civilization, which somehow are altering the time-space continuum around our biosphere.
Metanimal™: Lower life forms manifesting Phenomena (See Gorobuso™). Believed to be the sources of monsters and fabulous creatures of myth and legend and currently a source concern and danger to authorities and animal control agencies.
Meta-Human: Meta for short. A person capable of manifesting Phenomena (q.v.).
Metamerc™: Term refers to Metas who sell their Phenomena to the highest bidder for profit. These Metas might or might not be Rogues, but actions done in the name of their employers could lead them to go Rogue. Some Adventures engage in Merc work as a means to earn a living, and a Champion could arguably be said to be a type of Merc. Most Mercs have Phenomena useful in combat, participating in conflicts all over the world for a number of employers, as a single Meta can be the tactical equivalent of a whole Company of soldiers, but without the expense of training, equipping and feeding 300+ men and women. Still, this is the way to go for most of the more combative Metas, and some even become famous (or Infamous) as trouble-shooters in the worst military quagmires.
Meta-Mesh™: A miracle polymer that binds with its wearer’s DNA signature and responds to its wearer’s temperature, physiological changes and body secretions. It can be made to any color, texture, consistency and thickness and to the wearer’s specifications, as long as the wearer is nearby and provides a DNA sample (The Fabric also Resonates with the Substrate as Metas do, even getting to share the Same value in their Improbability Index™ [q.v.]). The end result is a self-mending, never-wash set of clothes immune to a Meta’s own Phenomena, as for all intents and purposes, Meta-Weave is a part of its wearer! Invented and marketed by Maxim & Co., it is believed to be a lesser version of Peyton’s Multisuit™.
After the Meta pays an astronomical fee for the Meta-Mesh, and provides the appropiate samples of DNA, a batch of the Polymer is prepared, and then literally painted on the wearer, while a holographic laser of the design is projected on the painted wearer. The Wearer is then told to concentrate on using her most prevalent Phenomena while being thus illuminated, as the polymer chains link up to form chains and structures into what will be the Last Suit a Meta will ever wear.
Meta-Mesh can take on a maddening variety of forms, sometimes unintended by its Wearers and Designers, ranging from shimmering liquid dresses to Metal-Like suits of armor but the result is always dramatic and worth the expense of a king’s Ransom (the reason why some Metas don’t change their looks for many years, nor have more than one Meta-Mesh suit).
Some Meta-Mesh fabrics don’t take so well to their Wearers, resulting in Tacky fashion disasters (Like Veggetaina’s™ out-of-control flower suit), while other’s even add to their wearer’s Phenomena spectacularly (like La Calacas’s™ skeleton/shadow Meta-Mesh suit, which she can manipulate into different shapes and weapons with the skelton-shadow theme).
Recruitment: Event initiating a person’s change into a Meta-Human (q.v.) state. The process is little understood and is still under investigation, but has been observed to alter and reconfigure a person’s central and peripheral nervous systems, enabling him/her/it to resonate with the energies of a what amounts to a parallel universe identified as the Substrate (q.v.). This event can happen at any time in a person’s life under a variety of circumstances that often involve stress in the organism or trauma, thought there may be a factor of heredity involved. Rare cases have been documented of individuals attaining Recruitment voluntarily through a variety of techniques, but these events could be the result of casualty rather than design. Also affecting Recruitment seems to be the pursuant activities or profession of the subject, such as athletes becoming Bricks, or electricians becoming Casters, thought enough exceptions exist to put this theory in doubt. Also, Recruitment is not species-specific, as lower life forms have been observed to manifest Phenomena. Such is the notorious case of Gorobuso™ of Nippon, or Cerberus in the Sahara, thought such Recruitments are- thankfully- rarer even than Meta Brains (q.v.). See Metanimals™ (q.v.).
Phenomena: The observable effects of a Meta’s manipulations of the Substrate (q.v.), enabling them to affect a series of miraculous events at will, from spontaneous combustion to affect the flow of linear time. The ability to produce these Phenomena is the defining quality of all Meta-Humans, and often dictates the Public Persona a given Meta adopts as Her trademark.
How any particular Meta achieves these miracles is at this time best explained by current String Theory Creation and the interactions between Our Universe and Parallel Realities. For simplicity’s sake, these other Parallel Universes are called The Substrate (q.v.) and is explained as follows: a Meta (q.v.) enters a mental state similar to a seizure, which in turn triggers a disturbance on a quantum level of the Space-Time Continuum around said Meta which causes what can best be calculated as ripples which causes Our Universe to briefly touch The Substrate, causing it to resonate and ripple in a similar fashion, touching back Our Continuum and causing the various coincidental events defying the Laws Of Nature… better known as Phenomena. What kind of specific Phenomenon or Phenomena a Particular Meta can manifest seems to be closely tied a Meta’s personality, mental state, current physical condition and circumstances of Her Recruitment (q.v.), and is best described by her Improbability Index (q.v.).
Pursuit: Defines what a particular Meta does with her time and Phenomena (q.v.). Either support a cause or achieve a goal (Crusaders, q.v.); depredate their fellow beings for personal gain (Rogues, q.v.); defend and/or support a particular community or institution (Champions, q.v.), or don a heroic persona to do a mixture of all of the above (Adventurers, q.v.).
Rizik, Silicca: Meta-Crusader, Legal Counselor and Advocate of Meta-Rights based in New Amsterdam City, Rizik first Recruited during her first year at Law school, acquiring enormous Mental Phenomena. After a brief and unsuccessful stint as a costumed City Champion, she resumed her legal carrier, first by joining the DA’s office, and then rising meteorically to becoming the assistant DA herself before turning to the private sector and starting a hugely-successful career as The Lawyer to Metas. She briefly acted as Manager to Team Triumph™ before the Team disbanded after a disastrous venture into the Event Area, which cost the lives of two Team Members. The Venture might have resulted in the actual massacre of the whole team but for the intervention of Turbo-Drive and his teaming-up with Rizik to defeat an Intruder Incursion threatening their lives.
After that, Rizik joined the UN Team on Meta-Affairs and was instrumental in creating the Armory (q.v.).
A tall, statuesque, nordic beauty, Rizik makes for a striking spokesperson in defense of both Meta and Avffie and her political clout combined with her vast psychic Phenomena make her one one of the mightiest and most famous Metas around. Even Meta-Rogues turn to her for help as eventually everyone needs her help. And she never turns around any Meta, often working pro-bono on some of the most difficult cases. She shares a love-hate, on-off sort of relationship with Turbo-Drive, the two often collaborating in Ventures together, or against each other. It is a known fact by all Metas that whoever messes with Silicca Rizik will meet very fast, very painful retribution from Turbo-Drive, as The Meta-Adventurer seems intent on protecting her, just as Rizik has used her legal powers to keep her anarchic friend running free.
Rogue: Term refers to a Meta who uses her Phenomena solely for personal gain at the expense of Avffies and fellow Metas. This usually implies criminal activities, disobeying laws or defying the social order to some extent or in some way taking undue advantage of people through the abuse of her Phenomena. Thought all criminal Metas are Rogues, not all Rogues engage in criminal activities. Rogues of this category often share the belief that the rules of society do not apply to them due to their Meta status, and so do pretty much as they please, though this behavior inevitably leads to conflicts with Other Metas and/or the authorities. Rare exceptions to this occur, but those few that go Rogue for righteous reasons become legends in their own lifetimes. But these are the exceptions rather than the rule. A vast majority of Metas go Rogue for all the wrong reasons. An alarming number of Metas go down this path, with Rogues surpassing Adventurer, Crusader and Champion (q.v.) combined. In some countries by as much as ten to one, a problem that is of some concern to the authorities as the potential for damage to life and property from these individuals is enormous. This has motivated the governments to adopt increasingly restrictive laws regulating Meta activities, treating the problem in the same manner as gun control. An approach some critics argue that only antagonizes law-abiding Metas and propitiates for more Metas to go Rogue. A situation that can only degenerate with time.
Saltimbanquo™: Meta-Adventurer characterized by his acrobatic combat style, and flippant humor in the face of danger. He resembles a living, neon sign, rearranging holographic patterns to form an ever-changing look for himself. He can also project force fields, or raise the intensity of his holograms to deadly levels, encasing his fists in laser patterns capable of slicing through steel. Also a capable gadgeteer, Saltimbanquo™ has been known to rig ingenious rigs to defeat his foes without the recourse of his Phenomena, or the use of his considerable combat abilities. A loner, Saltimbanquo™ seldom cooperates with the authorities or other Metas, a fact that coupled with his irreverence of the authorities has made him the idol of millions and the headache of every law-enforcement agency on the land. Still, his willingness to help those in trouble, light-hearted humor and care in protecting life and property means that individual law enforcers often turn a blind eye to his antics. The exact opposite of Shinny Beast™ (q.v.).
Shinny-Beast™: Only destruction and mayhem follow this Meta-Adventurer, with Phenomena for manipulating electromagnetic forces, including magnetism and electricity. His actions are marked by a swath of devastation and ruin as he recklessly casts EMP pulses, throws lightning bolts and tears up buildings to use as missiles. His pitch-black uniform and mane of metallic hair crackle with destructive forces and he is an awesome and terrible sight to behold in action. The only reason he is not treated as a Meta-Rogue by the authorities and other Metas is that Shinny Beast’s destructive Phenomena seem to be strictly aimed at other Meta-Rogues. Still, the authorities would love to put a stop to The Beast’s rampages, if there were a safe way to contain him, and other Metas consider it too risky an effort to rein him in, so for the time being –as long as he is nominally one of ‘the good guys’- The Beast still has free range… for now.
Shootist, The™: Meta- vigilante, infamous for his brutal and ruthless methods, wanted for terrorism and murder in at least half a dozen countries and with outstanding warrants from many law-enforcement agencies.
The Shootist™ manifests no overt Phenomena, relying on technology and skill to wreak havok even against the most powerful Metas and biggest Institutions. Evidence suggests he might have been active as early as the 1800’s implying at least Meta-Like longevity and endurance. His skills with various firearms of his own design, inhuman intellect and talent for tactics certainly suggest he might be a rare Brain Meta.
The Shootist™ has made it his Pursuit (q.v.) to take on corporate criminals, corrupt politicians, organized crime, other Meta-Rogues (q.v.) and terrorists, and though technically a Crusader (q.v.), his methods of executing those who won’t respond to their crimes put squarely with the most antisocial Meta-Rogues. The Shootist™ takes personal pride particularly in successfully challenging the most dangerous and powerful Meta-Rogues on the loose, being responsible for the confirmed deaths of at least four Meta-Rogues. His total disregard for due process and extreme methods of terminating his enemies have made him enemies in most law-enforcement agencies, financial institutions and many governments, but won him the adoration by the Public as a romantic, anarchic hero. Oddly enough, his strict adhesion to a personal code of honor have earned him the grudging admiration from the Meta Community, collaborating with many of the most Prominent Metas, who on many occasions have covered for him and even aided him escape justice. An odd thing for a Meta who is supposed to be a loner.
Sponsors: Usually an institution or community that supports or associates with a specific Meta. Be the Sponsor a Government, a particular police department, a chain of retail stores, a corporation or even the Corner Pub… all seek to Sponsor their own Meta, with that sponsorship taking the form of logistical support, a paycheck, discretionary authority or even a free drink tab. How generous that sponsorship is and what its benefits include is directly influenced by the Meta’s power level, popularity and personal charisma. In other words, how marketable her Meta-Persona is.
Substrate: Term used in reference to a theoretic parallel reality that resonates with our own on a quantum level, through which the Meta manifests Her given Phenomena. Why this happens, and why only a select, few Organisms can do it is still under investigation and the subject of much debate.
Turbo-Drive™: Meta Adventurer renowned for his speed Phenomena. Most known for his frequent battles with Intruders with adventures taking place in Tunguska and the Event Area (q.v.). He also was a prominent member of the Armory, before conflicts with other Team members caused him to quit under a cloud of resentment and hostility. He was also a member of Team Triumph™ before quitting the Team under similar circumstances.
Turbo-Drive’s Phenomenon permits him to move at astounding speeds as long as he has a solid surface or medium through which move against. He can even ‘swim’ through the air at somewhat slower speeds than when he moves on solid ground, perhaps because of the lesser density of air when compared to solids. A side effect of his speed, or perhaps the reason he can move faster than any land object should, is that his relative density increases exponentially the faster he moves, in a relation similar to general relativity, which states that the relative mass of an objects increases relative to how fast it moves, rendering Turbo-Drive™ virtually indestructible while he moves. He takes advantage of this by using himself as a ballistic missile to devastating effect. He also generates an electromagnetic field that interferes with unprotected electronic equipment and makes it notoriously difficult to record him by any means, though this effect is little understood, as it affects equipment trying to document him even from afar, such as surveillance satellites or even computer checks! Hence, very little objective, electronic data exists on Turbo-Drive, most of what is known having been collected from anecdotal reference by observers on the field.
Currently, Turbo-Drive has been active with a loose group of Meta-Adventurers called The Fugitives™ (q.v.).
Xenophiles: Human collaborators with Intruders. These individuals assist Intruders in their various agendas in exchange for access to Intruder tech and/or help. Xenophiles are grouped into a variety of overt and clandestine organizations and secret societies, and interact with their Intruder patrons to varying degrees, from amateur, UFO clubs to the notorious MIB’s.
The reasons for humans assisting Intruders are as varied as the people themselves, but they boil down to getting an edge over their fellow humans and Metas, as Intruder Tech has been demonstrated to narrow the power gap between Avffie and Meta. Metas capable of taking a cannon shot to the chest and laugh have been reduced to green goo when exposed to Intruder weapons, so possibility of gaining access to such technology makes sense in humans interacting with the decidedly dangerous Intruders, even if the goals, intentions and techniques of these beings remain alien and lethal to humans.
Another reason for humans voluntarily subjecting themselves to Intruder control might be self-preservation. If Intruders should succeed in one of their Invasions means that only Those Who Collaborate will be spared from their sinister designs… maybe.
What forms these collaborations take vary in the degree of involvement of the Xenophile in question, and might even be involuntary. From test subjects to experimentation and breeding programs, to active militant activities in the name of a particular Intruder species humans serve and are served of in all manner of capacities by Intruders, even if only as hosts to sentient, parasitic Intruders.