A BREED APART

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					A BREED APART




  A New Race for a New Age.
                                                           ABERRANT




                              SPECIAL DELIVERY
      They were all standing on a massive rock the size of a city           Peter nodded. “Also, there is nothing prohibitively unusual
bus, which jutted up out of the rapidly moving river beneath          about a son erupting to known baseline parents, such as your
them. A few hundred yards downstream, the roar of the                 mother and myself.” He ruffled his wings. “Lana’s identity and
waterfall could be heard.                                             mine are secure.”
      Lana Macon smiled serenely out at the rain forest beyond,             Nick wheeled neatly to his feet. He walked over to Peter
and placed a hand on her husband’s bare shoulder. Peter’s dark,       and hugged him, who returned the gesture with strong arms that
mocha skin felt hot and damp in the jungle air, but it was a          could bend lead pipe. “Thanks, Dad.”
pleasant texture, and she traced a gentle pattern up his humerus.           Annie came up behind Nick and brushed something off his
As her brown fingers traced the intricate feathering of his giant     shoulder. “Now, when you take him to the Facility, be sure you
hawk wing, Peter looked up at her, and the sun seemed to shine        go to Ann Arbor, not Detroit. I have friends at the one in Ann
brighter on their little group. Lana heard the hiss of Annie’s        Arbor, and... oh, what?” Nick and Lana had exchanged a glance.
portal closing behind them.                                                 “I think we might not be going with the whole Rashoud
      “Look at that, Lana,” Annie said. “Your son just smiled at      Facility route, Annie.”
me, even though he’s wearing sunglasses! I’ve never seen you                “Not that we don’t trust the Project, you understand…”
smile with shades on, Nick kiddo, not once since I’ve known                 “Oh, stop,” said Annie. “It’s fine! It’s a perfectly
you.”        Annie “Trade Winds” Horne, the legendary                 legitimate decision. Christ, I used to work for them; I’m not their
transportation Elite, grinned happily and mussed Nick’s hair.         roving sales-nova. Peter, I’m sure you’ll be a fine teacher.”
      Nick broke into a wry grin as Lana turned to look, and                Lana nodded carefully, and was silent for a moment before
awkwardly returned Annie’s hug from his flank. To his mother,         adding, “It’s not about Corbin and Rousseau.”
he said, “She’s like a giant, white puppy.”                                 “It’s okay if it is. I used to be friends with Rousseau.”
      “Hey!” Annie bopped him gently on the back of the head.               Lana nodded again. Peter coughed.
      Lana shrugged. “I’m sorry, dear, it’s true. You’re white as           “Look, well, I’d better be going. I’ll be back in half an
can be.” She sniffled dramatically. “I... didn’t know how to tell     hour.” Annie stood on tiptoes to kiss Nick on the forehead.
you before.”                                                          “You practice your terminal velocity falls now, and enjoy your
      Annie laughed. “Hey, in this kind of sun, white is by far the   picnic.” A jet-black disc opened in the air, and Annie Horne
best color scheme I can think of.”                                    stepped into it and was gone.
      Lana smiled. For an affluent, 21st century Southern belle,            Lana smiled. “See you, Annie.”
Annie was remarkably unselfconscious about her race. Possibly               Peter wheeled on his son, wings unfolding to their full size.
because she had made her fortune on her own as Trade Winds,                 “Going down the waterfall first was a good idea. Best to get
inheriting next to nothing from her happy Alabama home.               your head wrapped around the whole ‘falling’ idea first before
      Meanwhile, Nick had lay face-down on the hot rock, and          you try it on pavement.”
started to do one-armed push-ups, smoothly switching at every               Nick beamed. “I’m ready, Dad.”
peak from one arm to the other. Annie walked over and took a                Lana sat down on the warm rock and hugged her knees.
seat on his back as it rapidly rose and fell. Nick’s pace did not     “Peter, are you sure this is safe?”
alter in the slightest; it just rhythmically pumped the lady Elite          Peter shrugged. Nick exploded.
up and down like a bourgeois piston.                                        “Mom! This is how you erupted for real, and you already
      “Excited for your upcoming eruption, Nick?”                     said you know I’m stronger! How could it not be safe?”
      Nick just grinned wider at the rock. “Up, Aunt Annie.”                “Every nova is different! Nicky… I just worry about you.”
      Annie obligingly hopped to her feet, and Nick swung his               “Dad, let’s go.”
legs up in the air and began a set of one-arm-stand pushups,                Peter nodded. He squeezed his wife’s hand, and Nick
switching fluidly from hand to hand like before. “I’m just happy      embraced his mother with one arm. Then the hawk-winged
Mom and Dad are letting me have an ‘eruption’ for the public to       nova’s big hands slipped under his son’s armpits, and powerful
see at all.”                                                          wing beats lifted them up over the water.
      Lana smiled at her son. Peter did not smile, but he stood up          Lana looked down at the sun’s reflection glittering across
behind her and faced Nick with his arm around Lana, brightly          the face of the river. She looked up just in time to see her
colored hawk wings folded neatly behind him. He looked proud,         husband’s left wing explode in a flurry of feathers and spattering
and happy.                                                            blood. Before Lana’s eyes, her husband and son lost their
      “Your father and I have both had our heyday, Nicky; we          balance, and plummeted toward the water.
don’t mind being ‘retired’ as novas. But your nova powers                   She was flying through the air before Peter’s scream left
already put ours to shame, and you’ve got your whole life in          his throat. Lana’s slight form slammed into the two most
front of you. We don’t want you to spend it undercover.”



                                                         SPECIAL DELIVERY                                                              1
                                                             ABERRANT

important men in her life, driving their fall trajectory off the        into the lake, with him in it.” Nick glanced up at the truck’s cab.
edge of the waterfall.                                                  “And then I picked up the front of his car to show I meant it… I
            *          *        *                                       hope I didn’t scare him too bad.”
      “Mom!”                                                                  Lana collapsed to the bed of the truck, near exhaustion and
      She regained consciousness, soaking wet and smelling              sick with relief over Peter’s fate.
algae. She picked her head up and looked around, and saw that                 Nick put his arm around her, and rested his head on his
the jungle scenery was moving. She was in the bed of a Toyota           shoulder and closed his eyes. He opened them seconds later to
pickup truck, which was hurtling down a dirt road, with Nick and        get a last look at the waterfall, as it dropped out of view, and
an unconscious, bleeding Peter lying on his stomach, wings              sighed his own relief. “I wonder who was back there? Why
folded awkwardly over him.                                              would anyone shoot at us, and how did they know where to find
      “Mom, is Dad going to be okay?”                                   us?”
      Lana fell onto her husband and turned him onto his side,                     *          *          *
fumbling at his neck. She placed her fingers there for a moment,              “Motherhunter,” Annie snarled.
then heaved a sigh.                                                           With the Macons gone, the jungle had reverted to its usual
      “He’s got a pulse…”                                               quiet, with a more or less constant fwoosh from the river
      She grabbed onto the forewing and pulled it up to expose          punctuated by the cries of territorial birds of paradise. The
the bullet hole behind the dark feathers.                               sniper, at least, wasn’t saying anything – Annie wasn’t sure if
      “I think he’ll live… Sniper’s bullets are high-penetration,       the massive, spherical “force blob” enveloping him actually
but it just blew through the wing at a single point and didn’t tear     suppressed speech, or if the would-be assassin was just too
up much of the surrounding tissue.” Lana wiped her eyes, teary          terrified to talk. Oh, but he would talk. Annie smiled widely at
from the wind and stress, and looked up at Nick. “Where did             the surrounding jungle, then made a gesture, and a bright green
this truck and driver come from?”                                       circular gate opened up in the air below them, with only Annie’s
      “Oh… Well, I pulled you and Dad out of the lake and carried       “Trade Winds” powers holding them suspended in the jungle air.
you, and once I got us to the dirt road, I waved down the first               “Let’s go see Mme. Rousseau,” Annie said. The dark man
car I saw and told him if he didn’t give us a ride, I’d throw his car   in her bubble said nothing..




2                                                          SPECIAL DELIVERY
                                                                       A B E R R A N T
                                                         A BREED APART




                                    Utopian Transcript


[Transcript of recording of Aeon Council meeting, December 17, 2008]
      First Voice (French accent): For our next item of business, it appears that we have yet another nova-related problem to
address. The author of the report on this development will now give us a brief overview of the situation. Feel free to ask questions
afterwards.
      Second Voice (northeast United States accent): As you all have seen in my report, we have uncovered evidence of a number of
novas living incognito among the general human population. As these hidden novas seem intent on living ordinary lives and depriving
the world at large of the benefits of their nova capabilities, we would already need to uncover them simply due to our increasing need
for nova personnel. Unfortunately, these novas pose a greater threat. Due to the fact that they have never received treatment at a
Rashoud clinic or from a Utopian Intervention Team, these novas are not only fertile but have managed to pair off with each other
and produce nova children.
      Third Voice (western United States accent): I agree that we need all the novas we can get our hands on, but are you seriously
suggesting that novas living quietly out in suburbia and having kids are a threat to our plans?
      Second Voice: Exactly. If you’ll refer to the Bahrain lab reports, we have strong evidence to suspect that the offspring of
“breeder nova” couples have the potential to outstrip their parents in terms of their quantum capabilities. Our extrapolations predict
that once they mature, these “second generation” novas could easily grow to match the level of power exhibited by Divis Mal. One
Mal is enough of a threat to Aeon’s plans for humanity’s betterment. With fifty to a hundred more novas of his caliber around the
world, we are faced with the potential to derail those plans entirely.
      Fourth Voice (faint midwestern United States accent): So you would have our operatives hunt down these families, simply for
their potential to thwart the plans of the Aeon Society? Wouldn’t simply leaving these “breeder novas” and their children alone be
more effective in ameliorating whatever threat they might pose? If we follow the course of action you have proposed, we will be
making both parents and children into enemies of Project Utopia and Aeon.
      Fifth Voice (Korean accent): This is clearly a case where the needs of humanity as a whole must take precedence over the
selfish desires of a relatively small number of individuals. We cannot afford not to take this opportunity.
      Fourth Voice: Need I remind you that the only reason that Project Utopia has worked well so far is that their novas joined it of
their own free will? What we’re talking about here is a program of mandatory conscription, and it will surely result in increased nova
resentment of Utopia. If we pursue this course of action, it will eventually blow up in our faces, quite possibly in a literal sense.
      Sixth Voice (Brazilian accent): Forgive me for interrupting, but I see no reasonable alternatives to the course of action outlined
in this report. If we fail to exploit the powers of these novas for the sake of all humanity, all of our previous efforts are likely to be
wasted. Also, I agree that the education of these “second generation” nova offspring cannot be left to chance. If we can raise them to
be loyal to Aeon, we could gain the upper hand over Mal and his Teragen. If we leave them be, that just leaves them open for
recruitment by unsavory elements like the Teragen, Aberrants or the organized crime families. (Brief pause.) I assume that you have
appropriate recruitment strategies worked out for these child novas?
      Second Voice: Yes, if such children do prove to be tractable. I suggest that Project Utopia’s Nova Medicine section be given
initial responsibility for that operation, if it does become viable.
      Third Voice: I second that, with the condition that we don’t break up these families except in cases where the parents are
criminals or otherwise threats to their children.
      Second Voice: (Brief pause.) I have no objection to that.
      First Voice: Very well. As we seem to have no other questions, we shall now take a vote on whether to implement the plan in
question. (Brief pause.) We have ten “yeas”, and two “nays”; the plan is approved. You may begin immediately.
      Second Voice: Thank you.




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                         Utopia Case-file #: T2M-121808-JJL2251


       Arena: Global
       Author: Justin J. Laragione
       Author’s Title: Director, Project Utopia
       Subject: “Breeder” novas
       Urgency Level: Urgent
       Minimum Security Rating: Beta
Overview:
       A few months ago, Utopian operatives discovered evidence that certain novas have managed to avoid any and all public
exposure, and are living hidden among the general human population. If this was a more perfect world, we could permit these novas to
pursue their dreams of domestic bliss and quotidian success. Unfortunately, there are five reasons why this cannot be.
         Our need for new nova recruits. As anyone in our Recruiting section could tell you, Utopia quite literally needs all the novas
we can get. Each and every nova has the potential to change the world, and with Utopia’s guidance they can improve it for the
common good. Instead of joining us in our efforts to make a finer world for everyone, these novas have decided to turn their backs
on all the good they could do for their baseline brothers and sisters. Despite whatever mistrust of Utopia that has made them avoid
us, we cannot allow their potential to go to waste in this manner. We must seek these novas out and convince them to use the gifts
they’ve been blessed with to humanity’s benefit.
         These novas hold the key to the mystery of nova sterility. We have hard evidence that some of these novas are not only
fertile, but have also produced healthy nova children. If we can find out how they managed that feat, then perhaps Utopia can make it
possible for them to share that gift with the rest of the nova population as well. There are too many novas who would make wonderful
parents for us not to take this opportunity.
         The children of these novas are born erupted, and have the potential to dwarf their parents in terms of their nova capabilities.
Studies performed by our associates in Triton suggest that not only are these “second generation” nova children a match for any
recently-erupted nova, but upon reaching maturity they will attain levels of power that could easily match those of our own Caestus
Pax. Utopia owes it to humanity to ensure that these children are raised with a sense of ethics and morality strong enough to match
their inborn potential for extreme power.
         If Utopia does not recruit breeder novas and their children, then our enemies surely will. Any nova we fail to recruit for Utopia
becomes ripe pickings for groups like the Teragen or the Aberrants. While this is bad enough in the case of your average newly-
erupted nova, the danger posed by breeder novas joining the Teragen is even greater. There is no one more influential on a child than
the people who raise him or her. We cannot afford for any of the second generation nova children to grow up into new members of
the Teragen. The prospect of these children and their parents joining the Aberrants is only slightly less distressing; as is the idea of
recruitment by any of our other rival organizations. If we cannot get these novas to join Utopia, they will almost certainly end up
opposing us.
         The final reason we need to find these people is that as novas living “off the radar”, the likelihood of them having contacts
with others living off the radar is very high. Typically this means criminal contacts, and in the long run, criminal contacts have the
distressing tendency to lead to criminal employment. We really don’t need someone with Pax’s level of power working for an
organized crime group like the Camparelli-Zhukov Megasyndicate or the Nakato Gumi, they are already enough of a problem.
Approach Recommendation:
       This office recommends that all reasonable efforts be made to locate and recruit any breeder novas (and their children, if any)
that may be found in our respective arenas. At least one T2M nova with appropriate enhanced social capabilites should be assigned to
a “breeder recruitment team”, and should be considered the team leader unless the breeder novas become violent in their refusal. In
that case, standard sequestering protocols should be followed, but team members must avoid even appearing to threaten the children
at all costs. Criminal or highly-aberrated breeder novas will be dealt with as per standard operating procedures. Any children of such
obviously unfit parents will be remanded to Nova Medicine until appropriate Utopian foster parents can be arranged to adopt them.
Also, these teams should remain on guard for any Terat or Aberrant interference.



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                                    Proteus Communiqué



[Begin Proteus Communiqué double-encrypted with Navajo Daedelus 3; dated 12/18/08]
      Ozaki,
      The meeting went better than I had expected; the proposal was accepted with the only dissent coming from the expected
sources. It is imperative that we place sufficient long-term operatives within Nova Medicine to redirect captured breeder novas and
their “second generation” offspring to our clinics, where they can be dealt with as we have deemed necessary. Extreme visibility
protocols are required for this to work; if any hint of what we’re really doing leaks out to Laragione or (God forfend) Mercer, it could
all come crashing down on our heads. We should also check into the feasibility of replacing Dr. Stadler with someone more tractable
to run Nova Medicine. Stadler’s militaristic managerial style may get results but also makes it all the more difficult for our long-term
agents to operate under his command without burning out from the additional stress.
      -Thetis


                                         Utopian Memo


     To: All Medical Facilities
     From: Internal Affairs, Triton
     Date: 5/25/99
     Re: Tracking of Controlled Substances

     Due to the risk of abuse of these controlled substances and the liabilities thereof, we will be instituting a tracer program in all
adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine distributed by Project Utopia and affiliated clinics. Said tracer will include a microscopic tag with a
unique numbering sequence. These tracers have been issued to all facilities and the identifying sequences logged to those facilities,
and are to be included in all issued doses of these substances as of 6/1/99.
     By this method, we will be able to eliminate liability for third-party distribution of these substances, and can track any quality
control issues as they arise.



                                     Private Communiqué


     [SECURITY CODE Omicron-Epsilon-859-3]
     [DECODING]
     Thetis,
     The first doses went out last week, as scheduled. Follow-up reports from this week are on-target: Negligible gamete counts,
and new gametes self-eliminated almost immediately.
     Congratulations; it appears that we have succeeded. There will be exceptions, of course, but those can be dealt with on a case-
by-case basis.
     Toiho
     [RE-ENCODING]
     [SELF-DELETING]



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                                           Personal E-mail


     02-12-08 14:52:35
     To: gingersol@ingersolbiosolutions.op
     From: melhat33@denversocket.op
     Re: Good News
     Greg,
     You know how we’ve talked about that “what if”? About what it would be like if we were normal people and could have what
they have?
     We can stop talking. We’re going to have a baby. :-)
     Come home, hon; we’ve got a lot of planning to do!
     Love,
     Melissa


From Parenting World Magazine
01/24/11
Family, Revisited:
                                                                             ●      PW: Correct me if I’m wrong, but do you mean that your
                                                                             daughter was born with these spots? And does that mean what I
                                                                             think it means?
The Ingersols                                                                ●      Gregory: Yes; Meghan was born a nova.
                                                                             ●      PW: Did that come with any complications? And do you
       Mom, Dad and toddler daughter, living in the suburbs of               know why she was a…well, I suppose you would call it a pre-natal
Denver. Dad works for a local pharmaceutical company, Mom                    eruption?
does free-lance writing from home, and daughter has found her                ●      Melissa: Actually, it probably saved her life. I have an rh-
voice as she has entered the “terrible twos”. Sounds like your               negative bloodtype, and Gregory is rh-positive, as is Meghan.
typical American family, right?                                              Because my immune system is as strong as it is, the normal pre-
       Well, the Ingersols couldn’t be less typical if they tried. Dad       natal treatment for the mismatch was not very effective; my
is Gregory “Microbe” Ingersol, the man who has created six                   antibodies were attacking her blood cells faster than the treatments
different cancer vaccines from scratch in the past six years, and is         could counteract. It was actually touch and go for a while…and
the founder of Ingersol Biosolutions. Mom is Melissa “Cheetah”               then, her blood count shot well past the norm and up into nova
Hatch-Ingersol, renown wildlife biologist and author of more than            territory. We think she erupted in an effort to resist my antibodies,
40 books on the big cats of the world. And daughter Meghan is –              and it certainly worked.
at two years of age – not only a latent, but a full-fledged nova.            ●      PW: That’s amazing. And wonderful, I might add!
       We are thrilled to be able to interview this remarkable family.       ●      Gregory: It was a life-saver, literally.
●      PW: Thank you for meeting with us today, Mr. and Mrs.                 ●      PW: So, Meghan is probably the picture of health then, yes?
Ingersol.                                                                    ●      Gregory: She hasn’t been sick a day in her life. And from
●      Gregory Ingersol: Please, call me Gregory.                            what I can tell, she never will be; it looks like the immunity that
●      Melissa Hatch-Ingersol: And call me Melissa. It’s no                  both her mother and I have passed along to her in full.
trouble; we’re happy to be here.                                             ●      PW: No worries about colds and chicken pox then. I’m
●      PW: Gregory, Melissa, I’m sure that you both are aware of             sure, though, that Meghan presents different sort of challenges…
just how rare your situation is, even 13 years after N-Day. And as           ●      Melissa: Oh, you can say that again. She goes through food
that topic has been discussed extensively in recent years elsewhere,         like any other nova: lots of it, with gusto. There were times where
I’d like skip past it and talk about your family.                            I honestly wondered if I was going to have to nurse her 24/7 that
●      Gregory: That’s fine.                                                 first year.
●      PW: Now, I see that your daughter, Meghan, seems to have              ●      PW: Wow! She probably has quite the diaper bill, too.
your eyes, Gregory…and if you don’t mind me saying so, your                  ●      Melissa: Had one, yes. The rate she went through diapers
spots, Melissa. Is this…normal with nova children?                           was unreal, but she’s already moved out of them.
●      Melissa: Well, it’s hard to say what really is and is not             Developmentally, Meghan’s well ahead of the curve. She’s
normal when you are talking about second-generation novas.                   already reading at a 5th-grade level.
There’s a vanishingly small sample from which to draw                        ●      PW: At two years old? That’s remarkable!
conclusions. That said, there have been previous examples of                 ●      Gregory: Unfortunately, the tantrums are pretty remarkable,
inherited patternings and colorations and such. So it wasn’t a               too. She’s still only two emotionally… and a two-year old with a
complete surprise when Meghan showed up with my cheetah spots.               10-year old’s vocabulary, well, it gets a bit rough.

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                             Proteus Communiqué



[BEGIN PROTEUS COMMUNIQUÉ]
Top Secret
    [PROTEUS FILE]
    Encryption Code: Jericho-9-15
    Date: March 18, 2011
    To: R. Murphey, Asst. Proj. Lead, North America
    From: G. Reynolds, Team Charlie Lead
    Subject: Operation 385-J8
    Dir. Murphey,
    As per instructions, patterns have been tracked and established for the target (see attachment A).
Given the circumstances and the nature of target capabilities, vehicular intercept is recommended, with
combustion imperative. See attachments B and C for recommended methods and locations.
    With your approval, we will conclude the operation.
    G. Reynolds
    Field Agent


[END COMMUNIQUÉ]

                            Proteus Communiqué



[BEGIN PROTEUS COMMUNIQUÉ]
Top Secret
   [DIRECTIVE FILE]
   Encryption Code: Jericho-9-15
   Date: March 18, 2011
   To: G. Reynolds, Team Charlie Lead
   From: R. Murphey, Asst. Proj. Lead, North America
   Subject: Operation 385-J8
   Agent Reynolds,
   Proposed resolution 3 is approved. Commence conclusion of operation.
   R. Murphey
   Asst. Director


[END COMMUNIQUÉ]
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                                   General News Release


     [Excerpt taken from the Denver Post, March 23, 2011]
Celebrated Nova Family Killed in Automobile Accident
      Associated Press
      DENVER, COLORADO
      Local nova celebrities Gregory Ingersol, Melissa Hatch-Ingersol, and their daughter Meghan were killed today on Interstate 70
in a fiery collision with a propane tanker truck.
      The accident, which closed the westbound lanes of the I-70 just west of the I-225 interchange for three hours this morning,
occurred at approximately 7:35 am. State police report that a pre-existing oil spill on the highway may have caused the Ingersol’s
Subaru to go into a slide beneath the trailer of the truck. The trailer broke free from the tractor, flipped onto the Subaru and
exploded in a fireball that was seen as far away as Englewood.
      The driver of the truck, Mr. Jose Gonzales of Topeka, KS, has not been charged at this time.
      The Ingersol’s were well-known within the Denver area, having become celebrities since the news of their nova child two years
ago. Megan was one of the very few second-generation, or “2ndGen”, novas publicly known in the U.S. Mr. Ingersol was the founder
of Ingersol Biosolutions, and Mrs. Hatch-Ingersol the author of an extensive number of books and articles on large hunting cats. They
are survived by….




                                      Proteus Communiqué



[BEGIN PROTEUS COMMUNIQUÉ]
Top Secret
     [DIRECTIVE FILE]
     Encryption Code: Jericho-9-23
     Date: March 23, 2011
     To: R. Murphey, Asst. Proj. Lead, North America
     From: G. Reynolds, Team Charlie Lead
     Subject: Operation 385-J8
     Dir. Murphey,
     Operation completed successfully. Awaiting new assignment.
     G. Reynolds
     Field Agent


[END COMMUNIQUÉ]


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                                                         A BREED APART




                                         Directive File


[Encrypted OpNet Email]
     To: big-daddy@pimpster.net
     From: straitjacket@squirrel-bait.com
     Date: 11/08/2005

      Count Orzaiz:
      Now that the dust has settled from the recent failure of our first attempt to verify the existence and nature of the “Utopian
sterility agent” which Bounty claims is being used to prevent the One Race from reproducing, I have finished my analysis of the
situation. The results are both disturbing and heartening, as you will see below.
      Item #1 - Equipment & Supplies: Despite our best efforts to set up an independent laboratory sufficient for our operational
needs, nearly all of our orders for lab equipment were interfered with in one way or another. Glassware was broken in transit, pieces
of equipment were delayed or lost in shipment, and many of the supplies turned out to be mislabeled. And to top it off, this sort of
thing happened with nearly all of our orders.
      Item #2 - Social Difficulties: We Terats being who we are, a certain amount of sniping and interpersonal conflict was to be
expected. At the beginning, all of our researchers understood the importance of our work and did their best to perform their duties in
a professional manner, for the good of the One Race. It didn’t last. The excessive amount of problems with our equipment and
supplies nearly drove our collective stress levels through the roof. Then at least three feuds among our personnel developed; with a
scientific argument, accusation of incompetence and a failed seduction attempt being the causes. Frustrated with our lack of progress
in setting up the lab, two of our senior researchers quit the operation in order to perform some “real work” elsewhere.
      Item #3 - Sample Quality Problems: Eventually, we did get the lab set up so that we could begin our real work. To our surprise,
none of the samples of adrenocilin or moxinoquantamine which that freelance thief acquired for us from Triton Pharmaceuticals
showed any traces of the sterility-inducing chemicals we were expecting to find. This lack of success led three more of our personnel
to resign, as they were convinced that we were wasting our time.
      Item #4 - Outside Harassment: Our research continued for another week. That’s when Project Utopia’s Technological
Regulation section arrived for a surprise inspection of the lab. Our collective morale sank even lower when they arrested our top
resident pharmaceutical expert on a trumped-up outstanding warrant. Three days later, we received a call from the Mathematician,
who instructed us to leave everything and abandon the lab immediately. We followed his advice without question, and received news
that the lab and everything in it was razed to the ground by a trio of DeVries elites, one of whom was seen toting around a BFG. If any
of us had still been there, we would surely have been killed. Our pair of resident bodyguards are not at their best when fighting
against long-range attacks. If they had been present at the lab when PU’s Tech police showed up, we could’ve found five or six elites
on our doorstep instead of just three.
      In Conclusion: Count Orzaiz, this operation was “made” by our foes nearly from the moment we bought the lab building. All of
the items listed above are indicative of a focused and sustained effort to keep us from investigating the Utopian sterility agent by any
means necessary. Even the social conflicts between our personnel can be linked to this; as several of them had casual friends and/or
lovers who have disappeared without a trace after our lab was destroyed. Even the stolen drugs must be held suspect - did that thief
really steal them from a Rashoud clinic, or was he merely given them by Utopian operatives?
      Earlier I said that there was something heartening about all this bad news. The silver lining is this: Project Utopia would not have
put this much effort into derailing our operation if there was nothing for it to discover. If someone can find out what they’re so
desperate to hide, the results could be explosive.




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                                Teragen OpNet Transcript


[Excerpt from a private OpNet chat dated 4/23/2006]
       Open Secure Channel (Superuser: Synapse)
       Login: Orzaiz
       Login: Geryon
       Geryon: OK, I’m here. What all is this BIG project you’ve got going?
       Synapse: We want your children.
       Geryon: You want WHAT!?!
       Orzaiz: Synapse, please... James, we would like you to donate several samples of your sperm for our project. In fact, we would
like for you to do so on a regular basis.
       Geryon: At the risk of repeating myself, you want WHAT!?!
       Orzaiz: You are, of course, quite familiar with Utopia’s efforts towards the mass sterilization of novas. However, you should also
know that impaired fertility has long been a concern for baselines as well. Fertility clinics and sperm banks have been helping baseline
couples who would otherwise be barren to bear offspring for over thirty years now. The Casablancas have been working to take
advantage of this ever since we first heard the rumors about nova sterility back in 2003. If the baselines are going to help themselves
to overcome their own fertility problems, all it takes is just a small bit of substitution for their efforts to help us as well.
       Geryon: …
       Orzaiz: Think of it as poetic justice.
       Geryon: What does Mal think of this?
       Synapse: Scripture knows. He laughed when I told him about the project and said that we had the blessing of Mal for “our little
endeavor”.
       Geryon: He’s really OK with future members of the One Race being raised by baselines?
       Synapse: Guess so. Besides, outside of Bounty’s crew, all of us were raised by baselines and we turned out all right.
       Orzaiz: The question is not whether the children of the One Race should be raised by baselines or novas. The question is
whether or not bringing more of the One Race into the world is a good thing for us. Considering that Utopia is seeking to prevent that
at all costs, I would think so.
       Geryon: …Why me?
       Synapse: You can have kids without Bounty’s help, and there aren’t many novas who can do that. We’ve tried putting sperm
samples from Terat guys that she’d just used her power on into cryogenic storage, but it didn’t help any. The effect of Bounty’s
power wears off too quickly, and the samples became useless after just a few days.
       Geryon: How about you baldy, are you going to ‘contribute’ to this project of yours too?
       Orzaiz: I can’t.
       Synapse: What?
       Orzaiz: All those nights drinking in public, somewhere down the line they managed to get to me. I’m sterile.
       Geryon: Ah, that bites man. I’m sorry.
       Synapse: Ditto.
       Geryon: But what you’re asking me to do, it’s a big deal. I’d be having kids out there that I’d never see.
       Orzaiz: You would have children out there with no obvious link to either you or the Teragen, James. Children that Utopia and the
other enemies of the One Race could never target or hold against you. Children that would, in time, inherit the fruits of our struggle.
       Geryon: OK, I’m not saying yes, just yet. How, exactly, would this work?.




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                                Encrypted OpNet Message


     Date: 09/26/2008
     To: glissande@downtown.com
     From: basespwned@tweakers.net

      Count Orzaiz:
      I’m pleased to announce that our group of researchers has achieved our first objective, the isolation and identification of the
Utopian sterility agent. As per our initial hypothesis, the agent is indeed administered through the adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine
produced by Triton Pharmaceuticals. However, our initial speculations were contradicted - dramatically so, in some cases - by the
results of our examination of our samples of said medications. Our specific findings are as follows:
      1- The Utopian sterility agent is present in only a small fraction of the adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine produced by Triton.
The agent was only found in three of our samples; two of which were purloined from Utopian Intervention Teams and a third from a
Rashoud clinic. We surmise that these adulterated drugs would have been administered to either newly-erupted novas or to
recalcitrant novas who come into conflict with Utopian agents. Furthermore, the agent is transmitted by the microscopic tags found
within all Triton-produced adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine, allowing the agent to be directed to its intended targets with a high
degree of efficiency.
      2- Instead of a simple contraceptive drug, the Utopian sterility agent turned out to be a pair of bioengineered retroviruses that
have slightly different yet complimentary effects. The first retrovirus targets the subject’s existing gametes, while the second
targets gamete-producing structures in the subject’s gonads. In both cases, infection results in the nova’s gametes being genetically
damaged to the point of being precancerous. As a result, the subject’s existing gametes and any that may be produced by the
subject’s gonads in the future are summarily dispatched by the subject’s own immune system.
      3- Upon examination of the two Utopian sterility retroviruses, it is our unanimous conclusion that there is no way that Triton
could have created them from scratch, even with the knowledge of Utopia’s pet nova gengineers at their disposal. Instead, we
postulate that the genetic flaws induced by the retroviruses came from a nova whose eruption resulted in genetic damage. If the nova
in question also developed severe levels of taint from his or her eruption, we further speculate that this unfortunate may very well
have been incarcerated in Utopia’s Bahrain Rashoud clinic.
      Now that our first objective has been achieved, we now are seeking ways to fulfill our second and third objectives; namely
finding a means to protect fertile novas against the Utopian sterility retroviruses and a way to restore the fertility of those novas
who have already been affected by them. Our initial debates have been contentious, but we should see some progress soon, if all goes
well.
      PS: Please pass along our appreciation to Synapse for changing the tone of our false addresses.




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                               Maer Enclave Personal Log Excerpts


[Excerpted from personal log of Trang “Doctor Anh Sáng Sao” Xuan Tu’]
     My fellow scientists are fools, and either unwilling or unable to see that my approach to correcting the nova sterility issue is the
correct one. Genetic engineering will once again triumph in this matter.

          *          *         *

[Excerpted from personal log of Francesco “Thermite” Anselmi]
     Had another run in with Anh Sáng Sao today, the arrogant ass. After he rubbed my nose in that typo that I made for the third
time (like no one else has spelled “the” as “teh”), I mentally increased the temperature on his experiment by two degrees for two
hours, then I moved it back down. Let’s just see if he’s ‘bright’ enough to figure it out. Now Permafrost is impressive, she’s almost my
mental equal, and the package that mind comes in is even more impressive.

          *          *         *

[Excerpted from personal log of Tamara “Permafrost” Kavanne]
     Men are fools. The obvious way to approach this problem is to adapt Bounty’s techniques. I think Thermite is trying to steal my
research, he came over to my lab, again, and “made eyes” at me. Like I’m supposed to not know that he prefers men? Worse, he
didn’t correct me when I deliberately made a few errors on some of my blackboard calculations. Either he wasn’t smart enough to
figure it out, or he was too busy reviewing what I was up to.

          *          *         *

[Excerpted from personal log of Maurice “Brainstorm” Whitworth]
     Well, Platypus and Thermite are still lusting after Permafrost and trying to impress her with their brilliance. I synthesized Anh
Sáng Sao’s scent and put a swab of it in Platypus’ lab. As I predicted, Platypus does have an enhanced sense of smell, so he noticed.
Platypus is paranoid enough to think that Anh Sáng Sao would deliberately sabotage his work, and of course Anh Sáng Sao helped the
issue by saying that he couldn’t be bothered to ever review anything a “lesser mind” such as Platypus could do. I think Platypus spent
two days searching his lab, looking for whatever “gift” Anh Sáng Sao left him. Hopefully this will refocus his mind on his work.

          *          *         *

[Excerpted from personal log of Ethan “Platypus” Butler]
     Anh Sáng Sao could just make me scream. He tries to hide his technical inferiority by stealing ideas from his betters. I found
evidence that he’d been in my lab, which he denied. Worse, his research used the same stand in variables I did on THREE separate
points. The ass didn’t even bother to change them for the presentation!!! No way does it end here.




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                                        Directive File


[Memorandum]
      For Director Harris:
      As you suspected, the common wisdom concerning the so-called “breeder” nova phenomenon is incorrect on four important
points. First, the population of fertile novas is much greater than is widely believed. Instead of the handful of breeder nova couples
that have been documented by the media, my research leads me to speculate that at least 100 breeder nova couples are living hidden
and scattered around the First World nations. Second is these novas’ total aversion to public attention. Judging from to the
surveillance I’ve performed on two such couples in the continental U.S., they take extreme pains to pose as uninteresting baseline
couples (including use of the “dormancy” technique) and keep their status as novas secret from the world at large. Third is the fact
that all of the public speculation among paraphysicians on the biological difficulties that fertile novas would presumably face in sexual
reproduction is pure bunk in most cases. From what I’ve been able to determine, most breeder nova couples face little or no
difficulties with getting pregnant and bringing the fetus to term.
      So far, none of this appears to be cause for concern. These novas’ intentions appear to be living fairly normal (if quiet) lives,
holding down steady well-paying jobs, paying their taxes and raising their kids as best they can. It’s the next point that worries me.
Fourth is the fact that these growing little families do not take well at all to anyone who attempts to “out” them as novas. In most of
the cases where I suspect this has happened, the couple grabs their kids and valuables, then abandon their established identities and
lives. I know of one case where such an attempted exposure by an overly-pushy baseline Utopian recruiter resulted in the recruiter’s
death just minutes before the family he’d uncovered vanished. The old cliché about nothing being as dangerous as a mother
protecting her children is almost too appropriate here.
      Fortunately, the other major factions all seem to be keeping any interest they have in breeder nova couples (and their children)
very low-key, if they have any interest in them at all. Utopia’s certainly been sniffing around for them, but with little apparent
success. The few Utopians who do locate a breeder nova couple tend to return to PU either empty-handed or in an ambulance (or
body bag). I have no concrete evidence of either Aberrants or Terats attempting to recruit these novas yet, but it’s only a matter of
time. One big surprise was confirmed evidence of a breeder nova couple from Saskatchewan, Canada being recruited by DeVries.
They’ve kept this success very quiet, and have already fended off one attempt (by a probable Utopian spy) to uncover the family’s
new location. Most of the minor factions don’t appear to have any serious interest in this situation, with the Church of Michael
Archangel being the lone (and ineffectual) exception. Three Michaelite “monster hunters” have been shot and killed by local police in
Milwaukee, Phoenix and Miami when caught stalking young families they’d mistaken for breeder novas.
      Trip.




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                                  Directive OpMail Transcript


[Unsolicited OpMail received by Director Arnold Harris, 06/14/2009]
    To: Director Harris [OpMail Address suppressed]
    Subject: “Hatcher” Breeder Novas
    From: [Name & OpMail Address suppressed]

       Director Harris-
       Let me make a few things absolutely clear beforehand. Yes, I know enough about you to send you this OpMail and ensure that
you receive it. No, I have no interest in any further communication with you or your organization. As for why I have made this brief
contact with you, I’d like to clue you in on a very serious problem that’s been keeping me up nights lately. As you are one of the few
people on the planet who might able to do something about this problem, you and your superiors need to know about this.
       You are no doubt aware of the “breeder nova” phenomenon, where a few novas have proven capable of siring or bearing
offspring in the normal human fashion. You also already know that novas’ powers are largely dependent on their subconscious
expectations of what they can do. From there it should be obvious that taint (to use the vulgar term) is a twisted part of their powers
and their expression, and is also dependent on novas’ subconscious expectations. This is also shown by most novas’ aberrations going
away when they “dorm down”. The problem with this is that pretty near every human’s subconscious is wired to think about sex a lot.
In all but a few cases where a nova becomes asexual, this is no different where novas are concerned.
       Sexual aberrations do exist. The general public is even aware of some of them - a few novas are known for sleeping around far
more than is considered normal, and then there is Saxon. The problem I wish to call to your attention is that Saxon was not an
extreme example of this. His aberration was a mental disorder; however physical aberrations do not appear to have an upper limit.
Eventually taint can leave a nova literally inhuman, effectively making him or her a member of a unique species in all but the genetic
sense. But not all species follow the basic human method (what biologists call a “k-type strategy”) of sexual reproduction. Other
creatures such as insects and fish follow what is called an “r-type” reproductive strategy, where massive numbers of offspring are
produced with little or no parental investment. This reproductive strategy isn’t unbalancing to the environment because the vast
majority of these offspring don’t survive, but then they also aren’t quantum powered. It is possible - likely inevitable - that
somewhere a highly-tainted breeder nova has developed the reproductive habits of a cockroach or spider wasp, for example. It’s also
possible that the reproductive cycle of such a nova will accelerate to match the cycles of those creatures. Finally, it’s also possible
that any offspring produced by that nova will be just like their tainted parent.
       That’s the bad news. The good news is this level of extreme aberration isn’t the sort of thing that just appears full blown in a
tainted nova’s development (except possibly with certain Terats). This sort of breeder nova (which I personally call “Hatchers”)
must be discovered and dealt with before they hit that end stage. Hatcher novas are rare in the extreme, being a tiny minority even
among those breeder novas who develop serious levels of taint. This in no way diminishes the threat they pose, however. If even one
Hatcher nova manages to start the reproductive ball rolling out in the boondocks somewhere... The math behind a Hatcher nova’s
quantum-powered r-type reproductive strategy is simple and brutal, but I’m sure you can do it yourself. I’m also sure I won’t need to
spell out and the implications for you and the world, either.
       Good night. Sleep tight.




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                                       Directive Report


      AOR: Breeder Novas
      DIRECTIVE FILE: AH-91
      REL: Cell leaders and analysts.
      IPSP: Standard
      ENCRYPTION: Beta
      Thanks to the media, I’m sure that all of you are familiar with the phenomenon of the so-called “breeder novas”. What you may
not know is that there are more of them out there than the few who’ve been spotlighted by N! and the other media organs. From what
our sources have learned, the vast majority of breeder novas pose only a negligible threat to the member nations of the Directive,
and that’s only if we don’t leave them be. Yes, these novas have gone undercover to establish new lives for themselves as baseline
citizens in much the same manner that sleeper agents establish and maintain their cover identities. Fortunately, their only goal
appears to be leading fairly normal lives little different from those of their baseline neighbors. These novas want to work at their
jobs, pay their taxes, and raise their children as normally as possible. Several of our higher-ups have made recommendations to have
these novas immediately taken into mandatory government service as soon as they are discovered. I cannot emphasize strongly
enough just how counterproductive that approach will be. These novas have been known to vanish at the first sign of their covers
being blown, and have also responded to overly-persistent interference with and/or threats to their families with lethal force. From
the breeder novas’ viewpoint, interference from the Directive in their lives is just as unwelcome as that from Project Utopia or
corporate headhunters. If we leave them alone, they’ll be content to continue living as productive, everyday citizens.
      The same cannot be said for those few breeder novas our analysts have come to call “hatchers”. While rare in the extreme,
these breeder novas have become so mutated by taint that they now follow the “r-type” reproductive strategy, where huge numbers
of offspring are produced with little or no parental care. Taint-maddened novas were more than enough of a threat to the Directive
member nations and humanity as a whole without the potential to churn out hundreds - quickly becoming tens of thousands - of
equally mutated and powerful progeny. Ladies and gentlemen, we are looking at the very real possibility of human extinction as a
result of this development. All cells are therefore instructed to maintain a watch for signs of hatcher nova development and/or
activity, which are detailed by our analysts in information packet 39C. Report any and all potential hatcher novas and hatcher nova
activity to your immediate superior ASAP. Covert Ops and/or Blue-and-White Hunter Teams will then be assigned search and
destroy missions to eliminate the confirmed hatcher nova and any offspring it may have produced with extreme prejudice. Even so, if
your cell has a true opportunity to eliminate a confirmed hatcher nova and/or its offspring, take it immediately. The case of the
Glasgow Ladykiller (see Directive File CL-47, included in information packet 39C) has given us concrete proof of just how dire the
threat posed by hatcher novas and their progeny truly is. If that monster and all its unborn progeny hadn’t been killed by one of our
Covert Ops Hunter Teams, the death toll it would have racked up would have been far higher than 12 unlucky baseline women and 2
Directive agents. There is no margin for error here. Even a single hatcher nova has the potential to multiply, overwhelm, and then
wipe out baseline humanity.
      -Director Arnold Harris


                                    Proteus Communiqué


      [Begin Proteus Communiqué double-encrypted with Navajo Daedelus 3; dated 09/13/09]
      Ozaki:
      Excellent job on your recent endeavor with Director Harris. With the Directive unknowingly assisting us in our efforts to contain
and eliminate the threat posed by hatcher novas, our agents should have more opportunities to fulfill our other objectives. Your next
job is to get our analysts started on looking for evidence of whatever other breeder novas may be hiding from us, either among the
baseline population or elsewhere. These novas are yet another wildcard in this scenario, and are incompatible with Aeon’s vision of a
better future for humanity. One way or another, they must be dealt with.
      Director Thetis

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                                    Encoded OpNet Message


     From: Corkscrew
     To: Sophia Rousseau
     Subject: The Motherhunters
     Date: 12/24/2008

      Mademoiselle Rousseau,
      I wish I could’ve given you better news on this Yuletide morning. When you gave me this assignment, you told me that something
was rotten within Utopia. Judging from the intelligence I’ve gathered, what we didn’t know was just how far the rot has spread
throughout the Project, or how toxic it is. Fortunately, the aid of our new friend has allowed us to find out about it early enough for
preventative measures to be taken.
      As you predicted, both Utopia and the secret directorate within have recently begun operations to locate and deal with breeder
novas and their offspring. I’ve labeled these operatives “motherhunters”, after the agents in the “Gil the ARM” stories of the
American science fiction author Larry Niven. If you’ve read those stories, you’ll see that the label is chillingly appropriate. If the Aeon
Society has knowingly given their approval for these operations, I can only think that they’ve damned themselves.
      Thanks to our friend, I managed to to learn about some of the novas they have picked for these operations, not all of whom are
official Utopians. The Utopian novas who can be assigned motherhunter duty are too numerous to list, so we didn’t bother with their
Rashoud clinic files. We must simply assume that any Utopian nova field agent could be a motherhunter. They’ve been deceived into
thinking that they are actually doing breeder novas (and their children, if any) a favor by having them shanghaied for Utopia.
Laragione and his masters have already painted breeder novas as selfish and antisocial in their official internal memo, which spoke of
such folderol as “breeder novas denying their baseline brothers and sisters the benefits of their powers”. These operatives have
been directed to try and con any breeder novas they find into letting themselves and their children be taken without a fight. If their
sales pitch fails, they are to act as a modern-day press gang. Both parents and children are then to be placed in the custody of
Utopia’s Nova Medicine section, but I fear that is where they’ll vanish, never to be heard from again.
      What really got to me were the non-Utopian novas that’ve been tapped for the “black ops” motherhunter operations, which
made looking over their Rashoud clinic files quite disturbing reading. Unlike the Utopians, these are a collection of zealots, borderline
sociopaths, homicidal maniacs and people who’ll do anything for a fat paycheck. These novas have no direct link to Utopia beyond
their initial treatment and training at the Rashoud clinics, and are listed as having been discharged with no forwarding address.
Nevertheless, our friend is certain that Utopia funds are being covertly funneled through several layers of classified projects to
retain the services of these novas. I suspect (and our friend agrees) that these novas are to be the covert hatchetmen of the secret
directorate, as they’ll have no qualms about murdering innocents or anyone who gets in their way.
      I’m sure that you and the others are already planning to thwart these despicable plots, and that the intelligence I’ve relayed to
you will be of great help in your doing so. That said, I’m requesting exfiltration out of both Utopia and the identity you have
established for me ASAP. Playing the role of a baseline Internal Affairs assistant in an organization that sees our kind only as either
threats to be killed or beasts of burden to be disposed of once their usefulness has ended is only getting harder. I hope to have
children one day myself, which makes working for the Project feel like being a Sonderkommando in a Nazi death camp. Pardon the
melodrama, but we all have our limits, and I’ve nearly hit mine.




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                                  Encoded OpNet Message


     From: Sophia Rousseau
     To: Mesztizo
     Subject: Exfiltration & Replacement
     Date: 12/24/2008
     I hope the holiday season has found you well, as I’ve a favor to ask of you. One of our extreme deep-cover moles (codenamed
“Corkscrew”) in Utopia has requested total exfiltration from his current mission. He is of professional caliber in these matters, and
won’t have left much for you to clean up in the residence and social life of his cover identity. I would like you to take care of this
matter, as Corkscrew has more than earned it. He has not only uncovered vital intelligence on some of Utopia’s nastier plans, but has
also managed to recruit Athena Boyd for the Aberrants. I’ll leave the details up to you, but be sure to perform the exfiltration ASAP.
The stress is finally getting to him, and it won’t be very long before it results in a case of the Thousand-Yard Stare.
     On a related note, we will need someone reliable to take over Corkscrew’s position at Utopia as Athena Boyd’s assistant. Ms.
Boyd is a valuable asset, and I don’t want to see her commit suicide by attempting to take on Proteus all by herself.


                                     Aberrant Transcript


[Partial Transcript: Triumvirate Meeting, 12/26/08]
      Sophia Rousseau: Season’s greetings to you both, André , Doctor. Thank you for coming here on such short notice. This room is
secure, so speak freely.
      André Corbin: Glad to see ye too, Sophia. I’d like to wish ye ‘happy holidays’, but I’ve a hunch that it wouldnae fit the tone of the
news ye’ve got fer us.
      Dr. Worm: My sentiments exactly. I take it that Aeon has decided to do something drastic about the breeder novas, then?
      Rousseau: Yes. My sources have discovered that both Utopia and Proteus have started setting up operations to abduct breeder
novas and their children. Both directorates have already been selecting agents to serve as “motherhunters”, if you will. Utopia’s
leadership is justifying this as “conscription for the common good”, and officially intends to turn breeder novas into more Utopians.
Unofficially, once the breeder novas have been captured, they and their children will be at Proteus’ not-so-tender mercies. I’ve come
up with a plan to thwart Aeon on this matter, but I’ll need your help as branch leaders to pull it off.
      Corbin: Let me guess; yer people will be sniffin’ out the breeder novas and the “motherhunters”, me own lot will be runnin’
interference against those wankers, and the Doc’s friends will be settin’ up the families we’ve rescued in new an’ safer locations?
      Rousseau: There will be some overlap given the varying capabilities of our people, but that’s the general idea.
      Dr. Worm: Consider myself and my associates in, Sophia. I believe we can handle our end of this new operation without much
trouble. It’s not like the breeder novas we’ll be rescuing and resettling will want to draw any more possibly hostile attention to
themselves. But since we’ve already given a label to our enemies in this matter, what label will we be using for our own operatives?
      Corbin: Why nae call ‘em “delivery boys”? That ought to be generic enough to go unnoticed in case anyone outside overhears
something they shouldn’t.
      Dr. Worm: Not bad, I don’t have a problem with it. But we will have a bigger problem to deal with here. I can’t see the Teragen
letting Aeon’s motherhunting operations go unopposed. At the very least, Geryon and his Nova Vigilance are certain to get involved
by undertaking delivery boy operations of their own. Is there any news from your sources on that point, Sophia?
      Rousseau: None whatsoever, but I agree that it will only be a matter of time. However, I see no reason for us to interfere with
the Teragen’s delivery boy operations if they stay clear of ours. Besides, having the Teragen out there to distract Aeon from us has
helped us before, and it will do so again in our delivery boy operations.
      Corbin: It’s settled, then? Right, now let’s see who we’ve got that’s up fer this kind of work...

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                                         Aberrant File


     Mission Report
     TO: B12
     FROM: Renaissance Man

      As requested, I’ve analyzed the various intelligence reports you sent to me and have reached a conclusion. Despite Proteus’
public exposure as a result of André Corbin’s trial earlier this year, I am forced to conclude that they have not merely gone to ground,
but have retained the access and support required for them to carry out their intended operations. The following items comprise the
strongest evidence for my conclusion.
      Item #1, Mission Reports K8S from Quince & R4V from Antenna: Thanks to Quince’s obtaining the briefing memos for the
Utopian motherhunter teams, it’s clear that Proteus still retains considerable influence within Project Utopia’s hierarchy. The three
breeder nova family groups mentioned in the memos have all been falsely portrayed as violent criminals. Family #1 was painted as a
married couple of former Organizatsiya operatives, now with an infant son. The parents in Family #2 were described as a pair of
“former clandestine elites”. As for the parents of Family #3, they were “under official suspicion” of having ties to the Greenwar
ecoterrorist group. The background work performed by Antenna has confirmed that these accusations were all false; as all the adult
breeder novas listed are non-combatants whose criminal connections, if they existed at all, were grossly exaggerated.
      Item #2, Mission Report IC3 from Shunt: Shunt’s accounts of unidentified individuals engaging in certain criminal activities
would ordinarily count for little, except that he’s uncovered a pattern of previous contact by Utopian surveillance in over 80% of the
incidents. Likewise, Shunt has found evidence that the Aeon Society has been funding many small, unremarkable installations
(locations unknown at this time) across much of the planet.
      Item #3, Mission Report UC7 from Folsom: Folsom’s report confirmed the capture of Family #1 (from Mission Report K8S) by
Utopian motherhunters, which officially ended with both parents and child being placed in the custody of Utopia’s Nova Medicine
section. Folsom’s report further indicates that there are no further reports of either parents or child within Utopia from that point
onwards, leaving me no choice but to assume that they have either been secretly imprisoned by Proteus (possibly for medical
experimentation as was performed at Bahrain) or have been killed.
      Item #4, Mission Report L2B from Buzzcock: Buzzcock has confirmed that Proteus has hired elites to perform motherhunting
work that are essentially wholesale group assassinations. Thankfully, Buzzcock was able to alert one of our operative teams in time to
thwart the mission and capture the elites. Not only did the elites have no knowledge of their contractor’s true nature, they had also
been told that the mother of the breeder nova family they’d been sent to kill had been selling nuclear warheads smuggled from the
former Soviet Union to certain terrorist groups on the black market. Their orders were to make the deaths appear to have been an
accident; failing that the family was to simply have been “vanished”. Our own background check on the breeder nova family in
question has proved these accusations to be false, of course.
      Judging from these reports, the threat posed to novas by Proteus has not diminished as a result of their public exposure and
official censure. Our legal maneuverings have only forced Proteus to work more covertly than they have in the past. With the Aeon
Society apparently sheltering these criminals, I have to wonder just what it will require for us to shut down Proteus once and for all.




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                                     DeVries File Letter


     November 13, 2013

     Ms. Rori McClain,

      This letter is to inform you that you have been accepted into our Compensated Dating program. Only one person in the program
matches your rather unique requirements regarding blood chemistry. If you wish to continue in this matter, contact my office and we
will supply you with his file and schedule a meeting. Medically speaking your next window should be around November 29 of this year.

     Sincerely,

     Doctor Edward Hiltonson
     Director of Genetic Studies,
     DeVries Medical, Pretoria, South Africa



                                     DeVries File Letter


     November 21, 2013

     Ms. Rori McClain,

      Please find enclosed the personal file of Alex “Battlefield” Jones. This includes his medical file, personality file, and history.
Where this conflicts with his online resume with DVNTS assume this file is accurate. That resume was created by Marketing and I
understand they take some liberties. Also included is contact information. If you wish to continue with this DeVries has a corporate
jet that would fly you down to our Pretoria compound on the 25th.
      To confirm our phone conversation on the 19th of this month; given a donor, any donor, whose cells are compatible to your
daughter Toni’s immune system, and we will be happy to perform the entire procedure at no cost to either of you. Further, while the
youngest age at which someone can safely donate cells in such a procedure is indeed two years, a newborn’s placenta can be
harvested to that purpose without a problem. DeVries Medical is one of the best equipped facilities in the world, we could do it.

     Sincerely,

     Doctor Edward Hiltonson
     Director of Genetic Studies,
     DeVries Medical, Pretoria, South Africa




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                                 DeVries Memorandum



[From a DeVries internal memo dated 8/26/09]
    From: Anna DeVries
    To: Matthew Tsvangirai
    Re: Blood Tests

       Mr. Tsvangirai,
       Recruiting needs more direction. So far they have been assuming that baseline blood relatives of existing novas have the M-R
gene sequence. This is fine as far as it goes, but the results have been much more mixed than I would wish. I want you to put together
a list of people who have the sequence, or at least part of the sequence. Hire a discreet cyberkinetic if you have to, this is important.




                                 DeVries Memorandum



[From a DeVries internal memo dated 10/20/09]
    From: CyberRat
    To: Matthew Tsvangirai
    Re: Blood Tests

    Mr. Tsvangirai,
    Enclosed are the records you wanted. Use the usual account. Considering this is the sort of thing that requires periodic updates,
keep me in mind for future work.




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                                    DeVries Memorandum


[From a DeVries internal memo dated 4/20/13]
     From: Laurel Devereaux
     To: Anna DeVries
     Re: Applicant Group Delta Victor 8
     Ms. DeVries,
     Here are the most promising candidates from our current pool of applicants, with my recommendations as to their suitability. All
of them are attractive and at least somewhat charming. Not all of them would be interested in or are suitable for a compensated date.
Notice the increased percentage of applicants with the M-R gene sequence. I can only take partial credit for that, recruiting is doing
a better job than they were a few years back.
      Bonita “Bonny” Gonzales
      Age: 27
      Marital Status: Married
      Occupation: Actress, former fashion model
      Ethnicity: Hispanic (mixed)
      Nationality: Brazil (Currently living in Bollywood, India)
      Remarks: Bonita is no stranger to controversy. She is a highly successful model who, 2 years ago, married a wealthy banker
three times her age. She recently retired from modeling, has taken up acting (with only moderate success so far) and wants a child.
After she learned about our program, the possibility of bearing a nova child was incentive enough for Bonita to apply. Her ailing
husband is apparently unable to perform for her, and is either willing to play along with Bonita’s plan or is unable to prevent it.
Controversy appears to be a lifestyle with Bonita, we strongly suspect that Bonita also intends to use any resulting controversy from
this situation to propel her acting career to her accustomed level of success. Despite all this, her psychological profile indicates that
she would be a good mother.
      Recommendation: Bonita’s desire for public attention makes her a security risk, but she is otherwise a good candidate for a
compensated date, preferably with a stud who doesn’t mind paparazzi.
      Winiwini “Win” Camisha
      Age: 24
      Marital Status: Divorced
      Occupation: Employee of DeVries Agency (communications technician).
      Ethnicity: Nigerois
      Nationality: South African (naturalized)
      Remarks: Winwini was recruited by one of our talent scouts in Nigeria, where she was languishing in an arranged marriage to a
captain in the Nigerian Army. Her husband was abusive, and beat her for being barren (our medical tests have proved that Win is
fertile - it’s likely her husband was sterile but without tests we’ll never be sure). Even worse, Win’s family was too traditional to allow
her to put the Western-style education they’d given her to good use. After being hospitalized after a particularly brutal beating,
blood tests performed on Win revealed that she does carry the M-R gene sequence, and is far more likely to produce a nova child.
After being exfiltrated from Nigeria by DeVries agents, she disowned her family and divorced her husband in absentia, neither of
which were pleasant events. Win has worked for DeVries for five years now and is very much a fan of both the DeVries Agency and
novas in general. After finding out about our program, she leapt at the chance to bear a nova child.
Recommendation: Good candidate for a compensated date. Win has been receiving psychological counseling and therapy to correct
her emotional damage ever since she joined DeVries. Even so, we should be careful of who we pair her with because of her history of
spousal abuse.

     Sarah Goldstein
     Age: 25
     Marital Status: Widowed
     Occupation: Employee of DVNTS medical staff (registered nurse and paramedic).
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                              DeVries Memorandum (Continued)


     Ethnicity: USA (Jewish)
     Nationality: Israeli (currently living in a DeVries living complex in Cairo, Egypt on a work visa)
     Remarks: An American Jew, Sarah emigrated to Israel upon marrying her Zionist husband, and became a settler on the West
Bank. Her husband and young daughter were murdered less than 18 months ago in a suicide bombing orchestrated by Hezbollah. Sarah
was then recruited by DeVries and has performed admirably as a nurse in our clinic at the Cairo facility. Our interviewers claim that
Sarah’s eagerness to join our program is due to lingering grief over losing her husband and first child, but she keeps a very close eye
on the West Bank situation, and that worries me a bit. Her tests have shown that she does carry the M-R gene sequence, and is far
more likely to produce a nova child.
     Recommendation: Good candidate for a compensated date, but keep a close watch on Ms. Goldstein after the birth if the kid
turns out to be a nova.
      Kimiyo “Kim” Obayashi
      Age: 28
      Marital Status: Single
      Occupation: Employee of DeVries Agency (OpNet R&D), former Olympic athlete (track & field).
      Ethnicity: Japanese
      Nationality: USA (naturalized)
      Remarks: The only child of an upper-class Japanese couple, Kimiyo was an overachiever from an early age. Thanks to expensive
tutoring and her inborn personal talents and drive, she gained the equivalent of a Master’s degree in computer engineering at the age
of 13. She was one of the first confirmed novaphiles after the first N-Day in 1998, as she secretly set up and operated one of Japan’s
premier nova websites. Kimiyo’s website was different for its extensive files on possible ways to induce eruption as a nova. She
became seriously involved in athletics as a result, taking up martial arts in an attempt to erupt. Her later involvement in track & field
led to a brief career as an Olympic athlete, where she won a Bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics at the age of 19. After that, Kimiyo’s
parents informed her that it was her duty to become a meek, mild housewife in an arranged marriage to an overweight man she had
never met. She left home the next day, emigrated to the United States and was recruited by DeVries. She currently works as a high
level contract network engineer for DeVries in New York City, and manages a new OpNet site about novas on the side. Her psych
profile posits several reasons for Kimiyo’s eagerness to participate in our program. First, she wants a child in order to further
distance herself from her parents, who she has pre-emptively disowned. Second, she feels that this will be the only way for her to
find a man who will measure up to her standards. Third, she’s novaphilic enough to really like the idea of giving birth to a nova child.
Recommendation: Good candidate for a compensated date, but unless she erupts in response to giving birth to a nova child, her
continued interest in self-induced eruption could lead her into self-destructive acts later on. We need to make arrangements for
Kimiyo’s child to be adopted by a suitable DeVries employee, in case that Kimiyo winds up killing herself in an attempt to erupt.
     Rori McClain
     Age: 25
     Marital Status: Widowed
     Occupation: Employee of DeVries Agency (security consultant), former police officer (New York City PD)
     Ethnicity: Irish
     Nationality: USA (naturalized)
Remarks: Rori immigrated to the United States when she was 18 to marry her first generation Irish-American boyfriend. They
immediately proceeded to be fruitful, and had a daughter named Toni nine months later. Her husband was in the family business,
police work. Three years later he died in a car accident. Since most of her family and friends were cops, joining the police was a
natural option for Rori to support herself and Toni. She went to a police academy, applied to join the NYPD, and succeeded. She
eventually rose to the rank of detective in Homicide. Recently her daughter Toni was diagnosed with one of the rare disorders that
Project Utopia hasn’t gotten around to curing. Toni’s only real chance for survival is a stem cell transplant, but there are no genetic
matches for her on record. If Toni had a full sibling, there would be about a 25% chance of acquiring matching stem cells from the

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                             DeVries Memorandum (Continued)


sibling’s placenta. Rori left the NYPD and joined DeVries as a security consultant after hearing about our program. Because of her
insistence on matching immune system types, only one of the studs in the program matches her requirements, but one should be
enough. Both Rori and Toni carry the M-R gene sequence, which gives us a rare opportunity here. If we play our cards right, we
could get three novas for the price of one.
      Recommendation: Excellent candidate for a compensated date, especially if we can save Toni with DeVries’ medical expertise.
     Elvira “Elly” Lesnikh
     Age: 27
     Marital Status: Single
     Occupation: Employee of DeVries Agency (certified instructor in mathematics, physics and several languages).
     Ethnicity: White Russian
     Nationality: South African (naturalized)
     Remarks: Originally from Northern Russia, Elly had a good education and had studied very hard in school. She could teach Math
or Physics. She could also speak or teach English, German, Spanish, & French along with her native Russian... and none of that was
doing her any good at all. In Northern Russia there were no jobs, the men were nearly all uneducated alcoholics, it was dark and cold
most of the time, and anyone who could got out. Her way of getting out was to become a mail order bride to a white South African,
but in the middle of the ceremony her would-be husband had a heart attack. While the South African government was considering
deporting her the whole mess ended up on the front page of the local newspapers. That’s when you stepped in as her advocate, and
personally recruited her for DeVries. She’s done an excellent job teaching foreign languages at our Pretoria compound, and has done
quite well subbing for our other classroom instructors when necessary. The fact that Elly also happens to be nearly identical to you in
both appearance and mannerisms has also been remarked upon by her coworkers. Elly’s psych profile indicates that she has a serious
case of “hearing her biological clock ticking”, which has only been exacerbated by the revelation of her younger sister’s infertility.
     Recommendation: Good candidate for a compensated date. In terms of ability, attitude and loyalty to DeVries, she’s nearly ideal.
      Heather Andrews
      Age: 28
      Marital Status: Single
      Occupation: Lawyer, law firm of Brown & Cohen (New York City)
      Nationality: USA
      Ethnicity: USA (British ancestry)
      Remarks: A heiress of an Old Money family from Boston, Heather left the easy life of a high-class socialite to become a very
successful lawyer for the firm of Brown & Cohen. This move has only increased her already impressive wealth, which she has come
into sole control now that her elders are all either dead or irredeemably senile. As a bisexual with a long-term female lover, Heather
was at risk of being disinherited by her conservative elders. Now that that’s no longer a danger, Heather has brought herself and her
lover out of the closet and is planning to start a family. Naturally, she wants to have the best child she can, and that means joining our
program. Heather claims that she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to bear a nova child, but her strong lesbian preferences may
prove to be a stumbling block.
Recommendation: Good candidate for using our sperm bank. We should also see about recruiting her for DeVries, as she’s almost as
good a lawyer as our own Mr. Wether.
      Nitara Chakravarthy
      Age: 19
      Marital Status: Single
      Occupation: Singer / Actress managed by DeVries
      Ethnicity: Indian
      Nationality: USA
      Remarks: The child of Indian immigrants, Nitara only just managed to become a natural-born citizen of the United States by
thirty minutes. With her mother’s death later on, Nitara became a substitute mother for her younger brother and sister. She was

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                              DeVries Memorandum (Continued)


“discovered” as a singer at the age of 17, and used her new wealth to help her family. Oddly enough, her status as an extremely
talented baseline singer worked to her advantage in the global media, despite the ongoing popularity of novox. A year later, it all fell
apart. Nitara and her family was involved in a nasty highway accident involving a tractor trailer truck, leaving her father and siblings
dead and herself crippled. While in the hospital Nitara also discovered that her manager father had been using her money to gamble,
and that she had inherited his debts. Fortunately for her, the blood tests performed on her at the hospital also revealed her as a
carrier of the M-R gene sequence. Your stepping in to save Nitara and becoming her artistic patron made for some excellent PR, and
has sparked several office debates about recruiting other baselines with such high levels of talent. Our nova healers repaired her
body, and our lawyers restored most of her wealth in return for a management contract withDeVries. Nitara has been an excellent
moneymaker for DeVries ever since.
     Recommendation: Excellent candidate for a compensated date, but I hope that we have someone who can meet her standards
(and yours).
      Chou Ling-yu, M.D.
      Age: 26
      Marital Status: Single
      Occupation: Employee of DVNTS Agency (Medical Doctor / Researcher)
      Ethnicity: Han Chinese
      Nationality: Taiwan
      Remarks: One of our best baseline medical researchers, Chou Ling-yu has shown interest in applying for our program from the
beginning, but had always been too busy with one research project or another to take the time off required for the resulting
pregnancy and child care. Well, this time around she’s finally gotten her timing right, and has applied. On the face of it, Ling-yu would
be an excellent choice for a compensated date; she’s beautiful, very friendly with her co-workers, highly loyal to DeVries and would
make a good (if fairly eccentric) mother. Even better is the fact that she’s tested positive for carrying the M-R gene sequence. That
said, her bedside manner (pun intended) could use some work. Ling-yu’s psych profile shows her to have a deep fascination with the
evolutionary potential of novas. Add that to some decidedly kinky tastes, and you can see why one of our stud elites has been known
to break out into an anxious sweat whenever he comes within three meters of Ling-yu. He claims that Ling-yu seemed to view him as
something between a lab rat and boytoy, and that she was just plain creepy when she got aroused.
      Recommendation: Excellent candidate for using our sperm bank. Matching her with a stud could be a problem with her in-house
reputation.
     Carol Aquash, CPA
     Age: 21
     Marital Status: Single
     Occupation: Employee of DeVries Agency (CPA)
     Ethnicity: Native American (Mi’kmaq)
     Nationality: Canadian
     Remarks: A certified public accountant, Carol Aquash left the Mi’kmaq reservation in hopes of making a better life for herself.
The eruption of her cousin (Jasper “Landmaster” Aquash) was her inspiration, but it also convinced her that she must have the
potential to erupt as well. She has tried dozens of ways to erupt, but her attempts always failed. Her application states that she wants
the money to help enlarge her “nest egg”, and intends to give the baby up for adoption. Her psych profile indicates she wants to have
sex with a nova and have his child in yet another attempt to erupt. If she doesn’t erupt, she will probably keep the child (regardless of
whether it is nova or baseline) and continue working as a CPA with DeVries. Carol has been a loyal DeVries employee for two years
now, and her tests have confirmed that she carries the M-R gene sequence in her DNA.
     Recommendation: Good candidate for a compensated date. I’d have rated her as “excellent” if it weren’t for the possibility of
Carol killing herself in an attempt to erupt. I suggest that we have suitable DeVries employees on hand to act as adoptive parents in
case Carol either dies or becomes a threat to her child in her quest to become a nova.


                                                                   24
                                                          ABERRANT




                                            A BREED APART
                                                                     exploitation or assassination by the various factions of the Nova
Perilous Beginnings                                                  Age. Faced with these threats, will the nova families try to make
                                                                     peace with a society that too often only seeks to either exploit
      According to some thinkers, the reproductive drive             or kill them? Will they lash out against baseline humanity in
underpins all of human society. From that somewhat reductionist      genocidal warfare? Or will they abandon Earth for new homes
viewpoint, the myriad aspects of human life – agriculture,           and lives out among the stars, leaving baseline humanity and
commerce, science, entertainment, et al. – can be boiled down        Terran “civilization” to their fate?
into ways to either attract potential mates or care for the young.        With all of these questions, only one thing remains certain.
In a very real sense, a human’s spouse and children are his or her   Conflict is at hand.
stake in the gamble of civilization. If a society does well and
advances, a family is more likely to survive and prosper. If a
society fails and regresses, a family is more likely to be
endangered and face difficult circumstances. So what happens          Lexicon
when a human lacks either spouse or children, and appears to                   Applegate: Slang term for novas who live incognito in Nova
have less of a stake in society? Surprisingly, just having one of     Age society by passing themselves off as baselines, many of which
these blessings can often make up for not having the other.           are also “breeder” novas. This is because many breeder novas
Happy, committed couples that are childless can be found almost       have decided to live undercover and raise families free from the
everywhere humans live. Likewise, if some people didn’t find          interference of the various factions, and because many novas who
parenthood deeply fulfilling, there wouldn’t be single and            erupted and immediately went undercover avoided being sterilized
widowed parents out there raising their children (either their        in the first place.
own or adopted) as best they can. But still, that leaves those                 Breeder: Somewhat derogatory (and occasionally envious)
who are either unwilling or unable to both attract a long-term        slang term for both fertile baselines and fertile novas that
mate and have children, even through indirect methods such as         developed after the reality of widespread infertility among novas
adoption. For these people, one of the activities of human life       became public knowledge in the nova community.
(such as religion) instead becomes a way to sublimate the                      Delivery Boy/Girl: Slang term for operatives who “deliver”
reproductive drive. Sometimes that proves sufficient to fill the      (read: rescue) breeder novas and their offspring from the threats
void caused by not having a family of their own, and they can         posed by motherhunters and other hostile parties.
benefit society (and vice versa). Sometimes it doesn’t, resulting              Harpy: Derogatory slang term for sterile novas of either
in a tendency for these people to endanger themselves and             gender who have a hatred of breeder novas and their offspring,
others, if not society as a whole.                                    which often extends to baseline parents and children as well.
      In the world of Aberrant, novas would seem to both have                  Jaffa: Self-referential slang term used by sterile novas of
their cake and eat it. They’re often wealthy, glamorous, and are      both genders. Originally British slang for infertile men, derived
eagerly sought after by marriage-minded suitors. As celebrities       from the “Jaffa” variety of seedless orange.
they’re globally famous, and their scientific achievements                     Mare: Short for “brood mare”; derogatory slang term for a
advance baseline society by leaps and bounds. Upon closer             fertile female nova.
inspection, the perks of being a nova tend to turn out hollow in               Motherhunter: Derogatory slang term for operatives who
the long run. Fame and glamour are fleeting, wealth is too easily     track down breeder novas and their offspring (if any), typically
lost, and yesterday’s hot prospect for marriage becomes today’s       with sinister intent.
has-been. Scientific achievements are relegated to history as                  2ndGen: Slang term for the second generation novas, the
new discoveries come to light, and the human need to tear down        offspring of two nova parents. These novas are divided into three
their celebrities makes no exception for novas. That wouldn’t be      separate clades (Trues, Terats and Trogs), depending on how their
so bad if the pressures of nova life and the mystery of nova          parents dealt with Taint.
sterility didn’t make successful long-term relationships and                   Stud: Somewhat derogatory, occasionally complimentary
parenthood pipe dreams for most novas. Combine the sheer              slang term for a fertile male nova.
power of novas with the lack of any real stake in human society,               Terat (second definition): Slang term for second generation
and the conditions for potential worldwide catastrophe are met.       novas born to the Teragen.
And yet, despite the odds against them, some novas have                        Trog: Slang term for second generation novas born to
managed to bear and raise children of their own. These new            highly-Tainted nova parents.
families face an entirely new level of danger, as the “second                  True: Slang term for second generation novas born to nova
generation” novas have the potential for power that will dwarf        parents with little or no Taint.
their parents’, which in turn makes them targets for either



                                                  ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                         25
                                                                 ABERRANT

                                                                            will not be able to reproduce at all without the aid of either
Disclaimer                                                                  specialized medical assistance (and a surrogate mother, in some
                                                                            cases) or certain quantum abilities.
     Much of the material presented in this sourcebook deals with
mature issues, and may not be suitable for some Aberrant players.                 With just the normal nova metabolism, a nova’s fertility
As such, this material is entirely optional. Storytellers are               rating is 5% greater than that of a healthy baseline human with
encouraged to discuss the subjects covered in this sourcebook               the same base Stamina rating. Possessing Mega-Stamina will
with their players before introducing them into their Aberrant              increase a nova’s fertility rating by an additional 5% per dot;
chronicles. If a player has personal issues with these matters, then        with a nova’s base fertility rating being increased by 10% at
show that player some respect and don’t press his or her buttons            Mega-Stamina 1, 15% at Mega-Stamina 2, and so on. Also, fertile
through his or her character. Aberrant is a game, and games are             novas have a certain advantage where their gametes are
meant to be fun.                                                            concerned. The sperm of fertile nova men can survive for up to
                                                                            seven days, and fertile nova women can produce several new
                                                                            ova on a monthly basis. This enhanced fertility is an optional
                                                                            part of the basic package of being a nova, and has no cost (in
   Nova Reproduction                                                        either freebie or nova points) for two reasons. First off, any
                                                                            novas who are dosed with adrenocilin or moxinoquantamine at a
        While a great many novas do suffer from a currently                 Rashoud clinic or by a Utopian Intervention Team are also
   inexplicable form of sterility in 2015, that isn’t true for all novas.   exposed to the Utopian sterility cocktail. This makes it easy to
   And like other humans, these fertile novas will eventually turn          sterilize novas who either seek training at a Rashoud clinic or
   their thoughts toward settling down and starting families. For           have only just erupted and aren’t in a position to defend
   those Aberrant chronicles where these matters will be explored,          themselves, assuming that said novas lack certain Mega-Stamina
   we’ve provided new rules to cover this essentially human                 enhancements. Second, fertile novas who are publicly known to
   phenomenon.                                                              have either become pregnant or caused a pregnancy may
                                                                            become targets for assassination or kidnapping by Utopia,
                                                                            Proteus and many other groups.
   Nova Fertility                                                           Contraception
         Provided that a nova isn’t sterile due to either the Utopian
   sterility cocktail or Taint, he or she will possess enhanced                   Given how widespread the Utopian-induced sterility is
   fertility. As human fertility is an extraordinarily complex matter,      among the nova population, it’s ironic that most fertile novas
   characters in an Aberrant chronicle are assigned a “fertility            tend to have difficulties with keeping their fertility in check.
   rating”, which is a simple percentage chance roughly equal to a          With how easily novas can shrug off the effects of drugs tailored
   character’s base Stamina rating. (Mega-Stamina isn’t counted,            to the baseline metabolism, it’s only to be expected that many
   as it figures into the fertility rating in a different way.) The         contraceptives are ineffective for fertile novas. Hormone-based
   percentage chances of both partners in a sexually-active                 contraceptives (such as birth control pills and hormone-infused
   relationship are added together, and a roll is made against the          implants) are completely useless, as a nova’s body will process
   combined percentage rating to see if conception occurs. In the           the hormones too quickly for them to have any effect.
   case of nova couples where both partners have superhuman                 Contraceptive drugs must be cut so that they are just as pure as
   fertility ratings, the maximum possible combined fertility rating        other drugs intended for nova use for them to be effective. This
   is 100%. The conception roll is always made by the Storyteller in        will make nova contraceptive drugs toxic to baselines, which in
   secret, with the results revealed to the players only when               turn can make using a nova-strength spermicidal agent with a
   appropriate (Storyteller’s discretion). The Storyteller is always        baseline sexual partner potentially fatal for the baseline. This
   within her rights to fake the roll when a given result would either      leaves physical contraceptive devices as the only option for
   help or hinder the plot. Variable factors such as drug use,              most fertile novas, provided they lack any aberrations that
   mundane fertility treatments, advanced age, a character’s level          cause damage to matter. If either partner has Mega-Strength,
   of sexual education and level of physical activity (among many           physical contraceptive devices can easily be damaged to the
   others) can also alter a character’s fertility rating in any way the     point of uselessness.
   Storyteller sees fit. Mundane fertility treatments cannot
   increase a character’s fertility rating above 10%, however.                 Paternity
          Assuming that a couple has sexual encounters on a regular                  In the case of nova women who become pregnant after
   basis, the percentage roll should be made once per month of                 encounters with multiple male partners, the Storyteller will either
   game-time, barring unusual circumstances. If either or both                 assign percentage chances to the males in question in order to
   members of a couple are experiencing high levels of stress                  determine paternity with a dice roll, or she may simply choose one
   and/or physical hardship, the percentage roll might be made only            of them. In either case the choice is made in secret, and the result
   once every three months or even waived completely. Characters               will be kept from the players until it could be plausibly discovered
   that are sterile are typically considered to have a fertility rating        in the events of the story.
   of zero and cannot conceive in ordinary circumstances, although
   the Storyteller might assign a fertility rating of 1 or 2% in certain
   marginal cases at her discretion. Of course, homosexual couples



   26                                                                  RULES
                                                             ABERRANT

                                                                        metabolisms. This changes if a nova mother and/or her partner
Nova Pregnancy                                                          (usually a male nova) has a permanent Taint rating of 6 or
      In most cases, the pregnancy of a fertile female nova is          higher. If one of the parents has a Taint rating of 6-7, the base
much the same as those of fertile baseline women, except that           chance for complications is 10%. If both parents have a Taint
her optimized body will lessen the strain that the developing           rating of 6-7, this chance rises to 20%. If one of the parents has
fetus will place on her system.                                         a Taint rating of 8-10, the base chance for complications is
      First Trimester: The nova mother-to-be will become                40%. If both parents have a Taint rating of 8-10, the chance
hypersensitive to smell and taste, receiving -1 to her difficulties     rises to 80%. The Fertility enhancement can reduce the chance
on Perception rolls involving smell or taste. This is a mixed           for complications, although nova mothers will gain the most
blessing, as she will also suffer a penalty of +1 on Stamina rolls to   benefit from it. A nova’s Chrysalis rating will have no effect on
avoid becoming severely nauseous when exposed to strong                 his or her chances for pregnancy complications.
unpleasant smells and/or tastes. Fortunately, most nova women                 The kinds of complications that a nova mother can face in
are better able to stave off the resulting morning sickness than        her pregnancy not only include the mundane varieties known to
baseline women. She will also experience sudden cravings and/or         baseline obstetrics, but also many bizarre conditions caused by
aversions to certain food items. Aversions will lead her to reject      either parent’s Taint. Mundane complications that can occur
a given type of food item, even if it was previously one of her         include (but are not limited to) birth defects of all kinds, a
favorites. Cravings can be for just about any food item, ranging        diminished Attribute on part of the infant, rhesus factor
from the stereotypical (pickles and ice cream) to the exotic            mismatches between mother and child, stillbirths, footling
(such as dirt).                                                         position, miscarriages, natural abortion, terminally ill infants,
      Second Trimester: The nova mother will begin to gain              tubal pregnancies, false pregnancies, and premature deliveries.
weight in order to better support her pregnancy. Her body will          Complications arising from parental Taint can be literally
become increasingly awkward, which in game terms translates             anything that the Storyteller’s twisted imagination can conjure
into a -1 die penalty on Dexterity rolls for moving around. She         up, although the Storyteller is advised to determine remedies for
will also develop the famous “motherly glow” as hormonal                such beforehand in the case of the pregnancy of a player
changes make her skin become rosy and her hair thickens and             character or an important Storyteller character.
becomes lustrous. In game terms, she receives -1 to her                       One unique variety of pregnancy complication that merits
difficulties on Appearance rolls involving being physically             special attention is prenatal eruption and power usage on the
attractive.                                                             part of a nova fetus. While this is most often seen in second
      Third Trimester: A nova mother’s augmented metabolism             generation nova fetuses, it is possible for unborn nova offspring
makes her better able to withstand the general aches and pains          of baseline parents as well. In either case, this phenomenon
experienced in the third trimester, but it’s (usually) not enough       typically occurs in response to a threat (real or perceived) to
to let her just shug them off. In game terms, she will suffer a         the survival of the mother and/or fetus. Unlike other pregnancy
penalty of +1 on all of her Stamina rolls due to general lethargy       complications, the chance of prenatal eruption and power use
and exhaustion. Fortunately, a nova mother won’t suffer from            are not affected by the Fertility enhancement. Maternal stress
insomnia as a result of that. Also, the nova mother will also           will also increase the chances for this to happen (the details are
exude an “aura of neediness” at this stage of her pregnancy, for        left to the Storyteller’s discretion), especially if the mother is
lack of a better term. This gives her -1 to her difficulties on         threatened with physical and/or emotional harm on a regular
Charisma rolls that involve getting other people to help her. In        basis. The Storyteller is always free to fake the roll and apply
the last few weeks before delivery, the mother’s nesting instinct       whatever result she deems best, however. In game terms, a nova
will take hold. She will suddenly become both quite energetic and       fetus and its mother are automatically considered to be attuned
nearly obsessed with getting things ready for her baby’s arrival.       to each other, as per the Attunement background. Pre-natal
      Postpartum (birth to approx. 6 months afterwards): After          power use is treated as though the mother had the
the birth, the nova mother will begin to lose the excess weight         “Uncontrollable Power” quantum aberration (Aberrant Players
gained during her pregnancy. This will happen faster than it does       Guide, p. 95), with the Storyteller having complete control over
with baseline mothers, but it’s still a fairly slow process which       the quantum power and other nova traits manifested by the nova
breastfeeding the infant will accelerate. Speaking of which,            fetus. This allows the Storyteller to employ pre-natal power use
lactation in nova mothers is almost as uncomfortable as it is for       as a convenient deus ex machina to help the storyline of the
baseline mothers, as even the nova metabolism won’t do much to          chronicle along in whatever way she sees fit. While this usually
impede the natural function of the mammary glands. Fortunately,         means protecting the mother and/or her unborn child from
it does make the period of her hormonal flux drastically shorter,       actual threats, it can also cause complications if the fetus lashes
allowing the nova mother to escape the resulting altered                out at someone its mother perceives (mistakenly or not) as a
psychological states (severe depression, anxiety, loss of self-         threat to her or her child.
esteem, intense worrying about the infant, and the rare                 When Genetics Goes Boink
psychotic break) experienced by baseline mothers.
                                                                             Despite their powers, the breeding (and interbreeding) of
Pregnancy Complications                                                 Homo sapiens novus is still a natural process for the most part.
     Nova women also face the risk of complications during              As such, Nature (or the Storyteller) can throw a monkey wrench
pregnancy, although their chances for such are much lower (1%           into the reproductive processes of novas on occasion, leading to
at most) than those of baseline women thanks to their optimized         anomalous births. While this generally means having a child that


                                                     ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                           27
                                                              ABERRANT

   isn’t “a chip off one of the old blocks” for baseline couples, it     taint levels, as a multitude of factors can act and counteract with
   can become much more dire in the case of nova offspring.              each other to influence the developing child. One such influence
   Fortunately this tends to be rare, with it having roughly the same    that deserves special mention is the Fertility enhancement,
   chance of occurring as complications in nova pregnancies. (The        which can shift the percentage chances in the following
   effects of the Fertility enhancement and high levels of Taint will    guidelines in the favor of the parent with that enhancement. In
   affect the chance for anomalous births normally.) Of course, the      game terms, the chance of having the “wrong” type of 2ndGen
   Storyteller is always within her rights to fake the roll and choose   child is just another type of pregnancy complication as far as the
   a result she feels would add some needed drama to the chronicle.      effects of Fertility are concerned. For low- and intermediate-
   That said, the Storyteller is strongly encouraged to discuss this     taint novas, Fertility reduces the chance of having a Trog 2ndGen
   topic with the players before introducing it into the chronicle.      child. For high-taint novas, Fertility reduces the chance of
   Also, it’s a good idea to limit these events to Storyteller           having a True 2ndGen child.
   character couples, although nothing is wrong with players                   Astute readers may have noticed that the Terat 2ndGens
   wanting to explore these circumstances through roleplaying.           have been ignored in the following guidelines. This is a
   Examples of anomalous nova births for nova couples include            deliberate omission, since due to certain established facts in the
   birthing the “wrong” type of 2ndGen nova infant (low-Taint            Aberrant setting, Terat 2ndGens cannot just crop up out of the
   novas birthing a Trog 2ndGen nova or high-Taint novas birthing a      woodwork the way that True and Trog 2ndGens can. Unlike their
   True 2ndGen nova), or having a “normal” (a latent, High-              True and Trog peers, Terat 2ndGens derive more of their
   Quantum baseline, or an actual baseline) child. In the case of        distinctiveness from the novacentric (and isolated) upbringing
   nova interbreeding, the standard guidelines for determining the       and education provided by the Teragen than they do from the
   chance of conceiving offspring (and the status of said offspring)     effects of the Chrysalis on their Terat parents. Like other human
   are tossed out the window in favor of random chance and/or the        infants, the Terat 2ndGens are extremely impressionable in their
   Storyteller’s whim.                                                   early years of life. This is why Bounty and Scripture have taken
                                                                         such extreme pains to sequester them in their formative years;
New Parent Syndrome                                                      as instilling the philosophy of Teras to the point where it
      Just like expectant and new baseline parents, expectant and        becomes natural (as it has become for the Terat 2ndGens)
new nova parents are often nearly incapable of either thinking or        requires serious indoctrination from a very early age. Unless
talking about anything other than their new child and parenthood.        both parents in a breeding nova couple are Terats with a
While this is only somewhat annoying in baseline parents, this           Chrysalis rating and give away their child to Bounty for her to
behavior can become extremely dangerous for nova parents.                rear, the status of any offspring should be determined
Without the aid of psychic or hypnotic blocks to suppress this           regardless of a parent’s Chrysalis rating.
tendency (or living in seclusion), nova parents who indulge                       Low-Taint Nova father & Low-Taint Nova mother:
themselves in this behavior are effectively making excellent             100% chance of producing True 2ndGen nova offspring, barring
targets of themselves and their child for the motherhunters of the       any anomalous births.
major factions.                                                                   Intermediate-Taint Nova father & Intermediate-Taint
                                                                         Nova mother: 80% chance of producing True 2ndGen nova
                                                                         offspring and a 20% chance of producing Trog 2ndGen nova
   Tainted Heritages                                                     offspring.
         As we have shown, taint can throw quite a few monkey                     High-Taint Nova father & High-Taint Nova mother:
   wrenches into the otherwise optimized reproductive processes          100% chance of producing Trog 2ndGen nova offspring, barring
   of a nova couple. So it should come as no surprise that taint can     any anomalous births.
   also affect the 2ndGen offspring of such couples on some very                  Low-Taint Nova father & Intermediate-Taint Nova
   basic levels. While this is most obvious when highly-tainted          mother: 90% chance of producing True 2ndGen nova offspring
   novas give birth to Trog 2ndGen novas, the children of nova           and a 10% chance of producing Trog 2ndGen nova offspring.
   couples with intermediate levels of taint can also be affected.                Low-Taint Nova father & High-Taint Nova mother: 65%
   Things become even more confusing when the parents of a               chance of producing Trog 2ndGen nova offspring and a 35%
   2ndGen child have differing (sometimes to a radical degree)           chance of producing True 2ndGen nova offspring.
   levels of taint. Fortunately, we’ve taken the time to hammer out               Low-Taint Nova mother & Intermediate-Taint Nova
   some guidelines for these situations.                                 father: 95% chance of producing True 2ndGen nova offspring
         Barring anomalous births, all offspring of a first-generation   and a 5% chance of producing Trog 2ndGen nova offspring.
   nova couple will be 2ndGen novas. Nova parents who both have                   Low-Taint Nova mother & High-Taint Nova father: 55%
   little or no permanent Taint (5 dots or less) will bear True          chance of producing Trog 2ndGen nova offspring and a 45%
   2ndGen children, while nova parents who both have high                chance of producing True 2ndGen nova offspring.
   permanent Taint (8 dots or more) will give birth to Trog 2ndGen                Intermediate-Taint Nova father & High-Taint Nova
   progeny. The question of what any possible children will be like      mother: 95% chance of producing Trog 2ndGen nova offspring
   becomes a little dicey in the case of nova parents that both have     and a 5% chance of producing True 2ndGen nova offspring.
   intermediate permanent Taint (6 or 7 dots), as they will usually               Intermediate-Taint Nova mother & High-Taint Nova
   produce True 2ndGen offspring, but have a chance to produce           father: 90% chance of producing Trog 2ndGen nova offspring
   Trog 2ndGen infants as well. This matter becomes even more a          and a 10% chance of producing True 2ndGen nova offspring.
   matter of chance when a pair of nova parents have differing


   28                                                               RULES
                                                             ABERRANT

                                                                        desires, only to abandon his newly-impregnated conquests in his
Dormancy                                                                search for even more women to sire offspring on. Male breeder
      While most breeder novas most commonly use this ability to        novas with the Copycat enhancement or the Shapeshift power
pose as baselines and stay under the radar of the motherhunters, it     could easily impersonate a woman’s husband or boyfriend in
does provide an unexpected benefit for those with moderate to           order to seduce and impregnate her. While the Casanovas are
high levels of permanent Taint. Female breeder novas are                the more common of the r-type breeder novas, they’re also the
perfectly capable of conceiving and bearing children - including        ones whose offspring have the best chance of evading the notice
2ndGen nova children - while dormant. Pregnant breeder novas            of the motherhunters. In many cases, the offspring of a
that remain dormant for the full duration of their gestational          Casanova will be baselines, and even those who are latent first-
period (conception, pregnancy and labor) use the basic mechanics        generation novas will attract little or no attention to themselves
for nova pregnancy, despite their inability to actively channel         prior to their eruptions.
quantum in that state. The benefit gained from following that                 The second – and far more dangerous – category of the r-
course of action is that the breeder nova’s permanent Taint is          type breeders are the “Hatchers”, which is comprised of highly-
considered to be 1 dot lower than normal per dot of the nova’s          tainted breeder novas. While most of these monsters still follow
Dormancy rating for all reproductive purposes, including                the “k-type & situational limited r-type” strategy preferred by
determining the clade of any 2ndGen nova offspring. In this way         baselines, a few have adopted an extreme r-type strategy little
breeder nova mothers with Dormancy ratings sufficient to counter        different from that of insects and fish. Thanks to their taint-
most or all of their own Taint can avoid the risks of pregnancy         derived mental disorders and problems with social interaction,
complications and birthing Trog 2ndGen novas. Breeder nova              establishing the family bonds required for the k-type strategy
fathers with moderate to high levels of Taint should also be            can be extremely difficult, if not outright impossible for these
dormant at the time of the encounter in question, as they can also      novas. Highly-tainted breeder novas following an extreme r-
receive lowered permanent Taint ratings for all reproductive            type strategy will seek to produce as many offspring as they
purposes. Depending on the circumstances of the chronicle (and          can, and will invest little or no resources or time in said
the Storyteller’s discretion), breeder nova fathers with serious        offspring. Depending on the details of a highly-tainted breeder
Taint may also find it necessary to remain dormant during their         nova’s powers and aberrations, the specific method of
partner’s full gestational period while within her immediate            reproduction and treatment of resulting offspring will vary
vicinity, due to the potential risk of paternal Taint contamination     wildly. A telepathic high-taint breeder nova might use the
affecting the unborn child.                                             “changeling” method and use her mental powers to brainwash a
                                                                        baseline couple into thinking that one of her many offspring is
   Inhuman Upbringings                                                  actually their child, after which she abandons the child for good.
                                                                        A female high-taint breeder nova with the Parasitic Gestation
         Despite the proclamations of the Teragen, most novas still     body modification might use a method like that used by the
   have more than a little in common with their baseline forebears,     spider wasp, which involves paralyzing a well-fleshed baseline,
   including their reproductive strategy. Baseline humans and most      implanting him with one or more of her parasitic fetuses, and
   novas are considered “k-type breeders”, in that on the average       leaving him in a convenient attic for her offspring to feed off of
   a breeding couple will produce only a few offspring and are          him. Others might abandon their many offspring after birth to
   willing to invest much time and resources in their children. In      live or die on their own, in the hopes that at least few will
   times of stress and danger where the family bonds cannot be          survive to reach maturity. In these cases, the offspring will
   relied on, humans can temporarily adopt a limited “r-type            always be born with whatever Mega-Attributes, enhancements
   breeder” strategy, where producing as many offspring as              and powers that will let them survive on their own. It should also
   possible while investing few resources (at least on the father’s     be noted that the surviving children may have at least some
   part) is favored. When peaceful times return and general wealth      psychological problems of their own due to their abandonment
   rises again, humans will return to following the k-type strategy.    even without taking the influence of parental Taint into account.
   This is not the case for certain breeder novas, as they have         Despite the rarity of extreme r-type breeder novas, Project
   adopted varying levels of r-type breeding strategies for full-       Proteus and the other motherhunters spend a disproportionate
   time use. The first category of r-type breeder novas – the           amount of time and resources hunting them because the math
   “Casanovas” – is comprised of lecherous and ethically-               behind a quantum powered extreme r-type strategy is
   challenged heterosexual nova men. Just like certain of their         terrifying. According to one of Proteus’ worst case scenarios, a
   baseline counterparts, these nova men prefer to follow the           heavily tainted breeder nova could reproduce asexually by
   limited r-type strategy which most humans reserve for                generating exact copies of itself, and create 10 such “offspring”
   emergency situations at all times, regardless of the                 a month, each of whom could possibly reach maturity in as little
   circumstances and consequences. These conscienceless jerks           as 6 months. Assuming a 50% survival rate among the offspring,
   see nothing wrong with “loving and leaving” whatever women           there would be roughly 600 such novas “born” after a year, and
   that they can become physically intimate with. In the case of        45,000 in two years. If this theory of Proteus’ researchers ever
   certain male breeder novas among elites and Teragen, this            became reality, baseline humanity could be facing extinction.
   course of action can seem quite reasonable, especially if they
   have no other way to sire children without endangering said
   childrens’ lives. The classic example of this situation is a Mega-
   Social male breeder nova who seduces any fertile women he


                                                     ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                          29
                                                           ABERRANT

                                                                      there is a 100% chance that the child will be a 2ndGen nova.
Interbreeding                                                         100% chance that baseline offspring will carry the M-R
       Throughout human mythology, gods and goddesses have            sequence as either latents or High-Quantum baselines. 20%
often dallied with mortals. This state of affairs (pun intended) is   chance of pregnancy complications if the mother is heavily
little different in the Nova Age circa 2015, as few novas – aside     Tainted.
from the Teragen and those novas who are highly Tainted –                     Baseline mother & Baseline father: 1% chance of having a
have shied away from enjoying intimate relationships with             first-generation nova child. 5% chance that baseline offspring
baselines. Widespread sterility among novas has ensured that          will carry the M-R sequence as either latents or High-Quantum
the consequences of most of these encounters are limited to the       baselines.
emotional and social varieties, but what happens if the nova is               Baseline mother & High-Quantum Baseline father: 5%
fertile? For that matter, how often can the potential to erupt as     chance of having a first-generation nova child. Baseline
a nova crop up in a family of (ostensibly) normal baselines?          offspring will have a 50% chance of carrying the M-R sequence
What if a fertile nova’s sexual partner happens to be something       as either latents or High-Quantum baselines.
more than a baseline? What will the resulting children from such              Baseline father & High-Quantum Baseline mother: 5%
unions be like? Here are a few guidelines for when this situation     chance of having a first-generation nova child. Baseline
comes up in an Aberrant chronicles.                                   offspring will have a 50% chance of carrying the M-R sequence
       In most cases, first generation novas are the ones who will    as either latents or High-Quantum baselines.
be interbreeding with baseline humans and members of the other                High-Quantum Baseline mother & High-Quantum
Inspired human subspecies. As former baselines, most of these         Baseline father: 10% chance of having a first-generation nova
novas remain close to their baseline roots (unless they start         child, 1% chance of having a second-generation nova child. 50%
racking up permanent Taint), and are much less likely to shun         chance that baseline offspring will carry the M-R sequence as
baseline suitors. The following entries on possible matches with      either latents or High-Quantum baselines.
novas have been written with the first generation in mind. As far             Nova father & Psiad mother: 0% chance of viable
as second generation novas are concerned, things are not nearly       offspring; any pregnancies will result in stillbirths or
as clear-cut. Some arguments have been made that 2ndGen novas         miscarriages. This assumes that the parents are active novas and
– especially the Taint-altered Terat and Trog clades – have           psiads, as latent novas and psiads can interbreed as normal
diverged far enough genetically that they could be considered         humans.
new species of humanity, and therefore are incapable of                       Nova mother & Psiad father: 1% chance of viable
interbreeding at all. Others reject this, saying that one             offspring, in which case the child will be a sterile baseline human;
generation of breeding isn’t nearly enough to cause the               otherwise any pregnancies will result in stillbirths or
necessary genetic alterations, even where novas are concerned.        miscarriages. This assumes that the parents are active novas and
From that viewpoint, 2ndGen novas are just as capable of              psiads, as latent novas and psiads can interbreed as normal
interbreeding as their parents. For this reason, the question of      humans.
whether or not 2ndGen novas can interbreed at all with either
baseline humans or the non-eximorph varieties of Inspired                A Daredevil By Any Other Name...
humans has been left to the Storyteller’s discretion.                         In this sourcebook, we’ve gone along with Bruce Baugh’s
         Nova father & Baseline mother: 25% chance (at best) of          ideas on the nature of daredevils. According to him daredevils are
having a first-generation nova child. 50% chance that baseline           paramorphs, capable of subconsciously manipulating perpendicular
offspring will carry the M-R sequence as latents or High-                time (also known as probability) to perform extraordinary feats.
Quantum baselines. Small chance (5-10%) of pregnancy                     Max Mercer happens to be a highly advanced example of the
complications if the father has moderate Taint, guaranteed               breed, as shown by his ability to consciously control linear time. As
pregnancy complications if the father is heavily Tainted.                such, we have posited daredevils as the third known Inspired
         Nova father & High-Quantum Baseline mother: 50%                 subspecies of humanity, occupying a middle branch between
chance of having a second-generation nova child. 100% chance             eximorphs and psychomorphs on the evolutionary tree of Homo
that baseline offspring will carry the M-R sequence as either            sapiens. For those Aberrant Storytellers and players who prefer
latents or High-Quantum baselines. 20% chance of pregnancy               Andrew Bates’ ideas on daredevils (daredevils are just exceptional
complications if the father is heavily Tainted.                          baselines, and Max Mercer is the only known paramorph), we
         Nova mother & Baseline father: 50% chance of having a           encourage you to change these rules to suit your own Aberrant
first-generation nova child, unless the mother has 2 levels of the       chronicles. It’s your game, after all.
Fertility enhancement, in which case there is a 100% chance that
the child will be a second-generation nova. 100% chance that                 Nova father & Daredevil mother: 50% chance of having
baseline offspring will carry the M-R sequence as either latents      a second-generation nova child. 100% chance that other (non-
or High-Quantum baselines. Small chance (5-10%) of pregnancy          second generation nova) offspring will carry the M-R sequence
complications if the mother has moderate Taint, guaranteed            as either latents or first-generation novas. 5% chance of
pregnancy complications if the mother is heavily Tainted.             pregnancy complications if the father is heavily Tainted.
         Nova mother & High-Quantum Baseline father: 80%                     Nova mother & Daredevil father: 80% chance of having
chance of having a second-generation nova child, unless the           a second-generation nova child, unless the mother has 2 levels
mother has 2 levels of the Fertility enhancement, in which case       of the Fertility enhancement, in which case there is a 100%
                                                                      chance that the child will be a 2ndGen nova. 100% chance that


30                                                               RULES
                                                               ABERRANT

   other (non-second generation nova) offspring will carry the M-         or have hard evidence of just how powerful these “2ndGen”
   R sequence as either latents or first-generation novas. 5%             novas will be when they mature. This has made 2ndGen novas –
   chance of pregnancy complications if the mother is heavily             and their parents – targets for either exploitation (if deemed
   Tainted.                                                               useful) or assassination (if deemed a threat) in the view of many
                                                                          of these well-informed and influential people. Other such
   High-Quantum Baselines                                                 “power players” may seek to protect 2ndGen novas and their
                                                                          parents, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how successful their
         It’s technically possible for an otherwise-normal baseline
                                                                          efforts will be. The second factor that has altered this conflict is
   character to have a Quantum rating of 1 by spending 7 bonus
                                                                          the excessive levels of Taint which are slowly becoming more
   points for it at the time of character creation. About 1 in
                                                                          common among the first generation novas. Along with the
   500,000 baseline humans is a High-Quantum baseline. Such a
                                                                          “normal” nova couples that manage to somehow settle down and
   baseline cannot actively use his single dot of Quantum but will
                                                                          have kids, there are also Taint-ridden novas whose offspring
   enjoy certain small benefits derived from having it, such as a
                                                                          will redefine baseline humanity’s concept of “monstrosity” for
   slightly-increased resistance to certain quantum powers. That
                                                                          centuries to come. These mockeries of nova families pose a
   said, a High-Quantum baseline is not a latent nova and won’t
                                                                          threat to humanity and the entire world unlike any seen before.
   ever erupt as one, barring the use of quantum powers such as
                                                                          Between the potential power of the 2ndGen novas and the
   the Quantum Transformation technique of Quantum Supremacy.
                                                                          growing influence of Taint among the first generation, the
   High-Quantum baselines do have an increased chance of
                                                                          stakes can only go higher.
   producing nova offspring, especially if the other parent is a
   nova.
   Latents
        Latents are baselines who are born carrying the M-R gene
   sequence but lack any predisposition to eruption as a nova. Such       Project Utopia’s Sterility
   baselines could become novas, psiads or paramorphs depending
   on what sort of telluric energies they are exposed to later in life.   Cocktail
                                                                                We’ve taken the time to come up with what we feel is the
Surrogate Mothers                                                         most plausible explanation of what the Utopian sterility cocktail
     It is possible for baseline surrogate mothers to carry a nova        actually is, how it works and why it hasn’t been cured by some
fetus to term safely, so that both the surrogate mother and the           medically-inclined nova hypergenius prior to 2015. Of course, all
infant nova survive childbirth. This requires that (1) the surrogate      this can easily be changed by the Storyteller to suit the
mother receives quality medical OB-GYN supervision & assistance           individual needs of his or her own Aberrant chronicle.
during the pregnancy, and (2) the unborn nova isn’t the offspring                 What is the Utopian sterility cocktail, and how does it
of a moderately or heavily Tainted nova father. If either condition       work?
cannot be met, complications with the pregnancy can occur.                      The Utopian sterility cocktail is actually a pair of
                                                                          bioengineered retroviruses that were developed in secret by
                                                                          Proteus agents in Project Utopia’s Nova Medicine section.
                                                                          Acting under the command of Director Thetis, those Proteus
                                                                          agents had their Triton researchers genetically engineer

   Wicked Aunts                                                           components of the retroviruses’ genomes, which were then
                                                                          assembled into the two finished retroviruses by Proteus
                                                                          scientists for later mass production. The retroviruses were
   and Uncles                                                             designed so that they would specifically target and infect all the
                                                                          cells of a nova’s gonads within thirty minutes after exposure.
         The process of choosing a spouse, starting a family and          Once there, the retroviruses attack two different targets in the
   raising children has always been a timeless cycle in the course of     nova’s DNA, both of which are involved in the genetic basis for
   human life. Likewise, there have always been social deviants who       nova capabilities. The first retrovirus directly attacks any and all
   seek to harm or exploit families and children, and people with         existing gametes, altering the targeted DNA so that they carry
   sufficient courage and moral fiber to stand up against these           what amounts to an encrypted genetic sequence. The second
   predators. Even in the Nova Age, this conflict hasn’t changed          retrovirus alters the cells that produce gametes, ensuring that
   very much. When fertile novas manage to pair off and start             any gametes produced in the future will also carry the encrypted
   families, there are many people out there who will gladly use,         genetic sequence. Their dirty work accomplished, the viruses
   abuse or kill them and/or their children. Fortunately, there are       are then quickly eliminated from the nova’s system. The altered
   novas who seek to protect (some of) these new families, and            gametes are now genetically dissimilar to the rest of the nova’s
   ensure the future of novakind. The future of baseline humanity is      body (with the potential to eventually become cancerous), and
   another matter entirely...                                             for this reason are quickly destroyed by the nova’s own
   The first factor that has altered this conflict where novas are        leukocytes. As of 2015, there is no known cure for the effects of
   concerned is the potential for unimaginable power which is the         this retrovirus. Director Thetis’ interest lies in controlling the
   birthright of the “second generation” novas. There are those           nova population by preventing their reproduction, so creating a
   among the factions of the world of Aberrant who either suspect


                                                       ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                            31
                                                             ABERRANT

cure (a key to the genetic encryption) was deemed both                  covertly provide Utopian novas with several doses of
unnecessary and counterproductive. Proteus began the nova               moxinoquantamine that have been laced with the sterility
sterilization program on June 1st, 2000, and it has been                retroviruses. As a rule, Utopian novas won’t hesitate to use mox
successful for the most part.                                           on their foes, and so end up doing Proteus’ work for them. On
         Why were two retroviruses necessary?                           the other hand, Proteus agents are routinely issued sterility
      Proteus has hard evidence that the basic nova metabolism          retrovirus-laced doses of adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine (or
grants fertile novas two advantages unavailable to baseline men         the “sterility retrovirus mickey”, in the case of Proteus
and women. The sperm of fertile nova men can live for up to             bartenders) as Director Thetis deems necessary, usually to
seven days, where that of baseline men only lives for 72 hours at       sterilize novas in other organizations that Proteus has infiltrated.
most. Likewise, fertile nova women can produce several new              Note again that most Proteus agents don’t know what the
ova on a monthly basis, which baseline women cannot do at all           sterility retrovirus-laced drugs or mickeys that they are dosing
according to current gynecology. So any effective nova                  novas with really are. As far as they know, they are either using
sterilization agent would have to ensure that both any existing         standard adrenocilin and/or mox, or as bartenders are covertly
gametes in a nova’s body and any gametes a nova’s body                  testing experimental medicines intended to retard Taint
produced in the future would be destroyed. Director Thetis is           accumulation in novas on Director Thetis’ orders. No matter how
nothing if not thorough.                                                they are used, sterility retrovirus-laced doses of adrenocilin and
         If Utopia’s retroviruses are the true cause of nova            moxinoquantamine or the sterility retrovirus mickey are only
sterility, what about the claims of Jennifer “Slider” Landers and       used once or twice on any given nova. Since the sterility
Director Iktome that there are sterility-inducing chemicals in          retroviruses typically need only one chance to do their dirty
the Utopian nova drugs?                                                 work, one or two doses are all that’s required. Batches of
      Slider and Iktome were confusing the cause of the sterility       adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine that are distributed through
with it’s method of transmission. Proteus long ago buried the           other channels will lack the sterility retroviruses, and the
secret of the source of nova sterility, but it still has to actively    sterility retrovirus mickey is only distributed by Proteus.
put the sterility retroviruses into batches of adrenocilin and                   If the sterility retroviruses are so weak in terms of their
moxinoquantuamine on occasion. That’s what Slider and Iktome            Virulence Ratings, why don’t novas resist them?
found.                                                                        Most exposure to the sterility retroviruses occurs when
         Are the two sterility retroviruses triggered by                novas either take adrenocilin or moxinoquantamine for the pain
channeling quantum energy?                                              of eruption or training in the use of their quantum powers,
      No. That tidbit is another piece of disinformation created        respectively. Proteus agents working as bartenders also use a
by Proteus. The retroviruses will do their dirty work regardless        “sterility retrovirus mickey”, which they slip into hyper-
of whether or not a nova is channeling quantum energy at the            intoxicating drinks such as Amp Wells. In both cases, a nova
time of exposure.                                                       would not even think of attempting to resist the drugs or the
         Are the sterility retroviruses present in all of the Utopian   drinks, especially since relatively few novas will have any clue
nova drugs?                                                             that they’ve just been infected by the sterility retroviruses. The
      They aren’t, for two reasons. First off, the sterility            exception to this are novas with the Body Awareness
retroviruses were deliberately made too weak to survive for             enhancement (from Aberrant: Brainwaves), who will instantly
very long outside of a specialized laboratory environment – in          notice the sterility retroviruses entering their systems. They can
game terms, they both have a Virulence Rating of 2 when used            then make a Resistance roll to purge the sterility retroviruses
on a nova. This allows the retroviruses to be used safely – in          from their bodies. Alternatively, the Mind Over Matter
most cases – on novas without the risk of mutation and                  enhancement (also from Aberrant: Brainwaves) can be used to
subsequent transmission to the baseline population. This                retard the onset of the sterility retroviruses, and the Healing
changes if the retroviruses are used on a heavily-Tainted nova          quantum power can aid in the Resistance roll to purge the
(8-10 dots of permanent Taint), as the nova’s Taint can easily          sterility retroviruses. Use of the Suspension enhancement (from
cause severe mutations in the retroviruses. This unforeseen             Aberrant: The New Flesh) can also halt the onset of the
circumstance will prove to be the source of some of the                 retroviruses, as can the Stop Time technique of Temporal
infamous “Taint diseases” that will ravage the baseline populace        Manipulation.
both during the upcoming Aberrant War and in the Trinity Era.                    How else can novas resist the effects of the Utopian
Second, both adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine are readily               sterility retroviruses?
available to novas (with a prescription), making it all too easy              Having the Health enhancement is the most obvious
for them to end up being examined in some nova mastermind’s             defense novas can have against the Utopian sterility
biology lab. For this reason, the only Utopians that are regularly      retroviruses, although having dots of Invulnerability: Disease
issued doses of adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine that have              works just as well. The only problem with these defenses is that
been laced with the sterility retroviruses are Project Utopia’s         a nova must gain them upon eruption for them to be effective. If
Intervention Teams and the doctors at the Rashoud clinics. The          they are developed after a nova erupts and is sterilized by the
only exception to this is when Utopian novas are tasked with            Utopian retroviruses, they cannot restore the nova’s fertility.
subduing what Aeon terms “rogue novas” (read: dissidents,               What’s worse is that those defenses can also prevent any future
suspected Aberrants or Terats, and novas too paranoid or cagey          attempts to use retroviruses to cure the nova’s sterility. The
to go anywhere near a Rashoud clinic). In that case, Proteus will       Fertility enhancement (found later on in this sourcebook) is also



32                                                                 RULES
                                                           ABERRANT

a viable defense, and is more useful as developing it after a         to eventually develop that power are Antaeus, Regina Mundi and
nova’s eruption will actually allow a sterilized nova to regain his   Belladonna. It is speculated that one of these novas not only
or her fertility.                                                     restored the fertility of the nova population in the 2030s, but
         Why haven’t any medically-inclined nova masterminds          granted all novas the equivalent of one level of the Health
discovered this before 2015? And why haven’t any of those             enhancement as well.
masterminds come up with a cure for it?                                             How did Proteus manage to sterilize nearly so many
      Certain Mega-Intelligent novas have known about the             of the known novas prior to the Slider scandal in 2008?
Utopian sterilization program for quite some time, with Antaeus             Soon after their recreation in January of 1999, the first
being the most notable of them. Knowing that a problem exists         real project of the Aberrant-era incarnation of Proteus was the
and doing something constructive about it are two different           creation of the sterility retroviruses. By late May in 2000,
things, however. Provided that a mastermind can see through           Proteus began mass-producing the sterility retroviruses, and
the disinformation put out by Proteus (several Proteus agents         quickly built up respectable supplies of sterility retrovirus-laced
churn out fanciful and lurid stories for the tabloid industry, for    adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine. Before Jennifer “Slider”
example), she will then have to investigate other possible ways       Landers was murdered, relatively few novas had any reason at
to induce sterility in novas. If the mastermind suspects a genetic    all to be distrustful of Project Utopia. Many novas, often still in
cause of nova sterility, she will then be faced with strong           pain from their eruptions, either sought help at Utopia’s
evidence that it is apparently linked to the genes that allow for     Rashoud clinics or gladly welcomed the aid offered by Project
nova capabilities to develop in the first place. If said mastermind   Utopia’s Intervention Teams. Those few that weren’t eager to
thinks to compare the DNA from a sterilized nova’s gonads to          accept this Utopian aid were deemed “rogue novas”, and were
that from the rest of his body, she can verify that nova sterility    typically dosed with sterility retrovirus-laced mox at least once.
is not a natural part of the nova genome, leading her to suspect      Proteus agents infiltrated many other organizations that counted
that retroviruses have been at work. That leaves her with the         novas among their ranks, often under the cover of working as
task of locating the genetic alteration caused by the retroviruses    either paraphysicians or more frequently as pharmacists. Some
within the nova genome, and the task of “decrypting” the              even operated as “street paraphysicians”, offering their
genetic alteration once it’s been found. That’s when attempting       discreet medical services to criminal novas. Other Proteus
to reverse nova sterility becomes a truly Herculean labor. First      agents found employment as bartenders at various nightclubs
off, Proteus’ genetic encryption has no “key”, making it a one-       frequented by novas, where they would occasionally add a
way process, as Director Thetis never intended nova sterility to      sterility retrovirus mickey to the hyper-intoxicating drinks
be reversible. Second, since a gamete has only half of a human’s      formulated for nova consumption, such as the Amp Wells of the
genetic code and the individual chromosomes of that code are          Amp Room.
randomly selected, the encrypted message is non-determinate.                   How did Proteus manage to create the sterility
This leaves developing another retrovirus to correct the genetic      retroviruses so quickly?
alteration made by the Utopian sterility retroviruses as the only           They actually got lucky, believe it or not. One of the first
conventional way to cure nova sterility. Once you add in the          novas recruited by Proteus had become naturally sterile as a
difficulties of evading Utopia’s Technological Regulation agents,     side-effect of her eruption. Thanks to her superhuman
Proteus saboteurs and industrial espionage in the course of           awareness of her own body (the Body Awareness enhancement
developing said retrovirus, it becomes all too easy to see why        from Aberrant: Brainwaves), she realized that her own immune
even nova masterminds have made little progress in the matter         system had not only wiped out her existing supply of ova, but
of curing nova sterility through conventional means.                  was also systematically killing the new ones that her ovaries
         Are there any unconventional ways to cure the effects of     were somehow generating as soon as they were released into
the Utopian sterility retroviruses?                                   her Fallopian tubes. Distraught, she went to a Rashoud clinic
      Yes, but they’re not widely available to novas in 2015.         seeking medical assistance, where she was examined by Proteus
Developing the Fertility enhancement will allow a nova to             doctors. Intensive medical investigation revealed that the
correct the Utopian-induced sterility without any medical             eruption trauma had created two separate genetic defects in the
assistance. Healing simply will not work, as it doesn’t affect a      nova’s DNA, which combined to make both her original ova and
subject’s DNA. Biomanipulation can allow normally-sterile novas       any newly-generated ova into precancerous cells. Director
to produce offspring by means of the Body Manipulation                Thetis realized this for the golden opportunity it was, as
technique (to induce brief hyperfertility). This technique is what    attempting to deliberately engineer those genetic defects from
has allowed the Teragen to secretly produce a small brood of          scratch in the lab would have easily taken decades of hard,
nova children. The catch to this method of sidestepping nova          expensive work. Duplicating them, however, only cost Proteus
sterility is that this technique doesn’t alter the parents’ DNA, so   scientists a few days’ effort. Proteus had the weapon they
that the offspring will inherit their parents’ induced sterility.     wanted, so all they needed was a delivery system. Proteus then
Powers that directly control the DNA of other novas (such as          arranged for separate parts of the sterility retrovirus
possessed by the Terat Altaz “The Apothecary” Zia) are                development project to be farmed out to many extremely
capable of correcting the effects of the retroviruses in a single     talented researchers at Triton Pharmaceuticals, who worked
nova. The Mutation technique of the Ecological Supremacy              either as individuals or in tiny groups. The Proteus agents at
power is capable of restoring the fertility of the entire nova        Triton (some of whom were in management positions)
population with a single use, but the only novas known in canon       deliberately misled the researchers as to what the actual use of



                                                   ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                           33
                                                           ABERRANT

their products would be. With the resources of Triton at their        have instead sought to attain it for their children. And despite
disposal (which included unethical medical experimentation            the best efforts of Project Utopia, Project Proteus and the
performed on Proteus novas), completing these “mini-projects”         Directive, certain organized crime syndicates have stepped in to
only required a few months. Formulating adrenocilin and               claim a share of that highly lucrative market. Caveat emptor
moxinoquantamine didn’t even take that long, since they’re            applies especially to such proscribed services and shady
basically baseline drugs cut so that they’re strong enough to         providers, however. Both the DeVries Agency and the Teragen
affect novas. Once the “parts” were all completed, all Proteus        also have implemented their own plans to covertly increase the
had to do was have their own scientists assemble them                 nova population, the ramifications of which will not become
correctly, check that the finished sterility retroviruses             apparent to the world at large until 2025. The seeds have been
performed as intended, and ensure that they could make more           sown, and all that remains is to see what will grow from them.
of the sterility retroviruses as needed. The unwitting Triton         More Precious Than Gold
researchers got a nice fat bonus on their paychecks, and started
                                                                            When the genetic basis for becoming a nova was revealed
work on their next projects in blissful ignorance.
                                                                      to the scientific community in late 1998, savvy individuals
         Was Max Mercer behind the Utopian sterility
                                                                      quickly realized the extreme value that would eventually be
retroviruses?
                                                                      placed on viable homo sapiens novus sperm. Unfortunately, the
      Certainly not. As written, Max Mercer is not someone who
                                                                      majority of novas at that time were either still trying to adjust
would countenance the mass sterilization of an entire group of
                                                                      to their new powers or had yet to erupt, so chances to acquire
humans, even one as powerful as the novas. Aeon was left to its
                                                                      samples of said tissue were nearly impossible to come by. As the
own devices after Mercer vanished in the mid-1950s. Others in
                                                                      phenomenon of novas as celebrities began to develop during
Aeon attempted to carry on what they thought was his dream,
                                                                      1999, there was a brief window of opportunity for covert
but they wound up shifting focus to their own personal agendas.
                                                                      sampling as certain male novas indulged in debaucheries that had
Said personal agendas have diverged greatly from Mercer’s
                                                                      previously been restricted to rock stars and their like. When the
original vision of what Aeon’s ideals, goals and methods should
                                                                      mysterious problem of nova sterility became widespread in late
be. When Mercer returned to Aeon in the mid-1990s, he did not
                                                                      2000, the whole matter became moot as far as the most of the
like what found. To Mercer, the lengths to which Aeon projects
                                                                      world at large was concerned. One of the first people to realize
like Utopia and Proteus have gone indicates that he screwed up
                                                                      the potential of this new commodity was one Doctor Takeshi
royally somewhere. Mercer retains much control over Aeon, but
                                                                      Maeda, a skilled medical doctor and cutting-edge geneticist who
he’s got a lot of work to do before Aeon can really be
                                                                      also happened to be born to a yakuza family and loyal to the
considered “his group” once again. So while Mercer would not
                                                                      Nakato Gumi. He then drew up plans to use a few suitable male
have aided in the development and use of the Utopian sterility
                                                                      novas to supply a nova sperm bank, the services of which the
retroviruses, he was also far too busy regaining control over
                                                                      Nakato Gumi could then reap extreme profits from. Having
Aeon to rein in Thetis’ premier atrocity.
                                                                      alerted his superiors in the Nakato Gumi to this opportunity in
         That explanation is all very nice, but it doesn’t suit my
                                                                      December of 1998, Maeda’s proposal was deemed both feasible
Aberrant chronicle. Are there any alternatives?
                                                                      and profitable, yet was shelved as a low-priority project during
      Of course! At the Storyteller’s discretion, the Utopian
                                                                      the Nakato Gumi’s rise to ascendancy over the Japanese
sterility cocktail may truly be an assortment of sterility-inducing
                                                                      underworld. By 2010, however, Maeda’s project finally got
drugs tailored to affect novas instead of a pair of engineered
                                                                      approval from the oyabun and was implemented. Five years
retroviruses. Alternatively, the sterility-inducing drugs could be
                                                                      later, Maeda’s project has paid for itself scores of times over,
too expensive and/or too difficult to produce for it to used
                                                                      and has given the Nakato Gumi a near-monopoly on one of the
widely, leading it to be used in only the adrenocilin and
                                                                      most precious commodities of the Nova Age.
moxinoquantamine issued to Project Utopia’s Intervention
                                                                            Dr. Maeda’s operation currently uses three Japanese “stud
Teams and the doctors at the Rashoud clinics. Also, the Utopian
                                                                      novas” as unknowing sperm donors for the Nakato Gumi sperm
sterility retroviruses or drugs can also have a more exotic
                                                                      bank. The stud novas came to the attention of the Nakato Gumi
source than we have indicated, again at the Storyteller’s
                                                                      by means of their contacts in the Japanese medical system, and
discretion. It’s not impossible for a mad scientist from the
                                                                      have been tricked into their current predicament though use of
Adventure! Era to have developed either engineered viruses or
                                                                      unspecified family obligations. One of the stud novas’ own
special drugs with the Super-Science rules.
                                                                      inclinations helped to lure him in – he is a confirmed lecher
                                                                      whose interest in sex borders on satyriasis. The powers of these
Seeds of Divinity                                                     novas are quite low-key – in game terms they are all “stealth
                                                                      novas” (Aberrant core book, p. 155) with many Mega-
     For most baselines in these early decades of the Nova Age,
erupting as a nova is seen as something of a Holy Grail of worldly    Attributes at low ratings. They have also become very attractive
success. Unfortunately, most of them also know that the               to women in some way or another. Having been relatively normal
capacity to erupt is an extremely rare genetic mutation. (Those       young Japanese guys (very late teens to early 20s in age) before
who don’t accept the latter fact fill the ranks of baselines who      their eruption, the stud novas decided (with parental urging) to
end up either crippling or killing themselves in misguided            hide their novahood and attempt to lead reasonably normal lives.
attempts to induce their own eruptions.) With no known reliable       The Nakato Gumi has secretly helped them with the prior, but
means of gaining novahood for themselves, wealthy baselines           made the latter impossible. All three of these novas have been
                                                                      unknowingly set up in living situations that had previously only



34                                                               RULES
                                                            ABERRANT

been seen in Japan’s various “harem” anime and manga series.           resulting child’s chances of eruption as a nova, it also means
As far as the stud novas know, they have somehow found stable          bearing a provable bastard who could disgrace their family and
jobs as building managers of one sort or another – one runs a          reveal the ostensible father as a cuckold. The considereably
boarding house, another oversees a small apartment complex,            greater production costs involved make the M-R gene sequence
and a third somehow wound up managing a small girls’ dormitory.        implantation not quite as profitable for the Nakato Gumi as their
All three establishments are owned by the Nakato Gumi through          nova sperm bank operation, but it still rakes in plenty of money
several shell companies. Leaving little to chance, Dr. Maeda had       for their bank accounts. It can safely be assumed that Professor
the three establishments filled with a pre-screened selection of       Ikeda will be performing this procedure for the Nakato Gumi’s
young female tenants. Aside from being very attractive and             paying clients for decades to come.
generally pleasant – if somewhat eccentric – in personality, the             Purchasing the services of the Nakato Gumi’s nova sperm
young women chosen by Dr. Maeda were all fleeing unpleasant            bank requires a minimum of Resources                and Contacts
family situations and were romantically unattached. Tenants still           , with the latter representing a major contact in both the
attending high school have mysteriously inherited sizeable             Nakato Gumi and the Japanese government. Those who wish to
savings accounts (actually provided by the Nakato Gumi), while         have the M-R gene sequence gengineered into their unborn
the older tenants have luckily found jobs at local businesses that     offspring instead need Resources               and Contacts      .
the Nakato Gumi has full or partial ownership of. After settling       Clients from Japan’s upper social strata (generally powerful
into their new lives, the managers and the tenants got                 politicians, successful business families and Japan’s “blue
acquainted with each other, and Nature eventually took its             blooded” gentry and nobility) may substitute dots of Influence
course. Being lonely young women faced with a superhumanly             (based in Japan) to lower the actual price to Resources       and
attractive guy on a 24/7 basis, it wasn’t too long before the               , respectively. For purposes of determining the status of
tenants actually fell in love with their respective manager (and       any offspring of the Nakato Gumi nova sperm bank, the stud
vice versa). All of the tenants have lost any qualms they might        novas are all first generation novas with no permanent Taint.
have had about seducing their particular “Mr. Right” (or being         Most of the children that have been gengineered with the M-R
seduced by their tenants, in the case of the stud novas)               gene sequence won’t erupt as novas – in game terms, they are
whenever possible. The free medical care the residents are all         considered to be High-Quantum baselines. Only about 10 to 3%
provided with by the Nakato Gumi – which includes the services         (Storyteller’s discretion as to the exact percentage) of such
of skilled gynecologists who handle the sperm harvesting from          children are born as latent novas. If the mother of such a
the female tenants – allows the managers and their tenants to          gengineered child happens to be a High-Quantum baseline
carry on in their accustomed lifestyle without any inconvenient        herself, there’s a chance that the child will be born as a 2ndGen
fears of pregnancy. It is important to note that neither these         nova, as per the “Nova father & High-Quantum Baseline
young men nor the young women they live with have any clue             mother” listing in the Interbreeding tables.
that their surreal lifestyle is all a setup for them to be exploited   Fools’ Gold
by the Nakato Gumi. If the truth were revealed to them, their
                                                                            The demand for viable nova sperm hasn’t gone unnoticed
reactions would be nearly impossible to predict. Dr. Maeda also
                                                                       by the rest of the underworld. The Camparelli-Zhukov
keeps a close watch over the tenants’ medical reports – he has
                                                                       Megasyndicate also discreetly offers the services of their own
theorized that regular intimate contact with a nova might be
                                                                       nova sperm bank to certain customers. These are generally
sufficient to trigger eruption as a nova, and is eager to gather
                                                                       marks who are rich enough to be worthwhile targets, foolish
any evidence that would confirm his theory.
                                                                       enough to be conned and not powerful enough to mount serious
      Kuro-Tek’s covert research into nova genetics has also
                                                                       reprisals against the Megasyndicate. The main difference
resulted in a technique that allows the M-R gene sequence to be
                                                                       between the Megasyndicate’s operation and that of the Nakato
genetically engineered into a human blastula either before
                                                                       Gumi is that most of the Megasyndicate’s “product” is actually
conception or during the first month of pregnancy. This project
                                                                       taken from baseline sperm donors. When the children resulting
has only been somewhat successful as far as Professor Sayo
                                                                       from the couterfeit nova sperm fail to erupt, the Megasyndicate
Ikeda, Kuro-Tek’s premier hyperintelligent nova gengineer is
                                                                       plans to place the blame for that on the mothers’ baseline
concerned – the genetic implant is completely safe and stable,
                                                                       genetics. It’s possible to buy the real thing from the
but very few of the resulting children seem likely to ever erupt
                                                                       Megasyndicate – for a much steeper price, naturally – but that
as novas later on in life. Professor Ikeda also seems to be the
                                                                       option has its own problems. The few fertile male novas in the
only gengineer – nova or otherwise – on the planet capable of
                                                                       service of the Megasyndicate all have medium to high levels of
performing the required genetic manipulations reliably and
                                                                       permanent Taint (five dots or higher), which can lead to all sorts
without any errors. In game terms, the M-R gene sequence
                                                                       of pregnancy complications for the unfortunate mothers who
implantation technique is essentially a gadget useable only by
                                                                       purchase the Megasyndicate’s “premium” sperm bank services.
novas (Aberrant Players Guide, pp. 143-148), which also
                                                                       Purchasing the basic services (and counterfeit nova sperm) of
requires extensive training in human genetics and genetic
                                                                       the Megasyndicate’s nova sperm bank requires a minimum of
engineering to use. Despite all this, the implantation procedure is
                                                                       Resources        and Contacts , with the latter representing one
considered preferable to using the Nakato Gumi nova sperm
                                                                       or more minor contacts within the C-Z Megasyndicate.
bank by those upper-class couples who deem matters of good
                                                                       Purchasing the premium services requires Resources
breeding and legitimate birth to be vitally important. While using
                                                                       and Contacts        , with the latter representing two major
a sample from the nova sperm bank drastically increases the
                                                                       contacts within the C-Z Megasyndicate.


                                                    ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                          35
                                                           ABERRANT


Anna’s Stud Service                                                   compensated date are also charged a much smaller fee, and
                                                                      those in sufficiently good standing with the DeVries Agency may
      Ever since DeVries Agency President Anna DeVries
                                                                      also have their fees waived entirely. If Rachel Alinsky ever hears
decided to find a way for her to become pregnant, medical
                                                                      her biological clock ticking and decides to apply for a
researchers within the amoral elite agency have taken a keen
                                                                      compensated date, not only would Anna eagerly grant her as
interest in matters of nova sexuality and fertility. It soon became
                                                                      many compensated dates as she wanted, none of the stud novas
apparent that while fertile male novas were more commonly
                                                                      would even dream of refusing Rachel’s application. Anna has
found among the ranks of elites than in the general nova
                                                                      also set up a discreet nova sperm bank, for those women who
population, their often extremely hazardous lifestyles also made
                                                                      either feel uncomfortable with applying for a compensated date
it highly unlikely that they would survive to sire any offspring.
                                                                      or have had their applications rejected by one or more of the
When combined with the hedonistic attitudes that many elites
                                                                      stud novas. This isn’t generosity on Anna’s part, but is a vital
develop – “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” –
                                                                      part of her long-term schemes. Like the Teragen with whom she
most people would see it as proof positive of the essential
                                                                      sympathizes, Anna DeVries wishes to increase the population of
emptiness of the elite lifestyle and its vaunted glory. Anna
                                                                      novas, but she also wants to take advantage of the new novas
DeVries never was “most people”, and quickly spotted the
                                                                      that her scheming produces. Anna has used her influence over
highly profitable business opportunity that the situation offered.
                                                                      DeVries’ recruiters to ensure that attractive, healthy young
Instead of suggesting to the fertile male heterosexual novas
                                                                      women who want to bear nova children are more common
among her elites that she wanted them to moonlight as gigolos,
                                                                      among the employees than they would be if standard hiring
she has set up a very discreet “compensated dating”
                                                                      practices were followed. If a female DeVries employee becomes
arrangement for them. Anna takes applications for
                                                                      pregnant as a result of a compensated date, she is encouraged in
“compensated dates” from interested women, many of whom
                                                                      person by none other than Anna DeVries herself to relocate to
are DeVries employees – fertile female novas employed by
                                                                      the DeVries Compound at Pretoria, South Africa. To date, none
DeVries receive a special discount. The chosen elites then get to
                                                                      of the employees have refused Anna’s offer. Once they have
pick and choose which women they will “entertain” from their
                                                                      transferred to the DeVries Compound, the new mothers willingly
pool of applicants. The ladies receive several nights of passion,
                                                                      sign up any resulting children into a special child care and
the elites receive some sexual relief and the lion’s share of the
                                                                      educational program sponsored by DeVries at no charge. By
money (minus a matchmaker’s fee for DeVries), and the
                                                                      indoctrinating the children to see DeVries as their trusted friend
transaction is finished as far as the world at large is concerned.
                                                                      from an early age, Anna hopes to ensure that a healthy portion
      As could only be expected, Anna’s ambitions go far beyond
                                                                      of the next generation of novas will be loyal DeVries employees.
arranging hot dates for some of her elites. What everyone not
                                                                            Assuming that a woman meets with the approval of the
involved in the transaction doesn’t know is that the women the
                                                                      elite she has applied for, purchasing a compensated date for
DeVries elites are being paid to entertain in compensated dates
                                                                      three days with a DeVries stud nova requires both Resources
aren’t just after some romance and sexual satisfaction – they
                                                                               and Contacts , with the latter representing a major
are also attempting to become pregnant. The elites who work
                                                                      contact within the DeVries Agency. Purchasing a compensated
for Anna’s compensated dating service have not only been
                                                                      date for seven days requires Resources               . If the woman
informed of their state of reproductive health, but are
                                                                      in question is either a “person of interest” or a DeVries
unanimously willing to sire children in this manner. These men
                                                                      employee, purchasing a compensated date only requires
have long realized their own mortality, and yet cannot abandon
                                                                      Resources         (three days) or          (seven days) and either
the life of the combat elite. They see Anna’s compensated
                                                                      Contacts       (DeVries) or Backing       (DeVries). Female novas
dating operation as a way to leave behind some sort of legacy
                                                                      that are fertile only need Resources          (three days) or
after their deaths other than battlefield tales, empty mansions
                                                                      (seven days) and Contacts             (DeVries) or Backing
and fat Swiss bank accounts. The parental rights of the DeVries
                                                                      (DeVries) to purchase a compensated date. Applicants with
stud novas aren’t usually an issue, as the elites will only rarely
                                                                      Backing         (DeVries) or higher or a good Reputation with
enforce them. On the other hand, most of the elites also take a
                                                                      DeVries may have their fees waived entirely at the Storyteller’s
very dim view of “their” children being manhandled, regardless
                                                                      discretion. Acquiring a sample of viable nova sperm from the
of whether or not they have been involved in the child’s
                                                                      DeVries nova sperm bank requires Resources                 and either
parenting. In the case of women from outside the DeVries
                                                                      Contacts       (DeVries) or Backing       (DeVries), with the cost
Agency who apply for her compensated dating service, Anna is
                                                                      lowered to Resources          for fertile female novas. The only
generally content to charge a very stiff fee for the services of
                                                                      catch to using the DeVries sperm bank is that fertilization is
her elites. She does make regular exception for women Anna
                                                                      always performed in the main medical clinic in the DeVries
deems “people of interest”; who tend to be blood relatives of
                                                                      Compound at Pretoria, South Africa – they never ship their
novas, women that are otherwise highly likely to bear nova
                                                                      samples. Any resulting children from a DeVries employee’s
children, friends of either Anna herself or the DeVries family,
                                                                      compensated date or use of the DeVries nova sperm bank are
female novas who have been proven fertile by DeVries’ resident
                                                                      then typically signed up by their mothers for Anna DeVries’ free
paraphysicians, and women to whom Anna feels indebted in
                                                                      child care program, which later on includes education and
some way. Anna charges these ladies a much smaller fee, and
                                                                      indoctrination. For purposes of determining the status of the
may even waive the fee entirely in certain cases. (In this
                                                                      children resulting from a compensated date or use of the
situation, the elite’s fee comes from the general company
payroll.) Female DeVries employees who apply for a



36                                                               RULES
                                                          ABERRANT

DeVries nova sperm bank, DeVries’ stud novas are all novas           male nova. Refer to the appropriate listings in the Interbreeding
with little or no permanent Taint (zero to four dots).               tables for details.
The Hagar Procedure                                                  The Cuckoo Gambit
      Like most novas, Anna DeVries was unknowingly dosed                  With their plans for eventual nova domination of baseline
with the Utopian sterility cocktail and rendered unable to           civilization, it was only a matter of time before the Teragen
conceive. Unlike most other novas, Anna DeVries also had the         hatched their own plots dealing with reproductive technologies.
resources to do something about this problem. Anna started           Certain medically knowledgeable Terats within the Casablanca
DeVries’ research program on the nova infertility problem            faction have been gathering viable sperm samples from the few
immediately after finding out she was sterile. The researchers’      fertile male novas scattered throughout the ranks of the
first big break was the discovery of the small handful of fertile    Teragen since 2003. These Terats have also infiltrated many
novas among DeVries’ nova employees. While this quickly              normal sperm banks in the First World nations and secretly
resulted in the establishment of a profitable side venture for       replaced selected baseline sperm samples with those from the
DeVries (see Anna’s Stud Service, above); finding a way to use       Terat stud novas. The only criteria that has to be met is a rough
fertile novas to solve Anna’s problem took several more years of     match between the racial characteristics of the original donor
research, many millions of dollars and a breakthrough on the         and his nova replacement. As far as the Teragen is concerned,
part of one nova gengineer by the name of Harold Manders,            the ranks of novas must be replenished by any means necessary.
M.D. With Dr. Manders’ skills at their disposal, DeVries now has     If doing so means causing potential emotional harm to the
a procedure to sidestep nova infertility that works fairly well –    couples they deceive, then so be it. The natural process of
sometimes. The procedure begins with an egg cell donated by          evolution is cruel, so why should they be any different? It is also
one of DeVries’ few fertile female novas, from which all of the      important to note that Divis Mal and Jeremiah Scripture not only
nuclear genetic material has been removed. Several stem cells        have full knowledge of this scheme, but have given the
are then taken from the sterile female nova who is attempting to     Casablancas the blessing of Mal for this project. The Terat
conceive. The 23 chromosomes that would ordinarily be split off      donor novas can have any level of permanent Taint desired by
into an egg cell are taken from the stem cells, with the             the Storyteller, with the effects on the resulting pregnancies and
chromosome carrying the maternal M-R gene sequence singled           offspring being as stated in the Interbreeding tables.
out for special attention. The mother’s M-R gene sequence is         Exposure
removed from that chromosome, and replaced with the M-R
                                                                           As of 2015, only the C-Z Megasyndicate has been unlucky
gene sequence from the donor’s egg. The maternal
                                                                     enough to attract any official attention to their sperm bank
chromosomes are then transplanted into the donor’s egg, which
                                                                     scam. As far as Utopia, Proteus and the Directive knows, all that
is then fertilized by donated sperm in a standard in vitro
                                                                     the Megasyndicate has done is fraudulently sell viable baseline
procedure. Special medical nanotechnology developed by Rachel
                                                                     sperm as that of nova donors, which is fairly trivial when
Alinsky is then implanted along with the fertilized egg into the
                                                                     compared to their other crimes. This state of blissful ignorance
mother’s womb. If all goes well, the medical nanites will prevent
                                                                     cannot last. Revelation of the operations of the Nakato Gumi, C-
the fertilized egg from being rejected by the mother’s immune
                                                                     Z Megasyndicate, DeVries Agency and Teragen involving
system.
                                                                     reproductive technologies would immediately draw intense
      Unfortunately, there are several drawbacks to the Hagar
                                                                     hostile interest from many factions. Utopia and Proteus would
Procedure. First off, Rachel Alinsky’s special medical
                                                                     take a dim view of any operations intended to increase the nova
nanotechnology is in game terms a gadget useable only by novas
                                                                     population, and would seek to shut them down with extreme
with medical expertise. Second is the fact that the genetic
                                                                     prejudice. The Directive would seek to immediately shut down
manipulations and nanotech operations involved in the Hagar
                                                                     the operations of the C-Z Megasyndicate and the Teragen, but
Procedure are both unwieldy enough that the nova gengineer
                                                                     would assuredly leave the Nakato Gumi and DeVries to their own
must have Luck              and Attunement           , in order to
                                                                     devices. The Teragen would seek to subvert the operations of
literally shift the odds for successful conception and pregnancy
                                                                     the Nakato Gumi and C-Z Megasyndicate (along with any stud
in the favor of the would-be mother. Third is the failure rate of
                                                                     novas involved) for their own purposes. The Aberrants would
80%; for every successful pregnancy resulting from the Hagar
                                                                     want to rescue unwilling stud novas in the Nakato Gumi’s
Procedure, there are four cases of stillbirth or natural abortion.
                                                                     operation, and prevent the C-Z Megasyndicate stud novas from
Fourth, Anna DeVries has kept a very tight rein over who gets
                                                                     being used as such due to their (and presumably their offspring)
to use her new medical miracle. Using the Hagar Procedure
                                                                     being highly prone to taint. Interference with the DeVries or
requires Backing             with DeVries. There is no Resource
                                                                     Teragen operations is unlikely, though possible victimization of
rating required, as Anna expects the resulting children to
                                                                     the resulting offspring would be an issue for the Aberrants. Most
literally be raised as part of the DeVries “corporate
                                                                     elite agencies would be ambivalent or disgusted by the
community”. Finally, it can’t do a thing to help infertile male
                                                                     operations, but would refrain from interfering with them unless
novas father their own children. As of 2015, eight ostensibly
                                                                     hired to do so. As far as the baseline factions are concerned,
sterile nova women have managed to conceive and successfully
                                                                     their reactions would range from alarm and concern (at best) to
bear children by means of the Hagar Procedure, including Anna
                                                                     subversion attempts or witch-hunts (at worst). Many national
DeVries herself. The status of children created with the Hagar
                                                                     governments and corporations would leap at the chance to
Procedure depends on the status of the biological father; who
                                                                     breed and raise their own force of novas, while the Church of
will usually be a baseline, High-Quantum baseline or a fertile


                                                  ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                           37
                                                          ABERRANT

Michael Archangel would see the donors, parents and children         the motherhunters is another good way to enter into conflict
involved in these operations as yet more targets to eliminate.       with them. Enlightened self-interest is not unlikely, as any
                                                                     breeder nova who becomes known as such will be targeted by
                                                                     the motherhunters sooner or later, so why not take the fight to
The Motherhunters                                                    them beforehand? Recruiting freshly-rescued breeder novas to
      Utopia, Proteus, and other groups have agents that track       join the operatives’ faction has been known to happen, as timing
down any proven “breeder” novas that those organizations             can be everything in a sales pitch. And as money can buy nearly
uncover or otherwise become aware of. Utopians might seek to         anything in 2015, greed can pull an operative into the thick of
take their quarry and their offspring into custody (where            this conflict, provided that the client he’s working for can afford
Proteus can execute and/or experiment on them with impunity),        his services. The common thread here is that the delivery boys
while Proteus agents may likely kill them as soon as is feasible.    and girls agree that breeder novas and their offspring are worth
Agents of other groups may or may not have other plans for           protecting. This can lead to problems when said breeder novas
“breeder” novas and their children, depending on the goals of        are either tainted monstrosities or remorseless criminals. If
their organization. Who are these people, and how do they            delivery boys and girls aren’t careful in choosing which novas to
operate? And how can a budding nova family avoid their notice,       protect, they could wind up bearing partial responsibility for any
or failing that, avoid being captured and/or killed?                 unwarranted deaths and destruction their erstwhile charges may
Sinister Actions                                                     cause in the future.
      The experiences of taking a spouse and having children are
                                                                             Utopia: Motherhunters. At the
arguably two of the major cornerstones of human society, and
                                                                     very least, Utopians will seek to
are assumed to be common goals for most people. So what could
                                                                     establish & maintain surveillance of
make a nova capable of doing harm to a couple or family of
                                                                     suspected breeder novas. If direct
breeder novas? Sadly, there are many things that can cause a
                                                                     action is deemed necessary by their
nova to become one of the true “motherhunters”, with
                                                                     superiors, Utopians will typically seek
sociopathy and sadism being only two of the more obvious
                                                                     to take their quarry and their
reasons. Simple greed can also be enough, as most organizations
                                                                     offspring into custody (where Proteus
that sponsor motherhunters can afford to pay them very
                                                                     can execute and/or experiment on
handsomely for performing this particular brand of dirty work. A
                                                                     them with impunity, if Thetis so
desire for revenge on a particular nova can all too easily expand
                                                                     desires). This isn’t the case where
in focus to cover novas in general. Misguided religious zeal has
                                                                     highly-tainted breeder novas are
led devout baselines to commit atrocities for centuries, and
                                                                     concerned, as Utopians will use deadly
devout novas are no less vulnerable to it. It’s not unheard of for
                                                                     force against obvious threats.
some sterile novas to become so envious of their fertile
                                                                             Proteus: Motherhunters. Proteus agents’ aims will vary
brethren that they can’t bear the thought of breeder novas
                                                                                               with their mission parameters. They
having children and starting families. Even simple mistaken
                                                                                               will depend on Utopian surveillance for
beliefs about the nature of novas and/or their 2ndGen offspring
                                                                                               the most part, with Proteus’ spies
can be enough, given sufficiently unpleasant prior experience
                                                                                               performing surveillance in those areas
with a nova. The one thing that motherhunters all have in
                                                                                               beyond Utopia’s reach. When actively
common is a willingness to dehumanize their prey, to see them
                                                                                               motherhunting, Proteus agents will
as objects to either be used or disposed of instead of thinking,
                                                                                               typically attempt to capture their
feeling humans. Of course, dehumanizing other novas is much
                                                                                               quarry for live experimentation. If any
easier when the novas in question are either heavily tainted or
                                                                                               discovered offspring are young
prove themselves monstrous by their deeds. In these latter
                                                                                               enough, Thetis might have them sent
situations, an erstwhile motherhunter will have more in common
                                                                                               to Dr. Toiho at the Bahrain clinic for
with the monster hunters of past centuries, and is more liable to
                                                                                               comparison to his artificially-produced
come away from such hunts with a clean conscience.
                                                                                               nova children. Otherwise, they will kill
     Opposite Reactions                                                                        breeder novas and their offspring as
      Just as the motherhunters seek to harm or exploit breeder      soon as is feasible.
novas and their families, there are those nova operatives who                Teragen: Delivery Boys. By their way of thinking, every
also track those novas down in order to aid and protect them.        nova they rescue from baseline oppression is a
The motives of these “delivery boys and girls” are almost as         future Terat – the only variable is how long it
varied as those of the motherhunters. Moral integrity and            will take said nova to see the light (read:
idealism have often inspired ordinary people to stand against        accept the Terat viewpoint as the truth). Only
wrongdoing, as have religious conviction, ideology and               those breeder novas known to have harmed
possession of a strong sense of justice. A need for vengeance        other novas will be denied Terat aid. Of
against motherhunters – or the organizations that employ them        course, the price of Terat aid is often to
– can easily lead a nova into this kind of protection work.          become Terats themselves (or at least allies of
Revulsion and outrage over the despicable goals and tactics of       the Teragen).



38                                                              RULES
                                                          ABERRANT

         The Directive: Motherhunters. The only thing preventing     makes their effectiveness questionable. And of course, the
these operatives from being as                                       Church of Michael Archangel will be fanatic (if mostly
vicious as Proteus agents is their                                   ineffective) motherhunters.
tendency to obey civil laws, even if                                       One such group that deserves special attention where this
only in the breach. In the eyes of                                   conflict is concerned is the Daedelus League. Most of the other
too many Directive agents, novas                                     factions believe that this loose association of nova space travel
are       threats     to     baseline                                enthusiasts is of little importance and even less relevance to the
governments and society just by                                      conflict between motherhunters
virtue of their existence, and are                                   and delivery boys. They couldn’t be
therefore just as guilty as any                                      more mistaken. The Daedelus
international criminal or petty Third World dictator. They won’t     League’s sympathies makes them
seek to kill breeder novas and their offspring if unprovoked, but    delivery boys in most cases, much
a lifetime of imprisonment and interrogation isn’t that much         like the Aberrants, although their
better than death.                                                   facilities for relocating breeder
         Aberrants: Delivery Boys. Aberrant operatives will seek     novas aren’t for everyone. As all
                             to protect breeder novas who aren’t     they currently have are a few
                             obvious threats to humanity, who        covert asteroid bases, the Daedelus
                             will either have high levels of taint   League lacks any offworld refuges for novas who cannot handle
                             or are harmful criminals. Recruit-      life in a space habitat and don’t have Adaptability. (The
                             ment of breeder novas rescued by        hyperactive metabolism of novas fortunately makes them
                             Aberrant operatives isn’t unknown       immune to low-gravity aggravated osteoporosis, so artificial
                             – the Aberrants tend to be fugitives    gravity isn’t a necessity for the residents of the League’s
                             as well, so it isn’t that much of a     asteroid bases.) This will change in upcoming years, however.
lifestyle change for a breeder nova.                                 After his talks with Thomas Sering and the Protectors on
         DeVries: Variable. Anna DeVries has instituted a quiet      establishing an offworld colony (Aberrant Players Guide, p.
program of offering sanctuary to “employable” breeder novas          178), Cyrus Katrak has slowly become convinced of three things.
and their offspring in return for hiring on as DeVries employees.    First is the fact that those novas who wish to lead a relatively
DeVries elites have been known to accept offers to hunt down         normal life – a surprisingly large minority – instead of becoming
breeder novas who are obvious                                        celebrities and commodities have almost no chance of doing so
threats, but Anna has also directed                                  on Earth, thanks to the influence of the various factions of the
them to discreetly capture their                                     Nova Age. Second is the growing certainty that the existing
offspring. These children are then                                   social order between novas and baselines as of 2015 cannot be
adopted by loyal DeVries employ-                                     sustained over the long term without risking catastrophic
ees, in hopes that they will become                                  damage to either Terran civilization (at best) or Earth’s
DeVries employees themselves                                         biosphere (at worst). Third is the knowledge that advances in
when they grow up.                                                   Terran space exploration will certainly lead to most of the Solar
         Other Elite agencies: Variable. Agencies such as Argus,     System being claimed by various Earth governments, making
Peacekeepers and NovaCom will likely seek to protect breeder         asteroid and interplanetary colonies stopgap measures at best
novas that aren’t violent criminals or tainted monstrosities. The    for novas wishing to live free of their entanglements.
Janissaries and other agencies who focus more on combat for                For these reasons, Katrak and certain other Daedelus
profit without regard to morality will tend to act as                League members have started a long-term covert operation of
motherhunters more often than not.                                   space exploration beyond the Solar System, with the goal of
         National governments: Variable. Depending on the            finding new worlds for humans – both nova and baseline – to
attitudes towards novas held by a given regime, breeder novas        inhabit. Although the Daedelus League has always paid lip
could find themselves deported, marked for execution, or             service to the idea of eventually finding extrasolar planets
recruited for (often lucrative) government service. National         capable of supporting human life, Katrak’s recent conclusions
nova groups such as Nordlysene, Nippontai or Australis will act      have given them motivations for that search beyond scientific
as directed by their government superiors. Any motherhunter or       curiosity and the urge to explore. They have also managed to
delivery boy operatives lacking an organized nova group will         keep this operation a secret (so far) from the scientific
come from the security agencies of the given country.                community and the various other factions of the Nova Age.
         Other groups: Variable. Groups that specialize in a         After fending off repeated recruiting attempts from Project
certain activity, such as the Gestalt does in the use of psychic     Utopia, Katrak has no intention of allowing the Daedelus League
abilities or Greenwar in ecoterrorism, won’t have much to do         to be subverted by any of the other factions, especially since
with either motherhunters or delivery boys. Isolationist groups      that would put the survival of both the known human subspecies
such as the Protectors could offer sanctuary to “suitable”           at risk. Currently, the Daedelus League has drawn up plans for
breeder novas and their offspring. The Queer Nova Alliance           expeditions to certain star systems and has quietly recruited
would be most likely to act as delivery boys where matters of        warper novas capable of reaching those star systems as quickly
conflicting loyalties don’t apply, although their lax security       as possible. Their hope is that they will find at least one



                                                  ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                          39
                                                           ABERRANT

habitable planet before the situation on Earth between novas          as the Copycat or Mr. Nobody Mega-Appearance enhancements
and baselines degenerates and breaks out into global warfare.         are the best disguises available to them. The only alternative for
Once one or more such planets are found, they can then be             an Applegate nova who cannot pass for baseline is the
colonized by those novas and baselines who wish to live together      unenviable life of a shut-in. Living undercover is hard enough for
in peace, far away from the madness and devastation that              adults, but it’s even harder for young children. Once the
threatens Earth and all who live there. That way, something           expected difficulties of raising one or more nova children while
worthwhile of humanity and its civilization will survive, even        remaining undercover become apparent, most Applegate
should the Earth itself be reduced to a radioactive cinder in the     families tend to become fairly transient in order to minimize the
upcoming conflict.                                                    risks of exposure. Jobs where an employee’s family must move
                                                                      on a regular basis are coveted by Applegate novas, as the
                                                                      constant relocation provides a ready explanation for their
Dangerous Prey                                                        reluctance to form social bonds with their current neighbors.
      Finally, we come to the focus of the conflict between the       Jobs where the employee can work from home using the OpNet
motherhunters and delivery boys, the breeder novas and their          are also valued, as it allows an Applegate nova parent to keep an
children. Forswearing the easy fame and glamor that most of           eye on his or her kids during work hours. Due to their largely
their kind are accustomed to, these novas instead do their best       unofficial nature, employment in many of the criminal
to live free from the interference of a world that sees them as       occupations also works well in the Applegate lifestyle. While
commodities, media icons and political pawns instead of the           Applegate novas and their kids prefer not to make casual friends
people that they really are. Ironically, their disengagement from     and acquaintances for security reasons, they do sometimes
the typical nova lifestyle has made these recluses even more          manage to make real friends on rare occasion. Applegate nova
important to the world than their more public brethren. Thanks        children tend to be fairly isolated from the communities they live
to their shunning of the media’s limelight, these hidden novas        in, with much of their education either given them by their
have managed to avoid Utopia’s nova sterilization program.            parents through home schooling or acquired online through
Against all odds, the majority of these isolated novas have           OpNet-based educational institutions. Provided that an
managed to pair off into breeding couples and have had children.      Applegate nova couple has enough discipline to only use their
The nascent power of these “second generation” novas is what          nova capabilities when necessary, and that they can teach their
has made them and their parents into some of the most highly          children to do the same, they can go on for several years
sought-after novas on the planet. With so many of the factions        without being discovered by their enemies... if they’re lucky.
of the Nova Age bent on either exploiting or killing them, how        Country Cousins
have the breeder novas and their offspring managed to remain
hidden and survive on their own for as long as they have? And               The second option available to breeder novas is to establish
for how much longer can they expect to keep their hard-won            some sort of homestead in a region on Earth that is at least
freedom?                                                              somewhat removed from baseline civilization. Breeder novas
                                                                      taking this “backwoods” route tend to be either those who
The Applegates                                                        cannot pose as baselines in civilized society due to personal
      For breeder novas attempting to live their lives and raise      circumstances or those who just don’t want to do so for some
their children free from unwanted interference, there are four        reason. The main benefit of this route is that they won’t have to
main options. The first option is what some have referred to as       keep as quite a low profile as the Applegate breeder novas.
“the Applegate route”. An Applegate nova is one who has               They still have to be wary of remote surveillance and the like,
abandoned all ties to her pre-eruption life, gone underground         but both the breeder novas and their 2ndGen children can use
and is currently living under an assumed identity as a baseline.      their powers somewhat more openly and put in more of their
The main benefit of this approach is the (usually) convenient         spare time into practicing their use. They might have to pose as
access to the goods and services offered by baseline society.         baselines when visitors come calling or when they go to town,
Provided that an Applegate family remains as anonymous as             but they can be themselves at other times. The drawback to all
possible, they can enjoy the comforts that too many baselines in      this is the physical and social isolation that’s required. Novas
the First World take for granted. The main problem with               attempting to live apart from baseline civilization are put in
adopting this lifestyle is the constant secrecy that an Applegate     much the same position as the American pioneers of the 19th
family must maintain at all times in order to keep from blowing       Century, as they will typically be living with little or no readily
their cover. Applegate novas must have some way to pass for           available support from society. Basic competence in a wide
baseline, possibly for long periods of time. Fortunately, the         array of skills such as construction, medicine, cooking and
Dormancy background is tailor-made for this situation. Provided       agriculture – just to name a few examples – will be required for
that the nova using it hasn’t accumulated too much taint,             a backwoods nova family to survive. Fortunately, a nova can
“dorming down” will allow a breeder nova to effectively revert        literally have several lifetimes’ worth of skills, making this way
to his or her previous baseline self for as long as necessary and     of life much more feasible for a backwoods nova family. If all or
with little risk of detection. The only problem with this tactic is   even just a few members of a backwoods nova family has
that second generation novas cannot use Dormancy at all –             superhuman survival advantages such as the Adaptability
since they were essentially born erupted, the 2ndGen novas            enhancement, the cards used in the game of survival are stacked
literally have no baseline selves to revert to. If the 2ndGen nova    even more in their favor. Unfortunately, the members of a
child in question isn’t a “stealth nova”, temporary solutions such    backwoods nova family will need all of those advantages sooner



40                                                               RULES
                                                              ABERRANT

or later. Unlike the Applegate breeder novas, backwoods                  pioneers, as the surrounding environment is far more hostile
breeder novas have no one but themselves to rely on in an                than the American Old West ever was, making the colony
emergency. They may live at a distance from the towns and                extremely dependent on highly complex technology for their
cities, but can visit them when necessary to obtain needed               survival. If the colonists fail to get along and work well together,
goods, services and social contact. The basic tenets of civilized        the social environment of a space colony will resemble a
life are respected – sometimes – and occasionally with more              potential forest fire, as even the smallest faux pas or
sincerity than is normally found in mainstream baseline society.         indiscretion can threaten the survival of the colony as a whole.
Personal honor and integrity (or the appearance of such) are             Without ready access to Earth’s markets, all food, medicines and
also valued, as they are marks of someone who can be relied              other consumer goods must be either produced at the colony,
upon in a pinch and will reciprocate aid given to him. Education         imported in large quantities or simply done without. Even simple
for the children in such families tends to be of the home-               luxuries such as chocolate or coffee are few and far between.
schooling variety, but a wealth of practical knowledge and skills        The maintenance of a colony’s technological devices will be of
are also part of the curriculum. Backwoods breeder novas                 prime importance, as a breakdown in either of the life support
following this lifestyle tend to have little or no Taint, as they rely   systems or the power plant, for example, is the stuff of
on being able to cooperate with each other and interact                  nightmares for space colonists. Living inside a sealed habitat can
successfully with their family members (and with their                   also lead to outbreaks of cabin fever, which may or may not be
neighbors, on occasion) in order to survive. Backwoods breeder           alleviated by going outside the colony in a spacesuit or small
novas who refrain from drawing attention to themselves can               spacecraft. Nova space colonists are extremely likely to either
expect to live unmolested for years before eventually being              have or develop Adaptability, as the ability go simply go outside
discovered.                                                              the colony without risking immediate death makes for a welcome
Settlers of the Solar System                                             psychological release valve. Education for the children of a
                                                                         Daedelus League or Protectors space colony is excellent, as both
      The third option is to become a space colonist. Only two of
                                                                         groups have members who are well capable of and willing to
the factions of the Nova Age have managed to establish
                                                                         provide quality instruction up to the university level. In other
operational offworld colonies by 2015, although they are not
                                                                         space colonies education will be of the home-schooling variety,
currently open to habitation by baselines. The Daedelus League
                                                                         although instruction related to techonology and living in space it
has established secret habitats hollowed out from the cores of a
                                                                         will likely be of high quality thanks to their extreme importance
few of the larger stony asteroids (the smallest is 12 km in
                                                                         to space colonists. Breeder novas living in a space colony will
diameter) found within the main Asteroid Belt. The habitats
                                                                         always have little or no Taint, as the survival of everyone in
were designed by the League’s resident Mega-Intelligent nova
                                                                         their community often depends on their being able to cooperate
space scientists, and are surprisingly livable for a microgravity
                                                                         and get along with each other, even in the most difficult of
environment. The Protectors have established a subsurface
                                                                         circumstances. If they don’t draw attention to themselves, space
Mars colony with the aid of the Daedelus League, which is buried
                                                                         colonists can expect to go for decades without fear of attack.
somewhere beneath the bottom of Hellas Planitia. While only a
few Protector novas are living there in 2015, the Protectors             The New Barbarians
eventually plan to relocate their entire organization en masse to               The fourth option is a reversion to a savage lifestyle, which
their Mars colony, abandoning both their Antarctic base and              is all too often the only feasible choice for breeder novas that
Earth by 2020. The only thing holding them back is their current         have developed excessive amounts of taint, with all the insanity
lack of a reliable artificial gravity system. With such a system in      and social difficulties that entails. Savage breeder novas tend to
place, the Protectors’ baseline members will be able to live and         rely on their Mega-Attributes and quantum powers for their
work right alongside their nova brethren, just as Thomas Sering          survival, although only some of them have completely abandoned
had always intended. Three of the Protectors’ best                       the use of technology. Provided that the members of a savage
hyperintelligent nova scientists have been working on                    tribe all have the Adaptability enhancement, just about any
developing such a system for several months, and a                       isolated and rarely-visited locale on Earth (and many places
breakthrough is expected soon. The other space colonies tend to          offplanet) can make suitable refuges for these monsters. Denied
be the residences of either powerful individual novas or small           the benefits of being part of a civilized, humane society, these
nova groups. The Teragen have made tentative plans to                    breeder novas have adopted a degraded tribal sort of existence
establish a new enclave somewhere on Luna (see Aberrant                  that many 21st Century baseline tribal cultures would find
Worldwide: Phase I, p. 84), but with events such as the “Night           apalling. In this way of life might literally does make right,
of Long Knives” in their immediate future, it remains to be seen         outsiders are either allies of convenience or victims to be
whether those plans will ever make it off the drawing board.             exploited, and baselines are seen as ready-made peons to
Aside from their extreme isolation, the main benefit of this             dominate however one wishes. Social norms can vary wildly
lifestyle is becoming part of a tightly-knit small community             from those of modern baseline society, and transgressions
where the colonists don’t have to hide their nova powers and             against said norms may either be punished severely or merely
can engage in honest social relationships with other colonists           winked at and ignored. In this social environment, it can only be
than their immediate family group. Despite minor differences             expected for dysfunctional personalities and relationships to
such as location and exterior environment, all space colonies            become the rule instead of the exception. Cruelty and a basic
present similar challenges for the colonists who live there. The         lack of empathy for others – including their fellow tribe
basic situation is even more difficult than that of historical           members – are all but universal in savage breeder novas, as


                                                     ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                             41
                                                            ABERRANT

these qualities allow them to take advantage of whatever               relocating a space colony is a massive undertaking, and will only
opportunities fall their way without wasting time on debates           be considered in the most dire circumstances. Lethal force will
over morality. Education for the children in a savage tribe is         almost always be used against motherhunters, as a motherhunter
widely varied at best, and often tends to be short on cultural and     attack against a space colony requires serious material and
technological knowledge. Backwoods breeder novas who take up           financial support. Aside from their own nova powers, space
this lifestyle are always those who have accumulated large             colonists will not hesitate to use any technological weapons that
amounts of taint, as their various mental disorders and                could feasibly kill the attackers. Depending on the level of
difficulties in social interactions with baselines can make it near-   resources and scientific expertise among their members, space
impossible to operate in civilized society. With their mental and      colonists could plausibly deploy large-scale monofilament
social problems derived from their taint and a casual contempt         weapons, kinetic railguns, DeVries Nanokill (see Aberrant:
                                                                       Brainwaves), nuclear warheads and bomb-pumped x-ray or
for outsiders, a tribe of savage breeder novas is fortunate if
                                                                       gamma lasers. If the space colonists are fortunate, the fate of
they have the sense to avoid drawing hostile attention to              any motherhunters they kill will become just another unsolved
themselves. If so, they can probably manage to engage in their         mystery of the Nova Age. As most space colonies will have been
brutal activities for years. If not, they can expect to be attacked    established under the provenance of benevolent factions such as
in short order.                                                        the Daedelus League and the Protectors, the aid of delivery boys
Exposure                                                               from the colony’s parent organization or their allies will always
      No matter which lifestyle they adopt, all breeder novas and      be welcomed by space colonists. Savage breeder novas will most
their offspring must make plans for when they will eventually          often fight any motherhunters who attack them, although some
come under attack from the motherhunters. Unless breeder               of them will certainly have enough sense to flee in the face of
novas have access to telepathic means of altering the memories         overwhelming opposition. Lethal force will be used on any and
of inconvenient people, their reactions can be boiled down to a        all motherhunters, unless a savage nova thinks that one of the
simple choice: fight or flight. Applegate breeder novas will seek      attackers might be more desirable as a captive instead of a
to flee at the first sign that they have been compromised,             corpse. In this case, a captive might prefer death to becoming a
although they will fight in the defense of themselves and their        slave, torture subject or concubine. Discretion in their fighting
children. If the threat posed by the motherhunters is dire             usually won’t be a concern for savage novas, as almost all of
enough, Applegates will have no compunctions about using lethal        them really like the idea of being feared by outsider novas and
force against their antagonists if they can do so discreetly or in     baselines. Relocation is a haphazard affair at best for tribes of
a manner that can’t be connected to them. After escaping from a        savage novas, as they will end up losing their accumulated wealth
motherhunter attack, Applegate novas will abandon their                just as often as they manage to save it. Assuming new identities
current identities and lives and establish new ones elsewhere.         is rarely done, as most savage novas are either too twisted by
For this reason, it’s common for Applegates to keep most of            Taint for that to be feasible or too egotistical to even consider
their wealth and personal records in forms that are either easily      it. Likewise, any delivery boys who offer aid to a tribe of savage
transported or disposed of, as the situation warrants. They also       novas are walking a fine line – the savages might accept the
try to limit the amount of possessions they have, for much the         offer, or they might consider it an insult to be repaid in blood.
same reason. Aid from delivery boys will be
gladly accepted, provided that they have won
the trust of the Applegate family in question.
Backwoods breeder novas will flee from a
mother-hunter attack only if they have no other
choice – their roots often go a good bit deeper
than those of Applegate novas, making
relocation much more difficult for them. With
their isolation from baseline society, backwoods
novas have a much better chance of fighting
back against motherhunters without blowing
their cover. Lethal force is also more likely to be
used against motherhunters, especially if it can
be made to look like the fault of someone or
something other than themselves. If their cover
has been irreparably blown, backwoods novas
will seek to relocate to some region where they
are less likely to face further motherhunter
attacks. If necessary, they will shed their
current identities and assume new ones,
although they typically won’t be as proficient at
deception as Applegates. Also like Applegates,
aid from delivery boys will be welcome,
provided that the backwoods novas consider
them trustworthy. Space colonist breeder novas
will always fight against motherhunters –


42                                                                RULES
                                                             ABERRANT

                                                                        scaled down a bit. This makes feeding an infant nova a Herculean
“And Baby Makes                                                         task, not to mention dealing with huge amount of dirty diapers
                                                                        that will be produced. Clothing for a 2ndGen nova baby had best

Three…”                                                                 be inexpensive and bought in bulk, as only Mega-Intelligent
                                                                        infants with the Precocity enhancement will have the mental
                                                                        acuity to attune a eufiber colony to themselves. Having a
       For quite a few breeder nova couples attempting to
become parents, bearing a healthy nova infant is often                  paraphysician with training in pediatrics as a loyal ally is the best
considered the ultimate prize. Considering all the hurdles placed       possible situation as far as the infant’s medical care is
in their path by Project Proteus and other factions, it’s not           concerned, especially as modern medical ethics frowns upon a
surprising that breeder novas often romanticize their goal of           medical doctor treating her own relatives. Education is also a
becoming parents, as the fantasy of achieving domestic familial         concern, especially in the case of Mega-Intelligent 2ndGen
bliss can sustain them in difficult situations. Unfortunately, that’s   children – if the parents aren’t careful, a 2ndGen child prodigy
still just a fantasy, and one that’s only loosely connected to          could wind up learning things unsuited for young and overly
reality at best. Lots of new parents can easily be that naïve, and      impressionable minds. As if that wasn’t enough, the various
new nova parents are no exception. Getting pregnant and giving          powers and Mega-Attributes a 2ndGen infant can manifest will
birth is only the beginning. For new baseline parents, the              add new and wicked little wrinkles to this situation. The playpen
experience of having a child will either make or break their            of a 2ndGen baby with any form of flight will have to come with a
relationship as a couple and a family. The basic situation isn’t        lockable lid. Keeping clothes on a toddler can be hard enough
that much different for new nova parents, as 2ndGen nova                without the toddler being able to use Bodymorph or Shapeshift
children are usually just as troublesome as their baseline              to escape from them. 2ndGen kids with destructive powers such
counterparts – it’s just that the problems (if not the joys) of         as Immolate can also go through a lot of outfits in short order. A
raising a 2ndGen nova child can be and often are very different.        telekinetic 2ndGen child can always reach the cookie jar. Pity the
                                                                        parents of a 2ndGen nova infant that develops the Adaptability
                                                                        enhancement, for while the kid possibly won’t have to consume
Nova Parenting 101                                                      as much food as other infant novas must, she could possibly also
      With the birth of their first child, a breeder nova couple        remain awake and crying for attention 24 hours a day. If a
will experience a permanent lifestyle change of a truly radical         2ndGen child manifests a dangerous power at too early an age (or
degree. The responsibilities of caring for a completely                 one that would draw attention from motherhunters, in the case
dependent child will almost entirely divorce the new parents            of families living on Earth), his or her parents will have to create
from the hedonistic and often irresponsible lifestyles practiced        a complex inhibiting use of that power in the child’s psyche,
by the majority of other novas in the early Nova Age. Combine           much as is done in the course of toilet training. The complex will
that with either having to go underground or leaving Earth to           usually be removed by the parents once the child is old enough
evade the motherhunters, and you have an adjustment which can           to use the power responsibly, even though this tactic tends to
be truly hard for even novas to make. The pleasures most novas          result in overcompensation when the complex is undone. (The
take for granted will become things of the past for nova parents,       age-based cap on a True 2ndGen child’s Mega-Attribute and
especially if indulging in them would risk exposing their family to     quantum power ratings is a welcome blessing in this situation.)
the motherhunters. Socializing with casual friends and                  When a 2ndGen child is older, her parents must also train her in
acquaintances will become a danger to be avoided instead of a           such things as self-discipline, combat and the use of her nova
way to relieve pyschological stress. The idea of freedom can            capabilities. Depending on where a breeder nova couple decides
also become an near-alien concept for nova parents, as living           to settle down, they will also have to train the child in either
undercover or in the wilderness precludes hiring a babysitter or        maintaining secrecy or living in a space habitat. Neither situation
going to child-friendly restaurants on a regular basis. Nova            is free of problems for a 2ndGen child’s development; growing up
parents in the space colonies have it only slightly easier in terms     undercover can result in social inexperience, while growing up in
of their social lives, as the isolation and pressures of living in an   space limits the child’s social exposure to their own tiny
asteroid colony or interplanetary base will make up for the             community.
increased opportunities for safe social contact. Even engaging in              Fortunately, the rewards of parenthood and family usually
combat is seen from a different perspective, as the risks of            balance out the problems and restrictions, even for novas. When
fighting deadly foes are thrown into sharp relief when one has a        compared to the hollow pleasures of most novas, the sense of
spouse and children depending on them.                                  fulfillment that comes from having a family of one’s own stacks
      All of that would be difficult enough if the offspring of a       up surprisingly well. The enduring love of spouse and children
nova couple was a powerless and easily-handled infant.                  will always beat out transitory fame and the fickle adulation of
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one’s point of              the global media. When the 2ndGen novas come into their own in
view), most breeder nova couples will bear 2ndGen nova                  upcoming decades, one can be sure that some of them will have
offspring, who are literally born with their quantum powers.            parents filled with pride over their exploits and achievements.
Nova parents will have to provide all of the expected necessities       Closer allies than one’s own spouse and children cannot be asked
(food, clothing, shelter, medical care, etc.), which can be quite a     for. As adults, a nova couple’s grown-up children can typically
hassle even with the aid of quantum powers. Nova infants                be relied on for both the little things (helping their parents move
typically share the enormous appetite of adult novas, even if it’s      into a new home) and the great (taking care of their elderly



                                                     ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                             43
                                                          ABERRANT

parents). The True 2ndGens’ high resistance to Taint will also       some way is a waste of time and effort. It’s not a question of
prove a comfort to their parents, who will have seen far too         Trog 2ndGens being either born as or made into monsters, as
many former friends and colleagues become irreparably twisted        both nature and nurture conspire to make them into
by the taint. Finally, breeder novas with children have a more-      abominations.
or-less concrete legacy that will remain in the world when they
pass away, and they will (hopefully) be remembered by their
descendants with love and respect. This is especially ironic,        L’Enfants Terrible
considering that knowledge of so many of the heroic novas and              On rare occasion, a couple comprised of latent novas
their good deeds has either been forgotten or deliberately           and/or High-Quantum baselines will manage to give birth to a
suppressed by Aeon by the Trinity era.                               2ndGen nova infant. Even if the baby is a True 2ndGen, the
                                                                     hapless parents are going to be in for a very difficult time. (Trog
                                                                     2ndGens will either be abandoned or possibly killed at birth by
Scions of Teras and Taint                                            their parents, if they can manage it.) Lacking any way to defend
      Much of what has been said on the parenting of nova            themselves against the infant’s nova capabilities, the baseline
children has been mainly applicable to the True 2ndGen novas         parents of a 2ndGen nova child at best will be living under the
and their parents. But what of the progeny of the Teragen, or        constant threat of injury, mental domination or death due to
the spawn of the highly-tainted breeder novas? As could only be      inadvertent or deliberate power use. At worst, the parents can
expected for novas who have either rejected their baseline           easily find themselves trapped in a nightmarish existence
human heritage or lost it to taint, their “family” situations are    straight out of a horror movie. In these situations, most such
quite different. For the Terat 2ndGens, the main differences         baseline couples will gladly give up their nova offspring to be
from their True counterparts is an increased vulnerability to        adopted and raised by other novas.
Taint and having no limits on their Mega-Attribute and quantum
power ratings, both of which makes raising Terat 2ndGens...
difficult, at best. There also hasn’t been much in the way of        Playing 2ndGen Novas
family bonding for Terat 2ndGens, as the only parents they have            Despite the best efforts of Director Thetis and Project
ever known are Bounty, Jeremiah Scripture and Divis Mal. (Plans      Proteus, the second generation novas have been born and are
have been made to have the 2ndGens adopted by Terat foster           now available as player characters (at your Storyteller’s
parents at Badanah in coming years, but it remains to be seen if     discretion). The progeny of two fertile novas, these children can
anything will come of that after the Night of Long Knives.) Given    attain levels of power that few outside of the Teragen have any
up to Bounty’s care by their biological parents, these nova          inkling of in 2015. However, the 2ndGens’ potential for extreme
children have literally been raised in the ways of Teras and the     power is counterbalanced by their immaturity and inexperience.
Chrysalis by Scripture, thanks to his powers over                    Barring the odd 2ndGen nova with an accelerated growth cycle,
communication. Having been raised free from baseline                 in 2015 even the oldest known 2ndGen novas will only be in their
expectations and connections, the Teragen’s stated intention is      mid-teens, with the vast majority of 2ndGens being either pre-
for these children to become living exemplars of Teras, for          adolescent or still in diapers. Not only will the 2ndGens face the
other novas to rally around when the conflict between novas and      difficulties of nova life, they also get to deal with all the “joys”
baseline humanity breaks out into open warfare. The reality of       of being kids. Add in a whole grocers’ list of people who want to
the situation is that too many Terats have little if any parental    either recruit, exploit or kill these child-gods, and you have what
bonds with their 2ndGen progeny, and see them only as useful         could only be called an “interesting” (as in the Chinese curse)
pawns in the continuing conflicts both with baseline humanity        childhood and a certifiable roleplaying challenge. If that sounds
and between the Terats themselves. Aside from Bounty, the            appealing to you, read on...
Terat 2ndGens have few if any defenders within the Teragen,          The Basic Template
and their survival is by no means assured, especially as they will
likely turn out just as egomaniacal as their elders. For the Trog          2ndGen novas are created much like other Aberrant
2ndGens, their family situations tend to range from “bad” to         characters, except for having several additional benefits and
“worse” to “abysmal”. These nova offspring are not only born         limitations that are unique to these “natural born novas”.
mentally warped by taint, but also by the experience of being                2ndGen novas do not erupt, but are born with their
raised by insane, dysfunctional and quite possibly abusive           quantum powers and will grow into them naturally.
parents. Highly-tainted breeder novas also tend to either lead               2ndGen novas start with +20 nova points in addition to
dangerous lives or tend not to be strong believers in permanent      the level of nova points used in the chronicle (Aberrant Players
mating relationships, which results in a higher than average rate    Guide, pp. 66-68). As the other characters in an Aberrant
of single mothers among these novas, with all the additional         chronicle usually won’t be the parents of a 2ndGen character, this
problems that implies. Add in the fact that these little monsters    shouldn’t be taken a reliable indicator of the power levels of a
don’t have any limits on their base Attribute, Mega-Attribute        2ndGen character’s parents.
and quantum power ratings, and you have the makings of a truly               2ndGen novas cannot gain Taint from having a high rating
hellish family life. As most Trog 2ndGens will only receive          of the Node Background. The individual farahcyte cells that
cursory care from their parents at best, they quickly learn that     would form the M-R node in a first generation nova’s brain are
caring for other beings who cannot immediately benefit them in       instead evenly distributed throughout the grey matter of a
                                                                     2ndGen nova’s brain, so there is no possibility of brain damage.


44                                                              RULES
                                                               ABERRANT

            2ndGen novas have their life expectancy increased by        Apotheosis, the Storyteller can then switch to awarding that
    +50% longer than that of first generation novas, even before        character experience points just like any other Aberrant
    any dots of Mega-Stamina are factored in.                           character. The third method is to award experience points to
            2ndGen novas cannot buy Tainted Quantum, Mega-              2ndGen nova characters normally, but let them use the following
    Attributes, enhancements or quantum powers with either nova         chart for purchasing quantum-related items with experience
    points or experience points.                                        points after they undergo Apotheosis. Storytellers who want to
            2ndGen novas cannot take the Dormancy Background, as        really emphasize the extreme potential of the 2ndGen novas may
    they literally have no “baseline selves”.                           also use the first or second methods along with the third, at their
            2ndGen novas cannot have an active Quantum rating           discretion.
    higher than 5 until they undergo Apotheosis and come into their
    full power. However, a 2ndGen nova character can purchase              Trait Increase                               Cost
    more than 5 dots of Quantum, with the additional dots                       Mega-Attribute                         CR x3*
    representing “untapped potential” that the character cannot use             Quantum Power (Level 1)          current rating x 2*
    until Apotheosis takes place.                                               Quantum Power (Level 2)          current rating x 3*
            2ndGen novas must take one of the Clade packages (True,             Quantum Power (Level 3)          current rating x 5*
    Terat or Trog).                                                             Quantum Power (Level 4)          current rating x 7*
            Unless your Aberrant chronicle takes place after 2015,              Quantum Power (Level 5)          current rating x 9*
    all 2ndGen novas must take some level of the Adolescent/Child               Quantum Power (Level 6)          current rating x 12*
    Flaw. 2ndGen characters who have already reached maturity via               Quantum                          current rating x 6*
    the Accelerated Maturation enhancement might also be allowed,               Quantum Pool                          2 per dot
    but only at the Storyteller’s discretion.                              New Trait                                    Cost
                                                                                Background                               1**
                                                                                Enhancement                               3*
Apotheosis                                                                      Mega-Attribute                            3*
      Despite having been born with the ability to manipulate                   Quantum Power (Level 1)                   2*
quantum, 2ndGen nova children won’t start to develop their true                 Quantum Power (Level 2)                   3*
potential until sometime during puberty. At that point, 2ndGen                  Quantum Power (Level 3)                   5*
children will undergo a process called Apotheosis that’s similar to             Quantum Power (Level 4)                   7*
the eruptions of their parents, if far less traumatic. While there is           Quantum Power (Level 5)                  9*
no physical trauma associated with Apotheosis, a 2ndGen nova                    Quantum Power (Level 6)                  12*
must still adjust to her greatly expanded powers and capabilities.
The exact details of the effects of undergoing Apotheosis have                  * Cannot be purchased Tainted.
been left to the Storyteller’s discretion, but they all involve a               **(This reduced cost applies only to available quantum-
dramatic increase in a 2ndGen nova’s power. The exact time at              related backgrounds such as Attunement and Node.)
which Apotheosis will occur will vary (and will also be at the                  Extras for an existing quantum power are bought at 50%
Storyteller’s discretion), as some precocious 2ndGen might                 (round up) of the difference between total normal cost with &
undergo it as soon as they hit puberty, while late bloomers could          without the Extra (Aberrant core book, p. 230).
undergo it during their mid- to late-teen years. Many other
factors can also influence the timing of a 2ndGen’s Apotheosis,
                                                                        clade [kleyd] - noun, Biology
similar to the factors that can trigger eruption in first generation
                                                                             A taxonomic group of organisms classified together on the
novas.
                                                                        basis of homologous features traced to a common ancestor.

    Fast-Track Development                                              The Clades
          There are three ways to depict in game terms the rapid
                                                                             The tendency to see all individuals belonging to a given
    increase in power that 2ndGen novas will exhibit as they grow
                                                                        category as a unified group – especially if the category in
    into their full power. The first method hews closely to the
                                                                        question is seen as dangerous and/or just very different – is a
    speculations of Dr. Toiho (see Aberrant: Project Utopia pp. 138-
                                                                        common human failing. Even in the Nova Age, things are no
    139), as 2ndGen characters will use the standard experience
                                                                        different, especially when it comes to such a small and
    point costs, but will also be granted a windfall of anywhere
                                                                        mysterious category as the 2ndGen novas. Despite their potential
    between 50 to 100 additional nova points (Storyteller’s
                                                                        power being more theorized about than documented, the 2ndGen
    discretion) when they undergo Apotheosis. The second method
                                                                        novas are commonly considered by those few who know of them
    is to grant a 2ndGen character a variable amount of nova points
                                                                        to be monolithic in what they have to offer humanity, either in
    instead of experience points at the end of every story until that
                                                                        aid or harm. As always, the situation is more complex than most
    character undergoes Apotheosis. Over the duration of a 2ndGen
                                                                        people realize. 2ndGen novas are not one homogenous group, and
    nova’s pre-Apotheosis “adventuring” life (which can be
                                                                        never were. Most of them aren’t even organized into formal
    anywhere from four to ten years of game time), the Storyteller
                                                                        groups at all, which is understandable given how many of them
    should expect to to grant that character the allotment of 50 to
                                                                        are still under the age of 10 by 2015. Instead, they are split into
    100 additional nova points. After a 2ndGen nova undergoes


                                                       ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                          45
                                                            ABERRANT

three separate populations, with
their membership in a population
being largely determined by how
their parents dealt (or failed to
deal) with their own Taint. Each
clade has their own special
assortment of perks and problems,
with the only common factor being
that these children of the Nova Age
will all eventually be hunted for the
sake of their potential power. To
those who seek to either establish
or maintain their rule over the
Earth, the 2ndGen novas appear to
be the ultimate commodities... or
threats. Conflict is assured.
Trues
           The children of two nova
parents with little or no permanent
Taint. These are the 2ndGens that
one of the Aberrant writers hinted
at in the “Very Low Taint” rules on
p. 68 of the Aberrant Players
Guide. They are sometimes known
                                                                               Just from being born as novas (and never having been
to inherit parental aberrations by manifesting them as false
                                                                       baseline humans), Trues can seem very strange to baseline
aberrations (a.k.a. taking aberrations as Flaws), but are
                                                                       humans at first, and they can also sometimes lack insight into
otherwise highly Taint-resistant. (It’s the player’s choice as to
                                                                       and/or sympathy for the problems that baseline humanity has to
whether or not this happens, as is which aberrations the 2ndGen
                                                                       deal with. In game terms, Trues have a +2 difficulty penalty on
character will manifest.)
                                                                       their initial social interactions with baseline humans. In both
      Benefit:
                                                                       cases, sustained positive social interaction (which includes such
        Increased Taint Resistance: Trues cannot gain Taint
                                                                       things as empathy, respect, compassion and good manners) can
from purchasing high Quantum, and automatically have the Taint
                                                                       overcome this difficulty after the initial meeting. Keep in mind
Resistance Merit (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 76). Trues use the
                                                                       that this penalty will always be applied to a True’s initial social
“Very Low Taint” rules on p. 68 of the Aberrant Players Guide,
                                                                       interactions with baseline humans, however. Trues will find
as they can gain temporary Taint from Power Strain & Rapid
                                                                       xenophilic and/or “marginal” baselines (eccentrics, minorities
Recovery, but only in the most extreme cases (such as Power
                                                                       and other “fellow outsiders”) the easiest to get along with.
Strain caused by maxing a Level 4 power several times in the
                                                                       Baselines who are xenophobic can’t overcome their aversion to
space of an hour).
                                                                       a True without appropriate psychotherapy, while
      Problems:
                                                                       prejudiced/bigoted baselines will refuse to do so without the
        The main problem faced by True 2ndGens is the intense
                                                                       psychological impact of a “life-changing event” or something
interest that certain factions of both nova and baseline society
                                                                       similarly dramatic.
will have in using them, once they become aware of their
                                                                               Ironically, Trues also have problems when socially
existence. The combination of a potential for extreme power
                                                                       interacting with both heavily Tainted novas and Terat novas.
and a lack of Taint will make these kids either extremely
                                                                       Sensing the increased power of a True without the
valuable or dangerous in the eyes of the various factions. Some
                                                                       accompanying Taint that they’re accustomed to can put heavily
of the factions won’t hesitate to recruit, indoctrinate & exploit
                                                                       Tainted novas and Terat novas on edge, as something about the
these young novas by any means necessary; and they simply
                                                                       True just seems off-kilter, impossible or just flat-out wrong. In
won’t care to hear any objections from their parents. Other
                                                                       game terms, Trues suffer a difficulty penalty of +2 on rolls for
factions will see a True as posing just as much of a potential
                                                                       social interactions with heavily Tainted novas and Terat novas.
threat as the Terat and Trog 2ndGens, and may decide to strike
                                                                               Trues can take false aberrations as Flaws to reduce their
at a True while he or she is still relatively weak. For this reason,
                                                                       Adversarial Background ratings, with each point from a false
the Storyteller will assign True 2ndGens a variable number of
                                                                       aberration Flaw replacing 1 dot of an Adversarial Background.
dots in the “Skeleton in the Closet” or “Wanted” Adversarial
                                                                       These false aberrations can be either inherited from a parent or
Backgrounds as appropriate. The True will receive no
                                                                       be original to the True. In the latter case, the false aberrations
compensatory points for this burden. These dots cannot be
                                                                       can be reflective of a parent’s quantum powers if desired. In any
bought off, as the factions’ interest in either exploiting or
                                                                       case, a True cannot develop mental aberrations in this manner.
eliminating a known True 2ndGen will only increase in the years
                                                                       Physical aberrations which aren’t repulsive to baselines are
leading up to the Aberrant War.


46                                                                RULES
                                                          ABERRANT

allowed, as are quantum aberrations which are not harmful to         the duration of the Chrysalis will only be 1 day per experience
the True or those around him or her. Trues will be most likely to    point spent while in Chrysalis.
have “special effect” aberrations, although aberrations which              Problems:
can make a True’s life interesting (in a non-threatening,                    The main problem of being a child of the Teragen is that
comedic sense) are also possible.                                    it’s somewhat like being born into the European aristocracy
        As an adaptation to aid their survival to adulthood, pre-    during the Renaissance. Despite having the potential for great
Apotheosis Trues have an age-based maximum limit on the dot          power, Terat 2ndGens are often viewed as pawns by their elders;
ratings of their quantum powers and Mega-Attributes. This            to be cultivated, manipulated, and when necessary (or desired)
makes them somewhat less of a hazard to their parents’ health,       sacrificed for personal gain. Aside from Bounty (and perhaps
wealth and peace of mind; and also forces them to develop a          Divis Mal and Scripture), few of the 1stGen Terats feel any
wider base for their future quantum power development. Pre-          parental bonds with their 2ndGen offspring. This makes for a
Apotheosis Trues of 13 to 16 years of age are limited to 3 dots,     dangerous situation for Terat 2ndGens to live in, especially as
those from 7 to 12 years of age are limited to 2 dots, and those     Bounty has few true allies amongst her fellow Terats. Many
who are 6 years and younger are limited to 1 dot. Also, Pre-         Flaws and Adversarial Backgrounds can be used to reflect the
Apotheosis Trues in these age ranges are unable to develop the       perils that Terat 2ndGens will encounter from within the
Mastery Extra. The silver lining to this cloud is that these Trues   Teragen.
are better able to manipulate their quantum energies at this                 From birth, Terat 2ndGens have been taught to reject
reduced power level, and can ignore botches on their power           their baseline heritage and to view baselines as lesser beings.
rolls, treating them as simple failures instead. This mixed          Combined with the fact they they have never been baseline
blessing/curse is lost when the True undergoes Apotheosis & his      humans, this makes for a marked lack of sympathy, compassion
or her full power kicks in. At that time, the Storyteller may make   and respect for baselines among many Terat 2ndGens. Even
up for that loss by assigning the True additional dots of the        those who aren’t openly contemptuous and/or dismissive of
“Skeleton in the Closet” or “Wanted” Adversarial Backgrounds,        baseline humanity will still tend to treat baselines with an air of
to reflect an increased interest the factions will have in a True    superiority and noblesse oblige, and will see baselines as
once his or her full power becomes evident. Mega-Intelligent         animalistic creatures who shouldn’t be expected to know any
pre-Apotheosis Trues with the Precocity enhancement still            better and are perhaps to be pitied. Even the most tolerant
qualify for this limitation, despite their accelerated intellects.   baselines will take offense at this, resulting in Terat 2ndGens
Terats                                                               suffering an additional +2 difficulties on their rolls for social
                                                                     interactions with baselines. And since a belief in nova superiority
      These are the offspring of two 1stGen Terat novas that
                                                                     (if not outright supremacy) is a cornerstone of Teras, Terat
have gone through the Chrysalis. The Teragen always intended
                                                                     2ndGens will almost never seek to remedy this fault in their
for their offspring to grow up free from baseline influences and
                                                                     education.
expectations, and they have succeeded for the most part.
                                                                             As children of the Teragen, Terat 2ndGens are essentially
      Benefit:
                                                                     born with bull’s-eyes on them. From the viewpoint of Aeon and
        Born to Teras: Due to the influence of the Chrysalis on
                                                                     the rest of the baseline world, Terat 2ndGens are a deadly threat
their parents, Terat 2ndGens do not have the same resistance to
                                                                     to be “nipped in the bud” whenever possible. For this reason,
Taint that the Trues do. Terats do not gain permanent Taint
                                                                     the Storyteller will assign Terat 2ndGens a variable number of
from having too much Quantum or Node; and cannot buy Tainted
                                                                     dots in the “Skeleton in the Closet” or “Wanted” Adversarial
Quantum, Mega-Attributes, enhancements or quantum powers.
                                                                     Backgrounds as appropriate. The Terat 2ndGen will receive no
Terats can (and will) gain permanent Taint from accumulating
                                                                     compensatory points for this burden. These dots cannot be
excessive temporary Taint. Terats can gain temporary Taint
                                                                     bought off, as the collective reputation of the Teragen will only
through Power Strain, Rapid Recovery and Mental Disorders.
                                                                     grow worse in the years leading up to the Aberrant War.
Also, they cannot have the have Taint Resistance Merit. This
                                                                             Terat 2ndGens can also inherit actual aberrations from
vulnerability to Taint is necessary for Terat 2ndGens to engage
                                                                     their parents to reduce their Adversarial Background ratings.
in the Chrysalis. Since they have been schooled in Teras almost
                                                                     Inherited aberrations will be priced as Flaws (for this purpose
from birth, Terat 2ndGens automatically have both an archetype
                                                                     only), with every 2 points from inherited aberrations replacing 1
and 1 dot of Chrysalis. This is what allows them to accumulate
                                                                     dot of the “Skeleton in the Closet” or “Wanted” Adversarial
Chrysalis as 1stGen Terats do when performing actions that are
                                                                     Backgrounds. These aberrations can be of any kind, but must be
in line with their archetype, although Terat 2ndGens only pay 5
                                                                     ones derived from a parent’s Chrysalis. Ironically, this will
quantum points to turn a point of temporary Taint into
                                                                     increase the chance that the parent an aberration is inherited
temporary Chrysalis. They also do not use the Chrysalis
                                                                     from may actually take an interest in his or her offspring’s well-
experience point chart on p. 125 of Aberrant: Teragen, as they
                                                                     being, and perhaps might act as a Mentor to the child. That the
instead use the experience point chart from “Fast-Track
                                                                     child would also inherit the emnity of the parent’s Terat rivals is
Development” for all purchases of quantum traits. They do find
                                                                     only to be expected. In game terms, the Terat 2ndGen with a
entering a Chrysalis somewhat easier, as they roll against their
                                                                     parental Mentor rating gained in this way must also have an
Chrysalis without the normal +2 difficulty penalty and only have
                                                                     equal rating of the “Rival” Adversarial Background.
to pay 8 quantum points. The amount of time that a Terat
                                                                             As their conception is a direct result of Bounty’s fertility
2ndGen will spend in a Chrysalis is also drastically shortened, as
                                                                     powers, nearly all Terat 2ndGens have inherited the genetic



                                                  ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                            47
                                                           ABERRANT

alteration that Utopia inflicted on their parents. Save for those     equivalent in lesser aberrations. In this case, one high-level
few whose parents have either never been exposed to the               aberration is equal to two medium-level aberrations or four low-
Utopian sterility cocktail or erupted with the Health                 level aberrations. The Storyteller is free to “mix and match”
enhancement, Terat 2ndGens are naturally sterile from birth.          aberrations of differing levels to inflict on the Trog as she
        Terat 2ndGens also tend to be more than a little self-        pleases.
absorbed, which isn’t surprising given how egomania runs                           suffer from an increased vulnerability to noetic
unchecked among their elders. Terat 2ndGens must make a               energies beyond that of other Trogs. In game terms, Trogs with
Willpower roll (without penalties) in order to put aside their        permanent Taint ratings of 11+ are twice as likely to be detected
self-interest for the sake of anyone who isn’t a Terat or could       through psionic Attunement, and their vulnerability to psionic
become one in the future.                                             attack becomes even greater.
Trogs                                                                       Problems:
                                                                              Unlike other 2ndGen novas, Trogs are not highly resistant
      These are the offspring of two heavily-Tainted novas, and
                                                                      to Taint – in fact, they’re even more vulnerable to it than their
conform closely to the true “aberrants” seen in Trinity. Trogs
                                                                      parents! Trog 2ndGens can gain temporary Taint through Power
are generally considered to be Taint-ridden abominations by
                                                                      Strain, Rapid Recovery, and mental disorders just like 1stGen
baselines and other novas. Even the Teragen (save for the
                                                                      novas, and can gain permanent Taint by accumulating temporary
Harvesters) look down on them for their inability to deal with
                                                                      Taint. Trogs also use the “High Taint” rules on p. 68 of the
their Taint. These “Funky Taint Babies” practically reek of
                                                                      Aberrant Players Guide (they automatically receive 1 dot of
Taint, and baselines are far more likely to refer to a Trog as “it”
                                                                      permanent Taint per dot of Quantum possessed), but cannot
rather than “him” or “her”. Unless a group of Aberrant gamers
                                                                      gain Taint from the Node background. Trogs cannot have the
(and their Storyteller) really want to play in an angst-fest
                                                                      “Taint Resistant” Merit.
chronicle, these 2ndGens are best left as Storyteller characters.
                                                                              Trogs don’t inherit Taint as such from their parents, but
      Benefit:
                                                                      they will be born with a number of aberrations (and the
        Born Aberrant: Unlike other novas, Trogs are not taken
                                                                      accompanying social penalties) equal to the combined total of
out of play when they finally accumulate 10 dots of permanent
                                                                      their parents’ aberrations in addition to those derived from their
Taint. Instead, they face the unenviable prospect of becoming
                                                                      own Taint. These inherited aberrations will usually match those
even more Tainted. A side-effect of this allows Trogs to
                                                                      of the parents, although the Storyteller is within her rights to
sidestep the normal limits on physical Attribute ratings imposed
                                                                      prohibit incompatible combinations of aberrations. Trogs will
by the Adolescent/Child Flaw. Thanks to the Taint, Trogs aren’t
                                                                      also start out with at least one mental aberration chosen for
exactly children and don’t share all of their limits.
                                                                      them by the Storyteller (with the player’s input, in the case of a
      For each dot of permanent Taint gained after the tenth, a
                                                                      PC Trog). The Storyteller is within her rights to forbid a Trog
Trog will:
                                                                      from taking the “Mega-Attractive” form of the Mega-
             suffer an additional +1 difficulty penalty on social
                                                                      Appearance attribute. Similarly, the Storyteller may make Trogs
rolls with baseline humans (and most other sapients).
                                                                      incapable of using Mega-Charisma in a positive manner with
             develop two high-level aberrations, or the
                                                                      baselines who are not insane.
                                                                                                         Like the Terat 2ndGens, Trogs
                                                                                                 are also considered threats to be
                                                                                                 disposed of ASAP by Aeon & the rest
                                                                                                 of baseline humanity. For this reason,
                                                                                                 the Storyteller will assign Trogs a
                                                                                                 variable number of dots in the
                                                                                                 “Skeleton in the Closet” or “Wanted”
                                                                                                 Adversarial       Backgrounds        as
                                                                                                 appropriate. The Trog will receive no
                                                                                                 compensatory points for this burden.
                                                                                                 These dots cannot be bought off, as
                                                                                                 the collective reputation of Trogs and
                                                                                                 other Taint-ridden novas will only
                                                                                                 grow worse in the years leading up to
                                                                                                 the Aberrant War.
                                                                                                         Highly Tainted novas can
                                                                                                 theoretically make halfway-decent
                                                                                                 parents for a Trog, but that is rare in
                                                                                                 the extreme. A Trog could (and likely
                                                                                                 will) have all sorts of personal
                                                                                                 problems (Flaws, mostly) stemming
                                                                                                 from parental abuse and/or neglect.
                                                                                                 Even without those problems, Trogs



48                                                               RULES
                                                            ABERRANT

are deeply dysfunctional people (to use the term very loosely).
Codependencies, perverted affection and twisted love-hate              New Enhancements
relationships are what Trogs have in place of the healthy social       Accelerated Gestation (Mega-
relationships enjoyed by most baselines. In general, Trogs are
incapable of functioning in any reliable or healthy way. Add in        Stamina)
the expected difficulties of growing up as a Trog, and it’s easy             Prerequisite: One level of the Fertility enhancement.
to see why so many Trogs wind up becoming monsters by deed                   With all the dangers posed to nova parents and their
as well as birth.                                                      offspring in the Nova Age, taking a full nine months to conceive
        Last but hardly least, Trogs are surprisingly sensitive to     a child and carry it safely to term can be just too much of a risk.
noetic energies. Not only can they (and any use of their powers)       In response to this evolutionary pressure, certain Mega-
be detected with psionic Attunement and the Cognitive Modes            Vigorous novas have developed an appropriate countermeasure.
(Telepathy & Clairsentience), but Trogs will also be quite                   System: This enhancement allows a female nova (or a nova
vulnerable to psionic attacks. Attempts to detect a Trog by            with either the Yin-Yang enhancement or the Hermaphrodite
psionic Attunement will receive a difficulty modifier, with            aberration) to safely carry a fetus to term in a dramatically
penalties to detect the weaker Trogs and bonuses to detect             shorter period of time than a baseline woman can. Fertile male
strong Trogs (Storyteller’s discretion as to which Trogs qualify       novas with the three nova point version of the Parasitic
as “weak” or “strong”). Psions will receive an automatic success       Gestation body modification can also take this enhancement, in
to detect a Trog powerful enough to be rated as a “Prime               which case it affects the prenatal development rate of any
Threat” in Trinity terms. The details of a Trog’s vulnerability to     children they manage to sire. Up to four levels of this
psionic attack have been left to the Storyteller’s discretion; her     enhancement can be taken, with each level reducing the time
options include reducing a Trog’s soak rating, adding dice to          period used to measure the duration of a female nova’s
psionic attacks made against the Trog, and treating the damage         pregnancy by one category. So where a typical baseline woman’s
a Trog takes from psionic attacks as lethal if bashing and             pregnancy (from conception to delivery) would last for nine
aggravated if lethal.                                                  months, the pregnancy of a nova with one level of Accelerated
                                                                       Gestation would last for only nine weeks. This becomes nine
                                                                       days with two levels of this enhancement, nine hours with three
Aberrations,                                                           levels, and nine minutes with four levels. Not only does this make
                                                                       pregnancy more convenient for a nova mother, it also allows

Enhancements &                                                         fertile novas to reproduce at considerably faster rates than
                                                                       baseline humans. At the Storyteller’s discretion, a pregnant nova
                                                                       with this enhancement may have to consume huge quantities of
Powers                                                                 food (equivalent to the amount consumed by novas with the
                                                                       Ravenous aberration) for the duration of her pregnancy in order
                                                                       to ensure the normal development of her fetus. This
Existing Aberrations &                                                 enhancement has no quantum point cost, and lasts for the
                                                                       duration of the pregnancy.
Enhancements                                                           Accelerated Maturation (Mega-
      Very few aberrations, Mega-Attribute enhancements,               Stamina)
quantum powers or body modifications factor into either the                  For the second generation novas (the offspring of two nova
reproductive or maturation processes of novas directly.                parents), the times of childhood and adolescence are when they
Common sense is your best guide in deciding whether a given            are the most vulnerable. Given the wide assortment of dangers
aberration will interfere with a nova’s attempts to reproduce,         that they will face in the Nova Age, having to spend almost
although the Storyteller still has the final say in this matter. A     eighteen years in states of immaturity and adolescence before
nova whose body has been permanently transformed into some             becoming a capable adult can be more than some of these novas
living inorganic substance will certainly be sterile, as will a nova   can really afford. Certain Mega-Vigorous novas of the second
that continually emits dangerous levels of radiation or other          generation have found a radical solution to this problem.
energies. Novas with the Sexless aberration (Aberrant Players                System: This enhancement grants a second-generation
Guide, p.93) are completely incapable of reproduction. As for          child nova a dramatically shortened period of immaturity. Up to
the existing enhancements, only two are known to have much             four levels of Accelerated Maturation can be taken, with each
effect on a nova’s fertility. Health (Aberrant Players Guide,          level shortening the duration of the nova’s childhood and
p.103) not only allows a nova to better resist the sterility           adolescence in a not-quite-smooth curve of progression. For
cocktails of Project Utopia, it also adds +5% to his or her            purposes of this enhancement, “maturity” is defined as the
fertility rating. None of the existing body modifications have any     equivalent of seventeen years of age. With one level of
direct effect on a nova’s fertility. Likewise, none of the existing    Accelerated Maturation, the nova would reach maturity at only
aberrations, enhancements or body modifications have any               five years of age. This is reduced to one year with two levels,
direct effect on the maturation of a nova child.                       three months with three levels, and a mere twenty days with
                                                                       four levels. The nova’s development in all areas will be



                                                    ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                           49
                                                           ABERRANT

extremely rapid, and he will be able to learn things with speeds      effects – including this enhancement, if the nova’s partner
normally seen only in Mega-Intelligent novas. (The Storyteller is     happens to have it as well! Female novas with one level of
encouraged to waive the matter of training times completely in        Fertility will also have their chances for pregnancy complications
this situation.) Depending on how the nova’s player and/or the        either reduced by half in the case of moderate to heavy parental
Storyteller decide this enhancement should function, the nova         Taint, or negated completely if the chance was only 1%. Finally,
may either simply develop quickly or he may go through one or         novas of both genders that have been sterilized (by the Utopian
more periods of metamorphosis. In the latter case, the nova will      sterility cocktail or by other means) can permanently overcome
pupate at certain stages of his development, forming a cocoon         the induced sterility by purchasing one level of this enhancement
very similar to that developed by novas undergoing the                with experience points.
Teragen’s Chrysalis. The nova will only remain in the cocoon for            If a female nova buys two levels of this enhancement, she
a short period of time (determined by the Storyteller), from          gains the following benefits:
which he will emerge noticeably older. When the age of maturity                The nova no longer has to menstruate, nor does she
is reached, the nova’s aging rate will slow down to the normal        suffer from PMS or the later problems of menopause.
rate for a nova with his Mega-Stamina rating, or even slower if                After conception, the nova does not have to endure
he has either of the Adaptability or Unaging enhancements. The        many of the problems of both pregnancy and delivery. She
nova will lose all levels of this enhancement when he reaches         doesn’t suffer from morning sickness at all. Her nervous system
maturity, which will be replaced with different Mega-Stamina          automatically adjusts for the changes in her center of balance
enhancements of the Storyteller’s choosing. At the Storyteller’s      and her musculoskeletal system, making her much less awkward
discretion, the nova may have to consume huge quantities of           than a pregnant baseline woman. The nova’s metabolism kicks
food (equivalent to the amounts consumed by novas with the            into high gear, allowing her to remain physically active during
Ravenous aberration) for the duration of his period of                pregnancy when other mothers-to-be would find themselves
accelerated growth in order to ensure normal development. This        exhausted. The nova’s pelvis becomes inhumanly flexible and
enhancement has no quantum point cost, and lasts for the              certain arrays of pain receptors are temporarily shut down
duration of the nova’s period of immaturity.                          during labor, allowing for deliveries that are nearly painless
Fertility (Mega-Stamina)                                              when compared to those of baseline mothers.
                                                                               The nova may use her quantum powers to the fullest
      The bodies of novas with Mega-Stamina are optimized to
                                                                      while pregnant without the slightest risk of harming the unborn
function marvelously well, resulting in a degree of physical
                                                                      child – a definite plus when defending oneself against Utopian
health that baselines and novas lacking Mega-Stamina simply
                                                                      motherhunters. Even the use of powers such as Shapeshift,
cannot achieve. There is a glaring exception to this, though:
                                                                      Sizemorph, Bodymorph, or Matter Chameleon will not harm the
many novas are sterile for some reason. Despite this, some
                                                                      child. If the mother accumulates temporary or permanent Taint,
independent paraphysicians theorize that certain novas could
                                                                      her child will remain unaffected.
possess or develop superhuman reproductive capacity, although
                                                                               The nova’s chances for pregnancy complications are
these claims are inevitably ridiculed and dismissed by Utopia-
                                                                      either reduced to 25% of the normal value (rounded up) in the
backed paraphysicians and researchers into nova biology. If a
                                                                      case of moderate to heavy parental Taint, or negated
nova did have such an ability, he or she would do well to keep it a
                                                                      completely if the chance was only 10%.
secret for as long as possible, or risk being hunted down and
                                                                               All of the nova’s offspring will be second-generation
murdered by Utopian (and Proteus) deathsquads...
                                                                      novas, regardless of the father’s specific classification
      System: The basic form (one level) of this enhancement
                                                                      (assumuing that there is a father).
provides several advantages. First off, it subtracts the nova’s
                                                                               If desired, the nova can spend a quantum point to release
Mega-Stamina from the Virulence Rating of any contraceptive
                                                                      2 or 3 eggs prior to conception, resulting in the birth of healthy
or sterility-causing chemical, disease or effect; including those
                                                                      fraternal twins or triplets, respectively.
caused by quantum powers. This is wholly cumulative with the
                                                                               If the nova still wants to become a mother but cannot
effects of the Adaptability and Health enhancements. Second, it
                                                                      find a suitable nova male to father her child, she can spend 2
makes the nova more likely to either become pregnant (if
                                                                      quantum points and roll Stamina. Even 1 success on the roll
female) or cause a pregnancy (if male) after a single
                                                                      means that the nova becomes pregnant through
unprotected sexual encounter, as the nova’s fertility rating is
                                                                      parthenogenesis. The pregnancy will be normal (for a nova
increased by 20%. If two levels of this enhancement are taken,
                                                                      pregnancy, anyway), but the resulting healthy female infant will
the nova’s fertility rating is increased by 40% instead. Third,
                                                                      effectively be a genetic clone of her mother. If the nova mother
the nova’s reproductive span is increased, allowing the nova to
                                                                      also has the Yin-Yang Mega-Appearance enhancement, she can
sire or bear children without difficulty until he or she has lived
                                                                      spend an extra quantum point (for a total of 3 q.p.) to conceive
through 90% of his or her total lifespan. (This limitation can be
                                                                      and bear a cross-gender clone of herself. The resulting healthy
sidestepped if the nova is restored to physical youth with the
                                                                      male infant will be a genetic clone of his mother except for
Age Alteration technique of Temporal Manipulation.)
                                                                      having a “Y” chromosome instead of a second “X” chromosome.
Fortunately, the fourth benefit gained by the nova is complete
                                                                      This form of reproduction does have its advantages, but can
control over his or her own fertility rating, as he or she can
                                                                      seriously deplete a population’s genetic diversity over the long
switch between being sterile (fertility rating of 0%) or being
                                                                      term, making this an emergency measure at best.
fertile (normal fertility rating) as an automatic action. This
benefit functions regardless of any other fertility-inducing



50                                                               RULES
                                                           ABERRANT

      If a male nova buys two levels of this enhancement, he          immature as their peers, and they will not have the wisdom that
gains the following benefits:                                         only experience can grant. Even so, this can be a vital edge in
         By selecting which gametes to release, the nova can          the conflicts that all second generation novas will face long
choose the gender of any children he sires.                           before they reach adulthood, especially if they can keep their
         The chances for complications in any pregnancy the nova      adult antagonists ignorant of the true state of their intellects.
causes are either reduced by half in the case of moderate to          Being underestimated has its benefits...
heavy parental Taint, or negated completely if the chance was              System: Unlike other second generation nova children,
only 1%.                                                              those with this enhancement aren’t restricted to a maximum
         If he wants to, the nova can spend 2 quantum points and      rating in their Intelligence-based Abilities, allowing them to
roll Stamina when causing a pregnancy. Even 1 success on the          function at an adult intellectual level. This enhancement is lost
roll means that the nova’s partner will give birth to healthy         for good when the character reaches maturity (about 17 years of
identical twins – 4 or more successes indicates healthy identical     age), when it will be replaced with another Mega-Intelligence
triplets! For best results, the nova’s partner should be a nova       enhancement of the Storyteller’s choosing. This enhancement is
herself with two levels of the Fertility enhancement. The nova        permanent, and has no quantum point cost.
should also tell his partner about this beforehand – otherwise,
he risks being skinned alive, horsewhipped, or strangled by his
justifiably irate sweetheart!                                         New Body Modifications
      Note: Depending on how your Storyteller decides this                    Augmented Fecundity (one nova point/ three experience
enhancement should function, female novas with both Fertility         points)
and the Adaptability enhancement may need to resume a regular               This body modification allows a female breeder nova to
diet of healthy food and drink for the duration of the pregnancy.     consistently bear four offspring (on the average) per pregnancy.
The details of a “healthy diet” may vary for nova mothers-to-be       Unlike female breeder novas who induce multiple births with two
with the True Omnivore enhancement or the Altered Diet body           levels of the Fertility enhancement, a nova with Augmented
modification. Just imagine the weird food cravings they could         Fecundity does not have to make a Stamina roll or spend
get! To heck with pickles and ice cream – what if such a              quantum points to produce these multiple offspring. This body
pregnant nova started craving uranium?                                modification may be taken multiple times by female breeder
      This enhancement is permanent, and ordinarily has no            novas whose bodies and/or methods of reproduction differ
quantum point cost. The exceptions to this have already been          greatly from baseline human women.
noted above.                                                                  Enhanced Vomeronasal Organ (two nova points / four
                                                                      experience points)
Mental Prodigy: Survival                                                    The nova has an augmented vomeronasal organ (also
(Mega-Intelligence)                                                   known as the Jacobson’s organ), which grants him an increased
     No matter where on Earth a Survival Prodigy finds himself        ability to detect pheromones by their scent. Not only can the
(or elsewhere, in some cases), he will be able to survive with the    nova consciously detect and interpret the unconscious
ease of an experienced outdoorsman. A nova with this                  pheromonal signals of other humans, but he can “listen in” on
enhancement has a natural genius for living without the comforts      the interspecies pheromonal communications of the rest of
of civilization, as he can provide for himself – and for others, if   Earth’s animal and plant populations. In game terms, the nova
need be – using the natural resources around him. If he actually      can detect pheromones and decipher the pheromonal
has formal survival training (the Survival Ability), he can thrive    communications of humans and all other Terran organisms (and
in the harshest of wildernesses and other inhospitable                certain alien ones, at the Storyteller’s discretion) with an
surroundings.                                                         Awareness roll. These communications will be extremely basic,
     System: Whenever the character is involved with situations       with most of them indicating the organism’s physical (and in the
or problems concerning survival in wilderness or hostile              case of the higher animals, emotional) state. The range of these
environments (a highly-tainted nova forced to live like an animal     pheromonal communications tends to be very short; in the
would consider a baseline human community a hostile                   nova’s case he will be able to detect pheromones within a
environment), the player may make an Intelligence roll. For each      number of meters equal to the nova’s (Perception) + (Mega-
success achieved, he may roll an additional die when making           Perception x 2). Finally, with this increased ability to notice
Survival rolls and any other rolls related to surviving in            pheromones comes a better chance to resist their effects, as the
uncivilized circumstances. (The Storyteller has full discretion as    nova will automatically notice any pheromone-based effects that
to what qualifies as a “related” roll.) Activating this               others may try to use on him.
enhancement requires spending 1 quantum point, with the                     As this body modification allows the nova to detect and
effects and bonuses lasting an hour or longer at the Storyteller’s    interpret the natural pheromone signals given off by other
discretion.                                                           humans, it’s very useful for evaluating both potential mates and
                                                                      potential sexual rivals. The nova can detect both the status and
Precocity (Mega-Intelligence)                                         fitness (in terms of reproduction) of humans of both genders. A
      Certain Mega-Intelligent second generation nova children        subject’s reproductive status will include facts such as actual
have a hyper-accelerated rate of intellectual development,            gender, sexual maturity, and current fertility. If the subject is
allowing them to achieve mental maturity long before their peers      female, the nova can also detect whether she’s pregnant or
will. Sadly, those novas are still every bit as emotionally


                                                   ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                         51
                                                           ABERRANT

lactating. Reproductive fitness will include the presence (or lack    surgical procedures. Fortunately, the birth of the transplanted
of same) of problems such as genetic damage, disease, drug            infant will be unbelievably easy, as the nova’s pouch will simply
abuse and chemical contamination. It’s also possible for the nova     (and painlessly) open up on its own at the correct moment.
to detect when his or her partner is most fertile with an             Despite certain cultural preconceptions, novas of either gender
Awareness roll; with every 2 successes scored allowing an             can have this body modification. Male novas with this body
additional conception roll to be made per month. This will            modification that are hosting a fetus will be slightly more
require the nova to stay close to his or her partner on a 24 hour,    awkward than a female nova would, as the male body isn’t really
7-days-a week basis until the partner reaches a point of peak         designed for carrying an unborn infant around as internally-
fertility. Couples attempting to conceive at that time will receive   stored cargo. In game terms this translates into a penalty of -2
a +5% bonus to their combined fertility rating. Alternatively, the    dice on Dexterity rolls for moving around, beginning at the start
nova can attempt to detect times of peak fertility in any             of the second trimester. Male novas in this situation will also be
potential mate he or she meets and gain the same bonus,               certain to draw a good number of stares, especially in the
although whether or not that tactic is successful is up to random     second and third trimesters. At the Storyteller’s discretion, one
chance (and the Storyteller’s whim). At the Storyteller’s             or more additional levels of this body modification can be taken,
discretion, the nova may also determine the general nature of a       although a male nova whose body is both normal-sized and
problem that makes a subject reproductively unfit (disease, drug      passably human will likely be limited to two levels. Female novas
abuse, a serious genetic defect, etc.) with an Awareness roll.        cannot take additional levels of this body modification if their
      Storyteller Note: Novas with the Fertility enhancement          bodies are both normal-sized and passably human.
who are currently sterile by choice will be detected as such by a             Parasitic Gestation (one nova point / three experience
nova with this body modification, and cannot be differentiated        points, or three nova points / six experience points)
from other sterile novas.                                             The one nova point version of this body modification allows a
         Genetic Sampler (two nova points/ four experience            pregnant female nova (or novas with either the Yin-Yang
points)                                                               enhancement or the Hermaphrodite aberration that are in the
      A nova with this body modification is capable of acquiring a    same situation) to implant a fetus that she has conceived within
sample of another human’s DNA through simple physical contact         the first 14 days of the first trimester of her pregnancy into a
with the target. All that’s required is for an area of the nova’s     female nova or baseline human, who will then carry the fetus to
bare skin equal to one fingertip to touch the bare skin or the        term as a host mother in the normal human manner. (Novas of
blood of the target for one turn. Even mundane clothing can           either gender that have the Gestation Pouch body modification
prevent a target’s DNA from being sampled via the skin,               can also serve as “host mothers”.) If for whatever reasons the
although such coverings offer no protection if they’re soaked         nova isn’t carrying a fetus, then this body modification will not
with the target’s blood. Novas who either cannot be touched or        function. If the nova retains her fetus past the 14 day limit, it will
who don’t have DNA (due to using Matter Chameleon or                  become too large for her to transfer safely, and she will have to
Bodymorph) cannot be sampled. While the genetic samples               carry it to term herself. The nova uses a short, retractable
gained can easily be used in conventional forensics or genetic        sharp-tipped ovipositor to implant the fetus, which will cause no
testing (there’s no possibility of sample contamination), most        physical damage to the host mother but can be a traumatic
novas with this body modification are female breeder novas who        experience if she is both unwilling and conscious during the
can use genetic samples from other humans (of either gender) to       implantation.
fertilize themselves without engaging in coitus. If the target              The three nova point version of this body modification is
human is a male, the female breeder nova can choose the gender        available to both fertile male novas and pregnant female novas.
of any children she conceives in this manner with a simple            A pregnant female nova will be able to use the aforementioned
Perception roll. If the target is a woman, any children “sired” by    ovipositor to implant her fetus into the abdominal cavity of any
the target in this manner will also be female. The nova is capable    adult male baseline human she can either convince, trick or force
of storing up to (Stamina) genetic samples acquired with this         into submitting to her designs. It should be noted that the
body modification for a duration of (Stamina + Mega-Stamina)          ovipositor cannot normally be used to implant male novas, as all
days, after which the samples will irreversibly degrade and           novas possess some level of lethal soak. The exceptions are
become useless. Only one level of this body modification can be       when the implanting nova has some means of breaching her
taken.                                                                victim’s defenses (such as using the Claws quantum power) or
         Gestation Pouch (one nova point/ three experience            can take advantage of an open wound that has already breached
points)                                                               the victim’s abdominal cavity. Fertile male novas will only need
      This body modification is basically a large pouch that’s        to engage in coitus with a fertile female human in order to use
specifically designed for only one purpose: to carry a human          this body modification. Neither method of implantation will
fetus safely to term. Much like the Pouch body modification, this     directly cause physical damage to the host by itself, but the
extra physical structure is typically located on the abdomen at       fetus will have a mutated placenta that will literally feed off the
stomach level, although female novas will have it sited on the        host’s body in a parasitic manner. In game terms, carrying a
upper back instead. The pouch will function just as well as (if not   fetus in this manner will cause the host 2 levels of unsoakable
better than) an actual uterus, although the fetus will have to be     Stun damage per day, with the damage inflicted one level at a
transplanted into the pouch from the mother’s uterus, either by       time over the course of the day to allow the host to heal the
means of the Parasitic Gestation body modification or through         damage normally. In addition, hosts will also experience near-



52                                                               RULES
                                                             ABERRANT

constant fatigue from the stress of supporting the parasitic            way novas who have been affected by Project Utopia’s sterility
fetus, resulting in a +2 difficulty penalty on all Stamina rolls. The   cocktail can “sire” offspring without using their damaged
host will also find his or her body becoming awkward as this            gametes. Female novas using this power to reproduce will only
parasitic pregnancy progresses – male hosts get a -2 dice               be able to “sire” female offspring, however. If the nova also has
penalty on Dexterity rolls for moving around starting at the            the Genetic Sampler body modification, he can use any samples
second trimester, while female hosts will suffer the normal             he’s collected with that body modification to impregnate women
difficulties of pregnancy. At the time of birth, the fetus’ mutated     with this power, instead of just being limited to using his own
placenta will literally rip open both itself and the host’s             DNA. What really makes this power so insidious is its subtlety. If
abdominal cavity from the inside, inflicting three levels of            the target has no way of detecting the use of this power or the
unsoakable lethal damage in the process. Most hosts subjected           state of her own reproductive system (such as Body Awareness
to this sort of treatment will not survive the birthing process         or active use of Quantum Awareness), she will have no clue that
without immediate medical aid. For this reason, novas with this         she has been impregnated until she either has her next medical
form of Parasitic Gestation will sometimes keep their host(s)           examination or first episode of morning sickness.
imprisoned and reasonably well cared for until the birth.                     Using this power on a willing target just requires a straight
Removing the parasitic fetus prior to birth requires a fully-           power roll. Only one success is needed for the nova to
stocked surgical bay, along with the services of a doctor with          successfully impregnate a willing target, with each additional
the Medicine Ability at 3+ dots and the Surgery specialty. If the       success on the power roll reducing the target’s chances for
fetus is to survive, it must be developed enough for the surgeon        pregnancy complications and anomalous births by 5%. Using this
to perform a modified Caesarian section on the host. Please note        power on an unknowing or unwilling target requires a resisted
that at this level, this body modification can also be combined         roll, pitting the target’s Stamina + Resistance against the nova’s
with the Accelerated Gestation enhancement. In this case, it will       Stamina + Quantum Conception dice pool. The nova can add a
reflect the extraordinary speed at which the parasitic fetus will       number of successes equal to his Quantum rating to the power
develop. This will put an incredible strain on the host, as he or       roll, and need only achieve one net successes against the
she will suffer 2 levels of unsoakable bashing damage per day           target’s Resistance roll in order to impregnate the target. In
with one level of Accelerated Gestation. The damage will still be       either case, since the nova is effectively creating something
inflicted one level at a time over the course of the day, so the        permanent (the 23 “paternal” chromosomes) from nearby
host will still be able to survive and heal the damage normally. If     inorganic matter, using this power requires spending a
the nova has two or more levels of Accelerated Gestation the            permanent Willpower point along with the normal quantum cost.
parasitic pregnancy will pose a far greater risk to the host’s life;    It should also be noted that if the target is already pregnant, is
as the damage inflicted will be counted as one level of                 not of childbearing age or is biologically male, uses of this power
unsoakable lethal damage. The damage will occur on an daily             will automatically fail – don’t even bother rolling. Nova targets
basis with 2 levels, every hour with three levels, and every            with the Fertility enhancement are also immune to this power,
minute with four levels. At the Storyteller’s discretion, a             unless the target wants to become pregnant in this manner. If
baseline host’s appetite will grow to nova proportions and a            the target has the Mind Over Matter enhancement (from
nova host’s appetite will match that of novas with the Ravenous         Aberrant: Brainwaves), she can spend 1 quantum point and make
aberration for the duration of the pregnancy, as their                  a Wits roll to self-induce a natural abortion and rid herself of the
metabolisms go into overdrive in an attempt to meet the nutrient        unwanted fetus. Unwilling nova targets who are aware of the
demands placed on them by the parasitic fetus.                          attacking nova’s impregnation attempt may make a Willpower
                                                                        roll to actively resist this power’s effect, with each success
                                                                        adding another die to the Resistance dice pool. The nova can
New Quantum Powers                                                      even impregnate a normally sterile non-nova woman of
                                                                        childbearing age by paying double the normal quantum point cost
                                                                        (6 quantum points). If successful, the target can conceive and
Quantum Conception                                                      carry the resulting healthy child to term just as if she were
      Level: 3                                                          fertile. Unfortunately, sterile nova women cannot be
      Quantum Minimum: 5                                                impregnated in this manner.
      Dice Pool: Stamina + Quantum Conception                                 Extras: Affects Sterile Novas (requires Quantum 6) – The
      Range: (Quantum) meters                                           nova can impregnate a nova woman that has been dosed with the
      Area: N/A                                                         Utopian sterility cocktail, at the cost of spending 12 quantum
      Duration: Instant                                                 points and a permanent Willpower point. Nova women whose
      Effect: Character can impregnate a woman without                  sterility is not the result of the sterility cocktail (such as those
requiring physical contact.                                             with the Sterility aberration/Flaw) cannot be impregnated unless
      Multiple Actions: Yes                                             the aberration or Flaw is corrected.
      Description: This power allows the nova to impregnate a
woman of childbearing age without physical contact. Effectively,
the nova creates an undamaged partial copy of his or her own
DNA – just as when happens when gametes are formed – which
is then implanted into an ovum inside the target’s uterus. In this



                                                     ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                            53
                                                             ABERRANT


Sterilize                                                               New Flaws and
      Level: 2
      Quantum Minimum: 4                                                Aberrations
      Dice Pool: Stamina + Sterilize                                    Adolescent/Child
      Range: Touch
      Area: N/A                                                         [1, 4 or 6 point Flaw]
      Duration: Instant                                                       A character with this Flaw is younger than 17 years of age.
      Effect: Character’s touch can induce sterility in another         As such, the character will have certain social and physical
person or lifeform.                                                     limitations which are described below. In addition, the character
      Multiple Actions: Yes                                             is limited to a maximum rating (which varies with age) in her
      Description: This power allows the nova to render another         Intelligence-based Abilities. The Storyteller is also within her
being sterile with a touch. When used on novas, this power              rights to forbid nova characters with this Flaw from taking
functions in much the same manner as Project Utopia’s sterility         either of the Seductive Looks and Seductive enhancements,
cocktail. Unlike the Utopian sterility cocktail, this power will also   along with any other enhancements that depend on sexual
work on baselines, animals, plants and fungi. When used on small        attraction. At the Storyteller’s discretion, characters with this
lifeforms such as insects, small plants or fungi, it’s reasonable       Flaw may have fewer dots of Abilities than adult characters,
for the nova to be capable of sterilizing an entire field’s worth of    although Mega-Intelligent characters are exempt from that
such targets rather than a single small lifeform. (In that              limitation. Immature novas with the Adaptability enhancement
circumstance, treat this power as having the Area Extra.) Even          may require regular periods of sleep and a diet of healthy food
worse is the extreme subtlety of this power. If the target has no       and drink in order to grow normally. This Flaw will decrease in
way of detecting either the use of this power or the state of his       value naturally as the character gets older, and cannot be bought
own fertility (such as Body Awareness or active use of Quantum          off with experience points. Second-generation nova children
Awareness), he will have no clue that he’s just been sterilized         with the Accelerated Maturation enhancement will still suffer
until his next medical examination.                                     the effects of this Flaw, but do not receive any freebie points
      Using this power requires a resisted roll, pitting the            from it due to their drastically-shortened period of immaturity.
target’s Stamina + Resistance against the nova’s Stamina +                    At the 1-point level, the character is an adolescent (13 to 16
Sterilize dice pool. The nova can add a number of successes             years of age). The character will not have any limits on her base
equal to her Quantum rating to the power roll, and must achieve         Attribute ratings, but is limited to a maximum rating of 3 dots in
two net successes against the target’s Resistance roll in order to      her Intelligence-based Abilities. She will have obvious social
sterilize the target. Nova targets with either of the Health or         limitations; which include various legal difficulties, curfews, a
Fertility enhancements will automatically subtract (the target’s        lack of intellectual respect from adults, and not being able to
Mega-Stamina) successes from the nova’s power roll. Likewise,           legally engage in certain adult activities.
each dot of Invulnerability: Disease possessed by the target will             At the 4-point level, the character is a pre-adolescent
grant six successes to the target nova’s Willpower roll and make        child (7 to 12 years of age). The social limitations the character
the roll automatic (see below). The Adaptability enhancement is         will face will become even more onerous, as children are even
of no use against this power. Targets who are aware of the              more restricted in their activities than teenagers are. The
attacking nova’s sterilization attempt may make a Willpower roll        character’s base Strength rating can’t be any higher than 3, and
to actively resist this power’s effect, with each success adding        her base Stamina score can’t be any higher than 4. She is also
another die to the Resistance dice pool. Successes from a               limited to a maximum rating of 2 dots in her Intelligence-based
Healing roll can also be added to the target’s Resistance dice,         Abilities. Finally, the character will have the Short Flaw
provided the target and/or the nova with Healing is aware of the        (Aberrant Players Guide, p.70), the cost of which has already
attacking nova’s sterilization attempt. Healing cannot be applied       been factored into this Flaw.
retroactively and cannot be used to correct this power’s effect.              At the 6-point level, the character is a very young child (6
The sterility induced by this power is permanent, unless the            years and younger). The character can walk, talk and has hair on
target is a nova who either has or develops the Health or               his head, but none of that matters very much as she will only be
Fertility enhancements, in which case the condition will heal           about a meter tall at best. The social restrictions faced by the
normally. For this purpose, induced sterility is counted as 2           character will become extreme, which is only to be expected.
levels of bashing damage. Female targets who are sterilized             The character’s base Strength and Stamina both can’t be any
while pregnant will have a miscarriage within 24 hours.                 higher than 1 dot each, and her Dexterity can’t go above 2 dots.
      Extras: None.                                                     She is also limited to a maximum rating of 1 dot in her
                                                                        Intelligence-based Abilities. The character is also small enough
                                                                        to suffer the equivalent of an extreme version of the Short Flaw,
                                                                        as her running speed will be reduced to 25% of normal and she
                                                                        will encounter severe difficulties in using equipment designed
                                                                        for people with average builds, the cost of which has already
                                                                        been factored into this Flaw.




54                                                                 RULES
                                                           ABERRANT


Altered Gestation [physical                                           this state is indistinguishable from the “Hormonal Imbalance –
                                                                      Lust” aberration (Aberrant core book, p. 152) during estrus. At
aberration]                                                           high Taint the nova will also suffer from a 2-point version of the
     Manifested only by fertile female novas, this aberration         Dependence Flaw (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 70), as not
gradually mutates the nova’s reproductive system as she               engaging in sexual activity while in estrus will cause actual
accumulates permanent Taint, forcing her to give birth in some        physical damage. When the nova isn’t in estrus, his total lack of
other manner than the typical human fashion. At low levels of         sexual interest makes him unable to enjoy sexual relations and
Taint, the system used is no more burdensome than mammalian-          makes him immune to seduction attempts.
style live birth. One example is becoming a marsupial, and giving           Storyteller Note: While most of the material in this
birth to a small fetus which is placed in an exterior pouch in        sourcebook is considered “sensitive topics”, that goes double
which it will develop for the rest of the “pregnancy”. In this case   for this aberration. Be very sure to discuss it with your players
the nova has an actual marsupial pouch on her belly, which            before using it in a chronicle.
normally remains taut & unusable except when she’s carrying an        Regressive Node [4 point Flaw]
infant inside it. For this pouch to be useful for anything other
                                                                           Unlike most other 2ndGen novas, a character with this Flaw
than carrying her infant, the nova must purchase the “large
                                                                      was not born with his farahcytes evenly distributed throughout
pouch” version of the Pouch body modification. Another
                                                                      his brain’s grey matter. Instead, he was born with an M-R node
example is becoming oviparous (an egg-layer), with the egg
                                                                      comparable to those of the first generation novas. The
being carried internally for 9 months before being laid, after
                                                                      character will be subject to all the drawbacks of having a high
which it will hatch within 24 hours. With medium Taint, the
                                                                      rating of the Node Background, including the possibility of brain
system used is noticeably more burdensome. An example of this
                                                                      damage caused by M-R node growth and the resulting mental
is being oviparous and laying one or more eggs shortly after
                                                                      Taint and aberrations. This Flaw is most often found among
conception, which will then require constant care (such as being
                                                                      2ndGen novas who were born through genetic engineering or
placed within an incubating machine) in order to hatch. Other
                                                                      whose births were anomalous.
examples include having to remain within a specific environment
                                                                           This Flaw is only available to 2ndGen nova characters.
or being dependent on a chosen substance (or being) in order to
carry a fetus safely to term. With high Taint, the system used is     Retarded Aging [2, 5 or 7 point
far more burdensome. This would cover being oviparous and             Flaw, or physical aberration]
laying one or more eggs shortly after conception, which will then
                                                                            Found exclusively in novas who are born erupted, erupt
require constant physical contact & care from the nova in order
                                                                      prior to adulthood or that have been physically regressed in age,
to hatch. Another possibility is for the nova’s offspring to be
                                                                      this condition leaves the nova’s body stuck in an immature state.
born in a larval form for the duration of its infancy, which must
                                                                      What’s worse is that the nova’s aging process comes to a
eat voraciously before pupation & metamorphosis into juvenile
                                                                      standstill for all practical concerns. As a Flaw this condition can
human form. Alternatively, the nova’s egg or larvae may require
                                                                      reflect any one of an assortment of problems; including such
some substance that’s hazardous or offensive to human
                                                                      things as a growth hormone deficiency, arrested aging or an
sensibilities in order to develop properly. Finally, the nova’s
                                                                      extremely slow rate of aging that would be logical for a being
body may simply create offspring through budding, which will
                                                                      with a lifespan of several centuries or more. Inspired medical
look quite grotesque to human eyes.
                                                                      treatments and/or the use of the Age Alteration technique of
Estrus [physical aberration]                                          Temporal Manipulation can correct this condition, provided that
     The sexual responses of a nova with this aberration are          the nova also buys off this Flaw with experience points. As an
dependent on a specific trigger chosen by the Storyteller, and is     aberration, this most often develops from Tainted Mega-
unresponsive sexually without it. At low levels of Taint (4-5         Stamina or Temporal Manipulation. Nothing the nova tries in the
dots), this aberration can make the nova go into estrus during a      way of medical treatments – Inspired or otherwise – will make
specific large time period per Terran year (such as a season) or      him or her grow any older at all. Age Alteration is also
when the nova experiences a specific emotion or sensation. At         ineffective in correcting this aberration. In any case, the nova
medium Taint (6-7 dots), the trigger can be a short time period       will eventually have a mature mind trapped inside the body of a
per Terran year (like a month), a highly unpleasant emotion or        teenager or child, which can make for social problems and much
sensation, or an actual physical substance. With high Taint (8-10     frustration on the nova’s part. Also, people who don’t know any
dots), the trigger can be a very brief time period per Terran         better will treat the nova as the teenager, child or infant that he
year (anywhere from four to seven days), or an extremely              appears to be.
intense and highly unpleasant emotion or sensation. If the trigger          As a 2-point Flaw or a low-level aberration, this condition
is a physical substance, it’s either very hard to acquire,            leaves the nova as an adolescent (13 to 16 years of age). The
hazardous or offensive to human sensibilities. Aside from the         nova will not have any limits on his base Attribute ratings, but
problems (social and otherwise) caused by this aberration, both       will have obvious social limitations. These will include various
hormonal states experienced by the nova will be more extreme          legal difficulties, curfews, ignorant adults refusing to take the
than the human norm. While in estrus, the nova will be noticeably     nova seriously, and not being able to legally engage in certain
more eager to engage in sexual activity than is typical for           adult activities.
baseline humans. At low levels of Taint this is equivalent to the           As a 5-point Flaw or a medium-level aberration, the nova
Lusty Flaw (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 72). At medium Taint,          has the body of a pre-adolescent child (7 to 12 years of age).


                                                   ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                           55
                                                           ABERRANT

The social limitations the nova will face will become even more
onerous, as children are even more restricted in their activities     Storytelling
than teenagers are. The nova’s base Strength rating can’t be any            When running a breeder nova scenario, it always helps to
higher than 3, and his base Stamina score can’t be any higher         keep several core concepts of their situation in mind. No matter
than 4. If the nova’s prior Strength and/or Stamina ratings were      whether your players take the parts of valiant delivery boys,
above these limits, then the nova will gain 1 experience point per    grim motherhunters or the besieged breeder novas themselves,
dot lost upon developing this condition. The nova will also have      all of these concepts will be important factors in your series.
the Short Flaw (Aberrant Players Guide, p.70), the cost of which
has already been factored into this Flaw.
As a 7-point Flaw or a high-level aberration, the nova has the        Themes
body of an very young child (6 years and younger). The nova                Just about any theme has some potential for use in a
can walk, talk and has hair on his head, but none of that matters     breeder nova scenario, and examples of such can be found in any
very much as he will only be about a meter tall at best. The social   family drama or comedy on the bookshelves or in the video
restrictions faced by the nova will become extreme, which is          store. That said, here are the four themes that are most
understandable since baseline society isn’t really set up to          appropriate for a series using breeder novas.
handle the possibility of small chidren with adult minds. The         Parenthood
nova’s base Strength and Stamina are both lowered to 1 dot                  For most baseline humans, becoming a parent is one of the
each, and his Dexterity can’t go above 2 dots. If the nova’s prior    events that science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein termed a
ratings are above these limits, then the nova will gain 1             “cusp”, a decision point at which one’s life can (and usually
experience point per dot lost upon developing this condition.         does) change drastically according to what choices are made.
The nova is also small enough to qualify for the equivalent of an     For some breeder novas who manage to become parents, the
extreme version of the Short Flaw, as his running speed will be       only real difference in their situation is that just about
reduced to 25% of normal and he will encounter severe                 everything baseline parents have to deal with – the joys and
difficulties in using equipment designed for people with average      difficulties of raising a child, the various threats posed to the
builds.                                                               family, the importance of one’s offspring – is magnified many
Sterility [1 point Flaw, or low-                                      times over. Fortunately, the various quantum abilities that
                                                                      breeder novas possess will give them a good shot at overcoming
level physical aberration]                                            what would be insurmountable obstacles for baseline parents, if
     A nova with this aberration is still capable of normal sexual    they have a conscience and sufficient discipline. Instead of
function, but cannot conceive children in the typical human           indulging their desires and seeking thrills, conscientious nova
manner. This aberration most often results from having dots of        parents will accept responsibility for their newborn children and
Tainted Mega-Stamina. Even Inspired fertility treatments              modify their lives accordingly. In return, they will hopefully reap
cannot help a nova with this aberration conceive, as only the use     the rewards of successful parenthood; which include loving
of quantum powers that directly affect a nova’s Taint and/or          parent-child relationships and personal fulfillment. Other nova
aberrations will be effective.                                        parents will neglect their children to varying degrees, with
                                                                      consequences ranging anywhere from soured parent-child
                                                                      relationships to the premature death of the child. What throws
                                                                      all this into sharp relief is the potential for extreme power that’s

The Family                                                            the birthright of the 2ndGen novas. Like it or not, the parents of
                                                                      a 2ndGen nova child are in an unparalleled position to influence
                                                                      the development of that infant god. If they do well by their
Scrapbook                                                             offspring (or are far luckier than they deserve to be), they will
                                                                      leave behind a legacy – either for good or ill – that will prove
      Now that you’ve finally got the inside information on the       more lasting than the fame of any Team Tomorrow member or
breeder novas, their friends and their foes; it’s time to put that    novox star. If not, the child’s much-vaunted potential could
information to use in your Aberrant chronicle. In Storytelling,       easily go unrealized, leaving the parents as just another minor
we’ll touch on some basic themes, moods and conflicts for             footnote in the history of the Nova Age.
scenarios using breeder novas, and provide some plot hooks that
can be used in your Aberrant chronicle with a minimum of effort.      Childhood
The clandestine efforts intended to aid breeder novas against               Just what is it like to grow up as a 2ndGen nova child? Not
their many enemies are detailed in The Sixth Column, along with       only do these wunderkinder have to face the usual hurdles of
guidelines for Aberrant Storytellers (and players) to create their    growing up, but they must do so while both learning to master
own such operations. Finally, we’ll round things off with a small     their inborn quantum abilities and surviving in a social climate
rogues’ gallery of Family, Friends and Fiends.                        that is certain to grow ever more hostile to novas in the coming
                                                                      decades. True 2ndGen kids will also have to deal with varying
                                                                      levels of isolation from either baseline society or their 2ndGen
                                                                      peers, depending on what approach their parents took in living
                                                                      undercover. Terat 2ndGens have no real refuge from danger, for



56                                                               RULES
                                                              ABERRANT

not only are they faced with a hostile world, they must also learn       constant vigilance or isolation, as any lapse in maintaining them
to live and somehow thrive in the treacherous garden that is the         can place the breeder novas at serious risk of capture and/or
Teragen. With Bounty as their only confirmed Terat protector,            death. The savage breeder novas are the exception to all this, as
it remains to be seen if any of these children will escape the           could only be expected. These 21st Century barbarians take the
egomania-driven plots of their elders in the Pantheon. Trog              idea of freedom much too far to suit the majority of baselines
2ndGens progeny must survive in the harshest social climate of           and other novas. The only thing keeping these novas from total
all; as nearly all of baseline humanity and many novas will oppose       anarchy is a primitive tribal structure most often seen in baboon
them, and the support of their insane parents cannot be relied           troops. The only law is the whim of the troop leader, which will
upon. These little monsters may have the cards stacked against           often be inconsistent at best. In the end, savage breeder novas
them now, but the survivors will be sure to repay baseline               are truly free – free to abuse others and be abused, to harm
humanity’s hostility with interest. And all of that still does not       others and be harmed, to kill and be killed – and all without any
take into account the pressures and influences that being the            possibility of real justice for these crimes.
child of nova parents will bring into their lives. It’s not like these
kids’ parents couldn’t have very colorful histories, after all...
Discernment
                                                                         Moods
                                                                              The emotional tone of a breeder nova scenario can and will
      When running an Aberrant chronicle dealing with breeder            vary just as much as the themes. Nevertheless, these four moods
novas and their children, the theme of discernment should                are highly appropriate and should crop up on a regular basis.
always be present. Comprised of both sound judgment and keen
insight, this quality is of extreme importance to breeder novas          Danger
wishing to live and raise their children free from the                         Thanks to a world that simply refuses to leave them be,
interference of outside interests. It is also useful for novas in        breeder novas of all stripes will always be faced with the threat
service to certain of the factions, who otherwise might not              of danger and violence with little or no warning. Much like the
question the commands of their superiors until it was far too            players in a Teragen series, players in a breeder nova series
late. Discernment is what allows a human to realize what things          should be kept on their toes at all times. Even breeder novas
are truly important, and discard what is merely trivial. In the          living in the space colonies are not exempt from this, as their
case of a nova, it lets him see the ultimately empty nature of the       extreme isolation from Terran society only means that when an
perks of celebrity offered to them by baseline society, and              attack comes, it will be all the more shocking. On the other side
spurn them for the less glamorous yet far more lasting rewards           of the coin, consider that there are few beings as dangerous as a
of having a family. Discernment is what allows a nova to                 parent fighting to defend spouse and offspring. Those who
recognize her own worth, and refrain from signing away her               attack breeder novas can expect no mercy.
self-determination (and possibly her soul) to a faceless                 Trust and Distrust
organization. Without discernment, a nova cannot judge whether
                                                                               Those breeder novas who manage to survive and remain
or not baseline humanity and its world truly merits any or all of
                                                                         free quickly learn that there are few if any people who they can
the sacrifices that novas are urged to make in their name by
                                                                         trust. Any seemingly friendly nova could be a motherhunter just
Aeon and others. And without discernment, a nova cannot
                                                                         waiting for the right moment to strike. That nice middle-aged
accurately determine the value of humanity, both in terms of an
                                                                         neighbor couple two doors down the street could be spies
inherent quality within herself or in terms of the entire
                                                                         working for the Directive or another baseline intelligence
population of homo sapiens. Finally, novas lacking in discernment
                                                                         agency. A breeder nova’s own baseline relative could be a closet
are more likely to develop excessive levels of Taint thanks to
                                                                         member of the Church of Michael Archangel. Worse, even if
mistakes resulting from their poor judgment, which can have
                                                                         these people are what they appear to be they still probably can’t
horrifying effects on their offspring...
                                                                         be trusted. Relatives can be watched. Everyone wants their 15
Freedom                                                                  minutes of fame. Nice people can talk to other nice people and
     At the core of the breeder novas’ effort to live undercover         start rumors. And any mistakes made or rumors started will end
is the desire for freedom. It’s important to note that most              up in the ears of the motherhunters. Faced with such a wide
breeder novas don’t equate freedom with “running roughshod               array of potential threats, it’s no surprise that most breeder
over the baselines” in the manner of the Teragen. Instead, they          novas reserve most of their trust for their spouses and children.
choose to avoid being detected as novas in the first place, either       This in turn makes family bonds especially strong in breeder
through posing as baselines or living in remote areas. This way,         nova families, sometimes comparable to that displayed by the
breeder novas can divorce themselves and their children from             Norse clans in the Nibelungenlied and Volsungsaga. Again,
the expectations placed on novas by society at large without all         savage breeder novas are the exception, as they all too often
the furor aroused by the Teragen’s open rebellion. This in turn          have little or no trust in each other. In more than a few cases,
makes it easier for them to reject the often-inaccurate beliefs          the only thing keeping a savage breeder nova tribe together is
and opinions of baselines (and the more ideological novas) as to         their total distrust of outsiders.
what novas are and what they should be. By maintaining their             Hope
cover, breeder novas can remain free from media exposure and
                                                                              While this is the major theme of Adventure!, this emotion
the consequent manipulation and exploitation by outside
                                                                         takes a different tone in a breeder nova scenario. Instead of a
interests. Of course, the price for all this freedom is either
                                                                         pulp-era sense that anything is possible, the efforts of breeder


                                                     ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                          57
                                                           ABERRANT

novas exemplify a hope that with sufficient effort and good
acumen, worthwhile rewards can be attained regardless of what         Conflicts
other people think they should be allowed. For many baselines,              As the driving engine of every story, the importance of
the event of settling down and starting a family is considered a      conflict cannot be downplayed. The following are the basic
good example of hope in the course of human life. For the             conflicts which are most suited to an Aberrant series using
majority of breeder novas this event is possibly the premier          breeder novas.
example, considering the numerous obstacles arrayed against                   Motherhunters vs. Breeder Novas and/or Delivery Boys:
their achieving some form of domestic bliss. Between the              Many people consider the family unit to be the basis for human
recruiters, the motherhunters and even the media, breeder nova        society. So what happens when powerful elements within human
families are plagued with legions of corrupt jerks who are willing    society seem hellbent on either killing or enslaving families
to harm them in order to turn a profit or follow their beliefs. Yet   whose only crime (in most cases) is to possess godlike power?
despite such dire circumstances, many breeder novas have not          By having remained fertile and produced children, breeder
only managed to start families, but they have a good shot at          novas are in a position to draw much hostile attention from
seeing their children grow up and start families of their own. In     those powerful groups and individuals who see them as a threat
contrast, the motherhunters (and to a lesser degree the               to their designs. Even with the aid of delivery boy allies, there is
“celebrity” novas) exemplify a loss of hope. Whether it is            never any guarantee that a family of breeder novas will go
manifested as personal cynicism, a conviction that all novas are      unnoticed by the motherhunters, much less escape them.
inherently doomed to become taint-ridden monsters or a belief                 Novas vs. Baseline Humanity: While this conflict is
that nothing they do matters; they are denying the hope that          present to a degree in all Aberrant stories, it takes on special
novas can have a fairly bright future ahead of them both as a         significance where breeder novas are concerned. In the opinion
people and as individuals, if they so choose. This is one of the      of too many baselines, novas are little more than servants whose
reasons why motherhunters are willing to kill innocent nova men,      only purpose is to entertain, fight for and clean up after the
women and children. This is why so many nova celebrities while        common run of humanity. Those novas who refuse to serve as
away the years in hedonism and debauchery to fill the emptiness       collective caretakers of baseline humanity – such as breeder
in their personal lives. It should also be noted that where highly-   novas – are considered selfish and evil. Other baselines take
tainted breeder novas and their Trog 2ndGen offspring are             note of the power and potential of novas, and see them as the
concerned, the tones are reversed. The growing numbers of             possible evolutionary successors to homo sapiens sapiens. The
Trog 2ndGens in the world is an excellent damper for feelings of      incredible potential of the 2ndGen novas only serves to heighten
hope in general, as they really do pose a huge threat to humanity     the threat these baselines see novas posing to unerupted
as a whole. Likewise, the motherhunters tasked with stopping          humanity, leading them to consider breeder novas a direct cause
those monsters are excellent reasons for hope as far as baseline      of a possible baseline extinction. Baselines who reject those two
humanity is concerned.                                                viewpoints and all their preconceptions, leaving them free to see
                                                                      breeder novas as the people they are instead of commodities or
Love                                                                  threats to humanity’s survival, tend to be on the scarce side.
      Despite over five decades’ worth of saccharine-sweet            What will it take for the rest of baseline humanity to learn the
greeting cards and sappy songs, the idea of love cannot be            errors in their ideas about novakind? Are they even willing to
discounted in a breeder nova scenario. The need for love is one       learn, or will they just cling to their mistaken beliefs all the more
of the basic motivations for humans to take spouses and raise         tightly?
children, and breeder novas (in most cases) are no exception.                 Generational Conflict: The event of parents being
What else could make all the toil of raising a nova child             eclipsed by their grown children is a common thread throughout
worthwhile? Why else would breeder novas endure the stresses          the human condition. As the parents grow old and their
and dangers of living underground in order to raise their             importance wanes over the passing years, their children take
children without interference? What other reason would                advantage of new things and opportunities their forbears never
breeder novas have for being willing to abandon baseline              had. Worse, the children will have new experiences and do new
“civilization” – and possibly Earth itself – in order for their       things that were either unknown or merely dreamt of during
children to have a brighter future? This becomes even more            their parents’ glory days. While some parents learn to take pride
obvious when the fickle affections of one’s fans and/or               in their grown childrens’ accomplishments, others become bitter
worshippers are measured against the honest love of one’s             and jealous of the new generation. This situation becomes
spouse and children – there simply is no comparison. The lack of      especially problematic where novas are concerned. With
love in a nova’s life is also important, as the resulting emotional   considerable numbers of the first generation novas being both
anguish can easily drive a nova into mental illness and a             sterile and given to severe egotism, they’ve grown very
consequent increase in taint. The most telling example of this is     comfortable in their place as (some of) the most important
found in the savage breeder novas, among whom love is rarely          people of the Nova Age. Now toss the breeder novas into the
found and is never healthy – such states include obsessive love,      mix, whose lifestyle choices not only invalidate the worth of the
codependencies and delusions of being loved. To compensate            egotists’ privileged lives, but have given rise to the 2ndGen
for their relative lack of love these monsters tend to develop        novas. When the first generation egotists realize that the 2ndGen
narcissistic disorders, taking self-love and egomania to new          novas will make most of their predecessors look like second-
extremes, with horrific results.




58                                                               RULES
                                                          ABERRANT

stringers (at best) when they come of age, their reactions will      parents are remorseless criminals, does that also make the
not be pretty.                                                       children criminals as well? What faction are the motherhunters
        Personal Needs vs. Selfless Altruism: While altruism is a    working for, and why are they after the family of breeder
virtue, it can easily be taken too far, and that’s just what too     novas? Do they intend to capture the family for interrogation or
many baselines are demanding from novas. Almost from their           lab research, or summarily execute them? And if the player
eruptions, most novas are constantly bombarded with the notion       characters do manage to rescue the family, what will they do
that their powers are meant to serve humanity, regardless of the     then? Will they part ways from necessity, or can the player
personal sacrifices novas must make to perform that service.         characters set the family up in a new life to replace the one they
This is no small matter, as this requires giving up all semblance    lost?
of a normal life and its associated benefits. In return for that,            Hatcher Hunt: The player characters are approached by
novas receive the transitory and hollow rewards of nova life,        a group of motherhunters from one of the more public factions
which do little or nothing to assuage their personal needs and       (Project Utopia, the Directive or a national government) for
increases their risks of developing Taint. Making the situation      their aid in hunting down a highly-tainted Hatcher nova. The
even worse is that giving in to the baselines’ demands only          player characters have been identified as the only novas having
results in them making more and greater demands of novas. By         the right mix of quantum abilities to track down and deal with
living undercover, breeder novas have a much better shot at          the Hatcher nova before it has a chance to produce offspring.
meeting their personal needs, but at what cost to the world? Can     The motherhunters can provide a limited amount of equipment
a balance be struck between novas’ personal needs and their          and plenty of good information on the target, but ultimately
altruism, or will the increasing demands of the baselines only       they’ll be working as the player characters’ backup. And the
serve to further alienate novas from them?                           catch to all this is that this is a covert operation, where they
                                                                     must do their job without attracting the notice of the media. If
                                                                     the player characters prevail, they will have averted a deadly
Story Seeds                                                          threat to all human life and will be richly rewarded, assuming
         An Offer You Can’t Refuse: If any of the player             that they survive the mission. If they fail, humankind is looking at
characters are fertile, this becomes known to someone or some        their own possible extinction as the Hatcher nova’s offspring
group that is not only willing to attempt blackmail, but is          begin reproducing as well. If they fail to be discreet in either
powerful enough to have a shot at getting away with it. The          case, the resulting public relations disaster could wreck
threat this poses to fertile player characters is exposure –         baseline-nova relations for decades to come.
either to the global media at large or one of the factions – as              A Woman Wronged?: A female baseline relative of one
breeder novas, which can have serious, possibly lethal               of the player characters has an encounter with a Casanova, and
consequences. Exactly what the blackmailer wants is up to the        winds up pregnant by him. What’s more, she says that it
Storyteller, as some will just want to coerce “favors” or large      happened against her will. Claiming to have no other recourse,
amounts of money from the fertile player characters. Other           the woman turns to the nova in her family for help in resolving
blackmailers will have more unconventional goals. The C-Z            this matter. How are the player characters going to handle this?
Megasyndicate might want to recruit fertile male player              Did the Casanova actively choose to seduce and impregnate the
characters as donors for their sperm bank operation. A               woman in question, or was she attempting to induce her own
scientific research firm could want the player characters to         eruption by having unprotected sex with a nova? If the Casanova
serve as lab subjects in their quest to solve the puzzle of nova     has Mega-Social Attributes, did he use them to impair the
infertility. The blackmailers could even be other fertile novas      woman’s judgment and make it appear as if she was willingly
that are sufficiently obsessed with having children to see the       seduced by him? Was the encounter the result of an unplanned
fertile player characters as convenient breeding partners whose      social meeting, or was it planned as part of a medical experiment
compliance must be obtained by any means necessary. In any           for which the woman was paid to participate in? If the woman’s
case, the player characters must find a way to deal with their       claims are valid and the Casanova is indeed guilty of what
would-be blackmailers without risking exposure as breeder            amounts to date rape, what will the player characters do in
novas.                                                               order to seek justice on her behalf? Will bringing the Casanova
         Unscheduled Delivery: In the course of their other          to trial result in his receiving a well-deserved prison term, or
activities, the player characters run across a family of breeder     will he just receive a slap on the wrist and walk away a free
novas who ask for their help in escaping from a group of             man? Seeking vigilante justice might bring more decisive results
motherhunters. (Devious Storytellers may arrange matters so          albeit at greater risk, especially if the Casanova is a combat-
that the player characters are directly responsible for blowing      hardened elite with a few colleagues on call.
the family’s cover, adding in an element of guilt to the story.)             Outlaw’s Brood: The player characters are elites hired by
Provided that the player characters aren’t completely callous,       a law enforcement agency to track down a criminal nova living in
they can be drafted into service as impromptu delivery boys for      hiding, who also happens to be the head of a family of breeder
the duration. In the midst of their possibly quite lethal conflict   novas. Things start getting complicated when the player
with the motherhunters, the player characters must find answers      characters realize that they may have been tricked into working
to a whole host of questions. Are the parents of the family the      as motherhunters, and it doesn’t get any better from then on.
innocent victims faced with unjust persecution that they claim to    After watching the family for a while, it soon becomes obvious
be, or are they hiding a history of criminal activity? If their      that the family head has apparently reformed and forsaken his



                                                  ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                            59
                                                            ABERRANT

or her criminal past. Has the family head really gone straight, or     of the potential mates that a breeder nova will encounter will be
is he or she just lying low until the heat dies down? If the family    baseline humans or sterile novas instead of other breeder novas.
head’s reformation is authentic, does he or she deserve to be          Add in all the obstacles that have been placed in their way
arrested and sent before a jury? What about the rest of the            (knowingly or not) by Project Proteus and other groups, and it
family? Are they also criminals who deserve to be hunted down          becomes apparent that the number of breeder nova families in
and arrested, or are they innocent victims in this affair? Who’s       2015 should be somewhere in the very low end of the double-
footing the bill for hiring the player characters? Do the player       digit range. That’s the conventional wisdom among most who are
characters’ clients honestly want to see the criminal nova             both “in the know” about breeder novas and in a position to do
brought to justice, or do they have other motives for having this      something about the situation. It’s a comforting opinion, as it
family captured?                                                       greatly reduces the apparent threat posed to the baseline
        The DeVries Dynasty: Ever since DeVries diversified            Establishment by breeder novas and their 2ndGen children.
from its beginnings as a purely mercenary company, a power             Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on one’s viewpoint),
struggle has been brewing between Anna DeVries and Frank               this is yet another instance where the conventional wisdom is
Carrington. (See Aberrant: Elites pp. 21-24 for details.) Anna’s       gravely mistaken. Against all odds, a sizeable number of breeder
giving birth to their child (a male True 2ndGen nova named             novas actually have managed to form marital bonds and produce
Peter) in 2012 only served to intensify the potential for conflict;    2ndGen offspring. What’s even more astounding is that the
as Frank plans to steal away enough DeVries employees to start         majority of these families have also managed to conceal their
his own mercenary company and take sole custody of their son.          existence from those who would seek to harm or exploit them.
Anna’s response to this premeditated personal and professional         What’s going on here?
betrayal will not be restrained, to say the least. And caught up in          There’s a saying among the military and intelligence
the middle of this mess is young Peter, the other DeVries nova         communities: Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three
children and their parents. The player characters are all DeVries      times is enemy action. And in this case, the “enemy” is none
employees – possibly with spouses and children of their own –          other than Sophia Rousseau. As the “power behind the throne”
that find themselves front and center when this situation breaks       of the Aberrants, Mme. Rousseau has been aware of the various
out into open conflict. Not only will the player characters have       threats posed to breeder novas for quite some time now, and
to deal with the expected boardroom maneuverings, but they             has been working in two ways to derail said threats. The first
also risk being caught up in actual combat as the resident elites      way is instigating the “delivery boy” activities of the Aberrants,
choose a side and matters escalate. Will loyalty to their              which has been detailed earlier in this book. The other ways all
employers cause them to take part in the conflict, or will the         involve her unmatched command over the forces of entropy,
player characters seek to protect Peter and the other innocents        chaos and probability. Employing a form of probability alteration
from this madness? And what will the consequences of their             of which only the truly powerful novas are capable, Rousseau
choices be, both for themselves and for DeVries?                       has effectively rewritten the “destinies” of breeder novas on a
                                                                       grand scale. There is no game mechanic for this effect, but
                                                                       Storytellers who use this subplot in their Aberrant chronicles
The Sixth Column                                                       should feel free to not only have breeder novas (especially
                                                                       fertile player characters) “coincidentally” encounter other
     At its most basic level, the setting of Aberrant is a world of    breeder novas on a regular basis, but for them to eventually find
mystery & conspiracy; where very little is as it appears and           their “dream mates” in this manner. (This applies to homosexual
threats to all but the most powerful novas lurk behind                 breeder novas as well, the only difference being that producing
benevolent façades. This is especially true for the breeder novas      offspring will be a bit more difficult for a same-sex breeder
and their 2ndGen children, as many powerful people - even              nova couple.) Those breeder novas who do find mates will show
certain directors of the Aeon Society itself - seem hellbent on        a strong tendency to adopt a low profile, becoming highly
doing away with them. Even so, the breeder novas do have a few         reclusive if not going underground. As Rousseau can sense
conspiracies that seek to aid them in whatever ways necessary          breeder novas as a result of her tampering with their destinies,
for their survival. With the stakes piled so high against them,        she will use her powers to “cloak” families she approves of from
few breeder novas would balk at accepting this aid, even if it         hostile attention (typically by decreasing the odds of accidental
might come from questionable sources. We have detailed two of          exposure to near-zero) and redirect hostile attention to those
the more notable of these “helpful conspiracies” for ready use in      she doesn’t. Generally, breeder nova families that Rousseau
an Aberrant chronicle, and have provided guidelines for                doesn’t approve of are those in which the parents are malignant
Storytellers (and ambitious players) who wish to create their          in some way; such as being highly-tainted, vicious criminals or
own helpful conspiracies.                                              simply very poor parenting material. She will attempt to save the
                                                                       progeny of such unfit parents if she deems such children
Sophia’s Scheme                                                        salvageable, but will otherwise write them off along with their
                                                                       parents. Rousseau also keeps a close watch over those families
      By all reasonable estimations, the number of breeder novas       she’s “cloaked”, and will dispatch Aberrant delivery boys to aid
who manage to form marital bonds and produce 2ndGen nova               them as needed.
offspring should be miniscule to the point of nonexistence.                  It is important to note that Mme. Rousseau’s quantum-
Novas are hardly commonplace in 2015 to begin with, and the            powered “mass matchmaking” effort has had mixed
fertile ones are even less so. Then there’s the fact that almost all


60                                                                RULES
                                                           ABERRANT

consequences. On the positive side, Rousseau has given novas a        is generally heroic, while doing the same for malignant breeder
much better chance of long-term survival as a people and as a         novas threatens humanity as a whole. The only real question in
human subspecies. The problem with this is that her “destiny          these cases is what sacrifices the player characters are willing to
rewrite” didn’t affect only those breeder novas who weren’t           make on the behalf of other peoples’ survival.
what she considers malignant- it affected all of the breeder
novas. Making breeder novas much more likely to encounter
each other sounds fine at first, as it greatly increases their        The Maer Enclave
chances for finding a suitable mate. Unfortunately, there’s no              After Bounty’s accusations about Project Utopia being
guarantee that a breeder nova won’t be one of the malignant           responsible for nova sterility became common knowledge in
ones, in which case cool aloofness is the best that can be hoped      Terat circles, various Terats put together a think tank to look at
for. Along with ensuring the survival of non-malignant breeder        the issue, and this first effort failed dramatically. The nova drugs
nova families, Rousseau has also made it possible for families of     they found weren’t laced with the sterility cocktail, and other
malignant breeder novas to take root and pose a serious threat        problems came up which caused the group to be disbanded.
to humanity in general. Rousseau has attempted to mollify this        However, various Terat masterminds kept looking into the
by redirecting the attention of the motherhunters to those            subject and corresponding via OpMail. Eventually the
nascent broods of monsters, which has resulted in yet another         Apothecary and Count Orzaiz realized that the original think
batch of mixed consequences. On one hand, no matter who               tank had been manipulated by outside interests. Some talks with
prevails in the deadly conflict between motherhunters and             the Mathematician convinced them that any research into this
malignant breeder novas, a threat to the survival of the non-         matter would be a magnet for saboteurs and Project Utopia’s
malignant breeder novas will have been eliminated. On the other,      tech police. The trio soon decided to fund the effort properly
this understandable bit of misdirection can easily cause baseline     and isolate the group. If Utopia was putting this much effort into
“experts” on novas (and the powerful people they advise) to           disrupting an investigation, then maybe there was something to
develop the mistaken notion that all novas are doomed to              be found.
become taint-ridden monstrosities and/or extremely dangerous                The Maer Enclave is located on one of the minor
psychotics. Without knowledge of the non-malignant breeder            undeveloped islands of Indonesia. Thanks to Orzaiz’s secret
novas to act as a counterweight, the majority of baseline humans      negotiations with Prime Minister Sutowow in 2008, the
are all the more likely to consider all novas to be incipient         Casablancas now effectively own the island, where they’ve
monsters.                                                             created an underground (both literally and figuratively)
Using “Sophia’s Scheme” in                                            scientific research facility. Certain unusual mineral formations
                                                                      help shield the Maer Enclave from detection via both
your chronicle                                                        technological (spyplanes, surveillance satellites) and paranormal
      Inserting this subplot into an Aberrant chronicle isn’t         (nova powers) methods. According to the Indonesian
difficult, as there are only one question that must be answered:      government, the island is a nature preserve where unapproved
Are some or all of the player characters fertile? If any of the       (by Jakarta, anyway) human visitation, habitation and land
player characters are breeder novas, Rousseau’s predestination        development are all highly illegal. This ban has been strictly
can affect their lives in radical ways. What happens when a           enforced, typically using Indonesian military forces whose
novox star meets her “perfect significant other”, and vanishes        standard operating procedure is “shoot first & don’t ask
from public life in order to settle down and start a family in        questions”.
secret? Not only will the motherhunters be after the former                 The newly-established Maer Enclave was created with
novox star and her loved ones, but her fans and agent are             three long-term goals in mind. First, the resident scientists were
definitely going to be on the lookout for her as well. What if it’s   to determine the exact mechanism of the Utopian nova
a highly-placed agent of Utopia (or Proteus) that gets bitten by      sterilization agent. This hurdle has been breached, despite
Rousseau’s love bug? Can he defect and escape from his former         having been an exceedingly tough nut to crack as far as
allies without getting himself or his loved ones killed in the        scientific puzzles go, as the researchers have been atypically
process? What happens if a player character encounters a              (especially for Terat scientists) objective about their research
malignant breeder nova who is under the delusion that the player      and cooperative with each other. There was no disagreement at
character is his “intended”? How far will the malignant breeder       all between the researchers on this matter; they are all
nova be willing to go in order to claim the player character for      convinced that countering Utopia’s “pogrom in a pill” is vitally
himself? What happens if the player character is a                    important to the survival of the One Race. The second goal was
motherhunter, and finds himself lovestruck for the breeder nova       to find ways for fertile novas to defend themselves against the
that he’s been ordered to either capture or kill? In all of these     Utopian nova sterilization agent. This is where the
cases, the question can be boiled down to this: What is the           disagreements have blossomed. Some want to create a
player character willing to sacrifice in hopes of gaining a loving    preventative vaccine, others want to concoct a counteractive
spouse and children? If the player characters are not fertile,        drug, and still others have proposed more radical methods to
Rousseau’s predestination can only affect them indirectly.            shield novas against the Utopian nova sterilization agent. Finally,
Typically, the player characters will be given the choice of          the third goal was to find a way to fully restore the fertility of
either aiding or hindering the survival of breeder novas. As          novas who have already been sterilized. The debates over this
usual, context is everything: aiding non-malignant breeder novas      goal haven’t been quite as contentious as those focused on their



                                                   ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                            61
                                                          ABERRANT

second goal, but the various methods proposed to accomplish          herself and in the One Race as a whole. As the Maer Enclave’s
the third goal are somewhat more radical, not to mention             resident Mega-Attractive sex kitten, Permafrost has found that
ethically dubious (especially from the viewpoint of baseline         the male attention she previously reveled in has instead become
medical ethics). Currently, both the second and third goals are      a highly-aggravating nuisance.
still in the theoretical stages, with intense conflicts brewing              Maurice “Brainstorm” Whitworth, a Canadian
among the resident scientists over how to accomplish them.           pharmaceutical researcher who erupted after accidentally
       Security at the Maer Enclave is extremely tight. As a         overdosing on one of his own concoctions. Quickly recruited by
“deep-cover” operation, even the existence - much less the           Narcosis, Brainstorm happily invented several highly profitable
location and purpose - of the Maer enclave is unknown to the         designer drugs for the Pandaimonion while becoming a regular
nearly all other Terats, including Pantheon members such as          on the Pandaimonion party circuit. When approached to join the
Bounty and Scripture and even Mal himself. Other than Count          Maer Enclave, Brainstorm couldn’t resist the challenge that the
Orzaiz and the Mathematician; the only Terats who know what is       mystery of nova sterility posed to his intellect. Despite the
going on at the Maer Enclave and where it is are actually at the     revelation that the Utopian sterility agent wasn’t a drug at all,
site. Even Synapse only knows that the island is of some interest    Brainstorm is confident that he can concoct a wonder drug that
to Orzaiz for unknown reasons, and while the Apothecary knows        will cure nova sterility - and (hopefully) let him score big with
of the project he agreed at the beginning that he wouldn’t be        Permafrost.
informed of its location. Every computer used at the Maer                    Ethan “Platypus” Butler, a Harvester biologist from New
Enclave is physically separated from the OpNet so it’s               Zealand and an understudy of the Apothecary. While the
impossible for them to be hacked externally. All of the Terats       Platypus does greatly resemble his namesake due to his powers
involved in the project were selected not only for their             and aberrations (down to having venomous spurs on his wrists
superhuman intelligence (or other abilities), but also for having    and ankles) his superhuman physical prowess ensures that he’s
mental shields against telepathy. Terats without mind shields are    nowhere near as ungainly as his deceptively comical appearance
simply not allowed anywhere near the Maer Enclave no matter          suggests. The Platypus is quite firmly convinced that the
what their other abilities. The Mathematician was key in             Chrysalis holds the key to overcoming the Utopian nova sterility
recruiting the Maer Enclave’s personnel. If a prospective recruit    agent. Unfortunately, the Platypus is also developing platypus
was going to refuse to join the project or refuse the required       instincts - such as increased aggressiveness toward his rivals for
isolation, he or she was simply not asked.                           Permafrost’s favors - which further clouds his judgment.
       The resident scientists of the Maer Enclave are as follows:         Aside from the scientists, also present at the Maer Enclave
         Trang “Doctor Anh Sáng Sao” Xuan Tu’, a Vietnamese          are three other Terats: one overworked administrator, one
former employee of CORE International before his eruption and        warper and one fairly dimwitted nova who has the Clone power
subsequent recruitment by the Mathematician for the                  and does maintenance work. These last three also double as
Casablancas. “Dr. Starlight” is better known among Terats for        security personnel for the Maer Enclave. There is also an AI
his glowing blue skin, superhuman visual capabilities, powers        which is tied into the monitoring systems and oversees the Maer
over light and a complete lack of a sense of humor rather than       Enclave’s isolated mini-OpNet. The warper handles the delivery
his nova-caliber skills as a genetic engineer. Anh Sáng Sao sees     of supplies and communications with the outside world, the
himself as the obvious leader of the Maer Enclave, but is            cloner deals with ensuring that all the facilities function as they
constantly distressed by his fellow scientists’ stubborn rejection   should, and the administrator vainly tries to keep his much
of his “natural authority” - especially in the case of Permafrost,   smarter charges in line. That wasn’t much of a problem at first,
whose respect (and love) he foolishly hopes to win, somehow.         when everything went pretty smoothly and significant progress
         Francesco “Thermite” Anselmi, a Utopian paraphysician       was made. However shortly after this initial burst of
from Italy prior to discovering that Utopia had sterilized him. He   productivity, the resident masterminds got caught up in their
then joined the Primacy, where he researched the mysteries of        own egotism and infighting. All five of the masterminds are
nova biology in hopes of finding new advantages on the               roughly equal in their mental wattage, as well as their
battlefield for the One Race. Thermite has become obsessed           egocentrism and strong wills. Most of them suffer from mental
with the goal of fathering his own nova children, but has avoided    disorders and all five are very close to embodying the mad
seeking out Bounty’s aid due to wanting to raise his children in     scientist stereotype. The Maer Enclave would likely have been
the traditional Italian manner. Thermite’s powers over chemical      better off with fewer novas of such brilliance and more novas of
reactions and heat serve him equally well both in the lab and in     less brilliance (i.e. more followers and fewer leaders), however
combat, not to mention checking out attractive nova women -          this flaw wasn’t foreseen by the Mathematician because of his
like Permafrost - with infrared vision.                              heavy involvement in setting up the project.
         Tamara “Permafrost” Kavanne, a Finnish gynecologist         Using “The Maer Enclave” in
who erupted after being locked inside a walk-in medical freezer
by the wife of one of the male doctors that she’d been having        your chronicle
affairs with. After taking revenge with her newly-acquired                 Due the slightly more limited nature of this subplot, it’s best
cryokinetic powers, she was rescued from the local police by         used in Aberrant chronicles where the player characters are
one of Orzaiz’ operatives. As the Casablancas’ premier               either Terats themselves or are foes of the Teragen. The most
gynecologist and expert on human fertility, Permafrost is            likely way for Terat player characters to become involved with
determined to replicate Bounty’s superhuman fertility both in        the Maer Enclave is to be assigned to aid them in some manner.



62                                                              RULES
                                                           ABERRANT

The resident scientists could easily need some lab assistants, or     First, not all Aberrant Storytellers keep the storylines of their
perhaps the player characters have powers or capabilities that        games in strict conformity with game canon, nor should they.
could aid them in their researches. If the facility is under threat   There’s no guarantee that Sophia Rousseau will appear as one of
of attack by hostile novas of military forces, combat-hardened        the “good guys” in any given Aberrant chronicle - or that Mme.
Nova Vigilance and/or Primacy members could take over                 Rousseau will even exist, for that matter. Some Aberrant
security operations for the Maer Enclave. Of course, that “aid”       Storytellers and players will always prefer to use their own
could also take the form of Count Orzaiz ordering an                  “homebrew” subplots instead of those provided for them.
investigation into the scientists’ sudden lack of progress            Second is that fact that even without Director Thetis and
towards achieving the projects’ second and third goals, with the      Project Proteus to act as their main collective nemeses, breeder
player characters as the investigators. In any case, the player       novas and their 2ndGen nova children in any alternate version of
characters will have to deal with the powderkeg of professional       the Nova Age will eventually find themselves targeted by
rivalry, laboratory intrigue and sexual tension that the erstwhile    motherhunters of some sort. The faces may change, but the
think tank has become. None of the five scientists are willing to     basic situation remains the same: the breeder novas must hide
concede that their pet theory holds anything less than the cure       from (and fight off, when discovered) a planetful of powerful
for nova sterility, making the situation potentially explosive. The   organizations and individuals who seek to exploit and/or harm
sparks that threaten to set off that explosion are provided by        them. These quantum powered families are just that important;
the sexual rivalry of the quartet of male scientists over their       as few governments, multinational corporations or powerful
female colleague, who has no romantic interest in any of the          people in any world would hesitate to either take whatever
other current Maer Enclave residents whatsoever. As                   advantage of them they could - or attempt to dispose of them, if
Permafrost’s normal romantic habits have been frustrated ever         they appear to pose a threat. And that’s why we’ve provided
since she joined the Maer Enclave, the chance that she might          some handy guidelines for interested Storytellers who want to
fancy one of the male player characters is significant, and her       design their own helpful conspiracies, in response to whatever
male colleagues won’t like that one bit. The actions of the player    motherhunters are present. There are two main types of
characters could either bring success to the Maer Enclave and         subplots that can be inserted into a breeder nova chronicle,
the promise of restored fertility to the One Race... or cause this    which are described below.
grandoise project to fail utterly. Non-Terat player characters        Acts of God
involved with this subplot will most likely be either mercenary
                                                                           This subplot is centered around the actions of a very
elites, law enforcement agents or operatives of Project Utopia
                                                                      powerful nova who has decided to use his or her powers to aid
(or Project Proteus). Elite investigators could be hired to look
                                                                      breeder novas and their children, either in an overt or covert
into the apparent disappearance of one or more of the five
                                                                      manner. In game terms, this means that the culprit must be a
“missing” Terat scientists, while espionage-oriented elites could
                                                                      nova with a Quantum rating of 6+ and at least a few dots of a
be hired to investigate the weird satellite imagery from a certain
                                                                      Level 4+ quantum power that could plausibly be useful in this
supposedly uninhabited Indonesian island. One or more of the
                                                                      situation. As a result, this subplot will typically be used by the
resident scientists’ research efforts could easily take an
                                                                      Storyteller, unless the players are using 100+ nova point
unethical direction, with experiments involving kidnapped
                                                                      characters in the chronicle. “Sophia’s Scheme” is a good
baselines or novas being only the most obvious way to bring
                                                                      example of this type of subplot; as is the theorized mass
player character investigators to the Maer Enclave’s door. If
                                                                      restoration of nova fertility in the 2030s by means of the
Director Thetis ever gets any hint as to the Maer Enclave’s
                                                                      Ecological Supremacy power on the part of either Antaeus,
existence and location, she will send Proteus nova operatives
                                                                      Belladonna or Regina Mundi.
there on orders to find out what’s been going on at first
opportunity. If she ever learns the purpose of the Maer Enclave,      Old-Fashioned Skullduggery
Thetis is sure to order it destroyed with extreme prejudice,                The other subplot involves the actions of novas who lack
while keeping copies of the research data for Proteus’ archives.      the godlike capabilities of Divis Mal and Sophia Rousseau, but
Finally, the most radical option for using this subplot with non-     make up for that lack by acting as a coordinated group. Instead
Terat player characters is where the Teragen either goes public       of making sweeping changes with an überpower, these nova
with the results of the Maer Enclave’s research - creating            groups must form functional conspiracies in order to aid the
another huge public relation disaster for both Project Utopia and     breeder novas. Not only is this subplot more readily available to
Aeon - or attempts to use that evidence to blackmail Utopia and       players in an Aberrant chronicle, but indulging in this sort of
Aeon for some reason. Either way, both Utopian and Proteus            intrigue can also be more fun for them as well. Changing the
player characters will have their hands full in trying to             world with an überpower can be fun for the nova who has it, but
ameliorate the resulting damage to Utopia, or in their attempts       good conspiracies are collective efforts, where the fun can be
to bury the evidence before the Teragen can use it against them.      spread around. “The Maer Enclave” provides a good look at
                                                                      such a conspiracy, as do the covert space colonization efforts of
                                                                      the Daedelus League.
Alternate Sixth Columns                                                     In either case, there are several questions about the culprit
     As you may have noticed, both “Sophia’s Scheme” and              and the deed that must be answered for these subplots to work
“The Maer Enclave” are listed as completely optional additions        well.
for your Aberrant chronicle. The reasons for this are twofold.



                                                   ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                           63
                                                           ABERRANT

        Who is the culprit?                                           makes it far less likely that those breeder novas she approves of
      Of the known canon novas in the “Quantum 6+ club” circa         will be noticed by the motherhunters. If they are ever so
2015, only Caestus Pax, Divis Mal, Antaeus and Sophia Rousseau        inclined, Mal’s command over quantum signatures of other novas
are known to still be alive. (Gabriel Melchior died in December of    and Antaeus’ power to control ecological and biological
2009, and there’s little evidence to show that Bounty is              processes on a grand scale can also allow them to “stack the
powerful enough to be counted among them.) Going by their             deck” in the breeder novas’ favor in their own ways with a little
canon roles and personalities, Mme. Rousseau is the one of this       forethought. As for Pax, his control over kinetic energy makes
quartet most likely to attempt to aid the breeder novas. Mal and      him unsuited to aid breeder novas in both personality and power.
Antaeus are also possible benefactors for the breeder novas,          Non-canon culprits have other options available to them; as an
despite their being somewhat detached from the experience of          über-telepath could use Consciousness Supremacy to inspire
starting families. Finally, Pax is guaranteed to not even consider    cautious behavior and a tendency to conceal their identities in
helping the breeder novas. Unless his personality diverges            newly-erupted breeder novas. A precognitive nova of this
greatly from canon, Pax will certainly be on the side of Proteus      caliber could predict the eruptions of breeder novas, and make
and the other motherhunters. Ironically, Storytellers whose           arrangements to have pre-emptive measures in place to ensure
chronicles diverge from the canon setting and metaplot enjoy a        that they don’t get noticed (much less caught) by the
much greater degree of freedom in their choice of culprit, at the     motherhunters. If the motherhunters are employing sterility
cost of having to create said nova from the ground up. Choosing       retroviruses as part of their arsenal, a nova with Disease
a canon group to be the culprit is only somewhat less daunting.       Authority to destroy or even subvert those bioweapons. Culprit
Unless the players have started their own faction (which isn’t        groups will lack the extreme power of the lone culprits, but can
unheard of), only those canon groups which have been known to         draw on the wider range of capabilities possessed by their
engage in “delivery boy” operations will be likely to form            members instead. Combined with an appropriate strategy,
conspiracies to aid the breeder novas. Non-canon groups have          culprit groups can be startlingly effective. Groups can provide
no such official history constraining them, of course.                breeder novas with new identities and livelihoods, relocate them
        What is the culprit’s motivation?                             to any refuge that can be found on Earth (and a few that are off
      For all but the most powerful novas, thwarting the efforts      of it), work to find ways to restore the fertility of sterile novas
of the motherhunters and their powerful patrons is no small           and/or immunize breeder novas against the Utopian sterility
thing. Depending on the nature of his or her nova capabilities,       retroviruses, and generally hinder the motherhunters’ efforts at
the culprit’s attempt to aid the breeder novas may very well          every turn.
amount to putting his or her neck on the proverbial chopping                  Is the culprit’s effort to aid the breeder novas overt or
block. So what is it that has driven the culprit to take such a       covert?
risk? Does the culprit feel an idealistic need to protect “his own          Depending on the circumstances, the culprit may either
kind” against baseline aggression? Does the culprit have a            conceal or reveal (even if only to the breeder novas he’s
grudge against the motherhunters and/or their patrons, and            attempting to help) his effort to aid the breeder novas. Overt
consider aiding the breeder novas to be her most effective            efforts have the advantage of letting the affected breeder novas
means of taking revenge? Has the culprit soured on all of             know how and why they’ve been helped by the culprit, as well as
baseline humanity, and seek to ensure the survival and                letting the culprit take the credit for his deed. The downside to
prosperity of novakind as the only real alternative culture for       being overt is that some breeder novas may resent the culprit’s
her to belong to? Does the culprit see himself as a destined          help (rightfully or not), and they will know exatly who to blame
leader of novakind, and regard his effort to aid breeder novas as     for the “unwanted interference”. Also, overt attempts are
a way to garner support for him to become an authority figure to      easier for other novas - like the motherhunters - to thwart.
them in the future? If the culprit is a breeder nova himself, does    Covert attempts are harder for the motherhunters and other
he aspire to starting a family of his own, and see aiding the         enemies to interfere with, as even those breeder novas aided by
breeder novas as a way to help himself and his hypothetical           the culprit’s deed probably know about it. The problem with this
spouse and offspring? These questions are only a little different     is that it creates a mystery in the lives of those breeder novas
for the members of a culprit group, which must have a broad           affected by it, and some of them are certainly perceptive and/or
goal that all of its members support. If anything, their collective   intuitive enough to notice it. If an attempt to investigate a
motivation will have to be more powerful than that of a powerful      culprit’s covert deed isn’t quickly derailed, it can easily expose
lone culprit, especially since they’re a good deal more vulnerable    both the culprit and the breeder novas he helped to the
to reprisals from the motherhunters. Individual members of the        motherhunters. Culprit groups will typically have no choice but
group will also have their own motives for joining the                to keep their actions covert, as secrecy is absolutely vital to the
conspiracy, which will keep things interesting.                       proper functioning of any conspiracy. Unlike the powerful
        How does the culprit plan to aid the breeder novas?           novas, a culprit group will not be able to afford being overt and
      This is the real “nuts and bolts” question for a powerful       daring the motherhunters to interfere with them.
nova: what does the culprit’s quantum powers allow her to do                  What are the consequences - both good and bad - of the
that could help the breeder novas? In “Sophia’s Scheme”, Mme.         culprit’s deed?
Rousseau uses her powers over entropy and probability to not                In all but a few cases, the culprit’s deed will have both good
only dramatically increase the chances for breeder novas to           and bad consequences. Case in point: In “Sophia’s Scheme”,
encounter each other and form viable marital bonds, but also          Mme. Rousseau’s “mass matchmaking” effort affected all of the



64                                                               RULES
                                                          ABERRANT

breeder novas, including those who would spawn Trog 2ndGens
and future criminals. Likewise, her “cloaking” of breeder novas      Family
of whom she approves from the motherhunters and baseline             Susan Bellson
authorities does much to ensure their safety, at the cost of
                                                                            Background: Up until Susan was well into her fifth year of
creating a misperception among baselines that all breeder novas
                                                                     childhood, things were fairly happy for the little girl and her
can only give birth to the monstrous Trog 2ndGen novas. That
                                                                     parents in their isolated town in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
mistaken belief will make it very easy for baselines to condemn
                                                                     That all changed when Susan’s mother died of pancreatic
all novas as monsters; regardless of their deeds or actual status.
                                                                     cancer, and her father became an alcoholic in a misguided effort
For the mixed consequences of a culprit group’s actions, the
                                                                     to cope with his wife’s death. While the man was never outright
Daedelus League’s relocation of suitable breeder novas to their
                                                                     abusive to his daughter, this did make Susan’s life very unstable
asteroid colonies is a good example. On the positive side, the
                                                                     while she was growing up. When Susan was 17, her father was
Daedelus League has provided what are clearly some of the
                                                                     driving her home - while drunk - along a winding mountain road
safest refuges from the motherhunters that exist in 2015. These
                                                                     at night in a sudden windstorm. As stress built, the two of them
asteroid colonies are also an important first step for the
                                                                     started an argument about his drinking and their rotten lives in
eventual colonization of suitable extrasolar planets by the
                                                                     general. The distraction was enough for their car to go over a
Daedelus League, Protectors and whatever other groups of sane
                                                                     cliff. While her father died in the crash, Susan erupted, and was
novas that may arise in the decades leading to the Aberrant War
                                                                     found by a search party a few days later wandering around the
and the Exodus. In short, these novas have a potential for power
                                                                     countryside in shock. She told the authorities about her father’s
and growth of all kinds that is astronomical (pun intended). On
                                                                     drinking, their argument and the storm. Everyone assumed that
the negative side, the Daedelus League and their fellow space
                                                                     Susan had been thrown clear of the car just before it had been
colonists have for the most part negated themselves as factors
                                                                     blown off the road. That was seven years ago. The money from
in the ongoing power struggle between the various factions of
                                                                     her father’s life insurance policy, along with some modest
the Nova Age. Also, there is an element of rejection in the
                                                                     financial support from her mother’s family proved sufficient for
Daedelus League’s plans to abandon Earth. In addition to the
                                                                     Susan to put herself through college. It took Susan a few months
desires to lead more satisfying lives and raise their families
                                                                     after the accident to realize she’d erupted as a nova, whereupon
without undue interference, they have effectively decided that
                                                                     she was appalled and quickly decided to walk away from her
Terran civilization and baseline humanity are not worth
                                                                     powers. It wasn’t a hard choice. When Susan began to
protecting. Why should they risk their lives and those of their
                                                                     experiment with her powers, she found herself transformed into
children in an effort to defend a society that - for the most part
                                                                     a living incarnation of the windstorm, an uncontrollably
- only wants to use them as disposable beasts of burden? The
                                                                     destructive force of nature prone to fits of rage and tormented
Daedelus League and their fellow future space colonists have a
                                                                     by memories she didn’t want to deal with ever again. It was
very bright future ahead of them and their children, but it will
                                                                     obvious to Susan that she’d eventually wind up leveling buildings
come at the cost of some very dark times on Earth.
                                                                     and killing people if she tried to live as a nova 24/7. Fortunately,
                                                                     she also knew how to shut down her nova powers and revert

Family, Friends                                                      back to a near-baseline state. After she learned to control her
                                                                     powers somewhat, Susan dormed down one day and has
                                                                     remained dormant ever since then. Susan considers giving up
and Fiends                                                           her powers a fair trade. When dormant, she could live and enjoy
                                                                     life like any other normal person. Maybe she got some small,
      As could only be expected, breeder novas have proven to        useful things out of eruption like not getting sick, but the bulk of
be an extremely diverse lot. Aside from their ability to channel     it was better left alone. Susan doesn’t even consider herself a
quantum energies, the only thing that binds them together is         nova anymore. Not only has she never told anyone her secret,
their capability to sire or bear the extremely powerful 2ndGen       it’s been more than 6 years since she has activated her M-R
nova children. Those novas who either seek to aid or harm            node, and she’s tried very hard not to think about it. Now Susan
breeder novas and their children likewise have little in common.     is happily married to an insurance agent, runs her own bridal
The following trios of breeder novas, delivery boys and              shop, and is four months pregnant with her first child.
motherhunters have been designed to show the different paths                Description: When she’s channeling quantum, Susan is a
that novas can follow in this conflict, and are ready to use as      white ghostly figure made up of, and surrounded by, icy winds.
Storyteller (and possibly player) characters. As always,             Similarly, her personality is also wild and volatile in this form.
Storytellers and players should feel free to alter these             When dormant, Susan is a very attractive Caucasian blue eyed
characters to better suit their Aberrant chronicles and/or           blonde. Eruption made her healthier and bleached out her hair
personal tastes if desired, but they can also provide story hooks    from her prior dull brown shade, but she had bleached her hair
that are ready-made to be inserted into a breeder nova               even before so her appearance didn’t change much.
chronicle.                                                                  Roleplaying Hints: Novas? You can honestly say that as far
                                                                     as you know there aren’t any around here. Most of the novas
                                                                     who erupt in places like your neck of the woods either head out
                                                                     to New York or the West Coast if they don’t leave the country
                                                                     entirely, and good for them. You have a good, stable life, and



                                                  ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                            65
                                                            ABERRANT

that’s the important thing. Your husband makes a good living           comfortable enough with it to “come out” to him. Also, Susan’s
selling insurance, business at your bridal shop has been brisk and     unborn child will be born as a True 2ndGen nova, provided that
the two of you love each other. Other people can have their            she remains dormant for the remainder of her pregnancy. If she
interesting lives, you are long past the pain of growing up and        does not, she risks pregnancy complications and having her child
have no interest in revisiting it. If you’re “about” anything, you     become a Trog 2ndGen nova.
are about the joys of stability. You like your life, and beyond        Andy “Loverboy” Smith
accommodating the needs of your upcoming child you see no
reason to change.                                                      (formerly Mitch Falwell)
Nature: Caregiver                                                            Background: Mitch was the illegitimate son of an unwed
Allegiance: Independent                                                teen mother, and the other residents of the small Kansas town
Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5, Perception 3,          he grew up in never let him forget it. Mitch was always getting
Intelligence 5, Wits 5, Appearance 4, Manipulation 3, Charisma         into unearned trouble as a result of his neighbors’ prejudices, so
4                                                                      early on he decided he might as well become a troublemaker in
Abilities: Academics 1, Arts 4 (wedding design), Athletics 2,          truth and have as much fun as possible. While in high school,
Awareness 2, Biz 3, Bureaucracy 1, Diplomacy 2, Drive 1,               Mitch was being busted for underage drinking when he erupted.
Endurance 3, Etiquette 2, Firearms 2, Navigation 1, Rapport 4,         His new powers let him pass the blood test, and the charges
Resistance 3, Ride 1, Science 1, Stealth 2, Style 4, Subterfuge 1,     were dropped. It wasn’t long before Mitch figured out that he
Survival 1.                                                            could also beat up jocks and score with their babes. He could
Backgrounds: Attunement 3, Dormancy 5, Node 4, Resources 3             even become someone else to pull off some awesome practical
Merits & Flaws: Common Sense (1 point Merit), Secret (dormant          jokes… like knocking up the daughters of both the local head of
highly tainted nova, 3 point Flaw).                                    the Church of Michael Archangel and the local sheriff. Mitch was
Quantum 4, Quantum Pool 28, Willpower 7, Taint 8 (Albinism,            never implicated in the following investigations, but he still
Chilling [The ambient air temperature in Susan’s vicinity is           decided that his hometown was in danger of becoming too hot
lowered by 8 degrees Celsius], Energy Emission [cold wind],            for his liking. Mitch was on a Greyhound bus headed for New
Hormonal Imbalance [Rage], Permanent Power: Bodymorph)                 York City a few days later, with his few belongings and a healthy
Mega-Attributes: Mega-Strength          (Irresistible Force), Mega-    amount of stolen cash. Immediately dismissing Project Utopia as
Stamina       (Adaptability, Regeneration), Mega-Intelligence          unsuited to his tastes, Mitch instead applied at DeVries’ New
(Eidetic Memory)                                                       York office. Mitch was signing a contract with some very nice
Quantum Powers: Bodymorph: Air                   (one dot each of      benefits right after the interview. After helping Mitch reinvent
Density Decrease, Flight, Force Field and Immolate [cold wind,         himself as “Andy Smith”, DeVries set him up as a paid escort for
inflicts bashing damage]), Elemental Anima: Air                        baseline ladies around the party circuit. Andy has also been
(Enhance/Diminish, Lethal Blast, Sphere, Storm).                       acting as a stud nova in DeVries’ “compensated dating” program
      Methods and tactics: “How about this dress?” As befits           since its’ inception. A year’s worth of working for DeVries
someone who doesn’t think of herself as a nova, Susan’s                hasn’t stopped Andy from indulging in his favored pastime of
methods are fairly baseline and would revolve around common            hell-raising, he’s only become much more discreet about it.
sense. If something unpleasant happens she will flee, call the         Whether or not Andy will eventually grow up is an open
police, an auto mechanic, her husband, or whoever else is              question. When Andy gives thought to the ethics of what he
appropriate. It is extremely unlikely in the normal course of          does (which is rare), he thinks that novas like him are
things that she’d ever “let her genie out of its bottle”, especially   responsible for creating the next generation of novas, especially
with Susan currently being pregnant. If Susan ever did transform       since most other elites are so busy killing off so much of the old
into her nova self, she would be extremely destructive to any          one… or something like that. He didn’t really follow all the logic
buildings and any baseline humans nearby, and her secret would         of the “queen bee” theory one of the scientists at DeVries went
be out. On the other hand, although the lethal force of her other      into when Andy joined DeVries’ “compensated dating” program.
self isn’t going to be the first club out of the bag, it is there.     But Andy knows that it’s his duty to get as many women
Transformed, Susan could attune small objects (a small child           pregnant as possible.
perhaps) and flee, flying through any walls or other barriers. She           Description: In his “default” form Andy is a drop-dead
could reduce the amount of air around large areas to near-             gorgeous Caucasian male, noticeably taller than average with
vacuum and induce suffocation. She could employ the storm              sandy-blond hair and hazel eyes. He typically appears to be in
technique to bring down buildings and/or hamper people.                his early twenties thanks to his near-constant use of
Although Susan’s nova self is violent and (by baseline standards)      Appearance Alteration, but is actually only 16 years old.
crazy, she isn’t actually a different person and her motivations             Roleplaying Hints: The world is yours now, but the one
would be the same. It is unlikely anyone could convince Susan to       thing you learned from eruption was that getting caught sucks,
transform into her nova self without physically threatening her        so no bragging about it. Subtlety rules. Continue to research
family, but if they did, they’d find themselves as the targets for     your project(s) and be sure to take lots of time off for “breaks”.
Susan’s rage and deadly force.                                         Smile mysteriously, give a wink and a nod, and let people see
      Note: Unknown to Susan, her husband David is also a closet       what they want to see in you. Make small talk and make sure
breeder nova. For his part, David strongly suspects that Susan         their glass is half full. Other novas, especially elites are better
has erupted, but has decided to avoid that topic until Susan feels     left “prankless” and avoided, not so much because you’re afraid



66                                                                RULES
                                                           ABERRANT

of them… okay, maybe exactly because you are afraid of them,          skills to encourage drinking, typically more on the part of
but also because some of them are better at the social thing than     obstacles to his schemes than on his “dates” (if his social skills
you are and some of them are able to effortlessly see through         can’t get someone to say yes then it must be a seriously messed
your attempts to disguise.                                            up situation).
Nature: Somewhere between Hedonist and Jester                                  As a matter of habit Andy doesn’t tend to leave
Allegiance: DeVries                                                   fingerprints whenever he can avoid doing so.
Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5, Perception 4,                 If a woman says no and means it, Andy will assume she’s
Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Appearance 5, Manipulation 4, Charisma        an elite and walk away (this was beaten into him one night).
5                                                                              Andy tends to function at one of two levels, either
Abilities: Athletics 1, Awareness 3, Carousing 3, Disguise 1, Drive   determined or opportunistic. If all he’s looking to do is score
1, Endurance 3, Investigation 5, Legerdemain 1, Linguistics 1         with a hot babe then opportunity rules and there are lots of fish
(English native, French), Martial Arts 1, Perform 1, Resistance 3,    in the ocean… well, make that singles bars and college campuses.
Seduction 5, Stealth 1, Style 2, Subterfuge 3.                        But a well-crafted prank can take weeks or even months of
Backgrounds: Backing (DeVries) 1, Cipher 3, Eufiber 2,                determined research and preparation before it can be pulled off.
Resources 3                                                           Jean “Insecta” Whittaker
Merits & Flaws: Speedy (7 point Merit, +7 to Initiative), Lusty (1
                                                                            Background: A year ago, Jean Whittaker was an
point Flaw), Secret (teenage serial deadbeat dad and former
                                                                      unattractive young spinster who worked as a registered nurse at
thief, 3 point Flaw).
                                                                      Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. During
Quantum 1, Quantum Pool 22, Willpower 6, Taint 0
                                                                      a home invasion of her three-room apartment, Jean was raped
Mega-Attributes: Mega-Strength             (Quantum Leap), Mega-
                                                                      by the robber and became pregnant. After enduring the
Stamina        (Health), Mega-Perception (Bloodhound), Mega-
                                                                      unwanted fetus inside of her for nine months, Jean erupted while
Appearance         (Appearance Alteration, Copycat, Seductive
                                                                      she was recovering from her labor. At first eruption was
Looks), Mega-Charisma (Seductive)
                                                                      wonderful for Jean, as not only was she no longer fat or ugly, she
Quantum Powers: Body Modification: Enhanced Vomeronasal
                                                                      was now superhumanly attractive and charismatic. She could fly,
Organ, Intuition .
                                                                      and command insects with her mind. She also gained a bizarre
      Methods and tactics: Andy is always careful to not wear his
                                                                      power to make men pregnant with her children, which she
own face when pulling off his “pranks”, especially those that
                                                                      regarded as an embarrassing secret. Flush with a newfound self-
involve seducing women. Combined with his Cipher rating and
                                                                      confidence from her eruption, Jean found the strength of will to
investigative skills, this makes fingering Andy as the culprit
                                                                      give her child up for adoption. After mastering her nova
close to impossible. If Andy is caught while pulling a prank and it
                                                                      capabilities, Jean then tracked down her rapist via her
looks like it’s getting violent, he’ll use Quantum Leap and a quick
                                                                      superhuman senses and insect servants, and proceeded to beat
use of Copycat to escape. With the exception of his
                                                                      him to death with her bare hands. Jean was never even
“compensated dates”, Andy is also careful to never get any of
                                                                      suspected of the murder. Maybe it was residual anger she had
the women he “escorts” pregnant, as that would bring the
                                                                      from being raped, maybe it was the guilt from killing her rapist
DeVries gravy train to a halt, but other than that the sky is the
                                                                      and getting away with it, maybe it was the guilt from giving her
limit. One of Andy’s favorite tricks is to “date” women who are
                                                                      child up for adoption (on some level this felt like abandoning
currently fertile. He especially delights in knocking up the
                                                                      him), but since her eruption Jean has become absolutely riddled
daughters and/or wives of the more straight-laced and
                                                                      with taint. (In game terms she has been buying things tainted,
moralistic members of society, as Andy considers “loosening up
                                                                      most recently her fifth dot of quantum). Now she is a very
their world” to be great fun. The irony of such “upstanding
                                                                      twisted reflection of all of her guilts and wishes. As Insecta she
pillars of the community” becoming implicated in the resulting
                                                                      seduces (rapes?) men, leaving them pregnant with her fetus
scandals is just desserts as far as Andy’s concerned. Fortunately
                                                                      inside of them and then once again she just walks away from her
for Andy, his definition of “straight-laced” does not include
                                                                      offspring. She’s also rebuilt her psyche into that of a sociopath
elites or other novas, and he takes considerable pains to avoid
                                                                      so that this inhuman behavior feels natural to her now. Having
targeting them and their relatives with his pranks. Andy’s
                                                                      quit her nursing job, Insecta supports herself as a transient by
methodology is very flexible and he tends to make it up as he
                                                                      preying (mostly) on Chicago’s criminal population. This is more a
goes along. Common techniques he uses are:
                                                                      matter of convenience to her mind than justice or compassion -
         First scoping out the babes, picking one, figuring out
                                                                      killing and robbing criminals instead of “solid citizens” attracts
what she wants, then leaving. A little later he’ll come back
                                                                      less attention from the police. Usually.
wearing a different face, clothes, and mannerisms and make his
                                                                            Description: Before her eruption, Jean Whittaker was a
move. This can range from looking like someone he wants to
                                                                      short, unhandsome Caucasian female in her mid-thirties with
blame to being a generic ‘other person’ and leaving no trace, or
                                                                      frizzy brown hair and watery blue eyes, and had become
even looking like someone’s significant other to put the moves
                                                                      noticeably obese as a result of her pregnancy. Just after her
on them. If possible he’ll wait to make his move until the two of
                                                                      eruption, Jean was an absolutely stunning beauty of supermodel
them are alone or alone in a crowd.
                                                                      caliber, being slightly taller than average with satiny black hair
         Andy’s powers prevent him from getting drunk or
                                                                      and sapphire blue eyes. As Insecta, she’s gone from “model” thin
drugged. Thus he can engage in drinking contests or just wait
                                                                      to “starving model on crack” thin and she now smells pleasantly
for the party to supply alcohol. He can and will use his social
                                                                      of fresh honey. She dresses surprisingly well when on the hunt


                                                   ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                          67
                                                            ABERRANT

for either mates or funds.                                             use as “love nests” for her mates. If she can’t find an empty
      Roleplaying Hints: People? There are no people, just             home then she will find an abandoned car or building or
objects. Those things walking around on two legs are either            somewhere else to lair. For money she sometimes raids criminals
potential mates or (more often) threats to your survival. Try not      after asking her insects to look for drugs, other times she pulls
to talk with them any more than is necessary, insects make more        money from the wallets of her victims or money stashed in
sense.                                                                 houses where she lairs. She used to visit soup kitchens but the
Nature: Survivor                                                       social interaction was too much for her. When the urge to mate
Allegiance: Independent                                                is on her she will fly around and look for suitable mates. Insecta
Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 5, Stamina 5, Perception 4,          prefers to seduce a chosen mate so that he’ll accompany her to
Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Appearance 5, Manipulation 4, Charisma         her lair under his own power. If her seduction attempt fails (or if
5                                                                      she’s feeling too desperate to bother with seduction), she will
Abilities: Animal Training 1, Athletics 2, Awareness 5, Disguise 1,    simply grab the first suitable mate she finds, poison him so that
Endurance 3, Intrusion 4, Investigation 3, Martial Arts 2,             he can’t struggle, and fly off with him. Then she will carry him
Medicine 2, Navigation 2, Perform 1, Resistance 3, Seduction 5,        off to her current lair, mate with him, web him up, and leave to
Stealth 3, Style 4, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 1, Survival 2.            find herself a new lair. As bad as the threat posed by Insecta is
Backgrounds: Attunement 2, Cipher 5, Node 2, Resources 2               now, potentially it could be much worse. At the moment it’s
Merits & Flaws: None.                                                  unclear whether or not her “children” would inherit her powers,
Quantum 5, Quantum Pool 28, Willpower 7, Taint 8 (Altered              but if she picks up a second level of Fertility her offspring would
Gestation [Insecta must implant her fetus into a large, healthy        most likely be Trog 2ndGen novas. If Insecta develops the
young man in order for it to develop properly, & cannot bear it        Adaptability enhancement, she could become almost impossible
to term herself], Estrus [Insecta is driven to mate once a month,      for a group of novas to deal with. Finally, if Insecta gains further
with healthy men only], Painfully Thin, Sociopathic, Strange           dots of permanent taint, she could become driven to mate on a
Scent [smells like honey])                                             daily basis, possibly reproducing asexually and making clones of
Mega-Attributes: Mega-Strength                (Precision), Mega-       herself.
Dexterity       (Catfooted), Mega-Stamina             (Accelerated
Gestation x2, Fertility, Health, Regeneration), Mega-Perception
       (Bloodhound, Ultraperipheral Perception), Mega-Wits             Friends
(Mind Over Matter), Mega-Appearance             (Seductive Looks),     David Bellson
Mega-Charisma          (Seductive)
                                                                       Background: David came from a typical boring Colorado upper
Quantum Powers: Animal Mastery           (Weakness: Insects only),
                                                                       middle class family composed of a mother, father, three children
Bioluminescence , Body Modification: Enhanced Vomeronasal
                                                                       and a dog. Dad was a high-level manager for a local mining
Organ, Body Modification: Parasitic Gestation (3 nova point
                                                                       company, while Mom stayed home and raised the kids. As the
level), Claws       , Flight , Immobilize (webbing)         , Poison
                                                                       middle child of a family made up of stable, well-off people his
     (Extra Duration x2: effect lasts for days, Weakness: Only
                                                                       family life was fairly idyllic, even if it was like having Ward &
produces a single poison type, reduces victim’s Strength dice
                                                                       June Cleaver for parents at times. Everyone got along and was
pool), Psychic Shield .
                                                                       reasonably comfortable and happy. David never managed to pin
      Methods and tactics: Once a month Insecta’s instincts drive
                                                                       down the exact time of his eruption, as he’d never had anything
her to try and reproduce. So far she has made five attempts,
                                                                       more than minor headaches. It’s possible that it took years, since
with four of the men dying before her offspring could come to
                                                                       far back as he can remember he’d always considered himself
term and the fifth being recovered by the police (he was sterile).
                                                                       lucky. At some point in high school David blossomed in several
Insecta’s fifth victim is still paralyzed and is currently
                                                                       ways, which included becoming both a talented athlete and a
hospitalized. Insecta has figured out that leaving men in hot
                                                                       knack for dealing with people really well socially. With his father
attics results in their death after a couple of days, so she won’t
                                                                       being a noted former jock and varsity baseball team captain
be doing that anymore. She’s also figured out that her “partner”
                                                                       during his own high school days, he wrote off his talent for
needs to be extremely fit and big (in game terms, have the Huge
                                                                       sports as “inherited good genetics” at the time. During his
Size Merit) to survive long enough to bring her offspring to
                                                                       senior year of high school, David’s life began to take a turn for
term. Now she will look for young, large men (the bigger the
                                                                       the bizarre that he couldn’t explain away. The young man started
better) to serve as her mates. When stalking humans for their
                                                                       to have dreams that told him things about the world that he
cash, Insecta typically disguises her attack as a seduction
                                                                       couldn’t possibly have learned through normal means, although
attempt. Once she’s gotten her victim alone, she quickly kills him
                                                                       telling the prophetic dreams from his normal ones took him a
and helps herself to his cash. If forced into combat, she almost
                                                                       while. It was at this time that he dreamed about a female
always strikes from ambush to minimize any risks to herself.
                                                                       classmate of his getting hit by a car, only to transform into an air
While Insecta can talk normally she doesn’t bother to do so
                                                                       elemental and start killing people afterwards. David intervened
beyond the minimum necessary to make purchases or seduce
                                                                       and prevented the accident from taking place, after which he
men, as she now finds communication with humans fairly
                                                                       began observing the young woman in question. Soon enough
pointless and confusing. If Insecta senses another nova, or even
                                                                       observation became outright attraction, and they started dating.
the police, she will flee. Insecta only goes out at night and is
                                                                       A few years later, David and Susan got married while attending
always on the lookout for empty homes that she can squat in and
                                                                       college. By his sophomore year in college the dreams had turned



68                                                                RULES
                                                            ABERRANT

into full-blown visions that came to him even during his waking        vile rumors about some conspiracy being behind novas’ fertility
hours, and after a while David figured it out. Somehow, he had         problems were true was fairly obvious to David… so without
erupted as a nova and had gained the ability to see visions of         telling his wife he made plans for them. Plans to flee. Plans to
both the past and possible future events. Although he briefly          hide. Plans to establish secret caches of money and supplies.
considered telling people about his eruption, it seemed best to        Then David figured out that they weren’t the only closet
keep his “ace” hidden until he figured out what he could and           breeder novas facing this problem.
would do. After a while David decided that he’d just stay hidden,            Description: David appears to be a fit and moderately
as he noticed that all sorts of unpleasant people took notice of       handsome Caucasian man, perhaps in his early thirties. He has
novas and made preparations to deal with them. Considering             brown eyes which are beginning to develop crow’s feet, and
that those “preparations” ranged from social pressure and              wavy black hair that has noticeably thinned. He typically dresses
blackmail to bringing in other novas and cold-blooded murder,          in whatever business or casual attire is appropriate for the
David felt that living openly as a nova wasn’t for him. He also        occasion, and wears wire-framed eyeglasses (which he doesn’t
realized that his power of pretercognition fell into the category      actually need).
of “way too useful for his own good”. It didn’t take precognition            Roleplaying Hints: The reason why people say “don’t shoot
to see that certain people with secrets to hide could assume that      the messenger” is because the messenger is usually shot.
he knew too much and would try to do something permanent               Similarly, telling people you made ten times what they did last
about the threat he posed to them. Only slightly less distasteful      year is unlikely to convince them to buy insurance policies from
was the prospect of finding himself conscripted by some covert         you. You get more money by being humble than by being self-
government agency, where he’d likely end up living in a gilded         important; so never brag, or talk about money, or mention what
cage while using his visions “for the good of national security”.      the future will bring. Be sure to gamble for small stakes and lose
David decided to keep his nova status secret, and he has never         on purpose (this can be hard, but do it anyway). Go hunting with
seen a reason to alter this choice. After college David used his       the guys and let the other guy get the first shot… but be good
powers to become a very well-paid insurance salesman, and              enough that they respect you. Giving money opens doors, this
nowadays he owns his own insurance company. His                        specifically includes political ones. Be active in church, and be
pretercognition has allowed him to avoid otherwise-profitable          sure to meet lots of people. When making big decisions examine
contracts for people and properties that are highly likely to be       the issue from several viewpoints, specifically Susan’s and the
seriously injured, killed or damaged in the future, as he’ll see the   future.
trouble coming and not take up the contract in the first place.        Nature: Architect
David found that the ability to check the future and make the          Allegiance: Aberrants
right choices in a business environment is extremely profitable.       Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4, Perception 5,
His company has been extremely profitable and tends to avoid           Intelligence 5, Wits 3, Appearance 3, Manipulation 5, Charisma
serious losses in the wake of major traffic accidents and natural      4
disasters, including collateral damage from other novas’ quantum       Abilities: Animal Training 1, Athletics 2, Awareness 5*, Biz 5*,
battles. Luckily for David, as a private company he doesn’t need       Bureaucracy 2, Drive 2, Endurance 3, Firearms 2, Gambling 1,
to post his profits and as a small company it’s easy to avoid          Interrogation 1, Investigation 5*, Martial Arts 1, Might 1,
publicity. To date David has never told anyone he is a nova, not       Navigation 2, Perform 2, Rapport 3, Resistance 3, Ride 1,
even his wife Susan. Since he doesn’t really look the part and         Stealth 1, Style 2, Subterfuge 5, Survival 2, Tradecraft 3*.
doesn’t have any flashy powers, it’s been fairly easy to stay in             Abilities marked with * are heavily dependent on David’s
the closet so far.                                                     precognitive powers, and if he loses them through being moxed
      Despite the success of his insurance company and his             or dorming then he functions at three dots less.
happy marriage to Susan, there are still several things that           Backgrounds: Allies 2 (Susan Bellson, Sophia Rousseau), Cipher
continue to worry him. After preventing the traffic accident           2, Contacts 3 (various business contacts), Dormancy 2,
where he’d first seen Susan in his dreams, David thought he’d          Followers 3 (his office staff), Influence 2, Node 1, Resources 5
prevented her from erupting into the enraged elemental                 Merits & Flaws: Common Sense (1 point Merit).
creature he’d seen in his vision. His later visions of Susan in her    Quantum 4, Quantum Pool 28, Willpower 7, Taint 0
elemental form quickly threw that conclusion into dispute. David       Mega-Attributes: Mega-Perception             (That Creepy Feeling),
now suspects that Susan must have erupted at some point in the         Mega-Intelligence          (Mental Prodigy: Strategic), Mega-
past, but he isn’t totally sure whether or not she’s aware of it.      Manipulation (Persuader), Mega-Charisma (Perfect Guest).
When he looks at those futures where he brings up that subject         Quantum Powers: Intuition           , Luck           , Premonition
in private conversation, Susan gets very upset. David’s decided        (Others) , Pretercognition , Psychic Shield **.
that when Susan is ready she will come to him, as it seems like              **Attempts to read David’s mind tend to result in the
this is a sore subject that he shouldn’t touch. A few years ago he     gathering of a great deal of mind-numbingly boring accounting
noticed something else very disturbing in his visions. In every        information.
future where he and Susan go public as novas, they end up losing             Methods and tactics: If David senses he’s going to run
their unborn child to a miscarriage and become unable to have          across a nova he makes sure that he doesn’t. This limits some of
any more children. In every future where they go public as             his activities, but the price of exposure as a nova is just too high
fertile “breeder novas”, an accident of some sort occurs and           for him to accept. For example, David could run for public office,
they (and their child) end up dead. The conclusion that the more       but sooner or later this course of action would require him to



                                                    ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                            69
                                                             ABERRANT

meet other novas publicly, which in turn would result in his being      started going right for her. Now she works for the Aberrants as
“outed” as a nova. When dealing with baselines David makes              a delivery girl, operating mostly in the western regions of North
sure to be a good businessman and only sell people what they            America. As far as Sally is concerned, every breeder nova and
need. As a soft target with no combat abilities, in theory David        nova child she saves from the motherhunters is another dollop of
should be an ineffectual player in the grand game of power in           revenge against Utopia and Aeon. It remains to be seen when
the Nova Age. In practice David has proven to be a force                Sally will consider herself and her unborn child to have been
multiplier in the factional struggles. David’s visions led him to       avenged.
contact the head of the Aberrants, Sophia Rousseau. Now he                    Description: Sally is a fashion model-caliber caucasian
acts as a private oracle for Mme. Rousseau, and gives her his           woman with straight black hair and cherrywood-brown eyes. As
precognitive “advice” via a mind link. It’s been a profitable           she’s a bit shorter than average and looks younger than she
relationship for the both of them; as David gets to aid the             really is, she can easily pass herself off as still being in her late
Aberrants (and receive the same from them, if needed) while             teens instead of her true age of 21.
staying firmly in the closet. In return, Sophia gets timely                   Roleplaying Hints: Stay calm. Stay cool. Smile. And be the
forecasts from David on a variety of concerns, letting her see          first one to act, there’s no point to having all this speed if you let
what’s coming and make appropriate plans.                               the other guys go first. You are not “over” what those jerks at
Sally “Rebel Yell” Seashore                                             Utopia did to you and your unborn child, but you have come to
                                                                        terms with it. You even know that most people aren’t ready to
      Background: Sally Seashore was born in the spring of 1994
                                                                        accept the truth about Utopia so mostly you don’t talk about it.
to a neo-hippie couple in San Francisco, California, but early on
                                                                        What you do now days is stop others from making your
in her life they “found Jesus” and made a radical lifestyle
                                                                        mistakes… even if that does sound too much like your damn
change. Moving out of their apartment in the Haight-Ashbury
                                                                        parents for your comfort. Just be sure to take advantage of your
district, they reinvented themselves as social reactionaries and
                                                                        infrequent downtime to go clubbing and pick up a boyfriend now
Christian fundamentalists, and resettled in a small house in the
                                                                        and then.
outskirts of Daly City. They didn’t change their family name
                                                                        Nature: Rebel
however, which pretty much ensured that Sally would regularly
                                                                        Allegiance: Aberrants
be picked on at school by her peers. This unearned mistreatment
                                                                        Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 5, Stamina 5, Perception 3,
caused Sally to develop a rebellious streak at an early age, much
                                                                        Intelligence 2, Wits 5, Appearance 5, Manipulation 3, Charisma
to her parents’ consternation. That consternation became
                                                                        4
outright dismay as Sally also developed other “undesirable”
                                                                        Abilities: Athletics 5, Awareness 3, Brawl 2, Command 1,
traits such as disrespect for authority, rejection of traditional
                                                                        Disguise 2, Drive 1, Endurance 3, Firearms 1, Intrusion 2,
values, and a total unwillingness to accept her divinely ordained
                                                                        Linguistics 2 (English native, French, Spanish), Martial Arts 5
role of “meek, obedient housewife”. Things only became more
                                                                        (specialty), Medicine 1, Navigation 2, Rapport 2, Resistance 3,
strained when Sally hit 14 and became a devoted fan of novas
                                                                        Stealth 2, Streetwise 2, Style 1, Survival 2, Tradecraft 1.
(and a would-be nova groupie). Their tolerance for Sally’s
                                                                        Backgrounds: Allies 2 (Aberrants), Attunement 5, Backing 2
freethinking ways reached the breaking point in Sally’s 16th
                                                                        (Aberrants), Cipher 2, Eufiber 3, Node 2, Resources 2.
year, when they discovered that she was three months pregnant.
                                                                        Merits & Flaws: Speedy (7 point Merit, +7 to Initiative),
Aghast that their willful daughter had been having sex without
                                                                        Intolerance (of Utopian/Aeon agents & employees, 1 point
their knowledge or permission and had shamed them in front of
                                                                        Flaw).
their congregation, Sally’s parents promptly disowned her and
                                                                        Quantum 2, Quantum Pool 26, Willpower 8, Taint 0
kicked her out of the house. It wasn’t but 24 hours later that
                                                                        Mega-Attributes: Mega-Strength            (Quantum Leap), Mega-
Sally erupted just a few blocks away from Golden Gate Park in
                                                                        Dexterity          (Rapid Strike), Mega-Stamina          (Durability,
respose to a mugging attempt. After beating the hell out of her
                                                                        Regeneration), Mega-Wits           (Quickness x3), Mega-Charisma
assailant with her newfound superhuman speed and mastery of
                                                                            (Seductive).
the martial arts, the would-be mugger was arrested by a nearby
                                                                        Quantum Powers: Armor , Strobe                (Sensory Deprivation
police officer and sent to a hospital for his injuries. In the throes
                                                                        Wave), Hypermovement (Running)              , Intuition , Psychic
of a typically horrible eruption headache, Sally allowed herself to
                                                                        Shield .
be whisked away to the San Francisco Rashoud clinic for medical
                                                                              Methods and tactics: Sally generally gets two types of
assistance. The whole experience of registration and testing
                                                                        missions. In a “grab the goods and run” mission, somehow the
somehow felt a bit off to Sally, but having nowhere else to go,
                                                                        Aberrants have discovered that some breeder nova couple
she ignored her uneasiness. Even though Utopia’s smile-faced
                                                                        who’ve been living in the closet has had (or maybe that’s ‘will
authoritarianism quickly began to grate on Sally’s nerves, her
                                                                        have’) their cover blown. Typically Sally is told to get to a
determination to master her nova capabilities allowed her to
                                                                        breeder nova couple and to get them (and their kids, if any) out
hold back her natural recalcitrance while they trained her. It
                                                                        of whatever danger they’re facing before the shit even has time
wasn’t until Sally suddenly had a miscarriage and found herself
                                                                        to hit the fan. Sally isn’t sure how the Aberrants are getting such
sterile that her constant unease blossomed into the certainty
                                                                        timely information, but someone must really on the ball as she’s
that Project Utopia had deliberately killed her unborn child. Sally
                                                                        usually the first person on the scene. She will then make first
then left Utopia without a word, and disappeared into the
                                                                        contact with the breeder nova couple and explain to them that
streets of San Francisco. It wasn’t soon afterwards that Sally
                                                                        the motherhunters and/or Utopians and/or other unsavory types
found herself recruited by the Aberrants, and things finally



70                                                                 RULES
                                                            ABERRANT

are only a step behind her. Hopefully Sally can convince them to       features, with dark eyes and green leaves instead of hair. Her
flee, allowing her to just pick her charges up and rocket off at       skin has a delicate covering of leafy vines and moss growing
superspeed, leaving an empty house with the lights on. Sally is        from it, which also gives off the pleasant scent of fresh-cut
extremely convincing and she will use that to her advantage. She       grass. As this vegetation provides her with what she considers
can attune one or more people (depending on their weight) so           adequate coverage (and she rarely associates with baselines),
they will gain immunity to side effects of her speed, and anyone       Bounty typically goes without clothing of any sort.
over that weight limit can be carried. Sally will then take her              Roleplaying Hints: You don’t have much interaction with
charges to a safehouse where other Aberrants will take over and        the ‘outside’ world because the children come first. Your time is
see to relocating the breeder novas somewhere safer. Sally’s           mostly spent entertaining and educating them. They are the
other type of mission can be called “covert social calls”, and         reason you exist and your life’s calling. The only reason you
involve her making contact with breeder novas or Aberrant              don’t have more is to concentrate on the ones you already have.
sympathizers whose covers have NOT been blown. The                     When you do interact with the outside world you advocate
objectives for this type of mission vary; Sally’s tasks have           peace among your fellow Terats. Peace would allow the children
included talking Aberrant sympathizers into setting up a               to grow up and mature and eventually take their place among the
safehouse and warning breeder nova couples against “coming             most evolved. While your calling has been your source of
out of the closet”. On these missions Sally often chooses to           strength and direction, it has also blinded you to some of the
make contact gradually. Sally still looks young enough to pass as      maneuverings of your more ruthless fellow Pantheon members.
an older teenager, and she takes pains to reinforce that image         Nature: Caregiver
by doing her hair up in a ponytail and keeping up to date with the     Allegiance: Teragen
latest teen fashions and fads. This form of social camouflage          Archetype: Portent
allows Sally to walk up to someone quite openly in a large variety     Stage: Second
of public settings without attracting undue attention. If other        Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 5, Perception 4,
(usually hostile) novas show up during a mission, given the            Intelligence 5, Wits 5, Appearance 4, Manipulation 2, Charisma
choice Sally will simply zoom off and let them eat her dust. If she    4
must engage in combat, Sally prefers to take full advantage of         Abilities: Academics 1, Animal Training 1, Arts 1, Athletics 1,
her speed to attack and then move out of range of any                  Awareness 1, Command 1, Diplomacy 1, Endurance 3, Etiquette
counterattacks. Sally also has the ability to give a nerve-            1, Interrogation 1, Instruction 3 (Children), Linguistics 4
shattering “rebel yell” (thus her name) which overloads her            (Orominga native, Amharic, English, Arabic, French), Medicine
opponents’ nervous systems for a few moments. If she thinks            2, Rapport 5, Resistance 3, Ride 1, Stealth 2, Style 1, Survival 1,
she’s dealing with other novas sometimes she will open with her        Seduction 1
“rebel yell” as a prelude towards running away.                        Backgrounds: Attunement 1, Backing 3 (Teragen), Contacts 3
Bene “Bounty” Manata                                                   (Teragen), Influence 2 (Teragen), Node 3, Resources 3
                                                                       Merits & Flaws: None.
      Background: Bene Manata was married when she was 14.
                                                                       Quantum 4, Quantum Pool 30, Willpower 7, Taint 3, Chrysalis 2
She then proceeded to have miscarriage after miscarriage until
                                                                       (Fur/Feathers [skin covered with a thin layer of leafy vines &
her husband divorced her when she was 18. Alone and lacking
                                                                       moss], Obsession [rearing/protecting ‘her’ children], Psychic
any direction in her life, Bene’s curiosity led her to the Ethiopian
                                                                       Feedback*, Strange Scent [smells like freshly-cut grass])
outback, where Project Utopia’s Operation Eden was underway.
                                                                             *Bounty is so “in tune” with living creatures that she
Once there, Bene got caught up in a Utopian terraforming
                                                                       experiences their pain as her own. In game terms, treat this as
accident that triggered her eruption. She was ‘rescued’ by
                                                                       the 4 point “Passive” flaw combined with a pathological
nearby Utopian novas, who convinced her to sign on with the
                                                                       aversion to consuming animal-derived foods (requires
Project. With her power over plants Bene was assigned to work
                                                                       Willpower roll to overcome). Psychic Feedback is a medium-
closely with Antaeus in his efforts to further Operation Eden.
                                                                       level mental aberration.
However, shortly after starting work with Antaeus, Bene was
                                                                       Mega-Attributes: Mega-Stamina                (Adaptability, Fertility
exposed to the Utopian sterility cocktail and she recognized it
                                                                       x2, Health), Mega-Perception                   (Body Awareness,
for what it was. After very quietly informing Antaeus about the
                                                                       Bloodhound), Mega-Intelligence (Mental Prodigy: Medical),
Utopian sterility cocktail, Bene fled from Project Utopia. She
                                                                       Mega-Charisma (Seductive)
then approached Count Orzaiz for advice on joining the Teragen
                                                                       Quantum Powers: Body Modification: Enhanced Vomeronasal
and was promptly recruited by him. From that point on, Bounty
                                                                       Organ, Fertility          *, Animal/Plant Mastery           (Nature
became the Teragen’s de facto fertility goddess and has been
                                                                       Mastery), Growth         **
accepted (albeit a bit grudgingly) as a member of the Pantheon.
                                                                             *Fertility is a Level 2 quantum power derived from the
Bounty’s claims to membership in the Pantheon are that she has
                                                                       Body Manipulation technique of Biomanipulation, and is limited
gone through a Chrysalis and she cares for, and has helped
                                                                       to briefly increasing a subject’s fertility.
conceive, the Teragens’ children. One effect of Bounty’s
                                                                             **Growth is a Level 2 quantum power identical to the
evolution through Chrysalis has been a tendency to care so
                                                                       Biomanipulation technique of the same name.
deeply for ‘her’ children that she can’t let go of them. It is for
                                                                             Methods and tactics: With her powers Bounty could easily
this reason Bounty insists all Terat novas who make use of her
                                                                       feed an army, a pity she doesn’t have one. On occasion she has
services must leave the resulting children in her care.
                                                                       been assigned bodyguards from the various Terat factions or
      Description: Bounty is a striking woman with African


                                                    ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                             71
                                                         ABERRANT

from her charges’ parents, but she has found that having more          , Sterilize (Range)      .
than one promotes conflict and causes her to spend too much               Methods and tactics: Alice normally uses tactics akin to
time mediating disputes. She allows one, and only one, nova         “shooting fish in a barrel”. Most of her targets are in jail, under
guard at her Nursery. Typically this is a parent of one of the      medical restraints in a clinic, or otherwise physically unable to
children. Other than that she uses her powers to turn nature        do anything even if they figure out what’s happened. She uses a
against the few baselines who wander too close to the Nursery       combination of Ms. Nobody and her connections to see people
until they leave.                                                   under conditions where they have no effective choice but to
                                                                    take her attack, if they even notice it and if they understand
                                                                    what it means, both of which are extremely rare in any event.
Fiends                                                              For example, a target in the XWF that was identified would
Alice “Anguish” Nyce                                                receive a visit after the match while they are still unconscious,
                                                                    and if the ‘wrong’ guy wins, then at least she got to see a fight.
      Background: On the madness of the first anniversary of N-
                                                                    Alice has no way to undo the effect of her power, even on
Day, a nova who was ‘celebrating’ his eruption raped Alice. She
                                                                    herself. Project Proteus is extremely careful about exposing her,
found out she was pregnant shortly thereafter. This put her
                                                                    and will hire bodyguards and/or transport appropriate for the
under enormous emotional stress, as she both wanted the baby
                                                                    mission (normally a nova with Attunement 5 and some kind of
badly and didn’t want it at all. Deeply religious, abortion was
                                                                    transport power).
something she wanted and needed badly, and she was absolutely
opposed to the idea with every fiber of her being. After a few      Adam Smith
weeks of the anguish of this mental deadlock, Alice erupted.              Background: Once upon a time, Adam’s life was perfect. He
This solved one set of problems, but at a cost. Alice became        was a police officer in Tampa, and his deeply loved wife Sandra
sterile, had a miscarriage, and gained powers that revolved         was a secretary at City Hall. On June 6th, 2007, they had just
around sterility. Distraught, she went to Utopia and came to the    found out that Sandra was pregnant. Two days later, Geryon
attention of Director Thetis, who turned Alice’s physical and       walked through her office en route to killing the Mayor, and he
mental issues into assets for Proteus. With some psychological      pushed her through a wall for not getting out of his way fast
counseling, Alice came to the conclusions that her barrenness       enough. The Terat killed her like a man would step on a bug.
was God’s will, and that her nova powers were tools with which      Over the next two years Adam became obsessed with novas,
to perform the service God had commanded from her. Alice now        became an alcoholic, got kicked off the police force, joined the
considers her job of covertly sterilizing other novas to be her     Church of Michael Archangel, had a mental breakdown (not
calling, and sees the phenomenon of nova sterility as God’s         necessarily in that order), and finally erupted. Ideally he’d have
divine judgment on novas as a whole. After meeting Mary             erupted with enough power to kill Geryon, but that didn’t
Armstrong (see below), Alice has found further justification for    happen. Someone who slugs it out with Lotus Infinite and Core
her beliefs.                                                        on a regular basis would make short work of Adam Smith. But
      Description: Alice appears to be an unremarkable woman in     with his enhanced intelligence came the realization that killing
her mid-30s. Her race is unclear, and most people will describe     Geryon would have been putting an end to the Terat’s pain,
her as being the same race as they are.                             instead of the beginning of his torment. What Adam really
      Roleplaying Hints: Remain silent, be humble, let people       wanted to do was to hurt Geryon, as Geryon had hurt him.
think you a servant or just no one. Few could understand, fewer     Studying the reports of Geryon’s public appearances brought
still could believe. Your cross is your own to bear, it is your     the realization that Geryon had an alternative identity. Perhaps a
calling, your punishment, and your destiny.                         “normal”, civilian identity as a baseline… with a family. Adam
Nature: Martyr                                                      now spends his time hunting down closet novas, Teragen
Allegiance: Project Proteus                                         members, and their families. Once he’s found them out, Adam
Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5, Perception 5,       delights in dropping dimes on the unfortunates. Turnabout is fair
Intelligence 3, Wits 4, Appearance 5 (Face in the crowd),           play, after all.
Manipulation 4, Charisma 4                                                Description: Adam appears to be a fairly typical white man
Abilities: Academics 1, Athletics 1, Awareness 3, Bureaucracy 1,    in his late 30s with brown hair and eyes.
Disguise 3, Drive 1, Endurance 3, Etiquette 2, Firearms 1,                Roleplaying Hints: Follow the money, and when you find
Intrusion 1, Martial Arts 1, Medicine 1, Meditation 3, Might 1,     someone, one properly placed Op-mail, letter, or more rarely,
Perform 1, Resistance 3, Stealth 1, Streetwise 2, Style 1,          phone call through your double blinds and history will repeat
Subterfuge 2, Survival 1, Tactics 1                                 itself with the correct ending. It’s a pity you can’t be there to
Backgrounds: Attunement 1, Backing 5 (Proteus), Cipher 5,           watch, but vengeance is a dish best served cold.
Influence 2, Node 2, Resources 3                                    Nature: Fanatic
Merits & Flaws: Sterility (1 point Flaw).                           Allegiance: Project Proteus
Quantum 5, Quantum Pool 30, Willpower 9, Taint 2                    Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4, Perception 5,
Mega-Attributes: Mega-Strength           (Quantum Leap), Mega-      Intelligence 5, Wits 4, Appearance 3, Manipulation 5, Charisma
Stamina           (Regeneration), Mega-Perception          (Body    3
Awareness, Bloodhound), Mega-Appearance            (Ms. Nobody).    Abilities: Academics 1, Athletics 1, Awareness 5, Biz 5, Brawl 2,
Quantum Powers: Body Modification: Enhanced Vomeronasal             Bureaucracy 1, Computer 1, Drive 2, Endurance 3, Firearms 2,
Organ, Intuition      , Poison (Projectile)      , Psychic Shield   Interrogation 1, Intimidation 1, Intrusion 1, Investigation 5,



72                                                             RULES
                                                           ABERRANT

Linguistics 1 (Spanish), Medicine 1, Melee 2 (nightstick), Might 1,   will never agree with this idea, but she is utterly convinced that
Resistance 3, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Subterfuge 5, Survival 1,      only novas who have developed stable personalities prior to
Tactics 1                                                             their eruptions can avoid becoming monsters.
Backgrounds: Backing 2 (Proteus), Cipher 5, Contacts 3 (Church              Description: Mary is an attractive woman of mixed race in
of Michael Archangel, The Directive), Resources 2                     her late twenties or early thirties.
Merits & Flaws: Vengeful (2 point Flaw)                                     Roleplaying Hints: Don’t bother trying to explain things,
Quantum 4, Quantum Pool 28, Willpower 7, Taint 1                      unless they’d been through what you had, people just can’t
Mega-Attributes: Mega-Stamina             (Adaptability), Mega-       understand. The reality is that under the cute façade, child
Intelligence            (Eidetic Memory, Mental Prodigy:              novas are little monsters. If you have to talk keep it small, the
Investigative), Mega-Perception          (Electromagnetic Vision,     weather, sports, whatever. Scout things out for a while from a
That Creepy Feeling)                                                  long distance using animals, wait until people are asleep, then
Quantum Powers: Luck            , Pretercognition                     sneak in. It’s really for their parents’ benefit, you’re sparing
      Methods and tactics: Mostly Adam just follows the money.        them and the world the hell that the small ones would bring.
For days on end he will sit at a computer, run multiple               Nature: Visionary
information sifting programs and connect the dots. It’s really        Allegiance: Project Proteus
scary how easily things tend to just fall into place for him, and     Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 5, Stamina 4, Perception 5,
with his flashes of ‘insight’ even a perfectly hidden trail can       Intelligence 3, Wits 5, Appearance 4, Manipulation 3, Charisma
grow hot.                                                             3
Mary “Kinslayer” Armstrong                                            Abilities: Animal Training 3, Athletics 2, Awareness 4, Drive 1,
                                                                      Endurance 3, Firearms 2, Instruction 1, Intrusion 5, Martial Arts
      Background: It has been said by some that children are little
                                                                      5, Melee 2, Resistance 3, Ride 2, Subterfuge 3, Stealth 5,
monsters. Mary has lived through the reality of that saying. Her
                                                                      Streetwise 1, Style 1
son Joshua erupted when he was only 18 months old. He acquired
                                                                      Backgrounds: Attunement 4, Backing 4 (Proteus), Cipher
superhuman intelligence without any of the ethics that an adult
                                                                      5,Followers 1 (random animal that she’s psychically linked to),
develops later, superhuman charisma and manipulation without
                                                                      Node 2, Resources 4
the empathy that an adult has, and the ability to force his desires
                                                                      Merits & Flaws: None.
on others through some fairly scary mental powers. Many young
                                                                      Quantum 5, Quantum Pool 30, Willpower 9, Taint 3
children accidentally(?) hurt their pets, so maybe Joshua was a
                                                                      Mega-Attributes: Mega-Strength (Crush, Irresistible Force),
normal child who ignored the consequences of misusing his
                                                                      Mega-Dexterity          (Catfooted, Enhanced Movement), Mega-
abilities, or maybe he was always destined to be a monster. In
                                                                      Stamina (Hardbody, Regeneration), Mega-Perception
any case, for the next two years Joshua’s small world was his
                                                                      (Quantum Awareness, That Creepy Feeling)
playground. It was also a living hell for his parents, as Joshua
                                                                      Quantum Powers: Animal Mastery , Armor , Disintegration
discovered that he enjoyed the pain of others. Josh had
                                                                          , Invisibility , Invulnerability: Willpower resisted effects
monstrous mental powers of telekinesis and he could also
                                                                           (Broad Category), Psychic Link .
control others and even animals. Worse, he had the social
                                                                            Methods and tactics: Formerly a dog trainer, now Mary is
abilities to make others enjoy their torment. Eventually Mary’s
                                                                      an ambush assassin. Normally she will watch and/or scout out a
husband Robert killed himself to escape Joshua’s torments, and
                                                                      location with a local animal, a bird or rat or something. Then she
Mary erupted and killed her son. The one idea that this
                                                                      uses her powers to sneak in, scan the target with Quantum
experience really ground into Mary’s psyche was this: nova
                                                                      Awareness to make sure they don’t have a defense, and then
children aren’t human, and they should all be killed ASAP. Mary       uses the ambush combat maneuver in combination with
considers this revelation of hers to be sad and perhaps
                                                                      Disintegration. If possible she will then sneak out, if not possible
counterintuitive, but in her mind it is nothing less than the
                                                                      she will use her Enhanced Movement to run away.
undeniable truth. She also understands the fact that most people




                                                   ABERRANT: A BREED APART                                                            73
                                                     ABERRANT




CREDITS
     Authors: Shawn “Sprocket” Henley
     Additional Contributors: Daniel “Alex Green” Buss, Fred “Ayre el KaBeer” Salem, Michael “Bahamut810”
               Whitaker, Jamais “Finbar” Jochim, Jack “Gideon” Summanen , Richard “Glitch” Drysdale, Jessica
               “JessiLaurn” Orsini, Reg “Knave” Stuart, Michael “Nullifier” Milberg, Ben “phoenix” Quigley, Dion
               “Reighnhell” Woods, Jacob "t-dev" Donahue
     Storyteller Game System Designed By: Mark Rein Hagen
     Aberrant Developed By: Kraig Blackwelder
     Developers: Shawn “Sprocket” Henley, Jack “Gideon” Summanen
     Editors: Shawn “Sprocket” Henley
     Interior Artwork: Rodney Gott (p. 42), Cottus Centimane (pp. 46 & 48)
     Layout and Typesetting: Jessica “JessiLaurn” Orsini
     Special Thanks to: “Alchemist” and the other fine folks at N!Prime (www.nprime.net) who assisted with this
               project, as well as all of the folks at the eononline.net forums




                                            http://eononline.net



                                              Legal Notice
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unofficial, please take it as that.
      In order to use the contents of this book you will need to have purchased several of the official books available from
White Wolf Publishing at http://www.white-wolf.com or in electronic format from DriveThruRPG.com at
http://www.drivethrurpg.com Support Aberrant and the Trinity Universe by either visiting White Wolf’s website,
DriveThruPRG.com’s website, or your local gaming store to purchase the official books.
      This book in its entirety has been developed to be freely available to fans of White Wolf’s Trinity Universe – the
most recent copy of this book can be downloaded for free from EON at http://eononline.net
      The mention of or reference to any company or product in these pages is not a challenge to the trademark or
copyright concerned. This book uses science fiction for settings, characters and themes. All science fiction and geopolitical
scenarios are fiction and intended for entertainment purposes only. Reader discretion is advised.




74                                                    CREDITS
A BREED APART
                         A NEW RACE…

When novas came on the public scene in 1998, they were nothing short
of amazing. Even so, they were but a taste of things to come. Despite
   the best efforts of Project Proteus – and with secretive help by the
        Teragen – the new marvels would bring forth a second
   generation…and those children would prove to be a purer breed.


                      …FOR A NEW AGE

Aberrant: A Breed Apart explores the future of novakind, a future that
   is nearer than some may think. The ever-thorny issue of mixed
heritage is addressed. The sterilization “mickey” is examined, as are
 ways in which it may be bypassed. Groups and individuals that are
  driven to find – and either aid or stop – nova parents are detailed.
 And new rules are presented for the so-called “2ndGen” novas – who
  can follow very different paths, depending upon how their parents
                     addressed the matter of Taint.

				
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