SkaiContact: nanomachinessonCharacters currently in-game:
Marian TenebrisCharacter Age:
Outside Observer (Original game-in-progress)Canon Point:
True EndWorld Description:
Near-future Earth, with minor technological improvements across the board, including an incredibly useful cooling technology that Marian created in wide use.History:
A paragon of academic excellence from an early age, Marian devoted her life to her studies and research, progressing swiftly through several degrees and on through to finally achieving a tenured professor position. Although she went to the occasional conference and had some scattered collaborations with other physicists once in a while, she was largely a recluse, in her lab for long hours into the night. Although her primary expertise was in other areas of physics, she had always thought that the key to accessing the 4th dimension, time, was so close with current theories being worked on. Who wouldn't like to be able to change the course of events... or just their own life. There was always room for improvement here and there, after all. And as Marian got older, in the wee hours of the morning, sometimes found herself what life would have been like if she hadn't been so focussed on a single course of study, a single path through life.
But she stumbled upon a very different advancement (or so she thought) in the course of her late-night tinkering; a machine that generated cold with very little need for external power, running far more efficiently than any refrigeration technology on the market. The final design, while a little more complex, generated zero excess heat, in defiance of all known laws of physics. As for the question of where all that heat and energy went... Marian drew up multiple diagrams and possible explanations. Since the metallic vanes that catalyzed the reaction were intended to tap into quantum potential, perhaps the energy was going to a parallel universe, another dimension. But as much as she discussed this with colleagues, nobody was able to definitively prove it, especially when Marian remained secretive on the manufacturing process, refusing to share its secrets with anyone but the colleague in engineering who helped her with the actual manufacture.
But it worked, and her secret (and successive patents based around application) were very lucrative. She stopped teaching completely and equipped her own lab even more fully, getting facilities to route in more power and more ductwork, even going so far as to build a Faraday cage into the walls. She tried multiple designs, but for years and years, nothing even came close to a true way to access time itself (although she did cause several cross-campus blackouts).
Until, of course, the day that it did. She reconfigured the vanes, and pressed the power switch... and the whole world went static and sideways, flashing before her. And in that instant she found herself still carrying the device itself, but on the other side of her lab door where the power supply was. The physical link was broken, but everything still seemed to work. There was one complication, though. She was locked out of her own lab. For whatever reason, the door simply refused to budge.
As she went to get her keys, more strange things started to appear. Black sluglike things travelling across the floor and walls. Looking out the windows, there was nothing, just utter blackness. And the doors to the outside world wouldn't open.
It turned out there were more complications as she went forward and slowly she began to figure out what had happened. All of her devices, now scattered across the world in commercial applications, were faintly linked to another dimensional space, one past the heat-death of its own universe. The entities there craved light, heat, energy. In conjunction with these already established links, the massive energy transfer from her first successful time travel device had created an actual gateway inside her lab, and these alien entities began to siphon energy away from the world, disrupting the very fabric of space with their intrusion.
And there was lots of energy to be had -- the physics building was shielded thanks to Marian's investments, but everywhere else she went, almost everyone was dead, and although it was fall, the leaves were falling from the trees faster than they should. The force from that other side was what created the black sluglike things, decomposed matter in animate form, housing the essence of some alien intelligence. It even began inhabiting inorganic things, like ice and dust, acting as a hostile force of nature. But it wasn't long before the entities picked up on how to communicate with what was left of humanity, creating their own emissaries, one organic, built from the bodies of the dead, and one of shadow, creeping through the shadowed side of the planet away from the sun's harsh rays.
Able to blip back and forth in time, Marian did her best to try to find a way to get back into her lab, close the gate, and try to save as many people as she could along the way from the encroaching cold that only continued to increase exponentially with each passing hour. She destroyed the two emissaries and their links to the Earth, but one final one, calling itself the Emissary of Void, threw a wrench into the works, causing one of her fellow researchers to sabotage her plans. When she confronted him, he went crazy and she was forced to knock him out. The Emissary of Void was unstoppable, and well aware of her time-travelling powers by now. And it wanted them and access to more energy to completely break free of their dead dimension.
Acting fast to save herself and keep the power of her time travel device from the Emissary, Marian finally managed to bypass it and make her way to the gate. There was no way she would be able to completely destroy it from her side -- it was clear that the entities had established enough links on Earth by now that her side of the gate wouldn't be enough. They'd constructed their own link on the other side. She had to go through.
Marian did, in the end, manage to destroy the link between the dimensions from the other side, but she was trapped in a place that the human mind was never meant to experience, at the end of both time and space.Personality:
Having spent decades focussed on her own work to the detriment of personal relationships, Marian isn't good at pleasantries and small talk. Abrasive might be the right way to put it; she's to the point, demanding, and has a hard time sugar-coating things. She's also a terrible liar, something that caused major problems while trying to navigate back and forth through timeline interactions with others and avoid causing a paradox by saying things she shouldn't.
Still, with anyone that's able to keep up, she does enjoy talking about research and just about anything related to physics or applied math, getting into the nitty-gritty details with relish. At her best, she's professional and curious, while at worst, she's an arrogant intellectual, disdainful of anyone else's opinion and acting as though like she's the smartest and most important person in the world and everyone else is a complete imbecile. She has no tolerance for anyone who can't keep up and easily turns snippy and dismissive.
And despite her attitude, and despite the worry of getting potentially paradox-trapped, Marian has recently found herself in the position of trying to help. She's only human after all; she doesn't want to see anyone get hurt or killed, and at heart she wants to see things work out for everyone around her. But with the risk of paradox in time-travel, this often leads to choice-paralysis, where she can't decide what to do, or if she should even do anything at all. So she tries to pass it off as being callous and cold, even when she legitimately wishes that she could offer help.
Though she wants to do right, Marian isn't really a fighter unless cornered and desperate. She's a middle-aged academic who's never even held a gun in her life; she's rather flee than confront, and find a way to solve problems indirectly.
Having made the choice to not pursue family and friendship, she sometimes regrets these things, jealousy causing a more acerbic reaction than usual when the subject comes up -- even going so far as to make snide comments about people wasting their lives on useless pursuits. Though at one point she sometimes wished that she could go back and change the past, by now she's realized that some things are too far gone; people are responsible for their own choices and have to learn to live with it. She saw what happened to her colleague Vremya, who was beguiled by the Emissary of Void's urgings and fell into his own insane dreams of returning to a bygone age.
Before the events of the last 12 hours, Marian had her usual share of fears; everyone does. And certainly the greatest fear of any time traveller is being caught in a fatal paradox of their own making. But after going through the rift and being exposed to the horrors of a dead dimension that the human mind was not ever meant to deal with, Marian's psyche was scarred. Though purely psychosomatic, she always feels cold now, no matter what the actual temperature, and all the things associated with the entities on the other side and their horrific creations on Earth are all highly suspect in Marian's mind, no matter how innocent they are in reality: darkness and shadows, sand, ice, dead bodies and human remains. Above all of these, anything without visible eyes or with them hidden (ie, by wearing sunglasses), provokes a violent reaction of fight or flight, fearing the return of the Emissary of Void.Inventory:
* Prototype time travel device with Paradox Sensing Tool (PST)
* Several keys and keycards for buildings on campusAbilities:
Obviously, Marian has a high degree of expertise in physics and applied math. She's also got a good grasp of basic electrical and mechanical engineering from spending a lot of time over the years with Ella, her primary engineering collaborator, working out the details of how to implement her theories in practice.
Exceptional memory: Although she has an additional appliance (the PST) that helps track details needed for safe(r) time travel, Marian is able to integrate this information with her memory of events and exact placement of anything she's seen. If she wasn't able to do this, she would have died from paradox-related effects very very quickly. This exceptional memory can also be a downside, feeding into her fears (past horrors are very
And of course, though not an innate
ability, Marian brings with her (and knows how to build) devices that allow a person to move back and forth through time across a maximum 12-hour span: a very short-range time traveller.
There are a couple firm rules regarding time travel (discussed a little further here
) but summarized very briefly with:
* A time traveller must not EVER see themselves (the "Doppelgänger Effect")
* A time traveller cannot create an unresolvable
Violating either of the above rules is certain doom -- in her own world, it would have ripped apart causality. In Hadriel it seems safe to assume that the gods would protect the city against this, and violation of the rules would just mean Marian's death.
With these limitations, what can she actually do with her device?
* "Teleport" by moving back or forward in time, walking a distance, then going back to the just after the previous timeframe.
* Act in two places at once, as long as she isn't within line of sight of herself (nobody else is allowed to see her in two places at once either.)
* Take objects from the past to the future and vice versa (though they usually need to be returned in their original condition, depending on the circumstances).
* Use her own knowledge of various points in time to create favourable circumstances (making sure doors are unlocked in advance, knowing the outcome of random chance events), although relaying this information to anyone not herself is almost always disastrous.
She usually has a "quick-jump" set as well that pushes her instantly 15 minutes ahead, to help avoid dangerous situations. Marian also has a number of "safeties" in place, which lock the device from functioning if the jump itself would cause irreversible paradox as well as keeping track of the number of potential paradoxes and local "coherency" -- how much she has been in a locale across the timeline window of 12 hours. Flaws:
Personality-wise, Marian can be cranky, demanding, and grating on the nerves. But more than that, being the actual cause of a large proportion of life on earth simply dropping dead on the spot the moment the rift between dimensions opened isn't exactly a good thing.
Marian has also seen things Man Was Not Meant To See, and her reactions toward anything that reminds her of her experiences with the entities and the other side of gate can be very extreme in terms of fight/flight response.SAMPLESAction Log Sample: Test Drive thread!