"A Wizard's Fingerprints"
Everyone in BlackSheep knows
that Capricorn keeps watch over it;
he has friends in low places.
Not everyone knows that he
keeps watch over a lot more.
He learns about people
from the code they create --
the hackers and the crackers,
the computer wizards and
He knows that Bog Standard
never puts only two options on
anything, always three or more.
He knows that World-Worker
splices in tidbits learned from
different computer languages
found all around the globe.
He knows that IronGoddess
has a farcical sense of humor and
a love for historical viruses such as
the one that fined a printer nine yards.
He knows that Positron can make
computer programs do things that aren't,
strictly speaking, supposed to be possible
and that Positron is also Esmerelda Tablet,
one of the greatest writers of fanfiction that
the Henrietta Carpenter fandom has ever seen.
He knows that BlueDuchess likes to set
her viral activation for the middle of the night
when nobody's likely to be on duty to stop it,
and that she's the one who so aptly renamed
Rabid City on all the municipal websites.
He knows that Mister Bridget writes code that
overheats computers enough to light them on fire.
He knows that Bagwyn writes self-modifying code
which changes in unpredictable ways, just as
the hacker himself appears and disappears
without warning. Capricorn worries about him.
He knows that Everyman is the best when it
comes to hacking banks and other places of power,
that he locks his code as competently as a vault,
and that he works for both sides so that whether
he's described as a hero or a villain depends
on who does the asking and the telling.
In addition to the supervillains and allies and
neutrals, of course, Capricorn also keeps
a wary eye on their enemies of all kinds.
He knows that Suze Shannon (who works
for the Vanguardian) has a virulent hatred
of TinAccipiter, which is beginning to cause
some trouble for Kraken as a whole.
He knows that Agent Gabrielle Greene
(who works for the government) is trying
to spy on soups in ways that would terrify
everyone if more of them knew what he
really isn't in a position to release,
and that she isn't a Super-Intellect
even though she likes to think she is,
which makes him wonder how much
it would cost to set Dvorak on her tail.
The point is that Capricorn knows them,
allies and enemies and neutrals alike,
with an intellectual intimacy that
few others could understand, for
a wizard's fingerprints in code are
as unique as the ones on the hands.
He knows them, and so he loves them
a little, even the ones he would kill if he
could because they're so dangerous.
Capricorn has his favorites, even though
he tries not to, and it is to them he sends
small snippets of code that hint at
his ability to climb any firewall.
It is this intimacy which he craves,
as he has given up much to become
Capricorn, who is also Captain Left,
but this one thing he will not deny himself
for his deepest need is to know and to be known.
* * *
Captain Left (Marko Agüero) -- He has tinted skin and brown eyes. His hair was blond but is now mostly white and receding. His body is still trim and fit. Marko speaks Argentinian Spanish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, German, Hindi, and Italian. He enjoys Kraken's exercise facilities even though he's not much of a fighter or an athlete.
Marko often finds face-to-face interaction confusing and stressful, but he does great with online interactions. He keeps an eye on BlackSheep (as Capricorn) for young soups in trouble and follows world politics through the nets. He takes an especially dim view of mad scientists, but he likes ethical zeteticists just fine. His personal assistant is a cyborg Super-Gizmologist.
Origin: Marko came out of a secret lab. Genetic engineering gave him Super-Intellect from birth. Further modifications from neurosurgery and super-gizmology made him a Telepath and Technopath. Much of his scalp is netted with tiny scars, and thicker ones trail down his spine.
Uniform: Sometimes Marko wears plain men's street clothes to blend in with local populations. On duty as a Kraken executive, he wears standard business attire. On field duty, he wears a Kraken uniform of dexflan and capery; the jumpsuit is sensibly designed with sleek fit, plenty of pockets and fasteners for equipment. It provides Expert (+4) Camouflage to a designated user, but if worn by anyone else, turns garish neon colors. The utility belt contains a multitude of small gizmos and other tools. When appearing in his titular role, he wears his uniform of state, which is inspired by United States and German naval flag-rank officers' uniforms of the World War I era. The plain dark uniform is largely American, the heavy overcoat and elaborate hat German. Kraken members love The Hat: it makes them feel part of something shiny and important.
Qualities: Master (+6) Kraken Captain, Expert (+4) Stealth, Expert (+4) Friends in Cyberspace, Good (+2) Computer Games, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Strategy
Poor (-2) Reading Emotion
Powers: Good (+2) Super-Intellect, Good (+2) Technopath, Good (+2) Telepathy
Limitation: His telepathy comes from super-gizmology, so it lacks the hint of emotion that often comes with organic telepathy even for someone not counted as a telempath. It's the equivalent of talking on a telephone. Because Marko was raised in artificial conditions, he didn't get a lot of human contact early on, and he's used to thinking of people as flat mechanical voices. Combined, these factors make it hard for him to identify other people's emotions.
Motivation: To spark connections.
Kraken ship captains, base captains, and other commanding officers wear a round white hat like this. It marks the top of the local chain of command. Most Kraken officers wear a round black hat like this. If the senior officer usually in charge of a location is wearing a black hat, that means Captain Left and/or Captain Right is onsite. Only Captain Left and Captain Right (or more typically, their stunt doubles) wear these magnificent gold-crested hats.
[Character by dialecticdreamer]
Name Halley Finn (Bog Standard)
Age 10, Gender (REFUSED) Uses “thon” instead of he or she.
Secret identity: None
Appearance: Streaky, ash blond hair currently in a bowl cut. (Deliberately goes looking for gender-neutral haircuts, and very, very few hairstylists have cooperated.)
Motivation: “OH, but it's easy to-?”
Good (+2) gizmology (Signature Stunt: Off-the-Shelf Parts)
Good (+2) computer programming (no hacking yet)
Good (+2) electronic engineering
Good (+2) family support
Good (+2) mechanical engineering
POOR (-2) impulse control. Really poor. Have some aspirin; you'll need it.
Origin: Born this way
Expert (+4) super-intellect
Good (+2) eidetic memory
Signature Stunts (1 or 2) “It seemed like a good idea at the time!”
Uniform: VERY gender-neutral clothing, no slogans on shirts, generally no pictures of any kind on clothing. Prefers navy, deep purple, and red, often worn together in differing ratios. Even in winter, wears shorts and short-sleeved shirts (will don a sweater or coat if thon MUST, but ditches them as soon as possible. (And thus, wrote a program that beeps thon's phone if she steps outside without coat or sweater to stop the trend of forgetting them).
Miscellaneous: Halley is a budding gizmologist with clearly identified super intelligence. Thon is named for astronomer Edmond Halley. Halley loves all kinds of engineering, both electronic circuitry and mechanical, and is expanding skills into several major computer languages, as well. Thon has also bounced through the most schools -- which is what brought the family to StN as CLIENTS (though it took six months of continued frustration before Molly put her hat in the ring for the tentatively-forming zoom wagon element of Soup to Nuts).
Signs of asthma-- is trying to hide it from her family, especially Heron, because thon /loathes/ any kind of medical visits.
[Character design by dialecticdreamer]
World-Worker -- He has light olive skin, gray-green eyes, and short brown hair with a short beard and moustache, along with a lot of body hair. He has a long face with a big nose and wears big glasses with squarish lenses. He is tall and skinny. This is a chat room username for a friend of Halley Finn.
World-Worker is the oldest, and the one with the least accommodating
school situation when he was a kid. He ended up a black cape much the way
Juan did; they were the people who bothered to meet his /basic/ needs. (In
his case, boredom is DANGEROUS, not something he could "learn to deal
with" without DECADES more practice than the teachers were willing to
allow.) World-Worker /is/ a super-gizmologist and a black cape. He is serious about helping other soups, in hopes of preventing the kind of awful mistakes that he made.
Origin: His powers grew in during childhood, causing a lot of trouble. The super-intelligence came first, then gizmology by his preteens and super-gizmology in his teens.
Uniform: Street clothes, often jeans with a hoodie.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Computer Wizard, Good (+2) Concentration, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Peer Counseling
Powers: Expert (+4) Super-Gizmology, Good (+2) Super-Intelligence
Vulnerability: Boredom hurts.
Motivation: Anyone can be hacked.
Farce -- Mallory Brasher is a college girl with fair skin, hazel eyes, and straight, shaggy brown hair that sticks out at the ends. She is reasonably functional in the morning. Her childhood did not include abuse, but did include maladaptive parenting, along with bullying in school. A New Year's party for supervillains ended with her getting gang-raped while passed out drunk. She got pregnant, and sought help from her nemesis Damask.
Origin: Secret experiment: After being denied entrance to graduate school, she tried to commit suicide with her roommate's pills; unbeknownst to her, those were part of an illicit lab project that left her with superpowers and a bitter appreciation of how the Universe can be a jackass.
Costume: A motley jester outfit in green and orange with a white tragicomic mask.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Theatre Major, Good (+2) Pranks, Good (+2) Party Animal, Good (+2) Computer Wizard
Poor (-2) Asthma (in particular, overusing Theatrical Voice can trigger an attack)
Powers: Expert (+4) Behold the Banana Peel of Fate! (make inconvenient and ironic things happen), Good (+2) Theatrical Voice (with Spin-Off Stunts for Disabling Shout and Convincing Delivery)
Motivation: Reveal the farcical nature of life.
Antimatter -- Lawrence Cunningham is a high school student with a keen interest in science. He has a wiry build, pale skin, and pale blue eyes. He has just a hint of beard at the end of his chin. Born with straight black hair, it turned a radiant starlit silver after the accident. He used to dye it black, but now typically leaves it silver. It currently reaches his elbows. Lawrence lives with his mother in Omaha, Nebraska. His father has been removed from their home for domestic violence, and Lawrence still has very mixed feelings about that. They don't have much money.
Lawrence is comfortably gay, and growing closer to his boyfriend Stalwart Stan. A friendly acquaintance of his is Han Gordon from the chess club. Lawrence's handle on BlackSheep is Positron, and he also writes Henrietta Carpenter fanfic under the handle Esmerelda Tablet. Antimatter is shifting from supervillain to superhero, due to his association with Stalwart Stan, which is awkward.
Origin: Determined to win the science fair, Lawrence attempted to create a new universe inside a cola bottle. It blew up. The accident left him with superpowers, but no science fair entry, and everyone laughed at him.
Uniform: All white, including the hat, with a black lab coat thrown over the top and a black-and-white atom patch on the chest; and goggles to obscure his face.
Qualities: Master (+6) Intelligence, Good (+2) Agility, Good (+2) Captain of Chess Club, Good (+2) Gender Studies, Good (+2) Gizmology, Good (+2) Writer
Poor (-2) Such a Dork
Powers: Expert (+4) Manipulate Physics (Signature Stunts: Greater Than Equal Reaction, Immovable Object, Irresistible Force, Neutralize Mass, Remove Friction; Speed-Healing, Spin-Off Stunts: Energy Transfer, Thicken Air)
Motivation: Mind over matter.
Midnight Blitz (Germaine Hilligoss) -- She has bisque skin, midnight blue eyes, and long straight platinum blonde hair usually pinned up in a bun. Her heritage is almost pure German. She loves codes and computer languages -- making them, breaking them, playing with them, everything. She also loves puzzles in the same style. Germaine is beautiful enough that guys constantly hit on her, and she hates it, because most of them are jerks. It makes her think twice before going to bars, malls, or other places where single guys hang out.
Midnight Blitz is a supervillain from Rapid City, a hacker. She has tangled with Protean. She is one of the first soups to move out of Rapid City due to its increasing bigotry. On the way out, she defaces the signs to say Rabid City -- and has since made a hobby of doing the same to all the municipal websites. It is driving the police bugfuck, and they can't do anything about it because she doesn't live there anymore, so they have no idea how to find her. Her BlackSheep handle is BlueDuchess.
Origin: Her mother obsessed over having a smart daughter, and constantly played music, videos, brain-training tapes, etc. while she was growing up -- some of them very dodgy quality. It worked. But eventually she realized that her mother was essentially experimenting on her, and now they are estranged.
Uniform: On duty, she wears a midnight-blue dexflan unitard streaked with brighter shades of blue, with matching midnight krevel knee boots and elbow gloves, and a face mask mottled in shades of blue. Off duty, she wears elegant women's clothes, often in black, white, grays, and blues.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Hacker, Good (+2) Cryptanalyst, Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Networking with People
Poor (-2) Jerk Magnet
Powers: Average (0) Lightning Blast, Average (0) Super-Intellect
Motivation: To decode secrets. Which are then for sale.
Backdraft (Gilbert Brenton) -- He has milk-pale skin, flame-blue eyes, and wild hair streaked in fire colors. His body is short and slim. He is left-handed. There is a tattoo of Brigid's Flame on his left shoulder. Gilbert is homosexual and can be very flamboyant about it. He reacts badly to prejudice against queerfolk, even though it's not his primary motivation. There is a lot of unresolved sexual tension between him and Green Man. Given his sassy nature, Backdraft usually wins their flyting. His BlackSheep handle is Mister Bridget.
After the traumatic activation of his pyrokinetic abilities, the closest person with the powers to help train him had been a hero during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan -- on the Afghan side. Her hero name translated from the Persian into Sacred Flame, but hey, thirty years later, she goes by Disia, is a quietly devout Muslim living up near Seattle and counsels burn victims. After all, she was one, once upon a time. She and Backdraft are on opposite sides of the cape argument, and the cape is one of the few things they had in common to begin with.
Despite his vendetta against the government, Backdraft only attacks buildings while they are mostly empty. He doesn't want to hurt people, and isn't completely confident of his fire control yet. So he waits until he has at most a few security guards to neutralize and move to a safer spot. Backdraft also takes a dim view of terrorists who target innocent bystanders, particularly ones like the IRA who started out bombing government offices and devolved to bombing schoolbuses. More recently, he has targeted banks and credit agencies, destroying their records with fire and hacking to wipe out debts and mortgages. Sometimes he goes after large businesses with pernicious practices. His theme music is Leslie Fish's Firestorm album.
He has one power aspect that even SPOON doesn't know about. He can create 'fire-gems' -- like a flame trapped inside a faceted gem -- that are inert to touch, but melt in water.
Origin: Gay bashers beat him up, tied him to a post, and tried to set him on fire. It did not go well for them, and they wound up in the hospital with severe burns. He wound up with superpowers. When nobody would press charges against the gay-bashers, he stated a goal of burning down the government, starting with the local city hall.
Uniform: Scarlet and orange swirled dexflan with gold boots and gloves, and a flame-cut cape of gold capery. Leather half-mask has a fire design, yellow at the top, then orange, and deep blue at the base.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Computer Wizard, Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Sassy
Poor (-2) I'll Show You a Flaming Fag!
Powers: Expert (+4) Invulnerability, Good (+2) Fire Powers (Signature Stunts: Fire Blast, Fire Shield, Firestopping, Firetripping; Spin-Off Stunts: Fire Form, Fire-Gem, Ignite Passion)
Equipment: Good (+2) Sleep Ray Bolt Pistol
Vulnerability: Wanted Man. Police generally recognize him and will try to arrest him if they can, although they rarely have the means. They may call a BASH team or superhero if possible.
Motivation: Bring it down!
Nebuly (Darian Cormac) -- He has pale skin and gray eyes. His hair is short and white on the sides of his head, while the top has a row of long black dreadlocks. His body hair is patched and swirled in black, brown, and white. He is tall and strong. He has a stretched lobe tunnel and upper lobe piercing in each ear. He has bridge, both nostril, and septum piercings in his nose. He has a labret, snakebites, and two pairs of corner piercings in his lower lip. Nebuly uses the occasional pain from piercings to break through the numbness of depression and remind him to take good care of himself. His BlackSheep handle is Bagwyn.
Darian grew up in a happy, healthy family until he and his parents were attacked by human traffickers when Darian was 10. His parents fought ferociously to protect him, and managed to kill at least one of the attackers. Due to all the blood spilled, Darian suspects that his parents were also killed, and doesn't really want to find out the truth. He is about 21 now.
Origin: Mad science torture. The supervillain Carl Bernhardt locked Darian in a strange metal chamber and bombarded him with mysterious energies that caused his body to warp. He escaped when he finally manifested Vaporous Form. Now he works as a rennie and occasionally as a hacker.
Uniform: Street clothes. He usually wears black. Sometimes he lightens up with white, gray, or brown. Rarely he wears brighter colors like blue or purple. He also has some medieval garb.
Qualities: Good (+2) Fortitude, Good (+2) Leader, Good (+2) Hacker, Good (+2) Historical Re-enactment, Good (+2) Tall
Poor (-2) Depression
Powers: Good (+2) Cryptid Shifter
In Nebuly's case, the metapower of Cryptid Shifter includes various abilities and variable enhancements to vision. Good (+2) Control Electricity (Signature Stunts: Average EMP, Average Lightning Bolt, Average Neural Disruption), Good (+2) Regeneration, Good (+2) Shapeshifting, Good (+2) Vaporous Form (Signature Stunt: Average Liquid Form), Average (0) Merle, and Average (0) True Sight. His alternate forms include myrstag, liger, blue tricolor merle border collie, western spotted skunk, black-and-white tegu lizard, and snowy owl. His night vision is Average in lizard form; Good in human, myrstag, and dog forms; Expert in skunk and liger forms; and Master in owl form. The myrstag's distinctive musky scent carries over into other forms, but only the skunk's is strong enough to function as a bioweapon.
Motivation: To put his life back together.
In heraldry, a line nebuly (or nebulée) is a deeply wavy line, meant to resemble clouds. The term is derived from the Latin word nebula, "a mist, vapor, or cloud." This shield displays Barry nebuly of nine azure and argent.
Everyman -- Harry Dixon is a Robin Hood type supernary who is a hero or a villain depending on who you ask. Everyman champions the cause of regular folks against those with more power or money. This makes him many friends and enemies. His super-armor and Versa-Gun, for instance, are gifts from a super-gizmologist whom he rescued from captivity.
Origin: As a teenager, he saw his low-rent neighborhood bulldozed to make room for a new freeway. Lacking true superpowers, he trained his body to extreme skill.
Uniform: Street clothes. His appearance is so forgettable, he doesn't need a mask.
Qualities: Master (+6) Tough, Expert (+4) Hand-to-Hand Combat, Expert (+4) Versa-Gun (fires projectiles that do different things), Good (+2) Computer Wizard, Good (+2) Friends Everywhere, Good (+2) Spy Stuff, Good (+2) Utility Belt
Poor (-2) Enemies Everywhere
Powers: Good (+2) Super-Armor
Motivation: Help the underdog.
Among the projectiles commonly stocked for the Versa-Gun are armor-piercing, freeze, heat, glue, and fog bullets. Less common are the tracking bullets that can turn corners to pursue a target once locked onto its signature. The transmogrification bullets are difficult to produce, erratic in effect, and rare.
Suze Shannon -- She has pale skin, brown eyes, and brown hair to her shoulders. She works for the Vanguardian. Suze has a particular dislike for Kennedy O'Clere as a deserter.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Hacker, Expert (+4) Pilot, Good (+2) Endurance
Poor (-2) Mean Bitch
Camberhawk (Kennedy O'Clere) -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and long straight brown hair. She is an only child raised by decent but workaholic parents. Kennedy speaks English, Japanese, and Spanish fluently; she is trying to learn Brazilian Portuguese. She is susceptible to authority and has a hard time standing up for herself. Her BlackSheep handle is TinAccipiter.
Origin: Kennedy used to work for the Vanguardian, until Kraken operatives attacked the company plane she was in. Sucked out through a hole in the fuselage, she almost died, but was caught by a hawkman. Kennedy decided not to return, and eventually built herself a set of gizmotronic wings.
Uniform: Dark brown dexflan flight suit with brown-and-white gizmotronic wings.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Gizmology, Expert (+4) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Birdwatching, Good (+2) Strength, Good (+2) Teamwork
Poor (-2) Suggestible
Powers: None. She has a set of Expert (+4) Gizmotronic Wings. The harness includes thrusters for lift. She can glide and steer with the wings, but not flap them enough for actual flying with the wings alone.
Motivation: To be pleasing.
Agent Gabrielle Greene -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and straight brown hair usually pulled up in a ponytail. Her body is trim and straight, with a layer of wiry muscle. She keeps a variety of exotic pets, mostly venomous ones such as tarantulas and scorpions. Her brother used to tease her puppy when they were growing up, so she took to heart the line from Lilo & Stitch: "something that can defend itself, something that won't die."
Origin: Her father was in the army, so Gabrielle grew up on and off a variety of bases. She wanted to serve her country, but preferred a more subtle approach, so she went into politics as an intern, which got her into espionage. She used intensive training to hone her skills to compete on a super level if needed.
Uniform: Business suit.
Qualities: Master (+6) Politics, Master (+6) Spy, Expert (+4) Gunplay, Expert (+4) Hacker, Expert (+4) Smart, Good (+2) Card Shark, Good (+2) Exotic Pets, Good (+2) Martial Arts, Good (+2) Observant, Good (+2) Talent Scout, Good (+2) Tough
Poor (-2) Trust Issues
Motivation: Cloak and dagger keeps the country safe.
Dvorak (Imogen Kron) -- She has fair skin, dark blue eyes, and short wild white hair like milkweed fluff. Her hair used to be a slighter darker platinum blonde, a little thicker and more manageable. When she developed superpowers, it moulted over the course of a few weeks and came in much finer, a pure silver-white. Imogen has a heart-shaped face and a tall slender body, but generous cleavage for her size. She is an only child.
Imogen lives in Rain City. She has a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in nanotechnology from North Seattle College. For a foreign language, she took Esperanto. She loves movies, especially science fiction ones, and collects movie posters. One of her favorites is The Little Ninja. Dvorak wants to be rich and powerful. Also she just kind of loves playing with people. Beautiful and sexy, she doesn't hesitate to use seduction to get what she wants. However, she can just as well take it by subterfuge or force. Her nemesis is Qwerty, and Dvorak usually runs rings around her.
Origin: Her powers developed after using a metagenic vaccine base called Aegis. It causes about 1 in 100,000 people to develop Super-Immunity, and about 1 in 1,000,000 to develop additional superpowers.
Uniform: On-duty she wears a hip-length cape of white capery, a utility belt, and a catsuit of platinum dexflan with a round boob window. A glowing blue ring around the rim of the boob window makes the "Power" symbol: Her white boots have heels high enough to look sexy, but low enough to run and fight in effectively. Off-duty she enjoys wearing fashionable clothes, and her favorite pair of earrings resemble paperclips. However, she dresses for locale, so often that means business chic. In the workshop she changes to a slim jumpsuit with many pockets and a tool belt.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Computer Wizard, Expert (+4) Corporate Espionage, Expert (+4) Sexy, Good (+2) City Girl, Good (+2) Concentration, Good (+2) Geek, Good (+2) Logical, Good (+2) Movie Fan, Good (+2) Ninjutsu
Poor (-2) Dealing with Nature
Powers: Average (0) Super-Gizmology, Average (0) Super-Immunity, Average (0) Super-Intellect
Motivation: Money and power.
* * *
A hacker is someone with enough computer skill to break in where they aren't wanted. In general use, this tends to mean for malicious reasons; but in hacker use, they prefer the term cracker for destructive programmers. A computer wizard goes beyond even those levels, able to do anything that computers can do -- and sometimes even things they couldn't.
Hackers have a general style, and it is often possible to recognize one from their unique personal style, as Capricorn describes here.
Dear Rapid City, this is for that "No Indians" sign I saw in a store back in the mid-1980s. (The place has a deep history of racism, which continues today.) In T-America, Rabid City is virulently anti-soup. They're driving out their superheroes, and even the more rational supervillains. It's not going well for them.
Self-modifying code is often considered dangerous now, but used to be a normal and necessary part of computing. It is now used by some of the more sophisticated hackers to foil pursuit, cover their tracks, or wriggle into impossible places.
Intellectual intimacy is often described as part of marriage but applies to platonic relationships too. For many people this is a core need.