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NEXUS

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Sol System, Undisclosed Location, Timestamp Redacted [Message Received] [Encoded – Input Passcodes] [Code Accepted – Decrypting]

Theseus, we need emergency alternatives – and I mean like a week ago! Every Legionnaire, Norça killer and combat-worthy Orgotek employee is committed to the

asteroid belt – and we’re seeing casualty rates in excess of 42%. Nearly one out of every pair of psions is dying or out of it, and our non-powered regulars are worse. Our defense in depth has only lasted this long.

The Aberrants are just

too much. Too powerful, too

many and those we take down just burn themselves out with Taint forces to return ten times the interest. We’re

preparing for a retreat, but we can’t get to Mars and break contact – and we can’t just leave it to the freak titans. If something doesn’t ward them off or shift the bal-

ance

I’ll leave it there.

One more thing. I’ve told them it’s absurd, but

between you and me

no. We need him. He’s #*%(@$> @*%**%)#@$ Dammit, fall back and cover the Final Perimeter---

2r481848!E

[Message Ends]

did they get him? Max Mercer. No,

Æon Trinity Secure Covert Facility, Location Classified,

2128.03.15

The power and lighting had been reduced down to the minimum required for operation in this area. With Earth itself under attack from advance infiltrators of the Aberrant invasion, sabotage had crippled much of the infrastruc- ture on the planet. Every bit of power was being diverted towards the essential defense and support systems as the

Aeon Trinity braced for the final battle. Sitara Prahaman wasn't bothered by the lack of light, really. The bioware, boxy and backpack-like, seemed more burdensome than the dimness. The datapod in her arms felt more like a baby, so much that she cradled it automat- ically. She fought the urge to find a blanket for it, or raise it to her breast. Even those impulses didn't trigger her grief. She'd been floating in a cocoon of emptiness since she'd lost Ramul and their two children. She wasn't the only one who had lost someone when the Aberrant armada surged out of the void and overran everything in the outer systems but she'd heard them say she was the worst. Depressed, they called it. She called it dead. Even amidst all the hell and horror, her mental state was a particular concern to her kin in the ISRA psi order. There were whispers she might do something drastic. I should have been there, she thought again, cradling the datapod. She'd thought it before, many times. She'd been on Earth, seeking a promotion when the monsters had come out of the dark. She'd once had the cold comfort of knowing that her husband had fought to protect his family and system; that her children had merely been in the wrong place. Her handlers had told her it was so mean- ingless, not that they realized it. Ramul's death had meant nothing. Her children had been victims for no reason. Not that they were going to admit it out loud, much less in public. The handlers and technicians couldn't lie to her perceptions, no matter what their mouths said. The Colony was going to kill or convert every last human being in the Solar System. Such a threat bred the desperation measures used here. Time travel. Was that really possible? she won- dered without any true curiosity. The Trinity said it was, but according to her briefer, whatever proof they had did not equate to surety in the bioware assigned her. She suspected that was why they had specified her for this operation. A powerful telesthesiac, with the ennui she had developed after her loss; a person who would take risks that even the most dedicated Legionnaires might not, because she couldn't care.

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They were wrong. She cared, because if she suc- ceeded, Ramul, Jiaan and Warun would be alive. She could have her family back, and that hope sustained her through this insanity. That was why she stood in the black circle, painted crudely on the floor in haste. This was her only hope and she was crazy enough to take it. “Traveler in position,” a voice came across the speak- ”

ers. “Traveler, attune in 5

Sitara spread her mind and touched the bioware, drawing it in. Her arms clutched tighter, and she thought of Warun's warm weight in her arms when she fed him. Soon, darling, she promised as she closed her eyes, and all sensation ceased. The sudden loss of her senses sent panic surging through her. After a heartbeat of fear, she realized she could still feel her fingers digging into the bioware. Tactile

senses remained, but she was in a void bereft of all else, feeling shaken about like a leaf in a monsoon. There was no stability, no security. Then her acute mind somehow sensed a presence across the emptiness, beautiful and as familiar as her own. Ramul! It was her lost beloved, somehow screaming across the abyss. “Sitara, help!” She reached for him and lost her hold on the bioware. The datapod was ripped from her grasp and everything dissolved into stillness.

4

French Guiana, Cayenne, Petit Maharashtracha,

2030.07.29

Sitara blinked, trying to focus on the round lights overhead. Her eyes didn't want to focus; but her ears were giving her the distant murmur of voices, something beating on wood, and an odd sizzling sound. She could smell an overwhelming cacophony of spices: turmeric, cardamom, cumin, oregano and more. The floor under her fingers was smooth, paint over concrete she thought. A door opened and the sounds became louder, while the smell of cooking food filled her nose. She heard a gasp and the clatter of a metal bowl hitting the floor, then the door slammed shut. Groaning, Sitara sat up, keeping her eyes shut against the stupid lights. Her mind raced as she determined her next step: find out where she was, so that she could locate the datapod. That was the priority. The door opened again, and Sitara's gaze snapped up. A slight man with sienna skin entered the room, easing the door shut behind him. He was confident and calm, his

aura of authority aided by the business suit he wore. Every- thing about him said he was a competent professional, a man used to getting his way. “Sitara Prahaman?” he asked in French-accented words. More interesting was his warm, genial voice, one that was inclined to make the listener like him. She could hear the odd vibrations in his tone that induced changes in her brain, encouraging endorphins to rise and serotonin

to fall. She allowed herself to relax externally, knowing that was what he wanted her to do. Narrowing her eyes, Sitara said, “Yes, I am. How did you know that?” “We found your picture in the datapod.” He smiled slightly. “I am Claude Lefort.”

A very French name but not a very French face. He

wasn't being forthcoming, and Sitara saw he was waiting for something. “You didn't answer me.” His smile widened. “I'm waiting for the right question. Or questions.” He had remarkably good control over his facial fea- tures, but she could perceive the tremble in the muscles

that denoted anticipation. She gathered all the intel she'd been absorbing-- --the scent of heat and tropical life when the door

opened--

--his obvious grace suggested martial training-- --the spice in the foods in the kitchen-- --the Paphinia cristata pollen clinging to his shoes--

--his wrists were too fine, even for an effeminate man, and he had no adam's apple-- --his accent wasn't perfectly French; she could hear subtle Creole influences, Haitian or possibly French

Guiana--

--the scent of copper -- a badge on him, somewhere-- --the scraps of bark caught in his cuff had the unique smell of Tabebuia serratifolia-- “Why am I in northern South America? Do you have orchids around your house or your workplace?” she asked, turning her burnt umber eyes on him. “Why is a transman

in a position of authority currently withholding information from me? Why do you drink Yellow Lapacho tea? Who do you work for?” His smile became a grin, and Sitara knew she'd passed

a test.

some actual, useful information?”

“Now if we’re done with tests, can I please get

“Yes, but please allow my friend, Basil, to prepare you

a meal,” Lefort answered smoothly.

“I don’t have time for a meal,” she snapped, “I have-”

She stopped short as she caught a faint, familiar vibration in the air. Her skin crawled at the sensation. “You’re an aberrant,” she hissed, drawing away from him. “Yes, I am a nova. I was disguised as a baseline so as

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ABERRANT

not to distress you,” he said, his voice pitched to trigger the release of ghrelin, a hormone that reduced stress. “I don’t intend to deceive you, either.” “I don’t have time for this,” she growled, standing up despite the vertigo. “We have the datapod,” Lefort said, the tone of his voice still mitigating her hormones and forcing her to feel better. “We’ve had it for decades. Now, will you come out into the restaurant and let me explain everything?” Sitara weighed her options. She was no match for an aberrant, physically, and if they had the datapod anyway, then all was lost. If they knew about it, then they had already abused the information within it. All is lost, and none of this matters. “Okay,” she agreed, rising smoothly to her feet. She should be planning to escape, but she had no interest. The mission was lost, and with it, all her hopes. Lefort took her out through a kitchen; the gleaming space was empty of people, though Sitara could smell the dozen or so that regularly worked there. Deeper in the room, out of sight but not out of range of her enhanced perceptions, she heard someone breathing and moving. I wonder if that is Basil or an attacker. Again, the thought didn’t move her. The dining area of the restaurant was welcoming, with bright, warm reds and oranges. Sitara felt her body react to the colors, combining with the smell of food and signaling her brain that she should eat. Lefort guided her to a table and held out a chair for her. She sat listlessly, wondering when they would kill her. Her host sat across from her and folded his hands. “I’m sure you have questions,” he started. “No,” she said, catching the muscle twitches that indi- cated surprise. “You have the datapod.” “And you believe that we’re playing with you until we kill you.” Lefort sighed and sat back in the chair. “Sitara, I would never harm you. It’s long been a dream of mine to meet you. You have changed our world.” She frowned. “I don’t understand.” “The information on your datapod.” He leaned for- ward as a man exited the kitchen, balancing two trays. As he approached, she again felt that horrid vibration: the chef was no man, but another hidden monster. The chef was tall and lean; with broad African features, soft ochre skin and neatly restrained braids. He smiled proudly as he set the trays down with a flourish. “Naan bread with garlic and fried red and green chilli chutney, kavathachi chutney, and cilantro mint coconut chutney.” Sitara considered the food, and Lefort laughed. “Here.” He took pieces of bread and tried all of the chut- neys, one by one, eating them with delight. “No poison.” “I know,” she said. “I can smell poisons. I was trying to

determine what the payment for this feast would be, and whether I’m willing to pay it.” Lefort sighed and glanced at the chef, who shrugged. “The file said she was stubborn,” the man said with a Cock- ney accent. “I’m glad you’re the one who has to explain it to her, and I just get to make the food.” “Thanks, Basil,” Lefort snorted. “Explain what?” Sitara asked sharply, and Basil bowed and quietly left. “Your situation,” the transman answered, sympathy tinging his professional demeanour. “Allow me to tell you what happened with the datapod.” “Do I have a choice?” she queried irritably, wishing he’d start the torture or whatever horrors they had planned for her. “Yes.” There was no dishonesty or prevarication in his

voice or eyes; the latter were locked onto hers with all the intensity of a quantum-powered personality. “I asked out of courtesy, and I meant it. If you don’t wish to hear, we’ll sit here in silence, until the end.” Her gut clenched and she couldn’t hide her dread. “The end of what?” Lefort leaned forward, his gaze entreating. “Let me tell you gently, please.” She nodded and he drew a breath. “The datapod arrived twenty years ago. It was found by a young scientist who knew immediately that he held some- thing of value. He took it to friends of his at his university, and together they determined how to access the data. When they read what it contained, the group voted to release the data onto the OpNet.” “It created a media firestorm the likes of which had never been seen before. The citizens of the world rose as one in their outrage, demanding answers and justice,” Lefort continued. “Many political figures and businessfolk saw their careers and freedom end with the revelation of their hidden crimes. Divis Mal and his Teragen left this universe rather than tear Earth apart, and the Taint-mad novas were taken along with them. The man who would’ve

become the Colony was killed in a

before he ever erupted. The guilty among the Aeon Council, along with those pulling its strings, were tried and convicted of crimes against humanity at the Hague. Your datapod was the ruin of them all.” Lefort gave her a ghost of a smile. “The remaining novas have largely left Earth for the human colony worlds, though a few of us stayed. We work under the auspices of the United Nations, covertly of course. We are here to find, help, and evacuate any new eruptees before they disrupt this old world’s fragile balance. There’s a global recession from the colonizations, but there will be no Aberrant War.” “It worked?” Sitara breathed, unsure if she should trust him. Her senses told him that he was being honest, but his

traffic accident

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words were too good to be true. What’s the catch? With aberrants, there was always a catch. “Not without a price.” Her dinner companion swal- lowed tightly and said, “You’re a global hero, Sitara. Your name was given to thousands of baby girls on Earth and the colony worlds last year. But the future you knew is gone. It has been replaced by ours.” “That was the point,” she said sharply as Basil came out again, bearing glasses of Lassi for them to drink. Sitara’s eyebrows rose when she sipped it: the blended yogurt drink had been whipped to a perfect foam, and she could taste the cumin. “To erase the nightmare we lived in and replace it with something better.” “That future never existed, Sitara.” Lefort took a single drink and set his glass aside. “You are a temporal phan- tom. Now that we’ve made those changes, you shouldn’t be here, and neither should the datapod. In the case of the datapod, we have the information from it, but-” He cut himself off and pressed his hands together, gathering his composure. “You are not a thing to be copied. We will lose you unless we take precautions.” “Precautions?” Sitara repeated dumbly, her head swirling with the dire information. The scientists had talked about this and told her it might happen, but they’d assured her that she’d have time to root herself in the new world. “The timeline here - it crystallized already?” Lefort nodded. “Yes,” he said softly, “it did. We can do a number of things for you: create a new body, use nova powers to protect you, or move you to an alternate timeline that is in the process of crystallizing. We’re pre-

pared to do any-” “No,” she said softly. “Not unless you can assure me that Ramul, Jiaan, and Warun would be there.” “I can’t do that, not without lying to you.” Lefort dropped the piece of naan bread, his appetite lost. “You can’t know that you’ll be reunited with your family.” “When I was in the timestream and became separated from the datapod, I heard my husband.” Sitara understood now; Ramul was out in the temporal void, seeking her and the children. She would go to him, and bring her family together again. Lefort rubbed his eyes, forcing back a hint of tears. “I had hoped we could save you, but that is your choice to make. What do you need in the meantime?” “Nothing,” she told him. She studied him for a moment before smiling. “Thank you. I needed to know that my mission was a success. That’s all I need before I - what, pass on?” “Aside from our copies of the information from the datapod, it will be as if you never existed,” Lefort said. “Oblivion. Are you sure?” “I am,” she said. Basil came out from the kitchen, his tray loaded with Bharli Vangi and a side of Aamti. “Did you intentionally pick foods from my homeland?” she asked the chef.

“No, I grew up in Mumbai.” He grinned. “Just like you, Mrs. Prahaman.” “You are very good,” she assured him. As he dipped his head in acknowledgement, she added, “I couldn’t have asked for a better last meal.”

As he dipped his head in acknowledgement, she added, “I couldn’t have asked for a better

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INTRODUCTION

 

Here Be Dragons

the novas’ own “larger than life” status - so too have the potential gains and threats they offer. Faced with all those endless possibilities, only one thing is certain: wherever or whenever novas go, there will be conflict.

What is Aberrant: Nexus?

From the earliest days of human exploration, this saying has (supposedly) been used in travelers’ tales and on sailors’ maps to denote places where literally anything could happen, for good or ill. There fortunes could be made, treasures were to be had, mysteries were to be found - sometimes also solved - and new discoveries could be made. It was also in those places where explorers could easily lose their wealth, their freedom and their very lives due to their own bad judgment or simple misfortune. Likewise, the various activities of explorers have often had remarkable consequences for their own loved ones and their homelands. Wealth reaped from foreign lands enriched families and regimes alike, while new lands could be traded with, colonized and/or conquered if the local regime was willing and able to do so. The loss of wealth used to fund failed voyages of exploration imperiled many explorers’ families and the regimes that supported them. Also, travels into unknown territories carried the risk of explorers running into cultures more advanced and just as rapacious - if not more so - than their own, making it possible for their homelands to be conquered and colonized by a hostile foreign culture. Explorers could also imperil their homelands directly by inadvertently acting as vectors to spread exotic new diseases and vermin, possibly leading to the deaths of millions of people, innocent and otherwise. This state of affairs has changed only little in the Nova Age, as the definition of “unknown territories” - for novas, at least - has merely shifted to indicate extrasolar space, other time periods and alternate universes instead of the remote regions of Earth. And as the range of unknown territories for novas to explore has increased exponentially - as if to match

This RPG Post fanbook for Aberrant is the guide to expanding the reach of your Aberrant chronicle to cover the rest of the Aeon Continuum game settings and beyond. The overall metaplot of the Aeon Continuum timelines is presented. The possibilities and dangers of both time travel and crosstime travel are examined, along with the nature of the multiple timeline clusters which make up the Aeon Continuum. Those singular figures whose actions have shaped the entire Aeon Continuum are given a closer look. Crossover mechanics for Adventure! and Trinity are established, allowing Aberrant characters to directly experience all the wonders, horrors and strangeness of the Inspiration and Noetic Eras for themselves. Advice and guidelines for playing and Storytelling in high-powered Aberrant chronicles are provided. New ways for the Storyteller to challenge players in such chronicles are also discussed. The lesser-known effects of unfocused Telluric energy on the environment are looked over. New capabilities and options of use to novas traveling in time and/or the Omniverse are offered for your perusal. A brief overlook of what Aberrant players and Storytellers can expect to encounter in chronicles involving extrasolar and noetic space are laid out. And finally, we give a close examination

of what may prove to be one of the most potent alien threats to humankind in the entire Aeon Continuum: the Doyen. The doors have been revealed

 

Passage, immediate passage! The blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! Hoist instantly the anchor!

 

and are ready to be opened. The choice of whether or not to open a door and take that first, fatal step is up to the players. Exactly where that step will lead their characters is up to the Storyteller. The possibilities - both for good and ill - are limitless.

Cut

the hawsers haul out shake out every sail!

Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough? Have we not groveled here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes? Have we not darkened and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

-- excerpt from “Passage to India”, by Walt Whitman

 

INTRODUCTION

5

ABERRANT

Lexicon

Aeon Continuum (in-game): The specific Multiverse where the three static cosms and the infinite number of associated universes (read: the canon settings and all of their possible variants) for the first editions of Adventure!, Aberrant and Trinity are located. Alternate Universes: All universes other than that of one’s origin. Also known as “parallel realities” and “alternate timelines”, depending on one’s preferences for either time travel or crosstime travel. Backup: A standard cosm that is a time-delayed and near-perfect reflection of another one for all practical purposes. Very much sought after as an emigration destination by refugees from dystopian universes and future times. Dead Universe: A universe that cannot support any form of life - Terran-descended or otherwise - for varied and different reasons. These universes are typically far more numerous, fragile, malleable and short-lived than the zoetic universes, and often act as protective buffers for them against multi-universal collisions and similar hazards found in the subquantum stratum. Dead universes can be transformed into zoetic universes either through use of the

Astromanipulation quantum power at the highest rating or as an accidental byproduct of a collision with a zoetic universe. Doing the reverse and turning a zoetic universe into a dead universe requires either use of the Universe Destruction quantum power or for an extremely rare natural disaster to arise in the subquantum medium. Exile: Any being from a formerly zoetic universe who has managed to escape being destroyed along with it. Interface: A point in the spacetime of one universe where (and when) it comes into contact with another. Can be created either by the collision of a dead universe with the affected zoetic universe or through use of the Interface Manipulation quantum power or an equivalent hypertechnology. Intruder: Any time traveler or crosstime traveler in times or universes other than his or her own. Mirage: One of the many possible future timeline branches that exist beyond a given timeline’s nexus. These potential eras are highly unstable and prone to being greatly altered or even wiped out of their already tenuous existence by events taking place during or prior to their timeline’s nexus. Multiverse: A static cosm and its associated standard

during or prior to their timeline’s nexus. Multiverse: A static cosm and its associated standard 6

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INTRODUCTION

 

ABERRANT

 

cosms. There is no limit to the number of standard cosms a static cosm may have attached to it. Nexus: The general point in a timeline where the future has not yet crystallized out of quantum probability. Beyond a given timeline’s nexus, the future is highly amenable to being changed. Prior to the timeline’s nexus, the future is highly resistant to change and tends to reassert itself against any attempted changes. A nexus advances into the future along with the ordinary passage of time in a given timeline. The Omniverse: The totality of the subquantum medium and all of its resident multiverses, including the Aeon Continuum. Rough estimates place the Omniverse outside of the Aeon Continuum and Trinity Continuum (see below) as comprising at least 99.9999999% of the total “area” of the subquantum medium as a whole. Most of its universes are the dead universes, which although short-lived are continually being created. Phantom: Any item or being hailing from a mirage, often encountered through use of time travel past a timeline’s nexus. They are very likely to be altered considerably or vanish into nonexistence if the circumstances supporting their “history” are altered. These entities are known to have achieved permanent existence by two methods: either emigrating to alternate universes other than those of their origin and residing there for an extended length of time, or through having certain quantum powers used on them. Also called “zero-time ghosts”. Standard Cosm: Any zoetic univese that has “budded off” from a supporting static cosm. These universes can be entered, their sapient inhabitants possess free will and their timelines progress normally.

Static Cosm: The inflexible “support structure” of

a

group of related standard cosms. Almost a true zoetic

universe in its own right, except that the course of history in

it

cannot be changed by any means and in that it endlessly

repeats only a single portion of its timeline. The inhabitants are pre-programmed robots following a script instead of free-willed sapients. Static cosms cannot be entered, although they can be viewed from outside of them with the appropriate means. Their inhabitants can be “summoned” -

more accurately, “copied” - from a static cosm with certain quantum powers. A static cosm cannot be destroyed by anything, up to and including the most potent of quantum powers and subquantum disturbances. Terran Continuum: The range of Zoetic Universes in

or

which some recognizable version of Earth exists, has existed

will exist, depending on said universes’ individual timeline nexii. These universes may or may not contain some version

or

of

humanity and/or human civilization. As a subsection of the

Omniverse, the Terran Continuum is of indeterminate “size” and has been known to fluctuate rapidly. Timeline: Any alternate universe when seen from the perspective of a time traveler. Trinity Continuum (in-game): a currently inchoate, unstable and inaccessible “funhouse mirror image” of the Aeon Continuum. It is speculated that in due “time”, travel between the Trinity and Aeon Continua will be possible once the universes comprising the Trinity Continuum stabilize themselves. A.K.A. the upcoming Adventure!, Aberrant and Aeon gamelines to be published by Onyx Path. Zoetic Universe: Any universe capable of supporting lifeforms, Terran-descended or otherwise. Considered to be the default variety of alternate universe by the uninformed. Zoetic universes can and do reproduce themselves naturally by “budding” off new daughter zoetic universes from a parent universe’s black holes.

 

Sail forth steer for the deep water

only,

 

Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee and thou with me,

For we are bound whither mariner

has not yet dared to go,

And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

-- excerpt from “Passage

to India”, by Walt Whitman

 

INTRODUCTION

7

ABERRANT Margaret Mercer Personal Log Private Memo - Hardcopy Only January 14 th , 1976
ABERRANT
Margaret Mercer Personal Log
Private Memo - Hardcopy Only
January 14 th , 1976
Margaret -
It’s your Uncle Whitley writing to you here, kiddo. If you’re reading this, then hopefully you’re alive, healthy and
chomping at the bit to do something that matters with your
life. That’s how I felt when I was your age, at least. I realize that
receiving a letter straight out of the blue from someone long buried may come as something of a shock to you, so let me
apologize beforehand. There’s a very good reason why you’re getting this “blast from the past”, so please don’t dismiss this
as the final rantings of a crazy old man. There is more to all this than you’ve been told, and your family history is a big part
of it.
I’m not sure if you remember me all that well, as you were still a very young girl when I went out of circulation. Your
father promised me that you’d be told all he could share about your grandfather Max and the adventures that I had with him
and our companions. It’s true that our little band did a lot of
and Forties. What you have to remember is that we were all
good things throughout the decades of the Twenties, Thirties
human and imperfect, meaning that we made our fair share of
mistakes along the way. The consequences of our victories, mistakes and failures are still affecting the culture you’re living in
and will do so for decades to come.
The organization that grew out of our old group isn’t much different in their ability to shape our world for good or
ill. The difference between us and them is this: the organization Max Mercer founded has strayed far from the ideals your
grandfather set for them to follow. I had the displeasure of personally watching it happen after your father’s death. The cor-
ruption started in small ways, but it grew fast and strong as our older hands either retired or died out over the years. Æon is
no longer the force for progress and the champion of the general welfare of humanity that it was supposed to be. It is now
just another secret group attempting to control the world and the people who live in it.
So why am I telling you all of this? Easy answer: you’re Margaret Mercer. Your family name still carries a lot of weight
among those in the know about Æon. The Æon Council knows this and wants to recruit you in order to lend themselves
some phony legitimacy, although they’d never admit it to your face. One way or another, they will find a way to bring you in
- Æon has lots of influence in the most surprising sections of
If you’re feeling trapped by the snakepit I’ve described,
society.
don’t be. You have allies within Æon who still retain your grand-
father’s ideals, although they do so in secret. Your father introduced you to Professor Schnelling once, right? Look her up
first thing after you finish reading this file. In private, tell her that Styles wanted you to ask her about Project Pandora, then
give her the files you’re reading now. She will help you learn
how to work in Æon and build a loyal power base within their
ranks. And you will be needing that power base, young lady. Max Mercer had many secrets, and one of them is this: he will
return to fix what has gone wrong with Æon. And he will need your help in achieving that. If he wants to find me, just show
him my grave. Then he’ll let you in on one of my secrets.
One final note: to understand how just far Æon has fallen, you have to understand its origins. That in turn requires you
to understand everything about Max Mercer. That includes his history, his psychology, his strengths and most importantly his
failings. Remember what I wrote earlier about our choices having world-shaping consequences? The choice described in the
report this note is attached to is a classic example. Never limit yourself to just learning from your own mistakes, Margaret.
Learn from the mistakes of others as well. Humanity’s future could depend on it.
8
ABERRANT Internal Æon Society Missive ABOVE TOP SECRET - Babel Dossier - File #07g-1975-9-20-Q •
ABERRANT
Internal Æon Society Missive
ABOVE TOP SECRET - Babel Dossier - File #07g-1975-9-20-Q • EYES ONLY
Arena: Æon Council
Status: Restricted
Author: Dr. Cosette Hebert, PhD
Subject: Æon Council, current disposition and recommendations
Minimum Security Rating: [REDACTED]
Final Summation: Mr. Styles, Æon has strayed so far from the ideals set forth by Maxwell Mercer that it has become a
twisted mockery of its former self. The only consolation that I can offer you is that the corruption engendered by the new
guard of the Æon Council is far from complete. I expect you know those noble holdouts better than I do, so I won’t discuss
them further. Instead, I offer my recommendations on what must be done to remedy the situation. Put simply, the current
Æon Council and their supporters must be purged and driven
to end the threat they pose to humanity as a whole.
out of power by any means necessary. Nothing less will suffice
As to the root cause of Æon’s ongoing dilemma? After going over the files you so kindly provided, I am forced to posit
the culprit as being none other than Max Mercer himself. The
cause you asked me to identify is his unfortunate tendency to
view other people through the proverbial rose-colored glasses. From what I can tell, Mr. Mercer always preferred to see the
potential for goodness in those around him instead of taking a realistic view of them. This failing negatively affected his life
in three ways, detailed below.
1- While Mercer encouraged people to attain their potential - such as the both of us did - others failed to do so and
disappointed him. Mercer also never realized that most who failed to reach that potential saw him as a constant reminder
of their failure and apparent lesser worth as human beings. This led in turn to those people developing a burning hatred of
Mercer and all he stood for, which was usually concealed behind a veneer of politeness.
2- Mercer’s rose-colored viewpoint also led him to be overly merciful toward his foes, the great majority of whom did
not merit any such consideration. Taking advantage of his vain hopes of rehabilitating or reforming them, many of these
miscreants went on to inflict much unwarranted suffering on the public at large.
3- Finally and perhaps most damning, Mercer’s viewpoint
caused him to misjudge the character of people that he
should not ever have trusted with anything. He picked the wrong people to carry on his work, and they repaid his trust by
perverting his organization.
On a final note, there is one horrid little lagniappe to point out. Having looked over the transcripts of your discussions
with Mercer, there is no indication whatsoever that he ever understood this failing of his in the slightest degree. Mercer may
not even be truly capable of ever making that mental breakthrough. If he does somehow return as you’ve hinted in our pri-
vate discussions, it is imperative that Mercer not be allowed unfettered control over Æon’s affairs should he regain control of
the organization. He will have to have equals on hand to correct the errors caused by his unique viewpoint. Blindly trusting
in his apparent wisdom will only cause Æon and humanity as a whole much uncalled for troubles.
9

Chapter One:

The Aeon Continuum

Chapter Three: Storytelling

What follows is a best attempt at outlining the

overarching metaplot - the structure that supports and

links So, all three think you’re of the smart Aeon enough Continuum to handle game settings some of - the as

a

smart you are, there are some challenges to incorporating metaplot resembles the full potential is at adhered first of to Mega-Mental the to, casual only used reader. Attributes as a Whether general into your or indication not Aber- the

of rant what chronicle. may happen This chapter without looks positive at them actions and on ways the you player can characters’ handle them part without or simply making tossed your out players the window regret those has been nova

left points gence to the or they Mega-Perception. individual spent on Storytellers giving We’ll their and also characters players consider in an Mega-Intelli- the Aberrant possibil- chronicle. ity of chronicles based on novas with primarily Mega-Mental Attributes rather than the traditional kick-ass quantum

smartest coherent people whole the instead world of has the ever disjointed seen? conglomerate No matter how it

The Pre-Hammersmith Epoch

powers.

Any More Bright Ideas?

st

Prior to the pivotal experiment of Doctor Sir Calvin

, 1922; Inspired activity was

Hammersmith on July 21

Odds are, after reading this book, you’ll have your

sporadic, own ideas erratic on how and to almost handle always Mega-Mental inexplicable. Attributes With in

the your exception game and of some the twists ancient on Chinese, the game none rules of and the source early

civilizations material. By all had means, any real use them! comprehension Maybe you of want Inspiration to make

and Kuro-Tek its effects. and the As Directive for the into Chinese, puppets while of a they world-spanning did figure

out conspiracy, some of with the a basic Mega-Intelligent mechanics of nova Inspiration, pulling the their strings. low

level Or you of want scientific to have understanding the most Mega-Perceptive - in comparison novas to that start of

modern going mad times because - prevented they keep them sensing from developing something, anything some-

beyond thing too basic horrible noetic for principles their minds and the to cope advanced with, techniques that other

incorporated people can’t see, with hiding their formal in the martial shadow arts. of what we call reality.

Whatever Combined you want with to the do relatively with your Aberrant undeveloped chronicle, nature take of

the Mazarin-Rashoud gene sequence at the time, these

it

circumstances One particular made area for brief where periods you might of time want where to mess the

exploits around is of in the the local places Inspired White - as Wolf opposed can’t. Two to time major traveling things

Inspired limit official from Aberrant later eras products. - spawned First, a multitude the need of legends to maintain and

myths in the oral and written histories. Few of these ancient

certain “baseline” world (no pun intended) that cleaves to

Inspired the history ever of produced the future any in Trinity Inspired and offspring, of the past ensuring in Adven- that

the ture! mutation Just because would remain White Wolf dormant isn’t in going almost to all have of its China carriers go

until the early 20

to war with the rest of the world or have Earth invaded by a

the parallel vast timeline majority in were Aberrant daredevils. doesn’t Whether mean that these you ancient can’t.

Inspired Second, were White considered Wolf is limited “heroes” by copyright or “villains” in terms depended of what

on who one was talking to. The intensely tribal nature of

can add to the Aberrant mix. Do you want to have a nova

it

human who thinks society he’s - a which certain developed Man of Steel into (and nationalism has the around powers

modern to match)? times Time-Warner - meant that probably the heroes wouldn’t of any like given it if White tribe

would Wolf did certainly it, but be you seen can. as Want villains some by the of H.P. others. Lovecraft’s Eventually, cre-

the ations rising to drop power in? of Dig technology out your other distracted books many and introduce humans

from your novas their old to what’s myths beyond while providing the quantum a solid level foundation of reality. of In

a

and run with it.

th

Century. Of those few who did manifest,

scientific short, this understanding game is a tool for for your comprehending imagination, not their the world. other

That way around. it would eventually lead to the sparking of new modern

myths and legends is just another historical irony.

Theme

The Hammersmith Event

Theme is what the overall story is “about,” the mean-

ing it imparts. The major theme Aberrant explores is one of

power and what people do with it, summed up in the tagline

Hammersmith, “What would you the do global with the state power of of Inspired a god?” affairs Mega-Men- was

changed forever on July 21

tal characters offer the opportunity to explore this and many

Thanks

to

the

recklessness

of

Doctor

Sir

Calvin

st

,

1922. A select group of

witnesses other themes. to the activation of the Hammersmith Engine

were inadvertently empowered, becoming powerful

Responsibility

It’s

an

old line

Inspired beings. Two of these augmented humans merit

“with great power comes great

special mention. First, the genius prodigy Michael Daemon

Donighal responsibility.” underwent Perhaps eruption more into than a any full nova, other although novas, those his

capabilities with Mega-Mental at that time abilities were have nothing the potential too special to transform by Nova

Age the world, standards. because Second, they Maxwell can conceive Anderson of things Mercer that literally no one

vanished before them from ever the has scene and, of more the explosion, importantly, becoming they can both make

permanently those things unstuck a reality. in That’s time a and tremendous hurled two power, full decades and an

into awesome the future. responsibility. Finding How himself do novas in the handle backyard it? With of his so

parents’ many problems Chicago in brownstone, the world, where Mercer do was they then choose faced to apply with

his their own abilities older first? self, What backed do up they by identify several members as problems of the and

Aeon how do Society. they propose to solve them? What if some people

don’t The agree elder with Max the Mercer solution proceeded they come to up (mis)educate with? his

younger The counterpart key element as to of the this nature theme of is their your shared actions powers, have

the consequences. global circumstances When you’re that he tremendously would face and powerful, the future your

We’ve

of humanity. Both the younger and elder Mercers falsely

perceived pointed out their that, timeline in the comic as being books, a unitary the world thing never much really like

but

actions

often

have

tremendous

consequences.

thing never much really like but actions often have tremendous consequences. 10 CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON

10 CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

ABERRANT

 

a river; rather fluid where small details are concerned but quite inexorably rushing down its natural course. Armed with the erroneous future knowledge provided by his elder self, Mercer then unwittingly commited his greatest mistake, an act with literally universal consequences. By making his first time-jumps into Earth’s future eras, Mercer split his original timeline into three main timeline groups. Two of the said timeline groups had their nexii advanced by nearly one and two centuries further up their histories respectively, making them into concrete alternate futures of the original timeline. Unfortunately, the third timeline group was not unaffected by Mercer, as his unwitting initial time jump to 1943 made the development of Michael Daemon Donighal into Doctor Primoris (and later into Divis Mal), into a likely future probability. While Donighal’s metamorphosis could have been altered into something less dire for humanity, Mercer’s own mistaken beliefs about the nature of time prevented him from making any such efforts. There are two important facts to note about Mercer’s time-jumping at this point. The first is that as a side-effect of his temporal meddling, Mercer split his own lifestream into three branches of “incarnations” across the three timeline groups. The first branch is the Mercers who manifested in the Universe 1 timelines; who managed to arrive safely in 2122 and personally witness the Noetic Era. The second branch is comprised of the Mercers who manifested in the Universe 2 timelines. These unfortunates “rebounded” off the Norça telluric vortex of 2122, giving them the mistaken belief that the First Aberrant War would mean the certain destruction of Earth and the extinction of baseline humanity. The third branch represents the Mercers who manifested in the Universe 3 timeline group. Created from as a “telluric interference pattern” between the prior two branches, these Mercers received second-hand memories from both the Universe 1 and Universe 2 Mercers without advancing the Universe 3 nexii at all. The second fact is that Mercer made three separate time- jumps into the “alternate future” timeline groups. Mercer’s first time-jump landed him in 1998, at the time of the Galatea Disaster and just after Divis Mal’s creation of his own telluric vortex. The combined effects of Mercer’s arrival and Divis Mal’s telluric vortex actualized the timeline group, giving the Nova Age the firmest of foundations. It also made the history leading up to that point inevitable and impossible to alter. Mercer’s second time-jump to 2069 was not reinforced by any telluric energy events at that time, and so had a much more limited impact on the timeline group. This made the First Aberrant War into only a likely future probability of the Nova Age which could be averted with sufficient knowledge and effort, instead of an historical inevitability. Mercer’s third jump landed him in 2122, at the end of the early Noetic Era. The impact of this time-jump was also reinforced by a

third jump landed him in 2122, at the end of the early Noetic Era. The impact

telluric vortex - this one having been created by elements of Psi Order Norça - actualizing this timeline group. Aside from making their “past histories” inevitable and immutable, Mercer’s time-jumps had little additional effect.

The Adventure! Era

After completing his initial journeys, Mercer returned to what he thought of as his “present” in June of 1923 and began laying the foundations of the nascent Aeon Society for Gentlemen. With his personal guidance the original Aeon Society stayed true to Mercer’s founding goals of investigating Inspired phenomena, promoting social progress, defending the helpless against Inspired evildoers and maintaining the Aeon Society as a publicly transparent group. While mistakes were made - Mercer himself counted supporting Prohibition in the United States and failing to prevent the rise of the Nazis as two of his major ones - the Aeon Society generally acted for the common good during this time. It would not, and could not, last. Please note that past this point, the metaplot described need not apply to the Universe 3 timeline group. While the development of baseline Terran human society may be more-or-less set in stone, that of the Aeon Society and the Inspired in general is not.

Interregnum 1

As the Second World War drew to a close, so did the effects of Hammersmith’s Telluric Vortex. Faced with a natural decline in Inspired activity and growing official awareness of (and social hostility to) the same, the remaining members of the Aeon Society decided to adopt a policy of covering up everything Inspired from both public and governmental notice whenever possible. It was at this time that Mercer committed his second greatest mistake: picking the wrong people to replace the lost Aeon Society members. These successors had personal agendas which in time (and Mercer’s absence) would guide the Aeon Society much farther from its initial goals than Mercer himself would have ever allowed. Mercer’s departure in 1950 and the efforts of the corrupt U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy reinforced and developed

CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

11

 

ABERRANT

that policy into a full-fledged independent covert operation. The Aeon Society took to the darkness; becoming darker, more intrusive, prone to evil and ruthlessness themselves as a consequence. It was during this time (circa the late 1970’s) that the Proteus sub-group was retasked as a black ops group handling assassinations and other ethically reprehensible work.

Having been forewarned of the coming of the novas by Mercer’s writings, the Aeon Society had prepared the sub- organizations of what would become Project Utopia and the Triton Foundation long beforehand. The reformation of Aeon’s old Proteus sub-group into Project Proteus would be delayed to 1999, when Director Thetis made her “Thetis Proposal” to Justin J. Laragione and the Aeon Council. While maintaining a public façade of benevolence, the Aeon Council were actively working to prevent novas from becoming an established dominant factor in baseline human society while simultaneously exploiting them as much as possible. This in turn gave legitimacy to the anti-Utopia sentiments held by many in the Nova Age, adding heat to the already boiling pressure cooker that was baseline-nova relations in Terran society. Unless that metaphorical pressure cooker could somehow be vented, the situation would eventually degrade into the First Aberrant War. If the First Aberrant War comes to pass in your Aberrant chronicle, further details on the metaplot during that time can be found in “The Story So Far” section of the Trinity softcover. It’s also available online for free at various websites and can be found with a decent search engine. Past this point, the metaplot described need not apply to the Universe 2 timeline group.

The Nova Age

By the dawn of the Nova Age, the Aeon’s Society’s transformation was nearly complete and well-established, with only a few dissenting elements holding true to Mercer’s initial goals. Of the Aeon Council itself, only Margaret Mercer (Max Mercer’s granddaughter by way of Max’s son Michael) had refused to support the corruption of her fellow Council members. When Mercer himself arrived back on the scene in the mid 1990’s he was not pleased with what he found. Aided by Margaret Mercer and a rejuvenated Whitley Styles, Max began the long, slow task of regaining control over his wayward organization. His efforts would prove to be too late to prevent some dire consequences of Aeon’s corruption, however.

 

The Future Is Unwritten

   

To the casual reader of the Aeon Continuum core books,

Interregnum 2

the overarching metaplot of the three settings can appear to be “scripture carved in stone” which cannot be deviated from in

Describing the First Aberrant War is beyond the scope of this ebook, and is covered in both “The Story So Far” and on pp. 97-99 of the Aberrant: Teragen sourcebook. Of more interest are the actions of the Aeon Trinity during the Crash, as they sought to help rebuild nations and cultures wrecked by the First Aberrant War. Unfortunately for Aeon, caches of accurate historical records of that time period had escaped the devastation in various libraries and data archives, both private and public. Repeating history once again, Aeon attempts to edit history to their benefit. Desperate to strengthen their position as a global stabilizing force, the Aeon Council initiated Project Rewrite. Wherever their teams could get away with it - with Japan being one of the few exceptions where they couldn’t - those records are confiscated “for later public release”. Before that happens, Aeon carefully edits all mention of their own involvement with the novas, especially of their own misdeeds and atrocities committed against the nova population. For a time, all goes well with this until the dawn of the Noetic Age.

The Noetic Age

any

meaningful way, making the actions of the player characters

irrelevant in the greater scheme of things. While that can be

true

for certain Aberrant chronicles - namely those set in the

Universe 1 timelines - it bears repeating that in most Aberrant

chronicles, the metaplot is only an indicator of how events will

play

out if the player characters do not manage to somehow

change the global situation for the better. The players’ characters are not inhabitants of a static cosm - their actions are

not

predetermined in any way. Given sufficient ingenuity and

thinking outside the box of traditional superheroic conflict, the player characters can and should be able to change the setting in radical ways. With some serious diplomatic and political efforts, the players can achieve things that Divis Mal (much less Caestus Pax) could never hope to match. The Aberrant War

can

be prevented from breaking out, or at least redefined into

being just another conflict between baseline governments and power groups instead of a race war between novas and baseline humanity. Proteus and its supporters in the Aeon Society can be exposed and brought to justice, or at least prevented from harming any more innocents. Divis Mal and the Teragen might even be persuaded to leave Earth early to set up their own idealized nova-only society on one or more extrasolar colony worlds or in some baseline-free alternate universe.

The actions of Aeon in this time period are described well enough in “The Story So Far” and the various Trinity sourcebooks. At last notice, the Trinity sourcebooks were available in PDF format at DriveThruRPG.com.

12

CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

ABERRANT

The Aeon Continuum Timeline

-

especially as they make juicy targets for anti-communist

Seen below is our best attempt to fill in the enormous blank spots between the partial histories presented in the Adventure!, Aberrant and Trinity settings. For the sake of brevity and avoiding legal hassles - Aberrant: Nexus is an unofficial fanbook, after all - the aforementioned histories from the setting core books have not been reproduced here.

or anti-imperialist investigations - sometimes by becoming part of their local political hierarchies and hiding in plain sight. The physical effects of aging serve to put a brake on the activities of most of the other Inspired. In the First World nations, some of their offspring will briefly carry on

with their parents’ Inspired activities for larks - most often by digging out a handy gadget such as a flight pack out of

a

steamer trunk in the basement - but little comes of this

The Pre-Inspiration Period

save for discounted tall tales and reports of Fortean events. An alleged UFO crashlands on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico, and is quickly taken by the United States military. The event is ineptly covered up, and civilians are threatened by agents of the Federal government to remain silent about the event. 1948: The Aeon Society begins their covert efforts to cover up any and all Inspired activity in the First World nations. In the United States, these efforts take silent advantage of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunts for communists and leftist intellectuals to ensure that what few Inspired remain keep their existence well out of the notice of the government, the business community and the public at large. 1949: The spread of television and televised journalism brings further incentive for the Inspired and their offspring to remain discreet. 1950s: Maxwell Anderson Mercer vanishes, undertaking another one of his time travels. Hammersmith’s Telluric Vortex finally dies down, causing the disappearance or death (in the case of dinosaurs & the like) of the vast majority of the Inspired weirdness. New Inspired beings tend to be either offspring of existing Inspired or latents who come into direct contact with powerful Inspired beings and/or devices. Dramatic Editing is no longer available to most of the Inspired. United States intelligence agencies become aware of the KGB’s psychic warfare & espionage programs, which is primarily focused on investigating telepathy, Kirlian

auras and psychotronics. 1960s: An apparently natural increase in the number of Fortean Events and other Inspired weirdness occurs. In the United States and Western Europe, the emerging counterculture sparks a renewed popular interest in paranormal capabilities. This allows the surviving Inspired a slight degree of freedom for their activities, provided that they can be written off by witnesses as advertising stunts or drug-induced hallucinations. The first publicly recorded incident of nova activity happens in Gary, Indiana, United States of America, in 1964. The incident is covered up by Aeon before any other serious notice is taken of it. 1970s: The Mini-Quantum Boom. Divis Mal’s most notable early attempt at creating a Telluric Vortex, and something of a qualified success by his standards. Instead

Prior to 21 July 1922 C.E., the official records of human and prehuman Terran history for the Aeoniverse do not noticeably diverge from those of our own world, with two caveats. First, “official history” does not equate with “actual history”, as official histories have always been altered to suit the preferences of the wealthy and powerful in human society. Second, events that are out of the context of a culture’s worldview will almost always be misunderstood if they aren’t dismissed out of hand as hallucinations or mirages. These two factors give Storytellers quite a bit of leeway for chronicles that take place either temporarily or permanently in those times.

The New Century and The Adventure! Era

As per the timeline in the Adventure! core book, pp.

259-262.

Interregnum I - Twilight of the Inspired

The following section covers the period between the Adventure! and Aberrant settings, and focuses on the activities of the Inspired and the circumstances affecting them. 1946: Having been infiltrated by the KGB, the Ponatowski Foundation is taken over from within. The Czar is captured and thouroughly interrogated by KGB agents, only to be reduced to a broken shell of a man and sent to his eventual death in the gulags. Princess Anastasia manages to escape to Canada with the majority of the Czar’s wealth and information. She shares the information with the Aeon Society in return for their aid in setting up a new identity for her retirement. Back in the U.S.S.R., enough hard information on mesmerists is found to begin what will become the KGB’s psychic warfare & espionage programs. 1947: The surviving Inspired begin to go underground in the First and Second World nations, although some Second World Inspired manage to quietly defect to a First World nation. Many then cease all Inspired activities and begin to settle down and start families. Others do so to evade official notice and involuntary conscription

CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

13

ABERRANT

of being focused on creating novas like his later attempt in 1998, this vortex creates a population of Inspired individuals more in line with those created by Hammersmith’s vortex in 1923. Most of the new Inspired do their best to keep just out of the public eye, having adventures and doing right and/or wrong as their personal inclinations direct. Dramatic Editing becomes available once more to the Inspired (both old and new) for the duration. This vortex lasts until the late 1980s. The Aeon Council begins to alter the directives of Proteus, making it into a corps of assassins and saboteurs as well as spies. The elderly Whitley Styles undergoes the “Sleep of Kali” at this time, entering a state of suspended animation and slow rejuvenation thanks to his psionic capabilities. Styles will awaken sometime in 1996, restored to his youth and full power and welcomed back by Max Mercer. The United States Federal Government initiates the Stargate Project, which explores the potential of psychic phenomena with military, intelligence and domestic applications. Similar projects investigate electrodirection and pyrokinesis. The Stargate Project is most noted for their work in remote viewing and precognition. The Stargate Project continues until its cancellation in 1995. 1980s: First known highly-Tainted nova eruption occurs in Atlanta, Georgia in 1981. The nova is kept in quarantine by the CDC until the Aeon Society uses its influence to take the nova to one of their private clinics. The nova’s fate after that remains a mystery. Acting on the revelations of the upcoming Nova Age provided by Max Mercer, the Aeon Society also quietly begins developing what will become Projects Utopia and Proteus and the Triton Foundation. 1990s: Max Mercer reappears circa 1995 - much later than he had intended - only to find that the Aeon Society has strayed intolerably far from his original ideals and operational methods. He immediately begins plotting to regain his former influence over the wayward Aeon Council members, although his efforts

will not have much noticeable effect for decades. The two major worldines of the Aeon Continuum noticeably diverge at this point due to Mercer’s own personal refraction in his time-jump to 2122 - see p. 31 of this book for details. Divis Mal and a few of his select allies once again begin preparations for creating his own desired variant of the initial Hammersmith Telluric Vortex. On March 23 rd , 1998, Mal finally succeeds in his efforts and triggers the Nova Age.

The Early and Middle Nova Age

1998 - mid-2008: The Dawn of the Nova Age, as per the Aberrant core book, pp. 9-13. From here onwards, the inevitability and even the precise nature of the events described in this timeline depends on which universe your chronicle is set in and the whims of your Storyteller. The dividing point from which your chronicle diverges from the “canon” timeline - if it does - will be established by your Storyteller. There will be timeline variations due to the individual circumstances your Storyteller establishes for your chronicle and possibly the player characters’ actions and the consequences thereof. This section and all those following are only considered to be “inevitable history” for Adventure! and Aberrant chronicles set in the Universe One timeline, in which canon Trinity is set. For chronicles set in the Universe Two timeline - where canon Aberrant is set - these are only potential future events that can be altered and even prevented with sufficient and well- directed efforts. Refer to “Split Continua” on p. 29 for further details. Mid-to-late 2008: Randal “the Fireman” Portman runs for and wins the Presidency of the United States as a Democrat. The Aeon Council meets and votes to act against breeder novas, with only two council

r

votes to act against breeder novas, with only two council r s voting against the decision.
votes to act against breeder novas, with only two council r s voting against the decision.

s voting against the decision. Director Thetis begins laying the groundwork for Proteus motherhunting operations. The Aberrants make plans in turn to thwart Aeon, Utopia and Proteus in this matter however they can. Count Raoul Orzaiz and Altaz “the Apothecary” Zia

m e m b e

14 CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

ABERRANT

establish the Maer Enclave to solve the mystery of nova sterility and to research possible cures for it. 2009: Beginnings of public disenchantment with the nova phenomenon in general and Project Utopia in particular. Spencer “Antaeus” Balmer leaves Project Utopia due to concerns over the detrimental effects of Operation Genesis on Earth’s environment. Donald Zeleckis, a Jewish-American nova tourist, dies in the course of preventing an Israeli nuclear missile from obliterating a Syrian city. Gabriel “the Miracle” Melchior escapes from Utopian/Proteus slavery. Having developed extreme levels of both Quantum and Taint, Melchior makes his way to the headquarters of the Church of the Immanent Escheaton in Boulder City, Nevada. Melchior proceeds to broadcast apocalyptic sermons with threats to unleash bioweapon-grade plagues on the general populace, provoking a standoff with forces of the U.S. military, the Directive and Project Utopia. Unidentified nova operatives manage to remove Melchior from the scene without him releasing any plagues, with his death reported a few weeks afterwards. The Church of the Immanent Escheaton fades back into obscurity with the loss of its leader, with members quietly leaving to begin new lives elsewhere as either normal citizens or members of other nova cults. The Camparelli-Zhukov Megasyndicate begins their biotech operation under the auspices of Dr. Morgan Dwyer. In Burma, an altruistic if highly Tainted nova devours “the Generals”, the nation’s oppressive ruling cabal. Instead of the nova taking over the agricultural nation, he/ she/it allows Burma the freedom to decide its own future as a peaceful isolationist nation that will make it through the upcoming Aberrant War unscathed. 2010s: André Corbin publicly turns himself in to Utopian custody at the Bahrain Rashoud facility, during which Director Thetis and Proteus plan to have him assassinated. Proteus’ plan fails due to unforseen interference from Divis Mal and several members of the Teragen Pantheon. Mal soundly thrashes Caestus Pax in front of a global audience, while the Pantheon members present free many imprisoned novas from the Bahrain Rashoud facility. At his trial, Corbin is acquitted of all implications in the death of Jennifer “Slider” Landers, and is a free man. Project Utopia is implicated in many scandals of massive corruption, including the actions of Project Proteus and the murder of Jennifer “Slider” Landers. Project Utopia publicly disavows Project Proteus and makes moves to excise all Proteus infiltration from Utopian interests. Project Proteus survives with only token personnel lost to serve as scapegoats as the bulk of Proteus goes deeper underground. With the covert aid of the Aeon Society, Proteus resumes its operations with a lesser amount of support than that they had received from an unwitting Utopia. Covert conflicts between motherhunters and their

“delivery boy” foes increase in frequency as more breeder novas and their offspring are discovered. The “Night of Long Knives” scenario occurs sometime during this decade (see Aberrant: Teragen pp. 97-98 for details). A shadow war breaks out between the Camparelli- Zhukov Megasyndicate and Opus Dei, a cultic faction within the Roman Catholic Church. Nova Arthur Francis Anningsley and his “Temple Of The King” cult/conspiracy is exposed and neutralized. Radu “Impaler” Szlaniskovich and his squad of elites attempt to take over the Ukraine. Team Tomorrow novas attempt to raid the Amp Room, resulting in Ibiza being devastated by novas, many of them running riot for no particular reason. The Cult of Astaroth find their sixth and final Domitori, then make their way to the Mexican desert for their prophesied arrival of the “True Beast Astaroth”. The Domitori manage to merge their bodies into a gigantic Taint- wracked abomination, which proceeds to devour all the Astaroth cultists present before seeking to wreak devastation on the world. However, unknown nova operatives manage to destroy the “True Beast Astaroth” well before it can harm any innocents or even make the local news. The United States begins Earthside construction of the Olympus Lunar base. Yoshiro Nakamura launches his “Blood Fever” plot (Aberrant: The New Flesh pp. 56-57); which leads to the mass arrest, conviction (and in many cases summary execution) of the Nakato Gumi yakuza clan, the nationalization of Kuro-Tek and the purge of all Nakato gumi infiltrators from the Japanese branch of the Directive. In 2018, the collapse of the Three Gorges Dam triggers the collapse of the People’s Republic of China. The PRC was already weakened due to a mix of government corruption, the harmful influence of their local organized crime, unethical business practices and unrestrained corporate capitalism.

CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

15

crime, unethical business practices and unrestrained corporate capitalism. CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM 15

ABERRANT

The novas of the Heavenly Exploding Mandate split apart into factions with differing goals and philosophies, with the largest supporting a former PRC general and would-be warlord in his quest to establish himself as China’s new dictator. The Heaven Thunder Triad makes its own bid to assume rulership over China at this time as well. Daedelus League novas discover their first highly Earthlike extrasolar planet and promptly begin drawing up covert colonization plans. The League formally invites the Protectors to join them on the new colony world. The Protectors wholeheartedly accept the League’s offer and begin relocating personnel, supplies and equipment from their subsurface Mars base. Other Daedelus League exploration efforts turn up several more highly Earthlike extrasolar planets later in this decade, which they plan to offer to other peaceful nova factions and their baseline followers who wish to escape the coming conflict on Earth. 2020s: A state of civil war breaks out in the former People’s Republic of China, as the various factions vie for dominion over the nation. The Heaven Thunder Triad is more or less exterminated in the factional struggles, presumably by former Heavenly Exploding Mandate novas. The Neo- Confucian New Chinese Empire establishes itself as the successor to the PRC in 2022, and quickly reverts China to an isolationist state primarily concerned with improving its own decrepit and inadequate infrastructure. Many Chinese novas begin leaving the NCE - whose isolationism and focus on improving the living conditions of the common people they find utterly dull compared to the last two decades of the PRC’s reign - for more “exciting” nations to live in. Dr. Soguk Birlesme develops hyper-fusion, which revolutionizes energy production and makes space colonies viable. The United States unveils its first hyper-fusion powered orbital spacecraft. Orbital defense satellites are launched by several nations, the most notable of which is the United States’ OMEN deathsat network. Proposed acts of anti-nova legislation start becoming more frequent, if not successful in being passed and made into law. Finland, Sweden and Norway merge to form the Northern Collective. Queen Elsbeth Tsarich becomes monarch of Romania. Incidents of novas (some Taint- mad, others just naturally anti-social) harming baselines begin to increase beyond the point where they can be prevented and/or covered up by Project Utopia. Conditions in the global ambient telluric environment finally allow the Camparelli-Zhukov Megasyndicate’s Eruption Catalyst to function, causing its users to erupt as highly-Tainted novas (Aberrant: The New Flesh pp. 24-25). Novel pathogens known as “Taint diseases” begin to spread among the baseline population. Some actually are caused by Tainted novas, while others are deliberately created bioweapons.

2030s: The United States begins Luna-based construction of the Olympus Lunar base, which ends in 2041. Great Britain begins construction of the Camelot Lunar Base. Increasing levels of Taint among the general nova populace leads to increasing numbers of said novas either becoming actively dangerous or seeking to join the Teragen in attempts to control their Taint. Nova conflicts increase in both their frequency and in the amount of collateral damage they cause to life, property and the environment. Baseline-nova relations begin to noticeably degrade, with many nova entertainers and nova-based media concerns either dropping in popularity - such as Alejandra and her New River Productions - or going out of business like the XWF or Mefistofaleez and his Quantum Boom recording label. The Pandaimonion Terat faction is subsumed into the Casablancas as Narcosis’ media empire finally collapses. The Nova Vigilance, Primacy and Harvester Terat factions begin increasing their attacks against baseline humanity, some of which are provoked by anti-nova actions and others completely unjustified. Also, sometime in the early part of this decade a nova with global-scale powers over the ecology - the suspects include Antaeus, Regina Mundi and Belladonna - manages to restore the fertility of some if not all of the nova population. Anti-nova sentiment among the baseline populace rises as a result, leading to marked growth of the Church of Michael Archangel in the United States and Canada. The perjorative term “aberrant” becomes more widely used among the general baseline population than the neutral term “nova” when referring to the erupted. The New Chinese Empire formalizes their pre-existing unofficial status as “where the novas don’t want to live” into actual law in 2035; excluding all novas from entering, residing in or having citizenship in the NCE. This action provokes a few minor retributive attacks but is otherwise shrugged off by the general nova population. Japan begins ejecting or secretly executing any native novas with mental aberrations, and develop scientific tests to determine which novas were likely to become mentally unstable by 2035. Any Japanese nova who fails the tests is secretly executed. The number of (relatively non-Tainted) novas and allied baselines emigrating to the nova colony worlds increases as the more savvy among both populaces realize that matters on Earth will only get worse for them. These unexplained disappearances only serve to heighten the paranoia on both sides of the Terran nova-baseline conflict. Terran baselines assume that the baseline colonists were secretly abducted and/or murdered by hostile aberrants, while Terran novas assume the nova colonists were secretly murdered by anti- nova operatives.

16 CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

ABERRANT 2040s: Baseline-nova relations seriously degrade, as many First World nations begin drawing up and
ABERRANT
2040s: Baseline-nova relations seriously degrade, as
many First World nations begin drawing up and passing
increasingly draconian, half-baked and unjust acts of anti-
nova legislation. Many independent novas residing in those
nations either emigrate to more accepting countries and
nova colony worlds or join the Teragen or Aberrants as their
individual preferences dictate. Conflicts between novas and
nova attacks against the baseline populace reach new levels
of both frequency and collateral damage inflicted, due to
increasing levels of power and Taint-induced madness
among a significant portion of the nova population on
Earth. The Aberrant movement and other such factions try
to maintain the peace in the face of increasing numbers
of novas coming to agree with the more radical facets of
Terat philosophy. Japan begins accepting “genetically and
intellectually fit” refugees from Korea, Australia and the
United States as a source of inexpensive labor. By 2047, 13
million refugees and other resident outsiders have become
second-class Japanese citizens. The Terat Feathered Serpent
attempts to raise the ruins of the Aztec city Tenochtitlán to
the surface in 2043, destroying the modern Mexico City that
rests above them in the resulting earthquake. Over a million
people are killed in the disaster. Russia starts building the
Yeltsingrad Lunar base, which is a mining facility. Both the
Camelot and Yeltsingrad Lunar bases go online in 2045. In
2046 nova Abdul Masiq and his “Allah’s Legion” nova group
take over the entire island nation of Bahrain, converting the
former Bahrain Rashoud Clinic into their main headquarters.
This action spurs governments and corporations into making
serious efforts to defend themselves against nova attacks
and make retaliatiory strikes in return.
Having made relentless attacks against Divis Mal in an
attempt to avenge his intial defeat by him at Bahrain in 2009,
Caestus Pax is finally killed by the leader of the Teragen
in a public battle. Project Utopia and Team Tomorrow
finally collapse, as former Utopian novas pursue their own
objectives, leaving Utopia for the pro-nova factions and/or
the nova colony worlds. Japan closes its borders to all non-
commercial traffic in 2047, citing concerns over rising global
terrorism. Japanese novas not loyal to the government
are publicly exiled from the Home Islands while the loyal
and sane novas are secretly retained, leading the world
to assume that all Japanese novas had been expelled.
The Camparelli-Zhukov Megasyndicate finally falls apart
due to a blend of nova-aberrant conflicts, innovations in
law enforcement and competition from newer organized
crime groups. The covert extrasolar colonization efforts kick
into high gear, as more qualified baseline colonists begin
realizing how bad things are getting on Earth and wanting a
safe haven for themselves and their loved ones. Some novas
organizing these colonization efforts turn to stealing funds
and/or supplies from certain transnational corporations
- usually those with a history of human rights abuses and
criminal behavior - which either drives them out of business
or makes then vulnerable to hostile takeovers. Finally, in
2049 the United Nations declares war against the aberrant
population - whether that resolution applies to only the
Taint-deranged novas or the entire nova race depends on
whom one is talking to. The First Aberrant War has begun.
CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM
17

ABERRANT

Interregnum II - The Late Nova Age, The First Aberrant War and The Exodus

- The Late Nova Age, The First Aberrant War and The Exodus The following section covers

The following section covers the period between the Aberrant and Trinity settings, and focuses on the activities of novas and the circumstances affecting them. Late 2049: The Taint-mad aberrants start constantly acting against - or acting without regard for, at the minimum - baseline humanity as their default modus operandi, while the still-sane novas seek to thwart and restrain them. Baseline human groups aid both sides in this conflict, and the death tolls of innocent bystanders mount ever higher. Emboldened by the increased support from the increasingly Tainted segment of the nova population, the Teragen shift their attacks against baseline humanity into high gear. The Olympus Lunar Base is taken over by the “Space Brigade” nova group. After establishing control over the other Lunar bases, the Space Brigade destroys 75% of the OMEN deathsat network and declares Luna to be neutral ground for all who wish to escape from the ongoing conflict on Earth. A powerful aberrant calling itself “the Colony” rises to prominence and a position of leadership among the psychotic aberrants, and soon is considered to be a rival of Divis Mal himself. Somewhere beyond the Solar System, the alien Doyen sense the emergence of quantum-manipulating beings and immediately deem them a lethal threat to all life in general and themselves in particular. As a race of ageless beings mostly composed of noetic energy, mere exposure to quantum energies can not only disrupt their psionic powers but can make a Doyen’s body literally not exist for a few moments. Accustomed to refraining from direct conflict due to racial cowardice, they eventually decide to find a useful alien species to fight the quantum-born by proxy. This debate takes ten years to hammer out, given the Doyen habit of long-term thinking. The activists among the Doyen split into two factions after this. The majority faction plans to use humanity against their quantum-born relatives by gifting them with (limited) psionic powers and basic (by Doyen standards) noetic biotechnology. The minority faction seeks the extinction of all humanity and begins searching for a suitable warrior species to perform that task. 2050s: Major cities - mostly in North America and Europe - are destroyed by aberrant attacks over the

18 CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

ABERRANT decade. Likewise, aberrants attack commercial aircraft - ending intercontinental air travel for decades -
ABERRANT
decade. Likewise, aberrants attack commercial aircraft -
ending intercontinental air travel for decades - and launch
biological attacks against baselines lacking quick access
to medical care. In 2050 the Balkan nations devolve into
ceaseless warfare, becoming known as “The Shatter”. Later
that year Leon Borsov becomes president of the Russian
Federation and begins a campaign to eliminate all Russian
aberrants. While successful as the Russian aberrants had
either already fled Earth or become highly reclusive dwellers
in the wildnerness, this provokes aberrant retaliation which
devastates Russia over the rest of the decade. The nova
colony world of Eden is discovered by the Seekers, a
Daedelus League subgroup. It is given to Diana Kadmon and
her faction of sane novas, who establish it as a nova colony
world and quickly begin recruiting many sane novas and
thousands of allied baselines to populate it. The Yeltsingrad
Lunar base is closed to most baseline humans by the Space
Brigade, who remake it into their home for the duration of
the war. They also establish a “no contact” truce with the
baseline Lunar colonists.
Various government officials and members of sane nova
groups collaborate with the Aeon Society to find a solution
to the global crisis. What will become known as the Chinese
Ultimatum is their final solution. The NCE initiates “The
Great Leap Upwards”, redirecting considerable national
resources into space exploration. In 2053 China launches the
Xingyang Sujia - its first manned interplanetary exploration
craft - on a mission to Mars. This is followed in the next
year by the construction of a series of orbital factories and
space colonies secretly loaded with fusion missiles. Showing
remarkable foresight, the nations of South America establish
the “Necessary Wall” in 2054 to protect themselves against
possible North American military and economic aggression.
In late 2054, Terat Calvert Wycoff establishes the Prophets
of Jehovah, a survivalist and fundamentalist Christian cult in
Hastings, Nebraska. Their illegal multimedia transmissions
of Wycoff’s apocalyptic sermons provoke the FBI into
attempting to shut the cult down a few weeks later. Just
minutes into the raid on November 3 rd , Wycoff releases
a tremendous blast of plasma and Taint energies - likely
induced by exposure to eclipsidol - that obliterates himself
along with everyone and everything around him in a 200
kilometer radius and Taint-irradiating a further thousand
kilometers of the Midwestern Heartland. With the area now
called “the Blight” unfit for agricultural use and human
habitation, the U.S. military joins with a coalition of U.S.
corporations and successfully takes over the federal and
state governments. The Omaha Declaration and the rise of
what will become a true fascist police state soon follow. The
U.S. military - aided by loyal military novas and aberrants
- then invades both Canada and Mexico in 2057 to gain
new agricultural lands to replace that lost to the Blight. By
the end of that year, all major North American population
centers and industrial centers are under U.S. martial law. In
2058 nova Felice Taylor accidentally floods and obliterates
Florida and Cuba in a botched attempt to stabilize the
weakening Gulf Stream and revitalize Florida’s economy.
Taylor apparently dies in the catastrophe of her own making.
2060s: Out in extrasolar space, the nova colony worlds
thrive in their relative isolation, with the novas finally being
able to breed freely and their baseline citizens also doing
very well. Under nova guidance, their colony worlds quickly
become viable free-standing civilizations well able to
function on their own in all ways. Most nova colony worlds
cut themselves off from contact with Earth by this time, not
wanting to bear witness to Earth’s possible destruction. The
nova colonists establish regular contact between their worlds
for purposes of trade, communication, cultural exchange
and giving advance warning against any aberrant and/or
alien threats that might show up in the future. Meanwhile on
Earth, matters degrade even further.
In 2060, the Malay Republic is
devastated by the aberrant Dragon’s Eye,
who enslaves most of the residents of
Kuala Lumpur and transforms them into
cyborged beastmen. An aberrant causes
the Neva River to flood St. Petersburg,
killing 25% of the city’s population. The
Japanese government begins genetic
testing of all citizens, with those having
the potential to become low-Taint novas
given the choice to be artificially erupted
and serve the government or have that
potential eradicated. Those who could
erupt as high-Taint novas simply have
their potential eradicated, as do many
with anomalous genetic markers - namely
CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM
19

ABERRANT

ABERRANT the potential to become psiads, psions and paramorphs. The Second Omaha Declaration is made by

the potential to become psiads, psions and paramorphs. The Second Omaha Declaration is made by the U.S. military, declaring the establishment of the Federated States of America. In 2061, aberrants begin attacking Russian fission reactors to gain access to their radioactive waste materials, which they then proceed to spread across large swathes of the Russian countryside. Nova Geslav renders the remaining Russian fission reactors inert to prevent any further deliberate contamination. Terat Alex “Synapse” Doan is attacked in the OpNet by the aberrant Mungu “Backlash” Kuwasha. Their battle wrecks large sectors of the OpNet, but Synapse manages to kill Backlash, whose deathscream manifests as an “electro-optical pulse” that destroys nearly the entire remaining OpNet, save for that of the deliberately isolated Nihonjin region. On September 7 th , an unknown spacegoing aberrant attacks a Chinese orbital fusion platform, only to be killed with a fusion missile. In retaliation, the NCE makes a strike with six fusion missiles that obliterates the aberrant- controlled island nation of Bahrain. Just after that the NCE issues the “Earth Strike Ultimatum”, stating that any further acts of aggression from either aberrant or human forces will be met with a global fusion missile strike. In coordination with the NCE, Aeon and their nova and government allies begin exiling most of the Taint-maddened aberrants from Earth by any means necessary. Realizing that he has no other viable options, Divis Mal reluctantly agrees to help enforce the Ultimatum. After 24 hours of concerted effort, the task is completed and the majority of the novas leave the planet. Some rare few novas and aberrants remain, but stay in hiding for various reasons. Divis Mal then has the Teragen

leave Earth, but does not depart himself before going to the relocated United Nations to issue his final declaration to Earth’s residents while personally incinerating the current UN Secretary- General. Mal joins his followers and soon after they depart from the universe itself, emigrating to a new universe that the Father of Teras has personally created. Certain sane novas - who semi- seriously refer to themselves as the “Solar Guardians” - volunteer to both covertly create and maintain a quantum barrier around the Solar System. Provided with support from the Nihonjin (Japanese) novas, the Solar Guardian novas spend their days patrolling the outer edge of the Oort Cloud to guard against any aberrant incursions. The First Aberrant War has ended, and the NCE fleet stands down as most regions of Earth begin to suffer in what will become known as the Crash. The exiled aberrants make homes of the lifeless worlds where the novas stranded them and quickly seek to survive, regain their lost numbers and redevelop their lost capacity for insterstellar Warping. All this is done for one goal: to once again make war against their nova cousins, wherever they can be found. The largest faction of the exiled aberrants - led by the Colony - refuses to accept their exile and continually seeks the means to breach the quantum barrier and conquer Earth. The Colony begins a program of intensive breeding among its followers - in which it also participates - in order to swell their ranks as much as possible. 2070s: The aberrant colony worlds slowly begin using the Colony’s techniques to produce increasing numbers of aberrants, as they are forced to use any means necessary to make their world “livable” and produce as many offspring as possible. The fact that they become even more Tainted in the process is shrugged off as unavoidable and not worth worrying about. This includes reining in their natural egomania and cooperating with each other, leading to the establishment of contact between their worlds facilitated by “courier” aberrants from the Colony’s faction. Other aberrants of the Colony’s faction begin searching for the nova colony worlds. The NCE launches the Khantze Lu Ge expedition in its first interstellar colony spacecraft in 2075, which is piggybacked onto the Lito comet and is headed for Alpha Centauri. Nippon and the Solar Guardian novas covertly assist them by allowing them through the quantum barrier and shortening spacetime between the Sol System and

20 CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

ABERRANT the Alpha Centauri system, allowing their journey to be made in a mere 12
ABERRANT
the Alpha Centauri system, allowing their journey to be
made in a mere 12 years instead of decades or centuries.
The spacetime distortion alerts the Colony and its faction,
who covertly study the colonists, their technology and their
databanks but otherwise do not make contact or interfere
with them. Special attention is paid to their passage through
the quantum barrier, and the Colony begins forming its
plans for the Solar System and baseline humanity.
In 2079, the NCE launches the colony spacecraft Kuan
Yin to join the colonists from the Khantze Lu Ge expedition.
Following the same trajectory as its predecessor, it is attacked
mid-journey by the Colony’s forces, is captured and taken
to the Colony’s own world. The surviving human colonists
are enslaved and transformed into sub-aberrant mutates
by the Colony and other aberrants with that capability. The
fertile sub-aberrants are drafted into the breeding program,
while the others are trained to serve as cannon fodder for
the invasion of the Sol System. The ship’s technologies
and databanks are also examined to gain an updated idea
of current circumstances on Earth and its intrasolar space
colonies.
2080s: The Colony’s explorers manage to locate some
- but not all - of the nova colony worlds. In particular, Eden
remains undiscovered.
2090s: Nippon initiates the Star Project in 2093, using
Nihonjin novas to locate and secretly colonize a viable
Earthlike extrasolar planet with Nihonjin citizens. The colony
world chosen is the second planet of the Iota Pegasi system
and is named “Restored Hope”. A quantum gadget is used
to
warp the colonists, some Nihonjin novas, their equipment
and supplies to the new world. Once an infrastucture is
established with nova aid, the covert Nihonjin colony
world thrives with its steady influx of Nihonjin citizens and
Superiors eager to escape the confines of the Nihonjin
macro-arcologies. Nova Rushing Mountain claims the
third planet in the Beta Canum Ventaicorum system as her
own, and transforms a species of the native animal life into
primitive sapients. When discovered by ISRA psions in 2110,
the planet is named Erebus.
2100s: In 2100 the Purifiers locate the Chromatics.
Quickly recognizing them as a feasible soldier-species
due to their conflicts with the bestial Howlers, they locate
a
nomadic band of aberrants known on Earth as the
Seraphim. Influencing their mentally unstable leader Uriel
with telepathic visions, the Seraphim are lured by the Doyen
to
Chrome-Prime. Their initial contacts with the Chromatics
CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM
21

ABERRANT

are peaceful enough, but the Seraphims’ true nature is soon revealed as they betray the Chromatics’ initial trust and attempt to conquer Chrome-Prime for themselves. In 2104 the Doyen then reveal themselves to selected Chromatics as “gods of light”, granting them noetic biotechnological knowledge stolen from humanity. With the new weapons, the Chromatics manage to defeat the Seraphim and exterminate much of the Howler species. The Doyens’ Chromatic lieutenants establish their control over Chromatic society and thrust the formerly primitive civilization into a greatly accelerated program of technological development. Within about 20 Earth years, the Chromatics go from a pure T2 Bronze Age culture to a amalgam culture incorporating technologies from many different Technology Ratings, including T10 space travel roughly equivalent to Trinity Era Earth. Information on Technology Ratings can be found in Chapter Four of this book, pp. 114-118. In 2103 the Benefactors implement their plan to transform suitable (and pliable) humans into psionically empowered agents of the Doyen. Doyen telepathic propaganda doesn’t manage to convince all the canidates to respond, but eight of them do. In a hidden installation on Luna, the candidates are informed of the upcoming return of the aberrants and misinformed that the Doyen are engaged in combat elsewhere. The humans are convinced to take up the struggle and are transformed into potent (and limited) users of psionics via implants of Doyen genetic material. S. K. Bhurano, the Quantakinesis Proxy, is also possessed by a Doyen operative in order to maintain a tighter control over the nascent Quantakinetic Order. The newly-empowered proxies are each given a nascent Prometheus Chamber, knowledge of how to create noetic biotechnology and psi coordinates to habitable worlds surrounding known nova/ aberrant space. They are also given Doyen-style plans for the psi orders to be established in secret, eventually growing to the point where they can launch interstellar war fleets from the aforementioned habitable worlds to exterminate the nova & aberrant colony worlds. Later that year, the Colony’s forces attack, overwhelm and slaughter the Solar Guardians, causing the collapse of the quantum barrier. Most of the Nihonjin novas - including all those capable of interstellar travel - are killed by the Colony’s forces soon after. The warp device is destroyed and Restored Hope is cut off from Nippon. Armed with information stolen from the Chinese colony ships, aberrant spies are sent ahead to Earth to secretly inflitrate human society at all levels. People in positions of authority are physically replaced, mind-controlled and subverted into willing pawns of the Colony as is feasible and/or necessary. Even the Aeon Society and the United Nations have human aberrant sympathizers among their ranks. Meanwhile, the bulk of the Colony’s full aberrant forces are used to continually

harass the nova colony worlds they’ve found, in order to keep the novas from coming to Earth’s aid. Fortunately for them, precognitive warnings of the upcoming aberrant raids - and the more nebulous threat posed by the Doyen - had already galvanized the extrasolar novas into preparing for the onslaught beforehand. Nova strategists and tacticians begin planning on how best to deal with the aberrants once and for all. On January 28 th , 2104, the Colony sends a band of its followers to Research Outpost Vesta in its first overt attack against baseline humanity since 2061. The raid has two goals; first to announce to humanity that the Second Aberrant War had begun, and second to determine how advanced Earth’s weapons technologies had become since the 2070s. The research station is wrecked, most of the scientists and staff inside are murdered and military reinforcements are held off with ease. The aberrants leave after one of them is slain by an experimental pulse cannon, leaving irrefutable evidence of what humanity is up against. Further attacks are made against isolated intrasolar space stations and colonies over the rest of the decade. In 2106, an aberrant attack on the Sydney Spaceport is thwarted by Psi Order Legions. Having received prior warning of the attack from ISRA, the Legions soldiers are posted early and ready to take on the Colony’s forces, who are just as surpised by the psions’ interference as most of human society is. Further aberrant attacks on Austronesian territory are likewise repelled by Legions psions, granting the Psychokinetic Order astounding good press as trustworthy defenders of humanity. 2110s: In 2112 a mining expedition from Eden is discovered by Upeo wa Macho psions on an exploration mission. Tentative contact between the Edenites and Upeo wa Macho psi order follows during the next year, leading to the Proxy Atwan and the Upeo coming to understand the truth about the novas’ existence and the differences between them and the aberrants. Unfortunately this information leads to the Upeo having to abandon Earth in 2114 in order to keep from being enslaved by the Ministry, Orgotek and the Legions. In 2116 nova Apollo Milliken and three other Edenite novas covertly assist the Upeo in the defense of Karoo Station by vaporizing an attacking Chromatic war fleet via matter/electromagnetic energy conversion. In 2118 the NCE colony world of Khantze Lu Ge is invaded by a sub-faction of the Colony’s forces, led by its daughter Kali. Their initial conquest of the city of Kuan and Khantze Lu Ge’s northern territories goes well for them, until internal bickering between Kali and her rival Yog-Death and their followers slows down their battle plans considerably. 2120 and beyond: As per the timeline in the Trinity core book, pp. 82-83 and subsequent books.

22 CHAPTER ONE: THE AEON CONTINUUM

ABERRANT Teragen File Encrypted OpNet Transcript [Excerpt from private conversation log dated 9/15/2011] Open Secure
ABERRANT
Teragen File
Encrypted OpNet Transcript
[Excerpt from private conversation log dated 9/15/2011]
Open Secure Channel (Superuser: Synapse)
Login: Mathematician
Login: Scripture
Scripture: I take it all has gone well with the missions, then?
Synapse: Looks that way. Santiago here has all the details, but I can tell you that absolutely no one has tumbled to what
we were doing. I’ve kept a close watch over Utopia, Aeon and the Directive for the past two years like you asked. Not only
do they have no clue what the missions were supposed to accomplish, they had no idea that they even took place.
Mathematician: By telling our agents they were performing nonviolent reconnaissance, we were able to complete all
five missions according to the script. Going by the numbers, Mission Alpha saw our agent in rural Vietnam timeslipped back
to 1969 for about six minutes. Given the war that was going on at that time, it’s fortunate no soldiers decided to shoot at
her. Mission Beta had two of our agents in southern Brazil timeslipped to 1954. The brothers encountered two local women,
who only saw them in their alternate forms from a distance. As per their orders, they took back to the skies right after that
for the duration of the timeslip. Mission Gamma required the only non-flying agent to visit an abandoned mine in Argen-
tina, where she was timeslipped to 1953 for a full thirty minutes. Mission Delta is the most interesting, as our agent was
timeslipped twice in the same event over New York City. The first timeslip while he was flying over Brooklyn at night sent
him back to 1877 for eight minutes during the daytime. After returning to the present, he entered another timeslip over
Coney Island that threw him back into 1880 for ten minutes, again during the daylight hours. He reported that many people
saw him during both timeslips, although he always kept his altitude slightly above a thousand feet.
Scripture: That’s all very good news, especially concerning Mission Delta. We were hoping that the public exposure
during those two timeslips would prove to have more effect than the others. Even so, was it truly necessary to send our
people in without any information beyond the pittance we gave them? Young Leticia is still moping about being turned
down by that fellow she encountered in that Argentinian mine in 1953.
Mathematician: The operation was successful, and that’s
all that matters. Sending in our agents blind with only a simple
script of orders may have seemed counterintuitive, but they are Terats. The stakes were far too high to allow for any random
impulses - hormonal or otherwise - to interfere with carrying out their orders.
Scripture: Points made and taken, Pedro. How did your new toys hold up in the acid test?
Mathematician: My sensors performed excellently, as I expected. They were all able to record the scientific data from
the events, with emphasis on the chronometrics. Preliminary analysis appears to confirm the hypothesis you forwarded to
my private laboratory. We finally have hard evidence of natural temporal shifting
It’s a pity we’ll have to keep such a tight
lid on all this.
Scripture: As you said before, the stakes were far too high. Ensuring the safety of the movement takes precedence over
scientific curiosity, my friend.
Synapse: We’re good to go on the data security aspects of this operation. I’ve established a covert enclave for our
agents and a few of their closest friends so they can decompress safely without breaching secrecy. All the data we received
has been entrusted to Santiago’s safekeeping. I understand that they will all be joining the group we selected for the extra-
solar colonization effort we’ve been planning?
23
ABERRANT Teragen File Scripture: They’re actually looking forward to becoming homesteaders in space, believe it
ABERRANT
Teragen File
Scripture: They’re actually looking forward to becoming homesteaders in space, believe it or not. Thanks to your
intelligence networks we were able to recruit them before anyone else got to them, so they won’t ever need Bounty’s help
outside of attending her parenting classes. If things go sour here on Earth, their new homeworld will become the seed of
the new nova nation we’ve been talking about for years.
Synapse: So we’re fine on that score. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the hypothesis behind this
operation, though. Are we really up against someone that’s capable of time travel? I’ve seen Santiago’s hypothesis on how
powerful a nova would have to be to do that, and I’m damn sure that you both know the data on it a lot better than I do. I’d
think that any nova that powerful would at least be somewhat
sympathetic to the movement. What am I missing here?
Mathematician: I told you he’d figure it out sooner or later, Jeremiah.
Scripture: Yes, you were right
So be it. Alex, our foe is indeed capable of travelling in time. Unfortunately for us, he
is not a nova and remains aligned with the interests of baseline humanity. Hence, our operation to use natural timeslips to
create the potential for paradoxes in the timeline. Best case scenario, we have literally made it too difficult for our foe to
erase the Teragen from existence. Worst case, we’ve only made it somewhat more difficult for him to do so.
Synapse: And since you and Mal have known about him for I don’t know how long, you’ve developed more plans on
how to deal with him? I’m really hoping here that you’ll say “yes” and mean it. I’m afraid that everything I know about time
travel is what I learned from watching old Doctor Who shows as a kid.
Login: Divis Mal
Divis Mal: Fear not, young Alex. The one you speak of has yet to make any substantial moves against us. Instead, we
have faced only the inept stratagems of his errant underlings,
will have to rein in his would-be followers and break them like
who have failed in their roles as his understudies. The old man
wild horses before he can make his opening moves. That’s
when things shall truly begin to get interesting
Scripture: Michael, are you seriously considering a man-to-man conflict against him?
Mathematician: The probability figures I came up with haven’t changed, if that’s what you’re thinking. Go up against
him directly, and the consequences could reach far beyond this mudball we’re all sitting on. I’d rather not see Sidney Cole-
man’s observation about Alan Guth’s inflationary universe theory put into action, thank you very much.
Synapse: Coleman and Guth? Weren’t they the ones who
oh, crap. Phase transition to a lower energy vacuum state.
Mathematician: Exactly. The destruction of not only the Earth, but the Solar System and the rest of our universe as well.
No matter where we fled to in the universe, it would only be a
matter of time before we met the same end as Earth and the
baselines.
Divis Mal: Fortunately, my old friend knows this as well. He will not sacrifice the baselines’ civilization and the rest of the
universe to spite us. He loves this world and life too much for that to work, even as a bluff.
Synapse: Well, if I can help with whatever you three are planning, I’m in.
24
ABERRANT Daedelus League File (Hardcopy Only - Eyes Only) To: Sputnik (Cyrus Katrak) From: Chief
ABERRANT
Daedelus League File
(Hardcopy Only - Eyes Only)
To: Sputnik (Cyrus Katrak)
From: Chief Satellite Vela (REDACTED)
Date: 2015-03-26
As you requested, here’s a summary of all our ongoing activities in support of Operation Dandelion. Everyone involved
on my end has done an impressive job of keeping their mouths shut, as we have no wish for the spotlight to come anywhere
near us. Your idea of arranging the League in this way is paying off in spades. Even so, you guys need to do something
big and flashy to distract the factions soon. Both PU and some Terats have had undercover agents sniffing around our shell
companies of late. They’ve found nothing yet, but they all need to be derailed before they come too close and draw the
Directive’s eyes in our direction. Is there some way we could make them get in each others’ way and leave us alone?
Operation Blossom: From what AfriStar tells me, you & your lot of fellow extroverts have been doing the “same old,
same old” - working with the ESA & NASA while doing your own public expeditions around the Solar System for the PR
value. And oh yes, telling all those recruiters from PU, the Directive & the Teragen to GFT again. Honestly, they’re worse
than spammers! Doing something big & flashy would give you breathing room, though you might not want to lead that
expedition personally. Be especially wary of the Directive. Sources I won’t identify told both Telstar and Meridian that the
spooks have had super-stealthy agents tracking your personal
movements in Antarctica and elsewhere. It’s time to get your
loved ones - and ours - safely out of the Solar System ASAP before those bastards try to use them as leverage against us,
yes? The Prime colonization group is set to go, the details are
below.
Operation Leaf: Pretty good news on this front, Forte’s plan to buy out that vacation cruise line company was an
especially smart move. Combined with our shipping vessels, we have a ready-made transport fleet that our major warpers
can send to any of our colonies where we’ve got a port city built. Hexagon and Zhongxing are pleased as punch with their
prefab facilities and port equipment they’ve set up on World #1. Arirang, Ekran and Molniya had a lot of fun shaping the
piers and basic infrastructure from the native rock. They also had a blast constructing the port city, although the blend of
architectural styles is a bit jarring. Classic Russian building styles - onion domes and all! - mixes oddly with Hong Kong-
style feng shui architecture and buildings carved directly out of solid stone like the ancient city of Petra. Everything is very
functional of course; the building styles are well-suited to the climate and not using all that solid rock cliff by the chosen site
would’ve been a stupid waste. Everything’s also been built with Geotail’s anti-groundquake (can’t call them “earth” quakes,
right?) subdesigns just in case. I don’t know about the benefits feng shui architecture is supposed to give, but since Arirang
swears by it I’ll give it a shot. All the native rock was transformed into silicon nanofiber matrix like Marisat proposed before it
was used in construction, so it’ll be a lot stronger than any natural stone could be. They’re leaving the colors up to whoever
winds up living in them, which they certainly will do - silicon nanofiber matrix is a great building material, but it looks like a
warm grey basalt with no visual appeal at all. We’ll have to talk with Marisat about veneers or pigments or something.
Operation Stem: The news from Argon & Nimiq hasn’t changed much. Aside from the usual reports of outside recruit-
ers attempting - and thankfully failing - to subvert League members, we’ve had spies from the Teragen & PU sniffing around
some of our shell companies as I mentioned earlier. The Directive is also trying to sniff out what we’re doing out of what
appears to be institutional paranoia. Aside from setting the PU guys and Terats against each other, my only suggestion is to
move our vital operations out of any Directive member countries. Threat estimations of the other factions don’t appear to
have changed according to Nimiq. Argon says likewise regarding the baseline governments & corporations.
25
ABERRANT Daedelus League File Our own recruitment plans are going well, if slowly. The Protectors’
ABERRANT
Daedelus League File
Our own recruitment plans are going well, if slowly. The Protectors’ idea of only recruiting college graduates and their
loved ones is fine as far as it goes, but Zircon has qualified that with her own standards for colonists. The college diploma
requirement has been waived in favor of authentic competence in their area of expertise, weeding out those who graduated
from the diploma mills or those religious fundamentalist “universities”. Instead, she’s more stringent with the psychology
tests. People who are sociopaths, narcissists, borderline personalities and megalomaniacs are automatically dropped from
consideration, no matter how well they’ve been socialized. The same goes for folks with impulse control disorder and other
disorders that could result in antisocial behavior. Invader’s covert scans of potential recruits may seem unduly intrusive, but
they will give all of our colonies a much better shot at surviving in the long term.
Operation Root: Good news from the deep-cover guys; no one’s picked up on their operations AFA Amazonas can
determine. Our long-term supply depots are all secure for the
immediate future. Our restrictions against storing any kind of
weaponry is paying off, as everyone who’d be investigating the depots is looking for things like old Soviet nukes or illegal
shipments from Kuro-Tek. Samos and his group have got us all covered on the financial end - whatever fundage we’ll need,
he promises we’ll have. It’s best not to ask questions where the money will come from, though. Trumpet’s group is ready
and waiting for the rest of us to leave when the night comes. They will be in place for all Earthside operations - recruiting &
funding mainly, as we’ll still be handling the warps - as the situation here degrades over the next two decades. She will have
orders to not be as picky on the educational requirements, as
anyone willing to leave by then will be smart and sane enough
to get out while the getting’s still good. Ofeq and Yantar are good to go with their Grand Archive - their label, not mine! -
which will be carefully updated as circumstances permit. Your comparison of these two to Christian monks right before the
Dark Ages isn’t totally apt - they seem more like a comedy duo than anything else - but they do get the job done and done
well.
Operation Seed: Some more good news from this bunch
- they have discovered two more extrasolar systems with
near-Terran quality exoplanets. This brings our complete tally to five worlds so far. Both of the new worlds have compatible
biochemistries and climates for Terran life and are somewhat primitive in their development. In local evolutionary terms
World #4 is comparable to Earth’s Devonian Period - there’s some dangerous native life here, but it’s all strictly aquatic.
So beach resorts will be forbidden and fishing will be like something from those old Jaws movies. What animal-equivalent
life is found on land is comprised mostly of ground-crawling analogs of primitive insects and other small life-forms. World
#4 is also significant in that the local taxonomic kingdoms differ from Earth’s. There are no local animals or plants here as
Terran biologists know them. Instead, the “pseudo-animals” have a mixture of animal and plant traits. Likewise, the “pseu-
do-plants” have a mixture of plant and fungal traits. According to Lanyard and Gorizont, none of the local macro-lifeforms
pose any real threat to baseline human life as long as they stay out of the water. Their threat potential for other Terran
lifeforms is still being assessed. They will send updates our way as new data is discovered.
In contrast, World #5 appears to have had a mass extinction due to vulcanism in the last thousand Terran years or so.
Only some of the microlife - 5% of what it used to be - has survived and poses no threat to Terran life of any kind as far as
Yaogan and Teledesic can determine. All other kingdoms on this exoplanet have gone extinct. This is the mother lode, boss:
a world where we can import Terran lifeforms wholesale and have them flourish like wildfire. I suggest we make this our next
extrasolar colony ASAP. We could transplant entire regional biomes mostly wholesale (barring things like redback spiders,
king brown snakes and Ebola) with only minor difficulties. We will be needing this place very soon, I fear.
As far as your Standing Order #1, still no results, which is something I am personally thankful for. Corona will hate me
for saying this, but to hell with SETI right now! We need some
new planets to call home first! That old sot can go looking for
E.T. after our colonies are firmly established, and not a second before! First Contact is a headache that neither me nor my
people need right now.
26
ABERRANT Daedelus League File Operation Runner: Aside from the Protectors, our de facto covert external
ABERRANT
Daedelus League File
Operation Runner: Aside from the Protectors, our de facto covert external relations group has had little success in
stoking much interest among the other reputable nova groups. Sad to say, most of them have little to nothing in the way
of accurate foresight in regards to the coming global conflict. Most of the Aberrants are too wrapped up in their crusade
against Utopia to think of the long-term consequences of the global situation. The same can be also said of the Queer Nova
Alliance and Greenwar. The Gestalt is too tightly interwoven
into Terran society to even consider our offer. Project Utopia
and the national groups were never contacted due to their ties to the oppressive geopolitical power structure. Likewise for
the DeVries Agency and the Teragen - they’re already helping to make Earth nonviable in the long run, so why would we
tell them about the extrasolar human colony worlds we’re working to establish? They’d only ruin those worlds like they’re
ruining Earth.
There is some hope, though. First off, while the Aberrants aren’t interested in colonization en masse, they have already
started sending many quality colonists - both baseline and nova - our way. These people are good folks who have suffered
ill fortune due to conflict with Terran social hierarchies, be it
political, social or economic. The only difference from historical
reasons for emigration is the distance they’ll be traveling to their new homes. The nova colonists are interesting in that many
are breeder novas, sometimes with children who were born novas in tow. I don’t know how much you know about these
kids, but they may be our best long-term hope to defend ourselves against hostile Terrans, nova or otherwise. Ask Euro-
bird and Spaceway for the details, and you’ll see what I mean pretty quick. On that note, we should see about establishing
breeder nova couples among our own ranks where feasible.
The other spot of good news is this: we have established covert contact with several dissident groups across the globe
including Israel. The dissidents are non-objectionable, have met our requirements and wish to relocate off Earth to find the
freedom and prosperity they currently can’t achieve in the Terran socioeconomic structure. They will provide much needed
genetic and cultural diversity for our colony worlds. Symphonie and Thaicom are in charge of handling them. We also have
Satellites screening them for sleeper agents working on behalf of the Terran factions. We are not going to allow any Terran
governments or corporations to subvert our colonies, thanks very much!
The Israelis are different in that they are offering covert support in return for our aid in establishing a Jewish enclave
on one of our extrasolar colony worlds. They’re mostly what
you Americans know as Reform Jews - with some Conservative
Jews thrown in - and wish to emigrate for several reasons. First off, they’re sick of the social conflict between them and the
“right-wing” extremists that have dominated the Knesset for the past couple of decades. They’ve decided to go the Amer-
ican route of keeping government completely secular and separate from religion and have cut all ties with the Jewish State.
Second, they feel that the Jewish State will not survive to see the 22 nd Century. Israel is already surrounded by hostile Arab
states, many of whom have nova soldiers and elites on their
payrolls, so no surprises there. Finally, they’re apparently seeing
too many historical parallels to the current global situation and want to get off-planet while they still can. They’re already
recruiting as many viable colonists as possible from both Israel and the Jewish Diaspora worldwide. That’s a lot of people,
but they have their own novas working to screen out any Mossad agents & the like. They have also agreed to abide by our
recruiting strictures.
All in all, things are looking up for us. With enough discretion and smart work, we’ll have fully operational colony worlds
to live on no matter what those idiots do here on Earth.
27

Chapter Two:

Sojourns in Spacetime

Baggage Handling

The old woman awoke as she was tossed onto

the floor, letting out a light gasp from the collision. Aching, she tried to get up, but a hand shoved her down like a steel restraint before she could rise to any posture above kneeling. The elderly lady, known only to a privileged few as Director Thetis, tried to kickstart her memory into action as she instinctively surveyed the scene. The wooden panel floor was clean, and so was the rest of the dimly-lit room, which was about the best that could be said for it. Sterile metal walls, lengthy but claustrophobic, far different than the comforts of her headquarters-cum-home. It had comforts enough given the needs of dealing with her advanced age

all came back to her now, as Thetis

with her advanced age all came back to her now, as Thetis it remembered what had

it

remembered what had happened with a jet of fear. The security breach of her home. The red-haired, grim-faced man who came into her panic room first. Chiraben had moved to intercept him, but

the red-haired intruder had shot Chiraben’s eyes out

a military-grade shotgun trailed off.

The lights went up, just enough to illuminate the elegant wooden chair and its occupant. The stern and wise founder

her recollections

with

“I allowed Proteus to exist to handle the matters that

waste

is a pointless comic-book villain’s plot!

Your excesses

Thetis opened her mouth once more, but it penetrated that Mercer was really talking to her, not with her. “To make a better world means having dirty hands, but now I wash them of you.” The polymath leader of Aeon made a chopping motion - and Thetis had the brief intuition that the redhead was behind her. A swift calloused fist struck her neck, which snapped. The red-haired man nodded to Mercer and scooped up the already cooling corpse for disposal. Mercer rose up and stretched. He’d already ‘removed’ Ozaki and had determined Chiraben’s fate. Some proper lunatic had to be placed in the view of the world as Slider’s killer. Who better than Chiraben himself, especially since he was the actual killer in the first place?

of time and money

Utopia cannot touch, for the sake of legitimacy. This

one handed

are ending.”

of

the Aeon Society himself: Maxwell Mercer. “Mercer!” Thetis burst out, finally finding enough focus

to

speak. “What the hell have you done?”

“I might say the same to you,” Mercer replied coldly, one leg crossed above the other. “Jennifer Landers?” “She was a security threat! She knew ” “And you created that threat!” Mercer snapped, “Slider might have just been left to have no one to believe her. When there was a body - her own dead body - people believed her

quite well, thank you. But that just pales in comparison to

the

Thetis worked up her mind to start her desperate debate. “The rate of nova population growth has been accelerating ”

sterilization program.”

28 CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

ABERRANT

Split Infinities

When examining what most people think about the future, there are two opposing viewpoints that tend to emerge. The first viewpoint sees the future as being quite static, something fixed to an inexorable outcome that cannot be altered to any real degree by something as puny as the efforts of mere individuals or even entire groups of people. The second viewpoint depicts the future as a chaotic wide- open field of possibilities - positive and negative alike - which may be realized by anyone with sufficient means, knowledge and opportunity. As is usually the case, the truth of the matter is somewhere between those two extremes. This is especially true in the Nova Age, as the question of which of the two preceding viewpoints is more correct literally depends on their location in the overall Aeon Continuum. For purposes of this book, the term “Aeon Continuum” is defined as the only known region of the Omniverse containing multiple timelines where Inspired beings of any and all types originate. (The Trinity Continuum will be detailed in the upcoming books from Onyx Path.) The Aeon Continuum is further divided into three known timeline groupings. The first timeline grouping - broadly referred to as “Universe 1” - is comprised of the realities where the canon version of Trinity and all of its variants take place. The second timeline grouping - labeled as “Universe 2” - is likewise where the canon version of Aberrant and all of its variants take place. “Universe 3” is the final grouping and is where the canon version of Adventure! and all of its variants take place. The three groupings also have different values for their respesctive nexii, showing the general point in the timelines where the future has not yet crystallized beyond the point where it can be changed. Universe 1’s nexus is circa 2122 C.E., while that of Universe 2 is circa 2015 C.E., and Universe 3’s nexus is circa 1923 C.E. Precise dates will vary with individual timelines. This is important for several reasons related to the actions of one Maxwell Anderson Mercer and the nature of time travel, all of which are discussed later on. For now, the most relevant consequence of this for the players and Storytellers is determining in which timeline grouping your Aberrant chronicle takes place in. For Aberrant chronicles set in the Universe 2 timelines, the future beyond the nexus is essentially up for grabs by anyone and everyone capable of changing it. Putting it as plainly as possible, the future literally has not been written, and anything past the nexus - including the First Aberrant War - can either be averted or assured by characters with foreknowledge of what could come and a sufficiently good strategy to alter the existing historical factors to achieve a desired outcome. Of course, there will always be plenty of other factors to interfere with such plans, ranging from deliberate

interference by other characters to simple human stupidity and apathy. For those Aberrant chronicles set in the Universe 1 timelines, they are faced with a future that might as well be carved in the hardest of stone. With a nexus that’s near 2122 C.E. - well past the Nova Age - the coming of the Aberrant War and all of its tragic consequences is guaranteed, regardless of whatever attempts are made to avert it. While this can be appealing for the true angst junkies among Aberrant players and Storytellers, most Universe 1 Nova Ages are best used as alternate universe destinations for nova crosstime travelers from the Universe 2 timelines. There are few better ways to get players motivated than to show them just how bad the future of the Nova Age can get, in excruciating detail. In the rare instance of Aberrant chronicles set in the Universe 3 timelines, theirs is a precarious existence at best. With their nexus located in 1923 C.E., these versions of the Nova Age are mirages, potential futures that can be altered and/or obliterated by actions taking place in their past. As phantoms, novas from these Aberrant chronicles are faced with nothing less than a monumental battle for their own right to exist. If they succeed, they can attain a permanent existence for their world, or at least for themselves and a surviving population of novas and Nova Age baselines. Otherwise, they face the prospect of literally being wiped from reality like a chalk drawing on a sidewalk in the rain.

About Universe 3

The third timeline grouping of the Aeon Continuum is known to very few travelers and visited infrequently at best. Labeled as Universe 3, they are notable for the markedly lesser power level of Earth’s resident Inspired and the fact that their futures can typically be altered only with truly heroic effort. Given the much lower power levels of these adventurers (compared to their future counterparts, anyway), any changes they make to history will have to be both “behind the scenes” from public notice and require long periods of time to have much noticeable effect on their world. While the benevolent Inspired cannot possibly hope to prevent World War II and similar upcoming events of the 20 th Century, the potentially world-altering plots of the Inspired villains of the period can certainly be thwarted. In rare cases, some of those heroes might - just might, mind you - even be able to prevent the long-term plans of Michael Daemon Donighal (a.k.a. Dr. Primoris, a.k.a. Divis Mal). Whether doing so is feasible or even desirable has been left to the wishes of the players and their Storyteller’s discretion.

CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

29

ABERRANT

Who Makes The World? :

Shapers of History

In most human worlds, actual history - as opposed to

most of what is taught as such by the academic institutions

- is shaped by two major factors. The first is the impersonal and undirected forces of nature, which cannot (usually) be resisted and can never be denied by sane, rational people. The second is the collective efforts of humanity, with individuals altering historical outcomes to varying degrees

- and often canceling out the changes made by others. In

Aberrant and Trinity, two additional factors exist. The first additional influence is the effect of powerful novas and aberrants, which basically lets them make changes to history on a scale previously associated only with the aforesaid forces of nature. This is much of what makes the Quantum-powered eximorphs so threatening to the baseline human Establishments: natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and tsunamis have no guiding intelligence behind them. Human social matters are irrelevant to nature. The same cannot be said of novas and aberrants, who often have marked (and often justified) interest in changing human society to the detriment of the Powers That Be.

The second additional influence is contact with alien races, which only begins to affect human history on a wide basis during the Noetic Era. Between the covert machinations of the Doyen and the overt contact with the Qin, Chromatics and Coalition, it’s hard to say which of these has had the most effect on Terran-based humanity as a whole. While the Doyen are responsible for setting up the psi orders - causing massive changes in human society - the social effects of overt contact with other alien species cannot be discounted. Centuries of scientific speculation on the possibility of encountering sapient alien species - which the average man on the street could dismiss out of hand - has been replaced with the hardest of proven facts. Aside from the aforementioned forces, certain individuals also have the capability to change the course of human history. While most of these are Inspired beings of great power, all that’s truly required to shape history is for a person to be faced with the right set of circumstances and have the opportunity and will to act. The only difference between mundanes and the Inspired in this is that the Inspired merely have a wider range of opportunity and circumstances to make real changes. What follows is our best attempt at an outline of the foremost of these shapers of history.

is our best attempt at an outline of the foremost of these shapers of history. 30

30 CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

 

ABERRANT

 

Max Mercer, Refracted

make it past Process 418. Instead, these Mercers impacted it and rebounded, much like a rubber ball thrown hard against a stout brick wall. After experiencing levels of pain undreamt of by mundane humans, they reappeared back in the 1920s C.E. They were also convinced that the event they had encountered was nothing less than the end of humanity. The timelines of these Mercers were only crystallized to circa 2015 C.E., and are the settings of the Aberrant gameline and chronicles. Category Three are those few Mercers who managed to make it past Process 418 without crystallizing their timelines at all. Armed with knowledge of the future and remaining generally optimistic about humanity, these Mercers inhabit the settings of the Adventure! gameline and chronicles. The second factor is how the morality of a given Max Mercer has been shaped by his timejump. Again, there are three divisions here. Sector One are the Optimistics/ Ethicals, whose outlooks remain generally true to how Max Mercer has been presented in the Aeon Continuum gamelines. These Mercers may commit illegal acts as necessary - which can be often when dealing with unjust laws - but they still qualify as “Good Guys” by most people’s standards. Their common flaw is the unfortunate tendency to see many people as being better than they truly are, if only in potential. Sometimes those people will live up to Mercer’s expectations, but more often he winds up being disappointed. These Mercers are often overly forgiving of their enemies, and will misjudge the character of people they really should not trust with anything. Sector Two are the Pragmatics/Situationals, who have become morally gray in their pursuit of doing the most good for the most people possible. These Mercers will commit illegal actions when they deem necessary, but generally only when such are more effective than the legal options. Their common flaw is their situational morality, which will lead wise people to distrust them on general principle. When one’s ethos can be summed up as “whatever benefits me and my aims is good, all else is either irrelevant or bad”, it puts a real damper on any feelings of having any long-term shared common interests others may have. Sector Three are the Pessimistics/Radicals, who can be seen as “necessarily evil” in that they have come to believe that the end always justifies the means when that end is the survival and continued well-being of an independent Humanity. These Mercers will commit illegal actions when it is convenient for them to do so in the pursuit of protecting Humanity against Inspired threats, regardless of who is harmed and/or killed in the process of doing so. Their common flaw is their blindness to their own evil, which others will eventually recognize and become deeply hostile to the Pessimistic/Radical Mercer in question. The third factor is the general effects a version of Max

Much of Max Mercer’s backstory is as presented in the Adventure! core book, and need not be reprinted here. Instead we will focus on how he has influenced the Aeoniverse timelines and the different versions of him that are available for use by Aberrant Storytellers. Through ignorance of the nature of his own powers, Mercer’s first few time travel attempts turns the potential

timelines he visits (different periods of the canon Aberrant

&

Trinity settings) into their own concrete realities, which

cannot be altered as their respective nexii have been advanced too far. He also splits himself into many versions of himself when attempting to travel past the date of Process 418. Compounding this error is Mercer’s mistaken belief that those new realities are still part of one single, fluid timeline. Put simply, Max thinks that he has trapped

himself in a timeline (in some cases, a personal Hell) and he spends the rest of his existence thereafter attempting to “fix” the negative consequences of his own meddling.

Mercer’s further meddling with causality ironically only helps

to

create those very same negative consequences he’s trying

to keep from happening. How he goes about doing this will

depend on how the Storyteller wishes to use Mercer in her Aberrant chronicle. When Max Mercer attempted his time jump past Process 418, he subjected himself to a phenomenon much like what happens when a narrow beam of white light hits

a

prism. Where there had been but one Max Mercer in a

single timeline/universe, there were now many parallel worlds, each with its own Max Mercer. And as those parallel worlds differed from each other to varying degrees, so did Max Mercer. This fact allows the Storyteller a wide range of latitude to tailor Mercer’s personality and motivations as she sees fit.

The Mercer Spectrum

There are three major factors in determining the motivations of Max Mercer in your Aberrant chronicle. The first factor depends on what that given version of Mercer experienced when he attempted to time-jump past Process 418. The Mercer Spectrum is divided into three groupings. Category One comprises those Max Mercers who managed to jump beyond Process 418, experiencing the wonders of the Noetic Age as baseline humanity - aided by the psionic humans - struggles to become a stable interstellar civilization during the Second Aberrant War. Unfortunately, these Mercers also inadvertently crystallized their timelines circa 2122 C.E. The universe/timelines these Mercers inhabit are designated “Universe 1” and are the settings of the Trinity gameline and chronicles. Category Two is made up of those Mercers who did not

 

CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

31

 

ABERRANT

 

Mercer has on the world he inhabits. Note that this factor has no bearing on the morality of any particular Max Mercer. Well-intentioned if mistaken actions are long known to be capable of having negative consequences. Likewise, atrocities and other acts of ill-intent can have indirect beneficial consequences, generally through the actions of those opposed to said malicious actions. Division One are the Beneficials, those Mercers whose actions have largely positive consequences for Humanity as a whole. Division Two are the Neutrals, the Mercers whose actions have resulted in a mix of positive and negative consequences for Humanity. Division Three are the Detrimentals, Mercers whose actions for whatever reason have had mostly negative consequences for Humanity.

Max had both Thetis and Ozaki eliminated and began a quiet purge of Project Proteus’ worst elements, “rebooting” the organization completely. Chiraben was mind-wiped and propped up as the culprit for Slider’s death, then handed over to the Hague for a public trial. Chiraben was then found guilty on multiple criminal counts of murder, torture and sabotage. He was executed soon afterwards. As a result, Corben was not framed, the Aberrants never formed and no scandals have blemished Project Utopia’s image and efforts. Also, without the desire for extra publicity by Utopian leaders, Antaeus was not pressed to the point of departure and is being treated with a lighter hand. The Teragen haven’t really changed much, but Max will deal with his old friend’s foolishness in time.

Using the Spectrum

By picking and choosing a Category, Sector and Division, the Storyteller can tailor-make a version of Max Mercer that fits her Aberrant chronicle like a glove. With the three coordinates providing a rudimentary structure to build on, all that is needed is for the Storyteller to flesh it out and make her version of Max Mercer live and breathe. Example: Gabe is preparing to run a campaign with Nexus content, and as part of building the setting is sitting down to define this timeline’s Maxwell Mercer. Using the Spectrum, he goes over each coordinate in order. This game is Aberrant, so Max is a Category Two, who did not get past Process 418 and is marked by the apparent end of humanity and the threat thus presented. Gabe also wants to try a more gray Mercer, someone who still has elements of his ideals embedded in his plans, but much more willing to kill or commit illegal actions when he feels the situation requires it. Max is thus designated a Sector Two. Gabe decides to assume for the sake of argument that his actions have borne good fruit for Earth and humanity, making Max a Division One.

Finally, Gabe fleshes out the details. Gabe thinks about what “necessary” actions Max may have taken, and decides that Max - though granting Project Proteus some latitude to provide the covert and dirty backing for Utopia - had enough the moment he heard about the Slider assassination and confirmed the existence of the sterilization program.

Divis Mal

Michael Daemon Donighal’s transformation into Doctor Primoris and the beginnings of his eventual metamorphosis into Divis Mal are as presented in the Adventure! core book. Here, we will discuss how the different versions of the Father of Teras may be used in your Aberrant chronicle. To borrow from the Mercer Coordinates shown above, the canon version of Divis Mal qualifies as Categories One and Two (encountered in the Adventure! & Aberrant timelines) and Sector Three (Pessimistic/Radical, in terms of his views on nova/baseline relations). His Division coordinate depends on the Storyteller’s interpretation of him. At best, Divis Mal is considered Division Two; as the prime instigator of the Nova Age his efforts have had a very mixed effect on the world. At worst, Divis Mal is considered Division Three, especially when his actions are viewed from the baseline perspective. Storytellers who wish to change this in their chronicles have two choices available to them. First, the Storyteller can alter Divis Mal’s initial circumstances; such as his nationality, parentage, sexual orientation and gender. For point of reference, the canon version of Divis Mal was a homosexual male (and child prodigy) born in 1900 in the United States of America to a heterosexual male Harvard professor and his wife living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While seemingly insignificant, changing any of these facts can make an alternate Donighal’s development skew wildly from the

 

Humanity Disclaimer

   

No matter which version of Max Mercer appears in your Aberrant chronicle - or Divis Mal, for that matter - it remains vitally important to point out that they are and still remain human men, Mal’s Taint and Chrysalis notwithstanding. Both Mercer

and

Mal are subject to personal limitations, bias and foibles. Both still make mistakes, and they cannot be everywhere at

once. If there are similarly great men and women in an Aberrant chronicle; it follows that they can, have and likely will make equally great mistakes. All of this also applies to most high-caliber novas, though certain ones may have developed in ways to ameliorate some of those flaws

32

CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

 
ABERRANT canon version. A hetero- or bisexual Donighal would have much less of a love/hate
ABERRANT
canon version. A hetero- or bisexual Donighal would have
much less of a love/hate relationship with Max Mercer and
Aeon in turn, becoming either a patriarch of the Teragen who
is less tolerant of his followers’ faults or a more committed
foe of Aeon. Likewise, a female Donighal could actually
find her love for Max Mercer requited, leading to massive
changes in Aeon’s development as her clarity of vision
counteracts the “rose-colored glasses” of an Optimistic/
Ethical Max Mercer. On the other hand, a female Divis Mal
might fuse her transhuman ideals with the feminism of Le
Salon des Femmes Nouveaux, leading to a Nova Age where
the vast majority of novas are female due to feeling that
most men should never be trusted with such power.
Second, the Storyteller can allow for nova player
characters to stymie Divis Mal’s historical track through
diplomatic means, although this requires a better-than-
average insight into Mal’s personality. Despite the popular
view of Mal as a perpetual (and petulant) overly empowered
teenager, that’s not the only way to portray him. Back in the
Adventure! Era, Donighal was the pulp science hero Dr.
Primoris. Acting as a foil to the views of the Aeon Society,
Primoris’ authoritarianism and fear that a free humanity
would inevitably destroy itself led him to seek dominion
over the entire human race. From his viewpoint, human
freedom was irrelevant if it allowed the species to drive itself
into extinction. The Aeon Society - and more importantly
to Primoris, Max Mercer - disagreed violently with this and
the matter came to blows. After his defeat by Aeon and
subsequent disappearance, Primoris retreated to focus on
two things. The first was furthering his own metamorphosis,
which he’d started back in the early 1930s. The second was
finding a way to save humanity from itself. As Mal’s Chrysalis
progressed, the latter goal gradually changed into a desire
to evoke the nova transformation in all those humans
capable of doing so. And some of these new novas would
go on to learn the Chrysalis and become beings like himself,
equals for Mal to socialize with and keep him company as
they built a bold new civilization that would outlast human
civilization by millennia. Unfortunately, reality was not so
accomodating.
Divis Mal is a classic example of the Ubermensch
archetype - he’s always known that his nova capabilities
make him different from and arguably superior to normal
humanity. This has resulted in his alienation from normal
humans and from his own humanity, leading to the tragedies
of the Chrysalis and the Teragen, both of which are rooted in
Mal’s naïve misunderstanding of humanity in general. Mal is
an overly cerebral philosopher who tries to act benevolently
with his power whose efforts have horrific consequences
due to his basic misunderstanding of humanity and himself.
While intelligent enough to see the global consequences of
his large-scale actions, Mal always manages to miscalculate
how actual people (nova, baseline and otherwise) will react
to them and himself. This has made him extremely reluctant
to act, making him near-completely irrelevant to the events
going on around him. Mal still believes that nova capabilities
should grant superior morality, despite all the evidence
he’s seen to the contrary. His ideas on proper human
social interaction are seriously behind the times in that he
essentially sees novas - and himself - as natural aristocrats,
with all the sense of entitlement which comes with that.
CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME
33

ABERRANT

His Terat followers keep defining themselves by their relation to humanity, which is a supreme irony given how Mal’s philosophy is rooted in his own humanity. For every genuine transhumanist among the Terats - the ones closest to what Mal wanted the Terats to be - there are many more sociopaths, narcissists, nova supremacists, opportunists and posers. As a result the Teragen has become a huge train wreck of a movement, a quantum-powered horror show whose only thing going for them is having learnt Mal’s less- than-viable method of dealing with Taint accumulation. When events led Mal to initiate the nova Exodus in 2061, he created his own universe for himself and the Teragen to live in. And thus, Mal literally creates his own personal Hell; a realm where every nova residing there is effectively his, her or it’s own species. Not only will the inhabitants have little in common with Mal, but their difficulties in communicating effectively with one another will decrease any desire to do so. Divis Mal will find himself more alone than he ever was back on Earth, and may become self-destructive as a result. Putting things bluntly, Divis Mal is certifiably insane by human standards. Widely held to suffer from both megalomania and schizophrenia, Mal is also obsessive about his ideas on nova “evolution”. Finally, he is likely delusional as to how baseline humanity will react to his attempts at establishing nova dominance. That said, it is still (barely) possible for Mal to be convinced of his errors. For nova PCs to get it through to Mal that he is deeply mistaken about several very basic things about humanity and his goals is going to require convincing him of three things. First, they must disprove his belief that morality has any link whatsoever to power. Granting a human power clearly does not improve his or her morality. Likewise, morality has no meaning if it grants any power. If Mal is truly the Father of Teras, he must be held responsible for the crimes committed by his followers. Second, the PCs must show Mal that according to Teras, the Teragen must be prohibited from taking any and all advantage of human society if they take the Null Manifesto seriously. If Terats or other novas participate in human society, they should expect to be judged by human standards. If Terats were truly superior to baseline humanity, they would divorce themselves from it entirely. Instead, most Terats use their “superiority” as a blanket excuse for lawlessness and the rampant abuse of baseline humans. Third, they must prove to Mal that his repeated efforts to cause nova eruptions are resulting in an increasing number of novas erupting with increased Taint. This in turn only makes the already-strained relationship between novas and baseline humanity even worse, as such dysfunctional novas give the baseline Establishment ever more reason to view all novas in a hostile light. In trying to help novas by creating more of them, Mal is instead making the situation

worse for everyone involved, including himself. If the nova PCs are successful - and it should not be an easy victory, given Mal’s difficulties in communicating with others - they can convince Mal to remove himself and the Teragen from human civilization. In the best case scenario, Mal will also exile the Taint-maddened novas from Earth while leaving the sane non-Terat novas free to stay

on Earth or leave to found extrasolar nova colonies as they will. Without Divis Mal and the Taint-mad novas acting as

a gigantic Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of

baseline humanity, the baseline Powers That Be will have to find another scapegoat than novas to take the blame for their next inevitable global conflict.

Other Time Travelers

When dealing with time travelers - quantum-powered or otherwise - the possibilites as to who they are and why they are undertaking time travel are endless. Instead of listing all the possible reasons for novas to travel in time, we present Storytellers with a handy checklist of coordinates using part of the Greek alphabet. Alpha indicates which universe grouping the time traveler in question originates from. Alpha-1 indicates Universe One & the Trinity setting. Alpha-2 indicates Universe Two & the Aberrant setting. Alpha-3 indicates Universe Three & the Adventure! setting. Alpha-4 is a special case, as it indicates the Trinity Continuum and the

necessity of some kind of crosstime travel - likely accidental

- in addition to the time travel event. Alpha-5 is the most

exotic as it indicates some random universe within the Greater Omniverse, beyond both the Aeon & Trinity Continuums. Beta indicates the relative stability of a time traveler’s point of origin, and can be a huge factor in determining

a traveler’s motivations. Beta-1 indicates travelers who hail

from a stable part of their universe’s timeline, which is the most common case. Beta-2 indicates travelers that hail from the portion of their universe’s timeline that is crystallizing into “established history” and is near their timeline’s nexus. While their origin points are not quite as stable as those of travelers from the fully crystallized portions of the timeline, these lifestreams of these travelers are just as resistant to temporal meddling. Beta-3 indicates travelers who hail from “mirages”, those portions of their universe’s timelines which have yet to crystallize. Since these travelers are by definition phantoms (as per the Flaw on p. 119 of this book), they have what is possibly the best reason to engage in time travel of all: ensuring the continued existence of both their world and themselves. Gamma indicates the basic nature of the time traveler, with increasing levels of weirdness from the general Terran perspective. Gamma-1 indicates a baseline human, an

34 CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

 

ABERRANT

   

Adventure!-style daredevil or equivalent being of human derivation. These time travelers will either be using some form of technology to facilitate their journeys or will be acting as agents for a more powerful being or group of beings that possess time travel capabilities of some sort. Gamma-2 indicates either a psionic being of human derivation or a non-Inspired being of alien derivation. Their journey will usually be a function of advanced technology (noetic or hardtech), although beings with advanced Psychoportation capabilities might be able to accomplish the feat. Gamma-3 indicates either a relatively untainted nova or nova-equivalent of human derivation, with the latter presumably hailing from the Terran Continuum. Gamma-4 indicates a highly-tainted nova of human derivation (what most denizens of the Trinity setting think of as an aberrant) or a relatively untainted nova or nova-equivalent of alien derivation. Gamma-5 indicates a highly-tainted nova of

technology. Epsilon-3 indicates travelers whose intentions are essentially neutral in regard to general humanity. Often, they have purely selfish motives in mind and a corresponding lack of respect for the dangers of time travel. These travelers are the ones seeking to prevent or ensure an otherwise insignificant person’s death, or make themselves wealthy by using economic knowledge from the future. Epsilon-4 indicates travelers with malignant intentions of a limited scope. These travelers typically seek to disrupt a particular beneficial change of any sort - social, political, technological or economic - in order to preserve a previous status quo they find appealing. Epsilon-5 indicates travelers whose malignant intentions could affect most of humanity. Examples of such include attempting to establish a global repressive fascist regime to causing the world to become overtly dominated by international corporations to causing human extinction. Zeta indicates what the actual effect of the time traveler’s meddling will be in general terms. Please note that this coordinate never has to be congruent to the Epsilon coordinate. Well-intentioned meddling can easily have detrimental consequences, while malevolent meddling can create beneficial consequences for humanity through the actions of those who resist a time traveler’s evil schemes. Zeta-1 indicates that the traveler’s efforts will be - either directly or indirectly - of great benefit to all of humanity. Zeta-2 indicates travelers whose effect is beneficial yet are of limited scope. Zeta-3 indicates those travelers whose actions have neither any real beneficial nor detrimental effect. Whether this is due to unexpected resistance, poor planning on the traveler’s part or simple chance has been left up to the Storyteller. Zeta-4 indicates travelers whose efforts will have limited malignant effects on humanity. Zeta-5 indicates travelers whose actions whose meddling will have detrimental effects for all of humanity.

alien derivation, and is functionally equivalent to the classic eldritch abomination trope. Gamma-6 is the most exotic, as

it

indicates a human or humanoid being with actual mystical

powers. By definition, most will hail from either the Terran Continuum or the Greater Omniverse and will be crosstime travelers (accidental or otherwise) as well as time travelers. Delta indicates how prepared the time traveler is

for his, her or its arrival in the target time period. Delta-1 indicates no preparation at all, with the traveler lacking both knowledge of the target time period and anything that would help the traveler survive until such knowledge could be learned. Delta-2 indicates minimal preparation, with the traveler having either rudimetary knowledge of the target time period or sufficient means to survive with relative ease until the knowledge is learned. Delta-3 indicates moderate preparation, usually indicating adequate levels of both knowledge and resourcefulness. Alternately, it can indicate an excessive amount of either quality. Delta-4 indicates an

extreme amount of both qualities. Epsilon indicates the intentions of the time traveler, although from the general human perspective and only in

general sense. Time travel can be extremely dangerous,

a

Human Nature

   

There is one important factor that can always stymie schemes of a time traveler: basic human nature. When most

travelers think of changing the course of human history, they often

the

and the traveler’s reasons for taking such risks must always be taken into account. Epsilon-1 indicates travelers whose intentions are for the benefit of humanity in general. This would include missions such as preventing the outbreak of a global epidemic, defusing conflicts before nuclear or biological weapons are widely used, or preventing certain natural disasters. Epsilon-2 indicates travelers whose intentions are still beneficial, but more limited in scope. This includes attempts to alter social trends for the benefit of a minority (such as novas or Jews), thwarting the efforts of demagogues to attain power by demonizing social minorities, and interfering in corporate affairs to either promote or retard the development of influential new

time

come to view most of the people inhabiting the time periods visit as being unimportant in the greater scheme of things.

they

This

can be a deadly mistake. Humans are not all chess pieces to be

moved around, they will all have their own agendas which

can

easily - if inadvertently - throw the proverbial monkey wrench

into

a

time traveler’s schemes. Even if a traveler’s efforts are for their

collective benefit, some humans will still resist due to contrariness,

a

conservative mentality or a simple lack of understanding of what

the traveler’s actions could result in. That said, while the gods of antiquity may contend with human stupidity in vain, that question

is

still up in the air when novas are concerned

 

CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

35

ABERRANT

Time Travel Explored

Whenever a player character gains the capability to engage in time travel, the question of changing the course of history always comes up. For most Storytellers, this is a can of worms that they would just rather not deal with. For those willing to give it a shot, however, we have provided a general overview of the process as delineated in the Aeon Continuum settings. For those who want to read over the means first, please refer to the listing for the Time Travel quantum power, in the Aberrant Players Guide, pp. 136-138.

of chronicles occuring within mirages, Laws #1, #2 and #3 are drastically changed. Mirage futures are literally houses of cards made into reality. Thus, their pasts are horribly easy to change, which may or may not be a good thing depending on the circumstances. Likewise paradoxes can be created, with time travelers deleting themselves from existence in the course of doing so shortly afterwards. Possible means of escaping this fate can be found in the listing for the Phantom Flaw on p. 119 of this book. The situation is reversed when dealing with chronicles set far in the past - within the crystallized portion of the timeline - from their timeline’s nexus. From such points in the timeline, the past cannot be changed and any attempts to do so merely create new timelines. Time travelers cannot create paradoxes or alter their own causal chains. Since changes to a timeline at this point cannot be made, the questions of whether such changes can be undone and how quickly they take place become moot. Finally, time travelers cannot define the future by traveling into it. Instead, they travel to one of the infinite possible futures of their timeline. These sojourns will have no effect on the people who are living in that timeline’s actual future, which cannot be visited.

Changing History:

A DIY Guide

As outlined above, changing the course of history via time travel is nowhere near as as simple as demolishing a building. What must always be kept in mind is that history is produced by the collective interactions of humankind with both themselves and their environment. Adding in the fact of historical inertia existing in the timeline only makes this task more daunting. What follows is our best shot at a rough guide to changing a timeline, broken down into separate stages.

Stage #1: Establish a clear idea of the desired change. When most novas (or other varieties of Inspired beings) engage in something as risky as time travel, they typically have a very good idea of exactly what they’re attempting to change. Vague goals such as “preventing World War II” or “prevent global warming” are insufficiently clear for this purpose. “Stymie the establishment of the Nazi Party before it can come into power” and “prevent the oil industry from becoming the dominant energy source of the 20 th Century” are more than sufficient.

Stage #2: Do your research. Put simply, the wise time traveler should learn everything possible that is relevant to the change that she will attempt to make. If for example one wishes to stymie

will attempt to make. If for example one wishes to stymie The Five Basics of Time

The Five Basics of Time Travel:

A Review

Here is a quick review of how time travel is typically assumed to work in most Aeon Continuum settings. Law #1 - Time travelers can change the past, although with difficulty. Historical inertia will replace historical figures lost due to the efforts of time travelers, and ensures that historical events prevented through such meddling will happen a brief time later with different causes. Carefully planned actions by time travelers can still alter history successfully. Law #2 - Time travelers can partially alter the causal change that brought them to the past, but they can’t “unwrite” it entirely. Said time travelers may or may not remember the unaltered version of their history. Law #3 - Time travelers can undo any changes to history made by themselves or others and restore the original version of it, as historical inertia works in favor of such corrections. Law #4 - Time traveling into the future partially defines it. The events a time traveler deals with most directly become fixed - in other terms this is advancing the timeline’s nexus - while the rest of the unobserved future world remaind fluid and malleable. Law #5 - Any historical changes made by time travelers apply instantly. All of this assumes that the chronicle in question - like most Aeon Continuum chronicles - takes place within a portion of its timeline that is close to said timeline’s nexus. In the case

36 CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

ABERRANT

the rise of a political party; the time traveler should identify what social forces allowed the party to form in the first place. Who supported that party financially, and for what reasons? Were there any forces opposing it, and if so why did they fail to stop the rise of the said party in its tracks? Were there any pre-existing social weaknesses that the said party was able to take advantage of? Were there any points in the said party’s development when it was particularly vulnerable to its opposing forces? Even the most seemingly insignificant detail can make the difference between success and failure. In game terms, this can be represented with a series of Academics (History) rolls made at whatever difficulty penalty that the Storyteller deems reasonable. Stage #3: Choose your method(s). There are four basic kinds of changes that time travelers can make to a timeline. The first variety are the technological changes. Mega-Mental time travelers can find this the easiest route to take, provided that they are technologically inclined. Most often making this kind of change means either introducing a new technology into the targeted time period or preventing a new technology from being successfully developed. Alternatively, ambitious time travelers can seek to either raise or lower the targeted time period’s Technology Rating (see pp. 114-118 of this book) by one or more levels. The former is best roleplayed, while the latter can be handled with a series of whatever Ability rolls the Storyteller deems appropriate. The second variety are the political changes, which require entry into the targeted time period’s political process. These can range from simply directing the targeted government into making one or more decisions (for ill or good) in line with the time traveler’s wishes to altering the very form said government takes or even replacing it with a new one. Mega-Social time travelers have an opportunity to shine here, especially if the locals of the targeted time period have no clue about nova capabilities. The third variety are the cultural changes, which are again a veritable playground for Mega-Social time travelers. As with the political changes, this option requires the time traveler to attain a basic level of influence within the popular culture of the targeted time period. New religions can be created and existing ones discredited. The targeted culture’s attitudes towards a social minority can also be altered for better or worse. More trivially, fashion trends can be created or rendered utterly tacky. New genres of the arts, music, literature and cuisine can be introduced or made unfashionable as desired. The fourth variety are the exotic changes, which are generally options for only nova time travelers or other Inspired beings with Inspired devices of similar potency. Dubious sanity is also a requirement for time travelers willing to use such gambits. These actions include such drastic measures

as inducing nova eruptions (or other forms of Inspired capabilities) in the local populace, reintroducing dinosaurs into the targeted time period’s ecosystem, initiating (or faking) First Contact with an alien species, causing an entire high-tech nation - four or more Technology Ratings higher than the local standard - to appear in the place of it’s past counterpart or outright attempts to conquer the entirety of human civilization of the targeted time period. In all four cases, changes to a timeline are also classed by their magnitude. Type 1 changes are the minor ones, basic alterations to a tiny part of the everyday status quo that are highly attractive to the local culture. Examples of such would be introducing a highly useful new cooking technology, new political ideas that arouse little or no opposition, and creating mildly popular new works of art. Type 2 changes are intermediate alterations of the status quo which while noticeable are not outside the realm of what the locals consider “normal”. Examples of such include introducing new and highly useful agricultural techniques, altering the reputation of an existing public figure or establishing a new one, and creating wildly popular new works of art. Type 3 changes are major and possibly lasting alterations to the status quo which radically deviate - for good or ill - from the expectations of the locals. In technological terms this means either introducing revolutionary new technologies - no more than one or two Technology Ratings higher than what is current - or causing the loss of an existing technology of a similar degree. Other examples of such would include introducing new agricultural crops, altering the locals’ social attritudes towards an entire social minority and introducing either entirely new forms of art or major changes to current ones. Type 4 changes are acute alterations of the status quo which deviate fromthe locals’ expectations to the point where strong social opposition to them is guaranteed. In terms of technology, this means introducing new technologies that are three or four Technology Ratings higher than the local standard or reducing the local development of an

CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

37

Actual History vs. Official History

Wise time travelers should never place too much trust in whatever passes for the local historical record. “Official” versions of human history have always been written to the benefit of the current Powers That Be in all time periods. Historians who present hard evidence contrary to said official histories have often found themselves discredited or even imprisoned for doing so. Attempts by dissident historians often meet with determined - if informal - resistance at all levels of officialdom and academia. Even without such deliberate distortions historical records are still made by humans; who can, have and will make mistakes in doing so. Important historical details can even be overlooked for decades or centuries. Caveat Lector.

ABERRANT

existing technology by the same degree. Other examples of such would include starting a revolution against the local government, making radical alterations of widespread cultural practices, establishing a new major religion and utterly transformating an existing art form. Type 5 changes are in a class of their own. By definition, these are extreme alterations of the status quo which not only will engender vigorous social opposition, they have the potential to cause serious social disruption merely frombeing introduced into the targeted time period. All of the exotic changes (see above) to the local timeline are considered Type 5 changes by default. Going by technological terms, this would also cover either introducing new technologies that are five or more Technology Ratings higher than the local standard or reducing the local development of an existing technology by the same degree. Other such changes would include the utter transformation of an existing culture or making social changes that go against what is locally assumed to be normal and healthy human behavior. Finally, it should be noted that most time travelers often have to make many small (and profitable) changes to a timeline in order to acquire the means to make the larger ones. Throughout most of human history, gaining large amounts of wealth has always led to gaining increased political and cultural influence in turn. Wise time travelers should always make use of that axiom - even if they might not actually need large amounts of wealth acquired in the targeted time period, it makes for a very handy cover for them to engage in any political and/or cultural machinations.

Stage #4: Make the change. The effort and time required for a time traveler to make a change in the timeline is directly proportional to its magnitude. Once a time traveler has set up an initial base of operations and sufficient funding - creating & selling precious gems is a favorite means of getting quick funds in past eras - he may attempt to make any desired changes as circumstances permit. The process of making a technological change is identical to that used to create new technology (Aberrant:

Brainwaves, pp. 23-25) when introducing a new technology, though with two differences. The first is that a time traveler will often have dots in the Hypertech Background, which can help the time traveler due to the advanced technological, political and/or social knowledge it represents. Further details can be found on pp. 112-113 of this book. Sabotage of the existing local technology depends on hindering the efforts of the local researchers and depriving the local culture of the resources and materials to support said technology. Making political or cultural changes is little different, except that the process depends on the Social Attributes and

Wits. The magnitude of the desired change is also a factor. Type 1 & 2 changes are the equivalent of creating a simple device. Changes of Type 3 and greater are equivalent to increasingly complex devices.

Operating At The Margins

Changing history isn’t the only option available to time travelers. Provided that they refrain from interfering with the course of human history and keep a low profile, said time travelers can accomplish wondrous things. This becomes especially true when making long-range plans, such as going back in time to establish extrasolar nova colony worlds without having to deal with interference from governments and other groups that are aware of the novas’ existence and capabilities.

The Basics Of Skirting History

When planning to successfully take advantage of time travel without appreciably changing history, there are four tenets that wise time travelers always keep in mind. Anonymity: Keeping a low profile whenever possible might as well be a religious edict for time travelers in these circumstances. By blending in with the locals and becoming deliberately bland and uninteresting by said locals’ standards, time travelers can be ignored. The ideal is to become insignificant and forgettable pieces of the background scenery of history’s stage. Incredibility: When anonymity is not possible, time

travelers must adopt the near-opposite tactic. Bluntly, they must be so unbelievable and outlandish that any and all witnesses dismiss the time travelers as figments of their own imaginations. It’s a much harder thing to accomplish than it first seems. There is a very fine line between being considered some sort of intoxicated hallucinations and being just believable enough for any local unorthodox thinkers to take an interest in the bizarre incidents. Isolation: When neither anonymity nor incredibility will serve, being generally removed fromthe local human society

is a time traveler’s best bet. If a human has no real impact

on the timeline - has no children within human society and takes no important actions that would affect it - he or she becomes irrelevant to said timeline’s historical flow. Many things can happen to these people without changing history,

as historical inertia simply “reassigns” any important future actions they might have made to other people. Such folk are ripe for removal from human society by time travelers for whatever reason. This state of affairs can also become

a potent defense for the time travelers themselves, as this

irrelevancy allows them to engage in activities that would otherwise alter human history irretrievably. Ingenuity: When time travelers cannot interact with human society for fear of leaving a paper trail and thus

38 CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

ABERRANT entering the local historical record, resourcefulness is in the highest demand. As people forced
ABERRANT
entering the local historical record, resourcefulness is in the
highest demand. As people forced to interact only at the
fringes of human society - with unofficial and anonymous
dealings being preferred - time travelers must make the
most of any and all opportunities that present themselves.
Situational ethics can apply here to a point, as natural
disasters and tragic events where property and/or lives
would otherwise be lost can make ripe pickings for time
travelers who could make good use of them.
Living Off Of The (Historical) Record
Many people view enaging in time travel as being
identical to changing history. They further reason that if
one isn’t trying to change history, why bother
with time travel at all? Those people with more
imagination than most do not agree with that
idea. What follows is a general overview of what
can be accomplished without having to alter the
timestream.
Establish Coventry Colonies: Perhaps the
most common tactic, time travelers can establish
very isolated colonies where they, their friends
and followers can live without interference from
either hostile forces “back home” or from the
locals. Provided that a stable, self-supporting
colony can be established, three things must be
done to make sure it can grow safely. First, the colony must
be able to evade the notice of any and all outside forces;
be they local humans, local aliens or other time travelers.
Second, the colony must have sufficient military might
to ensure that anyone who discovers the colony does not
survive long enough for the news to get out. Third, the
colony must ensure that their younger residents don’t get
restless and try to leave the colony and interact with the
local human civilization. This is best done by providing the
colony with enough cultural diversity where those who grow
up in it won’t feel imprisoned by overly restrictive customs
and any conservative tendencies that their elders might
have. This last problem can be ameliorated somewhat if the
colony happens to be on a habitable extrasolar planet, as
they have extensive frontiers to absorb youthful energies
and frustration.
Recovery Missions: If you need people, lifeforms
or items of property for any reason, “timenapping” is an
excellent way to acquire them. This can even be beneficient
to the persons or lifeforms in question if they are saved from
certain death and/or extinction in the process. If the time
traveler has the right equipment & training - or the right
nova capability - genetic material can also be timenapped
instead of taking the entire person or lifeform. In this way
even historically important people can contribute their genes
to a future civilization. The darker reasons for engaging in
timenapping are self-evident and won’t be gone into here.
Historical Reconnaissance: With human historical
records known to be less than reliable, it’s inevitable that time
travelers will end up trying to find out what really happened
themselves. This can be of great use when investigating the
origins and goals of “present-day” - whatever that may be
for the time travelers - human organizations, especially if
they are hostile to the time travelers for whatever reason. It
can also help uncover secrets kept by powerful organizations
such as national governments and major religious hierarchies
that could have an impact on the humanity in general or
the time travelers’ plans. The time travelers can also make
excellent historical documentaries and records of their own
for posterity.
Crosstime Travel Explored
From the Storyteller’s perspective, player characters
that gain the capability to travel to alternate universes are
somewhat easier to deal with than those who can time
travel. Instead of dealing with a changeable timestream, the
characters merely have their horizons expanded to a near-
infinite degree. What follows is our best attempt to chart this
widened setting in a general sense.
A Quick Guide To The Omniverse
The omniverse is an infinite sea mostly composed of
inchoate gravitons and psion particles. The familiar human
senses of apparent three-dimensional space and linear
time have little relevance here, making questions of time
and distance pointless. This sea of transcendent chaos has
currents and “weather”, which leads to denser portions
where gravitons clump together to form an infinite number
of newborn universes, drawing in varying amounts of psion
particles in the process. Most universes formed this way
draw in a substandard amount of psion particles at their
“moment” of creation and are considered “dead” universes.
These stillborn universes are unable to support any form of
life whatsoever, for varying reasons. They are also typically
static unless acted upon by “outside” forces, and are the
most fragile variety of universe. Dead universes act as
CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME
39
   

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“insulation” for the zoetic universes they surround, blunting the effects of any hazardous omniversal weather may have on said zoetic universes. Dead universes can be entered or altered by crosstime travelers with the right capabilities or equipment, although it’s quite rare for them to have any good reason for doing so. Other newborn universes draw in enough psion particles to become “zoetic” universes, capable of supporting one or more varieties of lifeforms. There are two main types of zoetic universes - static cosms and standard cosms. Static cosms are for all purposes invulnerable to being damaged or altered in any way. They cannot be entered by crosstime travelers, but can be examined from “outside”. The inhabitants of a static cosm live in an infinite loop of the same time period, and act out their predetermined roles without any variation or free will involved. The “past” of a static cosm is little more than stage dressing for the neverending play that’s going on, and the “future” of a static cosm beyond the set time period is a meaningless concept. Finally static cosms also act as “support structures” for their associated standard cosms. Most static cosms will have many standard cosms budding off from them, but “stripped” static cosms do exist. These relics have lost their associated standard cosms to either the

hazards of omniversal weather or the actions of sapients. Stripped static cosms cannot “regenerate” lost standard cosms on their own, but can have new ones made by the efforts of novas with the Universe Creation quantum power (Aberrant Players Guide pp. 140-141). Standard cosms are considered the default variety of zoetic universes. They are more durable than the dead universes and less so than the static cosms, a happy medium that allows them to continually absorb fresh psion particles from the surrounding omniverse. That in turn allows standard cosms to grow and develop in what human cosmologists consider to be all the normal ways for universes to do so. Standard cosms are typically “funhouse mirror reflections” of their static cosms, being very similar save for having changes of varying degrees. Standard cosms may be entered or altered by crosstime travelers normally with the right capabilities or equipment. Changing a standard cosm is more difficult than changing a dead universe, thanks to their innate flexibility.

Hazards Of The Omniverse

The “fluid” medium of the omniverse can have

dramatic effects on the universes it contains, although the actual “pace” of such events is painfully slow from the human perspective. The general types of events include the following. Universal Collisions: Omniversal currents have made universes collide with each other. Most often all the universes involved are dead universes, in which case a dead universe is either destroyed or becomes a newborn static cosm. Collisions of dead universes with zoetic universes are somewhat different in that the zoetic universe always comes out of it unchanged and intact. When a dead universe collides with a static cosm or a standard cosm, it is either destroyed or becomes a newborn standard cosm itself. Zoetic universes never collide with each other as a result of natural omniversal currents, but may be made to do so with the Universe Destruction quantum power (pp. 106-107 of this book). Natural Interfaces: Some omniversal currents can form temporary interfaces between two different universes, as decribed in the listing for the Crosstime Interface quantum power (pp. 96-101 of this book). Natural interfaces are limited to duplicating the Annexation, Pocket Reality, Portal and Transposition techniques. Interfaces between a zoetic universe and a dead universe always result in the dead universe being changed and the zoetic universe being undamaged. Interfaces between two different standard cosms are handled as per the technique being duplicated. Standard cosms cannot interface with static cosms, even their own.

 

“Yeah, But What Does It Look Like?”

any

From the viewpoint of any non-nova observers hailing from universe, “transcendent chaos” and “sheer, utter madness” the best labels they can apply to what they see when they

are

catch a raw, unfiltered glimpse of the omniverse. The fact that

the

sight inflicts actual psychological trauma on most non-novas

who witness it tends to discourage any subsequent attempts to define it further. For novas witnessing the omniverse, they gaze into a realm without any stable spatial or temporal dimensions. Every sense of spatial relation and the passage of time is in a state of constant flux. While the sight is disorienting, novas with the Locus enhancement of Mega-Perception can block out the chaos to perceive the free-floating universes hidden within it. Dead universes resemble simple irregular crystal formations, and look just as fragile as they really are. If they have no associated standard cosms, static cosms resemble perfectly cut and flawless crystals with small patches of an amorphic mineral crust. Standard cosms will be found growing in groups on a shared static cosm,

resulting in a structure much like a water-ice snowflake save that its structure is not limited to the standard three spatial dimensions. A single standard cosm resembles a fairly regular crystal formation

with

an amorphic mineral crust coating most of it. The bare spots

on standard cosms are points where new standard cosms can be budded off through the formation of black holes - or use of the

Universe Creation quantum power - within the parent standard cosm.

40

CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

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Current Impacts: Sometimes an omniversal current will impact a dead universe or standard cosm without any other dead universes getting in the way. The impacted universe then undergoes a basic change to its reality. In the case of a dead universe, the impact either destroys it or transforms it into a newborn static cosm. In the much more rare case of a standard cosm being impacted, the effects are much less severe due to its superior durability and flexibility. Instead of being destroyed or transformed wholesale, the standard cosm is partially changed as per the Astromanipulation quantum power (p. 90 of this book). In this case, the current’s impact can duplicate any effect listed in the One to Five Success Range. Omniversal Flotsam: Instead of impacting a universe, sometimes an omniversal current will apply “suction” to it. When this happens to a dead universe, it is automatically destroyed by the suction. When it happens to a zoetic universe, the current’s suction “summons” a random item or lifeform from the target universe as per either the Crosstime Retrieval quantum power with the Summoning Extra (pp. 101-102 of this book) or the Limbo technique of the Crosstime Interface quantum power (pp. 98-99 of this book). In the case of items or lifeforms “summoned” to a different standard cosm, exactly which standard cosm they will end up in is anyone’s guess and is subject to the whim

of the Storyteller. Current Twisting: Instead of impacting or applying suction to a target universe, some omniversal currents will “spin” the target universe slightly, creating a natural time loop within its timeline near its nexus. This is equivalent to use of the Temporal Loop quantum power (pp. 105-106 of this book) at whatever power rating the Storyteller sees fit to use. Omniversal Maelstroms: The rarest and most dangerous form that omniversal currents take is when they collect into omniversal maelstroms. Like the black holes found in zoetic universes, these gigantic “whirlpools” destroy any dead universes or standard cosms that come too close to them. Their wakes are littered with stripped static cosms and omniversal flotsam of all sorts. It’s not a completely destructive phenomenon, as the passage of an omniversal maelstrom also causes the creation of newborn universes of all kinds from the inchoate fluid medium of the omniverse. The only known method of protecting a standard cosm from the effects of an omniversal maelstrom is use of the Shielded Reality quantum power (p. 103 of this book). In this case, the Storyteller treats the effect of the omniversal maelstrom as per the Universe Destruction quantum power (pp. 106-107 of this book) at whatever power rating she sees fit.

Noetic Massminds

 

One unique potential hazard to crosstime travelers are

the noetic massminds, conglomerate entities composed of

the collective noetic templates of the different species of deceased sapients. The noetic massmind of humanity can be thought of as the species’ collective unconsciousness. Typically found resting just beyond the outer “wall” of their resident standard cosms, noetic massminds spend their “time” passively absorbing the noetic templates from deceased members of their associated species. Noetic templates that the massmind finds pleasing will be assmilated into its mindspace intact; those which are displeasing are consumed, destroyed and recycled. Provided that a noetic massmind still has specimens of its species living within its zoetic universe, it is for all purposes sessile as it will not abandon its “food” source. Only when its associated species goes extinct will a noetic massmind gain mobility and begin its endless journey throughout the omniverse.

This only becomes a problem when a noetic massmind encounters living specimens of its associated species - or close analogues from other universes - traveling between universes, as its inclination will be to devour those beings’ noetic templates. As a result of this attack, such beings appear to have either died for no apparent medical reason or are reduced

to mindless vegetables. It’s probably for the best that noetic massminds cannot enter any kind of universe.

Fortunately for novas, their noetic templates are more or less permanently fused with their quantum matrices, making novas immune to this form of attack. Unfortunately, noetic massminds are themselves also the functional noetic equivalents of high-powered novas in the omniverse, and will automatically attack eximorphic members of their associated species in

an attempt to get at their noetic templates. There is a silver lining to this cloud though - noetic massminds are by definition sapient. The trick for novas is to somehow draw the attacking noetic massmind’s attention to themselves, and get it to establish control over its own “automatic body functions” long enough for them to establish communication. Whether the

communication with said noetic massmind proves fruitful or not depends on the player characters’ efforts.

The nature of any particular noetic massmind is left to the Storyteller to determine according to how she would interpret the nature and “personality” of such an entity. The possibilities for the former include but are not limited to

“eternal extraordinarily fun party”, “mass simulated reality” basically whatever the Storyteller considers appropriate.

and “horrific enslavement to the massmind”. The latter is

CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

41

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At The Edge Of The Universe(s)

Each and every zoetic universe is surrounded by a growing accretion of psion particles. Much like a Terran coral reef, this amorphous encrustation acts as a coat of heavy armor for the zoetic universe it grows on. Inside this noetic “crust” the environment is acutally fluid, complete with weather. This is where the noetic portions of sapient consciousness takes place, such as dreams and telepathic communication. Weather in this environment equates to periods of increased creativity or stagnation in the scientific and cultural development of sapient cultures. This environment allows Inspired powers to function in its zoetic universe. The noetic crust also contains the noetic template for everything that has ever existed within its zoetic universe. The noetic templates of existing objects and living lifeforms are tightly tied to the noetic crust. When objects are destroyed and non-sapient lifeforms die, their noetic templates “dissolve” to be incorporated into the noetic templates of other newly created objects and lifeforms. When a sapient lifeform dies, things are a little different as their noetic templates are stronger than those of objects or non-sapient lifeforms. Depending on how strong they are (read: what their Willpower rating was when they were alive); sapient noetic templates may either be assimilated by their respective noetic massminds, dissolve as lesser noetic templates do or linger on as independent “ghosts”. These entities can interact with the noetic templates of living sapients, although with some difficulty. As dead people - with all that implies - there’s no telling what their personalities and intentions toward the living will be. Fortunately, their ability to manifest within the zoetic universe has certain limits, which will be described elsewhere. Unfortunately, the ghosts of deceased sapients are not the only inhabitants of the noetic crust. Sometimes currents within the noetic crust will spontaneously form noetic templates that lack any connection to the zoetic universe. Most of these entities are harmless enough, as they “feed” by absorbing the ambient psion particles around them. Others lack that ability and are either predators or parasites on other sapient noetic templates, living and dead alike. Sapient and non-sapient varieties of these entities exist, and there’s no telling what one will be like or do when first encountered. Further details on such discarnate noetic entities can be found in Appendix #3 of this book.

Rules of the Omniversal Road

Like any other form of travel, crosstime travel can often have a disinhibitory effect on humans. As they are leaving their own universe behind - often for the first time - there is a great temptation to “let it all hang out” and go wild.

After all, it’s not like news of their atypical - and likely highly immoral - behavior will ever reach the ears of the folks back home, right? It’s not like whatever happens in an alternate universe won’t stay in that alternate universe, right? It’s not like there will be any consequences that can’t be fixed by leaving the alternate universe for home when things get too hairy for the crosstime travelers, right? Wrong. So very, very wrong on all three counts. If crosstime travelers are sane and/or have some common sense, they will quickly realize that there are certain protocols to follow if they want to both return home and not bring any trouble back with them. Exactly how much a particular crosstime traveler may need to adhere to them depends on her individual capabilities, but they should still be kept in mind.

Protocol #1: Decontamination Is Your Friend Nothing can put a damper on the thrill of crosstime travel like knowing that one has caused mass human death by introducing a novel disease to an alternate Earth, or worse, one’s own. Wise crosstime travelers will want to decontaminate both themselves and any cargo they are bringing along both before and after they go on a crosstime voyage. In the case of nova crosstime travelers, this can be accomplished by simply developing the Adaptability enhancement and exposing themselves to the vacuum and radiation of space for an hour or two. Others can take advantage of decontamination sprays and use clean rooms as departure and return points when feasible. Of course, none of this applies to accidental crosstime travel

Protocol #2: Never Reveal Yourself To Be A Crosstime Traveler Unless Necessary Experienced crosstime travelers have a saying: “The ignorance of the locals is your bliss”. In general, letting a local know that one is a crosstime traveler is far more trouble than it’s worth. Provided that the local can even get his/her/ its mind around the concept, it then becomes a question of whether the local is actually friendly or is just waiting for a chance to attack the crosstime traveler. After that, what the said traveler will have done amounts to painting a huge target on himself in the eyes of many of the locals. Discovering hard evidence of crosstime travel where it had been considered only a theoretical possibility before is a worldshaking event. There will be enormous shockwaves in the local scientific, cultural and political spheres, and the hapless crosstime traveler will be at the epicenter of all of them. If a crosstime traveler finds a trustworthy local willing to keep the secret, that is to be considered a rare stroke of the sheerest good fortune. Any local who knows about crosstime travel will want something from the traveler; what lengths the local will go to get that is up to the Storyteller.

42 CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

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Protocol #3: When Possible, Keep Your Inspired Status To Yourself Much like Protocol #2 above, revealing oneself as one of the Inspired in a world where they don’t exist is not something done lightly. Being outed as an Inspired can result in being witch-hunted, branded as a freak of nature, drafted into the local military or exploited by local businessmen. Even in the rare best-case scenarios, one can expect to be treated as an instant celebrity and lose all hope of privacy.

Protocol #6: Minimize Any Close Interaction With The Locals A necessary adjunct to the preceding protocols, as following this one helps a crosstime traveler with following all the others. The fewer locals that know of a crosstime traveler’s existence means fewer locals that will need to be dealt with in order for the crosstime visit to be a successful one.

What To Do In The Omniverse

If crosstime travelers happen to be novas too powerful for the locals to coerce, they can expect to be feared and have serious attempts to kill them made by competent local groups. If they are too powerful for the locals to kill them, they can expect to be viewed with utter terror by said locals. This changes slightly when visiting worlds with local

Inspired beings. In the cases where an Inspired crosstime traveler can blend in with the local Inspired - which is not always - it might be advantageous to do so. That’s an extremely risky proposition if one wished to keep the fact of being a crosstime traveler a secret from them, however. In the worst-case scenario, some of the local Inspired could achieve crosstime travel themselves, and discover one’s home universe

Protocol #4: Leave Behind No Evidence Of Your Visit This is always a good idea, especially when ones’ technology is far more advanced than anything the locals might have. Leaving equipment behind, even if it’s severely damaged, is a truly stupid move. Not only could the locals recognize it as being essentially alien technology, they could also possibly reverse engineer it and spark a new technological revolution.

Protocol #5: Never Underestimate (Or Overestimate) The Locals No matter where crosstime travelers go after having left their home universes, one thing always remains the same. They are invasive aliens in the alternate universes they visit. Only the most foolish of crosstime travelers would treat any local like an ignorant bumpkin, as they are just as smart and capable as any other sapient. The matter becomes even worse when there are local Inspired to deal with, some of whom could be just as powerful if not more so than the crosstime traveler. Likewise, one must resist the temptation to take the locals at face value. If a crosstime traveler views the locals as being better or worse than they actually are, that traveler is in for a world of troubles, pun intended. Finally, by definition the locals always have the home field advantage - they’ve had their entire lives and/or history to learn about their surroundings and how they can be used to their advantage.

We’ve outlined what the omniverse is, the universes that can be found there, some of the hazards that lurk there and some basic rules of thumb for crosstime travelers. The question remains: Why do sapients bother with traveling to alternate universes in the first place? What follows is a list of the more common reasons.

Refuge Possibly the best reason to engage in crosstime travel is to ensure the survival of one’s own species, subspecies or culture when their survival is threatened by hostile sapients or natural disasters. In these instances, the best case scenario is to establish a thriving new colony on some alternate Earth uninhabited by sapients. In the worst case scenarios, the immigrants will either fail to establish a colony or lack any scruples about displacing (and possibly subjugating or exterminating) any locals they encounter.

Expansion Considering the population pressures on Earth during the 21 st Century, gaining access to vast tracts of pristine Terran-quality land is guaranteed to be highly attractive for any government rich enough to make good use of them. Between the natural resources and unspoiled spaces to establish cities in, sponsoring nations could gain prosperous new frontiers and enrich themselves in the process. Provided that they have permanent access back to their home universe/nation, a new colony would have much less of the isolation that imperils (and protects) extrasolar colonies. Unfortunately, some governments will also see certain inhabited alternate Earths as ripe for conquest

Exile As they have in past centuries, certain governments will see a one-way ticket to a crosstime colony as an excellent way to get rid of criminals, political dissidents, otherwise inconvenient people and certain bothersome social minorities. Whether or not any attempts to set up a viable colony are made will depend on how responsive a government is to outside humanitarian pressure. It’s also a handy way to dispose of certain threats that merit extreme

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43

ABERRANT

measures. Provided that a nova has the Crosstime Interface quantum power with the Interdiction technique, she can seal the designated threat(s) into a standard cosm that’s about to be destroyed. Since no beings can survive taking levels of cosmological damage (see p. 103), the permanent obliteration of said threat(s) is assured.

Profit Where there is wealth to be had humans have always gone after it, and the fact that the wealth in question resides on an alternate Earth is a mere detail to be resolved. The business world will have uses for just about any alternate Earth that can be found - even the uninhabitable ones. No environmentalist group will care if a lifeless alternate Earth is used as a dumping ground for toxic waste or biohazards that can’t be dealt with back home. Even the shattered Earths can be mined for the metals found in their now- exposed cores.

Exploration The simple human urge to see what’s out there will always be a major reason for engaging in crosstime travel. Aside from typical historians wishing to see how history has “gone askew” from the perspective of their own historical records, there are many academics who would wish to

explore alternate Earths. Anthropologists studying alternate

human cultures, biologists studying species that went extinct in their own universes, astrophysiscists and geologists examining alternate Earths devastated by nearby supernova

explosions or gamma-ray bursters

The list is endless.

Strange Aeons: A Few Travel

Spots To Visit

Or Avoid

Presented below are three alternate universes that nova crosstime travelers could encounter in their explorations. All three of these are also alternate Nova Ages, but nova crosstime travelers should not expect to find the usual conflicts and problems found in their home universes. No matter where they exist in the Omniverse, human civilizations - and those of other sapients - will always have problems and conflicts to contend with. The Greek idea of Utopia, the Persian myth of Paradise, the Abrahamic notion

of Eden

if any places like these are to be found within

the Omniverse, be assured that they are temporary and/or artificially sustained by some outside and not necessarily benevolent force. That said, while all alternate worlds will have their own different dilemmas, some will have more than others. These latter universes are best avoided by wise crosstime travelers. The fools, of course, will rush in

are best avoided by wise crosstime travelers. The fools, of course, will rush in 44 CHAPTER

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Alternate Universe #1: Heliopause Rubicon

Point of Deviation: Mid-2002 C.E. Location: Universe/Timeline Grouping #2 (Variant Aberrant setting). Current Date: Circa 2015. Synopsis: An otherwise normal Nova Age has been thrown off-course by the beginnings of an alien invasion of the Solar System. With the initial alien scouting force defeated by Team Tomorrow, the United Nations prepares a globalized Humanity for interstellar war with the oncoming alien threat. This alternate universe is identical to the standard Aberrant setting up until June 8 th , 2002. The divergence event is the arrival of a spacefaring alien scouting force at the Solar System, which sends off the alarms of deep space astronomers and nova precognitives worldwide. A strikeforce comprising a majority of Utopia’s most powerful novas - including several Team Tomorrow novas - was in place in high Neptune orbit to intercept the alien warship and its small contingent of fighter craft. The fighting was fierce, but the Utopian novas won a hard-fought and costly battle over the aliens. Notable among the Utopian casualties were Caestus Pax, Alison “Psyche” Pfaltzgraff and Ewan “the Apollo Kid” Banks. Unfortunately, the victory was achieved a few moments too late for it to be total. Later decryption and analysis of a captured alien computer core revealed that the warship’s captain had managed to send an FTL signal back to its superiors detailing the Solar System and the resistance that had been offered them. Even worse, a responding signal had been sent back indicating that the aliens’ main battle fleet would arrive to invade the Solar System as soon as logistics allowed. Faced with such an obvious and overwhelming threat, the Aeon Council rapidly changed their policies in regard to the nova population, with Max Mercer’s guidance. Both Directors Thetis and Ozaki were quietly assassinated, followed by a general purge of Project Proteus, since Thetis’ goal of reducing nova population growth was now an obviously suicidal course for humanity as a whole. The use of adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine in training novas was phased out as better, non-addictive technological methods to attain the same benefits were developed. Antaeus was given carte blanche to develop a cure for Proteus’ sterilization agent with the full support of the Aeon Society and all of its subsidiaries. Said cure was found and administered en masse within weeks, restoring the fertility of the majority of novas who wanted it. A cure for the effects of Taint accumulation is also still being sought, but without much success. Until a cure is found, Utopia seeks to train novas to avoid any and all behaviors which could lead to gaining Taint as a stopgap measure.

Globally, all of the major powers have united under and given their full support to the United Nations, which now has actual and permanent geopolitical power due to the impending alien threat. For the sake of human unity and survival, rogue nations such as Niger and several Islamic states have been overthrown and brought into line. Only a few nations are not members of the UN, namely the African nations of Liberia and Sierra Leone and the nations which comprised the former Warsaw Pact nation of Yugoslavia. The neighbors of the two African nations have been given a green light from the UN to invade them at first opportunity so that stable democratic goverments can be installed. UN political and military analysts are still unsure what to do about the former Yugoslavia, but suspect that a mass off- planet deportation of the Serbian population may be the only viable option. All national militaries are being interlinked, retrained and revamped in order to provide as much of a deterrence to alien invasion as possible. With much help from Aeon and Project Utopia, the UN has formed a new standing military organization - the UN Space Force - in order to combat the alien threat. The UNSF has established bases throughout the Inner Solar System and the Asteroid Belt, and UNSF spacecraft now patrol as far out as Jupiter. Sadly, the UNSF space fleet is not yet large enough to support a sustained military presence in the Outer Solar System, although new UNSF spacecraft are coming out of the many orbital shipyards on an almost daily basis. The technology of this variant Nova Age has advanced very rapidly, which is only partially due to nova and baseline scientists reverse-engineering the aliens’ technology. All of Utopia’s previous efforts to regulate ethical technological development have been abandoned in order to support the war effort. Utopia’s Technology Regulation department now limits itself to policing truly unethical technological and scientific research, and now does so with full UN support. As a result, the Technology Rating (see pp. 114-118) of this Earth has reached T11 in all the fields directly relevant to space warfare; including materials science, weapons and defense technologies, communications and propulsion. In other areas such as medicine and agriculture, this Earth is solidly at the T10 ranking. Both Luna and Mars now have large international settlements, while the Belt is dotted

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45

Storyteller Note

The invading alien threat in question here has deliberately

been described in generic terms, so that the Storyteller

create her own custom-designed alien civilization for this purpose for her own Aberrant: Nexus chronicle. If a Storyteller wishes to

use one of the alien species from the Trinity setting instead, Coalition would serve that function admirably.

the

can

ABERRANT

throughout with Chinese mining operations and literal swarms of (mostly Chinese) asteroid prospectors. As could only be expected, this Earth’s global business community has also been radically changed due to globalization and militarization. The excesses and abuses that corporations - including the banks - used to commit as part of doing business are no longer tolerated. The executives of most such institutions were savvy enough to go with the flow on this, adopting honestly ethical business and environmental practices out of sheer pragmatism. Those who refused to change with the times saw their corporate and personal assets frozen before being arrested and convicted for economic treason against Humanity. The non-monetary assets were sold to the former corporations’ competitors, with the proceeds and seized monies all redirected to help fund the newborn UNSF. This also put an end to much of the Bank of Switzerland’s illicit banking thanks to intense political and economic pressure by the other UN member nations. Likewise, the irresponsible rich have also been brought to heel. Widespread global governmental, legal and economic reform has eliminated the developing oligarchic/fascist trends seen in other Earths at their current date. The less savvy among the hyper-wealthy - a minority, despite stereotypes to the contrary - found themselves caught up in a globalized legal system where their money and influence could no longer be used to shield them from the consequences of their many crimes. The resulting “riches to rags” stories made for excellent tabloid fodder. Organized crime has become extinct due to the efforts of combined Utopian/UN intelligence forces, who exterminated all such operations without mercy. The head of the American Central Intelligence Agency protested this at the time, as illegal drug sales funded much of the CIA’s black budget. Said CIA official vanished two days later, and no trace of his body was ever found. All members of the major criminal organizations seen in the core book were executed as traitors to Humanity. The Yakuza of Japan were especially difficult to root out, as were the Chinese Triads and Tongs. There were many unexplained disappearances at the time, sometimes involving entire families. As a byproduct of this global effort, the economies of several Third World nations were weakened, which in turn aided the UN in asserting control over them. The resulting economic shift to supporting the development of the UNSF has all but eliminated poverty in those nations, reducing one of the main reasons to engage in criminal activities in the first place. Of the nova factions known in the “standard” Aberrant setting, few of them remain and many are changed in this alternate Earth. Project Utopia is much more humanitarian - and humane - than authoritarian, as Aeon’s attempts to find a solution to the “Nova Problem” have been jettisoned. Project Proteus as the late Director Thetis made it no longer

exists, although a similar organization has been formed by and remains under the direct command and control of Whitley Styles and Max Mercer. As there was never a Slider Scandal in this Earth, there was never an Aberrant faction for Sophia Rousseau to help form and direct. DeVries and most other elite agencies either shifted to non-combat/espionage operations or went out of business as the demand for nova mercenaries died out due to the UN’s global unification. The Directive died stillborn as responsibility for nova oversight was transferred to the UN World Health Organization by its member nations. The WHO also ensures that the rights of novas working for corporations and/or governments are not abused. The Teragen is still stuck in their “coffeehouse roundtable” larval stage, as Utopia’s radical shift of attitude towards novakind has deprived them of many sources of nova discontent their analogs took advantage of in other Nova Ages. Much of this is due to the fact that pre-Invasion abuses of nova rights are no longer tolerated in the First World nations. In the Third World, all novas and their loved ones have free access to the UN’s Nova Relocation and Resettlement Program to welcoming First World nations. Divis Mal has yet to reveal himself to the few members of the Teragen as Jeremiah Scripture continues to speak for him at the roundtable discussions. The erstwhile Father of Teras is still trying to figure out how to salvage his dream of nova domination in the face of the impending alien invasion, and has not been making much progress. That’s not to say that all is well for novas in this alternate Earth. Novas with the right quantum capabilities face heavy social pressure to join the global military, regardless of whether they’d make good soldiers or not. The fact that no one has yet found a cure for Taint accumulation will make this a time bomb waiting to blow once the aliens try to invade again. Novas are also constantly urged to start large families as soon as possible, thanks to the hypothetical increased power of second generation novas. Aeon has even set up a nova sperm bank for the use of fertile female novas who want to - or are obligated to - bear nova children. Only novas who are truly unfit for parenthood - due to Taint and/or psychological problems - are exempt from this propaganda blitz. The Japanese custom of arranged marriage candidate interviews - omiai - has been adopted by Utopia and the UN as another means to increase the nova birthrate without being blatantly coercive about it. All of this has led to quite a bit of resentment on the part of female novas. Unsurprisingly, they do not like being pressured into becoming mothers or broodmares, especially to see any children they bear possibly conscripted for the war effort. The politeness of the Aeon/Utopian/UN officials involved doesn’t ameliorate matters much, nor does the massive monetary compensation offered. And the Teragen lurks in

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the background, like a cancerous seed waiting for the right conditions for it to sprout There are also some problems with the baseline global society as well. Global militarization is all well and good in the face of an alien invasion, and with the aid of powerful novas they have a good shot at winning against the invasion force. What no one has yet asked is this: what happens after the war is won? Will the UN be content with defending the Solar System against all comers, or will they seek to track down the invading aliens’ home star system or main base of operations and conquer it in the name of Humanity? Will the confict end there, or will Humanity seek to explore the Milky Way Galaxy as would-be conquerors? The economic situation is also a problem - while the grossest abuses of the international corporate community have been curtailed, some elements of the UN have a vendetta against Big Business. They are convinced that businessses can never be trusted to not commit atrocities in the name of profit, and seek to establish tighter controls over what corporations and wealthy individuals can accomplish. While plausible in the short term, over the long term such measures will stifle healthy economic growth and create the conditions for a global economic collapse. Of course, all of the preceding assumes that Humanity survives the impending alien invasion of the Solar System. And that is by no means guaranteed

Alternate Universe #2: Scythian Dawn

Point of Deviation: 1925 C.E. Location: Universe/Timeline Grouping #2 (Variant Aberrant setting). Current Date: Circa 2008. Synopsis: A celestial event triggers a Taint-free N-Day along with an incomplete male gendercide. This results in a post-apocalypse drama with emphasis on gender politics, social change and survival. This alternate universe deviated from the standard Aeon Continuum back in 1925 with the death of Michael Daemon Donighal. In the process of saving the Aeon Society and his Earth from a crosstime invasion by creatures that could only be called “Lovecraftian horrors” at the time, Dr. Primoris was forced to sacrifice himself to destroy the invaders’ portal mechanism. (Later analysis proved the creatures to be highly-Tainted alien aberrants.) Without Donighal there to oppose his goals, Mercer was able to keep the Aeon Society true to the course he had originally plotted for them, mainly by listening to his closest allies’ warnings about choosing the wrong sort of people to run Aeon in his absence. This proved fortunate when Mercer went into suspended animation in the mid-1950s after the death of his wife Annabelle Lee “Crackshot” Mercer, leaving their son Michael Maxwell Mercer to hold Aeon’s reins.

Mercer was revived in 1995 by Whitley Styles, Jake Danger & his own granddaughter Margaret Mercer in order to help Aeon prepare for a great calamity that their precognitive associates claimed would strike the Earth in the year 2000. Mercer and his allies suspected that it would be a typical N-Day of the sort Mercer witnessed in his early temporal travels. Mercer and his friends never suspected that they would be so, so wrong N-Day finally arrived on May 12 th , 2000 as the result of an exotic and unprecedented celestial event impacting the Earth. Fortunately for the world, the ensuing wave of nova eruptions resulted in a population of non-Tainted (and Taint resistant) novas. The eruptions were gender-imbalanced, with only about 17% of the nova population being male - for every single male nova, there were five female novas. Unfortunately, the celestial event also triggered the mass death of approximately 94% of the global male baseline human population at the time. As of May 13 th of 2000 C.E., there were 3,250,000,000 baseline females and only 191,176,471 baseline males worldwide. In layman’s terms, on the average for every 17 baseline human females on the planet there was only one surviving baseline human male. Males who were Inspired before N-Day were unaffected by the gendercide. All novas in this Earth operate under the Very Low Taint rules (Aberrant Players Guide, p.68) and have the Taint Resistant Merit (Aberrant Players Guide, p.76) free of charge. This incomplete gendercide event was uneven in both its effect on the victims and its global distribution. The former factor was indicated by the gendercide effect having a disproportionate effect due to age differences. The gendercide effect was especially deadly for males past middle age, of whom only a minority survived. In turn, the population of prepubescent and adolescent males were only lightly affected relative to their elders. The latter factor was indicated by what would later be termed the Zones; collections of geographical regions where the gendercide had a varying effect on the male population, as described below. Zone Alpha: Russia, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, the entire Middle East. The gendercide effect killed approximately 98% of the baseline male population, leaving one surviving male for every fifty females. Zone Beta: Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, North Africa, Eastern Europe, the Indian subcontinent. The gendercide effect killed approximately 90% of the baseline male population, leaving one surviving male for every ten females. Zone Gamma: Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, East Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa. The gendercide effect killed approximately 80% of the baseline male population, leaving one surviving male for every five females.

CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

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Zone Delta: South American continent, Antarctica. The gendercide effect killed approximately 66% of the baseline male population, leaving one surviving male for every three females. The last seven or so years after N-Day have seen massive social changes as the nations of the world struggled to restore themselves in a new era where Earth’s female population was now in de facto charge of the planet. The nations in Zones Beta, Gamma and Delta have had to become more-or-less gender egalitarian by necessity as women had to step in to take over traditionally male political and economic roles. Polygynous marriages have become socially acceptable, although the more developed nations also retain fully-stocked sperm banks for women wanting to bear children. Wives have also made a practice of “loaning” their husbands’ services to select single female friends for purposes of procreation when they can’t afford to visit a sperm bank. Racism as it was known prior to N-Day has died out as applied to men, as the scarcity of living males has forced women and their daughters to be far less picky than they once were. Interracial breeding is even encouraged by the medical community as a means to ward off even the slightest chance of inbreeding. Sadly, the racist attitudes that women may have towards other women are as strong as ever. Human males are now considered to be valuable property in general given their new importance in ensuring the survival of Humanity, and are legally prohibited from engaging in any dangerous occupations, sports or hobbies. That was a massive blow to the egos of the surviving male members of the Zone Beta, Gamma and Delta nations’ militaries, fire-fighting and law enforcement organizations, as they have been both promoted and relegated to desk jobs and/or training fresh waves of female recruits. Making regular donations to their local sperm banks is also now mandatory for all capable males by law. Male children and teens are kept somewhat isolated from society at large due to the ever-present risk of kidnapping, and undergo mandatory martial arts and self-defense training to hopefully prevent such attempts from succeeding. Baseline males from most Zones have the Minority Flaw (Aberrant Players Guide, p.75). Nova males don’t qualify for it, due to their power. The Zone Alpha nations are the exception to all that, having established female-dominant cultures due to their extreme scarcity of surviving human males. A typical Zone Alpha man now lives in near-total seclusion as an enslaved house-husband, breeding stud and sexual toy for a small “harem” group of women from their nations’ wealthy and powerful female elite. Likewise, all male children in the Zone Alpha nations are considered commodities from birth, to be used as bargaining chips in dealings with other

“harems”. This is expected to lead to arranged marriages and a continuation of the new “harem” system, but it’s far too soon to tell if those expectations are realistic or not. The Zone Alpha nations have also become global troublemakers due their elites’ desperation to assuage the desires of their commoner sisters and thus maintain their own status and power. Combined with having sperm banks with substandard equipment and quality control, this has resulted in attempts by Zone Alpha militaries and espionage organizations to acquire foreign human males and/or frozen sperm samples by any means necessary. Only skirmishes

have resulted so far, but it’s only a matter of time before one

Baseline

males from Zone Alpha are either enslaved as described above or have the Fugitive Flaw (Trinity Players Guide, p. 138) if they are living free or have escaped from captivity.

The economies of this Earth have become less international than they once were, as nations have had to concentrate on sustaining their agricultural bases and

providing for the needs of their citizenries. Socialism with limited capitalism has become the default social operating method around the globe out of sheer economic necessity. The mass death of most of the older male population shattered the infamous “glass ceiling” of the corporate world, leaving female executives and CEOs in charge of preventing the total collapse of international business. As

a result, businesses have been far more cooperative with government directives to comply with environmental and legal regulations both out of pragmatism and in order to keep themselves afloat. National economies have contracted, but are slowly beginning to rebound.

Most of the old organized crime organizations died out

in the gendercide, as they were predominantly comprised

of male criminals. The exceptions to this are the Yakuza in Japan, the Triads of China and the drug cartels of South America. The Yakuza always had a sizeable female membership, leading them to abandon prostitution and making pornography in order to take over their deceased male colleagues’ smuggling and drug-dealing operations. They have also become unofficial allies of the Japanese government due to their nationalistic pride, and have helped thwart several Chinese attempts to kidnap Japanese males. The Triads have been outright co-opted by the Chinese government, who now view the Triads’ opium production, smuggling and international kidnapping operations as essential to their nation’s survival and eventual return to superpower status. The drug cartels of South America are continuing their business despite the loss in manpower (pun intended), as they now have the covert support of their governments. Faced with the loss of much of their legal international trade after N-Day, these nations turned to their new drug baronesses. In return for “going legit”

of these attempts triggers an international war

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and restricting all sales to non-South American markets, the drug cartels now operate with almost no local bloodshed or harassment from law enforcement. Things are somewhat better for novas than baselines in this world, as could only be expected. Without the problems caused by Taint, the local novas are generally seen by the local baseline populace as heroes and living symbols of hope in face of the gendercide of 2000. The members of the Aeon Society were lucky enough to have several close relatives erupt as novas on N-Day. Already justifiably loyal to Aeon, these novas quickly contacted and established working relationships with the majority of novas worldwide. In the chaos caused by the gendercide, this gathering of novas managed to pull off a massive relocation effort of their members in Zone Alpha, Third World nations and those in bad circumstances (and their loved ones) to the city of Chicago. This was the birth of the Nova Alliance - an Aeon Society subsidiary - which in 2002 presented themselves and the Aeon Society openly to the United Nations with an offer of nova & Aeon support for the UN’s peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. In return for international carte blanche to act as needed to ensure the survival and well-being of Humanity, Alliance novas can operate in Zones Beta and Gamma with impunity in regards to national boundaries and jurisdictions. Alliance novas have prevented the harm caused by decaying infrastructures, natural and human-made disasters of all sorts, the operations of criminal organizations and hostilities from the Zone Alpha and Zone Delta nations. They also aid in ecology restoration, agricultural redevelopment and all sorts of emergency construction efforts. Alliance novas have also helped the Zone Beta & Gamma nations to maintain and even advance their technological development. The Nova Alliance helps support itself by harvesting asteroids from the Aten, Apollo and Amor near-Earth asteroid groups. Support also comes from the Aeon Society and the Zone Beta & Gamma nations in return for their efforts. Male novas face little social stigma relative to their baseline cousins, although they are also highly valued as potential breeders of the next generation of novas. Aeon maintains a top-flight nova sperm bank with mandatory donations, and male Alliance novas are given all sorts of encouragements to marry their female colleagues and start fathering nova children as soon as possible. Novas continue to erupt to this day - still without Taint - worldwide, with many seeking to join the Nova Alliance at first opportunity. Of course all cannot be well, on this alternate Earth or any other. To begin with, the geopolitical situation on this Earth is unstable. The Zone Alpha nations will become increasingly desperate to acquire fresh new male human breeding stock. Not only are their female populations aging, their medical experts are fully aware of the need to avoid

any possible inbreeding effects their “harem” system will cause over the next several generations. Depending on just how desperate they get, those nations may either turn on each other or on nations in other Zones, possibly to the point of starting a nuclear war. Any males unlucky enough to be kidnapped by agents of a Zone Alpha nation can expect to be enslaved. If they are cooperative and/or very young, they will live in what amounts to a gilded cage of some wealthy Zone Alpha harem. If on the other hand they are uncooperative, they can expect to wind up hooked into various life-support machines in a chemically-induced coma so that their female captors can continually harvest sperm from them. The Zone Delta nations are seeking to buy time to breed their male population back to pre-N-Day levels and beyond, so that they can hopefully dominate both Central and North America through old-fashioned military force. This is a major reason why they have become so accomodating to their drug cartels - if foreign nations are busy combating the problems caused by South American drugs, the more time South America will have to pump out more little boys and girls to become future soldiers. Argentina and Chile have also allied to subvert the Antarctic Treaty System so they can begin prospecting for valuable mineral resources in order to try and match the asteroid mining operations of the Nova Alliance. They are also seeking to forge all the other South American nations into a united continental confederation that can stand up against the rest of the planet. To make matters worse, not all of the novas who erupted on N-Day or afterwards joined the Nova Alliance. Aside from the usual gamut of amoral opportunists and sociopaths, these non-Alliance novas also include those who remain deeply loyal to their homelands and/or cultures. Many of these novas have been co-opted by their local governments in attempts to develop nova forces of their own in an attempt to match the Nova Alliance. Zone Alpha is infamous in the global intelligence community for their nova breeding camps, where Zone Alpha male novas spend their days having sex with hordes of fertile baseline female volunteers in an attempt to jumpstart a local nova population. Independent novas follow their own desires, sometimes to the detriment of all those unfortunate enough to be around them. And against these threats stand the Zone Beta and Gamma nations, with the UN, the Aeon Society and the Nova Alliance. Whether or not they are up to the task at hand while ensuring that Humanity survives the 21 st Century is anyone’s guess

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Alternate Universe #3:

Paradise Meridian

Point of Deviation: Circa 15,000 B.C.E. Location: Universe/Timeline Grouping #3 (Variant Adventure! setting). Current Date: Circa 10,931 B.C.E. Synopsis: A prehistoric N-Day set off an ancient Nova Age on the mythical Lemurian continent, which developed an advanced and semi-enlightened civilization led by a ruling class of philosopher-novas. Unfortunately, the effects of Taint accumulation, baseline dependency on nova leadership, growing social decadence, the misuse of advanced technology and the Lemurian continent’s geological instability all combine to send this doomed Paradise on Earth into terminal decline. This ancient civilization is finally destroyed when the Lemurian continent will implode and sink into the depths of the Pacific Ocean

without any trace, leaving the survivors to spread their tragic tales and found new civilizations elsewhere. This alternate universe deviated from the standard Aeon Continuum timelines before human recorded history

as defined by 21 st Century historians - began. About 15,000 years before the Common Era, an exotic celestial event impacted the Earth and affected a small percentage of the primitive baseline human population. This resulted in

a scattered nova population that would have no problems

at first. Quickly banding together for mutual

survival, this large tribe of novas sought a new, fertile land where they could settle and develop their new civilization without interference from hostile baseline tribes. Alas, no such lands were to be found - all the lands with welcoming climates already had baseline inhabitants, while the one land free of baselines was frozen in an eternal winter. A radical plan was formed by the nova tribal leaders. Having noticed the enormity of the ancient Pacific Ocean and the excellent climate, the tribe’s most powerful earth controllers

reawakened a group of extinct undersea volcanoes. The massive eruptions formed a new landmass over the next year under the novas’ guidance, creating an island continent roughly the size of Australia. Other novas turned most of the volcanic rock surface into fertile topsoil, created lakes and rivers, then imported the necessary lifeforms to create a functional ecology. And so it was that the nova tribe settled on what modern dissident historians would later describe as the Lemurian Continent. The novas’ intellectual and technological development grew in leaps and bounds over the next decades, resulting

in a megalithic society far in advance of their contemporary

Stone Age baseline cultures. Schools of philosophical thought grew like weeds and were refined by nova intellects to surprising heights, although they had nothing

with Taint

-

comparable to the modern post-Enlightenment social science and philosphies. They also tapped into alternative power sources, some of which modern science has yet to discover. At the height of their civilization, the Lemurian nova civilization had achieved the equivalent of T7 with T8 transportation, nuclear power and weapons, agriculture and military technologies. With having so many hyper-intelligent novas, the Lemurians never developed any sort of computer technology beyond the abacus. Also, while their medical knowledge was decent they lacked anything but the crudest understanding of genetics. Their most powerful technology itself used principles of quantum gadgetry, making them unusable by baselines. The novas’ own biological development was also

atypical. First, none of them had any capability of achieving

a Quantum Trait higher than 5. Second, they never

produced second generation novas. Instead they produced children who would erupt as first generation novas at the

age of puberty. The tribal elders also established a tradition of having their precognitive and clairsentient “seers” keep a watch out for any new nova eruptions among the baseline tribes, so that they could be rescued from living among savages and recruited. They also adopted some of the friendlier - and more pliable - baseline tribes found in other lands, who thrived in Lemuria as the peasant caste

of farmhands, servants and workers. The nova tribe was

the undisputed ruling caste, and they did not abuse their privileges. Every nova was both a philosopher - or at least a student of one - along with whatever role they held in their society. The Lemurian nova civilization was stable, absurdly prosperous and (relatively) enlightened for 4,000 years. The

capital city was gradually transformed into an intricate maze

of canals, lush gardens, public buildings of all sorts and

private homes. Their farmlands were rich but did not cover the land, much of which was left to grow naturally. What clothing was needed - which typically wasn’t much, given the tropical climate - were finely woven silks and cottons. Even the smallest buildings had air conditioning devices, which helped stave off any potentially lethal effects of the tropical heat. Roads were made of a highly sturdy off-white amorphic volcanic rock that acted as a capacitor for light. Summoned into place by nova earth manipulation powers and called “shining paths”, this road network stretched across the entirety of the Lemurian continent. They dazzled in the tropical sunlight - which they absorbed - and gleamed brightly enough at night for travelers to see perfectly well without the need of any other light. A special kind of plant mutated by nova powers served to provide a level of public sanitation as yet unmatched by modern standards. Combined with advanced water filtration and methods of food storage, the health of the Lemurian peasantry was

50 CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

 

ABERRANT

 

excellent. The original nova tribe developed into a system of extended family-based clans, which were divided into two groupings. The first group - known as the “Traditionalists” - originally sought to maintain, refine and improve all aspects of Lemurian society. As a result, they ran what little bureaucracy was needed, enforced their legal system, educated the young, guided the primitive economy, archived all of their accumulated historical and cultural knowledge and were responsible for organizing any public defense. The latter was rarely needed, as few baseline tribes were skilled enough as sea travelers to even locate Lemuria, much less try and raid it. Instead they organized Lemurian novas with the appropriate quantum gifts when natural disasters threatened, which were snuffed out like sparks hitting cold water. The other clans - known as the “Explorers” - each claimed a region of the planet for their own, and worked to seed new cultures among the local baseline tribes. Their sea and air vessels visited all of the inhabited continents, bringing back riches of all kinds and willing immigrants to their homeland. They also handled the rescue and recruitment of new novas and established hidden redoubts of supplies and technology in the case of some unknown disaster striking the homeland. The bonds between clans were maintained through inter- clan marriages. The social life of Lemurian novas was active. Hunting was well-thought of, and was one of several favored pasttimes among the novas. Dancing, philosophical discussion, music, fine dining and creating monumental works of art were also favored. A crude form of theater existed - comparable to that of the early Greeks - which was used to perform both retellings of Lemuria’s history and illustrate tales of the savagery of most of the baseline tribes encountered by the Explorer clans. Religion was a very strong cultural force, and took the form of ancestor worship of the nova tribe which created Lemuria. The peasants had their own folk religion centered on worship of the nova ruling class, but kept their

devotions private so as not to risk offending any of their masters. Lemuria took a turn for the worse circa 11,000 B.C.E., as multiple elements of Lemurian society began to fall into decadence. After 4,000 years of unparalleled success without any real challenges to be faced, the effects of entropy slowly took hold over the artificial paradise the nova tribe had built. Where once they regarded one another with trust, the nova clans of Lemuria now viewed each other with suspicion - which sometimes was well-founded - as tribalistic instincts quietly came back to the fore. Instead of working together for their common good of their culture, certain novas and their families now sought to gain political and social advantage over their fellow novas. This led to notions of “superior blood” among most Traditionalist clans, who eventually ceased the practice of inter-clan marriage in order to maintain their “purity”. The resulting inbreeding led to a vulnerability to Taint accumulation and aberrations identical to that found in first-generation novas in the standard Aberrant setting. The incidence of having the genes for Taint accumulation was minor at first, but there were sufficient inter-clan marriages before the practice was ended for those genes to spread into all of the Lemurian nova clans. Those novas who manifested distressing physical aberrations were relegated to occupations with little or no contact outside of their clan. Those who manifested other aberrations - especially the mental ones - faced no such stigma, and often wound up holding high-ranking positions in both their clans and the greater Lemurian society. Instead of seeking technological progress, some Lemurian scientists made a new religion out of maintaining their technologies with themselves as self-appointed priests. Using their clans’ social connections, this techno-cult has made innovation into heresy and forced the other Lemurian scientists to “go underground” in order to continue their researches. Education has likewise degraded, as the more lauded teachers now give the lineage and social status of

 

Seeds of Adventure!

   

As indicated by its location, Paradise Meridian can be

inserted within the prehistory of any Adventure! chronicle

with little trouble. Doing so can provide the Storyteller with a literal treasure trove of plot hooks, ancient mysteries

and dangerous artifacts to introduce to her players in the best pulp magazine tradition. Discovering and exploring any surviving Lemurian ruins can even become the main focus of a thrilling Adventure! chronicle that could have come

straight out of the Indiana Jones film franchise. For those Storytellers wishing to run an Adventure! chronicle in less modern times, the diaspora of the surviving Lemurian novas provides that opportunity. Now that they are no longer effectively self-quarantined on the former

Lemurian continent, the quantum energies produced by those novas can cause some of the baselines they settle near to become Inspired. Most of those ancient Inspired will be daredevils, effectively becoming the equivalent of the

heroes seen in mythology. Others will become mesmerists,

and would be seen as oracles, witches and sorcerers. A very

rare few will become stalwarts, and be seen as minor demigods. With the upcoming conflict between the Lemurian exile tribes acting as a backdrop, a skilled Storyteller can fashion a highly entertaining if offbeat chronicle.

 

CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

51

 
   

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their students more account than any intellectual capability. Teachers who refuse to go along with this corruption of standards are typically relegated to seeing to the education of peasant children, who ironically now receive a better education than some of their nova masters. The legal system has likewise been rendered ineffective by the support for blood privilege among many Lemurian magistrates. Archives are ignored when the records they contain contradict the current wishes of those novas who currently hold power. The former public defense militias have become marauders out of boredom, going to other lands in order to terrorize the local baseline population for the sheer thrill of it. Lemurian infrastructure, which had needed only minimal levels of maintenance, began to decay as personal wishes took precedence over public duty in too many novas’ minds. Philosophy was twisted to rationalize and justify the base desires or more than a few novas. Many novas began to pass off utter nonsense as great philosophical statements to the baseline peasantry out of sheer mischief. Certain Explorer clans began to demand tribute from the baseline tribes of other lands. This was mostly done to “teach the savages their place” through humiliation. That said, they also sought attractive, healthy or just plain interesting baselines to bring back to Lemuria as human trade goods. Those unfortunate souls would then be gifted to the aforementioned Traditionalist clan degenerates in returns for all sorts of social favors and beneficial back-room deals. And so it was that slavery came to Lemuria; as those baselines became pleasure slaves, experimental subjects, pets, wild livestock for nova hunters to pursue and slay, and even the main courses of the cannibalistic banquets that a few of the more depraved of Lemuria’s gourmets had come to crave. This among other things has led nearly all the baseline tribes that knew of them to hate the Lemurians

 

with a bloody - if impotent - passion. About the only virtue the decadent Lemurian novas shared with their ancestors was their fair and kind treatment of the Lemurian baseline peasantry. Now, the Lemurian civilization has finally reached a tipping point. While there are a number of Lemurian novas who have avoided falling into decadence, they are a minority whose social influence has been fading for quite some time. Open warfare between the nova clans is no longer a possibility, but an inevitability. Some of Lemuria’s arsenals of atomic intercontinental missiles are under the control of insane military commanders. Vital functions of the Lemurian government are being mishandled by officials who attained their positions through corruption and social connections instead of competence and personal integrity. The Lemurian infrastructure is only a few years away from collapsing into ruin due to widespread neglect. Several scientists are developing dangerously powerful new quantum gadgets in order to “protect” Lemuria, their clan or themselves from threats both real and imagined. The fact that some of those gadgets are powerful enough to lay waste to all of Lemuria is considered to be of no consequence by their creators. The Lemurian peasantry remains largely blind to their rulers’ failings, due to a blend of habitual dependence on the Lemurian novas, a deeply-held belief in those novas’ divinity and their strong sense of tribalism. Why should they worry about whatever their living deities-in-the-flesh do to barbaric outlanders? Those savages are not part of the great tribe of Lemuria, and so simply do not matter. They are Lemuria’s peasant caste, and are beloved and treated very well by their gods. Their gods have always protected them, have always made Lemuria safe from all sorts of disasters, and they expect that state of affairs to continue indefinitely. Willful ignorance and near-pathological denial has kept the peasantry faithful, productive and very pliable. This ancient nova civilization now has all the inherent stability of a house of playing cards - and some Lemurians have begun to notice that fact. Several of the non-decadent Explorer clans are quietly preparing to evacuate Lemuria with their property, technology and peasantry to resettle in their overseas territories. All that this doomed paradise needs is just one little push to start its final downfall in earnest. The Lemurian continent itself has become as unstable geologically as its residing nova civilization is socially. As an artificially-created landmass that was not a product of the natural processes of continental drift and tectonic plate uplifting, there was no way it was going to last anywhere near as long as the natural continents have. Even worse, the novas who created said artificial landmass were not overly skilled in performing such feats. Five thousand years is an extraordinarily long period of time by human and even nova

 

Future Fates

Lemuria’s nova civilization doesn’t completely die out with the sinking of the Lemurian continent. Many Explorer clans did

manage to escape their homeland’s destruction to resettle in their overseas territories as they had planned. There, they founded new cultures around the globe and became inspirations for the

local

baseline mythologies. This plan didn’t work out as the far- clans fell back into inter-tribalistic hostility, which resulted in atomic warfare and the resulting destruction of all but a few

flung

open

of the Lemurian colonies. The surviving novas lived reclusive lives, preferring to intervene in the local baseline cultures only from afar. They eventually died out due to inbreeding and widespread infertility caused by Taint accumulation. That said, those colonies did manage to spread a basic knowledge of agriculture among the baseline tribes they encountered, although it was accomplished though untaught imitation.

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CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME

ABERRANT standards, but it’s less than an eyeblink on the geological timescale. Very soon by
ABERRANT
standards, but it’s less than an eyeblink on the geological
timescale. Very soon by human standards, the Lemurian
continent will literally collapse in on itself, burying all traces
of its former existence under the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
Provided that nothing sets off the collapse early, that is.
And to top off this inevitable prehistoric apocalypse
is the fact that the nexus of this particular alternate Earth’s
timeline resides thirteen thousand years up into the future.
In the plainest of terms: Lemuria and its nova civilization are
doomed, and that fact cannot be changed. Interference
from outside the timeline can alter the minor details of
this tragedy, but the plot cannot be derailed. Unless they
are truly powerful novas and are willing to break the entire
Lemurian civilization like an untamed horse, the most that
crosstime travelers can hope to accomplish is to salvage
some Lemurian knowledge, technology and perhaps a few
Lemurian novas before this land of myth-made-flesh finally
sinks beneath the waves
Extrasolar Space In The
Nova Age
While most novas restrict their travels in space to the
known territory of the Solar System, it’s inevitable that others
will press on beyond that limit. Previous Aberrant books
have touched lightly on space travel (see the Aberrant
Players Guide p. 36 and Aberrant: The New Flesh pp. 173-
175), but chronicles heading out beyond the heliopause will
need more details than have been provided. Outer space is
not for the faint of heart, regardless of their species.
What’s Out There?
If your Aberrant chronicle is headed for extrasolar
space, we suggest that Storytellers take a good look at those
astronomy websites which have up-to-date information on the
exoplanet surveys. What they have found will make excellent
Answering The Fermi Paradox
In 1950, physicist Enrico Fermi put forth the following question during an informal discussion about the possibility
of alien civilizations: “Where are they?” That triggered much speculation about how common organic life might be,
how many sapient species might evolve from that life and how many civilizations might manage to become spacefarers
without destroying themselves. Given the state of scientific progress at the time, there was little acknowledged hard
evidence one way or the other, and the matter remained hypothetical.
In the universes of the Aeon Continuum, organic life, sapient xenospecies and spacefaring civilizations are all
somewhat on the scarce side in the Milky Way for one single reason: the destructive activities of the Coalition. As
nomads traveling in huge generation ships through this and possibly other galaxies, these aliens demolish any and
all other carbon-based alien biospheres and sapient species who can’t defend themselves against the Coalition’s
technological might. They aren’t “scheduled” by the canon timeline to notice Earth and Humanity until 2119, but
there’s no reason why nova space travelers couldn’t stumble across them somewhere out there before then
CHAPTER TWO: SOJOURNS IN SPACETIME
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background settings for the players to get familiar with the idea of their characters exploring extrasolar space. It’s also a good idea to treat the furthest surveyed systems as a final borderline for determining where the Storyteller could plausibly place any extraterrestrial civilizations. Inside that region of surveyed space, we suggest that only primitive and on rare occasion advanced non-sapient life should be found. There are three reasons for doing so. First, it will serve to emphasize just how large extrasolar space can be. Second, it also spotlights both the rarity of advanced life and the extreme rarity of sapient life. Third, such life-bearing planets are not likely to clash as badly with the results of the ongoing exoplanet surveys. For added plausibility, we further suggest that Storytellers give themselves a wide margin between where the exoplanet surveys leave off and where their imaginations can run wild. When creating alien sapients and their civilizations, there are a few things that Storytellers should keep in mind. First is the fact that in the Aeon Continuum, alien sapients should be very, very strange by the current standards of popular science fiction. Consider the aliens seen in Trinity:

the Chromatics, the Qin, the Coalition, the Zeps and the infamous Doyen. Only one of these xenosophont species has anything but a cosmetic resemblance to Terran life, much less humankind. The Coalition is that sole exception, due to their unique and horrifying genetic manipulation technology. In the Aeon Continuum the niche for the “rubber forehead, near-human” variety of alien sapients seen in video series such as Star Trek, Farscape and Tenchi Muyo! will eventually be filled by nova-descended cultures. The second thing is the fact that alien civilizations will have wildly varying Technology Ratings at any point in their shared timeline. During Earth’s 21 st Century; the Chromatics are at T2, the Qin are at T9 or T10, the Coalition has stagnated at T13, the Zeps are at T12 and the Doyen are at T12. Those are rough estimates, as these species will be advanced and retarded in different areas of their technology. For instance, the Coalition has no life-extension technology to speak of, while the Doyen have concentrated their technological progress on their own noetic biotech to the exclusion of everything else. The Qin also focus entirely on noetic biotech, while the Zeps see no need for FTL transportation, given their extremely long lifespans and highly stable society.

Additional Hazards Of Space

Aside from the natural hazards of space already covered in previous Aberrant books, here are some new ones that the player characters should expect to encounter while traveling in space. Radiation Storms: While space always has a small degree of radiation to deal with, regions close to stars and other radiating objects often produce extremely high-speed eruptions of protons. Known as stellar radiation storms, these events can last for several days and can damage both technological devices and living beings. In game terms, this is treated as anywhere from 2 to 30 levels of both radiation and EMP damage. Fortunately, stellar radiation storms can be predicted well in advance so that space travelers can either move out of their way or retreat to special radiation shelters in their spacecraft. Meteoroids & Micrometeoroids: In all but the newest- born star systems, stellar dust will have compacted though electrostatic attaction and gravity into solid rock and ices. While most ends up being absorbed into planets, moons, comets and asteroids, there are always more in various orbits. They not usually a danger to inhabited planets due to their protective atmospheres, yet they do pose a threat to spacecraft of all sorts. In game terms, micrometeoroid impacts are treated as doing 5d10 to 12d10 lethal damage and are armor piercing as well. Likewise, meteoroid impacts will do 5d10 [10] to 8d10 [10] lethal damage and are armor piercing. Asteroids & Comets: Bodies this big are threats to rockball planets, much less spacecraft. Depending on their size, most of these can impact and do damage equivalent to missile strikes (10d10 [15] lethal) or fusion warheads (18d10 [30] lethal). The true potential planet-killers can do damage equivalent to either the Tau Discharge quantum power (on pp. 104-105 of this book) or the Quantum Inferno quantum power (Aberrant Players Guide p. 139), making dealing with such threats very important to spacefarers wishing to colonize or terraform a likely planet. Rogue Planets and Moons: Despite their apparent stability, the orbits of planetary bodies in star systems are actually quite unstable, especially in the early periods of planetary formation. It’s very easy for the immense gravity of large gas giants to fling rockball planets, moons and the smaller gas giants hurtling out of their star systems and into

How Often Does This Happen, Anyway?

The events described here happen only on very rare occasion when one lives in the same star system for most of their life, which is part of what makes it so shocking and dramatic when they do happen. Space travelers by definition

will be operating on an infinitely larger scale, and so will encounter them far more often than their planet- or single star

system-bound contemporaries. It’s a numbers game, really witnessing a jackpot being hit.

- the more games you observe, the better your chances of

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interstellar space. Some of these castaways eventually enter the gravity wells of other star systems, where they can disrupt their planetary orbits in turn. We suggest that Storytellers should use the game mechanics of Astromanipulation quantum power (on p. 90 of this book) at a power rating of one dot only to simulate this event. Rogue Star Systems: Much like planetary bodies, the galactic orbits of star systems aren’t stable either. In this case, either the immense gravity of a supermassive black hole or the chaos caused by a galactic collision has jolted a start system out of its original galactic orbit and flung it into intergalactic space. The only time when they can possibly be considered a threat is when one of them enters another galaxy and comes too close to an inhabited star system to be safe. A close passage might only cause an increase in the number of comets due to disturbing the Oort Cloud of the star system in question. A direct impact only happens due to either the rarest of circumstances or hostile use of the Astromanipulation quantum power. In either case, the only option is to flee the endangered star system if there isn’t a friendly nova around with the Astromanipulation quantum power to defend it. Stellar Novas: Instead of eximorphic beings, here we are talking about the explosions that occur in binary stars where one star is a white dwarf. What happens is that the gravity of the white dwarf strips some of the hydrogen and/or helium, which undergoes a runaway nuclear fusion process on the white dwarf’s surface. That produces much in the way of elctromagnetic radiation, and is a deadly threat to anything in nearby star systems. In game terms, treat a nova explosion as a use of the Quantum Inferno quantum power (Aberrant Players Guide p. 139) at a power rating of one to three dots. Standard operating procedure requires the evacuation of a star system where this event is taking place. The only good thing about a nova explosion is that it is limited by the speed of light, so spacecraft and nova space travelers might be able to avoid the blast if they pay attention to their surroundings. Supernovas: These are stellar explosions caused by either the gravitational collapse of a massive star’s core or the sudden reignition of nuclear fusion in white dwarf stars with stellar companions. In both cases the resulting explosion is much greater in intensity and range than stellar novas, as they can outshine entire galaxies. In game terms, treat a nova explosion as a use of the Quantum Inferno quantum power (Aberrant Players Guide p. 139) at a power rating of four to seven dots. Safety precautions against supernovas explosions are identical to those for stellar novas. ● Hypernovas & Gamma-Ray Bursts: The strongest stellar explosions are the hypernovas, supernovas that emit energies on levels that are greater than typical supernovas by orders of magnitude. There are several different causes

of

these events, but the end result is typically an explosion

that can disrupt nearby star systems within several parsecs. Hypernovas are also a known source of both black holes (described later) and gamma ray bursts, the brightest electromagnetic events known to modern astronomy.

A

gamma ray burst from within the Milky Way galaxy is

suspected to have caused the Ordovician-Silurian mass

extinction event on Earth 450 million years ago. These events pose an extreme threat to any planet-based civilization. In either case, treat a hypernova explosion or gamma ray burst

as

a use of the Quantum Inferno quantum power (Aberrant

Players Guide p. 139) at a power rating of eight to ten dots. Safety precautions are as for other stellar explosions. ● Black Holes: As almost everyone knows, these are regions of spacetime that are so warped that their gravity will prevent anything from escaping, even light. Unless

space travelers can detect gravitational energy, black holes

can only be detected indirectly through their effects on the spacetime, energy and matter around them. There are three kinds of black holes. Microscopic black holes are known to exist and have theoretical applications in computing and energy production, making them a valuable natural resource. The second kind are the stellar-mass black holes can be encountered anywhere throughout space and are deadly threats to spacecrafts and inhabited star systems. While it

is

barely possible for objects and non-eximporhic beings

to come close to a stellar-mass black hole and escape undamaged, anything that crosses the event horizon is destroyed. When a stellar-mass black hole enters a star system, it will immediately disrupt the orbits of everything around its star. This results in massive increases in the frequency of asteroids and comets impacting the inner planets. The gas giants will be consumed as they come into contact with it. The massive gravitational shockwaves will also cause planet-wide major earthquakes and greatly

increased volcanic activity on the rockball planets. The black hole will them head straight for the system’s star and begin

to

consume it. Any life-bearing rockball planets will them be

drawn too close to their star for organic life to survive as they get hotter. Eventually, those rockball planets will melt down completely before being consumed by the black hole. After millions of years of being fed on, the victim star will be no more, leaving the black hole to journey onwards towards its next victim. In game terms, the preceding consequences of encountering a stellar-mass black hole can be simulated as follows. Asteroid & comet impacts are as described earlier. The planet-wide major earthquakes and increased volcanism equate to uses of the Geological Supremacy quantum power (Aberrant Players Guide pp. 133-134) increasing continental drift at whatever power rating the Storyteller deems plausible. Destruction of planets and stars equates to

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use of the Astromanipulation quantum power (p. 90 of this book) at power ratings of one and two dots, respectively. Coming into direct contact with a stellar-mass black hole equates to use of the Quantum Inferno quantum power (Aberrant Players Guide p. 139) at whatever power rating and damage type the Storyteller sees fit. The third kind are the supermassive black holes, which are found at the hearts of galaxies. These objects are responsible for the creation of rogue star systems, which equates to use of the Astromanipulation quantum power (p. 90 of this book) at a power rating of three dots. Coming into contact with these objects is certain death for all but the most powerful of novas, as it equates to use of the Quantum Inferno quantum power (Aberrant Players Guide p. 139) at whatever power rating and damage type the Storyteller sees fit.

First Contact

 

Alien Interactions

When describing how alien civilizations interact with one another, biology offers the most convenient metaphor. As there is no established social structure beyond single civilizations in the Milky Way, it’s easier to see them as different organisms coexisting in the same biosphere. What follows is a brief overview of the relations alien civilizations are likely to have, with a few examples from the Trinity sourcebooks. Competition is when two roughly equal civilizations affect each other adversely. Most often this occurs when both civilizations require one or more resources which happen to be scarce. Competition can be political, social or economic in nature. War is the most extreme form of competition. The Human-Chromatic conflict is an example of social competition escalating into war for religious reasons. Predation occurs when one civilization adversely affects another and benefits itself. Such a civilization could prey upon any other civilization which has desirable resources. Such prey civilizations will typically be of a lesser Technology Level than the predatory civilization, as more advanced civilizations have the means to defend themselves against such attacks. This interaction typically results in the death of most or all of the sapient members of the prey civilization before the predator civilization claims their resources for themselves. The Coalition is a good example of a predatory civilization. Parasitism differs from predation only in that the sapient population of the prey civilization is not exterminated. Instead, said population is exploited in some manner over a period of time. Such exploitation typically takes the form of slavery. The aberrant forces of Kali and Yog-Death on Khantze Lu Ge are a good rough equivalent of a parasitic alien civilization. Amensalism happens when one civilization is adversely affected by another civilization, which is unaffected by the interaction. In this interaction the unaffected civilization will have a higher Technology Level than the other - possibly to the point where that other civilization may be treated as a mere nuisance, much as humans treat unwelcome insects in their homes. Even seemingly benevolent civilizations can have amensal interactions. For instance, a civilization that grants some of its technological knowledge to a less-advanced civilization can stymie or stunt the latter civilization’s own technological growth as they become dependent on the gifted technology. At the most extreme, the latter civilization destroys itself when it attempts to use technologies that they don’t truly understand. Neutralism takes place when two civilizations avoid any contact with one another. They have no real interaction and do not affect each other in any significant way. This

If nova space travelers journey in extrasolar space long enough, sooner or later they will make First Contact with

sapient alien life. As they will be novakind’s - and Humanity’s

-

exemplars for the encountered species, this places a huge

burden of responsibility on the travelers in question. How

those travelers deal with that responsibility - or fail to do so

-