Aethyr

AKA Ev’eh, AKA Eve Wiccan, UNTIL Superhuman Registry No.: 098561

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Aethyr
The subject erects a protective barrier between a swarm of Qularr drones and a group of UNTIL xenobiologists

Base of Operations: Mobile

Group Affiliation: Squadron Galactic

Alignment: Good

Motivation: Upholding the good

Abilities: The subject is thought to be the only survivor of the Nl’ta’k race, an extremely long-lived species with an average life expectancy of 3,000 years. They possessed remarkable recuperative abilities and could also survive unaided in a variety of hostile environments including the vacuum of space. They developed a unique form of “spirit travel”, in which they could dispatch their essence wherever they pleased while their bodies remained behind. Unlike astral projection, however, the essence of a Nl’ta’k could remain away from the body for months at a time.

As the Avatar of Life, the subject has been given a broad array of uncatalogued energy manipulation abilities but these have only been used to defend another person or to aid a comrade. Plant and animal life respond dramatically to her presence: wild animals become docile while plants grow faster. The subject has also demonstrated the ability to assimilate the language of any sentient life form by touch.

Skills: The subject has evidenced no skills at this time.

Paraphernalia: N/A

Vulnerabilities: The subject is a pacifist and her unwillingness to cause harm to another can be exploited. The subject has also displayed a child-like naivety about human society that can be used against her.

Threat Level: Beta

Orbiting the blue-white sun Vega in the constellation of Lyra, the lush, jungle planet of Dh’va’n (English: Paradise) was the homeworld of a golden-skinned race called the Nl’ta’k (English: The Awakened). They were a spiritual and contemplative race who lived in such complete harmony that conflict of any kind had become an unfathomable concept. In fact, there had not been a war fought on their planet in their over 100,000 years of recorded history and no living being on Dh’va’n had lost their lives as a result of violence in untold millennia until the Elder Worm entered their star system.

In the hopes of summoning a Qliphothic deity into this dimension to aid them in their war against the Malvan Empire, the Elder Worm intended to perform a ceremony that necessitated sacrificing the world’s entire population. In fulfillment of ancient prophecy, the supreme deity of the Nl’ta’k, Ix’tl (English: The Source), selected two to serve as planetary guardians in its darkest hour: A priestess of Ix’tl on the southern hemisphere was transformed into the Avatar of Life while a scholar in the northern hemisphere became the Avatar of Death. Despite knowing that they were doomed to failure, the Avatars met the Elder Worm fleet orbiting their planet in battle.

As foretold, the Avatars were defeated, their bodies falling back to their planet like twin meteors. The Elder Worm then unleashed a lethal techno-organic virus that eradicated the planetary population of 7.2 billion sentients within minutes. For the next 300,000 years, Dh’va’n was nothing more than a ghost world populated by lower life forms living amidst the crumbling ruins of a long-dead civilization. Despite its location near interstellar shipping lanes and its hospitable biosphere, space-faring races have scrupulously avoided Dh’va’n for fear that the shades of the extinct Nl’ta’k will exact their vengeance upon them.

Ev’eh, the Avatar of Life, was recently reborn perhaps in response to the increase in Elder Worm activity throughout the galaxy. She has made her way to Earth seeking to destroy the creature called Slug, the Y’shaal-Htath-Ml (English: Supreme Emperor Sorcerer) of the Elder Worm, thus helping to rid the universe of their taint.

Nova Star

AKA Aneia J’Tari, UNTIL Superhuman Registry No.: 360460

Nova Star
The subject defending Project Greenskin from an attack by the creature called Grond

Base of Operations: Galactic Ranger Station 398724-R4962; Millennium City, MI. USA

Group Affiliation: Squadron Galactic

Alignment: Good

Motivation: Upholding the good

Abilities: The subject is a registered alien from Theda Prime and, as such, possesses low-level telepathic ability as well as the power of flight both within a planetary atmosphere and through space. The subject can also project blasts of cosmic energy that have proven powerful enough to rupture the hulls of space-faring vessels.

Skills: Expert in non-Terran forms of hand-to-hand combat, expert military strategist, expert starship pilot, expert in the use of small arms used by the Galactic Rangers, polyglot fluent in English, Thedrian and Intertel.

Paraphernalia: The subject wears a battle suit whose composition and capabilities currently defy description. From several altercations she has had with superpowered assailants, it would appear that the ultimate strength of the armor is equivalent to questionite though much lighter and more flexible.

Vulnerabilities: N/A

Threat Level: Gamma

The subject hails from Theda Prime and, although by Earth standards she would be considered to be sixteen years of age, she is in fact much older as Thedrians age at a much slower rate than humans.

Very little is known about J’Tari. She is a ten-year veteran of the Galactic Rangers, a heretofore unknown interplanetary peace-keeping and police force of sorts similar to the Star*Guard. Soon after being stationed to Galactic Ranger Station 398724-R4962, she was put on detached assignment on Earth.

Due to the dearth of information about herself, her organization and her homeworld, UNTIL operatives are keeping the subject under close surveillance.

Ingot

AKA Catherine Jones, UNTIL Superhuman Registry No.: 429360

Ingot
The subject returning to Earth after destroying a meteor that threaten to annihilate the Canadian city of Vancouver

Base of Operations: Toronto, ONT. Canada; Millennium City, MI. USA

Group Affiliation: Current leader of the Squadron Galactic

Alignment: Good

Motivation: Unwanted power

Abilities: UNTIL scientists theorize that the kelvarite coating covering the subject’s body provides her with enough durability to withstand a fifty megaton thermonuclear explosion at ground zero; either due to the genetic tampering of the Qularr, the experiments conducted by ARGENT or a combination of the two, the subject can absorb and project an as-yet indeterminate amount of energy across the electromagnetic spectrum; the subject can fly at near light speeds via manipulation of gravity; the subject can survive hostile environments including a hard vacuum for an unlimited amount of time; the subject has evidenced the ability to transform herself into pure electromagnetic energy temporarily.

Skills: Prior to her abduction, the subject was studying Canadian History at the undergraduate level. Since the experiment that gave her her unique abilities, the subject has acquired an eidetic memory.

Paraphernalia: N/A

Vulnerabilities: N/A

Threat Level: Beta

Captain Al Jones, Royal Canadian Air Force, had always dreamed of going into space but never dreamed that he would be battling creatures from space until 1965, when the Qularr attacked Earth. One of the first wave of responders to the extraterrestrial threat, Jones fought with distinction but was captured and experimented on by the alien bio-engineers. Freed along with hundreds of other captives by the Justice Squadron, Jones returned to duty never suspecting that his genes had been altered by the Qularr scientists.

Years later, twenty-year-old Catherine Jones, Al Jones’ granddaughter, was abducted by the criminal cabal known as ARGENT, whose scientists wanted to unlock the genetic potential hidden in her DNA in the hopes that they could devise a process of creating super soldiers with powers like those of her sister Jennifer Jones, the super-heroine known as the Shroud (UNTIL Superhuman Registry No.: 425252). Jones was subjected to a number of invasive experiments during her ten days of captivity, one of which involved bombarding her with radiation spanning the electromagnetic spectrum to ascertain her resilience to various forms of energy. During the procedure, Jones began absorbing massive amounts of electromagnetic energy and the ingot of kelvarite being used to power the energy cannon began throbbing in sympathetic resonance.

Before the ARGENT scientists could shut the cannon down, it exploded, leveling the complex. When Canadian authorities arrived on the scene, they discovered that no one had survived the blast save Jones, who was sheathed in an impenetrable energy cocoon. As Canadian authorities were ill-equipped to deal with Jones’ unique condition, they released her to the custody of her sister. A month and a day after the explosion, Jones emerged from the cocoon, which had apparently been an intermediary step in her transformation into something more than human. For an as-yet unknown reason, Jones’ body was infused with kelvarite. The alien metal now irrevocably sheathed her body completely and granted her the ability to manipulate energy across the electromagnetic spectrum at unearthly levels.

 

Banshee

Formerly Major Valerie Fairchild, SAS, UNTIL Superhuman Registry No.: 391572

Banshee
The Banshee satellite uncloaking to allow representatives of UNTIL aboard

Base of Operations: Geosynchronous orbit 35,888 kilometers above Millennium City, MI. USA

Group Affiliation: Squadron Galactic

Alignment: Good

Motivation: Upholding the good

Abilities: Banshee proxies have access to Fairchild’s psychokinetic ability to create telekinetic constructs and can teleport anywhere within the Banshee satellite’s range of 50,000 kilometers. The Banshee satellite is equipped with an orbital cannon of unknown yield, a cloaking device making it undetectable to current anti-stealth technology and an array of data mining and data processing capabilities.

Skills: Fairchild was an expert in infiltration, interrogation and subversion as well as an expert marksman and skilled athlete. The Banshee satellite can access an unlimited amount of information and can outperform the fastest supercomputer in existence, clocking in at 118.72 PFLOPS (floating-point operations per second in petas).

Paraphernalia: N/A

Vulnerabilities: N/A

Threat Level: Beta

Valerie Fairchild was born in the UK but was orphaned at the age of three. She became a ward of the Crown and was raised in the Reedham Orphanage in Richmond, London. At the age of six, she began displaying mental abilities, creating tangible objects by sheer concentration. Due to the psionic abilities she had manifested coupled with the fact that prospective adoptive parents were wary of adopting her, she feel her isolation keenly, prompting to run away from the orphanage at the age of 14.

Living on the mean streets of London meant that the subject had to fight for what little food, shelter and resources was available, which honed both her body and psionic abilities to their peak. At the age of 17, the subject enlisted in the British Army. Within a handful of years, the subject, whose service record was impeccable, was soon transferred to the Special Air Service (SAS), where she rose through the ranks to Major.

During a reconnaissance mission behind enemy lines in Syria, Fairchild was caught in an American airstrike and was reportedly killed in action. However, even though her body had suffered massive injuries, her brain was still alive. Military consultants working for a private German weapons manufacturer retrieved her still-living brain and discarded what was left of her body and used it in “The Wiedergänger Project”. The project involved digitizing her memory engrams and uploading them into the central data processor of a satellite code-named “Banshee” orbiting the Earth, creating a truly sentient machine.

The Banshee satellite can travel through space and orbit celestial bodies. The space station can also deploy “proxies”, techno-organic entities that serve as humanoid surrogates for the Fairchild intelligence. The subject’s mental abilities remain unimpaired and can also manifest through a proxy.

Elder Worm, The

Narthesh
Ancient rendition of the city of Narthesh at the height of its power approximately 750,000 years ago

The first Elder Worm civilizations arose on their swampy, humid homeworld just beyond the Galactic Rim around 800,000 years ago. Villages of extended “families” united by a common purpose, such as security or improved food production, gave way to cities, which became city-states and then sometimes empires. According to the records the Elder Worm still have, the greatest political powers of early Elder Worm history were the Empire of Hsash-Tlethor, which was said to have once controlled nearly half the planet, and the vast, wealthy city-state of Narthesh, which dominated trade throughout the northern swamplands for nearly a century. At several times in their history, various Elder Worm leaders or nations tried to achieve the combination of political and arcane power that would allow them to control the entire world and all its people. However, unification was not truly achieved until around 750,000 years ago when the Elder Worm had reached a level of technology equivalent to mid-twenty-first century human technology.

A member of the oligarchy that ruled the city-state of Helgthret, a powerful sorcerer and cunning politician named Rthchash brought all of Helgthret under his rule through clever political manipulation just as the stars came right for him to cast the Ritual of Control. The ritual would cement his political victory over his adversaries, bending all but a few powerful Elder Worm to his will. Rthchash thus became the first supreme leader of the Elder Worm, assuming the title Y’shaal-Htath-Ml (English: Supreme Emperor Sorcerer). To his offspring, he not only passed the mantle of leadership but also numerous powerful artifacts with which to ensure his rule. Each ruler has, in turn, budded a child who became Y’shaal-Htath-Ml after him, creating a line of succession that remains unbroken to this day and terminates in the being known as Slug.

Once the Elder Worm were united, it was only a matter of time before they expanded their empire to the stars. They first colonized a few worlds in their home system, mainly through settlements sealed inside hermetically-sealed domes that allowed them to create a hospitable environment for their race even on the most hostile of worlds. Then, using powerful spells, the Elder Worm were able to locate other species ripe for conquest. Driven by a combination of desire for political power, religious fervor and a hunger for new types of food, the Elder Worm steadily spread across the galaxy. A few races tried to stem the tide, but they simply were not powerful enough to overcome the Elder Worms’ numbers, technology and sorcery. By approximately five hundred thousand years ago, the Elder Worm controlled roughly half of the Milky Way.

Malvan Dreadnoughts
Malvan dreadnoughts on maneuvers shortly after the outbreak of the war

The expansionist policies of the Elder Worm soon brought them into conflict with the other great power of the time: the Malvans. What would become a galactic war lasting three hundred thousand years started as a dispute over ownership of a planetary system on the same side of the galactic core as the Elder Worm homeworld. At that time, the Elder Worm sphere of control occupied roughly the southern half of the Milky Way while the Malvans dominated the northern. For the next three hundred millennia, war raged across the galaxy. The awesome magics and mighty vessels of the Elder Worm were pitted against the vastly powerful starships and military machinery of Malva.

For centuries, the Elder Worm pushed forward, taking advantage of Malvan unpreparedness to smash their fleets and capture their worlds. Millions of Malvan colonists and members of Malvan subject species were sacrificed upon Elder Worm altars to feed the dark gods the Elder Worm worshiped. Yet, once the Malvans focused their efforts on the war, they were able to halt the Elder Worm advance and even found ways to thwart some of their magics. During the middle period of the war, Malva built starships the size of planets to counter the Elder Worm forces. The Elder Worm responded to Malvan technology with Qliphotic magic.

Elder Worm Homeworld
The remains of the Elder Worm homeworld

After the initial gains made by Elder Worm had been retaken by the Malvans, the war settled down into a long, bloody conflict marked by extended periods of stalemate. Untold trillions of sentient beings died in the process and more than one species was entirely wiped out. In one infamous incident, the Elder Worm sacrificed all 7.2 billion members of the Nl’ta’k species in a ritual to summon one of their gods, Zhalnathet, bodily into the galaxy. The entity wreaked havoc throughout Malvan space until his manifestation was ultimately destroyed. The tide of war gradually turned against the Elder Worm and, by approximately two hundred thousand years ago, the once-feared Elder Worm empire was no more – even its homeworld was shattered into fragments by the Malvans.

The Malvan-Elder Worm War reduced the Elder Worm population from trillions to a few thousand survivors hiding on backwater planets scattered across the Milky Way. They are viewed with distrust across the galaxy, making it difficult for the surviving pockets of their race to establish diplomatic relations or engage in trade. Many Elder Worm enclaves have concluded that the only way to survive is to use their magic to enter states of mystic slumber until such time as the fortunes of their species change. Whether due to hibernation, the vastness of space or their propensity for secrecy, many of the surviving Elder Worm communities have lost contact with each other since the diaspora. Some of these communities have carefully preserved whatever they could while others have left the old ways behind and developed new traditions for surviving in a hostile galaxy.

Adapted from a text published in Champions Beyond by Stephen S. Long. ™ and © Hero Games, Inc., 2011.

Nl’ta’k, The

Constellation Lyra
The constellation of Lyra as seen from the northern hemisphere, the star Vega at its apex

Orbiting the blue-white sun Vega in the constellation of Lyra, the lush, jungle planet called Dh’va’n (English: Paradise) was once the homeworld of a golden-skinned race called the Nl’ta’k (English: The Awakened). They were a spiritual and contemplative race who lived in such complete harmony that conflict of any kind had become an unfathomable concept. There had not been a war fought on their planet in their over 100,000 years of recorded history and the only instances of armed conflict amongst the Nl’ta’k had occurred in their dark pre-history before the Nl’fa’k (English: The Awakening).

According to legend, the majority of the ancient Nl’ta’k lived in small communities of hunter-gatherers while the small minority formed permanent settlements devoted to agriculture and animal husbandry. Each household worshiped one of the deities in their pantheon and a patron deity was thought to be responsible for the welfare of the community as a whole. Over time, these communities evolved into city-states ruled by priest-kings whose divine authority was never challenged. Despite the numerous, often contradictory, religious ideologies, each creed preached a love for all life that prevented the balkanization of the planet into openly warring states.

Avatars
The Twin Avatars of Ix’tl awaiting their destiny

Then, in what the modern Nl’ta’k calendar referred to as Ev’eh T’zk (English: The Year One), the people across the planet began simultaneously experiencing visions of a deity calling itself Ix’tl (English: The Source). Unlike the anthropomorphic deities of the ancient Nl’ta’k pantheon, Ix’tl appeared as neither male nor female but as a tree whose roots reached deep into the heart of every living being in the cosmos and whose branches cradled every star burning in the firmament. The vision foretold of the death of the Zn Gn’mo’l Ix’tl (English: The Twin Avatars of Ix’tl) in defence of Dh’va’n during its darkest hour and the resurrection of Ev’eh (English: The One) from the funeral pyre of the Nl’ta’k as a guardian of all life. The visionary experience was so powerful that, within a generation, the cults of the Old Gods were peacefully supplanted by the worship of Ix’tl.

The shift from pantheism to monotheism had a radical effect on the societal, cultural and biological evolution of the Nl’ta’k. The numerous theocracies that once dotted the planet were replaced by a single demarchy, in which planetary affairs were overseen by randomly selected decision-makers from a pool of eligible citizens. Their newfound sense of connection to everything around them inspired the Nl’ta’k to encapsulate the wonders of their faith in art and philosophy, creating masterpieces of sublimity that transcend the dogmas inherent in other religious or philosophical belief systems.

Paradise
The planet Dh’va’n as seen from space

The greatest change to the Nl’ta’k was biological: despite the fact that they had never become interested in interstellar travel and exploration, they evolved over a period of 50,000 years into a species imminently suited to the task. The Nl’ta’k were an extremely long-lived species, with an average life expectancy of 3,000 years, which was perhaps due to the control they had over their own metabolic functions. They developed remarkable recuperative abilities and could also survive unaided in a variety of hostile environments including the vacuum of space. What was perhaps the most surprising evolutionary trait they developed was a unique form of “spirit travel”, in which the Nl’ta’k could dispatch their essence wherever they pleased while their bodies remained behind. Unlike astral projection, however, the essence of a Nl’ta’k could remain away from the body for months at a time.

When the Elder Worm threatened their world with certain destruction nearly 265,000 years ago, the Zn Gn’mo’l Ix’tl appeared as foretold in the ancient prophecy: the female Avatar on the southern continent and the male on the northern. As one, they flew towards the Elder Worm fleet and scattered the advance reconnaissance ships like dead leaves in an angry wind. However, the Elder Worm fleet proved more than a match for the pair. As their corpses tumbled back towards their planet’s surface, the Elder Worm unleashed a lethal techno-organic virus that targeted the Nl’ta’k genome. Within minutes, the Nl’ta’k became extinct. Although the planetary population of 7.2 billion sentients was eradicated long ago, Dh’va’n remains uninhabited to this day. It is said that any who dare land on the planet for whatever reason will invite the destruction of their homeworld at the hands of the vengeful spirits of the long-dead Nl’ta’k.