Thursday, May 29, 2014

BTU: The Executioner Sorcerer Bloodline

Another tidbit from the upcoming Enchantments of Black Tokyo- a death-fixated sorcerer bloodline that takes full advantage of many of the very brutal new combat spells in the game. Unfamiliar spells will be fully detailed in Enchantments of Black Tokyo, if they're not already available in one BT sourcebook or the other.

The Executioner Bloodline
            Your mystical powers are fundamentally lethal, sadistic and efficient. The karmic consequence of a family connection to legal execution resulted in a sorcerer-child with a morbid outlook and grim powers. The children of judicial executioners, judges and others involved in the business of legally sanctioned murder sometimes manifest terrifying Executioner bloodline powers, as do the survivors left behind after a criminal’s execution.

            Executioner sorcerers are serious, somber and don’t usually look like they sleep well. Their words are rare and as well chosen and precise as the terminology in a death row appeal. They dress in dark colors, in styles with a faux judicial or military flair. Weapons are second nature, and many move like veteran soldiers.

Class Skill: Craft (chemical) (INT), Knowledge (civics) (INT)
Bonus Spells:
Corrosive Touch (3rd), Sniper Child (5th), Gun Personified (7th), Body Poison (9th), Cloudkill (11th), Sadistic Dissection (13th), Dying World (15th), Horrid Wilting (17th), Transmute Blood to Acid (19th)

Bonus Feats: Executioner sorcerers can choose Bleeding Critical, Bloody Assault, Deadly Aim, Enforcer, Focused Shot, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Sickening Critical, Spell Focus (necromancy) or Weapon Focus (any firearm) as a bloodline feat.

Bloodline Arcana Whenever you cast a spell with the death descriptor, your target or targets must roll two saving throws and take the worse of two results.

Bloodline Powers  
            Death Sentence (SU)
            Starting at first level, any manufactured melee weapon or firearm (or energy weapon, in high tech settings) you wield gains the deadly weapon property. Weapons wielded by you are sheathed in glistening purple and crimson energy.

            Lethal Injection (EX)
            At 3rd level, you become superhumanly adept at using poison. You no longer risk poisoning yourself when applying poison to a weapon and increase the FORT Save DC of any poison you brew yourself with Craft (chemical) by +1. At 9th level, you add two rounds to the duration of any poison you brew yourself. At 15th level, you add the initial effect of death to any poison you craft yourself; if the victim succeeds on their initial FORT Save, they are affected by the poison normally.

            Electrocutioner (SP)
            At 9th level, you may use a modified lightning bolt as a spell-like ability. If the first target creature within the line created by the lightning bolt fails its saving throw (and would thus, suffer full damage), you may choose to stop the line there, as a free action. No other targets are affected by your modified lightning bolt, but the initial target is immobilized for one round and suffers the lightning bolt’s damage on your turn on the following round (FORT Save half). A burning electric chair, made of fire and lightning, appears and holds the target in place.

            You may use this ability once per day at 9th level, and twice per day at 17th level.

            Restrained and Executed (SU)
            At 15th level, you become lethally efficient at working with a team of trained killers to strap down and euthanize a victim. When an opponent within 300 ft of you, who you can clearly see gains the grappled, pinned or helpless conditions as a result of an ally’s direct actions, you may cast a single target spell with the death descriptor against that opponent. This counts against your limit of a single quickened spell per round. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to your CHA modifier.

            No Appeal (SU)
            At 20th level, when casting any spell with the death descriptor, you can increase the spell’s casting time to a full-round action. Phantasmal judge’s robes and a British-style barrister’s wig appears around you as you cast the spell. Casting the spell in this manner prevents the target or targets from making a saving throw against the effect; they are automatically considered to have failed their saving throw. When using No Appeal, you may affect corporeal undead as if they were humanoid creatures.

            You may use No Appeal once per day.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Father of the Cat Girls

For the last couple of months, I've been concentrating heavily on Black Tokyo. In addition to gathering up art for a HUGE magic and magic items sourcebook, I've been doing a series of race specific sourcebooks: We've already seen an expansion on the Kami and Kitsune races, expect a similar look at the Akaname, the Goryohime as well as the Nekomusume- the cat girls of the setting.

The Nekomusume sourcebook came about basically because John told me he's got plenty of cat-girl related models, skins and props to use, and wanted to include them in a project. That said, it's turning into a very nice, deep sourcebook. In delving deeper into the origins of the Nekomusume race, I asked myself: who grew these things anyway?

The answer, excerpted from the text, is below.

Kitten Factories
            The Nekomusume species began as an expensive, decadent luxury. Seeing how profitable the sale of custom-grown Nekos was, many of Japan’s largest entertainment, electronics, automotive and media mega-corporations have a division dedicated exclusively to the production of beautiful cat-girls. Ordinary production facilities (formerly dedicated to manufacturing everything from game consoles to compact cars) were repurposed and converted into massive womb-complexes, breeding catgirls by the hundreds.

            As kitten factories became more common, the price of cat girls dropped dramatically. But true catgirl connoisseurs will only purchase their glamorous pets from first tier bloodlines, from breeders who have been in business since the catgirl boom of the early 1980s began.

Neko Dream Ultimate
            Neko Dream Ultimate, headquartered in the iconic 109 Building in Tokyo’s Shibuya District, was the among the first companies breeding Nekomusume. Neko Dream Ultimate occupies three floors of the chrome and glass commercial tower. The corporation has an unmatched reputation for quality and only sells their submissive, well-trained cat girls to carefully screened and credit-checked buyers. Unlike many lower-tier kitten factories, Neko Dream Ultimate has no interest in producing snuff toys; catgirls are a pleasure to be savored over a lifetime. The company’s advertising image is bound up in the Nekos they produce, and prides itself on producing happy Nekos that go onto happy (if unfree) lives. The office is decorated with glossy photographs and memorabilia to the world famous Cheetah-Ai (NG female idol Nekomusume Bard 9, 1982-2007), the first cat-girl.

            Neko Dream Ultimate has exclusively licensing rights to sell kittens (and clones) of Fashion Club Nekomini show winners and first runner ups. The company is unique in that many of its sales staff are Nekos themselves, somewhat more intelligent than the norm, and extremely skilled in negotiations. These Neko sales-ladies are allowed to use their commissions to purchase not only their own freedom, but also stock in the company- making Neko Dream Ultimate one of the only partially Neko-owned businesses on the planet.

            The Amakaze own a controlling interest in Neko Dream Ultimate, and their interests are represented by senior board member, Karen Obake (LE female human Wizar (transmuter) 13). Obake was once one of Japan’s secret protectors, but she sold out during the 1970s. She designed both the spells and the gene-treatments necessary to produce a true Neko and was very much the ‘mother’ of Cheetah-Ai and the other first-gen Nekomusume. Today Obake is one of the richest businesswomen in Japan, but she has not left her Chiba mansion (except for high security board meetings) in more than two decades.

            Smilodon Risk!         
            One of Neko Dream Ultimate’s chief rivals, Smilodon Risk! has been in business since the mid-1980s. Also headquartered in Tokyo- in the rambunctious Akihabara District- Smilodon’s success is due to its unforgettable ad campaign. Where Neko Dream positioned its catgirls as elegant and graceful companions to the elite, Smilodon’s hyper-colored, action-oriented advertisements featured lithe, athletic catgirls in action! Karate, kendo, SCUBA diving, skydiving, free-climbing the rock faces of Yellowstone, motocross racing, paintball- Smilodon catgirls could do it all and more! And they were much cheaper than the equivalent Neko Dream kitties, the first mass-market catgirl.

            Smilodon Risk! is privately owned by Warren Dunn (N male human Otaku Smart 2/Hentai Hero 3/Modern Spellcaster 2), an American ex-pat who decided to stay in Japan after a summer internship with Neko Dream. The Amakaze controlled mega-corp couldn’t conclusively prove Dunn stole their technology (he didn’t- he was given it freely by Dr. Sukakagi specifically to make trouble for the mega-corp), but they spent over 100 million yen taking his start-up to court in the attempt. The handful of attempts on his life only made him stronger- Dunn was an ordinary mortal, albeit obsessed with catgirls before he crossed the Amakaze. He learned quick though, and proved capable of defending himself. Eventually, he was able to negotiate a truce with Neko Dream’s secret backers- a truce that kept him alive and in business, though what the treaty entailed, he’s never revealed.

            Dr. Sukakagi’s Strays
            Karen Obake might get all the credit for creating the Nekomusume race- all the press, the glossy magazine covers, the 1983 Nobel Prize for Genetics but she couldn’t of done it without Dr. Gendo Sukakagi (CE male human Modern Spellcaster 13). Dr. Sukakagi went slightly mad mapping the catgirl genome, and was prone to making grandiose statements about how the future of Earth was furred, and that he was the father of a race of feline angels who heralded the next epoch in human evolution! He was also prone to showing up to press conferences without pants and stinking of whiskey and musk, and every time he opened his mouth, Neko Dream’s stock took a big dip.

            The Amakaze bought him out. The sum was exorbitant, but Dr. Sukakagi blew through his payday in a few years- spending most of it on increasingly bizarre and fruitless experiments, and the rest on catgirl prostitutes, coke and booze. By the mid-80s, he was broke, bitter and convinced that Neko Dreams screwed him over. To get his revenge, he contacted any half-way competent gene-sculptor he could find and gave them his secrets. Soon, dozens of upstart companies were nibbling into Neko Dream’s markets share, first among them, Smilodon Risk!

            Neko Dreams Unlimited weathered the storm, and eventually the market stabilized around a few top tier kitten factories and a plethora of second stringers and imitators. By the mid 1990s, Dr. Sukakagi started working out of panel vans and abandoned buildings, squatting where he could and churning out genetically inferior, ‘quick and dirty’ feral Nekos by the thousands. He created true breeding packs of mentally damaged cat-hybrids in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagasaki and about a dozen other major cities throughout Japan and sat back to watch the fun.

            The Akaname in general and Karen Obake in specific, the Tokyo Bureau of Mythological Sanitation and anybody whose autobody work has been shredded by rogue Nekos would all like a big piece of Dr. Sukakagi’s ass….if they can ever find the malicious old coot. 

Dr. Gendo Sukakagi (CR 12)
Medium CE Human (cyborg) Modern Spellcaster 13
XP 19,200
Init +0 Senses Darkvision 60 ft, Perception +17       
Languages Cantonese, Dwarven, Draconic, English, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian

AC Touch Flatfooted
HP 13d6 hp (47 HP)
FORT +4 REF +4 WILL +11
Immune flanking

Spd 30 ft
Melee +7/+2 shortsword (1d6 slashing, 20/x2)
Spellcasting (CL 13th Concentration +24) 
Ninth Gate, Pulse of Misogyny* (W-DC 24), Sadistic Dissection, Mass* (F-DC 24)
Seventh Cure Serious Wounds, Mass, Delayed Blast Fireball (R-DC 23), Form of the Dragon II, Greater Polymorph, Regeneration, Resurrection
Sixth Antimagic Field, Anthropomorphize the Problem… And Fuck It*, Disintegrate (F-DC 22),  Repulsion (W-DC 22), Sadistic Dissection (F-DC 22),
Fifth Baleful Polymorph (F-DC 21), Cloudkill (F-DC 21), Corrupting Tentacles* (W-DC 21), Flesh Spasm*, Mage’s Faithful Hound (summons a cat instead), Mage’s Private Sanctum, Polymorph, Urban Stride*, Vibrating Torture* (F-DC 21)
Fourth Beast Shape II, Cure Critical Wounds, Enlarge Person, Mass,
Third Fireball (R-DC 18), Fly, Haste, Keen Edge, Ray of Exhaustion (W-DC 17), Wall of Fire
Second Cat’s Grace, Detect Thoughts, Electrical Transition*, Make Whole, Resist Energy, Scorching Ray (R-DC 17)
First Cure Light Wounds, Enlarge Person, Magic Missile, Magic Weapon, Mage Armor, POETICA Programming*, Quick Cum (W-DC 16), Stunning Orgasm (W-DC 16), True Strike
Zero (at least his top 5 favorites) Aid, Comfortable Act*, Happy Swell*, Mending, Prestidigitation
            *Enchantments of Black Tokyo

Str 8 Dex 11 Con 10 Int 21 Wis 16 Cha 14
Base Atk +6 CMB +5 CMD 15
Feats Arcane Strike, Catch Off Guard, Craft Wondrous Items, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Disruptive Spell, Ectoplasmic Spell, Empower Spell, Maximize Spell, Persistent Spell
Skills Craft (alchemy, electronics) both at +24, Computer Use +24, Heal, Knowledge (arcana, pop culture, technology) all at +23, Linguistics +22, Perception +17, Repair +22, Spellcraft +24
Cybernetics Cyberoptics (Compound Optics Band, Micro Optics, Nightvision Optics), Basic Cyberlimb (right arm, branch type hands), Cybernetic Power Supply (x5), Onboard Computer, Skill Databases (+2 equipment bonus Craft:alchemy, Craft:electronics, Computer Use, Heal, Repair, and Spellcraft checks)
Gear alchemist kit, electronics kit, first aid kit, surgery kit, laptop computer, 3x potions of cure serious wounds, ring of protection +4, multi-terrabit harddrive full of furry and catgirl porno, +1 short sword 

Environment any urban (in crappy neighborhoods, living out of an old van down by the river)
Organization solitary
Treasure double standard (hidden in the aforementioned crappy van down by the river)

Special Abilities
            Cyberlimb (EX)
            Dr. Sukakagi replaced his right arm at the shoulder after an industrial accident involving a catgirl, an untested sexual position and an unfortunately non-secured vat of industrial solvent. He can branch his hand (splitting his fingers apart on previously concealed seams into thousands of wire-like manipulators) that allow him to perform Craft checks involving precision work in half the usual time.
            Cyber Optics (EX)
            The flat band of advanced micro-cameras that replace Dr. Sukakagi’s organic eyes provide him with a 360 degree field of vision. Dr. Sukakagi cannot be flanked.

His advanced optics also provide him with Darkvision 60 ft and a +1 cybernetic bonus on Appraise, Craft, Disable Device, Heal, Linguistics (forger), Perception checks, thanks to his micro-vision optics.

Modern Spellcaster (SU)
Dr. Sukakagi can cast any spell in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, D20 Modern FX rules or other source, from any class list. If a spell is available to multiple classes, Harrier can learn it at the lowest level possible. Dr. Sukakagi is a spell point-based spell caster – to cast a spell, he must spend a number of spell points equal to the spell’s level (including any metamagic level adjustment). He can also attempt to cast spells beyond what he safely can cast, called overcasting, but at great personal risk.

Dr. Sukakagi can safely cast up to 7th level spells.

Eight hours of sleep or restful calm allows Dr. Sukakagi to recover 36 spell points, or he can spend an action point to instantly recover 2d6+2 spell points as a full round action.

Overcasting (SU)
Dr. Sukakagi can attempt to cast spells beyond 7th level, including those enhanced by metamagic. Doing so is risky. Dr. Sukakagi must succeed at a WILL save (DC 15 + spell level) or the spell is not cast. Furthermore, Dr. Sukakagi suffers 1d10 points of damage per level of the failed overcast spell. In addition, if Dr. Sukakagi fails his WILL save by 5 points or worse, he expends every spell point remaining in his pool, suffering +1 hit point damage per spell point expended.

            Dr. Sukakagi is crazy as fuck.
            The ‘father’ of the catgirl race is a wild-eyed, frizzy haired, Japanese mad man in a stained white lab coat. His right arm and his eyes have been replaced by bulky cybernetics- he could of easily afforded fully humanistic prosthetics, but he choose obvious chrome cybertech because it ‘looked cooler’. There’s a 50 percent chance he’s wearing trousers on any given day, and if he’s not, it’s a good bet his ‘little lab assistant’ is poking out of his Hello Kitty boxers.

            He’s prone to grandiose statements and grand pontifications that cat-girls are the most highly evolved race in the galaxy, and that the future of humanity is FURRY!! YIFF! YIFF! He’s especially poetic and enthusiastic when he’s drunk, which is most of his waking life. The quintessential mad scientist, Dr. Sukakagi is prone to abducting pretty college girls and office ladies in an attempt to genetically rebuild them into whatever cat-girl Messiah he’s having visions of this week. His schemes are bold, impetuous and very poorly thought-out. Most of his big ideas begin life as doodles on a bar napkin. He lives in a crappy panel van down by the river and squats in abandoned buildings, which he converts into laboratories that even your average meth-cook would find unsanitary.
            In battle, he’s Mr. Fucking Blasty-Mage. He will overcast the nastiest combination of metamagic enhanced combat magic he can dream up. Suck down an Empowered, Maximized, Disruptive, Persistent Disintegrate, asshole! There’s a very good chance he’s going to cook himself by overcastting before the player characters can shoot him themselves. Which is good, because as crappy as Dr. Sukakagi’s combat abilities are, that might be the only kill he scores the entire fight.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Character Preview: Marlene Barron (CR 23) from the upcoming Choicer Army Book

Sooner or later, I plan to release a Choicer army book as a companion to Closed: Monsters of the Army of God. Dr. Marlene Barron will be one of the central characters in this book. She's been in every version of Otherverse America, since I first started writing fiction set in the world in 6th-7th grade, and for a long time, she was the POV character. As the world transitioned from a would-be comic series into a RPG universe, Marlene Barron was literally pushed to the side lines, though I know I've mentioned bits and pieces about the character in several sourcebook.

Here's stats for her and some new insights about how Otherverse America, as a whole, works. The pic of Claudia Black is included simply because I've always thought that if this world were a movie, she'd be who I wanted playing Dr. Barron, and is something I used as reference for my artists.

Right now, I'm doing a ton of Heavy Future and Black Tokyo work. Monsters of Rock, the first of several Heavy Future bestiaries hit a few days ago. Another book, focusing on the Command and its various fascists and space-cops will be hitting soon, as well as two fantasy race books: Gravewalkers and True Beasts. After that, you'll see some more race books for Black Tokyo, and....getting back to the point of this post... a mid length sourcebook focusing on using Otherverse America as a modern-magic, rather than ultra-tech setting, focusing specifically on Choicer magic users. Will Dr. Barron's stat block pop up there first, before the eventual Choicer 'bestiary'? As Megatron once said "Here's a hint...."


Dr. Barron, Marlene (CR 23)
Medium LN Outsider (Lifespawn- lifecount 3, native, psionic)
XP 820,000
Init +1 Senses Perception +31, scent, Darkvision 60 ft, sense lifespawn 1 mile, true seeing
Languages Blackfoot, English, Halfgrey, Sioux, Spanish
Allegiances pro-choice feminism, traditional Sioux ways, self-doubt
Aura Black Probability Curvatures (see text)

AC 18 Touch 16 Flatfooted 17 (+1 DEX, +2 armor, +5 insight)
HP 37d10 -37 hp (166 HP)
Fast Healing 10 (ballistic)
FORT +12 REF +19 WILL +24
Spell Resistance 28 or 38 versus necromantic effects
Resist Cold 15, Fire 10, Negative Energy 10
Vulnerable ballistic damage

Spd 30 ft Flight 90 ft (clumsy)
Melee +37 unarmed strike (1d4 non-lethal)
Ranged +38 advanced 9mm pistol (2d8 ballistic, 20/x3, 40 ft range increment, full auto, 18 box)
Special Qualities Annihilating Spells, Black Probability Curvatures, Dream a Dark Future
Spelllike Abilities (CL 17th Concentration +23/+27 defensive casting)
Constant –true seeing
Witch Spells Prepared (CL 17th Concentration +23/+27 defensive casting) 
9th – gate
8th – cure moderate wounds (mass), like an iron maiden (F-DC 24)
7th – control weather, greater scrying, greater teleport
6th – cloak of dreams (W-DC 22), greater dispel magic (W-DC 22), mass inflict light wounds (W-DC 24), raise dead, slay living (F-DC 24),
5th – baleful polymorth (F-DC 21), banish (W-DC 21), cloudkill (F-DC 21), contact other plane, summon monster V
4th  black tentacles (R-DC 20), charm monster (W-DC 20), crushing despair (W-DC 20), eco-paganism**, geas (lesser) (W-DC 20), threefold aspect
3rd – clairvoyance/clairaudience, heroism, lightning bolt (R-DC 19), retroactive bulletproofing**, suggestion (W-DC 19)
2nd – augury, cure moderate wounds, daze monster (W-DC 18), death knell (W-DC 20), inflict moderate wounds (W-DC 20), shield other
1st – cause fear (W-DC 17), command (W-DC 17), comprehend languages, neverlock** (W-DC 19), inflict light wounds (W-DC 19), mage armor (not included in stat block above)
Zero – bleed (F-DC 16), fertility control*, guidance, touch of fatigue (W-DC 18)
* Modern Grimorie ** See Appendix

Str 11 Dex 13 Con 9 Int 22 Wis 26 Cha 10
Base Atk +37 CMB +37 CMD 48
Feats Arcane Strike, Armor Proficiency (light), Animal Affinity, Combat Casting, Combat Expertise, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Double Tap, Educated, Forge Ring, Greater Disarm, Greater Feint, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Personal Firearms Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Self Sufficient, Skill Focus (heal), Spell Focus (necromancy), Starship Operations
Skills Appraise +13, Bluff +28, Climb +5, Craft (pharmaceutical) +31, Computer Use +16, Diplomacy +40, Fly +14, Handle Animal +15, Heal +54, Intimidate +40, Knowledge (arcana, earth & life sciences, history, the planes) all +29 Knowledge (religion) +33, Knowledge (technology) +30, Perception +31, Pilot +21, Ride +23, Survival +30, Swim +10
Gear armored work clothes (as leather armor), palmtop computer, advanced 9mm pistol and 2x spare clips, mwk medical kit, mwk surgical suite (in home), palmtop computer  

Environment any (currently in a self imposed exile to the Raxwire Sunward Plantation, a machine-tended farm on the Delight out-colony)
Organization solitary by choice- she doesn’t trust herself around humans anymore
Treasure standard (at her home, including combat gear)

Special Abilities
Annihilating Spells (SU): A creature slain by any of Marlene Barron’s spells is completely disintegrated, along with any object they are wearing or carrying.

Ballistic Vulnerability (SU): Barron almost died by gunfire, and for all her power, she has never overcome her fear of the weapon that almost murdered her. Her fate-warping powers makes that fear inordinately lethal. Barron takes fifty percent more damage from any successful attack that deals ballistic damage.

Black Probability Curvatures (SU): Unconsciously or not, Marlene Barron’s mere presence warps the destinies of those in her company. Her friends and allies die for the beliefs they both share, while Marlene’s lonely, immortal life continues.

Any character with any pro-choice affiliation, or who has chosen any neo-pagan (or traditional American Indian deity) as a divine patron who spends at least 24 hours in Marlene Barron’s company receives a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls, REF Saves, Diplomacy and Heal skill checks. This bonus increases to +3, if the person spends at least a month in Barron’s company.

This bonus remains in place for as long as the ally remains in Marlene’s company and for 1d6 days after a separation of more than 24 hours.

However, the likelihood of allies enhanced by this probability warping field falling to Lifer fanatics increases dramatically. Characters with any Lifer or conservative Christian allegiance automatically confirm critical hits against characters currently enhanced by Barron’s Black Probability Curvatures.

Dream a Dark Future (SP): Unless heavily sedated or knocked unconscious, Marlene Barron has a 50% chance of undergoing a precognitive dream. This dream functions as contact other plane, and reveals future events usually concerning Lifer terrorist or military activity within the next week or so, or pessimistic visions of the Covenant acting in ways that compromise its principles, violate the law, or commit military atrocities of its own.

Marlene Barron receives a +5 insight bonus on attack rolls and Armor Class if involved  in direct combat with anyone seen in these vision (a specific Lifer post-human, for instance), if she confronts that character within a week. However, she is considered fatigued for 3d6 hours after awakening from a precognitive dream.

Lifespawn Occulist (SU): Her near-death experience awakened vast superhuman power in Marlene Barron, and the science of Object Philosophies was designed around the study of her vastly changed neurological landscape.

Marlene Barron casts spells as a 17th level Witch. She may cast spells from the cleric list as well as witch spells; such spells are considered arcane spells when she casts them.

Necromantic Resistance (SU): The immortal physician’s body is weak- damaged by old ballistic trauma, but her soul and life force are incredibly strong. Marlene Barron’s Spell Resistance is increased by 10 against spells and effects from the necromancy school.

Dr. Marlene Barron looks nearly the same today as she did on that day in 1992 when she got shot, died twice, and became Earth’s first recognized post-human. She’s a serious American Indian woman of the Oglada-Souix Nation, who rarely smiles. She’s remarkably fit, but the pain of her old injuries never left her. She fatigues easily and limps when she’s over tired; she stubbornly refuses to quit or rest and just pushes, clench-jawed through the pain.

A woman of nearly a century and a half, there’s a long ribbon of grey beginning at her temple and winding down her braided oil-black hair. Her eyes are grey, washed out and tired, and there are deep circles under her eyes. Dr. Marlene Barron dresses in practical working clothes, suitable for the rugged life on the Delight out-colony and lightly armored. She makes it a point to look nothing like a Covenant elder-priestess; if you didn’t know her history, you might think she’s nothing more than a migrant worker.

Barron is world-weary, grim and cynical beyond measure. She rarely has a kind word for anybody, though she is grudgingly polite to the locals. She loathes the Lifer nation with every fiber of her being, but alternately dismisses the Covenant as a collection of New Ager fashion witches, or rails against its callous elitism and superstitious theocracy.

She’s always feared becoming the stereotypical Amer-Indian drunk, so she’s never touched alcohol. There isn’t any booze anywhere at Raxwire Sunward, but she smokes massive amount of locally produced weed in the evenings so she can sleep at night. She sits on her porch, wreathed in a cloud of smoke, looking up at alien stars, and hoping that her hermitage has kept Earth safe.

Exiled In Delight
Delight is the current home of Dr. Marlene Barron, one of the founders of the Covenant and hero of the Second American Civil War. Dr. Barron lives on the Raxwire Sunward Plantation, in a tiny villa rented from an old ally, and cracks bitter jokes about her rural exile and about trading her guns for plowshares. After the Treaty of Boston was signed, Dr. Barron left Earth, fearing that her continued presence would only inflame tensions and reignite the Abortion War. Her departure from Earth was also a way of protesting what the nation she helped found had become.

Despite her deep pro-choice credentials, Dr. Barron as never much of a friend to the Nicellos clan, and remains deeply ambivalent about the Covenant’s neo-pagan superstitions. As the Abortion War drug on, Barron openly criticized the Choicer Covenant for expending more resources to protect pagan-run abortion clinics and facilities than their secular counterparts… a criticism the cranky near-immortal keeps up to this day. She is one of the only modern Choicers to criticize the Covenant for consolidating gynecologic expertise under their umbrella, and worries that the Covenant has become as big a threat to reproductive liberty as the Lifer terrorists they defeated.

Marlene Barron remains active in Choicer politics, albeit at second or third hand. Her quarters in the sprawling, machine-run plantation have been turned into an impromptu medical school. Here, in outwardly placid Delight, Dr. Barron offers medical and gynecologic training to anyone with the brains to learn. She has trained several male gynecologists and potential abortion providers here, to roughly the same standards she was held to when she began her medical career, standards that seem almost quaint in the early years of the 22nd Century. None the less, if the Covenant ever changes its policy and allows medics other than its own Midwives to provide reproductive care, these students have the edge of long training.

The Secret History of the World and Everything In It
“My story?

Okay, once upon a time there was a girl named Marlene who grew up on the Rez. High school, she got turned onto reproductive justice, more out of necessity than ambition, but it stuck with her. She graduates high school, which a lot of her friends didn’t, and gets a merit scholarship to med school. Does a residency out in Cali, and comes back to work on the Rez- the one abortion clinic for 250 miles in any given direction.

In 1992, Marlene gets shot four times in the upper thorax. She loses 25% function in one lung, more than 50% of her blood volume, one kidney and her spleen and she dies twice on the operating table. She dreams of some thing out in space, something that even HP Lovecraft would  ashamed to write about, because it’s that unlikely. She wakes up, does nine months of rehab, but she can’t go back to the clinic on the Rez. Too scared….

But the reproductive rights bug has got her good. Scared as she is, she just can’t give up the work, so goes back to the city she did her residency in, and Marlene starts back up as an abortion doc, only this time in San Francisco. Nice, liberal, intellectual, California, where they don’t shoot docters four times in the chest. Marlene buddies up with some neo-pagan and New Ager kids who volunteer as patient escorts and phone consolers. She sticks to the traditional Sioux ways, but she likes these kids- they’ve got enthusiasm, they’ve got compassion, they’ve got new ideas, and they’ve never once tried to convert her.

And Marlene works San Fran for twenty or thirty years before she realizes she’s not aging anymore and that things are getting weird around here. NASA finds alien artifacts on the Moon, and the first crop of Half Grey refugees start arriving, and they need Marlene’s help. Not with abortions- their problem is sterility, and their race is dying, so Marlene dives right into that conundrum. It keeps her mind off the fact that she’s 20 years younger than she should be, and she dreams every night of a black tower out in space longer than 20 solar systems.

And the next time Marlene looks around, those New Ager kids she was palling around with… they’re a government with a capitol, with a national anthem even! But so are the same fanatics who shot her in the chest, and they’re getting bigger and meaner and bolder by the day. All of a sudden, they’re shooting abortion doctors by the dozens, even in nice, liberal, intellectual Cali. And all of a sudden, other people are having the same dreams Marlene has had for 20 plus years now, and people can work miracles. Science calls them post-humans, but Marlene’s realizing they’re pretty much Joss Whedon superheroes. And so is she.

So Marlene gets a new job. Somehow she falls in with the new Choicer government as some kind of advisor, in some billet with a fanciful title that basically boils down to surgeon general plus with a little Catholic cardinal on top. And when she finally gets around to studying them, to really exploring her powers, Marlene realizes that not aging is the absolute least of what she can do. So when it comes time, she fights. Saves some lives, ends some others, doing what needs done to protect the New Ager kids and their new country, or to keep the clinics open.

And in 2061, when she’s in her nineties and still looks 30, it all goes to shit.

Thirty years of the worst war this planet’s ever seen, and Marlene sees the Choicer Nation almost annihilated. Genocide. Theocide. Ideocide. And when the good guys finally win, it’s by the narrowest of margins.

So Marlene realizes that for all her power, all that age and wisdom she’s supposed to have, she’s accomplished nothing. Everything she fought for, just made things worse. Got more people killed, screwed over women worse. Utterly destroyed the country she grew up in. Even turned her Rez into a war zone. Remember those New Ager kids she befriended? They turned out to be as big of idiots as the militia-morons who shot her in 1992. They turn what’s supposed to be feminism into this distorted monarchy. She can’t even look at them anymore.

So Marlene does what she does best, and buys herself a one way ticket on a starliner headed for one of the farm colonies.

So, away from the distractions and the crisis and the noise of Earth…. Marlene starts thinking things over. Nearly a century too late, but boom, the twist ending at the end of the movie finally clicks for Marlene. She’s always been able to play with probability, transmute matter. Her New Ager friends called it witch craft back in the day, but it was quantum science. Either way, it was ‘change in accordance with will’- Alistair Crowley got that much right, at least.

And all alone on her big robot-tended farm, Marlene starts thinking about all the things she willed, or at least all the things she feared. About an abortion doctor bleeding out on the floor of her clinic and touching the mind of God, and getting power over time and space and matter.

And when Dr. Marlene decides to move, it’s to a city where a bunch of New Ager kids are about to build their own nation dedicated to being pro-choice, and they just all happen to volunteer at Dr. Marlene’s new clinic. The same clinic where an alien race with a race wide fertility issue, comes for care, and networks with the New Ager kids and starts trading tech.

And when the big war of the 21st century finally kicks off? What’s it over? Oil, or fusion or disputed islands between China and Japan? None of that. When the Big War kicks off, it’s about abortion. And the first shot is fired by a psychopath in the same clinic, on the same reservation in nowhere South Dakota, that Marlene almost died in. The same fake wood converted HUD-home that she never had the guts to go back and face.

There it is.

Marlene’s story.

The moral? That asshole back in 1992 should have fired five shots, not four, and maybe all this could have been avoided.”

-Dr. Marlene Barron, interview with Time Galactic, December 2103 issue, interview suppressed at the request of the Covenant internal security apparatus, PERSEUS, and remains unpublished