Warehouse of the Wondrous and the Weird
Aesthetic: Trash Praxis
Axioms: Exilexi 1, Katastrofi 2, Skafoi 1, Prostasia 1
Wonders: Plasma Coil, Rocket Harness (x2), Phoenix Injector, “Rollcage” Class Exoskeleton
Intelligence 5 | Strength 4 | Presence 2
Wits 3 | Dexterity 3 | Manipulation 1
Resolve 2 | Stamina 3 | Composure 3
Skills: Crafts (Metalworking) 5, Medicine 1, Science 4, Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Drive 2, Weaponry (Plasma-based) 4, Expression (Ominous Speech) 1, Intimidation 2, Streetwise 1
Merits: Resources 2 (Late-night shakedowns), Beholden (Number 1 (single Beholden), Prowess 1) Laboratory Equipment 1, Mane (Obvious), Fighting Style: Two Weapons 2 (Whirling Blades, Deflect and Thrust) Quick Draw, Weaponry Dodge, Allies (Criminals) 1
Health 8, Willpower 5 (Virtue: Justice, Vice: Pride), Inspiration 3, Mania 16 (Maximum 3 mania per turn), Obligation 5 (Irrationality), Jabir -1, Size 5, Speed 12, Defense 3, Initiative 6.
Raffi Baradarian was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. His father taught chemistry at McMaster University, but while Raffi was a smart person, he had a preference for the practical side of things: he was never as interested in the theory behind a formula as he was in what you could do with it. He was good with his hands, and building and repairing car parts and other machinery became his primary hobby in his teenage years. As a result of this hobby, he became friends with Zachary Bolton, a local gearhead whose enthusiasm for anything with an engine in it matched Raffi’s love of getting elbow deep into the guts of a machine. In their early 20s, Raffi and Zach decided to go looking for work rather than get university degrees, and moved across the country to the Fort McMurray region, where they were able to find work in a car scrapyard.
In his spare time and with his spare cash, Raffi continued to tinker with car parts and other machinery; access to an entire yard’s worth of parts meant his designs became unlike anything any car company would ever consider building, and being forced to improvise when a part proved unexpectedly unsalvageable only increased his creative drive. Using half-remembered concepts of chemistry he had absorbed from his father over the years, Raffi decided to work on the next level of engineering. He became more absorbed in work he found increasingly difficult to describe or explain, converting a storage shed into a private workshop and refusing to allow anyone else access. Finally, at 3 a.m. on a chilly September night, he thought he had reached a breakthrough. Not noticing the time, he called Zach and talked him into coming to the yard to see what he had built.
The device was some sort of rocket, assembled from individual components; off of an ordinary 6-cylinder engine, it was somehow emitting a two-foot long jet of what appeared to be pure plasma. Raffi began trying to explain the principles powering the machine, but noticing the familiar look of his friend’s eyes glazing over, Raffi, annoyed, decided a demonstration would get his point across better, and with the flick of a switch, triggered the auxiliary thrusters. With a shower of sparks and a roar of flame, the engine flared to full power- and then everything went to hell.
The jury-rigged clamps holding the device in place, totally unprepared for the extra thrust, gave way in seconds. The engine, completely out of control, threw white-hot fire in all directions. Zach barely made it out the door, engulfed in flames; suffering extensive third-degree burns to his face and torso, he was lucky to still be alive when the fire department and paramedics arrived minutes later. Raffi himself was not found; the following arson investigation declared him missing, presumed dead, and ruled the whole incident an unfortunate accident. Zach was admitted to the local burn ward, where he made some limited physical recovery; a strange mental listlessness affecting him was diagnosed as post-traumatic stress.
However, though Raffi had also been badly burned, he had survived. It is unknown exactly who provided him with medical treatment, but he recovered enough that they felt it safe to release him. However, Raffi had been severely scarred across his face, neck and chest. These scars made him horrific to look at, and he felt that he could not return to society. Rather, he would allow the world to believe that he had died in that fire- and he would adopt a new identity. He donned some old safety equipment, stolen from his own house, to cover the scars- but his new appearance was fearsome in its own way. Soon, rumors began to spread through the late-night underworld of a figure covered for head to toe, face obscured behind an old-style steel welding mask, wandering through the industrial parks and digging through piles of scrap metal. Some whispered of fights and drug deals broken up by this strange madman, wielding a weapon that looked like something out of a bad sci-fi movie. In a way, Raffi Baradarian had died- and in his place stood Doctor Afterburner.
At some point, the Peerage found out about Doctor Afterburner, and recognized not only a recently catalyzed Genius, but one whose newfound sense of disconnect from humanity put him in severe danger of a quick drop into Illumination. They were able to track him down, and explained what had happened to him. At first, Afterburner was reluctant to even try to rejoin society. Then he found out what had happened to Zach- in addition to his burns, the budding Genius’ explanation of his theories followed immediately by an undeniable demonstration of their power had broken his mind, turning him Beholden.
Doctor Afterburner may have given up on being accepted into the ranks of humanity himself. But in his view, he owed it to his friend to try and return him to normalcy. Afterburner resolved to devote himself to mad science, seeking a way to cure his friend, in body and mind. In the meantime, he had found that a strong sense of justice, long lying dormant, had flared up now that he had nothing left to lose: rumors of criminals attacked had been the early stirrings of a streak of vigilantism. The Peerage, hoping this would be another lifeline connecting him to humankind, encouraged this development- perhaps more than they should have. Afterburner examined the Artificer Organon, which seemed to match his old life best, but he abruptly decided that building machines was no longer enough: to understand his creations, and their potential for destruction, he needed to use them firsthand. Thus, he joined the Navigators, whose hands-on approach he consciously sought to emulate.
The first few attempts at starting a new life were disastrous: as far as the world at large was concerned, “Raffi” was a dead man, and a new identity proved difficult to establish from behind a heavy iron mask. Zachary was better able to function with people, but being a Beholden had its own difficulties. A strange symbiotic relationship began to define itself: Zach became Afterburner’s liaison with the outside world, and Afterburner provided Zach with the direction and purpose that he could no longer create for himself. Afterburner’s goal is to make amends for his first disastrous experiment- but in the meantime, he needs to take advantage of the consequences of those actions. What will happen if he is successful in giving his friend the freedom to leave, and in doing so loses the ties of obligation that keep him close to humanity?