Epilogue of Heroes, Part III

Posted: March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Now we come to the third and final post in this series. While I’ve had a plethora of other characters over the eight years (that still blows my mind, sometimes) of City of Heroes—some fantastic, some regrettable but  all memorable—these ‘Baker’s Dozen’ are the ones that have been the most richly developed, through both good times and bad. Some of them have had other incarnations previous to Paragon City and the Rogue Isles, and some will have more incarnations to come. They’re all a part of me, for better or for worse.

Thanks to everyone who’s read these words, and even bigger thanks to those that shared in the memories. I know I won’t soon forget them, or you.


Krasniy Oktyabr

KrasniyAleksandr Stanislav remained with the CCCP as an acting Commissar for the first few years after the Praetorian  War. Many were unsure how long he’d last with his advancing Alzheimer’s, but thought it best to keep him in familiar surrounding for as long as possible.

As it turned out, Aleksandr wasn’t suffering from Alzheimer’s. His loss of memory and slow deterioration of motor skills was due to someone else being inside of his head: Unit K, the entity he had become while enslaved within the Clockwork Mind, was awakening from a dormant state. When finally able to communicate, Unit K said it had no desire to harm Aleksandr and agreed to do anything to save the old man’s life, even terminating itself. No one wanted that to happen either, least of all Aleksandr.

Using a brand of science that can only be described as ‘mad’, Petrovich,  Aleksandr’s brother Levka and his niece Tasha devised a new home for Unit K, psychically transferring the entity into an anonymously-donated Kheldian bud and housing it inside a robotic shell made to look like one of the Clockwork, where it acted as both brain and battery.

Unit K remained in the care of the CCCP when Aleksandr retired from it a few years later. Aleksandr returned to Volgograd to be close to his family, and was given an honorary rank of Captain by the Ministry of Defense for his years of service in Paragon City.  Aleksandr quietly lives out his retirement giving lectures on campaign strategy at the military academy he attended, occasional handyman work and visiting his niece Nataliya.

Nova Requiem

Haunting Aria

nova_ariaWith all the chaos brought on by the Praetorian war, Aria made one last all-or-nothing attempt to gain the love of her ‘sister’ Nataliya Novakovski all for herself, by destroying everyone Nataliya loved or corrupting them against her. To accomplish this, Aria used her awakened psychic abilities to steal Nataliya’s memories and implant her own, then smuggled Nataliya into the Rogue Isles where she would take Aria’s place as her, wreaking havoc as the ‘evil clone’ while the real clone was in Paragon City enacting her plan. Aria enlisted the aid of Rhikki Ryan to watch over Nataliya and use her own considerable psychic abilities to ensure that Nataliya would remained convinced she was Aria while Aria went about destroying the life, loves and reputation of Nova Requiem and Nataliya Novakovski.

Before Aria could do more than lay the groundwork for her plan, something completely unexpected happened: instead of simply carrying Nataliya’s memories to help in her plot, the morals, ethics and most importantly the emotional connections that Nataliya had made with people in Paragon City started to merge with and surpass Aria’s own. She was still Aria, but now she completely understood why her sister had done everything she had, why she loved the people she did and they in return loved her. Once it had become an inseparable part of herself, Aria couldn’t and wouldn’t destroy any of it.

But some damage had already been done. Just as Nataliya’s memories had become part of Aria, so too did Aria’s memories overpower Nataliya. She was Haunting Aria, except far more dangerous as she had never truly learned to control her mutant life-stealing powers and deadly sonic screams. While Nataliya’s memories remained buried deep within her, Rhikki informed Aria that the ‘takeover’ had been so extensive that there was no way to reverse what had been done without permanently damaging Nataliya’s brain and leaving her a vegetable. This was something Aria was also unwilling to do. The only thing Aria could do was to take Nataliya’s place permanently. Aria returned to Paragon City, from then on politely insisting that everyone use the diminutive form of her sister’s name, Tasha, since she would never truly be Nataliya.

Much to everyone’s surprise, “Tasha” suddenly switched majors from Music Theory to Medicine and Life Sciences. She earned her Doctorate in record time, blazed through her internship and then devoted her life to treating metahuman illnesses and injuries with the aid of her mutant gift of kinetisynthesis, becoming known around the world as ‘Surgeon to the Supers’. All of this she did for the sole purpose of being able to finally fix the damage she had done to her sister.

The procedure was a bittersweet success. Nataliya’s mind was freed from its prison, but too much time had passed and “Aria” could not be removed. Nataliya was moved to a private psychiatric hospital near Volgograd, where she could be close to her family  and get the best care money could buy, the hospital now receiving funding from Llwelco on  behalf of her uncle Aleksandr (whom Aria had confessed everything to, being the only family Nataliya had during her stay in Paragon City) and anonymously from Aria’s substantial salary.  Nataliya now lives out her life randomly slipping back and forth between the dual personalities in her head—kind and forgiving Nataliya and violent and sociopathic Aria—permanently hooked to an IV of potent power-suppressing drugs that also leaves her heavily sedated and unable to walk but free from constraints that kept her deadly voice and touch in check.

The only other person in the world aware of this delicate masquerade is Aria’s lover Ashley Maynard, to whom she couldn’t lie about it even if she had wanted to. To everyone else— her friends, family and even the love of her life Gabriel St. Thomas—Aria is and always will be Tasha Novakovski, sharing with her sister the memories of love and happiness that she deserves.

Doctor Zen

DocZenAt the conclusion of the Praetorian War, the enigmatic man known only as Doctor Zen (and occasionally ‘The Other Keet’ by those who were ignorant to his ways, which was pretty much everyone) vanished as mysteriously as he had appeared all those years ago, but not anywhere near as loudly or obnoxiously.

Very few people even noticed the Doctor’s departure. The war brought countless casualties on all sides, and those that even remembered him figured he was simply one of them. All anyone knew for certain was that his psychedelic pants, rants about Nemesis stealing his socks and cryptic gibberish about ‘The Author’ were only a memory. The only person to have any kind of contact after the war was Maya Collier, who returned home shortly before her own disappearance to find the familiar, well-worn fedora of by far and away the weirdest person she had ever called a friend waiting for her on her couch.

The last reported sighting of Doctor Zen was in Ouroboros, looking Mender Silos square in the eye and asking, “Seriously, man, why that chin?”

  1. I knew of these characters, but only really knew a few. Still, very powerful to read these notions of Where Are They (some years from) Now. Many thanks for sharing!

    I considered doing this myself, but… my relationship with my characters is complicated. Some of them are still going in odd ways, looking for a new home. Some of them have simply wandered off. Some have been – or will be – reincarnated as something else entirely, similar personalities and such but not quite the same. As for the CoH instances of them… perhaps I feel guilty for disappearing the way I did.

    I like to think that Harmony stayed with Mandragora kept up the hero thing for a while, retired early, mellowed out, and… grew old before her time, as she knew she would, but found some sort of peace within herself and the cat and the squid within. Part of me imagines Harmony and Mandy deciding to become something else together, somewhere else entirely, in a more primal world where cats have always talked and dragons were never mythological.
    I imagine Sonjun and Therese tried to make things work, but the kid didn’t know a damn thing about relationships, and hopefully they at least remained good friends while the dual-bodied Sonjun stayed at Paragon University and went on to pioneer research into self-modifying robotics. He likely took over Doc Chaney’s lab when all hell broke loose with the alternate-dimension Chaneys.
    Jerrem prolly did something drastic to force some change to rattle the increasingly stagnant nature of his existence, and either it didn’t work… or it worked well enough that even I can’t tell it apart from oblivion. I’ve lost track of him, absurd as that may sound.
    Zedda would have found zir Praetorian self and dragged the both of them back into the system that spawned them to battle it out, probably causing a few more portal accidents along the way.
    Marshal Phoebe Alazrin almost certainly brought Rex LeRoy with her to her homeworld of Khonne, to help rebuild the world and work to open it up with the universe at large, even knowing the heavy cost, in the hope that they would teach other civilisations something while learning from them. High ideals.

    Keet… is rumoured to have been seen sitting on a distant floating island in Ouroborous, sharing a picnic lunch with a kangaroo. Other rumours have mysterious Speak&Spell sounds coming from alleyways in which baddies have been knocked unconscious or are babbling about the magic of friendship. Yet others have seen her dancing with Rikti to psytrance, getting Freakshow buddies to wear fake coyote ears and tails, talking philosophy with Nemesis…. Somehow, there’s always something to distract observers from these glimpses, then she’s gone, like a glitch in the timeline.

    • I considered doing this myself, but… my relationship with my characters is complicated. Some of them are still going in odd ways, looking for a new home. Some of them have simply wandered off. Some have been – or will be – reincarnated as something else entirely, similar personalities and such but not quite the same.

      You’re not the only one. V and I have several pots a’simmerin’ right now where some familiar faces will show up in new ways. Glad to hear you’re keeping yours around in some form or another. They were often strange, but in all the right, interesting ways. You and buni were a blast to be creative with.

      • I’m greatly flattered, and thank you! Similarly, you (and V, and all the other fine folks with whom we RP’d) were instrumental in opening up new possibilities with our characters. When I joined CoH, I was looking explicitly for some RP that wasn’t just furries screwing around with each other… and in the RPC, and specifically out tight little group, I found folks who trusted that there was something more to us than just furries screwing around, so the results were incredible!

        Perhaps, should another decent MMO spring up that’s welcoming to roleplayers and allows for such a broad variety of characters….

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