Thy Life is a riddle, to bear rapture and sorrow
To listen, to suffer, to entrust unto tomorrow
In one fleeting moment, from the Land doth life flow
Yet in one fleeting moment, for anew it doth grow
In the same fleeting moment thou must live, die and know
"Answers" -- Final Fantasy XIV OST
To call Aaron Ortel in over his head is an understatement. Ever since he unsuccessfully tried to slip off the grid, not to mention a little security mess he created, he's found himself in a precarious position. Getting an offer to turn his life around only increased the anxiety, especially when the dangers changed from electronic to real. But they wanted him, and he still hasn't a damn clue why aside from that mess.
Still, it's not like being a federal criminal in the U.S., with little chance of border jumping, was a better idea. What choice did he have, when they said they'd take care of that too? Sometimes, having options was worse than having none.
Azure Sight: 5 Ocular Psionics: 1-6
Combat Prowess: 4, Infiltration Trained: 3, Information Theft: 4, Psi Anonymity: 3-6, Psi Taser: 1-6
Flaws: Bitter, Greener Than Grass, Hostile Psionics, Power Dependancy
Power: Azure Sight (5)
Limit: This ability is an effective upgrade to his natural eyesight, and so is subject to the rules of normal human vision as far as what he can see and when. For example, he can't see in the dark, therefore is unable to observe emotional status for concealed individuals, and his eyes do not emit light despite paradoxically being observeable in the dark (they glow without glowing).
To his eyes, the world is displayed in shades of blue; /every/ color is now physically perceived this way. His mind interprets the world as a normal human would see it, yet to physically describe it is only in that set of azure hues, even if the clouds are "grey". His vision is paradoxical: normal and not at the same time. Despite this alteration to his physical sight, he is also able to perceive the general emotional state of another human(ish) being, those individuals appearing in subtly different hues of that sea of azure, hues that he intrinsically understands. Psionic defenses can mute this synaesthetic physical-emotional perception, causing an individual to appear "normal" and not stand out, which of course makes them somewhat obvious in their own way, due to being unable to see/sense their state.
Power: Ocular Psionics (1-6)
Limit: Must establish direct eye contact with the target for full effect. Discharge can occur when his naked eyes are observed without protection.
Aaron's psionic powers are based almost exclusively in his eyes, in form and function, though his brain has also mutated to serve as a kind of generator for them, which fuels each and everyone one of his abilities. Unlike almost every other psychic, his power operates strictly through the eyes as the point of origin, eyes which manifest this ability by virtue of glowing with psionic energy to the point they seem two azure orbs of light, rather than the usual cornea, iris, pupil, etc. His psionics are strictly empathic in nature, altering emotion and neural functions; they attack the victim through the same vector as they originate: the ocular nerve, leading to the nervous system via the brain. With careful manipulation of his own thoughts, he can adjust both what the subject is to experience, in addition to how strongly; minds trained against psychics as well as protective eye-wear can mitigate and/or prevent the attack entirely. Expending his power causes a drain upon his energy however, and as the "reservoir" within him decreases, his eyes lose their azure fire and progress towards normal, while (at present) pain increases towards debilitating migraine levels.
Defenses against this power are largely simple: standard defenses against psionics (protecting the mind from attack); ocular protection to the point the eyes are obscured from view (either his or a given subject's); and being blind, or at least "disconnecting" the ocular nerve from the brain. As his power operates via the eyes in all respects, completely protecting the eyes is therefore the simplest method. His power must be able to "see" a given subject's eye(s), and partial protection does not mitigate this effect; it operates fully or not at all.
Quantitatively, his power's limit is dependant on two factors: how much the "battery" in his brain is charged, and how much power is expended in his usage. For example, trying to get the Hulk to calm down would drain him completely, and with no guarantee of success. In this example, it would be trying to remove very strong emotion and replace it with something else, therefore requiring constant, prolonged expenditure to the point of draining in seconds if not instantly (he can control the rate of flow, but prefers not to go dry in one burst).
Skill: Combat Prowess (4)
Firearms: He's been trained in standard issue handguns of various makes and models, but nothing exotic such as artillery. Not an exemplary marksman, by comparison to a number of people, but his accuracy is sufficient to put a bullet where he wants to, give or take an inch or two.
Hand-to-Hand: As with firearms, he was given hand-to-hand fighting for when push comes to shove. His general fighting level in close combat hovers close to the black belt range.
Skill: Infiltration Trained (3)
One part SHIELD resources, one part psionics in getting people to trust you and confide in you their passwords, one part experience in hacking; mix well, serve warm in a human receptacle with plenty of aspirin. Include with this being on the run for a time, for reasons related to not-quite managing to access very private information, he's got a bit of experience in getting places he's not supposed to be.
Skill: Information Theft (4)
Despite the fact he didn't ever attend collegiate courses, or even get a high school diploma, he was not idle. It takes some stones to be able to go after protected data, but it also takes skill. He spent over five years teaching himself the finer points of computer science, of which he was quite active in a few newsgroups before... certain events. He's got a prominent programming background, and some of that was used towards hacking and security techniques. Not enough to break through state of the art defenses, but he can cover the basics just fine. With proper tech, he could manage higher level breaches.
Skill: Psi Anonymity (3-6)
Limit: Requires direct eye contact with the target's eyes, with his own eyes exposed.
A subset of his empathic manipulation, this skill is one Aaron has utilized numerous times over the years, sometimes even subconsciously. Meeting a guy whose eyes could pass for a nightlight tends to be a bit off-putting for most people, so in response he's become quite adept at adjusting the reaction to his glowing eyes to the point people will shrug it, and him, off as nothing and no one of importance for some time. Exactly how long depends on how much energy he expends into the target - this ranges from three hours (rating 3) to upwards of two days (rating 6), and typically this must be one individual at a time at his current mutation level before depleting his capacity to the point of pain. The drain becomes multiplicatively higher with more people present that require influence, or multiple individuals over the course of short periods of time. Currently, the limit is three people at once before he's depleted to migraine status, assuming minimum expenditure.
Skill: Psi Taser (1-6)
Limit: Requires direct eye contact with the target's eyes, with his own eyes exposed.
One quirk of the brain: it has self-defense mechanisms, mechanisms that can be exploited. One such mechanism he triggers by way of forcing the target to experience an onslaught of emotional responses to the point the brain suspends non-essential function until it can finish processing the equivalent of a backlog. The effect is meant to induce effects ranging from a split-second jolt, as if shocked by electricity (rating 1), to prolonged unconsciousness, upwards of 2-3 hours at current full blast (rating 6).
The hand of fate dealt him not even a pair in this game of poker with his life the wager in the pot. He's had tough breaks, and even with being given a chance at a new start, it has done little to diminish his more sardonic outlook on life.
Flaw: Greener Than Grass
The way it's supposed to go is: get training, use training, earn experience, retrain yourself by incorporating that experience. He's still on steps one and two of that process, on nearly every aspect of his life except for being on the run, and using his psionics to hide. He's got plenty of step three there. Aaron's been administered a dose of reality and served a plate of career prospects, but he's nowhere near getting his feet wet despite being pushed off the diving board towards the pool.
Flaw: Hostile Psionics
Observing his eyes without proper protection induces an immediate attack on the observer. It does not have to be mutual eye contact, either. This is a reflexive action rather than conscious usage. Training has allowed for regulating the severity and self-drain of these attacks, however no amount of training will ever be able to arrest his power's attempt to influence and/or assault a given individual. For this reason, he wears heavily tinted eyewear designed to completely obscure his eyes from view.
Flaw: Power Dependancy
The more Aaron uses his psionics, the lower his energy level for doing so becomes. With this decrease in his stored psychic energy comes a rather dramatic side-effect in the form of pain. As if his body were completely and wholly dependant on the energy that fuels his optic empathy, the decrease of this energy towards empty is accompanied by a commensurate increase in discomfort. At its peak, and the current level of his mutation, splitting migraines are the worst of it. Eventually, however, as his mutation progresses to the rest of his nervous system and his effective capacity for power usage increases, migraines will serve more as a the halfway warning, and the equivalent of epileptic seizures will be the effect of complete expenditure.
Aaron's overall history is that he underwent his mutation in the latter stages of high school/adolesence. This had the unpleasant effect of being ostracized as a freak by his peers and kin both, which all but forced him to leave and try to start elsewhere with little more than what was on his back. He went elsewhere in continental U.S., took on jobs here and there, was regularly on the move due to being found out as a mutant, and finally learned how to both use and conceal his ability enough to be able to stay in one place for a time. It toughened him up a bit while making him cynical to a fault.
During that brief period of stability, he acquired a few possessions (including a laptop) and put the time to good use and making up for lost time in his education. Then, when the 30th Amendment was made, that cynical nature kicked into full to the point he said 'fuck it' and wanted to know why this suddenly wasn't an issue, despite how he was regarded in the past. So by his logic, he wanted to find out not only why certain individuals were being given special treatment, but who they were to be so deserving. The good news was that he wasn't alone in the sentiment.
The bad news was that he was left out to dry. It wasn't quite a betrayal, but more a matter of cold feet. He ended up taking the fall for the attempted hack, when the others slipped through the cracks uncaught. So Ortel ended up as one of the fed's most wanted for a potential act of electronic terrorism. And that was where he went on the run again, even angrier than before.
He spent nearly two months on the run from authorities, but he was sloppy; he couldn't leave away what was, at the time, his life's work. So despite two months of near constant headache in manipulating the minds of officers to avoid him, while using little cash to survive, Ortel was eventually apprehended when he finally broke from the strain.
After that, while stewing in a cell, he was approached with an offer: he could put his talents, his mutation, to a much better use than simple curiosity, and in exchange he could get what he's been wanting for some time: full stability, acceptance for who and what he was. It took a while before he accepted, and the next year has been a circus on its own level in a way he never anticipated. He'd signed up for technical know how, but he was judged fit for the field - how many people hide from law enforcement in plain sight, after all? They were going to put him to good use.
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He's the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., what else is there to say about the man who runs the show? He wants it, you do it, even if you have to tear the timeline to spawn an alternate reality in which it's possible.
|Agent Kristin Lindstrom|
She's got experience, smarts, suggestions, and lots and lots of toys. Fun toys. Useful toys. To say he's grateful for her experience, help, and gadgetry, is an understatement.
|Aaron Ortel's Wanted List|