Sym (Sam Cooper)
|* Ethical Philosopher||D4 +1PP or D8|
|* “Well this is a dilemma”|
|* Failed Super Soldier|
|SFX: Last-Ditch Effort. Step up or double any Super-Soldier Program die on your next roll, or spend 1 PP to do both, then shutdown that power. Recover power by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.|
|Limit: Take a emotional complication whenever I excessively hurt someone with a Super Soldier power.|
|Nervous System Link||D10|
|SFX: Active Nervous System Immunity: Spend 1 PP to have nervous system defend against appropriate complications or attacks.|
|SFX: Counterattack: On a reaction against a physical attack action, inflict Neural Stun physical stress with no PP cost or spend a PP to step it up by +1.|
|SFX: Spend a PP to inflinct Physical instead of mental damage.|
|SFX: Neural Stun Spend a PP to create a complication against a target you successfully hit.|
|Limit: Nervous System Link is always on|
|Limit: Range Touch|
|Limit: Earn 1 PP to take an emotional complication from empathizing with your target with Neural Link.|
|Psychology Master||D10||Vehicle Expert||D6|
|Reform the evil|
|1XP||Whenever correct a snap black and white judgement.|
|3XP||Whenever I nail the decision point of villain’s past.|
|10XP||When I get a villain to truly reform.|
|Who Am I?|
|1XP||Whenever I pause to question the source of my own actions/thoughts.|
|3XP||Whenever I make a decision on an element of my identity.|
|10XP||Stop or reform Elevation.|
Current xp pool: 10
Sam Cooper was born in 1991 had an unassuming childhood in Winchester Indiana stepped in patriotism, family values, and football. An affable and earnest kid, things came easy to Sam in high school and he developed unrealistic expectations about his future. During his senior year he injured his throwing shoulder, which killed his recruitment at Notre Dame. Having neglected much of his school work and having little other economic opportunity, he joined the Marines where he was deployed in the Middle East.
Unbeknownst to Sam at the time, the US military had been engaged in evaluating recruits for a program to create a new breed of soldier equipped with super powers called Project Elevation. While performing his duties in Afghanistan, Sam demonstrated aptitude in whatever it was that the scientists of Project Elevation were looking for. Given the opportunity, Sam’s sense of duty and patriotism made him an easy recruit.
At a base in Guam recruits from all areas were subject to various tests and evaluations to screen for ideal candidates. Sam and 5 other recruits, having made it through all the eliminations, were then selected for the actual experimentation part of the program. They were taken to a secret facility (he would later learn through his super powers that it was in rural Pennsylvania) called X85, but nicknamed ‘the pressure cooker’, where the recruits were subject to the program’s experiments.
Sam doesn’t remember much of what happened in the early experiments, but they resulted in enhanced speed, reflexes, durability, etc. During the program it became clear that the results were not uniform and that the experiments affected each subject differently, although with some overlap. The subjects were separated and continued development (experimental manipulation and training customized based on the results). In Sam, the experimentation resulted in what the researchers called an ‘active’ nervous system. Sam’s nervous system was able to take active steps to ‘defend’ Sam against excessive pain or other stimulus.
Noteworthy was that Sam’s ability at hand-to-hand combat seemed particularly enhanced. Sam described it as almost being able to get inside his opponent’s head. As it turned out, that wasn’t far from what was happening. They discovered that Sam’s active nervous system was ‘connecting’ to his opponents’ and he was getting feedback information on their combat techniques. This appeared to only happen in direct contact. At first this manifested more as instinct than anything else, but as time and training continued the ability to connect developed to the point of being able to transfer real information and even emotional content. Eventually Sam would even learn how to use this connection to stun opponents. A drawback, however, is that Sam seems unable to turn this ability off.
When they released him for field work, things worked pretty well at first. Sam was given the code name ‘Sigma’ and a team was put together that included some specialists and intelligence assets (none of them with super powers) and the assignments started. (Sam wonders how many super soldier attempts there have been since ‘Sigma’ isn’t within the first 5 letters of the greek alphabet – it’s the 18th.) It wasn’t long before a there was a problem. As Sam’s powers developed beyond the constraints of the pressure cooker, he was exposed to real and not simulated opponents. As a result of his neural link, he began to understand them and empathize with them beyond what is useful to merely get the job done. Sam never ‘flipped’ as a result of these incidents, but more and more he began to question the methods and motivations. He came to understand that the although people did wrong things, they did so many times because of reasonable reactions to their personal experience. It became harder for him to act on orders without questioning if there was a better way.
Things culminated on a mission to hunt down a serial killer super calling himself Archon, a vile person with a history of absolutely despicable and horrific acts. When Sam came into contact with Archon he came to understand Archon’s tragic history that turned him into the monstrosity he is today. While totally understanding the evil nature of his current state, Sam couldn’t help but feel pity for him. The rest of the team, however, were out for blood and had come to hate Archon in a way that, to Sam’s eyes, clouded their judgement. When the opportunity to kill Archon came Sam hesitated and did his best to take him in alive. During the struggle, however, the sniper on the team (nicknamed Flintlock) determined that she had a shot and she took it, killing the villain and leaving Sam to question what he was doing with his life.
After an extended debrief and an extensive psychological evaluation, it was clear that Sam couldn’t continue where he was. He and his unit and the chain of command came to an understanding that it didn’t make sense to keep him. Sam fundamentally changed in ways contrary to the intention of a program that depends on restraining independent thought contrary to orders from the chain of command. Sam’s enhanced empathy instilled in him a strong ethical streak that would likely be counter productive in too many contexts. Sam’s sure that killing him might have been an option discussed behind the scenes, but for some reason that didn’t come up either, perhaps owing to his psychological evaluation.
Sam took on the name ‘Sym’ after he left as a vague nod to both his original code name and the ‘sympathetic’ nature of his strongest power. It became pretty clear pretty quickly that he wasn’t done trying to inject some good into the world and Sym took to settling in as a public ‘super hero’. The government kept contact and directed him to problems that they thought he could help with, and Sym was happy to contribute. He also became more socially immersed in the strange social world of supers and the elevated palce they hold in the public eye. Currently he’s settled in Boston with a team of supers there that include a brilliant doctor, an angel (seemingly), a strange cyber-magician, and a power-mimic.
Sym is certainly not the same man he started out as. Now he has a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the shoes of others and this permeates almost everything Sam does now as he goes about the world. Sam still feels bad that the government did so much for him and invested so much in him and is determined to make up for it some how. Indeed, his sense of ethics probably wouldn’t let him think otherwise. In the meantime he understands the trade-offs necessary to do good in the world. Sam’s new understanding isn’t jaded. He’s come to think that a lack of understanding between peoples fuels most of what is wrong in society now and seeks to do as much good as he can. His empathetic view of the world might give him a better understanding of right and wrong than almost anyone, and he lives in a world where people around him make regrettable, even if understandable, choices all the time. We all live in that world, but Sym/Sam is cursed with noticing it.
[Note to GMs – feel free to develop Project Elevation, the X85 pressue cooker, Flintlock, and Archon (although in theory he’s dead, but we all know how that works sometimes).]