Chief contributor rogbngp has shared a preview of his concept for a graphic novel in development named "The Death Watch Beetles." It seems unlikely to ever actually get published unless Hasbro agrees (and what are the odds of that), but it looks like an interesting read nevertheless. He says he'll likely be posting more about it at The Snyderverse Trilogy forum simply as fanfic. Anyway, here it is:
Doris Cho is an Asian American of Korean descent. She was born raised in the U.S. to parents that immigrated to America from Korea during the late 70s.
Doris got her powers at a new state-of-the-art university physics lab during the accidental triggering of an experiment.
Two years ago, against Doris' better judgment she grudgingly agreed to let one of her co-workers talk her into joining his Dungeons and Dragons for a D&D gaming session to give it a try. For the past year the gaming group had been playing in the lab in the evening while Doris’ colleague checked computations on his evening shift.
The group had recently reached a momentous and exciting phase of the game. They were eager to continue the adventure, but one of the members of the group who played a wizard had just gotten married and was away on his honeymoon. This individual was also an acquaintance of Doris, and he trusted her to play his female wizard character. (He too had been encouraging her to join the gaming group.) Doris stoically agreed to stand in and play the character for this gaming session.
Doris had never played D&D before and was doubtful about how enjoyable the game would be for her. But to her surprise she actually found herself getting rather caught up with playing a wizard. The challenge of learning the rules and conventions of the game on the fly tweaked her competitive intellect and scientific spirit.
This game took place on the eve of an important new experiment that was to take place tomorrow morning. During the course of the game, a member of the group was temporarily out of commission after getting magically dazed for several rounds during combat. Because the player was temporarily unable to participate, he got up to stretch his legs and wandered around the lab. Unfortunately, he accidentally bumped into a switch that triggered the lab’s gigantic particle accelerator.
When Doris and her fellow colleague at the lab heard the whir of the motor of the particle collider engage their hearts were in their throats. They raced and desperately tried to turn the massive collider off. But the code sequence for the experiment was programmed into the accelerator. Once activated they were helpless to stop it.
The experiment proceeded to smash two types of particles into one another and the collision created a never-before-seen subatomic particle that was charged with extraordinary and deeply mysterious properties.
It turns out that the particle is actually [i]required[/i] for the warping of space-time to create wormholes that make time travel possible within this universe, and also link this universe to parallel universes within the multiverse. The creation of this particle caused a momentary small singularity—but one that was much larger than expected. A black hole about the size of a tennis ball appeared for a brief instant. The singularity emitted a torus shaped electromagnetic field that passed through Doris. As either Fate or Providence would have it, the wave of energy hit only Doris. The others present at the lab during the incident were unaffected.
The singularity bends time and space. It therefore seems to have connected with a moment that occurred a few minutes before the singularity occurred. Another possibility is that it may have tapped into Doris’ unconscious as it was affected by the game moments earlier. But in either case, it seems to have captured a moment when Doris was completely immersed in playing a female wizard. She was at the time casting the (2nd edition AD&D) 8th level wizard spell Simulacrum.
For that is the superpower that Doris acquired! Doris discovered this a few days later when she had a dream that she cast the Simacrulum spell from the game; only to realize the following day that the Simacrulum had in fact appeared in the physical world just as she had dreamed. She confirmed it with a security video for the lab.
Doris’ power is [i]precisely[/i] as defined by the spell description, exactly according to the D&D edition they were playing. Per the spell, the projected image Doris can generate at will has all the spells of her wizard alter-ego at the time but at 60% of her character's level at the time. Doris must rest in order to recast it after using it. Her projected version of herself is nevertheless still a rather powerful level 9 (generalist) wizard. The projected wizard image is actually an illusion and can be destroyed according to the D&D hit points system as physical damage is meted out in real life; or from metaphysical energy as administered by supervillain metahumans or their lackeys that possess superpowers.
Doris is bound in reality to the conventions of this fantasy game. As the spell does in D&D, it takes tremendous mental concentration for this character to project herself per the spell. Doris' real life self remains entirely vulnerable but can be protected by spells cast by her Simulacrum. However the more spells that Doris expends, the less she has at her disposal to fight enemies with, or rescue teammates, and so forth.
Shortly after this incident Doris found herself mysteriously transported to a round poker table at which sat three other individuals. It was simply a dark room with a ceiling lamp suspended over the table, but there were no playing cards or poker chips. The other members at the table were, like Doris, all individuals who had received superpowers in the same way from the properties of the brief singularity based on what they were doing at the time, and their personality. Two of them were transported from different time periods. They will each be described eventually.
Our group was unable to get out of their seats at the poker table until they eventually agreed that their fates must be bound together. Once they did that they were free to move around. They found a door that opened to pitch black darkness. Concluding there was no better alternative, they stepped through the door, and found themselves in Doris’ apartment.
This band of four is are still not sure what their ultimate purpose is for coming together. But since that time they have been getting routinely attacked by decidedly evil metahumans. This group is not out to ‘save the world’. Rather, at this point they are simply trying to survive with the skills that they have against immensely powerful foes. Their enemies perhaps see them as a potential obstacle to some grander design they have? Maybe there is some other reason. The group is still trying to figure it out.
The only clue this band of four strangers could identify for what might be going on was an insect that they could hear tapping on the floor under the poker table that Doris collected and was later identified as species known as the ‘death watch beetle’. Therefore, for lack of a better name, the group has jokingly identified themselves as the Death Watch Beetles.
This entire experience has challenged everything that Doris believes as a scientist. Doris is a professional scientist. And like most scientists she is pragmatic, realistic, and proudly grounds herself in scientific theory and methodology. But her transformation into a superhero, and being thrown together with the other members of the Death Watch Beetles, continually challenges the basis for her identity as such. There is indeed "more in heaven and hell than is dreamt of in our philosophy," as Doris is discovering firsthand.
Dungeons and Dragons is the property of Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast.
The owner of the above image is unknown, but if contacted by same we will credit or remove upon request.
© whizbang.info 2016 intent to copyright, all rights reserved