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Doctor Tachyon (Wild Cards novels)

Doctor Tachyon


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Wild Cards is a long-running series of super-hero novels, by a collective of writers. Publication started in 1987, with the ringleaders being Melinda Snodgrass and obscure writer George R.R. Martin. The setting and main characters come from a RPG campaign using Superworld , a early tabletop super-hero system.

It is a relatively early example of a “powers suddenly appear in a realistic modern world, time passes normally, and things have consequences” setting creation work. And with that many novels, there’s a lot of material.

Tachyon is one of the major, influential players in the novels. He was one of Ms. Snodgrass’ characters.

Other contributors to the setting  include Chris Claremont, Roger Zelazny, Lewis Shiner…

If you’re not familiar with the setting, we recommend that you first read our Wild Cards world primer.


Background

  • Real Name: Tisianne brant Ts’ara sek Halima sek Ragnar sek Omian of House Ilkazam.
  • Other Aliases: Tach, Tachy, Doc.
  • Marital Status: Married.
  • Known Relatives: Shaklan (father, deceased), Jadlan (mother, deceased), Taj (Uncle), Zabb (cousin, deceased), Benaf’saj (grandmother, deceased), Rabdan (cousin, deceased), Blaise Andrieux (grandson), Illyana (“daughter”).
  • Group Affiliation: Director of the Blythe van Renssaeler Memorial Clinic.
  • Base Of Operations: House Ilkazam on Takis (former) Blythe van Renssaeler Memorial Clinic, Jokertown, Manhattan, NY (former) Mobile in the U.S. and/or Europe, depending on the time period.
  • Height: 5’ 4” Weight: 115 lb. Age: 150+
  • Eyes: Lilac Hair: Metallic Red


Powers and Abilities

Tachyon is a mentat , one of the ruling house of Ilkazam. As such he has psionic  powers that descend from his genetic heritage. He is a powerful telepath, can control multiple minds at once, shield himself from telepathic detection and intrusion, and has an underdeveloped precognitive ability.

His people also heal faster than human and live very long lifespans. For instance his father was over 900 when he was assassinated, his grandmother was nearly 2000.

Dr. Tachyon was infected with the Wild Card virus by Typhoid Croyd in 1987, and runs the constant risk that his latent infection will manifest.


History

Dr. Tachyon is an alien of the race that brought the Wild Card virus to Earth. Out of guilt, he searches for a cure and to help the genetic freaks it created.

Tachyon is a geneticist from the planet Takis. He created what human doctors called “Xenovirus Takis-A” — the Wild Card virus. The virus (known to the Takisians as “the Enhancer”), was intended to boost their own psionic powers. It would allow his House to conquer their rivals.

To avoid the side-effects, it was decided to test the virus on an isolated population with the same DNA as Takisians – the humans of Earth. It’s implied that the Earth is a lost colony of Takis, but this is not really elaborated upon in the books.

Schmoozing with the alien

Tisianne protested this decision. He then tried to stop his partners from testing the virus on Earth, without success. When the virus was released, he worked among the “jokers”, physically deformed and mutated victims of the virus, guilt-stricken over his responsibility for their suffering.

Of course, Tachyon was not so anguished that he refrained from hobnobbing with celebrities, politicians, and many “aces”. Aces are those rare humans successfully granted paranormal abilities by the Enhancer. Tachyon later became romantically involved with Blythe Van Renssaeler, the estranged wife of an anti-Wild Card senator.

Tachyon’s nickname came from the scientists who worked with him and is a reference to the tachyon particles used by his ship’s faster than light drive. His own name was long, hard to pronounce and on top of that, included the names of all of his ancestors!

Un-American activities

Under the code name Brain Trust, he also was a member of the short-lived Wild Card “team”, the Four Aces. Rounded up during the Red Ace scare of the 1950s (analogue of the real-life Red Scare of the time period in American history), Tachyon, the Four Aces and their government sponsor were brought before the House Committee on Un-American Activities .

When Brain Trust was put on the stand Tachyon telepathically drove Blythe insane. His goal was to prevent her from revealing information she had absorbed from him with her ace power. That included the names and powers of many aces he had treated over the years. Blythe was committed to an asylum where she eventually died.

Due to his own failure to comply with the HUAC, Tachyon was deported from the United States. He ended up a drunken derelict wandering through Europe. He was psychologically unable to use his mind controlling abilities due to his shame over what he had done to Brain Trust.

It was during his time in France that he fathered Giselle Baucort, the mother of Blaise Andrieux. It is unknown if Giselle inherited any of Tachyon’s telepathic abilities. But his grandson Blaise possessed prodigious, though one-sided, mind control abilities, which would later be used against Tachyon to devastating effect.

The Clinic

Years later, after a pardon from President John F. Kennedy, Tachyon returned to America. He sobered up (somewhat), regained his powers, and started a clinic in Jokertown, all with the help of The Great and Powerful Turtle. He even applied for and was granted American citizenship.

Closely tied to the joker/ace community, Tachyon has been at the center of many important events in Wild Card history.

Doctor Tachyon sitting and pondering

He developed the Trump virus. This is a potential, but unstable cure for the Wild Card. It works only part of the time, and sometimes kills.

Tachyon also participated in the raid on the Egyptian Freemason headquarters. He then survived an attack on the Aces High restaurant by the Freemasons’ leader, a deranged ace called the Astronomer. His right hand was cut off by the joker/ace Mackie Messer at the disastrous 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.

He orchestrated the capture of Typhoid Croyd, an ace whose power created a brief, but wildly contagious outbreak of communicable Wild Card virus. This resulted in his being infected with a latent form of the virus.

He patrolled the streets of Jokertown with a small private army of jokers. That was during a protracted war between the Mob and an alliance of Asian Triads and joker street gangs called the Shadow Fists.

Finally, raids were carried out on New York by the Shadow Fists’ “jumpers”. These were vicious teenagers with body-snatching powers. An unlikely series of events during these led to Tachyon’s departure from Earth and ultimate return to Takis.

The gangster of love

Considered effeminate and often thought to be gay, Tachyon was actually a notorious womanizer. He has a long string of notches on his bedpost. Aside from numerous unnamed groupies and one night stands Tachyon’s list of conquests includes Brain Trust, Danelle Darcy, Roulette, and Fleur Van Renssaeler (Brain Trust’s daughter).

Perhaps more significant is the list of women Tachyon has not bedded. That was either due to a brief bout with sexual impotence (Fantasy and Mistral) or bad timing (Water Lily and Peregrine). Two unrequited loves in particular were Angelface and Dr. Cody Havero.

Angelface was a beautiful joker whose manifestation of the wild card made her bruise or bleed at the slightest touch. Tachyon pined after her during the booze-soaked period between his return to America and the establishment of the Jokertown Clinic.

Cody Havero was a more recent love interest. Coming into Tachyon’s life around the time of the jumper scare, Cody refused to sleep with the Takisian until he devoted himself to her exclusively. Later, Tachyon’s new body and condition would prevent him from consummating his relationship with Cody before leaving the planet.

Blaise

It was during the jumper scare that the sociopathic nature of Tachyon’s grandson became fully evident. After trying to rape Cody, and a failed murder attempt on Tachyon himself, Blaise ran away from home. The boy was only 15 at the time. Recruited by the jumpers and initiated into their gang, Blaise quickly became their leader.

Using his newfound body-swapping powers Blaise performed a bizarre triple-jump. It left Tachyon trapped in the body of Kelly Jenkins, a 16 year old girl, and vice versa. Now a woman, Tachyon was kept as her grandson’s prisoner and sex slave for several months. Worse, trapped in a nat body, Tachyon lacked any defense against Blaise’s powerful mind control.

After multiple rapes and beatings, Tachyon became impregnated with her own great-granddaughter. That was much to the amusement of Blaise and those jokers who resented Tachyon as the author of their misery.

Using her mentatic training to tap into the telepathic powers the unborn child had inherited from Blaise, Tachyon achieved a low level telepathy. When she used these crude mental shields to rebuff one of Blaise’s psychic attacks her grandson retaliated by assaulting her one last time.

More disasters

Somewhere in her second trimester, Tachyon escaped captivity, but not her current body or condition, with the help of ace vigilante Black Shadow and the joker revolutionary called Bloat.

Shortly after the first Battle of the Rox, Tachyon returned to the contested island with the help of the Great and Powerful Turtle. Bloat was unable to comply with her request that Blaise and her original body be returned to her. Amid the chaos of a National Guard attack Blaise escaped the Rox, taking Kelly with him.

Bloat could only offer the mental image of a seashell (glimpsed when Blaise’s mind shields slipped during the attack) as a clue to her grandson’s location. Bloat had interpreted a vision of Tachyon’s spaceship as a seashell.

Baby

Blaise meant to leave her permanently trapped not only upon earth, but in Kelly’s pregnant teenage body. Tachyon and the Turtle immediately set off to stop him. Bloat would never see Tachyon again.

Doctor Tachyon's ship, Baby

Baby

Decades before, Dr. Tachyon had traveled from Takis to Earth in a living starship with its own mind… the mind of a child. He even named it “Baby”. Its personality has grown somewhat addled after years of imprisonment in a government facility.

Still absolutely dedicated to its master, Baby was eventually released back to Tachyon. Blaise used to that loyalty to hijack Baby by having Kelly pose as Tachyon. Fleeing to Takis, Blaise left Tachyon without any apparent means of pursuing him.

Contacting a representative of the Network (a spacefaring culture reviled by the Takisians), Tachyon booked passage on a Network ship. She returned to her homeworld, where Blaise was busily fomenting a catastrophic war between Houses.

Homeworld

Accompanied by the aces Captain Trips and Popinjay, Tachyon eventually defeated Blaise. She recovered her male body, but not before enduring childbirth, seeing the very foundations of Takisian society ripped apart in a bloody civil war, and fending off an attack by Network “carpetbaggers.”

Tachyon currently remains on Takis, raising his daughter/granddaughter, serving as leader of his House, and trying to rebuild Takisian society.

Among his plans for the future are:

  1. The dissolution of Raranna. This is the traditional Takisian harem in which women of childbearing years are kept secluded from the public eye and potential assassins. Tachyon was confined there while trapped in Kelly’s pregnant body.
  2. Ending a program to interbreed the psychic and “mind-blind” segments of the populace. The goal of this is to create a truly telepathic race better capable of fending off the Network.

What effect these plans will have on the already unstable state of Takisian world affairs remains to be seen.


Description

Tachyon always dresses flamboyantly, in what are by Earthly standards, antiquated clothes of glaringly clashing colors. By Takisian standards, he’s considered quite suave.

After Mackie Messer’s attack, his right hand is a prosthetic replacement. However, he has considered having a new hand regrown while staying on Takis.


Personality

Tachyon is very emotional, self-centered, prone to openly weeping. He’s also a spoiled, hedonistic, womanizing aristocrat who indulges himself in every way.

However, during the course of the Wild Cards series, he matures a great deal.


Quotes

“I am Tisianne brant Ts’ara sek Halima sek Ragnar sek Omian of House Ilkazam, and when I do a thing it is for a good and sound reason. Do not question me !”


DC Universe History

The Sindromedans of the Vega system were normal humanoids. That lasted until an attempt to end a horrible drought inadvertently drew red crystalline spores from the Madgap Nebula into their atmosphere. The spores gave them mental powers but also corrupted their personalities.

Prior to this calamity, the Sindromedans had lived in a symbiotic relationship with giant flying jellyfishes called Graffaloons.

In this new history, the Sindromedans are identical to humans, rather than being blue-furred humanoids. The spores only affected certain Sindromedan families with a similar genetic marker. Their personalities were not directly corrupted, though some certainly abused their powers. This event on top of the drought led to mass chaos.

Takis’ new order

Eventually, a coalition of psychic families led by a Sindromedan named Takis restored order to the planet. Each family took control of a given area to restore social order. The end result was a system roughly equivalent to the feudal monarchies of medieval Europe. Each Psi Lord family became a Noble House that ruled over their non-psychic vassals.

Takis had deliberately arranged this structure to keep the Noble Houses in competition with one another as mutual checks on each others’ power and influence.

Sindromeda was renamed Takis in honor of their greatest leader. Working together, the scientists of the ruling Houses eventually overcame the drought. Nevertheless Takis remains a cold, wintry world with a relatively low population to this day (as it is in the Wild Cards novels).

The spores had also affected the Graffaloons, vastly increasing their abilities. They were now living starships, capable of interstellar flight. The Psi Lords renewed their relationship with the Ships, who became an important part of noble culture.

Across the Vega system

The combination of their new mental powers and their living starships made the Takisians a formidable force in the Vegan system. They joined in the “war of all against all” that comprises the majority of interplanetary relations in Vega. This is analogous to the Takisian’s conflicts with the Network in the Wild Cards series.

A temporary alliance with the Psions left them with the Morakhs. These were Takisians genetically engineered for combat traits and a virtual immunity to mental attacks.

Seeking political dominance of Takis, House Ilkazam began experimenting with the red spores as a means to increase their psychic powers. For every single success there were about 99 failures. Unwilling to give up the research but reluctant to sacrifice more of their people on such drastic numbers, House Ilkazam decided to use another species for their experiments.

The humans of Earth were genetically identical to the Takisians and thus ideal candidates.

To Earth

From here, history proceeds much as it did in the Wild Cards universe. The Wild Card virus is not as pervasive an influence in the DCU as it was in the Wild Cards novels. Instead it is but another environmental trigger of the meta-gene, with lethal effects on those without that trait.

The Invasion! may substitute for the Swarm attack. The Takisians would be one of the numerous Vegan species taking part in the Alien Alliance. Though their primary interest would be in seeing the effects of the Wild Card virus, they would contribute to the Alliance by assisting the Psions with their experiments.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Dr. Tachyon

A 3206 Point Character (with Baby)

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Guilt
Int: 11 Wil: 09 Min: 11 Occupation: Genetics researcher
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 025 HP: 030

Powers:
Regeneration: 03, Telepathy: 05, Mind Blast: 05, Mind Blank: 05, Detect: 05, Control: 11, Mind Probe: 10, Mental Freeze: 13, Sleep: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Detect is for Psi Use.
  • Control, Mind Probe, Mental Freeze: Restricted Range 5 AP (-1 Each).
  • All other Powers save for Regen are Contingent to Telepathy (-1 Each).

Skills:
Martial Artist: 05, Medicine (First Aid, Forensic, Medical Treatment): 13, Medicine (Surgery): 11, Vehicles (Space): 09, Weaponry (Firearms): 07, Weaponry (Fencing Weapons): 08, Scientist: 12, Charisma (Persuasion): 06

Advantages:
Attractive, Connoisseur, Genius, Scholar [Genetics, Chemistry, Psychology], Languages: Takisian (at least 3 separate dialects), French, Russian & Spanish, Lightning Reflexes, Omni-Connection (Dr. Tachyon knows nearly everyone of consequence in the Wild Cards Universe. Most of these will be considered “Low” Connections when activated), Slowed Aging.

High Level Connections:
The Turtle, Hiram Worchester, Senator Gregg Hartmann (Until after the events of Book 6), Golden Boy (After Book 6), Jay Ackroyd, Dr. Bradley Finn, Dr. Cody Havero, the Troll.

Low Level Connections:
Fortunato, Yeoman.

Drawbacks:
Dark Secret [KGB Contacts], Dependant [Illyana (“daughter”)], Involuntary Exile, Guilt [Release of the Wild Card], SIA (Impulsive and Overconfident), MPI (Drinks Too Much), Public Identity.


Baby

Baby is Dr. Tachyon’s sentient starship, and is considered as a Pet. Baby is worth 1708 HP. If you would rather consider Baby a plot device, Deduct Baby’s HP cost from Tachyon’s total (making him a 1400 Point Character).

Dex: 08 Str: 13 Bod: 14 Motivation:
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 02 Occupation:
Inf: 01 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}:
Init: 011 HP: 000

Powers:
Water Freedom: 06, Skin Armor: 05, Sealed Systems: 20, Flight: 18 , Flight (Ghostdrive): 40, Regeneration: 02, Cold Immunity: 06, Flame Immunity: 06, Full Vision: 18, Detect: 18 , Laser Beam: 14 , Radio Communication:13 , Telepathy: 05, Telekinesis: 10

Skills:
Accuracy (Perception): 07, Acrobatics (Dodging): 12

Bonuses & Limitations:

  • Sealed Systems: Usable for Others, Baby has Life Support for Herself.
  • Detect: Full-Band EM Scanners.

Advantages:
Area Knowledge: Galaxy/Dimension, Attractive (Not based on Sexual Attraction, Baby’s Attractive is more general and works on both genders), Life Support (No Need to Breathe, Sleep), Headquarters: Expansive [Warehouse].

Connections:
Dr. Tachyon (High).

Drawbacks:
Exile: Involuntary, Innocent, SIA (Dr. Tachyon ), SPR (Baby is a Living Starship; As such has no “Body” as we understand She has TK and other Advantages that mitigate this, but also her Inconvenient Size makes things difficult), Uncertainty.

By Pufnstuff.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan (Some good suggestions, DC History), Darci, GURPS Wild Cards Sourcebook, REZcat.

Source of Character: Wild Cards Novels.

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