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Professor Bergman (Barry Morse)

Professor Victor Bergman


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

Context

Space 1999 was a 1975-1977 science-fiction TV show. It was thus just pre-Star Wars – an important landmark in terms of genre credibility. It was British, though it headlined US actors for the American market.

Said actors were from the then-hot Mission Impossible series, and the showrunners were the Andersons, who made most sci-fi shows in the UK that weren’t Doctor Who (for instance, Thunderbirds). Despite that the series didn’t fare well – but there still exists significant nostalgia about it.


Background

  • Real Name: Professor Victor Bergman.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None (Although the residents of Moonbase Alpha have taken to calling themselves Alphans).
  • Base Of Operations: Moonbase Alpha, crater Plato, Luna.
  • Height: 5’9”(?) Weight: 150lbs(?). Age: Late 50’s to early 60’s.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black with quite a bit of gray; Balding on top.


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Powers and Abilities

Professor Victor Bergman is a Nobel Prize winning scientific genius and easily the most intelligent individual on Alpha. In fact, he contributed more to the base’s construction than any other single person.

In addition, he is the creator of both the Anti-Gravity Force Field employed by Alpha’s Eagle spacecraft and the “Bergman Cell” which powers the Stun Gun Model 1 and 2.

He is the discoverer of the Pluto satellite, Charon and the heretofore unknown planet Ultra, a mysterious world lying just outside our Solar System. If a scientific solution can be found for Alpha’s latest menace, it is Bergman who can devise it.

Though still vibrant, Bergman is no longer a young man. On the other hand, he can handle a Stun Gun adequately and will not hesitate to assist his fellow Alphans in a battle.

In fact, for a man of his years with his medical history, Bergman seems almost fearless in the face of danger. This is primarily due to his mechanical heart. Though restricting him in many ways it does convey one advantage : it makes Bergman physically immune to panic.


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Hat tip

A wonderful Space: 1999 site (http://www.members.tripod.com/kevinmccorrytv/sp1999ep.html, now defunct) with an incredibly detailed timeline of the Moonbase Alpha universe.

It does a great job of reconciling some of the chronological inconsistencies between Season’s one and two and even seeks to shoehorn in a Charlton Comic adventure or two. However I have chosen not to include information that I could not verify as coming from an “official” source.

For those interested, my “official” sources are, in order of importance:

  1. The original episodes [when available…Columbia House only produced 10-2 episode videos before they lost the rights. That constitutes less than half the 48 episode original run].
  2. The episode novelizations [which, unfortunately, omit two episodes completely and change some minor and some major details in several others].
  3. The Alpha Moonbase Technical Notebook [published by Starlog in 1977].
  4. Exploring Space: 1999 by John Kenneth Muir.

History

Little is known of Victor Bergman’s personal history prior to the events of September 13, 1999. What follows is information that can be verified by official sources.

Bergman was born June 27, 1940 in London, England. A scientific genius from an early age, Bergman, while still in his 20’s, won a Nobel Prize for his work in determining the presence of natural satellites through the close inspection of planetary movements.

This early triumph was balanced by a life-threatening illness that left him with a mechanical heart.

Professor Bergman and Commander Koenig are old friends although it is unclear when and how they first met. We do know for certain that Bergman, Koenig, and Dr. Helena Russell have worked together at least since 1996. This is when all 3 were involved in the Ultra Probe mission, an attempt to explore the mysterious planet Ultra discovered by Bergman in 1994.

From all indications, these three principal Alphans have known each other even longer.

In the early 1980’s, Bergman was approached by the ILFC to contribute to the construction of the proposed Moonbase Alpha. Thrilled with the opportunity to partake in such a scientific adventure, he took a sabbatical from his teaching position at the International Space Academy and joined the project. He never returned to the classroom.

Instead, taking the unofficial title “Visiting Scientist”, Bergman stayed on Alpha after its completion using the conditions that he could only find on Luna to conduct scientific experiments.

As a result, he was on Alpha on September 13, 1999, when a massive nuclear explosion sent the moon hurtling away from the Earth and into the vast reaches of space.

Some time between Alpha’s encounter with the planets Arkadia and Psychon (timelines vary widely – unofficially 328 days after leaving Earth orbit) Bergman was killed when his space suit malfunctioned while supervising the installation of the moonbase’s new laser defense ring.

Unofficial fate

(Official sources claim Professor Bergman died somewhere between the events depicted in The Testament of Arkadia (Season 1, Episode 24) and The Metamorph (Season 2, Episode 1). Fan speculation, however, presents a much happier fate for Alpha’s resident genius.)

(While I feel a duty to the “official” sources, my fondness for the character forces me to mention this other version of why Bergman is missing in the show’s second season.)

There are unsubstantiated reports that Bergman was not killed in this accident, however, and that his subsequent absence from the moonbase was a result of his own conscious decision to leave.

This theory holds that approximately 380 days after leaving Earth orbit, the professor left Alpha voluntarily to live among an alien race, the inhabitants of the small planet Krom II. There he sought to lead the aliens out of their dark age into one of reason and enlightenment


Description

Professor Victor Bergman is a Caucasian man of average height. He is trim and outwardly healthy for his age. His Alphan duty uniform consists of Khaki shoes and slacks. The khaki tunics of Moonbase personnel have colored left sleeves and collars indicating the individual’s assignment on Alpha.

As Bergman has no official rank or assignment on the base, his tunic has no colored sleeve / collar.

Like all Alphans, he wears an I.D. badge over his left breast and a thick, khaki belt which his Commlock clips onto and which can support a Stun Gun holster.


Personality

Professor Victor Bergman is the quintessential scientist : perceptive, ingenious, and curious almost to the point of being foolhardy. He is fascinated by the many strange beings, worlds, and phenomena that Alpha meets in its journey across the universe and looks at every new encounter as an opportunity to learn.

As a result of his mechanical heart, he is slow to react to nervous stimuli allowing him to calmly analyze each new threat to the moonbase. When posed with a scientific puzzle, he often thinks out loud, positing theories then dismissing or altering them based on the facts.

To the residents of Moonbase Alpha, Bergman is a grandfatherly figure, quick with a word of encouragement or a comforting pat on the arm. He is especially close to Commander Koenig who perhaps sees the elder scientist as a surrogate father.

By virtue of his early work on the moonbase project, he is considered something of a fixture on Alpha while his status as “visiting scientist”, a position that affords no official rank, allows him to play the part of outsider-looking-in.

Finally but most importantly, Bergman is a philosopher and humanist, a trait he shares to a certain extent with Alpha’s Commander Koenig. While unlikely to point to the traditional concept of a divine presence as the cause of Alpha’s trek through space, he does acknowledge some “cosmic intelligence” is at work in the universe.


Quotes

“I’m a scientist. I don’t know anything about God. No, it’s a cosmic intelligence that I’ve got in mind”


DC Universe History

Obviously, for the events of September 13, 1999 to occur as depicted in Space: 1999, it is necessary to make wholesale changes in current DC continuity. A better tack, perhaps, is to use Moonbase Alpha and its inhabitants in an alternate reality story.

The player characters, on their way to the JLA Watchtower, experience a teleporter tube malfunction and find themselves on a very different moonbase.

If the PCs are low to mid powered heroes without the means to travel in space, a GM could have them materialize on Alpha just as Koenig and his staff are beginning to piece together what is occurring out in Nuclear Waste Disposal Areas One and Two.

Since Alpha is home to many of Earth’s best and brightest, it might be interesting to station “Elseworlds” versions of established DC characters there for the PCs to interact with.

For instance, Chief of Reconnaissance and top Eagle jockey Alan Carter might have a rival in Hal Jordan or Larry Trainor, Bruce Wayne or Lex Luthor might be ILFC board members visiting the troubled base, and Maya of Psychon could be M’aya, the last Martian.

The story itself could revolve around the PCs growing certainty that something very bad and beyond their control is going to occur. Alternately, the players could arrive on Alpha post-breakaway. A sufficiently large PC group could tax Alpha’s already scarce resources to the limit.

PCs who regularly risk death at the hands of murderous villains might not be so brave in the face of slow starvation. Or, for a more slam bang adventure, have the players arrive just as the insanely powerful Balor awakens. Brrrr.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Professor Bergman

Dex: 02 Str: 01 Bod: 02 Motivation: Thrill of Discovery
Int: 09 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Professor of Technology ; International Space Academy
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 03 Resources: 08 (See below)
Init: 13 HP: 50

Powers:
Gadgetry: 11, Scientist: 12, Weaponry (Firearms): 03

Advantages:
Genius, Iron Nerves, Scholar (Astrophysics, Space Phenomenon), Security Clearance (Medium).

Connections:
International Space Academy (High), ILFC – International Lunar Finance Commission (Low).

Drawbacks:
Age (Old), Forced Exile, MIA (Curiosity), MPR (Mechanical Heart).

Equipment:

  • Stun Gun Model 2 [BODY 04, Energy Blast: 08, Heat Vision: 08, Power Reserve: 04, R#: 02. Power Reserve can augment both Energy Blast and Heat Vision. Limitations:
    • Energy Blast and Heat Vision use the wielder’s Weaponry (Firearms) Skill as AV.
    • Energy Blast has a maximum Range of 4 APs.
    • Heat Vision has a maximum Range of 1 AP.
    • when augmenting Energy Blast with Power Reserve the wielder automatically enters Killing Combat.
    • use of Heat Vision on a living target is always considered Killing Combat].

    Note: The Stun Gun Model 2 is carried by security personnel and survey parties. Authorized personnel on Alpha carry Stun Gun Model 1’s which sport all the same features as the Model 2 but cannot be set to a “Kill” setting (i.e., its Energy Blast cannot be augmented by Power Reserve). Heat Vision represents a laser cutting / welding torch. Both models are compact, staple-gun looking devices with 4 extremely short barrels down their front face.
    The top barrel is for the Energy Blast while the 3 other barrels are different settings of the Heat Vision laser torch (2nd barrel: Range of Touch, 3rd barrel: Range of 0 APs and augmented by 2 APs of Power Reserve, 4th barrel: Range of 1 AP and augmented by the full 4 APs of Power Reserve).

  • Commlock [BODY 03, Detect (Radiation): 08, Radio Communications: 06, Thermal Vision: 05, R#: 03, Bonus: The Commlock’s Radio Communications Power encompasses both video and audio ; the Commlock’s Radio Communications Power can be used to access Moonbase Alpha Main Mission Computer (the Commlock then functions as a remote terminal of Computer ; Koenig’s Commlock, like those possessed by all of Alpha’s Command Staff, can switch to a Scrambled setting for official communiques and security transmissions].
    Note: The Commlock is a stubby, scepter-like device a little over 7 inches high. In addition to its communication functions, it has a number of other features. It is also a passkey of sorts. Each Commlock is programmed for an individual owner, allowing that owner access to those areas of Alpha appropriate to his/her rank, position, and security clearance. The Commlocks possessed by the Command and Security Staffs grant their owner’s unlimited access to all areas of Moonbase Alpha. Only Commander Koenig or Chief of Security Verdeschi have the authority to expand or limit a Commlock’s passkey function. It is also a Geiger counter, a clock, and a calculator and can measure temperature and atmospheric pressure.
  • LIFE SCAN BRACELET [BODY 02, Detect (Life Signs): 02, Radio Communications: 06. Limitation: Detect (Life Signs) can only measure the life signs of the wearer].
    Note: Each Alphan wears one of these watch-like devices which continually transmits information to the base’s Medical Center regarding its owner’s health (heart rate, respiration, brain activity, etc.).
    When in use by survey teams, this vital information is transmitted to the team’s Eagle Transporter and then relayed by the Eagle’s much more powerful Interstellar Transmitter back to Alpha.

Thrill of Discovery

While Professor Victor Bergman recognizes that his great intelligence brings with it a certain responsibility to his fellow Alphans, his main motivation is a genuine love of scientific inquiry. This is represented in MEGS terms by the motivation Thrill of Discovery.

Essentially, such a character has the Thrill of Adventure motivation with the adventure in question being scientific endeavor.

Both heroic and villainous characters can possess the Thrill of Discovery motivation. Heroic characters will most likely have Responsibility of Power or Upholding the Good as secondary motivations while villainous characters might be further motivated as per the Mercenary or Power Lust motivations.

A misguided scientist who inadvertently creates a dangerous virus or rampaging monster in his pursuit of pure science might have the Thrill of Discovery motivation.


Resources on Alpha

One of the problems that Bergman and his Alphan companions confront on a daily basis is how to allocate the Moonbase’s very limited resources.

While mining and excavation of the moon produces some of the materials that the Alphans require, making a Wealth Check or finding components to build a Gadget on Alpha is never as easy as simply making a dice roll.

As a father figure / mentor to Moonbase Alpha’s Commander Koenig and the base’s finest scientific mind, Professor Bergman and his resource needs are usually given high priority when allocations must be made.

But the well is far from inexhaustible and the GM should feel free to assess CS penalties to Wealth Checks or even simply disallow them if appropriate.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

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Professor Victor Bergman — Averaged PL 3.2

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
-1 0 0 0 0 8 3 1

Powers

Mechanical Heart ● 1 point ● Descriptor: Technological
– No Panic Response — Enhanced Advantage (Fearless)

Combat Advantages

Fearless.

Other Advantages

Benefit (Security Clearance), Equipment 8.

Skills

Deception 1 (+2), Expertise: Science 12 (+20), Insight 6 (+9), Perception 8 (+11), Persuasion 1 (+2), Technology 11 (+19)

Equipment

Stun Gun Model 2 Stun Blast: Ranged Damage 12, Diminished Range 1, AE (Laser: Ranged Damage 12, Diminished Range 3) ● 24 points
Commlock Feature (Security Pass), Radio Communications 2 (Subtle), Senses 4 (Detect Atmospheric Conditions, Detect Radiation, Infravision, Time Sense) ● 14 points
Lifescan Bracelet Senses (Radio Communication Link, Detect Life Signs) ● 2 points

Offense

Initiative +0
Unarmed +1, Close, Damage -1
Stun Gun +3, Ranged, Damage 12

Defence

Dodge 1 Fortitude 0
Parry 1 Toughness 0
Will 3

Complications

  • Curiosity Bergman is driven to investigate the unknown.
  • Thrill of Discovery Although basically loyal to the Alphans, his primary motivation is the pursuit of pure knowledge through science.
  • Mechanical Heart Bergman has a mechanical heart, making him subject to certain effects. His heart rate also does not increase rapidly in response to stress.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 8, Dodge/Toughness PL 1, Parry/Toughness PL 1, Fort/Will PL 2.
  • Points total 55. Abilities 24, Defences 2, Skills 20, Powers 1, Devices 0, Advantages 9. Equiv. PL 4.


By Vincent Paul Bartilucci.

Source of Character: Space: 1999 Television Program.

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