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Captain Trips (Wild Cards super-hero novels)

Captain Trips


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

Background

  • Real Name: Mark Meadows
  • Other Aliases: Aquarius, Cosmic Traveler, Jumping Jack Flash, Monster, Moonchild, Radical, Starshine (see separate write-ups)
  • Marital Status: Divorced
  • Known Relatives: General Meadows (Father), Sprout Meadows (Daughter)
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: NYC
  • Height: 6’3” Weight: 160 lbs
  • Eyes: Hazel Hair: Light Brown


Powers and Abilities

Mark Meadows is a brilliant biochemist, probably the best in the world, and has a fair amount of knowledge about other scientific disciplines. By ingesting one of his specially made drugs, he can assume one of his alter egos for up to an hour.

The origin of Mark’s alter egos was never entirely clear. The different personas assumed that they were from alternate dimensions and had somehow become trapped in Meadows’s mind (part of the reason Meadows suffers Guilt). Meadows began to discover that there were people out there who resembled his alter egos: some living, some dead.

While there was a strong overall resemblance (J.J. Flash’s counterpart looked just like him and had the same personality), many of the details were off (Flash’s counterpart was an accountant, not a lawyer like Flash, the Korean Moonchild could not speak Korean, etc.).

Also, when one of his alter egos died, he seemed to lose certain capabilities — for example, when Starshine the poet died, Mark lost the ability to speak for some time afterward.

Given the evidence, the most likely explanation is that each of Meadows’s alter egos is the personification of some aspect of his personality, inspired by various 60s songs and using impressions of individuals Mark has encountered as a template for their mentalities.

It is interesting to note that each of Mark’s personalities seems diametrically opposed to another particular alter ego.

  • Starshine gains his powers from sunlight, losing them in darkness, and is a very muscular and arrogant individual, Moonchild is hurt by sunlight, gets most of her power in shadows, and is petite and rather humble.
  • Jumping Jack Flash is a lithely built pyrokinetic, is allergic to water, and highly sociable; Aquarius quickly weakens unless he is immersed in water, is very thickly-built, and hates associating with humans.
  • Cosmic Traveler is a small man and a confirmed coward who cannot be touched physically or mentally; Monster is a raging giant who wants to reach out and touch everything.
  • Finally, Radical, the Holy Grail of Mark’s alter egos, is everything that Mark is not: confident, courageous, powerful, and popular.

History

See the Wild Cards Background write-up for an introduction to this fictional universe.

Mark Meadows was the son of an Air Force General and grew up in a rather conservative fashion. He demonstrated an aptitude for chemistry and won a college scholarship. While Mark was in college the Peace Movement went into full swing.

He took an interest in the hallucinogenics sweeping the streets and wanted to learn more about their chemistry. During his searches for experimental samples he ran into a childhood crush, Kimberly Anne Cordayne. She encouraged him to loosen up and gave him some LSD.

When Meadows took LSD for the first time, it triggered his Wild Card. He transformed into the Radical, and ended up involved in a historic battle between the rock and roll Ace known as the Serpent King and the archconservative Hardhat. Radical saved the Serpent King and partied into the night. When Meadows awoke afterward, he quickly immersed himself in the Peace Movement counter-culture and began a search for hallucinogenic drugs that would bring back the Radical.

He never achieved that goal, but found drugs that summoned other alter egos, including Aquarius, Cosmic Traveler, Jumping Jack Flash, Moonchild, and Starshine (each named after a different song, sometimes incorrectly).

By the mid-80s Meadows was the owner of a health food store in New York. He had married and subsequently divorced Kimberly Cordayne, and was custodian of their child Sprout, who was developmentally disabled. Having exhausted every possibility he could think of to summon the Radical again, Meadows approached Dr. Tachyon, just in time to be kidnapped along with him by Tachyon’s fellow House Ilkazam royals.

Meadows subsequently assisted Tachyon in battling the Swarm and Ilkazam rogues. His alter ego Moonchild defeated Durg At’morakh in combat, and Durg transferred his loyalties to Meadows. This experience led to a strong friendship between Meadows and Tachyon, though Tachyon was unable to help Meadows in his search.

Despite the failure to summon Radical, Mark was leading a happy life until Kimberly decided to sue for custody rights. Kimberly’s ruthless lawyer exposed Mark’s alter egos and drug experimentation. Mark was forced to flee police custody, becoming a wanted man, and Kimberly had a nervous breakdown on the stand, so Sprout was turned over to an orphanage.

Mark lived on the streets for a while, until a secessionist group of Jokers took over Ellis Island. He sought refuge with them, and was encouraged to break Sprout free of the institution in which she had been placed. With the help of Durg At’morakh, Captain Trips freed Sprout, though he had to fight the Turtle to escape. Afterwards, Mark sent Sprout to live with her grandfather and discharged Durg from his service, sending him to serve Blaise, Tachyon’s grandson who was also at Ellis Island.

Mark had no idea just how evil Blaise was. Blaise and Durg left Earth and began a horribly destructive war of conquest on Takis, Dr. Tachyon’s homeworld. Mark and Dr. Tachyon followed and defeated Blaise, though Mark’s alter ego Starshine was killed in one of the battles.

Mark returned to Earth and was chased through several countries by a small task force dedicated to bringing him to “justice”. He ended up in Việt Nam, serving with the communist government’s army for a time before defecting to the rebel forces. Mark and his alter egos ended up heading the resistance army (with the help of rogue intelligence agent J. Robert Belew) and after a successful coup he became President of Việt Nam. It was during the final battle that Mark manifested Monster for the first and only time.

Mark and Belew worked well together, though Mark was suspicious of Belew’s conservative leanings. Their partnership ended when Ganesha, an Indian ace, visited Việt Nam. Belew was immediately suspicious of Ganesha and almost died trying to stop him from raping Sprout. Moonchild arrived at that moment and accidentally killed Ganesha, violating her oath to never take a life.

Despite Belew’s intervention on behalf of Sprout, misunderstandings that had taken place combined with Mark’s distaste for Belew’s philosophies led to Belew’s exile from Việt Nam. Mark discovered that he could no longer summon Moonchild; when he tried he just went into a coma for an hour.

Sometime afterward Mark and Sprout were presumed killed in an attack on the presidential palace. Actually, a secret consortium had kidnapped them and Mark was forced to help with the design of a Black Trump virus that would kill all Wild Card infectees.

Belew recognized a set-up when he saw one and started to search for Mark. Belew and friends found Mark in time to help him distribute the virus, which Mark had engineered to render people immune to Black Trump viruses. Mark finally rediscovered the formula to summon Radical, who helped end the threat of the consortium once and for all. This change to Radical was permanent, though.

Radical took Sprout to California, where her Grandfather lives, and is currently raising her there.


Description

Mark is a tall, gangly Caucasian male. He has shoulder-length hair and a goatee and can usually be found wearing stereotypical hippie attire. When he’s in public as Captain Trips (for events such as the annual Aces High party), he wears an Uncle Sam suit with the red and blue portions replaced with purple.


Personality

Mark carries himself with the casual air of a burned-out hippie. He tends to have a naive, black-and-white view of the world, canonizing hippie liberalism and demonizing old-school conservativism. Indeed, some of his Guilt comes from a failure (in his eyes) to live up to every possible aspect of the good life as defined by popular liberals.

He tries to see the most positive side of people, and can’t understand why some people will hurt others. He tries to stand up for what is right, but often comes crashing head-on into the harsh realities of life. While he developed a bit of an edge during his years on the run, he never really lost his innocent outlook.

Mark’s greatest joy in life, after his daughter Sprout, is trying to find ways of using his scientific skill to serve the common good. During his years as a health food store proprietor he had a small lab that he used to engage in scientific studies, and when he assumed control of Việt Nam he saw to the construction of a world-renowned biochemical institute there.

Mark’s alter egos are usually dormant in his mind, though he picks up the occasional random thought (this holds true for his alter egos, as well). When he has been summoning his alter egos frequently (as he did when the task force was on his tail), he can hear the voices much more clearly and frequently, sometimes even speaking their thoughts aloud unintentionally.


Quotes

“Yeah, life is, like, pretty neat, man.”

“Talking about fighting bums me out, man.”


DC Universe History

Meadows was a retro 60s enthusiast who lived in Opal City. He worked as a biochemist and was a regular customer of Jack Knight’s collectibles shop, sharing a similar passion for cultural nostalgia. The gene bomb detonated during the Invasion in conjunction with a bad LSD trip triggered Mark’s metagene. Meadows’ alter egos achieved some notoriety, but the one-hour limit on his transformations kept him from joining any of the major super hero groups.

His Starshine persona was informally considered part of Opal City’s Starman legacy, and Starshine’s death during Mageddon’s attack was considered a great loss.

Meadows’ identity was exposed in the aftermath of Starshine’s death. Since his alter egos were appreciated by Opal City, he suffered no ill effects from this until he was captured by the Locus organization and forced to develop a virus that killed metahumans.

He was able to secretly make a new hero formula instead, which turned out to be the necessary trigger to bring back Radical, albeit permanently. Radical alerted the JLA as to Locus’s plans and whereabouts, and after helping them subdue the evil organization, he returned to Opal City.


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Captain Trips

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 06 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Health Food Shop Owner
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 05
Init: 011 HP: 035

Skills:
Scientist: 07

Advantages:
Controllable Alter Egos (Captain Trip’s “Friends”), Scholar (Biochemistry, Counter-Culture drugs and fashions)

Connections:
Croyd “The Sleeper” Crenson (Low), Dr. Tachyon (High)

Drawbacks:
Dependant (Sprout, Daughter), Guilt, Innocent, MIA (Discovering the formula that summons Radical), Secret Identity, Uncertainty

Equipment:
Drug Vials [BODY 01]
Each of Mark’s alter egos can be summoned by ingestion of a specific tailor-made drug. Each drug has a distinctive appearance related to the alter ego in question; for example, Cosmic Traveler’s drug is black with silver sparkles like stars and Jumping Jack Flash’s is interlaced veins of red and orange.

Taking a drug requires an Automatic Action and the transformation takes place over the rest of the phase. The transformation lasts for a maximum of one hour (10 APs), but can be reduced by taking lesser amounts of the drug. Since these drugs only trigger Captain Trip’s Wild Card ability, they would not work for other people. Indeed, it has been suggested that the drugs that Meadows uses would make a normal person seriously ill (Poison Touch: 03).


Updated statistics

In the aftermath of the custody hearing in which he lost Sprout, Meadows lost Secret Identity and gained Mistrust and eventually Involuntary Exile.

During his military training in Việt Nam, Meadows gained Weaponry (Firearms): 03. After the coup he gained Authority Figure (President of Việt Nam).

By Kansas Jim and Roy Cowan

Source of Character: Wild Cards series (novels, comics), character created by Victor Milan

Helper(s): GURPS Wild Cards, The Angel

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