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Gaian Knight

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A minute ago he'd been at a party with twins. Now Tarrant was floating in pure white emptiness...in his hero gear. This hardly seems fair. It's been a long couple of days, and now even my dreams have gone funky on me?

He spun around in a lazy circle. Really hope this isn't supposed to represent the inside of my head. Especially if this is what I think the inside of my head looks like. Maybe if I concentrate really hard I can bring the twins back. Closing his eyes and gritting his teeth, he tried to do just that...and wouldn't you know it if a pretty girl did pop into being a few feet away.

Only she was less pretty and more...impish.

And less girl and more...impish.

Really it was just pretty impish. A little guy, maybe three feet tall, with a pointy nose several inches long and a gray suit a size too short.

Heh. He looks like some kinda other-worldly beancounter.

The imp opened his mouth, which apparently was full of tiny, pointed teeth. "I am a beancounter from another world!" Oh, well then. "And you are LATE!"

Tarrant blinked. "...late for what?"

"For your audit!"

"...er?"

"Your powers. You are Tarrant David McLeod born Tarrant David McLeod currently a professor at -" the imp checked his notes, "- Freedom City University?"

"....yes?"

"You are late for your audit! You don't think your powers just happen do you? There's paperwork! There's records to keep! Did no one tell you anything at all when you got them!?"

"....no, not really."

The imp blinked at him like this was the dumbest thing he'd ever heard. "...what seriously? Those lazy stupid...wait no. What year is it where you are?"

"...2010?"

Now the little guy was just taken aback. "...oh, well." He glanced down at his little clipboard - Where did he get THAT from? - and back up. "Well...let's get started. I would pull up a chair if I had one but I don't so we'll have to make do with-"

Talky little guy. Tarrant waved a hand and suddenly the empty white nothing was an empty white nothing with an endless plane of earth and broken rock to stand on. Another wave and the stone beneath them rippled as two ornate stone chairs twisted and grew. Giving a generous bow, Tarrant took his seat.

"...how...how did you possibly..."

"Well it's my dream, isn't it?"

"....your...yes yes of course it is." Coughing uncomfortably, the imp very carefully floated down to sit. "Let's just get started then."

QUESTION 1

"Please state your name alter ego birth date profession and home plane and planet for the record."

"...you already told me half of that yours-"

"FOR THE RECORD."

"Right, okay. Tarrant David McLeod," - he shot the imp a glance and grinned - "born Tarrant David McLeod, October 1984, also known as Gaian Knight. Professor of earth science at Freedom City University, Earth, uh...Earth...plane? The one with Earth."

The imp scowled. "You say that like it narrows things down. Nevermind moving on!"

QUESTION 2

"Describe your powers."

"I can feel and control earth and earthen materials to do a bunch of things. Attack, make stuff, reshape stuff. Some side-abilities, too - I'm more durable now, I can feel the earth around me everywhere I go, seem pretty immune to the hazards of being underground. Except heat. Going too deep doesn't end great."

"Yes yes yes anything else?"

"I have a sword which, er." Tarrant glanced down at the empty loop on his belt. "Which apparently doesn't want to show up in my dream with me. Near as I can tell it's pretty indestructible, and only I can draw it, but other than that it doesn't seem to do much."

QUESTION 3

"And how did you come across these powers?"

"The almighty magic answering machine gave them to me."

QUESTION 4

The imp didn't look very amused. "I do not think you are taking this audit as seriously as you should. The almighty magic answering machine?"

"No, really. There was this big stone...cave thing. With some kinda altar or pedestal in the middle. I touched the altar, I got taken to...somewhere. Kinda a lot like this, actually." Tarrant tilted his head and looked around. "Not this bright, though. Anyway, this magic recording or something of a floating lady in robes gave me some half-broken message about stuff I didn't understand, and poof! Powers. And was back in reality with the sword."

"And that was it?"

"That was it."

QUESTION 5

"That doesn't seem like a very detailed answer."

"Yeah, really isn't, is it? But it's about all I know."

"No hints no details? Your ghostly mentor hasn't shown up yet?"

"No, that's pretty much all I--wait, ghostly mentor? What?"

The imp marked a little checkbox on his sheet. "Moving on."

"No, wait a second here. Go back to the-"

QUESTION 6

"Any important high-ranking high-exposure acts of heroism worth mentioning or worth sharing?"

"Er. Well, threw down with some demons a while ago. Fought Talos when he attacked the Centery Bridge."

QUESTION 7

The little guy actually looked impressed, raising an eyebrow...clear off his head, to float an inch or so above his scalp. "Talos? Really? Beat him yourself?"

Tarrant shifted in his seat a little. "...well, no, not myself. And I didn't really fight him, I mean I was busy with trying to save civilians and being beaten on by robot spiders. People have to come first, you know."

His auditor no longer looked impressed.

QUESTION 8

"A better baseline for your powers is needed. I will now ask you questions to this end."

"Okay."

"Can you or have you ever moved a stone weight more than several tons?"

"Yes."

"Can you or have you ever created a complex hollow object out of solid rock?"

"Yes."

"Can you or have you ever turned completely into sand?"

"...no. Are you implying that I can-"

"No. Have you ever been bitten by the interdimensional nose hair worm?"

"The what?"

"Can you or have you ever used one planet to strike another planet?"

"What?"

"Can you or have you ever used the Eye of Endless Things to gaze into the mind of your planet and speak the secret that could cleave it in two?"

"I don't...that...what??"

He scribbled something on the clipboard. "Thank you. That was very helpful."

No more late-night burritos. Ever again.

QUESTION 9

"Are you currently mated?"

"Pardon?"

The imp sighed and flipped through a few sheets of paper, looking for something. "Are you...yes are you married dating or have children?"

"Er. No. No children, currently single."

QUESTION 10

"Have you in the past?"

"Dated, yes. Married, children, no."

"Hmm."

QUESTION 11

"What qualities do you look for in a mate partner or domestic associate?"

"What is this, a dating service form?" The imp didn't even look up from his clipboard. "Right, well. Er. Attractive, funny? Generally a nice person? I like a lot of things, some of them sorta mutually exclusive. I guess if I'm going to be doing the heroing thing it'd be nice if she was a hero too. Wouldn't have worry so much then."

Tarrant thought about that for a moment, scratching his chin through the facemask. "It'd be nice if she had big-"

"Your species' biology is disgusting and you do not need to describe any further thank you."

QUESTION 12

"You have mentioned other superheroes. Have you met many?"

"Well, some, I mean you can't get too far in Freedom City without tripping over one. I guess I haven't really made close friends yet. Kinda new."

QUESTION 13

"What are your thoughts on other magic superheroes?"

Tarrant leaned back in his chair. "Really wish I knew more of them, to be honest. Might give me some insight."

QUESTION 14

"Science heroes?"

He shrugged. "No real thoughts. I'd rather my power be a part of me than be some widget, but if it works for them it works. It's more important they do something good with it."

QUESTION 15

"Mutants?"

"Er. Depends on the mutation, I guess? I hear some of them are pretty weird. Mostly I kinda feel bad - some of them start out pretty young, sounds like. That's gotta make your childhood or teenage years tough."

QUESTION 16

"Aliens?"

He blinked. "What, like martians? I dunno. I don't think I've met any. Not that I know of...I guess they're alright." Grinning, he added, "Kinda wonder what they're like. Maybe there's a race out there with-"

"Your alien species' biology is also disgusting and also does not need to be described thank you."

QUESTION 17

"Demons and the undead?"

"Er. Well, they're usually not on the heroic side of things. I guess they might be okay? Really, if someone's heroic, I'll at least give them a shot, you know? It matters more than where they came from."

"That is humble understanding and extremely naive."

"Yeah, probably."

QUESTION 18

"What goals do you have for your future career in heroism?"

"I'd really, really like to toughen up a little. Learned in the past few days that I can't take a hit like I should. Wouldn't mind learning to use the sword a little better, too, seems silly to carry it around when I can barely swing it."

QUESTION 19

Both the imp's eyebrows shot up above its scalp. "You are not a swordfighter? Then why do you carry a sword?"

"I...guess I don't know." Tarrant frowned. "I just...I mean I can't...it...huh. Just doesn't feel right to leave it behind...somehow."

QUESTION 20

"That doesn't seem a little odd to you?"

"Well, I mean, I guess I don't...really think about it? It just kind of feels right. I guess there must be some reason behind the...the, er...I'm sorry, what was the question about, again?"

"Yes...well I think I have all that I need for now." The imp clipped his pen back onto the board, and it disappeared with a little pop. "Thank you for your time. There is only one more thing to say or ask you really."

"Er...right, sure. Happy to help. What's the one thing?"

"It is only to tell you that BREEEP BREEEP BREEEP BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP

Tarrant reached out and smacked his alarm clock, staring at it with one bleary eye. Seriously. No more burritos before bed. Ever. He reset the alarm and rolled over. Don't need to be in for another hour or two yet. Maybe those twins are still waiting.

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Introduction

Who are you? Sum yourself up in one sentence.

My name is Tarrant McLeod - I'm a professor of earth sciences at FCU.

Do you have any nicknames, street names, titles, or nom de plume?

When out heroing I go by 'Gaian Knight'. Couple of wise guys back in college saw me rockclimbing and called me 'Highlander'. Please...please don't.

What is your full birth name?

Tarrant David McLeod. Not much Scottish blood in the family by now, but it comes down from my father's side.

Where do you live?

I have a nice, small house tucked in around where Kingston and Hanover meet. A little more Kingston than Hanover, I guess.

How old are you? What year were you born (if applicable)?

25 - was born in October, 1984.

Physical Traits

What is your gender? If not applicable, please explain.

Male. ...."if not applicable"?

How would you describe your heritage?

Oh, your classic mutt. Lots of Scottish on my dad's side. Little bit everything on my mom's.

How tall are you?

Six feet. No more, no less.

What is your body type?

I'm no bodybuilder, but I like to stay pretty active.

Do you have any particular weaknesses, such as allergies or physical disabilities?

Nothing comes to mind.

How do you carry yourself? Are you graceful, or heavy on your feet? Can you be stealthy, do you walk with confidence?

Er...somewhere in the middle? Not exactly light on my feet, I guess. Was never very good at sneaking around, either.

Describe your skin, eye, and hair color.

Average Caucasian, with a little tan. Green eyes, boring brown hair.

How do you wear your hair, if applicable? Do you have facial hair?

I keep it pretty short - hard to wash dirt out of long hair, and I run into a lot of dirt. No facial hair...just too much bother to keep trimmed.

Do you consider yourself attractive? Do others?

I guess? I'm not really my type, haha! I'm told I'm decent-looking.

Do you have any scars, tattoos, piercings, or birthmarks?

None of those last three, but I've got my fair share of little scars from nicks and accidents.

Do you resemble anyone famous?

Was once told that David Tennant could play me if my life was a movie. I don't believe it for a second.

Do you have a dominant hand?

Yup, right-handed.

What kind of clothing do you wear?

Simple stuff if I can. Jeans, t-shirts, tank-tops if I'm going to be out rockclimbing or something. Dress up a little for teaching: slacks, vest, tie, button-up shirt. Do not wear dress shoes, ever. Stupid things aren't comfortable or practical at all.

Do you wear makeup?

...what? No!

What is your vocal range? Is your voice distinctive in some way?

Eh, middle-of-the-road. A little on the deeper side, I guess?

Do you have any distinctive habits, nervous tics, or mannerisms? Where did they come from, and what causes them? Do other people notice and remark on these habits? Do they annoy you or other people?

Guess I slump quite a bit when I sigh or feel dejected. Not sure where I picked that up, though...just something that's been a habit for ages. Been told it makes my mood pretty easy to read.

History

Where do you come from?

Grew up more towards the west coast.

Have you made any major moves, or do you live in your hometown?

Moved clear over here to Freedom City when I finished out my degree...wanted a fresh start.

Do you feel loyal to your country of citizenship? Do you consider yourself patriotic? How do you feel about the government of your country?

I...guess? More to the citizens than the leaders. I guess the government does what it can, as best it can, but I don't always agree with the decisions they make.

How do you feel about the place you come from?

Nice place. Very, very wet. Not sad to be away from all that depressing rain.

Where is your home town? What was/is it like?

Little place on the west coast. Pretty nice - quiet. Simple folk. Not 'salt of the earth' simple, but a nice little community.

Growing up, were most of the people you knew similar to you, or were you somehow a minority? How did that affect you?

Nah, whole town was pretty much just like me. Makes it kinda hard to grasp the minority thing sometimes, sad to say.

Is there something you've always been really good at or really bad at? How has that affected your life?

Always been good with rocks - studying them, identifying them, playing with them, even sculpting or carving them. Sort of informed my career.

Were there any traumatic experiences in your early years (death of a family member, abandonment, orphaned at an early age)?

Barely escaped an avalanche once. I guess most people would have been traumatized...I thought it was fascinating. I was a weird kid.

Briefly describe a defining moment in your childhood and how it influenced your life.

Went on a camping trip when I was...I don't even know. Pretty young. We went and saw this canyon I can't even describe. Huge, layer upon layer of all these different rocks and stones, dawn light shining on 'em...ahh, it was beautiful. Wanted to know more and more about what I'd seen after that.

What stupid things did you do when you were younger?

Climbed things I really shouldn't have. Gave my mother gray hair, I think, every time she saw me sitting on top of some huge rock pile or cliff or rooftop.

Where did you go to school? How much school did you have, and did you enjoy it?

Nice university not far from where I lived. Got clear through to a Doctorate - enjoyed it a lot. Heck, I'd hope I had, since I'm teaching other people now!

Do you have any mementos of your childhood? What are they, and why did you keep them? If you have none, why not?

Still got an old box full of keepsakes and some 'precious rocks'...which aren't precious at all, of course, now that I know what they actually are. But they're full of memories, so they're precious to me.

When did you decide to become a hero? Why? Did anyone influence you one way or another in the decision?

Seems like if I have all this power, I really ought to be using it to help people. I guess it just...feels right? No one really helped me out with the decision - never found a way to tell anyone I could move dirt with my mind.

Is the reason you give people for becoming a hero different than your real reason? If so, why?

Nah, that's pretty much it. Helping people's fun and feels good, and I'd feel guilty if I didn't.

Do you have any deep, dark secrets in the past that may come back to haunt you?

Not that I can think of. I once pulled a girl's pigtails in school. Does that count?

Do you represent yourself as being different from who you really are? Why?

I'm not as confident in a fight as I like to pretend I am. All that talking? That's me dealing with my nerves.

If you do have these secrets, what do you fear would happen if the truth became known? How far would you go to protect those secrets?

What, if it came out that I pulled a girl's pigtails in school? Don't really think I'd get much abuse for that.

Do you have any sort of criminal record? If so, is it public knowledge?

Couple speeding tickets...one arrest when a friend and I got drunk after a bad exam. Nice guy, that policeman. Kept us only long enough for us to sober up. Probably public record somewhere.

Family

What are your biological parents' names?

Michael and Sarah McLeod.

Were you raised by them? If not, please explain and describe who raised you.

Yep.

What was their standing in the community? What did/do they do for a living?

Nothing special. Mom stayed at home to raise us, dad worked pretty hard in some office or another. Manager type.

Where are your parents now?

Still back out west.

Did your family stay in one area or move around a lot?

Stayed in one place. I guess they moved when I was a baby, but I really wasn't old enough to remember.

How did you get along with their parents? How do you get along with them now (if applicable).

About as well as any kid does, hah. We get along fine, now - dad doesn't really get what I do, but he's proud of how much I've accomplished. We don't talk much, I guess.

How do your parents view you now, or how would they?

Guess they're pretty proud. Their little boy is an honest to goodness professor! Don't really get my interest in geology, but I don't really expect them to.

Do you have any siblings? If so how many and what are their names? Describe your relationship with them.

One brother - Michael Junior. We never really got along. He's got a sneer and a temper he just can't let go of.

What was your birth order in the family?

Firstborn child.

Where are your siblings now (if applicable)? Do they have families of their own? What do they do?

He hangs out in the same city I went to college in. Not even sure what he does for money these days, but I hear from a friend that by now he's dated half the attractive women in the city.

Do you stay in touch with them or have you become estranged?

'Estranged' might be too strong. But we don't, and haven't ever, really gotten along, so we don't talk much until our parents force us to.

Do you love or hate one member of the family in particular?

Naw. I don't like the guy, but I don't hate him. Get along fine with my parents, don't have much extended family.

Is any member of the family special to you in any way (perhaps, as a confidant, mentor, or arch-rival)?

Er...not really, I guess. Too much I can't confide in them.

Are there any black (or white) sheep in the family (including you)? If so, please explain.

Brother seems to have side-stepped the whole 'hard-working spirit' that runs in my dad's side.

Do you have a notorious or celebrated ancestor? If so, please explain, including how it has affected your life.

My grandpa once told me I have some famous Scottish warrior's blood in my veins, but I'm pretty bad at history...couldn't for the life of me tell you who they were.

Do you have a partner and children currently? If so, please describe them.

Nope. No partner, no children, no prospects. Too new to the city, I think, and too busy with other things so far.

If you do not have a partner or children, do you want them someday? How firm are you in your opinion on this, and what might change your mind?

Yeah, I think I'd like to have a family some day. Nothing huge, but a wife and a kid or two sounds pretty nice.

What type of person would be your ideal mate?

Hadn't really thought about it. Pretty with a sense of humor, I guess.

Relationships

Do you have any close friends? If so, please describe them, and how you came to be close to them.

Not really. New to the city, lost contact with some of my old friends when I moved. We keep in touch sometimes, but nothing that close.

Do you have a best friend? If so, how did they become your best friend? How close are you to your best friend?

Nah.

If you were to go missing, who would worry about you?

Hah. The people who pay me to teach classes!

Have you lost any loves? If so, how did it happen, and what did you do?

Well I've had a few breakups, but I don't think that's what you mean. So no, don't think so.

Do you have any bitter enemies? If so, please describe them and their history with you.

My alarm clock.

If you have enemies, how do you think they might attempt to work against you in the future?

My alarm clock is always working against me.

What is the worst thing someone has done to you?

Had a so-called 'friend' once who tried to set me up for some pretty bad drug charges by slipping the stuff into my bags at an airport...afraid they'd get caught, I guess. Security guard caught 'em, though.

Where do your loyalties lie? In what order?

Er...close friends, ladies, citizens, most loyal to least? I guess.

Who or what do you trust the most? Why?

Friends. Because that's what they're there for, aren't they?

Who or what do you despise? Why?

Things like 'child abusers' and the like would be cheating, so I'm gonna say "people who abuse trust." Because it's one thing to be an awful person...it's another to inflict that awfulness on someone who has faith in you.

What qualities do you admire most in other people? Are these qualities you possess?

Honesty, loyalty, a good sense of humor. I'd like to think I have 'em too.

What qualities do you hate most in other people? Do you have any of those qualities?

Huge egos, complete selfishness, unneeded violence. I...I'd like to think I don't have any of these.

Do you have a secret identity? If so, who knows it? Do you hide it from people who are close to you? Why?

Yeah. No one knows, that I'm aware of, although I think my old professor suspected something. If he did, he kept it to himself. I try to hide it, to protect myself and my students. Hero work makes you a lot of enemies.

Do you work well on teams and in groups? Are you a leader or a follower?

Not really used to working on a team, but I do okay. Don't try to lead, at all...leave that to the guys and girls with more experience at this stuff.

Are you on a super team? If so, how do you get along with your comrades? Do you trust them, or do you have secrets from them?

Nah, I run by myself. Not even sure what I'd do on a super team.

Are you a member of any church, fraternal organization, club, committee, political party, or other group? How much time do you spend on that?

University work takes up a good chunk of time. I'm new to the department so they like to dump some of the busy work on me.

Personality & Beliefs

Who are your heroes?

I...never really paid much attention to the superhero scene until I pretty much was one. My grandfather was sort of a hero when I was growing up...he was a big, wise man.

Did you ever become disillusioned with former heroes or idols? If so, why and what were the circumstances?

Nah. Well, was sort of disillusioned by superheroes in general growing up. Resented them a little, I guess...didn't really understand how hard it was to do what they do.

Do you like being a hero? If so, what is the most rewarding part? If not, what makes you keep doing it?

Being able to help people makes me pretty happy. That feeling as you watch them walk away safe is...there's not much in the world to beat it.

Is there anything that would make you give up hero work, or even switch sides?

Switch sides? No way. Give it up...for family, maybe, or for the greater good somehow.

What are your short term goals (what would you like to be doing within a year)?

Survive, get better at this whole hero thing. Not getting fired from my new job would be nice.

What are your long term goals (what would you like to be doing twenty years from now)?

I don't really like thinking that far ahead...you lose focus on what's happening now. Survive and maybe get tenure at FCU.

What is your greatest fear? Why? What do you do when something triggers this fear?

Accidentally killing someone, or ruining someone's life. I'm not the most powerful hero out there, but this is still a lot of power to be flinging around. I try to remind myself that I spent a long time practicing control so that wouldn't happen, but it doesn't always help.

Is there anything you would give you life for?

Another life.

How do you feel about money and material wealth? Do you desire it or disdain it? Are you miserly with what you have, or do you like to share? Is it a mark of success, or a means to an end?

It's useful. I don't really want to be rich...too much headache. But it's a means to an end, and sometimes those ends can be pretty nice. If I said I didn't like nice things my little house would probably burst into flames.

How do you generally treat others?

I try to be kind and understanding when possible. Even rude people may just be having a bad day.

Are you a trusting person? Has your trust ever been abused?

Yeah, maybe a little too trusting sometimes. See the story up there about a friend trying to set me up. Thought he was an okay guy before that....

Are you introverted (shy and withdrawn) or extroverted (outgoing)? Do you have a lot of self-confidence?

A little extroverted. I think you have to be to be an interesting teacher.

How do you act around attractive, available members of your preferred sex?

Not as smartly as I should. Got a long history of being charmed by a pretty face and a nice set of legs, and I'm not sure that'll end soon, sad to say.

What are your most annoying habits?

Not really sure. Told that I drum my fingers when I'm not paying attention, which has driven a few people up the wall.

Do you feel contempt for any general category of people? Who are they, and why?

Contempt? I guess people with great gifts that only use them to hurt other people. Seems like they could do something more productive with it.

What is your favorite food? Do you prefer any particular type of food? Do you take the time to enjoy your food, or do you eat as fast as you can?

Oooh, pie. Any pie. I will shove it down my throat so fast you'll think it was a magic show.

What is your favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?

I stick to water, mostly, but I'll have a nice beer now and again. Imported, though. Beer made here tends to be...not so good.

What is your favorite treat (dessert)?

Pie. Do you have pie? 'cos I'd like some if you do.

Are there any specific foodstuffs that you find disgusting or refuse to eat?

Really don't like onions. Just something about them I can't stand. Olives, too.

What is your favorite color? Are there any colors you dislike?

I like red and brown. Not so fond of bright, neon colors like some shades of yellow.

What sort of music do you like? Is there any that you hate?

Simple music - a voice and an instrument or two. Pretty flexible on genres, though I could never get into rap or hip-hop.

If you have a favorite scent, what is it?

Fresh-baked goods. Takes me back to home.

Do you have a favorite animal?

Eh...dogs, I guess. Friends used to tease me that it ought to be the mole.

What is your most treasured possession? Why?

The sword, I suppose. Don't even know why. Just...just seems like something I should take good care of, somehow.

Do you enjoy "roughing it", or do you prefer your creature comforts?

Creature comforts are well and good, but once in a while you've got to get back to nature.

Is there a job or a task you would absolutely refuse to do?

Anything that hurts people. Wouldn't be thrilled with really gross jobs, either. Spent a lot of time in college so that I'd never have to muck around in a sewer.

Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? If so, how do your beliefs affect your life? How important is it to you?

Not really. Maybe a little more now that I can feel part of nature everywhere I go, but don't really subscribe to any major religions.

Was your faith influenced or molded by anyone special?

Family wasn't too church-going.

If you belong to a religious organization, how often do you attend? Do you have a specific place of worship, or friends within the organization? How much do you agree with the beliefs of your organization?

Guess this doesn't really apply....

Could you kill? Have you killed?

....if I had to. But I wouldn't like it, and it'd have to be the last of last resorts.

What circumstances led to you forming that conviction, or taking that action?

Life's a terrible thing to waste. I don't want that blood on my hands.

Are there circumstances under which you believe it is permissible to kill? What are they?

In someone's defense, to save their life. Or a whole bunch of lives. It's not something I like to think about, though.

How would you react to watching someone kill another person? Would your reaction be different if the killer was a friend or an enemy of yours?

I'd depend on why they're killing someone, but I can guarantee you I wouldn't like it. If it was a friend, they'd better have one hell of a reason. An enemy...if they've killed someone and I'm close enough to watch, that's a personal failure on my part.

How would you react if something important was stolen from you?

I'd get it back. Myself, if I could, calling in favors or police if I had to, depending on the item.

How would you react to public humiliation?

I've found that if you force a smile and laugh, you take some of the wind out of the humiliation. Even if you don't want to.

How would you react if a good friend or relative were purposely or accidentally killed? Has it happened to you?

Hasn't happened. I don't think I'd take it well.

What do you consider to be the worst crime someone could commit and why?

It's a cop-out answer, but short of really high death counts, probably things like rape and torture. Really shouldn't have to explain why....

If your life were to end in 24 hours, what five things would you do in those remaining hours?

Spend time with friends, have a drink or two...maybe throw myself at some really nasty villain that's too dangerous to fight otherwise.

Career & Training

Do you have any special training in your hero skills? If so, where and how did you get it?

Some of my geology stuff applies pretty well. Otherwise...no, not really.

Who taught you the most about your heroing abilities? What was your relationship with that person?

I'm pretty much self-taught. It probably shows.

Do you have any particularly unusual skills? How did you acquire them?

Besides the whole "moves rocks with his mind" thing? Learned some magic trick stuff back in college...palming and the like. Seemed fun at the time.

Do you do something besides hero work for a living? Have you ever done anything else, or do you plan to?

I'm a professor at FCU, department of Earth Sciences. Pretty happy with that...plan to do it for a long time, if I can.

What is your preferred combat style?

Staying away from my enemies and hitting them at range. Not that great in close combat, and I know it.

Have you ever received any awards or honours?

Nah. Not really one for awards and medals.

What skill areas would you like most to improve in? Is there anything you can't do that you wish desperately you could?

Need more practice with the earthshaping. Wouldn't mind learning to be better with the sword, or learning to fight without my powers.

How do you act around people who are more skilled than you in areas you'd like to improve? Are you jealous, or do you try and learn?

I try to learn. I admit I'm a little jealous, but that's not their fault and I try not to let it show.

Lifestyle & Hobbies

What is a normal day for you? How do you feel when something interrupts this routine?

Wake up, take care of some class stuff, teach a class or three depending on the day. Head out to do some hero work, head home and go to sleep. Routine's nice, but interruptions can make things interesting. ...sometimes a little too interesting.

Do you have any hobbies, or interests outside hero work? What are they, and where did you pick them up?

Once in a while I do some sculpting or stone carving. It's good for the soul and once in a while brings in a little extra money. No real formal training, though...just make what I feel like making.

What do you do for fun?

What, saving people and defeating criminals isn't fun? I guess the stoneworking is nice and relaxing, and I'll head out to a quiet bar once in a while for a drink.

Do you have a costume? What does it look like?

Sorta. Kind of threw it together with a few items I bribed out of people. Long brown hooded coat, jeans, boots, mask to keep dirt and sand out of my mouth and nose. The sword, of course; also have some nice goggles I bought (for a pretty penny, too) and a platemail chest piece I had made custom. It's saved my life more than a few times.

How do you normally dress when not in costume?

Casually on my own...jeans and a t-shirt. Slacks, button-up, vest and tie when I'm teaching. Gotta look presentable, you know?

What do you wear to bed most nights?

Eh, boxers. Not like anyone's there to comment on my fashion sense.

Do you wear any special jewelry? What is it, and what does it look like?

Nah, don't like the stuff much. Not that there's much out there for guys.

Do you have a special place where you keep your valuables?

Hah! Yeah, kinda proud of this one: when you need a secret place to store things, and you can move the earth, where do you put them? Several feet under your concrete basement floor! Good luck finding that, burglars.

What's your preferred means of local travel? How about long distance?

I have a car for local and long-distance, though I'll take public transit if I'm feeling a little lazy. I can burrow through the ground at a pretty good clip, but it's hard to tell where I am down there.

Miscellaneous

Have you ever made a will, or tried to make arrangements for your death? What provisions did you make?

No, but that'd be a pretty good idea, wouldn't it? I'll have to think on that one.

If your features were to be destroyed beyond recognition, is there any other way of identifying your body?

Oh, geeze. Morbid. Er...I've broken a couple bones here and there. I guess you could check my medical records.

What would you like to be remembered for after your death?

As a teacher, students are sort of my legacy. If they go on to be successful, I'm happy to be the guy that helped them do that. As a hero...not really one for recognition. If I really went out in a blaze of glory a statue might be nice or something.

Do you believe you pose a threat to the public? Why or why not?

Not if I'm careful. I tear up a street or two sometimes, but I always put it back the way it should be.

What do you perceive as your greatest strength?

...probably that I can move huge rocks with my will alone. Kinda wish I had a more personal answer for this one.

What do you perceive as your greatest weakness?

Probably a little too trusting, and not too experienced at this hero thing.

As a player, if you could, what advice would you give your character? Speak as if he/she were sitting right here in front of you. Use proper tone so they might heed your advice...

Okay, you? You're going to run into a villainess some day and get a sword through your gut because you let your guard down. Also: training is good. Learn to fight better. Toughen yourself up. Learning to control your powers is good, but you really ought to explore pushing the boundaries of what they can do. Make some contacts with the other heroes; you're going to need them.

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Tarrant's Journal, 6/25/2010

So I guess I should keep a record of things and thoughts, just in case...heck, I don't know. Maybe in case I manage to knock myself upside the head with a rock some day. Or someone else does it for me. Or maybe I just got a little record-crazy in all those years of school...eh. Moving on.

I've been thinking a lot lately on how different types of earth have different...I don't even know. Personalities, if that makes any sense? Natures, even. I can move and shape them all but it's always a little different. What's really fascinating to me, though, is when people have already done something with the stone - processed or shaped earth of any kind. Raw ore I can throw around but not shape very well, but finished metal I can't even sense reliably. Statues and sculptures resist reshaping just a tiny bit more than normal rock. Strangest of all are things like cement, bricks, asphalt...they seem to have a sense of purpose that doesn't want to be disrupted, as crazy as that sounds. Bricks don't mind being moved but it's hard to make them into anything that isn't brick-shaped; cement is pretty easy to toss around but seems a little faded when I close my eyes and feel it out.

Asphalt's the worst of all. The stuff is barely even earth anymore. I don't even bother with it - better to grab something else nearby or yank 'real' earth up from underneath. It just...wants to be asphalt. It doesn't really care what you're trying to do with it, and it will fight you to stay on the ground where it 'belongs'. On the bright side, this sort of...purpose inertia makes it really very easy to fix up any collateral damage I may cause...uh, ripping 'real' earth up through the street, I guess. Woops. Anyway, putting a rock cliff face back together? That's hard. But the streets want to be streets and will practically fix themselves.

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Tarrant's Journal, January 2nd, 2011

Man, so much for keeping a record of things. It's been...what, four months?

Yeesh. Six. Well, then. I've been doing...pretty well for myself, actually. I suppose I'm more or less an established hero now; turning the bay into a lake way back when certainly helped. Since my last entry in this journal I've fought crime, helped people, faced demons and even visited Atlantis. Atlantis. No joking. Underwater people and everything. There was even a giant vampire squid...that was a vampire. It spat smaller squids at us. Didn't sleep well for ages.

Today, though, was something special. A while back I met - hm. I probably shouldn't write her name down. I met somebody, who I'll call F (this thing sounds rambly...why do I have to use a pen?). Turns out she was engaged, and I was asked to attend the wedding. A beautiful ceremony, wonderfully-decorated, and an absolutely fantastic old church. I met quite a few people there, but I have to wonder if half of them were also heroes. I wouldn't be surprised. Still, there were no incidents requiring heroics of any kind, which was nice. New to this or not, I half-suspected some old enemy of the couple's to come bursting through a window yelling about revenge.

Looking back, it would have been interesting to see how many wedding-goers excused themselves to the nearest bathroom or closet. Hm.

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Speaking of F, did I mention bees? This journal only has two pages or so filled in, so I don't think I did. Let me mention them again: bees.

BEES.

Talking, intelligent bees the size of semi trucks. And friendly, too, which...took some time to wrap my head around. I'm still not sure I've gotten the whole story, but apparently they were made by a villain. Decent folk, though...er, for bees. F has a whole planet to herself (which could be a whole other story unto itself!), and she gave the bees sanctuary there because...well. Because what else do you do with a bunch of sixty-foot bees? I had to feel bad for them, though; they have bee needs on an absolutely insane scale, but their instincts are...not great. It was already winter and their hives weren't...well I'm not a bee, but even I could tell that they were pretty sad. It says something for their wax that the things were standing up at all.

Which is why F brought me in, really. I admit, it was a lot of fun cutting loose and building something big. I mean big. Most buildings are smaller. It felt good to do something for somebody - somebeedy? - that didn't involve grading papers or hitting criminals with rocks. Their new hive is pretty good, if I do say so myself, and won't get taken down by anything short of a major earthquake; they have space, they'll be warm in the winter, and they have a decent water supply down in the base of the hive. I kind of which I got huge projects like that more often.

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Tarrant's Journal, March 20th, 2011

Looking back on that last entry kind of makes me think. I built a beehive the size of a very, very large building in a matter of minutes. Back on the underwater thing I mentioned earlier, I barely even noticed the crushing ocean pressure that I know must have been around me. Just the other day some kid was half-crazed on some drug and shot me...and I stopped the bullet. With my skin. I, flesh and blood, am now apparently more durable than that breastplate I've been wearing. I'll keep wearing it just in case (and it...kind of fits the theme, I guess?), but...I just...yeah. I'm not bulletproof, but apparently I'm fairly close, and that gets me to wondering.

I really have no answers about anything. I don't know the limits of what I can do, and I keep finding new things that I can do. It seems like once a month I wake up and I'm tougher, or I can dig my way through tougher stone, or...just the other day I found out that I could sink magic into a rock. I couldn't figure out what the point of it was until I needed to get someone out of a burning building later on and made a giant, glowing stone portal...that took me to the rock. Apparently I can only do that to rocks I've set up, but so far I haven't found any sort of limiting distance. Something - what, I don't know - even tells me I could set it up on F's planet...which is in another dimension. Another dimension. Did I mention that?

Some days this is terrifying.

It reminds me, though: I should talk to F again. If I could set up a...I don't even know. Anchor stone, I guess, on her planet I could set up some kind of home base there to help out whenever she or the bees or her survivors (not even going to try to explain them) need it. If she'll let me, of course. I admit, it's a little childish, but I've always wanted a floating castle....

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Tarrant's Journal

So, uh. I sort of have a dragon now.

Well, I don't 'have' a dragon. I don't even know if it (he? she?) is sapient, so I'm not going to claim ownership of something (somebody?) that may be a thinking, feeling person. But I have it/him/her in...custody, I guess?

So here's the thing: a while back I ran into a young heroine - very much the science-and-metal type - and we teamed up to stop a villain in Liberty Park. One of those 'remake the world in MY image!' types, you know. I haven't seen her much since then but at some point she accidentally kidnapped a giant flying lizard when Quirk sent her to some kind of medieval world. I guess the locals were going to kill it...she wears a full, high-tech suit of armor now, but her body language when she had to explain how she accidentally kidnapped a fire-breathing mythological creature was hilarious and kind of adorable (though I think she's hurt me for saying so, and I'm not sure I'd blame her).

Anyway, I guess with the whole sword and armor and magic thing she figured I'd be better-equipped to deal with it than she did, and I figured that at the very least I could...I don't know. Keep it on Sanctuary? I'll have to discuss that with Fleur at the very least. It's in some kind of stasis right now, courtesy of the young inventor, but eventually I'm going to have to decide when and how to wake it up and see if it's...man, I don't even know.

Intelligent? Reasonable? Best case, I make a new friend. Worst case, I lose limbs or get eaten. I'm not entirely sure how those balance out. I guess I'll have to decide eventually.

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