Epsilon Project: 1-5

This is a summary for the Epsilon Project serial… complete through to the end of STORY FIVE. For while every story can stand alone, there is a thread running through the parts. I’m hoping this post will help jog everyone’s memory (including mine) and get people more enthused for some upcoming voting. Which is also happening in this post.

First, a reminder about the Epsilon Project itself, paraphrasing from Alice: The station was designed to react to dimensional anomalies. The crew could then make almost zero alterations fixing them (hence Epsilon, a tiny value… it’s not the fifth station). Clarified later by Beam to be handling of rogue anomalies, not individual human error.

Most of their missions were reasonably successful.

MAIN CHARACTERS

I’ll present the character sections in approximate order of appearance and relevance. The first remark is when and why I first created the character. The numbers indicate the end of the story during which the prior information was discovered.

Feel free to vote at the bottom based on the backstory, you don’t have to have seen them in action.

1. Alijda Van Vliet

Originally a role-play character in a play-by-mail RPG, “Powers” (2011-2012). Played by Katja Herbers. Female, in her mid-thirties.

Alijda van Vliet (chibi).
Commissioned from: Shirochya

First met while using the pseudonym Alison van der Land. Has the ability to teleport in a cloud of purple and black smoke, thanks to an incident involving Marshall Biochemical Engineering some time after she turned 24. Needs a visual reference to teleport (which can be a photo). Teleport preserves relative velocity, and she can carry up to 300 pounds.

Grew up in British Columbia; parents moved away after she went to University. She dropped out and checked herself into a psychiatric unit due to issues with depression; that’s where she met Mason and got prescription medication. Has a way with computer software, to the point of hacking alien technology. Is mildly paranoid.

Fled to Seattle after embezzling money from a corrupt company and bought a house. Worked as a secretary for a college professor named Singh. Had romantic feelings for a police officer named David Rose who had also been in the MBE incident, having gained super speed. She tends to nickname people (like “bunny girl” for Para) so she doesn’t get attached. (1)

After the first mission, started writing fiction and putting it online, but after a year she was still getting low readership. Born in the Netherlands, knows some Dutch. Can be impatient and is annoyed by references she doesn’t get. Shrank (temporarily) due to her teleporting in a density suit, until she was doll size. Sees Para as being child-like. (3)

Returned to the station after six months. Wanted to know Kat better. Will challenge Alice’s opinions (to a point). Does trend to black/dark humour, wants to stop hurting more than she wants to die. Had dinner with Kat after the couple days of testing, which followed the Fate mission. (4)

2. Para Bola

PARA
(Commission from Michelle Simpson)

Originally one of my personified math characters (2011-present). Female personified quadratic graph who has bunny ears on a hairband, attuned to her moods. Blonde hair, pink dress with a bow.

Self-conscious about human interaction and once cut herself on the arms. Can fly by spinning her ears. Was a late addition to the first mission (but arrived first). Trusting to the point of blurting out information she possibly shouldn’t. (1)

Returned to the station to set up a square-cube program, and vouched for Alijda to get her programming help. Immune to fairy knockout dust, and doesn’t ‘sleep’ the same way as a human. (3)

Brought to her third mission by Chartreuse, adopting the guise of an educational assistant. Was willing to believe rumours, given how Fractal City had proved to exist in her mathematical network. Used a metronome to calculate when a room would fill with plush animals. (5)

3. Katherine “Kat” Conway

Originally a character in the online RPG “Doorways” via IRC (2011-2013). Male, played by Colin Ferguson. Thirty-something Sergeant in the Canadian military, assigned to the “Doorways” project out of Nevada (that allows travel to alternate worlds, out of Epsilon’s reach).

KAT CONWAY
(Commission from Jakface)

Personal interest in the occult owing to his pyrokinesis. Carries a matchbook. Seeking a girl he knew in high school named Fate, but never goes in depth about why.

Name is because his mom died giving birth to him (not in a hospital), and they thought he’d be a girl. Has an eye for the ladies but doesn’t take relationships seriously. Tends to make jokes when under stress. Tried to better understand Alijda, hoping she wouldn’t give up on herself. Is good with configuring computer hardware (not so much with hacking). Fire control is limited to what might be in a fireplace. (3)

Returned to the station after only a few hours, which helped him recall Chris’ communications spell. In the military because his father was lax and felt like Kat needed more discipline. Recognizes a few occult symbols. Fate was his first serious relationship in high school (after her rejection of him); they went to prom and corresponded while he was at military college (until it suddenly stopped). Was willing to bend rules to get Fate back. Opened up to Alijda. (4)

4. Chartreuse Vermilion

Originally a character in my “Time & Tied” serial (2000-present). Female teenager who says ‘like’ and ‘you know’ after having succumbed to mystic forces. Dyes her hair pink. Bisexual.

CHARTREUSE VERMILION
(Commission by Ruuari)

Required a day to align herself to the cosmic forces of a new world. (Azure showed what happened without that day.) Uses crystals to see into the future (if she has a focus), and can get flashes from people or their auras. Technology can interfere with that.

Dating a girl named Carrie, who can stop time/has time travel abilities. Has a thing for blondes. Her younger sister named Azure (who is more verbally direct) can see into the past, using cards. Their family has worked with the Canadian government in the past. She’s not a great cook. (2)

Returned to the station after two weeks (still her summer). A jade ring artifact (obtained by Beam) was meant to reduce ill effects of dimensional alignment; Chartreuse still got queasy. Later took it off to help receive impressions. Insisted on neon red stockings to go with the drab school uniform disguise.

Used a piece of quartz to divine a hidden panel. Doesn’t think ‘brainwashing crystals’ are a real thing. Got sensory stunned saving Para from a ray gun. (5)

STATION CHARACTERS

5. Alice Vunderlande

ALICE VUNDERLANDE
(Commission from Cherry Z)

Originally a role-play character on the BuffyMUX (2004-2005), full name Alison, female. Prone to making pop culture references (and saying ‘awesome sauce’). Former secretary to Angel Investigations, rescued from a Hell Dimension by the Epsilon Project’s “God” (a female). (1) Possibly that involved an actual Angel. (4)

Claimed she couldn’t leave the station (2); it was later revealed that she used to do solo missions until the station required maintenance (such as for power problems). (4) Had worked with the project less than a year before seeking recruits. Enjoys morning exercise. Has an eidetic memory and analytic mind. Was fired for creating a dimensional rift to help her team, and ended up moving in with Alijda, on her world. (3)

Returned to the station after six months. During that time, made a pin based on Steins;Gate to commemorate her Epsilon time. Can get manic when given alcohol, and overshares bedroom stories with her friends. Not great with social cues. Enjoys music while working, and is good at creating devices. Mentally junked a lot of her hell dimension memories. (4)

Her ability to free associate terms allowed her to defeat a truth serum. Used to do karaoke when first recruited to the station, though is not the best vocalist. Good at recognizing pieces of devices, and dimensionally related items too. (5)

6. Beam

CHIBI BEAM
(Commission from Gen Ishihara)

Originally a character in an online MUX (2009-2011). Female, long blonde hair, early twenties. An autonomous hologram with internal batteries and a charging port in her hairband (her control mechanism, and a weak point, along with her earrings). Mostly light, so has no bones to break when falling and her blood is a simulation. Can run faster than a normal human. Lesbian.

Beam’s first memory is of waking up in an alleyway, knowing only her name and basic programming. Taken in by a non-redheaded woman. Part of her programming is to repay debts to girls who save her life. Has trouble differentiating between girlfriends and girl friends, partly because her world advocates free love regardless of gender. Marriage is for procreation.

Saw her recruitment to Epsilon as being escape (from a place where her rejection of males was peculiar), versus abduction. Her first mission was a tech world with a magic amulet, accomplished by seducing a female archaeologist. Upgraded the station sensors; never knew about Mr Smith.

Can transition to an insubstantial state (and back) using her earrings, though it’s a power drain. Takes items on her person with her automatically, but they cannot be used. Tends to overshare, much like Alice (perhaps due to them mostly working alone).

Classified Rose as her first girl friend, thanks to Kat. Knows kung fu and acrobatic self-defence techniques. Rules oriented, has trouble deviating from protocol. Now works with Alice, under Fate’s command. (4) Injured on a mission with Alice, but got information to hack a high-tech school. Likes all-girl group hugs. (5)

7. Fate Wallace-Wray

Originally a character in Kat’s backstory (same online RPG; no photo). Blonde hair, now long and in a side ponytail. Tends to wear black (like Alijda). Was dimensionally abducted by Compton Sr, but her occult symbols made her immune to his mind scrambler. Decided she was resigned to living out her days on a world where magic was regulated and where her occult symbols worked more tangibly. Adopted the name Destiny and specialized in potions.

Tried to find people with not-quite-right powers, and dimensional weak points. A cyber arm found at one such point she imbued with a desire, lest it phase back to her own world; it was retrieved by Beam. Tortured briefly by Compton Jr, who was trying to resume his father’s illegal dimensional activities. Weird sense of humour.

Defeated Compton Jr (with Rose’s help) and learned Compton Sr had been fed the knowledge of dimensional travel. Accepted command of Epsilon as a transition before a possible return home. (4) Recruited Chartreuse by having the station do some temporal shifting. Seems to be “all business” with reports (possibly Beam’s influence). (5)

MINOR CHARACTERS

8. Rosemary “Rose” Thorne

Originally a character in my “The Girl Who Speaks With Algebra” serial (2016-2017). Red hair with freckles, teenager in university.

ROSEMARY THORNE
(Commission from Lia)

Mistaken as being a math genius by Beam; Rose claims her blonde girlfriend Paige is the math and techno-girl. (Also mentioned Paige had father issues.) Babbles when nervous and resorts to humour to stay calm, like when she was given control of the Station. Avoids social media for those reasons.

Musically inclined, sings alto, can play piano and cook. Wears pun shirts. Tends to say flûte, as a way of feeling closer to her french girlfriend. Used to lie to herself about her sexual preferences. Knows basic self defence. Will second guess herself, doesn’t like being in charge. Learned about both Kat’s and Beam’s first missions’, and tried to teach Beam about boundaries. Had stronger magic potential than Kat.

Gaining tracking magic in her nose briefly made her drunk, and she talked about Angie, a girl she liked in high school – with the opposite problem to Beam, in that Angie pulled away. She envies how open Beam is about being a lesbian. Later considered them being pen pals.

A mystic shockwave gave Rose the power of doubling, which she linked back to multiplying emotions once, under the guise of ‘Algebra’. She used the power to double Compton, who was set to reflect, and hence became copies of herself. She also used it to amplify Fate’s mind scrambling spell. It wouldn’t carry over to her normal reality. (4)

9. Simon Black

Jensen Ackles

Originally a character in my “Last Magical Girl” unfinished serial (2003/2010). Played by Jensen Ackles. In his mid to late twenties. Knows someone named Becky from his reality, had to leave her behind once. Also someone named Keith who does technology; Simon isn’t a fan.

Works as a magician, knows misdirection/slight of hand and basic hypnosis. Is a pretty good cook, partly because his mother died when he was young. Was briefly turned into Simone on the mission. Mild obsession with magical girls, and watches anime. (2) Was sent to the small scale world a year before that third mission. (3)

10. Mason

Morgan Freeman

Originally a character in an online RPG via IRC (2006-2008). Played by Morgan Freeman. Is a time lord who likes to keep his TARDIS in the form of a 1950s London taxicab (the “for hire” sign strobing upon materialization).

Arrived by tracing an inter-spatial call for assistance. Used to go by the name “Chief”, but now considers himself more of an observer.

Uses a device he calls Bardiche which has multiple functions (like a swiss army knife). Was taken aback that pieces of his history existed in a science fiction show for a particular reality/dimension. (1) The fact that his race was copyright of the BBC there meant Alice got a ‘cease and desist’ letter. (4)

SETTING

The worlds change with each mission, but the station is the “hub” for each to them. So here are some notes about the Epsilon Station itself: A self-regulating station, tracking right and wrong, located in neutral territory. A place of projects of deep mystery, for an unspecified number of humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space-time… all alone in the night.

The station’s computer intelligence is female, Alice calls her Ziggy. There is also an independent system in the auxiliary control room named Mr Smith (who is male). While usually somehow out of phase with the worlds of each mission (including the ability to temporally jump), the station can be parked in orbit around a planet.

From Story4, see the station at the bottom.

The station’s in the shape of a wheel. The name for the central control room is the Hub. It’s large enough allow a person to park a car in front of the main view screen, and the room is shaped like a cylinder. Across from the main screen is a large wall of computer banks, while the other compass directions include a meeting place, and a storage area.

A large ring device with lit chevrons (think Stargate), located in the middle of the Hub’s floor, can send people to different dimensional realities. It’s kept irised shut until the ring activates; blackness can be seen before the whirlpool appears. Access to the Hub is from the ceiling, with another irised door; there is a ladder, or more usually gravity can be turned off.

Other rooms include: a fitness room, holography deck, small cafeteria, auxiliary control, artifact containment, override room, and a personal room for the commander (where they can sleep and such). A few places can be shielded from detection by sensors.

Communicators in the form of digital watches can communicate back to Epsilon (not between each other, except via the station with an open channel). They can teleport people onto the station, but prefer to whirlpool them off. They have the technology to synthesize component elements, but limited power. They are able to shore up a planet’s dimensional weak points.

The project only pays people “in adventure, a better life, favours to be named later kind of deal”. The female God Alice has referred to would seemingly veto a male administrator, as their egos are deemed “too fragile”.

PLOTS

Here’s a quick rundown on the various stories that have appeared so far, followed at the bottom by an overall linking element. There are some spoilers, so feel free to click the links and read first!

Plot for Story One: Numbers Game (2014): People with powers learn that someone is messing with clocks. This turns out to be Phillip Denomolos, aka “the Denominator”, a 20-something tech genius. He was being influenced by Lissa Jous, in his dreams. This allowed her to rewrite his reality and dimensionally jump from her own.

Plot for Story Two: Wish Fulfilment (2015): An artifact is granting wishes on a fantasy world. Wanda, apprentice to the wizard Qifarihm, was tired of male beliefs affecting their magic reality. (Females need a focus object to control spells.) With the artifact, she took over his job. Snowball, the white cat, became a pink unicorn, while a (formerly) imaginary elf named Pelinelneth became Wanda’s companion.

Plot for Story Three: Full Scale Invasion (2016): A small scale world is being invaded by large scale objects. The Department of Extradimensional Objects (with Larry Appleson and Bonnie DuChessy) knew of previous smaller anomalous objects, and worked with tech. Meanwhile the Magic Users Club (with Michaela and friends) used fantasy items. Queeny (and City Hall) tried to clamp down on everything, and it took Cure Axiom to learn their answers were with Clyde, former DEO head.

Plot for Story Four: Epsilon Delta (2017): The Epsilon station in the multiverse is in trouble. A cyber arm Beam brought back went rogue, trying to crash the station. A parallel planetary investigation with Firestorm led to tracking a woman named Destiny – even though that became outside the scope of their mission. Dealing with her abduction by Compton (Jr) revealed multiverse issues with his father.

Plot for Story Five: Chanced Erasures (2018): Infiltrating a school that knows about the multiple dimensions. Chartreuse (there to rescue Alice) was mistaken by Sam Depas for being in the ‘work elsewhere in multiverse’ club, aka ‘Clover Club’. Sue Morts (limited invisibility power) and Sir Thred helped investigate. Mind manipulation and ending dimensional travel (to halt immigration) turned out to be involved.

Do you have a favourite story so far? A reminder you can answer simply based on the summaries, you don’t have to have read them all to vote.

The only real thread through stories 1-3 was Alice, who was subsequently fired. In story 4 we see someone still wanted the missions to continue solo, recruiting Beam. The crew then determined that a shadow group was spreading dimensional knowledge to various Earths, their only clue being a clover shape. This led to discovering the existence of “Clover Enterprises” in story 5, a seemingly nomadic organization taking money in exchange for information or favours. Possibly manipulating the progress of worlds.

Where do you think this might be going? Did you want a revisit of any prior worlds?

IN CONCLUSION

We’re going to try for a Story Six to finish off another trilogy. The plan is to post up some options next week, leave the voting open to the start of May, and then begin writing. Much like with the previous story, there would be a week to vote, then a week for me to write a part and post, so the site would maintain it’s schedule of a post every two weeks.

The votes above (in this entry) will give me an idea of whom you might like to see more of. And the usual way I write is to shift point-of-view every chapter, so this way the preferred characters might get more POVs. But of course, I make these stories up on the fly, so we’ll see what works with the narrative as well.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, for plot or otherwise feel free to comment. For instance, I’ve been debating bringing Trixie on board, now that anyone who read my last serial is aware of her. But do I have too many female characters already…?

Until next time, I hope you were able to do some voting here, and please do spread the word… I’ve had 10 days with zero pageviews on this 300+ story entry site so far in April, maybe we can do something about that. Thanks!

4 comments

    1. Good to know, thanks… Trixie’s in the running depending on where the story goes. I’m also going to assume you mean you like the thought that all of my characters could meet each other (versus a focus on Math characters or something).

      Makes me wonder if that’s something people like in general, the idea that an author’s characters coexist somehow. Certainly could make for an interesting relationshipping polygon (or two). Thanks again for the thought.

      Like

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