From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
| Look, pal, I deal in three things: Truth, Justice, and Hope. Here's how they relate to you:|
The Truth is that I'm going to kick your ass.
|Real Name:||Eric Lewellyn West|
|Known Aliases:||The Big A, A-Man, Ace, the Defendant|
|Height:||6'3" (Ascendant)/5'7" (Eric)|
|Weight:||220lbs (Ascendant)/135lbs (Eric)|
|Hair Color:||Blond (Ascendant)/Brown (Eric)|
|Occupation:||Information Technology Specialist, Licensed Super Hero|
|Place of Birth:||Paragon City, Rhode Island|
|Base of Operations:||The Liberty League Base, which operates out of the basement of an undisclosed,much more popular supergroup. Also, his apartment("The Fortress of Squalortude") in Steel Canyon, Paragon City|
|Marital Status:||Painfully Single|
|Known Relatives:||Saul Rubenstien (Uncle), Max Rubenstien (Uncle, whereabouts unknown), Edith West (Mother; deceased), Jack West (Father; deceased)|
|Super Strength, Invulnerability, Flight, Hypersenses, Laser Vision, Reduced Physical Dependencies|
|Portal Technology, Willpower|
|No additional information available.|
Ascendant is the first character I came up with for COH, and by far, my favorite. I think characters, no matter how complex, should be able to be summed up in an "Elevator Pitch", that is, the length of time it would take you to pitch an idea to someone next to you in an elevator. Ascendant's Elevator Pitch has always been "Imagine a guy with the powers of Superman, but the luck of Peter Parker." Ascendant appeared for a brief cameo in Issue 19 of the City of Heroes comic book.
- Saul Rubenstien (Uncle/Agent)
Supergroup: Liberty League
Former Supergroup: League of Valor (Defunct)
Eric tends to be shy and unassuming, but quick with a joke once he's been coaxed out of his shell or around friends. He often pretends to be world-weary and descends into gallows humor, but in truth, he's genuinely optimistic and truly believes that people are basically good.
As Ascendant, he's more self confident, but still suffers from shyness, especially around very attractive women. He's uncomfortable with his status as a celebrity, and tends to be surprisingly down-to-earth when approached in person.
Like the rest of his body, Ascendant's 'muscles' are actually composed largely of Energy Prime in a protosolid state. Thus, they can create enormous amounts of kinetic force, allowing him to perform feats of astonishing strength.
Being made of Energy Prime makes Ascendant extremely durable. Not only is he exceptionally resilient to practically all forms of damage, he 'heals' at the speed it takes his body to draw upon more Energy Prime, greatly accelerating his recovery time.
By converting minute amounts of Energy Prime into directed kinetic energy, Ascendant can fly at extraordinary speeds. His top speed in atmosphere is approximately Mach 5, but he stays at subsonic speeds in populated areas. For trips that require extraordinary speed, he will often take an orbital trajectory, allowing him to reach any point on the Earth within a half an hour.
Outside of the atmosphere, he can attain an acceleration of approximately one astronomical unit (eight light-minutes) every 24 hours without undue effort.
Through concentration, Ascendant can temporarily enhance his sensitivity to practically any stimuli. While he primarily uses this ability to enhance his hearing and vision, he could theoretically enhance any sense he possesses. Furthermore, he could theoretically map new stimuli to an existing sense, given enough time. For example, he could (through extensive concentration) temporarily adopt the ability to "hear" neutrinos or "taste" photons, although his success rate in cultivating this ability has thus far proven scatter shot at best.
Ascendant has recently acquired the ability to channel small amounts of Energy Prime in order to fire beams of focused energy from his eyes over short distances. This generally manifests as a high powered, high temperature energy spike within his retinas, which, in turn, become momentarily reflective (similar to a dog's eye) and forces the resultant energy out of the irises in intensely focused beams of light. What this power lacks in efficiency (especially by modern laser standards) it is quite effective because of the raw amount of initial energy associated to it.
While incapable of true shapeshifting, Ascendant can subconsciously modify the Energy Prime in his body to transform to and from his 'regular' body of Eric West and his 'idealized' body of Ascendant and back as needed. This ability does not extend to his clothing, thus Ascendant relies upon a small teleportation device of his own design concealed to simultaneously teleport the proper articles of clothing around him while he transforms.
Of particular interest is that while he still has all of his powers in either form, they are generally around 60-70% as potent when he is in his 'regular' body.
Reduced Physical Dependencies
Since his body is composed largely of Energy Prime and Exotic Matter, Ascendant has very few physical needs. His need to eat or sleep in particular have been greatly reduced to a fraction of what is required to sustain a normal human being, and his need to breathe has been eliminated altogether. It would seem that this trend is continuing as his body becomes more and more attuned to Energy Prime, and it is likely that, if unchecked, he will eventually have no physical requirements whatsoever.
Portal Technology Aptitude
Of above average intelligence, Eric West has proven to be particularly gifted in the field of Parachronics, the study of other dimensions.
During his coma, Eric had to wrest control of his powers from the Emissary (see Weaknesses and Limitations ) in a year long battle that took place in his subconscious. Due to skills he learned during the battle, Eric's willpower is exceptionally strong.
While able to transform his body instantaneously, Ascendant cannot do the same with his clothing. For this, he relies on a device he invented called the televalet, a teleportation device that swaps his normal day-to-day clothing and his superhero uniform simultaneously.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Ascendant is extremely vulnerable to Xenonite, a rare substance which is often created in the aftermath of extremely high energy explosions. Xenonite disrupts the balance of Exotic Matter and Energy Prime in his body, weakening him. Theoretically, exposure to a 1 kg quantity of Xenonite within a 3 meter radius would kill Ascendant in under 15 minutes.
Xenonite also disrupts Ascendant's body mass on contact, allowing Xenonite tipped weapons to pierce his 'skin' as effectively as a comparable weapon used on a normal human being.
The Emissary is a mental construct that represents the wishes of the Entity, a vast extra-dimensional creature which rebuilt Eric at a subatomic level, thus granting him his powers. The Emissary is currently imprisoned in The Cell, a mental barrier within Eric's mind, but the ward weakens during times of great stress, fatigue, or loss. During these times, the Emissary almost always makes a bid to regain control of Ascendant.
The Emissary has only one goal: insuring the continued survival of the Entity at any costs. Currently, it plans to achieve that goal by opening a portal large enough to allow the Entity's core consciousness access to our dimension.
Ascendant has struggled with a fear of teleportation in general since his accident. He is particularly wary of portal travel. He has, however, made significant strides in overcoming this difficulty over the past few years.
Since the accident that gifted him with his powers, Eric has been unable to talk like a pirate. It has been speculated that the portion of his brain that included some faux linguistics has been remapped to serve some other, as yet unknown function.
Ascendant has, over the years, become involved in numerous scandals resulting from merchandising deals gone awry. Without exception, these schemes have originated from his Manager/Agent/Uncle, Saul Rubenstien and have almost always resulted in long, drawn out lawsuits. While technically a weakness, the scope of these poor marketing decisions is so vast that it warrants a category of its own.
Ascendant Action Power Hour
The Ascendant Action Power Hour was intended to be an hour long television show featuring cartoon adaptations of Ascendant's more famous exploits. However, creative differences, soaring costs and the inability to secure likeness rights from various villains forced the show's producer, Saul Rubenstien, to make several compromises. First, the Action Power Hour was only 22 minutes long. Next, focus groups determined that Ascendant needed a sidekick in the form of a talking dinosaur named Rex. Third, tie-ins with marketing demanded that several of the character's powers be 'tweaked' to match the capabilities of the action figure (see below). Finally, an ill-timed animator's strike three episodes into the first season forced Saul to replace the content in the remaining 11 episodes with footage stolen from the 1985 season of ABC's "Nightline" with Ted Koppel.
While the show was not picked up for renewal the following season (and both ABC and Ted Koppel had filed injunctions against the show in the interim), Saul did later scrape together enough capital to create a twelve episode second season which aired briefly on syndicated TV. Unfortunately, the actor who voiced the gruff but lovable talking dinosaur Rex had passed away, so the show introduced a replacement in the form of a jive talking street-smart leprechaun sidekick known as "MC Luck-E". The final episodes were a two-part series that were later released as a stand alone, direct to video holiday movie titled "Ascendant Saves Kwanza".
Ascendant Action Figure
Two different versions of the Ascendant Action Figure were released, each with equally disastrous results. They have been pulled from the market, but are still available on superhero memorabilia auction sites, such as "X-Bay".
* Burning Halo Action Ascendant
The original Ascendant action figure (now discontinued) was released in tandem with the first season of the television series and almost immediately garnered scorn by parents and fans alike. The most obvious problem was that the figure featured something called 'burning halo action', a pyrotechnic effect which was achieved by a mechanism in the figure that caused it to spontaneously burst into flame at random intervals. This was particularly ironic given that the actual Ascendant has no ability to produce or control flame in any way. The figure also featured a laser sword and an armored 'battle yarmulke', neither of which are owned in real life by the actual Ascendant.
* Super Flight Action Ascendant
After the recall of the original action figure, Ascendant demanded that if an action figure was to be produced for the public that it should at least feature a power that he actually possessed. The result was the Super Flight Action Ascendant Figure, an action figure which, with the help of concealed turbines, could fly for distances of up to a mile. However, the engines, which were purchased in bulk from a failed military technology venture, had been originally designed for use in a small surface-to-air missile system, and still contained the guidance chips from their original application. Super Flight Action Ascendant Action Figures were immediately recalled after the FAA determined them to be the cause of three separate airliner crashes. While no longer sold, several crates of the toy have been stolen and sold on the black market to third world countries as surface-to-air missiles.
The Ascendant Action Cave Playset
This popular children's toy was originally called the "Ascendant Action Cave Playset", but the name was later shortened to "The A-Hole" shortly before launch to better fit on the box. Ascendant was reportedly mortified to find that the box proudly proclaimed "Ascendant stores all of his most precious things in his Incredible A-Hole!". Built on a 20% smaller scale than the Ascendant Action Figures, the A-Hole was a 're-imagined' version of Eric's apartment, and featured such amenities as the Ascendant Action Desk, the Ascendant Action Lamp, and the Ascendant Action Rug. While the Action Lamp didn't actually work, for some reason the Ascendant Action Stove and the Ascendant Action Microwave did, giving rise to yet another wave of safety concerns which ultimately came to a boil when Saul begrudgingly admitted that the A-Holes were constructed largely out of asbestos salvaged from Chernobyl (although Saul was quick to point out that the asbestos made the playset ideal for the Burning Halo Action Ascendant Action Figure).
This children's cereal was liberally sprinkled with the rare substance known as Xenonite (see Weaknesses and Limitations, above), which, at the time, Saul mistakenly believed to be the source of Ascendant's power. The exact logic for this decision is unclear, as the Xenonite would drive the cost of production to approximately five thousand dollars per box (Saul countered these concerns by nebulously promising to make the money up on 'overseas sales'). While the cereal never made it past FDA testing and onto shelves, at least one truckload of the cereal was stolen, and some of its contents have since shown up in stores or in the hands of eager supervillains. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that the Council has since obtained the original formula to Ascendant-O's and is marketing it within the Rogue Isles.
Contrary to popular belief, Ascendant-O's were actually X-shaped.
Ascendant Yodels the Polka
Ascendant's music career began and ended with the release of this album, which consisted of several tracks that had been covertly recorded by Saul while Ascendant was singing in the shower and then later played over public domain music. While the expletive-laden spoken word track titled "This isn't my Shampoo-- What the hell did you do to my Shampoo, Saul?!?" became a tremendous (if inexplicable) hit in Denmark, the album in general was a terrible failure, and resulted in a court order preventing Ascendant from singing in public within the borders of the United States.
Ascendant: The Game
Anxious to cash in on what he called "the kids with their X-Lax 360s and Pretendos", Saul recently entered into a joint venture with Halfway Decent Multimedia to create Ascendant: The Game, which he described as "One of those computer-type games the kids are all into these days." While the CEO of Halfway Decent Multimedia promised that Ascendant: The Game would be "The most realistic depiction of Paragon City ever seen in a video game", An early beta leaked in the web would indicate that the game is destined to be a colossal failure.
After several failed attempts at merchandising, Ascendant instructed Saul to manufacture something completely harmless that couldn't, in any way, result in a lawsuit. The result was the sturdy and attractive Ascendant-brand lunchbox, which became an instant hit until it was revealed that, for some unknown reason, approximately one in every twelve lunchboxes was filled with live scorpions*.
Ascendant and Saul were, of course, immediately sued.
*The class has yet to be categorized, as their genetic makeup does not conform to any known Arachnida. What is known is that they are able to fly using dragon-fly like wings and, given time and proximity, can establish an rudimentary psionic hive mind to bond among one another. They also feature an acidic spittle that can dissolve most metals in a matter of seconds (oddly enough, this doesn't seem to work on the frame of the lunchboxes) and are extremely aggressive. The actual origin of the creatures is still a hotly debated topic among Entomologists, but the prevailing theory is that they are somehow of extradimensional origin.
The Liti-Gator was a time traveling half lizard attorney from the year 2499 that journeyed back to the present day to sue Ascendant for using superpowers, which were made retroactively illegal in 2498. Through skillful argument, Ascendant convinced the Liti-Gator to settle out of court, which negated the attorney's timestream and removed the confused lizard from existence altogether. Detailed in Ascendant/A Time and A Case for Everything
Oculos, the All-Seeing
Made almost completely out of eyeballs, Oculos, the All-Seeing was a criminal who used his 360 degree vision to commit crimes. Usually, his capers involved the acquisition of eyelids, as he possessed none of his own and therefore found it extremely difficult to sleep. The authorities were often too disquieted by his unique appearance to apprehend him, so Ascendant was called in to subdue him. At first, the superhero was uncertain how to apprehend the villain without causing extensive eye damage, but he eventually conquered Oculos by squeezing half a grapefruit over him, immediately rendering him helpless.
The so-called 'Barbaric Baron of Breakfast', The Griddler was a deranged chef who committed a series of pancake and waffle-themed crimes throughout the city, culminating in an attempt to 'Waffleize' the Belgian ambassador. Ascendant foiled the plot, and the Griddler was severely battered.
The Griddler recently teamed with the 'Diabolical Duchess of Dessert', the infamous supervillainess, Terror Misu.
Ascendant has, from time to time, battled the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Mex, a burrito-fueled, fire breathing mutant dinosaur that is well over 200 feet tall. The so-called "Horror from South of the Border" has posed considerable challenges to the world's superheroic community over the years. While Tyrannosaurus Mex was most recently warded off from the North American mainland by a concentrated metahuman presence, its current whereabouts are unknown. More troubling is the fact that Tyrannosaurus Mex has a small offspring on the loose, which has been dubbed the Chimichupacabra.
Ascendant has recently learned that the Tyrannosaurus Mex is actually under the control of a sect of Mexican food-worshiping magic users, known only as the Nachosen.
The Awkwarden was a super criminal who possessed the unique ability to imprison people within extra-dimensional 'cells' created by the strained silences of decidedly uncomfortable conversations. He was particularly successful in entrapping Ascendant by secretly arranging a "chance" meeting with his former girlfriends. Ascendant managed to escape the trap and then turned the tables on the Awkwarden by unexpectedly hugging him. The resulting uncomfortable silence should keep the Awkwarden effectively imprisoned for generations to come.
According to a cursed tome of ancient AKC records, the vicious BloodHound (also known as the Demon Dog of Dracula) isn't actually a member of the BloodHound (or St. Hubert hound) breed of dogs. In fact, the BloodHound is a hairless, vampiric chihuahua with an insatiable thirst for blood. As Ascendant has no actual blood, and his skin is far to strong to be pierced by the dog's tiny teeth, he can't be physically harmed by the creature. However, the dreaded dog's Terrifying visage still, as he puts it, "seriously creeps me the hell out", and he's fled from several encounters with the Pooch Of Purgatory in sheer terror.
As far as the public at large knows, Ascendant's 'official' origin story is that he was struck by a bolt of extra-dimensional energy from a malfunctioning portal, thus granting him his powers. The actual truth is (as always) a bit more complicated.
Mild mannered college student Eric West had quickly demonstrated his aptitude in Portal Physics, and was asked by one of his professors to help in a project codenamed Ambient Blue. The goal of the project was to extend the reach of the portal system into universes with vastly different vibrational strata. Eric agreed, and became a valuable member of team. In fact, he pioneered the Telescope Theory, a plan to project increasingly smaller portals within one another, extending the reach of the portal system much the same way a telescoping rod expands.
However, something went terribly wrong the day of the experiment. Eric was closest to the gate when it overloaded, and while the explosion instantly killed everyone in the lab, Eric was instead sucked into the portal's event horizon.
Eric rematerialized, unconscious and nearly dead, within the sentient universe that called itself the Entity. The Entity was being eaten alive by entropic energy it called the Omega Storm, and after scanning Eric's mind, it realized that the strange new visitor might hold the only chance to escape to another dimension. It repaired Eric's damaged body as best as it could and planted a fragment of its consciousness in Eric's mind before the Portal Corp failsafe systems pulled Eric back to Earth some three minutes later.
The Entity's plan was simple: once back, the fragment, known as the Emissary, would possess Eric and use the student's knowledge of transdimensional physics to build a portal large enough to allow the Entity's core consciousness travel to our dimension, thus escaping the Omega Storm for good. Once here, the Entity would regain power by assimilating whatever matter it could find, eventually absorbing the whole of the universe.
However, the Entity knew from examining Eric’s memories that Earth's heroes would probably try and stop the plan, so it hedged its bets by giving Eric's body a considerable upgrade. It rebuilt him at the subatomic level out of exotic matter and infused him with Energy Prime, confident that the new body would be more than a match for any resistance Earth might mount against it. However, the Entity misjudged the power of the human spirit, and during his year long coma after the portal accident, Eric's mind was able to subdue the Emissary and imprison it within a mental construct he called the Cell.
Formidable as Ascendant's power is, it's a fraction of the abilities he would possess under the control of the Emissary. As guided by Eric, Ascendant is a Stradivarius in the hands of a clumsy child, while the Emissary is a master violinist. Eric is fully aware that the threat the Emissary (and, by extension, the Entity) poses to the world, and has tried several times to remove it from his mind altogether, with little success. To this day, the Emissary waits patiently in the Cell, waiting for the opportunity to strike.
In early 2005, the increasingly unstable robot known as Drazzil created a set of Xenonite-tipped fifty caliber bullets that were used in an aborted attempt to kill Ascendant. Shortly after the incident, Ascendant obtained 9 of the 12 remaining bullets. Since then, he has handed them out to his most trusted friends with the instructions that they should be used to kill him should the Emissary ever gain control.
Eric currently works as an IT professional for Paragon Network News, a 24-hour news channel that covers events in and around Paragon City. Unbeknown to his employers, he has hacked the computers they use to monitor breaking news in order to keep on top of events that may require Ascendant's intervention.
The Once and Future Crom
In late 2006, the supervillain known as Doctor Crom decided to mount an offensive against the superhero community by systematically slaying the heroes he knew posed the greatest threat to his scheme to dominate the globe. He started alphabetically, and thus, Ascendant was his first target. Through the acquisiton of a superorbital missile from Warburg, Crom planned to alter the trajectory of a small, Xenonite-rich asteroid and have it fall to Earth. Once there, he intended to harvest the Xenonite and utilize it to eliminate Ascendant once and for all.
However, Ascendant's death would set into motion a series of events where a future Doctor Crom, then known as the Sovereign, would face an even more challenging threat, and thus the Sovereign traveled back in time to thwart his present-day self. He managed to muster an unlikely army of superhumans who foiled the plot against Ascendant's life, saving the superhero and insuring the ghastly events of the Sovereign's timestream never came to pass.
Secret Crisis Wars (on 52 Earths)
In 2007, Ascendant was recruited by the Triumvirate of Order to help locate and protect the Eye of All, a vastly powerful artifact which supposedly has recorded every single event in the multiverse. Ascendant was joined by the heroes KnightFalcon, Quiver, Meganaut, and Red-Shift, although the latter betrayed the team to join the cause of Evil.
Once Ascendant and his team had secured the Eye, they were able to utilize its powers to project the illusion that the Eye had been destroyed. As far as the forces of darkness are concerned, the Eye has been lost forever, but the truth is that it now serves as the secret headquarters of the Triumvirate of Order and their elite troubleshooting force, the Eternity Squadron.
The Crey Conundrum
Crey Industries recently found out that Ascendant and Eric West are one and the same, only to realize that the discovery was more of a curse than a blessing. After commissioning an in-depth study of their options, it was determined that publicly revealing his identity to the world at large would likely cause him to quit his day job and commit to a life as a professional superhuman. This, in turn, would mean an extra 40-60 hours a week he could spend destroying Crey property, up to an estimated $35 million dollars of damages accrued on an annual basis. Furthermore, attempts to use his friends and family against him would be equally futile—Eric has no friends outside of the superhero community, and Crey's analysts quickly realized that if they captured or killed Eric's one known relative, Saul Rubenstien, Ascendant's operational efficiency would increase by at least 37%. Ultimately, it is in Crey's best interests if Ascendant's secret identity is maintained in perpetuity, a conclusion that causes the Countess no end of chagrin.
To this day, Ascendant has no idea that Crey knows he is Eric West, nor does he realize that they have spent millions of dollars covertly protecting his identity from the public.