From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
- Nothing discloses real character like the use of power. It is easy for the weak to be gentle. Most people can bear adversity; but if you wish to know what a man really is give him power. This is the supreme test.
- —Robert G. Ingersoll, "True Greatness Exemplified in Abraham Lincoln", Unity Vol. 11, No. 1 (March 1, 1883)
Stellar Abyss has gone through a couple of different iterations. He was always going to be the dark counterpart to Stellar Protector, just as the Warshades were the dark counterpart to Peacebringers (well, more accurate to say the Nictus in this case). This was pre-Going Rogue, however, so the character started as a dark/dark Corruptor. With the arrival of the GR expansion, though, and the ability to side-switch, I was finally able to create Stellar Abyss as he should be-a villain with Warshade powers. I took the time to recreate the character's backstory at that time as well.
Stellar Abyss is a bit of a thug. In spite of his significant power, he's still a thug at heart.
He's abrasive. He's condescending. He'll insult people because he knows they can't touch him (usually). He looks upon his lessers with contempt-and he views a lot of people as his lessers. Most people, really.
At the same time, however, he is a soldier of Arachnos. As a member of Rostov's Black Ops Brigade, he's loyal to a fault. He's aware that Rostov was the one who gave him the chance to be better than most everyone else, and he's sure that Rostov's the one who can find a way to take it all away if he doesn't toe the line. Abyss is okay with that; as long as he can become more powerful, boss around more people, and generally get his way when he wants it, he's willing to follow orders. Because of loyalty to Rostov...and perhaps a bit of fear as well.
All of Stellar Abyss's powers derive from his Stellar Gem (currently in the form of a blackened gem-like bracer on his right arm). The energy supplied by the gem is derived from the remains of unbound Nictus. While the untainted Gems have nearly unlimited power, tainted Gems are limited by the strength of the Nictus fragments bound to them. However, in the short term, they can deliver as much "umbral energy" as an untainted Stellar Gem can; it is only in tests of endurance that the tainted Gem may be found wanting.
Additionally, there is a limit to the power the bearer may utilize on an inhabited world; the further away the bearer is from inhabited worlds, the greater the available power to Stellar Abyss. There is no known way to override these limits-in spite of the best efforts of Nictus scientists.
The tainted Stellar Gem gives him the ability to wield dark energies originating from the Nictus taint. Whether it's through eye beams, or energy bursts from his fists, those energies operate as he wishes. He can use that power to affect others in more subtle ways as well: increasing his own strength at the expense of others, locking them into place with his energies, even infusing the bodies of the fallen with the power to the point where they explode, harming any standing nearby.
The Gem is also able to offer Abyss a significant amount of protection from harm, creating layered shields to protect him. He can use this aura for a variety of other effects: often it will drain the life force of the fallen, reinvigorating him. At other times, he can use it to conceal himself, damage those around him, or merely disorient those who close in to fight him hand-to-hand.
In addition to harnessing cosmic energy for assorted uses, the Stellar Gem aids its wearer in other ways.
The armor manifested from the tainted Stellar Gem is polymimetic in nature, adapting itself to the situation around it. In the presence of those who concentrate on defense, it draws on their ability to increase Stellar Abyss's toughness. In the presence of those who believe the best defense is a good offense, it increases the power available to inflict harm on his enemies. For those who use their powers to influence or control the battlefield, it adapts to render Abyss more resistant to similar effects.
The taint of the Gem removed its ability to allow the bearer to fly on an inhabited planet (although this limitation may be removed if taken out of a planet's gravity well; at that point, it can be presumed that it allows flight in a similar manner to untainted Gems, including flight speed and the ability to generate "warp portals" for interstellar travel). The Nictus energy within, however, allows Abyss to teleport himself at rapid speeds-and he can draw other willing participants to his location through energy portals crated by his Gem. As of yet, he has been unable to draw an enemy to him in a similar manner-a limitation that continues to frustrate him.
Abyss's most notable skill is probably his interrogation abilities. (That's the kind way of putting it.) As a leg-breaker, he tends to get the mooks to tell him whatever he wants to know.
He is probably proficient in the use of Arachnos technology as well, being exposed to it on a daily basis.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Because of the original source of the Stellar Gem's power, there is a flaw in the defenses that Abyss can muster. As with Peacebringers and Warshades, his own defenses are reduced dramatically against quantum array weaponry. As a result, anyone wielding such weapons are usually Abyss's first targets to be held or disoriented-and then killed.
A Stellar Gem is a device that appears in its natural state as a clear, oddly shaped gemstone; the tainted version, however, will appear as a perfectly cut black gem. When bonded to a host, it transforms into a band wrapped around some extremity of the host (in Stellar Abyss's case, a bracer around his right forearm). The Gem has a sophisticated and advanced artificial intelligence, which can communicate. The Gem will only communicate to the host, however. When actively using its powers, the Gem will manifest an extension of itself around the host, for use as armor. This is a common feature of the Stellar Gems, and the tainting of Abyss's Gem does not affect them.
The Gem allows its host to survive in hostile conditions, from undersea depths, to outer space. It is implied that the Gem can enable its host to travel at interstellar speeds, but this implication has yet to be tested. The Gem allows communication with any species the host comes across; so far, it has demonstrated translations of every Earth language and a small number of alien ones.
The Stellar Gems were created a very long time ago, when the conflict between the aliens known as Kheldians and Nictus was still in its infancy. In the hopes of gaining an advantage over the ruthless Nictus, the Kheldians-and the race many of them had been Joined with at the time-attempted to strengthen their forces by enabling those without a Joined Kheldian to stand up to the Nictus as equals. They did this by creating the Stellar Gems.
Not true gems, these devices were a combination of weapon, armor, communications device, and information source, and bound to the user in ways similar to the means that Kheldians bound themselves to their hosts. Unfortunately, because these Gems were powered with energies similar to that of the Kheldians themselves, those bound to the gems were similarly vulnerable to weapons designed to kill the Kheldians. The experiment created ten thousand Stellar Protectors (as they came to be known). They defended their world against the Nictus alongside their Kheldian benefactors, and for a time, it appeared that the strategy would be a success-until the Nictus learned how to corrupt the Stellar Gems, and twist those bound to the gems to their own purposes.
The Kheldians had no choice but to fight their former comrades-in-arms. In the end, the Kheldians prevailed, but at a terrible cost-many Kheldians were permanently destroyed, and nearly all the Stellar Protectors had been slain, both those who aided the Kheldians and those who served the Nictus. Worse yet, the AIs in the Gems caused the Gems to scatter throughout the universe. Three of the Gems would be lost in the interstellar void, until they drifted too close to a wormhole, which deposited them between Mars and Earth.
One fell into the Indian Ocean. One fell in to Paragon City. And, whether by chance or sick cosmic design, one fell to Mercy Island. Of the three, that one was the tainted one.
By this time, Mercy Island had a reputation for criminals everywhere. It was a place where a villain could rise to incredible power-if he was strong enough. The problem was that many of these criminals were lied to. They weren't brought into the Isles to compete for power; they were brought in as cannon fodder for Lord Recluse's "Destined Ones" to prove themselves. Thus, hordes of Hellions and Skulls from Paragon City fell to the awakening powers of those chosen by Lord Recluse.
Those who survived tended to try to scavenge the blasted landscape of Mercy Island, in hopes of discovering something-anything-that could allow them greater power, power to stand up against the Destined Ones, and perhaps make their own destiny. One Skull came across the Gem-and it, approving of what it saw, bonded to him. He beat the odds-he had gained real power. He claimed the title of Stellar Abyss, and began his own rise to glory.
He often worked with villains from a self proclaimed Dread Legion of Anarchy, and became "friends" with an extradimensional ruler known as the King of the Dusk and a being known as Sessesh. Unfortunately, during one of his solo outings where he tried to rob a bank in Paragon City, he encountered a bearer of one of the other three Gems: Stellar Protector. The fight was intense, but brief-for all the power Abyss had available, he couldn't overcome the greater power of the hero. In the end, Abyss's Gem itself betrayed him: it proclaimed him unsuitable as a host for itself, used its power to incinerate Abyss from the inside out, and flew off back to the area it had originated from: Mercy Island.
Having tapped into the wireless Internet in its travel back, the Gem learned that the Stellar Protector was a member of Hyperion Force. Accordingly, it determined who that team's most significant enemy was, and presented itself silently to Operative Rostov. Rostov, however, was more cautious than the unfortunate Skull, and did not touch it to allow it to bond to him. Instead, he ordered it studied-even his limited exposure had shown him that it contained a fair amount of dark energies that could be of use.
It was not until news reports of a group of Gem-Bearers operating under Council orders that Rostov understood what he had in his possession. At that point, he selected a number of volunteers to attempt to bond to the tainted Gem. Several were rejected immediately; it simply did not bond to them. But one of those volunteers had some quality that the Gem wanted, and it bonded to him as easily as it had its last bearer.
Rostov gave the volunteer the title "Stellar Abyss", and immediately started making use of him. The newly named Abyss was sent to work briefly with the Entropy Legion, before being recalled by Rostov (who had decided that the Legion was a waste of Abyss's talent and power), to work directly under his own command.
|Primals||Heroes||Agent Repulse • Amazing Kane • Armored Battalion • Fighting Wolfman • Gatewarden • Invictar • Old Ranger • Qi'Lar • Skyshade • Spectral Fighter • Stellar Protector • Sunpulse • Timelost • Winter Tornado|
|Vigilantes||Nyctomancer • Occult Explorer|
|Villains||Devil's Chamberlain • Dracofire • Operative Rostov • Stellar Abyss|
|Rogues||Baron Craven • Ebon Thunderbolt • General Retaliation • Professor Dredd|