Ellis
Ellis.jpg
Wasteland
Real Name: Ellis Anthony Carstairs (born Ellis Baldwin)
Age: 17
Identity: Secret, known to the British government
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England
Date of Birth: October 28th, 1992
Known Relatives: Iain (adopted father), Edwina (adopted mother, deceased), Susannah, Bukola (adopted sisters, deceased), Jonathan (adopted brother), Fergal (adopted brother, deceased), Shirley Baldwin (biological mother, deceased), biological father unknown
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195 lbs
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black
Grade: Junior
Dorm: Astro

Background

A lot of people get screwed over by life. Some of those people steel themselves, rise above it and forge ahead, building a better world for themselves. Others get squashed. Shirley Baldwin was one of the latter. She wasn't a bad person, or even a particularly weak one, but she was dealt a crappy hand and found herself working as a prostitute on the streets of London, addicted to heroin by the time she was 15 years old. Like so many girls in her situation, Shirley fell through the cracks and out of reach of social services, deeper into the clutches of the dangerous world that fed her addiction. The outlook for her life was bleak, any hope for a better future seeming increasingly like a pipe dream, so she simply did what was necessary to make it through each day. Just after she turned sixteen, she discovered she was pregnant.

Given her line of work, Shirley had no way of identifying the father of her child, making support from him impossible, but she decided to keep the baby. Though her brain told her she couldn't possibly take care of a child, her heart told her otherwise. The life she carried inside her felt like a beacon, like the only glimmer of hope she was capable of producing. Her baby represented a brighter future, a future of possibilities and, crucially, unconditional love. That was something she wanted badly. So, she did what she could to clean up her act, reducing her drug habit and trying to make herself less vulnerable during the pregnancy. It was a bumpy road but, miraculously, she finally gave birth to a baby boy, who she named Ellis. He was a very sickly child, underweight and suffering from heroin withdrawal, but these were conditions the hospital staff had anticipated and they were able to take good care of him. Eventually, Shirley was allowed to take him home.

Things were okay for a while. Not ideal, not great, but okay. Shirley looked after Ellis, did what she needed to do to put clothes on his back and food in his stomach, to get him a cot and a few toys, to keep his environment clean and safe, but their world was a fragile one. She was still an addict, still a prostitute, and these were not the ingredients for a stable existence, nor were they the best circumstances in which to raise a child. Fortunately for Ellis, Shirley's pregnancy had put her back on the radar of the authorities and, as time passed, they began paying more attention to the Baldwins. Making regular housecalls, they took note when his clothes started looking unironed and unwashed, when strung out strangers started answering the door instead of Shirley, and especially when Ellis began losing weight. When he was eighteen months old, they felt they were left with no other choice than to remove Ellis from the home. Shirley was already in a downward spiral and the loss of her child only hastened her self-destruction. Within a week, her life was claimed by an overdose.

Ellis was placed on the adoption register but his case-workers feared the worst. There were always more children than there were prospective parents, and so only the 'best' of the bunch tended to get chosen. The reality was that a sickly, malnourished, black eighteen month old wasn't at the top of most potential parents' wish lists. For the first time in his young life though, Ellis was blessed with a stroke of good luck, when Iain and Edwina Carstairs came along. Iain was a physicist in the employ of the British government who was enthusiastic about adoption but it was the wealthy Edwina who was the real driving force in the marriage. Though they were both capable of having children, she passionately believed that it was their duty to provide a home for children who needed one rather than bringing new children into the world themselves. She specifically sought out the kinds of babies who were often overlooked and Ellis fit the bill perfectly. The newly named Ellis Anthony Carstairs became the fourth of five adopted siblings.

Life in the Carstairs household in Hertfordshire was a radically different experience for Ellis but he was still so young that he didn't understand that anything had changed, he just knew that his tummy was full and people were playing with him for the first time in months. Being in a happy, warm, comfortable home agreed with him and his health quickly improved until he was as hardy as his siblings. He was never as rambunctious as them though. By nature, he was a serious child, quiet, observant and reserved, although not to a worrying extent. As he got older, it became clear that he was never going to be rebellious or goofy or energetic, nor would he secure a wide circle of friends for himself. On the other hand, he was thoughtful, polite, and tried his hardest in school. Plus, most important in the opinion of his adopted parents, he was quite content. And very little trouble, which didn't hurt at all.

Since the Carstairs weren't short of money by any stretch of the imagination, Ellis was lucky enough to want for nothing, and was provided with an excellent education. As he entered his teen years, his interest in academics became stronger and stronger. He tore through books, reading textbooks as if they were Harry Potter books. School was a competitive place but Ellis was frequently at the top of the class, especially in mathematics and the sciences. For his eleventh birthday, his parents gave him a top-of-the-range telescope, and that ignited a fascination with the stars in him, focussing his intellectual interests into the study of space. Though he continued to work hard in all subjects, it was abundantly clear that, like his physicist father, he intended to pursue his interest in astronomy and astrophysics and forge a career in science. Certainly, he displayed a natural talent for the subject, far beyond that of his peers, and his future in the field looked bright.

When he was 14, the Carstairs family relocated to Plymouth. These living circumstances were somewhat different since they were now living on an army base, where Iain and a cadre of other leading scientists were working on a project for the government. The project was considered highly classified so even Ellis knew very few details of its purpose, understanding only that they were developing a device which would be able to mask British troops from radar detection. Though he didn't really like his new surroundings, he did as he always did and stuck his nose into his books. Once the family had settled, life passed as usual for a few weeks until, one night, Ellis woke up in agony.

Unable to move, he could hear screaming in the distance but found it difficult to think of anything but the pain burning through every cell of his body. Fighting for breath, he slipped into unconsciousness. Three days later, he was roused, only to discover that his world had changed. Looking drawn and distressed, Iain sat at his bedside and quietly explained that his team hadn't been working on a radar-scrambler at all. That had been a cover story. Instead, they'd been working on a weapon, a dirty bomb, one which was designed to eradicate all the moisture in an environment, rendering it barren and killing anyone within. They had been close to a breakthrough, when an accident had occurred and a portion of the bomb had become active, detonating in the army base. Though Iain and the other scientists, at the eye of the storm, had been safe, 74 other people had died, their bodies reduced to brittle, emaciated husks. Among them were Ellis's mother, his two sisters, and his youngest brother. Only one of his siblings survived, his older brother, simply because he'd been off the base at the time, whiling away the hours at a club. Everyone else in the bomb's range was lost.

And then there was Ellis himself, the only person who seemed unaffected by the effects of the weapon. Though he'd been in pain, his body hadn't actually lost any moisture and he clearly wasn't dead. Nobody knew why he'd survived and, at that moment in time, it didn't seem to matter. He'd lost almost his entire family and it was his father's fault. Ellis didn't know what to do with that information, he didn't know how to process it, so he withdrew, from Iain in particular but from everyone else too. He'd never been a very sociable kid, always a bit of a loner, but now he actively avoided conversation with anyone. Instead, he dove into his studies with a vengeance, trying to work through his grief. However, the universe wouldn't let him move on. It had a surprise for him. When strange things started happening, like waking up to find his sheets were stiff and crispy or going to bite into an apple and finding it withered in his hand, he was puzzled, but he just wrote these incidents off as random oddities. They became increasingly common, however, and it soon became clear to him that he was going to have to cooperate with the scientists who'd been requesting to examine him in an effort to find out why he survived the bomb. It seemed the only way to find out what was wrong with him.

Tests were run and the reason behind these strange occurrences became clear. While everybody else had been killed by the accidental detonation of the desiccation bomb, Ellis had been changed by it. The bomb had, somehow, rewritten his genetic structure, granting him the same capabilities the bomb had. He was now able to remove the moisture from objects and people in the environment around him, drying them out completely. In effect, he was now the weapon his father had spent so long trying to create. They were unable to ascertain exactly how this had happened but they postulated that either the incomplete bomb's effects had been random or, more likely, Ellis was a latent Neohuman, genetically predisposed to adopting superhuman abilities. Either way, the circumstances of the accident could not be recreated, and Ellis's genetic structure was now locked down. The powerset he'd adopted might develop further but he wouldn't be spontaneously acquiring any new ones, nor would he be returning to the way he was. For better or worse, he would stay this way.

Initially, Ellis was horrified. It seemed to him that he was the personification of the very thing that destroyed his family and he couldn't imagine how that could possibly be a good thing. The anger he'd been harbouring towards his father only intensified. Something had to be done, however, because he was demonstrating very little control over his newfound abilities and sooner or later he knew he could accidentally desiccate a living being. While Ellis shut himself away, Iain used his contacts within the British government to find out if anything could be done to help him, and they provided him with details of the Steranko Institute, a secretive and exclusive school in the United States. When it became clear that the institute was a school for Neohumans, Ellis leapt at the chance to go there. In truth, only part of the reason for that was the opportunity to learn how to harness his powers. Secretly, he was also desperate to get away from his father. Seeing him every day was too much for Ellis to cope with.

Joining the Steranko Institute in his Sophomore year, Ellis received the kind of tuition he could only have dreamt of elsewhere. The teachers there helped him explore and take control of his power. Within months, he no longer dried things out by accident, his abilities only activating when he willed them to. They also helped him to start viewing his powers as a potential blessing rather than a curse. Though it had never been his goal, he started to realise that life as a superhero would enable him to wring some good from the monstrosity of his power. To that end, he selected Wasteland as his codename, a moniker he felt was suitably bleak. He remained in love with science though, and having access to super-scientists only fueled that passion. On a personal level, though, he didn't suddenly become gregarious and cheery. Ellis still preferred to remain distant from others, making few, if any, real friends. Though he remained in regular contact with his sole surviving brother, he stopped responding to communications with his father. Now 17, he's approaching the end of his Junior year, soon to embark on his final year at Steranko.

Personality

Ellis Carstairs isn't the most friendly chap you'll ever meet. He maintains an emotional distance from everyone, deliberately, and never goes out of his way to spend time with people. Presumably he has a sense of humour of some sort but there's little evidence of it. He's a serious guy through and through, and he generally gets very irritated by those who spend their time larking around or goofing off. Life is a serious matter and people who don't seem to understand that are frustratingly immature, in his eyes. He just doesn't have the time or the patience for that sort of thing. Parties and other social gatherings aren't on his radar at all. Equally, he displays no interest in dating and has romantic notions extremely rarely. This isn't just a result of shyness or social awkwardness (though he can suffer from both), he genuinely has next to no interest in such things.

All of this makes Ellis sound like a thoroughly unpleasant individual but he isn't really. He's almost always polite to anyone he meets and is only ever rude under extreme provocation, preferring to avoid confrontations by just walking away. Hurting anyone else, either physically or emotionally, is a thought he hates. If he can help someone in any way then he will. He may not like spending time with other people but that doesn't mean he doesn't have respect for them or that he doesn't want the best for them. It's important to him that he makes a positive difference to the world, whether that's as a scientist or as a superhero, because he's aware that there are too many unhappy people in the world who are stuck in lives they hate and they shouldn't have to be. Ellis is driven and hard-working in both his studies and his training, and what he lacks in social skills he makes up for in brains. He has a lot of potential as a superhero and as a scientist working within that community, and he intends to make good on that promise.

His relationship with his adopted father is a difficult one and a source of considerable pain for him. Ellis blames Iain for the deaths of most of his family and for burdening him with powers he sees as abominable, and has had no contact with him for some time. Despite that, he views Iain as, effectively, his real father and has no interest in finding out who his biological father was. For all that he blames Iain for what happened, his contempt is also directed partially at himself. His father might have inadvertantly set off the desiccation bomb but Ellis is the living embodiment of it. Secretly, he regards himself as a monster, a personification of an evil and destructive force, a weapon of mass destruction. Clearly, that feeling does little for his self esteem. However, he won't allow that to be the end of his story. However horrible he feels his power is, it's still power, and that means he can use it to help and protect others. Something awful happened to him and made him into a being he struggles to live with, but he's determined that some good will come of it.

Logs

Coming soon.

Stats


Attr: Str 14 (+2), Dex 12 (+1), Con 18 (+4), Int 20 (+5), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)

Saves: Toughness +4, Fortitude +8, Reflex +4, Will +8

Combat: Attack +6, Defense +6, Grapple +8, Init +1

Skills: Computers 4 (+9), Concentration 3 (+4), Intimidate 1 (+1), Knowledge/Earth Sciences 5 (+10), Knowledge/Life Sciences 3 (+8), Knowledge/Physical Sciences 8 (+13), Knowledge/Technology 2 (+7), Language (English, French, Spanish) 2, Notice 2 (+3), Search 2 (+7)

Feats: All-out Attack, Diehard, Endurance 2, Well-Informed

Powers:

  • Corrosion 10 (Source: Mutation; Desiccation field; Feats: Alternate Power x2; Extras: General Area - Burst; Cost 4PP/Rank+2, Total: 42PP)
    • AP: Corrosion 10 (Desiccation touch; 30PP)
    • AP: Disintegration 8 (Desiccation blast; 40PP)
  • Immunity 1 (Poisons; Cost 1PP/Rank; Total: 1PP)

Attributes 26 + Saves 14 + Combat 24 + Skills 8 + Feats 5 + Powers 43 - Drawbacks 0 = 120 PP

Complications

Daddy Issues: Given the circumstances in which Ellis gained his powers, and his adopted father's culpability in the matter, relations between father and son are far from good. Ellis is sensitive about any questions regarding his family history but particularly so when it comes to Iain Carstairs. Though he has had no contact with Iain for some time, by his own choice, his feelings towards him are complicated and powerful. He loves him and hates him all at once. If anyone were looking to use a pawn against Ellis, Iain is an ideal candidate.

Daddy Issues… With The Other Daddy This Time: Ellis has no idea who his real, biological father is, nor does he have any wish to find out. He's aware his mother was a prostitute and therefore his father was almost certainly a client of hers. Therefore, not the kind of guy he'd want to hang out with. However, there is evidence which suggests Ellis was born a Neohuman, with a genetic structure unstable enough to adapt and take on a set of superhuman powers to survive. That means it's entirely possible he inherited those freaky genetics from another Neohuman - his father. Were that mystery man to re-enter his life, his presence could be impactful, and not just on an emotional level.

Lone Wolf: Though he's never been a sociable type of guy, Ellis's withdrawal from others has increased in intensity since he received his powers. The emotional distance he clings to influences every relationship and social interaction he has. That can also have other knock-on effects. For instance, if he ever has a problem, he has no real friends to turn to. He also lacks a certain amount of status among his peers and so getting them to listen to him in a combat situation can be difficult. He simply doesn't have the communication skills or the established relationships to make himself heard.

Weapon of Mass Destruction: There's no getting away from it. Ellis's powers are horrible. There's nothing bright or glorious about them. In fact, it could be argued (by Ellis himself, even) that his powers are inherently evil. Certainly, they carry with them the potential for widespread devastation and loss of life. Ellis is acutely aware of this and has trained hard to ensure he has control over his desiccation abilities, but still he must walk around with the knowledge that he's extremely dangerous and must maintain that control every second of the day. Not only that but the psychological relationship he has with his powers is a troubled one, one which has a significant impact on his self-esteem. He sees himself as the personification of the very thing which killed most of his family, an entity containing something dark and terrible, and that's not going to do anybody's psyche any good.

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