‘No, your giant mecha is not going to beat us, now that I know the weak spot’s between the shoulder blades. How’d I know? I’m a telepath Otaku. . .work it out. Oh, and is that all you think about by the way? Ick. No wonder Gimmick dropped you like a sack of dirt. . .’
Power and responsibility. Those are the two cornerstones of Chase Atom’s upbringing, lessons that have been driven home time and time again by Doc Atom, Jack Wolf, and his older brother Maximus. Since coming into his powers at seven, Chase has come to realize over the course of their adventures that he may well be the most powerful member of the team. That revelation has led to Chase having grown up a great deal faster than his siblings, lending him a more serious air than someone his age should have.
This isn’t to say that Chase is a dour or unhappy person; far from it, he enjoys a zest for life and legitimately enjoys the company of his family and fellow heroes. It’s just that. . .well. . .people tend to make him a little uncomfortable, so he tends to hang back when it comes to strange minds he’s unfamiliar with. Chase has the unfortunate ability to know everything about a person simply by looking at them; in one glance he can read your soul like glancing over a paperback cover. He doesn’t get the whole story, but he can glean the pertinent information about a person from only a few seconds contact. He doesn’t intentionally scan people, but sometimes the ‘noise’ is more than he can effectively tune out. With people he’s familiar and friendly with, it’s generally a soothing background hum, and one that his mental defences are prepared to accept and work around. As he’s explained at times when guest-speaking to students at the Claremont Academy ‘Being a telepath is sometimes like being a dog on the fourth of July. When people start setting off fireworks and you have hypersensitive hearing, it can make you crazy. And like dogs, beginning telepaths have no way to block the deluge of ‘sound’ coming at us from every mind in our immediate radius. So if you wonder why your friend with the psionic powers is a little snippy with you, be aware that not only can he pick up on your voice in a crisis, he can probably hear your thoughts, what you’re thinking about having for dinner, the villain’s thoughts, what his favorite movie is, and about the same for what everyone in the nearby Go-Mart is thinking. With training and discipline, this effect diminishes over time, but it’s still no picnic. Believe me, I know.’
Like Tesla, Chase has a hunger for knowledge, but the two Atoms differ in their respective fields. While Tesla is developing a background in physical sciences, Chase is contemplating pursuing psychiatry. His powers give him an insight into emotion, motivation, and the inner workings of the human mind. While he’s still making his way through private schooling, the idea does have it’s appeal. Off duty, Chase can often be found reading books such as Aristotle’s Ethics or Marcus Aurielius’ Meditations (he tried reading some Nietzsche but found it made him a little nervous. No wonder the Psions are so loopy). He believes more than anyone that who we are is often what we choose to believe ourselves to be. For such a solemn young man, Chase remains an unbridled optimist when it comes to redemption and second chances for those who sincerely want to change. Even the worst of people have some redeeming qualities. Well, most of them anyway.
Chase is also unique amongst his siblings in that—with his powers emerging so early in life—he really never had any semblance of a childhood. He’s intensely uncomfortable around people his own age, and often cultivates an aloof demeanor to cover up his profound insecurity. It’s in these moments of nose-raising, haughty indifference that Jack Wolf tends to smile wanly, seeing so very much of Mentac in the boy. Chase isn’t mean-spirited, but he’s often at a loss as to what young people actually do, so he frequently slips into an air of haughty disdain. After all, what trip to the mall or movie viewing could compare to a trip to Farside City or a battle in the Octuran Nebula alongside the Star Knights? Beneath this façade however is a yearning to find friends he can connect with. The trouble is, when you can see through the faces people wear every day and know what they’re ultimately capable of, it can be a bit disheartening to find a true blue friend.
Chase is close to Ray Gardner Jr., even after Ray become a member of the Next-Gen (and adopted easily the dumbest code-name Chase has ever heard, but he doesn’t have the heart to tell his friend how lame ‘Bolt’ sounds to him), and that friendship has opened doors to talk with other members of the team where he’d once have adopted his slightly snooty air. Ironically, Chase has become fast friends with Sonic, the two having bonded quickly because Chase can see just how sincere Lemar is in his efforts to help Lincoln and be a hero. The pair often riff off one another, with Chase’s dry wit playing nicely complimenting Sonic’s exuberant taunting on the occasions they’ve teamed up. Together Chase, Bolt, and Sonic are developing a reputation for unorthodox and unconventional heroism. . .earning the chiding nickname ‘The Terrible Trio’ from an amused Johnny Rocket.
After Sonic, Chase finds himself often going to Pseudo for advice. Being able to talk to a fellow telepath who isn’t out to control Farside City or the world is refreshing for Chase, and he hopes one day that maybe the whole of the Grue Unity could be made to see the universe as a place of potential cooperation rather than conquest. It’s a dim hope though, as most of them seem to subscribe to the Meta-Grue’s philosophy of strength through brutality.
Of the Atoms, Chase is often the group’s spokesman to other groups. He’s able to communicate with just about any sentient being, and is often the switchboard for the team to communicate and coordinate in battle. Of all the Atoms, he’s often the voice of reason advising against outright violence until they’ve found out exactly what’s going on. The youngest Atom is often the first to greet the unknown with a friendly smile and a hello rather than launching into the standard ‘misunderstanding-followed-by-fight-until-we-realize-we’re-on-the-same-side’ routine. Unfortunately, he can’t be everywhere, and his more impulsive siblings(*cough*VICKI*cough*) tend to leap first well before they look, leaving it up to Chase to extricate the team from a potential diplomatic embarrassment. A less altruistic reason for Chase’s disdain for physical combat is for a simple enough reason; with his mental awareness he can feel just about everyone’s pain in a battle, good and bad. That tends to color his perceptions toward violence, and makes his efforts to find a peaceful solution all the more pressing.
Among his family, Chase tends to gravitate toward Max as his role model, though he cares for his sisters a great deal. He frequently finds himself doing his ample best to get Vicki to slow down and sit still, but is beginning to realize it’s a lost cause. He loves his uncle Jack deeply, knowing with bedrock certainty that his uncle is a good and decent man who loved his mother very much, and even with their falling out he never stopped loving his father like a brother beneath the hurt. His grandfather is a constant source of inspiration to him, and there hasn’t been a no-win scenario made that Grandpa couldn’t beat. ALEX is a source of comfort not only for being another parental influence, but for the fact that the android’s orderly thought processes are soothingly predictable. A little smothering at times yes, but wonderfully peaceful.
People tend to wonder why a serious-minded young man like Chase would have a pet named ‘Cosmo the Moon Monkey’(for the record it was Maximus who saddled the alien monkey with the name). The little ape is actually a significant source of strength for Max; the little simian’s mind is easily one of the most tranquil Chase has ever encountered, and the bond they share does a lot to help center the young Atom when dealing with the constant mental ‘noise pollution’ of life on Earth. Perhaps it was the work of the Moonstone's influence upon the simians of Farside City, but most people there have similar ‘moon monkey’ pets for children born with telepathic ability. A genetic trait engineered in them for a purpose? Or a quirk of genetics? Chase doesn’t know and doesn’t particularly care; he loves the little blue monkey as fiercely as any member of his family and would defend the creature just as feverently. The feeling is mutual, with Cosmo doing his best to protect the younger Atom with his teleportational powers.
Among their rogues, Chase is sympathetic toward Gamma, working with his older brother to try and convince him to let go of a life of hate his father wouldn’t have wanted for him. Chase is a reluctant arch-enemy because of his belief in redemption. Only hardcore cases like the Cosmic Mind, Lady Lunar, or the Meta-Grue tend to raise his ire, and even then he works to subdue them with as little trauma as possible. His ‘wicked aunt’ is a particular pain to Chase, as she continually tries to prove her superiority over the ‘insolent scion of my hated kinsman!’ So far Chase hasn’t had it in him to do more than give her the odd mind-whammy. One day she may push him too far, and when that happens, the kid gloves will be off.
Despite Dr. Atom and Jack Wolf’s confidentiality (try keeping secrets from a telepath), Chase is well aware of his potential power, and treats it delicately. He never uses any but the minimum required mental force to deal with a given crisis or situation. Having tasted the power of the Moonstone, he knows that there could literally be no limit to what he could do, and it scares him. He’s read enough to know that absolute power has a tendency to corrupt absolutely, and has sworn he’ll never use his powers for anything beyond helping people. Whether this is a promise he can keep is another matter; sometimes the world seems so chaotic and he’d just like to grab the reins and make people behave. . .it’s a tightrope he’s walked successfully, and as long as he has his family and friends supporting him he hasn’t fallen over that line. The very idea of forcing someone to act against their will is abhorrent to him.
Roleplaying Hints: When playing Chase, bear in mind that he is one of the most powerful telepaths on the side of the angels in Freedom. He’s also a kid who’s had to grow up exceedingly fast in the high-risk environs of superheroic life. This has led to two facets of his personality that are key to understanding the youngest Atom: power, and responsibility.
When first meeting Chase, be aware he’ll have his deflector screens up, particularly with younger heroes. Unlike other teen heroes he hasn’t had that normal life of school, peers, friends to help keep his feet on the ground. He’s uncomfortable with strangers and often adopts an air of aloof disdain to cover his insecurity. This can initially make him seem like a silent snob, hanging back with his weird blue monkey instead of talking to them, leaving that to Maximus or Victoria (who knows everybody anyway). It isn’t that Chase is a snob, it’s just that with his power, he can sense just about everything the hero brings to the table emotionally (he won’t read minds without permission, but he can get a pretty good bead on what a person is like). Heroes being heroes, it shouldn’t take him long to warm to player characters, but play up that initial reticence coupled with a kid’s desire to ‘be cool.’
Another facet to Chase’s personality is his role as the Atom’s resident diplomat. He works hard to ensure that his siblings don’t just barge into a situation and make it worse, and any group of heroes the Atoms stumble upon in their adventures will at least get the chance to explain their side of the story before any ‘misunderstandings’ can break out. Chase is also the first to advocate rehabilitation for anyone he feels deserves a second chance; he never gives up on Gamma, or the Hellqueen, or any villain he feels truly deserves a shot at redemption. Heroes with a criminal past may find an unexpected advocate in the young Atom, who will go to the wall for them if they’re truly sincere in their desire to improve themselves. Of course, if they aren’t, they’ll only have one of the most powerful minds on the planet hacked off at them. Good luck with that. . .
Like his brother Max, Chase is a decent young man trying to use his power to benefit mankind in the best Atom tradition. Heroes who need a telepath to help them with mentalist foes or younger heroes needing someone to talk to will find a ready ally and an open ear in Chase. While he’s sometimes not the easiest Atom to make friends with, those he does take a shine to have a friend and ally for life.
Last edited by Defender2.0
on Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.
" We believe in heroes because, ultimately. we believe in ourselves. " -Jack Kirby.