Meet Alice Vivian Starr, one seemingly utterly average person. Born to Alexander and Erica Starr, Alice is the only daughter of two career medical doctors, a general practitioner and anesthesiologist, respectively. While her parents were definitely there for her, they could not exactly be called 'doting'. Their careers and patients always took center stage and Alice was always regulated to the sidelines. Growing up, she had a succession of nannies and then daycare that did most of the work of taking care of her. Still, her parents were doctors and, while not exactly rich, they could definitely afford to give her any material comforts she might desire. And they usually did.
Alice was also a fairly precocious and inquisitive child, much to the annoyance of her peers and caregivers. The questions just never stopped with her! Although cheerful, the constant irritation of others was hard to ignore and eventually led to the girl being painfully shy and awkward. There's only so many times one can handle the snide words, exasperated sighs, and just outright being ignored before one just gives up, especially when some of those people are teachers.
Still, her desire to know things would not be easily quenched. So, when other people began to shun her, Alice turned inward to books and the Internet. Even as a young elementary student, she would spend hours surfing online and drilling down deep into Wikilinks. It was on one of these sojourns along the Information Superhighway that Alice had a fateful encounter with a website about photography. As she looked at the pictures present, she was taken by the sublime beauty possible through the lens of a camera. She delved further and further into the realm of photography, soaking up information about it. On her eighth birthday, she got her first camera -- a simple digital one. After taking her first picture, though, she was hooked and photography became a burning passion inside her. With a lack of friends, Alice turned to the web as a means to publish her work, learning how to make herself a website to show galleries to anyone who cared.
Once she reached school age, Alice became a latch-key kid in overdrive. The house was frequently vacant thanks to her parents hectic schedules. Alice quickly learned that she had to do things herself. Everything, in fact. She had to cook her own meals (or at least order them), make sure her homework was done and grades were okay, and get to sleep at a proper hour. Her parents simply could not spend the time to help and so she was left to fend for herself. This wasn't all bad, of course; it taught her self-reliance and allowed her to engage in her own interests without having someone looking over her shoulder. But it was awfully lonely.
While in middle school, her academic performance was above par and she was moved to the gifted and talented classes. This did not exactly help her already suffering social scores; rather than being merely shunned by her classmates, she now became a target to be bullied. Still, it wasn't all bad; being in the gifted classes meant she could finally talk about subjects that interested her and have a chance others would be interested as well. Of course, she would sardonically note that being in those courses resulted in an increase of homework -- something which hardly seemed very gifted or talented. Why on earth would anyone want MORE pointless busywork? Alice finally made friends in her classes, despite the bullying she was exposed to nearly daily.
Alice went on a trip when she was ten to visit relatives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her cousin, it turned out, was a bit of a horror buff and was interested in things of an occult nature. Alice was definitely skeptical, but the idea was intriguing and something she never really bothered to look at in any real depth, so when her cousin suggested they sneak off to a graveyard at night and use Alice's camera to capture ghosts on film, Alice agreed. It might be fun! Sure, ghosts probably didn't exist, but her curiosity definitely got the better of her -- at the very least seeing a graveyard like that might be interesting. The two camped out, cameras at the ready in the creepy, misty graveyard. For hours nothing happened, but then a shadow staggered out the shadows! A zombie, perhaps? No... no, just a drunken vagrant who asked for some spare change before shuffling away. Undaunted, Alice and her cousin continued their vigil until the early morning when the groundskeeper returned and finally forced them to pack up and leave. To Alice, it was an interesting experience, but definitely solidified the notion in her mind that there was nothing supernatural in the world.
Eventually, Alice entered high school where the bullying continued. Complaints to teachers were, of course, ignored. The school counselor told her flat out that it was her fault for being 'weird' and that she should try to be more 'normal'. The whole situation soured Alice's entire disposition and a feeling of cynical bitterness crept into her thinking. What kind of world was it when this sort of thing not only happened, but was actively ignored by figures in authority? Certainly not a very good one, it would seem. She considered telling her parents, but reasoned that if none of the faculty would do anything, why would it change? Her parents had busy schedules enough as it was.
Her Freshman year, Alice joined the photography club and it was a joy to her. She was surrounded by folks who shared her passion for the art form and gave her a means to share it with more than just folks who might stop by her webpage. She also decided to try out for the school drama club and landed a few minor roles (once as a sunflower, and once as a maid) before giving it up. She was just too nervous on stage to really be any good at it.
One recent day, Alice was out indulging in her photography hobby, taking pictures of a sunlit park. As was usual for her, she became enraptured and engrossed with her subject as seen through the lens. But this time, however, something... different... happened. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, no obvious trigger as to why it would would happen now, but happen it did. As she looked through the lens, she began to notice odd, unusual things filling her vision. She saw the photons making up the light beams cascade through the trees and splatter on the ground like raindrops. She saw the ebb and flow of the lifeforces that made up those same trees. She saw the atomic actions of the fundamental chemistry of the ground and rocks, she saw the past and the future, she saw echos and ghosts and strange spidery creatures weaving webs of shimmering reality -- she saw everything, all at once, in a moment of perfect beauty and sublime horror. And in that instant, the scales fell away from her eyes and she was Awakened into a world of grand terror and wonder far beyond anything she ever imagined.
She is still not sure what to make of it, and the full brunt of what happened still terrifies her. It's not normal, it shouldn't be happening. All Alice does know is that when she looks through the lens, she can still see those things as well as the terrible feeling that she has fallen down the rabbit hole and there is no going back.
Alice is a very nervous, twitchy girl, awkward in social situations. Although she tries desperately to keep upbeat and cheerful, her outlook is still jaded and cynical at times. Despite that, though, she still believes in the fundamental goodness of humanity and the possibility for a still more glorious dawn awaiting in the future. She's got a quirky, dry sense of humor and is far too inquisitive for her own good.
Alice's Avatar is an unusual one, to say the least. It's quite a powerful one, indeed, but it prefers to stay in the shadows and keep Alice grounded in the real world. A good way to describe it is as a Trickster god of legend. It works unseen with a subtle hand to guide Alice through intuitive feelings, impulses, flashes of inspiration, and little somethings spotted out of the corner of her eye. Perhaps she might see someone who looks, for a brief moment, like someone she knows, but turns out to be a stranger, or maybe she would see a shadow on the ground which inspires a new thought.
While not actively malicious (thankfully), the Avatar seems to have a sense of humor about the whole thing, as many of the situations Alice is put into are amusing or embarrassing of and to her. Always, though, it plays these little pranks with a purpose -- to show her something or put her in a position where she can learn. There is nothing frivolous whenever the Avatar decides to make its presence felt. Its true motivations and goals are unclear, but it sure seems to want Alice focused on reality and not mired in more ethereal things. Still, it never stops pushing and encouraging her to learn more.
Because of its unseen nature, Alice has no real awareness that her Avatar exists beyond a base feeling of constantly being watched (which is easy to chalk up to basic paranoia). As a result, Alice really doesn't believe she has one and if told about them by others, she'd be keen to just dismiss the whole thing as a delusion.
Being just recently Awakened, Alice honestly doesn't really have much in the way of a Paradigm. Her eyes have just been opened to a much wider, more terrifying world than she had ever considered before and so she is really casting about, drowning in a sea of possibility. That said, she is already disposed to rational, scientific explanations for things, and so is likely to develop some kind of explanation from that perspective. As it is currently, she doesn't have any inclination that she, herself, is the cause of her strange sights; it's the camera that's doing it. She doesn't know how or why just yet, but she does believe it is the tool and not her.
People of NoteEdit
- Erica Starr
- Alice's mother and an anesthesiologist at the Tri-Med medical campus in Ouray. (NPC)
- Alexander Starr
- Alice's father and a GP at the Tri-Med medical campus in Ouray. (NPC)
- Anso Koenig
- Neat, if somewhat intense, guy. Seems to know what's going on and has offered to help.
Expertises & SpecialtiesEdit
- Performance: Landscape Photography - A true passion for the girl and something she has obvious talent in. Her particular focus is on environmental landscapes, both natural and urban.
- Technology: Cameras - Dovetailing with photography, Alice knows quite a bit about cameras of all stripes, from digital to 8mm.
- Academics: Literature, Philosophy, Math - Alice is in all the 'smart-kid' classes at school and her natural curiosity has led her to perusing topics that interest her outside of the classroom.
- Culture: Geek - Being more than a little nerdy herself, Alice has a pretty good grasp of all things geek-related. She can talk about Futurama, video games, and Star Trek with legitimate nerd cred.
- Science: Computer Science, Cosmology, Economics, Physics - Alice knows a little about a lot of science, but she's always been interested in physics, cosmology, economics, and computer science. With physics and cosmology explain the universe (even if Alice really doesn't understand the nitty-gritty math used sometimes, she can appreciate the concepts), economics fascinates her due to its ability to explain how people react and the creation of value from lesser parts, and computer science is interesting because, well... computers are.
Merits & FlawsEdit
- Merit: Circumspect Avatar - See 'Avatar' section for details.
- Flaw: Curiosity - Alice is an intensely curious individual and always has been. She has a tendency to get lost and distracted when presented with a wide variety of information as well as sometimes doing not-so-smart things to satisfy her curiosity.
Resources - The Resources stat is basically her economic class and the resources her family has available, not her individually. Being a teenager, her true amount of cash is significantly less, but she can call on her parents for more if necessary.
- +2 Willpower
- +14 Spheres
- = 16