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Dr. Brandt was a researcher studying metahuman abilities and their sometimes-paradoxical relationship with the laws of physics. Her notes indicate she was conducting experiments in which metahuman volunteers used their powers to affect a near-perfect silicon crystal, kept near absolute zero.
Though there are no other living eyewitnesses, staff in adjacent labs report hearing a tearing sound. The partial remains of two bodies were discovered, but Dr. Brandt (and a significant amount of equipment) were missing entirely.
Dr. Brandt reappeared three months later in Helsinki, where she was spotted trying to gain entrance to a coworker's apartment. According to accounts she behaved very strangely, repeating motions several times and speaking in gibbering. When questioned, she walked backwards and disappeared.
Dr. Brandt has appeared a handful more times, each incident stranger than the last. Several versions of her appeared and spontaneously disassembled a bus in London. She attacked an experimental German nuclear power plant, apparently pleading incoherently for workers to stay out of her way, disintegrated several small buildings, and then killed eighty reservists deployed to stop her through unknown means.
She appeared high over Madrid, her body contorted into a twisted loop. Three Spanish superheroes tried to reason with her, and then detain her when communication proved impossible. She killed one and seriously injured two others with a tremendous explosion, then descended and manually smashed a single traffic light.
Her German alias comes from a security tape, where the only comprehensible words recorded were "Achtung! Wärmetod!" The superhero Nineveh, however, claims that the ancient kings of Assyria remember stories of a being with similar powers, which they called Tiamat, the goddess who rose up to destroy her own children. Dr. Brandt's connection with the mythological being remain unclear.
Powers, Behaviour and Goals
Tiamat typically manifests without warning, with very erratic behaviour. Usually, she looks like Dr. Helen Brandt did at the time of her disappearance; other times, she looks much younger or older, sheathed in what resembles television static. She often summon duplicates of herself, of differing appearance, which sometimes work at cross-purposes. Sometimes only part of her body appears, or she speaks and walks backward, or her actions seem to violate causality. Sometimes she does not use a power that she used earlier, even when it would seem useful. Her apparent goals often seem trivial. She does not always seem to be able to perceive events around her.
When Tiamat can communicate intelligibly, she is usually pleading with anyone around her to flee, or trying to express mathematical equations. She appears often seems frightened or under great stress, even when she greatly outpowers those against her. Other times, she seems collected and confident.
Tiamat's power level seems to range from negligible to cosmic. In the sky above Madrid, she created an explosion estimated to be equivalent to two kilotons of TNT. She has turned armoured personnel carriers to dust almost instantaneously without harming the occupants, moved at incredible speeds, and simply ignored rifle fire. Other times, she has apparently been driven off and even injured by small groups of unarmed citizens.
While her command of matter and energy are considerable, has shown no psionic or magical ability.
In the beginning - the very beginning - something, somewhere, gained sentience. One might call it a god, but that would be mistaking the face for the person behind it; it was more of a concept, the concept of being itself. It became aware of itself and its surroundings and, eventually, of the other universes of possibility. It reproduced itself, and its children manipulated one of the nearby universes to create more life - which itself eventually gained sentience, awareness, the ability to ultimately transcend its home universe. With guidance from the original beings, they too learned of other universes, transcended the limits of their reality, and created extradimensional children.
This has been going on literally forever.
The beings eventually found one universe with a seemingly hospitable set of laws, and, roughly 13.8 trillion years after its creation, they had finally managed to create themselves in miniature. (The gods themselves may not have had this as their conscious design, but the conceptual forces behind them - the primordial beings of creation - are a different matter.) But this universe had a fundamental law, more important than any other, that states that within its boundaries, disorder always increases over time.
Life was not an exceptional burden on this law, since it was an exceptional incidence in an unclosed system. But when the gods gave a little of their power to the new life within it, this law was violated: this species now had individuals with the power to twist the laws of the universe. The stress was sufficient for the universe to choose one of the forms of life and imbue it with power, in an attempt to evict the gods and erase their influence; while this itself was a commission of a sin against the very law that made it necessary, it was deemed necessary to correct the problem. Time could then be altered to remove the infection and cure both.
This being the Sumerians called Tiamat, mistaking her for the mother of the gods themselves, seeking to destroy her own children. The gods fought a war to resist her, and ultimately destroyed it physical manifestation. The war was terrible enough, though, that they elected to retreat back to their original universe and only influence humanity indirectly, in the hopes that the universe would not spawn another avatar.
The Sumerians recorded a version of the story of the war in the Enûma Elish, which was unfortunately garbled in its later translation to Akkadian. Several times in history the universe has created a new manifestation of entropy - as Kali, as Eris, and as other beings on other worlds than Earth - trying to correct the balance. Each time it was defeated, but each iteration grew stronger, as sentient life multiplied and learned new ways of controlling the world around them.
The recent explosion of the metahuman population made another manifestation inevitable.
Goals and Means
The current incarnation of Tiamat seeks to retroactively remove the possibility of superpowers which contradict the law it embodies. Failing that, it seeks the retroactive extinction of life, her current form included. Since from the point of view of the universe time is just another dimension, simply destroying all life is insufficient for her needs;
Dr. Brandt's consciousness understands Tiamat's goals, and desperately seeks to warn anyone she comes across. Through force of will, she has managed to persuade Tiamat that destruction of all life is technically unnecessary. However, it is likely that universal extinction is an easier goal to meet, and her efforts may prove in vain.
Tiamat pursues her ultimate goal obliquely. Existing outside of time, she operates by changing small details of ordinary existence, seeing their effects weeks or months later, and altering them again to suit her needs. Her current intention is to manipulate the world into creating a device capable of sending her back to the beginning of human sentience, or of life on Earth, where she could alter humanity's destiny. The worst infection dealt with, she could then incarnate again on planets where the rift was less egregious.
Tiamat's powers are, at the core, an ability to manipulate time. She exists nonlinearly in time; when the players encounter her, she may be moving backwards, forwards or sideways through time. Her worldline, though it may loop back as needed, is anchored at both ends: she cannot travel to a time before the creation of her current manifestation, or after its destruction.
Tiamat can only cause effects which increase entropy. She cannot do anything that makes the world more ordered. She cannot create new information out of nothing; she cannot reverse gravity, though she can increase it; she cannot create anything complex, or cause heat to flow from a colder body to a warmer one. Furthermore, her powers are much reduced in the absence of superhumans, and she cannot change the other fundamental laws of the universe.
Within these bounds, though, she has few limits. She can move a person's body heat to the ground, causing hypothermic shock. (This is what killed the German guardsmen.) She can fuse elements lighter than iron, releasing tremendous amounts of energy. She can move fast enough to evade any attack which does not move at the speed of light. She can increase gravity to immobilize enemies; if too many superhumans attack her at once, she may have the power to create a singularity, destroying the Earth in the process. (This is one of the possibilities Dr. Brandt is struggling hardest to avoid.)
Telepathic contact with Dr. Brandt may reveal some of Tiamat's powers and designs. Tiamat itself transcends sentience; investigation of her psyche would likely only reveal a set of equations. But Dr. Brandt understands what Tiamat is, and is using any means imaginable to contain her. She might be able to spare a little of her attention to communicate.
Tiamat's powers scale both to the prevalence of metahumans in the population, and geometrically with their proximity to her manifestation. Normal human beings stand as much chance against her as the most powerful superhuman. Using a team of superhumans to fight against her is worse than useless - it actually makes her disproportionately more powerful.
Dr. Brandt will seek to communicate with anyone she can, but, seeing as Tiamat moves through time and space erratically, it is likely her message will be garbled or misunderstood as a threat. Killing Dr. Brandt (but not destroying the body) would cut off the heroes' most important ally; Tiamat is now powerful enough to animate her corpse. Destroying this manifestation of Tiamat, in any event, would only be a temporary solution. With the current metahuman population, it is likely she will find a new opportunity to incarnate herself again within a few months, and the new host may be more pliable than Dr. Brant.
Truly stopping Tiamat is possible. The players could allow her to fulfill her goal of eradication of metahuman powers, though it is unlikely they'd accede to this. They could psychically strengthen Dr. Brandt to the point where she can control Tiamat, or alter the universe itself to permit metahuman powers to coexist with the Second Law. (This would result in a universe identical with current Champions continuity.) Intrusion from other realities might conceivably reawaken her, but it would require a tremendous violation of dimensional borders.
Champions of Fate Character Sheet
Power Level: 10 (Almost omnipotent)
Refresh Rate: 0 (starts play with 1 Fate point)
- There Is No More Fundamental Force Than Entropy
Tiamat is ultimately an expression of the universe itself. While she must work within its limits, she is virtually omnipotent (but see The Cure Cannot Be Worse Than The Disease.) She cannot be permanently destroyed without altering the boundary conditions of the Big Bang.
- The Integrity of the Universe Will Be Restored
Tiamat works to evict extradimensional entities, bar their past and future ability to infect this universe, and erase those parts of their handiwork that disrupts reality. Complete annihilation of life to achieve that end does not bother her; she literally cannot conceive of the people and things she encounters as individual entities, other than through Dr. Brandt's mind.
- The Cure Cannot Be Worse Than The Disease
Tiamat's existence, like a surgeon's knife, causes the universe as much pain as the original injury. To mitigate this, she is only as powerful as the disruption that made her necessary.
- There Is No Information In Chaos
While apparently inscrutable, Tiamat's activities are not truly random. Her goal is long-term, and every action she takes need only make a negligible contribution to it. Beings accustomed to thinking linearly in time will, however, have great difficulty in discerning her design.
- Dr. Helen Brandt: "I know what she is, I know what she can do, and she must be stopped."
Helen Brandt is the host of the force that powers Tiamat, and understands what is at stake; Tiamat uses the patterns in her brain to interpret the world in human terms, should it choose to. She can manipulate, persuade and even (occasionally) deceive Tiamat, but she is cut off from communication with the world by There Is No Information In Chaos.