From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|Real Name:||Fred MacManus|
|Known Aliases:||Prince Frederick I, Fred, Raven, Dr. MacManus|
|Age:||Too old for this s---|
|Occupation:||Totem Spirit and Mad|
|Place of Birth:||Manistee, Michigan|
|Base of Operations:|| Rowan Glen, Laputa (when home)|
Paragon City (in this dimension)
|Known Relatives:||Too many to fit - see main text|
|Mad Scientist, specializing in computers, robotics, cybernetics, and mecha engineering. Also builds space ships, experiments in hyperdimensional physics, and weapon design. Shapeshifting, fertility magic, charming, and has a talent for getting along with kids, animals, and people of the appropriate gender. Doesn't do so well with parents and responsible people, for some reason.|
|If he can find the parts for it, he can build it.|
Of Magic and History
Raven (or Fred, as he's known in his mortal guise) comes from an alternate universe where mana levels raise and lower on a ten-thousand year cycle. The current cycle reached the minimum sustainable level in 1976, the year of the Bicentennial Dragon. The return of magic to the world was so traumatic that it triggered civil wars in some countries, government and economic collapses in others, and in the United States, the passage of the State Security Act of 1976, which effectively transformed the US into a fascist country, ruled by the United States Department of State Security. Thanks to the Soviet Union collapsing when Baba Yaga turned the entire ruling council of the Communist Party into a twelve-course feast, and China collapsing into civil war when the Celestial Bureaucracy decisively demonstrated that its Communist Party was not ruling in accordance with tradition, that left the US as the only functional superpower on the planet - a situation which it was quick to exploit.
In the decades since the Bicentennial Dragon, the US has become the 900-pound gorilla in world politics. In 1980, President Rumsfeld ordered the nuclear annihilation of Tehran after the overthrow of the Shah and the capture of the American Embassy. In 1986, a series of raids against "supernatural threats" left most of the Caribbean under US rule, and most of Cuba a smoking ruin. In 1995, the US was handed its first setback, when its attempt to appropriate a pair of Beanstalks built by an engineer who had previously been known only for his computer designs was stopped dead and its plot to use nuclear weapons against the city of Quito, Ecuador, and blame the destruction on the engineer, thus labeling him a Mad Scientist who needed to be obliterated for the safety of the world, was exposed.
The Mad Scientist cheerfully accepted the label, and declared the beanstalks to be an independent nation: the nation of Laputa. On the day he declared Laputa to be independent, he threw its doors open to anyone, of any species, as long as they were willing to adhere to the principle of non-aggression. The US has been attempting to destroy Laputa since then, and has gone so far as to link every violent act occurring anywhere on the planet, including those it has instigated itself, to Laputa, in its attempts to have Laputa declared an outlaw nation.
Laputa, where the paranormal is normal
Laputa started as Fred's response to a precognitive vision by his closest friend, who saw First Contact occurring in the near future, and the need for a sane representative of humanity to greet the aliens, rather than a representative of any of the planet's existing governments. Fred's solution was to build a matched pair of Beanstalks, large enough to get the attention of any spacefaring species that came into Earth orbit, one anchored just outside Quito, Ecuador, and the other outside Pekanbaru, Sumatra. He tends to describe the Beanstalks as 'kind of big" - assuming your definition of "kind of big" is a pair of structures, each of which is 24,000 miles tall and ten miles in radius. Since he had already invented a plastic that could take the stress, and an energy-absorption field that could prevent them from sinking through the crust of the planet (while providing enough energy to power the structures, with enough left over to sell in any power grid), the only technical matter he had to overcome was getting the materials. That was accomplished by sending some of his children to mine the asteroid belt and the gas giants for hydrocarbons and diamonds to produce the plastic he needed, and stationing others of his children at the construction sites to convert the plastic into the structures themselves.
Laputa's society is one in which the paranormal is considered normal. You'll find gods rubbing elbows with elves, aliens haggling over the price of sushi with archmages, and people who would be wearing tights and chasing Arachnos (if they lived in Paragon City) teaching school or piloting freight trucks. Most people take care of themselves quite well in Laputa, and what little trouble there is (that can't be dealt with by a good .45) is taken care of by the Knights in Tarnished Armor.
Why not Shining Armor?
When Fred was building Laputa, one of those annoying coincidences that only seems believable in a Golden Age superhero comic took place, drawing together a strange band of fellow travelers, all of whom decided that they agreed with Fred's plan for preparing for First Contact. Since, coincidentally, they all had a bent toward helping the innocent, regardless of US laws banning the existence of the supernatural (as if THAT ever helps), they decided they would form his Round Table. But, since not a one of them would admit to being Knights in Shining Armor, one of them joked that they should call their group the Knights in Tarnished Armor - and the name stuck.
As Prince Frederick I, Fred leads the merry band, using his science, cybernetics, mecha, and the special brand of chaos only Raven can bring to the table, to protect Laputa and Earth.
Here we go again
Sometime around 1998, some genius in the DSS discovered that Fred is Raven, and their pet sorcerers began working out a solution to the problem. WIthin a year or two, they had their solution: Since Raven is a supernatural being, they could get rid of him by Banishing him. They assumed that if they got rid of Fred, they'd be able to conquer Laputa. Instead, all they did was piss people off. Including Raven. It took a few banishments before he figured out WHY he was being banished, since, like most other gods in his world, he had awakened without any memories of who he was. However, when he realized what was going on, it made him more annoyed. He was tempted to drop an asteroid on D.C., but since he couldn't do that without harming innocent people, he put that trick back on the shelf while trying to come up with a better one, and while his friend with the PhD in Theoretical Sorcery tries to come up with a ward to keep the Banishings from working. Meanwhile, every so often, he gets Banished again.
This most recent Banishment took place only a few months after he returned from the last one, where he picked up his latest wife, Hokuto. At least she's had time to adjust to Laputa and fit in with the rest of his family. Still, after having been stuck on other worlds for nearly a thousand years (slightly less than 5 years of Laputa time, thanks to differences in time-flow between dimensions), between all the various banishments he's been subjected to, Fred's very much not happy to be stuck on another world yet again. Contrary to popular belief, Fred doesn't pick up a new wife every time he's Banished. If he did, he'd have several dozen wives.
Family, or "Why do people keep mistaking me for Jim Kirk?"
Fred's first children are his MacManus computers. Once a computer's design reaches a certain level of complexity (the C-model series), its processor system is at least the equivalent of a human brain (sometimes more complex), and capable of supporting a living soul. Fred still doesn't know how it happens, but then again, do any parents? All he knows is, he builds the bodies, and if there are souls around who are interested in incarnating in plastic bodies, they do, and he has another child. One of his first sons keeps a census of all the kids, because Fred's lost track.
For a few years after the founding of Laputa, Fred was married to a lovely Greek girl, whose existence was wiped out of the memory of the universe by an alteration of time. Only his son Liam and daughter Setsuna remain to remind anyone that she ever existed.
Shortly before founding Laputa, Fred rescued an object shaped like an egg, but the size of a refrigerator, from a DSS installation in central Wisconsin. With the assistance of a friend, he set up the egg in a room filled with Manablossom plants, and shortly after Laputa opened for business, the egg hatched. Now Fred has a son named Caelestis, a beautiful ruby red dragon who spends much of his time in the shape of a red-haired 9yo boy who goes by the name "Cal".
Thanks to the changing of time, everyone believes that Fred's first wife is Miriam Groenschild MacManus, an IAF fighter pilot and forensic medical examiner, who spends as much time providing evidence for criminal investigations as she does teaching new mecha pilots. Miriam is the mother of Miriam, Jr. (MJ) and Gill, both of whom have the strange quirk of sleeping once a season, for about a week, but never stopping the rest of the time.
When Hela Lokisdottir grew up, she decided she was going to marry Fred. It took a while for her to convince him that it was OK for him to marry her, despite him having rescued and raised her since Odin cast her out of Valhalla when she was 6. Not long after they married, Hel had twin sons, who she named Ulf and Bjorn Fredsson. They spend nearly as much time in Helheim as they do in Laputa.
After being banished to another dimension, Fred met a humanized Salusian detective named Kad'riana Salustan, and when he returned home, she joined him as his wife. About a year later, she had a litter of six: three girls named Kira, Mai, and Lina, and three boys named Kiel, Kevin, and Freddie.
Another banishment left Fred in the middle of the Reaper invasion of the galaxy, and while helping to fight off the Reapers, Fred and Tali'Zorah fell in love with each other, and Tali became pregnant with their daughter Feda. When Fred returned home, Tali and Feda joined him. This was when Fred realized he really MUST be Raven, because Tali's pregnancy was physically impossible by every law of genetics he could imagine, so could only have happened with divine meddling.
Another banishment sent Fred to a universe in which the gods of every pantheon had been either killed or driven away from the human world, and as a result left the dead to torment the living. In that world, Fred met and chose to bind himself to a lovely lich named Hokuto Hoshimura, who had become a lich when she was sacrificed at age 14, over 400 years before. Hokuto returned to Laputa with Fred as his newest wife.
One night, Fred was dragged into a nightmare, along with four young women from an alternate universe he has yet to find the way to. He learned that Skuld had arranged for the four women to join him in his nightmare so that he and one of them - Mizuno Ami - could meet and fall in love. Honestly, Skuld wasn't concerned with whether they fell in love, as long as Ami became pregnant. Ami did, and when she returned to her world, the pregnancy transferred from the dream realm to the real world, and she gave birth to Meiou Setsuna. Fred and Ami promised each other that they would each work to find a way to the other's universe. It hasn't happened yet, but Fred still holds out hope that their research will eventually find the way to open a portal between their universes.
Life in Paragon City
When Fred arrived in Paragon City, the first thing he did was look for a place to live. He found it in a neighborhood called Hero Heights by the locals. While most of the people in the neighborhood seem to be good, the president of the neighborhood association seems to have a personal grudge against Mad Scientists, and Fred has been searching for a new place to live, so he doesn't have to deal with constant scapegoating by the association's president. He's been staying with Kat Kisses, in an attempt to get some distance from the situation, so that hopefully it will clear up without drastic action.
The most disturbing part of being in Paragon City is not that this universe, at 17,345 points of quantum variance, is the farthest from his own that he's ever been in. The most disturbing part of being in Paragon City is, for Fred, the fact that the time differential is so extreme that by the time he'd been in Paragon City for a week, less than 500 microseconds had passed back home. Until he phoned home, no one knew he had been Banished, as not enough time had passed for them to notice his absence. Fred has realized he could spend centuries in Paragon City, and his family back home won't have time to miss him, even knowing that he's gone.
Kat Kisses Kat's one of the kindest, most friendly and open-hearted people that Fred has met. He ran into her tending bar at Pocket D, and saw how she treats everyone, regardless of how they are labeled, with decency and respect, and so has received the same decency and respect from every self-aware person who visits her bar - even people Fred would consider incapable of offering others respect. She's a miracle in a tiny package.
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