Name: Melissa Larrabie; Leggy Blonde Conscience; Bahh'chakt Gallum Vahh, Bearer of Mysteries and Blessings, Mother of Surprises, the Vessel Through Which Miracles and Blessings are Bestowed; also mah lih sah, the blunt spirit, she speaks bluntly
Gender: Female, Pansexual, heavily dominated by attraction to males when her menstrual cycle demands it
Origin: Repurposed Earth, Enrichment Center, Fairport Alabama
Family: Is known to be directly related to Genevieve Aristide, thus her born 'sister' is Alice Wade; with a total of 5 donor parents, partial siblings in the Pantheon include Carmen and others; has several children by the time the Combine are defeated, primarily with Paxton, Wilson, and Lane - Darh'lih keh-vahh (Darly Fettel), Maa'lach Vahh (Malach), Ksaalah Vahh aka Ruby Lane, with others in 'storage' brought out in the '30s, Menelaus (with Geoff) and two more with Paxton (Kal (m) and Laila (f)); on her meeting David Hoyle - one of Paxton's more important donors, they did have two boys, Hamael and Ilya. Angel with Gordon Freeman...Yes there's more, over time she experimented on splices. Angus with Don, Brand spliced Arne and Ross* and Matilda who was Mel mixed with Kitty and Arne, Whitley with Thomas and later Kellogg with Keenan again but born on the Healing Den itself *ross was reborn as Rizzo, but had been dead quite a while...
Other: Is responsible for a very large number of future children among the Pantheon, not just because she's always pregnant, but because she and Carmen arrange for pairings and work with the genetics of the existing population, to create new children; she has two storage rooms literally filled with embryos in stasis. In addition to the 'normal' kids, she is also the donor for a number of the Color Guard (Topaz, Gold, Amber, Dahlia). Also of note there is at least one other-dimensional doppelganger of Mel around: Journey.
Weight: 160, statuesque, extremely feminine and curvy, athletic but not visibly muscular
Hair: Honey-flax blond, curly and voluminous, often loose but if she ties it back it's time to get serious
Eyes: Xen Crystal Yellow, had been born with mahogany colored brown eyes, but they lightened into their current brilliant amber-like state and have remained that way, the same color as her aura
Appearance: creamy skin with freckles, no scarring due to healing ability, extremely pretty; husky voice, also 'talks with her hands' so if she's excited, stay clear or get smacked. Can look 'beautiful' in appropriate dress, but prefers comfortable jeans, a stained white Armacham tank top, and her heavy boots.
Image Credits: DollDivine (Harry Potter, FairyTale, Sari, Viking) / City of Heroes / tektek
|Genetic Abilities: (from Armacham's dossier ** note well that this was originally written when she was only 8, and updated to around age 15 only in another dimension where she grew up under their control, and the Armacham marketing division had more to do with it than the scientists working with her) Melissa is
a genetic ‘sponge', and has been created with the specific needs of bearing the next generation of highly skilled psychics in the project without the need for specific engineering tools. As such her abilities include a sense which can detect the abilities of those around her, specifically able to discern genetic heritage among her peers – though lesser among normal people she can also detect genetic relatives in any group. She can use this ability to double-check genetically engineered cells down to an 8-cell zygote. She has strong self-healing which allows her to maintain physical cohesion even during extremely violent encounters. Melissa has expressed concerns that she is not meant as a combat unit, these have been allayed by attending workers: since she is often exposed to the same conditions as her combat-oriented peers, Melissa may be forced to rescue or attend to those who are injured – thus she has also been scheduled to begin medical training. She is willing to withstand a lot of pain or disability in the hopes that Armacham will learn from the results. Her primary function however, after she goes through puberty, is to locate a genetically compatible partner and conceive offspring that will then be harvested for the Origin program. This process regularly leaves Melissa with an overwhelming urge to mate, often with whoever is nearest. However by using her other sensory powers, she can select from among groupings of people the most likely pairs for the same purpose. As she is still a minor, she is being discouraged from acting on these impulses for herself, and of note: failing to do so. The genetic result of any of her pairings will be observably stronger in psychic energies than most in her generation, and more to the point, her ova caters to the genes of her partner. It is unclear whether she will be able to develop this ‘catering' as a form of her own self-healing power, designing specific offspring. Should she develop this, her usefulness to the project will be of utmost importance. She has a borderline empathic/telepathic link with her peers allowing her to draw from their desires or needs. This cannot be used with non-psychic individuals, but it does notably allow her to follow specific instructions by stronger telepaths without the need for any clarification. Later in life, she may develop the ability to outright manipulate other people's genetics on the fly – something she considers to be extremely distasteful but perhaps necessary.
(Not from the dossier, reflecting main Repurposed Universe actions) As time has proven, Melissa's ability to customize her potential offspring is incredibly useful, and does extend to not only her own cells, but in progress selection while pairing up. Paxton in particular made note of her extremely powerful allure, and her empathic demands are almost impossible to resist when she's close by. She literally commands her partner, and can bring any partner to climax numerous times, without allowing him nearly enough time to rest. She appears to be able to select for individual sperm types or combinations, all internally, all within the confines of a few hours time.
All of those things above are not without consequences. Harlan Wade designed a very specific trigger for her personality, which try as she might, Melissa cannot overcome. If she is 'in heat' and an available male - no matter who he is, nor how compatible she thinks he is - approaches her, the act of skin contact 'bonds' her to them, not just securing the male to her needs, but guaranteeing a pliant, submissive partner under the right conditions. (-melissa's note, "Harlan Wade was an absolute devil, and I am glad that he is dead and would like to have killed him myself that" --*Vortigese does not translate well on paper, the rest is incoherent Vortigese cursing)
Melissa's concentrated abilities as she knows them are as follows:
Eiditic memory, regenerative brain tissue allows her to remember, clearly and completely, essentially everything since her Icarus treatment at age 3. She does not have to remember things, they don't just pop up all the time, unless she has begun to dwell on them or has a visual / stimulus trigger them somehow. This feature allows her to contain Paxton's energy and offer him Sanctuary - a specific Vortally-created locale that he built while 'hiding' from his mother Alma inside Melissa's mind. Over the years, Paxton has manipulated this space in a very similar way to his ancestor's, Keenan Lane. Melissa is almost entirely unaware of the actual scope of this Sanctuary, until being brought into it by 'her men' (Pax, Wilson, Keenan). Because it is a living space, literally based on her own regenerative Vortal power, even if Paxton is killed, this location without a space will continue to exist. Inside it, he's placed literally everything he's ever read or watched, in book or 'movie' form, in a vast library of his own imaginative design. Unfortunately along with this beautiful place inside her Vortal memory, Melissa's real-world memories occasionally pop up and remind her of some extremely distasteful moments in her history, which Keenan has attempted to remove on numerous occasions. They continue to regenerate.
Regeneration, with as powerful regeneration as she has, she isn't actually what Wilson ordered. If only they'd decided to make her more like Kitty, and actually resist taking damage... She takes damage, and plenty of it, but regenerates very rapidly - she entirely lost her hand during the battle against GLADOS, and by the time they were finished exploring the bottom of the Cooling Shaft, it had grown back. This feature causes issues with the birth of any of her children, notably her first to term Darly.
Aura Reading and Genetic Imaging, to look through Melissa's eyes is to see a room full of brightly moving puzzle pieces: human DNA literally floating in Vortally seen auras. This, combined with her powerful memory, allows her to remember 'who has what features', once she detects their DNA in detail she can 'fit' pieces together and visualize what children may look like, what powers they might have, and the like. This is partially why she is obsessive over collecting samples from everyone she meets, also why she kisses some of them, to get a cleaner and more intimate impression of the genetics. She can generally look over a room of people and see which are Vortally active, who is more powerful than whom, and overall what sorts of powers or abilities those Vortal ones might have. Because Armacham wanted to 'cheap out' on machinery that may be unreliable or require service... they created Melissa to do this for them. In a perfect ... or their perfect world, Melissa would have replaced not only dozens of rooms worth of sensory equipment, but half the Genetic Engineering staff. What money could be saved!
Telepathy and Empathy, as she described to Gordon when waking him from his 12 year slumber, most of the Pantheon like herself have a "suite" of powers, including telepathy and empathy, which she can use at a moderate to short range. She has practiced with specific members of the group to be able to communicate at longer distances, but generally her range is around 300 meters for active communication, and 100 meters for directly sensing a Vortal mind among a group. She has a broad 'sense' that the Aura reading is part of, but that works only at closer range, less than 20 meters away, and is not specific to a mind and more broadly shows off the 'presense' of someone rather than their intent or mood.
Icarus - with time and eventually experimentation, Melissa comes to the realization that her bones, while regrowing, also regrow the Icarus that was bonded to them. It is completely unknown how this effect came about, but with it, she can and has begun harvesting it for future use. It is also a key point in Armacham's desire to have her back, after the Events. While they didn't know about this until she was an adult, the moment that Aristide discovered this, the Combine was very interested. The amount of the substance that grows depends on which limb or piece is harvested, and while extremely painful, Melissa would eagerly allow her limbs to be removed in order for others to subsequently be able to use it, in the Pantheon of course.
|Icarus Processing: Yes, accepted and has benefited from the process, done at age 3, no side effects observed initially except that her memory became extraordinarily specific and strong; speed and reaction times are around twice normal, her weight is slightly reduced for her build. A very specific side effect proven to appear later on is her ability to actually regrow Icarus on her own bones.|
|Skills or Profession: Melissa has had numerous skill implants and downloads, most of which didn't start becoming obvious until she was a teenager and went through puberty. The bulk of them deal with medical and genetic engineering devices, allowing her to use and even innovate with them, help heal her companions, and assist in not only the creation of but the extraction and preservation of new life. No one would trust Melissa as a physician, about as much as anyone might with Mars Walsh. But in her field of genetic engineering, Melissa is absolutely the pinnacle of the group, and only Carmen comes close. Though she is clearly adept with the mechanical and engineering aspects of the field, her bedside manner is atrocious, according to various victims... er, patients, who she has recruited to donate. They would still go back and do it again, but...
Icarus, Medusa, and Enrichment Center machinery: Melissa knows the ins and outs of how to use a variety of devices that Armacham and Aperture put together, from the extraction tools for removing embryonic to fetal offspring, storing them safely and properly, to the growth vats where Replicas, clones, or new ELLs are made into 'teens' or 'adults', and the Icarus processing devices that apply the organic carbon-fiber substance to patients bones. She can create and modify raw DNA, but prefers to use existing materials to outright making her own out of nothing. In order to 'prime' Paxton's clone soldiers, she is able to move them around in the Medusa facility, and even create new ones for him to use in the field. This is a key point: she is among the five or six remaining alive that can do these things for him. She's attempted to teach him how, but he's ... less than cooperative and just kind of wants the results, not the process.
Melissa is extremely smart, and learns quickly - to the point, she can learn whenever she really intends to learn something. She is able to delegate responsibilities and has always been seen as a logistics expert, partly due to her other genetic abilities for 'sorting' who can do what and will be best placed where. She is also an adept linguist, effectively mastering Vortigese and using it at least as often as any other implanted language (she knows at least three with reasonable fluency: English, Russian, and Spanish, with a smattering of Arabic, Chinese, French, and Hindi). Her ability to curse in numerous languages is well known.
Sex play, Melissa was intended as a toy, not a tool, originally. So her basic programming was set up such that she would be easily the best experience that any given man could ever want. While most of those 'lessons' were unused until she grew up, she recognized how they might affect her personality shortly before the Events. She also knows a reasonable number of dances, preferring ballroom style and romantic or even erotic dances - that she shows off equally in any company; Melissa is absolutely unable to comprehend why that might embarrass people...
|Personality: Melissa absolutely lives up to the Vort 'misinterpretation' of her name. Mah lih sah, 'blunt spirit', is a foul mouthed child grown up into a beautiful foul mouthed woman. Where she picked up most of her vocabulary is unknown, but she certainly loved using it against the scientists and keepers who put her through her childhood pains. She very much loves to curse and swear, in a variety of languages and with a variety of very colorful phrases, sometimes mixing and matching from different languages in the same statement. She swings from proudly confident into self-doubt and self-loathing while her cycle changes, if she's not pregnant. Melissa is at almost all times, loud, energetic, she speaks with authority but carefully tempers her own extensive knowledge with the understanding that not everyone has her education. Sometimes she does use that feature against people she wants to mess with. When Mel is 'in heat' her demeanor completely changes into what can be described as 'predatory', and if she doesn't become pregnant a few days of sullen and withdrawn follow. However, while she's either pregnant or in the neutral portion of her menustral cycle, Melissa is a remarkably gregarious, friendly, honest (to a fault) individual, who would rather see other people being happy, than cause someone else harm. She is bold, and will volunteer for things knowing that they might kill another, and she uses her regeneration as a shield at times. She's allowed people to run away while she 'distracted' hound-eyes (... yes, they actually ate parts of her before they had their fill and left). When she is pregnant however, she does remain a bit more careful than when she has no one else to look out for. She will chide even her most beloved men: never hesitates to smack Paxton upside the head when he's said something rude, has literally broken her hand on Wilson doing the same, and will at least in Vortigese, mockingly refer to Keenan in ways that would royally piss anyone else off. Notably she also curses at her own body with regularity, "ha gaka gurrah kallah", I am not pleased with my lower body, is very commonly heard.|
Events or History: though Melissa was intended originally to be basically a companion or consort to Wilson Carver, and he paid for her creation 'in trade' (his dna used for the creation of Paxton and Geoff), he did not come to pick up his merchandise thanks to a lot of distraction and wrangling on the part of Aristide. Instead, she was allowed to grow up among the other Origin children, which was a far better use of her eventual skills and abilities than he would have, and that's according to Wilson himself. This allowed her to bond with Paxton, providing him with his Sanctuary. She has been instrumental in keeping Keenan 'human', and is as anyone might call her, the 'Queen of her Hive'.
Mel and her story weave strongly through Keenan's particularly after the birth of her daughter Darly, before that time she was responsible mostly for keeping track of everyone in the EC and other facilities, her organizational skills are very important there. That, and collecting DNA for future use. Importantly because a lot of the world's remaining population were chemically sterilized by the Combine, she and her companions became considerably better represented in the human gene pool from then on out.
As they defeated the Combine, her need to help reinforce the human species kicked in very strongly, and a wave of implanted births contributed to the boom of not just second (and third) generation Pantheon, but the Reborn group, and the new ELLs that were constructed. She is unafraid to experiment with herself as well as the existing stored cells, and in that regard is a bit of a mad scientist.
When Paxton broke through the dimensional barriers 'on vacation', throwing their family into new situations (they first landed on Vault Earth actually, but they first settled in Paragon) she eagerly began working with farther-flung and more varied genes and people, after all collecting dna from heroes and revenant ghouls... that's special. She remains in this function in her work at Carramba, as well. When they begin bonding dragons, Mel is super... SUPER interested in working with others on creating both dragons and people, and cooperates with Rhea (and sometimes even Ziva) down in Rapture, creating their first 'plasmid-icarus' mixtures to enhance people who have aversion or incompatible dna with the Icarus itself. She has dorms in all the facilities, but generally remains either at Lane Mansion or the Rookery, or wherever there's new samples to be had. However, after the Hallowed Silk experiments, she does dwell more down in Rapture, or over at Carramba for assistance from the professors there.
*** 2022 ***
It was well into the teen-years of the Rookery, though time was still a little wonky around the edges of the place as usual. Once they'd established contact with the rest of the Nexus it was a downhill slide into dragon hatchings and events and who knew what else!
Melissa was quite busy - keeping track of people, their abilities, their DNA profiles, and their dragons! She was still no expert at the whole dragon-splicing thing, but definitely enjoyed working with both magical and technological folk among the many teams out there. So focused was she that she didn't really notice when Keenan (hers, she and Journey and several other ladies among the disparate Rookery riders kept tabs on which ones 'they' claimed) (like a cat scent marking someone by rubbing up against it, he'd usually pretend to be baffled but loved the contact none the less no matter which version it was) popped in to the large warm Rookery den. Mel and Aurora were chattering about some new development in storage technologies.
Aurora perked up first, her headdress of spines made her look surprised. Melissa turned and was about to greet her Unapproachable Badass (she was his Leggy Blonde Conscience, he got to be this...) when she realized he was holding... something. Gingerly. Not at arm's length, but definitely not with the care that he'd always used with cradling a child. So strange that a man whose appearance instantly caused worry or commanded respect, was one of the best 'father figures' around these days.
This thing was not human, however. It was... "is that an egg?" Melissa asked, and he shook his head.
"It broke that a while ago but won't come out of it. It's yours, I am absolutely, completely sure."
"What do you mean, 'mine'?" Melissa demanded, "wh-"
"Look at it," he urged, and more or less handed the egg-and-whatever directly to her. She didn't have a choice, and she was very used to holding 'creature vats' - anything from eggless Cybercourt dragons, to the coffee-thermos-shaped and sized embryonic stasis tubes from the Enrichment Center. This was definitely an egg she needed to be careful with, though, as it had cracked nearly perfectly along the top third. A creature inside it huddled, but she could see eyes. Big eyes. The moment she took the egg, Keenan gave a wave of his long hand and his dark suit was clean - there had been egg-goop splattered on it.
Aurora sniffed and leaned her long face closer, and whispered, "come on out, you're safe here!"
Sure enough, once the little creature was satisfied that it was the right place, it kicked the rest of its egg away. It was not a small egg - not a flitter or chicken egg, but not nearly as big as any of the full sized dragon eggs that she'd seen. It did take both hands to hold it firmly. The shell fell away, and Melissa walked it over to the nearest countertop. It wasn't comfortable there, but the dragonet inside the egg finally stretched itself fully. It... was round.
"Oh you're adorable!" Melissa said, "like a little toasted marshmallow!"
"A big toasted marshmallow," Keenan muttered, and vanished when Mel was going to laughingly throw some more of that egg at him. She didn't mind that he'd gone, the little dragon wobbled to its belly, and then rose to its full height... Of about a foot tall. Its head was so big, it promptly rolled over onto its back, and both Aurora and Mel made 'aawwwwww!' sounds at it. This would go on for weeks.
The dragonet was named: Cobbler. Melissa claimed that this name meant something to her - and whenever Wilson was around he would roll his eyes and huff a little before laughing and offering both she and the dragon a nibble of whatever he was making in his Vortal kitchen that day. Melissa knew that the dragon was reasonably intelligent, and it was definitely a 'she', but so far she had only responded to Mel and the dragoness. She maintained a roly-poly figure for quite some time. Her proportions were starting to even out, and she discovered that she could retract her claws. A good thing, too, because they were sharp enough to gouge lines in the steel countertops of Melissa's lab!
Cobbler declared herself an adult one morning, sort of out of the blue, about a year after her arrival as an egg. And though she'd had a slow, quiet start, it was almost impossible to get her to shut up now. She chirped and sang, giggled and muttered, emulating darn near every word out of her human and dragon friends. They knew she understood the words, she was hardly just parroting them back. Of course, that meant she also had a huge selection of 'adult language' that she'd occasionally let rip - if someone stood on her tail or kneed her in the neck (she was about neck-high to many knees after all) they would get a scathing ear full.
Everyone was kind of glad she wasn't very large, at least - large compared to most dragons around. She was no mere pet, no flitter, and eventually reached about the same size as some of the odd 'seal-dog-dragons' like Darly had paired up with: ridable but not of a configuration that was in any way going to fly... Long and low to the ground, Cobbler began to prove herself in the lab, by scooching around making sure everything was plugged in, that there were no wires or tubes or anything fallen behind counters. How she managed to get behind counters, is anyone's guess... But she seems capable of a bit of shapeshifting, or at least... jelly-donut-squishing, to do this. The markings on her hide shimmer and glisten, quite a bit like icing that's been dashed with sugar.
Wilson has taken to making 'marshmallow Cobblers', in her honor, and has presented the dragon with her own box of them. She eats the head first.
Size/Shoulder/Length: Small, 4'5" (hip, her forelimbs are small but she's only marginally bipedal) / 17' l / 10' ws (cannot fly)
Colors: marshmallow white body that is shiny and has a bit of contrast on belly (yellower on back, more pure white on belly/neck), with sparkly golden markings that sometimes seem to shift in the light, mainly on tail and body; wings and ... head... things... shiny metallic gold; eyes amber orange; claws white
Features: chubby! Semi-bipedal with four legs and two wings, hind end is much bigger and rounder than upper body, forepaws have 2 claws, hind have 3, retractable; wings have two internal fingers and no apparent muscle tone, so good luck flying; head is large and round with massive eyes, and has two small pips that might be antennae or maybe ears; otherwise no adornments; hide is thick and soft, slightly rubbery in texture, egg layer? Can eat anything, tends to eat things that fall on the floor in the lab and has to be coaxed to barf them back up.
Powers: Adorability, Cobbler is just so cute, even if she's eaten something she ought not to, no one stays mad for long.
Squishability, this dragon, even at her size (... she's a girthy girl after all) (she hisses with narrow eyes) is able to push her head and shoulders into narrow spots, often no bigger than about 6" wide, and come out absolutely unscathed. In this manner she can patrol for loose connections, lost shiny things, mice and roaches, whatever might have rolled under the machinery, and sometimes even brings it out without having tasted it first.
Verbal Speech, Mental communication, Cobbler can speak at a staggering rate, and often is giving a rundown of the activities around her. This seems almost entirely unconscious on her part, she sees, she relates. Someone's bound to put a camera and microphone in front of her so they can get a dragon's eye news review at some point. She can mentally connect with Melissa, Aurora, Journey and Encore, and a number of other 'Melissa-adjacent' people in the Rookery, though what she says while doing so is a mystery.
Origin: Trix Birthday 2021 Chubby Chibi Giveaway on the Nexus
Other Info: As above, Cobbler is named after a delicious treat, and has her own made special! She actually does tend to have a faintly sweet smell around her at all times, though sometimes that might be because she's gotten into the oven and come out 'baked'.