Aberrant/YMMV

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  • Author Tract: If there is a gay person or advocacy group in the setting, they are virtually without exception well-meaning, honest, and nice. If there is a conservative/hetero-normative/Christian type getting camera focus, they are virtually without exception some type of stupid thuggish bigot who also probably are white, sexist, have crew cuts and no neck, and bitterly cling to their guns and to some ultra-fundamentalist "Christian" interpretation of doctrine that makes the Westboro Baptist Church look like the Episcopalians. The creator and principal line developer being a gay liberal probably had something to do with this.
    • In the Aberrant setting, it took seven years for the Vatican to officially recognize novas as human beings with human rights (which meant they came in at least six years behind such well-known bastions of liberty, freedom, and tolerance as the People's Republic of China or South freaking Africa), and the new Pope that finally did so (against the howling wishes of an ultra-orthodox secret Vatican murder conspiracy so clichéd that Dan Brown would have thought it went too far) was revealed to be a pawn of the Mafia. What.
    • Also, even the explicit villain conspiracy of the game, the absolutely ruthless murderers and assassins and schemers who ultimately ended up starting the Aberrant War, the guys who were 'Hail Hydra!' before MCU HYDRA even existed, Project Proteus, still get at least one minimal Straw Man Has a Point moment. Which is one more such moment than the US military-intelligence complex ever gets in this setting, despite their having no motive beyond 'try and stop novas from abusing their powers against the general population', because God forbid that the US government ever be right about anything.
      • Hey, be fair, the US did do something right when Randall Portman became President! And he... ran on a program of unconditionally surrendering control of US nova policy to Utopia. Oh. Right.
  • Canon Sue / Villain Sue: Divis Mal, so much. He's like Magneto, but he's canonically right, he's on an entire different power tier compared to most of the setting, he has the ability to depower or empower other supers at will, and basically the entire plot is caused by and guided by him, with the players having no capability to effectively disrupt his goals, let alone attack him effectively. At one point, supposedly, one of the developers said that the title of the game, Aberrant, referred to Divis Mal specifically.
    • Aberrant goes the extra mile by having Divis Mal's opposite number also be a Canon Sue. Maxwell Mercer is the bestest, most noblest, most awesome, most trying-hard-to-save-everyone saintlike figure ever, at least to listen to everybody who has actually met him (including Divis Mal) talk about him. Despite the fact that so many of Mercer's actions, and the actions of people operating in his name and with his sanction, are so very very... problematic.
  • Idiot Ball: Project Proteus grabs this so often that they're practically their own Idiot Plot. One of the world's most popular and beloved novas is beginning to get fragmentary clues to our existence, but is verging on You Have to Believe Me failure in her efforts to convince anyone? Kill her gruesomely in her own home so that former skeptics start wondering if she was actually on to something!
    • For extra bonus points, Proteus' response to the entirely unexpected hue and cry over Jennifer 'Utopia's Sweetheart'[1] Landers' murder reaching the point where they need to find someone to blame for it? Hey, how's about framing her ex-boyfriend! Well, that's actually not a bad choice to hang a frame on... if it wasn't for the fact that he was in full public view, hanging out in a nightclub, at the exact time she got killed.
      • And for a triple word score of stupid, the actual assassin of Slider? Was a Proteus shapeshifter. Yes. Proteus actually failed to make a frame airtight, or even halfway solid, even though they had access to an asset that could have turned himself into a perfect duplicate of Andre Corbin and then crushed Slider's skull in front of fifteen security cameras. Does he? Nope! And sure, Chiraben's an idiot. His handlers are not supposed to be idiots, and you think they'd draw the guy a flowchart or something.
        • For that matter, Proteus has access to Psyche, one of the world's more powerful telepaths and mind-controllers. They could have actually had Corbin beat his ex-girlfriend to death, then wipe his memory of the part where he didn't do it of his own free will, and then leave him collapsed on the floor next to her with enough drugs in his system to make a baleen whale see Jesus. Clearly the yob got drugged-up, went to his ex's house, had an argument, did a domestic violence while in an alcoholic/druggie blackout, and then passed out. Case closed! Given that Corbin is a retired professional athlete with a notorious history of drunken bar brawls (pre-eruption), wild partying, and poor impulse control, any homicide investigator in the world would have accepted this version of events without question.
      • Corbin grabs his own Idiot Ball during this by fleeing in such a guilty-appearing manner that the rest of the planet spends over a year thinking he's actually the killer. And sure, Proteus' hit team was coming down on him next and he had to clear the area. It would have helped his position if he'd run towards the nearest non-Utopia law enforcement agency (such as, oh, the Directive, who are not only the chief law-enforcement agency dealing with nova crime that isn't Utopia itself but are also widely known to hate Utopia's ass) to turn himself in and get his alibi checked out and the grand jury going 'Nope, no indictment here!', instead of immediately heading off to whereabouts unknown to try and find the real killers himself. Seeing as how he was a professional athlete, and not any kind of investigator.
    • The entire sterilization conspiracy is another Idiot Plot. 'We're afraid of a possible future where novas band together to attack humanity, so we'll try and reduce the nova population as much as possible!'. That just superficially makes enough sense to be a train of thought... that any intelligent conspirator should then discard after thinking it over a minute longer, when the Fridge Brilliance of 'Hey, maybe novas will be less likely to band together to attack humanity if humanity doesn't first attack them in a manner that would drive anyone short of Mother Theresa into a homicidal rage, specifically, by using biological warfare on them to guarantee that they can never have children.' And yes, it was a covert sterilization plan. You know what they call any spy agency that operates on the basis of "OK, so long as our enemy never ever gets a single hint or leak of this vital secret the knowledge of which we have entrusted to hundreds of operators and will be a complex plan going on for decades a time, we're fine?" Well, there's a reason its being mentioned under this particular trope...
      • Parenthetically, one of the chief causes of the Aberrant War in canon did indeed turn out to be precisely this -- too many novas becoming convinced that the baselines were out to get them. Which, thanks to Proteus and their actions (and the reaction to those actions once they finally leaked into public knowledge) was the truth.
    • Another one of the chief causes of said Aberrant War was the phenomenon of Taint. You know who knew about the existence of Taint before anyone else? Proteus. You know who knew about at least some of the proper preventive measures to avoid rapid Taint accumulation (notably, do not push your quantum powers and take regular rest breaks from using them) before anyone else? Proteus. You know who was more afraid of the idea of a future world full of Taint-maddened novas than anyone? Proteus. You know who never actually told anyone about any of this or how to try and avoid it? Bingo!
    • It's a pattern that goes on and on. In the adventure 'The Apostasy', the nova Antaeus walks away from his job at Project Utopia, prompting every other faction in the game to immediately try to recruit him. Given that Antaeus is one of the world's most powerful novas and cannot possibly be dragged against his will to anywhere without using enough force to wreck most of the city he's in -- and he is described in exactly those words by the relevant Utopia briefing document -- every faction's plan (Utopia's, the Teragen's, DeVries', the Directive's, everyone.) is 'Take our most talented nova diplomat and send them to very very politely ask Antaeus if he'd be willing to consider our job offer -- and if he says 'no', leave him a business card and ask him to call later if he changes his mind'. Every faction but one. Their orders to their field operatives were 'Drag his ass back here kicking and screaming if you can, and kill him on the spot if you can't'. Three guesses which faction I am talking about here, and the first two don't count.
    • The Ibiza nova riots, which ultimately ended up with hundreds of civilian casualties, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property damage, and a crisis situation that required the intervention of the Spanish army and the emergency evacuation of most of the island, ultimately started when Director Thetis of Proteus thought that the best place to try and bust a meeting between Teragen and Aberrant faction emissaries was in the middle of a nightclub packed full of drunk and/or coked-up novas, and then had the gall to actually be surprised that rolling flashbang grenades into the room and then bursting through the roof, instead of resulting in immediate success, instead started the world's most destructive superpowered bar fight (that rapidly expanded into the aforementioned world's most destructive superpowered riot).
      • For extra stupid points -- which seems to be a Proteus specialty -- it had been specifically pointed out beforehand that the strike team was likely to be massively outnumbered, a concern Director Thetis ignored with the observation 'Each side is only going to send a couple people, so we will outnumber them'. Entirely ignoring the fact that on any average night, the Amp Room in Ibiza is going to be packed full of dozens of novas -- most of whom will be Teragen sympathizers, Aberrant sympathizers, or independent freelancers, i.e., entirely willing to jump in on the Terat/Aberrant side of the bar fight just because they're there. And also because they're drunk and/or high as a kite, the Amp Room being that kind of party. In fact, the part where the Amp Room is the world's most infamous den of nova decadence, drugs, debauchery, etc, etc, is precisely why you don't find many clean-cut Utopia-sympathizing novas hanging out there.
        • For quadruple stupid points, one of the people at the meet was a Proteus double agent. And any law enforcement agency on down to the Mayberry PD is competent enough to know that if you know exactly when the target is going to be out nightclubbing and where it makes far more sense to serve a warrant on him in the parking lot instead of in the middle of a crowded bar full of drunk mercenaries.
      • Especially since the nightclub owners are Teragen sympathizers and close friends of the Teragen emissary who was meeting the Aberrants there that night -- which was, of course, the entire reason that the Amp Room was chosen as the meeting site in the first place.
  1. Her nova name was actually "Slider", but her having this as her nickname gives you a hint as to just how popular she was.