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NAME: Temeraire
SERIES/SOURCE: the Temeraire series
AGE: a year or so. Technically hatched in the 19th century. He's gone through dragon puberty at any rate.
GENDER: male
ROLE: student / partner of a member of staff

BACKGROUND: OH BOY HERE WE GO. Let's see how many of the hated backstory components on the FAQ we can tick off. So basically, Temeraire is a mutant dragon from space, who: was sent in the egg as an ambassador to another planet but never got there thanks to meddling cosmic forces; crash-landed on Earth back in the nineteenth century; was found by and bonded with a naval captain; fought nineteenth century crime for a while; encountered a latent time travel device that reacted badly with Temeraire's alien genetics and cast him and Laurence into the timestream, from which they were fished by the Fantastic Four about a year before the present day. Temeraire has a tremendous herocrush on Captain America and Thor, and subscribes to Reed Richard's newsletter. He finds Wolverine crude and confusing, but admires his attitude and eating habits.

In detail: Temeraire's planet of origin is home to an alien species that greatly resemble the dragons of Earth's various cultures. Originally, they were kept as little more than giant slaves to a smaller, more established species on another, nearby planet, and became victims of an intense breeding program when natural mutations began to occur. Over millennia, these mutations became bloodlines, and the draconic species became divided into distinct breeds, each with their own coloration and abilities. The Celestials - mutated versions of what had been the ruling class - regained control when the tensions between the species reached breaking point, and ordered a mass exodus of all dragonkind to the sister planet, utilising several distinct bloodlines along with newly discovered technology that enabled short-distance space travel, which the dragons had found an aptitude for. (The species has a knack for mathematics and physics, and is thus vastly suited to careers in astrophysics and the like. It helps that they also have a fairly high belief threshold.)

It took a century for the species to fully establish itself as a power, and they began making overtures once again to neighbouring planets - never themselves leaving, and accepting very few visitors - and it was only when the 'empress' Celestial gave birth to two eggs, rather than the expected one, that they found the need to send an ambassador to a planet quite far away, as to resolve the question of succession. Still in the egg, and with a number of broadcasts to teach the hatchling the required languages whilst as yet unaware, the younger was sent in their best space-worthy vessel, ready to hatch upon arrival in a viable atmosphere.

However, the pod encountered difficulties in the form of a cosmic disturbance - unmonitored, and thus unknown (read: as the game's plot demands) - and lost its navigation programs in an intense magnetic storm whilst passing too close to Jupiter. Instead of continuing its flight beyond that particular solar system, the pod was caught up in Earth's gravity and crash-landed into one of its oceans off the coast of France, where it was found by, gasp, a French ship. With the odd find, the ship turned about and sailed for its home port, but was caught by a ship of the British navy - the HMS Reliant - and was promptly relieved of its cargo and a good deal of its crew, as was the custom in 19th Century naval skirmishes.

He hatched a few days later, to the shock and dismay of the ship's crew, who had hoped to sell the egg as a curiosity in England for a huge price. Instead, he spoke promptly to the captain, Will Laurence, and requested food. When Laurence dazedly introduced himself and asked a name in return, the dragon allowed himself to be named 'Temeraire', after a fine French ship, and again asked for something to eat. From that point onwards he developed a distinct bond and partnership with the captain, and was thus allowed to 'keep' him once they arrived in England, with the agreement being that he and Laurence serve in a military capacity as an airborne force.

They fought as both an individual unit and as part of a regiment, and received training from several unusually knowledgeable persons as they travelled with the military across Europe, the far East and the coast of Africa. However, several years after they first met, the duo were commissioned to collect a recently-discovered artifact and bring it back to England. Such a mission was normal, but something went fairly majorly wrong when the artifact was brought near Temeraire - as he kept a few fragments of his destroyed pod as one of his trophies, and obviously alien technology despises the technology of other aliens - and it activated, revealing itself to be a previously latent time-travel device of some sort. The two were cast into the timestream, and would have been lost forever (except for the interested gaze of a Watcher or two) if it were not for the Fantastic Four, who noticed the abnormality and rescued them. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to return to their own time, since the device had been destroyed during the incident. Instead, the FF helped them to contact the British government, from whom Laurence was owed a sizeable sum of money, and find somewhere to stay. That being, in this case, Xavier's Institute.

PERSONALITY: His name describes him best: bold and daring, Temeraire is afraid of very little. Part of this is due to his relative youth; he simply doesn’t know any better. The other part is due to his being a large flying reptile weighing several tons, with claws and a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. With, of course, the added bonus that dragons seem to be largely warlike in nature, or more amenable to combat as a solution to nearly every problem. This comes across as a great asset in battle, but is also a liability in his recklessness and headstrong behaviour. Should something trouble him, he will make every effort to reason it through, but after a point his instinctive reaction is to eat or defeat the source of aforementioned trouble. This way of thinking is slowly being adjusted now that he's not as ridiculously large, and is surrounded with humans able to turn into fire or manipulate the earth's crust.

Whilst he is frequently distracted or contrary when he disagrees with an instruction or direction, he is never deliberately disobedient. Aggression is met with either confusion or indignation, or one immediately preceding the other. He is intensely careful and polite, and his old-fashioned manners make him seem apologetic or unsure. Considering he has made the transition first from an alien culture to nineteenth-century Europe, and then to modern-day America and its super hero subculture, he is still easily stumped by technology, although he adapts quickly. He is intensely curious and loves to learn, and is thus demanding in his search for knowledge. However, such concepts as ‘authority’ and ‘duty’ are alien to him, and will elicit probing questions as to their nature. He has no loyalty to a government other than that which Laurence possesses, and tends to ignore orders from anyone but his captain if he prefers his own options. Some super heroes or mutants have his deep respect - either through power or knowledge - and he will actually listen to them. These include Xavier himself, and the majority of the established hero teams. If he admires someone, he will assume a childish desire to please or impress them, as he values approval and occasionally suffers from bouts of insecurity from being a different species than those around him.

Temeraire has a deeply possessive streak, both towards people and to objects he deems his. Laurence, his companion, is as much a belonging as a necklace or a meal though one greatly valued. He has admitted that he would prefer Laurence to a pile of gold, which is a great admission for a creature with an inherent obsession with jewels and precious metals. This creates strong bonds of loyalty with those willing to befriend him, which Temeraire will attend to studiously with defence or instruction. However, he is immature and reserved enough by today’s standards to appear prudish, and is also prone to vanity and cleanliness enough to make it a character trait.

Above all, Temeraire is incredibly intelligent. This does not manifest in cunning or common sense, but what would be termed book smarts in a human. He learns quickly and well, and is already fluent in three languages (English, French, and the language of his home planet which shares traits with earth Chinese) as well as being able to speak a little of most European languages (albeit rather outdated: for example, he speaks a Prussian dialect of German, and some pidgin from the African colonies). He enjoys being read to, and thus has acquired knowledge of subjects such as theoretical mathematics and geology. (His favourite book is the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, by Isaac Newton, although he possesses only an English version because Laurence could not remember enough Latin to read the original to him.)

APPEARANCE: Temeraire has reached his full growth, and is thus a thirty-metre-long dragon with a fifty-metre wingspan, weighing roughly twenty tons. However, he received a dose of Pym Particles from the Avengers just before arriving at the Institute, which has reduced him to a more manageable size. Laurence has a dose that will reverse the shrinking process if they suddenly find themselves in need of an unnecessarily large reptile, but Temeraire cannot return to his normal size on his own, and the dose is only for emergencies. When shrunk down (ie basically all the time), he is roughly the size of a small horse, with an uncommonly long build and a tail that lashes around much like a cat's, if a cat's tail was the length of its body and covered in scales. His wingspan is fairly inconvenient when fully extended, but for the most part he keeps his wings tucked neatly against his sides as not to hinder himself or those around him. (approx. 3 metres long inc. tail, with a five-metre wingspan).

His scales are a glossy black, although his wings retain a bluish pattern along their edges. They have six spines, whereas most dragons possess only five. It is a feature of his refined bloodline (read: mutation) that his eyes match the colorations on his wings. His claws are substantial and sharp, as are his teeth. Being a mutant dragon, he has a bony ruff around his head to puff up at those he wishes to appear intimidating towards, and tendrils extending from above his mouth. These tendrils are unfortunately a sensitive area, and should not be touched unless you want him to become very affectionate. He is sleek and takes particularly good care of his appearance, including taking regular baths. His scales are hard and rough, except the finer scaling on his snout, which remains soft to the touch. He wears a gold chain around one foreclaw, which has alternating discs and large pearls along its links. He also has a large pendant of silver with a sapphire and several pearls set into it, which hangs from his neck and rests against his chest. In his smaller form, the pendant hangs on a wall in Laurence's room for safekeeping, and he wears the gold chain as a necklace.

POWERS: His species counts as a power. His full-size form is enough of a game breaker in some situations that I'm going to limit it beyond all belief. The use of pym particles to return him to his thirty-metre length will only occurr with full mod approval, and will not be permanent in any case. To switch sizes he or Laurence must apply IC to the Avengers/the FF for permission, unless it is an emergency, since he is large enough to cause serious alarm in populated areas, and doesn't really inspire anything other than fear in the human populace anyway. He retains the sharp claws and fangs of a born predator, and can fly long distances at a reasonable rate. He can only carry one person, with the capacity of a winged human.

His actual 'mutation', in dragon terms, is the ability to produce a sonic roar called the Divine Wind, which is essentially a glorified superbark that can nevertheless pulverise small buildings and is super-effective against wooden structures. In his travelsize form, he can really wreck a tree's day, or send a medium-sized object flying. As it uses the same muscles as an ordinary roar, he cannot use the Divine Wind without first inhaling, and must be able to both open his mouth and expand his chest cavity to emit any magnitude of sonic blast.
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Temeraire

November 2013

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