Energy Perception – The base of Tyler’s power is that he can actually see energy in the air. It presents itself as waves or ribbons in the air. Each type of energy presents itself as a different color (or combination of colors). Over time he’s been able to identify all the different colors. In the beginning his power was always on and so the world was pretty blinding with colors floating around everywhere. He’s since learned how to filter them out, while they’re still always present, he has learned to sort of ‘fade’ them into the background and when he needs to focus on a specific color that one gets brighter.
Despite being able to control the intensity of his power, it can still occasionally be distracting. Especially if an unexpected source comes into view, like light, sound, electricity that’s everywhere. But, for example, if he were in the woods and a radio wave shows up. The focus to fade the colors is pretty much second nature now, but there are moments he will lose that focus (such as when he’s in pain) and then all the lights come back in their blinding glory until he can refocus. He even sees them when his eyes are closed, which can be handy when blindfolded but was a bitch to learn how to sleep with. Even with the ability to fade the colors, Tyler does tend to suffer from headaches and migraines, which can get really bad if not treated.
One practical use of this base ability (beyond just being able to see the energies), is that he can track it. He has to physically track it of course, but he can tell what direction it’s coming from (or a vague direction with some sound sources). His range is pretty decent but does depend on the source of energy, for example sound waved only travel about 1/5th of a mile, but heat and what it’s traveling through can cause that distance to fluctuate. Where as most other energy travels at a much greater distance (ie. infrared can travel up to nearly 300 miles), however his limit tends to be about a mile. The strength of the source can increase his distance. The only sure fire way to override distance is in situations where the source is transmitting to another source (such as two way radios and com links- they have to be on), in these cases if he’s within a mile of the sources target he can track it to it’s origin. However, elements that would block signals will still block them (like when you drive your car through a mountain and loose reception).
Energy Manipulation – A secondary power to his first, Tyler has learned how to manipulate the energy waves he sees. This is done by focusing on the color and then into it. A radio can be ‘opened’ to hear a conversation. TV and computers can be ‘opened’ to see the screen and he can manipulate it as it at the computer itself. If something has multiple signals it’s receiving (such as a TV) he can view all the sources as well as turn it on or off. The spreadsheet linked above has a list of what he could do with each type of energy. Some have no practical use other than a visual one, while others he has a lot more control over.
He doesn’t really have a limit to how long he can ‘look’ at something, so long as the source is still within his range, however trying to manage more than a few sources can get overwhelming and cause headaches, migraines and if he doesn’t stop nose bleeds and blackouts. These effects also happen if he tries to ‘control’ something for too long.
He has almost got a BA in Business Economics. Over the years of working as a con man Tyler has learned some unique skills. He can pick a variety of locks, hot wire a car, pick a pocket and is a pretty decent actor (aka, he can lie). Basically he has an assortment of criminal based skills he picked up over 7 years, including a handful of contacts who could set up fake ID’s, launder money, etc.
Tyler was born in Henderson, Nevada to a upper lower class family. He lived in a two bedroom manufactured home. It was just him and his parents- oh and the seemingly endless amount of aunts, uncles and cousins who never moved out of the city. His mother was a social worker and his father was a professional gambler. Many of his relatives went into Vegas regularly to gamble. When he was in middle school he asked his father if he had an addiction to gambling after one of his uncles ended up getting in trouble for it. His father explained to him the difference between his uncles addiction and what he did. He explained a set of rules he had for how long to stay at a table, when he called it quits, how he chose which bets to make. It was all very intricate and well planned out. Later in life he would take some of the lessons he learned from his father and use it in his own life.
His family wasn’t rich by any stretch of the imagination, with his mothers steady paycheck they always had food and a roof over their head and the bills paid, but not a lot of extra fun stuff. When his father did well, things were better. They’d go to a movie, get new clothes, go out to eat. When his father did poorly, they made due. In school Tyler was very outgoing, had a lot of friends and was quite popular. He did well in classes, knowing that if he wanted to get out of Henderson he’d have to get in to college and to do that he’d need a scholarship because there was no way his parents were going to be able to afford it. He also got a job at a restaurant where he learned that if he behaved a certain way with people he got better tips. It was one of the first times he learned that putting on an act, pretending to be someone else for a moment could get him something he wanted.
His powers came out when he was 14, they first appeared slowly. At first he thought there was something wrong with his eyes, but he didn’t want to say anything to his parents because he knew they didn’t have good insurance and he was sure it would go away on it’s own. It didn’t, after two weeks he was practically blinded by the amount of colors he saw floating in the air around him. Some came and went, which almost made it worse. At one point in school while at a pep rally he actually got physically ill as if he had a bad case of motion sickness. His parents took him to the eye doctor and he couldn’t find anything wrong wit him. Tyler was kept home from school for about a week on over the counter migraine medicine as he barely left his darkened room. It was a combination of desperation and determination that allowed him to learn control over the colors. He learned that if he focused he could sort of ‘fade’ them, like turning down the brightness on a cell phone. They were still there but they weren’t overwhelming or the center of attention anymore.
It was about a month or so later he learned he could ‘tap into’ the colors. It happened when he realized that light purple color seemed to happen whenever something made a sound (which was really annoying because everything made sounds), but most came and went quickly. Conversations on the other hand had a longer ribbon. As he noticed some girls having a conversation and they kept looking at him. He really wanted to know what they were saying. He could tell which strand of light was theirs and just wished he could reach out and grab it- which like an idiot he actually tried to do. The moment he ‘touched’ it it sort of got bright and opened for him, like listening through a can on a string he could hear their conversation. One of them was hoping he’d ask her on a date. This skill would prove to be useful.
Of course, as a teenager his extent of thought into what he could use his ability for was based more around eavesdropping on girls. One day, his senior year, he overheard some teachers talking, one mentioned a pop quiz. Tyler was hit with a brilliant idea, knowing the quiz was coming up the next day, if he was able to get a copy of the questions then maybe he could make a bit of money by selling them to his class. Well, it would have been a good idea if he hadn’t gotten caught and gotten detention (which was better than a suspension). Of course, life would eventually prove that it was the best stupid idea he ever had- or at least the first. Because, in detention he met a freshman named Melody. Two weeks after school every day they sort of got to know each other. There were a few other people in the room, but they were the only two frequent fliers. So they started to have a conversation in noted during detention and then it continued after over texts.
Then Tyler graduated and left for UCLA to major in Business Economics, turns out with a small scholarship, a grant and money his father had been putting away from his winnings he didn’t know about, college was affordable. He kept up the texting with Melody, even with college life he always had time to reply to her texts and when he couldn’t take her calls always called her back. They’d talk for hours about their dreams and what they really wanted to do with their life. He really didn’t want to become an accountant or stock broker, but he also didn’t want to go back to living in Henderson and not have a life. At some point after almost a year of conversing they each came out a superhuman to each other. Tyler doesn’t remember who was first, but it seemed like a great weight was lifted off his shoulders when he told her.
Years past and they had started to get closer, after she turned 18 she paid him a surprised visit to the small apartment he’d gotten his third year and they found themselves drawn to each other. It was the second best worst decision he made. The next day he broke up with his girlfriend at the time and he and Melody were officially an item- just long distance. They continued to talk, plotting big plans they could use with their powers. From small things like using them to get ahead in poker, to robbing people right in front of their faces. When Melody graduated Tyler drove out to be there and that night they hit a casino to celebrate. Granted he could bet and she coudln’t but they were determined to put one of their plans to the test.
Tyler chose poker and used his abilities to look into the security camera feed that had a line on everyone’s hands. He’d spent the previous four years or so working out what the different colors meant and even learned how to ‘tap into’ a few of them. It took him a few tables to get the perfect line up but once he did he was able to bet accordingly. He was doing so well that the casino put him up in a room for the night, clearly wanting him to stay and keep betting. He and Melody celebrated that night and after one of them jokingly said they should just skip college and just do this… they both, after a moment, decided it was a great idea- kismet. He couldn’t tell you who’s idea it was. It was the third best worst decision.
The first con they ran wasn’t the most successful, but they learned a lot. They tried to get investors for a fake start up company. They got out thanks to Melody’s abilities and realized that planning was key. They drove out to New York, honing their craft along the way. Every town they stopped in they were different people. They managed to get free meals or money by garnering sympathy for the poor expecting parents who were running away from disapproving parents. Or Melody’s spectacular performances as an abused girlfriend- Tyler hated that one because it typically meant sneaking out a bathroom window or getting beat up by a ‘good Samaritan’. They convinced little diner owners that they were food network producers looking to possibly use their location in one of their shows. That was the first time they made up fake credentials- but business cards were easy. Later they’d meet some less than reputable men who would help them get false identifications- for a pretty penny.
They stayed in New York running cons no the white collar elite. From fake investment deals (they’d gotten better), ponzi schemes, blackmail and sometimes theft (from corporate officers only), they did well for themselves. A lot of what they made they used to finance a bigger score but it really wasn’t about the money, at least not for Tyler. There was a thrill that came with each job they ran, each new persona he put on, the research all of it. The fact that it was with Melody made it even better. They did have some help. After their second job they met another couple they only knew as Casey and Liz. Turns out they’d targeted the same person. The couple was older and Tyler and Melody must have done something right because they decided to take them under their wing and teach them some things. When they arrived in New York Melody started school, community college at first and then she transitioned into a four year, majoring in Art History. This opened up a whole new world of jobs for them.
For five years they ran jobs over the eastern seaboard, mainly in New York. If they were ever starting to run low on funds they’d head down to Atlantic City for some poker. One night Tyler treated Melody to a nice dinner and then surprised her by proposing. She said yes. They both decided that a big wedding wasn’t them and it had been a while since they’d seen their family anyhow so they decided to take a small vacation back home. They got married at a small chapel off the strip and instead of doing a reception they crashed a private poker game Tyler’s uncle told them about. The security cameras in the hotel room weren’t the best, so there was at least one person he had to actually play against so he didn’t come out as well as he could have- which was probably a good thing considering the type of people at the game.
Husband and wife, they went back to New York. They were living at the top of their game, untouchable, unstoppable. Or so they thought. It was another five years or more than they continued to thrive in the city. Despite all the money they’d stolen they lived a modest life outside of cons. Most of their money was off shore and untraceable. The little they kept allowed them to afford a nice apartment in the city, but they didn’t flaunt what they had. They knew better. Connections they made with people were done carefully and through their alias’, they’d been at it long enough to know what was what.
Whenever the heat started to come down, either because of a job or someone thinking they were Metas, they’d take a vacation for a few months overseas. While they managed to skirt just under the radar of the government over the years, when the registration laws were changed they felt a little relief. Recently Tyler has found himself targeting people and companies that seem to be more anti-meta in their practices, it’s not really a conscious decision, but it sort of feels better to steal from those who deserve it.