Nick Rick the Balloon-atic
Scion of Chang’e, Lunar Goddess of the Celestial Bureaucracy
Calling: Beloved Entertainer
Bag of Balloons: Infinite supply of balloons, can sculpt usable weapons out of balloons (balloon sword, balloon bow, guns are still too mechanically complex), access to the Sky purview
Lunatic Goggles: Access to the Moon, Chaos, and Darkness purviews
“Moon Rabbit” Hand Puppet: Empowered by Chang’e to function as a three-dot guide when worn
Smoking Mirror (Moon): Get a moon’s eye view of the surrounding area
Tidal Interference (Moon): Bend gravity to make opponents easier to hit
Wind’s Freedom (Sky): Flight
Five Cycle Augmentation (Taiyi): Enhance another scion’s Legend-based ability
Nick Reichenbach was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. His early life was uneventful, and it wasn’t until his college days that he began to feel a pull towards the life of an entertainer. He took up the hobby of making balloon animals, and at the urging of his friends in an improv theatre troupe, went on a local public access TV show as a children’s entertainer, under the stage name of “Nick Rick, the Balloon-atic”. This eventually caught the eye of PBS, which hired him in 1993 to perform a children’s show. The show’s premise was that Nick lived on a dome on the moon, and would receive supplies, letters and other interesting stuff from home via weather balloon. He also created a new balloon animal every episode, and explained how kids at home could make them.
However, the show ran into a series of problems. First, the show was protested by environmental groups after well-meaning chidren tied fanmail to balloons and let them go, resulting in the balloons getting into the environment and becoming dangerous to sea life. This led PBS to put a disclaimer at the start of the show, explaining that Nick Rick only received special balloons sent by his home base, and urging kids to send their mail to PBS “to make sure it arrived safely”. Then a 6-year-old in Illinois tied balloons to his arms and legs, then jumped off the roof of his house, breaking his ankle. The parents sued Nick and won. Nick had never attempted or encouraged such behavior on the show, but he raised no objections when PBS put on a second disclaimer explaining that “balloons do not enable you to fly”.
The final straw came in 1997, when Nick was sued again after a child in Milwaukee choked to death while eating a balloon. Nick won the case when he pointed out that he had always included a warning that “Little people should get help from Moms or Dads”, that he taught kids to sculpt balloons, not ingest them, and when it was found out that the child didn’t watch the show in the first place, because “Ren and Stimpy” came on at the same time on another channel. But the damage was done: PBS took the show off the air.
The night before the moon set was to be struck for the last time, Nick went to collect some mementos. He was surprised to find the indoor set illuminated by what seemed to be moonlight, and even more surprised to find a beautiful young woman waiting for him. But nothing could have surprised him more than when she explained who she was and why she was there. Apparently, she was Chang’e, the Chinese lunar goddess, and Nick’s mother. She had been watching his career with interest, and had chosen to reveal herself now, to give him the encouragement to continue. She explained that many gods had such scions throughout the world.
Finally, she granted Nick his birthrights by empowering what she called his “symbols of office”. The bag he used to carry his balloons now held an infinite supply, and allowed him to alter the properties of the sculptures he created, making them supernaturally light or heavy. A pair of flip-up welding goggles Nick had worn as part of his stage costume on local TV, but had been turned into a set decoration over concerns that they might frighten small children if he wore them, were enhanced with “powers lunar and lunatic”. Finally, a rabbit hand puppet, a gift from the Jim Henson Foundation that had been “sent to the moon” in the pilot episode, was infused with some of the spirit of the Jade Rabbit, the faithful companion of Chang’e.
Since that time, Nick Reichenbach has used his deific talents to lead a comfortable but not overly extravagant life. He received a job offer at the Toronto Museum, where he starred in a few multimedia presentations and now works full-time as a tour guide. His sense of humor and commanding presence have made him a relatively popular fellow (though few recognize him as the “Balloon-atic”, and Nick for the most part feels no need to rehash a decade-old character). His ability to think on his feet (born from his college years in improv theatre, and a few live “Balloon-atic” stage shows back in the day) is well known among his colleagues. Also, his dexterity borders on the supernatural; balloon animals remain a hobby of his, and nobody makes them quicker or better than he does.
In all, Nick Reichenbach has found being the son of a goddess to not have changed his life all that much. He Tivo-ed the episode of Mythbusters where they determined how many balloons it would take to lift a small child, and was slightly miffed that they didn’t mention him (although he enjoyed the irony in the fact that, thanks to his supernatural heritage, he can now fly with just one balloon). An old college friend forwarded him a copy of “Dr. Horrible”, and it amused him immensely to see Neil Patrick Harris rocking a pair of goggles nearly identical to his own. And he still watches children’s shows, although he dismisses most of the new ones as “commercialized crap”. But soon, Nick may find his family history pulling him towards danger and adventure- and it’s anyone’s guess how he’ll respond to that…