Asylum (Aislinn Reeve)
Aislinn Reeve was admitted to the New Hope Mental Health Facility when she was only seven years old. According to publicly available records, she was found wandering the streets of Detroit. Her parents died that same night, although the circumstances of their death have been highly classified and Aislinn herself cannot seem to recall the events of that night. Following this, she spent time in a foster home, but less than a month of this convinced everyone involved the disturbed young girl would be better off in psychiatric care.
From this night forward, much of Aislinn's life was a blur, as a vast myriad of mental illnesses manifested and were in turn treated in a variety of ways from the trusted to the experimental, all with varying degrees of success or failure. Sadly, at best, Aislinn was kept sedate and largely oblivious to her surroundings, and at her worst, she was violent and terrified, unable to sort reality from her own inner turmoils. Even at her most lucid, an array of anxiety and personality disorders made it impossible for her to function normally.
Sleep was no solace to Aislinn either -- night after night, she was terrorized by hideous nightmares which seemed to have no basis in her already cruel reality. Of course, she could not have known that these terrible visions were in fact the visitations of a strange and incomprehensible being from a metaphysical dreamscape. For a time, Aislinn was loathe to sleep at all, suffering chronic and severe insomnia for quite some time before eventually growing used to the terrible visions. And eventually, they became familiar, almost consoling, as their regularity was a stability Aislinn could not find in her waking hours.
When Aislinn was almost seventeen, she was at her worst. New Hope, a government run facility, had never been exactly cutting edge, but in the years since the destruction of Detroit, it had fallen even lower on any budget lists as newer, more advanced facilities were constructed as part of the Millenium City project. And as the hospital grew more decrepit and its staff less qualified, life became harder and harder for Aislinn. Her caretakers were often negligent, if not downright malicious. Abuses at their hands stacked new mental issues upon old ones, until Aislinn existed largely in a state of catatonia sprinkled with moments of lucid depression.
It was in this time that she had her last nightmare. One night, Aislinn dreamt of fear, of desperation, of a sense of being trapped and helpless -- but these feelings, although mirroring her own, were not hers. Although no words asked her, and no face showed itself, she came to realize that, in the empty void of sleep, her unseen cohort was begging for help, for escape, for sanctuary. Feeling kinship with this strange, alien entity, she accepted it, welcomed it into her world, her mind, her body. Aislinn's nightmare joined with her that night, and the two awoke together as Asylum.
After this, Aislinn improved steadily -- the alien presence in her mind helped to soothe and corrected her poisoned thoughts, and it taught her things, important things, about people, about the world. Before long, she was declared legally sane and in good health, and released from care. From here, she began to explore the strange powers offered by the nightmare symbiote. When the Qularr attacked, the choice was easy, and the heroine Asylum was truly born.
Asylum has a variety of unusual powers, perhaps the most basic of which is her control over fear. Able to create it, read it, quell it, devour it, Asylum speaks the language of terror in all its forms. She is capable of giving nightmarish entities a physical form for a time, as well as travel through the dreamscape in quick bursts, giving the impression of teleportation. The entity to which Aislinn Reeve bonded is akin to an elemental, a being of purest nightmare, and as such its powers over its domain are diverse and immense, impossible to easily quantify here. Asylum is also capable of shifting instantly between her human form and her nightmare persona. The nightmare persona strengthens Asylum's connection with the symbiote, and thus her powers, but also the alien "mind" of her cohort, causing changes to her behaviour and personality. Because of this, Asylum generally reserves the nightmare persona for times of conflict or deep introspection.
Despite her extraordinary circumstances, Aislinn is largely a normal girl. She wants friends, enjoys looking fashionable, worries about money and frets about matters of right and wrong. Although becoming Asylum has helped her make great strides towards mental health, she still suffers from several low-key disorders and can often be seen medicating herself or meditating to find her clarity.
Because of her rather impersonal and deeply troubled upbringing, Aislinn finds it difficult to relate to others, but like most people, craves human interaction and company. Much of what she knows was 'taught' to her by the nightmare symbiote, and as such is filtered through its alien perceptions. As a result, Asylum struggles to reconcile her understanding of the world with reality.
Asylum attempts to keep her emotions tightly reined in, as years of erratic, almost mindless behaviour have made her frightened of her own feelings. This of course conflicts with her desire to relate to others, and so she explores her own emotions in slow, careful steps, sharing only small smiles and self-conscious laughter. In her nightmare persona, however, the nature of the symbiote shines through, and she comes to relish the terror and fear she invokes in her foes, often referring to the villains and criminals she torments as "prey". However, the symbiote is not evil -- it is simply a being of nightmares, and brings fear because that is its nature, much as fire burns without passion or malice.
The nightmare symbiote has done much to help Aislinn relate to others, as it has existed a very long time and haunted the psyches of many before joining to become Asylum. Likewise, it offers Aislinn a small degree of empathic power even in her human state, able to naturally feel the fear and anxiety of others, which helps her to understand those around her. However, because artificial life forms such as robots do not dream or feel fear as the symbiote might understand it, it has no perspective to offer Aislinn. In fact, this lack of fear in mechanical entities makes her wary of and annoyed by such creatures, to the point that she may come across as blatantly racist when confronted with them, despite any claims of sentience on their part.
Such a close relationship with fear has both its perils and benefits. It is nearly impossible to startle or frighten Asylum, and this lends her a supernatural bravery which can come across as a pure lack of survival instincts. The truth is Asylum simply lacks the fear of the unknown that so often moderates human behaviour, and will not become wary of something without being given a logical reason to do so. While it is possible (albeit difficult) to instill supernatural terror in Aislinn, the symbiote happily consumes such feelings, allowing her to quickly recover. In her nightmare persona, this can drive Asylum into a state of manic glee as terror flushes through her body like a rush of hot blood.