Shiloh Samson, The Scarlet Sensation
Shiloh looks like he could be cast as Superman— tall, dark, handsome, blue-eyed, with thick hair that includes one unruly curl across his forehead. His dimpled chin is his most prominent feature, the feature cartoonists most often exaggerate.
Shiloh was born and raised in Seattle. His mother died when he was sixteen, killed in an auto accident, and Shiloh was raised by his father, Doctor Stephen Strickland. Dr Strickland was a heart surgeon who amassed great wealth through savy investments. He was a philantropist who gave back to the city. He was also a notorious ladies man. The only lasting relationship Stephen had was with his wife. For two decades after she was killed, the longest he was with any one woman was a year… and more often he had a different ‘girlfriend’ every month. Shiloh and Stephen weren’t especially close. Stephen didn’t have time for his son. Stephen was an intellectual who disdained sports and that was exactly why Shiloh engaged in all kinds of sports during his high school years. He played basketball,football, and was a track star. He was a natural athlete. And his body responded especially well to his exercise regiments.
Instead of going to college as his father expected, Shiloh went to Hollywood and immediately landed a job doing a sun tan lotion commerical. That was the year 2002 and he was just 20 years old. The producer of the commerical knew another producer casting for a (bad) SyFy movie about the Greek hero Perseus living in modern day America. It was called Krakken Apocalypse. The person playing Perseus wasn’t memorable but Shiloh made a small splash playing a wisecracking version of the god Apollo. Because of his role in this movie, Shiloh was then cast as Biff Bash on the daytime drama (soap opera) The Shining Star. On The Shining Star, Biff Bash’s brother Ben is a doctor and Biff’s youngest brother is Barry, a defense lawyer. Part of the show centers around Ben and Barry and their affluent families, in a typical soap opera fashion. The central character of the show, however, was Biff himself, who was a movie star, an action hero, a millionaire playboy. The character Biff Bash was loved by his oblivious fictitious fans on the show (especially female fans)… but the fictional Biff Bash was secretly a womanizer. The soap opera centered often on Biff flying off to some exotic locale and seducing some heiress or princess or some (formerly independent) working girl (almost in a James Bond kind of way). Girls swooned because of his good looks.
Shiloh’s real life mirrored his character. People in the Industry believed that he wasn’t acting on the show… that he was simply being himself. In truth, the writers of The Shining Star were inspired by many real life episodes involving Shiloh and his romantic exploits. Shiloh had no self awareness. He left broken hearts behind but thought that the women in question were lucky to know him, that they experienced the greatest nights of their lives because of him. All arrogance and narcicissm.
(See disadvantages)- He is shallow and vain and cares a great deal about his appearance. He’s not dumb; he’s very discerning about women; but he’s not SELF aware. He doesn’t realize his shallow attitude about women (and commitment) is appalling.
From the year 2005-2015, Shiloh continued to star in The Shining Star. From the year 2007-2014, during each of those years a new fictitous movie was shot, edited and released on The Shining Star. A survey in 2011, when Shiloh and the show were at the height of their popularity, showed that as many as 36% of the viewers of the soap opera confused Biff Bash and the fake movies he starred in with actual movies that garnered academy awards that year.
All the while the tabloids continued to print stories about his outrageous conduct with women, including some who were famous and who were very young (barely legal). Through these years, Shiloh had little connection with his father, who had stopped his own womanizing ways when he met a good Christian woman and remarried. Shiloh would come home for Christmas every year, however, to spend time with his father (and his new wife.) It was Shiloh’s stepmother who finally got Stephen to call Shiloh “Shiloh” (formerly what Stephen called “his fake name”) instead of Simon (“his real name.”)
By 2015, the thrill was gone. The ratings on The Shining Star were starting to dive. And Shiloh was also restless to do other things. His agent and friend (ex g/f) Abigail Adams (who he calls “his first lady”) landed him a role in another SyFi monster movie, this one that actually shot overseas in Crete (rather than on sound stages in California.) The producer was Greek and the crew was Greek. Shiloh played Thesus, who fought the minotaur in the labyrinth. And while on the extended movie shoot (which went long because of bad weather), he seduced a local woman named Helena, who was secretly a witch. Hired as an extra on the movie because of her beauty, Helena was innocent, naive, a virgin, and it was because of her virginity that Shiloh decided to conquer her. He feigned love, implied he would marry her, promised to take her away to America, and generally swept Helena off her feet. Then, once he had her, he jilted her. He broke her heart. It wasn’t out of a malicious need to hurt her. He actually partially meant all the promises he made when he was infatuated with her. But once he got her into bed, he lost interest in her and bluntly told her so. He told her that he ‘hoped they could still be friends’… for as long as the movie shoot lasted (until he went back to the United States without her.)
Helena came from a family of powerful women who knew ancient arcane arts. Each of her relatives had their own strengths. Her older sister was able to heal. Her mother had a talent for divination. Her aunt could speak to animals. Her cousin could transform herself. Another cousin could call up winds or fire through elaborate dances. Her great aunt was the “Keeper of the Tome”, a woman who could work all kinds of magical spells through elaborate incantations, both bright and dark. And Helena’s grandmother Medea, who was over 130 years old, was the most powerful witch of them all. She was a Watcher, a Weaver, and a Definer. It was grandmother Medea who could look at a newborn daughter of the clan and determine what their forte was— what talent they possessed— what discipline they were destined to master.
Helena was a brewer of potions. She made LIQUID magic, often with her own sweat, blood, or tears.
When Shiloh rebuked her, drunkenly telling Helena that he wouldn’t marry her, he wouldn’t take her away from Crete, that she wouldn’t be his new bride in America (as he had promised repeatedly to get her to submit to him)— she thought she had never known any man who was colder. She thought his heart must be like stone. It was then she decided that entire man should reflect the inner man.
For weeks as the movie shoot drug on, she stalked him easily after taking a potion that made her unnoticable. Finally, she caught him one night when he was both alone and drunk. She then took a potion to change her own face so Shiloh didn’t recognize her. She made him think that he was seducing her… but as soon as they went back to the hotel where he was staying, she slipped a potion into his drink. That night, as he slept (beside her), he began to turn to stone. His arms and legs were transformed first. By morning, he couldn’t move. His spine was also locked up, in addition to his limbs. Helena revealed herself, remolding her fake face back to her real one. She was hurt and angry and frustrated and wanted to hurt him back. The bewitching alchemical-like process that would turn Shiloh completely into a statue would take thirty-three hours. She planned to stay with him throughout it all, watching him suffer until the very end.
But during that time, Shiloh was sorrowful and tearful and over the hours together, his tears softened Helena’s heart. Finally, as the thirty three hours were almost up, Shiloh started questioning Helena about what would happen to his mind when he was FULLY a statue. His lungs and circulatory system— all his vital organs had already turned to stone and yet he was still conscious, still able to breathe and speak because of churning internal magic that kept him awake and aware. He made Helena realize that his consciousness would likely live on AFTER he was fully a statue. In essence, she was condemning him to be a soul trapped inside inanimate stone…. potentially forever!!!
Helena relented, wanting to stop the effects of the potion but didn’t know exactly how to do it. The petrification potion was fatal, final, irrevocable. In her desperation, she realized that the potion she had used on herself might be Shiloh’s salvation. He couldn’t stop the petrification permanently but it could stave off the end. She was able to draw some of Shiloh’s blood from his neck, just before it too became stone. She used the blood along with extracts from a rubber tree plant, as well as honey, an octopus tentacle, a common housefly, fish oil, butter, and some of her own blood. All this was cooked up in a copper pot that had three serpent-like S-shaped characters scratched onto the bottom. What Helena cooked up that night was a much more powerful version of the potion that had turned her face into malleable rubber.
When Shiloh ingested the amped-up rubber tree potion, the effect was immediate. His paralysis was retarded, then disappeared completely. He attacked Helena, intent on killing her for nearly killing him. She didn’t fight him… and he had a change of heart. He couldn’t kill her any more than she could kill him. Their time together, as captor and captive (statue) had not only softened his heart for him. He was falling for her too.
Twenty-four hours later, after they parted ways, Shiloh was done with another day’s shoot… and he started to stiffen up again. The potion was wearing off. He found Helena, who was waiting for him at the hotel bar.
She explained how she’d saved him. She explained how the potion was made. She also explained that her original potions were hers and hers alone— that anyone else who followed the exact same recipe would end up with nothing but dreck. Her potions just weren’t ingredients thrown in a bowl and cooked. Her special gift was to draw arcane essenses from various componants and to combine those secret attributes in unsual ways. She was the spark that truly ‘cooked’ her potions.
But in the days after Shiloh was brought back from death, Helena and Shiloh discovered that his blood was no longer exactly human. It was white and gooey and sticky now, like rubber tree gum. The original potion that had saved Shiloh was created by his own natural blood, with Helena’s blood added… but Shiloh and Helena eventually discovered by accident that Helena’s blood was no longer needed, now that Shiloh’s blood was so unnatural. Shiloh himself was able to perfectly replicate Helena’s rubber tree potion. Every morning, Shiloh could draw his own sticky blood, mix in the other incrediants, cook it… and he would have what he needed to feed his dependency for another day (to stave off becoming stone.)
One day an off-handed comment changed everything. Shiloh had brought Abby, his agent, into the mix, with no intention whatsoever of keeping his predicament private. Quite the contrary, he wanted to explore how, upon returning to the states, how he would be able spin his ‘affliction’ (curse) in a way to garner publicity. He had just explained to Abigail that he needed to take the potion once a day and she asked, “What happens if you take it more than once?” He didn’t know and spontaneously said, “Let’s find out.” It was stupid bravado that could have gotten him killed. Instead, it gave him super powers. He took a second potion at about noon that day after having already taken his morning potion at 7 am. And he learned that for about a minute, he could stretch and cling to objects and do other amazing things.
He then immediately brewed up more potions, thinking he would stay rubbery all the time… only to discover it didn’t work that way. He could shock his system three times a day with an extra dosage of the rubber potion and while his body was essentially in that system-shock state, his body was super stretchy. But after three times, his system adjusted to the shock and didn’t create rubbery powers with any addition doses of the potion. Once he sleeps and begins a new day, he needs to take his dependency dosage of the drug, which ‘resets’ his system — so that it can be again shocked into super rubberiness. ((All this translates into having three 1-minute charges on his powers and Only in Hero ID.))
The movie shoot, called The Minotaur’s Madness, wrapped up on Crete and Shiloh was about to return to the states. On the night before his departure, he met with Helena for the last time. She had come full circle once again… from loving him- to hating him- back to loving him… and yet she had taught him that he was independent of her magic. He could now create what he needed to prevent himself from becoming stone. She tried to get him to stay with her in Crete, thinking it was futile… but he surprised her. In their time together, Shiloh had actually fallen in love with her. For the first time in his life, he truly cared for someone more than himself.
What followed was The Lost Year. That was 2015 into 2016. For a while, the absense of his character on The Shining Star continued to be explained as Biff Bash being in a coma, his face wrapped because of terrible burns. Eventually, however, the producers grew tired of Shiloh being AWOL and they recast his role. (Meanwhile, at the same time, The Minotaur’s Madness was released and universially panned.) On The Shining Star, when the bandages finally did come off the main protagonist, Biff Bash no longer looked like Shiloh Samson. He looked like the actor Rex Randolph. Shiloh and Rex had a rivalry already, going back to the SyFy movie about Perseus. Rex had played Ares, God of War, against Shiloh’s Apollo. Thus began an intense hatred of Rex (and the producers of the show)…. but still Shiloh had no desire to come back to America. Rex, meanwhile, reveled in being the new Biff Bash on the show, bringing in a new dynamic that caused ratings to rise again. The producers even poked fun at Shiloh directly, having Biff Bash on the soap opera star in a Greek monster movie filmed in Greece where Biff (played by Rex) seduced a Greek girl… who turned out to have an incurable blood disease.
Then Shiloh’s stepmother died. His father Stephen needed Shiloh to come back to the states for the funeral but Shiloh stayed with Helena. Helena realized that Shiloh would never do anything with his potential (and his powers) as long as she was at his side. She still felt guilty about using her power to petrify Shiloh. And worse: she had become an outcast from her own family. She had committed an unforgivable sin: falling in love with a man. It diminshed her magic and actually diminished the magic of the coven as a whole. Men were occasionally taken for procreation (special men, selected by grandma Medea for their magical potential) but men were never to be loved. Helena broke that rule.
The situation came to a head one night when Shiloh and Helena were together when a terrorist attack happened in a cafe. Shiloh popped a rubber potion and used his powers… to grab Helena and get her to safety. Meanwhile, the terrorist killed three other people… people that could have been saved if Shiloh had used his powers bravely instead of to save Helena.
That night she committed suicide… a solution that pleased all the women of her family. By dying, her love died with her and so did the drain on the coven’s power.
She left a suicide note telling Shiloh to go home, to use his powers for OTHERS, to DO GOOD to honor her memory. She further told him to reconnect with his father.
After three months of grieving and roaming the world, he returns in 2017 (the present) to Seattle, ready to begin a brand new life… a life beyond what he knew for more than a decade: playing a fake movie star on a TV soap opera. He returns to an awkward relationship with his father, who he loves and respects. Shiloh realizes because of his experience with Helena (and her note) that he was always jealous of how naturally selflessness came to his father. His father didn’t give of his time and his money and his talents because he expected (or wanted) anything back. He gave freely of himself because he GENUINELY LIKED DOING THAT.
Shiloh doesn’t fully understand that mindset but he’s willing to learn.
And… with these flashy new super powers, it’s time to put mourning behind him and promote himself! What remarkable timing that Seattle seems to be putting together its own new team of super heroes! It’s the perfect opportunity for aggrandizement… and who knows? Maybe that whole “doing good for others” thing might be a fringe benefit of the job?
“Hmmmm. I wonder how much it will pay…………..”