So, there's this guy, Null, named after his ability that allows him to send any action, a person makes, into /dev/null. Basically, he can "No, you didn't" any attack.

That's okay, but then comes his requiem ability, which outright "reflects" damage.

No one knows for certain how it works, but in theory anyone (that can be a person or a robot that's controlled by electronics) who attacks him seems to take the damage instead. There are minor inconsistencies in the "reflected damage", like sword slash going not as deep as it should have. Also, reflection seems to be limited to precise strikes and can't do much against collateral damage (like a really big bomb) if Null is within range of the target of the reflection.

His ability can be explained with science, that's for sure, but how could damage reflection work?

  • $\begingroup$ as you say when Null ,"nulifies" an attack he send it to the "/dev/null", he should be able to take it back and use it against it's opponent, maybe he need to store enough energy to sent one back $\endgroup$
    – hcocox
    Jan 28, 2020 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ what is the scientific base for his first ability? Please provide a solid justification. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Jan 28, 2020 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Trish Mind control and a helicopter-parenting AI. $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2020 at 16:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nope, this question is anything, but not science based. it is superpower $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Jan 28, 2020 at 16:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Damage" isn't a thing, scientifically. Neither are "Attacks". There are all kinds of different ways to use physics to hurt someone. Penetrating Trauma, heat, poison, shock waves, you can't treat them all as if they were the same thing and expect a scientific answer. $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2020 at 16:47

5 Answers 5


They swap places, briefly

Teleportation isn't exactly scientific, but it seems to be the most consistent way to explain the total reversal of every possible attack. Your character can swap places with his opponent for the split second during which each attack lands, causing the opponent to harm itself.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Cool idea, but this doesn't work for melee attacks. If someone punches our hero, swapping places with them doesn't make the attacker punch himself, it just makes him punch the hero from where the hero was just standing $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2020 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ @NuclearWang Fair point. Perhaps the fist or weapon itself can be transported. $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Jan 28, 2020 at 20:19

He has hacked the simulation software.

reality stone make gun bubble source

Like Thanos using the Reality Stone, or Neo in the Matrix, your protagonist is able to subvert the program modelling physics and governing perceptions. He (it?) "inhabits" the world only insofar as it (she?) sees fit. Actions taken by entities within the simulation can be nullified, reversed, augmented or otherwise changed into other actions. With more effort and hopefully some attention to detail, entire chunks of reality can be modified, overwritten or deleted.

  • $\begingroup$ Generally, I like any answer that involves hacking reality, but if Null can do this, he can do a LOT more than just nullify or reflect attacks. How would you balance this mechanic to make him not just have god powers? $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Feb 6, 2020 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki-ReinstateMonica - if I fight a kung fu master, he might not kill me.instantly just because he can. We might fight a while. I might not even get badly hurt. He might be testing me, or teaching me or might have an idea of how he wants things to turn out. Or maybe he is trying new things himself and I am an opportunity to do that. The fact that one has powers does not mean that one must use those powers to their fullest extent, all the time. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Feb 6, 2020 at 3:20

The problem with magic powers like creating short living black holes or rewire spacetime is that they can be generalized and used for many things. How do you justify that your super hero can only reflect damage with it?

Damage is a very abstract concept born from our intuition. It doesn't build up on physics.

Either go soft magic or bring something more physical that can explain most types of damages.

I propose to base this super power in kinetic energy or better, all types of energies. Kinetic energy is more a concept, a mechanic, than a thing that really exists. But it is consistent and well defined. The problem is preventing their possible generalization. If we want it to be able to reflect damage and nothing more.

With Kinetic Energy alone you cannot reflect things like burns, at least not directly. But you can inflict burns by friction. It can be used for more than just returning damage. You don't want this situation: the hero make the villains damage him a lot, then with all the stored energy, he demolishes a wall and escape.

Possible soft magic with hard mechanics solution: A god/witch/alien/five_dimensional_beings_from_interestellar gave Null the special skill to store all types of energy, but he can only use it to damage who damaged him first. If he uses it for anything else, he will be able to do that only once and immediately lose the special skill.

Why I thing this may work: a system that nobody understand, not even the one writing the story, is controlling the mechanics behind this power. It is expected that it won't even by explained (soft magic). But the mechanic of the power has very clear limitations and it's consistent (hard mechanics). The rules must also specify what is considered damage, and make this clear to Null.

Note: Null doesn't actually receives any damage, as the energies just feed the system. When I said "who damaged him first" I mean "who attempted to damage him". It is perceived as a reflection of damage, but it is more like store then release. The object storing the energies may be something outside the 3-dimensional space, to explain why It cannot be seen. This is a no go if you require instant reflection like when light is reflected, consider leaving this open to negotiation.


Once the attack is in motion, he can't!

Science says: actio=reactio. Sending an action simply to /dev/null is not possible in the first place without reality warping, since the action itself is the reaction of things that happened before in the bodies of the attackers. Unless you undo those actions (reality warping is beyond any Science-Base!), you can't undo the attack. Let's say someone decided to shoot at Null.

  • They think that they want to shoot Null.
  • Their muscles kick in, pulling the trigger.
  • Gunpowder explodes, propells the bullet out of the barrel of the gun
  • Bullet strikes Null.

Superpower to stop attack?

Now, let him have some sort of mind-control. How could that help? Well, he could interject in step 1, preventing the guy from wanting to pull the trigger. Or he could interject during step 2&3, forcing the muscles that are keeping the gun steady to bend and shoot somewhere else but at him. That explains fouling the attacks on him, but it does not reflect damage.

Superpower to reflect attack?!

Nope, there is nothing that does not violate scientific bases for macroscopic items that would allow them to reflect attacks on him. He might however force people that attack him attack themselves, which is just a variant of the mind control: instead of halting the attack in step 1, he forces them to attack themselves instead.


This is a pretty non-scientific question to begin with, but the most scientific "sounding" answer I can think of is that he can make wormholes. When you shoot him, a small wormhole opens up in front of him and carries the bullet to... somewhere? Not necessarily "/dev/null" but if a bullet randomly appears somewhere in the Himalayas and no one is there to see it, it might as well have disappeared for all practical purposes. If you punch him, your hand appears to pass right through him, but somewhere in the Sahara Desert, a camel sees some random hand flick in and out of existence.

These wormholes are exactly on the level of Null's skin and the shape of the intersecting body; so, no one can really see around the interecting body to see what is on the other side to know that things are coming out somewhere else. They just see the things pass through or disappear.

Sadly for Null, he does not have a lot of control over his wormhole abilities. It's more of a panic reflex than something he thinks about; so, he does not realize how much potential there is there. That said, as he begins to better understand his power, he learns he can manipulate where the other end of the wormhole forms. So, instead of a villain's fist flailing around somewhere random, it reappears right in front of him literally punching himself in the face.

Now making spontaneous wormholes can be abused in all sorts of ways, but for Null, there are 2 key limitations. One end always has to be his own skin. This means he can not teleport himself or things larger than himself. The other is that he only sort-of understands how to control it. It is an instinctive reaction. Much like a hiccup, it's really hard to do just because you want to.

As for your AOE limitation, he can only reflect a nearby explosion back at one person because the far end of the portal is just a cut-out of Null's body; so, all that is transferred is a "conical" section of the blast. That said, if you hit him directly with a missile, then it will explode on the attacker and not on him at all; so, in that case you may still have cases he could reflect an AOE.


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