Catherine Halsey, a character in the video game Halo, is a scientist and atheist who considers herself smarter than her parents. The same can be said of Patricia Dickson, a UCLA associate professor of pediatrics—and she claims that's no coincidence. Dickson, who had a romantically tinged friendship with Halo creator Jason Jones when they were both students at the University of Chicago in the 1990s, tells the Los Angeles Times she's the inspiration behind Halsey and other aspects of the game. Her reasoning: She says she once told Jones she felt like the character Halsey in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, as well as gave him the idea for an alien invasion triggered by religion. Jones denies her claim, but Dickson insists that some similarities are too exact to be accidental.
In her college dorm, for example, was a snow globe and a Matterhorn-shaped piggy bank; the Halsey character has a snow globe of the Matterhorn. That leaves Dickson convinced she was Jones' muse, though she says she wants nothing from him. Rather, she says she's speaking out to lend credence to the idea of repressed memories. For 23 years, Dickson says she repressed various conversations with Jones, including one in 1992 in which Jones allegedly told her she inspired two of his video game characters. It was during that conversation that Dickson says she realized Jones was only using her. "I shut down at that point and had a panic attack," she says. She notes the memories only resurfaced through therapy last year. (Read more video games stories.)