On The Way To The Office…

Ugh. Whoever scripts my life is a sadistic smurf.

So, Lady Aether (she really should have consulted someone on name choice) and I are cruising beside Boost on our way to the FBSA office.

Everything was going great. I managed to avoid a fight with one of the few powereds I admire, she actually believed our story (it helps when you’re the Empowered of a truth God), and I got to know one of my idols as a person.

Guess what happened.

Go on, guess. I’ll wait.

Give the man/woman/other a prize. Of course we were attacked by a powered-villain because originality sucks. I swear there must be a handbook called So You’re a Megalomaniac-12 Steps to Bringing Out the Supervillain in You.

Step 1: Have some kind of tragic origin. This particular 12-stepper is a villain called Ice Diamond (and who comes up with these names?). Her whole family died in an explosion at her cryo-research lab. Check.

Step 2: Murder various innocents in some misguided revenge plot. She destroyed an almost empty lab. Notice I said almost. Check.

Step 3: Up your game and attack a major target. She went after some corporate headquarters bigwigs during the middle of the day. Check.

Step 4: Get beat by a powered hero; swear eternal revenge while being sent to prison. Boost beat her and sent her off to Ravenswood Institute. Check.

She was at Step 5, apparently. Break out of prison and surprise attack your nemesis.

The first warning sign came when my wheels started spinning on the road. If I have to explain what was causing it, you haven’t been paying attention to any of the clues. Velma would be so disappointed in you.

Boost slid on the ice, the change in traction throwing her off-balance. Ice shards shaped like, you guessed it, hailed down on her. She managed to avoid many of them, but here and there rents in her uniform and thin red lines showed.

So I did what any right-thinking person would do. I switched my Diavel to hover-mode, blasted some Hail the Villain “Runaway“, activated my shield and placed us between the storm of shards and Boost.

Okay, I was showing off for my crush. Sue me.

A woman dressed like a bondagist’s wet dream stepped out of an alleyway. She raised some future-rifle and the intensity of the shards increased. The tinkling sound as they shattered reminded me of  wind-chimes during a tornado.

Over the noise I heard Steph-I mean Lady Aether-chanting. A fireball flew past me toward Ice. Who promptly flipped a switch and fired a sphere of pure cryogenic energy. The two opposing forces met and a cloud of steam obscured the field.

A shadow that looked suspiciously like a fire hydrant zoomed through the cloud toward us. And what do you know, it was a fire hydrant. It crashed into my shield at a velocity that sent me flying off my bike and through some store’s plate-glass window. You know, after I broke through the iron gate supposedly protecting it.

Boost took the distraction we provided and managed to get back on non-ice covered ground. She picked her angle and went barreling toward Ice.

Almost instantly an ice wall appeared along her trajectory and she had to shift to avoid slamming into it. Right into another patch of ice. Down she went again.

Then it was over.

As the kids would say: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Ice Diamond cackled and disappeared.

She’s not supposed to be able to do that.

And I’m sure I don’t like the implications.

Until next time,

Douzeper

Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs: Power Profile #006-Ice Diamond

Beatrix Kalte aka Ice Diamond

Gender: Female

Power Classification: Machinist/Enhanced

Sub-Category: Elemental Gadgeteer

Power Level: C-Class

Location: Operates in the Midwest. Currently at-large.

Affiliations: Solo Operator

Powers: Various devices that allow for the creation of various cold-related phenomenon. Her main weapon is her “Ice Gun”.

Synopsis:

Ice Diamond (hereafter referred to as I.D.) is a 30-year-old former weapons researcher for BranTech Industries. Her area of expertise lay in using cold-based phenomena as a means to shape and control future battlefields. On her 26th birthday, her family surprised her in her lab. It is unclear exactly what happened, but footage shows that her youngest son, Jakob, went unsupervised long enough to mix some volatile chemicals.

Ten people died in the ensuing explosion, and I.D. fell into a coma. She awoke two months later with a marked shift in personality and physiology. The chemicals leached all pigment from her skin and left her with enhanced strength. When informed of her family’s and co-worker’s demise, she went on a rampage in the hospital, injuring several doctors, nurses and security before making her escape.

She appeared five months later with her current nom de guerre in an attack on a BranTech research facility. She attacked at night, as her skin is now pained by sunlight, and murdered whomever she found, mostly security and janitorial services. After that attack, she fashioned a suit that would protect her from the sun’s harmful effect.

I.D. directed her next attack BranTech corporate headquarters, located in Chicago. She was foiled in her attempt by the hero, Boost (see Power Profile: Boost). During her trial I.D. was found mentally incompetent and was sentenced to The Ravenswood Institution for the Criminally Insane, the maximum security mental institution for powereds.

I.D. recently escaped and her whereabouts are unknown. It is believed she is heading back to Chicago for a second attempt on BranTech Industries or a confrontation with Boost. Possibly both.

Relationships: Johann Kalte-husband (deceased), Katrina Kalte-daughter (deceased), Jakob Kalte-son (deceased), Karl Astor-father (not believed to be in contact), Hilda Astor-mother (not believed to be in contact)

Threat Level: Orange

I.D. is an active threat targeting research and industry vital to our military infrastructure. Her strength is formidable, but it is her engineering genius that serves as the biggest threat. All due caution should be exercised when trying to apprehend her. Powered backup is advised when possible.

Going to the WorkShop

Jules took me to her “experimental” workshop after dinner. Here she worked her machinist magic. Gadgets, doodads and gewgaws lined shelf after shelf. The lined most of the chairs and floor as well. A metallic Nutcracker seemed to be chasing a self-turning screw across the floor, the Nutcracker’s jaws banging open and closed.

99% of the stuff in this room will never be used. They just expressed her need to create.

Every powered class has its drawbacks, and for machinists that drawback is creation. They have to tinker; it’s a compulsion. The good news is most of it doesn’t work, or at least won’t work for long. The world would quickly become unrecognizable if they did.

Jules is one of the best machinists I know, with a 40% success rate on her inventions. Not that all of them are useful, but they work. A “typical” machinist success rate in mid-20’s to low-30’s.

How she hasn’t been snatched up by one of the major teams is beyond me.

It’s not age. There are younger heroes on The Legendary, the top team in the world.

It’s not fighting skill because her suit augments her strength, allows her to fly (atmosphere and space) and protects her from most forms of terrestial firearms. Plus, I and a retired Innate named Quickstep have taught her hand-to-hand for the past couple of years.

Personally, I think it’s the perception that female machinists are somehow inferior inventors to males. A holdover of the “girls aren’t as good at science as boys” myth.

People can be stupid.

But I digress.

Celia, whose model is a well-known warrior princess, sat in a corner connected to a generator and a computer station. Cables ran from her “heart” and temple, respectively.  Her eyes had the wide glassy look that indicated she was off-line while she integrated new information.

Jules tapped on the computer and nodded in satisfaction at the stream of gobbledy-gook that flashed across the screen. I perched my behind on the edge of her desk and waited as she fiddled.

This was her Wonderland and I was very much aware that I was privileged to be allowed to visit. I’ve heard of spouses, parents and even kids of machinists ending up in hospitals because they entered a workshop uninvited (and sometimes with the invitation).

Jules grabbed a few items from one of the shelves and brought them over. She laid them out on the desk for me to get a closer look.

The first one I noticed looked a lot like the blaster she carried when in uniform. She followed my gaze and pointed. “That is based on what I carry, except I varied the settings a bit. The stun has four ascending levels. Level One is for norms. Two is for powereds. Three, (classified-sorry). And Four should be strong enough to knock out most of the things you deal with.”

She looked me dead in the eye. “Should and most.”

I nodded. I’m the beta tester and get to write the rulebook. Sweet.

She continued pointing out features on the blaster. “It doesn’t only stun. It has a varying beam intensity that can do everything from wound to cut through a foot a steel, with enough time of course.” She looked apologetic that she couldn’t give me a quicker cutting time.

I sighed like I was put upon. “Oh, I’ll guess it’ll just have to do.”

She grinned and punched me in the shoulder. “Shut up or I’ll take it back.”

I scooped it up in my hand and did my best Gollum. “Nope. It’s my precious.”

She rolled her eyes. “Don’t you have any modern references?”

“The classics never go out of style.”

“Old does not equal classic.” She grabbed what looked like a forearm bracer with a screen off the table. “This little puppy I’m particularly proud of.”

She took my hand and fit the bracer on my forearm. “Activate,” she said.

The screen flashed and various icons popped into view. She scooted in closer to me, excited to show off a bit.

She has no idea what she does to me. Oh well.

I breathed deeply and re-focused myself. I caught up midway through one of her sentences. “-and you can call it from a distance of 20 miles away, either mode.”

“Uh, cool.”

She gave me the stink eye. “You haven’t been paying attention, have you.” It wasn’t a question.

My face turned red, but she didn’t push the issue and ask what was distracting me. She patiently went through each icon again.

She had every reason to be proud. A bike icon allowed me to call my Ducati in street or flight mode from 20 miles away, while a shield icon would cause a hard-light circular shield to pop out of a little silver button under my screen. These came along with the standard features like phone, camera, flashlight, GPS, internet access (blogging in real time soon folks), all tied up with a voice controlled bow.

I wanted to hug her. I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to marry her.

I settled for, “Cool, thanks.” I suck so hard.

She smiled and gave me a peck on the cheek. “You know how I worry about you…ever since…”

She saddened at the thought, and…no, I’m not ready to talk about it just yet. Maybe ever.

She patched my bike to my bracer and it was time for me to leave.

And that’s where I leave you now.

Until next time,

Douzeper