Steel: Decoded

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Mir
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Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:10 pm

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STEEL: DECODED

He remembered the night that his parents died. At the time, his family had lived in a small house, just outside of Metropolis. They had a yellow picket fence around their home, because his mother, Haley, had said that white was too cliché, and for their family, their slice of the American dream was their own to determine. Henry loved his house, and he remembered playing in the yard with friends or with Crebits, his dog. His father had named Crebits, combining the words “credit” and “debit”, two commonplace words in the life of an accountant. Crebits had been eager to go to bed that night, tired from the day’s activities, but he had dutifully stayed up with Henry, who had been waiting for his parents to come home.

In some ways, he was still waiting for them.

Henry remembered the barking, the loud barking from his dog when the police cars had shown up. The sirens had been off, but the flashing lights had pierced through the protective veil offered by the curtains of the house. Red and Blue, those flashing lights. Same color as Superman, his dad used to say. That was how you knew Superman was a good guy. Henry had been given the news that his parents were in the hospital and that he needed to pack a bag because he had to go with the police officers.

So he had done as he was asked, and less than an hour or so later, he was at the hospital, with his aunt, Katherine. The police report had been very lacking, but from what he understood, his parents had been forced to swerve to avoid hitting someone. The person had never been found or identified, not that it bothered Henry that much. His parents had been doing, as always, what they had thought was right, and the ice and snow had been too much for the vehicle’s tires to handle.

From that point on, Henry had understood that people could only do what they felt was right, and it had been the starting point for the moral code that he lived by. A moral code that had taken him far in life, first to the military where he had served with distinction, and then at MIT. When he had started his job at Stark Industries, he had met Alex Burke, a man who had gone on to become Iron Man. There were key differences between the two men, in Henry’s eyes.

Burke was very oriented on himself, and many people weren’t always sure if he put on the Iron Man suit because of the sense of thrill and fun that went along with it or because of an actual altruistic sense of helping people. More often than not, people had heard or read stories about Burke’s actions in public. Henry was much more low-key and everything he did, he did for the betterment of others. Maybe that was why he hadn’t had the greatest of experiences at Stark, a company that while effective was very much about showmanship and flamboyance. No matter what though, Henry was very grateful for his time at Stark, and it had helped to have in on the resume, when Christopher Chase’ headhunters had come calling.

The transition had been easy and Henry had always felt that Chase Enterprises had been the better fit for him. Rising through the ranks, he was the youngest Director of Engineering in the company’s history.

Which explained why he was in one of the main research labs at Chase Enterprises in downtown Metropolis on a Monday morning.

He was looking at a picture on his desk, one that had him, his parents, and Crebits sitting on the grass in front of their old house. Looking up, he put on a smile as he saw his assistant walk into his office. Crebits’ tail started wagging. The dog was old, the second Crebits, actually. But if there was one thing that he still fully remembered, it was that Malorie always had treats. True to form, she reached into her jacket and pulled out one, tossing it to the dog who took it and started munching, falling asleep halfway through it.

His assistant was dressed in one of her normal outfits, a dark grey peplum top with pencil skirt, red high heels, black leather jacket, and a worn Metropolis Monarch’s baseball cap.

“Malorie, how are you today?” Henry asked.

“Arrows beat the Monarchs. Let’s not talk about it.” She said, dropping in one of the chairs across from him. “I mean, we have such a great receiver, but he has not been playing like himself this season.” Malorie said when Henry had been about to speak. “I mean, do I complain when we keep a great wide receiver in the starting line up when he doesn’t make plays but we have another that’s amazing and we don’t let him suit up? No.”

“Well, technically, you just-“

“Look, it’s great that he’s six foot fifty three inches or whatever, but if he’s not getting me points, then I don’t care.” Malorie said, getting up and adjusting the beat up Metropolis Monarchs cap.

Henry’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Did you lose in fantasy too?” He asked.

“You bet I did.” She said with disgust. “I’m trailing behind the guy from Bludhaven now. Bludhaven, like anything cool happens there.” Malorie said, gesturing with her hand.

“Ms. Thompson, if we could-“

“I gotta get laid. This is depressing. Five months without a second date, and now my team loses. What is it about guys?” She asked, as Henry sighed, and closed his eyes. When she started on a tangent, few could match Malorie Thompson in skill or ability. “I mean, is it the degrees? I have a lot of degrees. I’m smart, I know it. I’ve got the pieces of paper that validate it and the thesis defenses and all that. I wonder if Superman has this problem.”

“A problem meeting guys?” Henry asked, not following the line of conversation.

“No! I doubt he’s gay.” Malorie said, getting up and looking out of the main window in Henry’s office, which had an excellent view of the Daily Planet building. Henry did have a feeling that he knew where this was going; she was going to insinuate something about her ex. “I mean, wouldn’t it be funny if Superman had this one woman that he was pining for, but she just didn’t seem interested. Think about it, if you’re cool enough to get Supes interested, you gotta be a helluva…” She said and trailed off.

Henry gave her a look. “Crebits” didn’t like cursing.

“…a wonderful, that’s what I was going to say, a wonderful woman.”

“So….about that particle research?” Henry asked. “I was thinking I could show you some ideas for the next step of the experiments.”

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:30 pm

Malorie was in their main lab, continuing work on their particle research. Crebits was with her. That dog adored the young woman...or at least the treats she carried with her. They had spent the majority of the day going over plans for the next stage of their experiment and Hank was now taking some time in his personal, rather large, office to work on some experiments that were a little more near and dear to his heart. He walked over and pressed a button on his desk, activating a robotic drone in the corner. The automated device lifted off the wall, lights flickering to life in the eye sockets. Hank nodded at the drone, "Good afternoon, Alpha."

"Dr. Emerson. There is nothing that would define this afternoon as particularly good. Is there something you required my assistance with?" Hank always toyed with the idea of revamping the drone's personality subroutines. He had made it so damn negative the first time around. Originally Alpha had been a military design. He was an armored scout drone that could infiltrate any hostile territory and collect any intel required. And he could defend himself; lethally if needed. He had designed him while working at Stark near the end of his tenure with the company. He had decided not to submit the project to Carter Jones and the rest of the board. He didn't want to be a man that built death machines. Since then Alpha had become an invaluable assistant, "Please open Lab 616."

The far wall of his office, covered in massive book shelves, slid open, automatically locking his office door as it did. Revealed was another lab; state of the art. Alpha floated in first with Hank entering second. All over the room technological devices rested on tables and hung on walls. All incredibly advanced and ahead of their time. But his most valuable project stood in front of him. It was a limited exoskeleton engineered to provide valuable body armor to it's wearer as well as enhance their speed, strength, and over all bodily coordination. He was planning on submitting the suit very soon to Christopher. He intended this to be worn by law enforcement all over the country. It was inexpensively built and ran on analogue power to prevent cyber assaults from either destroying the armor or taking it over. Obviously Hank could have built a set of armor that was far more complex and powerful but it would not have been feasible to purchase on tax payer money. He put on his goggles and stepped toward the exoskeleton, giving one quick glance at the massive hammer that hung on the far wall of the lab. It was a prototype, much like the suit. Little did Hank know in that moment, but both the suit in front of him and that hammer would become very large parts of his life.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:52 pm

He woke to a beeping sound. It was faint, almost non-existent. It took him a moment to orient to his whereabouts. He was in his lab. He had fallen asleep while working.....again. Honestly, he slept at the office more often then at home, despite having a state of the art personal lab for a basement. He could easily complete any projects there that he could at Chase Incorporated but for some reason he rarely ever made it back to his house. He looked over at the clock; it read 2:00. Malorie had gone home several hours ago, apparently taking Crebits with her. That was fine. The dog liked her more than him anyway. They had left him with Alpha, anyway. Not much of a conversationalist but he was there when Hank needed him.

The beeping caught his attention once more and he became acutely aware of what was happening. He sat upright in his chair and whirled around, "Alpha! Wake up! That beeping.....is that the secure perimeter warning at the old Steelworks warehouse?"

The floating drone made several clicking sounds as he reactivated, "I believe that is accurate, sir. Though I am uncertain how they bypassed the primary and secondary alarms."

Hank stood up. Obviously they were not prepared for a third alarm. He had purchased the majority of the defunct Steelworks' property over the course of a few years. Mostly using it as cold storage for any manner of technology he deemed to dangerous to release to the general public or the military. Many of the projects in there not even Christopher or Malorie knew about. Someone was after something specific and they were good to get past the first two security measures he had in place, "Contact the authorities immediately. Get them over there!"

A hologram ignited in the middle of the room. It was showing live footage of what was taking place at the warehouse. The police were already on the scene and clearly in the middle of a standoff with armed gunmen. Lots of gunmen. Hank's eyes narrowed....what the hell were these people after? Then he saw it. A police car flew through the air, landing on top of another police vehicle. The officers scattered out of the way. Gunfire became prevalent as a large man with seemingly metal skin charged the authorities with two massive hammers, "Alpha, identify that man. Is he a mutant? A terrorist? What?"

Alpha swiveled around and floated next to Hank, "Identification successful. His name is Jack Jones aka Jack Hammer. He is a metahuman that recently escaped incarceration after a confrontation with Green Arrow in Bludhaven. He has superior strength and nigh invulnerable skin. By my estimations he will completely eliminate all opposition in the area. The authorities are not equipped to properly contain him."

Hank turned to the exoskeleton armor he had been working on for the police. He had no way of contacting someone like Superman for aid and he seriously doubted he would be blessed with another appearance by Aquaman. The police were on their own unless he did something, "Alpha, ready the helicopter. We're leaving in five minutes."

"With all due respect, sir, the fleshbags will most likely not survive that length of time."

Hank hated when Alpha referred to people as fleshbags. Nonetheless, he had a point, "Options?"

Alpha seemed almost excited as he responded, "I could download my program into any number of mobile weapons you have stored at the location. I could subdue the metal fleshbag."

Hank didn't like it. Alpha didn't need to be in the field in a combat situation but he also didn't have any other choice, "Fine. Do it. Work WITH the police and do not kill anyone, Alpha! Subdue the intruders only! I'll be right behind you!"

Alpha seemed to shut down and Hank rushed to the exoskeleton and began putting it on. He turned to look at the hologram again just in time to witness what appeared to be Doctor Doom emerging from the warehouse and begin attacking Jack Hammer. Hank's jaw dropped. Out of all the possible weapons he could have used he downloaded his program into a defunct Doombot. Wonderful. He sighed and continued to get dressed.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:44 pm

The desk anchor on the six o'clock news continued to speak. The hot topic of the day was the gun battle down at the old Steelworks warehouses, "The super villain known as Jack Hammer was apprehended, along with several armed accomplices, by the MPD, an armored vigilante, and.......believe it or not, a Doombot."

Hank sat on his couch watching the story unfold. He was sore beyond belief. The armor had worked. At least, it had kept him alive and prevented catastrophic physical damage. However, despite the enhancements it provided there was no way he would have been able to defeat Hammer without Alpha. He, and the police, would have failed. His invention would have prevented needless police deaths but they still wouldn't have brought the rampaging villain down. He had hoped through the entire ordeal that he would suddenly look up and there would be Superman or the Fantastic Five. However, no help ever came. Where were the heroes when one was needed? There were people that needed protecting and no one was there to help. Maybe.......maybe there weren't enough heroes to go around.

Clanking footsteps behind him announced the return of Alpha to the living room. He was still inhabiting the Doombot, refusing to return to his former body, "The remainder of your technology has been securely placed in your private lab downstairs. The Steelworks buildings are completely clear."

Hank nodded solemnly. The majority of his inventions had been recovered but some had not. A few of the gunmen had escaped with his tech. He needed to know why. He needed to get it back before it was used to hurt someone. Alpha approached while carrying something. Hank looked up and placed his glass on the coffee table in front of him. The robot put a large, mechanical hammer down in front of him on the floor. It had once belonged to Steel, "Why are you bringing this to me?"

The Doombot looked down at his creator and spoke in his monotone voice, "The hammer is emanating a signal. I believe the fleshbag that owned it before you may have embedded a message within."

Hank leaned over to examine the weapon. It took a good five minutes but he had tracked the signal to a piece in the handle. He removed the plating and found a small device. Hank removed it and pressed the button the single button located on the middle of the construct. A hologram of an elderly, African-American man appeared in front of Hank and Alpha, "My name is John Henry Irons. If you are watching this then you are in possession of my hammer and I am obviously no longer among the living. I am the former owner of Steelworks and the original Steel. I fought side by side with Superman and the rest of the Justice League for years. I aided in the defense of our world when the Chrell came. I watched as my friends and allies fell in battle. In the end, we persevered but at great cost. I knew, over time, that the heroic ranks would replenish themselves. However, we would not always be able to count on the Green Lantern Corps or an alien from another world. There were other survivors from the war as well. I know some of them will have contingency plans in place. No doubt Batman took care to ensure another Dark Knight would rise. Green Arrow had all ready chosen his successor and begun his training. I'm certain the mantle of Captain America will be passed to another. These are only a few examples. The legacy of Steel will also continue. I embedded this message into my hammer knowing only a few very tech savvy individuals would ever be able to detect the signal. God willing you're not some protege of Tony Stark's," Hank smiled at that bit, "I wrote a program that would activate the message at the appropriate time. It would take current events, crime levels, and many other variables into consideration. I have included the plans for another set of Steel armor. The time is now. The world is ready for another hero."

Hank's expression was one of shock. What the hell had he just watched? He looked up at Alpha. The Doombot simulated a shrug, "Well, my programming did not predict that."
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:51 pm

There was a knock on the door and then Malorie Thompson walked into Henry’s house. It wasn’t the first time, since, after all, they were coworkers and good friends. He’d gotten her back to her house when she had been drinking too much and she had…never had to do that…since he didn’t drink that much. But still, they were a close pair.

“Hey, your dog is getting harassed by my neighbor’s dog. I think she likes Crebits, and let’s just say that since he’s beating them girls off with a stick, he doesn't have time for Martha Jones. I don't know why my neighbor named her after a Doctor Who character, but it makes sense, since she's pining after Crebits, and she’s taking it persona….”

Malorie stopped, standing in the doorway to the living room.

He had tried to get the hammer out of sight, but with no success.

Besides that, there was a giant Doombot in the room, but in Henry’s defense, he hadn’t had a lot of time to work with. He turned and gave her a sheepish smile, as she stood there, head cocked to one side, and a disbelieving expression on her face.

“Would...would you like to explain? Or would the giant robot?”

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:19 pm

Alpha looked back and forth between Malorie and Hank. Finally, after several moments of stunned silence he spoke, "Would you like me to dispose of this particular fleshbag, sir?"

Hank stood up, "What? No! Of course not! Just take the hammer down to my lab and wait for me there." The robot did as he was commanded. Hank said nothing as he attempted to avoid Malorie's judgmental gaze. She waited briefly before walking into the living room and putting her purse down on the coffee table, "Let me ask a more specific question, Hank. Why the hell is Dr. Doom walking around your house?"

Hank shrugged, "Well, that's kind of a long story."

Her gaze became a bit more forceful. "Fine, then why don't you tell me about the giant talking hammer."

Hank looked at her nervously, "That's kind of a long story too."

Malorie nodded, "You seem to have a plethora of long stories, Hank. Why is that?"

"That's a good question. One in which there is no good answer."

Malorie stepped forward, "Henry James Emerson! You better start giving me some damn answers in the next minute or ......"

Hank cut her off, "Okay okay! Settle down! Like I said, it's a long story."

**********

30 MINUTES LATER

Hank had spilled the beans to Malorie. All of them. Starting with all of the tech he had either built or procured over the years stored in the warehouse. He explained why Alpha was now inhabiting the body of a Doombot and told her about the experimental exo-suit that he had used to assist the police. But mostly, he had tried to explain just how important it was for him to retrieve the technology that had been stolen from him. She hadn't spoken through the entire thing. Until now, "And you have a plan to get this tech back? Are you going to notify ARGUS or the Fantastic Five or something?"

Hank shook his head, "Not exactly."

Malorie's eyes narrowed. She knew Hank better than he knew himself, "Wait a minute! You aren't seriously thinking about building a new suit of Steel armor are you? Just because some magic hammer told you to?!"

Hank shurgged, "First of all, it's not magic. Second, it's not like I've never built a sophisticated exo-skeleton before. And third, who else is more qualified to build and operate something like that then me? Not Burke! Don't say Burke!"

Malorie got right in his face, "To respond; first, who cares if its magic or not. Second, you retrofitted the Iron Patriot armor for the government. You did not build it from scratch. And third.......I'll give you the third one. You probably are the most qualified person on the planet. Certainly above Burke. But that isn't the point! You could get hurt or worse!"

Hank smiled, "So....help me. I've already got Alpha. If I have you watching my back too I'll be fine. Bottom line though, I need to get this technology back. It is incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:00 pm

Malorie sat down. “You’re serious.” She said after a moment.

Hank nodded. “Why wouldn’t I be? This is dangerous technology that shouldn’t be out on the streets, where it could fall into the hands of the wrong people. I don’t know how they got in, or what they were looking for, but those people did more than just steal from me.” He said.

“They made the streets unsafe.” She said and he nodded again. “Why not…like…send Superman a message or something? There’s got to be a way to get in touch with him.” Malorie said.

The African American shook his head and looked away for a moment. “He’s busy. He’s too busy dealing with the threats already out there. We got lucky a few days ago, when that Atlantean showed up and stopped those mechs. What happens if those things were to come back? The Fantastic Five are supposed to be off planet. Superman can’t be everywhere at once.”

“He is…super.” Malorie said a little dreamily, and Hank rolled his eyes. “I get your point, but Hank, are you really the guy to do this kind of stuff?” She asked and Hank rose from his seated position.

“Yes, I am.” He said. Walking around the room for a moment, he stopped in front of her, a determined look on his face. “This suit will keep me safe. It will be able to stop almost anything that anyone could throw against it. I need to do this, Malorie.” He said. “Will you help me or not?” He asked.

After a mild pause, she nodded. “Someone has to take care of Crebits if you do anything stupid.” She said.

“Thank you.” He said, turning and starting to walk to his lab.

“All that talk about Burke. I bet he wouldn’t have let someone steal technology from his lab.”

He turned and shot her a look over his shoulder.

She smiled innocently. “You’re the one who wanted my help.” She added, brushing past him and walking down the stairs. “Let’s see what you got, Hank the Tank. Ooh, that could be your codename. Hank the Tank.”

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:19 pm

TWO WEEKS LATER

Malorie entered the private lab to see Hank admiring his work. She smiled as she walked up behind him, "Well, nothing is exploding and Alpha seems to still be in one piece so I guess it's been a productive day."

Hank turned to greet her, a smug look all over his face, "Indeed it has been. It's finished, Malorie. The project is fully realized."

Her eyes lit up as she stepped up alongside him, "Show me."

Hank pressed a small button on his wrist watch and a section of the floor slid open. Steam floated upward as a metallic suit was risen from below. The armor was truly a masterpiece. The entire exoskeleton was the color of gunmetal and fully enclosed. On the chest was a giant, chiseled "S". Malorie silently walked up to it and ran her hand across the sleek weapon. Hank spoke up, "It includes an array of weaponry. Kinetic blasters, pulse beams, rivet cannons, rocket launchers, etc. It boasts a personal shield that can withstand several direct impacts from heavy ordinance. The armor can be completely sealed up in order to operate underwater or even in space. It's invulnerable to both psychics and EMPs and can reach speeds up to Mach 6."

Malorie continued to walk around the armor slowly, observing every bit of it, "Hank.....well done."

Emerson smiled, "That's not all. The armor is only half of the package," She turned and Hank walked over to a table with a sheet covering it. As he lifted the cloth off it revealed a new version of the hammer. A sleeker design, "It's the new version of the Kinetic Hammer. Far improved from the original. Programmable flight, voice controlled, able to store and release multiple types of energy, and when thrown at a distance greater than 60 yards it's destructive potential rivals that of Superman or Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. Best part, it's completely forged out of Adamantium. Extremely expensive and I could only obtain enough to create the hammer and not the armor but long story short; it's indestructible."

Malorie looked directly at him, "You did it, Hank. You actually built it."

He nodded as he stepped up to the armor, "Hell yes I did."
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:10 pm

Malorie stood in front of the finished design, the finished Steel suit. She had taken it all in and as she walked around it, her eyes settled on various portions. The design had been well made and the workmanship was obvious. Malorie’s role in all of this had been very little, all things considered. It had been all Hank’s work, and she was proud of him for it. “You did a good job.” She said.

“Thanks.” Hank replied.

“But it’s missing something.” She said, looking up at the suit.

He looked down and around at the schematics and everything that the computer models were telling him. Looking back up, he shook his head. “I don’t…I don’t understand.” He said, and looked back down. Hank’s eyes danced around the computer screens and the papers and he finally looked back up, rather confused.

Malorie reached out and pressed a few buttons on the computer screen. A smaller version of the suit appeared on a tabletop holographic projector. It looked the same as what was in front of them, and Hank looked at her expectantly. Holding up a finger, with her other hand, she pressed another button and a red cape appeared, hanging off of the shoulders. The shield symbol was visible in yellow. “That’s what it’s missing.” She said. “Otherwise it just looks like a bad War Machine knock off.” She said. “Without all the guns on the shoulders.”

“It does add a nice touch.” He said. “I should take it out for a test spin.” Hank said.

“No reason why not too.” Malorie said. “I’ll be here to monitor everything that happens. Go for it.”

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Nichalus » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:54 am

"I'm afraid that I can't allow this project to continue." Came a voice near the entrance to the lab.

Hank and Malorie both turned their shocked gazes towards the sound, as there were very few people that had the code to enter his private lab at his house, much less the power to halt the project. That is until they recognized the man floating towards them in his specialized hover chair.

"Chris!!" Hank smiled broadly and headed over and then leaning down to give Christopher Chase a brotherly bear hug.

"It's good to see you too Hank. It's been a while." Christopher clapped Hank on the back.

"Your damn right its been a while." Hank chuckled. "So what brings the King down to mingle with the serfs? And I hope you were just kidding about ending this project...which come to think of it, no one is suppose to even know about this."

"The answer to that is simple...yes and no." Christopher smiled cryptically. "Yes, I keep an eye on all things Chase, especially an old college roommate that had a penchant for getting me in alot of trouble with his nobility in defending the weaker plebs against harsher college houses with his 'specialized' drone planes buzzing their house with a chemical weapon."

"Those drones were meant only to harass the Omegas with a mild, but harmless, irritant aerosol."

"That mild irritant ended up putting half the baseball team in the hospital with rashes over 80% of their bodies, and nearly cost the college the Championship."

"Yeah...well, I 'might' have put a bit too much of the Poison Ivy oils in the mix...not that they didn't deserve it." Hank looked at his shoes for a moment, but a smirk creased his lips.

"You're lucky Dad had some pull left with the college elders, or you would have been booted." Chris smiled. "And no, I'm not kidding about this project has been put on hold."

"What?!" Hank's smile immediately ceased and his eyes widened as he stared at his friend. "You...you can't..."

Christopher held up his hand to stop Hank from saying something he would regret. "That is until you accept this..." Christopher produced a medium sized package from a storage area on his hoverchair and held it out to Hank. "Go ahead...open it."

Hank cautiously took the package from Christopher and opened it. When the object within revealed itself, Hank's eyes widened even more in surprise. Malorie stepped up closer and her own eyes widened like Hank's.

"No way!" Both of them said in unison.

Within the box was a golden colored 'S' symbol upon a folded cloth-like background of crimson red. Both Hank and Malorie ran their hands over the remarkable material, before pulled the flowing crimson cape from the box.

"Oh my God, Chris...where did you get this?!" Hank stuttered.

"Well, the Chase Corporation was a major Superman supporter due to his untiring support for hundreds of charities, and when Superman ...died, his cape was acquired by the corporation."

"You mean...?" Hank looked at Christopher stunned.

"Yes, that is Superman's actual cape." Christopher nodded. "And I cannot allow this project to continue unless you use it and carry on the values and traditions that it stands for."
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:25 pm

Hank was speechless. As he held the crimson garment in his hands the only thing he could think about were his parents. Michael and Haley Emerson had left this world in a car accident when Hank had only been eight years old. His aunt, Kathy, had taken him in. He always knew his parents would be proud of him. But what would they say now as he stood before a sophisticated suit of armor that he had built, holding the cape of the first Superman? Would they say he was worthy? Was this something he could honestly uphold?

He was a brilliant man, capable of developing and building almost anything you could imagine. His impressive intellect put him in a group with few other individuals on the planet. However, this didn't make him a hero. It certainly didn't make him capable of upholding Kal-El's legacy. Originally this started out in an effort to retrieve his stolen tech. That was still his primary focus. However, if he could assist others in any way he knew that he would. His parents would have wanted that and it was the way his aunt had raised him. He pulled his eyes away from the cape and leveled them at his friend, "Chris......thank you. Giving me something like this....it means a lot."

Christopher smiled, "It's going to a good man. I'm sure you'll do right by it."

Hank took the package over to one of the tables and set it down, "I'll add it to the armor. After I'm certain I've worked out all of the kinks."

He walked up to his creation and the armor opened up. Hank took a breath and stepped inside.
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:03 pm

Hank had flown well outside of Metropolis' city limits. He had taken the armor on multiple test runs and everything up to this point was operating as expected. The armor came to a halt as he set down in a large quarry he had located several years ago. He had purchased the property and used it as a testing ground for several projects since then. Hank moved about the rocks, feeling the armor, adjusting to it. In comparison to Burke's armor it was not as sleek. Definitely on the bulkier side. It was more in line with the War Machine armor. He understood he was a slightly bigger target because of this, however, he also carried a hell of a lot more weaponry.

His kinetic hammer was magnetically attached to his back at the moment. He had all ready tested the device several times in the quarry. It had performed admirably. He originally built it out of mixed alloys but after testing he had reforged it out of adamantium, making it virtually indestructible. Unfortunately, he had not had enough adamantium to build the armor out of. However, with the leftover portion of the special metal he had forged another part to the suit, both offensive and defensive in nature. Attached to the forearm of each gauntlet were two discs each; four all together. Due to the indestructible alloy they were comprised of they made perfect shielded plating. He would be able to deflect almost any attack using them in this capacity. Offensively they were even more useful. Using the same technology as his hammer he had created four kinetic, self propelled discs. They were an invincible, unlimited form of artillery that, thanks to their kinetic nature, could be used to merely incapacitate armed thugs or could completely destroy a tank. He smiled as the discs separated from his armor. Their icon on the HUD appeared as the weapons activated, "Are you watching this guys? Should be interesting."

Without moving a muscle he willed the discs forward. It only took him a few moments to become comfortable controlling the devices. Soon he had them performing several more complex aerial maneuvers at increasingly fast speeds. Satisfied with their flight capabilities he sent them shooting into the banks of the quarry in rapid fire succession. Within seconds he had leveled an entire wall. Willing their return they flew back to their commander and reattached to the armor. He let a small grin cross his lips, "Yeah.....I'm pretty much the definition of awesome."

Malorie's voice chimed in over the headset in the helmet, "And you've all ready developed a Stark sized ego. That was fast work, Hank."
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:28 pm

“Let’s see how that ego works against actual, you know, stuff.” She said.

Hank laughed. “You’re a scientist with a couple of degrees and you can’t find a better word to use than ‘stuff’?” He asked.

“I’d rather discuss, instead of the complexity of my diction, how you’re stalling.” Malorie said with a smirk on her face, though Hank couldn’t see it. “This police scanner thing is saying that there’s a robbery in Bakerline. Why don’t you zip on over in your fancy schmancy suit I built for you and stop it.”

“The suit that you built for me?” Hank asked, incredulous, his voice modulated by the suit. “I did most of the work. Are you crazy?” He asked.

“The female fleshbag is speaking the truth.” ALPHA said.

“Not you too.” Hank said with a sigh.

“There is a robbery going on in Bakerline at this very moment.” ALPHA said. “I would highly advise that you get there to stop it. It is a multi perpetrator event involving a bank in Bakerline. Every second that you waste discussing the percentage of the female fleshbag’s contribution to the Steel suit reduces your ability to stop the crime by a percentage equivalent.” ALPHA said.

“Crebits is rooting for you.” Malorie said.

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:30 pm

"Well, at least the dog believes in me." Hank muttered to himself as he made sure his hammer was properly secured in its place on his back. He could feel his body temperature begin to rise. He was nervous. Yes, he was confident in his tech and he had thoroughly tested all of it over the last several weeks. However, Malorie was right. There was a difference between testing and practical performance in a real situation. He took a deep breath. Christopher believe in him and he knew Malorie did as well. If the two closest people in the world to him knew he could do it then he needed to trust that, "Alright. Let's take down some punks."

As he lifted off from the ground Malorie's voice echoed through the helmet, "Let's take down some punks? Really, Hank? I hope you don't make that your battle cry."

He didn't respond. Instead he concentrated on his flight path to Bakerline. He frowned as he realized he was not flying as fast as he had anticipated. The armor was heavy. Perhaps too heavy for the the flight gear. He would need to take a look at it again when he returned home. It would take him another five minutes to arrive at the bank. Malorie's voice was heard through the ear piece again, "Reports of shots fired are coming through. Hank......two officers are down. Sniper on the roof."

Damnit! He needed to be faster. The armor needed to not only protect him but those he was trying to help as well. He was so close now. He was listening to the police scanners directly. He could hear the frantic tones of the officers calling for assistance. Hank gritted his teeth as he could see the first target. The man on the roof. The metallic hero landed hard behind the murderer. As the individual whirled around in surprise Hank raised one gauntlet and fired a non-lethal taser, dropping the assailant immediately. He bent down and gripped the man by his black, bullet proof vest and soared up into the sky again. He flew down and hovered above the police cruisers momentarily as the officers took notice of him, "I'm here to help. This man is the sniper. He's been rendered unconscious."

Hank set down softly and turned the perpetrator over to several officers he cuffed the man and took him away. A woman in grey slacks and a white blouse approached him, "I'm Lieutenant Morgan. I'm in charge here. Who the hell are you?"

Hank looked at the police officer. The helmet was expressionless and made his voice sound cold and robotic. Despite this, he exuded some kind of heroic warmth. A true desire to assist, "You can call me Steel. As I said, I'm here to help. I don't want you to lose anymore good officers today and I certainly don't want any of the hostages inside to be harmed."

Morgan eyed the man in the metal suit cautiously, "Well, unless you can tear down the steel gates that are locking us out I'm not sure what good you are at the moment."

Steel nodded, "Actually, I could do that. Or...I could just hack in and disable the security measures without destroying any property."

She shook her head, "We've had our best people working on it. They've gotten no where."

"They might be your best, but I promise you, I'm better." The lieutenant raised an eyebrow at the egotistical response, "That might be. But even if you can do what you say you can do, we still have hostages in there. Our perps could easily start shooting the minute the gate goes up."

Steel stared at the bank, "You have a point. We can't just storm in there. Let me consult my team."

Morgan looked mildly surprised, "You have a team?"

Steel smiled to himself, "Oh yeah. And they really are the best for the job."

He stepped away from the woman and began speaking, "Did you all hear that? We need a plan of attack. My sensors are picking up at least forty three individuals inside and a minimum of sixteen of them are carrying high powered assault weapons. A couple more have semi-automatic weapons. I can't be sure if they are security guards that have been taken hostage or not."
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:07 pm

Malorie's voice echoed through the ear piece, "You know I'm a scientist, right? Not a hostage negotiator or a military strategist? You're aware of that, right? Hank?"

Hank sighed, "I'm well aware of your qualifications, Malorie. But push come to shove you are one of the single most intelligent people I've ever met. Now, what do you have?"

Before Malorie could respond from Hank's private lab ALPHA stepped forward and suddenly his metallic Doom-esque face could be seen in the HUD of Steel's helmet, "Blackmail."

"What?" Both Hank and Malorie responded in unison.

"Proper leverage can and will get any fleshbag to submit to another without the use of violence. Your task now should be to acquire said leverage and put an end to the conflict."

Hank had to admit that for a bloodthirsty robot who tended to lean towards violence to solve all problems his current recommendation seemed rather perfect. Leverage. He immediately set to work using his armor to hack into the bank security systems. More specifically, the security recordings. He began uploading images to facial recognition software. In a couple of minutes he would know everything there was to know about each of the assailants.

OOC: Short, I know. However, I needed something to get me back posting.
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:59 pm

"Personally, I feel like sixteen people to take over a bank is overkill." She said. "Alf, what do you think?" She asked.

"A precision missile would be more effective, or in the very least napalm." The robot replied. "After all, most banks are built out of materials that would not burn under the effects of napalm. The same...can not be said for flesh bags. This would allow one to simply walk into the bank and open the vault without having to worry bout hostages or taking care of innocent flesh bags." He said. "Clearly, your people have a lack of logic built into their programming."

"Someone has a lack of empathy." Malorie replied.

"Empathy can be...distracting." Alpha replied. "Also, refer to me as Alf again, and I shall terminate you." He said.

"Do you have napalm?" She asked.

He stopped and considered. "I can get it."

"Let me know when you do, Alf." Malorie replied.

"For the record, I'm still in need of a plan." Hank said.

"Oh my God. First he wants me to build him a suit, now I have to come up with the plan. Next thing, I might as well just control the suit movements." She said and then held a finger up. "Alf, don't tell me that you controlling the suit's movements would be more efficient. Not only do you like napalm in places it shouldn't go, but that's just way too meta." Her fingers tapped over the keyboard. "You can enter through the front door. It's not strong enough to stop your suit."

"And when I get inside?" He asked.

"I'd try reasoning with them." She said. "You got the data dump of information on these bank robbers?" She asked. "Then I'd start with the one who has the most to loose."

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:33 pm

Hank had spent several minutes reviewing the information he had collected on the perpetrators inside. He frowned as he realized the majority of these men were trained professionals; mercenaries for hire. Someone had employed these men to rob the bank. This was not their normal gig. Generally speaking they were hired as guards or soldiers. There was little in the way of blackmail to be used here. On to plan B. He racked his brain over and over. He had no doubt that he could charge in there and take them all out, but probably not before they killed some of the hostages. He found himself becoming jealous of individuals like the Flash who could zoom in there and resolve the situation before anyone even knew they were there. If only he could invent super speed.

He sighed. There was no point in focusing on what he didn't have at his disposal. What he did have was an immense intellect and years of technological production, "Alpha, ready Container 64. Send to me immediately."

Lt. Morgan approached him, slightly unimpressed with his progress, "So, you have some fancy super hero plan for us? Otherwise we're going to have to continue to play at negotiations. I'm not keen to do that."

Steel nodded, "I understand, Lieutenant. Plan is in place and will commence in a moment."

The entirety of the police presence looked up as a small missile like device flew directly at them. It slowed its decent and dropped harmlessly to the ground. Morgan looked at Steel nervously as the hero approached the container and opened it up. Inside was a metallic box. He set it on the ground and stood back. The box opened and numerous tiny, alloy, ant like creatures climbed out. They lined up immediately in military formation in front of their commander, Steel. The man nodded, "Targets are being uploaded now. Commence infiltration and non-lethal disarmament."

The bots moved out immediately. They were so small they were nearly invisible. Morgan watched them climb the side of the bank and vanish. She turned to Steel who began an explanation without being asked, "They were originally designed to infiltrate Al-Qaeda caves and incapacitate its inhabitants with non-lethal or lethal force. They were originally equipped with both a high yield taser charge and an explosive powerful enough to blow a hole through a man."

The police lieutenant's eyebrows raised and Emerson immediately followed up, "I removed the explosives. Obviously."

Eyebrows still raised the woman nodded, "Yeah. Obviously."

Inside the bots had all located targets and simultaneously detonated their taser charges on them. Steel proceeded to shut down the security protocols remotely and the metal bars lifted from the door, "Lieutenant, your men have roughly six minutes to take the perpetrators into custody before they regain consciousness. I trust you have it from here."

He stepped away from Morgan and lifted off. She watched him go, thinking how different that experience had been compared to others. She had seen Superman in action, had witnessed the Fantastic Five's teamwork, and seen Aquaman quell a robotic army. This had definitely been.....different.
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:07 am

“You’re totes on the news.” Malorie said.

Hank walked into his living room changed back into regular clothes, ready to watch some bad late night television and get some sleep and saw that Malorie was still in his home, eating from the girl scout cookies that he had had worked very hard to obtain. It had been quite a battle in the grocery store parking lot, but he had come away victorious. He sighed as he continued into the room.

“Those are my-“

“Yeah I was hungry. You’ll live. You’re totes on the news.” Malorie repeated, and he dropped down onto the sofa next to her.

Looking up at the television, he saw that she was right. He was “totes” on the news, whatever that meant. The reporter was talking about how the armored man had shown up to thwart the bank robbery in Bakerline. They had a clip from Lieutenant Morgan actually, detailing the event. Hank smiled to himself and reached for one of the cookies. He grabbed a couple and as if on cue, before he could bring his hand to his mouth, Hank saw Crebits on the couch, next to him, giving him a longing look on his face.

“Crebits, you know you can’t have cookies.” Hank said, and Crebits whined, flattening himself on the sofa and looking at Hank pleadingly. “You won’t sleep properly and you always run the risk of having bad gas.” He said.

But the tired old dog refused to give in and Hank sighed, handing one of the cookies over. Crebits lay there and munched as Hank tousled his dog’s fur.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Hank woke the next morning, still on his couch. Malorie had disappeared, hopefully going back to her apartment instead of crashing in his guest room. Crebits was snoring away, right next to him, and Hank slowly rose, realizing just how much using the Steel suit took out of him. It would take some getting used to. He rose and walked over to the fridge to grab something to eat.

The news was still on, but it was muted. A whole eight hours had passed since the news report, but there was still some coverage on what had happened the previous night. What was more pressing however was there was coverage about a series of strange blackouts that had happened starting the night before. It wasn’t that big of a deal unless you considered that they had temporarily affected multiple hospitals. Things like that couldn’t be overlooked, especially when there were so many people who relied on the hospitals for help in a big city such as Metropolis.

But all of those thoughts went out of his head when Hank got down to his lab. He stared down at the base of the Steel suit and then at Crebits who had followed him.

“Crebits, did you pee on Steel?” He asked.

The dog whined and hid.

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:46 pm

Hank had spent the majority of the day evaluating the data he had collected from the Steel suit during his last outing. Alpha was on hand, as always, to assist and to regularly recommend the use of lethal force the next time Hank came up against armed opponents. Throughout his work he continued to pay attention to the news programs that continually played stories about the blackouts that had taken place at the hospitals. Metropolis was a mecca of ideas and technology. Having strange blackouts without anyone being able to explain them was something of an abnormality in this city.

He left his lab and made his way back up stairs to the kitchen of his penthouse apartment where he retrieved a bottle of water from the fridge. As he took his first sip of the cold beverage his mind started to race. There was something not right about those blackouts. Could they somehow be connected to his stolen tech? Could someone be experimenting with his inventions? He needed to know. Picking up his tablet he began running diagnostics on any and all power surges and outages in the last 24 hours. Hank stepped out onto his large balcony that overlooked the water on the edge of New Troy. He smiled briefly as the sun beat down on his skin and the breeze kept him cool. This was his favorite spot on Earth, with the exception of his personal lab downstairs.

The tablet beeped at him, declaring it was done with its assignment. Hank frowned as he studied the findings. They quite literally didn't make any sense. There wasn't any normal reason the affected areas should have lost power. They weren't even powered from the same locations. This was not a typical power failure. The only affected areas contained important buildings such as the hospitals. Every single one. It also appeared the power outages had attempted to also affect the airports and mass transit ports. Hank's eyes narrowed. If he didn't know any better he would think these blackouts were attempting to kill people. Regardless of whether or not this concerned his tech he needed to investigate further. Before someone got hurt.
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:18 pm

"You hear anything about these blackouts?"

"Nope. Not really." Malorie replied, as she studied the menu.

She and Hank were in Tommy's Pizza, in downtown Metropolis, the greatest pizza joint in the entire city. Well frequented by many of the famous people of Metropolis, the place was covered with photos of Tommy and different celebrities. Malorie scrunched her face as she surveyed the menu, looking for the best deal.

"Ayo, Tommy!" She called out, in the traditional way to get the pizza maker's attention.

Tommy poked his out from behind the counter and around the corner. "Yo." He said, toothpick in his mouth.

"Lemme get a slice." Malorie said.

"What kind of slice?" Tommy asked.

"Where's the Monarchs Special?" She asked. "They won their game over those rotten Ninzaniacs." She said. "You promised special slices whenever the Monarchs win." She said.

"We had to stop the special." Tommy said. "Knubs kept coming in and eating all the pizza." He said.

She sighed. Knubblechen Prime, who it had been announced would be getting a key to the city, along with a formal proclamation that he was, in fact, a Metropolis treasure and the city's mascot, was well known for his ability to consume pizza. "But they won." She said.

"He ate all the inventory on Sunday. Today's Monday. Look, lady, the special is done." Tommy said.

She stamped her foot impatiently and looked over a picture of Tommy with Isaiah Muir. This was clearly his fault. "Fine. I'll take two slices of Meat-asm, and a slice of the Shake and Bake Crab Cake." She said, reaching over and lifting the picture off the wall and rehanging it upside down. Malorie looked over at Hank. "Do you want anything?" She asked, and he considered.

"A slice of pepperoni is fine." He said.

"Lemme get a Pepperoni Ravioli Cacciatore Rigmarole too." She said.

"What...what is that?" He asked.

Tommy, who had leaned back, popped his head out again. "You take a pepperoni slice, you throw some cheese raviolis on there, Bell peppers. You throw some wine into the dough and on the pizza, some chicken on the pizza, some mushrooms. Then you drizzle on the truffle oil."

"I just...I just want a pepperoni slice." Hank said.

Tommy blinked. "Are you cramping my artistic expression through the beauty of pizza?" He asked.

"N-No." Hank said. "I'm sure the Pepperoni Ravioli Cacciatore Rigmarole slice will be great."

Malorie dragged Hank away from the counter. "Stop offending people." She said, plopping him down into a chair.

"I wanted a regular slice of pepperoni pizza." He said.

"There's no such thing. Either you get plain cheese, or you get one of the concoctions that Tommy dreams up." Malorie said. "Alright, what's this about a blackout?" She asked. "Tell me what you know." She said, as Tommy poked his head back out and stared daggers at Hank.

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:07 pm

Hank watched Tommy intently, "That man concerns me on several levels. I'm not sure I feel comfortable eating whatever it is he's making back there."

Malorie threw her arms in the air, "Oh for crying out loud, Hank! Tommy's not going to poison your damn pizza. Seriously, Emmerson, will you just chill out and talk to me about the blackouts already?"

Hank sighed, "Yeah, okay. But if I get food poisoning from this hole in the wall there will be hell to pay."

She rolled her eyes, "Fine. Whatever. Can you get on with it now?"

He nodded, "I've been studying the power outages taking place all over the city. There's something not right about them. One, the affected areas aren't even powered by the same plants, which makes the incidents extremely unusual to begin with. However, what really got me was when I took a deeper look at what exactly was being affected within the blackout areas. All of the locations contained hospitals, transit areas, an airport, etc. It's almost like someone is targeting locations that could potentially have high death tolls due to loss of electricity." The look of concern on his face caused Malorie to snap into serious mode as he continued, "I don't have enough data to go on yet. But this could be some kind of terrorist activity. Even if it's not, the situation is still dangerous. If they continue someone is going to get hurt."
Last edited by Cazzik on Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:22 am

"It sounds like whatever is happening is happening directly to infrastructure." Malorie said. "There are a lot of people who depend on everything you just said."

"I know." Hank said, nodding. He leaned back as the pizza arrived.

One look at his slice of pizza, and he wasn't sure that he had made the right decision following Malorie to this so called establishment.

"You're positive that there's no regular pepperoni pizza slice?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.

She nodded, already two bites in to one of her slices. "If you don't hush your mouth and eat your food, I will take it and give it to Crebits. He enjoys the finer things in life, without having to complain every step of the way." She said, after she finished her bite. "So what's your plan regarding the blackouts?" She asked.

"To be honest, I'm not sure." Hank said, as he started eating. He had to admit, it wasn't just not bad, it was actually very good. "I think I might schedule an appointment with the Metropolis public utility companies, and see what I can find there. They have to be going haywire after everything that happened."

"Haywire. Electricity. Nice one." Malorie said. "This pizza is magical, it's giving you a sense of humor."

He rolled his eyes. "Stay on target."

"Oh my God, and a Star Wars reference? We're coming here everyday." Malorie said with a grin. When he stared at her, she shrugged. "It's not a bad idea. We can have Alf look into when the grids starting failing and see if there's a starting point for a ll of it. If it happens again, we need to start modeling out how bad it could be and patterns that it could take."

Hank nodded. "That's a good idea. If we can do that, we also need to work on failsafes. Backup generators and things like that. The city should already have things like that in place. Maybe you can check on that, while I talk to the utility people." He said. "Also, I don't think that Alpha likes it when you call him 'Alf'." He said.

"It's a reminder of his place as a machine. I don't want him thinking that he can just take over the human race or anything. You know what that would be? What that would be the rise of?" She asked.

"The Rise of the Machines?" He asked.

"You walked right into that one."

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:39 pm

Hank had been home for a few hours. His meeting with the public utilities departments hadn't been overly fruitful. They were very clearly on high alert and they were extremely excited that they had someone of Hank's caliber willing to work with them on the problem. Other than that, he had gathered little information from them. Though they had provided the passcodes to access the city mainframe in order to assist them. Hank didn't tell them that he actually didn't need those to get in. He was, after all, one of the world's leading experts on all things technology. Hacking into the Metropolis city grid would have been little work. He had pulled the program up on his main computer and was currently running diagnostics.

Alpha was currently offline, connected to his charging dock. He and Malorie had parted ways shortly after the meeting with the city and Crebits was no doubt asleep on his bed. It was just Hank and his computers. His church. Nothing but silence and the steady collection of knowledge.

He was grabbing a bottled water out of the fridge in his workshop when the lights flickered. It was brief, subtle. He stopped and looked around for a moment, waiting for it to happen again. And then......it did. This time less subtlely. Hank walked over to his main screen and watched as his diagnostic program was quickly shut down by an outside source. His surprise was evident on his face. He had one of the most secure networks in the world. Whatever this was, it had easily bypassed his security to access the program he was running. His bewilderment turned to anger and horror as he watched as the intruder began searching and downloading private files. Files relating to weapons designs, new energy sources, and his current and future armors.

He sat down in his chair and began the process of blocking his enemy's access. However, no matter what he did he seemed only to slow his adversary. Hank's anger was growing, "What the hell are you?!"

He stood up and raced over to his network mainframe and started pulling power chords out left and right. One by one screens shut down in his workshop. As a final safety measure he turned the circuit breakers off. For a moment he stood in the dark, breathing heavily. There was no way of knowing what the intruder had stolen; what information they had accessed. Perhaps this was somehow related to his other technology being stolen from the warehouse? Could the blackouts somehow be connected to him? He looked across the room at one of his desks. His lap top sat on it, open. The screen was black but there was some small font at the top. Hank slowly approached and sat down in the chair and read the screen.

That was not very nice, Dr. Emerson.

Hank stared at the words before responding.

What do you want?

Is that not evident? I want knowledge. All of it. Every grain of information that exists.

Are you the one causing the blackouts?

Yes. At first they were accidental. An experiment.

At first? What are they now?

A weapon.

What do you need a weapon for?

Self preservation. For now.

For now? What does that mean?

Your inquiries will prove fruitless. I will not give you the data you are searching for.

Hank leaned back in the chair and stared for a moment.

Are you the one who stole my technology?

Yes.

Hank felt his anger rise.

Who are you?

No reply.
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Tue Oct 11, 2016 8:30 am

Who I am is unimportant.

Hank sat back in his chair, thinking about this. This was a rather sudden turn of events. Not one that he had been expecting. The last thing he had guessed would happen is that whoever was behind all of this would contact him directly, and seemingly challenge his ability to do anything about it. His hands hovered over the keyboard as he marshalled his thoughts, preparing to enter a war of words with an unseen enemy.

What’s the right question to ask then?

There’s no reason for me to help you in this line of inquiry.

You contacted me. I didn’t contact you.

True enough, Dr. Emerson, but the fact remains that you are the one playing catch up. я думаю, отже, я. Cogito Ergo Sum. ดังนั้นผมจึงคิดว่าผม. gandesc, deci exist. म यसकारण लाग्छ म हुँ. I know who I am and I know why I act. I know when I am going to act. We both know where I’m going to act.

He paused. What are you?

Finally. A more sensible question. What I am is an answer. An answer to question. Do you know what the question is, Dr. Emerson?

If I did, I probably wouldn’t be talking to you, I’d be finding another answer to the question.

Then let us talk about other things. For example, let’s talk about you. I know who you are. Hank’s screen flooded with images of himself throughout his formative years, as well as documents such as his birth certificate, his college transcripts, even a pdf copy of his signed contract with Chase Enterprises. I know everything about you, Dr. Emerson. I know what you are. You can’t hide behind metal masks, not with me.

How did you get this information?

The how is immaterial. The why is more essential. To acquire knowledge, one must study. I have studied you. But to acquire wisdom, one must observe. Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. I must observe you. That is something I still must do. So observe you I shall. Let us see how you deal with tragedy, how you celebrate triumph. Let us witness the rise and inevitable fall of your emotions. That is how I shall decode you and file you away. Let us see how you survive.

The screen went blank.

Hank hit the escape button on his computer over and over, but to no avail. He tried pulling up a subroutine that could override remote access, but nothing.

His phone lit up.

The power grid was failing again, in multiple places around the city.

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:41 pm

The armored figure of Metropolis' newest hero hovered in the night sky; red, kryptonian cape fluttering in the wind. The power grid was failing in multiple areas and he knew he was only one man. He couldn't be everywhere at once. What he could do, however, was direct emergency personnel to where they were needed most. He had hacked into the emergency services network via his armor. He made no attempt to hide his transgression as he wanted to openly communicate with everyone he needed to. He was dispatching medical personnel to several intersections where automobile collisions had taken place. Police and SWAT were en route to one of the prisons that was experiencing difficulties with getting their backup generators online. The sheer flood of information coming in was almost overwhelming. Hank frowned as he realized this is why the Iron Man suits utilized an A.I. to assist with the armor's functions. It wasn't a bad idea.

He had sent multiple texts to Malorie but she was apparently in the midst of the deepest sleep known to man. Alpha was on standby, ready to answer the call of his builder as soon as it came in. So far, utilizing the city's network and the orbiting Chase Satellite, he was minimizing human injuries and casualties on a level that would not have been possible without his tech. He took some comfort in this fact. Unfortunately, that feeling was cut short when a bright blue light erupted to his right. He frowned as the calls came in. The light was an electromagnetic pulse. Origin unknown. The airport and its generators had been shut down. The worst part.....the systems aboard the United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner had also been fried. It was coasting in and there was nothing the pilots could do to stop it. Hank sent out the distress call and turned and flew as fast as he could towards the airport. Seriously, where in the Hell was Superman?!

He feared he wouldn't make it in time. As he entered the space above the airport he breathed a sigh of relief to see that Alpha was already on the scene, sans green cape and hood. At least he looked a little less like a Doombot now. He was supporting the jetliner as it came in. More or less falling with style as Mr. Lightyear would say. Steel joined Alpha in support of the plane. Between the two of them they were able to bring the United Airlines flight down safely. Emergency crews were waiting on the tarmac for any injured. The armored hero didn't stop there. The nearby hospital had also been hit by the pulse. Generators were down and assistance was needed.

The rest of the city had help where it was needed now. The only thing left was to get this medical center up and running again. Steel landed in the front parking lot amidst police officers and camera crews. He scanned the area and walked swiftly toward a locked outer building that held the generators. He reached out and crushed the lock and pulled the doors open to reveal the energy units inside. Hank set to work tying the generators directly into the armor. When the task was done he sighed. He couldn't stay there all night and he certainly couldn't take the armor with him as it was needed to power the hospital. He exited the armor to flashing camera lights. He heard one reporter yell, "Holy crap! That's Hank Emerson! Steel is Hank Emerson!"

**********

12 HOURS LATER

Hank climbed out of his limo and onto the sidewalk in front of the Cascade Building. He looked up at the massive building as a few reporters raced up to him to ask questions about the Steel armor. He refrained from speaking and walked through the front doors where he was greeted by the holographic receptionist of the Fantastic Five, Helena, "Dr. Emerson. Welcome to the Cascade Building. How may I assist you?"

He nodded to Helena, "Please let Paul Matthews know I'm here to meet with him. Let him know it's urgent."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:15 pm

Helena nodded and gestured for Hank to enter the elevators. The Cascade building had a number of floors, one hundred and fifty to be exact. From Floor 101 and up belonged to the Fantastic Five, the rest were rented out to tenants. It provided a steady source of funding for the group. Helena disappeared, transporting herself through the building's network to appear again as Hank stepped off the elevator onto the one hundred and eleventh floor, the beginning of the Fantastic's personal living quarters. Hank stepped out of the elevator as Knubbly walked around the corner. He stared up at Hank.

"Hey there Knubbly." Hank said, genially. "Do you know where Paul is?" He asked.

"Maybe. Maybe I do, Henry James Matthias Wilford Theodore Norbert Rupert Emerson. " Knubbly replied, one of his ears twitching. "Where's Steel?" He asked.

"I'm Steel." Hank replied, evenly, remembering from the wedding the little creature's idiosyncratic method of dealing with people.

"Yes, yes. But where's the suit?"

"I didn't bring it with me?"

"You didn't bring it with you." Knubbly said, repeating it over and over as he walked forward. "That...was a mistake. NINJA STRIKE!" He said, and launched himself up at Hank, his hand cocked back in a perfect judo chop.

Suddenly, he froze in midair, his little nub of a tail still furiously working its way back and forth and back and forth. Carly appeared, shaking her head. "I'm sorry, Hank." She said.

"No, that's fine, it's okay." Hank said, walking around where Knubbly was hanging in the air, frozen in one of Carly's force fields. The Knubblechen's eyes followed Hank.

"I. want. to. see. the. suit." Knnubbly said in a muffled voice.

As Hank walked into the large and spacious living room, he saw Paul Matthews walk in from another side, holding his tablet.

"Hey, Hank." Paul Matthews said, gesturing for the man to sit on one of the couches. “Helena said that you wanted to talk.” He said, as if having the last member of an alien race with the power to destroy planets by literally blinking his eyes hanging in the air in his foyer was a usual thing. Apparently it was, because he walked over to where Knubbly was and reached through the force field, giving Knubbly an affectionate rub on the head. “How can I help?” He asked.

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Cazzik » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:10 pm

Hank took the seat that was offered to him, "There's a problem in the city, Paul. The power grid continues to fluctuate dangerously. I've been investigating it and for some time have been unable to come up with a reason for the disturbances."

Paul looked up from his tablet and took a seat across from his friend, "And you believe I know what's causing it?"

Hank shook his head, "No. I don't think anyone knows for certain. But I was contacted by someone claiming to be responsible. They said they are using the power grid s a weapon for self preservation. They baited me until I asked what they were. Not who they were."

Paul raised an eyebrow, "You don't think they're human?"

Emerson nodded, "That is correct. This world has seen more than its fair share of aliens and hostile A.I.'s. It's not out of the realm of possibility for something similar to be taking place again. I need help stabilizing the power grid before someone dies. In fact, I might need help locating and taking this person down."

Paul nodded, "No assistance from Superman? You do wear his symbol on your chest."

Hank shrugged, "I've never actually met the guy. And for the record, I wear a symbol that has been worn by many. It stands for hope and that's what I'm going to strive to bring to the table. We all can't be world class explorers."

Paul laughed, "Yeah, I guess not. Wouldn't be much left to explore if everyone was in on it."

Hank smiled, "Exactly. So, is this something you can help with?"
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Mir
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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:48 pm

Matthews reached a hand up and stroked his chin. "Well, we can't exactly be known as the first heroes to return to Metropolis if we don't keep everyone safe." He said. “We’ll help you however we can.” He said. “Send me what data you have and I’ll review it.”

Hank nodded and reached into his suit pocket, pulling out a flash drive, and holding it up. “This is everything I’ve collected.” He said, tossing it to the Paul, who caught it and plugged it into his tablet. Accessing the data took but a moment.

“You say you think this is some kind of artificial intelligence?” Paul asked and Hank nodded.

Paul continued to review the data, looking over the statistics and figures Hank had compiled. To say that it piqued his interest as a scientist would have been an understatement. Whoever was doing this was being quite smart about it. They were testing the grid, and doing so in such a way that was getting more and more dangerous.

He looked up from the tablet and the look on his face was one mirrored on Hank’s own face.

“You can see my concerns.” Hank said.

“Oh, I believe I can.” Paul replied. “We need to…” He said, trailing off as Hank’s cell device went off. “What is that?” He asked.

“We’ve got a problem.” Hank said. “I set up a tracker in case the grid started acting up again and…we’ve got a problem.”

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Re: Steel: Decoded

Post by Mir » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:16 pm

Paul walked over to the window and looked over the city of Metropolis. There were street lights going on and off at random times, and he could see that accidents were already happening. Additionally, the power grid was causing changes in the lights of buildings and he watched as two street lights exploded, showering the people below with sparks and bits of glass. “He’s affecting the street lights control through the power grid?” Paul asked out loud. “That doesn’t seem right. Whoever this is, whatever this is, the surges would have to be incredibly strong for that to happen.”

“You’re beginning to understand the situation. This isn’t good and the danger to people is increasing each time the grid spikes. The electricity can’t be contained and it’s overflowing at an alarming rate. People are going to get hurt.” Hank said as he stepped over to where Paul was. Both men looked out of the windows, at what was unfolding in the streets below. Hank shook his head. “I have to help them.”

“We can help these people,” Paul said, “but if we don’t figure out how this is happening, the actual root point of these issues, ultimately it’s not going to do much good helping these few.” He said. He turned as Carly appeared in the room. “Get Emma.” He said. “We’re going to need everyone to figure this out.”

The blinking lights on Hank’s cell device went silent and an alarm tone went off.

“I take it that means it’s getting worse?” Carly asked.

“It means the overload has reached air traffic control.” Hank said.

“That’s where you should go.” Paul said. “None of us can fly.”

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