Friday, June 24, 2011

Captain Atom

Nothing ever came easy for Monica Adam. Growing up in the infamous Suicide Slum on the southside of Metropolis, it was even money whether or not Monica would live to see thirty. Her entire family had it hard - her mom was stuck in a stable if low-paying civil service job, her dad wasn't ever around. Monica wasn't the oldest child, but the way her older brother behaved, especially after falling in with one of the local street gangs, she might as well have been. Still, she fought the good fight - doing well in school, taking a job as a waitress to help the family pay bills and the mortgage of their tiny rowhouse, keeping her little sister out of trouble. It might not have been the best life, but she hung in there, at times daring to hope that junior college and an Associates degree would be in her future. If she got that, she could get a civil job like her Mom and...

And what? Grow up to be just like her? Living a life of quiet desperation? No, something had to change. Her brother Evan was making money, somehow, but Monica didn't want to be a part of that life. She'd seen too many people her own age chewed up and cast aside by the gangster lifestyle.

Then one day, an angel appeared: A TV camera. The Adams' rowhouse? Turns out that was the same apartment where a young Lex Luthor grew up. The reporter from WMET loved the idea that another young person was on track to escape the crushing gravity of Suicide Slum and make something of herself. Monica's frank response that no, it wouldn't be the same, she was no genius like Mr. Luthor, just a hard working American trying to do right in a so wrong world. People responded to her story and LexCorp, sensing a publicity angle, even stepped in, offering Monica a full scholarship to college.

But it didn't feel right to Monica to just get what she wanted, no matter how desperately she craved a way out of the Slum. She was too proud for handouts. What about her sister? Her mother? No, LexCorp, thank you, but I can't just leave them. So LexCorp, eager for the good publicity following an "unfortunate rollout," exapnded their offer. If Monica could get into college on her own, they'd buy the family's rowhouse from them for far more than it was worth. "Maybe we'll turn it into a Lex Luthor Museum," quipped the CEO in a soundbite, "But then we might end up turning it into a Monica Adam Museum as well."

So Monica scrambled to get into school. She applied for every scholarship she could find, saved every penny. The biggest break came when the US Army offered her a place in its ROTC Young Officers program. The sort of drive and determination Monica showed was just the sort of thing the Army was looking for in its new generation of officers. She accepted, LexCorp bought the rowhouse, her family moved to the suburbs, and Monica was off to college.

Studying science and engineering by day and leadership and tactics by night, Monica really took the regimented academic program. While she did not graduate top of her class, losing out to a four star general's son, a jerk that never seemed to have to work for anything and who never seemed to tire of putting Monica down, she did capture the attention of several high ranking officers. Given her background in science and engineering, perhaps she'd like her first assignment to be with the ARL, the Army Research Labs located outside of Phoenix?

Lieutenant Adam jumped at the chance. It wasn't until her plane was half way to New Mexico that she realized that she didn't consult her family about it. Though her Mom later said over the phone it was okay and that she was proud of her, there's still a ball of guilt over that tucked away deep in Monica's gut.

Years pass and Lieutenant Adam becomes Captain Adam. She enjoys her work, traveling the globe with a bunch of military eggheads trying to design the next generation of war tools. After the appearance of out of this world heroes like Superman and Green Lantern the unit refocuses its efforts into trying to recover and retroanalyze alien technology. It's hard work and Monica is tested like never before. No longer on the base or visiting various labs around the world, she leads one of the teams that is dropped into sometimes hot, sometimes covert, zones to recover suspected alien technology. While Monica and her team perform well, their quarry continues to elude them.

You can imagine Monica's shock when, upon returning from her first successful mission where her team located and reclaimed some sort of alien jump drive from the Amazon rain forest, she is confronted be her old tormentor from her school days. Now a Major with the Army's Special Branch, he's come to take the drive away, its clearance being jumped up above Top Secret. Thank you for your service, here's an insincere smile and a promise of a desk job somewhere boring and dead ended. Unless, of course, you want to join my team? If so all you'll have to do is come by my quarters at oh-eight-

Never. Monica punches him and storms off, intent on reporting the Major's behavior to the base commander. Enraged, the Major attempts to force himself on her, but she gets away, hiding in the chamber of the alien drive.

Which closes.
And turns on.

The last thing Monica sees before she is reduced to atoms is the Major grinning, arms crossed, on the other end of the thick clear portal. He makes no effort to help her. He just waves goodbye.

That isn't right. Monica worked her whole life to get where she is. She played by the rules. She threw herself into her missions. She could not let a, a grinning entitled thug get away with it. No. Not ever. The quantum field that is and is not Monica Adam pushes its was through the alien metal of the jump drive, the strange dilustel metal stretching around her like a second skin. In the chaos of her rebirth, the Major flees, running to his father to be hid from punishment in the Army's bureaucracy.

Rechristened Captain Atom by the military brass, Monica is given a new mission: Be the United States' first superhero, not just some costumed vigilante who happens to live here. Think of all the good you can do. Yes, unfortunately we will have to tell your family that you died, but we'll take care of them. Our friends at LexCorp have even promised to fund an "insurance payout" that will mean your mother can retire, that your sister can afford a future and your brother a decent lawyer.

And the Major? Well, yes, we have him in custody and there will be a full investigation surrounding the events leading up to your, uh, 'accident.'

So Monica Adam becomes Captain Atom. Her dilustel skin is nigh impervious to physical harm, bending and flowing almost like a living thing when controlled by her quantum field. She can use the field to fly, project beams of force, and even absorb and manipulate other sources of energy. If her skin is pierced, there is no explosion so long as the field remain stable. If her field becomes unstable, the dilustel will prevent a chain reaction until she can get things under control again. (Breathe easy, Topeka)

Captain Atom is a force for good in the world. Her military minders do wish she would take on some of the more covert operations that her skills would be perfect for, but Monica refuses. They'll just have to find another way. She's loyal to America and its ideals and those ideals don't include skulking around in the dark.

Luckily for the Army, however, a certain disgraced Major and his team of mercenaries have just returned from the Amazon with something very interesting in tow...

Captain Atom (15/52) will follow the adventures of Monica Adam as she continues to work to make the world a better place. She'll often play the role of peacekeeper in military conflicts, protecting innocents from the side-effects of armed conflict. She'll come into conflict with her arch-foe Major Force and other world power level villains like Black Adam, Vandal Savage, and Lex Luthor.

1 comment:

  1. Did I just spot a "don't nuke Topeka" joke? Well done!