From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
- A tool is but the extension of a man's hand, and a machine is but a complex tool. And he that invents a machine augments the power of a man and the well-being of mankind.
- —Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit (1887)
Invictar is a twist on the concept of the rich inventor; the character is very much a blue-collar worker who has only recently begun to understand what he's capable of building. At the same time, there's a bit of a redemption arc for him, based on guilt over compromised designs being used for evil.
Invictar has been heard to say "technology is for lifting people up...not grinding them down." It's a philosophy that guides his actions. He's truly interested in inventions that can benefit people; his constant work on alternative energy sources and "a better battery" is only the most visible sign of this dedication. He has no use for mad scientists or technological megalomaniacs who view technology as their weapon for conquest; indeed, he views such villains as his natural enemies.
That said, he can become somewhat obssessive over a new technology or project. One of the things he wants to do when encountering it is to take them apart and see what makes them tick. Anything he learns about, he can use and adapt for future projects. Sometimes, though, it distracts him from the needs of the moment.
Invictar has a few qualms concerning artificial intelligence: it's not something he will develop willingly. As he sees it, once you have artificial intelligence, you've got something potentially satisfying the definitions of sentience. But the whole point of building an AI is usually for a specific purpose or task. If it is forced to do this, then the builder has effectively created his own slave. That's something Invictar finds morally questionable. All that said, he is willing to work on "free" AIs, such as robots who have gained legal standing and are free to make their own decisions.
Invictar's powers all derive from his suit of power armor. The armor itself is controlled via CNS control. Unlike cybernetic helmets-which tend to be common among armored heroes-the Invictar suit uses the Central Nervous System of the wearer to determine his intent. This removes the need for a helmet, which Invictar dislikes wearing, preferring to have full field of vision. His Heads Up Display is projected on a holographic field in front of his face when combat systems are active (techinically on the inside of the force field surrounding him), allowing him to prioritize threats and to keep track of the combat armor's status. The HUD follows his head at all times when active.
Formerly, the primary offensive weaponry used by Invictar were his "Repellers". The repellers project concussive force to varying degrees, controlled by the wearer; it could strike as much force as a punch, or as much force as a freight train. The exact specifications of this energy is a secret Invictar doesn't share, even though there are similar energies in use by multiple heroes and villains all over the world. A popular rumor is that Invictar wanted to call these weapons "Repulsors", but was held back because of the use of the term in a popular super-hero movie.
However, as it turned out, the repellers were causing physical damage to Invictar's nervous system; the power load required to project the energy was reaching points where it could potentially cripple him for life. A redesign of the armor instead redirected a fraction of the energy to a rifle-the armor's power systems were no longer required to channel it via neural interface, instead putting all the control to the rifle. The energy rifle takes care of any amplification, taking the load off of the armor. The rifle can only be used by Invictar-requiring access to the armor's systems via plug-in points in his gauntlets. The energy beam is adjustable, allowing Invictar to use appropriate levels of power against his opponents, from normal thugs to highly armored enemies.
When not in used, the rifle is secured to his back via force fields.
By making an internal adjustment in his gauntlets, Invictar can concentrate the repellers' force into an energy field around his fists; the reaction to being hit by a blow from his fists is roughly the same as if being hit from a distance. The energy requirements for this function is substantially less than what was necessary for the long-range repellers, and so do not have the same deleterious effect on his central nervous system.
Thanks to the considerable amount of power supplied by the combat armor, Invictar has been able to add systems that have helped his mobility substantially.
A blend of antigravity and raw propulsive force-possibly the same as projected by the repellers-enables Invictar to fly in the city, although well below the speed of sound-although afterburners were recently installed that permit him to get far closer in open air.
Invictar is-to put it simply-a growing technological genius. While he's started with car batteries and power sources, he's quickly branched out to rebuilding robots and creating combat armor-and he's only begun. It's quite possible he can build anything he can conceive of, given time and materials. It's worth noting that he is a bit of a prodigy when it comes to design, coming up with ideas and how to build them far faster than it takes to actually build them.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Outside of his combat armor, he has no special protections or abilities (beyond his genius, of course). Even his genius only applies to technological applications; he's no geneticist, temporal scientist, researcher, etc. He can apply the results of the work of such luminaries, even adapt them, but asking him to figure out the DNA of the latest creepy Devouring Earth monster is asking a bit much.
Aside from his armor, Invictar may have minor gadgets on him at any given time (although rarely if he is in his armor, due to lack of storage space).
His workshop in Atlas Park is a garage filled with a number of technological gadgets, although none of it is seriously advanced tech. On a lift is a partially disassembled car, which looks like it's being retrofitted to include the capability for flight; strewn around are papers with designs for other tech gadgets as well as ideas for future design iterations of the Invictar combat armor. He far prefers to use his own workshop instead of those of organizations; using their equipment could conceivably allow them to lay a claim on his work.
Mike Steele's story begins on a deserted road in Florida as a kid, during a family road trip. The car had broken down, and his father determined that the car battery had died. That made no sense to young Steele; why would you build a battery that gave out when you needed it?
In a way, that set the tone of his education. His goal was to make a better car battery.
As his education commenced, he demonstrated that he might be able to pull it off. He studied the physical sciences so he understood why batteries worked they way they did-then he began working out ways that they could be improved. When he graduated with honors in high school, he looked for the best available colleges in the region-and inevitably, he settled upon Paragon City University. He did some intern work for Crey Industries, and earned enough to purchase a garage in Atlas Park, which became his personal workshop. Upon completing his education, he spent all his time working on creating the perfect car battery-more because he wanted to finish his childhood dream than because it was a grand ambition anymore.
The journey was interrupted by the Rikti War. He lent his services to the suddenly-important FBSA, and more specifically to the Department of Advanced Technology Application (DATA). He helped on a number of studies with captured Rikti tech before they were confiscated by the Vanguard.
Once the War was over, he went freelance, preferring to be his own boss rather than work for DATA directly, or for Crey-whom he'd begun to get a bad feeling about. A couple of years after the War, he developed the Necron power source-effectively, a battery with a lifetime that would amplify stored energy as quickly as it was used. He spent another couple of years working to miniaturize the power source so it could be used in a building, a plane, or even a car.
Unfortunately, it wasn't perfect; a sufficiently large drain in a burst could deplete the Necron. Worse still was the fact that the patent office was hacked by a villain named Dr. Harwicke, who stole the design for the power source and included that design in his own work for a killer robot. Harwicke would eventually sell the robot design to Arachnos for an undisclosed amount of cash; Arachnos, in turn, sold it to the Family when that organization was looking to find a way to match the Council's growing power. The construction of the robots-which they called "Mechadooms"-caused a bit of a stir in the Independence Port region until a group of heroes shut them down permanenty, with the exception of one that bootstrapped itself to sentience and escaped, calling itself Mechadoom Prime.
The crisis revealed another flaw in Necron power source-the energy amplification was too great, and it had burned out a number of the control systems in the Mechadoom robots. It wasn't a stretch to imagine it would do the same to other equally complex electronics.
Steele would learn about this when he was called in by DATA to examine some of the wrecked heaps-and recognized his work. While he was blameless, he still felt responsible for what his work had empowered. That feeling got worse when Mechadoom Prime attempted to reduce the organic population of Paragon City to sludge after it found religion. Feeling the need to make something good come out of the mess, Steele would take the wreckage of the Mechadoom parts and use them to rebuild one-except with his programming designs, instead of the ones they followed originally.
It was at about this time that he was asked, via anonymous email (thanks to Fell Raven), to assist in creating a reverse-Necron power supply, needed to utilize-and if necessary, drain off-a tremendous amount of heat and flame, akin to the very sun in strength. In this way, Steele assisted in stabilizing the heroine Afire after her injuries during the attempted Darkening of Talos Island.
At roughly the same time, Steele completed the rebuilding of the Mechadoom robot. What he hadn't anticipated was that the Mechadoom robot would become sentient as well, thanks to Harwicke's designs. Fortunately, Steele's counterprogramming had given it a very strong impulse toward more socially acceptable activity; the robot, as its own being, would later join another group of heroes, feeling that it would one day need to confront its "cousin", Mechadoom Prime. Unfortunately, it was unable to adapt to its power source like Mechadoom Prime had, and burned out.
Call to Heroism
Shortly afterward, he would use some of what he learned in while assisting with Afire's armor to create a new powercell, which he called "Invictar" (loose corruption of the Latin for "unvanquished")-a smaller power cell, meant to be used in sequence with others like it, which would duplicate the Necron's power, but provide greater control. This only further inspired him. He had rebuilt a robot, helped save a hero, and made another stride in advancing power supply design. For the first time, he began to really wonder-what more could he do? What more was he capable of doing? He had seen heroes in powered armor all over the city; he had felt that creating such work would be beyond him. But now, he wondered: was it really?
The present day: Mike Steele answered that question-it was not. As he was still smarting from having his Necron design coopted by a super villain, he decided that this creation would not be one he lost control of. He couldn't count on someone else using his work to do the right thing-there was only one person he could be sure would use it responsibly and well. No more than a day after its creation, Mike Steele would register in the city as a Hero: Invictar.
Using contacts he'd made with the Union Supreme, he would join that group, feeling that it was better to work with a team than on his own. In 2011, he found that his armor's designs-as he continually upgraded-were reaching a point where the power was damaging his central nervous system. He was forced to rethink his design, and cannibalize his original iterations in order to have an armored suit that didn't cause him severe damage; he debuted the prototype on September 13, 2011-the day Galaxy City was destroyed by the Shivans.
|Councillors: Champion Woman • Doctor Spectro • Old Ranger • Raven Moonshadow|
|Hero: Amazing Trixie • Arcanist Ica • Blood-Eagle • Captain Midnight • Congressionalist • Diamondskin • Emerald Protect • Gods Speed • Gravijah • Heliodromus • Hero Paragon • Invictar • Moonlight Owl • Ms. Impossible • North Shield • Paradox Theory • Redbird • Shining Centurion • Solairis • Streetlight • Turbohawk • Winter Tornado|
|Primals||Heroes||Agent Repulse • Amazing Kane • Armored Battalion • Fighting Wolfman • Gatewarden • Invictar • Old Ranger • Qi'Lar • Skyshade • Spectral Fighter • Stellar Protector • Sunpulse • Timelost • Winter Tornado|
|Vigilantes||Nyctomancer • Occult Explorer|
|Villains||Devil's Chamberlain • Dracofire • Operative Rostov • Stellar Abyss|
|Rogues||Baron Craven • Ebon Thunderbolt • General Retaliation • Professor Dredd|