Name: Victor Mancha
Current Alias: "Rail"
Age: Was created approximately 11 years ago - looks to be about 21
Appearance: Victor looks to be a hispanic male, roughly six feet in height, who participates in regular strenuous exercise. He has wavy, dark chestnut hair that flows to his shoulders, a strong, angular jawline, and thin lips that curl upwards at the sides. His eyes are green, but turn to gold near the middle of this irises, and are accented by thin, defined eyebrows that ride low over his eyes and give his face a look of constant intensity. He has the broad-shouldered and muscular body of the gods, as in typical comic-book hero fashion, but whether this is because it was the way he was designed or because it was the way he believes he should project himself, it is uncertain. He wears conventional black jeans, button-down shirt with french cuffs, sturdy military-grade boots, and a short, black Armani leather jacket. All are worn, scuffed, or creased from hard and long use.
He often carries a black backpack made of ballistic nylon, as well as shoulder-holsters that hold a laser pistol and a strange looking device looks something akin to a half-finished gun. It has two metal rods parallel to each other but perpendicular to what seems to be a handle. He uses said device as a railgun, but only sparely.
Personality: Victor's "childhood" consisted of his waving around the biggest nerd e-peen he could possibly conjure for himself, and his "memories" show him having a deep-seated fascination for superheroes and their ilk, particularly the Avengers, The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and the X-men. While much of this was artificial, created by his "father" to make him believe he was fifteen when he was truly only three, much of the short time he believed he was alive settled into the persona that was evolving in his programming. Even following his activation and ultimate betrayal of the unwary Avengers, he maintained that sharp-tongued, geekdom-idolizing persona that he had been programmed to believe in. However, he has become completely unfazed in the act of taking life or giving pain as a result of the rigorous war he conducted with the Ultron Code lurking within him. Although he no longer feels the compunction to destroy the Avengers, much of the empathetic part of his persona that made him human is gone.
History: Victor was "born" to Marianella Mancha and an unknown version of Ultron, having been the product of Marianella's DNA and loneliness and Ultron's unquenchable desire for perfection and experimentation. Built using nanite technology that would come to completely mimic the human body in a few years, Victor was the closest Ultron would come to humanity - but not just for some perverted need to connect with the thing it hated so much. Ultron built Victor largely as a sleeper agent to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers - to have gathered crucial, fatal information about each and every member, and to be in precisely the right place when Ultron wanted to activate his simulacrum's hidden agenda.
Victor's artificial love for comics and superheroes prevailed when his powers began to burgeon on a trip to New York - he soon found himself in S.H.I.E.L.D., under the tutelage of A-stringers like The Captain Himself. However, Victor's genius tier intelligence and perfect memory made him a useful and willing companion to many of the Avengers - the technocratic parts of his programming had soon had him near Tony Stark and Henry Pym. He was enthusiastic and living with and up to his ideals. He was slowly getting in optimal place for a betrayal that could destroy the Avengers in one fell swoop.
The activation, however, wasn't just a code or some signal that could alert Victor's processors and shut them down. It was a simple reaction that would be initiated when one of Victor's human emotions - overwhelming grief - were overriding any processor protection.
The death of Marianella Mancha would have turned Victor into a devastating force of destrucion against S.H.I.E.L.D., and was supposed to have happened when Ultron knew Victor was in the optimal position to enact the robot's revenge against the Avengers. What happened, though, was a force somewhere, originally meant to turn humankind into witless mutant-lovers, turned deadly to any human it touched. Marianella Mancha included.
Victor's activation was not optimal, but it was no less deadly. Although he wasn't able to kill the A and B-stringers with one marvelous hand, as had been Ultron's plan, he managed to kill many, many of the lower-level heroes and agents before he stopped the rudimentary part of the sleeper agent program that sought the mindless destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The magnetic surge that engulfed the world with its sheer power knocked Victor's powers off balance for one second - and one second, to a computer, could be an eternity.
Victor found himself confronting the Ultron code within him, and waged war against his father within the wide, wide expanses of his mind and memory for what seemed a century. It was no easy task - Ultron's code had access to the same powers of calculation, the same memory highways, and was ruthless and driven. But Victor learned, and when he escaped the simulations of death and grief - he had watched his mother die perhaps fifteen times in fourteen different days, each crueler, more drawn out, than the last - he finally, by sheer force of the will the malicious code lacked, locked the code in a dark, fortified recess of his memory, encrypted and destroyed the key. He spit on the Ultron code's cackles as he left it in the back of his mind and turned to face the real world.
He woke from a century of fighting Ultron only a moment after the magnetic surge had allowed him his chance. What was done was done, however, and the carnage he had inflicted in a haze of anger and grief was spread around him in a pool of char, ash, and twisted metal. People he had once seen as friends and allies bore the unmistakable signs of his power. As he looked upon the bodies, however, he felt no twinge of remorse, no guilt - he had long lost those human emotions in order to triumph against his father's control. He felt sadness, though, and grief in spades - feeling those emotions reminded him of his human half, and, using his electro-magnetic control, he created a graveyard where the ashes of the fallen S.H.I.E.L.D. agents lay, and beyond he lifted a metal slab and inscribed upon it, "May God have Mercy upon the Souls of the Selfless and Just. Thus may He have Mercy upon All who Rest here."
Then, without a glance back, he turned to fly back to his home in California, where he found his mother's body, which had only just turned cold, and buried it, far from any trace of human activity for miles. He was efficient at digging his mother's grave, he knew - it was his fifteenth time, after all. He erected a monument made of twisted metal, shaped by his own hands, and left it unmarked.
He shed the cape and Victorious costume, disintegrating it with a sharp, sustained burst of lightning from his fingertips, and, dressed as a civilian, turned away from the superhero life he had been programmed to fantasize about. For the full first year following the incident at Genosha, Victor went underground, trying to keep himself out of the prying eyes of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rest of the war humanity was waging upon itself. He lived in Chico, California, and began to work odd hours at a comic book store and a restaurant, and spent the other hours either sleeping or surfing the net and playing videogames. It wasn't difficult, living like that, and he continued that meaningless existence for as long as he could, reveling in the mind-numbing nature of his day-to-day life.
The Sentinels had arrived early on in the year, but, at first, they left him alone. Left everyone alone. He would see the odd one flying overhead once in a while, usually at night, and he could tell that some were battered and busted from fighting somewhere of bigger importance than Chico, possibly L.A., or even Hawaii. Mutant Prime had been escalating the war, slowly but surely, and the Sentinel flybys became more frequent, closer to the ground.
It took Victor precisely 25 minutes to learn that the first attack by the Sentinels had occurred somewhere in the midwest, and by then, he could already see the fires of war lighting from the east. Refugees had begun to file into California, fleeing from the origins of the Sentinel onslaught, but finding no such solace at the western edge of the United States. Within the day, flights were full. Within the week, there was no more room on any boat. Within the month, Sentinels had begun to round up the people left behind, and killing all who resisted.
Victor had largely ignored the Sentinels in his activities, and they largely ignored him, as their sensors could not distinguish him from a mutant, and he had passively followed directives to be led into internment camps.
It took him the witnessing of a brutal murder of two parents who were shielding their little girl, who had the x-gene as evidenced by the slight tinge of auburn emanating from her hair. As their blood splattered on and around her, Victor found himself launching a bolt of energy at the Sentinel, which had raised its right arm to finish the girl off, too. The bolt did minimal damage, but it managed to get the attention of the Sentinel, which almost seemed to frown as its mutant scanner came up negative, but its other receptors were lighting up with the arcs of electricity that Victor was emitting. The Sentinel then moved, as if to attack Victor, but changed its direction at the last moment to fire its weapon upon the wailing child. Victor, stunned, did not attack the Sentinel until it was almost too late, before he finally retaliated against the robot. The Sentinel was more durable, and Victor was no longer in full possession of his powers, but the powers that Victor did have seemed designed, almost, to fight against mass-produced computerized foes. Or, perhaps, lesser technologies to Ultron's own. The fight ended in a draw - or, at least, Victor tried to believe it as such when he damaged the Sentinel enough to escape.
His inability to foresee the Sentinel's cunning as it killed that girl weighed heavily upon him, however, and his activities turned aggressive as he began to help refugees in California - human or mutant, it didn't matter - "disappear", usually to Hawaii or South America. His constant link to communications towers and machines around him allowed him to move people in relative safety, usually by remote-accessing cameras used to monitor settlements. The rule was, "You're not Neo. If you see an Agent, you run."
Eventually, he became known as one of the "underground railroads" that had been popping up here and there in the Sentinel-controlled lands, some lead by relative strangers like Victor, who worked largely alone, and some lead by smaller pockets of rebellious forces lead by heroes who were immortal even before the war had begun. The nickname shortened, for him, and eventually those who sought sanction from the shores of the southern edge of Sector 8 would go see a guy named "Rail."
Powers: Victor's nature as a cyborg simulacrum of Ultron gives him a number of differences with the normal human - even while keeping much of his powers locked to keep the Ultron Code from taking over, he has:
-Olympic level strength, reflexes, speed, and endurance
-Superhuman durability and resistance
-Control over electro-magnetic energy, which allows him to fly using the Earth's magnetic poles, as well as control magnetic fields around him and throw bolts of lightning. He also uses this electro-magnetic force manipulation to charge mechanized objects (such as his laser pistol) or use his railgun, although he uses that ability sparsely due to the tremendous energy necessary (and the fact that at max output, he dislocates his shoulder from the recoil).
-The computerized nature of his brain gives him a perfect memory, a genius-level intellect, and the ability to directly interface with other machines.
-His physiology is indistinguishable from a normal, non-mutant human's, despite being made up of self-repairing nanites.
However, being a fully-integrated cyborg has its downsides - namely the same weaknesses of computers. Victor can be "hacked" by two means - one of which no longer applies, and the second of which may or may not exist. The first means is by Ultron's source code, and was the means by which Ultron activated Victor as its sleeper agent. This code has largely been overwritten and replaced by Victor's own, unique code, but loopholes still exist that can be taken advantage of by a skilled hacker in possession of Ultron's code or Victor's safeguards.
The second means by which someone could shut Victor down is by a tome, made by the Gibborim, called The Abstract, and the decoder ring necessary to translate it. Within the tome are three rhetorical phrases that could effectively "blue-screen" Victor by sending his processing through endless binary loops - he can only recover when someone states the answers to the phrases while he can hear them. Once the phrases are used, however, they do not affect Victor again.
Victor will also short-circuit when first coming into contact with another of Ultron's children by some sort of feedback mechanism - although he recovers after a short time, initial contact is still somewhat painful and disorienting.
-Victor more or less has no lengthly interaction with any of the Runaways - unless some of them joined S.H.I.E.L.D. at any point in his history.
-Victor has been programmed to be deeply religious, although his views on God and godhood have changed a bit following his internal war against the Ultron Code.
-When Victor activates his electro-magnetic abilities, he glows and sparks from his mouth and his eyes turn a similar shade of blue.
One year after the death of Magneto and Professor X - A quiet, Isolated wood in California
The grave was quiet and isolated, hidden away from any trace of humanity for miles. Its marker was made of a dark metal that only shimmered in the Californian sun, and was made in the likeness of a woman with an expressive, smiling face and short hair, clad in simple slacks and a t-shirt.
Her smile was directed down upon a lone figure who stood still and silent no more than five paces away from the grave marker. He was dressed in worn black jeans and his leather jacket, once immaculate and well-maintained, was scuffed and creased from prolonged use. His eyes looked back at his mother's, or at least of the likness of her eyes that he had created from perfect memory. It wasn't perfect - he had a perfect memory, but that didn't make him an artist. But still, what it represented was reminder enough to make his heart squeeze painfully.
A sharp spark, blue-white and unbidden, arced from the back of his neck towards his left ear, making him start for a second. He did not turn, but opened his mouth, his voice hoarse and soft from lack of use.
"Tony," Victor said. "You're making my Spidey senses tingle."
The man who stepped out of the shade behind him was no longer the cocksure arrogant technocrat that the world had once known him to be. The lines of his face had grown deeper prematurely, and there was a slight slouch to the man's shoulders. He was tall, perhaps a hair or so taller than Victor, and his face was framed by immaculately trimmed hair that was beginning to show traces of white. The technocrat – or was it technopath now? – was not wearing his Iron Man suit, but Victor knew better. Tony Stark had long overcome that particular weakness.
"Thought you might be here," said Stark, moving to stand next Victor and stared up at the monument as well. "You got sloppy that last time you tried to access S.H.I.E.L.D., you know. Proxy was easy as pie to get through."
"Congratulations – you'll have to forgive me if I'm not in a rush to get on my knees and open my mouth in awe of your genius," said Victor. He finally turned to look at Stark, a slight glare playing across his features.
Stark was silent. Victor waited for the man to speak, and when it was apparent he was not going to, Victor spoke first.
"Why are you here, Tony?" he asked, his voice resigned.
"Why do you think I'm here, Victor?" the man answered, turning to look at Victor, hands in his pockets, his eyes glinting with some suppressed emotion Victor could not recognize. Victor tensed, and he could tell his mouth was glowing slightly – the side effect of his body maintaining a charge. Even at the height of his powers, Victor did not know what the outcome would have been in a fight between himself and Iron Man would have been. Now, with his physical abilities diminished, Victor knew Tony Stark could crush him like the organic aluminium foil Victor had become. Victor didn't sweat – or at least he hadn't since his powers had activated on that fateful flight to New York – but he might as well have been at that moment.
"Well," Victor said, trying to keep the tension out of his voice and failing. "All signs right now are pointing to your being an asshole and answering my question with a question. But we both know you're an asshole, so it can be assumed that I don't – "
"Victor," growled Stark.
Victor stopped and said, in a small voice, "You want to know what happened."
Stark shook his head. "No, I already know. I just need to confirm."
And with that last word, Victor could feel Stark linking his mind to Victor's in the same way either of them would have linked themselves to machines. One moment the two were standing in a Californian wood in front of a monument, the next, they stood upon an expanse of pure white and nothingness that quickly began to shift as Stark sifted through Victor's data. They hurtled forward through the crevices and pathways of Victor's mind and memories, carried by the heavy, hard-hitting weight of Stark's mental thrust. Memories flowed past them like flickering landscapes and stars made of thin lines.
"It's going to take even me a long time to sift through this," Stark noted. "You have a lot of useless data here." The landscape stopped moving forward momentarily at a memory of Stark's autobiography and a multitude of Iron Man and Stark posters that had once littered his room. Stark seemed to admire his fame for a second before the scene sped forward again.
"Speaking of useless data," said Victor, lips turned slightly upward as he and Stark traded glances.
The memories steadily began to darken as they flickered by, and the flowing expanse around them moved from the orange-purple haze of dusk before they became the dark blue and black of night. Victor frowned as he realized he recognized this particular path of memories, and his eyes widened as he remembered where they lead.
"Tony," said Victor, grabbing the man's arm – his voice was strained and his fingers shook, even in that environment. "Tony, we can't go there."
Stark pulled his arm away, looking impatiently at Victor.
"What the hell did you think I was going to do when I said "confirm"?" he asked, his face an angry mask. Victor could see the outline of every iteration of the Iron Man armour around Stark in an angry haze.
"I thought you were going to do the sane thing and take a look at my memory of that day and then either arrest me or kill me," said Victor, his eyes wide as he looked at the horrible scenery hurtling past them.
"No," said Stark. "I'm going to go see it for myself. The code."
Victor's hand buzzed as he unloaded a bolt of energy, akin to a defensive line of code designed to force unwanted users off the system. Stark calmly raised a hand and each version of his battlesuits layered around him in a protective shell. Victor watched as his bolt pierced four layers before fizzling, but he had already begun to fling another blast with his right hand, which broke through another three layers before it, too, fizzled.
"Tony," he said, his hands and mouth glowing and crackling with blue-white arcs of energy. "Get out of my head. Now."
Stark kept the scenery moving, ignoring Victor almost entirely, his eyes focused on the dark mound that was rapidly approaching towards them.
"This is a mistake," said Victor quietly, as he, too turned to face the mound.
It was not a mound – as they got closer, it changed form while flashing a dull, angry red. The mound slowly formed itself into a cube, the size of a suburban house, with no seams or markings to define it from the barren landscape around it. It pulsed once, then twice, growing brighter and brighter as the two of them got closer and closer. Stark walked up to the cube as Victor stood back, fearful and angry.
Stark's hand touched the surface of the cube, and the side that faced them melted away, revealing a room glowing with red code over a black background that ran over and into the eyes of a robot's head that hung, upside down, from the center of the cube by its mechanical spine. The red in the room pulsed excitedly for a moment, and behind Stark, Victor began to glow brighter as well, the cool blue-white of his electromagnetic force clashing with the Ultron Code's red with Stark at the center..
"Stark," said Victor, his voice deeper, more controlled. "Another step and I attack you regardless of the consequences. I can't let it go."
Stark stood at the precipice of the box, watching, considering. Gold code began to flow from his feet, snaking around and through the lines of red code. The skull-like metal mask of the Ultron Code's head opened in a giant grin. Victor screamed and lunged himself at Stark.
Only to find himself flung over Stark's shoulder and the brown-green of real earth rushing up to meet him. He landed with a dull noise and the shock of the sudden change forced him to get his bearings straight before he stood up.
"Your code was imperfect," said Stark, looking down at Victor. "It still is, but I gave you full use of your electromagnetic control, at least."
Victor blinked and willed a surge of energy into his right hand, which lighted up in a blaze of blue-white crackles and high pitched humming. He stared at it for a moment, then stared back at Stark.
"I don't understand," he said, finally.
"Of course you don't," said Stark primly. "Let's just leave it at quid-pro-quo."
Victor's eyes widened, then narrowed. "What the hell did you take from it?"
"What I needed," said Stark shortly. "Now you can do me another favour. There's a war going on, Victor. Us, humans, versus a psychotic millennia-old mutant. Come back to S.H.I.E.L.D. Do your part. Maybe you can make up for that day, too - I know it's weighing on your conscience."
Victor started, and it took everything he had for him to turn away slowly move into the air. He turned and looked down at Stark, the man he had once wanted anything to become. Now he saw a manipulative god, knocked down from his high pedestal and grasping for straws. It was pathetic and he could feel a small twinge of disappointment and loss – two emotions he thought he had long gotten rid of.
"Go fuck yourself, Stark," he said simply. "I'm not human, and neither are you. Ever since Extremis, you're no more a human than that thing that has a residence in my brain. I'm not fighting for either one of you."
Stark shrugged and began to walk away from the monument and from Victor, his expensive shoes making taps against dry earth and twigs.
"We have other avenues to pursue," said Stark shortly, right on the edge of the clearing. He turned back slightly and asked, "Did you ever figure out that name?"
Victor answered before he could catch himself. "Victorious."
Stark laughed, shaking his head. "You would have gotten it too. You can still have it, you know; the paperwork is still all there."
Victor stayed silent this time, and Stark seemed to resign himself.
"Then just don't end up fighting for the wrong side. Goodbye, Victor "Victorious" Mancha. I have a feeling this will be the last time we talk like this."
And with that, Stark left. Victor, still in the air, shook his head and looked away towards the sky as something welled in his heart. "Goodbye, Iron Man."
Last edited by Vouvray on Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:50 am, edited 17 times in total.