Kal-El / Clark Joseph Kent / Superman
Superman is as Lawful Good as they come. Even in this new universe where the government is openly suspicious of superpowered beings, Clark still believes that the system is just. This belief stems not from naivety, but rather from a deeply held belief in the good of all human persons. Clark considers all life sacred, and he holds truth and justice as the highest ideals.
None. Superman acts independently, though he is not unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement or the government where possible.
/origin and backstory/
2.2 million light-years from Earth, orbiting a red star called Rao, there once was a planet of sentient, humanoid beings. That planet was called Krypton.
Krypton's gravity was many times that of Earth, and its red sun was far less bright, but the Kryptonians were not unlike humans. Like their distant, celestial cousins, Kryptonians struggled with questions of meaning and identity. Who are we? Why are we here? Are we alone in the universe? For years, the people of Krypton traveled in tight-knit, family-based clans. As the population of the planet grew, they realized that they could achieve common goals by working together. The first city-states of Krypton were built.
Over the course of centuries, Kryptonians evolved from simple nomadic farmers to city-dwelling scientists. Their technological achievements far surpassed those of Earth. Crops and livestock were engineered from nothing. All technology was connected. People no longer needed to leave the cities. A Science Council was established as the ruling governing body. Krypton flourished.
In time, Kryptonians began to experiment with genetic engineering on themselves. It began, at first, with prenatal immunization to disease. Then, as the technology advanced, scientists were able to rectify abnormalities in the womb. Babies were born free of defects. Before long, cosmetic genetic tampering began. Parents could choose their child's hair color, eye color, even gender. The slippery slope continued as parents began selecting traits for their unborn children. Those who could afford such procedures could ensure that their children were stronger, faster, and smarter than the rest.
This created a divide in Kryptonian culture. Those who were born with genetic tampering - those of so-called "advanced" birth - began to occupy better and higher paying jobs. Those of "natural" birth were reduced to menial labor. The cities themselves became divided, as the naturals were pushed to the outskirts. They lived in rundown slums as the advanced occupied the palatial high-rises. Tensions between the two groups mounted, but the Science Council turned a blind eye to the problem.
Dru-Zod, an advanced birth and High General of the Kryptonian Army, began to emphathize with the plight of the natural births. Most of his foot soldiers were of natural birth. Zod, who held no faith in the Science Council, argued that only an act of aggression could win naturals back their rights. He approached his friend, the advanced birth scientist Jor-El, and urged him to join the cause. Jor-El acknowledged the injustices suffered by natural births, but he did not agree with Zod's plan of action. Jor-El still believed that the Science Council could be convinced to take action.
General Zod led an uprising of the natural births. Under his leadership, the common people united. What began as a simple rebellion quickly escalated in full-scale civil war. Zod's bloodlust could not be sated, and he vowed not to rest until the Science Council had been overthrown. Krypton would reform under his leadership, natural and advanced births alike serving the will of Zod's regime.
Jax-Ur, a former Science Council member expelled for his extremist beliefs, joined Zod's cause. He offered to build Zod a weapon that would end the war. One year later, as the war raged on, Jax-Ur's weapon - Doomsday - was ready to be deployed. Zod unleashed the beast on Argo City as a demonstration of its power. None survived.
The Science Council knew that Zod and his new weapon would be coming to the Kryptonian capital of Kandor soon. They commissioned a group of scientists to develop a counter-defense. Among those named to the project was Jor-El. Jor-El's wife, Lara, had just given natural birth to a baby boy, named Kal-El. Jor-El believed that his son, naturally born to two advanced Kryptonians, could serve as a bridge between their people. However, if Zod was not stopped, Jor-El would not have the chance to demonstate this. Thus, he reluctantly agreed to help the Science Council build their weapon.
In under a month, the Science Council's commissioned team had developed a way to stop Doomsday. Ultimately, it was Jor-El's design that had been chosen for the project. The device was called The Eradicator, and it would bring a swift end to Zod's civil war. Jor-El continued to have reservations, but he saw no alternative as Doomsday continued to destroy cities and leave thousands dead.
As Zod's forces approached Kandor, The Eradicator was deployed. Deriving its energy from Krypton's core, the weapon did as its name suggested and eradicated much of Zod's forces. Zod and his top lieutenants were subsequently captured. After a short trial, they were exiled to the Phantom Zone, an interdimensional prison discovered by Jor-El himself. Zod swore vengeance on the House of El for his friend's betrayal. Doomsday was found, severely injured yet still alive. The Science Council decreed that the beast could not stand trial, and they ordered it destroyed by being jettisoned into space along with an explosive charge.
The Science Council's victory was short-lived, however. Strange seismic disturbances alerted them to a serious problem. While The Eradicator had won the war, it had also destabilized Krypton's core. Even Jor-El himself was unable to determine how much longer Krypton would survive. Thinking of his newborn son and the legacy that he represented, Jor-El devised an insane plan. For all their advancements, Kryptonians had never mastered interstellar travel. Jor-El had devised a spacecraft capable of traversing the universe. Though untested, it was Kal-El's only chance at survival.
Jor-El quickly built the ship. He programmed the computer to search for a suitable planet on which a Kryptonian could mature. As the end of Krypton drew near, Jor-El and a tearful Lara placed their only son inside the capsule. They draped the child in the banner of the House of El. They also included a holopad that contained the complete history of Krypton, as well as a personalized message to Kal-El. With heavy hearts, Jor-El and Lara launched Kal-El into space. Mere hours later, Krypton's core exploded, destroying the planet and killing every last Kryptonian.
Save for one.
Jor-El's spacecraft performed admirably. The experimental Phantom Drive - so named because it used the same interdimensional technology that allowed Jor-El to open a portal to the Phantom Zone - helped the ship cross the universe. The computer located a planet inhabited with sentient, humanoid life. As the power began to give out at last, the infant Kal-El plummeted through Earth's atmosphere. His cells gained their first exposure to Earth's yellow sun, drinking in its radiation. The ship crashed just outside of Smallville, Kansas.
Jonathan Kent, a humble farmer, happened to see the ship streak across the night sky. He hopped in his truck and went to investigate. To his amazement, he discovered an unharmed infant child among the wreckage. Not knowing what to do, Jonathan picked up the child. He placed the remains of the spaceship in the back of his truck and returned home.
Jonathan and his wife, Martha, had been unable to conceive a child of their own. For the first few days, they debated what to do with the strange infant that had fallen out of the sky. That's what government agents came knocking. They explained that they were from a group called SHADE, and that they were investigating a disturbance from the other night. Jonathan deflected their questions while Martha hid with the baby. After the government agents left, Jonathan and Martha both agreed that something fishy was going on. For the good of the child, they agreed to raise him as their own son and keep his true nature secret - especially from the government.
That was how Clark Joseph Kent came to be.
Clark grew up his whole life knowing that he was different. He was stronger and faster than his classmates. He couldn't get hurt. There were moments Clark even swore he could fly. When Clark was finally old enough, Jonathan took him out to the storm cellar where he had hidden the remains of Clark's ship. Jonathan explained that Clark had seemingly fallen from the sky, and he showed Clark the banner that he had been tucked in. While exploring the cockpit of the ship, Clark discovered the holopad. His fingerprint activated it, and Clark was greeted with strange images. The truth became readily apparent.
He was not of this world.
Upon graduating from Smallville High School, Clark decided to travel the world in search of answers about himself and where he came from. While taking journalism classes online, Clark began doing freelance work for small newspapers. He traveled the globe, living amongst peoples of all races and cultures. Despite their kindness, Clark always knew that he didn't belong. His powers were a burden, a secret that kept him from becoming truly close to others.
Clark returned to Smallville with a plan. He wasn't going to hide anymore. With help from his mother, Clark used the material from the alien banner to fashion a costume. It was time to step into the light and use his gifts to help other people. At the same time, Clark wanted to be able to continue living his "human" life. That's when Martha suggested that Clark Kent be the disguise. Clark spent the better part of a month studying acting techniques and learning to slouch, mumble, and speak in a softer, higher pitched voice. At long last, when both personalities and outfits were ready, Clark packed his bags. The time had come.
Clark hopped on a train bound for Metropolis, the City of Tomorrow. He had landed an interview with renowned editor Perry White at the Daily Planet. Soon, the whole world would know what Clark could do...
/powers and abilities/
Clark's unique physiology gives him amazing abilities on a scale never before seen on Earth. Due to Earth's gravity being only a fraction of Krypton's, Clark's muscles are many times more dense than any human's. This grants him incredible strength, allowing him to lift almost anything. He's also superhumanly durable and resistant to most Earth toxins and diseases. Clark's eyes, which were designed for the dimmer light of Krypton's red sun, are capable of seeing all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Clark's other abilities come from the radiation emitted by Earth's yellow sun. His cells absorb and store the sun's energy, and it can be utilized in a few different ways. Most prominently, his body generates an invisible, microscopic force field of energy. It makes Clark impervious to all but the most extreme of physical assaults. The force field also reduces friction and wind resistance which, when paired with the strength of Clark's legs, allows him to move at extremely high speeds. Lastly, Clark can release the stored energy through his eyes in the form of a destructive "heat vision."
Lastly, Clark's ability to fly has still yet to be understood by modern science. It has been theorized that the Kryptonian physiology contains an organ which projects a personal gravitational field. When supercharged by the radiation from Earth's sun, this allows Clark to devy Earth's gravity and take flight. Again, this is only a theory and has yet to be confirmed.
/how is this character different?/
As with many Superman reinterpretations, my vision begins with Krypton. It is no idyllic paradise. I've tried to explore the consequences of such a science-minded society. Drawing inspiration from both Man of Steel and GATTACA, I think I've crafted a Krypton unlike anything we've ever seen. Jor-El plays the part of a Robert Oppenheimer, forced to live with immense regret over his involvement in Krypton's destruction. His message is less, "Go, my son, and be an example for the humans," and more, "Go, my son, and help Earth avoid the mistakes that we made."
Additionally, this universe's Metropolis will be reimagined in the mold of Superman: Birthright. It will be a city of the "not too distant future," where the technological advances of tomorrow are being made today. Lex Luthor will be a composite between the ruthless businessman and the mad inventor. The rest of Superman's supporting cast will get a shake-up as well.
/what is your goal with this character?/
The premise for this RPG is a much bleaker universe for superheroes. The history is littered with governmental interference. In such a universe, the commanding presence of Superman is needed more than ever. He stands for what's good and right. Only someone like Superman could convince these heroes to rise once more, in spite of what the government thinks. I want to be that beacon of hope, that paragon of justice. I want to try and consolidate all the previous versions of Superman into my most perfect vision of the character.
/sample post – two full paragraphs. dialogue./
30 Earth Years Ago
"Jor, this is madness!"
Jor-El barely looked up from the control panel. There wasn't enough time. He had to make sure that the guidance system was programmed properly. There were so many factors to consider. The computer had to locate a planet which met all the necessary requirements. It would need to be a planet orbiting a star at the proper distance. Too close, and the surface temperature would be too high. Too far, and the temperature would be too low. It needed to have an oxygen-rich atmosphere. There needed to be water and vegetation. Most important of all, there needed to be sentient lifeforms. If he was going to send his only son into the unknown cosmos, Jor-El wanted to know that the infant had a chance of being discovered. He would not survive long on his own.
"The Phantom Drive is untested!" Lara Lor-Van, Jor-El's loving wife, insisted. She circled around the control panel, hoping that getting closer to Jor-El would make him listen. "There's every chance that the engine will overheat and explode!" Increasingly frustrated at her husband's silence, Lara reached out and grabbed Jor-El by the arm. Once she was sure he was listening, she looked him in the eye and said, "Our son could die!"
"I'm aware of that," Jor-El answered simply, much to his wife's bewilderment. He pressed a button on the control panel, and the cockpit of the small spacecraft silently slid open. Meeting his wife's gaze once more, Jor-El added, "But if he stays on Krypton, he will die. Along with the rest of us." He turned his back on her and continued making the necessary preparations. Lara didn't understand. She couldn't understand. It was Jor-El's fault that Krypton was dying. He needed this plan to work. Kal-El was a second chance at rewriting his legacy. Perhaps the stars would remember him as the father of Krypton's last son, rather than as the man who destroyed the planet.
Distressed, Lara wandered over to Kal-El's crib. The infant absent-mindedly sucked on his fingers, blissfully unaware of the dire circumstances around him. Lara felt her eyes begin to well with fresh tears. They stung like acid as they rolled down her face. "Better that our son dies cradled in our arms rather than cold and alone amongst the stars," she mused with a heavy heart.
"Better still that he lives," Jor-El countered. In his arms, he carried the brightly-colored banner of the House of El. In ages long past, family was everything to Kryptonians. The long-standing houses bore their colors and symbols with pride. If Jor-El had his way, this would be how Kal-El would remember Krypton. Not as the war-torn waste it had become, but rather as the proud civilization it had once been. Jor-El lay the folded banner in the cockpit. He stared longingly at the crest for a moment, trying to remember Krypton as it once was. None of that mattered anymore. Soon, Krypton would be reduced to celestial ashes. Kal-El was their last hope.
Lara stroked the infant's hairless head. Her tears now fell in quick succession. She had failed Kal, failed as a mother. Would he even remember her face? She knew it was foolish to think so. He was just a babe, and much too young to remember any of this. For her part, Lara awaited Krypton's last moments. She could not live another day with her agonizing guilt. What kind of mother abandoned her child to the stars? Still, beneath it all, she recognized Jor's sentiment. She would give her own life a thousand times over to ensure the life of her son. And whatever misgivings she may have had about this plan, there was no man she trusted more than Jor.
Jor-El came up behind his wife, placing a loving hand on her shoulder. They remained there, completely still for a moment. Jor-El closed his eyes and whispered, "It's time."
Lara began bawling. She lifted Kal from his crib, squeezing him as closely as she dared. As she held him, she planted a kiss with quivering lips on the top of his head. "Goodbye, Kal," she said quietly. "I will always love you," she promised. She handed the child over to her husband. As soon as Kal left her arms, Lara stumbled forward and braced herself against his crib. Such agony she had never felt in her life.
Jor-El carried his son towards the spacecraft, noting that the boy had inherited Lara's shining blue eyes. "My son," Jor-El began, the words choking in his throat, "I know not where I send you now, but I hope it is a better place than this. Your destiny is greater than ours, this much I know." He lay Kal-El down in the cockpit, swadling him in the House of El banner. "Our lives live on through you, Kal-El." He bent down and kissed his son's forehead. "You will never be alone."
Jor-El turned to his wife. "Lara. The holopad." Lara returned a moment later, still shaking, with the holopad in hand. Jor-El pressed against one of the walls of the cockpit, and a compartment slid open. Jor-El placed the holopad inside and closed the compartment once more.
"But he will not understand," Lara reasoned.
"Perhaps not right away," Jor-El conceded, "but someday, he might."
Clark held the alien device in his hands. Other than the banner he had been wrapped in, this was his only connection to his homeworld. If only he understood how to operate it. Clark pulled the two metal bars apart, and the screen materialized between them. It was covered in alien symbols, none of which he could even begin to comprehend. The screen, though seemingly made of light, responded to touch. Clark's mother, Martha, had once jokingly called it, "An alien iPad." Clark placed a finger to the screen, and he was greeted by the usual cluttered images of human-like people dressed in colorful outfits. They wore symbols across their chests and adorned themselves in long, flowing capes. Clark couldn't help but feel like they looked like royalty of some kind. Every so often, he'd spot the same "S" like symbol that had been woven into his blanket. The symbols may have carried no meaning to Clark, but they were clearly significant to these people.
Clark had learned a lot about the importance of symbols in his journeys. He had learned a lot about the importance of heritage and tradition, too. So even though Clark didn't know these people from the images, he knew that they were once his people. And if the symbol meant something to them, then it should mean something to him, too. That was only the beginning of the plan that had been formulating in Clark's mind all these years. There were just a few things left to address before he could begin. And in order to address them, he'd have to return to where the journey all began.