Saturday, January 22, 2011
The Original Crusader
Archie "Art" Masters was an astronomer and physicist working with Albert Einstein in the late 1930's. Art helped set up a home and research lab for Einstein when he fled Germany and went to the United States. Although shy and withdrawn, Art had a way with people. His father had owned a general store in Tennessee where he grew up and he had a charm that reflected his upbringing. After working with Einstein for many years, Art became a part of the Alsos Mission. He worked alongside baseball player Moe Berg in identifying and recruiting members of the German science community.
German scientist Werner Heisenberg was giving a speech in Switzerland that Berg was asked to attend. If Berg believed the Germans were close perfecting the atomic bomb, Berg was given orders to shoot Heisenberg. The Germans knew that Berg, Masters and others were trying to recruit physicists in Italy and decided to send the Americans a message. They did not want to go after a famous baseball player, but a nervous little scientist no one had ever heard of was fair game. They kidnapped Archie and took him to a remote Swiss farm. In the basement was a prototype particle accelerator, created by a Swiss scientist. In order to determine whether it worked and was safe to transport, the Nazi's figured they would fire the beam at Archie and if Switzerland wasn't reduced to a smoldering crater, they would return later and retrieve the particle accelerator.
Archie was electromagnetically charged then blasted with a highly focused beam of protons and gravitons. Each particle would server the bonds of the molecules in his body, essentially cutting him into the smallest pieces possible. The process took hours as Archie sat in the beam's path, slowly being deconstructed. At least that was the theory, but what actually happened is Archie found his body being phased through multiple dimensions at the same time. Every version of Archie on every alternate Earth that could possibly exist at any moment all found themselves in the path of the particle beam. Archie was able to live five variations of his life and death all at once. When the Nazi's returned, they found what resembled a tornado strike on the farm. Archie was fazing in and out of a strange "Fifth Dimension" and was unable to control the sudden power bursting from him. After tearing the Nazis apart he knew he had to distance himself from the rest of the world and headed for the Swiss Alps.
Archie spent the war years hiding in the mountains, working on understanding and controlling his new abilities. With his strange multi-dimensional Quantum Precognition, he found himself unable to sympathize or identify with the war. After all, when you can see all the possible outcomes, all leading to death and destruction, what difference would it make?
Art had always been curious about the supernatural and unexplained, it was part of the reason he became a scientist. His powers allowed him to search out mystical sources, places where life and death energy bent the laws of physics. Although this was a century of weak mystical energy, Art was still fascinated by the mysteries it offered. It never even occurred to him to return to his original life. Now calling himself the Crusader and wearing a pentacle on his chest, Art Masters became a ghost. Although science had given him amazing abilities it was in the realm of the mysterious that he made his home.
The Crusader is capable of flight, superhuman strength, invulnerability to bullets, and electromagnetic pulse generation. He is also able to see numerous alternative variations of his life, allowing him to see and experience the consequences of his actions.