The Firebrand

FIREBRAND MOVIE NARRATIVE

The movie opens on a small electronics store raid by the Arsonist Choir. They tear the place apart, stealing some of the finer Vulcan Technologies products, but most of it is burned. During the chaos, one Arsonist flips on a tv sitting on a display. The tv shows Russel Lacer, CEO of Prometheus Industries, giving a late night press conference. The Arsonist watches the screen briefly before lighting a Molotov and tossing it at the display.

“…Evolution is a slow process.
It takes millions of years, trial and error, natural selection.
It’s time most of us don’t have.
Sometimes to reach that next step we have to force the hand of fate.
Even when all the odds are against us.
It’s what Prometheus did when he presented fire to man.
And this is what Prometheus Industries hopes to do now!”
-Russel Lacer, CEO of Prometheus Industries

The following morning, James Albright and Charles Coleman, two of Prometheus Industries’ scientists, watch the recap of last night’s conference over breakfast. Afterwards the news talks about the latest attack by the Arsonist Choir. The frequency of attacks has gone from one every couple of months to 3 in the past week.

“At this rate it won’t be long before Cinder City is burnt to the ground.”
-Chief Moxey of the CCPD

Charles and James walk to work commenting about how Lacer’s speeches always end up being the same, but it’s hard to argue with his goals. On their way they pass by the raided electronics store. Charles expresses his desire to do something about The Choir, but James insists that it’s not his problem. Not satisfied with James’ dismissive attitude towards it, Charles claims that it’s the whole point of their job.

“When you work for Prometheus Industries you’re supposed to work for the betterment of humanity as a whole.
I figure that includes them, this city, and all of its citizens.”

“Sometimes I think you care too much about the company’s mission statement.”

“…Sometimes I think you care too much about the mission statement’s company…”
-Charles Coleman and James Albrite, Prometheus Industries Science Division

Shortly after James and Charles get to work, Russel Lacer’s limo pulls up to the building. Today is a big day for him as it will be test number 6 of the “Fountain of Youth,” a machine designed to reduce the physical effects of aging with very mild levels of radiation. He’s sunk a lot of time and money into it, and he hopes that this test will finally prove that the experiment is worthwhile to Prometheus’ investors. The meeting with top shareholders tonight will decide the future of his favorite project. He quickly arrives at the Coliseum, a large forum-like chamber near the center of the building. Here is where most of the divisions working on the Fountain have been stationed for the past 2 years. James is nervous due to a lot of his own work on the Fountain, but Charles is rather calm as his work hasn’t been involved much. Charles tries to calm James by mentioning that Lacer doesn’t seem worried despite having the most riding on this.

“That man is made of steel. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him on edge.”
-James Albrite, Engineer

They ignore Lacer for their own conversation while he preps the divisions, but he eventually calls out on Charles to check in on his progress with his own project. Charles has been working with an anomalous sample that had been acquired by Lacer for what seemed like an enormous amount of money. His goal has been to face the sample to catalyze, but all tests so far had proven futile.

“Better get back to work then, Mr. Coleman.
I don’t like to see my investments go to waste.”
-Russel Lacer, CEO of Prometheus Industries

After all the preparations are complete, the Fountain begins to fire up. They send in their field team to take as many readings and inspect the machine while it operates. The warm-up process runs a little long, and the divisions begin to worry that something is wrong. Lacer assures them that they’re still within acceptable parameters. There’s a sudden spike in the interior temperature, when one of the cooling systems fails. It rapidly approaches lethal levels as the field team scrambles to leave. The failsafe systems malfunction, trapping the team inside. They call in men to rip the door, but the life signs within the machine drop. Lacer cancels the order to rip the door, not wanting to damage the Fountain. The divisions evacuate the Coliseum in low spirits.

“We didn’t even reach Stage 3…”
-James Albrite, Engineer

The stockholder meeting does not go well for Lacer. Many of them threaten to sell their stocks if the Fountain of Youth isn’t abandoned. It has taken up too much of their time and resources, has halted many other promising developments, and is now dangerous. Lacer is forced to remove more than half the divisions dedicated to the project and his budget is severely limited now. He has 3 months to get the Fountain online and working or else it will be decommissioned permanently.

Charles decides to work late tonight and takes most of his equipment to a free chem lab. He starts his usual tests, recording his findings on an old tape recorder, but he doesn’t learn anything new. Eventually James finds him and the two begin chatting. James worries about the fate of the company. Though some of the other projects in development have had some promising results, Lacer has been sacrificing a lot of resources for the Fountain of Youth. James has a thing for business, and would have probably been on the board if he hadn’t been better in the lab. Their conversation is interrupted by the tape recorder running out of tape with a loud click, which startles James. Feeling exhausted after today’s events, James goes home on time for the first time in at least 2 years. Charles doesn’t work long before his own exhaustion kicks in, and he falls asleep for a couple hours. It’s nearly 3 AM and he hasn’t made any headway.

He groggily takes a small amount of the sample over to the large wall of other chemicals. He sees one of the beakers near the top hanging a little too close to the edge and tries to push it back. While reaching up, he trips over the pencil that he had dropped when he fell asleep. He rocks forward, hitting the shelf, and knocking down a number of chemicals. Some of them fall into the vat of the sample, which causes some kind of red cloud to fill the entire room. Panicked, Charles inhales the mysterious gas before the safety protocols kick in and vent the room. He begins to choke on what he inhaled and a horrible burning sensation starts to spread from his lungs to the rest of his body. He passes out.

Charles wakes up in the infirmary. A doctor comes in telling him that there isn’t anything wrong with him, but he should take a few days off of work to get some rest. Deciding it may be for the best, he packs up his personal belongings and heads home. Later that day James stops by. He tells Charles about the ultimatum regarding the Fountain of Youth, and how he has been kept on to work on it. Because of his desperation, Lacer has authorized some people, including James, to access the decommissioned projects vault.

“He’s letting people into the vaults?! There must be all sorts of good things in there.”

“Well when you come back to work you can help me look through it.
It’s amazing how many failed projects there are in there.”
-Charles Coleman and James Albrite, Prometheus Industries Science Division

James tells Charles that he hasn’t eaten since breakfast, and Charles offers to cook something up for them. He leans on the stove while the two of them talk. Suddenly James exclaims that Charles has his hand in the fire. Surprised, not by the fire, but by James’ words, he looks at his hand and sees that it really is in the fire. He looks at his hand, which has no burns or marks from the fire, and slowly puts his hand back in. He and James share a puzzled look.

WHOA!”

“What?”

“You’re hand’s on fire, Charlie!”

“No it’s… What the?”

He stares at his hand, and slowly puts it back in the fire.

“What the hell are you doing?!”

“I… I don’t even feel it.”
-James Albrite and Charles Coleman, Prometheus Industries Science Division

Not really sure what to make of this, Charles tells James more about the previous night. James theorizes that whatever combination of chemicals fell into the sample somehow made him impervious to heat. Charles mentions that the Chem Division for the Fountain of Youth had been in there before him working on a heat shield of some kind. James loses himself in thought while they discuss further what might have caused this. Trying to get his attention Charles snaps his fingers, which causes a small explosion in the air near James. They both panic, but when they calm down Charles snaps his fingers again, and another small explosion forms.

“It had to have been that particular combination of chemicals.
Hmm…”

“I guess that makes sense considering that the Chem Division for the Fountain was in there before me.
Kinda made a mess of the place, and left most of the chemicals they used at the front of the shelf.
I think they were working on a cooling system, or heat shield…

…James.
…James!
Hey!”

SNAP EXPLOSION

“Whoa!”

“What the?!
Where did that?
How?”

PAUSE SNAP EXPLOSION

“Whoa, James.
I think I’ve got superpowers!”

“Ohhh Great…”
-James Albrite and Charles Coleman, Prometheus Industries Science Division

Excited about this new development, Charles begins to practice with his powers. He hopes to discover more, but he seems to be limited to the two. His couple days off quickly turn to 2 months. He manages to master the Combustion power mentally, but snapping still delivers the best results. Depression sets in as he realizes that his powers have almost no useful applications. He ignores most of his calls, and falls off the grid. Finally he gives up and goes back to Prometheus. James spots him walking through the halls and follows him to the lab. He grabs a batch of the sample and brings it to his station. When James talks to him, he explains how disappointed he is with these powers. He eventually gets angry about all of it and aggressively gestures toward the sample, causing a small explosion within the glass. This causes the sample to catalyze.

“Charlie, what are you doing here?”

“…My job?”

“I think you got fired.
About a month ago.”

“Well that’s just great.
All I needed really.”

“That’s what happens when you take 2 months off without calling.
Are you alright?”

“…Fire.
What good is fire when you’re trying to save lives?
All fire does is burn and destroy…”

“Charlie, you’re a chemist.
You know that’s not true.”

“The only use I’d get with these powers is if I were to join the Arsonist Choir.
I’m sure I’d be their leader within days…”
I thought this might be my chance to really do something more personal.
I really want to make a more meaningful contribution.
Instead I get a virtually useless power.
And I still can’t do anything with this damned sample!"

BLAM

All of the preliminary tests regarding fire and the sample turned up the same results: an explosion too massive to contain. Though it did create an explosion, the sample contained it on its own. Now they are left with a vial filled with a faintly glowing red liquid. They bring it to Lacer immediately. He is angry to see Charles back in the building, but changes his tune when they present the vial to him. Overjoyed, he gives Charles his job back on the spot. Lacer then demonstrates what this substance is capable of. He drops a small amount into his glass of water, which quickly turns clear again. Within moments they notice that the glass is filling up with water that seems to be forming from nowhere. Before it overflows, Lacer puts a cap on the glass.

“I can’t believe it.
Pure Interminium!”
-Russel Lacer, CEO of Prometheus Industries.

Lacer shows a surprising amount of knowledge about this “Interminium.” The properties include: taking on the attributes of any substance it comes in contact with, infinitely replicating itself to fill whatever container it is held in, and a surprisingly stable atomic structure. He mentions some research notes that he had acquired when he purchased the sample. When asked why he didn’t share this before, Lacer explains that the notes had little beyond naming the substance and a few theories on what it would do. Charles is given unrestricted access to the Interminium so that he can continue experimenting on it in this new form. This manages to cheer him up significantly.

Roughly a week goes by, and Charles has discovered a number of things about the Interminium. Namely that it reacts very dramatically to fire.
He hatches an idea regarding his crushed super-heroing dreams. Charles convinces James to bring him to the vault containing Prometheus’ decommissioned and discontinued projects. While there, Charles tells him about his plans to use Interminium and some of these unused inventions to give vigilante-ing another try. Though James tries to convince him it is a bad idea at first, He can’t help but think it might work out. They raid the vault and pull out a number of projects they think might be useful. Among them are: Utility pods, arm mounted liquid projectors, propulsion boots, an old hazard suit, and a protective helmet.

“So what was wrong with these… Utility Pods?”

“Well they were meant to release whatever was inside when the pods received enough physical trauma.
The trouble was that the placement of the capsule inside made the pod too structurally sound.
The amount of force required to actually break it made it unfit for its intended use.”

“Y’know I bet I could break it from the inside with Combustion!”
-Charles Coleman and James Albrite, Prometheus Industries Science Division

With a number of gadgets selected, Charles begins working it all together.
He experiments with Interminium and develops some rather potent substances.

“Here, try this on.”

“What is it?”

“It’s an arm mounted triple loaded liquid projection system.”

“…You mean like a Flame Thrower?!”

“No!
Well… Technically yes, but I was thinking of loading it with some kind of fire extinguisher, or-

“Napalm!”

“Absolutely Not
That’s way too dangerous.
Especially for you!
…Although because you don’t seem to be burned by fire that may not be entirely true…”
-James Albrite and Charles Coleman, Prometheus Industries Science Division

Adhesive Bombs capable of holding a car, Powerful flash bombs, an odd smokescreen that reacts adversely to certain criteria, A gas that saps people’s energy, and highly pressurized concussion bombs are all added to his arsenal. He and James develop a less destructive, throwable weapon that is able to bounce noiselessly off most surfaces, and even return to its thrower.

“Are these what I think they are?”

“Um…
What do you think they are?”

“I’m thinking Rocket Boots.”

“Close, but no.
These are Propulsion Boots.”

“What’s the difference?”

“These let out a burst of upward force that allows the wearer to leap incredible distances.
But the burst only lasts an instant, so sustained “flight” isn’t really a possibility."

“Why was it decommissioned?”

“The burst was so sudden and so powerful that it often knocked the testers off balance.
They would end up crashing into things at incredible speeds.”
-Charles Coleman and James Albrite, Prometheus Industries Science Division.

They combine all of their new tools and inventions to create a rather dangerous looking suit for Charles. He begins practicing in his free time. Though since he and James were basically given free reign of their work; that amounts to a lot of time. All the while the Fountain of Youth’s improvements keep getting pushed back.

“Whoa, check this out!
It’s kinda creepy looking.”

“That mask?
Not one of our friendliest designs.”

“What does it do?”

“Well it’s a low-end life support/sensory helmet.
The mouth portion has a built in Gas Mask and a Rebreather.
And the Eye vizors are capable of seeing in complete darkness, and picking up heat signatures.”

“What’s the top part made of?
I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“I’m not entirely sure myself.
It’s supposed to be some kind of mental “barrier”
It traps brainwaves or something.
Basically it creates a state of intense mental clarity."
-Charles Coleman and James Albrite, Prometheus Industries Science Division.

Once everything is in order, Charles dons the costume he and James made, and takes to the streets. Charles plans to use his powers and gadgets to dismantle the Arsonist Choir. Using his helmet’s infravision he finds his quarry. They all stand around a massive bonfire hidden in an alley, chanting some odd hymn. Their target seems to be another small store, this time selling hardware. As their strange ritual comes to an end, a goggled man, like the one from the opening scene, steps forward. He lights a Molotov and tosses it toward the back of the store. Suddenly a flash from the street and something flies into the alley and shatters the molotov in midair. The fires quickly extinguish and the Choir turns its gaze toward the street. Standing there, silhouetted in the street lamps is a man. As he comes into focus, there is a pair of glowing yellow eyes, an audible breathing sound, red and black armor, and what looks like a singed cape. He stares down the choir briefly before they set upon him.

(Over Radio) “When did you learn how to fight?”

“I had two months off.”

(Over Radio) “You don’t become a black belt in two months.”

“Not unless you have a very good teacher.”
-James Albrite and Charles Coleman, Prometheus Industries Science Division.

As the first Arsonist rushes toward him, the man slides forward and delivers a powerful blow to the unsuspecting assailant. It’s an attack called the Ballistic Fist that causes a small explosion on contact with a foe. Now in the alley, the Choir begins to circle the armored man. Watching closely, the man targets a bottle of lighter fluid carried by one of the Arsonists. With a snap of his fingers the bottle explodes causing the carrier to catch fire. Most of the Arsonists are wearing flame proof clothing of some kind, so the man doesn’t worry much about using fire against them.

As the man takes them down one by one, the remaining Arsonists begin to attack the building instead. He manages to fight them back but the alley is now on fire. Police sirens are heard not too far off and the Choir begins to flee. The man puts the unconscious arsonists in a safe place where the police can find them and starts putting out the fires. The police arrive and demand that the man identify himself. He extinguishes the last of the fires and calls himself “The Firebrand.” The Firebrand then rockets up into the air and onto one of the surrounding buildings.

“You there!
Identify Yourself!”

“I am…

(Whispered) Crap!
I forgot to come up with a name!”

(Over Radio) “Well it’s a bit late for that Mr. Two Months.”

(Whispered) “If that was a suggestion, it was a terrible one…”

“I am… The Firebrand!”
-The Firebrand and his mysterious contact, Vigilante

The next morning the news is all abuzz about the mystery man who thwarted the Choir. Most of the news about him is positive, with even the police thankful that he had been there to hold them off. Testimonies from the arrested Arsonists confirm that he had single handedly prevented another incident. Even Chief Moxie thanks the mysterious “Fire-Man.”

“Fire-Man?!
No, they misheard me!”

“That mask does make it a little hard to understand you”

“Damn it!
Ugh, and I really liked that name too.”

“Yeah that was actually pretty clever.”
I mean, what else is this crusade of yours if not a passionate and almost reckless course of action.

“What are you talking about?”

“That’s what a Firebrand is.”

“Oh…
I just thought it sounded cool.”
-Charles Coleman and James Albrite, Prometheus Industries Science Division.

Unperturbed, The Firebrand continues his work of foiling the Arsonist Choir. Tracking down small groups of them and extracting their next target. Again and again he manages to stop the Choir from burning their targets. Most of the time he finishes before the police even show up, but he makes sure to leave them a nice pile of Arsonists. But all this vigilantism has caused Charles and James to shirk their responsibilities at Prometheus Industries.

This all goes on for about 2 weeks. The Choir has been going quiet lately, which has caused some of Cinder City’s other gangs to start cropping up again. Firebrand plans to move on to them once the Choir has been dealt with. While staking out the location of the next attack, he notices something odd. Namely that Arsonists seem to be inside of a bank near their target. They are carrying bags out to a car, and it’s especially odd because no one seems to notice. Firebrand decides to see what this is all about and enters the bank.

Sure enough, the Arsonists are taking bags from the tellers, who are just handing them over. They’re not holding hostages and the patrons don’t seem to notice what’s happening. The bank seems to be being robbed, but by everyone inside of it. The Tellers are loading the bags with money, the Arsonists take it outside, and the Security guards even open the doors for them. Thoroughly confused, Firebrand demands that they stop, but they continue as if he wasn’t even there. Thinking this has gone on too long, he steps in front of the Arsonists and physically forces them back.

The Arsonists try to move out of the way, but Firebrand moves too fast for them. Suddenly, Firebrand hears a voice in his head. It tells him to stop getting in the way, and then suggests he help out. He looks around the bank now, demanding to know who’s doing that. James is confused as he can’t hear the voice. The voice expresses concern that Firebrand has no desire to do what it wants.

“There’s no cause for alarm.
This will be over sooner if you don’t get in the way.
In fact, why don’t you grab a bag and bring it to the car.
It would be most kind of you.”
-Mysterious Voice, Criminal?

Firebrand proclaims that he’s putting an end to this and grabs a sleep pod off of his belt. When he does he is tackled by one of the patrons, which knocks the pod out of his hands. To avoid hurting anyone, he quickly pulls out and detonates a new pod and releases the sleep gas into the bank. Slowly the patrons fall asleep, but some of the Arsonists remain standing. They drop their bags and rush Firebrand, but he quickly knocks them out.

With everyone in the bank knocked out, Firebrand heads toward a phone to call the police. He walks past one of the sleeping patrons, and notices that he isn’t asleep. It’s a man sitting on a bench, he looks up and suddenly some invisible force knocks Firebrand back and pins him to the wall. Firebrand fights to get free of this force, but it is too strong. The man responsible introduces himself as the Mind Master, and is curious about Firebrand’s immunity to his mind control. Firebrand thinks that it might be the special helmet design. A moment later the Mind Master seems to have reached the same conclusion. He slowly starts to unlatch the helmet from the rest of the suit.

Firebrand concentrates and brings his fingers together. He hits the Mind Master with Combustion, but he seems to have some kind of psychic shield around him. The sudden explosion does startle Mind Master though, and he drops Firebrand.

The Firebrand

Metahumans or Menace?! Inertius BoltEagle77