The Ring of Steel is a group of heroes that are all classed as Cyborgs. Assembled by Agent Alpha the group chase down “machine” based threats and cyborgs they believe are uniquely qualified to deal with. Despite the fact the team operate from the Knight’s Forge base they do not consider themselves to be a crime fighting unit of the operations but do believe the close relationship between them and the Forge provide benefits for them both.
CLEA DATA FILE
- Raymond Collins – Agent Alpha
- Victoria Price – CLARA
- (Real name unknown) – Lightning (female)
- (Real name unknown) – Hawk- (male)
- (Real name unknown) – Sureshot (female)
- Jayden Miller – Galahad (male)
- Cyborgs (All team members)
Special Skills and/or Abilities:
- As the entire team are cyborgs they share many common traits in that they are faster, stronger and more resilient than ordinary humans and can think and act quicker too.
- CLARA was created by the Mechaniac and is well versed in the way he works. She is considered to be his biggest weakness since she knows much of his intel.
- Lightning (ex Raider) was created to become a walking weapon to not only hack into but also to damage electrical systems. She can discharge massive amounts of electricity, enough to stun an entire group of people.
- Hawk, (ex Raider) was given a jet pack by Lozen to act as an aerial warrior. He has learn to augment the usage of pack with ground based attacks so he can constantly change his direction of attack and thus keep an opponent off guard.
- Sureshot (ex Raider) was originally created to become a precision combatant. Specialises in long range weapons attacks, although her armour makes her equally powerful at close quarters.
- As with all cyborgs, each member of the team must both maintain organic systems and electrical/mechanical systems. Failure of either system would result in death.
- Lightning has to spend several hours per day having excess electrical energy drained from her systems. If she does not do this she can overload and literally tear herself apart.
- The three ex Raiders tend to function as a family unit. Attacking one of them can result in the others acting instinctively rather than tactically in a battle situation.
Rap Sheet/Criminal Traits:
- Wilful destruction of property/industrial sabotage (Lightning, Hawk and Sureshot as Raiders)
- Aggravated Assault/Attempted homicide (Lightning, Hawk and Sureshot as Raiders)
Main Team History:
The origin for the Ring of Steel lies within the creation of Agent Alpha. Originally Alpha was a highly qualified CLEA senior agent, Raymond Collins. He was also a close friend of Stephanie Naylor and when the Raiders chose to attack CLEA Atlantica’s offices he led the defence of the building until heavy support could be brought in to chase of the attackers.
Alone against the Raiders, the office staff and junior agents stood little chance against the cyborg mercenaries but Collins insisted that the could not let the Raiders steal the data because if they succeeded then the information is sold could identify every single agent.
To try and buy them time before help arrived, Collins went after the Raider leader Lozen and despite his combat skills, bravery and tactical awareness he was no match for her power. She defeated him quickly and to take out some of her anger against an agency she hated, Lozen decided to teach CLEA a lesson. Aware of Collins friendship with Naylor, rather than kill him, Lozen had her people remove his arms and legs and then seal the wounds. She believed that in breaking Collins in that manner not only would he endure a living hell but Naylor would face the same fate due to guilt over her friend.
Somehow Collins survived and as Lozen had planned, Naylor was devastated. However Lozen was wrong about one thing, Collins spirit was not broken. He wanted to do anything to get him back in the fight to end the harm and devastation the Raiders and others like them caused. In his current condition though he could do nothing.
Desperate to help her friend and with few options, Naylor approached the Knights Forge for a solution to Collins’s injuries. The only solution to get him back in the field was by using tech they had “acquired” which could be reworked and used to convert him into a cyborg. Naylor refused to see her friend turn into a machine even if some of him was original but ultimately the decision lay with Collins himself.
Numerous procedures later and Collins was as near human as the Knight’s Forge could make him. Since he was now part machine he even allowed them to fit him with detachable shades which plugged into ports on the side of his head and gave him the equivalent of a HUD. Returning to service with CLEA he took the name Agent Alpha.
Some of the other agents were suspicious of him and gave him a wide berth since he reminded them of the Raiders and the wounds were still raw from the Atlantica incident. This despite the fact that Collins was also a victim. Eventually he found it easier to work alone than deal with the fear and prejudice.
Seeing how Wildcat had fitted in with Spearhead made him wonder why he was not so easily accepted but he could only conclude she had been “chosen” by Powell and it was a tight knit team whereas he had returned and expected the entire organisation to accept him. Feeling that his own presence had a negative effect on those around him and damaged morale, Collins elected in the end to leave CLEA and fight crime his own way without having to deal with people talking about him behind his back. Putting an end to his lifelong friendship with Stephanie Naylor was hard for him but slightly easy for her since all she saw was the machine.
In time whilst he found friends and allies in the hero community he felt they treated him “differently” although not as bad as the people he had once worked with in CLEA. This started to become a problem when it came to deal with bigger and more powerful enemies. Unable to find support easily meant he often had to let the “bad guys” escape. He once more desired to be part of a team where the workload could be shared but finding acceptance as a cyborg became a major stumbling block. The Knight’s Forge would however change that.
Since his systems and tech was relatively untested, Collins had been requested to return to the Forge at regular intervals for upgrades (and quite often repairs). The people at the Knight’s Forge did at least seem to accept him but he knew they could not go with him in the field. Their friendship did help though ease other tensions and give him some sort of a basic family. What he needed most though was his “own” kind and since CLEA were not going to make another cyborg, Collins considered that idea to be folly, until the ex-Raider “Hawk” turned up at the Forge, literally.
Since escaping Lozen’s control, Hawk, Sureshot and Lightning had managed to find each other. They like Collins had chosen to fight the evil produced by crime. Out of the three of them only Lightning regained her memories but since it was obvious to the other two that she was younger than either of them, they had taken on a strange sort of parental role towards her.
Fighting crime was easy for them and helped quell their anger at what Lozen had done to them but as time went by, without the Raider leader they began to suffer a whole host of breakdowns caused by their “careers”. Damage to their systems meant they had to learn to repair themselves and though tricky at first they managed to survive even if they were down to some basic functions in certain joints.
Once thing they could not cure though was when Lightning began to suffer severe overloads in her systems. These got so bad that her organic systems felt so much pain she literally shut down. Hawk decided he had to do something after learning of the Knight’s Forge he set out to find them.
His investigation took nearly a year, during which Lightning’s condition worsened. Determined more than ever he managed to find their base after successfully tracking the Knight’s Sword team. Showing up at the front door though did not make for the best idea for getting help, even more so after he destroyed the front door.
Once inside though he was partially disable by tech weapons specifically adapted to deal with cyborgs. Interviewed about his motives Hawk just stated he wanted help for his fellow Raider, Lightning. He expected the answer to be “no” but was surprised when they agreed, providing he allow the scientist to study him.
Since Hawk had nothing to lose he agreed and it was only then that the scientists realised just how bad a condition he was in. Knowing he had been acting as a hero since escaping Lozen, once the scientists had learned enough about Hawk they managed to repair him as best they could. He was then allowed to leave in order to bring back Sureshot and Lightning.
Once back at the Forge, Sureshot received a similar treatment to Hawk in that she was fixed up properly. Using DNA samples the scientists were able to identify who Hawk and Sureshot were before they were “converted” by Lozen. Knowing who they once were mattered little since their memories could never be restored.
Lightning though was a different problem. As Lozen’s ultimate weapon, her systems were far more advanced than the other two. She therefore required a lot longer period of study before the scientists could only conclude that Lozen had designed her to be part energy weapon and since Lightning was not actively in combat every day, her capacitors were never fully discharged. Over the months she had built up a charge to a level that was trying to shunt itself over all of her body which was causing the overload. Hawk was told if she continued with the build up and nothing was done then within a couple of months her organic body would be consumed.
The solution to the problem was to drain the excess charge, slowly and that meant sitting in a special chamber and be securely restrained during the sessions. Hawk was unsure and thought that there had to be a different way. Lightning though agreed to the procedure even though it meant going through absolute agony each session.
Having to return to the Knight’s Forge on a regular basis eventually saw meetings between Agent Alpha and the ex-Raiders. In them he saw himself and that’s when he had the idea of building a team. Before he could present that proposal, Knight’s Sword brought in another cyborg for study, CLARA. After allowing herself to be studied she in return wanted the mental code blocks that prevented some of her free will. She told them that the code prevented her going after her creator, the Mechaniac, but what she left out was the fact the code prevented her killing herself which she desired more since she hated what she had been changed into.
For the scientists to remove the coding they needed both Agent Alpha (Some of Alpha’s systems had been based on Mechaniac tech) and Hawks help. Working with the scientists Agent Alpha and Hawk managed to recode CLARA.
She then like the others had to return to the Forge for “maintenance”. Having lost his opportunity once, Agent Alpha has to wait until he, CLARA and the ex-Raiders ended up meeting at the same time.
More time passed but when the meeting eventually occurred he managed to persuade them all that they should form a unit. Rather than using a reference to the fact they were cyborgs they chose “Ring of Steel”. Following that CLEA would eventually learn of the existance of the prototype Raider “First” in Polvania. Rather than risk someone activating the Raider and using it for evil CLEA contacted the Knight’s Forge and they snatched the Raider. At first they were going to leave it in a deactivated state but decided to power it up with the help of Agent Alpha, CLARA and Hawk. Having no memories of his past but still retaining his original personality First opted to join the Ring of Steel to at least give his life purpose. Eventually his real name was discovered through detective work but First, now known as Galahad decided that his old life was gone and he could not go back to it.
CLARA Additional History:
Due to circumstances that surrounded her “creation”, information regarding C.L.A.R.A. is limited at best. The host person that became the cyborg entity, Victoria Price has very little recollection of her past other than the occasional flash back. Using her own personal accounts handed to the agency via the Knight’s Forge and research obtained by other law enforcement agencies, CLEA has been able to expand on her origins.
As far as CLEA is concerned, C.L.A.R.A.’s current history actually starts with the supposed death of Victoria Price. She was an officer in a British Special Op’s unit which was sent in to capture one of the worlds most wanted criminals, the Mechaniac. The commanders in charge of the operation believed a surprise attack with a small strike force would be better suited than a full scale assault on his base which would draw attention to themselves and thus alert the villain. (Ironically CLEA would try the same method with equally disastrous results).
Under the cover of darkness the team entered the compound outside of the base and immediately discovered problems because the Mechaniac already had drones waiting in hidden locations. Clearly he had anticipated an attack and positioned his “troops” in such a way that aerial reconnaissance would not discover them. The team were completely surrounded and once their escape route was blocked they had no option to retreat and fought bravely against futile odds. Every single member of the unit was cut down in a hail of gunfire.
Victoria though somehow survived but she was in an extremely poor condition. Having lost both legs and her arms reduced to shreds. Desperate to survive she tried to crawl to safety and discovered the Mechaniac himself barring her way. To this day she did not know why he elected not to kill her and presumed she perhaps reminded him of someone he once knew.
Either way the next time she “awoke” she found herself encased in a metal body. The Mechaniac introduced himself and then informed her that she was a prototype robot creation of his that had been built with artificially grown organic systems as a means of investigating research into cybernetic systems.He told her that her name was C.L.A.R.A or Cyborg lifeform alteration research automaton and since he had repaired parts of her brain with components she had no memory of her old life and therefore had no reason to doubt she was an entirely new creation.
For weeks he studied her and ran tests. She in return did everything she asked although she considered it odd he told her never to remove her helmet. She was told that doing so might damage her core systems by exposing organic components to air and shut her down so naturally she obeyed. In time though the story of her creation did not seem to ring true because when her “mechanical” body was shut down for the benefit of her organic parts to rest she began having “visions”. In time she grew curious so one night when she was supposed to have “shut down” she remained awake. she headed to the Mechaniac’s lab and using the tools, removed the helmet.
She was aware that there was a human face under the helmet already as she had “seen” parts of it through the helmet front glare screen. However now she could see her face clearly in a reflection it triggered a release of memories surrounding the ill-fated raid. She began to remember who she was but not much from the period of her life before the raid which was still hazy. Though in shock she had to know what she was so Victoria began taking apart her body apart her body starting with the breastplate. That cover alone revealed the full extent of what had been done to her body and she discovered all that remained of Victoria Price was an upper torso, neck and head.
Alerted to her scream the Mechaniac found Victoria in the lab. He made no apologies for what he had done. Unable to live with what she had become, Victoria tried to kill herself by ramming a metal cutter into her chest but was unable to do that. Her artificial limbs refused to comply. The Mechaniac then told her that in repairing her brain he had been able to program commands into her like any of his other automatons. Anguish turned to anger and she tried to attack him but as soon as she approached the Mechaniac her body shut down again. That was when she learned of one of his other commands.
When she awoke next she found the breastplate had been replaced. The Mechaniac then met with her and explained he had done what he had to do to save her. He needed a companion and decided she would suffice. He then warned her that she could never attack him, harm herself or deliberately disobey his orders. He also warned her that should she try to leave his facility her body would also shut down.
With little alternative to comply she became his “house guest”. She even pretended to like him in an effort to gain his confidence all in an effort to find someway to break the programming inside her head. Months passed before the Mechaniac made his mistake and revealed he knew the whereabouts of all his creations via a transponder. Victoria figured she had been fitted with a similar device in order to prevent her leaving. A few nights of investigating her own “body” eventually led her to find exactly what she was looking for. She disabled the tracker and then tried to get outside the perimeter and after a few histant steps she found herself to be still mobile. Rather than wait for a more opportune moment she made a run for it.
Once free she once more tried to end her life but her artificial body refused to comply so she finaly accepted she was stuck in her current form. For the next few months she managed to remain hidden from her “creator”. She even managed to make it to civilisation. That was difficult as she could not ignore the protocols that were designed to keep her alive. Not eating or recharging would be suicide and that was not “allowed” so she was compelled to recharge her batteries and find food for her organic “systems” and trying to do that whilst hiding was not the easiest thing to do when she was covered in shiny metal!
She had contemplated simply committing a crime and trying to get shot but feared that scientists might get hold of her and force her to have a far worse existence than she already had.
No longer able to enjoy life as a person she simply wanted to die but that was not to be so life was just a matter of wasting time between shut downs. However that changed when one night she saw Chrysalis and Quartz in action from the safety of her “sewer hideout”. Their actions against street thugs gave her an idea to use her new body to fight injustice if only as a means to pass the tedious boredom. Once she chose to do this the world then discovered a new hero in the form of C.L.A.R.A.
In time, being a new “technology” on the streets brought her to the attention of the Knight’s Forge. Since she had proved herself to be a “hero” the Forge skipped passed their usual kidnap and release approach and met her in the open. Steve Griffin then asked her if she would allow the team to study her systems. He explained that the Knights Forge were aware she had been “created” by the Mechaniac and believed by understanding how she worked they could develop tech to counteract the threat posed by the villain. Desperate to put an end to her life, she agreed to help but on the proviso that they find a way to neutralise the extra programming in her brain that prevented her breaking orders from her creator, but she did not tell Steve her goal was to die.
Steve agreed to her stipulation and she was taken to the Knights Forge secret facility. Several more visits would follow after which a combination of program hacks via Agent Alpha and Hawk was eventually able to eliminate the remaining control protocols of the Mechaniac. Now free to end her life, having seen how Agent Alpha and Hawk coped with their lives Victoria decided against termination. She was going to continue her fight against injustice and that now included the Mechaniac.
In time, since she felt a common connection to the “other” cyborgs, Victoria decided to join the loose group Agent Alpha had set up which specialised in the skills provided by their hybrid forms and she found herself working alongside the three ex-Raiders, Hawk, Sureshot and Lightning.
Galahad Additional History:
Galahad was the name chosen by “First” the prototype creation of Dr Pierre Mercier. The scientist had long considered the idea of augmenting humans with machine parts. He was considering the process could be the solution for accident victims. However he was unable to get funding from normal channels to try out his radical work.
One person with a lot of money and interest in Mercier’s work was the dictator of the Eastern European country Polvania, Azem Dushku. Azem thought that Mercier could use his idea to build a cyborg army for him in which to bolster his strength against his own people and the growing resistance against his own rule. Mercier though was not interested in working for the dictator so Azem had his kidnapped after which Mercier was subjected to torture that lasted months and included the use of drugs to bend his mind.
Eventually Mercier was broken and after being conditioned by Azem’s people became only too willing to serve the dictator. Setting to work Mercier drew up plans for his cyborg idea. He needed a human test subject and one was duly “supplied” in the form of a mercenary that had been working for the resistance and had been taken prisoner. Having had his humanity expunged, Mercier was not interested in the facts and did not even bother to find out the test subject’s name. What mattered to him was the results.
In a relatively short period of time Mercier had completed his prototype which he showed off to Azem. Named “First” all that remained of the human host was the hands head and torso the latter of which was encased in metal armour. Having been warped by Azem’s brainwashing Mercier had been so driven in pleasing the dictator he had overlooked one problem, First’s human host retained all his memories and was certainly not going to willingly serve the people that had turned him into a machine. If it was not for safeguards put in place in the programming First would have perhaps killed Mercier or Azem upon first sight. However all that happened was his mechanical body shut down.
Though this was something of a failure, Mercier promised to solve the problem but thought it would take time. Azem though presented a possible solution and had his own doctors attempt the same brainwashing technique that had been so successful on Mercier. Progress was slow for the hybrid human/machine was far more resilient to the drugs and after several months all the doctors had managed was to remove First’s human memories. They could not however remove First’s human drives and reasoning. Though First had no idea who or what he was he somehow knew that Azem and those that served him were wrong and needed to be stopped.
This was another setback and when the doctors suggested they never be able to make First loyal, Azem grew impatient. He looked for outside help and found it in Janice Langham (who like Mercier would be forced to co-operate and later become the creator/leader of the Raiders). Before Langham arrived Mercier placed First in suspended animation since the cyborg had tried on more than one occasion to be aggressive to the scientist. It was therefore easier to shut him down and wait for Langham’s solution to become available to solve the problem.
Whilst in “storage” the rebels opposing Azem’s rule heard the dictator was building a “super soldier”. To prevent that from happening they mounted a daring raid and were successful in stealing First’s pod. Upon getting back to their base the rebels considered the idea of getting the cyborg to work for them. However without Mercier’s access codes they could not wake First from his hibernation mode. Unable to use First to their advantage the rebels considered simply destroying the cyborg but their leader decided that they should keep the unit secure until they found a way of breaking Mercier’s encryption.
Years would pass inside the pod for First during which Azem with Mercier and Langham’s help would succeed in building a small cyborg army. Whilst Mercier had been brainwashed, Langham had only co-operated because she was told Azem had her daughter. Only when Azem revealed that her daughter had co-operated willingly out of hatred for her mother did Langham realised she had been duped.
At this point Azem had his guards escort Langham away and subject the scientist to her own mind reprogramming machine. Langham though suspected that this might happen and so had made sure she could not be altered. She therefore faked the fact she had been changed to become a loyal servant. In keeping this a secret Langham had to allow Mercier to turn her into a cyborg.
Biding her time Langham waited to get her revenge and when that came she became the one to kill Azem and his regime after first taking care of Mercier. During the battle in the palace Langham in her rage accidentally killed her own daughter and this caused her to lose her sanity. She took the other cyborgs and formed the violent mercenary unit known as the Raiders which she used to attack her supposed enemies.
With Langham gone the rebel forces seized their opportunity to take power. The country then went into a period of continual instability as rival factions then began fighting each other. Always aware that such conflicts could spill over into neighbouring countries, CLEA elected to place agents undercover to monitor the ongoing situation. It was one of these agents that learned of the existence of First.
Having seen the Raiders cause so much trouble in the civilised world CLEA thought that the last thing the world needed would be one of Polvania’s factions to activate another “Raider” and set it loose on the world. Thought some Raiders had broken free of Langham’s control and fought for justice there was no guarantee that First could do the same. CLEA top brass therefore thought the best solution would be to remove the problem altogether. The problem for CLEA though was Polvania did not recognise the organisation during Azem’s time and those in power since took the same view. To take a direct action and get caught would at best lead to a political incident and at worst get agents killed for acting as “spies”.
To get around the politics CLEA therefore turned to the Knight’s Forge. Since the organisation stole tech from villains to prevent such people having an advantage over those that fought for justice the Knight’s Forge seemed ideal for the job. Aware that they were being used by CLEA but recognising the danger First presented, the Forge did as asked and were successful in stealing the prototype cyborg.
Though CLEA was keen the unit should remain shut down when the close associates of the Forge, Ring of Steel learned about First they considered leaving the cyborg in suspended animation was wrong. Most of the group had in some way been transformed against their will and forced to act against their own desires in the past and they believed First needed to at least be given a chance of freedom.
Breaking past Mercier’s encryption took time but the combined talents of CLARA, Agent Alpha and Hawk succeeded. Once First awoke apart from being confused he did not present the danger that he was supposed to be. He still had no memories but a strong desire to do what was right. The others explained what had happened during his long sleep and he learned for the first time that Azem had been killed and so any hope of revenge was long gone. First also learned of the Raiders and the work the Ring of Steel did and became intrigued. Unable to return to his old life due to the fact he had been “changed” and more importantly had no recollection of what his old life was, First felt that the only way to give himself a purpose was by helping those that had given his freedom.
However before formerly joining the Ring of Steel he decided he did not want to keep using the name “First”. Being, arguably the precursor of the Raiders and the least “organic” of all the cyborgs, First had heard his body armour being liked to that of a medieval knight. Working on this idea he decided to call himself Galahad because that at least sounded a lot better to him and everyone else than “First”.
In time DNA tests on Galahad’s body would enable the team to discover that he was once a mercenary and his real name was Jayden Miller. However since he remembered nothing of that life he saw little point in visiting the past and learning anything more since as far as he was concerned, Mr Miller was dead.