The Knight’s Forge refers both to a research and development organisation and a sub group of field agents known as Knight’s Sword. Despite the Knight’s Sword team being classed as a “hero” group, they do not actively pursue known villains directly. Instead the team’s primary goal is the acquisition of advanced and/or dangerous technology that is in the hands of villains.
Once retrieved such tech is then given to the Knight’s Forge research and development lab who reverse engineers the technology. Information gained is then combined with its own developments before filtering back new designs to the hero community or CLEA.
CLEA DATA FILE
- Cade Lewis – The Armourer (Director of the Organisation)
- Samantha “Sam” Burrows – Deputy Director
Knight’s Sword Retrieval Team:
- Steve Griffin – Griffin
- Sonja Lebedeva – Blackhawk
- Haru Fujimoto – Steel Wing
- Rylee Jefferson – Silver Streak
(people that are trusted and frequently called upon to lend their assistance to the Forge)
- Gary Wynter – G Wiz co-founder of the Knights Forge and inventor. Leader of the Phoenix Alliance
- Alicia Knight – Architect (See Night Rangers)
- Hawk – Ex-Raider, cyborg specialist
- Dr Marcus Hellen – Merlin, human biology specialist.
- Agent Alpha – Cyborg specialist
(Not including Tech Specialists)
- Specialist Engineer (Lewis and Burrows)
- Tech Augmented Humans (Knight’s Sword Team)
Special Skills and/or Abilities:
- Lewis is believed to be the worlds leading specialist in armoured clothing design.
- Burrows is a well renowned weapons and engineering designer.
- Griffin is the driver of the advanced “Destrier” attack car.
- Lebedeva (Blackhawk) is the rider of the advanced “Courser” attack motorcycle.
- Fujimoto (Steel Wing), specialises in aerial attack/infiltration and is outfitted with a unique winged outfit the “Eaglesuit.”
- Jefferson (Silver Streak) is the teams code breaker and hacker. She is equipped with a more advanced version of the “Eaglesuit.”
- Knight’s Forge in general has to maintain a high amount of secrecy since their “work” would be considered highly valuable to many criminals or third world dictators. They can never maintain a base for too long in the same location for fear of attack.
- Knight’s Sword has made many enemies due to the fact they steal tech from the criminal community for the scientists/engineering team working for the Forge to reverse engineer. The team can rarely remain active in the open for too long without a contract being put out on them.
Rap Sheet/Criminal Traits:
- Theft (Lebedeva)
- Espionage (Lebedeva)
Stephanie Naylor, CLEA’s North American chief was inadvertently the person that led to the creation of the Knight’s Forge. Along with the other chiefs she had noticed how villains always seemed to get their hands on technology better than theirs. Players such as the Mechaniac and ARGO were clear indicators just how dangerous technology in the wrong hands was becoming.
CLEA found itself always one step behind the “bad guys” when it came to technology and no sooner had they appeared to level the playing field then the criminal community were already making CLEA’s tech obsolete.
As with everything there was only a finite budget available for R and D so CLEA would tender out contracts to the best bidder. Such companies always wanted to make money so Naylor began to suspect that they always kept something in reserve so they could “sell” a later development in order to make even more money.
Naylor really wanted a subcontractor that was more interested in ethics than profit but that simply was not going to fly under normal circumstances. However she had noticed that two hero groups did seem to be keeping up with villains and since they had backing from very powerful companies she decided to approach Andrew McCabe of Zodiac (and MCI’s CEO) and Gary Wynter who was leader of the Phoenix Alliance (and owner of Wynter Technologies).
Meeting in Atlantica, Naylor discussed her fears that CLEA always playing catchup when it came to technology and wanted to know if they could help her. She knew both the Phoenix Alliance and Zodiac had advanced tech they did not share and wondered if it would be in everyone’s best interest is CLEA had access to some of it. Both McCabe and Wynter were not really sure about handing CLEA their tech but did understand Naylor’s point so they agreed to think about it.
The meeting ended without any firm decisions but McCabe and Wynter contacted each other over the coming weeks and began thinking that if “heroes” and CLEA could be supplied with descent tech then it might make their jobs crime fighting jobs easier. Wynter had a further radical idea and that was in order to make better tech and keep one step ahead of the villains then perhaps they should steal of the villains. Having personal experience of his “commercial” designs being stolen and ending up in the hands of competitors he liked the idea of reversing the status quo.
Further discussions between the pair decided that if they amalgamated their R and D then both teams would benefit from a more efficient operation. Also if they started to supply recognised heroes with equipment then they would be aware of any design weaknesses. Whilst that could potentially be used to stop a hero that had turned criminal it also meant that a villain attacking their combined R and D base would effectively be able to use the same information.
In the end the pair decided that the combined R and D company needed to be kept as secret as possible, even from trusted members on their own teams. That meant it also had to be isolated from MCI and Wynter Technologies. The fewer people that knew where it was the better for all. Gary proposed the codename of Knight’s Forge as reference to supplying Knight’s with tools and armour before going into battle. Since McCabe had nothing better the name stuck.
Withdrawing funds from their companies the pair set about building a small secret research base. They even managed to hire some scientists that they felt could cope with working in complete isolation. However since the pair were busy with their own teams neither could run the operation. That is when McCabe suggested they locate Cade Lewis aka the Armourer.
McCabe knew Lewis ran a small family business that specialised in unique military apparel as used by private security firms. Rumours where that his brother had been blackmailed by Black Shadow and to save his sister in law he had been coerced into making “special” outfits that were used currently by Alpha Strike.
Realising he would never be free of Black Shadow his brother had faked his own death and became Blue Flame with Cade’s help. Blue Flame then rescued his wife and Cade had gone into hiding but not before Black Shadow had managed to steal his precious data. Since then a number of criminals had got gold of such designs (such as Orion) and Cade felt an obligation to redress the balance of power by secretly supply various heroes with specialist armour or clothing. Doing such acts though was at great personal risk because it could expose him to Black Shadow.
McCabe highly respected Cade for trying to make amends for a situation he had no control of. He also found it ironic that Cade was already doing what the Knight’s Forge were planning to do. By hiring him to run the Forge they would gain someone experienced at designing specialist clothing and also knowing how the criminal underworld worked. Wynter had no objections.
Finding Cade who was hiding somewhere in Pacifica proved to be harder than it appeared. McCabe and Zodiac were tasked with that job and convincing Cade to join a secret R and D operation was even harder. He like to think he was a “hands on guy” as opposed to a manager but accepted the position when he realised just how much he could bring to the new venture.
Though Cade was certainly qualified in many aspects of design he was not a true engineer and was lacking in creating weapons tech. Figuring he would need help to manage scientists working on that side of the operation, Wynter suggested Sam Burrows. In his opinion she had a brilliant mind but was now dogged by her past.
Having been headhunted by the Zeus Protectorate, she was manipulated into believing their ideals. Consequently she had gone on to make many of the weapons that Orion used to hunt Alphas. Eventually she was given the chance to see the facility with the detainees and that was when Sam began to have second thoughts.
She arranged a business trip that to buy some knew tech but in reality she was simply trying to get as far away from her employers as possible. When the Protectorate realised her duplicity, she was considered a security risk and Orion was dispatched to return her to work. After a narrow escape from Orion, Sam contacted as many hero groups as she could find (since the Protectorate kept detailed records) but when they discovered who she worked for they gave her a wide birth.
Only the Phoenix Alliance answered her call, although Gary had to admit some member had reservations about helping her. Snatching her from under the noses of Orion felt quite good and now she had been spirited away Wynter arranged for her to have a new identity and a new life. The problem for her was since her “new name” was unknown in engineering circles she could not get a decent job that made use of her talents.
Gary always believed in giving people second chances so when the idea of the Knight’s Forge came about he thought she deserved a chance to shine at what she did best and this time do it for the right reasons. Wynter thought McCabe might have a problem with her appointment seeing he was an Alpha. McCabe though also believed in second chances since three members of Zodiac came from “suspect” backgrounds.
Having sorted the Knight’s Forge’s director and deputy positions then came the difficult task of diverting funds in order to build an actual laboratory and workshops. Since every villain in the known world would like to get their hands on the technology, secrecy was tantamount. (It has been rumoured for years the Knight’s Forge base is located in the Antarctic but CLEA has no firm intel.)
With the Knight’s Forge operational, Naylor was surprised to receive a simple untraceable and somewhat cryptic message that said “Regarding your idea for supplying technology to CLEA, the Knight’s Forge is here to help.” Sometime after that CLEA began to receive prototype tech for use by its agents in their fight against crime and it did not take her too long to work out where its origin came from.
Eventually Wynter and McCabe confirmed the origin of Knight’s Forge to Chief Naylor when they realised CLEA was investigating elements surrounding their operation. They needed her help to make the investigations go away. Though the Knight’s Forge had given CLEA plenty of material help, before Naylor agreed to intervene she wanted access to know what the Knight’s Forge was up to.
Since Wynter and McCabe felt they could trust her (in the case of the latter she had kept certain information regarding Zodiac secret) they agreed on the principal that if she had the heads up then she could divert attention away. However McCabe wanted something in return and that was when the second part of the operation was put into play they did not want Knight’s Forge agents to be interfered with by over enthusiastic CLEA agents.
The latter was a tall order as it meant getting every other chief on board. However since she was so well respected, when it came to a vote she won by a majority and CLEA added a new mandate which involved keeping the Knight’s Forge a secret on account to have them exposed then they would lose a valuable ally when it came to the supply of tech.
Having set up one part of the Knight’s Forge, before McCabe and Wynter handed it over to the staff to run the operation they had to take care of the second part, namely the “strike” team or agents who would recover valuable technology from the wrong hands (which later became known as Knight’s Sword). They believed whomever they hired would have to be part detective and part soldier and one name that appeared rather quickly was Steve Griffin.
A member of intelligence gathering service for the British Government, Griffin had been forced into an office job role after rather too much risk taking resulted in political “problems”. Since politics would not be an issue for the Knight’s Forge he was approached and when given the chance to go back into the field, he immediately handed in his notice.
The next two people chosen came by way of Naylor’s recommendations. Since McCabe and Wynter were having problems selecting appropriate people they turned to her to look for people to match the skills they needed. Naylor in return accessed the CLEA database and got several names and at the top of the list where to names that would eventually join the Forge.
Haru Fujimoto was an experience CLEA agent working in New Tokyo and had performed a fair amount of undercover work and had managed to survive attempts on his life from Alphas and other dangerous villains. He had even come up against the Twelve and escaped. As a member of Knight’s Forge he would be expected to go toe to toe with such people in order to steal their tech so to McCabe and Wynter he seemed perfectly qualified.
The second name Naylor selected was Rylee Jefferson. Though younger than and not as experienced as Haru, she had one of the highest scores for the CLEA aptitude test and excelled in code breaking. As Chief Naylor described her, “You want to get in anywhere then she is your man.”
The trio then began training exercises to get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Once they felt they were ready they decided to call themselves “Knight’s Sword”. Relying on nothing more than a fast transport jet, some basic tech and just their wits meant the trio had a difficult few early months. However with the Knight’s Forge in full operation they soon got access to much better gear.
Since some of the work involved basic intelligence gathering they tended to wear normal clothes to blend in. However once a “target” was confirmed the trio needed something a lot better since most villains liked to hand onto their acquisitions. For this reason Cade created a lightly armoured bodysuit for Griffin. He also received a gift from Sam in the form of the “Destrier” an automobile design which was practically a mobile arsenal.
Haru and Rylee also received armoured bodysuits that had the means to allow them to fly. The trio had asked for such a unit because the team tended to use multiple entry points when trying to steal tech.. Whilst Griffin distracted the “enemy” below the other two would enter a building or storage faciltiy higher up. Previously this had needed to be done with a lot of physical climbing. Cade built the suits based on the Blue Flame design he had created for his brother. To make them stealthier Cade added retractable bird like wings so they cut turn of the microjets and silently glide to their destination. Haru ended up with the first version of the suit whilst Rylee ended up with the second slightly improved unit.
Even with the latest tech at their disposal, when it came to missions in Russia, the trio were dogged by a woman who seemed to be on a similar mission to theirs, albeit she was stealing tech and giving it to the highest bidder. The woman was known in criminal circles as the “Blackhawk” and many regarded her as a master thief. Her real name was Sonja Lebedeva and she had left a trail of chaos all over her native Russia.
On the two occasions the Knight’s Sword came face to face with her she outwitted them on both occasions much to their annoyance. However months after their last encounter her glorious criminal career came to an end when she was double-crossed by someone she was working for and taken to prison for a twenty year stretch. Griffin saw great “potential” in her and suggested to Cade that they break her out of prison as a diplomatic release was not going to be on the cards with CLEA or anyone else.
Though the venture was risky, Cade gave the Knight’s Sword permission and they found “stealing” her was no different than stealing an item of tech. Once clear of the Russian authorities Sonja was given the choice, work with the Knight’s Forge or be left for the police. There was only one answer she could give and though she felt she was blackmailed into working for the Knight’s Forge, in time she came to realise that it wasn’t stealing stuff that she liked doing as a criminal but rather the excitement of doing that.
Normally a loner she eventually allowed herself to accept working with Griffin and the others. Since she seemed to pilot the “Destrier” when Griffin was otherwise engaged, Sam decided to make Sonja her own vehicle. Based on the fact that in the past the ex-thief liked using a motorcycle as a getaway vehicle of choice, Sam built her the “Courser” an advanced motorcycle. Like the Destrier it was outfitted with suitable weaponry to deal with “problems”.
As the Knight’s Forge has grown over time, Cade as director has elected to reveal its secrets to a number of people both in order to help them and to learn about their technology. The first of these was the ex-Raider Hawk whom had problems with a malfunctioning circuit system. He would later return to help C.L.A.R.A. in breaking her programming. Another “hero” that eventually became a semi-regular attendee at the Forge was “Architect”. Other “heroes” have since then been through the facility but few are permitted to know its location so are often transported in a condition that does not allow them to know their whereabouts.
When originally conceived by the Armourer, every outfit was of custom design. For such a small garage industry this mode of operation was the most logical. However once the Forge was “officially” created with backing from Wynter and McCabe a method of streamlining the operation was put in place. Just like Lewis Wynter and McCabe had been creating outfits for various heroes on a one to one basis. Now working together and supplying CLEA it was decided to create standardised designs.
Three main variants exist
Knights Super Suit (KSS) – For individuals who’s abilities mean they have limited need for extra protection or where bulky armour would physical characteristics. These give the individual the classic “superhero” look and though the materials are thinner extra protection is often woven into the fabric.
Two slightly different “master” designs exist and they have both ended up in the hands of vigilantes and white guardians.
All over Armour (AOA Armour) – For individuals who often lack enhancements such as Bio, Alpha Abilities or cybernetic parts. Unlike the supersuits the armor provides good protection from a wide range of weapons, projectile and energy based.
Three types of AOA exist. The First released was the “S8” suit which featured a full helmet and face guard. Having proved itself with amateurs CLEA showed an interest but wanted a design that could be hermetically sealed to use in gas or water and so the “Hydron” suit was created which had all the functionality of the S8 but with a helmet that could be sealed to the suit to protect from water/gas ingress. However in keeping with a slim design emergency oxygen packs have to be installed when used in this configuration. A third variant the “Solar” suit was created to use in warmer less hazardous environments and named after the White Guardian “Solar” for whom it was initially developed. Almost identical to the Hydron, it has a lighter open helmet. All three suits have been used with both vigilantes and CLEA but CLEA tends to use the Hydron and Solar suits whereas the superhero community uses the older S8.
Light Armourer Suit (LAS) – More similar to the type of equipment used by the military. Though it has less protection it is cheaper and faster to build. It is often supplied to CLEA security personnel to protect against lower level types of threats.
Though all the outfits are “standardised” the KSS and AOA models are often used as a start point and extra customisation is added as per individual needs. Often individuals are accustomed to older equipment such as flight/jet packs that they wish to retain having mastered their usage. Therefore existing equipment can often be found grafted onto newer units.
Also though many heroes supplied before the Forge came into being were offered upgraded outfits, many chose to keep their existing older outfits considering it part of their heroic “identity”. In supplying both CLEA and vigilantes, the Knight’s Forge has only one rule and that is once a suit is “retired” it is returned to them for destruction, to prevent the technology falling into criminal hands.