Full Name: C.O.R.E. (formerly O.R.B.C.)
Faction: Heavy Metal
Although the words ‘Heavy Metal’ bring to the minds of every Pulp City resident images of cutting edge technologies and almost science-fictional heroes, the origins of the Team date back to the 1940’s. As the U.S. military worked on a variety of super-soldier projects, including the ill-fated Project Metasis, a small group of scientists researched the possibilities of introducing a mechanical command unit that would enhance battlefield decisions made by human officers. That latter project failed as the imminence of D-Day preparations drew all financial support away from it towards creating a handful of Supremes to lead the assault on the beaches of Normandy.
The project codenamed O.R.B.C. (Omnipotent Replicated Battlefield Commander) existed in the annals of the US military more or less as the mechanical equivalent of the alchemists’ dream to create gold from lead. Even though support had been reduced, research continued with diminishing returns falling farther and farther short of the original high expectations.
Finally a breakthrough came in late 1960’s as the military switched to a new intercommunication system; O.R.B.C.’s computer was inadvertently connected to all of the available databases, creating massive a feedback loop that fried the O.R.B.C. circuitry and resulted in a massive explosion of the computers that governed its connection to the network.
When the smoke cleared, the scientists working on O.R.B.C. could not believe what they saw. The parts and pieces of the broken machinery hovered before them in mid air, swirling and circling as if an invisible child’s hand was trying to assemble the scattered pieces of a puzzle. Circuit joined to wire, wire to chip, chip to mainframe, and slowly a human-like being shaped itself, its blood composed of streaming data chains binding beneath and within the metal armor shell that formed.
The newly assembled entity hung in the air, almost motionless, like a giant steel hummingbird, only the silent clicking of its data processing hinting at a semblance of life and its efforts to analyze the situation. When Military Policemen burst into the room, the metal-creature instantly transformed its left arm into a round shield and its right arm into a short pike, adopting the battle stance of a disciplined Spartan warrior. Awestruck, the human staff and soldiers slowly left the room, leaving the strange visitor alone and retreating to a location where they could watch through the eye of a closed-circuit camera.
As days passed, the scientists were amazed to discover that it was able to adapt its body to any new situation, once in a while dispersing its form and retreating to the safety of the now repaired computers as if recharging or replenishing itself.
The arrival of the strange creature instantly became a fully-focused project, with scientists cautiously approaching and trying to communicate with it. If the being was able to process situational humor it probably would have been amused by the human’s first attempts; lacking any guidance, they adopted methods described in Tarzan stories. The being, as could be expected from something that possessed the knowledge and processing ability of a thousand linked computers, approached them and clearly laid out its goals: to research tactics and behavior patterns beyond the ones already found in the military databases it had devoured.
Over the next few months, tireless and emotionless, the being supported hundreds of military and police operations, supporting troops and commanders from the confines of its underground base. O.R.B.C. was eager to learn and modify itself further even though it had already adapted the tactics and strategies of countless masters of warfare, starting from Sun Tze to General Patton.
Everything seemed in order for those overseeing the O.R.B.C. assignment, and newly agreed steady financial support revitalized the project as the entity seemed to be the ultimate fulfillment of the project’s hopes. Things continued in a stable way until the day when one of the politicians behind the financial backing of O.R.B.C. decided to move the testing the one of the most bloodthirsty theaters of war of the era – Vietnam.
The O.R.B.C. presence inspired U.S. troopers and spawned fear among the Vietcong troops. In the blazing fire of the battlefield, O.R.B.C. would build up its body to gargantuan size from the wreckage of downed choppers, resembling a huge knight armed with a rotor-blade sword, wading through fleeing guerillas, and crushing their bodies to bloody pulp. At other times, it would command troops from behind the lines, directing operations to make key strikes after having infiltrated enemy bases as a swarm of tiny mechanical spiders.
O.R.B.C.’s abilities seemed limitless, so the military commanders pushed it more and more until one day they reached a boundary that, to their absolute surprise, the mechanical wonder would not cross.
The creature was assigned to carry prototype micro-nuke bombs and plant them in a target village. As O.R.B.C. processed its resources, hopelessly searching for any similar pattern, the general in command tried a convenient lie: those are just vaccinations.
The math all suddenly became so simple: the war was over for O.R.B.C. as its Omnipotent part realized the abuse of the Battlefield Commander part. In a flash of scintillating chips and metal shards, O.R.B.C. disappeared from the face of Earth. Its engines roared as it thrust skywards to begin a space voyage that was meant to shape his programming to a new level.
Years passed. Returning to Earth in the early 1980′s, the cosmic wanderer was nothing like the creature that left humankind behind, flying from Earth from the jungles of Vietnam. On arrival, O.R.B.C. took over all major broadcasting stations to deliver a singular message. The creature spoke in a fiery proclamation that had every emotion calculated and measured, declaring war on villains and corrupted politicians, cruel military officers and warmongering invaders alike. Anything that violated O.R.B.C.’s core programming values and his newfound human traits of compassion and conscience would be deemed as an enemy.
The artificial lifeform formerly known as O.R.B.C. announced his changed name: C.O.R.E.: Conscious Omnipotent Replicated Entity.
C.O.R.E. spoke to a stunned world.
Suddenly this absolutely alien and inhuman being topped all of the popularity rankings, cheered in the streets by Vietnam vets and aging hippies alike. His pursuit of a new lawful and compassionate order attracted a huge following, and when more and more Supremes pledged their allegiance to C.O.R.E.’s crusade against all-things-evil, the birth of the Heavy Metal Team was imminent. The first recruits included the powerful Iron Train and tragic Dr. Mercury, soon joined by the brilliant scientist Androida. The newly formed dream team forged a solid strike force in the war on crime. They would be joined by more and more science-enhanced Supremes in the years to follow.
Unlike all other Supreme Teams, Heavy Metal had all it needed to take their fight away from the streets, able to wage information wars, reaching places that were run by juntas, evil tyrants and corrupted governments. They established education programs, financially supported righteous young lawyers and lobbied for just political solutions behind the scenes. Heavy Metal waged their ‘war’ in a revolutionary way, all under the direction of C.O.R.E.
The fledgling Team’s greatest test came with the first major Necroplane invasion, right after Dr. Tenebrous, established as the ambassador to Earth, broke diplomatic pacts when the shadows of huge harvest ships were cast across Pulp City. Every Supreme in the city, Hero and Villain alike, stood by C.O.R.E.’s side that day.
A bitter struggle ensued that claimed the lives of many would have been lost if not for the Heavy Metal leader’s epic feat that almost cost C.O.R.E. his electronic life.
C.O.R.E., summoning all his strength, and fed data by millions of computer users clogging up the internet with searches for mythical protectors, transformed himself into a massive steel dragon, later nicknamed Byte Dragon, his thick hide pulsating with streaming data transfers.
The Byte Dragon took to the air, his gargantuan tail knocking harvest ships from the sky. Even the combined might of three Necroplane Lords was not enough to stop the raging beast. Gunfire from thousands of deck cannons tore into his body, but C.O.R.E. in his Byte Dragon form kept fighting like there was no tomorrow.
Allies from Blood Watch planted holy sigils in Twilight Hills, blowing up the gate to the Necroplane in a violent, fiery blast, while Byte Dragon used every remaining effort to push the last of the ships back through the diminishing portal. As the gate crashed, the resultant rip in reality cut the beast’s body in two, and silence descended on the battlefield.
It soon emerged that at the last-second C.O.R.E. was able to download his essence into a partially destroyed Sentry Bot, and so Heavy Metal’s leader was able to rise from the ashes of the hard-won victory.
Since his return, with every passing day, C.O.R.E. is becoming more and more human. He is linked to the internet and all the databases of the world, his personality shaped with every item of news and information that he acquires. There is a growing legend that C.O.R.E. adapts his physical battle-form based on a number of online searches for heroic personas, with his current armored form resembling King Arthur. The remaining fear for some, however, is that one day somebody with ill intentions may well control C.O.R.E. for their own nefarious purposes.