Super Name: Secret Master
Real Name: Ivana
Base of Operations:Mobile
Eye Color: Blue
Super Power Origin:Mutation
Equipment: Large variety of weapons, armor and devices accumulated over a long career of supervillany
Place of Birth:Gothic City
Allies: Amaranth, Hawkshade, Arrachtach
Biography:Ivana is the scion of a long line of fabled mutant warriors. The saga of her ancestors is a tail of blood, fire, and the mutant struggle.
Her father, Dantagon, was a legendary swordsman and a brilliant scientist who single handedly defined an entire era for the Arcani. A Marxist in his early life he was swept up in the struggle for the soul of the Soviet Union. First as a warrior the Revolution, then later against the Nazi invaders of the Motherland. Caught up in the euphoria of victory he never saw Stalin's betrayal coming. His Arcani network in ruins, badly wounded and drained of his resources Dantagon retreated into the shadows where he met..
..Ivana's mother, Shirzad, the renegade Arashikage. Blessed with perfect genetics and the ability to infuse sharp objects with tachyons, creating event horizon blades, Shirzad (named for the Shirzad of Arcani legend) was a devastating warrior and ruthless killer. She saw something of value in the wounded Dantagon and offered him shelter in her isolated island stronghold.
There, among the renegade Arashikage's hand picked warriors Dantagon begin to see his earlier Marxist views as naive and misguided. Stalin's betrayal had shattered his dreams of a utopia where humans and mutants lived in peace. There, rebuilding his shattered body and mind, he turned to the writings of a mutant he once rejected as too extreme. Asteria.
It was this turn toward extremism that brought Shirzad and Dantagon together at last. Bound together by the depths of real and honest love their bond was only strengthened by their radical philosophies. With no outside voices to sway them and no access to modern communications such as the internet the pair increasingly saw their own extreme views as rational, even logical, until their value system was warped beyond recognition.
The pair turned themselves to self improvement, knowing that even their abilities and skills would not be enough. Dantagon's brilliant mind discovered a way to fuse Shirzad's bones with living zythium using a retrovirus modified to alter her DNA and give her claws. This transformed the genetic paragon into something more; an unstoppable killing machine. While dwelling in Shirzad's island fortress, located in the far east, Dantagon applied himself to mastering several styles of eastern swordmanship and martial arts as well as mind altering meditative practices.
Eventually the duo turned their attentions outward. At first they focused their attention on the one thing mutant powers did not give them: Money. A string of bloody bank robberies in eastern Russia and Japan cemented their reputation as bloodthirsty and a few clashes with the American forces stationed in Japan drew the attention of their first nemesis: Captain Armstrong.
Captain Armstrong was a turn of the century strongman, inventor and explorer turned science hero. Together with his partner, their daughter, a mechanical man with a miniature babbage computer for a brain and a sentient ape he fought crime, villains, and natural disasters in between inventions and assisting his home, the glorious, golden metropolis, Gothic City.
Captain Armstrong and the Armstrongs clashed with Shirzad and Dantagon in the jungles of South America over relics in long lost temples. They held running battles across miles of African savanna, with the fate of villages and diamond mines hanging in the balance. The two groups would race to the site of any new discoveries, the Armstrongs to preserve it in the name of science, Ivana's parents to exploit it in the name of the mutant cause.
It was in one of these adventures, called '' by the pulps and newspapers of the time that the two teams clashed over the ancient secret of immortality. Though the newspapers printed dozens of versions of the exciting tale none but those who were present know the truth of what happened in the lost kingdom of Strabonicus, the warrior king. Whatever it was Captain Armstrong was never seen again and the Armstrong family broke apart shortly thereafter.
It was in the wake of their monumental triumph of shattering the bonds between the Armstrong's that the pair received an invitation to join D.E.A.T.H.. The villainous organization had recently undergone a resurgence under their new leader: Doctor Infernus. In the (profitable) service of D.E.A.T.H. both Shirzad and Dantagon made many new enemies through the course of their clashes with A.C.T.I.O.N., their heroic rivals.
As the years crawled by they clashed with numerous enemies such as the American Crusader, Arrow, Lady Liberty, Fighting Yank, Undying Tombstone, Robo Rob, and Lara Dynamite. Many of these rivals met fates as cruel as the Armstrong families. Arrow died at Shirzad's clawed hands, leaving his orphaned son to be passed around foster homes until the emotionally damaged young man took up the red costume and bow, becoming an embittered, angry vigilante.
Eventually Doctor Infernus turned against the Arcani, driven by his insatiable lust for power. It was then that the pair had to make a choice; to stay with Doctor Infernus and reap the continued rewards of money, power and fame or side with the Arcani and face a long life of struggle. In the end their mutant loyalties won out and they betrayed Doctor Infernus to the Arcani at the eve of battle. The battle itself was great, shattering the walls of a fortress nest and leaving a generation of villains dead in the attempt but the raw power of Infernus was too much. In a titanic battle he struck down several of the Arcani's greatest powerhouses and seized his prize.
The pair retreated, hounded by Doctor Infernus's league of loyal villains every step of the way. They spent years on the run from the worlds greatest heroes and powerful villains. Eventually they hid themselves away in a tiny island off the eastern coast of Russia and Japan where they had a daughter: Ivana.
Ivana inherited all of her parents abilities. Flawless physical genetics, brilliant intelligence, tachyon infusion, kinetic empathy and zythium claws. Her parents devoted a significant portion of their lives to imparting her with every martial and mental skill she would need, even at the risk of great trauma. Her childhood was physical and mentally brutal. Training begin at the tender age of four and never stopped.
At fourteen years old she begin accompanying her mothers forces on their missions. No one suspected a teenage girl of being a lethal threat and her claws were the last surprise many enemies of the Arcani ever saw. She was an expert fighter and freakishly athletic even at such a young age. Experience honed her skills to a razors edge.
By twenty four she had two decades of training and one decade of experience. She decided to join the Strigidae Temple, and the rest is history.
There is a myth that humans only use ten percent of their brains. In reality a human uses virtually all of the brain over a twenty four hour period, but only a small portion of the brain may be in use at a time. Na-au changes this through unspeakable means, allowing brains so altered to use significant percentages of the total brain at the same time. Should a person with Na-au be brain scanned while utilizing this ability it would appear they were undergoing a seizure as the majority of their brain would be lit up.
The human brain has three primary functions: Autonomic, Somatic and Cognitive. Autonomic functions regulate and control involuntary processes such as the heartbeat, respiration, digestion, sexual arousal, and reflex actions. The Somatic functions which controls the skeletal muscle system, usually under the conscious control of a human being. Lastly there is the cognitive system which is the minds use of conscious and unconscious thoughts to solve problems, communicate, and perform all the other mental functions of life.
In a normal human each of these systems can operate simultaneously but each draws such a significant degree of mental resources that none can be optimized simultaneously. For example even hyper intelligent individuals cannot solve experimental physics equations while simultaneously performing an olympic level acrobatic routine. Na-au restructures the mind so that all three systems work together at peak efficiency, in perfect harmony, and under the control of the cognitive system.
This allows Ivana to exhibit precise control over her heart rate and digestive system to optimize her body while flipping through a complex acrobatic evasion, controlling her eyes level of dilation to display near perfect night vision while her unconscious mind stratagizes at a high level and her conscious mind exacts perfect tactical decisions in an enormously complex battle.
Extensive study of the ancient and preternatural style known to the Strigidae as Khuenaten has allowed Ivana to slowly craft her body into that of an Olympian, then a peak human and now into an organism whose body is built for war from the cellular level up. Her entire body has been rebuilt by the changes wrought by the occult secrets of Khuenatenuntil even the placement of her tendons and muscles has been optimized for combat. Unlike many 'superhumans' her body cannot exceed the limits of biology or violate the laws of physics. She is not above the laws of nature, but instead optimized for performance. These limits have caused her body to emulate the performance of animals in many ways, making her biology more beast than human.
Her bones have heavy iron deposits inside them, concentrated at the striking surfaces; knuckles, heel and ball of the foot, elbows and knees. In addition her bones have lengthened and thickened, giving her more room for muscles and allowing her to grow longer tendons. Calcium deposits run through her bones and provide them with incredible density and strength, making them roughly as strong as stone.
The muscular architecture that layers her bones is redesigned to create dense layers of muscle to maximize force production in some areas and maximize acceleration in other areas. The idea is to create muscle groups that explode into maximum acceleration in striking muscle groups and maximum force in grappling muscle groups.
She has thicker, longer tendons with improved elasticity. Ivana has modified her style to stretch her tendons with the thick, cross sections of 'pulling' muscles then explode using her fast twitch 'line' muscles to propel and guide her strikes. This works just like a bow; the limbs store energy and then it is released all at once. She can use this to create variations in her timing and in her strike acceleration. For example she might 'drive' a strike with muscle while delaying the 'snap' release of the energy stored in her tendons. Alternately she might release them both at once, reaching maximum acceleration and power. To save energy she might rely only on the 'snap' of energy stored in her tendons to power her movement and strikes.
When grappling she uses the 'pull' muscles. These are layered in 'X' shapes, which allow her to apply huge amounts of force but they don't accelerate as quickly. She has truly frightening strength while grappling. However this drains her of energy faster than any other type of exertion.
The circulatory system to her muscles is vastly enhanced. This allows her to endure much longer and to recover from fatigue much quicker. ATP production has accelerated beyond anything a human could muster thanks to many improvements in the basic efficiency of the human body.
She has a vast number of motor units. These little bundles of nerves give her far more control over her muscles than any human can boast. In addition she can consciously choose to activate slow or fast twitch fibers. When grappling she will switch between these two types of fibers fluidly, using her effcient, slow twitch, fibers to wear down her foe or endure a bad position and her powerful, 'X' layered 'pulling' muscles to drive a takedown or lock in a submission.
However the demands of her new body are extreme. Her diet is exacting and large. In addition she runs the danger of fatiguing much quicker with her new superhuman strength and explosiveness. If she concentrates on using her slow twitch, endurance fibers she will last much longer than her old body would. She can be a tireless machine or an explosion of superhuman strength but not both.
Her vision has also been transformed by the eldritch transformation of Khuenaten.
Cone Density: Her fovea has a much thicker layer of cone cells than a human's, roughly one million per square millimeter.
Tetrachromatic Vision: There are four types of cone in her eyes; red, blue, green and ultraviolet. As a result Ivana does not see color the same as a human. A human sees in red, blue and green and the mind organizes those three data-points. While Ivana has four points of 'color data', meaning she might look at an object that a human would say is green, but due to seeing the ultraviolet light reflected off the object she would perceive an entirely different color. This is known as Tetrachromatic vision
Pecten Oculi: A structure that holds the circulatory system of the eye. This prevents the blurring of image due to blood vessels running in front of the eye, which occurs in human eyes.
Wavelength Filter: Microscopic drops of oil within her color sensitive cones contain a ospin-like protein that filters out any wavelength other than the wavelength the cone is receptive to. This gives her sharper perception of colors, allowing her to see more colors and see colors more clearly in darkened or obscured conditions. It also provides a level of glare and flash protection as much of the offending wavelengths are filtered out before reaching her cones.
Retinal Ganglion: Small neuron's that translate cone and rod input into neural information for the brain make up a layer of cells behind the fovea. In a human each ganglion handles roughly a hundred cones or rods. In Ivana there is a one-to-one ratio between ganglion's and cones or rods. Each ganglion handles only one cone or rod, meaning her brain receives much more percise visual data rather than crude abstractions.
Double Fovea: Two layers of fovea, rather than one, capture more light and create a stronger image of range, direction and speed. This alters her perception of movement, allowing her to detect movement as slow as fifteen degrees per hour or flicker speed as fast as 100Hz.
Magnetoception: As light enters the eye it excites a molecule known as a cytochrome. In this state it is highly sensitive to magnetic fields. It creates a slight visual distortion causing Ivana to see magnetic north and other powerful sources of magnetism as slightly brighter or darker than their surroundings. Because this relies on light entering the eyes it is more pronounced in bright light and less in dim conditions. In absolute darkness it does not function at all.
Tapetum Lucidum: A retroreflective layer of tissue in which the lens and cornea of the eye combined with the tapetum lucidum layer to form a brighter and sharper image on the retina. This lowers the minimum threshhold of light for vision by roughly six hundred percent. As a result her eyes shine in the dark like a feline or wolf.
Mutant Tachyon Control
Tachyon Infusion: Ivana is capable of infusing an object with the negative mass particles known as 'tachyons'. Because tachyons do not interact with electromagnetic, strong, or weak forces they usually have no effect on regular matter, making tachyon manipulation a meaningless power the majority of the time. However Ivana has mastered her ability to such a degree she is capable of creating a tachyon singularity; a black hole of negative mass. Because tachyons due interact with gravitational force this creates a localized event horizon along any point where two flat surfaces connect at a steep angle. This has the effect of creating a gravitational event horizon along the edge of any blade, giving Ivana a weapon that will cut through anything not of infinite hardness/durability. True adamantium is the only material which will block a blade infused with Tachyons.
Somatic Mapping: Tachyons generally do not interact with massed particles. However due to Ivana's tachyon control she can form a tachyon link between her mind and the somatic system of another being. This causes the tachyons to interact with the electrons in the other persons body, then return to Ivana and interact with the electrons in her brain, forming a 'map' of their somatic system. As the somatic system is what controls the bodies skeletal muscles, and tachyons move backwards in time, this grants Ivana the ability to know exactly what moves her foe will make before they attempt them.
Tachon Involuntary Reflex: In the dorsal horn of the spinal column there is a bundle of nerves that handle involuntary reactions to pain. For example if you burn your hand you will jerk your hand back before the pain signal has time to reach your brain. This is both involuntary, and faster than the signal can reach the brain. In Ivana's case the dorsal nerve bundle genome has interacted with her tachyon mutation in such as way that causes her dorsal nerve to receive her own nociceptors in the future. For example if a bullet were flying toward the back of her skull her nocicepters would fire when the bullet impacted her skull. The tachyon link between future and past versions of herself would carry that information to the past version's dorsal horn and Ivana would jerk out of the way involuntarily.
Teleportation: During her reign as Shogun of Venezuela her sidekick Arrachtach was the head of several research programs. One produced a belt-mounted device that allowed Ivana to teleport with the aid of her tachyon powers. This required extreme effort and left her powers drained for a time.
Since that time Ivana has honed and improved her control over her powers. Data gathered by the belt mounted teleportation device was helpful in this regard.
Today Ivana is capable of teleporting without technological aid. It is still the most difficult manifestation of her powers. Range is limited by how fatigued her powers are. In the past she has demonstrated the ability to teleport across the globe, however this exhausted her powers for several minutes, even with her current level of mastery. Likewise, multiple short range teleports in rapid succession will drain her powers.
Carbon Nano-Tube Compound Bow
Three hundred and fifty pounds of draw weight. Sound dampening string coating results in an ultra-quiet shot. Range finder and smartlink system for long shots. Ninety nine percent let off thanks to its cam system. Accurate at two hundred yards. Collapsible. It folds up into a small package that is stored at the small of Ivana's back.
Spear-tip toxic Arrow: Titanium foam blade with carbon ceramic shaft. The rear edges of the blade snap open after penetration, creating two barbs hooked in the flesh of the target. Inside the shaft is a variety of toxin substances which inject the victim after impact. These toxins can overpower nearly every immune system in the known universe as well as disabling healing factors.
Explosive Arrow: A miniature thermobaric warhead. Individuals at the point of impact are often incinerated instantly and those inside the blast radius experience collapsed lungs, ruptured eardrums, sever brain trauma and third degree burns.
Fragmentation Arrow: High carbon steel case containing composition C explosive; when the explosive detonates the case is shattered and becomes shrapnel with a 45ft blast radius.
Electrical Arrow: Inside the shaft of a spear-tip arrow lies an electro magnetic pulse generating coil. It can be triggered on impact, at any point in flight, by a timer or a motion detector. The EMP itself is powerful enough to effect shielded electronics and should the arrow penetrate into its target it is all but guaranteed to fry the most hardened of circuits. Its second mode is a tazer mode; it slices into the victom, the barbs deploy, and then the arrow shocks them with hundreds of thousands of volts.. over and over.
Thermite Arrow: A shaped charge filled with thermite. Hot enough to burn through most tank armor it detonates on impact and melts a whole through virtually any armor in the world within nano-seconds.
Grappling Arrow: This arrow has a micro-cable spool inside the shaft and a expanding hook as the head. The micro-cable attaches to the bow and nano-carbons contract, realing the spool inside the arrow and drawing the bow and its wielder to the arrow.
Ivana's blade is made from modern materials and construction techniques rather than traditional Japaneses craftsmanship. That is not to say it is mass produced; it was crafted by a master of metallurgy to meet Ivana's exacting demands.
The blade is a tool steel and tungsten alloy. It was chosen for its wear resistance and durability to impact stresses. Though Ivana's tachyon infusion power allows the blade to cut through anything aside from true adamantium that does not make her weapons immune to the laws of physics. It can bend or break just like any other blade.
It is a Maru pattern blade, known as monohardened in modern terminology. That means the blade retains the same hardness from edge to back. Some blades use harder steel for the edge, which will hold a sharper edge, and softer, more flexible steel for the core. Those blades are sharper but Ivana prioritizes the endurance to impact stress that the Maru pattern offers.
All the fittings (the tsuba, fuchi, menuki, kashira and mekugi) are titanium. Titanium is light weight and trauma resistant but will not hold a sharp edge like steel.
Because titanium can be machined Ivana can replace damaged parts without great expense or the assistance of an expert. She often carries a few of the lightweight replacements upon her utility belt in case she needs to repair her blade in the field.
The braid (ito) that wraps around the handle (tsuka) is made from teflon reinforced vulcanized rubber. It provides an excellent grip and is cut resistant, heat resistant and does not become slick when wet with water or other fluids.
A teflon coated fiberglass is used for the scabbard (saya). Fiberglass is stronger than steel for its weight, resistant to heat, cold and corrosive chemicals including acids. It is a non-conductor and acts as an insulator against electric fields as well as many times of electromagnetic radiation.
Anti-Metal Utility Belt
After the capture of the vibranium rich Venezuela the mutant genius Arrachtach modified Ivana's Strigidae utility belt. The metal cases of the pouches was replaced with anti-metal armor plates. The strap of the belt was replaced with an anti-metal weave that was flexible and next to unbreakable. Anti-metal is used to prevent Ivana's utility belt from being cut from her waist or penetrated by a weapon. Because the anti-metal variant of vibranium disintegrates metals that clash with it the anti-metal will flatten the edges of blades that attempt to cut it, making the belt nearly impossible to remove from the Shogun without her connect.
Among other things her utility belt contains the following:
Foam Pellets: On impact these pellets explode, covering everything in the area with a fire suppressing foam. The foam is both a chemical suppressant for chemical fires and also serves to deprive the fires of oxygen to put out normal flames.
Anti-Venom Patch: After being repeatedly struck by poisoned weapons Ivana asked Arrachtach to supply her with a counter measure. These patches deliver a custom anti-venom directly into her bloodstream. Because they come in patch form Ivana can return to combat after applying one, it will continuously add an anti-venom into her blood.
Tracer: Tiny disks covered in a powerful adhesive that activates on contact with oxygen. They can be programmed to activate after a delay, in response to a stimulus or simply on contact. They broadcast an extremely weak encrypted GPS signal, generally detectable and decryptable only by the vibranium circuitry of the Shogunate's satellites.
Coagulant Spray: The mutant warrior has been wounded many times and carries a small canister of instant coagulator mixed with a sealant. She can spray this on her wounds to coagulate the blood and seal the wound to project herself from infection. This is also useful when her allies are injured.
Nutrient/Stimulant Jet Injector: Her enhanced body requires far more nutrients than even the largest, fittest human. At times she is forced to operate without time to rest and eat. Alternately continuous explosions of superhuman performance can rapidly fatigue her. A jet injection of pure nutrients mixed with a number of stimulants can return her to peak form quickly and even allow her to remain active in the field without rest for days at a time.
ABUSKHAU: Hurricane of Glass
The bodies kinesthetic sense is the sense that tells you where your arms, legs and hands are at in relation to one another. For example you can scratch your back without looking to see where your hand is. Without a kinesthetic sense you would need a mirror. It is because of this sense that humans are incredibly accurate with their hands and fingers, but terribly inaccurate when using a projectile. The kisetestic sense no longer functions when one is firing a bullet a hundred yards. Thus the need for stabilizing devices, scopes, and more to attain the accuracy one has with one's hand.
Devised by Amaranth and taught to mutants with enhanced perceptive capabilities it allows them to merge their mutant perceptions and kinesthetic sense. This allows them to use projectiles with the same control and accuracy they use their hands. To an adept of Abuskhau there is no difference in touching ones nose and striking a target a hundred yards away. The two actions are one and the same.
Throwing: An Abuskhau adept can throw projectiles with exceptional accuracy at up to sixty feet. Capable of throwing specific 'twists' or imparting various spins to their projectiles causing them to climb, dive or jink at the last moment they are exceptionally difficult to predict or evade.
Archery: Adepts are even more accurate with the bow, capable of hitting a torso sized target at six hundred and sixty feet. At a tenth of that distance it is trivial for them to fire arrow after arrow into the same location, splitting their previous arrows. They are also capable of making accurate distance shots using mirrors and even banking arrows off hard surfaces and into a target.
Firearms: With the firearm the Abuskhau adept is more accurate than with any other tool. They routinely fire rifle rounds with deadly accuracy at ranges up to two thousand and seven hundred yards. Pistol accuracy is not as impressive due to the shorter barrel and weaker cartridges but most adepts are capable of putting rounds on target at six hundred yards.
Blinded in the Battle of the Bridge, in which Ivana seized the Throne of Venezuela and forged the Shogunate, Ivana never saw the fruits of her labors for she dwelled in a world of absolute darkness.
However this isolation within herself gave her increased focus and awareness of her own body. Absent the constant distractions of the outside world the Strigidae grandmaster begin to attain a higher level of connection with her own body almost immediately.
This increased awareness of her own body gave her fine appreciation of the bodies weak points. Her attention captured Ivana sought out the ancient texts and esoteric scrolls of long dead Strigidae masters.
Diligent study paid dividends, as did her mastery of NA-AU, which gave her complete awareness of, and control over, her autonomic, somatic and cognitive systems. She was able to delve into her own procedural memory and accelerate the rate at which she learned, removing minor errors in technique and transferring knowledge she had read in a book to practical skills she could execute in combat.
The first level of Vespa knowledge is general knowledge of the bodies weak points and where to strike them. For example the precise angle to strike the jaw to cause a knockout or the exact position to finish a choke hold. Many warriors find this level to be sufficient, for with it bones can be shattered, enemies rendered unconscious with ease and even killed with a single elegant strike.
However trust mastery brings a plethora of abilities that is far beyond that of the relatively simple knowledge the adept possesses. A master of Vespa can inflict paralysis on a limb, organ, or even the entire body with the correct series of nerve strikes.
In addition a master of Vespa can target esoteric abilities. For example chakra can be targeted, cutting the victim off from their Chi and removing their access to their Chi based abilities. During the era of the Imperos and their devastating elemental bending power this was a technique desperately sought after by the enemies of the Impero and his or her clan.
Magical power can also be targeted in much the same way. These techniques are not as wide spread, yet still known to the Strigidae. By targeting vital points a magician can be cut off from the source of their power, just as a Chi user can be cut off their Chi.
The art of stealth.
There are as many kinds of stealth as there are means of detection. Typically they all revolve around a simple principle of evading the detectors lines of sight, but there are more advanced techniques.
A master can become next to invisible in any terrain. The slightest distraction and they simply vanish. In darkness or smoke they are next to invisible. The footsteps of a master are nearly soundless and they can walk on pressure sensors without activating them.
It is this skill that defines many of the Strigidae; their ability to materialize as if flowing from the shadows themselves, strike and then vanish into the darkness.