Pride and Power
The Parkouring Iron Giant
The Abelton family has, for several generations, been large-scale munitions manufacturers. The head of the family, Douglas Abelton, graduated from West Point Academy at 22, served twenty years in the U.S. Army (before retiring at the rank of Lt. Colonel), and took over the family business at 42. During that time, he fathered five sons and one daughter: James, Matthew, Jacob, Thomas, Joseph, and the youngest sibling, Maribeth. Two of the five sons have followed in their father’s footsteps (Joseph, and James) and graduated West Point to become military officers. James, as a Captain in the U.S. Army, was injured as a helicopter was shot down and debris from the resulting explosion severed his left leg. He was brought back home, awarded the Purple Heart, and has been helping Douglas run the company for the past two years. After graduating high school, Matthew left for California to become a screenwriter. He never found success in the movie business and needing to pay his bills, he took up the only job that he could manage to obtain; a mechanic at a smalltime gas station. Douglas saw Matthew’s career decision as an “adolescent fantasy” and ensured that Matthew was aware of this. Growing tired of the game of bruised egos, Matthew had ceased all communication with the family. He is rarely mentioned among the family anymore, sometimes being called “The Forgotten Child,” when referenced. Jacob, the middle child, followed a creative path and immediately found success in New York city as a painter and sculptor. His pieces are on display at numerous art galleries and range in price from $1,500-$60,000. Douglas, though he has never taken to the arts as a personal pleasure, is proud of Jacob’s success and attributes the talent as having been passed on from their mother, Ruth. After an incident involving his sister and a predatory football player in high school, Thomas took up a life of justice and is currently serving as a Boston police officer. He is rumored to be coming up for a promotion to detective within the coming months. Maribeth was troubled after the run-in with her ex-boyfriend in high school and received counseling for a few years following. Though she will never come to terms with it, she has overcome its damage and now works as an elementary school teacher in Boston. She has also (secretly) been taking self-defense lessons from an American-loyalist Chinaman.
Joseph followed in his father’s footsteps because he felt the call to lead others and protect American freedoms. However, after his graduation at West Point, he was sent off to China to fight against the spreading Nazi regime. Quickly promoted to 1st Lieutenant, he was charged with leading several squads against a Chinese soldier-training camp. He had decided that attacking the encampment from both sides was the best tactic as it would overwhelm the enemy and force them to split their concentration of fire. The Chinese were tipped-off however and there were more than three hundred soldiers awaiting Joseph and his platoon’s arrival. Ten of his men were killed almost immediately upon entering the camp; but once inside, a massive, deadly firefight ensued.
Joseph, hearing hundreds of rounds firing all at once, feared for his life and hid behind a disassembled tank. He waited for the cease of gunfire to peer around a corner and inspect the situation. Bodies littered the ground; American and Chinese alike, and Joseph saw at least thirty Chinese still standing. His men were now all dead and being piled, their weapons and personal effects scavenged. As he was hiding, German soldiers arrived on the scene and spoke with the remaining Chinese soldiers. Then they killed them.
Again looking around the corner, Joseph saw a man in a black uniform wearing a red armband embroidered with a swastika. This man wore dark-tinted glasses, matching the rest of his blackened uniform. A thin mustache lined the top of his lips. He was skinny, but somehow looked strong. His features: the haircut, body build, even the mild gauntness to his facial structure, all appeared to be deliberate and was accentuated by the SS uniform. He stood in the open and smoked a cigarette as his men gunned down the unsuspecting Chinese. Joseph held his breath as his heart raced, knowing they would inspect the rest of the camp and he would be found, then executed.
Joseph pinned his back to the tank and looked inside himself for his nerves of steel, but only found nerves of cheap tin and body trembled in fear. Even upon being found and dragged before the SS Officer, he couldn’t find it within himself to die fighting. The officer leaned down and looked at Joseph’s gigantic features, almost analytically. A smile cracked its way open and the officer announced to others, “Leave him alive. He was hiding during the firefight.” He looked back at Joseph, and saw his name on the uniform, “You’re cowardice is appreciated Mr. Abelton. The Americans could use more like you.”
Joseph broke from his fear and struck the officer across the left side of his face, breaking his darkened glasses and knocking him to his knees. The surrounding soldiers raised the weapons and readied to fire. The man in black clutched one hand to his fresh bruise but held up the other; signaling the soldiers to hold fire. “Wait! Hold your fire.” He shouted. Standing up and dusting himself off, the officer looked down at Joseph, albeit on his knees Joseph came up to the officer’s neck. His eyes were as of mercury; liquid, yet metal. He stretched out his hand and touched Joseph’s chest. A bolt of electricity surged through his body and shot him into the dirt. As the enemy forces began loading up into the vehicles, the officer walked over to Joseph and knelt down. “Why don’t you go ahead and take credit for the work here? We’d prefer if nobody knew that we were here and you might even get a promotion out of it. Good day, Mr. Abelton.” The SS Officer walked toward his vehicle and Joseph lost consciousness.
Joseph received the Silver Star medal and a promotion to the rank of Captain for his actions against the overwhelming enemy forces. Though acting in cowardice, he does maintain his honor by never having worn the cross. He dwells constantly on the day that he hid while his men died. When he sleeps, his nightmares overwhelm him; tormenting him for his lack of courage. He has since done everything he can to make up to himself for that day. In the face of combat, he charges forward relentlessly; seemingly with a death wish. He secretly wants to die as he believes his death in the heat of a fight will be what redeems him to his fallen brothers.
He takes great issue with being dishonest, save for his one dark secret. He doesn’t enjoy (nor does he often agree to) subterfuge as a worthy tactic. He believes in a more straightforward approach, making it exceptionally difficult to successfully carry on any lie or even act as a spy for his nation. He is however a great inspiration to those that will hear his words. He now carries a sense of righteous cause to any fight and has swayed the hearts of many under his command to stand their ground and fight for what is good and right in the world. His passion in these speeches often stems from his regret during the Chinese training camp invasion.
Since the eruption of his powers, he has struggled with keeping them stable. His emotions of anger and regret tear at him, generally exacerbating the situation if one of his powers were to spontaneously release from his grasp. Joseph fears that his newfound abilities will not only continue to corrupt his body, but that he will change in mind and spirit as well. He fears he will become something terrible. Something evil.