Aegis of Freedom
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|Aegis of Freedom|
|Player: @Aegis of Freedom|
|Real Name:||Robert Connelly Winters (officially "deceased")|
|Known Aliases:||Thomas Gates|
|Hair Color:||Light brown|
|Occupation:||Staffer for Paragon City Council|
|Place of Birth:||Boston, Massachusetts,|
|Base of Operations:||Steel Canyon, Paragon City|
|Known Relatives:||Lauren Tierney Winters (Mother), Thomas Winters (Father), Heather Winters (Sister)|
|Super Strength, Invulnerability, Flight|
|Suit allowing for flight based upon genetic key|
|No additional information available.|
== Character History ==
Robert Connelly Winters was born on April 2nd, 1983 in Boston, Massachusetts. From an early age, Robert's distinctive nature set himself apart - though not always in positive ways - from others his age. Unlike most children (especially those who had Robert's sense of... adventure), excursions through parks, up trees, and other usually precarious areas did not result in the bumps, scrapes, and bruises of a normal childhood; to the contrary, Robert suffered only a very rare bruise where others would suffer broken bones. Throughout his formative years, Robert and his family worked to keep his ability under wraps - an effort that ultimately failed when Robert protected a classmate of his just after his 15th birthday from an oncoming car; an incident in which Robert walked away from without a scratch. And though it would be several years before the issue came back to Robert and his family, that instance would alter Robert's course in life and leave a permanent mark on the Winters family.
Partially as a result of the accident, the classmate he saved - Catherine Reynolds - and Robert grew close, eventually becoming a couple. Robert, conscious of how his ability could bring unwanted attention on his family, passed on sports on the high school level and ultimately held himself to a quiet four years in high school. That, however, would change when he was approached by an Army recruiter three weeks before his high school graduation.
The incident of his freshman year in high school had not gone unnoticed by some in positions of powers; an Army Colonel, Joseph Talon, had encountered the man who crashed his car into Robert and had taken quiet interest in him over the next four years. He approached Robert at his home in Boston in May of 2001, at a time when the United States Army was beginning to more actively and covertly integrate persons with superhuman abilities into the Special Forces and Special Operations branches in order to deal with irregular threats such as terrorism, high-risk intelligence missions, and other such tasks. In exchange for Robert's entry into the Army's "Specter Regiment", a secret unit within Special Operations Command, the Army would provide aid, assistance, and protection to the Winters family. At a point when Robert's father, Thomas Winters, had been in and out of the hospital for cancer treatment half a dozen times over the last three years, Robert chose to accept the offer.
After joining the Army, Robert trained with others with superhuman traits and abilities before being deployed to the United Kingdom as part of a rapid response special operations team in August of 2001. There, he would meet then-Captain Derrick Archer, an engineer and weapons systems designer for the Army Special Weapons Division - the public name given for units employing superhuman members.
In response to the attacks on the United States on September 11th of the same year, Robert - now a First Lieutenant - was deployed to assist and work with Army Ranger units going into Afghanistan. He participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and the aftermath of the fall of the Taliban before being rotated out in the fall of 2002 to an operational base in Germany. His next deployment rotation would take him through several African and S. Asian countries, including Kenya, Somalia, Myanmar, and a brief stint in Pakistan before being sent into Iraq as part of an insertion strike team to neutralize Iraqi air defenses in the days before the Gulf War in early March 2003.
After a brief return to Boston, Robert was deployed again to active duty in South America where he would serve for over two years; in his time, he would act often as the deployed "strategic reserve" for special intelligence operations and "regime change"-oriented missions, including a failed coup d'etat of Bolivia in December of 2005.
It was at the time of his second rotation into Afghanistan in March of 2006 that now-Major Robert Winters to grow more and more concerned over the goals and nature of the operations he was ordered to carry out. Increasingly, the need for additional firepower was requested and missions of more dubious morality were being ordered, as well as concerns regarding collateral damage inflicted upon civilians decreased. Though he expressed his concerns to his colleague and good friend, now-Lt. Colonel Archer, it would be an incident in June of that year that brought his concerns to the forefront.
A small village in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan on the border of "safe", allied-held territory and "hostile" territory was suspected of providing refuge to a known terrorist who had eluded capture since the opening days of the campaign in Afghanistan. American commanders, growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress towards capturing him and facing additional political pressure for a "win" in an election year, ordered the town to be infiltrated and the terrorist in question neutralized by any means necessary. Faced with the order, Robert initially worked as per his orders but balked when the time came for operations to stop. Despite numerous orders to comply, Robert halted the advance of the Army unit tasked to attack the village, blocking a passage through the mountains and warning the locals - allowing them to escape before the Army arrived, saving tens of thousands of innocents; though as a result, the terrorist in question escaped capture again.
Facing insubordination charges and given the extremely secretive nature of his unit, Robert chose to flee from the Army; with the help of a suit designed by Lt. Colonel Archer for flight, the Boston native escaped his Army unit and went underground in Europe, though the suit's flight systems were damaged beyond Robert's ability to repair them in the effort. Robert would stay in Europe, moving around the continent under various aliases and guises, where he would first gather a taste for a more pro bono life of crime-fighting when the opportunity presented itself.
Robert returned to the United States after twenty-five months of hiding in Europe in June of 2008. After eluding authorities for several weeks, Robert was eventually tracked down and discovered again by Joseph Talon, now a General and in charge of the Army Special Weapons Program, in Chicago. In exchange for continued assistance for his family - particularly for his father - Robert would remain under the very loose employ of the United State government. However, due to the nature of his departure and the need to maintain the secrecy of the Special Weapons Division, Robert Winters was retroactively declared "killed in action" following his last mission in Afghanistan, including to his family and closest friends. Given a new public identity, Thomas Gates, Robert went to Paragon City to start his "new" life - though not without reservations towards the imposed secrecy of the Army nor anger over being forced to keep his survival from his family or girlfriend. To serve as a reminder - both to himself and to the government - of his allegiance and motivation, Robert took the name "The Aegis of Freedom" to symbolize that his loyalty is to the ideals and principles of the country he has served, not to political leaders or others who would see those principles warped for their own benefit.
Since arriving at Paragon City, Robert has worked in a less pronounced manner than many of his fellow hero colleagues, attempting to maintain as low of a profile that a superhero can. Despite that, he has earned a name for himself by frequently teaming with other heroes in the hero, working predominantly in Steel Canyon and lately in Talos Island. He has earned the enmity of the Council on numerous occasions and harbors a dislike of Crey Industries, a frequent ally for the Army's Special Weapons Division.
Robert soon cemented a working relationship and later official membership with the Action Pact, a superhero group based out of the SkySlab, an orbiting base built into an asteroid high above the Earth's surface. His membership in the group has helped in many ways to assist in working out the difficulties he had when he left the Army and the subsequent two years of hiding in Europe, finding particular comradeship with Nachtangst and (later) his wife Morgan Stern. The group also assisted in helping Robert to be re-united with his girlfriend, Catherine Reynolds, who had come to Paragon City as the Emerald Aegis in an attempt to locate Robert.
Powers and Abilities
- Super-strength - Invulnerability - Superhuman fitness and health - Flight: provided by technological suit developed by Lt. Colonel Derrick Archer; keyed off Robert's superhuman genetic structure to allow for flight. Damaged after escape, repaired (and improved) during Robert's time in Paragon City
Due to the unknown cause of origin for his powers, some questions remain regarding their full extent. Robert's strength has allowed him to trade blows with numerous robots, creatures, villains, and other unsavory types in Paragon several times his size, and his invulnerable nature has allowed him to withstand punishment several magnitudes beyond a regular person's tolerance. It is suspected by Robert and his Army trainers at the time that his strength and invulnerability increase over time and with additional training, though to what extent or what end is unknown.
Known Affiliations & Associates
Supergroup - The Action Pact Nachtangst - Member of the Action Pact Morgan Stern - Member of the Action Pact, wife of Nachtangst Emerald Aegis - Also known as Catherine Reynolds; girlfriend
Colonel, United States Army, Special Forces - "Specter Regiment"