From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
My name is Doctor Lazarus Crom.
For as long as I can remember, I have followed but one goal.
In its tireless pursuit, I have witnessed wonders beyond belief.
I have suffered losses deep and terrible.
I have committed atrocities most men cannot imagine.
When obstacles barred my path, I removed them.
When foes stood in my way, I defeated them.
When the would-be defenders of "truth" and "justice" opposed me, I eliminated them.
My cause is nothing less noble than rescuing humanity from itself.
And while these so-called heroes scurry about, protecting a life here or there,
I toil diligently, determined to save the whole of Civilization.
As thanks for these selfless efforts, I have been called a monster.
But perhaps the world needs monsters to accomplish the tasks its champions cannot.
My name is Doctor Lazarus Crom, and I have a destiny.
And that destiny is to rule you.
|For Such is the Will of Crom!|
|Doctor Lazarus Crom|
|Nationality:||Former American Citizen (Denounced)|
|Place of Birth:||Paragon City, Rhode Island|
|Base of Operations:||Nerva Archepelego|
|Known Relatives:||Rachel Adams (Daughter; deceased)|
|The Will of Crom, Astonishing Mind|
|Battlesuit, Robot Army, Teleporter system|
|No additional information available.|
Crom is generally arrogant, condescending and distant, believing himself far above the excruciating minutia of everyday man. However, to those few that he actually respects, he can be polite, generous, even kind. He is particularly warm to children, believing that they are the inheritors of the glorious future he is trying to bring about.
He is usually slow to anger, willing to pass off slights directed towards him as the disgruntled mutterings of his inferiors, but when his anger is truly roused, he will stop at nothing to carefully strip away everything a foe cherishes before crushing his enemy utterly.
However friendly Crom may appear, make no mistake that he absolutely will not hesitate to destroy anyone or anything that he perceives as a potential threat to his ultimate goal of ruling Humanity.
The Will of Crom
Crom's determination is the core of what makes him a threat. He is absolutely committed to his goal of World Domination, and no argument, setback or obstacle will stop him from achieving it. He has demonstrated in the past that he's willing to sacrifice anything, even the very things he loves most, to further his agenda.
Crom's mind is his greatest asset. He exhibits a combination of mental abilities that are usually only found individually in autistic savants. While speculation exists that these cognitive resources are the result of a mutation, none of the normal markers for such a mutation exist in his DNA, suggesting that his abilities are wholly natural. Chief among these abilities are:
- Faculty for Languages
While Crom believes that a single, universal language is ultimately in Mankind's best interests, he himself is an established polyglot, and enjoys adding to his impressive library of languages whenever time and opportunity exists. He speaks, reads and writes dozens of languages in addition to his native English, including German, Farsi, Dutch, Chinese (Mandarin, Wu, and Cantonese), Korean, Navajo, Norwegian, and Arabic. Given exposure to a new language, Crom can often grasp the basics of its structure and syntax in under an hour, and can achieve full fluency after as little as a day's worth of exposure.
- Eidetic Memory
Once exposed to stimuli of virtually any type, be it a fact, image or just a sensation, Crom retains a near perfect copy of it in his memory and can recall it instantly. Crom has memorized volumes of books, hundreds of symphonies, and thousands of hours of lectures. This has resulted in a vast reservoir of knowledge on tens of thousands of subjects which he can draw upon at a moment's notice. Crom has, on at least one occasion, bragged that he can accurately recall the number of raindrops that have hit his skin, but there is no known way to support this claim.
- Mental Calculator
Crom can perform astonishing feats of mathematics instantaneously in his head, including abstract algebra, trigonometry, and combinatorics.
Crom's mind can effectively compartmentalize itself, allowing him to perform at least three distinctly separate mental tasks simultaneously with no loss in efficiency. For example, he can carry on a conversation in Mandarin while writing a sonata and multiplying large numbers in his head. He thinks of them as "channels", and generally uses one for normal, day-to-day operation and interactions while dedicating the other two to planning and problem-solving.
Crom's Battlesuit is a sophisticated piece of equipment which has been refined over the past 65 years. In its current configuration, the suit is not only capable of impressive combat performance, but can sustain its wearer in a variety of hostile environments for upwards of a week at a time. When sealed, Crom's Battlesuit qualifies as a Level 4 Biosafety device, an Atmospheric Diving Suit, a Theta-level psionic resistance generator, and a fully integrated EVA system.
While this 'standard' Battlesuit is the one he is most often seen wearing, it is hardly his only only one. Crom has, in the past, utilized specialized variants of his Battlesuit which have been optimized to face particular challenges. Most recently, for example, he fielded a highly specialized suit of armor designed to counter the Rikti Threat.
Instead of relying on the traditional biofeedback mechanisms which persist in more primitive suits, Crom's Battlesuit uses a neural feedback system (NFS) which constantly monitors Crom's brainwaves. While non-invasive, the system requires close proximity to Crom's nervous system to accurately read his brainwaves, and thus the primary interface resides in the suit's helmet. However, backup interfaces exist at the base of his neck as well as his lower spine.
While engaged, the neural feedback system overrides Crom's biological sensory data with information gleaned from the suit's sensors and processed through the suit's computers. The most dramatic example of this process is the suit's 'head-up display', which replaces Crom's normal vision with a 360 degree view enhanced (as need and conditions warrant) by thermal, low light, radar, and ultrasonic echolocation sensors. This is further assisted by the suit's sophisticated tactical, threat assessment, pattern recognition, and predictive analytics packages, which highlight potential threats and targets in real time.
Commands from the NFS are sent via a 'fly by light' network of gallium nitride laser driven fiber-optic command pathways, which, in turn, break every movement and action into individual subtasks which are handled by a series of redundant dedicated semi-AI sub processors. These can, in the event of the loss of network coherency, operate on their own based upon past responses to similar situations. In the event of operator incapacitation, the suit can continue fighting or seek escape based on the decision of a dedicated expert system located slightly below the auxiliary power unit on the backpack assembly. It has two other similarly endowed backup units located in the helmet and abdomen, respectively.
Crom's armor is generally composed of an (average) 8 cm thick multi-layered plate.
The outermost part of the armor is a thin layer of photoresponsive polymer which can, depending on need, alter its refractive index. Crom can, for example, configure it to reflect light, rendering it resistant to lasers, absorb light, which recharges the armor's power reserves and grants him limited stealth abilities (full stealth mode, however, draws considerably more power from the suit than is gained via solar absorption), or any compromise of the two.
The next (and thickest) surface is composed of Cromtium, a non-ferric, axially aligned crystalline carbon composite alloy of Crom's design with several interesting properties. First of all, it is nearly as hard as titanium nitride, achieving an impressive 83 on the Rockwell C Scale. It is also surprisingly heat resistant, and is comparable in performance to similar quantities of the LI-9000 TPS tiles used on the Space Shuttle.
Underneath that layer is an elaborate lattice of interlaced monopolar electromagnetic waveguides, which, when powered, project a kinetic energy dampening field with a maximum projected radius of 20 cm.
Below that is a thin substrate of outward firing counter explosives which serve to negate even the most persistent kinetic weapon.
Between this layer and the next is a film of vacuum-sealed non-Newtonian fluid of Crom's design which serves as a physical shock absorber. This liquid thickens instantly when kinetic force greater than that exerted by the normal operations of the suit are applied, granting Crom extensive protection from physical shocks even in the event of total loss of power or a considerable compromise of the suit's structural viability.If exposed to air, the liquid will immediately harden, creating a protective shell or a breach seal.
After that layer are a series of ultrathin “support” layers, largely flat linear motors teamed with 4th generation electroresponsive shape memory alloys for suit locomotion, fiber optics and sub processors, and finally, stress allocators and life support systems.
- Teleportation: To cross great distances quickly, the Battlesuit utilizes a sophisticated teleportation device of Crom's design (see Teleporter, below).
- Flight: While he originally preferred the elegance of a personal anti-gravity field generator, Crom has recently turned to a set of boot-mounted hydrogen burning Pulse Detonation Engine units. These devices utilize six high energy lasers to superheat small, rapidly injected bursts of hydrogen gas into plasma, resulting in a greater than 100 atmosphere increase of reactant volume which is then channeled via magnetohydrodynamic 'virtual nozzles' for propulsion. The process repeats several times per second, propelling the Doctor through the air at high speeds (however, the detonation interval can be reduced to facilitate landing or even hovering). For more dramatic assents into the air, he relies upon a fairly exotic self oxidizing Monohydrazine II solid rocket booster capable of assisting the suit to a low orbital insertion. Ingeniously, as the Monohydrazine's oxygen-rich mixture is burned, leftover hydrogen is rechanneled to the suit's PDE systems to provide further thrust at higher altitudes.
- Electroskates: To cover distances indoors, where flight and teleportation are hindered by cramped or twisting confines, Crom has modified the soles of his boots to contain much more compact versions of his previously used anti-gravity field generators. While these units only grant an altitude of approximately 10 centimeters, when assisted the boot jets' thrust vectored perpendicular to the floor surface, he can achieve impressive speeds. Crom generally only uses this system in emergencies, feeling it makes him look 'undignified'.
The suit's power requirements are met through 2 zero-point energy generators located on either side of Crom's belt. A third backup generator is located on the back of the suit, directly between the shoulder blades. The armor contains a thin layer of highly efficient photoresponsive material which can also charge the suit's batteries via solar power, but the process is slow and generally inappropriate for the tasks requiring the suit's deployment. Furthermore, the suit contains a network of small “ultracapacitors” which are recharged and expended during combat depending on need. These ultracapacitors (traditionally blue in color) can occasionally be tapped into to restore the suit's energy reserves, should the need arise.
By design, the suit's 'hardpoints' are intended to be modular, allowing it to be fitted with the optimal weapons loadout for a given mission. Crom has, in the past, utilized weapons as diverse as 'blessed' shotgun shells to tactical nuclear warheads. However, Crom generally relies upon a standardized suite of 'default' weapons which accompany the suit on almost every deployment. These are:
- Gauntlet Blasters: Crom's most used personal weapon, these can be instantly configured to emit pulses of focused energy or cones of electricity. They have, in the past, displayed the ability to operate as emergency portable defibrillators.
- Drone Launcher: This device fires small, semi-autonomous seeking weapons with explosive warheads. Once launched, the drones will seek the nearest perceived threat and detonate. The explosive effect is similar to a 'flash bang' grenade, and can stun nearby opponents.
- Acid Mortar: This weapon injects a quantity of acid into a hollow plastic bulb with a small explosive core, then fires it into the air. By the time the projectile reaches apogee, the acid has eaten through the protective coating around the core, triggering an explosion that sprays the nearby area with acid, burning and blinding foes.
- Web Grenade Launcher: The web grenade is a small, handheld device that, once armed, triggers a meter or so above the nearest surface. It sprays everything within a two meter radius with a thick coating of a glue like substance that hardens rapidly upon exposure to air, almost guaranteeing that the target will be immobilized for the immediate future. Crom occasionally employs this non-lethal device to slow or even capture foes.
- Caltrops: A decidedly low-tech countermeasure, these razor sharp, diamond dusted titanium tetrahedrons can slow down even the most ardent pursuers.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests that the skull crest on his chest also contains a single use, high yield, short range phase cannon as an emergency fall back weapon.
Often unwilling to personally resort to violence to achieve his goals, Crom routinely utilizes an array of sophisticated robots accomplish the more rigorous physical tasks related to World Domination. Although they are widely varied in design, construction, and use, they all feature several common elements:
Crom's robots generally rely on a system of powerful magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) tubing for gross musculature and brute force applications coupled with an overlay electroresponsive polymers for small scale/fine manipulation. This dual-pronged approach gives Crom's robots incredible strength when necessary, but also allows them to accurately simulate human-like muscle responses.
All of Crom's robots feature a teleport sequencer chip, which allows Crom to easily lock onto them and teleport them to his position, however, none of them have the ability to teleport in and of themselves. While some utilize pulse detonation engines for flight, they mostly use their MHD-enhanced musculature to leap incredible distances.
Crom's robots utilize extremely quick charging extruded carbon nanotube ultracapacitors for combat operations, more than enough for an engagement lasting up to 12 hours. Beyond this, they each feature at least one small zero point-energy generator which is powerful enough to operate the robot in normal operations for a standard duty cycle of up to 75 years. Standard protocol dictates that the generator is used first and foremost to recharge the ultracapacitors should they become depleted, thus assuring that the robot can return to a combat ready state as soon as possible.
Crom's robots sport various weapon systems, but common to all of them are the inclusion of modular hardpoints which can mount various mission-specific weapons. This grants them unparalleled versatility on the battlefield.
Crom's robots each employ a customized series of hand to hand attacks designed to maximize the abilities of each models' strength, stature and and flexibility. These attacks are further broken down into situational responses, such as multiple foe engagement, target capture, silent kill, etc. Crom has jokingly referred to these techniques as “Bot-Jitsu”.
Crom has, in the past, made several efforts to create artificially intelligent robots, but all have ended with disaster. As such, Crom is reluctant to instill any of his robotic creations with true AI capabilities, although it is certainly within his means to do so. Instead, his robots feature protosentient intelligences which are capable of independent thought and reason, but not capable of actual self awareness. While the quality of the robot's intellect is, at best, baseline human, a great deal of what Crom calls “emotional clutter” can be eliminated and replaced with algorithms for improved combat performance, group support, etc. This has the net effect of making them significantly superior to otherwise similar human counterparts within a set of specific duties, most notably, combat.
Of particular interest is that Crom's robots are all networked to other units within a radius of approximately 60 meters, and, as such, routinely utilize various distributed computing models to improve cognitive performance. Further, each robot within that area automatically shares sensor data with one another, allowing them to operate with unprecedented levels of tactical combat intelligence, which, in a properly planned deployment, verges on omniscience. This means that as the number of robots in the immediate area increases, they become significantly more intelligent and more dangerous.
These are Crom's most common, and thus, most disposable, robots. Crom originally designed them for light combat duty while he was in the employ of the German military during World War II, and has constantly upgraded the design ever since. These semi-autonomous drones now serve a variety of roles, but are most famous (or infamous) for their combat capabilities. Crombots are typically outfitted with a medium duty particle beam emitter for ranged combat, but this can easily be upgraded to higher yield beam weapons as necessitated by the situation. Crombots are armored with titanium nitride plating.
- Additional Notes: While Crombots are not particularly sophisticated compared to the more elegant robot designs that Crom fields, this perceived 'weakness' is actually their greatest strength. Because of the relative simplicity of their design, any of Crom's robots can, if given time and access to raw materials, create a Crombot by self-machining the parts necessary to build one. While this is routinely done to replace combat losses, it's more important to note that the process is automatically initiated if one of Crom's robots loses contact with both LOTHAR and Crom's carrier signal for more than 24 hours while maintaining a connection to any of a thousand other routinely monitored signals. At this point, the robot operates under the assumption that Crom and LOTHAR have been eliminated and initiates a new series of protocols. The orphaned robot will begin by building additional Crombots as soon as conditions permit, and then move on to “build the tools to build the tools to build the tools” necessary to recreate Crom's basic infrastructure. The ultimate goal of this behavior is to create a clone of Doctor Crom, so that he may continue his quest for global domination.
Significantly more sophisticated than the Crombots, Cromdroids are designed primarily for field support. As such, they sport a dedicated hardlight projector which can ensconce friendly targets in “bubbles” of rigidly interlocked photons which greatly reduce the effectiveness of attacks originating outside of the bubble. While the projector is central to the Cromdroid's use, it is hardly the only item the unit brings to the field of combat. Cromdroids feature a considerably more powerful version of the particle beam emitter used by the Crombot, as well as a series of modular hardpoint mounts which are usually outfitted with photon grenades or seeker drones, should Crom deem them necessary. Cromdroids are protected by their own hardlight projector, which is made markedly more effective to them personally by the monopolar electromagnetic waveguides etched into the undersides of their 3 cm Cromtium armor plating.
The largest robot Crom fields on a regular basis, the Prime series is a heavy assault robot designed to counter heavy armor, entrenched positions, or metahuman resistance. Primes are generally armed with 3.73 Mw phased plasma projectors, although their multiple hardpoints are often equipped with such diverse weaponry as antipersonnel flamethrowers and 2.75 inch multi-payload Folding Fin Aerial Rocket (FFAR) arrays. Common perception would cast Primes as mindless brutes, but in actuality, they host a series of tactical and strategic expert system packages within their redundant cognition centers, and are as formidable on the battlefield as any human general. This focus makes them more than capable of assuming command of lesser tier robots should Crom or LOTHAR become unavailable. Primes carry an 8 cm plate of Cromtium armor, followed by monopolar electromagnetic waveguide kinetic field enablers, as well as a substrate of counter explosive kinetic penetration negators.
Crom routinely uses several hundred humanoid replicants, or "Reploids" as he calls them, to interact with various human agencies on his behalf, or infiltrate them as sleeper agents. They are extremely sophisticated, and virtually impossible to detect without a telepathic inquiry (being artificial, telepaths cannot sense them) or a very specific MRI scan (while their interior physiology is vastly different from that of a human's, they unconsciously and automatically "spoof" most dedicated scanning techniques with what appears to be human readings); in fact, many of his Reploids work and live among humans with no idea that they are artificial creations. Reploids don't have any inherent weaponry, save for a small explosive charge located in their lower back which can vaporize virtually everything within a three meter area. Standard protocol dictates that this charge is immediately detonated once the Reploid is discovered and unable to effect an escape.
Aware or "Awakened" Reploids are approximately five times stronger and faster than their human counterparts. They can survive considerable damage before ceasing to function, although they have been programmed to self destruct prior to losing combat effectiveness.
LOTHAR, the Logical Operation Terminal Human-like Automated Responder, is an artificially intelligent computer originally designed by Crom to function as a seemingly human radio operator should the Germans ever attempt to contact the Citadel, an Antarctic base Crom secretly commandeered in 1944 (See Doctor_Crom/The_Citadel). Given that it convincingly lured six U-Boats to their ultimate doom, LOTHAR could be considered a huge success by the standards of the Turing test, especially for the time. Crom eventually expanded LOTHAR's abilities until the computer operated as a majordomo for the base's upkeep.
LOTHAR generally runs the day-to-day operation of Crom's various plans; it manages experiments, oversees maintenance, and creates equipment as needed. It can, if necessary, control any of Crom's devices or robots with an authority second only to Crom himself. Most importantly, however, LOTHAR maintains the Archive, a "backup" of Crom's mind which is updated via his suit's NFS system every thirty seconds. Thus, should Crom ever be killed, a clone of him can be created and instilled with his memories current to within a minute of his death.
In the 1980's, Crom upgraded LOTHAR to operate in a viral capacity. Obviously, the sophisticated program couldn't be uploaded to a computer in any sort of timely fashion (especially in the context of 1980's era technology), so Crom ingeniously developed a way to recreate vast amounts of LOTHAR's programming via procedurally generated code, allowing a small virus to be uploaded to a computer, and then it would literally write the code necessary to re-create LOTHAR on the fly. Whether or not the far more sophisticated version of the current LOTHAR package still maintains this feature is unknown, however, it seems unlikely that Crom would abandon such a useful ability.
LOTHAR 18.4, the current incarnation of the system, operates on several redundant servers hidden throughout the world, plus at least one orbital location as well as an instance secreted away in the Shadow Shard. Furthermore, the program is capable of being broken down into smaller packets and can operate in a diminished capacity across a few dozen regular desktops via distributed computing techniques.
Crom has developed a teleportation system that interchanges an area of space's superpositional contents with that of another area of space elsewhere, effectively moving a significant quantity of matter from point A to point C without dealing with point B at all. Crom uses this not only to move from one place to another, but also to draw targets to himself when necessary. He also uses the teleporter to call weapons and equipment (most notably, his robots) from his Lair to his side as needed.
The boy who would become Doctor Lazarus Crom was born in the King's Row neighborhood of Paragon City nearly a century ago. His parents were first generation immigrants- his father was Polish and his mother was Irish. The child's mother died due to complications from his birth, a tragedy that his father often blamed on him. While growing up, the boy's intellect was quickly apparent, and he accepted a scholarship to the prestigious Dandridge Academy in Samanica when he was 12. His father hotly contested his son's willingness to leave, and the boy ran away from home shortly afterwards, changing his first and last names to Lazarus (to reflect his 'rebirth') and Crom (His mother's maiden name) so that his father would never share in any glories he collected in the future.
While attending Dandridge, Crom developed a fascination with the great military geniuses of history, particularly Alexander the Great, Caesar, and Ghengis Kahn. He theorized that humanity would never reach its full potential as long as it was divided into separate nations and cultures. Crom decided that a single, global dictator would be the most efficient way to focus mankind's efforts.
In the 1940's, Crom worked with the Germans, believing Hitler to be the most likely agent to unify the world after the resolution of WWII. However, his scientific accomplishments were misused and he quickly grew disillusioned with the Nazis. As the Axis began to fall, Crom managed to attach himself to Bormann's secret project to build a fortress in Antarctica as a final redoubt for the fleeing Nazi command structure. Crom devised several robotic servants to assist in building the base, then turned them on the Nazis to seize the base for his own.
From there, Crom determined that one way or another, humanity would be united, either by him or against him. He launched several bids for world domination, most spectacularly in 1986, when the UN's official superteam, Force Majeure, attempted to foil his plan to release a pandemic. The ensuing battle killed all of Force Majeure and drove the United States' prototype Stratocarrier Hyperion into the side of Mount Terror, the volcano which housed his vast underground base (See Doctor_Crom/The_Citadel).
Crom was assumed to have perished in the base's destruction, but he recently reappeared in the Rogue Isles and is attempting to consolidate his power. Speculation exists that the current individual claiming to be Lazarus Crom may, in fact, be a robotic duplicate or clone, as he appears to be nowhere near his actual age of 98.
Regardless, while not as formidable as he once was, Crom is every bit as ruthless and driven as ever, and he is ceaselessly working towards his one, ultimate goal: total world domination.
Additional details are available here: Doctor_Crom/I,_Crom
The Once and Future Crom
In late 2006, Crom launched an initiative to re-establish himself as a contender for World Dominance by systematically eliminating Earth's greatest champions. Addressing the list alphabetically was the most expedient solution, so he began his war against humanity's heroes by deciding to kill Ascendant. However, unbeknown to him, Ascendant's survival was crucial to the universe's survival, and his death triggered the sequence of events that lead to the destruction of all life in our universe some three thousand years in the future.
Thus, the Crom of that age (referred to as 'The Sovereign') journeyed back in time to stop the machinations of his present-day self, gathering a contingent of modern-day heroes to protect Ascendant to safeguard the future of humanity. After a pitched battle in both Warburg and Bloody Bay, the heroes won the day and the future was saved, effectively negating the Sovereign out of existence.
Secret Crisis Wars (on 52 Earths)
Most recently, Crom was recruited to head up a team of supercriminals in order to find the mythical Eye of All, a vastly powerful artifact which supposedly has recorded every single event in the multiverse. Crom was joined in this endeavor by Attrocitor, Descendant, Corn on Macabre, and Damnation Aly. During the event, he managed to convince the often-wavering hero, Red-Shift to join the cause of Evil.
- Crom holds doctorate, or doctorate-level equivalences, in 27 different fields, including Mathematics, Engineering, Biology, and Physics. Many of these were granted during his studies at M.I.T., but he also simultaneously studied via distance learning programs at Oxford, Stanford, and Cambridge.
- Crom's drink of choice is spring water from the Auvergne region of France chilled over glacial ice, ideally with a twist of Grecian lemon. On the rare occasions he drinks alcohol, he prefers 30 year-old single malt Talisker whisky.
- Crom often pays for things in diamonds, as he has developed a process to manufacture them quickly and cheaply.
- Crom has developed a device which allows his unconscious mind to interact with his computers in a virtual environment via an induced lucid dream state. Effectively, this means that even when he's sleeping, he's plotting.
- While many people believe Crom is based on Marvel's Doctor Doom, that's not entirely correct. He's actually much more heavily influenced by genius do-gooder Austin James from the short lived 80's TV show, 'Probe'. Crom also bears a good deal of resemblance to the Master Menace from the 'Squadron Supreme' comics, who himself is an amalgam of Doctor Doom and Lex Luthor. There's also a little bit of Serpentor from 'G.I. Joe' thrown in there, too. What can I say? I grew up in the 80's.
- The fuel used in Crom's booster rocket, Monohydrazine, is a shout out to the short lived 70's TV Show,'Salvage'.