Doctor Crom/The Citadel
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The Citadel was the Antarctic fortress which once belonged to the armored supervillain Doctor Crom. It was located on Ross Island, directly underneath the somewhat ominously named Mount Terror. The Citadel was destroyed in an epic battle between Crom and the U.N. Superteam known as Force Majeure in 1986.
In the final years of World War II, when it became apparent to even the most delusional members of the German High Command that their days were numbered, Martin Bormann hatched a plan to insure that some semblance of the Third Reich survived to fight another day. The idea was to build an impregnable redoubt in Antarctica where the best and brightest of the Fatherland could regroup and rearm, and ultimately strike back.
The plan started to become reality when a U-Boat accidentally discovered a hidden entrance to a vast underground tunnel complex created eons ago by the volcanic activity of now-dormant Mount Terror, one of two large volcanoes on the antarctic island known as Ross Island. Virtually invisible from the outside and enormous on the inside, the location seemed ideal for the Reich's purposes.
However, though they had found an ideal spot to build this base, the harsh realities of constructing a usable base within such an extreme and foreboding environment proved to be nearly impossible. Chief among the obstacles they faced was the inability to get labor and resources to construct the base in a timely manner. The base commander, Oberst Bruckner, came up with a novel solution: a young scientist working for the Reich had come up with a prototype for an extremely sophisticated robot. Intrigued, Bruckner had the doctor shipped in secret to the base, which is how Doctor Crom first came to Antarctica.
Once there, Crom began assembling an army of robots to build out the base, but in the following months, it became clear to him that once the base was finished, the Germans would have no place for him within the base, nor could they permit him live knowing the secret of its existence. Thus, shortly after the base was completed, Crom turned his robots on the Germans and quickly eliminated them.
Over the next several years, Crom made innumerable improvements to his fortress, outfitting it with sophisticated scientific equipment and fiendishly clever security systems. Up until its destruction in 1986, the Citadel could be considered one of the largest, most secure and most advanced research facilities on the planet.
In 1986, the U.N. Superteam known as Force Majeure, made up of representative superheroes from all 161 member countries, lead a coordinated attack on the Citadel. They were assisted by the prototype flying aircraft carrier, the Hyperion, which was on loan from the U.S. Government. While the details of the battle are sketchy, an atomic device appeared to have been detonated within the Citadel, triggering a volcanic eruption that presumably destroyed all combatants as well as the Hyperion.
Level 1: The Throne Room
The ‘Throne Room’ served as the nerve center for Crom’s operations across the globe as well as the central command for the base. This enormous hall sported several billboard-sized displays and holographic projectors designed to keep Crom informed on any of the dozens of schemes he was undertaking at any given time. In the center of the room was a raised dais which held the titular Throne, a high tech chair covered in various control interfaces.
Level 2: The Hangar
Crom built and launched several of his flying contraptions on this enormous deck over the years, including the Dreadigible, the Terrornaught, and the Eliminoids. Interestingly enough, for security reasons, the Hangar deck contained no direct access to the surface; rather, Crom installed an enormous telepad to teleport his vehicles to the surface.
Level 3: Hydroponics/Life Support
This level served the dual purpose of creating oxygen for the rest of the base as well as providing an indefinitely sustainable food source for the base’s complement. As Crom needed only a fraction of the food the base was originally designed to provide, he turned much of this level into a vast conservatory, stocked with exotic plants from around the world, as well as several species of flora he created.
Levels 4-5: Living Area
In the original design of the base, this area (and the area below it) was designed to house and feed over 1000 inhabitants for decades if necessary. Crom later turned these cramped quarters into an opulent, palatial living area for himself and the precious few guests he entertained over the years, complete with a gigantic dining room, a trophy room/museum, and, of course, a very well stocked library.
Level 6: The Submarine Pen
The Submarine Pen was a vast, half submerged cavern which was originally designed to house and maintain up to 6 Mark VII U-Boats. Crom later modified these to suit his own goals, and scrapped them altogether a few years later when it was clear that his grasp of submarine technology had exceeded the design specifications of the U-Boats.
Until Crom perfected his teleportation device in the mid 1940’s, the pen served as the only entry point to the Citadel, and therefore was one of the most protected areas on the base. Most formidable (and dramatic) of the Pen’s defenses was an extremely powerful capacitor system that could discharge enormous amounts of electricity from one wall of the cavern, through the water, to the wall on the opposite side, instantly electrocuting anything unfortunate enough to be caught in between. Crom later augmented this with hidden gas dispensers, automated sentry guns, and deployable mines.
Level 7: Science Deck
Crom conducted his experiments and achieved his greatest scientific breakthroughs within the ever-changing laboratory layouts of this level. Most of the level is entirely automated, allowing Crom to supervise his projects remotely for reasons of both safety and convenience. Level 7 also housed the on-base equipment required to operate LOTHAR, Crom’s sophisticated A.I. assistant.
Level 8: Machining and Manufacturing
This level of the Citadel was by far the largest, using more volume than the next two largest levels combined. This vast automated factory operated day and night, building devices necessary to Crom’s goal of total world domination. While some particularly large projects required assembly off site, almost every piece of equipment Crom used between the mid 1940’s and the late 1980’s, down the smallest bolt, was manufactured here under his exact specifications.
Level 9: Storage
This area was dedicated to storing the items manufactured by the base until such time as they were needed. At any given time, Crom had armies of Crombots waiting dormant here, as well as formidable arsenals of weaponry and vast arrays of sophisticated equipment. The storage area had a dedicated telepad network so items stored here could be quickly transported to wherever Crom might need them.
Level 10: Power Generators
At the peak of operation, the Citadel required more electricity than many small cities, and those power requirements were met via an ingenious system of Geothermal energy taps that were set up to take advantage of Mount Terror’s naturally volcanic environment. In a crisis, powerful explosives could be dropped down the tap lines, triggering a volcanic eruption and thus destroying the base.