Rifts®: Megaversal Highway™
Dr. Henry Clemons "Doctor Bastardstro"
Henry Clemons grew up under a fascist regime and witnessed his amazing rise to power at the cost of truth and personal freedom. His heart broke over the book burnings and on more than one occasion during his college years he was beaten severely for partaking in active protests against the Coalition suppression of knowledge and the public’s obsequious embrace of willful ignorance. In the heat of his youth Henry thought himself a thorn in the Emperor’s side, a voice of reason in an irrational world and frequently moved in circles with Erin Tarn.
Though as the years passed Henry (like so many of his peers) grew up, got a family and slipped away into mediocrity. However, even then Henry was unwilling to fuel the Coalition War Machine and refused to join Psi-Net or any other government owned institution for that matter and as a result was forced to take work as a janitor like his father before him. As a janitor in Chi-Town Henry and his wife had security but only in enduring the constant condescending attitude and small-minded ideals of those around them. It was a humiliating existence that was only further complicated by an unexpected pregnancy.
With stress mounting Henry withdrew and escaped into fantasy world where he could do and say as he liked and in more extreme cases even kill those who were impolite or inconsiderate towards him. Then one day it all changed when he was approached by one of his old protestor friends and offered a position with a company in Europe called Mindwerks. It was explained to Henry that his skills as a surgeon and knowledge of psi-active brain-work could be utilized in a program by Mindwerks that would help grant emotional and mental stability to those who had been subjected to M.O.M. implants by rogue military organizations or mercenary companies. Overwhelmed by the opportunity to make a “real difference” again, Henry accepted and with the assistance of Mindwerks moved his family to a secret installation in Europe.
Just as his friend had promised Henry was put to work on developing a modular unit that would stabilize the brainwaves of those enhanced by the Mind Over Matter Augmentation Process. It was a promising endeavor and though it forced Henry to bloody his hands on the wasted lives of various “test subjects” in pursuit of perfecting his work, there was some dark part of him actually began to take pleasure in it. At last he had power and was more than one voice in the roar of a crowd or the downtrodden guy that cleaned up after rowdy Deadboys.
As more and more time passed Henry’s wife found it more and more difficult to understand his growing obsession with his work as Henry himself grew increasingly distant and formed a relationship with Angel Herrenisel (“The Angel of Death”). Although never a relationship of equals something about Henry reminded Angel of her life and she became morbidly fascinated with the Doctor’s genius. With the two minds racing it was natural for an intellectual romance to evolve that quickly became an affair; an affair that would destroy Henry’s marriage and ultimately leave him a single father.
With his wife murdered and his son now young enough to be able to serve as one of his assistants, Henry was able to spend all his time at the lab. His grip on reality though already tenuous was strained further by the manipulation of Angel and her envious daughter Bridget, until at last; harried and fearful for the life of his son, the Doctor completed his invention and offered it up into the cold steel hands of his new beloved.
However, Angel was less than impressed with the unsightly chair and explained that they had expected him to design a portable technology. Henry claimed that it could not be done and so as incentive and punishment Angel implanted Henry’s son with M.O.M. technology. Disheveled and desperate to save the mind of his son, Henry toiled day and night!
With the condescending smirk of Bridget burned in his mind, the decomposing corpse of his wife nailed above his work station, and his son floating at the edge of madness in a tube on the other side of the lab, despair took hold of Henry. It was the closet to hell he had ever been. Never before in his life had he wished he just did not care anymore, though it was there; in the darkness of his own lament and disdain for all other living beings the Doctor found the conviction to at last resolve all of his problems. And it was there, reflected in the glass dead eyes of wife Doctor Henry Clemons, to save his son from insanity, to reclaim control of his life, removed his own skull cap and surgically implanted Mindwerks Psi-Tech into his own brain. It was an agonizing experience but in the fire of his pain the Doctor found his courage, found himself and found understanding… The Angel and Bridget had made him strong. Their hatred had forged and reforged him and in damning him, in punishing him, in tormenting him they had opened his eyes to a world exquisite poetry that he had not ever dared dream of. So, at last as he looked at son floating in the tube before him after all he had been through… Henry didn’t care—he felt, nothing.
Now, all that seemed to matter was the interplay of life and suffering. Inconvenience amused him, embodied him and in a dark way, transformed him. At first Henry had tried to stay in control his impulses, tried to cage himself, to limit his mind and stop its brilliance but in time he saw the folly in this and so he reinvented himself and gave himself a more fitting name.. Doctor Bastardstro!
For the first time in his life Henry was truly free! Free to make the lives of all those around him inconvenient or difficult! The oily fingerprint of his machinations left as a stain in their minds in the form of hatred. In his mind and every expression he had become the man world revolved around; for in their torment they were blind to all but the cause of their loathing. It was not long before Angel grew tired of her new Doctor’s ruthless; for though more impish than her own without humility, fear or love to quiet him it became quickly apparent that Doctor’s new genius eclipsed even her own. His mad and unreasoning experimentation into genetics and M.O.M. technology was nothing short of a miracle but the risks to revealing their organization were far too great. Doctor Bastardstro had to be eliminated.
A year later after countless foiled assassinations and a titanic chess game that could well have compromised her struggle with Triax and the NGR, Angel relinquished her conflict “for now” and the Doctor fled to back to the United States. Following an unfortunate series of events involving Desmond Bradford discovering his genetic “Augmen” and an incident involving a mentally challenged test subject, Doctor Bastardstro was forced to flee to Madhaven and the isolated Amana city of Paradise where for a time the madness subsided and Henry found peace with his son Jed; who had followed in his steps as a janitor. Within the peaceful and loving walls of the city Dr. Bastardstro was quiet and for time in decades Henry was safe and calm and appreciated his life and the wonders and wonderful people around him. Then they came… the Splugorth, chariots of fire, alien monstrosities and eldritch rain!
The Amana and the Royal Consortium fought but the slaves seized them and by the dozens and stole them way through holes in time and space as if they had the power to tear the very fundament of the universe itself! The hundred years of peace shattered and their isolation and force fields buckled like children’s blocks under the fierce uncompromising technology of the Kittani!
Blood filled the streets and the cries of children rang like music in Henry’s ears but for his son he held back a smile and lowered himself to cower with him in the tunnels beneath the city. Then came the monster Rasma; its gigantic silhouette reflected in the flames of its own destruction, and with it came a hail of plasma and destruction that would swamp the nightmares of a generation!
Beyond the roiling clouds the all-seeing eye Splynncryth took delight in the ruin and profit as his City Killer and Kittani Shock Troops effortlessly crushed the resistance. And all the while Henry held his son and bit down until his lip was bloody.
With Amana and the most promising of the city stolen away into slavery or devoured by the City Killer Rasma, a desolate calm came over Paradise City. Then, by the time Henry his son crawled out from their shelters they and the other survivors were met with a thunderous voice with words that washed down over the city like gavidic tides…
“The former Amana city Paradise will be spared” it said, though these words offered no assurance to any who listened. “However…” rumbled the voice the again. “This city will henceforth be governed by one commandment, an ancient tradition of my people… The Law of Paradise. Each of you shall do as is your will in all its totality, let nothing stay your hand or ambitions. Live as you think and let no mercy cloud your judgement. Let all your desires rule your days. Do these things; continue to serve Paradise and you will continue to live. Defy my will and know my wrath.”
The words echoed as if reaching out from the furthest reaches of infinity and resonated upon the earth as if the stones were singing. With a roar the great Rasma heeded the stone song and bore beneath the earth to slumber and await the apocalyptic command of its enigmatic master.
As the city rebuilt and chaos and lawlessness seized power a wedge formed between father and son as Henry slipped deeper and deeper into his unconsciousness. Faced with his mental illness and feeling his presence within his consciousness crumble away like broken wafers, Henry entered his own mind and came before his demon in the form of Doctor Bastardstro to offer him a deal. In exchange for destroying the Splynn and Atlantis for what they had done Henry would disappear; he would allow Bastardstro do as he would without restraint in a world without law or opposition. It was an offer Doctor Bastardstro could not refuse. Now, with Henry Clemons gone and less than a Ghost in his mind, Doctor Bastardstro was free to work on his Omegaman Augmen Project and construct his Robot Army to annihilate the forces of the Splynn in Paradise City and level Atlantis or anyone that crossed his path on his way to the grocery store!
And so, after releasing several automated cars designed to hold up traffic and create gridlock and various other inconvenient technologies the Doctor set about founding Black Arrow Enterprises and kidnapping the unwitting citizens of Paradise City so he might transform them into brainwashed M.O.M. Cyborgs or biological weapons. Finally, after several failures while forced to face the crushing reality that Splugorth Bio-Wizardry and magic seemed inherently superior to his most advanced sciences (perhaps with the exception of his Omegaman Augmen Project which is still yet to yield results), Doctor Bastardstro was approached by the enigmatic dimensional wander known simply as Pegasus who—after subjugating the antagonistic Doctor with power magic—offered him near limitless resources in his war against Atlantis!
Although at the time Doctor Bastardstro did not know nor understand the motivation or long-term goals of the mystery man, he was highly anticipating betraying him. Unfortunately, before he was able Pegasus and his Bennu Conspiracy were thwarted by actions of Pegasus’s daughter , the meddlesome Jack Ryder, his sidekick sorcerer Alfonse Frank and a pre-teen Lee Hyun Jung.
Later, after being rejected as an applicant for the Zenith Day genetics project, Doctor Bastardstro decided he would take vengeance upon the organization by constructing a giant flying shoe with laser cannons to stomp out the competition and destroy the organization. However, with the death of Pegasus his funding had significantly dwindled. So rather than building a giant flying shoe fortress, he instead decided he would take over the aquatic city of Tritona, outfit it with high-powered thrusters and crash it into their main base of operations in Meru. To accomplished this Doctor Bastardstro constructed a number of inconspicuous floating railgun systems that he called “Glitter Buoys” and assaulted the city during All Hallows Eve when tradition demands the people of the city do not leave their homes. Fortunately for all those aboard, “Operation Samhain Smackdown” was thwarted when a group of young heroes were able to break the “brain boxes” on the Dolphin-cyborgs that the diabolic Doctor had guarding his ship and they were able to alert the Ticonderoga in time to interferer with his plan. Narrowly escaping with his life after being assaulted by The New Navy and several angry Cybernetic Cetacea. His vessel would later be intercepted by a small squadron of Lemurian Sea Dart Interceptors and destroyed. However, his body was never found. Doctor Bastardstro’s attack on Tritonia and the casualties suffered at the hands of the New Navy and Lemuria by his Cetaceian Cyborgs inadvertently served to strengthen the political allegiances between these three factions, and would indeed be the political stepping stone Gobi required to secure a seat within the Lemurian Consulate of Mu.
Doctor Bastardstro may well be one of the most intelligent men in the history of the Megaverse. However it is important to note that Henry Clemons is not. The insane innovations and twisted imaginings of the of the Doctor bought on by the incorrect installation of the Psi-Tech allow the Bastardstro-persona to achieve things with technology far beyond the capabilities of Henry; things that verge on Techno-Wizardry. However, in his lunacy he is just as likely to upgrade one of his failed models by just welding two robots together as he is invent a new super weapon. Doctor Bastardstro’s impulsive nature, twisted sense of irony, and megalomaniacal tendencies make him highly unpredictable and a deadly enemy!
Doctor Bastardstro considers Jack Ryder to be his ultimate arch nemesis and ultimate rival. He revels in making his life miserable and will go to incredible and overly elaborate lengths to do so.
“Copyright © 1990, 2005 and 2013 Palladium Books Inc. & Kevin Siembieda; all rights reserved world wide. No part of this work may be sold, distributed or reproduced in part or whole, in any form or by any means, without written permission from the publisher. All incidents, situations, institutions, governments and people are fictional and any similarity to characters or persons living or dead is strictly coincidental."