The origin of Screwball!




Excerpt from Behind the Mask , April 10th episode:

It was a gruesome project, but not so when it was first envisioned by Dr. Andrew Gaul. He came up with the idea back during the “superhero boom” of the 60s, where every time you turned around there was a new figure in spandex flying, jumping or running around the city. With so many manifestations of metahuman abilities, the so-called “super powers,” there had to be a common source.
With that in mind he approached his superiors in the Department of Defense with his project, to collect blood and tissue samples from every superbeing and run tests to find what they had in common. His superiors, having just been publicly humiliated by the Might for Right scandal, quickly ushered him out the door and told him to drop it.
But Dr. Gaul wouldn’t take no for an answer, and went to the private sector. After years of rejection going from company to corporation to (ahem) criminal organizations, his vision became an overwhelming obsession that threatened to drive him to insanity. Lucky for him the Ritki invaded.
After escaping from the wreckage of a meeting between his apartment building and a crashed mothership, he looked around and saw a field of dead superbeings. He quickly went to work while everyone’s attention was elsewhere and managed to collect a sizable inventory of blood, tissue and in some cases intact organs.
To say he was nervous was an understatement. Here he was, sitting on a large amount of organic samples in his fridge, with no idea of where to go. Providence smiled upon him when he received a visit from a couple of businessmen. It seemed as though he was observed harvesting his samples and word got out in the Underworld of a certain Dr. Ghoul. The unnamed businessmen offered to fund him in exchange for sole ownership of the finding. Dr. Ghoul agreed and began his work.

This is where I came in. My name’s Jack Davis, and at the time I was a college undergrad strapped for cash (as always). I needed some funding and so I answered an ad for a test subject in some weird, well-paying sport drink taste test. I was still suffering from a hangover…or I was still a little buzzed, so I didn’t really pay attention to my fellow testers, or to that creepy doctor running the show. I expected to sign something, take a swig of some carbo-electro-whatsis and say yum, yum. What I didn’t expect was the full-blown physical I had to take.
Now, I was always in excellent shape, and I could have gone to Paragon City University on a football scholarship, but I wanted to become a biochemist like my dad, make him proud (Hey, Dad!), and that required a full-time commitment. But I still found the time to work out and stuff, and so that of the 80 people who showed up, I was one of 15 to make the final cut.
We were led into a large empty room and given the samples to test. I had to wonder why they locked the heavy steel doors from the outside, but I figured these guys as paranoid corporate types. Soon the doctor and his pals were seated in the observation booth and gave us the signal. I tossed mine back and almost threw up. “Strawberry-Kiwi my ***,” I thought, “more like Sewage Surprise.”
The aftertaste just wouldn’t go away, and in fact started to burn my throat. It was like getting drunk again, but in a painful, razor-blade-to-the-nerves sorta way. I stumbled into the wall to get my bearing… I guess I was still a little drunk from the previous night and the stuff I just drank seemed to latch onto that in some way.
I blinked my watering eyes a few time and froze in place. The other test subjects weren’t doing too much better. In fact, eight were lying down and not moving, two were convulsing, three more were bleeding from the eyes and one particular fellow seemed to be…growing. Growing in a very ugly, deformed way, too. I’m guessing this guy didn’t like the idea of the door being locked, since he ripped them off the hinges and threw them at the observation booth, then ran into the hallway bellowing like an elephant in heat. I was still disoriented by the pounding in my brain, the burning in lungs and the smoke coming from my hands, but the sound of machinegun fire snapped me right back to reality.
“Holy crap, I’m outta here!”
With that, I bolted into the hall trying to find an exit, but I had a hard time controlling my movements. I kept bouncing off the walls, speeding up and slowing down at random...and that damn black smoke kept seeping out of my hands. It was when I was in fast forward mode that I saw Gargantua turning a corner and head right at me, followed by several security guards firing big, noisy guns. I ducked into a doorway so fast I shoulda broke the sound barrier, and found myself in the creepy doctor’s office. The sounds of the fight in the hallway faded and I was about to leave when I spied a CD on the doctor’s desk labeled “BIOENHANCER PROJECT.” More curious than wise, I grabbed it and bolted, finding the stairs and leaving the facilities as quickly as possible.
Two days later, I read in the papers of the fire that destroyed the testing facilities. Several bodies were found in the wreckage, one of unusual size. This made me real nervous, since I had just finished going over what I found on the CD. Dr. Gaul had taken all the samples and extracted whatever common elements they had not found in normal human blood. Using this “Chemical X,” (I had to laugh at that one. Dr. Gaul didn’t watch too much TV, I suppose) Dr. Gaul created a serum that worked as a mutagenic agent, giving the subject superhuman powers similar to those of the sample “donors.” Unfortunately, the good doctor collected his sample in a less than ideal situation and many of the samples were contaminated. The idiot even had some samples that matched what we found out about Ritki physiology. This guy probably used a mop to get his samples...
The sport-drink thing was the first trial of the compound, and from what I could tell it failed miserably. It killed most of the subjects and mutated one into a monster. At least I seemed unaffected, except for that super-caffinated rush that didn’t go away.
It was at that point that the goon squad showed up. They came in through the windows and the door at the same time, and that would’ve been it for ol’ Jack…except that I kicked into overdrive. I’m guessing the adrenaline fired up the compound and I found myself jumping all over the place like a blur and kicking their [censored] before they knew what was happening. The black smoke was back, and it seemed to cling to those I hit. Cool, Then the guys with the heavy weapons showed up and the dorm turned into a war zone. I was moving so fast I barely had time to think, but it kept me alive until the cops showed up.
After the last of the goons were shipped off, I decided to put on the spandex to help fill the void of heroes in Paragon City. Taking the name from something one of the agents called me during the fight, I jumped into the superhero as the weird and whacky Screwball.
So I still go to classes when I can, that much didn’t change, But Paragon City need heroes right now, and I can do a lot more good out there than in a lab or a classroom. I just got my Hero ID card from City Hall…so watch out, things are gonna get screwy!



Very Clever!!
I liked it! Are you planning on posting follow up "chapters" or looking to start a string for "origins"? I also had alot of fun with a history, but didn't want to just start dropping Origins, without permission, or appropriately start up a new string.



Thanks...and no, there won't be any followups. I figured anything I add would be based what happens in the game...