Our tale began on December 22nd, 1987, somewhere over rural Ohio, with the Witness. A disembodied intelligence cursed to wander the earth, the Witness is drawn like a moth to the flame that is flare-ups of paranormal power. Before he knew it, the Witness felt an irresistible tug of power, greater than anything he had ever experienced before. Helpless before it, he followed the power to its source.
Arriving in Pittsburgh, he flew up to see a strange man in underwear, about to do something to a bent dumbbell. The sensation building beyond reason, the Witness tried to stop the strange man from doing whatever it was he was about to do... but was too late. As he almost caught up to the man, hovering a good ten miles above the city, the Witness felt the power within the man build up... and then everything went white.
When his vision cleared, the Witness found himself surrounded by a mammoth vortex of air and debris, and tried to fly away from it. Once he'd cleared the maelstrom, he looked down only to finally learn what had happened. The strange man seemed to have caused an unbelievable explosion, literally annihilating Pittsburgh and its surroundings - as well as the very earth beneath it - for an unknown number of miles.
It turned out that this vortex of air was in fact being caused by vacuum action, since the very air in this portion of space had been eradicated. The surrounding atmosphere was rushing in to fill that void, and dragging all manner of detritus with it - from houses to buildings to cars to entire families, like the Robinsons. As the staggering horror of what he was seeing hit home, the Witness rapidly sank into terrible despair.
Detecting an anomaly coming from the Pittsburgh area, the Army scrambled to activate Colonel MacIntyre Browning. Despite the man's 'covert' status, the Air Force picked him up as fast as possible under the orders of President Reagan himself. Making his way to Ohio at top speed, Mac was flown from Washington DC to Wright-Patterson AFB only to be put on a fighter jet.
There, Colonel Browning flew over the Pittsburgh area, and found he couldn't reach anyone on the ground. Furthermore, insane turbulence from the huge hole in the earth (which he could not yet see) was buffeting his aircraft, and he was forced to head back to base. But before he returned, the Colonel made a very important phone call, one to mobilize the CIA's expert troubleshooters - Project: Spitfire!
Within minutes, the plane carrying Project: Spitfire's chief field operative, Jenny Swensen, was in the air. Once in position, she launched over Pittsburgh in her Mark III MAX Armor, and began to perform reconnaissance throughout the area. As Jenny entered the area, the Witness began to experience bizarre delusions, thinking he was seeing the dead populace of Pittsburgh - only to find them unhappy with himself.
And considering his own half-dead nature, it was hard to tell if they were actual or imaginary ghosts. As the Witness was chased down by his possibly real phantoms, Colonel Browning was making his way to the edge of Pittsburgh, only to find the way barred by an unbelievable amount of debris and rubble. He couldn't help but remark how this disaster was unlike anything else ever seen in the world - man-made or otherwise.
While the colonel tried to sort out just what could've caused this horror, Jenny Swensen made it to the bottom of the crater that formerly held the earth below Pittsburgh. At first thinking her suit's sensors were malfunctioning, she finally realized that she was in fact fourteen miles beneath sea level. Diving into the rapidly forming lake at the bottom to get a chemical sample, she encountered the Robinsons!
This family of four somehow survived the fifteen mile fall into the crater in their VW Beetle, and as the only survivors she'd spotted thus far, Jenny felt the need to rescue them. Trying to carry them out, she noted that the environmental seals on her suit were malfunctioning, and the strange matter accumulating at the bottom of the blast crater was seeping into the MAX Armor!
Undaunted, she continued to haul the Robinsons out of the gloop, and then began to rocket them to safety. However, the total weight was causing problems with her suit, so she had to remove them from their Beetle to finish the flight. This took some doing, as the Robinsons were (naturally) panicked beyond reason, but Jenny managed it somehow and saved them (and herself) at the very last second.
Landing just outside the rim of the crater, Jenny delivered the Robinsons to the waiting Army, and then debriefed Colonel Browning on just what it was she saw inside the massive hole in the earth. Horrified, he shared this information with his superiors, who gave him absolute authority to seal the area off, in the event that whatever caused the massive disaster was ready to strike again.
After Jenny repaired her suit, she was horrified by the Colonel's actions to seal the area off from interlopers, including his ordering the destruction of a civilian news helicopter. Already disgusted with the man, she lost it when he ordered her not to search for survivors, but to instead get more information about the area surrounding the hole in the earth that his men were ghoulishly calling the Pitt.
She took off in a huff, hoping to indeed find more survivors, only to momentarily encounter the Witness, who himself had just shaken off the ghosts of the dead. Or his delusions therein. Even he wasn't really sure at that point. But what he didn't notice at first was that, despite normally being invisible, somehow Jenny Swensen could actually see him! Panicked, he hid in the gloop at the bottom of the Pitt.
When he vanished, Jenny decided the man was just an optical illusion, and made for greener pastures, having been unable to find any more survivors in the immediate area. As she did so, the Witness realized he'd hid from the one person that could see him, and raged at himself - before vowing to find the strange guy who caused all this devastation... and to somehow make him pay for all this!
Finally, as he shook off the results of Jenny Swensen's abandonment of the mission, Colonel Browning discovered that his efforts to keep the world unaware of what was happening there were all for naught; the Soviets released satellite photographs of the area - ostensibly to prove their own innocence in the matter. As such, he realized that he didn't need to kill those civilian reporters at all.
Of course, the horror of everything else going on sort of deadened him to the things he'd been doing since he arrived at... the Pitt!
Persons of Interest:
Colonel MacIntyre Browning: a high ranking Army intelligence officer, Colonel 'Mac' Browning was called in to investigate the Pitt disaster. The man did his best to contain the situation, but it was truly beyond his - or anyone else's - understanding. Availability:
the Famileech: though they survived the Pitt thanks to Spitfire, the Robinson family was mutated as a result of their exposure to 'Pitt-juice'. This change caused them to merge their form into a grotesque, man-eating monstrosity dubbed the 'Famileech'. Availability:
Ken Connell - the Star Brand: while riding his dirt bike outside of Pittsburgh, Ken Connell was given a weapon of infinite potential by an old man: the Star Brand! Ken tried using this item as a super hero, and almost destroyed the world as a result! Availability:
the Star Brand: the Star Brand is an artifact of infinite power, one which requires a sentient being to contain and command its energies. Taking the form of a star-shaped tattoo, the Star Brand can be moved about one's body, or transferred to another, at will. Availability:
Jenny Swensen (before the Pitt): the first Spitfire, Professor Jenny Swensen became an armored heroine after recovering her late father's MAX suit from evildoers. After this, Jenny began to help the government battle the proliferation of MAX gear. Availability:
Jake Travest: an unrepentant killer, the mentally imbalanced Jake Travest was nonetheless assigned to be Jenny Swensen's assistant during her time with Codename: Spitfire. When she abruptly quit, Jake was chosen to pilot her armor in her place. Availability:
the Mark 3 MAX Suit: the first (and only) MAX armor built by Jenny Swensen, the Mark 3 was a dramatic improvement over the creations of her father. Of course, she built it with government backing, and the finest weaponry their money could buy. Availability:
the Witness: temporarily blinded by the White Event, Nelson Kohler was left brain-dead as a result of the subsequent automtotive accident. He perished shortly after, but his mind lives on, as his paranormal power allows it to exist without flesh! Availability:
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