Every day, my captors wake me up, strip me naked, and check for microchips in my brain.
Roosevelt Pythagoras: entrepreneur, inventor, supergenius, villain. The man credited with shrinking the entire state of Delaware and breaking up the League of Liberty has sat in a prison cell for five years, waiting and scheming.
My father always thought my big brain was his ticket out of poverty. If he knew about slacking in my studies, he would have given me a black eye.
I wonder how he’s doing in that alien zoo where I left him.
The only son of Marie and Winston Pythagoras, Roosevelt lived a life of poverty and squalor. Marie, a drug addict almost from the time her son was born, left the home before Roosevelt turned two. Getting out from under the thumb of the abusive and manipulative Winston proved to be the catalyst she needed to straighten her life out. In short order, the went through rehab and entered school as a premed. While Roosevelt had very little contact with his mother, she would send him science kits and textbooks on an almost monthly basis as he approached puberty.
Winston, on the other hand, never showed signs of improving his lot in life, remaining cruel and manipulative to the end. Often dealing with a half-dozen mystery illnesses, he made the young Roosevelt his de facto caregiver, playing upon the guilt that the boy felt over not being able to properly provide for his father. When Winston recognized Roosevelt’s genius, he assumed that the could use his son’s path to apparent greatness as a way to make himself rich. He bore down hard of Roosevelt’s studies, insisting that the child work himself as hard as possible. At the same time, he never let his son escape his domestic duties.
Already capable of doing complex calculus by the time he reached the second grade, Roosevelt accelerated quickly through school. He skipped several grades, but this progress ultimately alienated him from his peers. He had a grown brain in a child’s body, and his complex ways of speaking and thinking made him an outcast among children his own age.
Nobody knows exactly what happened to Roosevelt’s parents. The most reliable reports indicate that Marie received an anonymous gift that allowed her to live the rest of her life on a remote island with robot servants, while Winston was collected by alien zookeepers from the planet Flargrhan, several hundred light years away.
With unparalleled genius and a collection of world-altering inventions, Roosevelt became one of the youngest entrepreneurs to become a billionaire in history. His flagship company, RP Industries, rose almost overnight from a small startup to a multinational corporation, built on the back of the many innovative patents that Roosevelt churned out on an almost monthly basis.
One item always stuck out on the balance sheet of RP Industries: an enormous amount of spending in the Research & Development Department which far outstripped any products that made it all the way through. Investors argued that R&D had turned into a money pit, but they never dug into the books too far due to the profits that the few items that came out of it turned.
In retrospect, it’s easy to see what the massive spending in R&D truly accomplished: Roosevelt was keeping his best toys for himself. After a series of bank robberies performed by automated drones bearing a resemblance to an unfinished RP Industries project, people became suspicious. When the League of Liberty performed a raid on a remote island purchased as a radioactive test site and claimed that Dr. Pythagoras’ prototype known as the Gravitron had nearly pulled the Earth’s moon out of orbit, investigations followed. Eventually, Roosevelt became so brazen that there was little doubt: the billionaire genius had been keeping up a façade for years while secretly funding a double life as a supervillain.
As his schemes grew grander, Roosevelt’s plausible deniability began to fade. He became more and more synonymous with supervillainy. This culminated in a grand plot in which he infected members of the League of Liberty with mind-controlling nanites. Although his arch-nemesis Paradigm ultimately destroyed those machines, his plot exacerbated growing tensions between League members behind the scenes. The League of Liberty ultimately disbanded in the wake of that plot, leading to widespread condemnation (but no legal action) against Roosevelt’s actions.
Roosevelt’s greatest victory also turned out to be his downfall. With more scrutiny on him than ever before, he had less latitude when creating alibis that distances himself from his crimes. The public saw him as a modern day Al Capone and wanted him arrested at all cost. Ultimately, the board of RP Industries ousted him. He retreated to a secret island hideaway to enact one last scheme, but was ultimately foiled by the combined forces of Paradigm, the time-traveling Captain Tomorrow, and the mystic Miss Destiny…three former members of the League of Liberty.
Save for one breakdown during which Roosevelt threatened death on eight of the nine justices of the Supreme Court, the villain at bay proved remarkably quiet. He answered questions but did not expound beyond his claim that all his actions were performed by an evil clone, and that he would one day be vindicated.
Since that day, Roosevelt has sat in a maximum security prison for five years. But suddenly, another Roosevelt Pythagoras turns up: his genetic equal, dead at the scene of a crime where the murdered Captain Tomorrow also lies. Was there a clone after all?
Regardless of the truth, Roosevelt Pythagoras is about to get another day in court…
Image: Dennis Wilkinson (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)