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HIT Science & Engineering Lecture Series, v.2

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Press release from HIT, released March 11th:

Mathematician, chemist, physicist, and all-around "science hero" Viktor Archeville will share his insights and expertise as part of this year's Hanover Institute of Technology Science & Engineering Lecture Series.

Archeville will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 23, at the Bernanke Center for Extension & Continuing Education on HIT's campus. A reception will follow at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP for the lecture, go to http://www.hit.edu/sels.

Archeville has been a rising star in the engineering and scientific circles, and shows no sign of fading. He has consulted for such diverse organizations as Burlington Textiles, FuturWave, Hall-Markov Technologies, Kraftwerk Industries, McGuffin Medical, NovaCorp, and Xavier-Donovan Biotech.

Archeville transferred to HIT from the Technical University of Munich and graduated with a doctorate in mathematics and master's degrees in chemistry and physics in 1999, at the age of 22. For nine years he worked in and around Germany, both alone and with other European superheroes, as a "scientific troubleshooter". Five months ago he returned to Freedom City, to be amongst some of the most advanced technologies in the world.

The Science & Engineering Lecture Series is designed to showcase outstanding innovation among HIT alumni and partners. The lecture series is co-sponsored by HIT's Office of Public Affairs and the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program (EEP). The series was started in 1993 by Dr. Michael Voldman, professor of electrical and computer engineering, to help prepare undergraduate engineering students for the world of technology.

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The television shut off and the captain let the remote clatter to the table beside his arm chair. Looks like I've got a party to crash. He beemed that big goofy smile of his. *SHEEN*


A few days later, The captain found himself staring down the Bernanke center on HIT's campus. Let's get this party started he thought as he began to stroll foward. It was 4:45, the good doctor would be well into his lecture by now.

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John Fraser turned up in his semi-formal attire. He didn't often wear a suit, but he'd dug one out and got it dry-cleaned. Not quite Prada, but smart enough. Trouble often had a habit of finding him, so he'd taken the time to stash his bow and costume in his motorcycle, as well as spending an hour finding a well-located space for said bike. The upshot of this was that he'd arrived early, and was able to take a seat in the middle near a fire exit.

He reclined back in his chair and waited to listen to a fine scientific mind. John didn't often attend lectures now, his nightime activities curtailing his scientific work. Building high-tech arrows was the best he had done in years. But a lecture from Dr Archeville was worth breaking that habit for, all things considered. The man was a genius even by superhero standards after all.

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Dark Star had heard the news about the lecture. He actually recognized the Doctor's name from the their introduction when DS had first arrived/returned to Earth. It had been quite some time since he had indulged in his love of science, a couple decades really. While he doubted he'd be able to follow everything, he was no genius after all, it would be an interesting experience.

So on the day of the event, Dark Star return from a quick trip outsystem. He flew towards the building and sank through the roof and into the lecture room, making sure to give himself enough time (4 or 5 seconds was all he needed really) to arrive a little early. He made sure his powers were concealing him as he 'sat' in above the crowd to listen in. He did not want anyone looking up at him and detracting from the Doctor's lecture.

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The two largest rooms in the Bernanke Center for Extension & Continuing Education, on HIT’s campus, could each hold 300 people. The eight secondary conference rooms could hold 75 people each, and the six smallest rooms could hold about 60. When all connected via the center’s advanced telecommunications systems, anyone in one room could be seen by a full audience of over 1,500, plus however many hundreds or thousands were connected to the center’s streaming video content.

It was barely enough, owing both to the nature of the man speaking and the popularity of his lecture last year.

Dr. Michael Voldman, professor of electrical and computer engineering and founder of the Science & Engineering Lecture Series, did not fit the traditional image of the elderly white-haired professor. Fairly young, he had short cropped black hair and disarmingly soft green eyes, and had a “dress casual” look going on. He sat on one of the chairs near the podium along with some older men and women – alumni who’d helped fund the lecture series, mostly – and the day’s guest of honor. They chatted quietly for a few moments as the last few folks entered. Signaled by the nod of a techie’s head, one of the older men, one who did look very much the Stereotypical Old White Male Professor stood and took the podium.

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for attending," he says in a faint German accent. "As some of you may know, I am Dr. Klaus Bachmann, Emeritus Professor of Materials Science & Engineering here at HIT. Those of you who’ve been to the Science & Engineering Lecture Series know that Dr. Voldman tries to bring in notable HIT alums in to speak to you all, tries to make every lecture a special and unique learning experience, to present many different views on the sciences. Today's speaker proved to be all that and more when he last spoke, and we hope today's lecture will be just as memorable.” He looks back and smirks at Archeville, giving time for the cheers and hoots to die down before resuming. “Ladies and gentlemen, I'll cut right to it: I give you the Hanover Institute of Technology’s Science & Engineering Lecture Series guest of honor for March 2009, Doktor Viktor Archeville!”

Archeville rises from his chair and moves to the podium, pausing to shake Bachmann's hand as the professor returns to his seat. He steps in front of the microphone and smiles at everyone as he adjusts the microphone, and waits a moment before speaking to let the applause die down.

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When the good Doctor took the stage, Dark Star clapped along with everyone else. Or tried to, forgetting for a moment that he was made of energy. That slipped his mind occassionally. Still, he watched the crowd with applaud with some zeal as the Doctor moved to the mic. The place was rather well packed. Apparently, he was something of a popular speaker. Dark Star floated in the back near the ceiling, concealed but watching with interest, and waited for the Doctor's lecture to start.

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John was shocked. The man was clearly popular, judging by how packed the hall was. He was glad he'd sat at the end, else in an emergency he'd never be able to slip out. He applauded along with the rest of the crowd as Doktor Archeville took to the stage, and leaned back awaiting an entertaining lecture.

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Okay now girls, The captain said to the members of the HIT cheer leading squad that had assembled around him while he had been waiting for the lecture to start. When we get inside i want you to give me a nice big cheer.

The collective members of the squad giggled

Then after this lecture is over with i think we should all go out and celebrate! The captain graced them with his beautiful smile *SHEEN*

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There'd better not be any pranksters here, like last time.

I'm sure there won't. Besides, the armed guards we arranged to have here should dissuade any frat pranksters.

It's not the frats I'm worried about.

I know.

"Danke, danke. Now, before I begin, let me get dis von ing out of de vay: yes, I haff arranged de catering, as I did mit mein last lecture," Archeville paused as another round of applause went up, and he waited for it to die down before continuing, "Dough de menu is a bit more varied did time."

Both Captain Knievel and Dark Star can see the beginnings of the catering set up. The large tree-lined court behind the Bernanke Center was filed with tables, both low ones to sit at and taller one for standing by. Along the middle of the court were two very long tables which were to be filled with food.

"Now, my presentation today is on something dat HIT is at de forefront of: metamaterials research. A metamaterial is a material vhich gains its properties from its structure rather dan directly from its composition. Metamaterials are distinct from other composite materials in dat metamaterials haff unusual properties. In a vay, metamaterials are to materials science vhat metahumans are to biology: day us de same basic components, but haff videly different properties. Now, I haff several examples here, metamterials of mein own design...."

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After hearing the applause, the captain knew it was time to make his entrance. Alright, girls, its showtime! And he strode towards the double doors that led into the building. Throwing them wide open he stepped into the entrance hallway.

The captain is in the house!


Captain, Captain, what a man!

Captain, Captain, we're big fans!

It was then that the captain noticed the guards in the anti chamber guarding the doors to the hall where the PhD was making his speech. Whats up? he said with a big smile *SHEEN*

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Haha! I see what you did there! The captain said as he stepped forward in to the room. He began walking down the center isle of the lecture hall with his retinue of cheerleaders in tow. You think just cuz i got all these muscles that i don't pay attention to any of your science-y stuff. Well don't flatter yourself, Doc. I like science AND sports!

"Captain, Captain, he's our man!

"If he can't do it no one can!"

Good job ladies! Thank you. *SHEEN*

The captain strode right up in front of the stage and put his hands on his hips. It just so happens that I am here for the lecture!

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John stands up from his seat. Moron. Hold on... It's the guy from yesterday! Better disguise myself a little better. He layers on his Scottish accent thickly. "Look, mate! If ye're here f'r the lecture, why don't ye sit doon and dinnae bother abdy aboot it. Naebody's impressed by yer grand entr'nce."" He sighed and say back down, staring down the aroogant man.

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The Captain scrutinized the scotsman that was berating him. Is he really worth it? The captain thought as he looked at the guy. Meh...Probably not. The captain ignored him, and kept on talking.

So what do you say, Doc? Want to answer a few question a few science-y questions? They're about Meta-humans....! The captain folded his arms across his chest and gazed up at the stage awaiting what he hopped would be a pleasing answer.

Behind him the cheerleaders were dissing and jeering at the scotsman with regards to the captain's blatant disregard for the man's existence.

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Who the frak is this guy?

He's the Captain. From the billboards.

I know that! I mean... what is wrong with this guy?

Best way to find out may be to talk to him.

"An interesting proposal, Herr Kapitan," Archeville said, simultaneously raising his arms and waving down the armed guards at the doorways. "I am scheduled to give a presentation on Metahumanity's Impact on Social Dynamics in a few months, so you could attend dat...."

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Musing over the scotsman, the captain concluded, I think i remember that guy having a motorcycle. Maybe i wrecked it at some point... Oh Well

His attention snapping back to the doctor and what he was really here for, the captain responded. No, no, no. effectively cutting the doctor off. I'll be honest with you, i don't really have time for all this jibberjabber about social dynamics. Science is cool, and Sports are cool, but social dynamics is just way to involved. My questions are more general. So i thought them more appropriate for a general discussion. Turning around to face the crowd the captain gave a wave of his hands. That and i love putting on a show *SHEEN*

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Dark Star glanced over as the 'preening' man swaggered on in with his own cheering section apparently. How very odd... Whoever he was, he certainly seemed full of himself. And rude. Very rude really.

Dark Star nodded to himself as the well meaning citizen with overseas accent in the crowd stood up and expressed what was likely a general concensus. DS couldn't agree more. The new comer certainly was detracting from the lecture everyone had come to hear. He had no idea who the guy was but he was certainly no threat to the Doctor, except for maybe ruining the lecture.

DS had no intention of interfereing. He'd already had such a 'poaching' incident happen in the brief time he'd been back and he didn't want to step on the Doctor's toes. It was his show after all. But a little show of support and solidarity wouldn't be bad either, he thought as he nodded to himself. Still hovering near the ceiling at the back of the room, he allowed himself to become visible. Anyone looking would easily see him as he nodded to the good Doctor. Though given the egomaniac was staring at the Doctor, DS doubted he'd even notice.

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Right, where's our gun?

We don't have one, remember? We used it to- say, isn't that Dark Star up there?

Yeah, it is. Maybe we can get him to blast this guy.

Or we could try to peacefully send him away.

"General qvestions vould be appropriate for a general discussion, ja," Archeville said cooly, "but dis is not a general discussion, dis is a fairly specific presentation on Materials Science. However..." Archeville stepped out from behind the podium, "I might be persuaded to answer your qvestions on Metahumans, depending on vhat you can offer me in return. Vhat are mein answer vorth to you, hrm?"

The crowd was a-buzz as hushed words were exchanged. However, over this, Arrowhawk, Captain K, and Archeville all heard one of the security guards speaking in hushed tones into his walkie talkie. He was reporting the Captain's presence, that things were calm at the moment, but wanted backup there just in case.

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Hmmm. Am i correct in assuming that you are talking about an exchange of information? The captain turned around and set his gaze upon the guardsman with the walkie talkie. Making the symbol of a gun with his hand he pointed at the guard. Cool it, hot shot. I'm not here to make trouble. And he let his arm fall to his side.

The captain turned back to the doctor. Well doc, the captain said with a smile, name your price!

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Is he really this dumb, or is it an act?

I'm not sure.

"You say you are not here to make trouble, yet you are pointing your forearm-mounted 'Adrenaline Cannon' at a guard, who has not drawn his weapon," Archeville said with his hands clasped behind his back. "Dat's not very reassuring, Kapitan. In fact, if mein knowledge of United States law is correct, dat alone is a charge of Non-Aggravated Assault, since you are implicitly threatening harm to another. Dat's usually a misdemeanor, except you vere threatening a law enforcement officer, so what you haff done is 'upgraded' to a felony."

Several dozen people by now had gotten up and ran out.

"Dat aside," he continued, pacing slowly across the small raised dais, "I do admit a curiosity as to vhat you vant to know, und vhat you vould be villing to pay for mein knowledge. So... ja, let us make dis a true exchange of information: for every qvestion of yours dat I answer, you answer von of mein, und ve both go into an equal amount of detail in our answers. Is dis an agreeable term?"

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Works for me, Doc. I'll go first.

The captain's eyes followed the doctor on the stage. This is gonna be tough. he's so smart, he just might see right through me. how do i ask what i want to know without giving away my purpose?

Tell me, Doctor, to what do you attribute your incredible amounts of knowledge? And don't josh me, because i know you can't have spent every day of your life studying and be as smart as you are. there just isn't enough time. How is it exactly that you know so much?

Misdirection! thats the key!

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Dark Star uncurled from his 'sitting' position, not that it mattered floating near the ceiling. He faded from view as to not spook any of the audience if they looked his way. The muscle-bound moron seemed to be threatening a poor security guard with what looked to be a rather massive looking cannon of some sort. He was about to speak up and possibly take action despite his reluctance to intrude on the Doctor's territory but the Doctor seemed to have it well in hand. Still, just the same, Dark Star remained ready. He didn't trust this newcomer act in the public's best interest. He'd be ready to intervene if something happened.

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Pft. I was expecting something easy, but not that easy.

And he made no comment at all about the charges. That's a bit telling.

Better figure out what to ask him.

You do that, I'll work on phrasing the answer in a way he can wrap his brain around.

Archeville smirked at the Captain, "I see you haff decided to start me off mit something easy. Very vell: how do I know so much? Vell, a great deal of studying vas und stil is involved. I read through about fifteen technical journals a veek, something I enjoy doing, und something I am able to do because I haff an exceptional memory und because I can read very, very fast mit no loss of comprehension. I also maintain a correspondence mit scholars und scientists all over de vorld, und ve freely discuss our researches."

Archeville kept pacing as he talked, "but you are right, dat alone is not enough. I am, und I say dis mitout bragging, von of de smartest men on Earth, matched or exceeded by less dan a handful of people. Mein intelligence is so far above vhat is considered 'maximum human potential' dat I broke de last few IQ tests I attempted. But I am not a Mutant, not a Metahuman -- I haff gotten tested, both by others und by myself, und I carry no signs of active Metahuman genes. So vhat is it? How can I be a non-Metahuman yet still have an ability dat is above und beyond vhat is considered 'maximum human potential'? Vell... you said you liked sports, ja? Vell, perhaps I can put it into dose terms."

Archeville reached -- slowly -- into his lab coat pocket and drew out his Electromagnetic Screwdriver (E.S.). He manipulated the controls a bit, and a 5 foot by 5 foot by 5 foot hologram of Ancient Greek athletes appeared, running along a track. "Since ancient Greece, athletes had tried to run a mile in under four minutes. For thousands of years, it vas an impossible task. Experts claimed it vas physiologically impossible for a human to run a mile that quickly, und steadfastly proclaimed dat it could never be done."

The image changes, now showing black and white film footage, "On May 6th of 1954, Sir Roger Bannister of Britain, captain of de Oxford und Cambridge athletic team, proved milions of people wrong by running a mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. De impossible became possible. In 1955, a total of 37 runners across de vorld broke de four-minute mile. In 1956, over 300 athletes did de same. Currently, de record holder for fastest mile run is Hicham El Guerrouj, a Moroccan who ran de mile in 3 minutes 43.13 seconds. 'Maximum human potential' had changed."

The image changed again, from Guerrouj to images of men and women in lab coats, scholars and scientists working on assorted projects. "Presently, dere are probably a few dozen people on Earth whose intelligence reaches 'maximum human potential'. I, und a few others, such as Daedalus und Doc Otaku und Doktor Atom und Overshadow, are each better dan all of dem by a vide margin. In essence, ve represent vhat humanity may eventually achieve, at least in terms of intelligence."

Archeville clicked his E.S., and the holograms were gone.

"Und now, Kapitan, my qvestion for you, to be answered in equal detail."

The holograms were back, this time showing a series of three images. The first was of a police car being crushed as Captain Knievel landed on it. The second was of a taxi cab that exploded when hit by a blast from Knievel's cannon. The angle of the first two sets of images indicated that they were taken from nearby traffic cameras. The third was of the passenger from the taxi, a woman, in a hospital bed; her face was slightly burned, but her condition was stable, though she was hooked to a breathing tube. A close up shot of her medical charts shows her name Sarah Flaherty, and that she has suffered severe damage to her lungs due to inhalation of toxic smoke. A time/date stamp on the bottom of the images all indicated that they were from yesterday.

More people were leaving.

"Vhat is going through your mind right now, as you see dese images of your handivork, und of de consequences your actions had on Ms. Flaherty in particular?"

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The captain's mouth gaped open for a minute. but he managed to pull it closed after a second.

The very first thing i think of is how you got a hold of those pictures. The captain scratched his head, as if to consider another new thought that had just cropped up. And now i'm kinda wondering why you're asking that question... but okay, ill play shrink for a little bit.

The captain dragged over one of the folding chairs that was lined up in the assembly room. Sitting down he crossed his legs.

Well, doc, as you might know, I like blowing stuff up. It's just who i am. I like feeling that quick blast from the heat of an explosion. I like wondering whether or not its going to singe my eyebrows off or not. I like wondering how far that explosion might propel me. Is the impact going to hurt? what is it going to feel like? When you stand in the center of an explosion, there are a million things that run through your head all at the same time. I like that.

You know what else i like? The adrenaline rush. for instance. When i jumped from the roof of that building and sailed down past, what was it, 58 stories? and landed on the cop car, i was in heaven for a few seconds. With the air rushing past my face, the wind in my hair, that sort of stuff. hell, in the middle of my 37th back flip, i think my heart even skipped a beat.

And thats just it doc. I like to feel things. And you were right earlier, when you said i wasn't much of a thinker. I do think, but i would rather just do. all that running, jumping, falling through the air, blowing stuff up... its fun for me.

As for the lady in the hospital... Well, i am sure she will get better. She should have gotten out of the car faster, everyone else in the intersection split pretty fast. when that line of cars blew up... she was one of the only ones left in it. the others i think managed to dive to safety at the last second. I try not to think about the people i have hurt. Life is gonna suck for them for a while. But i've walked that mile in ... No wait... I ran that mile in those shoes. and i did it in less than 4 minutes if you know what i mean. I was a cripple once... but now look at me! *SHEEN* I am awesome! besides... you can't tell me that with so many meta humans crawling all over this place you don't believe someone is gonna come in and heal her up all nice and good the day after tomorrow? and even if they don't, she probably will still recover. such is the progress of modern science these days.

She's gonna get better. It's gonna happen. In the meantime, thinking about her and the others i may have hurt doesn't really suit me. It would bring me down. And you don't get muscles like these if your in a bad mood all day! The captain threw his arms up into the air.

At this point, the cheerleaders behind the captain were looking around at the rest of the crowd. More than a few of them even tossed their pom-poms on the ground and walked out with the rest of the crowd. The remainder seemed torn between staying and going. They seemed to be more unsure of what their job was in light of the slide show and the captain's answer so far. The captain gave a half turn to face them. Its okay girls, go ahead...you can leave. I'm not going to hurt you if you do. The rest of the cheer leading squad gave a collective nod and followed some of the other patrons out.

Resuming his answer, the captain stood abruptly, and walked to the side of the hall to gaze out one of the windows. he was silent for a few seconds before continuing. now to move in for the kill. He is gonna like this one.

But on a serious note. Here is how i see that woman's future. I haven't actually taken anything from her. not her health, and certainly not her life. I have actually given her two things. I have given her something to be pissed about, and honestly, who doesn't like a nice outlet for their anger. Everytime something bad happens to her from now on, she can curse my name until she is hoarse, and its gonna make her feel a lot better. And the second thing i have given her is a new lease on life. I didn't kill her, but i came damn close to doing it. When she wakes up the first thing through her head is going to be "Wow, i am glad i am alive." Its more than probable that is a lot better than her thoughts waking up the morning before. Those thoughts would have been more along the lines of "I can't believe i need to work, AGAIN!" or possibly even "I hate my life".

The captain turned around to look at the doctor. But now just think about how much better her outlook is going to be.

The captain jammed a finger into his chest. to emphasize the next few words. I did that, doc. I gave that to her.

so if you were looking for a "Yea i feel bad about hurting people" answer, sorry. You won't be hearing that BS from me.

The captain slowly walked back over to his newly claimed seat. My turn.

Do you think your smarter than the meta humans, doc? And i am talking about the ones with powers that aid their intelligence. And now i want to know how you feel about them. Since you had to work so hard to get where you are (granted having natural ability doesn't hurt) are you resentful at all that others get everything they want, just because they are lucky? The captain took his seat, expecting a good show. This is getting good he thought.

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Dark Star watched the holograms and frowned. This 'Captain' had hurt innocents? Why exactly was he prancing around here and not under arrest somewhere? He noted the Captains words and felt guilty for a moment...he could heal quite a few people with proper application of radiation. DS made a mental note to visit the hospital after this and, at the very least, heal the woman injured by this buffon's actions. And make arrangements to work with the doctors to help others.

He scowled (not that one could tell) and narrowed his white eyes at the Captain's back as he faded back into view. This man was defintely a threat to innocent people. And as soon as the Doctor gave the word, this 'Captain' was going to jail to pay for his crimes.

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