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Father Time of SHADE (7 Soldiers) (DC Comics)

Father Time


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
Now I’m on your track and I’m in your mind
And I’m on your back but don’t look behind
I’m your meanest thought I’m your darkest fear
But I’ll never get caught you can’t shake me shake me dear
I’m the invisible man I’m the invisible man
Incredible how you can see right through me
Watch me
I’m the invisible man I’m the invisible man
It’s criminal how I can see right through you.
  • No Bothans died to bring us this information – but having to read through the Infinite Crisis spinoffs (Battle for Blüdhaven and Uncle Sam) was almost as bad. Those are supposedly “based on concepts from Grant Morrisson”, but I couldn’t recognize either Father Time or S.H.A.D.E., to be honest, forcing me to do some creative interpretation on top of the usual guesswork.
  • Please carefully note that all the Seven Soldiers profiles contain heavy S P O I L E R S  ; in fact consider it twice since this is really good stuff and it would suck if I spoiled it for you.
  • Those profiles are constructed a bit like the Seven Soldiers metaseries – some stuff is mentioned in several writeups but only explained in the most relevant profiles, such as the nature of the Seven Soldiers and of the Sheeda.
  • The profiles are considerably less mysterious than the series itself, though, which means you’ll probably want to read them after you go through the books.
  • Furthermore, this writeup contains a huge S P O I L E R about the 2006 Uncle Sam series. For what it’s worth.

Background

  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: S.H.A.D.E.
  • Base Of Operations: The S.H.A.D.E. Nerve Center under United Nations Plaza, Manhattan, NYC, NY
  • Height: Var. Weight: Var.
  • Eyes: Var. Hair: Var.


Powers and Abilities

Every year, the immortal known as Father Time goes into a coma ; after some time he emerges from it rejuvenated, and with a new set of superhuman powers. Given the lack of coherence between his appearances, one suspects that his personality also changes from one year to the next, though he keeps his memories and seems to be consistently hyper and slightly demented.

2005

His powers during the year 2005 were not demonstrated, but I strongly suspect that he could power machines to make them able to sense communications from the future. S.H.A.D.E. at one point demonstrated the ability to receive e-mails addressed to them from one billion years in the future (!), which seems so far beyond any Earth technology, even in the DCU, that I suspect Father Time enabled it.

It is also worthwhile to note that, after 2005, S.H.A.D.E. suddenly had access to astoundingly sophisticated and powerful androids. While S.H.A.D.E. had regained considerable budgets and pulls, those androids were at least Lex Luthor-level, which would be much easier to explain if they had access the schematics from the future copied via Father Time’s power. I also had the vague intuition he could stop time to defend himself if necessary.

2006

In his non-Morrisson appearance, things were considerably more straightforward (amazingly enough) – he had super-strength and corresponding invulnerability and speed. His budget and resources had been considerably heightened, and at one point he stated that he had “a thousand more people like you on ice in a warehouse” when breaking up an altercation between Major Force and the new Phantom Lady.

It was likely an exaggeration, but he did keep throwing a seemingly endless pile of insipid and awesomely incompetent superhuman nobodies into the meat grinder and had no problem with pointlessly wasting them.


History

Little is known about the past of Father Time before he appeared as the head of S.H.A.D.E. in 2005, though he explained he was alive when “real knights wore suits of armor into battle.” In 1950, he recruited a Nazi torturer and medical experimenter called the Face from a “secret concentration camp” that had previously been missed by Allied forces ; the Face apparently became a CIA interrogator.

S.H.A.D.E. (Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive) is a subsecret American agency founded by President Lyndon Johnson ; S.H.A.D.E. is all about using superhuman agents (or, to be blunt, jackals and cleaners) in highly classified black bag jobs, both foreign and domestic. When Frankenstein ran into them in 2005, their glory had faded from their heyday.

Though they seemed competent and highly experienced, their budgets had considerably shrank from several decades before, and they had become so secret and so paranoid as to become irrelevant. Or at least, as irrelevant as an organization of inhuman killers backed by super-heavy, competent firepower and directed by a maniac can get.

What happened to S.H.A.D.E during the Janus Directive episode, which deeply shook the US intelligence community, is unknown. It is probable that they were so secret even Kobra missed them, and/or so paranoid that they had anticipated that scenario and were much harder to destabilise than other agencies.

For S.H.A.D.E., the ends definitely justify the means, no matter what sort of carnage ensues. They seem to prefer to create their own superhuman weapons, which means very high risk, high return experiments they *know* are likely to become horrific disasters. Being cowboys, they seem in fact to have a culture of pride about their ruthlessness and calculated recklessness.

Even support personnel seem to share a culture of morbid amusement, black humour and crass indifference when civilians, agents, technicians, etc. get caught in the semi-regular catastrophes. Likewise, they will kill at the drop of a hat, and with apparent impunity — when Neh-Buh-Loh cleaved off Frankenstein’s arm, their immediate solution was to assassinate a prominent bodybuilder, saw off his arm and use it to re-arm Frankenstein.

S.H.A.D.E. resources tend to be heavy, destructive and to have been mostly acquired in the 1960s and 1970s. They have low-yield atomic bombs (and have used them to ’clean up‘ theaters of operation on domestic soil), and at least one Chinook converted into a super-heavy gunship (with M-134 emplacements that seemed very similar to those on some Spectre gunships).

Like many influential organizations in Morrison-written DCU books, S.H.A.D.E. can hack the global bulk teleport system to their advantage. All of their superhuman agents, and possibly the human ones, have surgical implants giving them a S.H.A.D.E. intrarnet uplink, with special access to their extensive and quite up-to-date databases.

A non-canon hypothesis about Task Force X

It is entirely possible that S.H.A.D.E. was closely related to the civilian half of Task Force X, an agency codenamed Argent that was founded in 1952 by Truman but stopped reporting and went deeply underground in 1960. Argent had been founded to fight the costumed super-villains threatening America, who thanks to McCarthysm had just forced the JSA and various other mystery men to retire. The new agency was generally successful ; its military counterpart, the Suicide Squadron, was dealing with heavier threats such as giant monsters.

Argent was headed by the legendary master of the O.S.S., Control, who had lost the political struggle to head the C.I.A. but retained the trust of Truman. During the 1950s, he saw how the world was changing and made Argent disappear so he could turn it into an international agency defending America through a broad variety of means.

The extreme secrecy (Argent only recruited children of its members, or people who had married an agent) led to its gradual decline, and Control died in 1983, a fact his granddaughter kept hidden from the others until Argent was taken down by Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad in 1983.

A simple hypothesis would be that Father Time became an agent of Argent in 1952, started pushing for using more superhumans, and during the 1960 upheaval double-crossed the aging Control and took control of most of the considerable Argent resources. He reestablished some links with government contacts after Control’s death was discovered, though he did not enjoy any sizeable support until the 2005 Harrowing. This avoids unnecessarily multiplicating entities – though of course American intelligence does love multiple, conflicting and redundant agencies.)

The Harrowing

S.H.A.D.E.’s star started shining bright again during the Harrowing of the XXIst Century. The organization recruited Frankenstein, the famous monster accepting to join S.H.A.D.E. out of expediency and in small part because one of their key agents, the Bride. was a creature very much like him.

S.H.A.D.E. learned practically everything there was to know about the Harrowing, including the true nature of the Sheeda, and thanks to Frankenstein managed three devastating strikes against the enemy – the destruction of Neh-Buh-Loh, the demolition of the vast majority of the invasion fleet while they were still Sheeda-side, and dragging Gloriana Tenebræ to a spot where the Spell of Seven could be completed by the Seven Soldiers.

Father Time announces that SHADE is back in business

This string of extraordinary successes put them back on the list of top agencies receiving a vast budget, while several competing agencies lost some of their pull by not looking as good as S.H.A.D.E. did during the war in Manhattan.

S.H.A.D.E. seemed, in fact, to recover much of its early prerogatives in being top dog when it came to coordinating special superhuman agents. In late 2005, as the so-called ’World War 3’ events erupted, Father Time personally headed a small S.H.A.D.E. strike force that attempted to take Black Adam out. Pointless graphic carnage ensued and Time’s face was ripped off.

However, this occurred a short time before the end of the year, as he was due to moult, and thus was only a minor setback.

Battle for Blüdhaven

When the situation in the ruins of Blüdhaven became a pathetic, senseless mess of pointless slaughter between government agencies and the Society, S.H.A.D.E. was ordered to take charge. Things did not improve much ; furthermore, at that point, Time seemed to have become a raging Fascist.

The situation kept getting increasingly chaotic, explosive and strewn with dismembered random bodies, and at one point Time even found himself fighting fifteen Atomic Knights to prevent them from capturing the body of the comatose Captain Atom. The Knights managed to encase Time in a metallic matrix long enough to abscond with Atom. Then, uh, I’m not sure. Lots of explosions and cardboard characters getting slaughtered and not much making sense.

Apparently, Father Time was using the largely Chemo-contaminated population of Blüdhaven as a superhuman-producing camp, from which he could get cheap agents in sufficient numbers to take control of the world. But Captain Atom became Monarch and razed the entire city. Also, the President decided he liked Civil War over at Marvel, and decided to launch his own version of the Superhuman Registration Act, enlisting metahumans as soldiers.

Then Uncle Sam reappeared, but Father Tim replaced a popular Senator and Presidential Candidate, Henry Knight, with an alien shapeshifter robot called Gonzo as he was about to be elected POTUS. Look, I’m not making this up.

Uncle Sam turned some of Time’s agents renegade and made them into the new Freedom Fighters (and, of course, they all had codenames and powers based on the Freedom Fighters) and they killed a lot of American soldiers. Then Father Time had exploding androids disguise themselves as pro-Uncle Sam activists and explode in the street, killing lots of people to turn public attention against Uncle Sam.

Then he graphically tortured and killed some of his agents. Also there were women with big breasts, oh and a bunch of people got killed. Then the Freedom Fighters tried to take down the fake Senator (now President Elect) by intercepting Air Force One, S.H.A.D.E. unleashed a very powerful Miss America android which was destroyed by the real Miss America who came back for no reason. Father Time tortured Captain America. I mean Uncle Sam.

Then the Freedom Fighters, including an absurdly powerful Miss America, beat up Father Time who was narrowly evacuated by the Bride. Father Time started molting since that was the end of the year, and Gonzo sent something that looked like a poor man’s Celestial against the Freedom Butchers. Fighters. Also, people got messily killed, and there also were tits.

Eventually the Freedom Fighters and Uncle Sam attack the White House, the people join them, folks get killed and Gonzo is destroyed.

Whatever.

The art by Daniel Acuña was interesting, though.

However.

However, those, errr, events were revealed after Gonzo’s destruction to have been a particularly ruthless and intricate plan from Father Time to engineer a crisis of such proportions (including releasing disastrous new heroes based on the Freedom Fighters of old) as to manipulate Uncle Sam and force him to appear again. The goal was to provide the US with a powerful defender before actual, non-engineered-from-the-inside-by-a-spymaster events would plague the country.

Holding the destroyed head of Gonzo, Father Time chuckled to himself and watched the revitalized Uncle Sam walk away.

Meh.

Further appearances

More recent appearances depicted Father Time heading S.H.A.D.E during the Infinite Crisis. He was again a dark-skinned man dressed more or less like he was during the Harrowing, and seemed to have a calmer and more considerate version of his 2005 personality.

His powers in that version included super-strength ; Father Time seemed to be a younger man than before, his head was not shaved bald and his eyes would glow red when he exerted himself.

Father Time and S.H.A.D.E. found the Dial H For Hero device, and started analysing it, but it was stolen in an incomprehensible manner. Finding themselves at a dead end, they request that the original Green Lantern (Alan Scott) contact a Golden Age villain, Johnny Mimic, who could reconstitute any crime.

During the case Mimic was killed, the Dial was apparently destroyed, and Green Lantern forced Time’s hand so he would provide a heft pension to Mimic’s widow.

During the Infinite Crisis, Father Time was coordinating his actions with Taleb Beni Khalid, the Black King of intelligence agency Checkmate. Apparently, Father Time and Beni Khalid shared plans to establish something called a Global Peacekeeping Agency, which may or may not resembled that of the World That Is Coming (see the writeups.org entry for the original version of OMAC).


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

In 2005, Father Time was a competent, ruthless, smart spy-master. He seemed completely amoral and proud of it, like much of his organization, and unconcerned with collateral damage. Father Time seemed hyper, even maniacal, but was highly focused and did an excellent job managing crises and juggling priorities.

He was a complete bastard and enthusiastic about it, but actually achieved some positive results — he did not really care about taking down menaces, but was very aware that looking like they were saving people was important for S.H.A.D.E.’s budget and influence.

When telepath Johnny Mimic sensed Father Time’s mind, he described him as being “worse than anyone knows”, implying that he was even more dangerous than the menaces he supposedly fought.

In 2006, he was a raging Fascist caricature, hating the ’weak‘ civilians, obsessed by power and national destiny and treating everybody like crap. I think it was intended to be a political caricature, but it was ham-fisted enough to make the Awesome Android’s painting look like Michelangelo’s. At one point he gave a caricatural neocon discourse. I don’t know. It all was very bloody, and a total waste, and quite embarrassing whatever your political opinions are.

More recent appearance had him back to being a harsh, startlingly ruthless spymaster for whom unstated ends justify horrible means, and favouring violence and intimidation whenever expedient.


Quotes

Father Time (2005 incarnation)
“We could execute you right here and now, ugly. We have the necessary knowhow and the authority to do so. But before it gets to that, how about I bring you up to speed, big fella ?”

“Meet the Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive : a one-time elite espionage operation, the brainchild of President Lyndon Johnson, God rest his soul, some time around high noon. In the Cold War, that is. Here’s the pitch : Superman meets James Bond. Big time for a little while. These days, we clean up the crap no one else will touch, on a budget that wouldn’t buy you breakfast at a fancy hotel.”

“You hear that ? Artificial weather ! The whole world’s in crisis. And you, my friend, are just one more famous monster out of time, waiting for the axe to fall in a world where there’s nowhere left to run. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a way you can save your sorry ass. So before you tear loose and try to club me senseless with that fist… before you collapse under the ensuing hail of hydrochloric acid darts… you might like to consider my generous offer of a job. Frankenstein.”

“Uncle Sam lost a superhuman in there. That’s 3 billion dollars’ worth of brain/machine interface… Your mission is to get him out before his own men drop a bomb on that big mess they made. You dig ?”

“We tried to make a weapon out of water. The water fought back. Scratch one more big dumb idea.” (pause, smiles sardonically) “Heh. So we used you. Welcome to the 21st century. Sure you don’t wanna ride with us, Frankenstein ? Something tells me you’ll fit right in.”

“Turn us around ! Congress just voted in emergency session to reopen the S.H.A.D.E. Nerve Center under United Nations Plaza. That beckoning sound is the big time !”

“S.H.A.D.E. psychics are screaming about a potential extinction event, and it looks like the only superheroes left in town are the ugly ones. We’re hacking a Chinese signal so you can hitch a ride on the Teleport Freight Grid all the way to a receiver our boys just set up in Arizona. Coordinates 33 North 110 West — Miracle Mesa. The satellite should be rising in the East in about fifteen seconds. I don’t care what it takes. I don’t care what it costs. Stop them, Frankenstein.”

Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: “Father Time, sir ! The President’s on the red line: can we nuke Manhattan from space ?”
Father Time: “Tell the crazy bastard we have the situation under control, and hope he believes us.” (switches com channel) “BRIDE !”

“Communications just deciphered a reverse e-mail from agent Frankenstein, sent backwards through time. He says the Sheeda are the pinnacle of natural selection, you getting this ? The last living species clinging to life on a dying Earth ! Consuming their own history to survive ! They’re not fairies, not aliens. They’re us… one billion years from today ! The Sheeda are what man will finally become !”

Father Time (2006 incarnation)
“Who is in charge, here ? […] You’ll address me as Father Time. You and your team are now under my supervision.”

“The President wants to see results. That’s why I am here. I get results.”

(About the Blüdhaven refugees) “I wish we could throw a little mustard gas down there and be done with it. Look at them… maggots squirming in the mud. We need the boot of a war god to stamp down upon the weak sycophants that are eating away at this country.”

Major Victory: “I’ll need reinforcements to track them down.”
Father Time: “You’ll have them. Thanks to the riot at the wall, you’ve been absorbed in to the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive.”
Major Victory: “The what ?”
Father Time: “Exactly.”

“You’ll be kicking the crap out of criminals and terrorists and your government will love you for it. You have power and that will get you further in life. Now shut up and follow me.”

Father Time: “I want you to stamp out these cockroaches and secure the city.”
Major Force: “Can we kill the uncooperative ?”
Father Time: “Slowly and with great vigor, Major Force. Just bring back a few hostages for interrogation […] These are *enemy combatants*.”

“We’ve spent millions of tax dollars on you people. Technically, you are property of the United States government. Therefore, I can snap off a piece of you whenever I want.” (CRACK) (tears off the little finger of one of his agents who failed a mission)

“You’re a broken record, Sam. We want the same things. America needs to be at the top of the food chain. America is becoming Sodom and Gomorrah in ways no one imagined possible. I’m going to restore this nation to greatness by any means necessary.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Father Time (2005)

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Power
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 07 Occupation: Intelligence czar
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 012
Init: 015 HP: 040

Powers:
Invulnerability: 18. See “Powers & Abilities” below

Skills:
Charisma: 06, Vehicles*: 04, Weaponry*: 04

Advantages:
Credentials (US Intelligence, Medium ; S.H.A.D.E., High), Immortal, Iron Nerves, Expertise (superhumans)

Connections:
Omni-Connection

Drawbacks:
MPI

Equipment:
He kept playing with a pocket watch, and had access to the whole resources of S.H.A.D.E.. He uses his highly sophisticated and encrypted cell phone a lot.


Father Time (2006)

Dex: 08 Str: 15 Bod: 12 Motivation: Power
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 06 Occupation: Intelligence czar
Inf: 06 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 018
Init: 015 HP: 040

Powers:
Invulnerability: 18, Jumping: 03, Mind probe: 05

Skills:
Charisma: 06, Vehicles*: 08, Weaponry*: 08

Advantages:
Credentials (US Intelligence, High ; S.H.A.D.E., High ; US Armed Forces, High), Immortal, Iron Nerves, Expertise (superhumans)

Connections:
Omni-Connection

Drawbacks:
SIA toward Power, Minor Rage

Equipment:
Sophisticated, heavily encrypted cell phone

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: DC Universe

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