Believe it or not, under this spoiler is the SHORT version of the origin.
What was he becoming?
When Georg Spatz stepped from Der Ubermenschmachinemachine, he felt infused with a power he had never known before. He delighted in seeing the electricity crackle from his fingertips, and it was pure joy the first time he loosed a bolt of lightning into the inspecting Amerikaner soldiers.
He had wanted to call himself The Red Baron, after his favorite war hero, Manfred von Richtoffen, and in his mind he viewed himself in a blood red, black, and silver uniform, a swastika emblazoned upon his chest, a chrome helmet with a spike on top on his head, something like a mask with goggles over his eyes to make him look more fearsome. Yes… that would strike fear into the Allies, with their fledermausmechen, Amazon floozies, and ubermenchen, spurious captains and inhuman firebugs, night haunters and metallic adventurers
But his superior officers insisted that he merely be Shocktrooper, and gave him a slightly modified uniform that hid some lightweight body armor. Over his face they insisted he wear a hideous gasmask to hide his identity. It also allowed others to masquerade as him when they decided they wanted to create the illusion that there was more then one of him. These imposters were fixed up with some kind of static generators that allowed them to put on silly light shows to impress people. At that, they kept him in reserve. At first, his powers were good for two or three really big bolts of lightning, or a dozen or so smaller ones. He compared them to the difference between a field piece and a pistol. Slowly, there was a slight loss in power, and they feared that he was returning to normal.
Extensive (and often uncomfortable) studies were performed on Spatz, and they came to a conclusion: although his body, through some as yet unknown mechanism, generated massive amounts of electricity, it was drained out slowly by casual contact with grounded objects or even high humidity.
That led him to this.
He was in a room of wood-walls, ceiling, floor, and furnishings everything except his porcelain chamber pot and the rubber air mattress he slept on. There was the constant hum of a refrigeration unit that both took the moisture out of the air and kept his cool. This latter was necessary because he was now doomed to live in a rubberized suit to keep him from losing his charge. He felt like a fool dressed as he was in black rubber with bakelite fasteners, but he had no choice.
Then came the night in the steeple…
He was glad for the activity. One of the uber-soldiers of the allies was leading a thrust into an area, and Shocktrooper had one order: kill him. War was war, so this order didn’t bother Spatz at all. He put the Shocktrooper uniform over his ridiculous rubber suit, donned the gas mask and helmet, and went out to do his duty.
There was a company of enemy soldiers who had, so far, had an easy time of it advancing toward the small town. Spatz blasted the armored units that accompanied the soldiers, and then went after the infantry. It was near the small town church he encountered the American super-soldier. Dressed up like an American flag, the man was no more a captain than Spatz was. Still, he was a challenge. He either dodged Spatz’s lighting bolts or shielded himself from their effects.
Somehow, apparently with little rhyme or reason, the fight between the two super-soldiers drifted into the church and up the winding stairs to the top of the steeple. As rifle bullets rang the bells, and storm clouds gathered above, Spatz knew the joy of blowing the railing out from under the American, and watching him tumble out into space. Spatz ran to the blasted opening, expecting to see the shattered body of the other man. Instead what he saw was one of the other super-human allied operatives streaking out of the sky like a comet to catch his flag-wrapped foe.
Spatz was furious. He began to build up a charge that would lay waste, if not to the ungrounded uber-humans, then to the pitiful company of men foundering on the ground.
That’s when the lightning bolt hit.
The electrical potential had been building during Spatz’s battle with the American, but neither man had noticed it. The top of the steeple exploded, the bell actually melting slightly. Parts of masonry and slate roofing rained down on the surrounding area, forcing the invading soldiers under cover.
And in the center of the lighting bolt, said to be as hot as the surface of the sun, was Spatz.
It was power on a level he had never known before. He could feel it coursing through the air around him, through his body. He wished, oh how he wished, he could contain this much power.
Then the bolt was gone. In the deepening gloom and rain, no one noticed Spatz, his uniform in tatters, float gently to the ground. Like a man in a daze, Spatz walked with uncanny accuracy back to the rendezvous point. He managed to mumble out the basics of his mission before he fell asleep.
He awoke back in his room, dressed again in the rubber suit. Something was different, though. Then Spatz realized: the lightning bolt was still inside him!
I was like a sleeping dragon, coiled inside him. He looked at his hands, and realized he could sense the faint drain of electricity that the suit slowed, but didn’t stop. If he could hold onto a lightning bolt, Spatz reasoned, why couldn’t he hold onto this? He concentrated and the leakage stopped. He lay still again. Slowly he realized that he could sense the electricity that powered the lights in his room, and even trace it to the source outside.
What else could he do?
When he concentrated he could hear a rumble of voices in his head. With very little practice, he realized that he could sift thorough the confusion and hear individual voices. When he recognized the voice of the announcer giving the weather at a nearby town, he realized that he was listening to radio waves.
This was wonderful!
He could sense little electrical charges in the room. If he concentrated, he could move those charges around. For fun, he collected all those charges in one spot… and created a cloud.
Spatz was amazed. He had never heard about water having an electrical charge. He stirred the charges in the tiny cloud, and jumped when a miniscule lightning bolt struck the end of his bed with a “Pop!”
He closed is eyes and discovered that he could sense the faint charges in the air for some distance around him, even outside the little trailer that housed his room.
This was more than what Der Ubermenchmachenmachine had done. But was it something that developed because of the lightning, or had the U-Machine started something, something which was evolving within Spatz?
There was a knock at the door. It opened, and one of the orderlies told him that he was ordered to the Kommandant’s office. Spatz dressed quickly, putting on the Shocktrooper uniform.
Just outside the Kommandants‘s office there was a welcoming committee. There were several soldiers he did not recognize, a couple of officers, and one of the Shocktrooper impostors, along with his Kommandant.
Then he realized, whatever the man dressed as Shocktrooper was, he was not exactly an imposter. Spatz sense in him a level of power that he would have envied before he was struck by lightning.
Suddenly, his Kommandant spun and started wrestling with one of the other officers. Spatz was astounded to realize that he officer had been holding a pistol to The Kommandant’s back.
“They are trying to kill you!” shouted the Kommandant. “RUN!”
Then the gun went off. The Kommandant’s face seemed to cave in around the hole just below his eye.
Before Spatz could recover from the shock, the other Shocktrooper fired a massive electrical discharge at him. It knocked him of his feet and sent him flying, shredding his clothing and charring most of the rubber suit to ashes. Spatz stopped his motion, and took stock of his surroundings. Everyone was staring at him, suspended half a man’s height above the ground. Then the soldiers began to fire their weapons. Spatz erected a wall of electricity between them and the bullets ricocheted harmlessly away. The bogus Shocktrooper fired again, but this time, Spatz was ready. He reached out with his mind and drew the electricity from the other man... all of it. Then he returned it. The other Shocktrooper exploded in flame. He ran away screaming, his rubber suit and gas mask melting from the heat. Spatz fired electrical bolts at the riflemen and the officers, all but one. Some died, some merely fell unconscious; Spatz didn’t really care.
Spatz flew slowly over to the officer who had shot his Kommandant. Thunder rumbled in the suddenly cloudy sky, and Spatz reflected that no rain was predicted.
“Why?” he asked the officer.
The man responded by drawing a dagger and driving it straight towards Spatz’s heart. The dagger blew up. Molten metal spattered the officer’s face.
Rain started to fall, and the wind picked up. Spatz smiled. His body cracked with energy, but it was static-none was leaking away, none was “earthing” in the soil.
Spatz moved more of he little charges in the air, and the wind picked the officer up and raised him to eye level.
“I asked you WHY”, his voice punctuated by a thunderclap.
The officer sneered at Spatz.
“We had found a more suitable replacement. You are weak, silly, loyal to your Kommandant and your country when you should be loyal to The Reich.”
“Germany is my home…” Spatz said trying to make some sense of things.
“Dumbkoph! Germany is NOTHING without the Reich. The Reich will last a thousand years! It will last TEN THOUSAND! It will be here long after Germany has faded from memory. And YOU! You are a stupid farm boy whose parents are little more than the swine they... “
He was cut off by a lightning bolt. Unlike Spatz, the officer did not seem to be able to harness it.
Spatz dropped the smoking corpse. The wind lifted him up into the storm itself. It was of his making, and his to use as he willed. Lightning struck him, rain washed over him, the wind tossed his hair.
It had all begun with Der Ubermenchmachenmachine. It had either set this evolution in motion, or primed him for the lightning. The new “Shocktrooper” was evidence that it might be duplicated again. The storm moved east, toward the village where the lab that housed The U-Machine was hidden. Spatz felt that it might be too dangerous a thing to allow to exist.
He rode on the winds and smiled.
Maybe he never would get to be The Red Baron, and perhaps he was no longer Shocktrooper, but soon everyone would know the name Storm Trooper.
I may yet do a picture of him as The Red Baron.