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When your child is instructing you to build their own designs using an Erector Set at only two and a half, you know you have a very special kid.
Victor and Caroline Newman, two moderately wealthy stock traders, were such a couple, and it was clear that little Winston was a very special child indeed. By the time he was three, he was walking his father through the construction of even more complicated devices, including circuitry. By five, he was doing it himself. By eight, he was building computers and robotic appendages for things such as sorting and building. He had been born with a rare mutation that granted him at least ten times more synapses than the average human brain, and was, in all senses of the word, a genius.
He took interests in mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, and anything else that related to science and caught his interest. It became clear that his intelligence would be left to rot in the public and private school systems, and over time it became clear that if there were any tutors out there that could help him learn, they were far out of reach. So, they left Winston to his own devices, and he did not hesitate to make the most of it. His parents were certain he would grow up to be a world famous scientist or engineer, possibly with his own company. They could not be more proud.
Unfortunately, Winston's genius did not come without sacrifice. When Winston was nine and a half years old, he started having trouble walking. When his parents took him to the doctor, he was diagnosed with a degenerative condition, and it was predicted that he would lose all motor function by the time he was eleven years old. The family was devastated, and Winston's parents quickly resigned to their son's fate. Winston, however, came up with a plan.
His leg paralysis set in quickly, and Winston became confined to a wheelchair. Because of this, he spent much of his time in his room, drafting plans for a simple set of robotic arms that he could control using neural impulses. He outfitted them with tools and simple equipment to help him construct things, and with the help of his parents, managed to finish the device as his arm paralysis began to worsen. He attached the the device to his head, and immediately began phase two of his plan.
With the device operational, Winston set to work building a larger version of it. After completing it in a year, he used the larger model to create an even larger model of the same device. Eventually, he had created a large enough replica, and used that machine to build more like it. Once he had a sizable amount, phase three began.
All of the machines began working in unison, constructing a new "body" for Winston out of whatever parts his parents were able to get a hold of with the funding that they had. Computer parts, scrap metal, hardware, and anything else that they could acquire for Winston were all incorporated into the design. It took years; Winston did not finish the machine until he was fifteen. When everything had been completed, Winston summoned his parents, who placed him in a glass tube, and plugged him into the machine. At that moment, his brain became one of the most powerful computer processors in the world.
The computer finished, Winston could then finally move on to the final stage of his plan. He was going to create a real body.
He had done hundreds and hundreds of calculations on what the world must have been like, using data he acquired regarding average human intelligence, as well as super-geniuses and the rate of technological development. What he came up with astounded him, and he couldn't wait to see it. With the help of his computer, Winston created draft after draft of a robotic construct that would allow him to view the world again. It took a long time, and roughly another year after the computer was finished, Winston had finally created his body. Eager to see how the world had changed during his time spent inside, he immediately took off into Millennium City using his construct's rocket boots. He explored for months, and everything that the robot saw was beamed back to Winston's computer, which he used to control the robot remotely. However, what Winston saw disappointed him.
Widespread poverty and hunger, unfair treatment of workers, racism, bigotry, crime, and underdeveloped regions were not what he had expected based on his computations. The world was not the world that it should have been.
Winston brought the construct back, and withdrew from the world for several months. From his observations, he knew that people were trying to make the world better, and he ultimately concluded that the only way that the world was going to improve universally was through a single, accessible, universally-available platform.
He also knew that there were people out there who were abusing technology. VIPER, ARGENT, even PSI and the Westside gangs. There were already efforts in place to take these people down, and Winston was going to join them. If technology was properly defended, then it would quickly spread to those who needed it, and things would get better for everyone.
Carefully, he re-designed the body that he built. He outfitted it with weapons, devices, tools, things that he would need in order to make the world a better place. Finally, at the end of his long period of withdrawal, the upgrades were complete, and Winston did not even need to twitch in order to help change the world.
From that day forward, Winston took to the skies as Progress, the robotic wonder, and defender of advancement.
Progress tends to be enthusiastic in the traditional sense, but his mind is all over the place. He frequently hops from one thought to another, firing off information in a rapid-fire format that often makes people question his sanity when coupled with his enthusiasm. Despite having enough ammunition to take care of any normal daily threat, he still takes time to think things through in his usual somewhat disjointed fashion, even if his particular situation is one best suited for action, rather than reflection. Despite this, his incredibly high level of scientific understanding is usually able to help him out of most jams, especially in a highly technological environment such as Millennium City. At the same time, the synthesized voice that he uses to communicate is specifically programmed to sound somewhat cheery, which makes it very difficult for him to properly express his emotions. He does his best to counteract this with over-gesticulation, even though it often just makes him look silly.
Because of this, and also because Winston can only be present remotely, leads to a certain level of detachment to the rest of the world, which even he is not fully aware of. Things that would normally hold some sort of weight, such as self-sacrifice, loses any sort of impact due to the fact that given the time and money, Winston can simply engineer a new body for himself. Despite this, Winston is also deeply paranoid. Although he may not realize he is still detached from the rest of the world, he is still fully aware of the fact that he can die if he is not careful. This has lead to an extreme amount of paranoia, as Winston does not wish to let anyone know his location, or even his last name, for fear that they could find him. He carefully observes the area around his house remotely, and takes extensive precautions to make sure that his existence is kept an absolute secret at all times. The only exception is that he is willing to mention, if necessary, that he is merely a human driving a robot. Still, he never gives anything more than his age, even to other heroes.
Some would also consider his personality to be somewhat artificial, even though he does not intend for it to be so. Due to his intelligence and the condition that he is in, he only has a very small amount of social experience. He prefers to state what he wants to say very specifically, and as efficiently as possible. As a result, when it comes to normal conversations and scientific input, he often states things in a way that either no one can understand, or that sounds as if it came straight out of a computer entry. Although Winston is quick to point out that he is fully human behind the machine if things get awkward, he appears to have no way of changing his speech patterns.
Due to Winston's increased amount of synapses, he is capable of processing, organizing, and retaining information at an incredibly high rate. If that weren't enough, the time that his brain has spent as the processor of a computer has only helped to streamline the process even further. He has trained himself to process information in a very specific manner, which has somehow managed to increase the speed at which he thinks to a very high degree. Although most consider such a thing to be amazing, Winston does not fully understand their fascination, especially since his intelligence came alongside his current immobile condition.
Winston has used his intelligence to create the robot Progress. Progress is stocked with various weapon systems, such as minor explosive projectiles designed to blind and deafen, machine guns that shoot bullets designed to incapacitate, and blasts of energy that are capable of stunning and pushing enemies to some extent. Although he does carry ammunition that would be considered Lethal Force on occasion, he is extremely strict when it comes to its use, and does not fire lethal rounds unless the situation or threat specifically calls for it. Additionally, Progress is capable of linking up to various electronic devices and interface with them, if need be. Although Winston is capable of doing this to most pieces of technology remotely, Progress is needed if there is no way to access the device in question remotely.
Everywhere At All Times
Although the above is an exaggeration, Winston is capable of accessing a wide variety of electronics, even if security measures are put in place. He uses this ability as a form of omnipresence throughout Millennium, and as a result is capable of offering assistance even without Progress. However, certain systems may require a bit of physical assistance, especially if they are not linked up to a wider accessible system. Although Winston mainly uses this advantage to play "Dispatcher," at times he as also used it for direct intervention as well. His favorite example is a time when he trapped a would-be robber in an elevator, waited for the police to arrive, then lowered the elevator to the bottom floor where the law was already waiting.
Being a remote-controlled robot, Progress has a collection of rather strange weaknesses, as far as super heroes go.
--Radio Jammers: If Winston's connection to Progress is interrupted, then it's Bye Bye, Robot! There isn't enough space for the Progress unit to house both an AI program, and the code needed to link it to Winston's mind, so it has to be one or the other, and Winston prefers the latter. Not only will a jammer cut off Winston's connection to Progress, it will also cut him off from his teammates, due to his remote location. Using a Radio Jammer on Progress might also reveal that he's not a self-contained robot, as he prefers to have the public believe for safety reasons.
--Dead Zones: In line with the Radio-Jammer weakness, if a satellite signal can't reach Progress, then he can't go there. This includes deep caves, certain basements, magical zones, dimensional tears, alternate dimensions, and even mundane areas like sewers and gigantic department stores. He's had several embarrassing signal failures in the last listed location.
--"Two-Second Delay": Progress isn't very agile when it comes to fast-moving projectiles and attacks due to the split second that it takes his commands to travel back and forth. Although he is still generally accurate and capable in a fight, extremely swift attackers shouldn't have a hard time taking care of him.
--Magnets: Not only will Progress be pulled towards magnets, if they're strong enough, they can wipe the unit's systems and shut him down, or even cause a malfunction.
--Electricity: This is a danger for Winston as well as Progress. Large surges of electricity may result in random information being sent through Winston's two-way transmission, which his brain is capable of interpreting as pain. Too much, and Winston himself can be knocked out as if he has sustained physical harm. Winston has a developing fear of large sources of electricity for this reason.
--Viruses: Winston's giant computer keeps him alive at home, and nothing can mess that up like a computer virus. Anything that throws his life support systems off-line is a big danger to him, considering his physical condition. Theoretically, it should also be possible to engineer a virus that takes advantage of the fact that his brain serves as the computer's central processor, but since his identity is currently secret, no one has had the chance.
--Paralysis: At the end of the day, Winston is still a paralyzed boy in a machine. Should anyone manage to find out where he is, he'd be the very definition of Vunerable.