Security Level: 50
Online Name: Shyft
Country of Origin: Russian/American
Origin of Powers: Science
Powers: Gravity / Kinetics
Battle Cry: You cannot stand against me!
Favored Attack: Singularities
Favored Defense: Mind Over Body
Hated Nemesis: Crey Industries
As he mind surpassed any of SSA's expectations, Cerenje was sent as a teenager to study at other world-renowned places of education in the west, including MIT, Sorbonne and Oxford
For her doctorate thesis, she focused on artificial gravity, and proposed the use of gravitational field shifts as a means of propulsion in space borne craft. Many of her western peers laughed these ideas down, calling her concept of controllable and modulated gravity fields "outragous".
It was the spring of 1991, and the Soviet Union was in turmoil. Her "handler" and the agency that tended to her needs and education were eliminated. A 20-year-old Cerenje found herself back in her homeland; humiliated and laughed at by the scientific community, too young and impetuous to work in teaching, and no state agency position waiting for her genius.
As luck would have it, Gerald Boyle, an eccentric philanthropist and distant relative of Robert Goddard read her thesis, and brought her back to the States in 1994. His dreams of interstellar flight and faster than light travel was possible, were she able to continue her thesis to its practical development. He turned one of his research and development "think tanks" over to her control, and granted her a massive budget, supported by several scientific foundations and a few government grants.
With as many eyes as were on her, results were expected. Gerald made it clear he believed in her, but she would need to produce something spectacular quickly to keep the money flowing.
Within one year, her team developed a method of creating a small, controlled, anti gravity bubble. The team she led won a Nobel prize in physics, and the field was further developed, eventually replacing the primary suspension used on many monorails, as it provided a safer and smoother ride, allowing higher speeds of transport, as well as being more energy efficient.
Gerald Boyle was heralded as "The Common Man of Science" for his actions in funding and furthering these sort of scientific discoveries. Unfortunately, his fame was short lived.
In early 1997, Gerald Boyle was in a horrible car wreck, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators could not determine the cause of the crash, and the final cause was simply listed as "mechanical failure". As his heirs squabbled about his assets, the Crey Corporation swooped in and bought most of his research facilities for more than anyone had imagined they were worth. The countess made it clear that she fully supported all of the ongoing projects, and simply wished them to continue.
Five years passed, and Cerenje's project continued on. Mathematical and scientific theory showed that her idea was possible, but the amount of controlled gravity needed was nearly immeasurable. She went to the Baroness herself with her idea. They would need far more money and facilities than they had, but Cerneje had developed a theoretical means of creating what she called “a pinpoint singularity”.
Her research had already developed a small efficient field generation that could completely nullify gravity in an area. Using enough fields with enough power, she could cause a gravity influx and create an artificial black hole, no bigger than the head of pin. That would give them the power they needed and hurdle humanity to the stars. As long as the field stood around the singularity, one could come within inches of it and not know what they were looking at.
The Countess quickly agreed, and development began. As 2003 came to a close, Cerenje stood at the brink of the greatest achievement in her life.
But it was not to be.
Sergei, her former “handler” had been one of the KGB’s best field agents, and with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he found himself out of work. Crey’s European division picked him up as a security specialist, and paid him well for it. When he learned that Cerenje was part of the company, he kept tabs on her. He may not of been her handler any longer, but as he had watched over her for fifteen years, he thought of her as a surrogate daughter.
She entered her office, shocked to find him there. He hugged her, and handed Cerenje a folder. Not a word was spoken as she read the file. Crey had lied to her from the beginning. Crey had modified her antigravity projects into weapons. Her gravity suspension coil was the base propulsion unit for a new particle cannon. Restraining devices, capable of holding the strongest superheroes had been reverse engineered from a monorail hoverplate. But the worst was the two final documents in the file.
The first was the report from a field agent that had successfully used a gravity based propulsion weapon in the field. His target: Gerald Boyle.
The second was an interoffice memo that outlined Cerneje’s “dismissal”. Crey believed she had finished with the artificial black hole and was simply stalling. Other engineers were waiting to get their hands on her prototype. The motivation was clear. They were not going to use the singularity as a means of space travel, but had outlined how they believed it could be harnessed as an unstoppable weapon, that could be used to humble a nation.
Turning on her heel, she stormed into her lab, Sergei at her side. She quickly erased all data on the labs computers, and began to pile up all hard copies and recorded media as Sergei poured lighter fluid on it. As it burned, she put one of the nullgrav devices the engineers wore when working in the field center. The fields were not fully active, but they were still strong enough to cause adverse physical effects. She would need to enter the field center and destroy all of the alignment settings as well as the plutonium control matrix that would be the source of mass that would become the singularity. Sergei’s eyes narrowed as the building alarms blew.
Tears streaked down her face as Sergei fell. He had held the Crey operatives off long enough for her to enter the matrix. She would die with him, but not before she rendered the entirety of her work worthless to them.
Cerenje looked up, surveying her laboratory one last time. Fifteen years of work stood before her. As she looked up to the control booth, the source of her pain, the mastermind of her anguish stood at the master board. The Countess.
The fields went live and the whole room began to shudder with power. The Countess had activated the device. The additional mass of Cerenje would be a miniscule change to the calculations, and would have no real effect on the outcome.
Or so she thought.
Cerneje felt her hair stand on end as the fluctuating graviton fields crashed against the field her nullgrav belt made. She stood in awe as the plutonium matrix hovered to eye level for a moment then collapsed in upon itself, winking out of sight, and began to form a small but growing pinprick of absolute blackness. A broad smile crossed Cerenje’s face. As a scientist, she had just seen her dream come true. She had seen the birth of a black hole. Suddenly the control alarms began to ring. She could not hear them over the hum of the fields, but the red and amber alert lights were plain to see. As the rest of the staff panics and began to rush from the control room, Cerenje looked up in time to see the countess sneer in disproval before her guard ushered her out of the room.
From the gauges she could see, the fields were not stable, the flux of the black hole was not constant. Something was interfering with it, and it threatened to take the entire containment system down. Cerenje’s mind began to race. If the fields fell, the singularity would be unleashed, uncontained. The destruction would be catastrophic, even if the singularity was only the size of a single molecular chain. As the field shifted, the platform the matrix had been on was sucked into the marble sized growing black ball. The nullbelt would keep her safe but…
The nullbelt! That was what was causing the fluctuation. She acted as a barrier in the middle of the fields, making them uneven. She quickly did the math and realized she had only a few minutes to figure out a solution. She could leave the fields, and everything would stabilize, but then Crey would have their super-weapon. If she did not take the nullbelt out of the field, it would bring the entire system down, and leave a wake of destruction that would make an atomic bomb look like a firecracker. Her only other option was to somehow nullify or destroy the singularity.
Her mind raced, doing calculations over and over in her head. The nullbelt could, in theory, contain the singularity, but if she removed belt, the fluctuating fields around her would instantly kill her. If though, the belt worked as designed, the belt could contain the singularity, if she drew it in. Although the idea of it being on the same side of the barrier to her meant she would be instantly crushed into a hole the size of a molecule, just like the pedestal was. Or did it? Would drawing the singularity into the field immediately cause the gravitic adhesion to fall apart, forcing the black hole to discorporate into its component parts? She had little time to work out the numbers. For the first time in her life, she would simply have to guess.
She stepped forward, into the singularity. For a brief moment she felt a searing pain on her forehead, like a drill boring its way in. She felt a small trickle of blood run down her face. Her eyes grew wide as the world turned white, then black. The sound of rushing water throbbed in her ears and patterns of stars mixed with atoms, as the universe danced through her vision.
Cerenje opened her eyes, looking up at a firefighter. He was helping her to her feet. Firemen, policemen, national guardsmen, Hero Corp agents littered the surrounding area, looking through what little rubble there was. As she gathered herself, and got her bearings she realized she at the epicenter of a crater, no less than a half mile across. Unlike an impact crater or an explosion, there was no smoke, no debris. It had been an implosion, not an explosion.
The authorities had questions, but she no answers. All she had done, all she had worked for was gone, without trace. None of it made any sense. Her head throbbed and she couldn’t think straight. As the first few Crey Security agents arrived on sight, they pushed their way past the police to take Cerneje into custody. As the lead man grabbed her arm, she pulled away and instinctively threw her hand up in defense. What happened was not expected.
A large mass of twisted rebar and concrete ripped itself from the ground and impacted the agent, knocking him cold and sending him flying. When a group of them drew their weapons, she held out her hands, and watched as alternating gravity fields held them still, like a fly trapped in amber. As more agents exited the Crey hovercraft she turned to run, and felt the ground ripple as she sped across it, nearly breaking the sound barrier. In the blink of an eye, she had run nearly a mile. A smile grew across her face. The nullbelt had worked, but not as she expected. There was no way to explain it, but somehow she and the black hole had merged, and the belt allowed her to control the massive gravitic fields that were at her mental command. She was a living gravity well.
Adopting a costume and taking the name Shyft, in honor of the shifting gravity fields that had given her the powers she now commanded, she took aim at Crey. Wherever they went, so did she. Wherever they built up, she went to tear them down. Where they went to grow, she went to weed them out.
Hero Corps paid the bills, and at times, other supergroups were good for getting to Crey, but friends came and went. This was a war. She would see Crey destroyed, no matter the cost. For all the good and freedom that America promoted, Crey represented the worst of capitalism, fascism and greed. It was time to find brethren who saw the world as she did.
Over the last few months, after some deep soul searching and repeated exposure to the otherworldly physics of the Shadow Shard, Shyft's personality has become erratic, shifting wildly from arrogant to childlike. For unknown and unspoken reasons, she has cut her ties with the CCCP and walked away from her position as the head science officer.