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The Ultimates are a cadre of Super Heroes employed by the U.S. government to face threats to humanity too powerful for conventional operatives to handle. Led by General Nick Fury, the roster includes billionaire playboy Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man; Captain America, a World War II super-soldier whom fate has thrust into the twenty-first century; an environmental activist who claims to be the Norse god Thor; and Janet Pym, a scientist whose mutant powers allow her to ...
The Ultimates are a cadre of Super Heroes employed by the U.S. government to face threats to humanity too powerful for conventional operatives to handle. Led by General Nick Fury, the roster includes billionaire playboy Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man; Captain America, a World War II super-soldier whom fate has thrust into the twenty-first century; an environmental activist who claims to be the Norse god Thor; and Janet Pym, a scientist whose mutant powers allow her to shrink to the size of a wasp.
The alien shapeshifters called the Chitauri were defeated by the Ultimates in a decisive battle, but suspicious activity leads the Ultimates to believe that not all of the aliens were destroyed in that cataclysmic attack. Stark Industries has developed a means of quickly and easily detecting Chitauri DNA, but the federal government refuses to adopt the technology, claiming that if the tech is widely available, the Chitauri will find a way to fool it.
Frustrated by the government's seeming unwillingness to protect its own people, Captain America takes matters into his own hands, leaking the technology so that it can be manufactured and distributed throughout the country. His radical actions sow discord among the Ultimates and within the highest levels of government, raising a troubling question: Could this disunity and chaos be playing right into the Chitauri's hands?
Meanwhile, Hank Pym, who desperately wants back on the Ultimates team, has been feverishly experimenting with his ants in the hopes of finding his own alternate method of detecting the Chitauri. When he appears to be successful, it could spell doom for the alien menace — but only if the Ultimates canfinally set aside their differences long enough to recognize their true enemy....
The period of retrenchment undertaken in the aftermath of the [Arizona] events 1.07617 solar year ago ends as of this directive. Survivors of our forces from off-planet, together with our assimilated members untouched by the [Arizona] engagement, are being rearranged into a viable force structure. The human opponent has proved more difficult to surmount than we had anticipated. Steps must be, and are being, taken to eliminate this problem. It will be an ongoing process, and the resourcefulness of the human opponent cannot be underestimated, but early signals from operatives in place indicate that current plans are proceeding per directive. Prospects for the imposition of order are improving both here and in other locations where our enemies have failed to dislodge us. Evacuation to the lower fourth dimension is no longer necessary or desirable. We can, and will, continue to perform our duties. As of now, operational directives will be issued from the Western Spiral Arm.
A breeding program is in place, concurrent with assimilations and technological development. Force increase is assisted by improved cloning technology. We are approaching a viable population. If events do not demand immediate action, we anticipate beingable to initiate full-scale operations in approximately ten solar years.
One of the lessons of the [Arizona] setback is that we must avoid concentrating our forces where the humans can bring concentrated firepower to bear. Rather, we should recall that their impulse to act in large forces served us well in the [South Pacific], and we should attempt a similar misdirection if the opportunity presents itself. Our actual deployments will be smaller and more widespread, and we will be exploring the assimilation of forms other than the human. Conservation of mass limits our options in this direction, but the benefits of deploying scouts in nonhuman form make it worthwhile for us to pursue all possibilities.
Currently we are maintaining low-profile deployments in a number of North American and European locations. Our primary goal with these deployments is surveillance of human security measures, with a secondary goal of influencing policy where deployment makes that possible. The addition of nonhuman scouts has complicated communication channels somewhat, since a shift in form is necessary prior to any communication; however, these challenges are being addressed.
The elimination of [Kleiser] created a temporary leadership vacuum that has since been filled. Current command structure is more efficient than what existed under [Kleiser], and more flexible in its approach. [Kleiser], due to an unfortunate indulgence of desire for revenge, placed too much emphasis on the miniscule but formidable portion of the human population which has undergone genetic or technological augmentation, specifically [Steve Rogers] and [Rogers'] colleagues known as the [Ultimates]. New leadership is refocusing on the ideal of order, without counterproductive individual grudges and predispositions.
We are no longer focused on human political centers in [New York] and [Washington]; the events leading up to the [Arizona] setback made clear that our surveillance must be diversified, encompassing human technological research and cultural production as well as the standard intelligence targets of military and political activity. The [National Socialist] host understood that the imposition of order requires domination and control of cultural production as well as military strength; we are redoubling our efforts on this front. Much of this effort consists of suborning existing structures, such as film production, to increase the dissemination of material that prepares the human mind for the idea of order. Consolidation of cultural production in fewer and fewer hands has made this endeavor much easier. To take one example, [Hollywood] filmmaking has absorbed the idea of order -- translated, in human terms, as "traditional values" -- far more easily than we might have expected given the chaotic and inconsistent history of that industry. The [American] political discourse, by and large, has followed this trend as well.
What remains is to take these existing political and cultural trends and systematize them. Developments in ordnance, asset strength, and facilities will parallel this exploration of human cultural production.
© 2007 by Marvel Characters, Inc.
Excerpted from The Ultimates: Against All Enemies by Alex Irvine Copyright © 2007 by Alex Irvine. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted January 7, 2009
No text was provided for this review.