Mystere MYSTÈRE

History:

Marie Ste. Claire was a young scientist researching theories on the fringes of computing science, including English computer-freak and occultist Richie Simpson's so-called Quantum Magic and the work of Jean-Louis Droo, who was also a super-villain named Houngan. Both theories concerned ways to combine modern computer technology and various forms of occult power. Simpson had allegedly discovered a means to use drugs and astral projection techniques to psychically project himself into computer systems and Droo had invented a means of creating computerized "voodoo dolls", which he could use to control or cause harm to a person so long as he had some form of genetic material from the target, such as a lock of hair, drop of blood, or even nail clippings.

When Marie found one of the few papers Droo had written about his technology she was fascinated. As a child, Marie's grandmother had often told her stories of voodoo. Marie’s grandmother had actually been a mambo (voodoo priestess) in San Monique and had belonged to the Grand Mystère (Great Mystery) sect, a rival of the Silver Path sect. Over half a century ago, the Silver Path eliminated all of the rival voudun sects in San Monique. A handful of survivors of these sects became refugees, fleeing to Cuba, Mexico, and the United States. Marie’s grandmother had fled to New Orleans where she married and had a daughter, Marie’s mother.

Marie began expanding on Simpson and Droo’s theories using her knowledge of voodoo and computers. She realized that if cyberspace was an aspect of the Spirit World (as implied by Simpson's Quantum Magic), then a person should be able to contact the Loa (gods and spirits) of voodoo myth using a computer. The key was to figure out how. She sought out funding but was universally rejected and when word of her theories spread, Marie was ridiculed. Desperate, she jumped at the chance to continue her work when a mysterious benefactor agreed to fund her experiments, and she did not question the source of the money. In a short time she was able to create a computerized equivalent of the vévés used to summon the loa. She tested the machine, and made contact with something on the ‘Net claiming to be Legba, the loa of gates, crossroads, and the one responsible for bridging the gap between the spirit world and the physical world. Were these entities truly the loa of voodoo myth? Marie believed they were, and so did her secret benefactors, in reality the houngans of the Silver Path. After contact had been made with Legba, the technology advanced quickly. Perhaps Legba himself was helping. Soon a means was found to allow the loa to mount a person equipped with special cybernetic implants.

It was at this point that Marie discovered her benefactor's true identity. By this time the Silver Path were using Marie's technology on kidnapping victims to create an army of zombie slaves. When she threatened to go to the authorities, Marie became the guinea pig for her own vévé circuits. Her mind was blanked and she was augmented with her latest experimental version of the cybernetics. Using the circuitry she could summon the Voodoo loa and they could ride her. They could also use her modular cybernetics to duplicate their own abilities. Marie became one more cyborg slave in the Silver Path's army. But the loa (if they truly are the loa of Voodoo myth), while not inherently good or evil, do not like serving only one side. They often choose to punish those that abuse their power, and for the instrument of their punishment against the Silver Path the loa chose Marie. They broke the group's hold on Marie and sent her running to America.

Though the Loas had restored her free will, Marie remained amnesiac. She reached New Orleans with several of the Path's chevals hot on her trail and had no idea what to do. When the chevals attacked, Marie was rescued by one of New Orleans' resident super-heroes, ArcAngel. Marie wound up helping ArcAngel and her former teammate Renegade stop one of the Silver Path's major drug smuggling operations in Superior City, Renegade's home. When the Path swore vengeance on the group and the city, the three heroes decided to form a permanent team in Superior to combat the new threat. The amnesiac Marie took the name Mystère and became a founding member of the new Enforcers of Justice. With Renegade and ArcAngel's help, Marie eventually discovered who she was, but still had no memories of her past. She soon learned that the Loa had a means to restore her memory, but held it back in exchange for her loyalty. It was only a short time later that the Loa were faced with a great threat that prompted them to restore Marie's memory to her because they needed her with all her faculties to help save them.

Mystere (Cyborg) With her memories restored Marie set out to build a new life for herself in Superior City. Thanks to her identity as Mystère she gained contacts in the scientific community and Marie eventually got a job as a researcher with the west coast division of the Banzai Institute. Several months later, when an incident at the Institute resulted in her suspension, Marie managed to use the corporation once run by the artificial intelligence OMEGA to distribute new computer technology she had invented. Just after she had begun her new job with Omega Computer Products, Marie was kidnapped by the Silver Path. They were preparing for another major drug operation in America and wanted to make sure that Marie and her teammates in the Enforcers of Justice did not interfere. The Path had sent cyborg assassins to kill the rest of the team but they decided to keep Marie alive to force her to create more technology for them. Marie escaped with the help of members of some of the Silver Path's rival voodoo sects on San Monique, who still practiced traditional voodoo, something which the Silver Path had abandoned in favor of techno-voodoo.

Determined to stop the Silver Path from continuing to use her technology, Marie devised a computer virus that would destroy the cybernetic interface used by the chevals to summon loa even though it would also destroy her powers as well. Before she could introduce the virus into the Silver Path's computer system, however, Marie was confronted and killed by the Path's leader, Julian LaCroix, who possessed a more advanced form of the cybernetics that Marie had. Though they arrived too late to save Mystère, her teammates did manage to upload Marie's virus into the Silver Path's computers, dealing the organization a crippling blow.

The death of her body was not the end of Mystère, however. The Loa intercepted her tit-bon-ange (spirit) and brought it into Cyberspace, where they infused it with techno-magical energy, transforming Marie into a true cyberspirit. Mystère spent months learning her new abilities, and responsibilities, as a Loa of Cyberspace. Eventually she tried to contact her former teammates to let them know she was still alive, after a fashion. When she learned that much of the team was lost, trapped on Otherworld, she offered to help the reprogrammed Omega android locate them. With her new powers Marie created a fleet of scouts to search across the reaches of Cyberspace to locate the missing team members' communicators. Meanwhile she and Omega worked on a means to bring their teammates back to Earth once they were found.

When the two found their missing teammates, they rescued them from Otherworld by transporting them into Cyberspace using a variant of one of the original OMEGA's weapons. Once there Mystère brought them to the digitized Zenith City. From there Mystère and Omega were able to bring them and the trapped populace of the city back into the real world. In the process Mystère learned that she could also leave Cyberspace and manifest herself of Earth in an avatar form using any piece of technology as a conduit, and she could return to Cyberspace just as easily.

Again in possession of a physical body, Mystère then set out to reestablish her secret identity, who the world at large thought was missing and presumed dead. With her teammates' help Mystère developed a cover story for the return of Marie Ste. Claire and she went back to work at Omega Computers. Soon after, however, the original OMEGA returned and, seeking vengeance on its replacement and on Mystère, it destroyed the company and exposed Marie's secret identity. With her identity as Mystère no longer a secret, Marie has since taken a job with S.T.A.R. Labs to conduct advanced computer and cybernetic research while continuing to work with the Enforcers of Justice.

Powers and Abilities:

Originally, Marie was a cyborg, a person augmented by mechanical and electronic implants. The Silver Path had cybernetically augmented Marie's muscular and skeletal systems to give her superhuman strength and resistance and her eyes had been replaced by cybernetic ones that allowed her to see into the infrared and ultra-violet spectrums. The most powerful of Marie's implants were the cybernetic vévés that allowed Marie to channel the Loa from the 'Net. Mystère's vévés were more advanced than those used by the Silver Path's regular chevals. Whereas each cheval's implants were tailored to a specific Loa, Marie's were designed to allow her to channel any Loa as long as she had the necessary software. Though Mystère could channel any Loa she could only do one at a time and most often channeled Legba and Ogou but would use others if the situation warranted. Because of the computer virus Marie designed none of the cybernetic vévés work anymore.

In her current form, as an avatar on Earth, Mystère possesses superhuman strength and can manipulate techno-magical energies to fly, fire energy blasts, or create force fields. Her nature as a Cyber-Loa also gives her control over computers and other machines. When she travels into Cyberspace she possesses near god-like power over those same machines from the inside, and can manipulate the very fabric of reality in the techno-realm. In Cyberspace she is only limited by the amount of power she can use at any one time, and using too much can weaken or even kill her. Otherwise there is little she cannot do when inside Cyberspace.


Enforcers of Justice II