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|Lateran is a villain created by Scott Eiler.|
|Alter Ego:||Philippe St. Joseph Lateran|
|Team Affiliations:||The Last Army (1997-1999), The Heid-Ketzel Temple (2004), militias (2010), Church of the Super Savior (2011)|
|Location:||New Jersey (a.k.a. New Bosnia), on Earth-TW03 ("Turkworld"), 2011|
|Favorite Music:||French grand opera of the 19th century|
Philippe St. Joseph Lateran was born in 1965 in a village in Quebec, Canada. Since then he has spent his life attaching himself to causes - and taking advantage of them. Starting from primary school, his cause was the Catholic Church. With the help of influential relatives plus his own charisma, he rose high within a Catholic order which enforces church discipline. But he committed numerous excesses of corporal punishment, especially at schools. Even by the Vatican's forgiving standards toward its clergy, not all these actions could be excused. By 1995 they had expelled him from the order and excommunicated him. They now deny any association with him.
Lateran next attached himself to the superhuman Sam Johanssen. Sam had resigned from Total Conversion, and craved the adventure of forming a rival organization to it. This organization became known as the Last Army. It would become the largest group of superhumans in the world, and go to war with virtually everyone else. During this war, Lateran ensured the loyalty of the troops and presided over various war crimes, particularly the slaughter of a herd of the Subhuman species. In 1999 the war ended, as Sam Johanssen gave his life to help defend the Earth against an existence-threat. The Last Army soon dissolved.
Lateran then tried associating with various cults and megachurches. Oddly, he found many of them so disorganized, he was able to take control and fuse them into a movement. In 2004 this climaxed with The Willow Farm Incident, in which a United Nations peacekeeping force intervened on American soil to rescue an operative whom Lateran's forces had captured.
Lateran was delivered to an international court for a war crimes trial - but the reality shifts of 2005 made that trial unfeasible. Instead he was released and monitored. He had by then realized, he could operate on his own. So he took that opportunity to capture and enslave the alien killing machine Spanker 4. He was then stopped by Wyatt Ferguson, the Powernaut, and a hybrid human/alien hive-mind known as the Occulator Compuplex. Again he was released.
Governments realized the danger Lateran posed, though. And they realized they had a hostage. In 2006 the U.S. Government interned his sister Eve Ste. Marie Lateran in a camp for superhumans. Philippe had to make several deals to arrange for her release.
By 2008, Lateran (perhaps due to the deals he'd made) took an interest in vampire hunting. This led to his capture by the Vampire Pirates of Tuvalu. He was released yet again, as part of a deal among supervillains.
In 2010 there were rumors of ecological catastrophe, and of mystic powers which might transcend those. Lateran felt this an advantageous cause. So he took refuge in Massachusetts, plotted to gain those powers, and gathered superhumans to himself. But he was again captured, by the United States Insight Batallion.
By 2011, the ecological catastrophe had become irreversible. Lateran heard of a plan by the Church of the Super Savior to evacuate 144,000 of its members to an alternate universe. He arranged via substantial financial donation to be one of the evacuees. But the migration worked out poorly, when that earth's globe-spanning Turkish Empire and its allies from the Council of Ordered Realities disarmed and captured the entire group. Lateran promptly defected to the Turkish Sultan. Later that year, he confronted an American rebellion spearheaded by the Super Savior himself. Lateran is known to have survived that encounter; he was sighted as recently as April 2015. But his current condition is unknown.
Lateran considers himself as highly cultured, but his tastes are antique; he sees the modern world as decadent. This leads to people thinking he's older than he actually is. He sees himself as a Defender of the Faith, and he sometimes comes up with grand plans which theoretically benefit humanity. But he is the most unrepentent, self-centered, and ruthless superhuman operative in his world. "Villain" is not too strong a word for him, nor is "Supervillain".
Lateran is full of plots. His plots have failed so often, they count as professional connections for those who wish to do likewise. By that standard, few can match him. People who have been exposed to his charisma, often publicly either renounce him or affirm him. Either of these things of course reinforce his notoreity, without his even trying. Lateran retains a fringe-based active following, via social media which his secretary maintains. Even while absent, he's a "Lost Cause" symbol - for people whose Lost Causes are undefinable, and whom in person he would disdain.
Lateran's endeavors have had the most success when others act as leaders for his cause. Even he realizes that. He is comfortable acting as second-in-command, but he rarely finds a "Great Man" he can consider worthy of his allegiance. Others feel likewise toward him. Ambitious and unscrupulous people sometimes work with him, but no one likes him.
Powers and Abilities
Lateran's only superhuman power is a form of mind control that expresses itself as charisma. People who meet him, become followers. Frequent exposure to this power leaves normal humans susceptible to his verbal or written orders. Lateran likes to brag that no single mind can resist him - but individuals resist his mental control quite often. Actually his power works best on masses of normal humans, such that the effect on each can flow onto the others.
Lateran travels with a small troop of heavily-armed former Swiss Guards from the Vatican. His typical guards have served with him for so long, their loyalty will never be swayed.
Philippe St. Joseph Lateran is shorter than average. He has a mustache, which he waxes in antique style. He dresses in well-tailored clothes appropriate to the weather. Due to his antique tastes, though, it would be a mistake to call his clothing "stylish".
It's been noted that I have lots of ambiguous heroes and villains, whose definition pretty well depends on whom you ask. For instance, Wyatt Ferguson has been hunted by villains, invited to hero conclaves, hunted by heroes, and invited to villain conclaves. Ellipsis also has both saved and tried to dominate the world. Lateran, on the other hand, is pure villain.
I conceived of Lateran by the most basic random method: plucking a word from the dictionary. At the time, I had a need for a mind-control plot element. His name and his powers pretty well define him. But now he's such a great avatar for "Lost Cause" morality, I have to assign him power he never earned for himself. Oh, my, 2015 might be his comeback year.
(signed) Scott Eiler, 27 June 2015.
This entry and all characters within it are copyright © 2015 by Eiler Technical Enterprises.