Stephen "Stevie" Jefferson
was born in the large city of Houghton, Michigan to a loving couple. His parents Carol and Walter Jefferson were a general practitioner and personal injury attorney respectively, and as such were hardworking people who tried to instill those same values into their children. Their first child Nicole would later follow in her mother's footsteps and become a doctor and there was a hope if not expectation that Stevie would get a career in a medical or legal profession like his parents as well. But Stevie didn't find any interest in law or medicine. Instead, he found himself drawn to science with an emphasis on physics. This was just fine for his parents though since becoming a scientist was no small feat. But Stevie had other loves and interests too, one of which was superheroes. He loved the idea of people with unique abilities helping others in an attempt to make the world a better place, but sadly the shy, nervous and generally unfit Stevie saw that he could never be like them. So instead, he simply idolized and respected them like so many others do.
After graduating high school, he was accepted into Michigan Technological University in his home town where he'd later also graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Physics years later. While his parents would've preferred he went for a Bachelor of Science in Physics instead then followed that up with furthering his education even more to obtain a PhD in physics, they were still proud of their son all the same. But even with that under his belt, Stevie still felt his parents had more admiration for his sister's career path and were just merely tolerating his own achievements. This did motivate him more to do better in life and so after graduating Michigan Tech, he made the move to Millennium City and even managed to get a decent job as a lab assistant at Harmon Labs thanks to a letter of recommendation from his professor. Of course there was another big reason why he made the move to MC. Namely his admiration for superheroes as Millennium City was well known for their abundance of them, including the Champions. Now in a new city with a new job and being closer to the heroes he adored, Stevie felt like life was going pretty well for him.
A few months after being in Millennium City in early December of 2022, Stevie found himself in the physics lab alone one night as he wanted to catch up on some work he missed and was documenting various research and experiments. But then his scientific curiosity got the best of him and with no one else around, he decided to closely examine a machine being worked on to both access and harness mysterious quantum fields. Unfortunately he seemed to accidentally activate the device and in the process, he was bombarded by some form of quantum energy. The ordeal ended as quickly as it began and while a little dazed and embarrassed, Stevie found he was okay otherwise and finished his work to leave for the day. Awaking the next morning however, he noticed that he had somehow undergone a physiological transformation as the previously unfit Stevie was now toned, muscular and actually felt the best he has ever been. Trying to wrap his head around what was happening, he decided to take a few days off and began doing some of his own research. But little did he know, there were even bigger changes to come.
The following day while he was sitting on the couch and going through various documentation about quantum mechanics, Stevie started to feel very strange. It was then that he suddenly grew to around eight feet in height, tearing his clothing in the process. The now frightened Stevie thought about calling 911 to see if they could help him but before he could even get to his phone, he had shrunk back to his normal size. This strange occurrence led him to do even more vigourous investigating, but he ultimately came up with few answers. All he knew was that the machine at Harmon Labs somehow did something to him. As his mind started to race, two thoughts started to creep into his mind. What if he was given unique abilities like the heroes he idolized, and what if this meant he could now be one of them? Over the next few days he had off work, he started to focus and learned that he could increases his size to more than eight feet. In fact as he started practicing more and more, he discovered he could increase his stature to over twenty feet. He even found that his strength and durability increased to superhuman levels as he grew.
Now excited that he had super powers, the next step was to figure out how he could use this ability productively and help society. Well that, and how could he manage to grow without ending up naked. It was then he remembered the experimental materials treated with a process called Quantum Energy Infusion that Harmon Labs had been working on which might be just what he needed. And so when he returned to work later on, Stevie did what he could to learn about this unique material. Thankfully and perhaps serendipitously, he managed to learn how the process was performed and after volunteering to stay for a few nights, he acquired what he needed in the form of materials that were being prepared for disposal. So he began to work on creating a suit that could increase in size as well as return to his normal height when he does. After a week of sneaking around at the lab and working diligently, he managed to create a prototype suit to do exactly that.
Happy and proud of what he made, he also realized there was still another problem. Stevie was nearsighted and required glasses, but they would fall off whenever he grew and contact lenses would also not stay in. What he did have though were prescription safety goggles, so he came up with a daring plan. Going to work the following day and once again volunteering to stay late, he managed to gain access to the machine that allows for Quantum Energy Infusion and successfully managed to repeat the process on his goggles which allowed them to alter their size. When he got home, he wasted no time adding them to the mask of his suit and examined the final product with a smile. He could now become a superhero. With more practice with both his abilities and the suit, Stevie was ready to step out into Millennium City as a hero. Of course, he still needed a hero name. After coming up with and dismissing an idea or two, he decided on High Rise and stepped out into the streets in early January 2023 to finally live the dream and be a superhero.
The intelligent yet introverted Stevie tends to be very shy around others but when he does interact with people, he's usually quite friendly. Perhaps even to a fault. Once he does start talking, it's sometimes difficult to get him to stop and he tends to ramble on about things in an excited manner. He also has a habit of stammering if not outright stuttering when he speaks, which becomes more prominent when he gets flustered. He occasionally has trouble maintaining his gaze on certain individuals he's speaking with, which seems to occur more prominently with a woman he has some sort of interest in. Stevie doesn't like confrontation and would much rather everyone get along rather than fight. This includes both verbal and physical altercations. As the new hero High Rise, Stevie does try to overcome his shyness and be more assertive as he thinks every hero should and has made progress in being more confident in his day to day life. However he has found this is easier said than done and generally fails awkwardly to be a strong self-assured hero. Increasing his stature does generally seem to help him feel more confident, and sometimes he will grow in height when talking to others in costume just to help himself relax. While being a pacifist and not liking violence in any form, he isn't above fighting to help those that are in danger when he must as he has a protective nature about him.
POWERS AND SKILLS
Size Augmentation - Due to the mysterious energy he was exposed to, High Rise is able to increase his stature and reach gigantic proportions. While the exact mechanism he derives his ability to increase his size from is currently unknown to him, he is actually able to grow or shrink back to his original size by rapidly appropriating and/or abandoning mass from what is a presently unidentified extra-dimensional source. This strange method and power source allows him to seemingly violate certain laws of physics as his strength, durability, and even weight vary greatly from what would be commonly understood through known science. With maximum effort, he is currently able to grow to around 35 feet tall. His strength also increases greatly as he grows, equating to roughly twice his body weight. Some examples being that he is able to lift around 5,600 lbs (over 2 and a half tons) at 15 feet, close to 26,000 lbs (13 tons) at 25 feet, and approximately 71,200 lbs (35 and a half tons) at his current maximum size of 35 feet. His durability also increases to the point where some forms of attack that may cause significant harm such as blades and bullets do little to no damage at all depending on his current size.
Self-Density Control - While presently unaware how to control his own density, Stevie seems to be able to do just that whenever he increases his stature. His weight, which should be more detrimental to him as he increases his mass, seems to be less of a concern to him than even he would've thought. Meaning High Rise, while still getting heavier as his stature increases, does not succumb to all the negative effects that should be expected as he increases his size. Even when only increasing his stature by a few feet, his durability and striking power are increased beyond the average human being. This effect only increases as his size does allowing him to brush off most gunfire and explosives when he gets large enough, to an extent. It is currently unknown if he will ever gain conscious control of this ability, or if it is simply a subconscious "safety system" for him.
Enhanced Physiology - Even when Stevie isn't actively using his abilities, he is seemingly slightly tougher than the average human his build as a result of the lab accident. While previously out of shape physically, he is now well-toned and apparently healthier. Only being around 5'9" in height, Stevie is able to bench about 230 lbs under optimal conditions, which is more than he could lift prior. In addition and while not extremely durable, he is still able to take more of a beating than others around his size and weight. And while he never was an athlete, he is now able to run faster and for a greater duration than he ever could before his transformation. It is important to note however that he still needs to maintain his current build through proper diet and exercise in order to get full advantage of his fitness, and as such his life style had to change to reflect that.
Above Average Intellect - High Rise by no means has subpar intelligence. In fact, he is quite brilliant even though he initially saw his interest in science and engineering as more of a hobby than the exact career path he was looking to get involved with. He enjoys learning new scientific concepts as well as general facts all the time, a thirst for knowledge which has only really increased since he gained his abilities. The fact that he was hired as a lab assistant by the well known and highly respected Harmon Labs almost directly after graduating from Michigan Tech is perhaps further evidence of his intellect. This of course doesn't mean that his mind is on par with the most brilliant in the world, or even the top one thousand in Millennium City. But his seemingly above average intelligence, his academic background in both physics and electrical engineering as well as his inquiring mind all give credence to the fact that he is a gifted young man all the same.
Physics Major - Having majored in physics and later successfully graduating from Michigan Tech with a Bachelor of Arts in physics degree, Stevie has greater understanding of the scientific branch of than the average person. His admiration for science and physics specifically started at a young age where he would watch many documentaries and read as many books as he could on the vast subject. Naturally, this knowledge increased as time went on and now he has a career in a related field. Quantum physics, the study of matter and energy at the most fundamental level, seems to be Stevie's main point of interest as well. This was reinforced after the incident which gave him his powers as the origin was related to quantum mechanics, causing him to want to delve even deeper into the mysterious science.
Electrical Engineering - One of Stevie's main interests that has been around from a young age is his desire to understand the application of electronic devices and equipment. As a child, he used to take apart small devices such as TV remotes and calculators, examine them closely, then try to put them back together in an optimal state. In high school he even managed to create a small but effective prototype stun gun that was able to fit on a key chain, which later won him second place at a science fair. Later still while attending Michigan Tech, Stevie minored in electrical engineering where he learned even more about the discipline. Bottom line, he is able to study, design and apply various electronic devices and equipment to generally great effect.
Giant Pain - Due to frequent practice with his abilities, Stevie is now able to remain at an altered height of between eleven feet six, inches, or twice his normal height, and his maximum size of 35 feet for roughly an hour. However, maintaining that size for approximately 50 minutes starts to give him headaches which only persist the longer he stays that way. If after an hour he is still at his gargantuan stature, he begins to feel immense discomfort and even pain throughout his body. This can also cause difficulty shifting back to his regular size again and he could remain stuck at a larger than average size for a time. Quickly shifting between various sizes can also cause physical exhaustion if he's not careful which will require him to rest before shifting again.
Big Target - Seeing as his main ability is to allow himself to increase in stature, High Rise has the obvious problem of becoming an easy target for enemies. In fact, he is even hesitant to grow too large even if it may help resolve the situation faster out of fear that he'll encounter an enemy that can do serious damage to him if given the opportunity. Generally speaking because he usually deals with smaller crimes involving regular humans with more typical weaponry, he hasn't encountered much if any problems due to being a large target. This does not however remove the fact that he is still fairly easy to hit which could become a major problem should he encounter more dangerous foes at any point.
Not A Fighter - Even with his abilities giving him an edge over most regular opponents he faces, High Rise is in no way a well-trained fighter and as such can be outmaneuvered easily by better trained enemies. The threat to him becomes even greater when super criminals with various special abilities and/or equipment are added to the mix as they can best the inexperienced Stevie at combat. This is yet another reason why he prefers to stick to smaller situations involving fewer or more common criminals over the kind that can lift semi trucks with one hand or move faster than bullets. He has started taking judo lessons to get better, but is still just a beginner.
Human Being - He may be just slightly tougher than the average person when he's at his normal size and even more so when he uses his abilities, but Stevie is still a human being that is vulnerable to the various methods of harm all humans generally are. This includes blades, bullets, blunt force trauma, and extreme heat and cold temperatures. On top of that fact and even with an enhanced physiology, he is still susceptible to illness, disease and of course oxygen deprivation like many others.
Farsightedness - High Rise has hyperopia which requires him to wear glasses in his civilian guise and even special prescription goggles in his hero persona. Since contact lenses would also fall out whenever he uses his powers to grow in stature, Stevie is unable to wear them and thus relies solely on his goggles in order to see clearly as High Rise. This can put him at a disadvantage if his goggles become damaged during a fight as while he's certainly still able to see, his vision would still be impaired enough that he may be more vulnerable.
GEAR AND EQUIPMENT
Size-Altering Super Suit - After months of using the first "Proto-Suit" for his heroic endeavours, Stevie was finally able to have several more official suits created for him. They feature a similar colour scheme to the Prototype Size-Altering Suit, having blue and white, only it also adds grey to the mix. The suits themselves are made from an enhanced fire-resistant Nomex and triple-weave Kevlar-lined material that is durable enough to endure damage from various forms of physical impact, blades, and bullets. High Rise's suits are also electrically insulated and because of the tough materials used, they are also able to withstand temperatures up to 370°C (700°F) which provides even more welcomed protection for the huge hero. Perhaps most importantly, the suits were also treated using the Quantum Energy Infusion process after Stevie managed to successfully replicate it with his limited resources and equipment. This means that like the Proto-Suit, the "Super Suits" are able to successfully grow and shrink when he does. In order to allow for greater versatility in every day occurrences such as when there is an emergency, Stevie learned to use the QEI process to shrink his High Rise suits down to roughly 2 inches in height. When given a specified amount of quantum energy, the shrunken suits are able to grow to Stevie's size so he can utilize them. This makes them both easy to store and conceal when he is in the public as they can fit comfortably within an empty breath mints tin he always carries in his pocket.
Quantum Catalyst (QC) - A small device about the size of a garage door opener and vaguely resembling one as well that discharges a tiny amount of precisely measured quantum energy. When used with one of High Rise's condensed super suits, a molecular reaction occurs where the quantum energy infused materials gain mass and rapidly expand to a preset size and allow it to be worn by Stevie. On its own, the device seemingly does nothing of note as the energy it produces is minimal and finely tuned to be used in conjunction with a condensed super suit. Naturally, Stevie carries this device along with a condensed super suit on him when in his civilian persona should something arise where he needs to suit up and help out.
Size-Altering Briefs - Using some left over material that was treated via the Quantum Energy Infusion process, High Rise assembled several pairs of briefs that he now wears under his suit each day he patrols which are capable of increasing and decreasing in size when he does. The purpose for them seems to be as an added precaution in case he was to accidentally or even intentionally grow at inopportune occasions so he doesn't end up completely naked when his clothing inevitably rips.
Prototype Size-Altering Suit - Wanting to use his newfound powers to help others as a hero, Stevie first needed to devise a method to allow him to grow with clothing intact. Thankfully due to his access at Harmon Labs, he was able to carefully acquire the materials necessary to create a specialized suit to not only keep him covered, but also add additional protection from harm. The fabric used is a uniquely durable material that is cut and heat resistant to an extent, as well as being a breathable material for reducing overheating. But the uniqueness goes far beyond even that thanks to a special experimental process called Quantum Energy Infusion. This allows the materials to react accordingly to when High Rise uses his powers due to the similar energy he harnesses, and causes the suit to shrink and grow appropriately. The suit in question is blue and white with some slight padding found throughout to help reduce the physical trauma Stevie may encounter in his hero work. The mask portion, besides being crucial to help hide his identity from the public, also houses his prescription safety goggles that were also treated with the same Quantum Energy Infusion process and can therefore also shrink and grow with Stevie.
Being new to the hero life, High Rise isn't as big of a name as he sounds. This also goes to the fact that he feels like he isn't ready for the "big leagues" yet, and so he tries to stick with smaller scale situations when possible. This doesn't mean he will blatantly ignore helping with a more serious problem of course, and he has gained some small attention from people he has helped in a greater capacity. Generally speaking, people who do know of him find the fledgling hero to be a little awkward and ungraceful but still a kind and decent man who truly wants to do some good in the world.
(A place for other heroes to leave comments)
- Currently, High Rise is is able to reach the maximum height of about 35 feet where he weighs over 17 and a half tons.
- Originally Stevie was going to choose the name "Big Time", but ultimately decided that it made him sound like a show off.
- His sister Nicole who is eight years older than him is a pediatrician back in Houghton, Michigan.
- He has a good relationship with his family and speaks to them at least once a month. They are however unaware of him being a hero.
- High Rise tends to follow up his laughs with a snort when he finds something funny. It seems he doesn't notice this however.
- When he goes on patrol around the city, he tends to stay around the height of 25 feet as he finds it to be decently strong and durable, while also not being too big where he struggles to maneuver.
- In order to maximize his effectiveness as a hero while trying to also do so safely, Stevie decided to start taking judo classes in January 2024.
- Perhaps like a true stereotypical geek, Stevie enjoys playing sword and sorcery type role-playing games, Sci-Fi shows and movies, and was even part of the chess club in high school.
- High Rise is a big fan of superheroes both real and fictional, and often enjoys talking about them whenever he can.
- While he can talk to women, he seems to get easily flustered the longer he speaks to them due to his shyness.
- Because he usually carries a shrunken down "super suit" inside an almost empty breath mints tin while in his civilian guise, those that stand close to him or have an enhanced sense of smell may notice he has a slight peppermint scent to him while in costume.
- Wanting an epithet like many heroes seem to have, High Rise jokingly came up with "The Gargantuan Geek". He also keeps that to himself.
- His physics professor, Dr. Akari Yoshida, has close ties with Harmon Labs in Millennium City and her letter of recommendation is what actually allowed him to get a job there right after graduating.
- Successfully graduated from Michigan Technological University in June of 2022 with a GPA of 3.8
Stevie working at Harmon Labs
Being affected by the strange energy
Stevie in his penthouse apartment
High Rise after the completion of his prototype suit
Helping the city with cleanup in Westside