Knox Hyde was always an ambitious soul. In elementary school, he ran for class president on the platform of longer recesses and juice fountains instead of water fountains. In high school, he guaranteed open campus lunches. Knox knew what the people wanted to hear, and that helped him get elected time and time again. It was a valuable skill to have in politics, which is why he majored in Political Science at Yale. From the same school, he graduated with a masters in Poly Sci as well. This eventually led Knox to getting a job in Washington D.C., working for Homeland Security.
However, Knox quickly found out that simply knowing what the people wanted to hear was not enough to rise through the ranks. He had to work extremely hard, and maintain all the right connections. So, he became cozy with the higher-ups. He learned about them, sometimes through unscrupulous methods, and used that information to ingratiate himself with them. Oftentimes it worked, other times it didn’t. To Knox, any method to gaining a key ally was a welcome one. He did not mind being disliked by some as a result, as he knew his time would come, and when it did he would deal with those who spurned him accordingly. His opportunity to do just that finally arrived, when, after years of working without much opportunity to make a true impact, he saw his chance to become a key player in the game. Ruthless businessman Edgar Lockhart had just been exposed as a hyper-villain criminal mastermind, through a massive info-dump of Lockhart files by Iga Clan ninja hacker, Interface, which she obtained from an informant named Confidential. The information had been released to a plethora of media outlets, law enforcement agencies, and governments across the globe.
Knox has no hyper abilities. His intelligence is above average, and his cunning is second to none.
In conjunction with this, after the Alpha Initiative had failed to capture London Lockhart, who was supposed to be used to take Edgar down, but instead had become a newly transformed hyper-human who was now wreaking havoc on Earth, something had to be done. The United Nations was pointing fingers at the US, who not only was the domestic government which Edgar had allegiance to since he was a native to the land, but also had a plethora of dealings with Lockhart companies. Essentially, the US had bankrolled a number of his operations. It did not look good at all. President Enid Remington was feeling the heat, and with it being an election year, she was under an immense amount of pressure to resolve the issue. This pressure was dispersed to every branch of government. All hands were on deck.
Knox saw this as a perfect opportunity to push a program he had been developing on a very small scale for some time. It was called “INTEL”, which stood for ” Intelligence Network To Evaluate Luminosity”. Knox did not believe going after people with powers would ultimately solve anything. In his eyes, they were merely the symptom of a greater problem. Besides, from a political standpoint, anyone could be born with powers, and almost everyone knew a person with powers or identified with one as a hero. Furthermore, both President Remington and her predecessor had made great strides in incorporating hyper-beings into society in a positive and progressive way. Targeting powered individuals would bring a firestorm, and Knox knew the president didn’t want any more negative press. It was best to use resources like the military and the Alpha Initiative to handle already existing threats from powered individuals.
Instead Knox’s solution was to attack the root of the problem, which, from his standpoint, was the collection of brilliant individuals in the country, and across the world. It was the scientists who were using their enlightened minds to create hyper-serums, and conduct the experiments who had contributed to the recent drastic increases in hyper beings. It wasn’t the fact that Edgar was a hyper-being, or even that he was evil, it was the fact that he was one of the smartest men to ever walk the face of the Earth. After all, Knox surmised, an evil idiot is barely a threat at all.
The results of a recent study from Dr. Elizabeth St. Pierre at New Hero Hospital suggested that a high percentage of those with special abilities actually obtained them through hyper-serums, and that those powered individuals had a greater tendency to turn toward evil. In addition, the study posited that despite much of the good Enid Remington’s embrace of hyper-beings in society had produced, the ideal had also come with some rather disturbing side effects. Knox had collected a number of studies that showed the ridiculous amounts of super-serums that had become available on the black market, due to the fact that several high-paying careers, like law enforcement, technology, contract construction, and even entertainment, were being filled with hyper-beings. Many people who had not previously been able to obtain those careers, due to lack of education or lack of opportunity, now saw a chance to become highly desirable candidates for many careers. The problem was that many of the super-serums being sold on the black market were either poorly concocted, cheaply made, or just straight up counterfeit. This led to thousands of deaths, an epidemic of new diseases, and all sorts of never-before-seen addictions.
Knox believed that if the non-sanctioned production of the substances could be eliminated, they could cut down on the number of hyper-villains and powered criminals, as well as the number of unnecessary deaths. He believed in identifying brilliant individuals with high IQs at a young age, then implementing a tool that would either steer them toward good, or easily track the minds of those who were leaning toward evil, or at the very least, illegal activities. Project INTEL was that tool.
Specifically, Knox and his team had been working on a device called the “intellicap”. The microchip device would be placed inside of an individual’s brain, and not only would it report the whereabouts of the individual, but it could also be activated to prevent the individual from utilizing the key parts of their brain needed to think critically and analytically, in order to create hyper serums. They had been able to achieve the breakthrough of pinpointing this specific brain function by mapping out the mind of a few of the world’s most successful hyper-serum makers. One subject’s mind in particular had been extremely helpful in this process. Knox’s team was able to plot the sequences of synapse activity in the specific region of the subject’s brain in real time. Once they mastered the flow of brain activity, they encoded the information into a chip, which allowed it to prevent that activity, once inserted into the brain.
Knox did not stop there, though. He also mapped brilliant minds in a number of fields of study and industry, recruiting them under the guise of government research projects. Some of these people rivaled the intelligence of Einstein and Hawking. The research, albeit somewhat morally ambiguous, was actually quite groundbreaking. What Knox and his team learned allowed the intellicap chip to recognize the brain activity that surrounded the creation of genius thought and invention. Thus, the intellicap was able to block this activity as well. Knox’s goal was to not only make the intellicap an option, but to make it a standard, and mandatory part of society. He wrote up a proposal for a bill, which would require all children who exhibited signs of advanced intelligence to be fitted with an intellicap. This would allow the government to monitor the emergence and growth of young brilliant minds, to ensure nobody coming of age slipped through the cracks. In other words, there would never be another Edgar Lockhart.
Under Project INTEL no man, woman, or child would be able to independently experience scientific genius or intellectual enlightenment again, without the expressed consent of the US government. But Knox knew the idea of introducing a form of government control over a portion of its citizens was controversial, and that he would need not only the president’s full support, but also the support of the citizens. Alas, the Edgar Lockhart situation had presented the perfect storm of circumstances for Knox to present his proposal. President Remington was under great scrutiny from other world leaders to answer for the actions of Edgar, and incredible pressure from her political foes to do something that would quell the restlessness and the fears of the public.
Knox requested several meetings with his supervisor, Bridgette Day, to gain access to the President’s cabinet, in order to tell them about INTEL. However, he was not on the best terms with her. Bridgette did not particularly care for Knox, and he was only kept around for the last number of months, because she was too busy to orchestrate a way to fire him. Therefore, Knox knew he had to go above her. He had to go above everyone, and go straight to the POTUS herself.
One day, as President Remington was preparing for a press conference, Knox seized his moment. She would have to address London Omega’s worldwide reign of terror, the fact that it seemed Edgar Lockhart was gaining power and influence, after openly teaming up with international arms dealer and criminal overlord Ramses Hondo, and the ongoing condemnation the country faced from the United Nations and other world leaders. So, as she approached the stage to address the press and the nation, she prayed for a miracle. That miracle was Knox Hyde.
He had snuck backstage with a stolen White House press pass, and bum-rushed her as she approached. Security manhandled Knox, but as they carried him away, he yelled that he knew how to begin fixing the London Omega and Edgar Lockhart situation. President Remington told them to stop, and walked towards Knox. She told him he had better impress her, otherwise he was going to jail for a long time. Knox then detailed the INTEL program. It was an easy sell. The technology had already been developed and tested, and it ensured no more masterminds like Edgar Lockhart would exist.
Additionally, it provided a direct pipeline to all the greatest minds in the country. Furthermore, it was an idea that President Remington could present to the United Nations as a plan of action, to show they are proactively looking to prevent any further occurrences with brilliant individuals who were possibly predisposed to slide into acts of evil.
President Remington loved the idea, and immediately told her team to postpone the press conference while she gathered her cabinet together for an emergency meeting, in which Knox could present the full details of Project INTEL.