Patricia Starletta was twelve years old when she suddenly discovered that she had the ability to turn objects to pure gold, just by touching them. It was a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the summer, and she and her neighbor, Precious, were playing on the swing set in the backyard of her Northwest Ohio home. They had just gotten off the seesaw and were swinging on the monkey bars, when Precious pointed out the fact that each bar Patricia touched had instantly transformed to a golden hue.
Startled at first, the girls stepped back to behold that the entire play set was slowly being coated in what looked like shiny paint. They turned and ran toward the house to tell Patty’s parents, but when she touched the handrail of the back porch steps, it also began to turn to gold. In fact, the same thing that happened to the swing set was now happening to Patricia’s entire house! The two girls screamed for help, and within a few seconds her parents had come out to see what was the matter. They were absolutely stunned to see what was happening to their house.
Patty Banks has the metaphysical hyper-ability to transform anything she touches to pure, solid gold. She cannot control the touch, and it does not affect organic material, such as people, animals and plants. She is also a financial genius.
Soon, Precious Stone’s parents, as well as dozens of other neighbors, were standing around watching, as the gold continued to spread. After about ten minutes, the process was complete – every square inch of the home was covered in the shiny golden color. The people, however, would soon discover that the house was not simply covered in paint, but that it had actually transformed into pure, solid 100% gold. And that’s when everyone lost their minds. Patty’s parents were bombarded with questions and accusations. Others ran back to their homes and garages, to grab tools they could use to begin hacking pieces of gold from the house. Fights began to break out between greedy neighbors, as Patricia’s parents attempted to defend their home. Dozens of police cars and other emergency vehicles showed up, followed by news vans and TV reporters. Soon, helicopters were flying around, as the “House of Gold” had both become national news, and gone viral in less than an hour.
In all the chaos, Patricia’s parents had lost track of her. They desperately searched, but could not find her in the crowd of people that now surrounded their house. Finally, Patty’s father felt a finger tap him on the shoulder. It was Precious. She led them into the wooded area, not far from their backyard, where some of the boys in the neighborhood had built a tree house. When they arrived at the location, the tree house was no longer the wooden brown color you’d expect – it was gold.
Patricia was sitting inside, crying uncontrollably, as she and Precious had figured out that it was indeed her touch that was transforming everything into gold. Even her own clothes were now made of a light-weight, pure gold fleece. Her parents attempted to comfort her, but she screamed for them to stay away, for fear of turning them into gold as well. Patty’s father, however, was willing to risk it, as he knew his daughter needed nothing more than a loving embrace. So, he pushed through her extended hands, and hugged her! Holden Starletta’s clothes turned to gold, but he himself did not. They all embraced each other, and Holden told Patty that everything would be okay.
As the chaos continued to rage at the Starletta home, Patty’s mother, Janice, sent a text to Precious’s father, Nigel Stone, and asked him to quietly meet them at the tree house. A few minutes later he arrived, and they explained to him what was happening. Nigel was blown away. But as an ER nurse, he had lots of experience with keeping calm in crazy situations. He also knew exactly whom to call.
Nigel had spent a few years as a young nurse working at New Hero Hospital – a facility that, among other things, specialized in treating patients who gained hyper abilities from freak accidents or occurrences. Years later, they would go on to treat such prominent hyper-beings as Shuttershock and Icarus Smith. But on this day, it would be little Patty Starletta who needed their help. Nigel put in a call to his old supervisor, a hyper-being known as Head Nurse Chimera, and arrangements were made for Patty and her parents to be secretly flown out to the New Hero Hospital campus in Seattle. Chimera herself arrived in Ohio to supervise the transport, and to handle the cleanup (the disappearance of the golden tree house, and the golden clothes Patty’s parents and friends were wearing). Holden and Janice needed to stay behind to deal with authorities and the chaos that surrounded their house. Precious, Patty’s best friend, also had to say goodbye. And with that, Patty was whisked away.
At New Hero Hospital, the doctors discovered that Patty did indeed possess a metaphysical hyper-ability to transform objects to solid, pure gold with a mere touch. Luckily, the touch did not affect organic matter, thus things like humans, animals, and plants were not affected, explaining why neither her parents, nor the trees and grass surrounding the tree house were affected by her. For all of her teenage years, Patty remained a patient at New Hero Hospital, where a number of specialists helped her learn how to control and cope with her powers. She was given a large living quarters in the dormitory wing of the facility, where other extended-stay patients were placed. It was really a familiar atmosphere, and Patty met a number of other young hyper-humans.
She only got to see her parents periodically, as they were embroiled in a number of investigations. The police, the government, and tons of other agencies continually hounded them and interrogated them. Everyone wanted to know how their modest home in suburban Ohio had suddenly transformed to gold. They refused to tell anyone about their daughter. Nigel and Precious also kept quiet about what they knew. Janice and Holden, under the advisement of Head Nurse Chimera and the other NHH directors, told everyone that Patty had been lost during the chaos that took place on the day the house turned to gold. They said it was possible that she’d run away, or been kidnapped. This, of course, also made them suspects in the case of their missing daughter.
Luckily, Head Nurse Chimera had many connections all around the country, from people she had either helped or saved over her years at NHH. So, through a series of phone calls, meetings, payoffs, and favors, she was able to establish what looked like a pro bono legal team for the Starlettas. Additionally, she worked with her law enforcement connections in Ohio to set up a fake investigation, in which a year-long search eventually yielded “the body of a young girl” found at the bottom of Lake Erie, confirmed to be that of Patricia Starletta. The heat eventually subsided for Holden and Janice, but the harsh truth was, they could never truly be together as a family again.
Head Nurse Chimera turned out to be an excellent surrogate mother to Patty, as well as the other young people staying at NHH. The facility offered everything a growing teenager needed, including a top-notch education. By the time she was 23 years old, Patricia had gained a couple of college degrees in finance and accounting; and she had gained all the tools she needed to go out into the world, and become a contributing member of society. While the hyper-biology scientists never found a way to stop her touch from turning objects to gold, the engineers at NHH did develop a thin, invisible coating she could wear, in order to keep things from getting out of hand.
She changed her name to “Patricia Smith”, and it didn’t take long for her to become very successful in the financial and business world, as her investment banking skills were incredible. She moved to Platinum City, and became a VP at First Platinum City Financial. Her career was thriving, and everything was going great for her, when she suddenly got a call from the one and only Hero of Heroes, Captain Noble. Apparently, the wealthy superhero had had somewhat of a falling out with his previous bank and investment firm, and wanted Patricia to be the new account manager for his estate. It was a huge boost for her, and the publicity of it all earned her the nickname “Patty Banks”. Soon, several other superheroes began using her services, and she essentially became known as the “Banker to the Stars.”
There was, however, one huge setback to this notoriety – in addition to heroes using her services, villains also came calling. Her superiors were not in the business of turning down business, so they asked her to handle their accounts under the table. This put Patty in awkward situations, in which she became privy to a number of underhanded and illegal transactions. After a few years of doing this kind of work, she had reached her moral limit, and was prepared to quit. However, it was a visit from her long lost childhood friend, Precious Stone, that convinced her to keep going.
Head Nurse Chimera had set up a secret email and text server, in which Precious and Patty had been able to stay in touch. And though their career paths had diverged immensely for some time – Precious was now a world-renowned diamond thief – Patty’s work with super-villains had brought them back together. Precious had stolen an illegal hyper-serum from one of Patty’s clients, and sold it. Now, Precious was in debt, and on the run, as the client wanted her to pay back three times the amount she sold it for. Patricia, who had not used her hyper-ability in years, agreed to create a stack of gold bricks for Precious, so she could pay back her debtor. Ms. Stone was officially off the hook.
Precious and Patricia then decided that they could help more people pay off debts. Patty first struggled with the idea of using her ability in this way, but eventually, she was convinced that helping good people was a great way to make up for all the bad people she had been forced to help. And everything was going smoothly… until the most famous and ruthless businessman of them all, Edgar Lockhart, was exposed as a corrupt and evil hyper-villain. Interface of the super hero squad, the Alpha Initiative, had dumped thousands of files from Edgar’s servers onto the internet. And guess who’s name was on a lot of the financial documents – “Patty Banks”. She panicked, as she began to count down the days to when she was going to be investigated, fired, and perhaps imprisoned, or worse – have her hyper-ability exposed.
However, after a few weeks, nobody came looking for her. Several investigators questioned dozens of managers and VPs at her institution, and their financial books were heavily scrutinized. Several connection were indeed made to Edgar, but it was quickly determined that all of his business dealings with First Platinum Financial were legitimate, even if some of the money was dirty. They were exonerated of any wrongdoing and allowed to keep operating as before.
Patty was sure that this was another favor that had been done for her by Head Nurse Chimera and the other officials at New Hero Hospital, however, she would soon find out that there was another powerful man pulling the strings. His name was Knox Hyde, and he had been working on a Department of Defense initiative called Project INTEL. Knox Hyde came to visit Patty, and told her that not only was he aware of all the work she had done on Edgar’s behalf, but he was also aware of her hyper-ability – he knew she had the Midas Touch.
He explained to her that Project INTEL was a program that would help to stop the rise of potential mastermind hyper-villains like Edgar Lockhart, as it would use a piece of miniature technology, called the intellecap, to monitor brilliant minds. President Enid Remington, as well as Vice President Lawrence Mitchell, were already on board, and much of the public had already begun to throw support behind the project. In fact, Patty herself had recently seen some headlines about Edgar, as well as Project INTEL, and she was also generally behind the idea.
However, there was one problem – millions of intellicaps would have to be produced, and the DoD lacked the funding needed to make it happen. So, Knox offered Patricia the opportunity to use her ability to make up the billion dollar shortfall. After a couple of hours of discussing the details, and her gaining the assurance that neither her, nor her institution, or anyone she cares about would be bothered by the government, or anyone else, she agreed to make it happen.
Her superiors granted her a two-week leave of absence, and for the next 14 days she proceeded to use both her hyper-abilities and her financial wizardry, to create a massive amount of legitimate funding for Project INTEL. When she returned to her office, she had a promotion, and a personal letter from President Enid Remington, thanking her for what she’d done.
It was a good day to be Patty Banks.