It was another scorching-hot day in Chicago as the July heatwave stretched on into its third week, and the day that Hank Rearden of Rearden Enterprises was holding a press release in Douglas Park for the StarComm – the company’s big debut into the smartphone market.
Everything was going smoothly until mid-presentation when the stage’s display screens and speaker systems were hijacked, the imagery switching over to display a sinister masked figure dressed in red armour. Calling himself Doctor Vengeance, the villain denounced Rearden, calling him a joke and a thief, claiming the CEO had made his fortune stealing the patents and ideas of fellow innovators. Vengeance swore that he would ruin Rearden in exactly 4 hours; “Twice the time you gave me” he said to Rearden, before vanishing from the screen.
As the press and public stood confused Rearden gathered with his assistants, where the significance of Vengeance’s words began to take shape: The heads of Rearden Enterprises’ leading projects had gone missing earlier that morning. Rearden was then approached by the superhero Broad Spectrum as well as Detective Roberts of the Chicago Police Department and her robotic partner Blue Steel, who had been overseeing the presentation in the park. While the group talked about what needed to be done a strange-looking man introducing himself as Pieter Khovorsky claimed he witnessed the kidnapping of one of the missing project heads, and pointed out one of Rearden’s aides as being tied in with the kidnapping. Faced with this accusation the assistant admitted he’d been coerced into helping The Black Mamba Gang with their kidnapping, by leading their victim to an ambush.
With less than 4 hours remaining to find the captive project heads, the group split in two: Blue Steel, Detective Roberts and the police would escort Hank Rearden back to the headquarters of Rearden Enterprises, where he would be kept safe and where they could search the company’s records for clues as to the identity of Dr. Vengeance, while Pieter and Broad Spectrum began looking for the head of the Black Mambas. Once safely arrived at Rearden Enterprises, Hank Rearden ducked out of sight to change into his heroic Titan identity, leaving his assistant Ms. Lyne to keep up the illusion of him still being in his office.