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The original Jetscream was Michael Beltran, a maniac inventor who built a suit of power armour and a jet pack that emitted a distinctive high pitched “scream” when used.
Beltran was an angry and bitter man who was sick of being treated with disrespect by everyone around him and generally being unsuccessful in life despite his advanced intellect. Sure, he had a relatively lucrative job working for an R&D firm under contract to the United States military but all of his superiors were idiots who loved taking credit for his hard work. One day he just had enough of everyone’s crap and decided to quit, taking his latest inventions with him.
He quickly decided to use his inventions to rob as much money as he could get his hands on, thinking that he was owed it for everything he had been forced to put up with through his life.
Jetscream became something of a staple in the super villain world and spent almost 2 decades battling any costumed idiots who tried to stop him. He spent a number of years in prison on various occasions but he always seemed to find a way to escape.
Beltran’s luck eventually ran out one day after a battle with a still unknown hero. He had managed to escape he fight but was unaware that his jet pack had been damaged in the process and as he made his getaway he crashed through the skylight of an abandoned warehouse.
Well, mostly abandoned.
A homeless man by the name of Frank Myers had been living there and heard the crash, arriving to find Beltran mortally wounded and bleeding out on top of a stack of now broken pallets. Myers offered to go for help but Beltran stopped him, understanding that even if he survived, he would be heading back to prison afterwards and he was so very tired of those bars.
He was tired of everything to be honest.
Michael Beltran accepted his own death with an unexpected grace. Frank stayed with him for his last few moments as the old crook reminisced about his better days with a halfhearted smile. Michael was surprised when this stranger took his hand in his own to offer some comfort. He had spent most of his life thinking everyone else was a waste of time, only out for themselves, and here was this homeless man who seemed to genuinely care about him.
In his last moment, Michael gripped Frank’s hand tightly and pulled him close, whispering “Do better than me.”
He gave one last gentle smile and was gone before Frank could even ask what that meant.
Those words greatly effected Frank Myers.
He left soon after and sent an anonymous tip to the police about where to find Michael’s body. They arrived shortly after and found the dead villain but couldn’t find his armour or jet pack anywhere.
That’s because Frank had taken them.
He planned to use them to redeem the name of Jetscream in honour of Michael Beltram and his last wish that he do better. The pack was broken and while Frank had a relatively decent idea of how engines worked, this thing was something else entirely. That didn’t stop him though and he still used it to try to be a hero. He had no experience and had faulty equipment but he somehow managed to make it work and he did have some success. Unfortunately, everyone knew Jetscream as a villain and things didn’t exactly go smoothly. He was almost arrested on several occasions but managed to escape, only managing to make things worse for “resisting arrest”.
Over the months and weeks that followed, Frank began to gain a better understanding of how his equipment worked. Maintaining it wasn’t exactly easy as he was still homeless and had to scrounge together whatever parts he could find. He somehow managed to keep it in relatively decent working order although it was never perfect and always seemed to have one problem or another.
Eventually, people did start to get the message that this Jetscream was a good guy and the stigma of the name wore off. Frank even managed to secure a place to live, small as it was, thanks to a generous donation from a wealthy young woman he saved.
Most recently, Frank has managed to secure official backing of his heroics and received a grant to improve his equipment. Jetscream finally has some decent, working tech. He managed well enough with a broken jet pack and a gung-ho attitude but with this new gear Jetscream may well become one of the greatest heroes around.