Lukas "Luke" Smetona
Dual: American & Lithuanian
Antanas Smetona (great great Grandfather; 1st President of Lithuania)
Alma Smetona (Grandmother)
Basil Smetona (Grandfather, deceased)
Barron "Barry" Smetona (Father (biological), deceased)
Stevos Gabrys (Father-in-law)
Porsche (Smetona) Gabrys (Mother)
Simas Gabrys (brother-in-law)
Lukas (or "Luke" as everyone called him) grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. His parents, Barron (Barry) and Porsche (Musteikis) Smetona, were quite well-to-do, working as Lithuanian translators for international movies, documentaries, books and websites...as well as being heirs to a very large Lithuanian inheritance. His grandmother, Alma Smetona, used to tell Lukas tales of his Lithuanian heritage and that his Great, Great Grandfather, Antanas Smetona, was the official first president of Lithuania back before World War II. She'd also mentioned that Luke's grandfather, Alma's husband, was a member of the "Forest Brothers", anti-Soviet resistance fighters, that fought against the Soviet occupation of the Baltic nations, including Lithuania, during the Cold War. Luke always enjoyed the stories and tales his grandmother, 'Gran', told, visualizing himself as if he was there with his relatives, watching the events unfold before him. To that degree, Luke, although a bearer of dual citizenship in the United States and in Lithuania, loved being American, but wanted more than anything to go to Lithuania and become part of their history in some way or another. He also fancied himself a fighter and as such, Lukas became a bit of a scrapper in his private school, protecting boys and girls being bullied or harassed. Nonetheless, he received several detentions and suspensions as a result. All of this paled in comparison to the shake-up that was to happen to his family next.
Barry, Luke's father, had been working on translating a historical documentary regarding Antanas Smetona when, one night, coming home from a Lithuanian Club meeting, Berry disappeared. His car was found outside of Cleveland proper 2 weeks later. The only clues left behind was a page ripped out of his father's research notepad that had one word on it: VILTIS. Viltus, in Lithuanian, translates to "hope". Even though Cleveland police detectives were put on the case, no one ever saw Luke's father alive again. Luke's mother, devastated over the situation, found consolation by a man named Stevos "Steve" Gabrys, who claimed to be a friend of Berry and a 'distant friend' for his family in Lithuania. Luke's grandmother, Alma, figured out Steve in seconds. Alma knew there was bad blood between the Smetona family and the Gabrys family, all related to issues between Antanas Smetona and Juozas Gabrys, dated back into the early 20th century during Lithuania's inter-war period of prosperous national independence. That's when things started going from bad to worse for Luke and Alma. Alma also knew that the family's several hundred million inheritance made her and her family a target for professional grifters and con-men. Alma knew it was time for preventative measures; measures that unwittingly actually made things worse for her and Lukas.
Concerned that 'Steve' was after the family's money, Alma legally changed the family's inheritance system to her (as the governess of the estate in lieu of her husband), then to Lukas (and should he marry, his wife and/or children) and then to Lukas' mother, Porsche (and/or her children conceived after Lukas, should that happen), and then, in lieu of no one else, back to the people of Lithuania, relegated by the Lithuanian Federal Treasury to ensure the money found its way back to the people. She performed the transaction in complete secrecy with only the minimum required notaries, signatories and lawyers. It didn't take long before Alma realized she'd made a huge mistake.
Within a week, Alma was suddenly diagnosed as 'unable to perform any future estate changes' by several doctors (not hers) stating she was in a 'diminished mental faculty'. She demanded a formal third-party medical review board to disprove this, only to be drugged prior to her board review, making her temporarily forgetful and 'delirious' during the review. As they were about to transfer her to her new 'mental patient ward', she escaped the hospital. A manhunt went out for her, with Luke and his mother going to every length to help find her and figure out what was happening. The authorities never found her. Within a week, lawyers appeared before Luke and made him the legal heir to his family's Lithuanian inheritance and became a multi-millionaire overnight.
Over the duration of the next week, Lukas, while still out on the Cleveland streets trying to find his Gran, was shot at, almost nearly hit by a car, lost the brakes on his car, almost killed in a park mugging (if not for a fearless citizen that put himself between the mugger and Luke and died from the mugger's attempt to shoot Luke), was almost abducted by a gang of street thugs (that appeared out of nowhere trying to capture him (and failed in said capture)), and to top it off, on the 7th day, narrowly escaped a 'gas main explosion' in a low-rise apartment/restaurant building known as the Simini Building; an explosion that killed over 26 people. How did he narrowly escape the explosion? Gran called him on his cell seconds before the building exploded and warned him to leave the building 'now', for which Luke scurried the restaurant patrons out in time, but wasn't able to get to the people on the floors above. A minute after the explosion, Lukas got a call again from Gran; she told Luke there was a package waiting for him at the Lithuanian Club and to follow the instructions of Vasali Oktona, the current proprietor of said club. She told him to enter the club via a 'utility tunnel' access in the US Post Office building next door to the club; an access located in the men's bathroom maintenance closet. Gran then said she'd contact him later when he was done 'following the package's directions' and to now 'drop the phone on the ground, stomp it into oblivion and go the the Post Office. Now."
After smashing the phone into hundreds of pieces, Luke ran to the post office. He was overwhelmed with what had just happened. Fire and police vehicles were everywhere; the neighborhood was in chaos, and amidst all of this, he began to realize that there was a conspiracy afoot and that nothing short of his family's deaths was going to appease whoever was behind this. He wanted to call his mother and tell her to run and hide, but Gran told Luke not to worry for now and that Luke's mother was in the safest state of them all.
When Luke finally arrived at the US Post Office building next door to the Lithuanian Club, he went straight to the men's room and found the utility room. In there, Luke discovered the manhole cover and slide down its very narrow hole into the rat-infested utility tunnel below. After a few dozen yards, he came to a vertical ladder at the end of the tunnel. As he began to climb it, a man forcefully opened the floor hatch atop the tunnel's ladder, displaying three burly men pointing M-16 machine guns down the hole at him. Cringing in what seemed like immediate death, Luke was instead pulled up from the ladder and into the room by one of the three men, with everyone shouldering their weapons at the same time. The man who opened the hatch, closed the hatch and told Luke his name was Vasali Oktana. Vasali then hugged Lukas, apologizing to him for the 'necessary' scare. Vasali took Luke to a back room and handed him a backpack, a new wallet, a new passport and set before him a plate of Cepelinai and a Luben and told him to eat up quick. In that time, Vasali explained what was occurring, while Luke ate what was to be his last meal at the Lithuanian Club....ever.
The three armed men in the club guarded the doors and windows of the currently closed club as Vasali explained to Lukas what he needed to know. The night of Luke's father's disappearance, a Lithuanian underground contact gave Luke's father evidence and documented proof of secret meetings that a handful of conspiratorial Lithuanian government officials were having in 1939 with the Nazis during World War II and then eventually the Soviets for the duration of the Cold War, all leading to Lithuania's Nazi and Soviet occupation for nearly 50 years, including a list of United Nations officials that were 'put in place' to prevent any international diplomatic action from coming to fruition on liberating and freeing Lithuania. Vasali said he only got a glance at the documents, but found the signatures of such names as Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Colonel Amell VonBattenberg (Baron Berlin), Soviet General Semyon Budennii (Generalissimus) and a person known only by the code-name of "Scorpius". He gave those same documents to Luke's father in secrecy that night, for which Barry told Vasali he'd research the signatures and the names and get back to him later. That obviously never happened, or if it did, no one they knew ever saw the results.
As Luke cleared his plate, Vasali continued the story, telling Luke that not only was Luke's father most likely killed for his knowledge about the secret WWII documents, but also for the family's enormous fortune. Thousands of legal actions had been made against the Smetona estate over the previous decades, all trying to pry the hundreds of millions of dollars from the Smetona family. In a U.N. resolution a week before Luke's father's disappearance, a full 'accord de finale' was filed, nullifying all legal, international and familial claims against the Smetona fortune. The politician who finalized the Smetona Estate U.N. resolution was found dead in New York City's Central Park, the victim of an apparent late night robbery in the park. Vasali mentioned that he and his contacts didn't know what to do, other than arm themselves and be prepared to support the Smetona family, as the Smetona family had supported the Cleveland Lithuanian community over the previous decades. Once news broke about the obviously fake claim about Alma's mental capacity, the local Lithuanian community, broke into action and found Alma as she was escaping the hospital. As it was, Luke's Gran was 'somewhere safe', telling Luke that she'd find him when it was safe to do so later. Before Alma 'went dark', she had the underground community created a new passport, ID, and documents for Luke to use to leave the United States, and to shadow Luke to make sure he was safe in the interim. The man that was shot during Luke's nearly fatal mugging earlier that week was one such Lithuanian Club community underground supporter, who died knowing he was dying protecting one of the Smetona family. Luke dropped his spoon upon hearing this. Then it hit him.
People were now dying to protect him and his family.
Reality hit him like a brick to the head. His eyes welled up demanding to know the man's name who sacrificed himself for Luke, further demanding to know if the man's family was safe and able to provide for themselves. Vasali stopped speaking for a minute, taking in Luke's demand. Visali himself teared up and said, "This. This is why we need to protect you. You are good. Your family has sacrificed millions to care for their countrymen, organizing underground escapes for Lithuanian citizens trying to flee the Soviet-occupied Lithuania during World War II and the Cold War. You...and your family...many of us, and our families, would be dead if not for your family's efforts for us". Vasali paused another two beats of the clock, wiped a tear from his eye and continued with "...but yes, Leonard Oktana's family...my family...is taken care of and are safe. It was my brother that died that day. To honor his sacrifice, we must get you out of here and to safety until this can be resolved the Lithuanian way...with the blood of those that have wronged us". With that, Vasali handed Luke his new backpack...and a Cleveland Browns football helmet.
"We are being watched", said one of the armed men at the window. Vasali sighed. He pulled out his old flip-phone and texted 'eik', closed the phone and stomped on it hard. At Vasali's motion to his men, they grabbed plastic trash bags and wrapped Luke up in them, tossed him into large plastic trash can from the kitchen, filled with vegetables and uneaten food trash, and was taken out the back into the alley and dumped into the large trash bin. The man who dumped him in the trash bin whispered to Luke "Your code-word is "Viltis'. The next man you meet with me Godolpho Oktano...my father. Trust no one after him except your Gran. Your instructions are in your backpack. God save you and your family, boy. You are Lithuania's only hope; you are our 'viltis'. With that the man left and went back into the Club's back door. He hoped he'd meet these brave men again one day, maybe regaling each other about this day. He hoped.
Seconds later, a garbage truck picked up the bin and dumped the bin's contents, Luke included, into a mash of disgusting trash in the back of the truck. Once the bin was lowered back to the ground, the driver, drove down the back alley, away from the club. As Luke tried to get a footing in the soft goo of trash below his feet, he saw a large explosion that erupted into the air high enough to see through the garbage truck's open top. The force of the blast even scooted the truck forward a couple feet, with debris bounding against the steel walls of the truck. The truck's driver, turned out of the alley and drove on as it nothing happened. By the time Luke was able to climb up to peer out the top of the garbage truck, he saw the entire block that was once the Lithuania Club, and the US Post Office, consumed in a blazing fire, billowing smoke up into the air; smoke that could be seen for dozens of miles away. Luke hoped that Vasali and his men escaped the explosion, but he knew better.
More dead. The body count continued to climb. All to save him and his family. Luke took off the Cleveland Browns football helmet and fell into the pile of trash in a stupor, taking in what was happening. Amidst all this, one word kept going through his head; a word he realized he was going to have to embody to see justice done. Viltis. Hope.
A half hour later, the garbage truck stopped. Luke could hear the sound of forklifts, ship whistles and large cranes.
He was at the Port of Cleveland, the 3rd largest port on the Great Lakes.
The garbage truck then began to tilt. Hydraulic pistons whined as the back doors flung open and a ram pushed the garbage, and Lukas, down and out onto a garbage scow (barge). Luke grabbed his Browns helmet, and put it on his head just before he took 20 foot plunge onto the scow, covered in trash once again. There, he laid still until he could figure out what to do. The stench was enough to make him wretch, but Luke hyper-focused to not let the smell get to him...for now. Minutes later, the scow began to move. An hour later, he heard someone yelling 'viltis' and 'Gololpho' from atop the trash heap. Luke emerged from the trash heap and stood looking at an old, crusty sailor of a man in rubber hip-wader pants. "AH! There you are", the man said. "I thought the trash monster had eaten you! Haha! Come boy, let's get you below and cleaned up. You have a long journey ahead of you, son. Oh, did my son give you a Luben to give to me? I love the Lithuanian Club's Lubens". Luke reached unthinkingly into his backpack and lo and behold, he pulled out a foil-wrapped Luben. Luke mindlessly handed the old man the Luben, but didn't have the heart to tell him, at that moment, that he thinks the old man's son was killed in the club's massive explosion. They both went below decks where Luke was able to shower and change into some clean clothes. Once he was seated, he told the old man of what happened at the Club. The old man teared up, stood up, patted Luke on the shoulder and said "he wouldn't have been born if not for your family saving mine from the Soviets in occupied Lithuania. You gave us a home, food, clothing...and hope. Know that my son died for you today. Make it right. For me. Please." The old man shuffled off to another part of the barge. Luke opened the instructions placed in his backpack.
In instructions from his backpack, written in Lithuanian, told Luke he was to swim to shore that night and make his way, using the provided map, through the woods with no use of credit cards, phones or any other electronics and make his way to pier 32 at the New Jersey Port Authority by a listed date and time. He was to ask for Esteban Estrella in Engineering; Esteban would then give Luke a new identity and the necessary documents and have Luke board the freighter and travel to Lithuania as an engineer's mate. While aboard ship, he was to also be taught self defense and defensive tactics from Esteban. Once in Lithuania, Luke was to be given an new identity again and make his way to the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces (LITHSOF), Hostage Rescue Unit HQ in Vilnius. Once there, he was to ask for General Ven Vidolsa who would bring Luke in under another assumed identity. General Vidolso was then have Luke trained as a special forces officer for the Hostage Rescue Unit. If Luke did not complete the general's required training in the required time, sadly, the general would have to let Luke go and give him a 24-hour head start before the general would have to inform authorities of a 'discrepancy' in Luke's assumed identity and documents. If Luke completed his training, he'd serve for the next 6 years in service, hiding in plain site in Lithuania. The General would ensure that all DNA, blood samples and medical and personnel records would be sealed and locked away from prying eyes (as was done with all LITHSOF personnel). Gran mentioned she'd contact Luke from time to time, most likely when he least expected it, so as to let Luke know he was being though of. After his 6 year service, if Gran was still alive, she said either they or just Luke would return to the United States and resume his identity as Lukas Smetona. He'd be in a far better condition and trained to look for any mercenaries or killers, thus giving him a fighting chance to take down the secretive society that was attempting to destroy the Smetona legacy. If all else failed, Luke was to contact a man only known as "Major Invader", if the Major was still alive. Major Invader was a good man who helped Alma and her husband escape from Lithuania during Soviet occupation and knows that he'd also be the right person to ask for help as a last resort.
With that, Luke did exactly what the instructions told him to do. When he started his training in Lithuania with LITHSOF, if was the most grueling training he'd ever had. They trained him. Hard. Although he wanted to quit time and again, he never gave up and persevered above and beyond that of even the standard LITHSOF trainee, eventually graduating at the top of his class. As such, the General had Lukas (of course under an assumed identity the whole time) engaged in hundreds of LITHSOF operations, NATO exercises, Joint Hostage Rescue ventures and traveled the world with his team. He quickly rose to the rank of Captain, earning the respect of his superiors as well as his men and fellow officers. Time and again, when a hostage crisis started going sideways, he always found a way to prevent loss of life, going well out of his way to save lives time and again. He was awarded several prestigious medals for his efforts, but nothing compared to the 3rd worst event in Lithuania's history - the Invasion of Lithuania by an army of men called the 'Red Guard' and a super-powered ex-soviet group known as the 'Soviet Guard'.
While a Lieutenant in LITHSOF, the nefarious Soviet Guard and their Red Guard troops performed a military takeover of Lithuania. The Soviet Guard decimated most of the Lithuanian armed forces. Even General Vidalso was killed in the first wave of the Red Guard's attacks. The Soviet Guard, led by a man code-named "Generalissimo", kept Lithuania's allies at bay by rounding up thousands of Lithuanian children and taking them to secret locations, all with remotely operated packet bombs designed to blow up the children at the push of a button. The world was in a state of shock over the situation. Generalissimo invaded Lithuania for one thing: nuclear torpedoes. The Generalissimo knew of several tactical submarine-launchable nuclear torpedoes that had been buried in an old Vilnius submarine pen the Soviets previously used during the Cold War. At the end of the Cold War, rather than hand-over the nuclear torpedoes, a band of defecting Soviet submariners instead 'buried' the nuclear torpedoes so no one would get to them or knew what happened to them. To that end, Generalissimo used thousands of enslaved Lithuanian civilians, making them dig for the nuclear torpedoes, most with their bare hands. the enslaved workers died by the dozens each day, with new enslaved civilians brought in to replace them each time. It was a nightmare.
Amidst all of this, Luke and a dozen or so mismatched Lithuanian troops survived the military slaughter. Luke and his new 'special forces' created diversions, rescue operations, and tactical attacks against the Red Guard troops and the super-powered Soviet Guard men and women. Generalissimo was so furious over the attacks that he started making military blunders, allowing Luke to not only find out where the kidnapped children were being kept, but how to disarm the packet bomb remote signal. In an incredible display of coordination and dynamic leadership, Luke, code-named "Captain Lithuania", had the children removed from their dungeons, had his troops disarm the packet bombs, and seconds later, perform an all out assault on over 1000 Red Guard troops and the super-powered Soviet Guard.
In the end, Luke and Lithuania were victorious. He lost 70% of his troops, but killed over 800 Red Guard troops and severely wounded or killed 50% of the Soviet Guard's super-powered comrades. Generalissimo got away in a submarine without the nuclear torpedoes and with only several of his super-powered comrades and 40 Red Guard troops. When all was done, Luke was called by Gran, who told him it was time to 'tell the world who you are' and 'why you were in hiding'.
Days later, in an international U.N. awards ceremony, Captain Lukas Smetona was awarded the highest honors of dozens of nations, including the United Nations Humanitarian Award. He was also allowed to 'retire' as a LITHSOF Captain, no longer owing any service time to Lithuania. There, in his speech, Luke told the world EVERYTHING in a live broadcast. His father's disappearance, the attacks against him, the people who sacrificed their lives to get Luke out of the country, and far more. He even mentioned "Scorpius" in his informational unveiling, prompting a post-press security brief with the world security group known as G.U.A.R.D..
Days after his world-altering speech, Luke flew back to Cleveland Ohio and reunited with Gran (who'd finally came out of hiding and bequeathed the entire Smetona estate to Luke that same day), his mother (who had married Steve Gabrys and was now "Porsche Gabrys") and now had a new young brother-in-law named Simas Gabrys. The first time Steve and Luke were alone, Luke warned Steve that if ANYTHING happened to Gran, Simas or Porsche (Luke's mom), that he'd personally torture Steve for months, using every illegal torture technique he was 'officially not allowed to learn' in LITHSOF. That said, an uneasy peace remained between Luke and Steve; a peace that resulted in Luke, at times, shooting a deadly look to Steve...and Steve uncontrollably peeing his pants. Steve changed his pants a lot those following years.
To honor all who helped Luke (and Lithuania) win against the Soviet/Red Guard Invasion, Lukas donated 2/3rds of his family inheritance to the hundreds of brave people that helped Luke and his teams save Lithuania. Many became instant millionaires overnight. Luke even had the Lithuanian Club rebuilt from the ground up, making it a museum, community center and memorial. Not only was Luke hailed a hero, he was now called 'Viltis - The Hope" and the "Hero of Vilnius", but the one the world called him the most was 'Captain Lithuania'.
Shortly afterwards, Luke met an old man in disguise; the old man was the legendary World War II hero and near centennial-aged Major Invader. The Major noted that Luke seemed restless; Luke agreed and directly asked the Major 'what are WE going to do about that, then?' Without missing a beat, Major Invader handed a package to Luke and said 'Try it on. If you like it, use it to call me and maybe we'll get that restlessness out of you".
At home, Luke opened the package. It was a red, gold and green (Lithuania's colors on their flag) high-tech power suit, the type worn by superheroes. After reading the directions (conveniently translated into Lithuanian), Luke put on his new suit and gave it a test flight. In less than three hours, he saved two people from mugging attacks, swooped in to save a dog from being run over by a car and even flew a dying person to the local hospital's emergency ward, providing CPR and saving that person's life.
It didn't take long before the media figured out who it was. They immediately started naming him "Captain Lithuania", making him a media sensation and the latest role-model for anyone ever. In less than a month, Captain Lithuania action figures were being sold out internationally.
Luke joined Major Invader's "Allied Fighters" super-group and quickly became the leader of Delta Squad. Upon being promoted to Squad Leader, Major Invader informed Luke about the reappearance of Colonel Amell VonBattenberg aka "Baron Berlin" and his band of Nazi superheroes known as "Axis Force", all of which had a hand in the murders of thousands of Lithuania civilians and Jews. With that information, Luke was now 100% committed to Major Invader, the Allied Fighters and the downfall of Baron Berlin and his evil Axis Force cronies.
Today, Luke has moved to Boston, Massachusetts with the Allied Fighters. His Gran, his mother, Porsche, and Simas still live in Cleveland. Annually, Luke attends several services to honor those that died at the Simini Building bombing, the Lithuanian Club bombing, the Soviet/Red Guard Invasion Memorial in Lithuania, and Luke's father's large stone monument (they never found his body) at the All Souls Cemetery in Cleveland, located right next to Luke's Great, Great Grandfather's grave, the First President of Lithuania, Antanas Smetona.
As with all superheroes, Captain Lithuania has also found a nemesis; a Lithuanian nationalist who believes Captain Lithuania is as much a 'tool' of the Lithuania government as was the First Lithuanian President. This dangerous nemesis, who also wears a high-tech suit, calls himself the "Count of Garlawa". The title references an unearned signature of a disgraced and exiled Lithuanian from the 1920s that tried to oust Smetona during his presidency; that exiled Lithuanian was named Juozas Gabrys-Parsaitis. Is there a tie with this 'Gabrys' reference name or a coincidence with Luke's new father-in-law, Steve Gabrys?
Well, we'd let Steve tell you...but it seems he had to go change his pants again...
None. All of his powers come from his tech-suit (see Equipment).
More to Come!
More to Come!