There are a number of unusual materials in the Defenders Universe, some natural and some man-made. The most notable or widely known and encountered are described below.
Alderite is a crystal-like stone of extraterrestrial origin. All alderite known to exist fell to Earth in the early 1990s near Dapperville, Illinois. It is a simple looking stone, appearing to be nothing more than an unremarkable deep blue crystal suitable for nothing more than costume jewelry. Dr. Alvin Alder, a geologist, was the first to study the stone and discover many of its unusual properties.
The most apparent, if not the most profound property of alderite is it can be refined into nearly any medium. It can be melted, molded, powered, liquefied and even turned into a stable vapor. Its other properties often change during refinement and tend to be somewhat unpredictable. Scientists believe this variance has something to do with the way the alderite is refined. Additionally, it emits a very low level of unusual radiation. The full effects and nature of this radiation and not fully known or understood by the scientific community, but what is known follows:
- If kept under fluctuation pressure, alderite emits a harmonic energy that can be harnessed to produce electrical power.
- Alderite can be used as a substitute for carbon when making steel. The result is a bluish tinted, super-strong metal with a near crystalline structure called alder-steel.
- Lasers can be made using crystal alderite. These lasers produce a weakness ray that saps the strength of living things but seems to cause no physical damage.
The radiation emitted by alderite is believed to produce superhuman abilities in some people. The exact cause of this is unknown, and only seem to occur under highly unusual circumstances. Scientists believe that some aspect of these circumstances act as a catalyst for the alderite to produce these abilities. Most of the scientific community rebuke such theories and believe the proximity of alderite near mutants who first manifest their powers is just a coincidence. The majority of mutants have had no contact with alderite after all.
Alderite is most commonly used in the making of costume jewelry sold in gift shops to tourists of Dapperville, but scientific experiments are still being conducted to determine other, more practical, uses for the odd stone.
Neutronium is another substance that fell from the stars. Though it falls to Earth more frequently than alderite, it is much rarer. Several hundred tons of alderite fell in Illinois, but less than a ton of neutronium is believed to exist on Earth. It is currently the rarest known naturally occurring substance known to science.
What makes neutronium special (other than its rarity) is that it’s dense. One cubic centimeter has a mass of nearly 25 kg. Scientists have found that when exposed to certain sonic frequencies and heated, it produces enormous amounts of energy (producing hydrogen and helium as byproducts). A single gram can power Millennium city for a year.
Some (often ill-respected) scientists believe neutronium is “dimensionally active.” Due to its density and unique composition, it could hypothetically be used to breech dimensional barriers. Exactly how and what that means is still being debated, but everything from short range teleportation, space folds and travel to parallel dimensions are said to be possible.
Questonite is a high-tech plastic with the strength of steel and is more durable. It’s extremely light, easy (though expensive) to produce and is slowly replacing steel (and in some cases, concrete) in construction. It is also used in making super-cuffs (restraints designed to hold ultras) and several types of armor. It can be made in a variety of colors and textures, and can even be made transparent for armored windows.
Quintessium is an amazing metal that is the product of revolutionary super-science. It is heavier than steel, but thousands of times stronger. In fact, once set it is nearly indestructible. Though the process to produce quintessium has been mastered, it is still extremely expensive to make and even harder to form into usable shapes. As a result it is very rare. Though several papers have been published about its properties and uses, many in the scientific community still think of it as a mythical metal that does not yet exist or cannot be produced in any way that is useful. Despite these beliefs, quintessium has a number of uses due to some of its lesser known qualities.
- Like steel, quintessium is affected by magnetic fields and conducts electricity.
- While conducting electricity, quintessium generates a psionic dampening field.
- Solid quintessium, or even a tight mesh, blocks most forms of teleportation.
A lesser known bit of information about quintessium is that it has apparently existed hundreds of years before it was invented in 2003. Samples of quintessium daggers, swords, jewelry and other items have been discovered throughout the world, some dating back as far as the 2nd century. No one knows how this quintessium came to be. Some believe ancient alchemists discovered how to make it, while others believe the items are evidence of time travel.
Ultrafibre is a modern super-fabric invented by fashion designer Zachary Salinger. He invented the unique and durable fabric while designing the uniforms worn by the Silver Avengers. He has since patented the material and has used it in designs for military and law enforcement uniforms as well as numerous custom uniforms for costumed ultras.
The fabric is extremely durable and offers protection roughly equal to Kevlar. The flexibility in its weave allows it to be fashioned into nearly any texture of fabric.