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Villain Overview
Nanomachines, son.
~ Armstrong's most famous quote as he demonstrates his powers to Raiden.
Don't f**k with this senator!
~ Steven Armstrong to Raiden, and one of his most famous lines.
Deep inside we're... kindred spirits... you... and I...
~ Armstrong's last words before his death, whilst expressing how he and Raiden are very much alike.

Senator Steven Armstrong is the main antagonist of the 2013 videogame Metal Gear Rising: REVENGEANCE. He is a corrupt Colorado senator who plans to get elected as the next U.S. President so he can convert the country into a social Darwinist regime that he believes would allow every citizen to fight their own wars and for what they truly believe in.

He was voiced by Alistair Duncan.

History

Past

When Armstrong was young, he used to play college football for the University of Texas, in which he excelled at the game. Years later, he later joined the United States Navy, which sacrificed his chances of going pro. By the time of 2018, Armstrong became a senator for the state of Colorado.

Political career

Sometime in 2016, Senator Armstrong delivered a speech to get his approval ratings up. His speech was his way of expressing his beliefs. Armstrong also had some involvement with the Desperado PMSC and its activities, to which his speechwriter warned him that he would appear before a grand jury had his connection to the group been revealed, although he himself believed that they will not do a thing in either case, as he believed that the people would not care due to believing that money is the only thing that truly matters.

Recruiting Jetstream Sam

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Armstrong fighting Sam.

During all this, Armstrong was planning on recruiting a mercenary to help further his plans. After Jetstream Sam head to the top of the roof of World Marshal where Armstrong was waiting, Armstrong challenges Sam to a fight. While the two were fighting, Armstrong was offering Sam a job. Nearing the end, Sam managed to slice off one of Armstrong's arms, but Armstrong quickly retaliates by using his Nanomachines to turn his injury into a blade. He then process by stabbing Sam in his right shoulder, severely injuring Sam's entire right arm. After defeating Sam, Armstrong quickly attaching his severed hand back onto his arm, and accepted Jetstream Sam to the team, and eventually giving Sam a new robotic arm.

Direct involvement in Desperado activities

Two years later, Armstrong inspected a Desperado research lab in Mexico alongside with Desperado's leader; Sundowner, regarding that the transportation of children's brains in cyborg head casings before delivering them to World Marshal for the Sears Program was processing as planned. However, Armstrong also instructed them to shut down the facility, and move the child's brains to another facility as he had suspicion that someone else was snooping around. One of the scientist asked Armstrong what to do with the other children that were attending the Sears Program. To which, Armstrong to him to kill them, as they had elsewhere to go, no one will miss them, and he claims that he is doing a public favor. He also plotted for Operation Tecumseh, which was a plan that would start a war with Pakistan under false pretenses while President Hamilton is visiting the country with Pakistani President Farooq Salam for a peace talk.

Confronting Raiden

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Armstrong proves to be too much for Raiden.

While Raiden was in the Pakistan base to stop Armstrong's plans, he spotted Blade Wolf injured, presumably defeated by Armstrong. Shortly after, Armstrong, along with his own Metal Gear, known as the "Metal Gear EXCELSUS", climbed out of a crater. He revealed to Raiden that, since the fall of SOPs (Sons of the Patriots) and the Patriots, America was hit with a recession, which is the reason why he needed to orchestrate a false flag operation to ensure the war economy to put America back to work again. Although Armstrong was originally planning to assassinate the president, he instead, decided to have the American base framed for being killed by Pakistani extremists, feeling that would have accomplished the same plan in general. However, Raiden was planning to expose the truth of what happened, so to prevent that Armstrong confronted him with his Metal Gear.

After EXCELSUS was destroyed, Armstrong proceeded to fight Raiden. His nanomachine-infused body, which enabled Armstrong with superhuman-like strength and durability, completely overwhelmed Raiden, not even flinching once from the many hits the latter had landed on him. He even broke Raiden's sword, leaving Raiden to his mercy. During the battle, he explained that his motives of wanting to remake America. He believed that America was rotten to the core, and that he wanted to reestablish America as a world where people fight for their own reasons, instead of fighting for the government. Raiden then deduced that he was not merely a "greedy politician" as he initially thought, but stated that he was completely insane due to his reference to culling the weak and having the strong be free.

However, just when Armstrong was about to kill Raiden, an injured Blade Wolf saved him by bringing to him Samuel Rodrigues' sword. Angered, Armstrong kicked Blade Wolf away, although not before Blade Wolf threw the sword to Raiden.

Senator Armstrong

"Come on!" - Armstrong about to confront Raiden.

Both Raiden and Armstrong continued to fight, until Raiden managed to stab Armstrong through the chest. Upon his defeat, Armstrong acknowledges Raiden as a true American, and expresses his respect for Raiden by informing him that he's "number 1." Raiden then finishes the former senator off by ripping out his nanomachine-laced pale heart and crushing it with his hand. Before he died, Armstrong commended Raiden as they were kindred spirits.

Armstrong's death caused World Marshal's funding to be crippled. But despite this, World Marshal itself still continued to exist, and his plan of re-orchestrating a new War on Terror managed to succeeded.

Personality

Armstrong is shown to be extremely nationalistic, patriotic and libertarian individual. He shows this by expressing the desire to "reclaim the American dream" by instigating another American Revolution after Liquid Ocelot's insurrection and the Patriots' actions that weakened America. His intense patriotism was fully demonstrated while he was fighting Raiden, by declaring that if Raiden was not for the United States and his goals, he was effectively against it. He also told Raiden to feel the wrath of the USA, and saying that Uncle Sam desired Raiden's death.

Despite his patriotism, Armstrong held great resentment towards the "current" America; criticizing the war economy, the mass media, as well as the notion of "American pride", and it became his motivation to enact the revival of the "War on Terror" in hopes of using war as a business to get elected as the next U.S. President, thereby granting him enough power so that he would be able to end war as a business in its entirety. He was also shown to be extremely cynical in regards to his views of people and especially his electorate, stating that people wouldn't care if a bad act happened or if there was information control as long as there's money involved or if it's at least given a good spin, such as effective scapegoating. He believed this could be achieved if he could turn everyone into a cyborg, even innocent children (much to Raiden's chagrin).

Because of his power both in politics and combat thanks to his nanomachines and his influence as senator, Armstrong is highly arrogant and he held a sarcastic attitude along with belief to notion "might makes right" to the boot. In this regard, he viewed those who were "strong" as the ones deserving of dictating the laws of society, and that the "weak" should be purged so as to create a perfect world. His arrogance also occasionally lead him to do brash and reckless things, such as deliberately provoking Raiden by sending Blade Wolf away as soon as the wolf-like robot sends the Cyborg Ninja Sam's Muramasa.

Powers and Abilities

  • Self-Nano-Tech Manipulation: With his blood being primed with specialized nanotechnology, he has superhuman abilities, far surpassing any enhanced being, metal gear or any mystical being ever shown in the Metal Gear series. All of these abilities are regulated by his artificial heart. By destroying the artificial heart disabled his nano-tech, which rendered him unable to access his nano-tech's regenerative protocols to heal his existing injuries, thus killing him.
    • Nanite Relocation: Through the use of nanite relocation, Armstrong can harden the skin on certain areas of his body to further enhance his resilience to physical trauma and boost his already impressive superhuman strength. This method even prevents him form bleeding out by hardening up the injured area. When Sam severed Armstrong's arm, he used this to prevent the bleeding and create a makeshift blade which was strong enough to pierce through Sam's cybernetic armor.
    • Regenerative Healing: Senator Armstrong can use his nanite relocation ability to heal all damage done to his physiology and even fully reattach severed body parts. Senator Armstrong can even use his nanite relocation to cover up wounded areas to prevent himself from loosing too much blood. He did this when Sam Rodriguez severed off his arm.
    • Superhuman Strength: While in his empowered form, Armstrong displays impressive superhuman strength and muscle mass. With this strength, Armstrong was able to easily overpower and rag doll Raiden. Armstrong could even lift up massive concrete structures and toss them with exceeding force.
    • Energy Manipulation: Steven Armstrong's main ability is allowing him to absorb and store energy within his nano-tech primed body. He is also shown that he can levitate and throw vehicles as he is absorbing their energy. The energy in him can be redirected and be used to generate balls of fiery energy and even fiery shockwaves. He can even use this energy to perform small dashes of superhuman speed.
  • Master Politician: Senator Steven Armstrong is a highly skilled political who earned himself a seat on the senate and became the Senator of Colorado. He used his knowledge of politics and economics as well as the Patriots and their war economy to guarantee his election into the Presidency of the United States.
  • Hand-to-hand Combat: While combating Raiden, Senator Armstrong has bragged about his combat prowess from his navy. During his battle with Raiden, Armstrong combines his nanite--manipulation abilities with a variety of quick brawler combat techniques.
  • Immense Resources: Given his status as a Senator as well as his knowledge of the Patriot's activities, Senator Armstrong has gained a vast variety of financial assets and commodities which he can use at his disposal. He has been using his fortune to fund Desperado Enforcement LLC, Private Military Company with specialized enhanced soldiers and the latest military technology.

Quotes

Last I checked, vagrant children weren't exactly rare in this part of the world. Millions of them, in fact. You can get more once we've set up a new lab. They lead lives of hunger and pain. We're preforming a service here -- for them, and the cities they burden.
~ Armstrong regarding the kidnapped children whilst speaking with Sundowner and a Desperado scientist.
Armstrong: That's just the spark son. The excuse we've been waiting for. America's wanted this war for years. The Patriots -- they knew war was good for the economy. Four years later their legacy lingers on...
Raiden: The memes...
They left us their great "ism"s! Nationalism! Unilateralism! Materialism! Welcome maxims for those with no faith -- without guiding principles of their own. Give yourself up to the whole. No need to better yourself -- you're American! You're number one! Then the only value left is dollar value -- the economy. So we'll do whatever it takes to keep it humming along. Even war. Especially war.
Raiden: Bullshit.
Armstrong: The Patriots planted the seed -- we don't need them around to filter and foster their memes any longer. We're spreading them just fine ourselves. Every American man, woman and child... We're all sons of the Patriots now! We just need something to jump start the economy out of this funk. This recession, it's been stuck in since the fall of SOP.
Raiden: And the military costs? Wasting billions is going to help the economy?
Armstrong: PMCs, arms manufacturers... Job creators, Jack! All those workers spending money, paying taxes... Trust me, a little war can work wonders.
Raiden: So grease the gears with some innocent blood, is that it?
Armstrong: Relax, Jack. It's a "war on terror". We're not out to kill civilians. Extremists. Lawless gangs. Madmen. Of course, that would have to include you. Wouldn't want any eyewitness reports complicating the message.
~ Armstrong explaining to Raiden how a war with Pakistan will help America's economy, just before their first fight while Armstrong uses the Metal Gear EXCELSUS.
Armstrong: Played college ball, ya know.
Raiden: At some cushy Ivy League school.
Armstrong: Try University of Texas. Coulda gone pro if I hadn't joined the Navy. I'm not one of those beltway pansies. I could break the president in two... with my bare hands. Don't f**k with this senator!
Raiden: What the hell are you...?
Armstrong: Why don't you stick around and find out?
~ Armstrong as he quickly overpowers Raiden.
Armstrong: All right, the truth then. You're right about one thing... I do need capital. And votes. Wanna know why? "I have a dream." That one day every person in this nation will control their OWN destiny. A land of the TRULY free, dammit. A nation of ACTION, not words. Ruled by STRENGTH, not committee. Where the law changes to suit the individual, not the other way around. Where power and justice are back where they belong: in the hands of the people! Where every man is free to think -- to act '- for himself! F**k all these limp-dick lawyers and chicken-s**t bureaucrats. F**k this 24/7 internet spew of trivia and celebrity bulls**t. F**k "American pride." F**k the media! F**k all of it! America is diseased. Rotten to the core. There's no saving it -- we need to pull it out by the roots. Wipe the slate clean. BURN IT DOWN! And from the ashes a new America will be born. Evolved, but untamed! The weak will be purged, and the strongest will thrive -- free to live as they see fit, they'll make America great again!
Raiden: What the hell are you talking about...
Armstrong: You still don't get it. I'm using war as a business to get elected... to end war as a business! In my new America, people will die and kill for what they BELIEVE. Not for money. Not for oil! Not for what they're told is right. Every man will be free to fight his own wars!
~ Armstrong's monologue on his vision for America.
Raiden: Why won't you die?!
Armstrong: Nanomachines, son. They harden in response to physical trauma. You can't hurt me, Jack.
~ Armstrong reveal the true nature of his powers.
Armstrong: Well done, Jack.
Raiden: Your dream dies with you.
Armstrong: Maybe not... You've guaranteed the status quo will go on, for a while longer at least... War... will continue as an institution. As an industry. Men will fight for reasons they don't understand, causes they don't believe in... But at least I'll leave a worthy successor... You, Jack. You carve your own path, use whatever methods you see fit... You don't let legal bulls**t get in the way. And if it costs a few lives? So be it... Deep inside we're... kindred spirits... you... and I...
~ Armstrong's final monologue to Raiden, convincing him on how he can continue his vision of free will.

Trivia

  • The moment Armstrong is about to absorb his nanomachines he does a Sumo pose. Steven also performs a variety of wrestling moves during his fight with Raiden.
  • Armstrong's line "Nanomachines, son", has become one of the most popular internet memes in recent history, in a game full of ridiculous moments and other memes.
  • Armstrong briefly yells "Make America great again!". This phrase had already been used in connection to Donald Trump by his campaign adviser as early as 2011, and is a modification of a slogan used by Ronald Reagan in the 80s.
  • Armstrong had some similarities to Senator Palpatine from the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. Aside from their both being senators, both characters also manipulated both sides to ensure he was made a likely nominee for the highest power in office (President of the United States in the case of Senator Armstrong, Supreme Chancellor of the Republic in the case of Palpatine), both also were smart enough to take into account factors that may not work well into their plans and make appropriate adjustments to their plans to ensure they succeeded regardless, and both even ended up forcing a heroic character to become a villain, only to not have as much success with the main character (Armstrong with Samuel Rodrigues and Raiden, Palpatine with Anakin and Luke Skywalker). The main difference was that Palpatine primarily did his actions solely for the sake of gaining power, while in the case of Armstrong, he did it out of a genuine desire to make America great again.
  • Armstrong himself also directly references Star Wars in the Metal Gear EXCELSUS boss fight, with some of his dialogue. Firstly, is his line: "Impressive, Jack. Most impressive", which references this line by Darth Vader. Second is his line: "Don't get too cocky, kid", which references one of Han Solo's lines.
  • He is compared with Akainu from One Piece.
  • Armstrong resembles Anthony's Dad from Ren And Stimpy.

Navigation

           Metal Gear Villains

The Philosophers
Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin | Revolver Ocelot | Naked Snake

XOF
Skull Face | "Skulls" Parasite Unit | Man on Fire | Tretij Rebenok

The Patriots
Zero | Revolver Ocelot | Big Boss | Pacifica Ocean | Skull Face | Solidus Snake | Fatman | Olga Gurlukovich | The Colonel

Outer Heaven
Big Boss | Frank Jaeger | Shotmaker | Machinegun Kid | Bloody Brad | Fire Trooper | Dirty Duck

Zanzibar Land
Big Boss | Gray Fox | Black Ninja | Running Man | Red Blaster | Four Horsemen | Jungle Evil | Night Fright

Sons of Big Boss
Liquid Snake | Decoy Octopus | Revolver Ocelot | Psycho Mantis | Vulcan Raven | Sniper Wolf

Sons of Liberty
Solidus Snake | Dead Cell (Fortune | Fatman | Vamp)

Cobra Unit
The Fury | The End | The Fear | The Pain

FOX
Naked Snake | Gene (Metal Gear) | Null | Cunningham | Elisa & Ursula | Python

Beauty and the Beast Unit
Screaming Mantis | Crying Wolf | Raging Raven | Laughing Octopus | Psycho Mantis

Desperado Enforcement LLC
Khamsin | Samuel Rodrigues | Mistral | Monsoon | Sundowner | Senator Armstrong

Other
Hot Coldman | Ramon Galvez Mena | Gear REX| Liquid Ocelot | Vamp | Gekkos | Haven Troopers

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