Bios of HeroesBy Jeff Bouley / Deacon Blue
Additional biographical information about heroes (origins, background and descriptions) will be added periodically.
Born Alan Millos, Query was an accomplished scientist known in particular for research into gene-based therapies and nano-delivered pharmaceuticals. Even after an assault-robbery one night confined him to a wheelchair as a paraplegic at the age of 29, he continued to make huge advances in the life sciences and secured a number of profitable patents on his work between the ages of 30 and 40, even co-founding two small biotech companies over the course of his career, one of those before he had even reached his mid-30s. When he got involved in research for a new cellular healing therapy, he became obsessed with it, not only for the potential to perhaps cure his own paralysis but because animal research had indicated the compound also enhanced the intelligence of mice and simians in which it was tested.
The compound was ultimately shelved, though, when animal testing and predictive computer models indicated potential toxicity for as many as 35% of potential recipients. Although the compound was unable to reach the clinical trial stage for human testing, Millos continued the work in secret and administered the compound to himself, on the day after his 38th birthday.
The drug did indeed enhance his healing, not only slowly correcting the nerve damage to his spine over the course of several months but also granting him accelerated healing at the genetic level—a fact he kept hidden while he monitored his progress and tried to assess what it might mean for possible renewed research into the drug. However, he received his first unpleasant surprise when he discovered that the compound didn’t actually increase intelligence per se. Instead, the perceived increases in intelligence in animals turned out to be centered around intuitive and reflexive actions. So, while Millos found himself able to solve many problems faster and make very accurate guesses about situations, his skills in various mathematical, analytical and spatial arenas suffered from the drug’s effects, altered and inhibited in ways that made it impossible for him to continue to pursue science any longer as a researcher of the caliber he had been (though he has learned much about electronic and mechanical engineering).
The more dramatic side effect, however, was a gradual cessation over the course of a year of his ability to sleep or even be sedated. He became a recluse at his secluded home on a large wooded plot near the edge of Lark County, hiding his condition and what he had done, and came very close to going mad.
After roughly two years, though (in early 2006), Millos emerged with three new identities, while the world continued to believe that he was a paraplegic secluded in his own home, collecting money on his patents and various investments.
The need for multiple identities stemmed from his lack of ability to sleep and dream. The only way to stave off a slow decline into instability and eventual insanity was to continue to keep his brain active in verbal, intuitive and artistic areas, virtually full-time.
One of his identities, that of an underground rap/hip-hop artist, notable for his aggressive style and for emerging on the scene at the “advanced” age of 41, is Milo Phillips. Save for his shaven head and close-cropped beard, he looks just like he did as Alan Millos in this persona, sans the glasses that he wore as Millos before his body began to heal even his vision problems.
His second identity is that of a mysterious and seldom-seen composer of jazz music named Nigel Roy, who also sometimes plays guitar and alto saxophone on stage. He uses his disguise skills in adopting this identity, which is critical since Nigel Roy is an olive-complexioned Caucasian, whereas Alan Millos/Milo Phillips is African-American.
The third identity is Query, who is equal parts vigilante and detective. In this costumed guise, he works independently and with the Whethermen, and sometimes hires his skills out to others, whether individuals or organizations.
In addition to his intuitive skills and accelerated ability to heal from virtually any non-fatal wound given enough time, rest and sustenance, he has heightened senses of sight (mostly up-close, detail perception), hearing and smell and an exquisitely accurate, though not eidetic, memory. He also has developed excellent skills in disguise and stealth. His hand-to-hand combat skills are far from expert level—though still above average, on par with a highly skilled and fit police officer, and he is more likely to rely on short-range weapons when necessary.
Query has strong beliefs in justice and morality (sometimes expressed as vengeance/retribution where criminals are concerned), but is introspective to the point of misanthropy at times, and tends toward arrogance and rudeness with some people. He makes friends slowly, but takes his few friendships very seriously. His temper can be erratic at times, though, owing in large part to his sleep deprivation, and it is likely only his advanced healing (in concert with his many mind-engaging activities) that keeps his brain from short-circuiting and sending him into madness.
Query’s most commonly used costume consists of a black unitard and lightweight armored vest (which is largely impenetrable against even most armor-piercing rounds), along with a full-face black mask with a red question mark where his mouth is, but no other features. He typically wears an ankle-length dark brown reinforced leather duster over his uniform (complete with hidden compartments for tools and weapons), military-style boots, and black leather gloves with a red exclamation mark on the palm of each.
Zoe Dawson is a young woman of African, Latino and Caucasian descent who is completing college about the same time as she is barely starting to come to grips with the transhuman genetic changes that have been in play in her body since shortly after puberty hit. She is highly intelligent and sometimes overconfident in her opinions, but also highly self-critical of other aspects of herself and cynical about people in general. At one point in her life, Zoe was poised to join the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, but withdrew because she felt her transhuman abilities in terms of agility were an unfair advantage. She did, however, use those capabilities to secure a generous athletic scholarship for her undergraduate years of college.
Her powers are primarily those of Morphing, though she has capabilities that put her clearly in the Acro and Brute classifications, too—and possibly in the Primal and Regenerator categories as well to a far lesser extent.
Zoe is able to cause her skin to become more resilient and less prone to physical damage (bruises, laceration, penetration, etc.)—the skin taking on a tighter appearance and glossier look in so doing—and also to make her nails and hair (even the smaller hairs of her arms, for example) very hard and sharp. She can also alter the color of her hair and nails at will. The hair on her head and her fingernails both grow at an incredible rate, necessitating trimming of her hair one to three times a week and her nails on a daily basis. Her toenails and non-scalp hairs on her body also grow back quickly, but not with such marked speed. Zoe currently wears her hair as a long set of “dreadlocs,” which make her hair quite a potentially deadly weapon with her morphing and agility powers together. Under conditions of stress (fear or anger) her morphing powers will sometimes activate spontaneously, though she can typically repress the process quickly.
Zoe ultimately joins the Whethermen shortly after her senior year of college as a result of a crisis situation in which she was targeted for forced recruitment by a villainous transhuman. Despite her involvement with the team eventually, under the codename Loc-Down, she continues with long-held plans to attend graduate school and augment her undergraduate degrees in information technology and sociology with a dual postgraduate degree in clinical psychology and theology. She supports herself through a combination of IT freelance work and professional dancing, a variable income that is bolstered by her Whethermen stipend.
The costume she wears as Loc-Down has two main variants. The one she wears in cool and cold seasons is a short-sleeved, deep-burgundy insulated unitard with butter-colored accents but no insignia—an attached hood/mask conceals her entire face but leaves her hair free. Over this she will often wear a short purple or black coat with a built-in heating system for winter months. Her gloves are of a very resilient, lightweight insulated material with small holes at the ends of the fingers from which her nails can protrude. Her boots are of a similar material, as anything too thick might interfere with some of her ability to balance herself, navigate narrow beams or wires on foot, and otherwise use her hyper-agility. In warmer months, she tends to wear a black and red outfit with short sleeves and capri-like leggings, and a mask that really only conceals the upper part of her face. In this costume, she wears black fingerless gloves and knee-high black boots that are low-heeled and much less thick than her cold-weather boots—almost like a cross between ballet slippers and ninja tabi.
Now inactive, Glory Boy operated primarily in the 1990s before transhuman vigilante laws began to be enacted in many major cities (and sometimes at the state level), and seemed to be in the gig as much as for the attention as for the ability to do good (perhaps more so). Widely considered to be arrogant, he was nonetheless a popular crimefighter and celebrity, until one of his major enemies, Underworld, decided she’d had enough of him after his very humiliating (to her) public encounters with her and having two times captured her (leading to her incarceration)—not to mention the fact that he was insinuating that she was a more vile villain than she really was. Also, he had used excessive force with her in many cases. After doing a great deal of research and profiling of Glory Boy, Underworld managed to lead him into a trap and soundly defeated him—also managing to more or less cripple him. He can walk, but only with the aid of braces and crutches, and he now does motivational speaking and gives public speeches and such on the C-list celebrity circuit. His primary power is as a Brute (hyper-strength primarily, with very limited resistance to harm—too little to truly qualify as a Tank), but he also had significant Speedster powers as well before his crippling injury.
Possessed of both high-level Acro capabilities and Speedster capabilities, as well as modest Brute capabilities (resistance to harm only), Mad Dash is widely believed to be the fastest hero alive and one of the most proficient Speedsters ever known. This is aided in no small part by the fact that he is that rarest of Speedsters, with the capability not only to run at hyper speeds but also to “shift-run,” which allows him to take an innumerable series of tiny shortcuts through space-time—interdimensional shifts that are too quick to be visible to the naked eye—making him appear to run even faster than he truly does. However, Mad Dash possesses a kind of extra sense (which may or may not qualify as a Sensor capability) that allows him to perceive intense details of the interdimensional spaces he traverses. These affect his mind a bit, making him experience slight hallucinations, speak in confusing ways or odd cadences, be somewhat manic and otherwise act “crazy.” (It should be noted that before he and others realized his cognition was becoming abnormal, his hero name was Boom-Zoom—he changed it to Mad Dash in “honor” of his “madness.”) He typically wears a unitard of some primary color and over that a coat (short or long) that is made of numerous colors and styles of materials, forming a patchwork “coat of many colors.” He has several such coats, and makes most of them himself (having very advanced tailoring skills) though some are gifts from fans. He also usually wears some kind of protective goggles over his mask to protect his eyes from debris while running. His favorite goggles are an oversized—almost bug-eyed—pair with yellow-tinted lenses. Mad Dash’s ethnicity is three-quarters Vietnamese and one-quarter Franco-American, and his civilian name is Peter Nguyen. He subsists on an assortment of odd jobs, temporary employment and money he has seized from criminals. He also volunteers extensively at homeless shelters and food banks when not in costume.
A relatively new hero who uses his very strong Luminar powers to generate very bright bursts or light, confusing strobe-like effects and the like. It has been rumored that when his emotions are running high, he can generate a brief laser-intensity burst of light energy, but this hasn’t been confirmed or documented. If true, though, it might suggest some Primal capabilities as well. He dresses in an ornate tunic-like costume with a tiara-like silver crown attached to his domino mask, and he has a pair of fake wings on his back, all giving him an angelic appearance. His combat abilities are mediocre and he is prone to melodrama and clichéd speech.
Wolfman, Sparrow & Wolfgirl
Wolfman (Thomas Wolverton) is an avowed fan of the classic Batman and Robin characters from the early DC comics and from the 1960s television series, which predated the first documented transhumans in real life. Wealthy, possessing Acro powers and having lost one of his grandmothers to criminal violence, he decided to set out on a Batman-like life of crimefighting in a wolf-themed costume, complete with lupine-themed helmet, brown-and-black color themes, a few fur accents (mostly on the boots and gloves), and claws on his gloves, as well as a range of utility belt and backpack-stored weaponry and paraphernalia. Later, he became a foster father of one Daniel “Danny” Pasteur and later adopted the boy, who would become a highly trained (but not transhuman) martial arts and gadget-laden sidekick known as Sparrow, with a bird-themed costume. Affiliated with them is Wolfgirl, the daughter of a former mobster who seems to possess at least rudimentary Brute powers. Her costume is designed much like Wolfman’s, but with a fur-trimmed and satin-lined cape.
Leading a Goth lifestyle, practicing Wicca as her religion of choice, and working as a graphic artist and improv performer when she isn’t satisfying her urge to do superheorics, Michele Cho is a fourth-generation Chinese-American in her mid-20s. She is a Psionic, with confirmed powers in that area as a cryokinetic (she may have other Psi powers as well). Her cryo powers are such that she can lower the temperature of a quarter-acre area by 20 to 30 degrees (Fahrenheit) in a matter of 8 to 12 minutes—with the immediate area around living creatures (human or animal) declining an additional 10 to 15 degrees beyond that. She can only maintain such a dramatic effect for several minutes, however, before beginning to weary. She is also a Thermal, with the ability to inflict severe burns to human flesh by touch (third-degree burns with just seconds of contact if she so desires) and to protect herself from her own cryokinetic effects by increasing her body temperature—she is, in addition, highly resistant to damage from heat or even open flame and heals quickly from any burns that might be inflicted on her by very extreme heat or long-term exposure. In addition, she is an Attractor with an affinity for ferrous and aluminum-based metals. She typically wears work-style boots, light shirts and loose pants, and the only part of her attire as a hero that is costume-themed is her mask, which is an almost buccaneer-like kerchief style mask (usually including the colors orange, light blue and dark green) covering the top half of her head and extending down to her mid-back in a long braid into which is entwined such items as large plastic snowflakes, stars, pinecones and other nature-oriented items according to her whims. In the colder months she tends to wear a more muted costume with a hood and domino mask. She has decent hand-to-hand combat skills but is highly skilled with firearms and bows. Her natural hair is short and often colored on the bangs and/or sides with patches or streaks of one to four striking colors depending on her mood (blonde, red, purple, pink, etc.). In costume, she wears long straight wigs under her mask that are usually even more dramatic than her “normal” hair color (black with white and bright purple streaks; candy-apple red with several black streaks; and a leopard-patterned wig being her favorites).
A long-standing member of the hero community, Fortunato lives his life publicly now (and has for a number of years). More people know him by that hero name, in fact, than do by his birth name of Arturo Vasquez, even though he no longer attempts to maintain a secret identity. Fortunato is a very wealthy businessman, having had the dual benefit of inheriting some businesses and wealth through his family and being astute enough to cultivate them, as well as having cashed in on his celebrity as a successful transhuman hero. He consistently makes the list of the 50 wealthiest men in the United States and is a particularly powerful force in New Judah, where his primary corporation is based. It is very rare that Fortunato actually engages villains of any sort anymore, though he does occasionally dip his toe in superhero work to maintain his image and celebrity status. He also sponsors a small number of transhuman heroes (who have various of his company logos worked into their costumes, an increasingly common practice by large corporations throughout the world). Fortunato’s own powers are as a Charm, Psionic (illusion-generation and disorientation abilities) and Interfacer.
A practicing voodoo priestess, or mambo, based in New Orleans, Christine Barrow carries out her religious duties both day and night in day-to-day or ritual garb and, in between those duties and her personal life, fights crime in and around her city in costume as Baroness Samedi, with Goth-like tuxedo themed clothing, a black top hat, and makeup to give her face an appearance similar to a skull, in line with the voodoo loa with whom she most identifies: Baron Samedi. Because her name while in costume is a variation on the name of a major spiritual entity in the voodoo religion, Christine is shunned by many houngans (male voodoo priests) and other mambos in the region. However, she sees it as honoring the God-serving spirit (loa) who most often visits her religious ceremonies and “rides” her (a benign form of religious possession in the voodoo faith). Her transhuman powers mostly involve the Psi ability to generate detailed illusions, as well as Brute powers that are concentrated in the lower half of her body. When she is being ridden (if indeed she truly is being mounted by Baron Samedi), her powers tend to be boosted significantly, and she gains powerful Regenerator abilities as well, which she can use on herself or others. Relatively late in her career, she found that she possessed Ecto abilities as well, which she attributes, like the healing powers, to Baron Samedi. Certainly, the correlation of her powers to those of Baron Samedi’s talents (mischief-making, to which illusion might be attached; debauchery, which one might associate with the pelvis and legs, where her Brute powers manifest; healing, which is a Regenerator variant; and Ecto-produced tendrils, which are ghostly and somewhat in line with Baron Samedi’s role as lord of the dead), could make one agree that she is indeed experiencing a spiritual connection with loa, Baron Samedi in particular. On the other hand, those who are atheists or who simply deny the legitimacy of voodoo argue that the symmetry is coincidental and that the boosting of her powers and added powers when Baron Samedi rides her are merely a psychological construct of her own and that she unconsciously boosts and adds those powers when in need or under extreme stress.
Some Other Heroes Mentioned in Stories
Allison Wonderland (female – Interfacer/Luminar)
Ballistic (male – Brute)
Blockbuster (male – affiliated with Guardian Corps)
Buttress (male – Brute)
Feral (male – Primal)
Fugue (female – Mimic)
Greenguard / Hardcase / Knockout (male – Tank/Morph – same person; three hero identities)
High Impact (male)
Python (male – Acro/Brute)
Streetwise (male – Cyber/Psionic [telekinesis])