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Personality[]

Billy seems to have the ability to roll with whatever life throws at him, regardless of how horrific. This is largely due to experimental mental conditioning he underwent soon after the military removed him from his family. The aim of the conditioning was to make the subject’s psyche inclined to normalize pain and trauma, leaving them resilient enough that they were unlikely to hollow out and crumple under the torturous demands of the soldiering program despite their youth, while also keeping them disassociated and obedient. The conditioning was only partially successful, with the extent of the shortcomings only becoming clear once Billy had the opportunity and motivation to form a human connection years later.

Aside from this, Billy is a bright, inquisitive, and utterly fearless young man. He’s willing to try anything once (and maybe twice if it was at least interesting). Billy is generally easy-going once he decides he likes someone, but his time as a prisoner of The Right has left him hyper-sensitive to aggression in others, and he’ll react with a heightened threat response if faced with individuals he reads as potentially dangerous. His mental conditioning also gives him skewed perspective when it comes to personal risk assessment - he’s a risk runner and will go full YOLO in situations where he really ought not. He’s utterly loyal to Goodnight Robicheaux; upsetting Goody is a great way to end up on Billy’s permanent shitlist.

Powers[]

Billy has the ability to manifest "knives" of psionic force and project them outward at far greater velocity that he could throw them. The knives dissipate in moments unless Billy concentrates on keeping them corporeal; while he can manage a double-handful of knives as a burst, he can only maintain one or two at a time, and distraction will cause them to vanish. He can tailor their appearance to an extent, but typically doesn’t bother.

Billy also has an extraordinarily hale immune system. While he doesn't heal any faster than a normal human, it's virtually impossible for infection or disease to get a foothold in his system. This also means that, unless subjected to an extremely potent regimen of immunosuppressants, implants and any grafts or transplants containing foreign tissue will show signs of rejection within minutes. This genetic quirk was what ultimately made him little more than surplus meat to various training programs, as it prevented him from being enhanced beyond baseline human durability, speed, or strength by current methods or and made him resistant to having new powers grafted on.

Talents[]

Knife-throwing, hand-to-hand combat, reading body language.

Interests[]

Music, exploration, fencing, fighting, dancing, Goodnight Robicheaux.

History[]

"Billy" was the oldest child of rural farming family in North Korea’s Kangwon Province. He doesn’t consciously remember anything about them, or his life before he was subjected to conditioning, including his given name. The only time he remembers his family is in pleasantly vague dreams. Given the passage of time, he suspects he manifested at fourteen years old, but couldn’t say for sure. So far as he’s able to recall, his life started in a detention center for mutants, and he’s passed through several since.

In the first center, he remembers, they wore grey uniforms, had number designations to identify themselves, and it was almost a school. His first rounds of mental conditioning took place there, though he recalls little of the process, just that those were the days he went into the hospital area and was too disoriented to leave the barracks afterward, but that the world felt much more calm and orderly after he’d slept. Outside of that, he was with other mutants, soldiers-to-be, and they were expected to learn how to fight, how to use a range of weapons, how to speak English, Japanese and other languages, and how to push their powers and bodies to the limits. Billy was fit and quick, and performed well enough in his studies than he was rarely punished and even earned the occasional word of praise from their instructors. But, they told him, he could be altered to serve even better.

He went back into the hospital again, but things were different this time. He had an operation and he knows something went wrong. He didn’t go back into training after that, but had to stay under observation for more operations, more tests, and each one made him progressively more ill.

The tests stopped for a while, but then one night he went to sleep and woke up in a different hospital.

This second place was all blue smocks, though his was more of a hospital gown. None of the doctors spoke Korean or seemed aware of his school designation. Not that it really mattered, as they rarely had much to say to him and Billy was even less often in a condition to converse. He underwent multiple surgeries in rapid succession, and several treatments that he couldn’t identify, all of which left him weakened and sick. All he could gather through his brief moments of lucidity was that none of the procedures had the desired result and the doctors were becoming increasingly frustrated with him. The last Billy saw of the hospital-place, two of the doctors were standing over his bed, discussing whether or not to euthanize him as they administered a sedative.

He was surprised to open his eyes again.

The third place was white and sterile, down to the clothing. There was neither the strict regimen of the school, nor the unending cycle of pain and sedation of the hospital. If anything, he seemed to be almost an afterthought to those in charge: he was brought out of his cell for use as a blood donor, for brief periods of exercise, and occasionally pitted against other mutants in potentially lethal training scenarios, but there seemed to be little focus on molding him into anything specific or further honing his abilities.

The grey isolation came to an end the day he was put up against a newcomer in a holographic training run. His objective was to kill every target, which was straight-forward enough. But when he came upon the thin, hollow-eyed boy in his sniper’s nest and closed in for the kill, something unexpected happened - the other boy lowered his gun and refused to shoot.

It was the first time he could remember that someone who’d had the power to hurt him had chosen not to, and he held his strike, waiting to see what else this stranger might do.

Mutual hesitation meant that both boys failed the simulation. Billy was badly beaten for his failure, but instead of being left to recover in his own cell, he was dragged into the new boy’s. Billy listened to the harsh dressing down the other boy was given, and the threat that for every failure he delivered in his training from here on out, Billy would suffer.

After years of experiencing torture and indifference as normal parts of life, the threat more pain left far less of an impression on Billy than did the stranger who’d been willing to risk getting stabbed to show a momentary kindness. When the two were left alone, Billy hauled himself to his feet, limped over, and asked why the other boy had a name.

That was his introduction to Goodnight Robicheaux. The two struck up an odd friendship almost at once, with Goodnight making ridiculous observations about their situation, insisting Billy take the bed so he could be something like comfortable, and filling the space between them with more words than Billy had heard in a year.

Their situations were linked after that. If one failed, the other was punished. Success was rewarded by time spent in each other’s company. Goodnight’s charm-forward persona was a source of endless fascination to Billy, who’d never experienced anything like it; once Goodnight found out that his new companion had nothing but the memory of a number to go by, he even helped him pick out the name “Billy” so they at least had something to call each other.

After their captors began running them through training simulations where their powers were meant to work in complement, Billy began to suspect that whatever plans were ultimately in store for them would involve them working as a team. As much as he knew Goodnight detested the idea of doing anything to benefit their captors, there was at least some reassurance in the notion that there was an investment in keeping them together.

It was all another test. One day, he and Goodnight were positioned at opposite ends of a training room, but there were no holograms. No objectives. Only a man with a gun. The observing doctor pushed the rifle into Goodnight’s hands and told him to complete the scenario he’d failed months before: kill the last target. Or be killed himself.

The depths of cruelty in that choice caused something in Billy to snap. Anger rose up in him, an alien heat, and the next thing he knew, he was taking a step toward the doctor, a knife in hand. He was restrained almost immediately, and he vented his outrage in yelling, telling them to leave Goodnight alone, to come kill him themselves if they wanted him dead.

Goodnight never so much as lifted the gun. It made no difference. When it became clear Goody wasn’t going to cooperate, the doctor produced a smaller gun and shot Billy himself.

The world faded to black with Goodnight’s screams in his ears.

Billy woke in a new cell, with a pounding headache, not a wound on him, and the embers of rage still smoldering in his chest, ready to fight his way back to his friend the moment the door opened. But it seemed his captors had no further use for him. No one came, not even to deliver meals. He’d once more been relegated to an afterthought.

X-Force arrived five days later.

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