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Tommy is all prickles and snark. He’s ten pounds of resentment in a five pound bag, and he doesn’t hesitate to let it show – but he’s defensive, never cruel. He’s been through hell, most of it at the hands of people who were supposed to protect him, and doesn’t trust easily.

Tommy is outwardly social, charming and flirtatious when he wants to be, but usually affects an air of ironic detachment totally at odds with his real emotions. He’s more likely to mock a sentimental movie choice than suggest something different, but he’s also the guy who’ll blow up a garbage can as a distraction when he gets caught wiping away tears. Once he feels safe, emotionally as well as physically, that’s when his other side emerges: selfless, impulsive and exuberant, capable of enormous depth of feeling, and eager to please.

At the same time, Tommy is desperately lonely. He’s terrified of rejection, of being abandoned and forgotten. He craves a sense of belonging, of having just one person who would stand by him, but to get that he first has to let someone get close enough to try.

Once he has somewhere he belongs, a cause and a goal — once he’s got people at his back — he’s quite literally ride or die. Once someone has him on their side, they have him for life. He has a couple of friends from his juvie days that he would move heaven and earth for, if he ever found out that they needed his help.

As much as he’ll deny it, Tommy longs to be the good kid he could never quite manage to be. And he wants to be a hero. He’ll push himself past every limit to protect someone vulnerable, especially children. (Han Solo may be a secret role model, but he’s definitely not going to admit to being any kind of nerd. That’s the sort of thing that could get a guy punched.)

He gets frustrated easily, particularly with the slow pace of the rest of the world, and has a hard time working his way around obstacles and problems. He’s likely to go for the quick fix rather than evaluate all of the available options, especially when the easy answer involves physical action. He would make a terrible diplomat.


Tommy is a speedster, with the potential to become possibly the second or third-fastest in the world. With training and practice, he could eventually achieve up to Mach 4, though at the moment breaking the sound barrier is still a point of pride. He’s got the stamina and reflexes that come along with super-speed, including the ability to dodge rapidly-moving objects and think through problems faster than the average human.

He is also able to destabilize the molecular composition of physical objects, acting much like a microwave might – he shakes the molecules until they accelerate... and explode.

Tommy’s speed does not give him any particular invulnerabilities, except to basic friction. He can still be shot, and he’s vulnerable to energy weapons and both psychic and physical attack.

He’s both excited by and conflicted about his powers. On the one hand, they’re what helped him survive. On the other, they’ve been the source of many of his problems. He’s internalized his parents’ fear of his mutation, and associates using his powers both with freedom and rebellion, and with rejection.

Just as importantly, he has no idea what might have been done to him while he was imprisoned. He’s alternately desperate to find out just how far he can push it – and scared that really embracing his abilities will bring more pain down on his head.


Thanks to his rounds in juvenile detention, Tommy’s picked up a lot of useful little skills – like picking locks, picking pockets, and arson. His reflexes make him a master at sleight of hand, though these days he’s mostly using it for card tricks. He loves music and is teaching himself guitar, and has excellent mechanical skills. He’s not an inventor or an electronics whiz, but if someone shows him a diagram and hands him the parts, he can make anything go. He is a brutally effective twitch gamer but gets frustrated with the controllers’ slow response times, so plays less than he otherwise might.


Music – particularly trance, electronic and house. He’d love to try his hand at DJing someday. He follows a lot of professional sports, his favourite being hockey (go Devils!). He’s a fan of thrillers and has found that he prefers books to action movies, because he can read at his own speed rather than wait for the film to unspool at a snail’s pace. He likes art, though knows very little about it other than the way certain paintings can make him feel peaceful.

Tommy missed out on a lot of his education, despite theoretically passing ninth grade, so he wavers between periods of intense hyper-focus on remedial work and dismissing academics as a total waste of his time.


Tommy Shepherd had a regular enough childhood, though not a particularly happy one. Frank and Mary’s goal had always been the stable middle-class lifestyle: a white picket fence, union-job, Leave it to Beaver midcentury fantasy that didn’t fit the rapidly changing – and expensive – modern world. And Tommy, wild, bright, constantly moving (and misdiagnosed early with ADD, ADHD, ODD—any –D label that seemed to fit the way his thoughts raced at a million miles an hour) was never going to be The Perfect Son.

An accident at work put his father on disability, and money, already carefully managed, got tighter. Frank took his temper out on the boy, Mary ignored the bruises, and Tommy’s teachers only saw his frustration and his anger building. He lashed out at anyone and everyone, spending more time in the principal’s office and detention than in the classroom.

Tommy was in sixth grade the first time he was hauled up and sent to juvenile detention, blamed for a fight at school that had ended with an honour roll student missing two teeth. It wasn’t the last time, either. His powers manifested a year later, a quick dodge to avoid Frank’s fist turning into a one-second dash down three city blocks.

The next morning Tommy woke to find his dark hair had bleached itself to white, his hazel eyes faded to green, and when he thought about it hard enough, the whole world slowed down and stopped... except for him.

The morning after that, he snuck down the stairs and listened at the kitchen door. Mary was on the phone, the snatches of conversation he heard including things like ‘freak of nature’ and ‘send him away.’ Terrified to his core, Tommy made the resolution to stop misbehaving. He would be the kid they wanted. He’d forget about his powers, he’d dye his hair back, he’d be good. If it would stop them from getting rid of him, he’d be whatever his parents needed him to be.

It didn’t last. Nothing he did seemed to satisfy his ever-more-frightened parents, and the pressure at school only got worse. Between the jerks in his classes, the teachers watching him like he was a bomb about to go off, and the constant restless itch beneath his skin, he made it six months before he was in trouble again. And again.

By his sophomore year of high school he practically had his own reserved bunk at juvenile hall, and Frank had stopped trying to catch him to lay him flat.

He’d also discovered that when you make something else go really, really fast... those things tended to explode. It was useful when he could control it. But when he couldn’t, things got out of hand. Like, blowing up his high school kind of out-of-hand. Only this time, when the goons came to drag him off to juvie, he didn’t go back to the group home.

This time, he ended up in restraints, a needle to his neck. And when he woke up in a sterile facility, penned in by metal walls and faraday cages, his clothes replaced by hospital scrubs and his name by a number etched on his door—he knew that things had gone much, much too far.

The next three months of Tommy’s life have blurred together into a long white and silver haze of pain and terror. He knows that he was being tested, his powers probed, drugs injected into him to make him pliable, or make him wild, or make him sick. He was a lab rat, intended to become a weapon, though he has no idea why, or for whom.

His parents never came to find him.

Nobody did.

Until one day, his cell was left unlocked. And Tommy ran. Slowed by the drugs, still hurting from the last round of experiments, he didn’t make it as far as he should. Charles Xavier found him the next morning, curled up in a ball in the back end of an industrial park, his body shaking and his mind screaming as he detoxed from the psychotropic cocktail in his blood.

When he woke up for real a few days later, he was at Xavier’s school. Charles has paperwork in the works to become Tommy’s legal guardian, since his parents have relinquished him to the system and the facility where he was being held has never officially existed.