Five looks like a skinny thirteen-year-old boy with dark hair and dark eyes, because physically that's what he is. He has a tattoo of an umbrella on the inside of his left wrist. He smiles often enough that it rarely means anything, and is genuinely fond of wearing ties. (They're garrotes no one tries to take away from him.)
Five is adaptable, a survivor, and an almost-total pragmatist. He's rarely interested in giving a damn when there's nothing in it for him, and believes that right and wrong are all a matter of circumstance. He has, for example, no particular problem with killing to achieve his goals or - while he was employed - those of his employer. (He took pride in his skill as a killer, but never enjoyed doing it.)
The one break in Five's pragmatism is barely recognizable as such: he loves intensely and with everything he has. Five's love, however, is as unsentimental as the rest of him: there's no obvious squishiness anywhere, no overt affection, but he would kill and die for anyone he loves without hesitation.
In many ways, Five has no real idea how to be around people. Up until leaving home, he was Number Five (of Seven), thoroughly under the heel of a sadistic taskmaster of a father who limited recreation to half an hour once per week (on Saturday). From that point to several decades onward he was completely alone. Once he was no longer alone, he had coworkers and targets, no one he was allowed to get to know.
Since returning to his family, he's gotten a little bit better, started looking ahead to the future and figuring out what that might look like, but it's all baby steps.
Skills & Abilities
Five possesses the superhuman ability to teleport at will. He primarily uses it to make small, tactical jumps within line of sight, but he's not limited to that. He can theoretically jump any distance whether or not he can see where he's going, but in practice the greater the distance and less familiar the destination, the more difficult it is.
He's also capable of time travel, which is several orders of magnitude more difficult than spatial travel, involving a great deal of precise mathematics and physics to determine the correct formation of the portal. Even slight errors in calculation can result in major errors. (One such slight miscalculation is how Five ended up a thirteen-year-old again.)
He is also a highly experienced assassin, having spent several years traveling through the world and through time, executing people to ensure that the 'right' history happened. He is highly proficient with firearms, explosives, and improvised weaponry as well as being a deadly hand-to-hand combatant despite his comparatively small size.
As part of his previous line of work, Five is unusually good at deductive reasoning and problem solving. Given an event and information related to it, he is able to identify and exploit weak points highly efficiently. Generally this takes the form of 'who needs to die to make this happen', but the skills are transferable to non-assassination tasks.
- handgun - Five is uncomfortable when unarmed, and apparently he's currently too young for a rifle.
- solving problems
- Solitary - Five has spent most of his life either completely alone or surrounded by strangers he was forbidden from getting to know. As a result, he almost never thinks to ask for help or backup, almost never thinks to explain himself, and keeps secrets on reflex.
- Lethal - Five is an assassin by trade, and even before that he was trained to be lethally effective in the course of being a superhero. His instinct when faced with large and complex problems is 'find the right person to kill'. He'll recognize when killing isn't a good solution, but flounders a bit on finding a backup plan.
- Cranky - Five likes people. He honestly does. But he's cranky and sarcastic on reflex, and when paired with his less-than-social profession and social inexperience, it means that it's easy for people to think he's just a dick and leave him alone when he shouldn't be alone.
On October 1st, 1989, 43 children were born to mothers who weren't pregnant that morning. Eccentric billionaire adventurer Reginald Hargreeves resolved to adopt as many of those children as he could. Mostly through outright purchase, he got seven.
He didn't name them. He numbered them, Number One through Number Seven, in order from most to least useful to him. He made sure they got a solid 'real' education, but also trained them in combat, tactics, and their powers. (How he knew what their powers were or which infants would grow to be most useful to him, he never mentioned.)
One by one, the children were given real names by their android nanny Grace, whom they called 'Mom', but Five never did. He ran away one day during breakfast, to try time travel because Reginald refused to train him or let him.
It worked, too. It was easy! Of course he was ready. Five jumped a few weeks, and then some months... and then years, and was faced with a world full of ruins and burning. He tried to jump back where he came from, but the portal wouldn't form. He ran home, to another burning ruin... and the corpses of his brothers and sisters, older and adult but recognizable.
The destruction of the world didn't break him, but the bodies of his siblings did. For the first and only time in his life, Five collapsed, weeping in grief.
It was a brief lapse, because shortly after that, Five was up on his feet and attending to two flavors of business: clues about the apocalypse, and the business of survival. He found a newspaper and learned the date of the apocalypse. A glass eye from his dead brother's hand became his only clue as to the perpetrator. He found hardwearing clothes, a hat, a bandanna for a facemask, a wagon. A broken mannequin named Delores became his only companion, he thought of her as a wife. He lived on scraps and learned how to purify water for drinking.
He still tried everything he could think of to get back to when he'd left, to get back to his family. He read whatever intact books he could find, taught himself mathematics, quantum physics, temporal dynamics.
Nothing helped, until a woman called The Handler came to him with a job offer from something called The Commission. Come work for us, she said, make sure things happen as they should. Give us five years, and we'll let you retire in any time period you please with a healthy pension.
Five worked for the Commission for longer than five years. (No one ever actually retired. That was just advertising.) He was the best they had, and he knew it, but those weren't his reasons to stay. He was using the Commission, improving his understanding of time travel in leaps and bounds, working on the equations that would let him finally get to his family. To save them. (And the world.)
Eventually, he found the answer, or thought he had. 58-year-old Number Five broke his contract to kill John F Kennedy in favor of ripping open a portal and sending himself through it, to March 24 - eight days before the end of the world.
His family was there to meet him... except Ben (Number Six) who had died. Five was happy to see everyone, but there was no time to waste. He quickly determined that none of his siblings would believe him, or understand the gravity of the situation, or fall in line quickly enough to be useful. Therefore, while he moved back into his room in the Academy (and his old schoolboy uniforms), he pursued his goal of unraveling and preventing the apocalypse alone, and tried to deal with fellow Commission assassins Hazel and Cha-Cha alone.
It didn't work out that way. Hazel and Cha-Cha spread the pain around a lot, and Five had to get help from his siblings on more than one occasion.
In the end, though, it was almost all for nothing: the apocalypse happened. The moon broke apart and pounded the Earth with rubble, annihilating all life. But this time, it was different: Five took himself and all his living siblings back in time to try again.
It's going to confuse the hell out of him when he lands alone and not much in the past.
Story So Far