A lone riftclaw that remained behind on the world he was born on after a cataclysmic event that saw Earth and Mobius combined into one planet. V is a GUN agent with a skillset halfway between spy and scientist, and generally does the work of three people. He uses his extensive contacts and security clearance to pursue his interest in mobian biology and meta-mobian alteration, something he frequently gets shunted into working on with other agencies.
He’s initially very off-putting, projecting an intimidating front to anyone he doesn’t know well, though he’s still largely motivated by a need to do the right thing- even if his idea of “the right thing” is very different from his orders.
V is outwardly prickly, aggressive and prone to sudden bursts of temper. He doesn't express emotions easily, either through his vocal tone or facial expressions, leading most observers to conclude he's constantly angry or frustrated. His flat/blunted affect is exacerbated by a face that falls into a scowl at rest. Even in sleep, he has a tendency to frown.
V's lack of emotional expression makes him appear cold and distant to those who don't know him well. He deliberately cultivates a sort of "mad scientist assassin" image as an intimidation tactic, and backs up his dramatic leather outfits with various hidden weapons, from twin pistols to dartguns, throwing knives and weaponised auto-injectors. Despite his size and physical strength, he highly prefers a stealthy approach to fighting, hitting his targets hard and fast before fading back to cover. In prolonged fights he has a tendency to trip up on his attempts to analyse the situation, and he is likely to lose without a weapon or an easy excape route. Despite this, he's pretty resilient, and can take quite a beating before being reduced to unconsciousness.
There are a lot of rumours in GUN HQ that he may be some kind of of zombie or military-crafted mutant, although nobody is brave enough to say them to his face. These aren't dispelled by his seeming job description of "the director's pet assassin", although he works multiple disciplines on the fly, from forensic lab work, to intel gathering in the field, to (most bafflingly) acting liason for other agencies. He comes and goes at the director's whims, and is often found working with other branches of the military for research tasks or problem solving.
Though a licensed physician, he doesn't actively practice medicine, largely only administering necessary first aid or treating other GUN agents or special cases when the need arises.
Despite his high education level, V is someone who demonstrates the concept of "intelligent but not wise". While he's collected multiple PhDs via the power of hyperfixation and suspected stimulant abuse, he's still likely to make incredibly short-sighted decisions in the heat of the moment, such as stubbornly insisting on finishing something impossible or taunting assailants when he's outmatched. His body is a patchwork of scars testifying to his impulsive behaviour, although some stories he does enjoy telling.
Beneath his facade, however, V is traumatised and self-hating; he deeply dislikes himself as a person and buries himself in work, his extracurricular studies, and his relationships to avoid too much introspection. Though his mental health has definitely improved since he reconnected with Caprice, he still experiences periods of hopelessness he powers through by sheer force of will. Dying would be nice, but he has work to do.
V was born the only child of a single mother (a rarity in his peoples' culture), and was raised by both his mother and his grandfather. He was a rambunctious child who, from the moment he opened his eyes and started interacting with the world, began tempting fate with foolhardy stunts and dogged persistence. He followed his mother's footsteps into the hunter caste after one particular stunt, and was well on his way to becoming a well-respected warrior before external circumstances forced him to change course.
He left home early after a frightening encounter with some riftclaw hunters close to home, travelling from Mobius to Earth and enrolling in med school. He had a singular goal in mind- to cure the condition plaguing his clan so they could move to another, safer world before more hunters arrived looking for them. To that end he didn't just throw himself into the study of medicine, but also biology, chemistry, genetics and more, pushing himself through his courses with a combination of hardcore cramming, polyphasic sleep and stimulant abuse. When he eventually hit a wall in regards to funding his education, V enrolled in the military for the loan debt forgiveness, in order to take on more studies. He was eventually shunted into a "mobian" unit that was sent to handle tasks human soldiers were unable to, a unit that survived until most of the unit was caught up in an explosion and the majority of them were discharged.
After healing from his injuries, V applied to work for GUN in what was presumably a desk job; his resourcefulness and military training later earned him a field position despite a rocky start. He continued his ridiculous schedule from med school, pushing his way through a few more degrees and beginning actual research into the problem he'd dedicated his life to solving... Research that plunged him into the morally questionable territory of meta-mobian creation. Somehow curing his clan's mystery illness seems easier than fixing whatever mess this is...
V was born Ochre of Painted-Rocks, a riftclaw clan who’d settled on his iteration of Mobius roughly 400 years before his birth. His mother had left his biological father and returned home to her own parents before she laid his egg, after Vermilion's neglect of Ochre’s older siblings was discovered. Like all baby riftclaws, Ochre spent the first five or so years of his life clinging to his mother or grandfather’s back and doing little of interest.
Ochre was assigned to the “gatherer” caste upon reaching the appropriate age, but contested the decision very loudly- and when the elders did not relent, stole his mother’s spear and went into the wilderness to prove he was meant to be part of the “hunter” caste. He succeeded in tracking down something, and was nearly mauled for his trouble, but was rescued by Arra Lanai and returned home. The elders agreed to let him join the hunter caste after that, if only to teach him some sort of survival skills. Ochre worked hard, determined to prove that he was both as good a hunter as his mother as well as being worth Arra Lanai’s efforts.
At 13 he lost his baby claws and took his first solo trip to another world; here he encountered another god, who he dubbed “Thorne” to avoid speaking his true name. The not-deer was deeply amused by Ochre’s slightly panicked response to his appearance, and made a note to himself to keep an eye on this one.
One day while he was out patrolling with another hunter in his age group, Ochre ran across his father and a riftclaw hunter approaching Red Rock Hill. Ochre and Saffron killed the hunter, and Ochre would’ve killed Vermilion too in his fury if Saffron hadn’t stopped him. Vermilion fled into the void, and the two young riftclaws returned home in a panic-- Vermilion had potentially sold them out, and who knew if their location had been revealed to any others.
Ochre left home the next day. He didn’t take much with him, just a portion of the clan’s emergency funds and a few changes of clothes. Instead of travelling to the nearest mobian city, though, he slipped through a thin place in reality into the human world, determined to take advantage of their more complex medicine. He walked, hitchhiked, and caught a train in order to reach his intended destination, finding cheap lodging with other students in the city before contacting the college.
Ochre immediately signed up for multiple courses, enrolling himself in the medical school with some hand-waving explanations about having been stranded on Earth halfway through his own school year- and quietly signing himself up for long distance learning in every prerequisite he needed. Believing himself on an incredibly strict timeline, he devised a timetable to catch himself up as quickly as possible, dividing his day between in-person classes, solo study, and a few hours of sleep. When this schedule began to take a toll on his body, Ochre turned to various stimulants, from caffeine to harder drugs. He was stubborn, and he wasn’t doing it for himself- he had to save his clan.
During this time, he shared a dorm room with Caprice Amaranth, although the two barely saw each other due to schedule conflicts.
Eventually Ochre hit a wall, running low on money despite his very tight budget. He joined the local military to take advantage of a loan forgiveness program, and after completing basic training was shipped out to the current war zone. Though he was capable enough as a soldier, his medical training and nonhuman endurance made him a very capable combat medic, and he spent more time tending to the wounded than actually fighting.
As the conflict progressed, Ochre was shipped from place to place, eventually being assigned to a small unit comprised entirely of displaced mobians who worked as an elite strike force. Ochre would remain with the unit for the rest of his military career. The mobian unit generally moved around a lot, being shifted from post to post, nation to nation, military division to military division. As a result Ochre developed a wide range of skills, learning multiple weapon types, how to drive several vehicles, and even how to fly a fighter.
At some point, V became romantically involved with two other members of the unit; the massive cougar Magnus and the agile genet Ashe. He also became very close with Ricochet, a plucky skunk with a talent for sniper rifles.
At one point the unit was assigned to the USS Roosevelt as part of an escort mission for a particular research ship only known as Chimera, which became sidetracked when a bizarre signal was picked up from a small, unnamed island in the Pacific Ocean. Ochre’s unit were dispatched to investigate, where they came face to face with a horde of animal-like robots and a facility emblazoned with an unknown logo. They stormed the facility only to find they’d been beaten to it; a group of young mobians were already fighting a swarm of robots and a human in a hovering vehicle in front of a massive inter-dimensional portal. The gateway was damaged in the ensuing conflict, and began to break down.
Ochre and Echo panicked immediately; their sensitivity to fluctuations in reality and chaos energy respectively made it clear there was an explosion coming, and it was going to be bad. They ushered the entire group into the most reinforced room they could find to batten down the hatches, and Ochre decided to try something desperate to keep the unit safe. He planted himself solidly in the centre of the room, dug his claws into the fabric of reality, and braced for impact. The gate detonated, and reality collapsed. The two worlds were destroyed and recreated in an instant with a great rush of sound and motion not unlike the struggles of a dying animal.
And as the violent impact of dimensions faded and reality settled once more, Ochre fell to the ground, choking on his own blood.
Ochre was rushed back to the ships, and taken to the med bay on the Chimera, which had better medical equipment on hand. Despite quick treatment, Ochre was left in a coma on life support, and not expected to recover. With Ochre officially having no next of kin, it was decided that he’d remain on the Chimera to help with the research they were doing on mobian physiology.
Ochre woke up six weeks later. He was alone, surrounded with softly beeping medical equipment. With a little effort, he was able to summon a nurse, who seemed shocked to see him conscious at all. Although not able to speak due to the respirator, he was still perfectly capable of signing- and he promptly told the attending doctor “get me the fuck out of this shit”.
His unexpected return to the land of the living instigated a great deal of commotion. A parade of scientists came in to take readings while the nurses hurried to remove the life support equipment. Ochre grumbled about all the fuss. His chart went missing sometime between the doctor’s arrival and having the respirator tubes removed.
Ochre didn’t think to question it.
Ochre was allowed to return to service after proving his fitness to the attending doctor; despite the condition he’d been in when he’d been brought to the ship and the six weeks of inactivity, as far as anyone could tell he was at the peak of health.
He returned to the Roosevelt, where he re-united with the unit. They spent most of the night celebrating his survival, and at the end of the night he passed out curled between Magnus and Ashe.
The next morning brought a lot of new information in quick succession. The ships had been sailing for the entirety of the six weeks Ochre had been in a coma; the trip had been meant to take less than half that, and the waters they’d sailed through had been cleaner and clearer than they’d ever seen before. At night, giant reefs glowed far beneath the waves. They weren’t on Earth anymore, not exactly... But it wasn’t really Mobius, either. To Ochre, with his senses honed to picking out the most minor disturbances in reality, the sky was a kaleidoscope of strange colours slowly mixing into each other. The detonation of the gateway had caused more damage than was immediately apparent to those on the ship, but it wasn’t until they got back within radio range with their destination that the severity of the event was truly understood.
When the ships finally made it to port, the soldiers were given a few days leave while the officers panicked. Sienna met Ochre in the port; the disruption caused by the gateway’s destruction had caused the people of Painted-Rocks a great deal of disorientation and illness, so the entire clan had mobilised and shifted a dimension over, a massive undertaking that wouldn’t be readily repeatable. Ochre promised to continue his work as soon as he was able, although Sienna seemed to want him to return to the clan instead.
As she left, Sienna informed Ochre that as the last member of the clan living on the planet, the clan would sign the rights to their shared lands over to him in the hopes that he’d be able to support himself on or with them.
The unit shipped out a short while later, heading to their original destination, suddenly separated from the port by a few hundred kilometres of wilderness. After several months of combat operations, the unit’s service in the area was cut short when a building they’d been investigating was bombed. Everyone in the group was seriously injured; Magnus and Echo did not survive. Ochre stabilised who he could before collapsing, and the next few months were a haze of hospital stay and occasional visits from the other survivors.
Released from hospital and still reeling in the aftermath of Magnus’ death, Ochre walked out of the universe entirely. He walked through dozens of worlds before finally finding a lifeless desert planet, which he roamed without company for some time.
Here he met the god he dubbed Thorne once more, who stayed with him as he wandered, preventing him from hurting himself or placing himself in danger. When Ochre moved to leave, Thorne pushed him in a different direction, leading him to the rift-riddled world of Terra.
On Terra, Ochre met another riftclaw; the brother of one of his alternate universe selves, Ngaigara Guyanderra. Ngaigara took him in immediately, bringing him back to his home and caring for him alongside his four children. The presence of other riftclaws was comforting, and eventually Ochre felt strong enough to return home. There was still work to do.
Ochre returned to a world that had been experiencing great upheaval in the wake of Earth and Mobius being combined into one planet. He managed to get back in contact with Ricochet, who had gotten a job with the newly-formed organisation of GUN. She helped him apply for an assistant position that was currently available- nothing strenuous, mostly a desk job with forensics.
Needing a “human” name to work for a human organisation, Ochre changed his name to Victor Smith, honouring Magnus by adopting a name the cougar had given him years before.
Victor worked with a steady intensity; he dedicated his work hours to completing every task assigned to him as quickly and efficiently as possible, while his free time was invested into yet more long-distance study. He found himself a shitty little apartment in order to save as much money as possible, with the aim of gaining his own independent lab space in the long term. He still had a lot of work to do to cure the affliction he and his people endured, but there was light at the end of the tunnel.
His scientific expertise got him assigned to a small task force sent to investigate Cyrus “Glory” Goldwin, the owner of a recently-incorporated tech firm, after the firm bought out several human-owned businesses for below their market value. The mission was a disaster, with the agents cornered, beaten and captured hours after they’d infiltrated the building. The rest of the agents were taken away to parts unknown, but Glory kept Victor with him, having decided to add him to his roster of “exotic” bodyguards. Victor was trapped in Glory’s tower for close to four months, fighting to resist the telepathic tiger’s powerful brainwashing.
Eventually, Victor escaped by throwing himself into the path of a moving truck.
Released from the hospital after healing from a few broken bones, Victor returned to his apartment, only to immediately panic at spotting some of Glory’s guards in the street below. He called Ngaigara, Ashe and Ricochet for backup, who combined managed to spook Glory’s goons into keeping their distance.
Deciding the best thing to do would be to get Victor out of the city for a while, Ashe found him a contract for some basic lab work in a distant mobian territory. Victor took the contract and went to work for Neura Tokse synthesising various chemical compounds for a few months. While there, Victor accidentally poisoned himself with VX, an incident that should’ve proved fatal but only succeeded in knocking him out briefly while his body metabolised it.
Victor blamed his alien biology, and thought nothing further of it.
After wrapping up his contract, Victor returned home. He arranged to sell some of the clan’s lands for a development project to fund his own private lab, and bought an empty plot in the industrial estate to build it in. He also paid up the last few months of his lease on the apartment before buying one in different urban area closer to the new GUN HQ. And when Glory sent another of his employees after him, Victor used the VX Neura had given him to murder them, leaving the body so toxic it couldn’t be safely handled.
Glory stopped actively pursuing him for fear of losing any other useful pairs of hands.
Continued GUN Career
Victor changed his name again, from Smith to Xenophon, and began going by VX. His experiences made him paranoid and defensive, and it took him some time to let anyone else get close to him. Instead he focused on his work, handling forensic work and focusing on field training during the day, and working on his own medical projects at night. His expertise in the less studied aspects of mobian anatomy got him roped into high-clearance military meta-mobian projects, which he resented despite his surprising skill with stabilising more destructive mutations.
He met up with Caprice again, and the two gradually became very close, later getting married (albeit mostly for legal purposes). The two later started dating David Valke.
When the UF began a strange armistice with the Soviet Republic, V travelled to the other side of the Iron Curtain to work briefly with a meta-mobian super weapon of their own... And later returned under the cover of darkness to steal the imprisoned wolf and spirit him to safety across dimensions while the facility self-destructed behind them. He dubbed the wolf “Curie”, and along with Caprice and Valke, helped him adapt to life in the modern world.
V took on more field assignments, and began developing alter-egos using his shapeshifting powers to use as disguises while on more covert missions. He developed proficiencies with more weapons, and developed several specialised weapons of his own by cannibalising Terran tech given to him by Ngaigara and various medical supplies. The director began to rely on him to relay orders more and more, and V used the time spent travelling to brainstorm more potential solutions for his research.
During the incident in which Shadow escaped containment, he was read in and sent to represent the director in the GUN vs military pissing match that ensued; he was responsible for making sure Shadow stayed out of the military’s hands in the aftermath by sending him home with Sonic.
The Black Arms invasion caused a great deal of chaos within the UF military, with many high ranking officials exposed as alien sleeper agents. The havoc that ensued in the wake of the revelation forced many GUN agents into roles they weren’t prepared for, including V, whose position as the director’s right hand man left him attempting to manage the counter-attack from the civilian side, alongside the newly-minted commander. It was during this event that V harnessed Thorne’s magic for the first time, reviving the director after he was killed in an ambush.
The original director retired. A new director, Rob Berenson, took the rains, and for a brief period of time V considered retiring himself to focus on his cure. He eventually decided against it, mostly because he still wanted access to the military’s experimentation records, which he’d lose without a military job. When Shadow applied to become a GUN agent, V was assigned to train him, and later began acting as his doctor, his unique skill set giving him a much better idea of how to treat Shadow than the human doctors he’d originally been designated to.
Currently V focuses on his medical research between GUN missions, occasionally taking mercenary work recommended to him by Ashe, who now runs a small mercenary company. He splits the rest of his time between his lab and his partners in a slightly more healthy life/work balance, but still doesn’t sleep enough. His suspected involvement in the destruction of the facility he stole Curie from has attracted attention from SR agents, and the sable he's dubbed "November" has been shadowing him on missions closer to SR territory.
He works on his hand-to-hand combat with his personal trainer on Tuesdays and weight trains on Thursdays, mostly as an excuse to spend time with Chad.
Spring-loaded, disposable hypodermic auto-injectors. The end caps are colour-coded by use-- red for tranquillisers, blue for lethal posions, green for paralytic agents, and purple for antidote doses. Exactly what he loads the injectors with depends on the situation, and he rarely carries more than 1-2 doses of anything lethal for safety's sake.
A pistol powered by compressed air canisters that fire ballistic syringes. Like the auto-injectors, the darts are colour-coded by effect: red for tranquillisers, blue for lethal poisons, and green for paralytics.
Handguns (Generic Glock x2)
Used solely to maintain distance between himself an a target; while V is a good shot, he's more likely to rely on the dart gun loaded with tranq shots when he actually wants to hit his target. Using his strength, V can ignore the recoil and dual-wield for maximum coverage.
Heavy, balanced throwing knives with a straight handle and a slightly curved, thorn-like blade. Too heavy for anyone with less physical strength than V has to throw accurately.
A weighted combat blade that is difficult to wield without a decent amount of upper-body strength. Last-resort weapon for close combat.
A natural ability of all riftclaws, V can change his physical form to match that of any animal organism. He is unable to change his mass or eye colour without effort, and any form he shifts into has similarities to his original form in terms of colours, markings, etc.
- As a Painted-Rocks riftclaw, V can remain in a shapeshift form even when asleep or unconscious. His mobian form is in fact a shapeshift of his natural form.
- Like all riftclaws, V is unable to fly without transforming into a particularly large flying creature due to his base weight.
Another natural ability of riftclaws, V is capable of slicing through the fabric of reality with his claws, opening doorways into other universes or the empty space between them, as well as closing similar rifts. Additionally, his senses are tuned to perceiving extra-dimensional energy, allowing him to pinpoint the origin of people or objects from other worlds. This sense presents as a coloured "tint" to a person or object's "aura".
V's body heals from trauma incredibly fast, although the ability seems to prioritise life-threatening injuries over milder scrapes or cuts (which tend to heal slower, if scarless). He also has high resistance to poisonings and drug overdoses, with many lethal substances just making him woozy for a bit.
- V is largely unaware of this ability, blaming his uncanny survival of certain events on Thorne's interference instead.
A black, custom-designed motorcycle gifted to V by his au "brother" Ngaigara. The Nettle is a heavily-armoured vehicle with puncture-resistant foam tyres in black with green accents, and is powered by 12 entropium cells. Its frame and armour are made from a titanium/peacock ore alloy, which makes it incredibly strong, but can also pose a psychic hazard at melting point. It (along with its sister bikes) is designed for riftjumping, surviving combat and moving through devastated urban areas. The Nettle isn't always a smooth ride but it's nearly indestructible, and a lot of the smaller parts are designed to be replaced with junk if you know what to look for.
The Nettle is not designed as a weapon but that doesn't stop V from using it to bludgeon enemy combatants.
- V is an obligate carnivore, and can only digest small amounts of plant material. His diet consists almost entirely of raw or cooked muscle and organ meats, raw bone, eggs, insects, and some dairy.
- V is addicted to nicotine, and he smokes cigarettes fairly heavily. The more stressed he is, the faster he'll go through his supply, with particularly nerve-wracking situations causing him to go through several packs a day.
- V is highly dependent on caffeine to maintain "normal" function. His usual order is 20 shots of espresso (black, no sugar) and he drinks 3-4 of them on a regular day. Not consuming enough caffeine causes the usual withdrawal symptoms, but also drastically reduces his ability to focus on tasks.
- V is left-handed, although he was unaware of this fact until fairly late in his life (assuming that everyone struggled to use right-handed implements the same way he did). Most of his tools are left-handed, and he prefers his left hand when wielding any weapon when not dual-wielding. However, he smokes exclusively with his right hand, because he doesn't like getting the smell of the smoke on his tools.
[ Husband ]
V's former college roommate, who V reconnected with a short while after joining GUN. The two grew close gradually, not-quite-dating for some time before becoming romantically involved, and later marrying so Caprice could officially act as V's next of kin.
Curie the Radiant
[ Boyfriend ]
A meta-mobian experiment who V liberated from his SR prison and helped adapt to the modern world. V adores Curie, would kill for him, and is dedicated to making sure the wolf maintains his freedom.
[ Boyfriend ]
A psychiatrist V met at a medical conference, who he later discovered lived in the same city. They bonded over shared experiences adapting to human society, eventually settling into a more serious relationship as Valke overcame his inherent shyness.
[ Boyfriend ]
An epidemiologist V met while on contract with Neura. Despite some initial hostility, the two eventually grew close, with V later getting him a job with GUN to pull him out of the mercenary circuit.
[ Close Friend ]
A dimension-hopping hedgecat V first encountered by accident. After Storm unintentionally broke into one of Curie's power plants and challenged the dog to a fight, V became paranoid and attacked him-- getting soundly trounced for his trouble. V's attempts to make it up to Storm after the fact led to him (and his partners) adopting the rowdy cat into the family.
Ricochet the Skunk
[ Best Friend ]
One of V's old army unit members, who he was always close to, and grew closer to after her transition. She helped him get his job at GUN, and is well known as the "mad scientist wrangler"-- often bossing him around where even superior officers can't get a response.
Thorne the Melancholy
[ ??? ]
V met Thorne on his first solo expedition into alternate realities, and charmed the exiled god by sharing his meal with him in a show of riftclaw hospitality. The god has watched over him since, sometimes from a distance and other times accompanying him personally while remaining unseen to other mortals. V blames Thorne for his seemingly unusual survivability, and the god has been known to share his powers or artifacts with him on occasion.
Chadwick the Third
[ Casual Partner ]
A mild-mannered accountant with a body-building hobby who attends the same gym as V. The two spot each other for weight training on Tuesday nights, and often go out for drinks after training.
[ Casual Partner, Occasional Co-worker ]
A veteran turned mercenary and a former member of V's old army unit. Ashe helped V develop a lot of his more custom weaponry, and keeps him informed of black market dealings and meata-mobian jobs V might want to be involved in. V sometimes joins him on missions as "Five".
Toxin the Pitohui
[ Ex-boyfriend, Occasional Co-worker ]
A cocky, thrill-seeking bird with poisonous feathers. V dated him for a little while, but the poison aspect made it too difficult for them continue. Still a pretty good friend of V's and alerts him to things he should know when he finds something unusual.
[ Casual Partner, Occasional Co-worker ]
An intense mercenary/scientist who works mostly with chemical weapons and smuggling restricted chemicals. Hires V to work on projects occasionally, and the two have a fairly casually affectionate relationship.
[ Rival/Enemy ]
An enemy agent from the Soviet Republic, the United Federation's rival global superpower. She's a meta-mobian with enhanced speed and poison immunity, and was sent to capture V after his suspected involvement in the destruction of a particular SRS facility was uncovered. "November" is not her name, but a nickname V gave her.
Glory the Golden
[ Enemy ]
The vicious, selfish owner of a huge technology empire who uses his psychic powers to control and brainwash people into doing his bidding. Attempted to add V to his "collection", but was thwarted when V threw himself in front of a moving truck. V won't go near him, use his tech, or take money from any of his subsidiaries.