Birth name: Thomas Drayen
Codename: Iron Hound
A young man stood outside the Yekus recruiting office, trying to work up the nerve to go in. He knew their reputation, but he felt it was the best way off this planet. He heard they'd take anyone, and he had grown bored of the settlement. Life wasn't bad, per say, it was just...routine. Dull. Thomas Drayen collected his nerve and prepared to walk in the door.
"Oh, I don't think you wanna do that, son." The voice startled him. It belonged to an old, well-dressed geezer leaning on a cane.
"What? Why not?" Thomas cursed himself for not thinking of a wittier reply.
"Well," the old man took a deep breath imperiously, as if he explained this many times before,"these boys are scum."
"Hey hey hey!" Thomas looked around nervously. The old man burst out laughing.
"There! That's my point! You want to be a Yeku man, but you're terrified of them? Hahahaha!"
"First of all," Thomas snapped ,"it's none of your damn business what I do. Besides, how else am I going to get off this planet?"
"Oh, I see. Join the mercenaries, travel the galaxy, meet interesting people...and willing to shoot them? Hmmm..." The old man was done laughing, and was now staring pensively at Thomas. The young man shifted, his weight. It felt like the old man was looking into his soul. "Fine! You're not one of those toughs with more stones than smarts who went in anyway. I can get you on a hero ship."
"Bull..." Thomas wasn't sure what made him trail off. Could this old guy really make that happen?
"But! It will be hard. It will take months to prepare you, at the very least. You can't get on a hero ship and not have any life skills. It's a meritocracy, a real one. And it'll eat you alive if you're not ready."
"I can handle it." Thomas said confidently.
"Oh, I'm sure..." The old man muttered, beckoning Thomas to follow. "If you can last through my training without running home crying, maybe you will..."
What followed was the hardest eight months of Thomas' life. The old man trained him in nearly everything; physical conditioning, unconventional warfare, firearms, squad tactics, history of hero ships, hand-to-hand combat, technology. But most importantly the supers themselves. He was quizzed relentlessly, and when his brain could rest his body was working. He learned to make do with less than five hours of sleep a night. Finally, one morning the old man didn't quiz him or yell at him. "Good work, sonny. You learned the basics."
"Those were the basics?!"
"Yep." The old man beamed. "That's all you need to start. If I teach you anything fancy, you'll just screw it up and do it your own way anyway. You should learn your own style."
"That makes sense." Thomas mused. "But I still don't feel ready. What do I do if some huge bruiser with super strength and invulnerability wants to squash me? I could probably handle anything else, but..." The old man started laughing.
"Great question! With these!" The old man drew a box out of his pocket.
"Kind of big for a ring box, don't you think old man? And no, I won't marry you." Thomas said dryly.
"Hahahaha! I'm out of your league, kid!" He opened the box. Inside were a collection of spherical, black balls the size of grapes. "These are implants. The surgery is invasive, but they'll solve the problem."
"So they'll give me super strength?"
"No. Watch." The old man struck a ball on the table. It glowed red for an instant. "Now, come over here." The unsuspecting youth stood in front of the old man. The old man tapped the ball against Thomas' chest. The young man felt like he was hit by a truck and was sent flying backwards, nearly blowing out the wall. "These redirect kinetic energy. They'll cushion you from blowa and let you hit harder. You won't be invulnerable, but you'll avoid getting splattered or shot up provided you're careful."
"Noted." Thomas said painfully as he got up. "I'll take them. But what are you doing with them?"
"I was on hero ship before I came here to retire." The elder sighed a little wistfully.
"So you were a hero?" Thomas asked.
"Not me, no." The old man smirked.
"A villain? Really?" Thomas was a little worried now.
"No no, of course not." The old man still smirked. "I found being a little bit of both was more rewarding."
"A mercenary then. Passing on your skills to the next generation of freelancers?" Thomas was smiling a bit too.
"It's your choice, kid. Heroes get the good rep, villains get the good lines." The two were now grinning ear to ear.
"And what does being both get you, old man?"
"Nothing much. Just money." The two men began to laugh.
It's not hugely in depth, but I wasn't sure about tech levels in the settlements and other details. I always liked the "not quite a hero, but not really a villain"-style characters and when I read this game had that option I came up with this guy almost on the spot. Not sure what powers I'll give him, but that makes life fun, right?