From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Arthur Valen is the Praetorian counterpart of Commander Faraday. In contrast with his Primal Earth counterpart, Praetorian Valen is a cynical and often humorless man committed bringing down Emperor Cole's tyrannical government.
In the later years of the Hamidon War, several scientific foundations and syndicates began search for a way - ANY way - to stop the Devouring Earth. One of the less scrupulous organizations began grabbing up random civilians for use in its mutation programs. Arthur "Arty" Valen, a young boy with a penchant for violence, was among those snatched up by the organization. Arthur was painfully mutated with the DNA of several electricity-using creatures, such as electric eels, a rare strain of jellyfish, and even homing pigeons (for the ability to sense electromagnetic currents).
Arthur survived the ordeal, which was more than could be said for most of the 'applicants'. He was thrust into the raging battles with the Devouring Earth, and frantically blasted at the onrushing hordes with bolts of electricity. In all of the chaos, Arthur Valen disappeared. The scientists who created him counted him among their moderate (that is to say, deceased) successes and began again.
Out of the Past
Arthur turned up years later, living in a Neutropolis slum. He came to the attention of the PPD when he applied for an Independent Investigators license, and was immediately conscripted into Powers Division. Naturally, Arthur did not take well to this - he was still not completely recovered from wounds sustained in the Hamidon War. At the earliest opportunity, he escaped Powers Division and joined the Resistance.
Calvin Scott saw a dangerous, but useful, hate simmering in Arthur Valen. Afraid that the battle-scarred mutant might join the Destroyers (or worse), he put Arthur to work as an undercover in Powers Division. Forced to conceal his distaste for the dystopia he lived in, Arthur became quite good at hiding his emotions - even rage - behind a bitter, cynical temperament.
Agent of Change
After a little time, and the procurement of an Independent Investigator's license (made substantially easier by being in Powers Division), Scott reactivated Arthur as a Resistance agent. From the safety of his position in Powers Division, Arthur smuggled people out of Praetoria alongside Tunnel Rat, exposed hideous truths to the citizenry with the Flores reporters, and brought down more than his fair share of the PPD. On occasion, Arthur also brought his powers to bear against overzealous members of the resistance - such as those that allied with the Destroyers, or who sought to simply cause havoc rather than bring down Cole.
Arthur was eventually instrumental in shutting down several subnets of Seers at the behest of Doctor Steffard and Katie Douglas (formerly known as Seer 1381). This mission nearly breached his cover in Powers Division, and as such Arthur went underground for a time.
Out with a Bang
As Arthur advanced in power and reputation, he was brought in on larger schemes. True to his nature, Arthur Valen was always ready to make the hard decisions when necessary. After a few missions with the more fanatical crusaders of the Resistance, however, Arthur began to question whether the Resistance was ready to take over Praetoria; Arthur wanted to bring down a system built on the unwilling sacrifices of people like him, not merely replace it with another.
Arthur followed his fellow Resistance as far as he could; he helped Hatchet turn ghouls into walking bombs, Beholder turn seers into psychic weapons, and even aided Vagabond in turning disease-infected Resistance into walking plagues against the PPD. The final straw came when Wardog, a respected (if overzealous) Resistance leader orchestrated the theft of a Neutron Bomb. Wardog intended to use the bomb to destroy Nova Praetoria, but Arthur had finally had enough. He let the PPD into the scheme, and took down Wardog himself. Although Wardog soon escaped from prison, the bomb was disarmed - and the brawl broadcast live by Beholder's seers.
The Olympian Project
Arthur's involvement in the Resistance was smoothed over as a long-term undercover operation by the government, and he reported to Provost Marchland within a week. Most of Powers Division still harbored suspicion over Arthur's long association with the Resistance, but a handful of contacts accepted him - and his abilities. After some relatively minor work, Arthur was contacted by Bobcat, Praetor Berry's on-again-off-again girlfriend. It was through Bobcat that Arthur Valen finally gained the trust of one of Praetoria's most powerful Praetors.
Like the other Praetors, Neuron has a pet project: the Olympian. These clones of Emperor Cole were designed to be loyal foot soldiers for Tyrant's army. Neuron used Arthur's combat power and teleportation skills to acquire the last few bits for his latest Olympian prototype, and then sat back to watch success and adulation wash over him.
Except that it never came. Arthur Valen had substituted several of the parts he was sent after, and even went so far as to have Neuron's nemesis Anti-Matter write flaws into the Olympian's program. The intended super-soldier went berserk in the skies above Praetoria, mowing down the PPD that it was supposed to be helping. While Neuron wailed in despair, Arthur shot the malfunctioning clone full of electricity until it collapsed. Then, on the pretext of taking the Olympian back to the lab to be repaired, Arthur gained access to Neuron's lab...and destroyed it with Resistance-supplied explosives.
Back in Blue
Again wanted by the PPD, Arthur Valen vanished back into the murky depths of the Underground. Calvin Scott welcomed him back, and told the others that Arthur had been on an undercover mission for him. Unlike Arthur's earlier "conversion" to the loyalist side, this time the story was true.
Arthur had approached Calvin Scott back when he was working for Vagabond; he had been getting more and more uneasy with the lengths that some of the Resistance was willing to go. After some convincing, Scott agreed that if things got too far out of hand he would put a stop to it. When Arthur later reported that Wardog was seeking to kill off all of Nova Praetoria with a neutron bomb, Scott came up with a plan to kill two birds with one stone.
Having recently acquired intelligence that Neuron was working on a clone of Tyrant, Scott told Arthur to betray Wardog to the PPD and find out what he could about the clones once he was an accepted loyalist again. Wardog's insistence on using the Seers to broadcast his activities proved to be very useful in this; Arthur Valen became an instant hero to anyone watching TPN as he disarmed the bomb. When he vanished after taking down the Olympian (and saving more lives by doing so), the people wondered where this hero had gone - and if he really was as bad as the TPN reports were saying he was.
Naturally, many of the Resistance (especially Wardog and his friends) still resented Arthur for going over to the loyalists. While they were grateful for his work dismantling the Olympian project (at least for now), they knew that he was willing to sell them out if he disagreed with them strongly enough. For now, Arthur Valen is a man without a home; he stays out of the Underground to avoid running into the wrong Resistance patrol in a dark alley, and he rarely sets foot on the street when the PPD are in force.
The Mirror World
Similar to his Primal Earth counterpart, Arthur Valen can manifest bolts of electricity from his hands. Unlike the Primal Earth version, this Arthur Valen does so without the aid of any technology - which makes each blast a painful experience. Arthur permanently wears bandages over his palms to contain any bleeding, and keeps a flask of scotch in his jacket pocket to dull the pain of a long fight.
Arthur has learned to teleport himself by manipulating his own body's electrical frequency. Although primarily a transport power, he has found that this ability provides him with a new edge in combat, though in his own words "It hurts like hell."
It is worth nothing that Arthur concentrates on ranged attacks for a reason: he is not able to blast a person in physical contact with him without electrocuting himself in the process. Sadly, being able to generate electrical currents has not translated into an immunity or even resistance to those same currents, should they loop back to him. It is for similar reasons that Arthur avoids bodies of water.
Arthur's name still appears on Power Division's official roster, in part due to administrative delay and in part because with so many supers changing sides and revealing themselves as moles it is hard for the bureaucrats to tell who is really against them. Thanks to a little electronic trickery courtesy of the Resistance's computer experts, Arthur Valen is also still considered a member in good standing (according to the Power Division database). So long as nobody looks too close at his records, Arthur can gain official access to any Praetorian crime scene or powers-related incident.
In addition to his status as a member of Powers Division, Arthur still retains his Independent Investigator's license. In some parts of Imperial City (and much of Neutropolis), this credential garners more respect than being one of Provost Marchand's lackeys. Depending on who he is dealing with, Arthur often introduces himself as an investigator first and a registered power second - if at all.
Aside from his electrical and authoritative powers, Arthur Valen has several other tricks up his sleeve. His analytical mind is always seeking a new puzzle to wrap itself around, whether that be how to get out of an ambush, how to take down an evil dictatorship without becoming just as evil, or what a given woman (or "dame", as Arthur says) is thinking. As a good Independent Investigator, Arthur has also cultivated an intimidating glare that can make even a hardened PPD cop sweat.
Although Arthur's electrical powers are completely ranged in nature, he keeps himself reasonably fit and has developed a nasty right hook. This is no match for the blows of a melee-focused superhero, but it has come as a surprise to several opponents.
'Arty' Valen has had a rough past, and though he doesn't like to talk about it, it has definitely colored his current life. Arthur is pessimistic about people in general, and has little respect for those who put themselves in authority. He has a soft spot for the downtrodden, a side effect of his own lost childhood. Arthur has a vehement hatred of scientists who do not respect their subjects - be they humans or literal lab rats. Taking the arrogant Neuron down a few pegs was a dream come true for Arthur.
Arthur's love of personal freedom was both what initially led him to join the Resistance and what caused him to break from them (if only to return). At the moment, Arthur is not sure which side of the struggle for Praetoria is in the right; with some of the Resistance willing to kill an entire city to make a point, they have fallen far short of his initial expectations. However, he knows that so long as he does what he can to make Praetoria better, he can still sleep at night.
Arthur enjoys being able to give others a hand up, though he is by nature suspicious of everyone he encounters. Given that he owes his own life to people who help out those in need, he donates regularly to charities - though he would never speak of such things, and goes to some lengths to hide his contributions.