From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|The Crimson Dart (III)|
|Real Name:||James Nathaniel Harris|
|Known Aliases:||Jack, Dart|
|Place of Birth:||Leeds, England (UK)|
|Base of Operations:||Paragon City, RI|
|Known Relatives:||Nathaniel Harris (Grandfather, Crimson Dart (I); deceased), Elenor Harris (Grandmother), Nigel Harris (Father, Crimson Dart (II)), Mary-Louise Harris (Mother), Alicia Harris (Sister), Lien and Jian Harris (Daughters)|
|Super-human strength. Near-invulnerability. Energy blasts. Flight.|
|IQ off the charts. Multiple doctorates, degrees in journalism and law. Passed the Rhode Island BAR Exam in 2002.|
|Headset comm unit.|
The Crimson Dart (I)
In the late 1930s, a masked man with the ability to conjure up bright red lances made of super-hot plasma surfaced on the streets of London. Beginning as a rumor after a handful of aborted petty thefts in the area, he grew bolder - and so did his heroic deeds. Soon, this infamous vigilate was given a name by a local newspaper: The Crimson Dart, so named for his fiery red projectiles.
While his secret identity never became widely known amongst the public, The Crimson Dart was a man named Nathaniel Harris. The scion of a wealthy family, he was an energetic and good-humored man with a taste for the finer things in life - and for adventure. His globe-trotting exploits were things of legend, going on great hunting expeditions in Africa one month and tomb raiding in the far east the next, always with a different woman on his arm. He married Elenor Wethersby in 1937, vowing to settle down and live a more respectable life, never telling anyone - save Elenor - of the strange powers he'd manifested in childhood.
For a time, he succeeded, but that adventurous streak was problematic. Within a year, the vigilante that would become known as the Crimson Dart began his work. While Elenor was exasperated, she had full confidence in Nathaniel's ability to handle himself and return home safely. He was a brave man, not a stupid one, and she knew that he wasn't adverse to turning tail and running home if he ever got in over his head. Their relationship grew stronger as a result of this freedom and the trust implicit in such, and in 1942, they had a son, Nigel.
Raising a son during the height of World War II was no easy task, but the pair managed. There was some increase in stress due to Nathaniel's nationalism demanding he throw in his lot with the allies and help them fight - war was far more dangerous than some street toughs, after all - but as always, they managed.
On May 28th, 1944, The Crimson Dart was approached by the Allies to assist on an important mission. He accepted. Promising to return, The Crimson Dart joined the legion of heroes and soldiers that would storm the beaches of Normandy.
He was one of many who did not come home.
The Crimson Dart (II)
Nigel grew up idolizing his father, often hearing of his heroism as bedtime stories told either by his mother. When he was six, his mother passed on to him a scrapbook she'd kept, full of newspaper clippings about his father's exploits - in both of his guises. Nigel treasured it, sleeping with it under his pillow. When he manifested his own powers at age ten, his mother wasn't surprised, and Nigel was absolutely ecstatic. He felt it brought him even close to his father. Understanding the need to keep his energy blasts and ability to fly quiet, he went about his life as normal, learning to use his abilities in secrecy... albeit with his mother's approval and guidance.
He attended English public school and had inherited his mother's study habits, much to her relief. He'd also inherited his father's charisma, becoming both a bright and popular boy. With high grades and many, many friends, Nigel was a very happy child, feeling his father's presence even when he was not truly there. He never felt the lack. He eventually attended the prestigious Eton College in Berkshire, joining the rowing team as soon as he was able. After graduation, he took a break from his studies until 1965, where he returned to the scholarly world to pursue a degree in journalism at the University of Cambridge. While there, he met a young woman named Mary-Louise Grey. After graduation, the pair married. With marriage came full disclosure about his ability's and a peek into his scrapbook. While surprised, Mary-Louise was persuaded to quite like this information when they were able to fly to Paris for a romantic evening whenever the mood took them.
During the 1970s, Nigel worked as a writer for the London Times, most often covering stories involving the country's super-powered activities. By 1975, after discussing it with his wife, Nigel traveled to his mother's to ask for her blessing to take on the mantle of the Crimson Dart. With her blessing came one of his father's spare costumes, and after a few alterations to account for their different sizes, London, England, and the world had their hero back.
Unlike his father, Nigel did not keep his identity a secret, not wanting those he did battle with to think he was fearful of reprisals. Paired with the hospital time endured by anyone who ever did go after his family, that boldness worked in his favor, making him a celebrity almost overnight. Now under the spotlight - and microscope - of the public, the Crimson Dart thrived.
On May 19th, 1974, Nigel and Mary-Louise welcomed baby Alicia into their lives. Four years later, she was joined by a brother, James.
Nigel took to fatherhood like a fish takes to water, relying on other heroes to "pick up the slack" while he took time off to dedicate it to his family. The kids grew up in a loving, supportive, and open-minded household, often showing up for school on their soaring father's shoulders. Needless to say, this boosted their popularity with their young peers. Visits from Nigel's fellow heroes were not uncommon, particular by those with children of their own. For the Harris family, super-human abilities were the norm.
While Alicia manifested psionic abilities during her teens, young James didn't seem to have any powers at all - unless his intellect counted. The gawky, shy young boy amazed his parents with his ability to learn. He had earned his first doctorate by the time he was fourteen. Since James seemed intent on becoming a professional student, his family supported him, just as they did Alicia's desire to go into civilian law enforcement.
While his children studied, Nigel returned to the life of a hero, branching out farther from home as the speed at which he was able to fly had been slowly, continuously increasing since his initial manifestation. So long as he could be home by dinner, he'd hear no complaints from his family. Life entered a steady, comfortable rhythm, with tales of heroic deeds (some in the classroom or squadroom) exchanged over dinner every evening.
In 2002, Nigel was in Paragon City covering a story for the London Times when strange lights began to appear over the city, just as they did elsewhere on Earth. The Rikti had arrived. It was a new war, and just as World War II had done decades before, this one claimed the Crimson Dart.
The Crimson Dart (III)
The family was devastated by the loss of Nigel, but James refused to believe that his father had died in the war, perhaps due to the loss of his hero, Hero-1, during the same conflict. Nigel's body was never recovered, and the mere possibility that he might still be alive was something James demanded be investigated. With the world devastated by the war, however, there were simply too few resources to put towards a search. Rebuilding was the top priority.
Frustrated, James did the only thing he felt he could do. He would search for his father himself, but he couldn't do it as the powerless, gangly person he was. He needed powers, and he needed them fast. He closed himself off in his lab for six months, working on formula after formula, until he believed he had found a way to replicate his father's powers in himself. He injected himself with his serum and, confident that the changes would unfold as planned, emerged from his lab and returned to his normal schedule to wait it out.
While he did change, they were not the changes he expected. Rather than flight and energy blasts, he was becoming larger, stronger, and more durable. Within a month, the 5'9" 'beanpole' had become a muscularly-built 6'7" behemoth with the ability to rip car doors from their hinges when he went to open them.
Needless to say, his family noticed.
James made his apologies first and his confessions second, and then some more apologies third for good measure. Concerned by his behavior, his mother and sister encouraged him to speak to one of Nigel's old friends, a retired hero named Errol Mitchelson - a psychologist, now, in his later years. James agreed, and began his sessions with Dr. Mitchelson. He also began to spend more time with his grandmother, who helped him learn to control his abilities just as she'd done for his father. By 2004, after putting a great deal more thought into it, James decided he would travel to Paragon City after all.
The Dart Rides Again
Upon his arrival, James did two things: first, he took the BAR exam. Second, he contacted another of his father's old friends in the city for help in designing and acquiring a suitable costume. While his own costumes would always prove to be far less flashy than those of his predecessors, James made sure he kept the iconic red dart graphic front and center on his chest, displayed proudly for the world to see. Registering as a hero with the city, he took to the streets, making contacts and fighting the city's criminal element as he searched for clues as to his father's true fate. Under his secret identity, he worked in the city first as a writer for the Paragon Times, then an assistant district attorney for the city.
A few months after his career began, he met Su-Lin, a former enforcer for an asian crime syndicate seeking redemption. They struck up a friendship that turned into a partnership. Although they disagreed about many things, ranging from use of lethal force (she was for it - he wasn't) to the keeping of secret identities (he was for it - she wasn't), their ability to work in concert grew steadily. They eventually became so skilled at working as a pair that they were rarely referred to individually by the media, widely recognized as a team. While it took over a year, he eventually confessed to her his real name, and their friendship extended beyond the crime-fighting scene. Now, they both searched for his father's whereabouts, with twice as many resources at their disposal - some on the other side of the law.
One afternoon in Atlas Plaza, they met Clobber-Girl, a fellow hero and member of The Other Guys. While they hadn't explicitly been looking to join a supergroup, the pair got along so well with Clobber-Girl that they decided to join the Guys' ranks just the same. The loosely-organized structure was a welcome contrast to some of the other teams they'd dealt with in the city, feeling more like a group of good friends - and that's what they became.
Rumors that the Dart and Su-Lin's partnership was romantic were rampant in the media. While they were untrue, Su-Lin took a newfound fondness to lightheartedly flirting with and teasing James both in and out of costume, and sometimes in front of reporters, much to his chagrin. Keeping a stiff upper lip, he focused on their work, and tried not to think about it too much.
After two and a half years of searching, the duo finally hit upon a series of solid leads and began to tackle them with renewed vigor. The teaching job at Maggie's Rock that he had taken was sacrificed in order to give him the time and focus he needed for his familial pursuits. One lead took them to an unexpected place - a Council base. There, they were able to retrieve surveillance footage and reports from during the war, including the appearance of a portal unlike those the Rikti emerged from. Taking the reports to a colleague at Portal Corp, they were able to determine where the portal had led, and sweet-talked themselves into a ride.
While Nigel was not waiting in the dimension on the other side of the portal, more clues were. They led to another portal. Then another, and another, and another. For several months, the pair traveled from one alternate dimension to the next in pursuit of James' predecessor, until they finally found him on a world dominated by Kheldians, where the war against the Nictus was in full, devastating swing. Nigel Harris was alive. He was also calling himself The Obsidian Dart. He had become a Warshade.
Nigel was unwilling to leave his new home in the middle of such a serious conflict, and James was unwilling to leave without him. For two months, the duo were stuck on this alternate world, helping the local Kheldian warriors repel the invading Nictus army. After a particularly devastating blow was struck against their enemies, Nigel reluctantly agreed to return home with his son. With the help of the Kheldians, the trio opened a portal back to Primal Earth, and made the long-overdue journey back home.
Three years had felt like an eternity not only to James, but to his father, as well. So much had changed since the Rikti war. It was overwhelming. While he made an honest, stubborn attempt to reintegrate himself into Primal Earth's society and re-establish ties with his family, Nigel felt as though he no longer belonged there. The world had a Crimson Dart, and it wasn't him. This time, at least, Nigel had a chance to say goodbye before he left his family for the Kheldian-dominated dimension... this time, for good.
The elation and joy James had felt upon at last finding his father and bringing him home turned at once into cold, hard rage. Three long years and the life he'd lived, gone in an instant. How insensitive could the old man truly be? How ungrateful? Rather than shut himself away as he once would have, James threw himself headlong into his work as a hero, hitting the city's villains like a freight train. A very, very angry one. The outlet was helpful and the rage slowly burned out into a quiet sense of disappointment and resentment, both in his father and in himself. It was time to take a long look at his situation, at his life, and figure out what was next.
James called Dr. Mitchelson for guidance. With his help, and a few swift kicks in the head from Su-Lin, James realized something very simple. Whens someone called for the Crimson Dart, he looked up. He'd grown into the identity and made it his own. His father had been right after all.
The world had a Crimson Dart.
The realization came just in time. On May 17th, 2007, the Crimson Dart - now publicly known to be one James Harris - became a Hero of the City.
Shortly after the ceremony, the Dart vanished from the public eye. It wasn't for another cross-dimensional jaunt or anything of the sort, though - he wanted to be James again, at least for a while. While it's unknown how long before this break the rumors about his relationship with Su-Lin became true, what is known is that when he re-emerged from this absence, he did so as the father of twin girls: Lien, and Jian.
Much as Nigel had, James took to fatherhood immediately. He was delighted when his family took him up on an offer to move them out to Paragon City to be closer to him and the girls, taking up residence in the revitalized Faultline district. While they had all met Su-Lin before, her new maternal and mama-bear tendencies saw her mesh with James' relatives even more smoothly.
Life was good.
The second Rikti Invasion was like a deep-seated fear being made manifest. James had always been secretly afraid that they would one day come back in greater numbers, and it was coming true. This time, however, he was not helpless, and he was not alone. He and Su-Lin joined the ranks of the Vanguard and began making regular patrols of the Rikti War Zone, launching attacks onto the crashed hulk of the mothership as often as headquarters could supply them with enough manpower and bombs to make a dent.
During one of these excursions, James was forced to face off against The Honoree. The experience has left him both deeply troubled and immensely proud of himself (...and troubled about being proud of himself).