From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|50 Technology Scrapper|
|Activity Level: Frequent|
|Real Name:||Devon McAlastair|
|Hair Color:||Blonde (Dyed, naturally brown)|
|Significant scarring across left eye.|
|Birthdate:||25 April, 1983|
|Residence:||The Citadel of Defiance|
|Legal Status:||Registered Hero/Convict|
|Relatives & Associates|
|No living relatives.|
|No known super-human capabilities.|
|Skills & Abilities|
|Hand-to-hand combat with dual-wielded blades, vast medicinal knowledge, limited knowledge of martial arts and espionage.|
|Sealed into Arachnos Booklung Suit V1, two gauntlet blades, variable capsules of assorted drugs.|
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Dr. Devon McAlastair, better known as 'Synthetic Raven' might appear to be your average claw-wielding hero or hospital worker, when in actuality, Raven is a convicted criminal: a former bounty hunter from underground assassination cult 'The Nest', having only recently been captured and subjected to one of Paragon's newest and most controversial 'rehabilitation' programs. As bleak as this may sound, Raven is more than grateful that his shady past is hidden, and proudly carries the banner of The Reciprocators as a hero.
Devon's personality is complicated, but the best word that can be used to describe it is the hardly reassuring 'false'. Raven comes from a past that he's hardly proud of, but too stubborn to forget or forgive himself for. If ever confronted by his real personality, you'll find someone who's exhausted both physically and mentally keeping himself going off of sheer optimism that he's actually doing some good for the city. The reason this side of him remains hidden so often is because of his constantly drugged state. Even his most basic 'chemical mist' is loaded to the brim with stimulants and anti-depressants, designed to ensure that he can fight for as long as possible and to keep himself sedated enough to either 'go far enough' to drill justice into the head of basic hooligans, or 'not too far' for those who he'd otherwise like to leave in a bodybag.
Seeing as Raven is accustomed to daily duty on the field, it's very rarely that people [i]won't[/i] see him in this drugged state, where Raven is practically carefree, joking and a friendly face, although at times a little too forward and slightly obnoxious. You'd never even fathom this guy used to be a cloak-and-dagger mass murderer. Devon might appear to be a merry drinker, when in reality he's self-consciously trying to counterract the effects of the mist and introduce a downer into his system to establish a medium of the overly enthusiastic combatant and his cold, machinating true self.
Raven's main 'power' originates from the suit he's wearing: the Arachnos Booklung Suit V1. As part of his 'parole conditions', Raven has been sealed into the suit via eight steel bolts, one fused to the spine every three vertebrae. The suit is designed to carry around Raven's chemical mists, each stored in a metallic vial inside the armour on his forearms much like a roulette wheel, and by clicking his fingers and thumb together in certain combinations can activate these mists. The vial sprays the mist into the air, which the Booklung absorbs and recirculates, taking the form of a deep black mist around him. The most basic mist leaves Raven awake, alert and numb to pain, albeit a little more jokey about the whole thing, whilst his strongest mist places Raven back into the mindset of a serial killer, blood-drunk and irrational, and leaves all those standing near him seeing, in his own words, "things I wouldn't even like to dream of."
In addition to this 'dark armour', Raven himself is more than capable of handling himself in a fight. As a trained contract assassin, not to mention a medicinal enthusiast, Raven is particularly attentive to detail, both in and out of combat. Stored within the Booklung are two retractable blades, which Raven can withdraw and wield handheld if he wishes. With his anatomical knowledge, and drugged-up perception, Raven is light on his feet and constantly looking for the right time, and place, to strike, but at the same time being sure to keep things non-lethal to ensure the bomb in his neck doesn't detonate. Both in and out of the field, Raven is a capable medic, and a fair portion of his mists and compounds are designed for 'on-the-go' fixes.
Devon McAlastair was born a healthy baby boy on April 25th, 1983 in Glasgow, Scotland. His parents, Ross and Julia McAlastair were the owners of their very own pharmacy, earning a modest enough intake for them to survive the winter each year. Devon's childhood was far from privileged in a material sense, but by no means had a bad childhood and lived in adoration of his father. Ross was a philanthropist in every sense of the word, and any money the family earned through the company would either be immediately reinvested or donated to a charity, whichever course of action Ross deemed better for humanity. Somehow, Devon was able to persevere through the bloody reality of Glasgow's streets and fought off the temptation to get involved in the budding gangland culture and drugs trade, keeping his father in mind.
Julia was struck by cancer when Devon was six years old, and two years later, the disease claimed her life. Rather than mourning, his wife's death seemed to spur him on further towards his goal of improving human life, and Devon's will along with his. The younger McAlastair quickly became more involved in his father's work, who would provide the young boy tips and trivia regarding the medicines he was distributing, their composition and their effects, and Devon would always listen intently with an open ear. It took eight long years before the McAlastairs had enough money for Ross to reveal his newest plans: to sell the Glaswegian pharmacy and re-establish themselves in the Etoile Isles. Truly, he felt like he had to offer help where it was needed most, an ultimately fatal mistake.
Within the first week, the pharmacy became an immediate hotspot for junkies and other addicts. Only eight days after opening shop, a number of Isle residents broke into the store, using the broken glass of his own shop window to stab Ross to death, and grievously wounding the right side of Devon's face in the process as he struggled to stop them from stealing the medicine cabinet. All that remained at the end of the raid were two syringes, filled with powerful sedatives. These were the only possessions the young Devon now had, and he swore to put them to good use.
At first, Devon was naive to the true nature of the Rogue Isles, but it didn't take him long to understand their namesakes. Stumbling through the wastelands of Port Oakes to witness robbery after robbery, kidnap after kidnap, arson after arson and even bearing witness to a number of point-blank executions from the R.I.P left him startled, confused and desperate. It was just by sheer chance that on one of his scavenger runs that the Raven-to-be ran into one of his father's murderers in a back alley, getting a fix off a local dealer. Devon made sure to wait for the deal to finish, tracking the addict for over an hour until he was certain that the coast was clear. Even Devon doesn't clearly remember what he did, but he does recall 'keeping him alive long enough to show him his heart, so there was proof he had one'. He asked for names, and he got them. The next two weeks were spent meticulously tracking down and removing each assailant.
The R.I.P might have turned a blind eye to just a few more junkies turning up dead, but The Nest didn't. The Nest was an organisation whose roots dated back before Arachnos had even set foot on the Etoile Isles, a group of killers brought together and recruited for their talents in subtlety and creativity. Devon was approached in the night by the elderly Waking Finch, a staggering quiet old man who looked like he had seen better days. Finch offered Devon the chance to join The Nest under the Poison Branch, one of many specialist but mutually exclusive groups within the organisation. At first, McAlastair was apprehensive, racked with guilt over acts he'd gained no sense of redemption or satisfaction from. Finch merely told him that he knew of his father, and therefore understood what it was Raven would want. Finch struck a deal that Devon would receive 50% of the cut of each kill The Nest was commissioned for that he completed, which would be more than enough for McAlastair to fund his way through the Rogue Isle University to become a doctor, just like his father.
Given the choice between homelessness in the Isles, or the more likely option of dying at Finch's hand should he refuse, he accepted. For the next eight years, Devon McAlastair would be known as Synthetic Raven.
Devon enrolled under his real name, despite advice to the contrary from Finch, at TRU, having only been accepted due to the University's far laxer entry policies. Devon would later reflect on how his 'colleagues' would simply walk in on the first day with a pay packet and walk out that afternoon 'fully qualified'. At the University, Devon spent his days analysing the structure and composition of medicines and vaccines, whilst at night heading to The Den. The Den was essentially a bomb shelter which the entire sect shared. Lecherous old men who spent half their time crafting their own poisons and toxins from herbs, and the other half getting a buzz on drugs of their own creation. Devon soon learnt, through many beatings, what the definition of 'natural' and 'unnatural' was when it came to chemicals. Others weren't as fortunate, one potential assassin being killed by Finch for inhaling cocaine, the 'most impure of drugs'. Raven didn't dare speak up against this hypocrisy, as his status was still far lower of his colleagues and he was the youngest member by easily two decades.
Raven quickly showed promise in the field, not only at learning all that his colleagues would teach him in The Den but being able to analyse the samples at the University and determine an appropriate countermeasure, be it a treatment or a cure. One particular incident, where another Branch member had left far too much incriminating evidence at a crime scene, turned out to be a perfect oppurtunity for the young Raven. Tracking down the operative first, Devon experimented his new drug, a deep dark mist which would go on to be his most potent chemical. Spraying it in the assassin's face, he was reduced to mindless mumbling for days. Even when R.I.P found him and tried to subject him to a trial, they had no choice but to acquit him on a plea of insanity, before the effects wore off and the agent walked free. He'd been in The Nest for two years, and finally his peers began to refer to him as 'Raven', rather than the derogatory 'hatchling'.
In the final year of Raven's degree, something in the University caught his ear. Word had been spreading of a new, failed prototype suit that Arachnos had been developing, known only as 'Project: Booklung'. The suit had been designed to work as a new order of Bane Spider armor, allowing operatives to move through areas deemed so toxic or radioactive they'd been declared no-man's-land. The suit was supposed to be it's own filtration system, powered by the wearer's bodyheat, but after a dozen dead subjects in the gas chambers, it was determined to be flawed. All the suit did was recycle the air around the subject rather than purifying it. As all plans did on the Isles, they leaked, and Raven was quick to get his hands on them, curious and having been experimenting with chemicals in gaseous form for a while. He called in a favour from a mechanics student, and in November 2008, he became the owner of a V1 Booklung.
The Nest weren't happy.
As disillusioned as they were with his fixation on modern technology, and how he had taken to medicine far more than poison, the straw that broke the camel's back was Raven interfering in Arachnos' business. His Branch became worried; if Arachnos caught on that their technology was being used for something they never intended, they'd track Raven down, interrogate him, make him talk, and if he spoke of The Nest, it would mean they too would be done. Some would fight, and some would betray their kin rather than fight the Spiders. It just so happened for them that oppurtunity had knocked, in the form of two other outcasts-to-be; Laughing Crow and Mourning Jackdaw.
All three were given the same objective: assassinate a Family stooge. It seemed easy enough, only they'd also been given orders to slay all targets on sight, and hadn't been briefed on the other's appearances. Another thing they'd been misled over was the fact the 'stooge' was a Longbow undercover, who had more backup than they could handle on tap. By the time any of them realised what had happened, Raven found himself surrounded by Longbow Operatives, passing out from bloodloss courtesy of a bullet wound in the shoulder from Crow. What followed was one of the fastest trials Raven had ever heard of. It seemed Finch had made sure to frame him for some of the other's sloppier jobs as well as his own. The death penalty seemed a certainty, and he lay in Ziggursky waiting for it...but it never came. Instead, one day he opened his eyes with a terrible pain in the back of his neck, and was briefed on Project: Corvus. Seemed Longbow had use for him.
Raven, Crow and Jackdaw were used as guinea pigs for a new Longbow initiative, to 'rehabilitate' criminals by forcing them to fight their kin. Their incentive took the form of a small metallic charge, acting as a joint between the brainstem and spinal cord, allowing them not only to transmit orders directly, but also to deliver paralysing shocks if they disobey or, in a worst case scenario, detonate. Soon after, a fourth joined their ranks, a babbling psychic called Fractured Vulture. Raven's suspicions of all those around him never subsided, and only once his suspicion shifted away from Crow and onto Vulture did Vulture retreat, having never been a part of the project at all. It appeared as if the elderly psychic had been trying to make a game of it, trying to turn the three against one another rather than doing the job himself. The very thought that The Nest could have taken him out at any time left Raven paranoid, unstable and slow to trust.
The perfect time for Paragon to apply him to the Reciprocators.
When Raven first sat down for an interview with Black Starbeam and Static Bolter, the Primary Tier of the organisation, he was still very much his old self; cold yet remorseful, bitter yet optimistic. The interview went smoothly enough, and Raven was granted membership under trial conditions in early January. His commitment to the field, spurred on by his regret of his past life, was quick to impress, and he found himself promoted fully to Defiant Fist within a week's time. It was around this time that Longbow too began to notice his need to continue the fight, and slowly but surely lifted the restrictions on the chemicals he was allowed to have. Raven's mists became stronger, and as a result, his personality become more imbalanced.
One raid on Cimerora in particular, where Raven spent nearly 5 hours emitting his strongest hallucinogen, left him crying down the comms for the blood of his foes, followed by him staggering back to the Citadel and quite literally drinking himself under the table for no reason other than course of habit. Upon his next visit to the historical battlefield led to Raven increasing the dosage of his painkiller mist, fearing what he'd become if he resorted to the hallucinogens again. The results were nearly fatal, as towards the end he found himself numb completely, to the extent that he couldn't even feel the javelin one Cimeroran had stabbed through his shoulder weighing him down. He passed out from bloodloss, and found himself with a dilemma.
Raven made the decision that if the weaker drugs were too little, and the stronger were too much, then the easiest balance would be stronger armor. A little digging indicated promising results. Since his incarceration, Arachnos had developed three more versions of the Booklung suit. Fortunately for him, Raven had also found himself with a new confidant, one with shady contacts in the form of Talia Esther. Whilst it would have been easy for Raven to merely acquire the blueprints for it, he found himself far too impatient, and simply orchestrated the chain of events where the prototype itself was stolen and mailed to him by one of Talia's associates. He took to the suit quite well, enjoying the additional power and control...although the first two weeks did garner some odd looks. He admits that in hindsight, waiting for Cyberette to spray out the Arachnos insignia would have been best.
On February 7th 2009, both Raven and Crow were due on Portal Corp duty, and were drafted to immediately seal a breach coming from Praetorian Earth. Coming into conflict with Tyrant himself, both heroes found themselves battered and bruised, but all for the greatest reward; thanks from Statesman himself, and one last task to be granted the title Hero of the City and Security Level 50. Storming that final Arachnos stronghold, both heroes passed with aplomb...but rather than joy, the two heroes now find themselves with uncertainty as to the future of Project: Corvus.
Laughing Crow - A 'colleague' of Raven's, in the sense that he too is an outcast of The Nest, a Reciprocator and has the exact same make of bomb in the back of his neck, courtesy of Longbow. Raven and Crow have gotten each other out of a fair few scrapes, whether it be watching each other's back in combat, Raven tending to Crow's wounds or Crow dragging Raven to solitude when his chemicals have left him babbling nonsense in front of company. Though the two started their journey resenting one another, and were at one point prepared to draw blood over their distrust, their perseverence in addition to Longbow 'forcing them to' has sweetened the relationship between them to the point where they'll at least admit they're each other's best friend.
Mourning Jackdaw - Raven always had a soft spot for the young Jackdaw. From speaking to her, he became convinced that she never belonged in The Nest to begin with, and her being born to the 'Mourning' line left her as a victim of circumstance. Over time, as Longbow continue to leave Raven more and more disillusioned with his position, he's begun to appreciate her cries for a life of freedom from when they were a team. Ever since Jackdaw's disappearance, Raven's made it no less than top priority to find her and make those who took her, whoever they may be, pay.
Talia Esther - A fellow Reciprocator, and after Crow, Raven's closest confidant. Unfortunately for both of them, they each have their fair share of skeletons in the closet which they don't want Longbow knowing about, and Raven's constant uplink to a communication feed because of the charge makes their conversations difficult. As a result, their most frequent place of visit has been the radio mast atop the bridge in Independence Port. Talia's made no attempt to hide her dissatisfaction with the morals behind Project: Corvus, which Raven has made no attempt to silence.