AKA Sebastian Gregory.
Some time in the early 1970s, a group of men who probably should have known better decided to create a hero for the dark age they saw coming. While they had a success, some of them weren't particularly pleased with the results. Too physical, they thought, not nearly as intelligent as he would need to be. And so they decided to create a backup, using different methods. There had been another man of action whom many of them had admired, who had been even smarter than their heroic model in some ways, and so they decided to adapt some of what was known about his origins. To their dubious credit, they used one of their own children as the test subject, rather than some anonymous orphan.
Savant's earliest memories are of his infancy. He was about two years old, he thinks, when he was pulled away from a source of comfort and warmth. He chooses to believe that this was his mother. It may not have been. It could have been a nurse, or a nanny. But his name for her is mother, and much of what he has done since that time has been focused on her.
After this rupture, he was placed into an automated Skinner box, educated by sophisticated computers and cared for by robots. For thirteen years, he did not see another human being. The only images he was shown were of numbers, letters and objects. He was taught to read, but only to communicate the lessons to him. Pattern recognition, formal logic, mathematics ... these were what he learned, not any facts about the world beyond the walls.
Finally, at fifteen, they decided he was ready, and opened the box. He met other humans for the first time, and in the process developed an abiding fascination. One of the men made a statement, and it wasn't expressed in the straightforward mechanical tones of a machine. And the muscles in his face moved. And from the way that the others reacted to the man's statement, the boy realized that the man had said something ... counter-factual. (Specifically, he'd said, "Doesn't he smell nice?" and the others had agreed that their subject needed a bath.)
There were things in the world that could lie. (And/or be sarcastic, which was also interesting.) Recognizing when they were doing so became Savant's raison d'etre. In the process, he also became obsessed with learning the truth behind the lies. He wanted to learn everything, know everything. Because he also realized that a world where people could lie to him was a dangerous place, and he wanted safety and security.
Less than a year later, he found out that he wasn't alone in all of this. They'd put an infant girl into an identical box when he was five, to see whether the experiment would show the same success with one slight change. But when Savant emerged, they became careless, and somehow she learned of the existence of human beings by accident. And her reaction wasn't fascination.
Instead, she faked an illness that the computers didn't know how to handle, forcing a human intervention into her box when they sent in a doctor ... whom she killed, allowing her to escape and begin slaughtering the other researchers at the facility. Savant was away at the time, or she might have killed him, too. Or she might not. In the handful of times that they've met since then, she's indicated that she thinks of him as a brother. Of course, the fact that she has a tendency to choose Cain as a surname makes that somewhat worrying.
The destruction of the project left him somewhat at loose ends. He knew what he wanted to do with his life, it was simply a question of finding a way to do it that would satisfy his needs. He considered becoming a police detective, but quickly realized that for the most part, they focused on cases determined primarially by physical evidence. (And who cared about that? Physical evidence couldn't lie!) And so he became a private detective instead, taking the cases that interested him.
A fair number of these involved superhumans. Despite what you might expect, he didn't really get any particular charge out of foiling superhuman criminals with nothing more than his brains, because he realized that was a false dichotomy. His brains qualified as a superhuman power, after all. He didn't get any more of a thrill out of those cases than he did the others he took. Or so he says.
And then came the day that he crossed paths with Mr. Infamy. Just what the case was is something that he's never discussed with anyone, only its outcome. "He offered to tell me my mother's name," he'll say. "I turned him down. It was the last time I followed my nobler impulses." He's soft-pedaling it, actually. The stress from the encounter led him to experiment with drugs for the first time.
Soon after that, he travelled to Japan and spent a year there on the trail of a man who could kill with a notebook. It was an incredibly complicated case that ended with him in possession of said notebook, which he decided was too dangerous to be used. (But it was also too valuable to destroy, so he kept it hidden in a safety deposit box until ... well, that's someone else's story to tell.)
It was while returning to the United States that he was caught with the drugs. Some have found it odd that someone as smart as he is could have been caught so easily. Did he want to be caught? Was this his way of cleaning up? (He'd mock the notion if it was suggested to him. "Do you have any idea how easy it is to get ahold of narcotics in prison? And why didn't I just go to rehab?") When he became eligible for parole, with the option of serving in Project Freedom, he jumped at the chance.
Out of the frying pan, into the fire. What he called his independent thinking and what Harriet Wainwright called his refusal to heed direct orders got him into trouble with her almost immediately. It quickly became bad enough that she exposed the biggest secret about the Project to him as a way of keeping him in line. It worked, sort of. His rebellion became quieter, as he schemed to bring Wainwright's operation down around her ears.
And then Fredrik Zane arrived on the scene, and the game changed again. As always, he consulted his sources about this new associate, and learned that he'd made a career out of reading people's minds to steal technological secrets. Savant's stomach dropped. What would someone like that do with the secrets that were rattling around in his
brain? In fact ... was it not likely that the subject was some sort of psychic parasite, strengthening its own abillities to learn and process data at the expense of those around it?
It didn't take long for Savant to learn that Zane was in on Wainwright's schemes, and when the other man became the head of the B-Team, he truly became terrified of what was going on in the Project. His confrontation with Zane muddled the matters further -- the other kept acting as though everything that he was doing was in the interests of the Project, which made no sense at all for a self-serving monster. He had to be pursuing a scheme of truly breath-taking proportions ...
It wouldn't be until the team invaded the Terminus and he learned the true identity of Shadivan Steelgrave that everything finally fell into place. The Intellivore, as he thought of Zane, was his world's version of the architect of annihilation. Of course he was. That was the point. That explained everything. He finally understood what was going on. And more -- now that Savant knew what Zane was, he finally knew the point of his own existence. This feeling ... was it joy?
In the aftermath, he managed to convince certain elements of the Grant administration that he was the ideal person to run a small agency devoted to covertly monitoring the activities of Project Freedom and its former clients, to make sure that these sorts of situations would not develop in the future. Of course, most of this agency's efforts went into monitoring Zane's
activities, as Savant waited for the Intellivore to show his true colors to the world. The rest of the time it was mostly used to satisfy Savant's momentary curiosities regarding other matters.
Of course, the end of the Grant administration brought an end to all that. Savant came out of it smelling like a rose, though. For the moment, he is following his curiosity about the murderer of Jonathan Grant. While he had no particular affection for the late mayor, the way that his death has been declared an unsolvable mystery by those who should know better annoys him. He'll investigate the matter until he finds the truth, grows bored, or is convinced that it's no longer in his interest. Then he'll return to his other obsession.
It's understandable, perhaps, that the boy who was fascinated by the concept of lies should end entangled in one.
Savant -- PL 11
0 | STA
1 | AGL
1 | DEX
4 | FGT
8 | INT
10 | AWE
9 | PRE
Powers: Fast Learner
(Variable 2 [learned skills and knowledge], Slow), My Mind is My Self
(Sustained Immunity 20 [mental effects], Limited to Half Effect), Speed-Thinker
(Quickness 8, Limited to Mental Tasks), Uncannily Precise
(Enhanced Ranged Damage 3).
Assessment, Contacts, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 4, Equipment 6, Improved Defense, Improved Initiative 2, Jack-of-all-Trades, Ranged Attack 8, Redirect, Seize Initiative, Set-Up, Skill Mastery (Insight, Investigation), Well-Informed.
Acrobatics 6 (+7), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+12), Deception 12 (+18), Expertise: Streetwise 8 (+18), Insight 12 (+21), Intimidation 10 (+16), Investigation 10 (+20), Perception 11 (+20), Persuasion 4 (+10), Ranged Combat: Guns 4 (+8), Sleight of Hand 9 (+13), Stealth 12 (+13), Technology 8 (+16).
Initiative +9, Unarmed +12 (Close Damage 0), Light Pistol +16 (Ranged Damage 6).
Dodge 15, Parry 13, Fortitude 8, Toughness 6/1, Will 14.
Abilities 86 + Powers 32 + Advantages 31 + Skills 55 + Defenses 31 = 235 points
Complications: Obsessive Curiosity--Motivation. Hatred
(Fredrik Zane). Reputation