Other Characters: zilch
Character Name: Calvin Zabo / Cal Johnson / Mr. Hyde
Age: somewhere in his 50s
Canon: Marvel Cinematic Universe - Agents Of SHIELD
Canon Point: Later half of season 2, around the episode 'Melinda.' aka After he's been held in Afterlife for a few days. He's been rejected by the Inhumans and is clawing at the walls.
Character Information: http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.
Cal started as a highly regarded doctor with his own practice in Milwaukee, but his story truly began with his arrival in a small Chinese village as part of the ‘Doctors Without Borders’ program. It is there that he worked alongside, fell in love, and started a family with a (seemingly) young woman named Jiaying. She, along with the daughter they had together, became Cal’s primary influence and motivation in all that was to come.
Jiaying was in fact an Inhuman, descended from ancestors who were long ago experimented on by a powerful race of aliens. Unfortunately, her unique powers made her a target, and the peaceful life they shared was cut tragically short when an armed organization claiming to be SHIELD took her prisoner for their own sinister purposes. Cal was forced to abandon everything (including their child) in a desperate, international journey to pursue and free Jiaying. He ended up following her all the way to Austria, but it was too late.
Finding what was left of his wife's body, dumped callously in the wilderness, broke him beyond recognition. Plunging into obsession, he stitched her dissected remains together. This, by itself, was already the the action of a shattered, grief-stricken man. But the result of it all wound up being the only thing more chilling than his actions alone: it worked. Jiaying’s powers returned her to life, but she came back different; cold and wanting blood. She told him to kill for her, so he did. When they finally returned for their child, only to find that she, too, had been taken by the same individuals who had experimented on and murdered Jiaying, that was it.
Devastated by his own inability to protect the ones he loved the most, Cal remade himself. He took a new name, “Zabo”, the Hungarian word for “tailor”-- a reflection of his determination to stitch his life back together the way he had his wife. With her encouragement, he began to experiment on himself, trying to surpass his own humanity as they continued a murderous search for their lost daughter. But ultimately, it was never enough-- Jiaying, now with little capacity for caring about human lives, never forgave Cal for 'losing' Daisy and after a few years of searching for her they parted ways.
But while she moved on, it was too late for Cal. He remained utterly devoted to the concept of his absent wife and daughter, to the point of obsession. Which is what led to the unstable, volatile shell of a man he is today.
Cal's personality is in tatters.
Originally, he was a soft, charming, and gentle man. Occasionally, glimmers of his former self resurface, but the person he once was is long dead. He tends to ricochet back and forth between those fragments of his old persona, flipping into rage and grief very quickly if under stress...and he is under stress a lot. At his worst, he lapses into psychotic episodes that can range from fits of paranoia to PTSD related flashbacks and fits of extreme violence.
Even when not openly flipping out, Cal is still visibly ‘off’. He can be absent-minded, have trouble focusing, and often trails off mid sentence; a result of brain damage after years of testing volatile drug combinations on himself. He knows he's not well mentally (or physically, let's be real) but in his mind it's a small price to pay for the chance to save his daughter and reunite his family. Oh, and getting revenge. He's super into getting revenge on the people who ruined his life. The fate he planned for Dr. Reinhardt, the man responsible for his wife’s capture and death, was grisly to say the least.
Further complicating his already-erratic moods, he seems to actively experience withdrawal symptoms throughout canon, appearing shaky and sweating profusely. If Simmons' analysis of his serum and subsequent heart attack are any indication, it would appear that Calvin is playing roulette with his own life every time he takes it. His self control seems to wane as he detoxes, the mood shifts becoming more erratic and pronounced.
The 25 years of this despair-fueled drug experimentation took a severe toll on not only his mental health, but also his ability to form relationships with others. Rather than the charismatic man who once took in a gaggle of young Inhumans to care for and educate them, Cal is now moody, unpredictable, and has only one of his former students left: Raina, who he is no longer on good terms with. But as Cal recounts at one point, they were once very close. Raina's skills indicate that he was an excellent teacher, and even after their falling out she still holds a lot of admiration and affection for him. This is despite him displaying, at that point, nothing but hostility and indifference for her wellbeing. At one point he goes as far as telling her to kill herself when she reaches out for his support after undergoing terrigenesis.
The lengths Cal is willing to go to achieve his goals go are as extreme as his mood swings. In his desperation to reunite with his daughter and 'help' her evolve, Cal did the unthinkable and joined forces with his wife’s aforementioned butcher, Dr. Reinhardt. Even though he disclosed as little as possible in the process, and planned to butcher the scientist himself as soon as he got what he wanted (to be reunited with his daughter), this alliance is testament to just how far-gone Cal has become. He is driven and single-minded, willing to commit almost any atrocity if it will bring him closer to his goal.
Unsurprisingly, getting to finally meet his grown-up daughter winds up doing the exact opposite of validating his years of effort. Daisy rightfully regards his actions as horrifying, even calling him a monster to his face at one point. Her rejection only makes him more determined to win her over by exposing SHIELD’s history of cruelty against Inhumans (and therefore Daisy herself, should she ‘evolve’ as Cal wants her to). Cal also winds up bitterly, violently jealous of those who have cared for and developed affectionate, mentorly relationships with Daisy in the interim. A prime example of this is Coulson, who not only treats Daisy in a fatherly way with Cal watching resentfully over a security camera, but also wound up shooting Dr. Reinhardt himself and therefore denying Cal the revenge he’d lusted for for so long. More actions for Cal to add to the ever-lengthening list of injustices committed against him, both real and perceived.
At his pull-point, Cal has been captured, contained, and left to stew in his thoughts and fears for his daughter's future...
5-10 Key Character Traits: dedicated, paranoid, erratic, quick-tempered, protective, manipulative, excitable, self-righteous, jealousy-prone, vindictive
Would you prefer a monster that FITS your character’s personality, CONFLICTS with it, EITHER, or opt for 100% RANDOMIZATION? one that fits, please!
Opt-Outs: merperson, vampire, shade, werewolf, werebear
An extra pair of hands would be really helpful. Metaphorically, yes but also literally. He's seen such things since he's arrived in this place.
He considers this as he surveys what's left of Abraham's operating room. The gurney is overturned and bent, there are several puddles of broken glass on the floor, several ACTUAL puddles of blood. Smashed bottles of antiseptic and morphine. Gauges in the wall and floor. Oh geez, is right.
Cal tries to reassure himself that this, is at least, not necessarily a new experience for him. Variables have changed, of course; locations, himself. But this is not the first time he's woken up to carnage with blood on his hands. Things may be different but-
BUT he's standing in the middle of a broken room, very naked. Possibly the most naked he's ever been in his life. There's blood on his teeth and a sensation of pleasant fullness in his stomach. You don't need a doctorate to piece this medical mystery together.
Oh geez...Rest in peace, Abe. This probably wasn't something the older doctor anticipated when he decided to accept Cal's help around the clinic.
He leans against the wall, squeezes his eyes shut and counts to ten, two times. First in English, then in Hungarian. Underneath his panic there is a cool and familiar detached calm. It's just a matter of reaching inside of himself to find it.
This is an old rhythm, a song he knows by heart after twenty five years:
- (Pants? A new addition to his formerly 4 step plan)
- Clean up this mess.
- Locate the remains of Dr. Abraham. Dispose of the remains of Dr. Abraham.
- Salvage if possible.
- Move on. Move out.
It's that last one that's causing him the most distress. Back 'home' he could relocate with ease. He had any needed funds at his disposal. Access to false papers and safe houses and everything one could hope for if they needed to lay low for awhile. But he only arrived here with the clothes on his back. He has no contacts, no money, and this world's shape is foreign to him.
But first, pants, then the rest.