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Agent Zero of Weapon X (Wolverine character) (Marvel Comics)

Agent Zero (formerly Maverick)

(Christopher North profile #2)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This is the second profile for Christoph Nord. It assumes that you’ve read the Maverick (Christoph Nord) profile, where all the context and previous events live.


Background

  • Real Name: Christoph “Christopher” Nord.
  • Other Aliases: David North, the One Man Army, Maverick I.
  • Marital Status: Widower.
  • Known Relatives: Parents (deceased), Andreas Nord (brother, deceased), Ginetta Lucia Barsalini Nord (wife, deceased), possibly an unnamed, unborn child (deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: Weapon X organisation. Formerly Weapon X member, Team X member, Cell Six member, former bodyguard of Psi-Borg/Aldo Ferro, former agent for Major Barrington.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 230 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Brown


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Powers and Abilities

Agent Zero is an exceptionally talented special agent, assassin and commando, with decades of experience. He’s a superior unarmed and armed fighter, marksman, stealth expert, tactician, etc. Colcord considered him to be the deadliest and most skilled agent on his staff.

As Agent Zero Nord seemed more athletic, colder, more stealthy and deadlier (in short, more ninja-like) than as Maverick, though his equipment definitely helps.

Nord retains a large degree of his kinetic absorption powers, but the output has been reengineered. Now instead of emitting heat, he fires concussive energy blasts.

Corrosive and more

Furthermore, his fingertips have been altered to emit acid. Somehow, this acid can permeate his energy blasts, giving them a strong corrosive effect. The acid is particularly effective against targets with an healing factor . The more the flesh tries to knit itself back together, the deeper the acid goes in. Zero can also deliver acid by touch, inflicting severe damage.

One of the first things Agent Zero did was to fire a corrosive energy blast without having absorbed kinetic energy first, which would have been impossible as Maverick. Our game stats thus assume that he can fire low-powered blasts without active Damage Absorption APs.


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His energy blasts can be quite wide. He once used one to block incoming gunshots, melting the bullets in mid-air.

Another improvement is that Agent Zero no longer has a scent. Wolverine couldn’t smell him, though I’ve assumed somebody like Daredevil might. Since this was lost along with his mutant powers, I would assume it was based on spliced mutant DNA, much like the Weapon X age-suppression factor.

Nord doesn’t use his kinetic absorption power much these days. Most opponents will be dead before they can register he’s here, and that’s how he wants it.

House full of bullets

Agent Zero is equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry. Most of which exploits the Weapon X project’s access to (and know-how with) Adamantium . The gear is described in the game stats.

Agent Zero is one of the few people who has access to enough Adamantium (secondary Adamantium, I would assume) and Adamantium-moulding machinery to use projectiles dipped in it. This ammunition seems to be absolutely devastating, and blows through any armour plating without much consideration toward it.

Agent Zero with smoking forearm plasma gun

In DC Heroes terms, the EV of the bullets is enhanced by two APs (in the stats blocks I’ve rolled it into Projectile Weapons – it’s simpler and Agent Zero is such a sharpshooter than the extended Range is fitting), and a big Sharpness: 06 is added to it.

Beyond the costs of the metal, I’d assume that the main difficulty is having the machinery, processes and trained metallurgists. Even with secondary Adamantium, doing precision work likely requires molecular rearrangers and the like.

This is especially true since, in this case, the metal has to be worked in a precise enough fashion to just create a thin film over the surface of a much, much softer metal.

Furthermore, the entry wounds from Agent Zero’s bullets were much larger than normal. I would assume that the Adamantium somehow flowers as the softer metal below it flattens against the target. This type of engineering may be restricted to people who know the techniques to lace bone with Adamantium.

This later hypothesis raises an interesting possibility. Between this and Sublime’s tendency to use mutant body parts, that Agent Zero’s special bullets may be mutant bone laced with the stuff. But this is just a random No-Prize  idea with nothing whatsoever to support it in the source material.

Agent Zero has access to whole crates of bullets in his chosen calibres. During his war against Gene Nation he goes through quite a few magazines without hesitation.

Though in an RPG context Adamantium-dipped bullets are many a munchkin’s dream, they are quite rare in the Marvel Universe. Agent Zero and Underworld are the only two gunmen who use them, and they may very well have the same provider.


History

After he was enhanced and healed, Nord was dispatched by Weapon X on a number of assassination missions. Ashamed that he still lived, he demanded to be equipped with a full mask, and that no connection could be established between Christoph Nord/David North/Maverick and whom he was now. He was accordingly code-named Agent Zero.

Agent Zero conducted some easy (for him) and ethically defensible missions. Killing a drug lord in Columbia, assassinating a greedy informant with some information about Weapon X, icing a terrorist cell. He was then sent to perform what had been implied to be his main mission – to kill Wolverine.

He was equipped with what was supposed to be a .308 bullet laced with the Antarctic isotope of Vibranium , aka the “anti-metal”. It could conceivably penetrate even primary Adamantium.

The assassination failed. The guilt-ridden Agent Zero decided to miss his shot and blame bad luck for that. He was remotely disciplined using a pain-generating implant, but the mission had never been intended to be a killing mission. The bullet was a fake, and the Director knew that Nord would probably not kill his friend.

What was being tested exactly is not clear.

Working for the Man

The Director being apparently happy with this test, he continued to detail Agent Zero to killing missions. Sabretooth then defected, stealing information and severely damaging two fellow agents (Aurora and Wild Child). Weapon X had to hurriedly summon Agent Zero from the field to deal with the situation.

Agent Zero aims a sniper rifle

Thanks to information from a Russian mob headed by Omega Red, Agent Zero located Sabretooth in New York City. The feral mutant was selling secrets from the stolen files. Zero executed all of the potential buyers, then ambushed Sabretooth.

Coldly seeking revenge, the Agent slit Sabretooth’s throat from behind to see if he would choke on his blood before he could regenerate. He then shot him with with Adamantium-reinforced bullets to keep him busy before finishing him off with his acid. Nord was about to butcher the unconscious Sabretooth, but the Director stopped him through repeated activations of his pain implant.

Zero brought Sabretooth back to the Weapon X base, threw him at the feet of the Director without a word and left the room in anger.

This emergency handled, Agent Zero resumed his Weapon X assassination missions, most of which are undocumented.

Gene Nation

The Gene Nation mutant terrorist organisation later conducted a number of bloody bombings throughout the US. Weapon X eventually sent Agent Zero after them, perhaps because they determined that a leader of the terror organisation was their former operative Marrow.

Zero ambushed and interrogated Marrow, then went to Grand Central Station where the Gene Nation was apparently planning a bombing. There he ran into suspected Gene Nation agent Maverick II, a man wearing the Maverick armour Nord previously wore.

Feeling that he had to know who the man was, Nord confronted his successor face-to-face rather than snipe him. When Maverick II tried to produce a gun, Zero shot him dead. A second later it became apparent that Maverick II was desperately trying to kill the actual mutant terrorist, who detonated and ravaged Grand Central.

Realising that Maverick II was some kind of double agent who had infiltrated Gene Nation, Zero unmasked the corpse. To his horror, he discovered that the man he had killed was his friend and protégé Chris Bradley, formerly Bolt. Bradley had adopted the Maverick look, behaviour and codename to honour Nord’s memory since he believed him to be dead.

Agent Zero opens fire with paired rifles

Maddened by rage and grief, Agent Zero started systematically hunting down and massacring Gene Nation terrorist cells. He left dozens of mutants dead as he carried out Bradley’s mission to stop the Gene Nation’s terrorism.

Nord executed all members of Marrow’s cell. Yet he decided not to kill her, in order not to create a martyr. He announced he would come back and do it once every single Gene Nation terrorist was dead, and the organisation’s mystique in tatters.

However, when he came back from his bloody rampage to resupply, Agent Zero discovered that Weapon X was no more. The base was deserted.

Nord started investigating to discover what was going on.

Days of Future Now

What happened at the base had to be pieced together later, and remains unclear. Apparently, prior to leaving to confront the Gene Nation, Agent Zero had been hypnotised by Weapon X agent Mesmero to forget that a coup had just happened at Weapon X, along with all related events.

The coup had been led by agent Brent Jackson, who apparently ousted Colcord and took control of much of Weapon X. Jackson’s basic strategy was then to disappear, lay low and try to kill the secret head of the Weapon X project – the mysterious and elusive John Sublime, who stood in shadows above Colcord.

Jackson wanted Weapon X’s disappearing act to be as thorough as possible. Thus, he had a mentally-controlled Agent Zero unleashed on the Neverland mutant concentration camp that was operated at the Weapon X compound. Zero apparently slaughtered everyone there, which would make him one of the worst mass murderers of mutants in history.

Several of the mutants supposedly slaughtered by Agent Zero at Neverland, such as Random and Diamond Lil, have since resurfaced. This further confused the issue of what happened that night. Later information found by the Beast stated that the massacre had actually been conducted by Boxbots, casting a another layer of uncertainty.

Though Nord would later have some of his memories of the carnage briefly unlocked to torture him, it is entirely possible that they were fabrications. The Weapon X project has ample expertise with memory implants.

After the coup and the Neverland concentration camp massacre, Jackson had Agent Zero leave. Like Coldcord he considered him to be too uncontrollable and principled. Beyond forgetting about the coup, the massacre and the disappearance of Weapon X, Nord was also given post-hypnotic suggestions that reinforced his desire to eradicate Gene Nation and other enemies of Weapon X, such as Sublime.

Agent Zero with a FAMAS G2

Several persons started investigating what was going on with Weapon X and Neverland. All of them were exceedingly deadly Weapon Plus agents. In short order Wolverine (aka Weapon X) and Fantomex (aka Weapon XIII) discovered the same clues as Agent Zero.

After a skirmish at the Weapon X compound, Fantomex and Zero allied. Following the clues they had about John Sublime, they reached an isolated spot in Canada where they found Wolverine. The three ex-agents found Sublime, but were attacked by an army of U-Men (monstrous agents with grafted-on mutant body parts, fanatically loyal to Sublime) and forced to retreat.

Assuming, due to Sublime’s manipulations, that Fantomex was Sublime’s agent, Wolverine attacked him, leaving him and his UFO, EVA, for dead.

What happened exactly when Wolverine attacked Fantomex is unknown – including Agent Zero’s reaction. Zero and Wolverine remained in a loose alliance, eventually learning that Fantomex was still alive and still hunting Sublime.

They intercepted him, only to learn that Fantomex had already assassinated Sublime a half-dozen times, to no avail. Sublime somehow kept coming back. At this point both Zero and Wolverine understood that they had been deceived about Fantomex’s role, and agreed to resume working with him.

Decimation

What happened next remains unclear. The investigation about Sublime was seemingly halted by the Decimation event, when the vast majority of the world’s mutants, including Agent Zero, lost their powers. It would seem that Nord then entirely dropped his Agent Zero identity and found refuge in a home for ex-mutants in Queens.

Nord has appeared again as Maverick in mid-2009, with his powers gone but no apparent ageing or health issue. This is a different stage of the character, though, and would have to be covered in a different profile.

Alternate future

There exist documented future timelines, very reminiscent of the Days of Future Past one, with an Agent Zero. In these he ends up slaughtering Wolverine’s X-Men as an unwitting sleeper agent for the Weapon X agency – suddenly activated after years as a loyal team member.

This timeline is now of low probability, though, if only due to events such as M-Day.


Description

The uniform is a cross between a commando and a ninja. With mirrorshades. And guns. How can you go wrong with that ? Agent Zero only ever takes his mask off when he’s alone and in a secure location.

Apparently his voice was somewhat altered (either by changing his larynx or by including a distorter in the mask), since Wolverine did not recognise it.


Personality

Nord is bitter and guilt-ridden over having agreed to become a Weapon X operative again — especially given how easy it was for the Director to have him collaborate. On some level, he thinks that he was a coward for taking the deal rather than die.

Agent Zero of Weapon X (Wolverine character) (Marvel Comics) shooting a big revolver

He does not associate with other Weapon X agents and remains mostly brooding, silent and unhappy. For instance he never sits down at the briefing table with the others and prefers to lean against a wall of the room.

Nord is evidently depressed and disgusted, sometimes to the point of contemplating suicide. But he knows that it’s too late for that. He has no life, and just keeps working for the Man. He seems to enjoy making his superiors uneasy and nervous.

Zero seldom speaks. Even then he prefers short, matter-of-fact sentences. This tendency to act in a silent and mechanical manner can be so pronounced as to clearly become sarcastic – for instance, when Colcord ordered him to bring somebody’s head, Nord made a point to do that literally, leaving an open bag with the head inside it on the desk of the grossed-out Colcord.

Zero keeps displaying this kind of low-key, sarcastic “f#$% you” attitude toward anybody he doesn’t like, which would be just about everybody. For instance he once met a dangerous informant whilst wearing… a cheap Groucho Marx party accessory mask to conceal his identity.

As can be surmised, Agent Zero is not a patient man, either. And he’s not a fan of subtlety in conversation, whether as a speaker or as a listener.

Agent Zero is a killer. He will terminate anyone but innocent bystanders with little hesitation. Generally, everything about him screams pissed off, antisocial ninja professional badass haunted by his past and angry about it.


Quotes

“I told you not to bother me in the field. What do you want ?”

“Explain to me why I shouldn’t kill you right now.”

Director: “Agent Zero ! What do you think you’re doing ?”
Nord: “I think it’s pretty apparent, Mr. Director… I’m killing him. Meaning he’s not going to be around anymore. Meaning he’s going to be dead. Do I need to draw you a picture ?”


DC Universe History

(With Roy Cowan, Azrael, William Chamberlin and Alan Wilkinson)
There are no direct equivalents to the Weapon X (or Weapon Plus) project in the DCU, in part due to the whole mutant issue, but some possibilities include:

  • SHADE – my favourite possibility, being covert, ruthless and having an history of creating or procuring superhuman agents. Its director, Father Time, also has the requisite bloody-minded unpredictability.
  • Task Force X would be the most obvious possibility, but it doesn’t map as well and might be overused. Argent could also be retconned a bit or Weapon X could be a more recent project created during the Luthor presidency under Waller’s authority, with some ties (at least in terms of technology) with the Everyman Project.
  • Plumbing the depths of the OMAC Project is a fairly rich direction, especially since it is unclear how old the Project is, and they do have the required attitude and agenda.
  • The unnamed Army agency that turned Slade Wilson into the Terminator. AFAWK it doesn’t have a name and hasn’t been seen since the 1970s, so at least there is some room.
  • Project M (creators of the Creature Commandos and GI Robot) still exists and is active and technologically advanced. It’s a slightly off-beat but quite workable approach.
  • General Eiling’s work group behind Captain Atom and Major Force does have a nasty agenda and attitude, and access to special metals with odd properties.
  • Project Cadmus could be involved somehow, but might also be overused.
  • If one drops the Weapon X agenda, Agent Zero could be an elite Manhunter agent who remained alone and endured ever since the Millenium crisis, decades ago.


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Agent Zero

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Hitman
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 021 HP: 060

Powers:
Acid: 11, Damage absorption (to STR, Energy blast): 10, Energy blast: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Damage Absorption does not work against most forms of Killing Combat (including blades, bullets, neck-breaking maneuvers and the like) and generally works only on blunt attacks such as punches, collisions, falls, kicks, concussive beams, explosions, etc..
  • The duration of the Damage Absorption enhancement to STR is only a third of the APs — that means a maximum of 10/3=3 APs, or thirty second (8 Phases).
  • The APs of Absorbed damage redistributed to STR or Energy blast can never be above the APs of Damage Absorption (ie, no more than 10 APs. I assume this is the way the Power is supposed to work, but this was never very clear).
  • Energy Blast can have the Scattershot Bonus.
  • The Range of Energy Blast is halved (e.g., 4 APs of Range for a 08 APs blast).
  • Acid has a Range of Touch ; however…
  • …Acid can be Combined with Energy blast, and can ride its Range (and its Scattershot Advantage if desired).
  • However, if borne by the Energy Blast, Acid is capped to a number of APs equal to the Energy blast APs used, plus three.
  • Acid has a Continuing Effect (like Disintegration does).
  • As long as it has not been properly cleaned, Acid with attack again (with the original AV and EV, not the Continuing ones) whenever the person splashed with it makes a Recovery Roll – even if the Continuing damage has faded off.
  • Acid has a Loss Vulnerability (it loses one AP of EV if the target does not have 8+ APs of Physical Regeneration, or two APs of EV if the target does not have 4+ APs of Physical Regeneration).

Skills:
Acrobatics: 05, Animal handling (Horses): 04, Charisma (Intimidation, interrogation): 07, Gadgetry (Identify gadgets): 05, Martial artist: 06, Medicine (First aid): 05, Military science (Demolition): 04, Military science (Camouflage, cartography): 07, Scientist (Computers, research): 05, Thief (Security systems, stealth): 07, Vehicles (Air, land): 05, Weaponry (Firearms, infantry weapons, knives): 08

Advantages:
Expertise (CIA operations during the Cold War, general espionage/mercenary lore), Iron Nerves, Language (German, Italian, Japanese, Russian), Sharp Eye, Schtick (Blindside adept, Paired firearms, Sweeping autofire), Slowed Ageing. Misc.: Agent Zero doesn’t have a scent (picking him up with Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent is opposed by a 11/11 OV/RV.)

Connections:
Nord has lost or foregone all of his Connections.

Drawbacks:
Guilt, Secret ID (sort of), Misc.: the Weapon X organisation can trigger excruciating pain within Agent Zero at will, Stunning him for as long as they feel like it ; Misc.: the Director also has some means to watch Agent Zero wherever he is, and Zero’s telephone will automatically take calls from the Director ; Misc.: Agent Zero is a sleeper agent for Jackson’s Weapon X organisation, though he doesn’t know it thanks to post-hypnotic blocks.

Equipment:

  • UNIFORM [/BODY/ 06, Blunting: 06, Kinetic absorption: 05, Shade: 02, Sound Nullify: 09, Thief (Stealth): 12, Limitations: Kinetic Absorption is Structural Damage Only, Sound Nullify is Self Only, Thief (Stealth) is capped to twice the Thief (Stealth) APs of the wearer, though Unskilled Use is a viable APs score for this purpose].
    The UNIFORM is laced with Vibranium, a vibration-absorbing metal. It is engineered in such a way as to absorb the vibration of footsteps and other contacts with the environment, making the wearer completely silent (the noises from the breathing, heartbeat, etc. are also suppressed) – even Sabretooth did not hear Agent Zero coming behind him to slit his throat. It is also designed to blend with the shadows, making the wearer practically invisible in darkness.
    One scene suggests that the Vibranium will also absorb the shock from reasonable falls, and another that it absorbs the shock of explosions to a degree. The exact protective properties of the UNIFORM are not entirely clear, TBH.
  • PLASMA GUN [BODY 03, Energy blast: 08, R#03, Advantage: Energy blast has Scattershot]. The projector mounted on the left forearm can shoot green, bean-shaped plasma globules that explode on impact. Agent Zero does not use it much – perhaps it has an Ammo score (06 ?).
  • Adamantium-dipped combat knife [BODY 15, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 07 w/Martial Artist), Sharpness (EV): 07, Note : can be thrown if the relevant Weaponry score is 04+]. A large, Bowie-style affair with a serrated back, though it also has been drawn with a more Fairbairn-Sykes-inspired look. The Adamantium-enhanced blade can penetrate solid steel, even when just thrown.
  • FAMAS G2 Assault Rifle [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 08, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 06, Ammo: 08, R#02, Advantage: Autofire]. This FAMAS (or any other 5.56mm NATO assault rifle – the G2 was just the first one he was issued) shoots Adamantium-tipped bullets, which can blow through many forms of armour plating. At one point he uses two such assault rifles as Paired Weapons (!).
  • The Assault Rifle is occasionally equipped with an underbarrel M203 Grenade Launcher [BODY 04, Range: 07; Ammo: 01, R#02]. Ammunition is often mission-specific, though the standard loadout is five Offensive Grenades [BODY 03, EV 07 (Area of effect 1 AP), Grenade drawback, R#03].
  • Heckler & Koch PSG-1 .308 Win Sniper Rifle [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Range: 08, Telescopic vision: 04, Ammo: 20. Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range – use the Range given next instead]. The PrazisionsSchutzenGewehr is Agent Zero’s favourite sniper rifle, a weapon he uses somewhat often as an assassin. I’d assume he can be issued Adamantium-dipped .308 bullets (raising EV to 08 and adding 6 APs of Sharpness (Projectile weapons)).
  • P8 Pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 15, R#02]. The current German military sidearm – a modified H&K USP. It is chiefly useful against mundane targets, against which special bullets would be a waste. Sometimes, Nord uses an American M9 pistol instead (same stats).
  • Agent Zero occasionally uses high-calibre handguns instead of the P8, loaded with Adamantium-dipped bullets, for close-in work. Some such guns looked a bit like a Mateba Unica 6, some like the old Automag, some vaguely like a Desert Eagle, some like nothing in particular. In any case, use those stats – [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 07, Ammo: 10, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 06]. At one point he uses a pair of such handguns.
  • METAL WIRE GAROTE [BODY 06 /STR/ 07, Limitation: /STR/ only for Grappling or Wrestling, and only when Surprising or Blindsiding a target from behind]. This seems to be housed in one of his forearm protections.
  • Agent Zero seems to carry a compact backup pistol and a half-dozen grenades, though he has not used them so far. He also has a scrambled cell phone, with a headset. A possibly mission-specific equipment was a pair of superhuman-grade handcuffs with a BODY of 12.

Zero powers

The stats above are for before the Decimation event – since Nord is one of the mutants who was documented to have lost his mutant abilities. He has lost his Powers, his Misc. Advantage suppressing his scent, and perhaps a good chunk of his HPs.

An interesting question is whether Nord retains his age-suppression factor, since it was derived from mutant DNA (he did not look older at all in his sole post-M-Day appearance to date, though).


Design Notes

Agent Zero is assumed to still have all the Skills and relevant Advantages he had as Maverick, even if those were not demonstrated as Agent Zero.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Various Weapon X stories.

Helper(s): Darci, Azrael.

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