Masks The Next Chapter
Mercury - MISSING
One chemical accident involving quicksilver isotopes was all it took to send Hector Gray speeding towards a life of crime fighting as Mercury.
Hector Gray is a sick looking man. His bones weak from his disease, Hector walks with a cane, and with his bad back stands at only 5’ 6’’. His once full and curly brown hair has thinned and lightened, and he seems gaunt. However Hector’s positive outlook on life has not been shaken, and he approaches every day with a hardworking and upbeat attitude.
Hailing from a quiet corner of The Crucible, Hector Gray was an altogether unassuming teen. He was decent at cross country, but was never the fastest kid. He had friends, but was definitely not in the popular crowd. Instead, his strengths were in the sciences, and his natural aptitude for chemistry earned him a scholarship to Whitworth University. His test scores were high enough to garner the attention of one of the University’s chemistry professors, Dr. Merritt. Merritt offered Hector a summer internship as a lab assistant before his freshman year, and Hector couldn’t refuse.
Hector dove into his work, and before long was involved in some of Dr. Merritt’s most dangerous experiments in the field of electrochemistry, particularly with the element Mercury. It was in these experiments that Hector met Emily Vermire, a senior thesis student studying with Dr. Merritt. The two became fast friends, though Hector longed to be closer with her. His infatuation often distracted him in the lab, but the two worked together like clockwork. Hector finally mustered the courage and asked Emily out. To his surprise, she said yes, and the two scheduled plans for the weekend. As Hector reveled in his victory, a sharp retort rang out from the adjacent room where Dr. Merritt was toiling away. When the two students arrived on the scene, Dr. Merritt lay on the ground, his hand scorched black and smoking, and the experiment had gone wildly out of control. As the two attempted to shut off the machine, an arc of electricity struck Emily. It was all Hector could do to shut off the machine without losing his life. However, the containment unit that housed the experiment’s unstable mercury isotope was broken in the process, and Hector quickly succumbed to the radiation, falling unconscious.
Hector awoke in the hospital. Dr. Merritt, recovering in the bed next to him, told him he was the only other survivor, and Emily’s body was never found. In addition, exposure to the element caused Hector to contract a disease that doctors had never seen before, and had no way of curing. The doctors gave him a few years to live, but those years would be agony. As the doctors left him alone to process this, Hector began to panic. His breath quickened, and his heart rate skyrocketed. Time seemed to slow down around him, and a change began to come over Hector. His body began to transform, losing its solid shape in favor of a liquid, silvery substance. Jumping from the bed, Hector sprinted into the hall in terror, only to find a world in near stasis. As he sprinted from the hospital, the rest of the world appeared nearly motionless. In a moment of anguish, Hector collapsed to the ground, clutching his head. A flood of emotion washed over Hector as he relived every detail of the accident in vivid detail, standing by helplessly as both Dr. Merritt and Emily were taken from him. Hours later when he awoke, his body had returned to normal.
Over the next few weeks, Hector honed his newfound powers. His body granted him the speed of the gods, though he never was able to move as fast as he had in the hospital. In addition, his body was transmuted into a liquid state when his powers were active, and he had the ability to dive into his own memories and relive them. Unable to save his mentor and lover, Hector vowed to spend the remainder of his short life saving whoever he could. As Mercury, Hector Gray is faster than he can possibly imagine, but he still can’t outrun death.