Post by Hartley Rathaway on Mar 1, 2021 22:41:36 GMT -5
Full Name: Hartley Rathaway
Codename: Pied Piper
Gender: Cis man (he/him)
Aliases: Thomas Peterson, Henry Darrow, Pipe, Pipes, Hart, Piper
Marital Status: Single
Affiliation: The Rogues (formerly), Flash family
- Enhanced Hearing: While he was born deaf, Hartley was treated by medical professionals and eventually got his hearing back. He later learned how to augment his hearing even farther.
- Sound Manipulation: Potentially due to his ability to manipulate the Anti-Life Equation, he's able to control others, including rats, through sound. He's been known to find new and innovative ways to use sound to manipulate people.
- Genius Level Intellect: Hartley's quite the genius, specifically when it comes to sonic theories and sound-based sonic technology.
- Master Musician: He's a master of flute based composition, after studying the art. His skill with the flute is unmatched and can create songs with seamless effort.
- Flute: Crafted by Hartley himself, it's capable of hypnotizing anyone within range of its sound. He can use it to make anyone do what he wants and can even give off the perception of turning invisible to the naked eye. The flute's been perfected to work on both humans and rats and is even capable of manipulating technology.
- Sonic Devices: He has various devices that can generate or even amplify sounds, most often with destructive results.
- Sonic Tuning Fork: This device can send out a sound that paralyzes all those who hear it.
- Only Human: Despite his meta abilities, Hartley isn't invulnerable or immortal. He's as vulnerable to injury and attack as any non-meta human. Any person, weapon, or disease has potential to cause harm.
- Hearing: Though it is also one of his strengths, it's possible for his augmented hearing to be exploited and used against him.
- Past: His actions as a villain, including his hand in Bart Allen and Thaddeus Thawne's deaths, have made him a pariah from the superhero community meanwhile his actions as a reformed villain have left him a pariah from the supervillain community as well.
- Influence: The influence of his hypnotics and manipulation is limited to humans, rats, and on rare occasion, technology.
Hartley was born to multi-billionaire Osgood Rathaway and his wife, Rachel. The two new parents were hardly concerned with the raising of their child (they had maids and nannies for that, of course), and tried their very best to ensure that Hartley's existence did not alter their former lifestyle; that is, one of selfish, self-indulgent glamour. As he grew, his parents began to operate under the theory that he had some form of mental impairment. This was hardly acceptable; everything in the Rathaway's life had to be perfect, and they simply could not suffer such an imperfection in their own son. It wasn't until Hartley was around two years of age that they realized his "slowness" was a product of him being near entirely deaf.
Mental disorders were a doomed cause in the Rathaway's mind. There was no cure for such an error in their son. Impaired hearing, however, could be rectified. Using their influence, contacts and (most importantly) fortune, Osgood and Rachel began searching for a doctor capable of fixing their son. After myriad dead ends, they finally struck a good note by finding Doctor Magnus. The Doctor replaced Hartley's cochlea and tympanic membranes with micro-biotics. Not only was his hearing restored, but it was placed squarely in superhuman levels.
Once Hartley's hearing was repaired, he fell in love with music after discovering it through Mozart. Afterward he spent his time devouring any piece of music that he could get his hands on. Unfortunately, Hartley's attempts to become a musician in his own right failed miserably; turns out he was just a good listener. So, Hartley spent most of his teenage years with headphones on, in his own world of sound, melody and harmony. Hartley's introverted and bookish nature were hardly tolerable by his parents' standards, and so even once his hearing was "fixed" he was ever a disappointment to them.
Though Osgood and Rachel Rathaway weren't necessarily bad people, Hartley never felt that he was able to relate to them; come as they were from old money and a glamorous lifestyle. That went double for his relatives and his parent's social circle. Hartley didn't have to try to alienate himself from either of those groups; they did the job quite well on their own. As Hartley grew, his parents became less jaded, honestly. However the alienation that had begun when he was a babe did not fix itself and they remained estranged, even when he lived under their roof.
The birth of his younger sister, Jerrie, likely had a hand in making Mr and Mrs Rathaway less shallow and vain; Jerrie suffering from a mental handicap. Hartley's relationship with his parents deteriorated even further when he began college. He had no motivation, and was doing what he knew his parents desired, and nothing more. Therefor, even though Hartley possessed a stunning intellect he was kicked out of every college that his parents sent him to. The final nail in the coffin that was his relationship with his parents came in the form of his coming out to them. Hartley stole some money from Osgood and Rachel, and left home - taking his instruments with him.
Obsessed with music and sound as he was - and aided in the pursuit by his augmented hearing - Hartley had been studying sonics since he was nine years-old. Resigned to the belief that he would never be able to contribute to the realm of music as a musician, he decided to attempt to do the next best thing; invent instruments. While trying to design a flute with a higher range and better reverb, he first stumbled onto something much more... interesting. Through his own pieces of unique music, played on his own cleverly crafted instruments, Hartley could make a listener do whatever he desired.
The young man became power-hungry at once. After living a life where everything was out of his hands, he finally could command control. Control over anyone he wanted. Taking a cue from other emerging costumed criminals in Keystone, Hartley chose a persona for himself; the Pied Piper. All Hartley really wanted to do was gain publicity; get attention; make some noise. Sadly, the second Flash was one of those to have that attention earned. For several years, the Piper fought against the Flash and carried out his low-level crimes. He even went so far as to join the Rogues for a period; though he never really got on well with any of his associates.
It wasn't until the death of Barry Allen that Hartley reached a turning point in his life. Witnessing the Flash's mortality really struck a chord in Piper. The first step on the road to recovery was a much-needed reconciliation with parents. Age had made them all wiser, and he made amends with them after much too long spent apart. After that, the Pied Piper began a different lifestyle. He set aside his criminal ways and turned to other pursuits.
Piper's primary focus after his turn toward the side of the angels involved the homeless of Keystone. He also befriended the third, and most recent Flash, Wally West. Piper and Wally became close early on after the hero realized that Hartley's tune had changed. The Pied Piper turned his considerable skills toward not only the care-taking of the homeless and destitute, but the furthering of the socialist causes that he was in favor of.
The following years had Piper become increasingly closer to Wally and his eventual wife, Linda Park. Hartley was constantly lending his intellect and technology to Wally, as well as using his criminal contacts to keep his ear to the ground. Years spent trying to stay out of costume, and stepping on eggshells as an ex-con eventually gave way when the Top (back from the grave) tried to rig a presidential election. This inspired another small stepping stone in Hartley's life. He reinvented his Pied Piper costume and began assisting Wally as his old persona more earnestly.
Iron Heights, the criminal institution that housed all of Keystone's villains (mundane or "super") was soon after taken over by a new player: Warden Wolfe. Under his direction the prison became steadily darker and steeped in secrets. After the criminal called Murmur released a lethal virus within, Hartley and Wally infiltrated Iron Heights to find an untainted sample that could be used to synthesize a cure. They succeeded, but Warden Wolfe's sinister and inhumane attitude toward the criminal was turned secretly upon Hartley afterward: "Once a criminal, always a criminal."
No more than a few weeks after their infiltration of Iron Heights, Piper was arrested for the murder of his very own parents. Not only that, but he confessed to the crime. Hartley quickly became desperate to escape Iron Heights and clear his name against the law. Not long after his arrest, Piper realized that he had a rapport with rats, like his namesake, through sound. Using this newly found ability, Hartley escaped from Iron Heights on a quest to prove his innocence and teamed up with former-Rogue-turned-FBI agent James Jesse. During this partnership, Hartley had all memories of the Flash's secret identity erased from his mind thanks to a deal Wally made with the Spectre.
Piper joined his new team of reformed Rogues to combat the criminal ones, but during the fight the Top miraculously reappeared and removed brainwashing he had apparently done on Hartley's team that had turned them "good." All of the Rogues turned on the Flash, but when he unmasked himself in front of his old friend, Piper's memories of him were restored. With his mind restored, Hartley was cleared of all criminal charges thanks to the Flash revealing the real culprit for his parents's murder: Evan McCulloch/Mirror Master II.
Twelve months later, Hartley was again with the Rogues, secretly infiltrating them to work as a double agent. When the Rogues, manipulated by Inertia, killed Bart Allen/The Flash III, Piper was unable to play his role and was forced to flee with James Jesse. Together the pair were hunted by heroes and villains alike. Wally, back from the dead, confined them at Black Canary and Green Arrow's wedding, which was interrupted by an attack from Deathstroke. During the tumult, Hartley, James and hanger-on Double Down managed to escape. Tragically, following an encounter with the Suicide Squad, Trickster was murdered by Deathstroke. Hartley managed to escape into the desert, but was handcuffed to the corpse of his ally.
Piper was then spirited away to Apokolips by DeSaad, who freed him and explained that, through his ability to manipulate the Anti-Life Equation, Hartley could control the planet. Before he could try to, Brother Eye finished assimilating Apokolips. During his confrontation with Brother Eye, it was revealed that DeSaad had been behind much of Hartley's recent tragic misfortunes in a bid to break his spirit and control him. To avenge James, Piper destroyed DeSaad with a tune, then the merged Brother Eye/Apokolips with another. By all rights, he should've died with the explosion, but instead Piper found himself inexplicably back on earth, safe and sound. Convinced to make the most of his new lease on life, Hartley hoped to "play on the side of the angels."
Next, Hartley found himself in the middle of the Rogues' conflict with Zoom and Inertia. Piper held the latter still with a tune to give the Rogues an opening, not knowing that they were going to use that opportunity to kill Inertia. Utterly distraught with his role in the murder, Hartley turned himself over to the police shortly after.
"Aren't you supposed to be retired?!"
Some days he considered himself retired, after all he'd done, all he'd been through. Today turned out not to be one of those days. Eyes outlined by a green mask looked as his body turned slightly to the side so he could partially face the young man wrapped in wire and looking thoroughly annoyed. The last time the two of them had been in the same vicinity... Well this time was already proving better - at least for his mental health and conscious.
"Reformed," Hartley corrected.
"Tomato, potato," the second Trickster huffed out in response and Hartley had to fight the urge to correct him on that too because he knew it would be pointless. Axel didn't really listen to anyone that wasn't Snart, in his experience.
Hartley wondered when the police would be there. He didn't trust Axel to not find some way to squirm his way out of bondage and up to trouble once again. "You should consider it," he said, eyeing the young man. Once he could hear the sirens close enough, he planned to leave. The authorities knew who he was, after all, his criminal record made having a secret identity hard.
Axel made an obnoxious sound as he stuck his tongue out. "Pass! Don't want to sit in jail like you did." The young man scoffed. "Can't believe you did that willingly."
"Some sins need to be atoned for," he said, voice tired. This Trickster had always been so tiring to be around, even if he hadn't been around him as long as some of the other Rogues. Axel just cackled and spouted off something about him being a priest now. Hartley partly rolled his eyes before just settling for shaking his head.
"Sounds boring," Axel insisted, "Rogues have more fun than loser heroes anyways!"
Axel's loyalty to a disbanded team was... Definitely something. "The Rogues are disbanded-"
"HA!" the young man cackled again, "Jokes on you! Evan brought us back!"
Hartley stiffened, barely visible but muscles still tensing. He stared at Axel, words catching in his throat, memories running around his head. He could still picture Flash's body, beaten, broken, lifeless. And that wasn't the last dead body left by the Rogues. The last time they'd been together... He remembered that brutality as well and far too well. Thaddeus Thawne had been a sociopath and a clear danger to everyone but he had still been a teenager, a child, and they had murdered him. He had murdered him.
The Rogues should have stayed disbanded.
"What?" was all he could manage after what felt like lifetimes of silence. His augmented hearing picked up the sound of police sirens getting closer. He'd have to leave soon.
Axel looked as if he realized he'd just made a mistake. He dramatically shook his head. "Nothing! I didn't say anything!" They both knew it was a terrible lie but the sirens were drawing too close.
Flash needed to be told but... Would any of them speak with him? The Rogues needed to be taken care of before they decided to drop another body. He could still picture the blood, hear the sounds of a body being beaten past the point of return. His stomach churned. Breathing was hard.
He ducked into an alley to the sound of Axel calling after him, asking him what was wrong in a tone that made it clear he didn't care, just as a cruiser pulled up. He didn't stop running until he swung back into his own apartment through a window, quickly closing and locking the window before tugging his costume off. The material felt far more constricting than he logically knew it was. He shouldn't have put it back on. He took the mask off last and tossed it to the side, though took the time to gingerly set his flute down.
He was fresh out of jail. What was he thinking? What... What was Evan thinking? He sat down on the edge of his bed and focused on his breathing, closing his eyes. He knew what he'd have to do. He didn't like it but he knew it. It wasn't likely to go well at all. In fact it was probably going to be a dreadful headache. But there was likely no way around it.
It was time for Mirror Master to have a chat with the Piper.
Player Alias: Anna / Kid Flash (she/they/he)
Other Characters: Bart Allen
How did you find ARFD?: Member for a while, currently a co-admin.