Baqir Ayman Abboud
Still deeply troubled by his early upbringing, Baqir does his best to overcome issues he very well understands he has. While he does his best to meet and befriend his peers, one of his deepest fears still appears to be overly-friendly strangers. Baqir would prefer to be a recluse, and values his free time highly, but often forces himself to mingle in order to work towards a personal goal of overcoming his tendency to seclude himself. Despite this, he values his relationships highly and is genuinely caring, though his particular "flavor" of caring can sometimes not be communicated particularly well. He is somewhat rash, and often rushes into situations it would do him well to more carefully consider, perhaps indicative of his characteristic energy.
Baqir struggles beyond what he commonly displays, though. He has remarked that he can sometimes hear "spirits" when he lies in silence without the use of his hearing, and the phenomenon -- undoubtedly a manifestation of trauma -- terrifies him. When he favors sound over sight, he has also reported visual manifestations of what he claims to be the same "spirits." Baqir often has difficulties sleeping with some kind of stimulation to keep his mind occupied. This is also why he tends to listen to music or chew gum compulsively, to fill silence and give him something to focus on when alone.
Baqir is able to alternate between a pair of opposing abilities -- he can forgo his sight in favor of increasing his hearing and movement speed to superhuman levels, or he can sacrifice his hearing to greatly bolster his physical strength and endurance to similarly unnatural heights. However, he must always have one of these states active and so is constantly without one of his primary senses, although he is unsure if this is because he's unable to do so or simply doesn't yet know how. His powers take a toll on his ability to use these senses at all. His eyesight is expected to go completely well before his fortieth birthday, with his hearing following closely behind sometime between then and his early fifties.
Baqir was born in Amman, Jordan, to parents of average means. His father owned a small-scale restaurant, where he and Baqir's mother essentially worked as the two sole cooks and waiters. Baqir helped where he could, but he never seemed to inherit his parents' culinary mastery. Both of Baqir's parents were abhumans themselves, but imams and scholars across the Muslim world are still greatly divided, as Baqir was certain was the case for many people of faith across the world. A devout couple, his parents fell into the camp of thinkers who considered the use of abhuman abilities to be a grave sin -- a demonstration of pride, wrath, and defiance of what many considered Allah's natural order. The fact that Baqir could never not
be using his own abilities often made him uncomfortable, but his parents never seemed to mind.
In a region with some states still struggling to stabilize in the wake of colonial history, the existence of mutations did no favors. While many were dedicated to using what abilities they'd been granted for good (and this was the stance Baqir himself took, never quite understanding why faith and power could not coexist with one serving to fortify the other), radical groups began to rally around the idea of purging mutants as a holy mission, with some groups ironically led by mutants themselves. While this conflict was never quite enough to completely destabilize Baqir's home city, or even Jordan itself, his life was changed by it.
While on a weekend trip to the Dead Sea, Baqir -- then 10 years old -- and his family were forced to halt their vehicle by a group of radicals who Baqir still has not identified, though they could have been thugs belonging to any terror cell across the region. They were kidnapped almost without a word after being forced from their own vehicle by armed goons, and taken to a remote desert hideaway, perhaps well beyond the borders of Jordan, as Baqir had lost track of time in his wild fear. The men's motives soon became clear. They had somehow learned of the family's abilities, and had kidnapped them to force them into the service of a group of radical fighters who sought to control the still greatly-devastated Syria.
Baqir struggles to recall the specifics of his captivity. Beatings, whispered prayers, and regular pleads to his parents to simply agree to use their powers to benefit the madmen's cause are among the most prominent recollections he has from the period, which could have been as long as two months. Malnutrition, the smell of feces, and an eventual brawl with his mother and father are others.
His parents remained steadfast in their faith refusing to use their powers either to assist their kidnappers or facilitate their own escape. One day, Baqir's mind simply snapped. He could no longer stand the idea of keeping himself restrained when he understood he had at least a chance of freeing himself. An intense argument with his father, a swift strike to the ribs, and then absolute chaos after he threw himself at one of their captors in a quite literally blind fury of blows.
Baqir is uncertain how exactly he came to escape, but his next conscious recollection is of himself lying in a sandy canyon with a sizable gash on the back of his head. It may have been that his escape ultimately failed and his captors simply left him for dead, instead opting to focus their efforts on his parents. Perhaps they thought he was dead already.
Baqir is still unsure if his parents were executed, or are fighting as captive soldiers for some insane cause. He became a refugee, using his abilities as best he knew how to get himself back to civilization, where he kept a low profile and didn't use his abilities for an extended period. It was then that Baqir essentially renounced his faith. Though the familiarity of prayer and mosque ritual are somewhat comforting to him, it is a comfort derived from pleasant memories rather than belief or trust in a higher being.
Baqir, with little direction in life, eventually styled himself a refugee, travelling through Turkey, Greece, and a great portion of Central Europe without much direction, using his abilities to get by whenever and however he needed to, whether that mean turning to thievery or fighting to stay alive. Sometimes he would work for food and shelter when people would allow it, other times he would simply use his abilities to sneak meals. Baqir's fortunes took their fortunate turn when he heard of somewhere people like him could live without apologizing for their "freakish" nature.
Baqir's eyes are strangely milky and bloodshot, as if having suffered great damage. This fogginess clears when he chooses to "activate" his eyesight, however, and his eyes taken on their normal appearance.