by Bevan Thomas
We are back once against to the Name Game, where I take a name from DC or Marvel Comics, and develop it into a totally new character of my own creation who is illustrated by one of the many talented artists I know. This character manages to take his name from both a particular comic book, and from one of my all-time favourite superheroes of all time, Beta Ray Bill, who in Marvel Comics is an alien supersoldier with a face like a horse skull who manages to acquire a variation of Thor’s powers and hammer, and who is far more awesome than that sounds. As usual, all I took was his name, and the fact that he encountered another of his people’s supersoldiers, who was called Alpha Ray Bill.
And now, here is one of the greatest superheroes of Universe-M….
Real Name: Raymond “Ray” Bill
Aliases: Alpha Ray and Beta Ray
Occupation: Former taxi driver, now civil servant
Group Affiliation: Sentinels of Liberty
Raymond Bill was a simple taxi driver who was captured by the mad scientist Dr. Strange, who wanted to transform Raymond into one of his inhuman Ex-Men by fracturing his psyche, creating two beings where there once was one. The Human Torch managed to rescue Raymond before the experiment was complete, and for a while Raymond believed he had survived unscathed. Then, a few days later, he began to get strange headaches, almost as if his brain was being pulled in two… until eventually it was.
While watching television in his apartment, in one blinding moment of agony, Raymond split into two separate people. Both of them had all his memories and more-or-less the same appearance, with a few subtle exceptions, but their personalities were very distinct. Though both Rays shared the same general moral values, one was hot-headed and aggressive, while the other was calm and stoic. Eventually the two managed to combine back into a single individual and Raymond tried to forget the whole thing had ever happened.
Then, a few days later, the villainous duo of Beetle & Wasp was robbing a bank and suddenly Ray was hit by another headache. He split in two again and discovered that each of the new selves had a distinct power: the emotional self possessed fiery intensity and physical prowess, while the stoic one had contemplative psychic abilities. Raymond’s two selves defeated the two villains before once again combining back into a single entity.
These transformations happened a few times before Ray again encountered the Human Torch, who offered to help him control his strange new ability. After some time under her tutelage, Raymond Bill was ready to take his place as New York’s newest superhero: Two-in-One, with both the physical prowess of Alpha Ray and the mental talents of Beta Ray.
Soon he joined the Sentinels of Liberty, and has long been a member of good standing. Unlike many other heroes, Two-in-One’s identity is public and he works for the government, receiving a stipend due to his willingness to help them deal with various disasters and serve as a bodyguard for political fingers and visiting dignitaries. This government sanction, coupled with his membership in the Sentinels, has made Ray one of the most respected superheroes in America.
Regular Raymond Bill has no powers save the ability to split himself into two selves, each one who possesses mastery over a different energy
Alpha Ray’s aggressive, fiery personality is shown in his powers. He is a being of intense emotions, and the more he currently feels (be it anger, fear, love, excitement, etc.), the more his strength, speed, and durability increases, and if his feelings are especially strong, he can fly. When filled with intense emotion, his eyes often glow red and if it reaches a particular level of intensity, he is enveloped in a fiery aura that is especially focused on his hands so that he is pummeling his enemies with red-hot fists.
Alpha Ray can also project a red energy that can either greatly increasing people’s already present emotions (so making a frightened person utterly terrified or a mildly angry person totally enraged), or fill them with the emotion Alpha Ray is currently feeling (which is frequently a savage recklessness). Most people are not prepared for such a intense interplay of passion and it can cause an “emotional overflow” in which the person’s mind is stunned from the emotional intensity.
Likewise Beta Ray Bill’s contemplative, stoic personality is manifested in his own abilities. The calmer Beta Ray is, the more in-control he is of his own mind and the more it can do. He has a photograph memory and an “iron mind” that is incredibly resistant to outside manipulation or attack. At his peak calmness, his mind is virtually invulnerable. Furthermore, Beta Ray has highly developed psychic senses, allowing him to read minds and emotions and to be incredibly aware of everything that is operating around him. He can also link people’s minds together, allowing them to mentally communicate and to share thoughts, skills and abilities. In such a mind-link, the other people inherit Beta Ray’s iron mind. When using his powers, Beta Ray’s eyes often glow blue and if his mind is especially focused, he is surrounded with a blue aura.
Beta Ray can also project his energy as a blue energy that affects people’s minds. It can either make a person calmer, relaxed, and easier to focus, or it can make the person incredibly depressed and passive, requiring the greatest mental exertion to do anything at all. If the blue energy gets especially extreme, the person can slip into a coma.
Alpha and Beta Ray always instinctively know where the other self is and have some idea of the self’s emotions (so if Alpha is being tortured, Beta knows he’s in pain). When they combine back into a single entity, Raymond has all the memories of both Alpha and Beta, and when they split-up again, each self maintains the memories of the other from the previous meld.
Because of their link, if one Ray feels certain kinds of extreme pain, the other one can be incapacitated. Also, certain psychic powers and magic can be directed through one half of Two-in-One to harm the other.
If Alpha and Beta remain separate for more than 24 hours, they both start to get weaker and weaker. It is inferred that if they were to be separated for more than a week, both would die.