The Gray Fox's origins




"Webb then presented them with a videotape collection containing proof of his visits to over fifty different parallel dimensions in the past day alone. He described worlds that were nearly identical but for small details (stops signs were green) to places where history had changed dramatically (the Axis had won World War II.)" - From the history of Paragon City

In one of these parallel dimensions...

For all the violence of their separation, it was often amazing that only 80 years later many people around the world considered the United States and the Confederate States to be "brother nations". Indeed, they showed many of the aspects of brothers, from the fighting to the mutual loyalty. Some in each country still hated the other, but for the most part it had dwindled more into rivalry than hatred.

That was a good thing for the world, because this was the 1940s, and hatred had started off the decade winning. Germany, Italy, and Japan attempted to take the world on, and in 1941 the two brothers had joined in the war.

The CSA had been enthusiastically helping France and Britain, still repaying their debt to them from the Second American Revolution. The USA felt its side of the debt to France from the First American Revolution had been repaid in the Second, but still provided supplies. In late 1941, in an effort to dissuade both countries, Japanese bombers hit the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and invaded the Alaskan territories. Simultaneously, Nazi U-boats, planes, and rocket bombs decimated the main Confederate shipyard in the state of Cuba.

The war was on.

There were more differences in this dimension then just the one of nation-states. Technology was a bit more "mad", as Portal Corp researchers would later describe it. The nascent industrial base of the southern states in the 1860s, typified by the plantation-based "baby factory", had started off the boom of experimental weapons and gadgets. The manumission of slaves in both nations during the Second American Revolution allowed a number of inventors to shrug off the yoke of slavery and come up with new and more interesting ways to travel, to communicate, and to kill each other.


Colonel Jack Mosby, CSA Cavalry, Armored, stood on top of the bluff in his powered armor suit. The major armies had their various forms, though most were quickly customized by the owner in the field. The CSA models were lightly armored but fast, and tended to carry a very multipurpose weapon system. The US models were more standardized by squad position, while the Brits favored slower, more heavily armored "Bulldogs" high caliber weapons. The Germans had what many felt were the best combination of armor, speed, and firepower, but the years had whittled down their numbers.

They'd been fighting a scorched earth retreat from the Allies until this day. Down below, members of the various armies disarmed and rounded up the various Italian and German prisoners of the North African campaign. Rommel was among them. He'd held out to the very end, and it was a duel between him and Mosby that had decided the battle - and also secured Mosby the nickname of "The Gray Fox". His nose still burned with the smells from the battle - petroleum from the suits, cordite from the guns, burned and scorched materials he'd rather not think about.

The wind kicked up suddenly. He pulled his bandanna back up over his mouth and nose while he looked around. Visibility dropped fast enough that he couldn't even see his troops, but a weird purple glow started to suffuse the surrounding dust.

1989, Paragon City:

Sirens wailed as flashing red lights put the entire Poral Corp building into a strobing inferno-like illumination. This was what a lot of the researches had feared and hoped would never happen.

Dr. Webb hadn't returned through the portal. Someone else had. Someone unfriendly.

The two researchers - Dr. Tanner Middleton and Dr. Sheila Christianson - dove through the door of one of the labs, with Tanner kicking it shut as he landed. They looked up right into the panicked eyes of a grad student hiding behind an overturned desk that was forming his impromptu barricade.

The grad student also held a .380 Walther PPK in his trembling hands so Tanner was very polite. His Colt M1911A1 .45 was in his shoulder holster, and he knew Sheila had a gun somewhere too - all Portal Corp researchers were encouraged to pack a firearm, just in case of days like today - but the kid was nervous.

"What's your name, son?" he asked.

"Bob. What happened?"

Tanner stood up slowly, smiling. Sheila did the same. "Something came through. We don't know what or who yet, but it wasn't Dr. Webb. Queen Comet was holding 'em off, but she got hit hard. I'm Tanner, and this is Sheila."

"Hi. Come on over here."

Gunfire and explosions could be heard in the background. Tanner pulled his .45, and saw Sheila pull an MP5 from her briefcase. "No wonder she never let me look in there," he thought.

They crouched down behind the barricade. Another explosion went off and they could hear shouted German.

"Why would they be speaking German?" asked Bob.

"He said something about National Socialism...oh god," said Sheila. "They're Nazis."

All three of them got quiet for a moment.

"I'm Jewish," said Bob.

"Is there any other way out of here?" asked Tanner.

"No, we're locked in here now. I was working on that Gate..."

Shiela stood up. "We can use it to get clear of here..." she started to say as another explosion rocked the building. This time the door blew off its hinges and smoke billowed in.

"Run!" yelled Tanner. He fired into the smoke.

Bob took off for the Gate. Sheila fired a burst from her MP5 at the doorway as an ill-timed thought about the irony of using a German weapon to fight Nazis jumped into her head. Tanner continued to fire his Colt as the smoke solidified into the form of an SS officer, his eyes glowing red from a dark, shadowed face.

Behind the SS Officer another man entered, this one a huge, hulking monster of a human being. His Nazi uniform was ripped from his huge muscles and he cradled a light machine gun in one hand like a submachine gun. He fired off a long burst, catching Tanner in his upper left arm, then past him into Bob and the gate.

The smell of ozone escaped as electricity from the Gate arced into the room. "Ah, another portal," said the SS officer in a German accent. "I'm sure das Reichsman will be pleased."

Sheila looked at Tanner. He was still standing, but reaching into his lab coat pocket. His eyes looked at her, and darted at the Gate, where Bob was slumped over the controls, blood pouring out of him.

She knew what was in that pocket. She'd built it. At least the Gate would provide some cover...

Tanner mumbled something.

"What was that?" asked the SS officer. Sheila knew what he'd said and darted for the Gate. "Grab her!" commanded the SS officer and the huge man jumped after her just as she reached the Gate. Purple light covered her body - the Gate wasn't destroyed, it was active...


The wind quieted down some around Mosby, though he still couldn't see his men. The purple light seemed to solidify to his right, and suddenly a blonde woman in a lab coat, weapon in hand, came stumbling through it. She looked at him, obviusly confused, and stared for a second at the CSA battle flag on his arm.

"Where am I?" she asked, stepping within arm's reach of him.

He started to answer but the light flared up. A monstrous parody of a man came through, wearing a well beaten Nazi uniform and carrying an enormous rifle. After the long day of battle, Mosby's blood re-energized instantly with adrenaline.

"Get down!" he yelled, grabbing her with his left arm and pulling her to the ground. He fired his C14, the underbarrel rocket launcher going off at the same time as a burst of .30-30 rounds from the rifle. The rocket caught the huge man in the chest and blew a hole straight through him, while the .30-30 rounds tore his right arm off and continued upwards with the recoil to blow his head apart like a ripe pumpkin.

Sheila had barely had time to stand back up. "Tanner's still in there," she said. "The SS..."

Mosby knew his cue. He dove forward into the light, tucking into a roll as he did so ("Let's see the Limeys do that manuver," he thought). He had the vague awareness of Sheila running in right behind him.


He managed to survey the scene for approximately two seconds before the man in the lab coat held up something and everything went white. There was a smoky looking man in an SS officer's uniform in front of him...

The blast caught his rifle (technically: weapon system) and blew it back through the portal, just missing Sheila. White light engulfed him and he could hear a vaccuum tube or two in his suit pop. Then the light went away, and the room was completely dark.

A few seconds later a couple of emergency lights flickered on. The purple light was gone.

"The Gate," she said, "It's gone. And they're all dead."

He looked around and saw the body of a skinny man over the controls of the device he had apparently just walked out of. The two men he'd seen earlier were completely gone but for some ashes on the ground. His weapon was missing, and he'd seemed to have lost some functionality in his suit, but he and the woman appeared to be okay.

"Colonel Jack Mosby, ma'am, Confederate Army." He saluted. "Uh...where are we?"

She looked sheepish. "Well, Paragon City. 1989."

"Where? When?"

She handed him the submachine gun. It felt like a toy in his guantlet.

"Look, I'll explain more later. But for now, we're in the United States and Nazis just invaded our building."

He looked at the submachine gun and intuited how it worked. He pulled the charging lever back and watched the ejected shell arc through the dusty light.

"Call me the Gray Fox ma'am. Killing Nazis is what I'm good at. Let's go."


He found out where he was, but in the wake of the destruction caused by the Reichsman and Amerika Korps' invasion of Paragon City, there was no way to get back. He packed up his powered armor suit and went to work as a schoolteacher, teaching mechanical engineering at a local high school.

In 1998 he got an e-mail. Would he still be interested in going back, it asked, as Portal Corp was being reformed. He told them definitely, and they brought him on-board as a "consultant", helping to look for his world again.

For years they looked, and while they found many similar dimensions, they had a hard time finding his. All of this stopped on May 23rd, 2002, when the Rikti invaded.

Mosby sat out the initial battles. He didn't think of himself as a superhero. Soon, though, he realized the sheer need for troops, and he broke out the powered armor suit. He'd upgraded it to modern electronics and a better engine, slowly added higher tech materials to the armor plating, but hadn't bought a new weapon yet. The Army gave him one, and soon he was in command again, leading a company of soldiers despite the five to one kill ratio against them.

With the Rikti battled back, he thought about retiring again, until he got a message one night. A raven spoke to him, claiming to be from Odin. It told him the gods knew of him, and he should use his abilities to clean up Paragon City and help the world before Ragnarok. The next day he knew what he'd be doing, along with his fellow Odin-inspired warriors in the Hrafn Warband. Still, if a portal to his home came back, he'd have to wonder - is that still his home, or is Paragon City his home now?

Until then...he has a lot more gadgets he wants to cram into that new gun of his, if only to show 'em off when he gets to where ever he's going...