Short Description: Scruffy blond-haired hobo in a trench coat and hat.
Past Lives: As it turns out, this isn't Mitch's only life. Mitch has been reincarnating since practically the dawn of man. And he's always been some kind of hero. While there are possibly other memories, his strongest tend to be from the eras of Ancient Egypt, the Crusades, and World War II. He's also helped out a fair few people in his various lives, and might have some favors he can call in from the older heroes. Or some of them might remember him. Sadly, he doesn't...
Law: Mitchell Shelley has a law degree and is licensed to practice in the state of South Carolina. Furthermore he has extensive knowledge of the laws and legal practices of South Carolina.
Brawl: While he's not actually trained in any specific art of fighting, Mitch has picked up a few interesting moves here and there in his travels. He would have serious trouble with a trained fighter, and couldn't hope to even touch someone as skilled at fighting as, say, Batman. But he can generally take care of himself in battle with common thugs.
Urban Survival: Due to his long time traveling, Mitch has developed the skills to navigate his way through just about any city. He can recognize slums, can easily find the homeless shelters, generally knows where to avoid, and he knows to which dumpsters to check for food that's still edible.
Fast-Talking: The ability to tell someone exactly what they want to hear is always a plus, but even more so when one is a lawyer. Needless to say one must also be able to tell what it is that a person wants to hear as well, so a certain amount of attention to detail and ability to read people is also necessary for this.
Homeless: Both a blessing and a curse, actually. There's always the danger of freezing to death in the winter, and finding food can be hard. But homeless is a culture, and they take care of their own. The long-time homeless can be slow to trust, but once accepted, they act as family. Mitch can't count on them for money, sustenance, or anything material, but he can count on them for information, temporary boltholes, and to generally give a crap about him when no one else does.
Mitchell Shelley was born in Viceroy, South Carolina. His father, Preston Shelley, was a very well-to-do lawyer who was known for his rigid stance on principles. He would refuse cases from people he did not believe were worthy of his talents. Generally these were people he believed hadn't earned their freedom. Mitch's mother died when he was four, leaving Preston with their son Mitch. He quickly hired a live-in housemaid/nanny to see to the care of his son. There was just one problem. Preston believed in self-reliance so stringently that he would purposely miss major events in Mitch's life because he wanted to ensure that his son could stand on his own two feet. A notable example was when Mitch fell out of his treehouse at six years old and broke his arm. Mitch's father didn't go to the hospital with him. Conchita Alvarez, the family's live-in housemaid, did.
Conchita was more than a nanny to Mitch, she was a surrogate mother. She loved Mitch like Preston didn't seem to. Mitch would confide in her things that he wouldn't THINK of telling his father. Like that he had memories that weren't his. He remembered things from World War II, from the Crusades, from ancient Egypt even. Conchita believed these were his past lives, and they discussed them in great detail.
However, Preston didn't approve of Conchita encouraging Mitch's "flights of fancy". That sort of nonsense wouldn't help him in life. So he fired Conchita and made her leave the house. Unable to take care of Mitch alone, he sent the boy off to a prestigious boarding school. There Mitch got the finest education... and began to nurture the seeds of hatred for his father that would shape his life.
Since Preston wanted Mitch to follow in his footsteps so bad, Mitch did-- he became a lawyer. But where Preston wouldn't touch cases like defending mobsters from embezzlement charges, Mitch was all over those. He decided that Preston's rigid, principled upbringing had done nothing but lose Mitch everyone who ever cared about him. So, unlike his father, Mitch took any case. Much to said father's chagrin.
He quickly came to the attention of a mob boss by the name of Don Aldo. It didn't take long before Shelley was running a handful of Aldo's operations. But he kept his private life and personal life separate at first, and managed to get himself married to a beautiful blonde by the name of Paula. But when Aldo started to place more responsibilities on him, he started working longer hours and staying at the office later and later. Paula became lonely and began an affair with Richard Bessley, Mitch's law partner.
Things didn't get better when Mitch decided he wanted out. There was too much responsibility, and it was killing him. Not only that, deep down he knew it was wrong, and his conscience wouldn't let him continue. All of the transactions and business that had happened, he kept logs of. He kept them on computer disks, and kept a backup copy in the trunk of the tree in his father's house.
It was all set, and he was about to go with his evidence to the police and request immunity. But he made the mistake of confiding in Richard. See, Richard and Paula were on the take too, and they didn't want to see all that work go up in smoke. So Richard and Paula called John Keach, a detective in the Viceroy P.D. who was also working for Don Aldo. Richard arranged to be out of the office one day, and Keach arranged an "accident". The gas main until Mitch's office exploded, destroying the building and killing his secretary. And, they figured, Mitch too.
But Mitch wasn't dead. He had brain damage from the explosion, and didn't remember who he was. So he wandered, injured and confused. Until someone picked him up. Picked up a bunch of homeless people, actually. These were not good Samaritans, though, as they claimed to be. These were people from a place called "The Lab". Unimaginative name or not, they had some very serious things going on in their facilities. These people were experimenting with nanomachines, trying to find the secret to immortality. Mitch was just one more in another load of subjects.
And so Mitch was subjected to these experiments. And like all the others, after the experiments were completed, he was killed. That's how The Lab did-- they experimented on these homeless people and then killed them, to see if any came back to life. One did-- Mitch. The one in charge of the experiments was a scientist named Hooker, who had an inoperable brain tumor; he joined The Lab because he felt betrayed by God because of the brain tumor after his life of service to others, and hoped the Lab could find a cure for it.
Hooker thought the secret must be in Mitch's blood, so he made a serum out of Mitch's blood and administered it to himself. It did not have the intended effect. In fact, it drove him insane. In the ruckus Hooker caused, Mitch managed to escape, but his memory was even more muddled than before.
Still unable to remember anything, even the experiments that had been done to him, Mitch just started moving. He knew someone was after him, but not who, or why. He didn't even realize he was anything other than normal until he ran afoul of a gang in a city called Crucible. The gang was about to use a crowd with young children as an object lesson that the area was THEIR turf; said object lesson required a car and automatic guns.
Mitch literally flew at them-- apparently his gift was flight-- to stop them. They shot him instead, and he fell into a landfill under a highway. Suddenly he got a flash of memory, a "slideshow" of quick snippets of his life. Amongst them was a snippet of a woman calling him "Mitch" and saying he was due in court at 1:30. He remembered an explosion. And then he died.
But he didn't stay dead. He woke up. And when he did, a rat startled him into clearing a wide swath of junk from around him with a blast of air. Mitch could hardly believe what was happening to him. But all he could do was go on. And just hope he wasn't going insane. He noticed before long that this wasn't the world that he remembered. It was incredibly close, yes. An almost exact copy. But his gut told him it wasn't the same. How had he gotten there? He didn't know. But it really didn't matter. He still needed to survive. And keep moving, to keep the feeling of paranoia off his back...