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Portrayed by Adamo Ruggiero
|Birthdate:||August 16, 1985|
|Player:||Available for applications|
Mark Sheppard met the folks at Snow Valley Memorial Center for Mutant Affairs when an investigation into the disappearances of young mutants led them to his nightclub, Silver. After helping them to rescue the kids, he signed on and worked as SV’s receptionist, bringing a rather goofy and flamboyant humor to X-Force. As of September 2009, he returned to the underground, to cultivate contacts and keep his finger more firmly on the pulse.
Character Journal: x_pressive
Real Name: Mark Sheppard
Aliases: DJ Mars
First Appearance: August 23, 2006
Date of Birth: August 16, 1985
Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri
Relatives: Marshall Sheppard (father), Maria Sheppard (mother)
Education: High school diploma
Relationship Status: single
Occupation: DJ at Silver
Team Affiliation: X-Force
Mark Sheppard was born and raised near St. Louis, Missouri to your generic middle class family. His father, Marshall Sheppard, is a music librarian at Washington University and his mother, Maria, is an elementary school music teacher. So while Mark's young life wasn't particularly eventful, he was always surrounded by all sorts of music. When he grew older, he experimented with electronic music manipulation, becoming a self-taught amateur disc jockey.
He manifested at fifteen when he was at an underage club with some friends from school. Nothing fancy or dangerous; he was dancing and suddenly started to glow. When he realized that the light was coming from him, he fled. The second he stepped out of the club, the glow faded. Events like this happened often from then on. It was weeks before Mark finally put together the pieces: he had the ability to “metabolize” music into energy.
The few friends he told were cool but agreed to keep his secret, especially after the Brotherhood’s attack at Liberty Island and Magneto’s subsequent arrest. All was well and good until his senior prom. He and his friends had had a little to drink beforehand, and between that and the excitement of the event and impending graduation, Mark lost control and set the deejay’s setup on fire. He was smart enough not to stick around, and ran away before the even drunker kids could get to him.
While his home certainly wasn’t one of those FoH-run towns, this violent display of his mutation not too long after The Great Headache didn’t serve to heighten his popularity. Mark was harassed on the streets, and he received numerous threats regarding attending graduation. Afraid for his own safety (not to mention that of his parents), he packed what he could into his book bag, grabbed some cash, and ran away.
The streets of St. Louis weren’t kind to him, and he soon found himself with only ten dollars, his CD player and only one disk (The White Stripes’ “Elephant”), and the clothes on his back. He nearly lost that when he was approached by a group of thugs who demanded he turn over what he had. They were nearby a club and Mark could hear enough of the music outside that he blasted his attackers. But when the music stopped, he was left without ammo, and ran. They followed. He was snatched into an alley and found himself suddenly half a mile away.
The person who grabbed him, a young woman named Kim, told Mark that she saw what happened and, as a mutant concerned for the welfare of other mutants, teleported him to safety. When she offered to take him somewhere new, he jokingly mentioned that he always wanted to go to New York City, and five seconds later was standing in the middle of Greenwich Village.
Mark, though excited to be in a new place with the opportunity to rebuild what he’d abandoned, was nonetheless worried about his future. So Kim took him to a club not much further downtown popular with mutants and mutant-fanciers, and introduced him to the bartender. They needed a new DJ, so the bartender and Kim introduced Mark to the club’s owner, and by the end of the night, Mark had a job and a place to live.
In the summer of 2006, Mark began to notice than a number of his regulars and some of the new patrons were not showing up like usual. At the same time, X-Force's continued investigation of the organ harvesting ring where they rescued Sarah Morlocke from led them to Silver, too.
Amanda Sefton and Wanda Maximoff decided to go undercover, where they noticed how the DJ spent an awful lot of time wandering around, talking to people and buying them drinks. Over the course of his own personal investigation, Mark noticed these two new patrons, and seeing as how Wanda was much older than the mean, suspected that they must be involved. They confronted each other and discovered that they were both looking into the same thing, so Mark demanded to be allowed to assist them with this investigation. It’s his club, his patrons, and as he saw it, his responsibility.
A psi-scan from Betsy Braddock revealed a man who had spoken to each of the people who’d disappeared, so X-Force and Mark set up a sting to catch him. With Sarah as bait to lure him out, they followed him to a warehouse at Chelsea Piers. While Sarah, Betsy, Remy LeBeau, and Wanda went out to round up the kidnappers, Mark and Amanda snuck in to rescue the hostages. Though some of the kidnappers managed to get away by detonating a booby trap to distract the team, some were apprehended and the kids were saved.
A week later, Remy approached Mark and offered him a spot on the team, realizing his talents and potential. He eagerly accepted, and now serves as SV’s receptionist, too.
Mark's confidence and ego suffered a blow in November during the events of Dogs of War. Like many of his teammates, he was crushed when Josh decided to sacrifice himself to the Warwolves. After only some minor self-destructive behavior, he managed to grieve properly and move on, and dedicated himself even more to X-Force's mission.
Towards the end of 2006, he moved into the brownstone and organized a HeliX fundraiser at Silver for New Year's. 2007 started off light, with the most notable event for a while being a deranged fan accosting him and Medusa Amaquelin while shoe-shopping. His next two missions with X-Force pushed him to his limits. He helped Remy and Pete Wisdom collect intelligence for the team in Syria, but was arrested by Syrian police forces after being caught with Iraqi military regalia. Beaten and stripped of his iPod, he manifested and fled when fellow prisoners sang, whistled, and banged on the walls. And then in Uganda, he and Sofia Mantega-Barret were separated from their teammates and were forced to hide in a missionary camp after Sofia was shot.
Spring ended unusually, and summer once again forced Mark past his comfort zone. Mark stormed Candra's stronghold with Pete, Sarah, and Wanda to rescue Amanda, and manifested a hard energy exoskeleton when he accidentally turned on an orchestral rendition of rock and roll. After a brief stint in Wanda's body, autumn came just as strongly, when X-Force went to New Orleans to finally confront Belladonna Boudreaux-LeBeau. Mark and Wanda sneaked to the levees to disassemble the explosives that Belladonna's mercenaries planted. Confronted with the possibility of death again, Mark fought with his all, and only later did he realize just how much he'd done and what could have happened if he or anyone else had screwed up, though encouraging comments from Remy (what goes for "encouraging" with him, at least) helped offer some perspective.
Autumn ended quite nicely, with Mark finding a "friend" in Amahl Farouk's manservant Esteban Trotsky. Even fighting the man of bees didn't rattle him. Being psychically stuck fifty years in the past as a popular teenage dancer was disorienting, but all went well through the new year.
Until the malevolent psychic entity known as the Shadow King appeared, debilitating Cain Marko and many of the school's telepaths. When it was discovered that Farouk was involved, Mark accompanied X-Force to Madripoor and launched an attack on the hospice where Farouk was staying. Separated from the rest of the group, he confronted Esteban and tried to convince him to stand aside so they could finish Farouk. Esteban shot Mark in response. Mark was saved by an explosion that knocked Esteban off balance so he was only shot in the hip, and another misplaced song manifested magnetopathy, which he used to disarm and knock out Esteban. Upon returning to the States, Mark recuperated by keeping himself blitzed out of his mind for a week. Just a couple weeks later, the new trick helped save Alejandra Torres from certain death
To Hell and Back
In March, Mark met and hooked up with Marie-Ange's cousin Jean-Phillipe Colbert, much to her consternation. So while the month started out nicely, it ended tragically: the Warwolves returned, hellbent on making X-Force pay for their previous defeat. While Amanda managed to send them back to their dimension, Mark was apparently killed in the fight. He had in fact been sent back to the Warwolves' dimension with them, and fought his way back to Earth, nearly dying in the process. Since his precious iPod had been destroyed, the members of X-Force chipped in to buy him an iPhone replacement, which Doug and Forge graciously upgraded. Mark named it Esther.
He recovered from his ordeal sufficiently in time for Amanda's disappearance into London and Zemo's attempt to conquer the world, and spring culminated with a friendship with Jay Guthrie and the end of his casual relationship with Jean-Phillipe. Esteban's death in July hit him hard.
Day Zero proved to be as trying and emotionally wrenching an ordeal as any other. Young mutants flocked to Silver hoping it would be a safe haven, leaving Mark with no choice but to provide one. Marie-Ange and Jean-Phillipe came to help, and the latter's former association with Magneto came to light. The three of them rallied the refugees to repel an attack by mutant-supremacist David Angar, but not without casualties. During this fight, Mark killed for the first time.
2008 didn't end any better. Aside from a mystical attack on Wanda, there was also Jay's apparent death. A live Jay was less than happy to see him. The one saving grace of 2009 so far, at least, was been the reopening of Silver in District X.
In September 2009, following discussions with Remy, Mark left the Snow Valley office and the brownstone to relocate to District X and work on his contacts within the mutant underground, utilising his true talents rather than his less-than-enthusiastic reception skills.
Weight: 135 lbs.
Other Features: Small stud piercing in his left nostril.
Mark possesses the mutant ability to metabolize sound into energy. In principle, this is very similar to Dazzler’s powers; his cells possess structures that absorb sound vibrations and use them to energize energy-carrying molecules, which can be released upon command. And like Dazzler, overloading on sound would be tremendously painful.
Unlike Dazzler, though, Mark doesn’t just release visible light. He can convert sound into any form of energy that lies within the electromagnetic spectrum. Different types of music elicit different effects. However, his powers don’t work on command; he must be listening to music to do anything. The sound frequencies, bass beats, rhythms, harmonies, etc. elicit metabolism. So if he’s not listening to music or if he can’t hear it (e.g., he’s deafened), then he’s powerless.
Mark always carries around his iPhone, which he calls Esther after Madonna's real name, and has set up playlists with music to elicit different manifestations.
Mark’s mother is of Italian descent, so Mark speaks some Italian.
To say that Mark's favorite musician is Madonna would be an understatement. If he were the religious sort, then he'd worship her.
Mark put up a Post-It note on his computer monitor at work to remind himself that some lines of conversation on the journal system are inappropriate for the students.
Operation: Anansesem cont'
Player Icon Base: Adamo Ruggiero