Fu Manchu
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"Dr. Fu Manchu," replied the Smith, "was the ultimate expression of Chinese cunning; a phenomenon such as occurs but once in many generations. He was a superman of incredible genius, who, had he willed, could have revolutionized science. There is a superstition in some parts of China according to which, under certain peculiar conditions (one of which is proximity to a deserted burial-ground) an evil spirit of incredible age may enter unto the body of a new-born infant. All my efforts thus far have not availed me to trace the genealogy of the man called Dr. Fu Manchu. Even Karamaneh cannot help me in this. But I have sometimes thought that he was a member of a certain very old Kiangsu family—and that the peculiar conditions I have mentioned prevailed at his birth!"

So guessed Fu Manchu's most tenacious foe. What is curious is that Smith termed Fu a Manchu when he was clearly conscious that the Doctor came from a Shang lineage, the ruling family of the earliest Chinese dynasty known to us through written records. Moreover, Fu was born in the Honan region where he would poetically meet his 'death' at the hands of his son, last of the Shang. Despite (or perhaps because of) his own self-important ego, Nayland Smith chose to remain offensively ignorant in many respects towards non British cultures. As for himself, the oldest name Fu actually answers to is Wu Ming Shi, which in Mandarin means The Nameless One.

The human who come to terrorize the world under the name of Dr. Fu Manchu was born in 1840 as a result of the secret assignation involving Ling Jun Hai, daughter to a Chinese nobleman who traced his lineage back to the royal family of the Shang Dynasty and before, on into the Mythic past. One of Fu's illustrious ancestors was the most fearless and hot-willed disciple of the great philosopher K'ung Fu-tzu, Tzu Kung. Fu's father was a British nobleman with his own peculiar and extended pedigree, grandfather to such other luminaries as Clark Savage, Jr. and John Clayton, Lord Greystoke. Both parents were members of secret council of near-immortals, bent on world control from behind the scenes. Fu was the final step in a generations-long attempt at controlled evolution, in other words genetic manipulation. Through selective breeding of the finest genetic stocks in Asia (and occasionally beyond), a child of miraculous faculties was born. Fu Manchu was raised as a prince of a singular lineage that planned to take command of the entire Orient under a rejuvenated Chinese empire that would eventually swallow the world. The intent was enlightened despotism. The finest ideals incorporating Confucian laws and Taoist mental evolution were to be implemented bringing Heaven to earth.

Fu was given the finest education humanly possible, and he began to learn sign language within a few months of his own birth. Tutored by many of the worlds greatest minds in all known subjects (but always within the framework of a Taoist-Confucian grounding), Fu took and passed his exam to become a Mandarin. At the age of 8. He then traveled to the West where his father arranged for him to attend four of the worlds finest universities. Here he immersed himself in absorbing the scientific foundations of Western thought until 14. At this point, there was nothing more the professors could teach him, and so Fu returned to the East to travel and explore the breadth of Asia. From a life of art and theater and prostitution in the Floating City to climbing the Himalayas in search of esoteric mastery of the mind and body to tracking down knowledge of a mythical drug by apprenticing to a witch doctor in the heart of headhunter country in the jungles of Irian Jaya where no non-native has visited to this day, he scoured the globe in an effort to fulfill his grandiose dreams. He also immersed himself in deeper studies of the Tao te Ching and related texts. Even at this young age he began to feel constrained by the expectations pushed upon him by his parents and the Council. Fu had plans of his own and he knew he needed to tools to pursue them.

The Tao is the way of ultimate reality. It cannot be perceived for it exceeds the reach of the senses. If it were to reveal itself in all its sharpness, fullness and glory, mortal man would not be able to bear the vision. Fu would pursue the paths that would allow him to bear that beauty, and to shape it to his will. He would use the established schools of Tao to ascend to the state of the zhenren, actualized man, the height of Taoist effort. Magical studies and esoteric psychic disciplines, yogic in nature, consumed him. During this period he developed the ability that he would term Creative Quietude (see +Powers), and so he took a further step from a recognizably human mindset. From here on out, he looked upon himself as more than a human… as a modern representation of the great Dragon who rules supreme. Unfortunately for Fu and his mother, warfare broke out in the world-dominating Council of which she and Fu's father had been members. A shift of power that would end with her death and Fu's return to China to reclaim his birthright.

Other members on the Council had decided that to attempt a coup of sorts, and rationalized that Fu was still too green to put up a fight over his mother's murder, especially after the fact. Enraged at the treason that ended his mother's life, the man who would be Fu exacted a vengeance on all those responsible that still gives those who know of it nightmares. He proved his claws and first gave evidence of the fundamental flaw in his inbred genetic perfection: insanity. Dropping his given name, he renamed himself Wu Ming Shi (the Nameless One) and took his mother's place on the council, as well as a significant amount of power. After a truce was called, Fu turned next to China. He spent the next few decades immersed in successful efforts to twist the criminal world of his native empire around his finger. He then moved on to further Asian ports of call, insinuating himself into the local underworlds and eventually dominating most of them. He eventually took control of the Si-fan, the pan-Asian nobility of crime and death, comprised of the most evil cut throats and assassins and torture masters the Eastern hemisphere could offer. He warred briefly with the organization known as the Hand before both sides declared a truce that has largely held to present day.

At this point, around 1875, Fu tangled with a distant relative, the so-called world's greatest detective. Five years later he would first use a beloved plot whereby he falsified the deaths of several of the world's great scientists and forced them to help him in a grand plan by which he trebled his already massive fortune. Some years later, Fu helped form a Chinese nationalistic secret society known as the Seven. Ostensibly the purpose of this group was to free China from the yoke of Western colonial powers and to regain its glory. To many this meant putting the nation's destiny in the hands of the Chinese people. To Fu, who was coming to scorn the average human as no better than a mindless animal, ascendancy and glory would be reclaimed under the enlightened leadership of the timeless Council which he served. He unknowingly used the other members of the Seven in furthering his own plans. The hero of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat Set was also a member of the Seven for some years before he finally recognized the evil which Fu represented. In 1897, Fu's daughter Fah Lo Suee was born to him. Her mother was a the sister of a Russian member of the secret council. A year later Fu would make his first attempt to invade and conquer London criminal world. He was unsuccessful due to the combined efforts of a league of remarkable men and the counterattack of Britain's homegrown 'Napoleon of Crime'.

The efforts of the Seven in China were brought to a head by the instigation of the Boxer Rebellion. There was no more patience for the degradation the greedy Western powers were heaping upon China, and her Manchu Empress, not even a Chinese by birth, was powerless and unwilling to confront it. Raising schools of nationalistic martial artists, the Seven lit a fire for the public targeting the Western missionaries, killing many and driving the rest from the country. Unfortunately in the midst of this attempt to throw off the yoke of foreign oppression things went sour with the Council again. Certain members took advantage of Fu's attentions on national Chinese issues to successfully expel Fu from their midst. But not before he stole back their greatest treasure and secret, the elixir vitae first developed by his ancient, revered ancestor: Shaka Kharn. The recipe had long ago disappeared in history, and the current stock was nearly depleted. Fu's birth was in part an attempt to raise one who could rediscover this most valuable of secrets. Using texts stolen from the council along with the scientific and alchemical knowledge he had gained over the decades, Fu slaved away at cracking the elixir's secret while continuing his own plans for world domination under his own vision.

Fu focused on the seeming ascendance of the Western world, but discerned the fundamental weakness beneath: the eradication of tradition and the death of belief systems based on revered communal mores in the face of the new faiths Reason and Progress. Fu would raise the people of Asia and would swallow the West whole through the strength of their greatest traditions. To this end Fu allowed his legend to grow, though the irony of being named for the hated Manchu who had allowed China to weaken and collapse never escaped him. Fu's schemes to raise the East and destroy the West picked up speed, as he began reign of terror after reign of terror, killing, kidnapping, threatening mass destruction and laughing maniacally all the way. Also at this time, his most tenacious nemesis would rise to challenge him, the colonialist Neanderthal with the inhuman luck, Dennis Nayland Smith. The man would through a combination of blind chance and pig-headedness manage to foil any number of insidious projects of Fu, often with the assistance of a remarkably sharp sidekick, Dr. Petrie. Fu's pride was pricked and his mania focused on killing Smith and wreaking vengeance on Petrie for their interference (as well as stealing Fu's favorite slave Karameneh away by love). Fu kidnapped Petrie and Karameneh's daughter Fleurette and raised her as his personal slave, though, teaching her along side his daughter Fah Lo Suee, who by now had become his lieutenant in the Si-fan.

In 1929, shortly before his 90th birthday (though appearing little over half that age by dint of superior genes), Fu Manchu perfected his elixir vitae. He returned to full health and the flush of youth. From here on out he and his daughter Fah Lo Suee would no longer be bound by time. Fah, though, had come to love Nayland Smith (or as Fu figures it, to hate her father and how worst to punish him? Declare love for the despicable enemy). She became a traitor to her father in order to help Smith survive. Fu refused to believe that his own daughter could turn on him and so ignored this one indiscretion. But he kept his eyes on his daughter from here on out, and eventually caught her being unfaithful again. As punishment, he seemingly killed her, but in fact he erased her mind and allowed her to believe she was a servant named Koreani. In 1933 Fu was thwarted in an attempt to kidnap the leaders in the League of Nations. Six years later he was forced to win back the Si-fan from a pro-fascist dictator. At this time Fah got her memory back and fled to Haiti. In 1952, with an American woman chosen for her genetic perfection, Fu had a son who he groomed to follow in his footsteps: Shang-Chi.

A few years later, Fu's plans in Africa were stopped, again by Smith, who released one of Fu's fungi and destroyed an African village in an attempt to finish off the yellow menace. Fu found a scarred baby named Mnai, a survivor of the village that he adopted and raised as Shang's surrogate brother. Having tracked down Fah Lo Suee, Fu showed some fatherly forgiveness by taking her lover and mentally reprogramming him with a duplicate of the psyche of Jack the Ripper, a personage who was known to Fu at the time of his exploits in Victorian London. This new Jack, who would be known as the Mad Slayer, was also given a dose of the elixir vitae to extend his life and healing abilities and sent on a rampage. He escaped, and years later it took the concerted efforts of Shang Chi, Clive Reston, Leiko Wu and Fah herself to finally kill the crazed murderer. Fah was forced to shoot her former love. Nobody does vengeance like Dads, and perhaps Sarah Lee.

Fu was attempting to turn his son into the ultimate killer for him, but didn't count on Shang's innate goodness. Though he would absorb all of the martial arts knowledge his father's instructors would provide, ultimately Shang Chi would refuse to adopt his father's nefarious ways and would, in fact, choose to fight him. At age 19, Fu sent Shang to London to kill Dr. Petrie in his doddering old age. Petrie managed to convince Shang of his father's evil, and at this point Shang chose to leave his father's employ, in the process killing his brother, Mnai.

This treason was even greater a blow to Fu than Fah's, for he always expected women to be weak. Shang became Fu's most infuriating foe, even more so than the bumbling Smith, who was now a part of MI6 thanks to his own imbibing of the elixir. Fu withdrew from sight for a few years and then suddenly returned, rested and fresh and adapted to the world of the 60s and 70s, with its death rays and spies and psychedelic fashions. He began to harry MI6 and Shang, growing giant insects, kidnapping more scientists and their daughters, and stealing more cash. He sent assassin after assassin to kill Shang Chi, who seemed to be fated to ruin Fu's plots. Fu even attempted to disfigure Mt. Rushmore by place his own visage upon it. Then Fah Lo Suee returned to the scene, and complicated things immeasurably by using Shang and his British allies in her plot to wrest control of the Si-fan from Fu.

Fu even resurrected his ancestor, Shaka Kahrn, to replace his son Shang Chi as his successor. He used Petrie, who had been his unwilling slave for years now, to pull this off. As if that wasn't enough for one plot, Fu also planned on knocking the moon out of its orbit from a space station in order to send the earth into cataclysmic turmoil, from which he could pick up the pieces. This failed. As did the plot for the faked alien invasion, in which Fu crashed to yet another death in a flaming flying saucer. His plots became more feverish and insane as his mental state became less rational. Fu had discovered that he was developing an immunity to his wonderful elixir. Desperate, he eventually took the steps of attempting to drain Shang Chi himself of his blood in order to repair the elixir for his system. He failed, and was seemingly banished from this earth forever. However, if there is one characteristic above all others that Fu Manchu has, it's the ability to appear to have been killed but then to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS come back again. He is the master planner, and he never ever proceeds without at least a half-dozen backup plans.

In this case, Fu prepared for the worst. As soon as Shang Chi left the premises, Fu's minions collected his remains and deposited them in an advanced cryostasis container built to Fu's specifications. Upon reaching one of his many secret labs around the world, his squad of scientists (including a number of ex-AIM researchers) proceeded to revivify the faint spark of life left inside Fu. They deposited him in a nutrient-rich bath derived from a modified form of the elixir vitae. While unable to fully revive him, it was able to keep him alive for nearly three decades while his limitless fortune and army of researchers toiled ceaselessly to bring him back. While his body was slowly rebuilt within it's form of suspended animation, Fu's mind was not asleep. In fact, he had neural shunts which fed a steady stream of information to his brain, allowing him to aid in his own research, as well as to keep abreast of news, including political and scientific developments. Fu refrained from directly affecting the outside world, for fear of drawing attention to his presence before he was ready.

Finally, in the year 2000, the Chinese Year of the Dragon, the key breakthrough was made utilizing information stolen from within SHIELD's most classified data centers. Using techniques developed initially by Moira MacTaggart in combating Mutant strains of various viruses, Fu was able to actually mutate the plasma base for the elixir, allowing it to utterly defy the tolerance his human system had built up. The one positive side-effect is that it has increased Fu's physical stamina and strength very slightly beyond what they once were. The negative side is that he now scans positive on a mutant detector. A small price to pay for renewed health and youth, however. Fu has spent the last decade secretly marshaling his resources as well as locating a perfect candidate whose identity he could steal. This ended up being the grandson of one of China's Red Princes, whose corporation Fu then built up into one of the world's largest. It is in this persona that the man known infamously as Fu Manchu has come to New York, ostensibly to open the newest headquarters for his family company.


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