Real Name: Nigel Orpington-Smythe
Identity/Class: Human technology user; British citizen
Occupation: Unrevealed; formerly Director of R.C.X. (Resources Control Executive); publicly a "government spokesman on National Security", Minister for Defense, Member of Parliament, member of the British Armed Forces (unspecified as to which Force or what rank)
Group Membership: R.C.X.; formerly British military
Affiliations: Luke; formerly Advocates (Aberdeen Angus, Celery, Mustard, Salt, Shrew), Butane, Cherubim (AC/DC, Fern, Giggles, Lump, Quill), Cloud Nine Elite, Ferret, Gabriel, Iris, Mr. Jordan, Lens, Lodestone, Michael, Nicholas, Oak, Ocelot, Prune, Raphael, Scan, Scope, Seraphim (Cabbage, Cyanide, Peanut, Pumice, Weasel), Silkworm, Sky Pilots, Snoop, Sonar, Sponge, Static, Syphon, Wire, Zebedee, other Warpies
Enemies: Beetroot, Excalibur (Captain Britain (Brian Braddock), Kylun, Meggan, Micromax, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat), F.I.6, Gabriel, Mastermind, Michael, Prune, Raphael, Silkworm, Alistaire Stuart, Brigadier Alysande Stuart, W.H.O. (Weird Happenings Organisation), Wire
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Cloud Nine, the R.C.X. Headquarters, buried underground seventy-five feet below the derelict ruins of St.Oswald's Church, Liverpool
First Appearance: (Mentioned) Excalibur I#42 (October 1991); (seen) Excalibur I#62 (February 1993)
Powers/Abilities: Peter controlled R.C.X., a covert organisation working for the British government. As well as having several trained agents ("Ghost Guerillas") at his beck and call, he also commanded approximately 400 super-powered Warpies, a number of whom (the Cloud Nine Elite, divided into squads generally named after angelic orders) had combat-useful powers and training with same. His own personal protection squad was the Advocates, whom he could summon at a moment's notice using a signalling device in his belt.
Though he didn't display them, he presumably had some level of combat skills from his time in the Armed Forces. He was shielded from telepathy, either through training or technological means. He had access to the equipment and weaponry of R.C.X., which included a holographic training room (on a par with the X-Men's Danger Room), various hand-held scanning devices, and a taser-like weapon capable of stunning or killing a target.
History: (Excalibur I#64 (fb) - BTS) - Nigel Orpington-Smythe served in the British Armed Forces during an unspecified conflict. His conduct at this time resulted in his being decorated as a war hero.
(Excalibur I#65 (fb) - BTS) - Orpington-Smythe became an M.P. and member of the British Cabinet, serving as Minister of Defence.
(Captain Britain II#10 (fb)/#1/#2/#5/ Excalibur I#62 (fb) - all BTS) - He was involved in the set up of R.C.X., replacing the defunct S.T.R.I.K.E., which was tasked with dealing with parahumans within the U.K. In the wake of the Jaspers' Warp, R.C.X. was given the task of gathering the Warpies, children mutated as a result of the reality disruption.
(Excalibur I#62 (fb) - BTS/ Excalibur I#65 (fb) - BTS) - Orpington-Smythe came to view the Warpies as a resource which the country could use. Several R.C.X. agents, led by Gabriel and Michael, became sure he intended to forge the children into an army.
(Captain Britain II#7/#8/#9/ Excalibur I#62 (fb) - all BTS) - To prevent this, they took the children and fled to Braddock Manor, seeking the protection of Captain Britain.
(Excalibur I#62 (fb) - BTS) - However, once both Captain Britain and his sister Betsy moved out of the Manor, leaving the Warpies in the care of Mastermind, Orpington-Smythe forcibly retrieved the escapees, both agents and Warpies.
(Excalibur I#65 (fb) - BTS) - At some point Orpington-Smythe left the Cabinet, and took more direct control over R.C.X., assuming the codename of Peter. In public life, he was seen simply as a government spokesman on National Security.
(Excalibur I#42 - BTS) - In his public capacity, Nigel Orpington-Smythe delivered a statement to the press praising Excalibur for helping the emergency services at a train derailment. He claimed the lack of fatalities was entirely due to the heroes' help, and that he believed they should rewarded in the Queen's New Year Honour's List.
(Excalibur I#65 (fb) - BTS) - The destruction of Excalibur's lighthouse cut off the energies which were sustaining the Warpies' mutated forms, and many of them began to "destabilise", reverting to human (and in some cases dying as a result). Peter became convinced that the sudden genetic destabilization of the Warpies was the prelude to an invasion of Britain, engineered by a covert parahuman organisation seeking to reduce his country's defences. He became obsessed with making sure R.C.X. would be in a position to mount a suitable resistance to this.
(Excalibur I#55 - BTS) - Wishing to consolidate R.C.X.'s power, Peter arranged for out-of-date British State secrets to be electronically transmitted to S.H.I.E.L.D., then had Brigadier Alysande Stuart, the head of rival government agency W.H.O. (Weird Happenings Organisation) framed for the leak.
(Excalibur I#56 - BTS) When Alysande Stuart was killed by Jamie Braddock prior to her court-martial, Peter had W.H.O. absorbed into R.C.X., and picked up the contracts of all its staff.
(Excalibur I#61 - BTS) - With another rival agency, F.I.6, recently disbanded following the loss of many of its personnel during a disastrous mission, the surviving agents were transferred to R.C.X. Peter extended an invitation to F.I.6's super-powered operative, Micromax, and when he ignored it, sent the Cherubim to kidnap him. He also sent Snoop to monitor Brian Braddock and Meggan on their holiday on the English South coast. Meanwhile Alistaire Stuart, brother of the deceased Alysande, attempted to infiltrate R.C.X.'s headquarters on the trail of the people who had destroyed his sister's reputation. Aware of Stuart's actions, Peter allowed him to find and enter Cloud Nine, as well as to contact his allies in Excalibur, then had the Seraphim capture him, so he could be used as bait to draw the superhero team into Peter's trap.
(Excalibur I#62) - Peter was present with Nicholas when Alistaire regained consciousness. He apologised for the Seraphim's knocking Alistaire out, and introduced himself by his R.C.X. codename (Peter). The still groggy Alistaire recognised him as Orpington-Smythe, head of R.C.X, and angrily brought up the framing of Alysande. When Peter brushed what this last as ancient history, Alistaire shakily tried to attack Peter, who summoned the Advocates to dissuade the use of violence. Held immobile by Aberdeen Angus, Alistaire defiantly stated he had called Excalibur, only to be informed that Peter was aware of this, indeed had deliberately allowed it, and had arranged a suitable reception.
Stating that the Seraphim had captured Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Cerise and were bringing them to the reception area, Peter gave Alistaire a potted tour en route to meet them. Alistaire spotted that R.C.X. had Micromax in one of their labs, restrained and undergoing medical experiments. Peter informed Alistaire that Micromax had a cavalier attitude to the obligations his powers brought with them, and when Alistaire stated that since Micromax worked for F.I.6 and thus it was none of Peter's business, Peter informed him of the absorption of both F.I.6 and W.H.O. into R.C.X. Alistaire reacted angrily to the idea of working for R.C.X., and Peter tried to calm him, stating they were there to "contain, protect and educate parahumans".
Their discussion was interrupted by a team of medics led by Mr.Jordan, who were rushing a destabilising Warpie toddler to sickbay. The Warpie, Beetroot, made telepathic contact with Alistaire just before he died, allowing him to see the inhumane medical experiments R.C.X. had carried out on him. Alistaire angrily punched Peter across the jaw before Aberdeen Angus knocked him out. Peter ordered Alistaire to be given medical attention, and Beetroot to be autopsied.
Peter continued to the reception area with the Advocates, where he found Nightcrawler battling the Serpents, animalistic Warpies which had escaped from their containment area. He witnessed the mutant defeating dozens of the Serpents, and once the battle was done, expressed his admiration for Nightcrawler's martial skills. When Nightcrawler responded angrily over the assaults on his team, Peter pointed out that the mutant and his fellows had been trespassing on private property, and that as illegal aliens in the U.K., Peter was placing all three members of Excalibur under arrest.
(Excalibur I#63) - While more of the Elite retrieved Excalibur ally Kylun from Scotland and others moved in on Captain Britain and Meggan on the south coast of England, Peter assigned Nightcrawler, Cerise and Shadowcat Warpie guides who would neutralize their powers. He tried to win them over, explaining that he knew of their reputation as heroes, but noting that under British law they were criminals and had tried to infiltrate a government establishment. He showed them Alistaire, apparently still unconscious after being struck by Angus. When Excalibur expressed anger at Alistaire's injuries, he admitted his agents had over-reacted but stated this was due to paranoia caused by the situation they faced. With this, he showed Excalibur a room full of Warpies held in suspended animation, explaining that two months back (about the time of the destruction of the team's lighthouse, though no one then made the connection) the base had been struck by a malady which began killing the parahumans within. Though still wary, Nightcrawler pledged his team's help.
Peter led the trio on a tour of the base, past a group of youthful para-human admirers, explaining the diversity of powers and forms of the superhuman youths within the facility. He explained to Nightcrawler, that as the only adult human mutant within the facility (Excalibur was unaware of the capture of Micromax or Kylun, and thus Peter deliberately did not mention them) could provide valuable data which might provide a cure, if he would allow R.C.X. to test him. While Nightcrawler worked his way through R.C.X.'s holographic training room, Peter, Cerise and Shadowcat watched the R.C.X. scientists analyse the telemetry readings this provided. However a medical alert alarm surreptitiously set off by Peter caused them to abort the program, and the R.C.X. chief informed Nightcrawler that he appeared to be infected with the disease which had devastated the Warpie ranks, and without a cure, only had a month to live.
(Excalibur I#64) - Peter, Luke and Mr.Jordan listened to Snoop deliver a report detailing the Cherubim's capture of Captain Britain and Meggan. He expressed interest in the fact that Captain Britain's power seemed to be fluctuating during this, wondering if it was due to the same genetic destabilization affecting their operatives. Mr.Jordan suggested running their readings past Nicholas, R.C.X.'s genetics expert, but Peter over-ruled this, stating Nicholas was too naive in matters of security and trusting of Excalibur's good intentions.
When Captain Britain awoke, Peter was present to stop the enraged hero from going on a rampage. He informed Captain Britain that during the capture, the hero had inadvertently hit Meggan, leaving her close to death. She was now undergoing medical treatment, floating comatose in a tube of an unspecified liquid. Seeing this, the enraged hero rounded on Peter and angrily stated that the Cherubim had tricked him into striking her; Peter swiftly summoned several of the stronger Elite to forestall violence. Peter informed the hero that his failing powers were the result of a common enemy, and with the Captain's aid he hoped to find out who that was. Peter pointed out the recent growth in the para-human population of Britain, none of them accountable for their actions, and expressed the opinion that some of these new parahumans were behind the genetic destabilization, trying to eliminate the opposition. Somewhat reluctantly Captain Britain acquiesced to lending his help.
A little later Peter watched on a monitor as one of his Warpies imitated Shadowcat and tried to allay Nightcrawler's doubts by telling him she had done some investigating and turned up evidence showing Peter and R.C.X. to be the good guys.
(Excalibur I#65) - Peter's spying continued as he watched Captain Britain sit vigil over the injured Meggan. He scoffed to Luke at how pathetic he felt the hero was, but said he would mold him into a "true patriotic symbol of our great land", using his heroic reputation to give R.C.X. a public image the masses could rally to. Luke expressed concern over Nightcrawler, but Peter stated his knowledge remained potentially useful, though in the long run he was expendable.
Their discussion was interrupted by Aberdeen Angus barging into the room and collapsing at their feet, beginning to genetically destabilise. Peter ordered Luke to place the sick Warpie in stasis, while he would go and work on preparing Captain Britain for "his role in the defense of our realm", declaring that the public must be prepared for the invasion he was sure to come.
Peter informed Captain Britain that with his powers in decline he would best be able to serve his country as a public liaison, leading a campaign to outlaw renegade parahumans. The hero countered by saying he was not a politician, but Peter was insistent that Captain Britain could rally the nation; Captain Britain replied that he was not a propaganda puppet, setting Peter off on a rant about how Britain had once been a glorious Empire until forces intent on her destruction had stolen this from her. Losing his temper at the Peter's demagoguery, Captain Britain smashed his fist down on a nearby console, disrupting the hologram of Meggan in the medical tank. Realising he had been deceived, the hero rushed Peter, but was blocked by the Elite who accompanied the R.C.X. leader. As they knocked the weakened hero to the ground, an enraged Peter told his Warpie guards to hit the hero every time he tried to stand. "He must be made to understand that if he is not prepared to serve his country, he is a traitor. Our enemy. And he will receive no mercy."
Despite suffering severe injuries, Captain Britain continued to get back up, refusing to capitulate, until the Warpies attacking him openly questioned Peter's repeated order to strike him. Peter was unyielding, and reluctantly the Warpie called Oak delivered a final blow to Captain Britain's head. Oak guilty noted that he believed he had killed the hero, but Peter remained unrepentant, stating again that Captain Britain had been a traitor. A young Warpie ran in to inform Peter that Excalibur had broken loose and were battling several of the Cloud Nine Elite on level six. Peter ordered Butane to gather any off-duty Elite and meet him at the lifts.
Peter arrived at the fight accompanied by nearly a dozen of the combat-trained Elite, but anticipating that one of his enemies might try to take him hostage, he had the illusionist Lump enter the chamber wearing his form. Sure enough, Nightcrawler teleported over to grab the faux Peter, only to be shot from behind with a taser by the real one. Peter then told his opponents to surrender, or he would continue to electrify Nightcrawler until the mutant died. His plan was thwarted when Captain Britain, revived by Roma, back at full strength and completely healed, reached over Peter's shoulder and crushed the weapon (and several fingers). Peter called for his Elite to aid him, but Oak informed him that he had told them they would be heroes; not killers; Peter was on his own. Still believing he was in the right, Peter futily began to punch Captain Britain in the face with his free hand. Eventually Nightcrawler convinced Captain Britain to release Peter, stating the R.C.X. chief was not evil, merely misguided. Peter's response to this was to call Nightcrawler a "filthy Kraut"; the German mutant concluded his description of Peter with "but he is also an insufferable, arrogant, bullying swine" , and he knocked said swine out with one punch.
(Excalibur I#125) - Peter apparently attended the wedding of Brian Braddock and Meggan on Otherworld (see comments).
Comments: Created by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer.
Peter described his charges as "parahumans" until he was trying to win Nightcrawler over, at which point he began to use the term "mutants". In fact most, if not all, of the superhuman agents of R.C.X. were Warpies; agents Gabriel and Michael stated that they had explained the difference (focused ley line energy vs. mutation) but their superiors had dismissed this as "New Age hokum". It's unclear if Peter was one of the dismissive superiors and really believed the Warpies to be mutants, or if he knew the difference and was just playing on the mutant Nightcrawler's sympathies. Peter had apparently told the Warpies to call themselves "parahumans" because they were "special, not warped", which does imply to me that he knew the difference.
When Peter discussed the growth of Britain's para-human population, he specifically brought up Motormouth, Killpower, Dark Angel and the Knights of Pendragon. So to anyone who would like to argue against the Marvel U.K. titles being part of the mainstream Marvel Universe - ya, boo, sucks!
Though Peter doesn't appear until Excalibur I#62, it's clear from dialogue that he can be considered BTS in most of the early R.C.X. appearances.
The source of Peter being a "decorated war hero" comes from the Shadowcat impostor (most likely Lump of the Cherubim). However there is no reason to doubt that nugget of information, since as Orpington-Smythe, Peter was a public figure; Nightcrawler might potentially have heard of his war record on the news, so lying on this count could have exposed the rest of the falsehoods. In Excalibur I#65, the R.C.X. agents released from stasis mention that Nigel Orpington-Smythe was Minister of Defence at the time they were captured. This position on the British Cabinet means he must have been a politician and M.P. (Member of Parliament) at that time; however, his Ministerial role must have been in the past by the time of Excalibur I#62, since Alistaire Stuart there describes him merely as a "spokesman on National Security". Because of this, I don't believe Orpington-Smythe was the active head of R.C.X. at the time of the initial Warpie round-up; the Minister of Defence is nominally the head of the Armed Forces and various Security Services, but doesn't handle the day-to-day running of same, though he would have been involved at some level in setting up a new security organisation. I'm ASSuming he took over more direct control as Peter after stepping down from the Cabinet, possibly so he could more closely oversee his agents actions and prevent another rebellion like the one which moved the Warpies to Braddock Manor.
Supporting the idea that he wasn't directly in charge of R.C.X. at the time the Warpies were taken to Braddock Manor is the fact that when the captive R.C.X. agents are awoken by Nightcrawler, they call their captor "Orpington-Smythe", not Peter. This lends weight to him not having taken on that codename prior to them being taken prisoner.
He would have been a former Conservative M.P. at the time Alan Davis wrote the story, since he was noted as being a confidante to Mrs.Thatcher, and the Minister of Defence is part of the ruling party. However, with the sliding timescale, and given that as of writing this profile its coming on for eight years since the Conservatives were in office, the actual party he belonged to will have to be considered a topical reference.
Peter appears to be among the attendees at Brian and Meggan's wedding on Otherworld in Excalibur I#125. However, this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, given his personality and the terms on which they parted. Admittedly other former enemies of Excalibur were present (the Technet, the Crazy Gang, Lightning Squad, Arcade), but in those cases, there was far less animosity. Though I've listed it in his history above, I think it more likely that the person who looked like Peter was in fact his Days-of-Future-Past counterpart, Arthur, who was an ally of theirs (even though the outfit matches Peter rather than Arthur).
Peter has no known connections to
Excalibur I#64, p.15 (excluding ads), panel 2 (full body shot)
Excalibur I#62, p.1, panel 4 (face)
Excalibur I#65, p.10, panel 4 (rant)
Excalibur I#65, p.28, panel 1 (being hit by Nightcrawler)
Captain Britain II#1-2 (January-February, 1985) - Jamie Delano (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Ian Rimmer (editor)
Captain Britain II#5 (May, 1985) - Jamie Delano (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Ian Rimmer (editor)
Captain Britain II#7-10 (July-October, 1985) - Jamie Delano (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Ian Rimmer (editor)
Excalibur I#42(October 1991) - Alan Davis (writer/pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Excalibur I#55 (October, 1992) - Alan Davis (writer/pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Excalibur I#61-65 (January-May, 1993) - Alan Davis (writer), Alan Davis & Mark Farmer (#62), Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Excalibur I#125 (October, 1998) - Ben Raab (writer), Dale Eaglesham (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Frank Pittarese (editor)
First Posted: 12/19/2004
Last updated: 12/21/2004
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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