In Skies of Danger
Name: William Stephenson
Major Flaw: Thrill Seeker
Motivation: Save Blighty! (Good, +2)
Past: Diplomat (Good, +2)
Speciality: Pilot (Good, +2)
Field of Expertise: Linguistics (Good, +2)
Fortes: Spy (Good, +2), Navigation/Reconnaissance (Good, +2), Firearms (Good, +2)
Techniques: Stunt Flying (Chained to Pilot), Evasive Action (Chained to Pilot), Deal Making (Chained to Diplomat), Well Traveled; Europe (Chained to Linguistics)
Son of an Icelandic motion picture director and a British actress, William grew up in what can only be described as a bohemian environment, with his parents frequently traveling due to their work he was raised in a succession of European cities and artistic communities and later, boarding schools. Unsupervised much of the time whilst his parents worked he had free run of whichever city they happened to be in, somehow always getting out of more trouble than he managed to get into, thanks to this he managed to pick up a smattering of perhaps half a dozen languages and an unlikely (though invaluable to a young boy) knowledge of the back streets of cities all over the continent.
Leaving boarding school at 16, around the time his parents had joined the now rapidly growing Pathé film company in 1906, he spent the next two years gallivanting around Europe with them but rapidly became disillusioned with the artistic lifestyle, yearning for something more fulfilling even at such a young age. By his 18th birthday he was back in England, enrolled in Oxford University studying foreign languages and culture with the idea of joining the Diplomatic Service in the back of his mind. Well-spoken and travelled, full of exciting stories of exotic locales and excelling at boxing and rowing, the ‘British’ sports, he was a popular figure at university.
By the time he was done with Oxford at 23 he had grown into quite the eligible bachelor, yet settling down was the very last thing he wanted, fulfilling his plans he joined the Diplomatic Service as a junior attaché and thanks to his knack with languages and personal knowledge of Europe was soon caught up in the whirl of international politics, yet he found that far from trying to make things better many diplomats on both sides were less then idealists. The outbreak of the Great War only a year after this caught everyone by surprise, for William it bought everything into stark perspective, feeling frustrated with the failures of diplomacy he had soon signed up with the Royal Flying Corps, displaying a previously unknown brilliance at piloting he was quickly flying observational and reconnaissance missions.
Two years into the war his luck finally ran out and he was shot down over the Somme, during the terrible battle there, whilst trying to take photographs of the German positions. Miraculously he survived, thanks in no small part to the risky low level flying he favored for gathering reconnaissance, however, stuck behind enemy lines it was the best part of two harrowing weeks before he made it back to the British forces. Never one to wait for things to come to him, William had managed to gather dozens of photographs and hand drawn maps of German positions in his journey back despite his injuries, days after handing over the intelligence he had gathered he was ordered back to England and Whitehall.
The name of the man who he met there was never given, but he offered William an opportunity he couldn’t say no to, the chance to join SSB, the British Secret Service Bureau, and apply his talents to infiltrating and spying on the German war effort, a month later he was back in occupied France and beyond, in the most dangerous job of his life. Months of slipping past and avoiding the German Reichsmarine agents, both in plain sight and wherever he could hide paid off in the information he sent back to England, finally he felt he was where he was needed, doing something that truly mattered.
Eventually however, he was ordered back to England once more and presented with a new task. America had finally been bought into the war and was developing new weapons to challenge the German air dominance, the British felt they needed someone there both to ensure the Americans were kept up to date with intelligence and also that they were reminded how important it was they got involved quickly, before it was too late. With his diplomatic training, language and piloting skills and the credentials he had so recently earned behind German lines it was felt he was the perfect man for the job and so, much to his disappointment William found himself aboard a ship bound for America and some research institute or other, heading away from the war and cursing his bad luck, with no idea of the adventures awaiting him…