|Played by FashionistState|
Team Fortress 2
During a battle in Teufort in Winter.
Sniper's oft-used and generally-accepted handle comes from a very simple fact: he snipes remarkably well. Well, he snipes not just 'remarkably well' but with what might as well be a ninety-nine percent accuracy rate. (He doesn't keep count unless the mission calls for it.) His near-impeccable aim is paired with rapid reflexes to land head-shots and other usually improbable shots with ease, most frequently to kill - but if that isn't the case, he has no problem with causing injuries generally estimated to be non-fatal. He usually does this sort of precision elimination from small enclosed spaces wherein he may have to remain for hours before taking his shot, leaving him fairly trapped if he doesn’t know of more than one of these 'sniper’s nests'. The time he spends peering down the sight of his rifle also means he can fall victim to tunnel vision, making him fairly open to ambush... but he’s very much used to worrying about that, so he’ll keep his guard up to the best of his ability.
As would be expected of him, he has the most experience with his trusty sniper rifle but has armed himself with other firearms before, most notably a submachine gun. He usually needs a bit of time to become acquainted with a totally new model, but after that he'll be back to his reliable old self. That said, he usually only falls back on other guns when absolutely necessary or at extremely close ranges at which his rifle would be unwieldy; he favours being crazy prepared for everything so those are events that he must anticipate.
Now, his other favoured ranged weapon is a bit of an oddball one: a recurve bow and arrow (although sadly his ‘canon’ bow, the Huntsman, remains on Earth). This is where Sniper turns when firing at long-range is entirely impossible, or when it is simply more convenient to finish the job a little closer. Although he doesn’t use it as often, he finds this weapon one of the more entertaining tools at his disposal, particularly regarding the rather frequent moments on which he successfully pins people to walls. Archery definitely requires a different (and more intermittently-used) discipline but he finds this fairly easy to adjust to, even on short notice. While these projectiles are far less accurate when it comes to actually hitting the target, they can be just as deadly in Sniper’s hands (provided they hit, obviously) and are easier to fire rapidly, compared to the fairly slow bolt action of the rifles he tends to use.
Now let us turn to the subject of his even closer-range weapons (since only one of them is technically ‘melee’) – or, at least, the pair that he continues to benefit from in Pandora. The more conventional of the two is his kukri, which he often uses for its versatility, in that provided you’re used to the knife, it’s just as easy to impale your enemy on the curved blade as it is to slash at them with potentially devastating results. In his sniper nests he will often keep it beside him to counter possible ambushes with ease.
The final trick up Sniper’s sleeve is a somewhat vulgar one. It goes by the name of Jarate, or ‘the jar-based Karate’, or, if we’re going to stop beating about the bush, ‘jars of his own urine’. He throws these at adversaries not only to inflict wounds from the broken glass but to witness the victim’s dignity melting away at a swift pace, which can offer an opening for a more lethal attack. (Not to mock their embarrassment. Nope.) Obviously, not all enemies are quite as pernickety when it comes to the potential staining of a good suit, so they may not be as psychologically affected by the weapon, but taking a bit of a gamble can regardless come in handy from time to time. Now, how he produces this in large quantities is debatable; the technique was supposedly invented by weapons tycoon Saxton Hale, who also sells such things as Jarate Pills, which triple the size of one’s kidneys at the price of one’s other internal organs gradually shutting down; thankfully this seems to be a process that can take place over decades so Sniper won’t have much to worry about in the short term. But it could just as easily have come about due to the absence of nearby bathrooms within sniper’s nests, and Sniper spends plenty of time in those nests, so... it’s open to interpretation, you could say.
As you can see, Sniper is quite a versatile fighter, though at his best either in a team or alone and eliminating someone who has no idea of his presence. He is both calm and precise in combat, preferring a minimalistic but otherwise non-descript style in which effort is expended for each move to safely predict that it will almost definitely hit. However, take away all of his weapons and you will find yourself facing a comparatively defenceless man. He might be in shape but he is still considerably lanky and not that muscular; he may be able to deal and sustain a few punches but that’s about it; to hold his own capably he must be armed. Swapping from hunting game to near-invariably assassinating from afar clearly hasn’t helped matters so much. Of course, it doesn’t help that he often chooses to wear light clothing that isn’t suited for withstanding blades or bullets – at least, for very long.
Sniper’s psychological and personal strengths are fairly clear to see: he has a great work ethic; he is just as happy independently as he is in a team, he is diligently patient, and he undergoes all the actions required of his job with a professional air. This does sound like the sort of bull you could imagine written in someone’s résumé or coming from the mouth of a contestant on The Apprentice. But in Sniper’s case these shifty adjectives ring entirely true. Er, most of the time. (These character aspects are all described in more detail in the Personality section, but it seemed like a good idea to point them out here too!) He is incredibly well-versed in the intricacies of his job but is by no means book-smart, and it has been shown that he can be just as easily duped as the next person… if not as easily as his BLU equivalent.
And, of course, Sniper is only human. His mortality in the face of universally fatal circumstances is just a given.
"Be polite. Be efficient. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
Within Pandora it could be said that Sniper keeps a bit of a double life. The professional killer is quite different from the bloke you might meet while having a pint or two at the pub. In fact, this continues through the names he gives. Away from work he might go by Rick or Dick instead of ‘Sniper’ – although funnily enough, the latter feels like less of a pseudonym than his real name. If anything significant has occurred wherein the discovery of his identity might cause shattering consequences (for example, a murder investigation that would result in the culprit’s prompt execution), he may go by something entirely different for a while if he doesn’t go into hiding entirely; he has been known to introduce himself as Lawrence from time to time. It simply depends on circumstances… and if nothing else it means he has the excuse of ‘a split personality’, though he would find such a plea to be rather convoluted.
Off-duty, Sniper is calm, cool, and collected. He isn’t the type of person likely to get worked up in a crisis and he prefers to be fairly understated in emotion – though certain topics of debate can and will win him over to a little exaggeration, particularly any misgiving about his professionalism or the idea that he’s your average crazed gunman. Over the years he has seen quite a bit of the world and isn’t the type to be shocked by much, although it is in this way that Pandora has been a bit of a learning experience. He isn’t used to a world where magic and other such ‘insanity’ exists.
If you were to approach him on a day off, he might just strike you as friendly and casual, but still polite enough. There are many occasions when he is content enough to talk to anyone, if somewhat hesitant to give away crucial information (and when you’re in his line of work, fair enough). Since his employment with RED it could be said that he has opened up: although he may not always favour social interaction, there are still times during which he enjoys the company of others. But he still tends to fade into the background as more of a listener or a witness. He might just watch events intently and step in to contribute the odd remark; after all, he doesn't like to attract attention when it's not called for. His career wouldn't allow such an opening.
That said, Sniper is also the type to adapt his demeanour to the situation. He still likes the odd bit of company; it's just that at work, he does not tolerate distractions. He's already pretty quiet but when he's totally focused on the kill it is going to be very difficult to speak to him. Even in some form of business meeting he will act like a different person; he'll lose most of the relaxed manner and become thoroughly serious. He often finds that sniping is something of a release from the strenuous world of sociability; in those moments you often only have yourself to rely on and he likes the affirmation of his self-sufficiency. There are several reasons for why he might crave this sort of ratification, most of them related to how his family was viewed by the Australia described in canon, but as this is the personality section it would probably do to save the details till we get to History.
Sniper is a tad paranoid, even of those he knows well. As already said, he is in a career where that kind of a hunch is probably beneficial to his health. He must not only have a plan to kill everyone he meets but also assume that everyone else does too. Let's give this a bit of context: in Pandora, his team are no longer bound by any official document to stop them from deserting each other; they're going just by previously-enforced loyalty, unspoken promises and friendship. Now what kind of validity is that? Sniper regrets to say he cannot help but mistrust his own teammates in the predicaments arisen by Pandora.
Sniper's work means just about everything to him. He is afflicted by a rather severe case of ergomania; he would not be able to deal with a world where he might not be able to keep at the killing business in some shape or form - after all, the art of murder is his main area of expertise. He is willing to go to insane lengths to prepare himself for every possible outcome, and he will wait hour upon hour for a single shot, often without a single break in concentration. This appears to be remnants of the sort of endurance that hunting rare game had harboured many years back.
He sees no moral problem with his job, either; he views assassination as merely a service, simply another thing that makes the world go round. So it makes the news for cutting a few pulses short. "So what?" is Sniper's view. His kills are almost entirely emotionless - in fact, he tends to maintain a perfectly distant attitude throughout every stage of work. The many years of experience behind him help this; he is so used to killing that it is really no longer a problem... though a few early coping mechanisms still linger.
Despite all of this, it cannot be mistaken that Sniper loves his job. He doesn't like to publicly admit it for fear of sparking doubts about his professionalism, but it's there. How else could he devote the majority - if not all - of his life to it? Not only is sniping quite a financially comfortable vocation, he cannot mistake the rush he gets when a headshot lands... although it's pretty frequent in Sniper's case thanks to his improbable (albeit canon) aiming skills.
But he isn't always so quiet when he's pursuing a hit. He often deals scathing criticisms (mentally or verbally, whichever happens to be less dangerous) towards those he kills, usually insulting their lack of fighting prowess. This not only shows evidence of assimilation - as many of his teammates on RED have done exactly the same thing - but it is also one of those aforementioned coping mechanisms. While the derision he utilizes might be apt on occasion, he mainly uses insults to dehumanize his victims. It might be surprising that he would need such measures but while he may like to claim to be emotionless he is not technically a psychopath... though he does occasionally border on it.
This shows he can be quite a hypocrite regarding the first clause of his motto (as quoted above) - in other words, politeness. He is civil only towards those who deserve it. It is difficult to anger Sniper, even when you're doing your utmost to push his buttons, but should you find yourself in such a situation, he will take all the time possible to prove each of your points wrong. He is considerably opinionated on the subject of assassination considering how it is commonly seen as a madman's job, for he sees it as quite the contrary. If you don't see the error in your ways, you may have just cemented your place on his bad side. Still, he won't kill you unless there's some money in it. He wouldn't give you that kind of satisfaction.
(On a somewhat related note, his insults can be casually misogynistic and he tends not to assume that females could be proficient fighters. But Pandora's general gender equality is helping matters somewhat because holy dooley, women can shoot?)
Though he doesn't like to come across as too arrogant, Sniper claims to be capable of killing just about anyone so long as his weapons continue to serve him, and yes, he might be capable. But he draws one simple psychological line: he could never kill his parents. Although they don't agree with the path he has taken (his father especially), he could never end either one of their lives. If they were in danger he would make their rescue his highest priority.
But at least his family is clear with him on one thing. He chose to go into assassination. He was not forced to do so, nor would he allow anyone to do that to him. And he simply abhors people who try to imply that his choices weren't his fault. Why would he feel the need to excuse those choices? He is perfectly content with the way his life is going.
Sniper stands at a tall height and is very lean; his legs are especially thin, in comparison to his more toned arms. He possesses a face with strong features and stubble bordering the midpoint between a five o'clock shadow and an intentional (or unintentional - I'm sure he didn't get all that much time to shave on the battlefield) effect. Underneath the slouch hat he near-constantly wears is a closely-cut head of brown hair; he also has small sideburns. Obscuring his brown eyes are a pair of aviators. A thin scar runs down his left cheek to his nose, now just a memory from a previous scuffle.
His movements and general gait are pretty casual; he speaks with an Australian accent and often appears to be something of a stereotype, specifically of the 'Ocker Aussie' (though if the topic is brought up he's keen to point out he's 'not some bloody cartoon').
Sniper's clothing is based on a colour scheme of brown and red - in other words, the RED uniform specifications. The brown trousers, belt, and shoes aren't really of much note other than for the fact that he owns a great number of similar - if not identical - garments. Generally speaking, he'll also be wearing a red shirt adorned with a yellow crosshair pattern on each shoulder, signifying his class - though he has since acquired tops that don't give his job away so blatantly. On top of that is a leather gillet-style vest jacket with spare ammunition in each pocket; there's also a small satchel strapped to his waist which contains yet more bullets and whatever else he deems necessary to carry around. He keeps a fingerless glove and watch on his left hand. Sniper may strap his (concealed) rifle to his back, which may otherwise carry the sheath for his kukri or a quiver, when he's using his bow.
John Watson - pretty good friends; Sniper finds John fairly amiable! Thread hasn't gotten off the ground yet so unsure of details.
Marisa Kirisame - Sniper's student, so to speak; he gave her a quick run-through of the basics of firearms. They share a few opinions on just who should be allowed to handle weapons... just not quite in the same ways.
Mindy Macready - fellow RED team member. Sniper is very glad to know such a seasoned young fighter and looks forward to working with her further.
Riza Hawkeye - unknown but soon to come!
Sylvanas Windrunner - what no Sniper cannot comprehend someone who can't die. D8
The Medic - good friends! Medic is irredeemably crazy but hey, he does his job and Sniper can't complain as long as they're on the same side.
The Pyro - ... er... Sniper really has no idea about this guy. It's pretty difficult to talk to a guy who can only mumble through a gas-mask. He's not so much a fan of fire, having met the flames of the BLU Pyro a few times... but again, he's glad to work with RED Pyro since he's so efficient at just killing people, though it's unknown if the 'friendly fire' works in Pandora.
The Scout - these guys argue a lot. And it's wonderful (OOC, of course - I doubt either of them agree with that description lolol). Sniper finds Scout a regular bratty kid with a penchant for violence... but has grown fond of him, a bit of a given after working with him for so long.
In the early 1930s, Richard Mundy was born and raised on a farm in Adelaide, situated in a very different Australia to the one commonly known. His earlier back-story will make far more sense if these differences are explained, at least somewhat. At some point in the 1850s, a rare new element was discovered in the country, to be then christened as Australium. The metal was highly sought after for its transformative elements, which brought about a new, highly technologically-advanced age (to the degree of teleporters and cloaking devices). It also had a significant effect on anyone exposed to it; after this exposure, one's intelligence, physical strength, and amount of facial hair would skyrocket. There were a few 'anomalies' when it came to this effect, making the metal impact negatively on one's common sense, at least in certain cases. Sniper's family was also a bit of an anomaly. They were genetically wired in a way that meant Australium didn't have an effect on them at all. In any other country the Mundy household would be considered perfectly respectable, a normal family of three if ever you had seen one. Here? They were outcasts - even savages, to some. Despite this, their agricultural services were still somewhat of use, though they were still on the receiving end of a few odd looks; they knew full well that they could never settle into an urban life (as many people had, following the technological revolution).
Sniper doesn't talk much about the details of his childhood. Ever. The only detail we can assume is that he probably discovered his talent for shooting during this period, possibly at quite a young age, bearing in mind this was a universe where violence was much more of an issue and very little weapons legislation had been implemented. Skip ahead a few years to his early adulthood and we're at the point he left home for the outback, to track rare and dangerous game. Unforgiving as the environment was, he quickly adapted and spent about a decade living this life, returning home for a week or two between stretches of hunting that often lasted a year or more. These trips not only refined his aim to the near-flawless standard it remains at today but they also isolated him from the rest of humanity, which resulted in a persistent desperation for self-sufficiency. He had to know that he needn't rely on anyone else.
But contrary to Sniper's belief, his talents were not going unnoticed. In the last few months of his outback days, he had gotten the attention of quite a few future employers. He was then faced with the opportunity to extend his practice to the extermination of human life, and thus, his first assassination contract was born. He had reasoned it out with himself for a week or two, and, satisfied, he got on the first plane to an unknown location in the USA to shoot an anonymous target.
More ambiguity ensued, regarding exactly what happened between then and the point he was finally offered a job with RED. Maybe he travelled the world, maybe he remained in the States, or maybe the frequency of his journeys were somewhere in between the two. Either way... he probably gained quite a reputation for his total reliability.
Then we come to the meat of the story. A woman called to offer him a contract with Reliable Excavation and Demolition, a mercenary team and subdivision of TF Industries. Terms were discussed, followed by his acceptance of the job, which put a stopper on his travels. It was around this point that he came clean to his parents about what he had been doing all these years; he did so very reluctantly to discover exactly what he had anticipated: they were not too pleased about it. His mother was more forgiving than his father, but still he felt the alienation coming from them both. Not much could heal the relationship and the sledgehammer he had seemingly brought to his parents' hopes of him becoming something 'respectable' or 'honest', up against a cynical world like this one.
But things picked up. The rush of battle was exhilarating as the team was pitted against BLU (Builders League United), an incredibly similar team. They fought over intelligence and land for many a day in the rustic atmosphere of Teufort, USA. He became friends with the questionably-sane bunch of fighters he worked with, though still keeping them at some distance on the off-chance one of them was horribly slaughtered and the grief affected his good aim - he wasn't so used to working in groups, after all. They appreciated his help and he appreciated theirs; if they didn't distract the enemy then he could never get any nice clean headshots. Well, he probably could. But they made his life easier, and he could return the favour by making areas simpler to capture. It was the perfect relationship of give and take.
One day in Winter, the black cords grabbed a hold of Sniper, granting him just enough time to reflexively grab his rifle and kukri before he was dragged down and then found himself in a new and unfamiliar world.
Nuuu, not yet.