Wu-Long Zhang
Wu-Long
Portrayed By Jang Dong-Gun
Sex Male
Status Unregistered Evolved
Ability Energy Attenuation
Age 40 (deceased)
Date of Birth January 4, 1969
Date of Death January 15, 2008
Occupation Freelance
Family Zhang Mu-Qian (wife); parents, son and daughter (status unknown)
Significant Other(s) Zhang Mu-Qian (wife), Odessa Knutson (unresolved)
First Appearance Everyone Is Here
Last Appearance By The Sword
You ask how I spend my time—
I nestle against a tree trunk
and listen to autumn winds
in the pines all night and day.

Shantung wine can't get me drunk.
The local poets bore me.
My thoughts remain with you,
like the Wen River, endlessly flowing.

Li Po, To Tu Fu from Shantung

A former soldier of the People's Liberation Army and Blackwater Worldwide operative, Wu-Long was recruited to the Vanguard's monstrous cause when his abilities caused a headline-worthy event. For several years, he found good sport in directed violence, and though his loyalty to was originally bought by his sick wife's benefactors, it ultimately transcended those mercenary beginnings and several grievous losses.

He died as he had lived: by the sword.


Character History

A Humble Beginning
Zhang Wu-Long. The name had too much Yang in it, his mother said. However, her husband insisted, raising the infant up to examine against the light, his indifference to his son's tiny growls and whines of protest belied by the gentleness of his touch. The man said, No need to be a superstitious old witch; it sounds strong, that's all a boy needs out of a name. Five conquering dragons. The woman looked out of the window and frowned that it was raining on Tianjin that afternoon. This had been another omen whispered through her circle of friends in the twenty-seven years of her life: that the Heavens wept when an evil creature was born, that they would shine when he died.

Soon, her fears were displaced by more motherly concerns. She watched him, fed him, clothed Wu-Long as he grew. Her husband was in trade at a respectable financial bracket, the main merchandise and niche market being durian, the spiny-husked fruit with its distinctive pungence and highly-sought flesh. Wu-Long's grandfather had initially opened the business but lacked the same acuity that had allowed the company to flourish in the next generation's leadership. Wu-Long's father learned from his predecessor's mistakes, had an excellent memory for faces, and seemed to know the price of everything; which is what people would say to his face as well as behind his back, in different tones of voice, sometimes a compliment, sometimes regarding bribes. You couldn't get far without those, though there were risks.

A certain species of courage for facing risks was something that Wu-Long apparently inherited either from his father or his name, which his father cheerfully took credit for anyway. He killed a large, fierce dog with a stick when he was ten, and his father had to drag his mother off him lest she beat him within an inch of his life; won a hundred RMB off his week's allowance on a toss of a dice when he was eleven, and didn't mind to lose it all again in the same throw the next week. He'd get it back, he said; he did.

Attending St. John's School for Boys, he went unmolested at first, made friends later, succeeded in coming down on the winning side in whatever social warfare he cared to wage less by virtue of actual virtue than selective interests; he did well in sports and drilled both mathematics and history studies into his head with the stolid discipline that he later discovered Chinese people were notorious for overseas. He brought schoolmates home sometimes. Between the marble-topped kitchen counter with its pyrite veins and the walls they took out to expand both bedrooms, the Zhangs' apartment suite was more than large enough to accomodate them as well as whatever American consuls, Party officials, or Japanese businessmen came over for dinner. None of them, the young ones or the adults, ever mentioned the faint strain of cat piss that scented the air, clinging to the back of the nose and lingering in the fibers of their hair and carpets, the sweet stench of durian.

Shadow

Zhang Hong-Long went bankrupt when his son was sixteen. The obscure and ineffable Nadir of homelessness and utter humiliation that had always been held threateningly over his head as the consequences of academic failure never occurred; instead, the crippled family sagged clumsily into mediocrity. There was scandal, to be sure, but they had been one relatively minor casualty in an anti-corruption crackdown whose waves weren't felt further than several other companies that had similar yearly turnover, a few you could have counted on one hand. Their home moved to a smaller apartment which was deprived, even, of pyrite accents. While Hong-Long's pride kept him out of the job market, his wife took easily to working at store desks. The smell of durian faded.

Wu-Long joined the People's Liberation Army when he turned seventeen. His mother didn't understand and his father said he was proud. The military took him despite that he was a year younger than the enlistment age, a minor detail that was overlooked while the rest of his glowing academic, athletic history, and breeding stood him in good stead. He sidestepped remarks on his uncouth, ye man Tibetan looks by clipping his hair short and ironing it flat. Perhaps surprisingly, he took to the rigid hierarchy, regimentation — and subordination — of the lifestyle well. More importantly by far, joining the PLA's ground forces was his first real exposure to the Communist ideology in its marketed and lectured parts, a strange and tolerable reprieve to the raging capitalism that sustained his father and morbidly fascinated his mother.

Since childhood he had known that he was not a maker of things. The most complex thing his hands could beget were arithmetic equations. At least, so it was until his ability to inflict physical injury outstripped his mathematical talents. Every Ground division had an intelligence liaison, and he became one of those training to extract information from enemy operatives. Between the study of firearms, maintaining his fitness, a basic education on communications, and vehicle operation, he was given time and instruction to practice, on both imported enemies and native dissenters such as the Falun-Gong.


Personality

(A gift from Deckard's player)

Wu-Long has been something of a magnificent beast for decades even before the manifestation of Evolved abilities. He is a few shades short on the emotional spectrum. Chalk it up to underdevelopment of his frontal cortex, damage in combat over the years, or a bad upbringing, whatever the case may be, he has a rather hard time empathizing with anybody. At times, this includes himself, which happens to result in an almost admirable shortage of self-pity. Even his sadistic streak, when fed, mainlines into a rough and raucous sense of foxhole humor rather than visceral pleasure.

That being said, he carries a certain sense of existential fatigue that comes of having gone for as many decades knowing he is a beast, that he is inherently destructive if not intrinsically 'evil,' and that his surprisingly long and bloody life will only be truly dignified by a reasonably quick and bloody death. Though he doesn't glorify his craft, he recognizes that being a soldier and fundamentally indiscriminate killer is one and tries to avoid doing it disservice, in his own way. He is brutal, remorseless, self-disciplined, noticeably impatient with those who are not, and therefore competent.

Not only would he be worse at what he does if he behaved like less of a beast, but he would also be insincere. No doubt, it would be a great stretch to call this a species of honor, but at the very least there is integrity in its consistency and intrigue if and when he makes exceptions. Importantly, he would not resent dying, and he does get lonely, if not passionately then powerfully in its own subtle way.

Though almost entirely self-contained and introspective, he's a social creature in an idiosyncratic sense. He enjoys doing his work within a group of people, thinking about the way real people go about being real people, spoiling the ones he likes, and punishing ones he doesn't care for. He's a Communist in the most facetious sense of the term, and facetiously dislikes Americans also. He cultivates Chinese superstitious paranoia for flavor and smiles without disingenuity, even if he doesn't like to laugh.

He isn't completely heartless. Indeed, he's something of a closet romantic. He's mad, but most of all about his wife, who is currently a vegetable in an hospital in Uppsala, Sweden. It's pretty hard to dote on her when she's like that, but he tries.


Evolved Human Ability

Wu-Long has the ability to attenuate energy, to adjust the wavelengths and particle density of many of its forms, including mass. This is limited to two main areas of effect.


Skills


Relationships

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Timeline

November Title Summary
5th Exercises In Apolitical Prejudice Wu-Long works well independently as well as with others. The objective is to start a war; he's finished enough of them to guess how.
Make A Splash Under Ethan's orders, Sylar and Wu-Long undertake kidnapping Gillian's hapless older sister. It hurts.
6th Suture Munin sews up her boys after a string of rough nights, and Dina joins the Vanguard out of the woodwork. Battles go sideways, but the war remains on track.
8th Unorthodox Rooftop Party Ethan entertains guests on top of Eagle Electric. Firearms are involved, in place of chips or dip.
10th Welcome To The Vanguard Sylar adopts a stray, one Dr. Odessa Knutson, characterized by a blondness and a tendency to attract one of Kazimir's more macabre entrance exams. Somehow, Wu-Long ends up responsible for the puppy.
11th Not The Perfect House Dad Wu-Long walks in on Ethan trying to add Amato's face to the assortment of stove-cooked dinner courses and, hilariously, tries to play at peacekeeper for all of ten seconds. That's not a euphemism for 'kill everybody in the room,' either.
13th Customer Service Wu-Long accompanies Sierra to go see how the Vanguard's other investment, Deckard, is doing. Not well, but next week could conceivably go far worse, according to Ethan's telephone order.
17th Reversible Wu-Long takes his puppy for a walk. She brings a brain home.

Memorable Quotes

  • "I love you." From Character Background (above). Big sap!
  • "How's it feel to be the sanest white person in the room?" A beat, considering who he's speaking to. "I don't think we'll find out tonight." To Dina, from Not The Perfect House Dad

Media

Gallery


Trivia and Notes

One puddle of dark
Two eyes, a mouth, flashing teeth
But where is the soul?
  • 'Wu Long' means 'Five Dragons' in Mandarin. His name is homage to the main character from Rice by Su Tong, whose brutality and superstitions provided some inspiration for constructing him. Other media influences include: psychopathy from everybody's favorite serial killer, Dexter, titular star of the Showtime TV series; the madness and lust of the Volson siblings from Melvin Burgess' Bloodtide, and power stunts from the gentleman with the thistle-down hair in Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Wu-Long's wife and their relationship was inspired by mixed race actress Reika Hashimoto's performance in the dark comedy Survival Style 5+. Wu-Long pretty much looks exactly like Jang Dong-Gun as Sin in the Korean film Taepung, give or take a few of the tattoos. His personality is heavily influenced by Confucianism.
  • Sylar is ideally going to kill him someday.
  • His wife's nose is no bigger than his own. Honestly, that was just his mother being difficult.
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