From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Small Town, Big Dreams
Growing up Peter Strathearn had been a pretty much run of the mill kid. Played the normal games kids play, got into as much trouble as he could in school, wasn't an especially gifted athlete but he was set apart in his one obsession which was to be a fire fighter. His family were natives of Ireland who had moved to their small town outside Paragon when he was about 6 months old due to threats against their lives by terrorists back in Ireland. His father had been a police officer, and unable to continue that line of work joined the fire department. While many of his young friends would watch the news and dream of becoming a great hero like the Statesman or Positron, he watched the news and knew he wanted to become a fire fighter. The idea of putting yourself in harms way without any special powers or fancy gadgets to help you, just your training and your buddies there with you saving the day. His father of course encouraged this and often would take him down to the fire station to hang out with the crews there, and he often was found sitting in the fire engine making siren noises and pretending to be driving to disasters far and wide. One rather fanciful daydream had him saving the Statesman himself to which his father would just laugh and shake his head when he heard about it.
When he was 18 he went to college fully intending to graduate as early as possible and sign on with his home fire service. He would have skipped college altogether but for his mothers insistence that he get himself a good education.
It was while studying at Paragon University he met the great love of his life Sian Williams. The two met during the freshman welcoming party and immediately disliked each other. He was an easy going guy who liked to joke around a lot, and she was the serious bookworm that just sighed and rolled her eyes at him. Introduced by mutual friends, their first conversation was an argument about the ethics of military super-heroes which ended with her storming out of the party in a rage and Peter smouldering in anger for the rest of the night. The fact that they got under each others skin so quickly meant only irked them the more and they jousted verbally on many occasions on a range of topics from the serious to the silly, their irritation with each other only fuelling the speculation by their friends that they actually were in love and just putting on a show. Ans so their friends conspired and both Peter and Sian were tricked into a bedroom under various pretences. With both of them in the room they were locked in and it didn't take more than a few moments for the accusations to start flying like arrows. Much to the relief and delight of their friends the arguing gave way to an embrace and slightly awkward first kiss between the two, their true feelings finally coming to the fore.
The two dated the rest of their time at college, and set to marry six months after they'd graduated. She graduated and got a job teaching at the local elementary school while Peter signed on to and joined up with his fathers fire department and his zeal for his chosen career showing to be as great as it had been when he was a child.
For a time their life took on a sense of normalcy, Peter working as hard as he could at his firefighting, Sian working in the school. To them their world was as complete as they could hope for, the only 'bump' in their world being when Sian fell pregnant and gave birth to a son whom they named Dillon after Sians' grandfather.
But fate has a nasty habit of upsetting the balance of life and such was part of Peter & Sians fate. One day, out of the blue, the station house was put on full alert and called out to a dangerous fire at a research lab run by Crey Biotech. Arriving first on the scene Peters tender got straight to work tackling the blaze, when they were informed that there were scientists still trapped inside. Ignoring the warnings and the heat Peter led the team into the building in search of them, sheer determination and the skill of his comrades helping them get to the lab where the scientists were trapped. Making sure that they were all clear Peter was the last to leave but it was too late, the fires caught something in the lab and there was an explosion that completely enveloped Peter and he was feared dead as part of the building collapsed. By this time the other tenders from other fire services arrived and were fighting the blaze for all they were worth eventually subduing it some hours later. Peters body was pulled from the wreckage of the lab, barely alive and burned beyond recognition. Rather than send him to a hospital he was taken by a special med-unit from Crey who had a facility nearby with the promise that he would be given the best care they could offer for saving the lives of several of their key scientists. While he was being medi-vaced to the facility Peters co-workers had to make the drive to his home to tell Sian what had happened.