From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Nine-Ball originally began as one of three throwaway villains for one of my superheroes before becoming his own playable character.
|Art by @Vyver|
|Player: @Drimble Wedge|
|Threat Level:||50 (+3)|
|Real Name:||William Carome|
|Known Aliases:||"Carombole" Bill|
|Nationality:||United States citizen, de facto citizen of the Rogue Isles|
|Place of Birth:||Paragon City, RI|
|Base of Operations:||St. Martial|
|Telepathy, telekinesis, flight|
|Cunning strategist, expert pool player|
|While Nine-Ball may appear rational at times, he is insane|
Once an average Joe, and then one among a multitude of costumed villains, the man called Nine-Ball may yet become one of the major players working out of the Rogue Isles. While his future remains unknown it is certain that his rise to power can not bode well for anyone, especially for the good people of Paragon City.
Nine-Ball began his life as William Carome, just a regular guy trying to make ends meet in the slums of King's Row. After being laid off from his job as a dockworker in Paragon City's Independence Port he became desperate for cash. Something of an avid pool player in his youth, he attempted to win money by hustling local barrooms, but this also ended in failure. Faced with the possibility of homelessness, he became receptive to a job offer put out by the notorious crime syndicate known as the Family.
Not wanting to be involved in any violent act, William agreed to serve as a lookout while a team of goons entered into one of the bars he use to frequent. What was to be a standard shakedown turned into an armed robbery as the owner refused to cooperate, and even tripped a silent alarm. Police were on the way, but a superhero by the name of Charlatan got there first.
William was barely aware anything was amiss before the master magician arrived, and with a wave of the hand was cast into a state of total stupor. The rest of the criminals were caught and captured as well, but when all was said and done William would not awake from his hypnosis-induced slumber.
For weeks he occupied a hospital bed, comatose, until one day he suddenly awoke, changed in a manner no one could have predicted. Fueled by nothing more than the mysterious power of the human mind, William gained amazing new abilities, all of which were seemingly opened and tapped as a result of his jarring psychological experience. Unfortunately he was also belligerent and delusional, and gained a bizarre fixation on the game of pool.
William escaped from the hospital, classified a missing person. Months later, Paragon City was briefly rocked by a new threat in the form of a local street thugs known as the Rack 'Em Up Gang, all of which were dressed to resemble numbered billiard balls, some of which boasted frightening super powers. Partnering with police, heroes succeeded in stopping a bank robbery lead by one of the gang's enforcers, Cue Ball, which lead them to a message asking for a confrontation with the hero Charlatan. Tracked to their secret hideout, a battle ensued wherein all members of the gang were defeated and arrested, including the apparent brains of the operation, a woman named Eight Ball. This proved to be a ruse, however, as the gang's true leader tried to escape. A final battle followed, and the real leader of the Rack 'Em Up Gang was revealed to be none other than William Carome under his new alias of Nine-Ball.
The Push Out
William did time in Zigursky Penitentiary where he met other villains who had a similar history. Banding together with Made Man, Mountebank, and Occultist, they formed the Kill Charlatan Squad and escaped. Their combined effort succeeded, yet rather than slay the superhero they equally hated he was secretly locked away in Praetoria's famed Behavioral Adjustment Facility. There he would live the life of a prisoner, just as he had made all of them. Whatever happened to Charlatan after that is unknown.
Nine-Ball found himself incarcerated again, and this time called upon the remnant members of his Rack 'Em Up Gang to free him. When they failed to answer, he learned that his former minion Eight-ball was attempting to revive and control the group in his absence, leaving him to rot in jail. A double-cross was arranged whereby Eight-ball and Cue Ball were forced to try to break him out anyway, only to be left behind to take his place while Nine-Ball escaped. He then left Paragon City for good, fleeing to the Rogue Isles.
Nine-Ball has since joined up with other villains in the Rogue Isles, including his most reliable partner in crime known as Maestro Fortissimo. Together they have become the founding members of United Underworld. Nine-Ball was appointed the first leader of its ruling body, the Council of Chaos. As such, he was in a position to enact his greatest master plan to date, a scheme to extend his madness over an unsuspecting group of superheroes known as the Challengers. Unfortunately for him this scheme proved unsuccessful in its final application, allowing for the heroes to escape with their sanity intact. However, as Nine-Ball stepped back into the shadows as one of United Underworld's elite he continued to pose a serious threat to the good people of Paragon City.
During the event known as the Music of Mayhem, Maestro Fortissimo orchestrated a grand assault on Paragon by inciting the people to madness with his hypnotic voice, providing cover for members of United Underworld to commit various crimes throughout the city. Nine-Ball gathered up his old Rack 'Em Up Gang and used them to loot various business all across Independence Port during the chaos, piling the stolen goods and money into a cargo ship that would then be launched and taken back to the Rogue Isles. While Nine-Ball personally saw to the operation, a team of heroes representing the Challengers and the Grey Watch followed the trail of violence to his presence, first defeating Cue Ball along the port, and then Eight-ball at the docks. Nine-Ball retreated within the cargo ship where the heroes followed and engaged him in a super-powered battle. Though he was able to temporarily fell Sovereign Fist, the combined might of Savage Stripe, Asunder, Foxy Ferret, and Replacer took the madman down for good. Nine-Ball was subdued and arrested with the intent to turn him over to the authorities once more.
Much to his surprise, Nine-Ball found himself in a satellite prison orbiting Earth. This unique situation did not last very long, however, as by manipulating the visiting Foxy Ferret he was able to ensure his escape and use the prison's facilities to teleport him back to the Rogue Isles.
Despite his superhuman abilities, Nine-Ball is not a mutant, or even the result of some chance freak of science. Rather, he is an example of tapping into the vast psychic potential of the human brain, opening the mind to powers few would ever think were possible.
After willing his body to become supremely healthy and fit, Nine-Ball possesses the normal strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in intensive regular exercise.
Nine-Ball's mental abilities are many, the limits of which are still unknown. He can communicate with others telepathically, as well as produce images and transmit emotions. He can scramble the thoughts of others into complete disorientation or simply shut down their body's responses entirely. He can use telekinesis to lift objects as well as turn this ability inward in order to hover or fly. He can produce or enhance hallucinations in others including simply removing himself from all perception, making him virtually invisible. He can project destructive psionic energy in the form of a blistering bolt, expanding waves, or terrifying cyclonic storms.
Nine-Ball has been known to help others channel their untapped potential and acquire super powers of their own. He did this to many members of the Rack 'Em Up Gang, resulting in many varied outcomes, the most notable examples being Cue Ball and Eight-ball.
More recently, Nine-Ball has developed several new abilities as his powers have grown and started to attune himself to the fabled Well of Furies. One such attack are his dangerous "Pool Sharks," the psychic manifestation of hungry, man-eating sharks that maul everything in their path. Similarly, but much more potent, is his ability to summon a pair of powerful psychic phantoms, each capable of operating independently from their master with their own attacks and abilities. Finally, Nine-Ball has pushed the limits of his mind-bending abilities and has learned to transfer matter from one place to the other with super-charged energy, resulting in his being able to summon many allies to himself with a great burst of power.
Nine-Ball is most commonly recognized in his outfit consisting of solid yellow covering him completely from head to toe. It displays a white circle with the number "9" in black, resembling that of the number nine billiard ball.
Nine-Ball started his career as William Carome, who for a brief time worked for the Family. After gaining super powers and becoming a villain, he started the shortly-lived Rack 'Em Up Gang, which terrorized the city until its fall and capture. During his first stint in jail he became a member of the exclusive Kill Charlatan Squad, a team-up that ended after the group's goal was completed.
Now in the Rogue Isles, Nine-Ball is a leading member in United Underworld, a ruthless organization of costumed super criminals with their sights set on Paragon City and the world at large.
- The adventure detailing Nine-Ball's introduction, and subsequent fall, can be found in the published AE arc #446140, "Pool Balls and Broomsticks."
- After trying out several different Dominator power sets, the current and presumably permanent version of Nine-Ball is an Arachnos Widow Fortunata.
- Nine-Ball wears a solid yellow color for his costume, even though the 9-ball in a game of pool is a stripe. Chalk that up to a lack of costume options.