Max is a genetically-enhanced human prototype hunted by her former military handlers through the edgy, underground street life version of 21st century America. Max is aided in her quest - both to avoid capture and reunite with her "siblings" scattered in the aftermath of their escape - by Logan Cale
Like all the other X5s, Ben was created as an embryo in a test tube. He was twinned, resulting in Alec/X5-494, and they were implanted in surrogate mothers paid to carry the children for Manticore. The twins were kept in separate units.
Along with Max/X5-452, Zack/X5-599, and others, Ben was raised at Manticore's facility in Gillette, Wyoming, and trained to be a soldier by Colonel Donald Lydecker. He was very popular among his unit-mates, or "siblings", due to his personality and great imagination.
Always looking for answers, Ben would make up fantastic stories to explain all the questions he and his brothers and sisters had, which helped them deal with the hard life they lived. He said that there was a Good Place, where only the best soldiers were allowed to go, and a Bad Place full of "nomlies" (anomalies, less fortunate Manticore experiments whom the X5s were afraid of as children), where those who failed were sent. He also made butterfly shadows on the wall with his hands to entertain the others.
One night, when one of his brothers was having a seizure, a Manticore janitor noticed and went to comfort the boy, giving him a picture of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards, Ben would say that the "Blue Lady", as Max called her, was watching over them. The children sacrificed some of their teeth "to make her heart stronger to fight the nomlies."
At some point during their training, the X5s were made to participate in an exercise involving the hunting down and killing of a condemned prisoner (who would have been taken off death row in the unlikely event of his evading them), a task which they accomplished with ruthless effectiveness. Ben, in particular, was exhilarated by the hunt, and even Lydecker was alarmed by the savagery of their killing of the prisoner.
One day, during a drill, his brother Jack collapsed from a seizure and was taken away by the guards. The others never saw him again, and Jack died of his seizures. Ben took Jack's death particularly hard, unable to understand why the "Blue Lady" had abandoned them.
Eventually, the X5s rebelled, escaping the facility in 2009 and fleeing into the forest, where they split up and left Manticore far behind.
Nothing is known of Ben's life as a teenager in the years immediately after the escape or what events may have influenced his eventual pscyhosis. He claimed that nothing made sense outside of Manticore.
Psychosis and Death:
At some point around 2018, Ben, for reasons his siblings would never understand, lost his mind and began killing people in various major cities across the United States. In 2020 he made his way to Seattle, where he claimed two more victims. His M.O. was always the same: he captured his intended targets, those he believed "worthy" of the Blue Lady's protection, tattooed them with his own barcode on their necks, armed them, and proceeded to release them into a forest, where he hunted them down and killed them by breaking their necks. He would then pull out their teeth, as he had done back at Manticore, and left the body to be found. Signs of his unbalanced mental state could be seen in his apartment, having covered the walls and other objects with words from Manticore indoctrination sessions, such as Mission, Discipline, and Duty.
Ben's old unit-mate, Max, who was living in Seattle at the time, learned of his killings through Eyes Only, and tracked him down. Unwilling to turn him in to the police, for fear of exposure, she tried to convince him to stop, but to no avail. Ben escaped her and went after another victim, Father Destry. By this time, Lydecker had followed Ben to Seattle, and was also beginning to close in on him. Max followed Ben into the forest, and intervened just before he could kill his target. She then fought him, giving his victim time to escape, and accidentally crippled him by breaking his leg. Manticore's soldiers were close now, close enough that both X5s would have been caught if Max tried to carry Ben to safety. Unable to escape, and unwilling to be taken back, he begged Max to kill him. Sadly, knowing that returning to Manticore would be worse than death, she told him to tell her about the Good Place, and while Ben was distracted, she snapped his neck.
Ben was survived by his identical twin brother Alec/X5-494. Ben never met Alec and never became aware of Alec's existence, but Alec was aware of Ben because his escape and psychosis both resulted in Alec being sent to Psy-Ops. Alec was given a clean bill of mental health after a period of observation, showing that Ben's insanity was not caused by genetic factors.
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