The Fourth Generation
Ugat (Michael Peña)
Transformed plant/tree creature
Michael goes by “UGAT,” which is Tagalong for “root.” He took the name because there were already a Golden Age hero and a Bronze age technopath villain named "Root "
His body is made up of plant matter, usually resembling a large tree. He has control over this form though, and can reshape his body at will, making his limbs longer and attacking with clawed branches, heavy fists and stomps, or even sending roots through the ground to attack at a distance. He can talk to other plants, and even influence them. In terms of raw power and potential, UGAT has very few limits. He has even managed to pull his body back into a mostly human “Groot-like” form.
Abilities: Inhuman Might, Plant Affinity, Transmuting Flesh, Superhuman Senses
Most of the time, however, he is a tree, hulking and dark of mood, devouring the sunlight and dreaming of the future. He does not use a secret identity. There has not been a villain dumb enough to try and anger the angry plant monster by threatening his relatives, and there is no hiding his form behind a domino mask.
Note: Michael recently absorbed the memories of an alternate version of himself, Mika, from a world where she was an enforcer for the Oolo. There are changes coming.
Moves: I am not my Body, Not Human Enough, Wish I Could Be, Be The Monster, Coming For You
- Atomic Gary knew Michael before he changed, before both of their powers manifested. But where Gary has been racked with emotional turmoil about his Nova powers, Michael feels his Transformation gave him a purpose. Gary “ended” their friendship in return for healing the damage his Atomic blast did to Michael’s mother.
- Outsider Pete has never seen Michael when he wasn’t a tree, and has never treated his transformed nature as if it was anything unnatural. By treating him like just another human, Pete reinforces Michael’s humanity. Michael occasionally has a hard time thinking of himself as human anymore.
- Reflect During their origin, when the Demon Teacher was using them to commit crimes, Michael was more beast than boy. It was Robbie who told him “you don’t have to be the monster. Don’t let anyone tell you to be anything you don’t want to be.” That rebellious attitude is what kicked Michael out of being a monster supervillain, and put him on the path to being a hero.
- Bodyguard Michael sees Vanessa as his strong right hand on the team, and the one willing to throw herself between danger and everybody else. On one hand, he envies her ability to turn off her powers, and just be a normal girl. On the other hand, he knows her focus is always going to be split between the two sides of her life.
- L’Esprit Michael doesn’t quite know what to make of this teammate. She has chosen the superhero life, and he respects that choice, but he hasn’t seen her skills hold up to her desires. Nevertheless, she seems to know more about being a superhero than he does.
- Officer Michael considers Joey like another one of his crazy cousins, so anxious to “prove himself a man,” that he puts those around him in danger. But he knows the direct approach never works, and so he’s trying to bring him around via example. On the other hand, Joey’s moral compass is a needed counterpoint to Michael’s own jaded outlook.
- Calevara In costume, Calevara is another strong, front-line fighter that UGAT can use to screen the rest of the team to accomplish the tactical goal. Out of costume, Michael wants to make sure that Sarah doesn’t become like him if she doesn’t want to: having her powers shouldn’t transform her entire life into superheroics if she doesn’t want that.
*Cygnus UGAT is willing to give Cygnus a chance to be a hero. Wanting to be a famous hero hasn’t really conflicted with that… until now, when her cameras may have helped reveal Sarah’s identity. But her desire to be part of the team isn’t something that Ugat is willing to ignore just because of the same errors that everybody makes.
*Exemplars UGAT has seen Omega and Lady Knight taken down by teammates, he himself knocked out Gold Raven, and, powerless, he stood up to Dr. Cosmos. Miracle Woman asked for HIS help. Badger seemed to treat him like an equal, or at least not as a kid. UGAT has lost most of his hero-worship of the Exemplars, and was really disappointed they couldn’t be the role models their name implies.
- The Violent Crew and The Cleanup Crew – Michael feels like these two teams were possible “alternatiive” ways his life could have gone. He feels the Cleanup Crew thought too small and the Violent Crew didn’t think about their repercussions at all. He’s hoping to steer all of them into stronger life choices, even if that means his team will have to face down some of them in the future.
Michael Joshua Pena was a perfectly ordinary teenager, hoping to become a poet or a writer when he graduated high school. He lived with his mother Rose, who works on the Miramar Air Force base as a civilian roboticist. Michael’s father left his mother at the same time he was deported from the country years ago, but the Pena Family has an innumerable amount of cousins that helped provide him with role models. Michael was a good kid.
The summer he turned fifteen, he was working with his father’s former landscaping firm, working for his “Uncle” Dominic. Michael was mowing the grass in the industrial park owned by the Thule Corporation. There was a spill, and Michael was hospitalized as he was coated with an unknown chemical substance. He began to change, and a week later, Michael was a six foot intelligent tree.
A year later, Michael had enough control to speak and move. In the meantime, his old high school had been accidentally destroyed by Atomic. That was fine, Michael was now going to Halcyon High with the other freaks, as they were able to accommodate his “special needs.” His cousin Gloria is thrilled to have a family member help her with her graduate degree in botany.
Rose was assigned to an Air Force unit overseas for her robotics knowledge as a civilian deployment. She is now home, and agrees Uncle Dominic (now retired from his settlement from THULE) was a very lazy “legal guardian” when Michael isn’t out doing “Superhero Stuff.” Rose seems to be working for the Exemplar, Badger behind the scenes.
Why did Michael change when exposed to the chemical spill? What sort of life can a freak such as Michael expect? With all of his power, what good does that do him when it comes to high school? The only peers that seem to understand him are the rest of his Delinquent friends who are all as messed up as he is.
(Character Picture by Ron Leman of Blizzard’s Treant from WOW)