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Nigel Orpington-Smythe served in the British Armed Forces during an unspecified conflict. His conduct at this time resulted in his being decorated as a war hero.
Orpington-Smythe became an M.P. and member of the British Cabinet, serving as Minister of Defence.
He was involved in the set up of R.C.X., replacing the defunct S.T.R.I.K.E., which was tasked with dealing with parahumans within the U.K. In the wake of the Jaspers' Warp, R.C.X. was given the task of gathering the Warpies, children mutated as a result of the reality disruption.
Orpington-Smythe came to view the Warpies as a resource which the country could use. Several R.C.X. agents, led by Gabriel and Michael, became sure he intended to forge the children into an army.
To prevent this, they took the children and fled to Braddock Manor, seeking the protection of Captain Britain.
However, once both Captain Britain and his sister Betsy moved out of the Manor, leaving the Warpies in the care of Mastermind, Orpington-Smythe forcibly retrieved the escapees, both agents and Warpies.
At some point Orpington-Smythe left the Cabinet, and took more direct control over R.C.X., assuming the codename of Peter. In public life, he was seen simply as a government spokesman on National Security.
In his public capacity, Nigel Orpington-Smythe delivered a statement to the press praising Excalibur for helping the emergency services at a train derailment. He claimed the lack of fatalities was entirely due to the heroes' help, and that he believed they should rewarded in the Queen's New Year Honour's List.
The destruction of Excalibur's lighthouse cut off the energies which were sustaining the Warpies' mutated forms, and many of them began to "destabilise", reverting to human (and in some cases dying as a result). Peter became convinced that the sudden genetic destabilization of the Warpies was the prelude to an invasion of Britain, engineered by a covert parahuman organisation seeking to reduce his country's defences. He became obsessed with making sure R.C.X. would be in a position to mount a suitable resistance to this.
Wishing to consolidate R.C.X.'s power, Peter arranged for out-of-date British State secrets to be electronically transmitted to S.H.I.E.L.D., then had Brigadier Alysande Stuart, the head of rival government agency W.H.O. (Weird Happenings Organisation) framed for the leak.
When Alysande Stuart was killed by Jamie Braddock prior to her court-martial, Peter had W.H.O. absorbed into R.C.X., and picked up the contracts of all its staff.
With another rival agency, F.I.6, recently disbanded following the loss of many of its personnel during a disastrous mission, the surviving agents were transferred to R.C.X. Peter extended an invitation to F.I.6's super-powered operative, Micromax, and when he ignored it, sent the Cherubim to kidnap him. He also sent Snoop to monitor Brian Braddock and Meggan on their holiday on the English South coast. Meanwhile Alistaire Stuart, brother of the deceased Alysande, attempted to infiltrate R.C.X.'s headquarters on the trail of the people who had destroyed his sister's reputation. Aware of Stuart's actions, Peter allowed him to find and enter Cloud Nine, as well as to contact his allies in Excalibur, then had the Seraphim capture him, so he could be used as bait to draw the superhero team into Peter's trap.
Peter was present with Nicholas when Alistaire regained consciousness. He apologised for the Seraphim's knocking Alistaire out, and introduced himself by his R.C.X. codename (Peter). The still groggy Alistaire recognised him as Orpington-Smythe, head of R.C.X, and angrily brought up the framing of Alysande. When Peter brushed what this last as ancient history, Alistaire shakily tried to attack Peter, who summoned the Advocates to dissuade the use of violence. Held immobile by Aberdeen Angus, Alistaire defiantly stated he had called Excalibur, only to be informed that Peter was aware of this, indeed had deliberately allowed it, and had arranged a suitable reception.
Stating that the Seraphim had captured Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Cerise and were bringing them to the reception area, Peter gave Alistaire a potted tour en route to meet them. Alistaire spotted that R.C.X. had Micromax in one of their labs, restrained and undergoing medical experiments. Peter informed Alistaire that Micromax had a cavalier attitude to the obligations his powers brought with them, and when Alistaire stated that since Micromax worked for F.I.6 and thus it was none of Peter's business, Peter informed him of the absorption of both F.I.6 and W.H.O. into R.C.X. Alistaire reacted angrily to the idea of working for R.C.X., and Peter tried to calm him, stating they were there to "contain, protect and educate parahumans".
Their discussion was interrupted by a team of medics led by Mr.Jordan, who were rushing a destabilising Warpie toddler to sickbay. The Warpie, Beetroot, made telepathic contact with Alistaire just before he died, allowing him to see the inhumane medical experiments R.C.X. had carried out on him. Alistaire angrily punched Peter across the jaw before Aberdeen Angus knocked him out. Peter ordered Alistaire to be given medical attention, and Beetroot to be autopsied.
Peter continued to the reception area with the Advocates, where he found Nightcrawler battling the Serpents, animalistic Warpies which had escaped from their containment area. He witnessed the mutant defeating dozens of the Serpents, and once the battle was done, expressed his admiration for Nightcrawler's martial skills. When Nightcrawler responded angrily over the assaults on his team, Peter pointed out that the mutant and his fellows had been trespassing on private property, and that as illegal aliens in the U.K., Peter was placing all three members of Excalibur under arrest.
While more of the Elite retrieved Excalibur ally Kylun from Scotland and others moved in on Captain Britain and Meggan on the south coast of England, Peter assigned Nightcrawler, Cerise and Shadowcat Warpie guides who would neutralize their powers. He tried to win them over, explaining that he knew of their reputation as heroes, but noting that under British law they were criminals and had tried to infiltrate a government establishment. He showed them Alistaire, apparently still unconscious after being struck by Angus. When Excalibur expressed anger at Alistaire's injuries, he admitted his agents had over-reacted but stated this was due to paranoia caused by the situation they faced. With this, he showed Excalibur a room full of Warpies held in suspended animation, explaining that two months back (about the time of the destruction of the team's lighthouse, though no one then made the connection) the base had been struck by a malady which began killing the parahumans within. Though still wary, Nightcrawler pledged his team's help.
Peter led the trio on a tour of the base, past a group of youthful para-human admirers, explaining the diversity of powers and forms of the superhuman youths within the facility. He explained to Nightcrawler, that as the only adult human mutant within the facility (Excalibur was unaware of the capture of Micromax or Kylun, and thus Peter deliberately did not mention them) could provide valuable data which might provide a cure, if he would allow R.C.X. to test him. While Nightcrawler worked his way through R.C.X.'s holographic training room, Peter, Cerise and Shadowcat watched the R.C.X. scientists analyse the telemetry readings this provided. However a medical alert alarm surreptitiously set off by Peter caused them to abort the program, and the R.C.X. chief informed Nightcrawler that he appeared to be infected with the disease which had devastated the Warpie ranks, and without a cure, only had a month to live.
Peter, Luke and Mr.Jordan listened to Snoop deliver a report detailing the Cherubim's capture of Captain Britain and Meggan. He expressed interest in the fact that Captain Britain's power seemed to be fluctuating during this, wondering if it was due to the same genetic destabilization affecting their operatives. Mr.Jordan suggested running their readings past Nicholas, R.C.X.'s genetics expert, but Peter over-ruled this, stating Nicholas was too naive in matters of security and trusting of Excalibur's good intentions.
When Captain Britain awoke, Peter was present to stop the enraged hero from going on a rampage. He informed Captain Britain that during the capture, the hero had inadvertently hit Meggan, leaving her close to death. She was now undergoing medical treatment, floating comatose in a tube of an unspecified liquid. Seeing this, the enraged hero rounded on Peter and angrily stated that the Cherubim had tricked him into striking her; Peter swiftly summoned several of the stronger Elite to forestall violence. Peter informed the hero that his failing powers were the result of a common enemy, and with the Captain's aid he hoped to find out who that was. Peter pointed out the recent growth in the para-human population of Britain, none of them accountable for their actions, and expressed the opinion that some of these new parahumans were behind the genetic destabilization, trying to eliminate the opposition. Somewhat reluctantly Captain Britain acquiesced to lending his help.
A little later Peter watched on a monitor as one of his Warpies imitated Shadowcat and tried to allay Nightcrawler's doubts by telling him she had done some investigating and turned up evidence showing Peter and R.C.X. to be the good guys.
Peter's spying continued as he watched Captain Britain sit vigil over the injured Meggan. He scoffed to Luke at how pathetic he felt the hero was, but said he would mold him into a "true patriotic symbol of our great land", using his heroic reputation to give R.C.X. a public image the masses could rally to. Luke expressed concern over Nightcrawler, but Peter stated his knowledge remained potentially useful, though in the long run he was expendable.
Their discussion was interrupted by Aberdeen Angus barging into the room and collapsing at their feet, beginning to genetically destabilise. Peter ordered Luke to place the sick Warpie in stasis, while he would go and work on preparing Captain Britain for "his role in the defense of our realm", declaring that the public must be prepared for the invasion he was sure to come.
Peter informed Captain Britain that with his powers in decline he would best be able to serve his country as a public liaison, leading a campaign to outlaw renegade parahumans. The hero countered by saying he was not a politician, but Peter was insistent that Captain Britain could rally the nation; Captain Britain replied that he was not a propaganda puppet, setting Peter off on a rant about how Britain had once been a glorious Empire until forces intent on her destruction had stolen this from her. Losing his temper at the Peter's demagoguery, Captain Britain smashed his fist down on a nearby console, disrupting the hologram of Meggan in the medical tank. Realising he had been deceived, the hero rushed Peter, but was blocked by the Elite who accompanied the R.C.X. leader. As they knocked the weakened hero to the ground, an enraged Peter told his Warpie guards to hit the hero every time he tried to stand. "He must be made to understand that if he is not prepared to serve his country, he is a traitor. Our enemy. And he will receive no mercy."
Despite suffering severe injuries, Captain Britain continued to get back up, refusing to capitulate, until the Warpies attacking him openly questioned Peter's repeated order to strike him. Peter was unyielding, and reluctantly the Warpie called Oak delivered a final blow to Captain Britain's head. Oak guilty noted that he believed he had killed the hero, but Peter remained unrepentant, stating again that Captain Britain had been a traitor. A young Warpie ran in to inform Peter that Excalibur had broken loose and were battling several of the Cloud Nine Elite on level six. Peter ordered Butane to gather any off-duty Elite and meet him at the lifts.
Peter arrived at the fight accompanied by nearly a dozen of the combat-trained Elite, but anticipating that one of his enemies might try to take him hostage, he had the illusionist Lump enter the chamber wearing his form. Sure enough, Nightcrawler teleported over to grab the faux Peter, only to be shot from behind with a taser by the real one. Peter then told his opponents to surrender, or he would continue to electrify Nightcrawler until the mutant died. His plan was thwarted when Captain Britain, revived by Roma, back at full strength and completely healed, reached over Peter's shoulder and crushed the weapon (and several fingers). Peter called for his Elite to aid him, but Oak informed him that he had told them they would be heroes; not killers; Peter was on his own. Still believing he was in the right, Peter futily began to punch Captain Britain in the face with his free hand. Eventually Nightcrawler convinced Captain Britain to release Peter, stating the R.C.X. chief was not evil, merely misguided. Peter's response to this was to call Nightcrawler a "filthy Kraut"; the German mutant concluded his description of Peter with "but he is also an insufferable, arrogant, bullying swine" , and he knocked said swine out with one punch.