While Nikolae Thomas looks like one of those hipster college students trying to find their place in the world and make a mark on it, he would shoot down that assessment and any invites to a soul-searching career seminar. Ever since he was sixteen, he has known exactly what he wanted to do with his life: find a particular murderer and kill him.
As much as he would enjoy people’s reactions to that answer, he knows it would have a few unpleasant consequences and so, replies with, “a detective”.
Growing up in Camden, New Jersey, he knew what crime could do to life in general—the town was not ranked the most dangerous town in America for nothing—and as the son of the chief of police, he knew that being in law enforcement was no dream job. It was often thankless, very dangerous, and with recent events, highly controversial and scrutinized. Many have even said that working ‘eight hours in Camden is like working sixteen hours anywhere else’.
Despite attending more than his fair share of funerals, grieving with classmates, his father’s policemen, and strangers alike, and more than aware that someone would kill him simply for having a personal connection to law enforcement, Nikolae had always admired those who would take up the blue uniform and swear to protect and serve.
He has also always enjoyed crime shows and even developed a knack for solving the case before the characters did. Series such as Sherlock Holmes, Hawaii 5-0, and Columbo were favorites, and as he got older, he became more interested in the reality behind it, diving into true crime stories, newspapers, and scientific journals. His parents, knowing the dangers and the sacrifices that would be required of him if he went down this road, tried to persuade him to be interested in a different career, but he proved to be stubborn even in elementary school.
Along for the ride, in a parallel career choice, was his best friend Alex, who wanted to become a criminal profiler like his father, who worked for the FBI.
From the first day that they met, they were inseparable, from having dinner at each other’s houses, to bribing classmates to switch group members so they would always be working together. Neither of them were thrown off in the slightest when they were repeatedly warned about the long hours, the great amount of red tape, and the corruption and flaws in the justice system. If anything, they welcomed the constant challenge they would face.
Nikolae in particular never passed up on an opportunity to learn, reading medical journals and looking into cold cases, becoming friends with the local morticians, taking karate after school, and dragging Alex along with him for it all.
Eventually, everyone gave up trying to persuade them to aim for another career, and decided that it might be a good thing that they wanted to use their intelligences and passion for bringing justice to victims and making the streets safer. By high school, Nikolae and Alex were more than serious about going into law enforcement, no longer looking at it with just the wide-eyed fascination of a child, their classes and extracurricular activities reflecting this.
However, their lives were interrupted when they were sixteen.
Walking home from school, they took a back alley shortcut like they always did, but from behind, Nikolae was struck with something hard across the head and Alex was shot in the shoulder. While he was down, the assailant stepped forth and grabbed Alex. Nearly everything was a blur for Nikolae as he tried to regain his senses and prevent the kidnapping. The assailant, still with a gun, shot Nikolae in the leg and got away.
He never saw Alex again.
His only consolation was that he was able to claw at the attacker’s face and get some DNA under his fingernails. After the results came back, the city was rocked once more: instead of an unknown assailant or some sort of small-time criminal, the attacker was an unidentified serial killer that had been plaguing New England for months. Unable to pin him down or discern any sort of pattern, this evidence was not a breakthrough like some had hoped.
Though he would never admit it out loud, Alex’s kidnapping became the driving force behind Nikolae becoming a homicide detective now. It was no longer about wanting to make the streets safer for everyone or getting justice for everyone. He wanted to become skilled enough that he could take Alex’s case and solve it, killing the infamous serial killer if he could.
With this weighing on his mind, and the blame he put on himself for not managing to save Alex, he managed to finish high school with honors and make it into college without too many trips to a therapist. Many people around him worried, but he brushed them off and continued to focus on his classes and exams, slowly becoming more pessimistic and bitter.
Attending the Camden campus of Rutgers University to get a degree in criminal justice and psychology, things turned for the worse in his junior year. While the police tried to keep it under wraps, word spread that there was a serial killer in the area, and it was not long after that bodies were found in public places: parks, intersections, in front of businesses… Having almost trained for this his whole life, Nikolae quickly noticed that all of the victims were male, the same age, attended his college, and save for some small differences, looked like him.
It wasn’t until it was revealed that each attack had a survivor that Nikolae then realized that this was no random serial killer. While he had changed his typical routine, all of his new victims were attacked just like he and Alex were: in a secluded area, always in a pair, and there was one survivor. That the people killed looked like Nikolae only made him wonder if he was supposed to survive that day, or if something went wrong. Pulling some strings, Nikolae began his own investigation, ignoring everyone’s concerns and pleas not to.
The killings were becoming more and more frequent and he wanted his revenge.
If asked, Nikolae will tell you that he is an only child, has a INTJ personality, and is a Scorpio—and then tell you to look up what all that means yourself.
The first thing anyone will notice about Nikolae is that he is a sarcastic, arrogant, and cynical person (read as “asshole”). Intelligent, a fast learner, and possessing an excellent memory, he has never had too much difficulty with school or accomplishing his goals. Already naturally confident, his successes only added to this, leading him to sometime be impatient with others who were not as quick as him and becoming a bit of a know-it-all.
However, that isn’t to say that he doesn’t know the value of hard work. He constantly pushes himself to do better and be better, knowing nothing will be handed to him on a silver platter. Besides, he took great pride in all of his accomplishments—especially when he did it without anyone’s help. Whenever he did fall behind others or struggled, his determination to succeed often carried him through. Opportunistic and a bit of a smooth talker, it was not too hard for him to convince is father’s officers to let him watch them work. When he got older and more advanced in karate, he even convinced them to train him in hand-to-hand combat and shooting, reasoning that the earlier he started, the more competent an officer he would be.
Interested in many subjects, he did not reject any kind of knowledge. Even the most random of fact could make or break a case, after all, and this continues. Even though he didn’t have to, and it slowed down his progress in college a bit, he took a wide array of classes: computer programming, calculus, astronomy, foreign languages, obscure literature courses, and more.
Alex’s death left a huge impact on him, even though he never said much about it. One could say that when he died, so did all of Nikolae’s humanity. Despite multiple counseling sessions that he later refused to go to, he still blamed himself and that led him to take out his frustrations and anger out on others in the form of insults and criticism. Building walls and bottling his emotions, he withdrew from people and made himself think of people in terms of ‘useful’ or ‘enemy’ as a coping mechanism, not wanting to be hurt like he was again.
Even though he tends to follow the rules and the letter of the law, he sometimes pushes the envelope and doesn’t hesitate much to take advantage of a loophole or someone’s weakness. He is very hard to work or get along with, liking to make decisions on his own and not be weighed down by someone else, even if they might have a good idea.
In the end, underneath all his layers of sarcasm and arrogance, he is quite vulnerable. He hates nothing more than being proved wrong or have his weaknesses pointed out, and fears losing someone else he cares about again.
Nikolae, being an ordinary human in most aspects, does not have any super powers or amazing abilities from accidental lab explosions or ancient objects blessing him.
The greatest tool he has is his mind—he is quick to learn and solve all sorts of things, from new subjects to complex theories to difficult puzzles, and has an excellent memory that he constantly trains to improve, and is very observant.
His repertoire of knowledge includes forensics, criminal justice, biology, psychology, a broad knowledge of history, chemistry, computer science and hacking, intermediate levels of Spanish, French, Mandarin, and the basics of Russian, Korean, Japanese, and German, and many more obscure subjects he studied on a whim.
Knowing that he needed to be physically fit to become a police officer, he started training in karate when he was in elementary school, and quickly became skilled in it with extra instruction from a police officer of his hometown. Since then, he has also trained in boxing, and took classes on aikido and jujitsu, and often jogs and swims to stay in shape.
Nikolae is a perfectionist, and he likes to keep things simple and unchanging, if possible. He likes his desk arranged in a certain way, sorts all his papers and files in a certain way, and has yet to change how he likes his coffee or try anything new in years. He only changes patterns and habits like routes home because of slight paranoia and safety reasons.
He is also fond of scarves and always wears one, even if it is boiling outside. He says that it is for practical purposes, but he won’t say what those are.
Sherlock Holmes is his idol, and he has memorized the entire original canon, and sometimes quotes it, if the situation calls for it. While he does sometimes say it’s his goal to be better than Sherlock Holmes, he doesn’t mean that he intends to copy the character, but rather, surpass him as a detective.
There is a predominate dimple on his left cheek that he inherited from his grandfather, but it only shows up when he is smiling or smirking—and for those who know him, when it does appear, it means that he is onto something and someone is on the short end of the stick.