Some heroes are born. In the case of Omega Shift, she was literally created.
She was first known only as "Subject-E16", one of nineteen artificially-created genetic beings that were still in development when the facility was raided by Freedom Corps. In an attempt to get reinforcements, Zarus initiated the emergency activation protocols, which infused all of the subjects with his "Genetic Template Database" or GTD, which contained all of the genetic information, memories, abilities, and personality traits of every being that were forcefully assimilated by Zarus. Of the nineteen subjects at the time, she was the only one that successfully awoke from the "birthing" process.
When she awoke, the Longbow agents assumed that she was one of many missing people believed to have been kidnapped by Zarus through his allies, the Vahzilok. They did not realize that all of the abducted people were long since killed in order to have their lives assmilated into the database.
Due to the shock of her awakening, she originally was a blank slate, barely formulating words. After an accidental contact with the Longbow agent that found her, she assumed that agent's physical form, while still staying child-like in nature. It was here that she adopted the name "May Shift", partially because it sounded nice.
Genetic Template Database
With help from the Vanguard, May eventually discovered that she had the genetic information of dozens of different people encoded in her DNA. These were people that were either staff members of the Omega-Genesis Program or were abducted by the Vahzilok to be assimilated for the database. By focusing on any one person in that database, May actually became that person, not only taking on that person's form, but also taking on all of that person's memories and character traits.
Unfortunately she discovered that with every personna that she replicated, she also had to endure their final minutes of life when she switched back to her "default" form.
The experts at Vanguard, along with May, made an uncomfortable decision to allow her to retain more than half of the templates from the GTD and to keep those identities "alive" on paper only. One identity would be retained for a civilian guise while she used the others to develop her "default" form. It was here that she also found out that her "default" form has mutant elemental abilities over fire and ice.
Wanting to repay the Freedom Corps for thier kindness, she became a registered superhero under the name Omega Shift.
Omega Shift has access to the following genetic templates.
(See also April Hernandez.)
April Hernandez was a journalism student interning at WBZ-TV in Boston when she was abducted by the Vahzilok. Her abduction and subsequent murder was not as traumatic as other victims, partially because she was intoxicated when she was taken.
This became May's preferred "civilian" guise, as April was the same physical age as May.
With help of the Vanguard, "April" was given her bachelor's degree in journalism and a position with the Paragon News Network, originally as a researcher but eventually she was given reporter status and currently serves as an on-air reporter.
Unlike other personalities, "April" has a physical residence in Paragon City.
Devon "Dev" Ellison
(See also Dev Ellison.)
Dr. Devon "Dev" Ellison was Len Zarus' colleague, getting the Nobel Award for Science as a member of the Human Genome Exploration Project. Ellison saw in Zarus a kindred spirit, mostly because they both suffered from bouts of insomnia, although with Ellison it was stress-related.
Unfortunately, Ellison was the first victim of the device that Zarus used to strip a subject of their memories and knoweldge for the GTD.
To justify his absence, Ellison is considered "on retainer" with Vanguard. His credentials are still on file with Vanguard.
This template is especially painful for May to come out of, as she has to endure the full array of despair, betrayal, and traumatic death that was associated with Ellison's final minutes.
Longbow Agent Ann Stark
Longbow Agent Ann Stark was the Freedom Corps soldier that first discovered May Shift when she was "born". She was also the first person that May emulated through skin-to-skin contact.
Unlike the templates that were encoded in the GTD, this template is for appearances only. There were no memories or personality traits that were included in this template. As such, this is one of the few templates that she can not only use without any traumatic after-effects, but also one that she was able to alter slightly while still retaining all of the DNA encoding.
When May first emulated Ann Stark, she had short black hair, the same color as Ann's. By Ann's request, May bleached her hair white so other Longbow agents could tell them apart until May reverted to her "default" form. Afterwards, the template retained the short white hair.
Also, unlike other templates in her system, Ann Stark is still alive. Therefore May has to be careful when using this template since genetically she is still identical to a living person, which could constitute as identity theft.
(See also Misty Mysery)
Misty Mysery is an Arachnos agent and member of The Libra Order. During a covert mission that required several Guardians to assume the identities of Libra Order operatives, May was given a sample of Misty's blood to absorb and emulate. This gave May access to all of Misty's memories and knowledge of Arachnos codes and protocols as well as her physical appearance. Because Misty is still alive, it was also one of the few templates that May could shift to without the traumatic after-effects.
During this time, May did not have access to her abilities and instead needed to rely on Misty's natural talents and Arachnos technology to operate in the Rogue Isles.
At the request of the Libra Order, May was required to remove the encoding from her system after the mission was completed.
(Additional information on this subject is currently restricted by Vanguard.)
(See also Alex Wentworth)
For a brief period of time, May would be asked to impersonate either Alex Wentworth or his guise as the Libertarian Avenger. This would be used to dissuade speculation that the two were one-and-the-same, especially when Alex was running for the office of District Attorney. However this would be a cosmetic appearance only, with no memories to replicate (at Alex's request).
Following the events described in "Guardians of the Dawn AFTERMATH", Omega Shift has retreated into the identity of April Hernandez and appears to be in complete denial of her true identity.
Powers and Abilities
Omega Shift's primary ability is Fire Blast. She can hurl fire at others.
Her secondary ability is Ice Manipulation, which gives her the ability to use ice as either an offensive or defensive ability.
She also possesses the power of flight.
Due to the nature of her creation, Omega Shift is a changeling, able to alter her physical body to resemble other people. She was created with a full array of genetic templates encoded into her blood that she can access at any time. In most instances she simply relies on their collected knowledge and experience, but she can also alter her physical form to become the people in the template. Once she does that, she not only has the physical appearance of that person, but she also assumes all of that person's memories and personality traits, even though she retains control over it. When she does this, she cannot access any of her normal mutant powers until she transforms back into her "default" state.
She can also get a new template of a person through a blood sample. The sample can be injected into her bloodstream and will eventually allow her to assume that person's guise. She can also assume that person's memories if the blood sample is in a large amount, like in a blood transfusion.
She also can create new templates through skin-to-skin contact with another person. These new templates do not possess any of the original person's memories or personality, but she does have more control over these templates and can manipulate their structure when neccessary. This was the case when she emulated Longbow Agent Ann Stark and eventually changed her appearance slightly to have white hair instead of black.
But using these templates has another drawback. Each time she reverts back, she is flooded with that person's final memories of how they died, which often leads to traumatizing pain for May. The only exceptions are the templates that were not encoded into her DNA from the Omega-Genesis Program, since those were the ones she mimicked and do not possesses any memories associated with them.