Nikola Tesla is a part-human, part-vampire scientist who became a member of the Five in the mid 19th century.
An injection of a serum, derived from a sample of pure vampire blood, changed Nikola Tesla into a vampire abnormal, and he used his powers as well as his knowledge for many purposes, mostly serving himself. However, he was also instrumental in helping the Allies win World War II. In the early 21st century, Tesla briefly lost his vampiric powers, but received magnetic powers instead. After discovering an ancient vampire queen and being injected with her blood, Tesla was once again turned into a vampire, with his magnetic powers apparently remaining.
Time with The Five
Tesla was a famous physicist and inventor. Nikola, nevertheless, enjoyed working with the group at Oxford, but he felt they all changed when they got their powers, whereas he felt he had found out who he really was. Nikola also became a great friend to and admirer of Magnus during her studies of Abnormals; to the point he loved her "more than that lunatic Druitt ever did". While the rest of the five gained their own unique abilities that either reflected on their personality or improved them, Tesla's reaction to the source blood was the most bizarre. Unknown to the Five, or even to himself, one of Nikola's ancestors had been a vampire, and the dormant genes had been passed down to Tesla. These genes were awakened by being exposed to the Source Blood. As well as gaining the ability to cast streams of electricity at will, he also developed vampiric characteristics including enhanced speed, strength and agility, immortality, regenerative (healing) powers and a supposed blood-lust. Helen was able to help him overcome and control the thirst for blood by developing a special medication for him.
Nikola's early blood lust may have caused severe friction in the Five when the Ripper case began, as his condition would make him the obvious suspect. John may have even tried to direct suspicion towards Nikola, which may have also contributed to their animosity towards each other. He was obviously cleared of suspicion thanks to Watson and possibly because he was most likely restrained and watched by his friends during some of the murders thereby proving his innocence.
It was claimed by Watson that Tesla's electrical ability saved him from an accident/assassination attempt on him, when he fell asleep in Edison's electric chair while it was running at full current. It is unknown whether this statement was true or only a joke. John's amused look at the statement makes it difficult to place considering his rival like relationship with Tesla.
Tesla is able to change from human form in to his vampiric side at will, and can even stop the change at certain stages. When he fights Ashley at the start of season 2, instead of becoming a full vamp (as seen in the first season when he is up against the soldier and his eyes simply go black) he just grows claws to fight Ashley. He also mentioned to Helen, when they meet up again after 60 years apart, as he defended her from one of the vampire-soldiers he created by letting his own vampiric side out that he simply "became a little too excited" by the blood and promised her that the medication she developed for him was still working.
Going Into Hiding
In 1942 or 1943, during World War II, Tesla believed peace would break out by giving every Allied government plans for a death-ray weapon he invented. With every spy agency in the world searching for him, Magnus helped Tesla fake his death and escape. He disappeared and remained hidden until the early 21st century, when he approached Magnus once again.
Tesla found a way to make new vampires. He did this by giving a corpse his blood and reviving it with electricity, creating a dumb, mindless vampire minion. He located his former comrade John Druitt, and tempted him to join forces. When Druitt refused Tesla tortured him with severe electric shocks but Druitt was able to escape. Tesla planned to recruit Magnus as well, and kill her if she refused to join him in his plan to overthrow the world.
At the time, Dr. Magnus was delivering a lecture in Rome when she was handed a note saying, "You will be killed in less than Three minutes. Meet me now. Tesla. P.S. You look hot." Naturally, Magnus was surprised to hear from him as she hadn't seen the man in over 60 years. She was especially shocked when told mere moments later that Cabal agents were there to find her, swarming all over the building. This fact was proven when armed gunmen entered the lecture hall she had just vacated. Magnus decided to follow Tesla down the stairs to a well-lit, 200-year-old system of catacombs beneath the city. The Cabal agents quickly followed with the intent to either capture or kill them. Tesla used his power to repeatedly beat the agents back, stopping short of feeding on them. He insisted he was still taking the medication used to curb his blood thirst, having vowed not to feed on humans long ago. Nevertheless, he seemed to enjoy himself.
As they continued through the catacombs, Magnus realized that the Cabal were not after her at all. They were after him. Tesla initially denied this, impatiently insisting they had no time to waste and she had to trust him, but ultimately admitted they were hunting him because the Cabal viewed him as a threat. Tesla revealed his seething anger at the demise of his kind (vampires) and how they are now portrayed so grossly inaccurately by humanity.
Eventually, the two witnessed the Cabal team come under attack by a creature who a horrified Magnus identified as another vampire. An excited Tesla introduced the new vampires to her as his creations proclaiming they were the future. Tesla tried to convince Helen to join him, claiming that he loved her and admitting that, while his new creations were fast, vicious and strong, they were virtually mindless. Tesla believed Magnus could help make them intelligent once again, and together they would usher in a new Golden Age (like the original vampires had reigned over while ruling the world). Magnus responded by calling him insane. The two argued, with Tesla insisting that, because Abnormals were on the rise, they could conquer the world with his vampire creations and lead the abnormal world together. Magnus immediately tried to escape, shooting Tesla and running away.
Tesla and his creations pursued her, and closed in as Magnus ran out of ammunition. She quoted back to him that he had told her he loved her. Though he seemed perplexed by this, Tesla brushed it off by saying "I don't think it's going to work out." Before Tesla could harm her, Druitt suddenly arrived with Ashley. With very little time, Druitt forcibly recruited Ashley and told her that the electric shocks Tesla tortured him with had actually released him from the maddening rage that had been consuming John for so many years. After convincing Ashley of his honesty, he teleported them together to Rome to rescue her mother. Upon arrival, Druitt rammed his fist through Tesla's abdomen, supposedly killing him, and teleported Magnus and Ashley back to safety.
Tesla had in fact survived Druitt's attack, and after a long period of regeneration, recovered from the injuries inflicted by John. When The Cabal's Lazarus biological weapon began threatening global civilization, Tesla ignored communiques sent out to recall The Five, and instead journeyed alone to the ruined city of Bhalasaam, site of the sole remaining vial containing the pure vampire source blood which the Five had initially used in their experiments, a place he had been visiting for years in hopes of using it to further his own plans to create his vampire army to take over the world. In the end, Tesla reluctantly teamed up with The Five to retrieve the vial and save the world from chaos.
Back with the Five
After the events of the first season, Tesla was able to create an antidote to the Lazarus virus despite only having a short amount of time to work with the source blood; the Five were then able to distribute the vaccination to the infected areas. Since then he has been living at the Old City Sanctuary (possibly convinced by Magnus to stay because of the dangers of the Cabal, and the fact that everyone's help would be needed to finally stop them). Being back with Helen and the others also seems to have had a positive effect on Tesla's moral character for despite still being "a world class jerk", as Henry puts it, he has started to bond with some of the others, including Henry and Will. He is even able to repair his friendship with John Druitt to a certain extent.
Since Ashley's death he and John have been working together to learn more about the Cabal and undermine them. While Nikola has been doing this on a technological front, John has been killing the tops of the Cabal in revenge for what they did to Ashley and for her death.
Back to a mortal (sort of)
Some time after the opening of a rehab clinic in Mexico where drug addicts could be cured in a week, the patients started to go missing. It was later found that Tesla, who ran the clinic under a false name (Dr. Baumschlager), had added coded vampire DNA into his patients that would activate when they were older. After one of them died and woke up as a vampire he went on a killing spree of all the subjects, turning them into vampires. After his plan went wrong, Tesla used his "De-vamper" to return the new vampires back to humans. One of them hung on to Tesla in the act, causing Tesla to once again become a mortal as well.
Despite this and most likely because of the Source Blood exposure and the fact he was born with natural vampire genes, Tesla was not rendered completely mortal. While sharing a drink with Magnus and lamenting the loss of his species, one of the metal plates on the table moved toward his hand to the pair's confusion. Raising his hand the platter jumped in response and stuck to his hand showing he had now developed magnetic powers to which he declared "I can work with that". This and the fact his body rejected his own vampire-making treatment makes it seem possible that the "De-vamper" changed his power rather than removed it, making it possible his vampirism could return.
Weeks later Will and Bigfoot found the last working autotype writing down a message, "SOS". Magnus, Will, and Henry went to investigate, and it turned out Tesla had been stuck underground for 9 days, 7 hours, tangled in a web of organic veins created by abnormal creatures Magnus dubbed multipedes. After discovering an old Cabal bunker, Magnus realized that Tesla was looking for the source blood, which had later been discovered to have been destroyed in the bunker's self destruct, and seeped into the surrounding rock, binding to the DNA of several centipedes, thus creating the multipedes. It was also discovered that they had not killed Tesla, because he was the same blood type as them, and that they had a nest full of ready-to-hatch larvae in the air duct above the bunker. Tesla pleaded with Magnus to allow him to take a sample of blood plasma from one of the larvae to allow him to synthesize more source blood and become a vampire once more, but due to the Cabal having caused the death of her daughter Ashley, she refused, and had Henry rig up an explosive charge with a 60 second timer. When Tesla opened the door for the group to make their escape, the multipedes focused on Magnus, because she, being one of the Five also shared their blood type. Tesla lamented the fact that she had always had more appeal than he and used a knife to slit the palm of his hand open, allowing his blood to attract the multipeeds instead. He then proceeded to seal himself inside the lab with the multipeeds and the explosives. However, he had his own ulterior motives. He stole one of the larvae, and proceeded to use his magnetic powers to pull heavy debris over his body to protect himself from the blast.
Returning with Helen to the Old City Sanctuary, Tesla was instrumental in helping her to decode the secrets of the holographic city given to her by her father, Gregory Magnus, which would lead them to a map of Hollow Earth.
Some time later, it was revealed that rather than being removed, Tesla's vampire genes had simply been knocked back into dormancy by the de-vamper.
While exploring an old Praxian stronghold that had been taken over by the vampires with Helen Magnus, he is shot by a vampire defence system. Since he and Helen had been wearing the vampire shields, the defence system mistook him for an ordinary human when he got too close. While he is initially able to hold the damage together with his magnetic powers, both he and Helen are aware the shot is fatal unless they do something.
While Magnus struggles to find a way out, Tesla is ready to accept death since he is surrounded by the history of his ancestors. Helen though is not ready to lose another person and inadvertently comes across the preserved body of the pure blood vampire Queen Afina. Despite her past refusals, Magnus is aware if the corpse has even a small ounce of liquid left, it could help save Nikola.
After some concerted effort, she is able to open a part of the crystal tomb and extract some of the blood. Afraid she is too late, she injects Nikola with the blood and waits. After an agonising few seconds Nikola's vampire side revives, allowing him to heal his wound almost instantly. However, Magnus' actions have revived the Queen, revealed to be held in stasis rather than a tomb for all these centuries. Tesla then decides to side with Afina, hoping to learn more about his people and be with his own kind, but regrets his decision when she betrays him, referring to him as a 'mixed blood mongrel'. After escaping a sealed trap made specifically to hold pure blood vampires because of his magnetic abilities, he tracks down Afina and a captive Magnus further below the surface, where the Queen reveals her plans to bring back her court (also in stasis) and once again conquer the world. Eventually, he and Magnus are able to trick the vampire queen into destroying her tomb and -- presumably -- herself. Tesla is left with his vampiric nature restored.
Tesla's personality can be described as a bit of a paradox, as he is prone to shifts in mood depending on the moment. At one moment he can be quite reserved and sophisticated, the next shifting to wild and exuberant when the right moment takes him. Helen once described him as at best "an acquired taste" and at worse "selfish and arrogant, putting [his] own desires ahead of everyone else's". Despite this, he does have a more noble side. His autotype played a huge part in the Allied victory of World War II. He also actively partook in the battle for the UK Sanctuary, fought alongside his rival John Druitt in the battle for the Old City Sanctuary, and rescued Henry from an attack by a superabnormal. Later on, finding out that one of his nonlethal containment units had been modified into a deathtrap caused him to become furious.
Helen once suggested that Nikola has difficulty controlling himself as a result of source blood exposure resulting in a need for a special medication to control the blood lust. Even after the loss of his vampirism his moods can still be unpredictable. Since the loss of his powers Nikola had become slightly depressed thinking he had little to live for as he was now. He would still get offended when people slandered Vampires, especially after the holographic map of Hollow Earth detects the source blood inside of him and calls him a blood demon.
He has a fondness for wine, at one point emptying Helen's wine cellar during his time working on a weapon to defeat the Cabal's superabnormals and ever since making further forays to devastate her supplies. Tesla can also get too absorbed in his work at times forgetting certain things like bathing and eating.
Since his return to being a Vampire, Tesla has shown an alarming bitterness toward the world at large and has seemingly given up his ventures to revive the Vampire race, stating that he rather enjoys being the last and is more of a one man show. Whether this turnabout will hold remains to be seen.
- Helen Magnus
- Helen is one of the few people who can keep Nikola under some level of control, he himself admitted he has always had a respect for her and that he loved her more than Druitt ever could. Consequently he will work with Helen when ever she asks, with little persuasion, though Helen is careful in case he were to try anything behind her back. Despite the fact Helen seems to continually spurn any romance between them, she enjoys their relationship more than she wants to admit. She obviously respects him and admires his intelligence, even going after him despite everyone fearing that it was a trap. Aside from himself, Magnus is the only person he has truly been shown to care for and he is at the heart of it exceptionally loyal to her and the Sanctuary. She seems to bring out a softer and more human side of Nikola that no one else knows how to bring out. Their relationship is one of incredible complexity and as expected with their long past is hardly easy to define. This is particularly reflected in the way in which they interact with each other, as it is suggested and sometimes not so subtly hinted throughout the series that they have toed the line between friends and lovers before. However first and foremost they are best friends, who share a love of ideas and adventure and also have a tendency to drive each other crazy. This is mainly due to the fact that they are both incredibly stubborn and are prone to disagree on a moral basis, in terms of world domination and some of Nikola's other schemes which often places them on opposite sides. Yet its clear that they both love each other deeply, though they are both reluctant to admit it. On a further note their relationship seems to have undergone an interesting development in season four as they seem to have become closer, and Helen even kisses him before destroying the old sanctuary.
- John Druitt
- Nikola's relationship with John has never been perfect, with them both being rivals for Helen's affections in the early days of the Five. Like the rest of the Five, Tesla turned his back on John when the truth of the Ripper incident became known. It was even implied John tried to pin some of his actions on Nikola when he was struggling to control his vamparism as it first emerged. They have mellowed back into friendly rivals in recent years and were able to fight together against the super abnormals.
- James Watson
- Little is known of the relationship Nikola shared with Watson, but they appeared to be on decent terms. Watson seemed to have a bit of a condescending attitude toward Tesla's social skills and arrogance, while Tesla in turn thought Watson was rather stuck up. James' death visibly unsettled Tesla however, and he later impressed upon Declan MacRae (James's replacement) that he had big shoes to fill.
- Nigel Griffin
- Nigel and Nikola got on quite well with one another. Nigel, unlike the rest of the Five would actively trade barbs with Tesla when the others would try to ignore him. The two also worked well together on reconnaissance missions like the one involving Adam Worth. When meeting Griffin's descendant, Clara Griffin, who shared her grandfather's wit, Tesla grinned saying he liked her already when she stood up to him.
- Henry Foss
- Of all Helen's 'underlings' Tesla is 'forced' to work with, he seems to have a special soft spot for Henry, perhaps seeing a bit of himself in the young Hap tech wizard. When frustrated by the Hollow Earth technology, it is to Henry that Nikola admits his feelings of inadequacy. Because they both share of love of technology- including but not limited to computers, applied science, mechanics and electromagnetic fields- Nikola is usually seen working with the young Hap on their mutual problems. More often than not however, Tesla tends to treat the tech as an assistant or student rather than an equal.
- Out of the last three of the five " John ,Helen and Tesla" Tesla is the only member not to go to hollow earth.
- Tesla's character is based on an actual person, an inventor who lived from 10 July 1856 until 7 January 1943. (see External links)
- Tesla is the only non-British among the Five, being of Austrian-American citizenship and Serbian origin (born in Croatia). In episode For King and Country, when the British Prime Minister says to Magnus: "...we've known about you and your colleagues for some time, and we've given you your head because we thought the day would come when the five of you might prove useful... that day is here. I'm proud to offer you now the opportunity to serve your country." Tesla quips: "I'm Serbian."
- Given that none of the other Vampires displayed Tesla's electrical or magnetic abilities, even the one real vampire, and that he retained them after being de-vamped, it is possible that they are not vampiric in origin, and that they arise from another set of dormant abnormal genes, awakened by the source blood in addition to his vampirism.