Pulse, né Hayden Connolly, was born and raised in Washington by a middle class family of Irish descent, though he has hardly put in the effort to embrace his cultural roots. Growing up in the urban areas of Seattle, he neither displayed any natural gifts or cultivated any particularly outstanding intellectual or athletic talents that would separate him from the rest of the children his age. Hayden, however, did prove to be good with people; though he wasn’t exactly an extrovert, he got along well enough with others and learned how to be a decent speaker and mediator in the process. He also had a fondness for creating, growing, or building things from scratch and applying his own creative spin on them, becoming adept with his hands as he did so.
Hayden was walking down the street from school at the age of 13 when Judgement Day occurred. As the giant energy wave quickly swept throughout his city, the area around him trembled as buildings shook and structures fell or broke apart. When debris was about to fall on him, panic settled in, and his powers came into fruition for the first time as they went out of control, suspending or repelling objects that came close. Though inadvertently, he saved people that day, a lot among them being people he knew around the city.
However, the feelings of gratitude from them would not last. As Hayden quickly found out in the passing days since the energy wave, other people developed powers just like him, and quite a few them chose to abuse their powers for crime and other misdeeds. In his particular neighborhood, at least, tolerance toward powered individuals reached a new low, and even the people he saved that day gradually became uncomfortable to be around him.
Later on, while his control over his powers were still shaky at best, he lost his grip on them while he was browsing an electronics store. Although most of the damage done was nearly an entire store’s worth of products and property, in the brief period he lost control of his powers, he managed to seriously shock another customer in the store. The bystander’s injuries ultimately were not of the fatal variety, but it was enough to place Hayden under a negative light in the local news, as well as instill him with a subconscious fear toward using his powers with people in his close vicinity. The incident, overall, didn’t help his dwindling reputation in the slightest.
There was an atmosphere of distrust in many places he went to, and complicated things for him as years passed. This, along with existence of powered crime and the aforementioned accident, was what soon made him resentful of his own powers, especially for the circumstances they’ve landed him in. He spent the last of his adolescent years in his home city as something close to a pariah, despite efforts to distance himself from power users and his own powers in general.
Despite gaining his powers on Judgement Day, he has rarely utilized them in the five years he’s had access to them. Outside of self-defense and practice for the sake of self-control, he refused to apply them in any other fashion due to the abuse of powers he’s seen firsthand by Judgment Day-powered individuals in his city, not wanting to be lumped in with the rest. This changed, of course, when he made the conscious decision after finishing high school to join ASWAT as a new recruit, creating the identity of Pulse for this purpose, out of a desire to both use his powers in a way that will benefit the world and, hopefully, come to terms with the powers he developed unwillingly.
His self-imposed restrictions crippled his proficiency in his powers to the point of being underdeveloped compared to other J-Day power users. In order to expand his repertoire beyond the limits he had placed upon himself, he underwent two months of basic combat training, as well as specialized training to learn offensive, defensive, and practical ways to utilize electromagnetism in both combat and espionage, before going into active service. Regardless, he still has a large inclination toward resolving conflicts with less violent approaches, preferring to handle situations diplomatically before resorting to combat.