Wade Wilson is a dishonorably discharged special forces operative working as a freelance mercenary when he meets a prostitute named Vanessa. They become romantically involved, and a year later she accepts his marriage proposal. However, Wilson is later diagnosed with terminal cancer and he leaves Vanessa without warning so she will not have to watch him die. A mysterious recruiter approaches Wilson and offers him an experimental cure for his cancer. He is taken to a laboratory run by Ajax and Angel Dust, who inject him with a serum designed to awaken latent mutant genes in his body. They subject Wilson to days of torture to trigger any mutation he may have, without success. When Wilson discovers Ajax's real name is Francis and mocks him for it, Ajax leaves Wilson in a hypobaric chamber that periodically takes him to the verge of asphyxiation over the weekend. This finally activates a regenerative healing factor that counteracts Wilson's cancer, but leaves him severely disfigured with burn-like scars over his entire body.