Scorpion is the code name for Hanzo Hasashi, a former member of the Shirai Ryu ninja clan. The Shirai Ryu, the first ninja clan, was formed centuries ago by Takeda. Takeda was a Japanese-born member of the Lin Kuei clan, which operated in China. Takeda returned to Japan to offer his knowledge and services to the country's feudal lords. He eventually tought the Lin Kuei secrets to his new clan, and the Shirai Ryu became instant enemies of the Lin Kuei. Takeda himself was marked for assasination many times, and eventually was killed when someone poisoned his tea. After Takeda's death, the ninja continued to thrive not as one united clan, but instead operated as a loosely collected spy network. The enmity between the Japanese ninja and the Chinese Lin Kuei continued in modern times.
Scorpion, one of the Shirai Ryu's top agents, was hired by the sorceror Quan Chi to venture into China and steal the sacred Map of Elements. Scorpion took the job, knowing full well that he was venturing into Lin Kuei territory. Following Quan Chi's directions, Scorpion found the Temple of Elements, and eventually located the map room. He was about to leave with the map when he was confronted by the Lin Kuei warrior Sub-Zero. Unbeknownst to either, they had both been hired by the same man to perform the same task. A vicious battle ensued, and Scorpion was defeated and killed by Sub-Zero. Scorpion's soul was instantly transported to the Neatherrealm, the destination for all evil souls. There, he learned that his entire clan, including his wife and child, had been destroyed after his death. He then and there vowed that if it were at all possible, he would rise up out of the pits and take vengeance on Sub-Zero, whom he held responsible.
He was approached by the evil sorceror Shang Tsung, who offered to free him from the Netherrealm. Tsung was hosting the Shaolin tournament, and Sub-Zero was one of the entries. Scorpion accepted Tsung's offer, and was taken to the hidden Pacific island where the tournament was to take place. Sure enough, Sub-Zero was there, and the two nearly came to blows when they met. However, Scorpion wanted Sub-Zero to met his end in front of a crowd, so he left the Lin Kuei alone until the tournament started. Once they met in battle, however, there was no stopping Scorpion. He possessed new abilities and greater strength, and Sub-Zero quickly was overpowered. Scorpion slew the Lin Kuei warrior in front of the assembled crowd, finally avenging his family. His victory came at a high price, however. He was one of only six survivors of the Shaolin tournament, but he was forced to return to the Netherrealm.
Some time later, Scorpion heard of a tournament being held by Shao Kahn, and learned that a warrior matching Sub-Zero's description was one of the competitors. Angered at the possibility that the Lin Kuei had not been killed, Scorpion managed to find a portal from the Netherrealm that led to the Outworld. He entered the tournament, hoping to find Sub-Zero and make sure he stayed dead. He watched Sub-Zero in battle, and witnessed him spare the life of one of his beaten opponents. Stunned at this gesture, Scorpion realized that this Sub-Zero was not the same heartless assassin that had murdered him years ago. He decided not to confront this new Sub-Zero, instead becoming his protector. Realizing that there is nothing left for him in the Outworld, he returned to the Netherrealm, satisfied that vengeance had truly been served.
Several months later, Shao Kahn made an attempt to take control of the Netherrealm. Although his plan failed, it allowed Scorpion to escape his prison. He was free once again to roam the Earth, and was hired by Kahn to track down and destroy the few remaining Earth warriors. Scorpion originally performed his task with great fervor, but faltered when he disovered that Sub-Zero was among those he was hunting down. Remembering his earlier vow, he turned against Kahn, and helped the Earth warriors to defeat the Outworld invaders. Unfortunately, their victory returned the Earth to normal, making it impossible for Scorpion to remain there. He once again found himself in the Netherrealm.
Years later, Scorpion was approached by Quan Chi, the sorceror who had hired him for his last mission before his death. Quan Chi made Scorpion a new offer, his life in exchange for allegiance to Shinnok. Shinnok was a fallen Elder god that had been banished to the Netherrealm, and had recently taken over the realm. Scorpion was hired as a warrior in Shinnok's successful attack on the Elder gods, and then was sent to help occupy the Earth realm. During his mission on Earth, Scorpion once again encountered Sub-Zero. The Lin Kuei warrior revealed that Quan Chi, not the original Sub-Zero, had been responsible for the death of Scorpion's family. Outraged, Scorpion returned to Shinnok's base and confronted Quan Chi. The sorceror, realizing that Scorpion was going to be a problem, attempted to transport Scorpion back to the Netherrealm. Before he could do so, Scorpion used his considerable power and killed the treacherous sorceror. Unable to undo Quan Chi's spell, Scorpion was returned to the Netherrealm. This time, however, he knew that he had finally killed the man responsible for his family's death, and Sub-Zero could live free from Scorpion's curse.