Preferred Pronouns: female pronouns!
Name: Handsome Jack
Memory Option: One, with a full AU
Established Status: Yes — Jack has been here for five IC years.
Canon Point: In between The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2
Citizenship: Westerley, as an employee of the Company
Job: General managerial position at the Prisoner Intake Facility
Jack is a normal enough dude, so there are no phenomenal cosmic powers for him. Instead, Jack's talents lie in his intelligence, since despite his personality that might suggest otherwise, Jack is extremely intelligent. He's very gifted with programming, technology, and engineering (roughly in that order), and anything to do with these subjects tends to come fairly naturally to him. However, these skills might not be very well known if only because Jack largely uses his smarts in management. He has a natural talent for leading people, and he tends to use his technological expertise as a supplement rather than something he brags about at the forefront. That said, physically speaking, he is in shape and above average in strength for a man of his age, though not extraordinarily so. He's also a decent shot, but onnly very slightly above average in this area.
Also, as one of the items in his inventory, Jack's class mod (the pocketwatch looking thing) also allows him to be invisible, but not undetectable when he activates it. You can see it in use in his boss fight here. It's completely technological in origin, however, and explained in a fair amount of detail! It was developed from Stalkers, which are (potentially) invisible enemies in Borderlands. Stalkers are able to appear invisible by creating an electrical field that allows them to blend in with the environment, and Jack's class mod presumably works very similarly, though it does seem to be indefinite, whereas the Stalkers' is not. That said, if something comes into contact with the electrical field, it does tamper the distortion effect enough to make an outline visible, and the invisibility is seemingly purely for vision, so anything that might sense heat or electricity would be able to see through it.
Similarly, though I'm not sure if he'd actually be able to use it, Jack does have a dataport just under his ear. In canon, this would allow him to essentially put data into his brain or convert thoughts to data (the process isn't super clear). The port allows him to work with technology a little more directly, and though they're somewhat common in canon, I'm fine with him not having as much use in game!
Otherwise, his main ability would be making terrible jokes pretty much constantly. He's a walking shitpost, and that's a talent.
The first thing you're likely to notice about Jack is that he's an awful, terrible person. It's not exactly something he hides, and in fact, he almost seems to be proud of it. He's an egotistic maniac who is seemingly amoral and unhinged, and without a doubt, he's dangerous. He has the kind of immediate impression that you have to wonder how he got to hold any power at all, because who in their write mind would give it to someone like Jack? That question is where you start to dig into more of who he is as a person, because even though he's a monster, he wasn't always so blatant about it.
Earlier in his life (during the events of The Pre-Sequel), Jack was much more normal and down-to-Earth. The events of that game change him into the man he is today, and if you're curious, there's a personality section for this canonpoint here, which provides a bit more background on who he was before. However, it's important to note that while he was certainly a better person, he was never a good person. The events of The Pre-Sequel push Jack into his characteristic insanity for this canonpoint, but it wasn't something that came out of nowhere. Every bit of who Jack is today is an exaggerated version of who he once was.
One of the largest motivations for Jack is a massive hero complex that's always been a part of him. Jack is someone who genuinely wants to do good and help the world be a better place, but as he's gotten older, that desire has gotten quite twisted. In the world of Borderlands, there are hard choices that have to be made because of the harshness of the environment. Jack wants to be a hero because the world he lives in is unforgiving and cruel, and his vision is optimistic and idyllic to the point of seeming naive. Jack wants to create a utopia where people can live peacefully, and to do so, he's willing to do whatever it takes.
In canon, part of Jack's moral decline comes from making these kinds of choices like sacrificing an ally for the sake of thousands of lives. There's a ruthless calculus in many of Jack's decisions, and that's true even after his decline. Jack may seem impulsive and emotional, and at times, this is true, but he's actually far more logical and cunning than he might give off. Jack believes in the idea of sacrificing a few for the good of the many, but this gets to be less tragically noble when combined with the fact that he also has no problems assigning value to some lives over others. This is worsened as he gets older and loses more of his original motivations. Jack assigns very harsh values to lives to the point of not assigning any value whatsoever to people he considers truly lesser. At the start, this is only Bandits, the people who lost their minds and have essentially gone feral, but by this canonpoint, anyone who opposes Jack falls into the category of being a Bandit. The people of the planet he's ravaging have very little worth, so it's fine to sacrifice their lives for the sake of "better" people by his measure.
This leads into another major part of who Jack is, and it's the fact that he's absolutely delusional in his hero complex. Jack genuinely and truly believes that what he's doing is the best thing for everyone, even if they may not see it right now. Jack has certainty in himself and his actions because he'll create little narratives to suit it. He even calls himself the hero often, and to the hero of the story, anyone that opposes him is clearly the villain that needs to be taken down. It's a harsh black and white in Jack's mind, and he'll manage to twist things around to fit that idea. Another example of this lies with his daughter. Jack has kept her locked up for most of her life and eventually used her natural powers for his own personal gain, which leads to her killing herself both to help the player character(s) of Borderlands 2, but also to escape her father's control. But Jack never understands this. He believes that by keeping her away from people, he's keeping her safe, and that by using her powers for himself, she's really just helping him achieve that goal of utopia that will benefit them both.
His delusional mindset also extends to his view of himself, and you can see that down to his very name. Handsome Jack is the moniker that Jack takes on, and in that, it's clear that he's an egotistic narcissist. This is a delusion in itself, but also ties into some of Jack's major flaws. Despite being so delusionally sure of himself, Jack is also fairly insecure. His harsh response to people that question him seems to be because he can't handle people challenging his viewpoints and potentially bringing that delusion to a crash. He doesn't respond well to insults that have a bite with them, and he'll tend to over respond to people that he feels have wronged him, which is quite dangerous. After all, Jack also has an extremely vicious and ruthless temper. It can burn very hot or very cold, but once that temper of his is set off, it's extremely dangerous for anyone around him.
So, with all of these massive character flaws in mind, how did he get to that position? How is Jack so admired? That, as it turns out, comes down to a natural charisma.
Jack is extremely charismatic, even if it's the kind of charisma that's not the typical sort you might expect. Jack is extroverted, driven, and funny, all three of which are qualities that make him surprisingly easy to talk to and even admire. Jack's delusional belief in himself does have a positive in that sense, because it's the source of his drive. Jack believes that everything is possible for him with enough work, and it's that hard, clever work (and some brutal violence) that gets him to his position in Hyperion. He's admirable in that way, because he came from nothing and made quite a lot of himself. Then even though he has twisted views on people, he's absolutely a people person all the same. He loves being around people, and he loves to make people laugh too, which is why he tends to speak in the odd way that he does. He's the kind of person that will absolutely harass people until they laugh, which tends to be his way to get people to like him. After all, he does love to be loved--It supports and bolsters that ego of his very nicely.
It's also not as frequent as it was in his younger years because Jack is rather paranoid about people trying to usurp him, but Jack is very trusting and puts a lot of faith in people. He may not believe that people will do the good or right thing (by his measures of both) naturally, but once someone has proven themselves to him as someone intelligent, useful, or simply trustworthy, his own loyalty is surprisingly strong. Once Jack cares for someone, it's quite steadfast to the point of being overwhelming, because this ties back into his insecurity. Jack may be able to draw people in with his oddly amiable yet also abrasive personality, but he has very few friends because he's reluctant to let people close. So when he does let someone in, Jack's attention can be overwhelming and dangerous. After all, if Jack has a very lose definition of betrayal, and if Jack ever feels he's betrayed, he'll stop at nothing to make that person suffer for hurting him.
Overall, the impression that you get Jack is going to depend entirely on how he views you. With his delusional outlook on himself and on life, there aren't exactly many people above him, but people closer to him are treated relatively well. He makes off-color jokes as easily as he breathes, but he's more the asshole friend than anything else. He has admirable qualities, after all, and his drive and optimism for a better tomorrow make him someone very good at whatever he puts his mind to. He can be easy to get along with... So long as you don't mind how he treats people he considers lesser. After all, to them, he's nothing short of an insane, manic tyrant. They're simply irrelevant to Jack and can be sacrificed for that better tomorrow, since in his view, it's not as if they were ever going to see it or benefit from it in the first place. He can be callous and cruel, killing and torturing people because he enjoys it, but it fits into that perfect narrative that he's constructed for his life.
After all, the perfect, storybook hero doesn't exist. You can't be a hero without getting your hands bloody, and that's an idea that Jack embraces far more than he should.
Jack's history begins with his family. The Marten family was one of the families drawn in by the promise of the Seventh Generation Accord, and John "Jack" Marten is one the last of his family sworn to work for the Company. Like many of his peers facing the fact that their children might be free, Jack has a plan, but his plan has always been a bit more radical than most...
Jack had a difficult childhood, having been raised by his grandmother. His mother left him with his grandmother at a young age and simply never returned, and Jack never knew and still doesn't know just who his father is. However, rather than a kindly grandmother, Jack's was anything but. His grandmother had once worked for the Company herself, and out of a sense of trying to give Jack purpose or a way out, she had tried to push him towards becoming a Scarback in his adulthood. Jack's grandmother raised him strictly, which gave him a sense of order, but because of her own ideas of what she should be, her punishment were physically abusive when she used a special tool with the idea of getting Jack ready for the scarification she felt he'd need to be ready for. Unsurprisingly, Jack holds a large amount of resentment for the Scarbacks as a result, though only his grandmother knows why, since he'd never speak of it himself.
Growing up, Jack threw himself into programming, engineering, and any kind of technology he could get a hold of. He developed a great deal of skill in these areas, and though he was hardly a prodigy, he did have a natural talent for the work, and he jumped at his first opportunity to be able to leave home and work for the Company, which quickly became his dream once he realized it was a way to both leave his grandmother behind and give her a giant middle finger. Jack started working for the Company as soon as they would hire him, and he's never considered any other kind of work since.
He started out low in the Company, doing general programming, but was able to make his way up through the ranks with a healthy combination of hard work and blackmail. After all, Jack's skill with technology was something he tended to purposefully underplay, since Jack had always known he was facing different prospects compared to coworkers. The Marten family didn't have any particular influence where he could count on nepotism to aspire to something better, so he took this into his own hands. When Jack saw opportunity, he would hack into Company servers and take what juicy bits he could find and use against his superiors quietly. Early on, Jack had no intention of making waves, but simply wanted to have more respect.
However, this changed when Jack started a family of his own.
Though Jack was naturally ambitious, his ambition changed completely when he got married and had a child with his wife. Jack very naturally fell into the position of a father, and though his own childhood had been troubled, he enthusiastically threw himself into being the best father and husband he could be. He was a family man, and though he was still loyal to the Company to a fault, having a daughter changed his outlook on the accord that he was bound to. Now that his daughter would be the one who would benefit from Claimant Day, Jack's ambition aligned to make sure that when that day came, it would be the kind of world that his daughter would be safe and happy in. Jack's fervor in his work became more pronounced, because unlike some of his coworkers, he rebellion wasn't the answer. So far as Jack was concerned, it was stupid to expect that the Company would actually honor the request, or at least fully, so it quickly became his goal to try and inspire change from within... At least in a sense. Jack is a Company man through and through, so while he does genuinely want the promise to be honored for the sake of his own daughter, he also feels it would be beneficial to cut out those who aren't quite deserving.
Though this had always been his quiet thought, it became much more pronounced after a personal tragedy when his daughter was young. Though Jack had always had a negative opinion of Westies despite being one himself, this was intensified when his wife was killed in an act of essentially random crime. Jack's focus shifted once again after this event, and it's after this that Jack managed to stumble into the work that he still excels at today. After putting out a warrant for the Westie that was responsible, Jack found a purpose and opportunity in that system instead of working on the tech he had been. Though most people tended to work at the Intake Facility out of a lack of other options, Jack specifically requested to work there, and instead began the process of climbing the ranks in the relatively unpopular and undesirable Facility much more quickly than he had been in more tech-oriented sectors.
Jack quickly started to ascend the ranks there, but ran into trouble about five years ago when a manager in the Facility realized Jack's ambition and his ability to seize them. Trying to make sure that Jack wouldn't be able to usurp his position or move any of those ambitious, optimistic plans for reforming what Claimant Day might look like, his superior placed a bounty on Jack's head not through the RAC, but through less legitimate means so that it might not be investigated so thoroughly. Jack was able to escape with his life with thanks to some RAC agents of his own (since he's a paranoid kind of guy), but not without injury. Jack's face was badly burned in the process, and this, combined with the fact that the assailants were people Jack knew started to send him on a downward spiral. It was clear enough by the sudden death of his superior, and though Jack was never caught, there's a popular rumor that Jack killed him himself.
Of course, being rather vain, Jack decided to look into some of his biotech contacts, who not only made Jack the mask that makes him quite a distinct figure, but also performed the surgery to mount the hinges that keep it on his face. It was with the mask that Jack started to go by Handsome Jack, which is the subject of plenty of jokes, but they're definitely not the ones you want Jack to catch wind of. After all, the name seems to be daring people to make fun of it, because with a new outlook on life, the people of the Facility that go against him tend to just disappear. And this is what the Jack of today is infamous for. While he's quite excellent at managing his parts of the Facility, he does so with a tyrannical ferocity. Anyone that steps out of line is "dealt with" however Jack sees fit.
Similarly, it's not unheard of for Jack to reach out to RAC agents to have people sent to his section of the Facility in particular. He tends to do so only for the worst of criminals, which makes him something of a polarizing figure. For some, he is a hero, because he pursues the worst of criminals to bring justice to the people that they wrong, and he's especially well known and admired for his dedication within the Company. However, to most, he's the very worst that the Company has to offer, because while he may pay to place lucrative warrants on criminals, the more innocuous offenders that have the bad luck to come across him in his work are rarely the same if they leave at all.
Still, this is just the beginning of Jack's story, so far as he's concerned. His daughter is getting older, and though he puts all of his ambition into proving to the Company that he's an asset worth rewarding, his ambition is nearly limitless. If he could get to the top of the Company and change everything to be exactly how he pictures it, he would do so without hesitation, no matter how many people were hurt along the way.
Right over here!
- a godawful dad outfitSamples:
- a terrifying mask
- a Hyperion pistol
- his class mod, which is the watch-like item on his chest
TDM, but if it's not enough, just let me know and I'd be happy to write a sample for the A option!