heroizes: (blunt in your suave shoes)
J̶o̶h̶n̶ - JACK ([personal profile] heroizes) wrote in [community profile] chavaniac2016-11-10 08:34 am


NAME: Christy
CONTACT: [plurk.com profile] yeezus

NAME: Jack
CANON: Borderlands
AGE: 36
APPEARANCE: a skinny old nerd
CANON POINT: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Chapter 11 — Just after killing Zarpedon

Jack's wiki page is here, though it largely focuses on Jack in Borderlands 2 and Tales from the Borderlands, where he's quite different. As such, the page on that game might also be helpful!

At his heart, Jack is an intelligent, charismatic, and ambitious man that wants to do the right thing above all else. He’s the sort of man driven by wanting to make the world a better place, and his ambition is both far-reaching and attainable. He’s incredibly driven, and when Jack has something in mind that he wants to accomplish, he’ll put his all into it until it becomes reality. On paper, these are all traits that sound like the makings of a hero, and Jack himself would agree. He has a hero’s complex, because he truly believes he’s the one that can save the world, and through the events of the Pre-Sequel, he’s starting to build up accomplishments to support that idea. However, while many of these are very positive qualities and could be found in the protagonist of many a series, that was never meant to be for Jack. After all, the point of this game is to illustrate his descent into the megalomaniac tyrant in the games that chronologically follow the Pre-Sequel. What kind of man was Handsome Jack before he came to power and to madness?
As it turns out, Handsome Jack before he took on that title of “Handsome” was… a nerd. Though in-character AMAs (which is a real thing for Borderlands, bless) may be a dubious source of canon in itself, it still provides some insight for who Jack is and how he thinks:
Jack, we all know you're awesome. But what we're wondering is, how did you become so awesome? Were you born that way or do you have to work for it every day?

Some men are born awesome, some have awesomeness thrust upon them, some get incredibly depressed from being labeled a nerd and arbitrarily decide to upend their entire persona and create an awesome new one from scratch.

Not saying which one I am, just observing.
And while this and many other questions definitely do have a jovial, joking, and sometimes fourth-wall breaking tone, this one can at least provide some context and understanding for Jack, especially in the Pre-Sequel. After all, this game documents Jack’s rise to greatness, or, as the asker puts it, his rise to becoming awesome. Jack is a man on a mission, and with some of his previous successes, he’s starting to gain confidence. This is especially notable when comparing the first scene of Jack to later ones, such as the canonpoint I’m taking him from. When you first meet Jack, he’s much more of a “nerd” in that our introduction to him is him being bested by unnamed NPCs, punched in the face, and kicked while he’s down (quite literally), and overall gives off a less than heroic progression. Then by comparison, by the time he does kill Zarpedon, it’s cold, quick, and efficient. The progression of Jack as a character has to do with this whole idea of a persona. He goes from the nerd who may not amount to anything with the way Hyperion works to a much more ruthless person. That’s not to say that these elements of himself that are “softer” are gone, but they certainly become much narrower in scope.

For example, it may seem at odds with the Jack we see later in the series, but Jack in the Pre-Sequel does care a lot about people. This focus starts to narrow throughout the game, but you hear Jack talk about providing health machines for people that work for him, even at a personal cost at the beginning of the game, and as it goes on, he always seems to care about the people he’s hired to work for him in the game. Granted, he doesn’t always express it in the best way, but that’s because of a combination of Borderlands morality being quite different from our own and also the fact that if Jack were your friend, Jack would still probably be the asshole friend that says pretty blunt, rude things, and may even do questionable things, but is overall a good guy. We see Jack’s care for other people down to his mission itself, because though he does have selfish motivations, Jack does genuinely fear for all the people living on Elpis that would die if Zarpedon destroyed the moon. He feels revulsion over innocent people dying, and he’ll do anything he can to stop it.

That said, two things in that last part might stand out as parts that might be causes for concern. For one, Jack is selfish. Intensely so, and this is one of the defining characteristics of Jack later in the series. Throughout the Pre-Sequel, Jack starts to do increasingly morally questionable things, and this seems to be his selfishness manifesting itself more in his actions. After all, while he definitely does want to save Elpis, he does have the motivation to save Helios and the Eye of Helios, both of which are key to his future success as well as testaments to his success so far. Jack feels a strong need to save these, and these two motivations are purely selfish, benefiting few people other than himself. Similarly, you can see his selfishness manifested in one of the playable characters, the doppelganger “Jack,” who is a college student surgically made to look identical to Jack so that he could pay off his student loans. Despite Jack saying otherwise, and he’ll say it in such a way that will surely convince you too, his interest always lies with himself.

Second, and the most telling for his downfall to Handsome Jack is his idea that the ends will justify the means. This is a trait of his that you see at the very beginning of the Pre-Sequel all the way to the his last scene in Tales from the Borderlands. In his later insanity, Jack truly does believe that he’s doing the right thing, and in the Pre-Sequel, it’s the same. Earlier in his life, it’s just not quite so unbelievable. At this canonpoint, this belief has become more and more cemented with each difficult choice Jack has faced, and this conflict has started to turn him towards becoming the monster we see later. It’s still being developed, so it’s not yet the casual disregard and dismissal of lives underneath this idea, but with holy casually he kills Zarpedon, it’s clear that he’s starting to grow in this sentiment. This ties into Jack’s incredible ambition, because while he has a very heroic, even admirable dedication to accomplishing tasks that he sets his mind to, because of his belief that the ends will justify the means, this makes Jack’s ambition dangerous enough for Zarpedon to have invaded in the first place.

Of course, Handsome Jack wouldn’t have gained the following he did if not for some of those more positive traits. As mentioned earlier, Jack is kind of the friend that would be the "asshole friend," in that he's very entertaining, likeable, and does have many positive traits. The problem with Jack just tends to be how extreme they can get. So when talking to Jack, the way he speaks with everyone is familiar and casual, as if everyone he's speaking to is a close friend, though that's rarely the case. He's funny, amiable, and downright entertaining to be around, since he tends to say whatever is on his mind, and while he's more calculating with his actions, he still tends to end up in unusual situations because of the former... He has a habit of talking until he gets himself in trouble. He's very loyal, almost blindly so, and at this point, Jack trusts people far more easily than you might expect. He tends to think the best of people rather than the worst, and he has an optimistic view of most things. Jack has a warm and magnetic personality, so despite those rude or questionable things he can say or do, he's still very easy to get along with.

Jack is a character that can vary wildly depending on the canonpoint you pick, since especially in the Pre-Sequel, Borderlands covers the full arc of his life. Jack is a man on a mission, and he has a very admirable, optimistic hope for turning a violent wasteland into something better. He wants to make the universe a better place, wants to be a hero to other people, and in many ways, he is. He’s intelligent and able to make decisions quickly and with pretty good judgement, charismatic and full of leadership, which allows him to mobilize and lead people towards a goal, and even if he can say terrible things on occasion, Jack is very unfortunately likeable. He might be a jerk at times, but he’s not Handsome Jack—Or at least, not yet. After all, for all of these traits, there’s another side of the coin to show that those awful, reprehensible parts of Jack had always been there. He’s selfish, motivated more by self-interest than helping others (though it’s nice when they align), borderline delusional in believing he’s the only one that can save the moon, and even if he cares for others, his care can turn vile, such as how he keeps his own daughter locked up.

Jack is a man who is being lead into making tough choices because of the kind of man he wants to be. He wants to be a hero, to be admired and loved, and at this point, he will be. However, he’ll be feared just as much for just how far that ambition and delusional desire to do good can reach.

Despite the larger than life presence that Jack will take on later in the series, he's always nothing more than a normal, human guy. He has no supernatural skills or abilities, and as the end of Borderlands 2 demonstrates, all it takes to kill him is a bullet in the head. However, Jack does possess several very down to Earth skills, because despite the constant garbage shitposting that's always spilling out of his mouth, Jack is an extremely intelligent guy!

Jack is a very skilled programmer, having been coding much of his life, and he seems to have a special talent for hacking in particular. It's in fact part of what's allowed him to climb the corporate ladder in Hyperion, since he kind of blackmailed his way to the top by hacking personal servers, but. Jack is also an above average engineer, though programming is much more his forte. He seems to have a good understanding of many of the concepts in engineering, especially as it relates to large projects such as Helios itself down to smaller ones like making and manufacturing individual guns. He also has surprisingly good business skills and intuition, as he holds a managerial position in Hyperion. The ranking of it isn't super clear since the game contradicts itself here, but regardless, he has skill in motivating and managing people, which will become dangerous later in his life.

He's much better at designing guns than actually using them, though he's not terrible. He's no Vault Hunter, but he's competent enough to fight alongside them (so long as the Vault Hunter does most of the work), and can hold his own. However, Jack isn't a hugely skilled fighter in any arena from marksmanship to hand to hand combat, since his talents are much more in engineering or management.

- 1x really dumb outfit
- 1x wrist-mounted laster pistol with shock elemental damage

NETWORK SAMPLE: here, here, or the prompt on the TDM linked below should work!