|Liam Rourke (AKA Jackal)|
|Date of birth:||2042|
|Date of death:||N/A|
|Status:||Regarded as an urban legend, the "Skinwalking Ghost of Toloko"|
Jackal grew up as Liam in a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. Not the nice, stereotyped suburbs of America. In fact, a more accurate description would be dormitory town. The suburb, Ballybeg, was built specifically to contain the overflow population of workers in Dublin. Young Liam was the smallest of seven children and the middle child to boot. To say he got some stick from his larger brothers would be an understatement. Unluckily for them, Liam also suffered from a mental state he liked to call Implosive Anger Disorder. He would take and take and take until finally snapping. And when he metaphorically snapped, other people's bones tended to literally snap. He found a release in the local boxing club, often fighting in heavier weight categories to vent some anger on people he could really hit.
Young Liam also showed greater academic affinities than his brothers. He excelled in school and earned 595 points in his Leaving Cert, the highest tally in the history of his small, generally drug-addicted school. He moved on to the Mechanical Engineering Course of Dublin Institute of Technology, earning distinctions and eventually a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, writing his thesis on the Fuel Control Systems of Fusion Reactors. He was immediately offered a job in a Texan nuclear power plant.
Liam headed to America, bidding his home goodbye for what he did not realize would be the last time. He enjoyed his new job, holding fantastic relations with the workers, often accompanying them on trips to the local gun club and on hunting trips. He turned out to be quite a good shot but held quite a distaste for killing. Apparently, he was ok with knocking the living hell out of people in the local boxing and full-contact martial arts clubs but was adverse to shooting wild boar and deer. He also held good relations with the local community, even volunteering for the local police force, achieving the position of reserve sniper, and teaching self-defence at schools and community centers in the town.
Having become a naturalized citizen of the United States of America, Liam was drafted into the Army Corps of Engineers to aid in the fighting in Alaska. Later in his training, he gave up his Irish Citizenship Rights and entered the Army Special Forces (AKA the Green Berets) as a Combat Engineer through Initial Accession. While he was not the biggest or strongest candidate, Liam pushed himself harder than he ever had before. He eventually completed training and was shipped to the Alaskan Front to fight the Chinese invaders. While he held a distaste for war, Liam was not one to let down his adoptive country, even taking part in the Anchorage Reclamation Operation. In 2076, he and his unit were rotated out of Alaska. Liam returned to his comparatively humdrum job at the Power Plant, following the war through news updates. Between tours on the Alaskan front, Jackal and his unit were also assigned to several covert operations in Chinese territory, including attacks on Taiwan and Mainland China itself.
October 23rd, 2077 started the same as any other day. The Power Plant whistle called, Liam rose and went to work. Come 10:47am, however, the East Coast was struck by the bombs, and Liam, in his office in the depths of the Fusion Power Plant, was shielded from the sun-like heat and violent force of the bombs, but the high-energy radiation seeped in through the damaged shell of the brutalised Plant, as radiation seeped out through the damaged shell of the Reactor Core. Liam stayed in his shelter, becoming violently ill. His skin started to peel, and he couldn't hold down his meager, rationed food. Eventually, he took to sitting back in his office chair, waiting for death to lock him in it's cold, loving embrace. That moment never came.
Liam eventually found himself feeling better, stronger even, in the horrifying radiation levels of the Power Plant. He took to exercising again. Running along the walkways every morning, pull-ups from exposed piping. Where others would have died horribly, he survived. As far as Liam was concerned, he was a God Among Men. He visited the outside world once. The sight shocked him. Wastelands, burning skeletons of towns and homes stretching from horizon to horizon. Liam took to picking at the carcass of the world, assuming the title Jackal - his call-sign. Only a few close friends in two hundred years ever knew Liam's real name.
Liam set out to make what he could of a terrible situation. He found that he gave off an unearthly glow, a result of his years-long stay in the broken shell of a Nuclear Power Station. Over a period of almost ten years, he learned to consciously control his glow, and the radiation he seemed to give off. He could dim the glow down so he merely appeared discolored, or ramp up the output so much that for brief periods of time, he could glow so intensely that it became uncomfortable to look at him directly. For the radiation output, he usually kept it so low as to fade into the background, but could, in a pinch, produce a small blast so intense as to cause serious, if localized damage to living things.
For a time, he took to traveling the Wastes, tinkering with anything he could find. Repairing, breaking, building, demolishing, he made a handy living repairing wells in towns and building small, useful items, usually clockwork or hand-operated tools, as well as repairing weapons and dabbling in structural repairs after storms. He retained his fitness and love of fighting, handy, given that the vast majority of humanity were none-too-nice to their fellow living things. However, despite the wanderlust, he would always return to Toloko periodically to bask in the radiation still being given off by the cracked Number Six core. Though he disabled it and the Number Four and Five cores adjacent to it after the damage was discovered, the core still leaks radiation and sometimes molten metal, as it is still burning to this day. The other three reactors still run on a minimum capacity to supply power to the plant.
Jackal is a Glowing One. Not much else to say really. He stands less than average height, is quite lean and muscular, especially for a Ghoul. As he puts it himself, he's a veritable pint-sized powerhouse, able to land shockingly powerful hits in melee combat in spite of his rather diminutive frame. Unlike many Ghouls, Jackal has retained much of his hair and is quite proud of his quiff. Being a Glowing One, he is (in his own words) a walking, talking street light. With a bit of concentration, he can control his light output, varying from looking mildly discolored, to being painful to look at directly for extended periods.
He has a full mouth of remarkably clean teeth (three years in braces, he's not about to let those fuckers fall out on him), and once had quite a dazzling smile. Since his Ghoulification, however, Jackal's smile has taken a far more skull-like appearance. This, coupled with his glow, grants him a rather ghastly appearance, and more than one Tribe tell stories about the wandering ghost who repairs things.
Liam wears his tough leather armor, a pair of heavy-duty combat boots, tough SAP knuckle gloves , a headscarf and a broad-brimmed hat.
Surly and world-weary would be an understatement. Jackal was around in the times before the Great War, working and earning his money and generally living his life. He is painfully aware of just how far the world has fallen. And he's more than willing to tell everyone within earshot about it. He isn't depressed, not by a long shot, but he is very depressing to be around, in spite of a strange grandfatherly aura. As he puts it himself, he can talk the ears off a donkey about just how shit things are in the Wastelands.
Jackal also boasts an extremely odd sense of humor. Prone to making jokes in dangerous situations, Jackal, like many Pre-War Ghouls, has a great affinity for Gallows Humour. He reckons that he's been living on borrowed time since October 2077, and has quite a flair for the dramatic in situations where he is at risk of ventilation. He is also more than fond of the gargle. A heavy drinker, Jackal can hold his liquor like a Super Mutant, and is very fond of showing off just how much he can "tank".
After the bombs fell, he decided to assume the moniker "Jackal", for the king of scavengers in the world that was. The near death experience and transformation, as well as watching the others who had taken refuge in the plant die, triggered Liam's until-then-repressed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. His battered psyche apparently fractured and he became more Jackal than Liam, occasionally swinging between the calm, good-natured man he was before the War and the ferocious survivor that was his "alter ego". It is important to note that he did not develop "Multiple Personality Disorder", as there was no third personality, nor a distinct Protector or Troublemaker. Rather, the Jackal entity formed in his subconscious and his subconscious gradually became sentient and aware. The dissonance between the conscious - Liam - and subconscious - Jackal - are what has prevented his mind from "re-gluing" itself and as a result, the Jackal entity went from raw animal instinct to a vicious, cunning and utterly remorseless second mind in Liam's brain.
Skills & Abilities
Jackal is a well-rounded Wastelander. He is a skilled repairman and designer, as one would expect for a man boasting a Pre-War Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. He is a dangerous fighter, for an aged Ghoul, but relies on finesse and hitting where it hurts more than brute force. He is also a surprisingly good shot for a man who first raised a gun at age twenty-eight (over two centuries practice no doubt helped the situation). He is also an extremely experienced man, in many situations. He can spot problems in many things where others would not. He is moving where a younger fighter is thinking of moving. He can repair, construct and operate systems almost instinctively after two hundred years of doing so.
He is a trained martial artist, law enforcement officer and a Special Forces Combat Engineer, (MOSC 18B4O and MOSC 18C4O) making him a far more capable combatant than other Wastelanders, a trait somewhat affected by his smaller-than-average size. He is in peak physical shape, for a Ghoul anyway, gearing his body towards strength and agility rather than muscular bulk. Time in the military afforded him far more than just combative training and Liam is the proud bearer of a Ranger Tab and Pathfinder Badge, both marking him as a master field-craftsman.
Jackal is a Glowing One. He can produce a glow and concentrated bursts of Radiation on cue, and is healed by radiation. Darkness isn't a problem to him, although he sticks out like a sore thumb himself in the dark. He boasts a toughened Ghoul body, more resistant to the elements than a normal human would be, though not more resistant to physical harm. He also offers a soothing and healing presence to other Ghouls.
Jackal is old. Very old. In spite of being in great physical shape, Jackal's extremely advanced age limits his physical abilities. While his body is quite well-preserved, Jackal tires more easily than a younger specimen in similar physical condition. He is also not one of the biggest people around, and while very strong for his size, he suffers limited reach in combat, and can be kept at bay by an experienced fighter with better reach. His age also limits his speed in combat, forcing him to rely on smashing parts of the human body that are easy to smash, and hurt when they get smashed. In spite of his intense training, Jackal has, for want of a better phrase, rusted away. His combat training is buried deep in his long-term memory, occasionally emerging as muscle memory reactions, but for the most part, lying dormant until the cobwebs are swept away.
Jackal can also be extremely tiring to be around as a person. He is prone to bouts of extreme nostalgia, which generally boils down to just how awesome the world was before the bombs, and just how shit life has become since then. Some find him to be grating, abrasive and mildly annoying. Some find him depressing. Cynics sometimes find him interesting, but that does nothing to brighten public opinions of him as it often leads to annoying people associating with him.
Jackal is also in possession of a violent temper. He still suffers from his "Implosive Anger Disorder", sometimes snapping at the smallest things after periods of unrelated stress. He once beat a man to death for failing to apologize for walking into him. He spent the previous three weeks trying to dig himself out of a collapsed sewer tunnel. He also suffers, as he puts it, "Angry Small Man Syndrome". Something akin to the mental state of a Jack Russell Terrier, Jackal will often be the first to get angry in a bad situation, and in spite of his prodigious mental prowess and accumulated wisdom, will usually be the first person to resort to physical violence and in violent situations, will almost always be the first to resort to lethal force. This is apparently to compensate for his benign appearance as a small Glowing Ghoul. It is also a sign of a severe Bipolar Disorder, as these violent outbursts seem to operate on hair-trigger mood swings.
He's a Glowing Ghoul. It is impossible to find a more stigmatized or misunderstood being short of a Super Mutant. Unless he consciously controls his glow, Jackal is easy to spot in the dark. Likewise with his natural radiation. Without controlling it, Jackal can poison those around him with his emissions. This can be good or bad, depending on just who is getting fatally irradiated.
Liam once wore a durable Combat Armour breastplate, but over the years, it degraded and was discarded somewhere near Houston. Liam now wears a more-easily-repaired suit of toughened leather armor with a few scrap steel plates to protect his forearms and shoulders. The upper arm bears his Special Forces Patch and his Ranger Tab. To keep the abrasive dust of Tornado Season out of his mouth and nose, Liam wears a tight-weave scarf that can easily be lifted to form a dust mask, and wears a set of goggles to protect his eyes (these usually stay up off his eyes to preserve his peripheral vision when a storm isn't blowing in).
Liam arms himself with a miniature machete he forged himself from molten steel leaking from the still-burning reactor in Toloko, working tirelessly for hours as the intense radiation sustained him. He ground the blade down to a razor edge in one of the plant's workshops. Other melee weapons include his SAP Gloves and heavy combat boots, which are easily put to use with his military training. He never leaves the power plant without his combat knife. Finally, he possesses a Bumper Sword which he occasionally carries if he's going into territory where he might encounter tough hostiles at close range.
For ranged combat, Liam carries a Magneto-Laser Pistol as his sidearm and a Wattz 2000 Laser Rifle with a recycling chip as his primary weapon. The stock of his laser rifle boasts a blade that points straight down when one is aiming the rifle. This blade makes for a vicious butt strike from the rifle, more than capable of gutting a victim with a solid blow. Less commonly, he carries a .45 Auto pistol with an HD slide modification and improved sights.
- "If you cross my threshold, I give you about five minutes to live, Pinky. If you stay where you're standing, about half an hour before the radiation from Six kills all the enzymes in your gut. See, no one was around to pour concrete into her when she cracked, so she's gonna leak until the fire goes out or those Fuel Rods degrade. You've been poisoning yourself ever since you walked past that black and yellow-chevroned barrier down there. Look, I know the sign looks like an angel, but son, that's the symbol for nuclear radiation. Now fuck off before you do yourself too much damage and I put ya out of your misery."
- ―To a curious Wastelander
- "You can't kill me! You don't even have a degree!"
- ―He hates raiders
- "And he glows? Bullshit."
- ―Skeptical travelers headed for Toloko
- "YOU INTEND TO LET A PHANTOM KEEP YOU FROM ALL THE TREASURE? APOLOGIES, THIS UNIT WAS LED TO BELIEVE IT WAS DEALING WITH "ONE BAD DUDE." INITIATING "SISSY SUBROUTINE," ALERT THIS UNIT UPON COMPLETION OF PANTIE SOILING."
- ―Mr.DART taunts a wastelander into an ill-fated encounter with Liam.