Thursday, February 10, 2022

J is for Jangkar in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge

 Nur Hidayat was born in Jakarta, but travelled the whole of the country for her crusading journalism work, exposing criminal activity and government corruption. Eventually she reached a point where her very public profile didn't outweigh her nuisance factor, and she was seconds away from a messy death when the experimental transport beam from another dimension struck her. That whisked her from our world to one where humans distant descendants time travelled back and bootstrap uplifted their distant ancestors – Java Men – to create a new timeline that was a veritable paradise. Nur dubbed it J-Earth, and the beam the J-Earth Transport, or JET. There she fell in love with the scientist who summoned her, Erd'l, and though tiny and pathetically weak by J-Earth standards her journalism skills let her ferret out an alien shape-shifter plot against the J-Earth government. She was feted as a hero when… the beam wore off. Erd'l had just enough time to tell here where the next beam would be. 

Thrown back to Jakarta close to a week after she left. She was presumed dead, her life was a shambles, and she had to scramble, evade detection so she wasn't just killed again, escape custody and eventually kill someone to get to the beam site 46 days later. There Erd'l ad prepared a gene splicing station where she had 5 days of extensive surgeries to make her equivalent to the J-Earth natives. For our Earth she's clearly superhuman – this 5 stone woman can lift half a ton, hold her breath and resist pressure extremes for an hour, and can see into the IR and UV spectrums if she squints right – and she was outfitted with the day-to-day gear of an adventuress on J-Earth, including her magnetic flight packs (far more effective for her tiny frame), tactical goggles and a disintegration ray pistol. 

Better prepared this time, Nur knew she would do anything, anything, to make it back to J-Earth and Erd'l permanently. But to do that she would need resources to follow the beam's path around the world, and connections to get whatever equipment she needed on her end to stabilize the process. For right now she was anchored to this world, and she hated it. The anchor, and the world. So she took that as her 'code name' and started to take down the criminal enterprise that had once threatened her life. Nur Hidayat reappeared online, filing stories of her research against this criminal cartel and how it was being hollowed out by some new crime lord, establishing how she had been in hiding for her life for the last few months. 

Now able to better predict the JET's movements and being strong enough to hold on to the charge longer and recharge faster, she is able to spend 12.5 days out of every 42 on J-Earth. In her first month back she not only claimed control of a significant criminal enterprise as Jangkar, but wrote the stories that would become her successful non-fiction book. Over the last 5 years Jangkar has solidified total control of her criminal operation – grooming loyal lieutenants to keep things running while she's gone – and has moved it into stolen high technology and criminal energy science. She's moved around the world making alliances as the beam's position has shifted. 

Meanwhile Nur exists on our earth as a writer of outlandish alternate earth fiction, chronicling her adventures on J-Earth in a series of popular novels that are derided on the internet as being pure Mary Sue fiction but beloved by its fan base. Nur "remains in hiding" lest the Jangkar empire seek vengeance on her. To say that she's alive any of these times is nonsense. She LIVES on J-Earth. She endures this wretched, fallen hellhole because she has to, and when she's able to leave it completely it can burn for all she cares. She's currently in Haven because the JET is in this area, and will be for some months. Jangkar is engaging in a series of thefts of 'advanced' technology to aid her quest, and making alliances with the local high tec criminal base. 

Creation Notes

It took a LOT of shilly shallying around before I realized that this character was what happens to Adam Strange if REALLY all e cared about was getting back to Rann. I started knowing I wanted a device based villain, and was happy when the dice kicked up an out of US origin; the combination of Dimensional Travel and Indonesia immediately brought to mind a combination of Pratchett's _Nation_ and Baxter's _Xeelee Sequence_ for bootstrapped uplifted Java Men. There were several iterations of viewing the powers, including swapping out the weakness Vulnerability for Low Self-Control once I realized the Adam Strange Archetype, before everything clicked.

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