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Jubatus

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Jubatus: The character sheet

Alternate versions of Jubatus: (Anti-Earth) • Jubatus (Earth-XX) • (Erde)

!!! Jubatus' page on the FCPbP Wiki

Jube's

!!! Jube's backstory added to Timeline

6 Jan 2011, Jube's inaugural storyline.

10 Feb 2011, Jube consults a specialist about some medical problems -- and Dr. Archeville sits in. post-mortem

13 February 2011, For the first time, Jubatus battles a foe who's faster than he is! post mortem

4 Mar 2011, Jube's 'civilian' life brings him into contact with something he thought was lost to him: Music. Starring Breakdown. post-mortem

8 Mar 2011, Jube is inadvertently drawn into a murder mystery on a parallel world. post-mortem

Jubatus is invited to help preserve a little bit of galactic biodiversity. post-mortem

4 Apr 2011, In the aftermath of some natural disasters on Haiti, Jube helps speed some (re-) construction work along. post-mortem

14 May 2011, Extradimensional interference sends a bus very far off its scheduled route -- with a few heroes (Jubatus included) on its passenger list. post-mortem

June 2011, In which a (somewhat disquieting, actually) part of the cheetah's legacy is revealed

23 Jun 2011, Jubatus helps deal with leftover Nazi war machines that unexpectedly threaten Southside. post-mortem

15 Jul 2011, The fastest cat alive looks into a wave of suburban kidnappings. post-mortem

First half of Oct 2011, Jube must spend a week on all fours -- or risk permanent, crippling damage to his spine. post-mortem

21 Oct 2011, A laboratory accident sends Jube and would-be sidekick Martin Brandtford hurtling backwards into the past of an alternate timeline. post-mortem

5 January 2012, While investigating a series of high-tech thefts, Jubatus' problems… and his entire body… and a crowd of civilians… are drastically minimized when he's caught up in a Toy Boy scheme. post-mortem

4 February 2012, Jube meets a novice speedster. Social interaction ensues. post-mortem

4 February 2012, In which Jubatus encounters Life Knight, a hero who can raise the dead… and restore Jube's humanity..? post-mortem

Late Mar 2012, After the Hot Zone: Jubatus reconstructs what happened to him as a result of the Proteus virus.

14 May 2012, Jubatus is recruited to combat a bizarre pathogen that threatens to sweep across Freedom City. post-mortem

15 May 2012, On patrol, Jubatus happens to be on the scene when destructive mutant cat-things rampage through a Hanover Zoo-sponsored petting zoo exhibit. post-mortem

June 2012, Whatever happened to the five thugs that Jay Xavier ripped hell out of in the first couple of weeks after his fur coat was installed?

23 June 2012, While rescuing civilians from an apartment fire, Jubatus encounters the new, heroic, Bee-Keeper, among others. post-mortem

14 July 2012, Jay Xavier meets a sentient acoustic wave while working as a sound-engineer at the Battle of the Bands. post-mortem

13 August 2012, Jubatus helps troubleshoot a museum exhibit of audio-animatronic dinosaurs gone rogue! post-mortem

24 August 2012, What's up with people freaking out bad around Jubatus? post-mortem

15 September 2012, A strange visitor from another world(let), and Jubatus is on the welcoming committee? post-mortem

11 October 2012, The heroic financial titan, Amir al-Misri, makes Jubatus an offer he can't refuse—no matter how much he'd like to… post-mortem

12 October 2012, A hidden enemy of Jubatus transforms innocent citizens into animals. post-mortem

20 October 2012, Jay Xavier's first job on al-Misri's payroll is interrupted by supervillains. post-mortem

4 November 2012, Criminal apes from another dimension, with an ape-ifying weapon? Welcome to Jube's Sunday. post-mortem

26 December 2012, In which Jubatus meets a redneck from outer space!

Edited by Cubist

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My name is Jay Nelson Xavier, and I'm the fastest feline around. As far as I know, anyway. There are some non-feline speedsters who can run circles around me, and I'm okay with that. More than okay, really…

I haven't been a cat for all that long; the body-change was a bit of a shock, and I'm still not used to it. Every so often I look in a mirror, expecting to see my human face starting back, and the fuzzy face I do see comes as a surprise. Fortunately for my mental well-being, that sort of thing is happening less and less. The one I got to thank for it is Ed Hallstonne, the licensed therapist whose office I'm in right now. Ed just shoved a DVD into a player; as I suspected, it's a recording of the interview I did with that 'Voyeur' character…


-- today's guest is… Jubatus. Thanks for being here!

'Salright, but you can call me 'Jube'. I'll answer to either name.

Alright. To start off, what's the significance of the name 'Jubatus'?

Well, as your viewers can see, I'm basically a cheetah. And the scientific name for that species is Acinonyx jubatus. So I figured, why not?

Where are you from, Jube?

A fair bit west of here.

[short pause] And, could you be more specific..?

I could, yes.

[pause] But you're not going to, are you.

You got it.

Ah… you do realize that that sort of answer isn't exactly helpful…

[amused expression] [shoulders move forward and a little up] Hey, guy, you came to me, not the other way around. So if you don't like how this interview's going, that's your problem, not mine.

I… see. By the way, what was that little gesture you just did?

You mean this? [shoulders move forward and a little up] It's a shrug, or as close as I can get to one, anyway. [bleep] anatomy, how does it work?

Speaking of anatomy, how would you physically describe yourself?

Like your audience can't just see what I look like? [waves a forepaw in front of his face] Dude. I'm a [bleep] cheetah. How the [bleep] do you think I describe myself?

Do you think others would describe you the same way?

Of course! [sarcastic smile] Unless they've dropped acid or something…

Your voice is… very distinctive. How do you get it to do that?

Like I said, I'm a cheetah -- which means I got a cheetah's vocal tract, not a human vocal tract. So as far as actual spoken language is concerned, well, I'm [bleep] outta luck. But us cheetahs are real good at sound effects, okay? I can make clicks and squawks and so on like you wouldn't believe, and some of these noises resemble the component phonemes of speech. So when I 'talk', what I'm really doing is, I'm faking it with sound effects. Yeah, the end result sounds like it's a product of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, but at least it's comprehensible, and that's as much as I could ask for.

What is your motivation, Jube?

[short pause] For what? I mean, I have different motivations, depending on what context you're talking about. Wanna be more specific?

Well, for being a superhero.

I'm doing this thing because my therapist asked me to, and I thought it made sense.

You've been in therapy? Anything you care to say about that period of your life?

Naah. [shrugs] It's all in the public record, so why waste your bandwidth repeating it here?

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

[short pause] Am I on Candid Camera?

Excuse me?

I repeat: Am. I. On. Candid. Camera?

[pause] Ah… I don't see…

Look. You're interviewing me because I'm about to be a superhero, right?

[puzzled look] Yes, I am…

And your ultimate goal is, presumably, to broadcast this interview on the open airwaves, where everybody and their dog can watch it.

Well… that is the plan, yes. And..?

And you know that I, as a hero-to-be, will be putting my fuzzy [bleep] on the line against any number of eugenically-twisted freakazoids, some of whom just love to hit superheroes with the kind of psychotic mindgames not seen since the last Saw movie.

Um…

And you actually think I'm going to consider, even for half a clock-second, answering any question of yours in a way that would help those nutbars hit me where I live?

[uncomfortable pause]

[derisive snort] Yeah, I thought so. At this point, I'm not sure if I should ask you what drugs you're on, or which villain you're working for, or what color the sky is on your homeworld.

Ah… right. What do you love?

[short pause] [shakes head, amused] This, you can ask immediately after I've [bleep] told you why I ain't answering personal questions?

Can't blame me for trying. How would you describe your mental and emotional state?

'Existent'. That's a nice word for it, I think.

What do you fear the most?

Doing Dr. Nefarious' homework for him. Hint-hint?

Come on, Jube, work with me here.

Why? Because if I don't work with you, you're gonna give me lousy PR?

Well, I wouldn't put it that way, but…

[short pause] Look, Royer: The whole point of being a superhero is to make a real, objective, empirical difference for the better. That's the prize I got my eyes on. And if I can make the world a better place, I don't give a [bleep] if some blow-dried talking head's teleprompter says I'm not a nice person. Conversely, if I can't make a difference, who the [bleep] cares if a talking head says I'm wonderful?

Oh… kay. What is your greatest ambition?

To strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest. [looks directly into camera] And while Peeping Rich here is [bleep] bricks, I'd recommend that the home audience try googling that phrase. You know, just for [bleep] and giggles.

How do you feel about the state of the world and your place in it?

Guarded optimism. Like Bucky Fuller said, the future is a race between utopia and oblivion; I think utopia's in the lead right now, but it's not all that solid a lead, so anything I can do to help is good.

Do you have any prejudices?

[meaningful glance] I'm very prejudiced against stupidity. Other things, not so much.

What -- Jubatus hates the mentally challenged?

[short pause] Sloppy phrasing on my part; make that 'willful stupidity'. Whether your IQ is 75 or 150, there's no shame in being what you are, to the best of your ability. What gets me is when somebody's got the brains and education to know better, and they still insist on doing something totally stupid.

Such as?

Thoth and Athena, where do I begin… [short pause] Okay, the anti-vaccine movement. You can break out all the hard data you want about how the stats for a disease drop way the [bleep] down when a vaccine for that disease comes out, and those stats come creeping back up when people stop vaccinating… and your typical anti-vaccine twit will yammer about how it wasn't really the vaccine, it was sanitation or whatever other excuse. If that isn't willful stupidity, what the [bleep] is?

How do you get along with others?

[dour smile] How do you think I get along with others?

Where do your loyalties lie?

Two words: Candid Camera.

Do you have a lover --

Candid Camera.

[pause] So… it would be a waste of time to ask you what your, ah, partner, thinks of… right. [short pause] Moving right along: Do you have a family, Jube?

'Course not -- I was spawned in a vat.

I can't tell if you're serious…

[rolls eyes, sighs] Yes, that was a joke. I have a family, public record, yada yada yada.

So you have siblings and parents. How's your releationship with them?

Eh, my family is like any other, really. [shrug] We're talking about people you're stuck with through no fault of your own, and some of them you get along with better than others.

The people closest to you: How would they describe you?

I dunno. Why don't you ask them?

[annoyance] I can't, because you haven't told me who…

[self-satisfied smile] Ah -- investigative journalism at its finest!

[discontinuous cut, indicating the passage of an indefinitely long period of time]

Is Jubatus a role model?

Am I? Nobody told me…

Would you like to be a role model?

Heiliger Christus, no! Sure, I try to do what I think is right. But if you're looking for someone who sincerely believes their [bleep] doesn't stink, or they're just so [bleep] spiffy that everybody else ought to follow their lead, you're gonna have to keep right on looking, is all.

How spiritual are you?

[rolls eyes] Give me a break. 'Spiritual' is a weasel-word used by religious sheeple who don't want to admit what they are.

Okay. How religious are you?

Not. At. All.

Do you…

[stare]

…follow…

[intense stare]

…any religious…

[disquietingly intense stare]

…aaand, I'll just mark that down as a 'no', shall I?

[nods] You can learn. Good.

Are you part of a team?

Nope; I'm a lone wolf, you should pardon the expression.

Do you think you might like to be on a team?

[shrug] Could be nice. Having backup, pooling resources, that sort of thing. Of course, the interpersonal relationships might be a problem…

How do you feel about the place of metahumans and aliens on Earth?

People are people. I try to judge by behavior, not by the color, shape, or substance of the skin.

Last question, Jube: If you could give just one piece of advice to our audience, what would it be?

Always play the odds, and never bet when the odds aren't in your favor.


…and the interview is over. "Well?" says Ed.

"Well, what?" I reply with a shrug. "Yes, I was obnoxious. Yes, I said some stuff that Mr. and Mrs. Middle America wouldn't approve of. So what? You keep on telling me I should be myself, and I was being myself. And if Rich Royer decides not to air this interview… that's okay by me."

Ed is silent for a short time before he speaks: "Jay. I know you're worried about the worst-case scenario, but honestly: You don't have to be a hyper-abrasive SOB. It's okay for you to have friends! Even if your most horrifying nightmare comes true, and your mind regresses to an animal level, there are people out there who can deal with out-of-control speedsters."

"And if you're wrong about that, I leave a supersonic trail of corpses behind me," I say quietly.

"And you don't really believe that's possible," Ed says. "If you did, you'd never in a million years have agreed to be a superhero! This is just residual self-loathing talking, am I right?"

Sigh... Ed is right. The thing is, it really, really bugs me that I could go on a Mach-speed feral killing spree. True, it's not even remotely likely. And the odds of it happening grow smaller every day. Even so… the odds of me losing it and going on a lethal rampage are greater than zero. It's a continuing crapshoot, and I 'roll the dice' every day… and if I keep on rolling those dice, someday I will crap out.

Can you blame me for worrying?

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The office of therapist Ed Hallstonne, about 2 PM on 7 March 2011

And before I can speak up, my shrink says, "Congratulations." His name is Ed Halstonne, and I owe him, big time.

"For what?" I ask with a glare.

"For this," he says as he raises a copy of yesterday's Freedom Ledger, folded so that the bottom half of the front page is on top. Having already read the whole thing, I know Ed's referring to media coverage of my 'glorious' debut as a superhero, so I ignore it now. He says, "Looks like you made a good start."

"Like Hell I did," I shoot back. "I was a complete xxxxixx screw-up!"

Halstonne inclines his head and peruses the newspaper. "That's not what Alfred Gomez, Harry Forbes, and Michael Asimov think," he observes, naming the personnel I extracted from that accident at Soguud Chemical. "Says here that all three have favorable prognoses and are expected to recover fully, and for that, they can thank their relatively short exposure to the ambient toxins." He looks at me and pauses. "Not bad for a 'complete xxxxixx screw-up'."

Again I glare at Ed. "I didn't even try to find out what toxins might be in the air before I rushed in. It was just blind stinking luck that there wasn't anything lethal that could attack through the skin!"

Ed pauses -- wait, that's just me, I calm myself a little and force my tempo back down to 1 -- anyway, Ed says, "So you're going to dismiss your good work, on the grounds that your execution was less than 100% perfect?"

"Yes! When you're trying to fix a life-threatening scenario, any margin of error is too xxxxxxx much!"

"I won't disagree with you," the psychologist replies. "However, I think it's worth noting that you don't have to be perfect, Jay. And that's good, because you are going to make mistakes from time to time. Maybe you think you shouldn't ever screw up, but that's a fantasy -- nobody can be perfect all the time -- and if you try, you're just going to mess up your head in a big way. Come on, Jay; we've talked about this before."

"I know. I know," I say with a sigh. "And you're right, zero-tolerance never works for long in real life. It's just..."

"It's just that you don't want to end up hurting anybody, not even by accident."

"Yeah."

Ed nods. "I can see that. And I think it's a good attitude for a superhero to have. But if it makes you flay yourself bloody over what-ifs that never happened, I think you'll have to agree there are any number of better attitudes for you to have, aren't there?"

"Well..."

"Maybe you were lucky. So what? Does being lucky mean you shouldn't have rescued Alfred, Harry, and Michael?"

Ed has a habit of coming up with questions that have no good answers...

"Worrying about your errors isn't so bad, if it spurs you on to learn from your mistakes so you won't repeat them in the future. In the meantime... you did good, Jay. Sure, you aren't the Platonic ideal of a superhero. But thanks to you, no matter how complete a screw-up you may have been, there are three men who aren't going to suffer slow and painful deaths from overexposure to toxic chemicals.

"I repeat: You did good. And it's okay to be happy about doing good."

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Excerpt from Jay Xavier's personal journal

Proteus virus: A bioweapon that grants superhuman abilities while, at the same time, chewing up your immune system. Nasty idea. Hope to Jenner and Semmelweis there's no re-run any time soon. Or at all, ideally.

I kinda figured I was immune, since the damn thing was specifically targeted on human life, and I'm roughly 90% cheetah, genetically speaking. No such luck: The damn thing hit me in my remaining 10%-or-so human DNA. And what it did to me… isn't entirely clear in my mind. But then, considering how Proteus zapped me, it's no wonder my memories of that time are a little weird.

Here's my earliest impression, as best I can tell now: I noticed that my menubar clock had jumped a few hours ahead, and then it felt like some deranged freak was injecting napalm into my veins. Then the burning agony stopped -- and the menubar had jumped ahead another couple minutes. A little respite from agony, then the bloodburn started up again; said torture ended at its peak, accompanied by the 'jumping' clock. This cute little cycle repeated itself Chronos only knows how many times before they doped out a cure for Proteus…

Somewhere in there, Brandtford found me and got my fuzzy tail into a hospital. Seems his continuum-sensors picked up some weird readings that bore a family resemblance to what he gets from my Timeshift, and the weirdness kept on cycling on and off with no end in sight. Didn't recognize the kid; I wasn't exactly in any shape to talk, or respond to outside stimuli, or even form coherent memories, at the time. It's a serious stroke of luck that my blindly flailing claws didn't slice him up bad. As it was, it would've been a miracle if I hadn't done the poor bastard any damage. Thanks for nothing, gods! On the plus side, it was all strictly superficial, and he shouldn't even have any scars.

Me and Brandtford compared notes later (as in, "after I was cured and coherent"). It looks like my Proteus-given power-boost was an extension to my Timeshift; in addition to the usual faster-or-slower deal, it seems I could also make my personal Time run backwards. Set the clock back, as it were. Fun stuff.

And the fire-in-the-blood thing? Well, my DNA has some genetic 'booby-traps' built into it. Among other things, most/all of the commonest, easiest options for restoring my original genetic material will backfire. End result: Ebola-like bleedout, body-wide organ failure, et cetera ad nauseum with emphasis on the nauseum. The Grue bastard(s) who did this to me must be hella fun at parties, hm? So Proteus does its gene-editing thing, and of course its DNA-changes trigger bunches and bunches of my Grue-given 'time-bombs'—and by the way, it just happens that the damn virus is, at one and the same time, eating my immune system.

And let's not forget that my metabolism runs a lot faster than anyone else's, just because…

So I've got like 30 seconds to live, and I'm in xxxxixx agony, and the first (only) thing it occurs to me to try is 'ultimate maximum downshift'. However many seconds I have left, maybe I can stretch 'em out to a large-enough number of clock-seconds that I'll get fixed before I finish dying, okay? That's the plan, anyway. Downshifting does have serious drawbacks, but considering I'm already going to die in the next several seconds, I'm thinking it's the least-bad option available.

But I'm a little distracted by the biological torture I'm suffering… so when I try to downshift, what I actually do is activate the new power.

I rewind. All the way back to just before the moment when my shiny new Timeshift accessory showed up. Can't go any further back, because 'further back' is a time when I don't have that ability. But my body's still infected with the Proteus virus, which continues doing the job it was engineered to do. So it tweaks my DNA, which triggers the genetic booby-traps, which start to kill my body, which makes me rewind back to just before I got the rewind power, which…

Yeah. Vicious circle.

I'm just glad it's over now. No chance of any lingering genetic after-effects, thank Mendel, because if there were any such after-effects, I'd still be replaying that damn cycle.

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