Portrayed by Krysten Ritter
|Birthdate:||September 9th, 1993|
"That girl's special. A diamond in the rough. A real jewel."
Character Journal: xp_alias
Real Name: Jessica Jones
Codename: Currently none
Aliases: Jessica Jones
First Appearance: August 16, 2014
Date of Birth: September 9th, 1993
Place of Birth: New York City, New York
Education: High school
Relationship Status: She thinks she and the bodega guy who sells her hot dogs are friends, but he’s only nice to her because it’s his job
Occupation: Private investigator
Note: Trigger warning ahead, for references to mind control that includes coerced sexual assault.
Jessica Jones was born Jessica Campbell in New York City, New York (specifically Midtown, Manhattan) on September 9th, 1993.
Her dad worked in sales, and her mother had a part-time job at a craft store; they were semi-unhappily-married people who had done exactly what was expected of them, including having two children (a girl, obvious, and a boy, Jessica’s younger brother). The family was disconnected but both parents loved their kids, although they did not understand them in the slightest; Jessica was the kind of kid who watched Daria on MTV reruns and got into riot girl music when her parents were expecting a boy band phase. Not sure what to do with this somewhat awkward, slightly too sharp child they’d produced, her parents did what all 90s and early ‘00s parents did and fought with her, one another, and her teachers over who was most to blame for her behaviour.
It’s likely that they would have eventually come to some kind of familial détente and understanding when the kids were grown up, but unfortunately Jessica’s mom, dad, and brother died in a car accident when Jess was 13, colliding with a semi-trailer. She survived against all odds - likely due to increased durability from her nascent mutation, not yet known - but spent nearly a year in the hospital in a coma, recovering from the coma, and then rehabbing the traumatic brain injury that caused the coma. She had to learn to walk again. Nobody enjoyed that, particularly her physiotherapist.
From then on, things were not great. Now a ward of the state, Jess landed in foster care, bumping between foster parents and group homes for a majority of her teens. (She should really be grateful to the foster mom who told her she’d never graduate high school, since that was her main motivation for doing so.)
You know how a traumatic experience can inspire people to take a look at their life and improve themselves? That was… not what happened to Jessica. Her nascent riot girl attitude bloomed into full self-protective sarcasm and defiance (authority figures a specialty), and her poor-to-middling experiences with foster care did not improve this. Nor did her discovery of her mutant powers, which involved an unfortunate incident that started with running from the cops – underage drinking in public with the local burnouts still being illegal – and ended with Jessica flying herself right into a dumpster. She was a mutant, which was not great but honestly, mostly a distraction unless she was getting into fistfights and trying not to actually murder anyone.
Also not helping was her experience with the local New York tabloids, which made her a minor curiosity in the early days of online reporting and social media; to that end, she changed her surname to ‘Jones’ when she turned 18, the better to avoid being identified as a tragedy icon or in fact associated with who she was at all.
Having no desire to go to college or indeed to exist in society, Jessica Jones floated through a few crappy service jobs before taking a few jobs for neighbours in her apartment building along the lines of “please get proof my wife is cheating on me and I’ll help you pay your rent next month”.
Thus was born the era of Jessica Jones, Private Investigator (please imagine the sparkle emojis as inserted by authorial fiat). Jess spent a few years getting the required certifications, insurance, and licenses to set herself up in a career that rarely required her to have manners, wake up before 11am, or have qualifications beyond “intelligent and can figure shit out”. She was extremely young for the profession, which actually worked in her favour - nobody expected someone of her age or gender to be doing what she did, which gave her access to people and places that she otherwise wouldn’t have had. (She also took on whatever shitty jobs came her way, in the beginning, including ones that didn’t feel great to do.) Eventually, she had established enough of a reputation locally that she could set up her own official business and move into an apartment that had fewer rats. Okay, the apartment was her office, but it did have fewer rats.
This was actually a nice period of Jessica’s life; she made some friends (TBD they could be relevant but who knows, leaving this open), had a relatively steady income, and even managed to work through some of her trauma by doing the occasional work that helped people.
Unfortunately, at age 21, Jessica took a case that changed the direction of her life and absolutely not for the better. She tracked a missing college student to the penthouse (read: lair) of Zebediah Kilgrave, a small-time criminal with an outsized effect on the people he encounters. Kilgrave has a mix of pheromone and telepathic abilities that allow him to effectively put someone under very strong mind control. (Is he related to Laurie and her father Zach? Maybe, who knows! Zach wasn’t villainous enough for my purposes.) After realizing that Jessica was a reasonably powerful mutant and an enticingly vulnerable person, he put her under mind control, and whammied she stayed for, well, I guess that makes it 9 years by 2023.
Time at Xavier's
Kilgrave had, by the time he encountered Jessica, identified a potential threat on the horizon – the X-Men and their various X-teams. So he sent her, under heavy mind control, to make sure that he had intel and advance warning if they caught his scent. She spent two years at the mansion, at the end of which Kilgrave determined that he was in no danger of Xavier’s coming after him and pulled her out so that she could go do other stuff for him.
Anyway, the time Jessica spent in the mansion? Under mind control. Anything that happened? Not really by her own volition; anything she said or did at that time was more or less a construct that Kilgrave ordered her to create in order to fit in better at the mansion. At her intro, her brain has been scrambled so many times that her memory of the mansion and its inhabitants is fuzzy at best, missing huge chunks of detail and steeped in 9 years of telepathic mind-rape PTSD. She MIGHT be able to identify someone she knew back then, but it’s just as likely that they’d look familiar without actually rising to the level of recognition.
I wish I could tell you how M-Day influenced her, but quite frankly it probably didn’t make an impact on her scrambled brain. She now categorizes it under “Sad Shit: Other People’s” in her brain, and doesn’t think much about it after that. However, M-Day did have a major impact on her life in another way; it created enough psychic interference, interrupting Kilgrave's control just enough that Jess’s psyche began to really build up psychic scar tissue - a sort of mental autoimmune response. Normally, people who have been in Kilgrave’s thrall burn out, their minds gone by the time he releases them; Jessica’s mind, instead, began to reroute things around the damaged parts, preserving her sanity to the extent that she does not emerge a husk of herself.
During the time she was under Kilgrave's control, Jessica certainly experienced coerced sexual assault, as Kilgrave used his mind control both for his personal entertainment as well as his other interests. He also used her occasionally to carry out normal assaults, generally in environments where he was fucking with many people at once, for his own enjoyment.
(Sidenote: Kilgrave is not an ambitious criminal, and his powers tend to ensure nobody reports him to the police because they are implicated in crimes with no proof they were coerced, so the fact that he hasn’t come up is not a huge surprise. He prefers ‘keeping’ people longterm, releasing them once their minds are well and truly spent, and any more mundane things he acquires with his powers - like money or property - come to him with all appearances of consent. He’s living the life he wants already, and has no desire to change it or enlarge it. In general, people he’s released from his control don’t last very long - their minds are either gone or they die by suicide. So there it does make sense that he’s never appeared on the X-Men’s radar.
For further explanation of why nobody noticed, despite the plethora of people who could have: Kilgrave’s power works to reprogram people’s brains, either temporarily or more permanently. The ‘real’ personality isn’t in there, trapped, it is rewritten for the period of the mind control, with initial help from the pheromone power to create an enabling environment for the telepathy to take root. There was no reason for a telepath to take a deep look at Jessica, and even if they did, any signs would have been extremely subtle, because for all intents and purposes she was what she appeared to be - until the mind control creating that personality and those motivations wore off.)
Still, by the time Jessica encounters the mansion again, she’s been fading in and out of her own life, doing PI jobs – somewhat competently, mostly drunk – when Kilgrave doesn’t need her, his control over her increasingly brittle before it breaks altogether when, following a lead, she interrupts Garrison and Jean on an X-Men mission and absolutely loses it. She’s a wreck: Angry, confused, defensive, paranoid, suffering what would certainly be diagnosed as acute trauma and longterm PTSD if she consented to being in the same room as a psychiatrist for any amount of time, and on top of that she’s an alcoholic with a dwindling client base and an office-home that’s in rent arrears by a couple of months.
A joy to have in class who will certainly be grateful and gracious about the entire experience.
General build: I’d say a swimmer’s build, but on the skinny side, since she gets most of her calories from liquor and convenience store hot dogs
Hair: Dark brown
Other Features: None
Jess is a reasonably attractive 29-year-old woman who usually appears to only have one or two red flags about her person, rather than the Santa Claus parade float made up entirely of red flags that she actually is. She has thick dark brown hair, brown eyes, and she’s tall with great legs (though her boobs don’t amount to much). She doesn’t stand out too much on a New York street.
She can be found at almost any time wearing a leather jacket and motorcycle boots (seasonally replaced by her summer leather jacket and light motorcycle boots); this includes sleeping and sex. Other integral parts of her wardrobe include jeans bought from sidewalk sale racks in Chinatown, men’s t-shirts mysteriously left behind after one-night stands, a phone with a cracked screen, and a messenger bag big enough for a good telephoto lens and a flask. Laundry is done, poorly, when the underwear drawer is empty, or later than that if she doesn’t feel the urge to wear underwear anyway.
Jessica is strong and can (theoretically; it’s happened once or twice before) fly! She’s got the good superhero powers. Or she would, but she herself largely ignores her powers unless something falls under the fridge and she has few memories of using them that aren’t furnished by her time with Kilgrave (more of a deterrent to their use than anything else). Currently, she can lift about 2,000lbs without too much effort, and perhaps up to 3,500lbs under high-adrenaline circumstances. In the future, or in times of great duress/we need it for a plot, she might be able to increase this by a factor of 10.
(Also she can jump very high, perhaps five or six storeys. But she can’t fly and won’t be able to until she sorts out some of her mental health nonsense. When she can fly, I would put her very middle of the pack or below on speed – she’s not a speedster – and she’d be limited to shorter distances because human skin and eyes aren’t meant to fly at high-ish speeds in the elements for longer ones. And if she backslides, or if it’s funny to me, she’s back to hopping up fire escapes like Toad.)
On the plus side, Jessica is VERY good at controlling her powers downward: She can punch someone and they would never know she’s not just a fairly strong woman! This is an important asset in her work and her bar fights. She has, however, been known to accidentally break the glass in her office door by slamming it too hard when she’s drunk or mad. Nobody’s perfect!
Consequences of overuse: Well, she doesn’t have any special healing factor. Her body becomes physiologically adapted to withstand the additional weight she can bear, but going overboard will result in muscle damage, stress fractures, and less pleasant things like crush injuries. If she does have an adrenaline moment and hasn’t been working up to higher weights, she will absolutely have to deal with the physical consequences, because her body hasn’t adapted to more extreme weights. Trying to jump very high and not sticking the landing will also hurt pretty bad.
Jess’s powers are constrained not only by her mental state but also the fact that, nine times out of ten, she would rather pull out her own fingernails than engage in any activity that might be construed as “working out”. This very much includes powers training. She’ll likely develop through less obvious means, such as impromptu cases going bad, “sparring” with someone of similar strength, engaging in healthy behaviours like not drinking until she passes out three nights a week, etc.
Decent DSLR camera with telephoto lens, computer, bottle of brown liquor.
Player Icon Base: Krysten Ritter