Wars World Survey: Jessica "Jess" Montagne - By Abalux

Jess
Age: 33
Height: 6'0"/1.83 m
Weight: 160 lb/73 kg
Birthplace: Ch'ne Vigoureux, Rostania
Languages Known: Rostanian French, Direnholmian German, English (both Avalonian and Orange Star dialects), Blue Moon Russian, and Latin. Jess' Latin comes from her upbringing; she picked up the others during her military career and travels.
Relatives of Note: Jess effectively has no blood relatives; her father and mother are dead, she knows little of her father's family, and she and her mother's family mutually despise each other. Her CDF colleagues (even Eagle) and the nuns that took care of her are her adopted relatives

Background

The village of Ch'ne Vigoureux hosts one of Rostania's largest automotive factories. With Direnholm just a few miles away, it greatly benefits from industrial advances. The village thunders and rattles with the roar of manufacturing. Jess was born in this environment.
Unfortunately, when Jess was born, her native village was under Steinhalt's occupation. Ch'ne Vigoureux was one of the first settlements taken when Direnholm invaded. Its people did not take the conquest without reprisal. While Rostania's nobles handed their nation over to the fearsome dictator, most of its rural population resisted. They used captured Direnholmian military equipment against the occupiers. Ch'ne Vigoureux was no exception. The leader of its partisans was Etienne Montagne, Jess' father. His wife Madeline, a noblewoman disowned by her family for marrying a common soldier, worked at the factory and secretly smuggled parts from it to his soldiers.
Before the invasion, Etienne had been a tank commander. He continued his work while commanding the partisans. One day, while patrolling the village's outer reaches in his personal medium tank, he saw a massive Direnholmian force heading his way. They were going to enter a pass through the village's hills and attack! Etienne Montagne knew what he had to do. Giving one of his colleagues a final letter to his wife and daughter, he piloted his tank to the pass. His last stand is famous across Green Earth, if not the entire world. Etienne held off the Direnholmian units long enough for nearby Allied Nations soldiers to arrive and attack. They found the smoking ruins of his tank afterwards. For this sacrifice, Etienne Montagne has earned the name 'Lion of a Tankerman.'
This honor meant little to the young Jess. Soon after her father's death, the Direnholmian occupiers caught her mother sneaking out parts. They almost immediately raided the family apartment. Fortunately, Madeline's friends sneaked Jess out to a nearby convent. Madeline wasn't so lucky. The occupiers publicly executed her.
After the end of the Cosmos War, Jess collected her father's posthumous Cross of Bravery. She then returned to the convent. Under the watchful eyes of the nuns, she developed into a bright, confident young scholar. Jess was particularly interested in old French military history. Her favorite figure was the warrior-saint Joan of Arc. The nuns found her fascination with Joan, and military history in general, interesting. They figured Jess would go to university to study the field and return to the convent as a nun and church historian.
Jess actually had a different destiny. She was always handy with motor vehicles, a talent as appreciated by the nuns as her historical scholarship. One day, when she was getting supplies with the mother superior, their car ran out of fuel. They were miles from the farthest gas station. Jess put her hand on the fuel tank's cap. All of a sudden, the tank began glowing! When Jess looked in, she found that it had miraculously filled. She and the mother superior immediately went back to the convent. There, the nuns and Jess consulted. Eventually, they decided that God had granted the teenager power to continue her father's legacy. Her future lay with the Rostanian military, not the Wars World Catholic Church. Jess was reluctant to leave the shelter of the convent. Still, she could think of no reason to waste her newfound powers. She reluctantly signed up with the army. When the mother superior told its recruiters about her CO Power, they placed Jess in immediate officer training. She graduated as Rostania's first female commissioned officer. In addition, she graduated knowing that she was the first CO to manifest a Super Power.
Jess found adapting from an all-female community to an almost completely male community difficult. Although her father's Cosmos War sacrifice caused her fellow soldiers to respect her, she was still a woman in a 97% male military. There were barriers regardless of her legacy. To counteract them, Jess adopted the dress of her male colleagues. She even cut her hair as short as theirs. Many of her fellow officers respected her willingness to fit in. A few wanted to, ahem, know her a little better. Jess had to develop a hard exterior and a strong uppercut to repel them.
Jess was still an effective commander, specializing in tanks and other land-based vehicles. Her expertise was so great that, as a 'mere' brigadier general in the Rostanian tank corps, she received a letter from the Ring. News of her abilities had reached the CDF. It wanted her to be its land force commander. As a gallant and honorable military officer and admirer of Joan of Arc, Jess felt she couldn't refuse. She left Rostania after notifying her superiors. Her mother's family was happy to see her go. When they had heard of Jess' new and prominent position, they had offered her a payment to compensate for her mother's death. All she had to do was serve their interests. She responded simply: 'I don't need your blood money.'
At the Ring, Jess met the legendary Eagle and Drake, her new colleagues. Eagle greeted her by saying, 'Well, I guess you're used to obeying men!' All the memories of male discrimination, and her mother's family's arrogance, flooded back to the surface. She attempted to punch him. Had Drake not leaped between them and calmed her down, Jess knew that she would have hit him again, lost her position, and disgraced her nation. She was still angered at the nobleman who had insulted her.
Because Jess knew that she and Eagle did not get along, she requested time to train with allied militaries. Eagle was more than willing to allow it. After all, she was the first woman who had ever dared to hit him'and that terrified him. Jess took advantage of her time traveling to study the various Wars World nations' land forces. The last stop on her journey was Viccario. There, she was one of the few foreigners to see that nation's proudest military achievement: the megatank. Jess couldn't believe that the designer was the nation's king, Javier II. Pulling some strings to attend a palace ball, she forced herself into a dress and at his side.
Then explosions rattled the palace. Black Hole had ambushed the nation. Panic ensued. It came to a head when everyone saw rockets heading toward the ballroom's tall, wide windows. A bright flash of light filled the room. The rockets hit. When the light subsided, though, the only trace of the rockets was round cordite marks on the window. King Javier was on his knees, shaking and sweaty, light streaming back into his hands.
Jess was the first to realize what had happened. Viccario's king was a fellow CO, and she could not see such talent wasted. She convinced Javier to accompany her to the Ring. There, Jess put him under the CDF CO trainers' expert tuition. She then learned that Black Hole had claimed Rostania again. Infuriated, Jess put her all in the effort to liberate Green Earth.
Jess' operations during the war, such as her famed attack on several heavily-guarded Black Hole battleships and the theft of its neotank schematics, earned her a reputation second only to Eagle's. Afterwards, she personally commissioned Javier as the CDF's first fortifications commander. Jess felt oddly sad to see the eccentric monarch leave for home. In all their time together, he had treated her with complete and genuine dignity. She had never seen that in a noble. When Javier sent an emergency message to the Ring, therefore, Jess was the first CO to answer. The Rio del Sol had dried up. Since the river provided over four-fifths of Viccario's water, the king requested aid to investigate. Jess was more than happy to help. Meeting with the young COs of Omega Land, particularly Jake, she was one of their most stalwart allies. She played an invaluable role in rooting out Von Bolt. As a result of Jess' heroism, more and more young Rostanian women are considering the military a valid and plausible career.

Personality

Jess is a strong, confident woman and commander. She's had to contend with strife and discrimination that would destroy tender, flowery females. As a result, Jess is outspoken, independent, and steadfast to the point of stubbornness. These attributes make her an excellent ally. They would also make her a romantic partner for Eagle... that is, if he hadn't inadvertently offended her when they first met.
Behind Jess' confidence are two deeper characteristics: faith in honor and disdain for the landed nobility. She has taken her early studies of Joan of Arc seriously. Although most female Rostanian military officers wear uniforms with skirts, Jess has special permission to wear pants (mainly because no reprimand would put her in skirts). She has no tolerance for cowardice and brutality in her subordinates. In addition, Jess does not like being ordered around by nobles. The nuns at the convent told her what had happened to her mother when she married Etienne Montagne. Jess used to believe that all nobles were lying, lazy, corrupt scum. Eagle somewhat confirmed this (though Jess respects his strategic acumen). It is Javier who has thrown a wrench in her worldview. He is easily her equal in honor. Even more confusing, he treats her with respect'even affection. Jess still isn't sure how she'll handle him.

Combat Abilities

Jess quickly made up for her time spent at the peaceful convent. In officer school, she studied karate, boxing, and judo. She is nearly Eagle's equal in the martial arts, and not a bad shot with rifles and pistols. Jess does have one major advantage that irks Eagle, though: she is actually physically stronger than him. As a military commander dealing with tank guns and artillery, Jess believes she should be able to load such weapons. Therefore, she is in continuous strength training. Green soldiers entering her command are surprised when she is the one training them in reloading their weapons. She is perfectly capable of carrying tank shells over her shoulder... and, of course, she can drive the tank, too.
Jess' CO Powers are in an unusual category. They are not terribly flashy or obviously powerful. They are, however, lifesavers. Jess can't count the times she's had to bail out Eagle's air force or Drake's submarines. She is not overly resentful about it'after all, it's harder to refuel air and naval vehicles. Still, Jess loves nothing more than to be on the attack herself. When she appears on the battlefield, it's usually in a neotank. Jess considers it the perfect blend between power and speed.

Relationships

As noted above, Jess effectively has no family. Her fellow commanding officers, and the nuns she still visits at the convent, more than make up for it. Even Eagle does this, to a point. Jess can't deny that he is a handsome, charismatic, and talented commander. She just wishes he wasn't so arrogant about his abilities. Eagle is not as good as he thinks he is (although he is very, very good at his job), and Jess tells him this. His offended reactions only make her do it more. Thus, the relationship between them is one of conflict.
Jess gets along much better with Drake. As the daughter of a partisan commander, she feels kinship with the former pirate and Cosmos War hero. She also likes his humility and level-headedness. Their friendship actually began when Drake intervened in Jess' first disastrous meeting with Eagle. He talked Jess out of trying to harm her new colleague with excellent diplomacy. She was quite impressed. Now, whenever she and Eagle are arguing, Jess can be found in Drake's CDF headquarters office, making sure that he can mediate between them.
It is Javier, and not Eagle, however, who makes Jess most concerned. She was his recruiter, teacher, and partner in the Omega Land conflict. There is certainly mutual affection between them. At the same time, though, Jess cannot forget how nobles have treated her in the past. The recent events in Omega Land have only made her feel more conflicted. Jess has been receiving small gifts from a secret admirer. She is fairly certain that it is her Viccarian colleague. Unfortunately, CDF regulations forbid romance between commissioned officers. Either she or Javier would have to retire to reciprocate the relationship. Jess doesn't want to end Javier's career prematurely, but she doesn't want to end hers prematurely either. For now, she is trying to conceal and sort through her feelings. (Drake has a good idea of what's happening. He will not intervene, however, until Jess' performance begins to suffer.)
As for foreign COs, Jess respects all of the Allied Nations commanders. She has a special position for Jake. When she fought alongside him, she recognized his potential as a tank commander. Jess is one of the few COs who thinks Jake would be better off behind tank controls than behind a DJ booth. She engages in regular communication with the young man. Their discussions of land warfare are particularly lively.

Next Survey: Javier

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