The End of the Trail

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Mr. Smartie Notes: This is a cut&paste from Crackerjack page. It's overall content works better as a story synopsis. At least the later parts. But it also needs restructuring to focus on the story actions, and be overall more cohesive

Crackerjack's origins are unclear, given that he's told a number of stories to as many people, and it's difficult to tell if there's truth to any of them. Among the tales he told Quarrel were that he was the only escapee from a family of circus performers abducted and trained by aliens, that he was an Olympic hopeful sabotaged by a rival, and that he was from a cult of international spies who had been genetically engineered not to appear in government records. He once told Current magazine that he was a Polio-stricken child who overcame his illness (this actually describing the childhood of the Silver Agent).

In 1994, Crackerjack invited himself into the fracas on his first team-up with Quarrel. She was about to take out the Techsperts when he burst onto the scene. During the battle she was keeping her eye on him as much as she was the villains. At the end of the fight, they both had a smitten admiration and attraction for each other. That was the starting point for their hot, then cold, then hot again, romance and battling partnership. It was mostly physical, a combination of crimefighting and lovemaking. The two seemed to work well together, each capable of dealing with one another's rough edges and annoying habits because they were both so focused on pushing themselves, and one another, to their limits in order to stay at peak performance levels. They also possessed a similar brashness and a need to constantly prove to the world their worth and position.

For a time, his private identity was that of a struggling actor named Eugene Wallace. In his boarding room residence, he kept a number of accouterments, wigs and fake IDs, indicating that he has concocted several private identities, some possibly in use concurrently. The Eugene Wallace identity was abandoned when the housing complex was destroyed in a fire.

On one occasion, after Quarrel seriously injured her hip and ankle, Crackerjack arrived at Honor Guard headquarters to push her into more active rehabilitation therapy, suggesting she would lose too much of her edge if she allowed the bones to heal while remaining bedridden. Naturally, he pushed Quarrel to her limit, and she reacted in kind--an iteration of the cyclical nature of their relationship.

In the twenty years or so following his encounter with Mr. Bridwell, Crackerjack had developed a more committed relationship with Quarrel and established a slightly stronger reputation among his fellow super-heroes, even receiving a personal invitation to the Black Rapier's retirement party at Butler's.

Even as Crackerjack aged, he refused to admit--even to Quarrel--that his physical abilities were beginning to slip, although he did acknowledge that he needed increasingly potent treatments for his injuries (including Kelueki liniment and K'ntari medicine provided by Starwoman at some point in the past). Crackerjack's primary hope for continued healthy activity was in a "vitali-serum" once used by the Black Rapier, even though everyone he talked to about it confirmed that the serum would not work for anyone else, especially not an individual so old.

Not much later, Crackerjack came home absolutely beat after fighting Demonhead and decided that he really needed the Black Rapier's serum to stay ahead of his enemies rather than retire or spend his days teaching newer heroes.

While Quarrel slept, Crackerjack hacked into her laptop for information about the Black Rapier's security system so that he could sneak in and steal the remaining vials of his vitali-serum. Crackerjack then sought out clients--or intermediaries for clients--of the Black Lab, including Bio-zord, the Killer Elite, and Phero-man. It was Crackerjack's hope that the Lab would be able to engineer the Rapier's serum to work for him.

Unfortunately, Crackerjack was captured and savagely tortured by Gormenghast, who cloned Crackerjack and used the clones--still in their physical prime--as an army to fight Honor Guard when they arrived to rescue their colleague. He later revealed that he'd initially provided only a small sample of the serum as proof that he had it, and that he would have supervised a drone squad for the Lab (which he'd later betray) in exchange for assistance with the serum. Gormenghast learned from Crackerjack where he'd hidden the serum, and then incapacitated him only moments after the hero was able to activate his rescue beacon.

During the Guard's rescue mission, Crackerjack was found left for dead in the Lab's garbage dump. Evacuated in a life-support rig developed by the Assemblyman, Crackerjack was treated for significant injuries (including breaks in his spine, arm, both knees, and skull). It was uncertain whether or not he would ever be able to walk again, let alone recover more fully.

Unwilling to accept that, Quarrel decided to take over Crackerjack's rehab, much as he had for her in the past. She threatened to run him ragged and put him through daily hell, expecting him to put in his very best to overcome his injuries.

With Honor Guard's help, Crackerjack and Quarrel were able to get access to a top-notch treatment facility in Astro City, where the two could focus on rehabilitation. Crackerjack even promised that, should Quarrel manage to pull off the therapy successfully, he might even tell her his real name ... which remains a mystery to this day.