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Jia Lau - Global Frequency comics

Jia Lau

(Global Frequency)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

“[Lau] told you that you were not leaving the room.”
– Mister Grushko.

Context

Ms. Lau was in the seventh issue of Global Frequency, “Detonation”. It was published in 2003. This entry has S P O I L E R S for everything in it.

Global Frequency (written by Warren Ellis) only ran 12 issues from 2002-2004. But it remains one of my all-time favourites. Essentially, it’s X-Files done as short, high-tempo action thrillers depicting last-resort, high-competence efforts to deal with strange threats. Ellis’ later Injection draws from the same well.

For more context, you can read our Miranda Zero character profile.

Jia doesn’t appear much, but she seemed cool.


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Background

  • Real Name: Lau Jia.
  • Note: I would imagine it’s spelled 劉佳. But it’s a stab in the dark based on a vague pun (these ideograms could be read as “excellent killing”.).
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Global Frequency. Reportedly either a current or past agent of the Chinese Ministry of State Security.
  • Base of Operations: Unrevealed.
  • Height: 5’4″ Weight: 110 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black.


Powers & Abilities

Ms. Lau showed superior competence with close-quarter firefights, and possibly VIP protection. She had excellent accuracy, speed, reflexes, courage, endurance and pain tolerance.

British intelligence knew her face (this is a 2003 story, so the retrocession of Hong Kong was still recent). This likely means that she’s not an espionage agent per se, but more of a tactical and termination asset. Or the equivalent of a “Minder”, such as Tara Chace, from the fictional version of SIS in Queen and Country.


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滑膛枪

The art for this story is stylised Simon Bisley material, so weapon recognition is difficult. On the other hand, everybody gets a decadent rock star outfit, so that’s a win.

Jia is wielding a stakeout-type 12-gauge shotgun. Since I need to posit a specific model for ammunition capacity in the DCH stats, let’s assume a Remington 870 in a modern “Witness Protection” configuration. Likely meaning :

  • “Dog bone” rear grip, no stock.
  • Pump with a hard, grippy texture and a hand strap.
  • Close combat “ghost ring” tritium sights.
  • Under-the-shoulder sling.
  • 14″ barrel and the +1 mag extension, for a total capacity of 6 rounds.
  • Loaded with #4 buckshot. The recoil is awful, so using double-aught is only practical if you’re Hafþór Björnsson.

As can be imagined, such a specialised weapon requires well-muscled arms, strong shoulders, high-ish body mass, and a specific gripping technique. Having a 110 lbs person using one thus looks suitably cinematic.


History

Jia Lau was identified (perhaps not reliably) as “Chinese Intelligence”, which we’ll assume means she may be a MSS (中华人民共和国国家安全部… so yeah “MSS” is simpler) agent. The director of SIS recognised her as “the young lady from the Lam case in Kowloon”. Lau came to work for the Global Frequency at an unknown date.

(“The Lam case” might be a sly reference to action movie director Ringo Lam . Mr. Lam might be best-known for City on Fire, with Chow-Yun Fat. OTOH, my impression is that “Lam” isn’t a rare last name in HK.)

It’s a trap

In 2013, intelligence about People’s Republic of China and Northern Korean stepping up operations Westward surfaced. This led to a meeting in Berlin between the heads of British, Russian and German intelligence services.

However, the Global Frequency thought that something about this intel seemed fake. Agent 944, a Berlin police detective, obtained cryptic information from a child prostitute who had narrowly survived a murder attempt. Seizing this weak signal, a GF smart mob unravelled a major terrorist plot.

The fake intel had been specifically leaked to kill all three intelligence directors in an ambush. This would be followed by a nuclear detonation in London, then presumably more fake intel, to trigger a major war across Eurasia.

You’re on the Global Frequency

The Global Frequency scrambled a large task force in Berlin as Miranda Zero flew in. Remote controlled motorcars were hurriedly prepped to take the place of the intelligence directors’ convoy. Miranda Zero then convinced the principals to collaborate while the GF liaised with Berliner police.

Her two senior specialists were Ms. Lau, and Russian expert Mister Grushko.

The decoy convoy allowed GF surveillance to locate the attackers, who fired rocket launchers at the cars from nearby rooftop. However, that meant a half dozen shooters scattered among high-rise buildings. Even with the Berlin tactical officers coming in, the operatives had to disperse to cover enough ground.

Ms. Lau terminated one of the more distant shooters. Another was captured, and provided the location of their leader rather than face Mr. Grushko.

Sacrifice play

Jia was the first to reach the under-reconstruction floor with the target. Given the urgency — a nuclear charge was still out there somewhere — she proceeded with a high-risk solo search. She located the target, but was shot whilst making entry. However, her keen reflexes allowed her to shoot back.

Jia Lau - Global Frequency comics - Pointing shotgun

Both Lau and the terrorist thus found themselves severely wounded, rapidly losing blood and in a Mexican standoff. In his off hand, the terrorist held his satphone, ready to send the detonation code to the bomb. He demanded to leave to continue with his nihilistic agenda. He noted that shooting him dead before he could press “Send” was unrealistic.

Assessing the risk, Jia Lau sacrificed herself. She shot her opponent in his phone hand, thus leaving herself open to return fire. The terrorist shot her dead, but his hand had been torn off and the phone blown to smithereens.

He attempted a bluff, pretending that he could still send the code. But Aleph had clearly heard the phone explode over Ms. Lau’s comms. As he opened the door, the terrorist was decapitated by Mr. Grushko, avenging Jia.


Description

During this op Jia was wearing tight black leather trousers, a white men’s business shirt, a black tie, and a light grey business jacket with bold black vertical stripes.

One gets the initial impression that she’s tiny. But this is an artefact of her first appearing next to the hulking Mister Grushko.

Ms. Lau seemed to be in her 20s.


Personality

A fast and daring professional, with quite a bit of field experience given her age.

Jia’s dad was a policeman, who was horribly murdered in Hotan by separatists. Since their last name sounds Han, he likely had been sent there as part of the response to long-standing political tensions. His daughter grew to hate all sorts of terrorists and separatists, apparently favouring centralised control at all costs.

Ms. Lau would thus die rather than let a terrorist walk, which is exactly what she did.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Jia Lau

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Responsibility
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Intelligence agent
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Wealth: 004
Init: 012 HP: 015

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging): 02, Detective (Legwork): 04, Medicine (First aid): 03, Vehicles (Land): 04, Thief (Stealth): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 05

Advantages:
Expertise (Military equipment and protocols, Security), Language (At least one form of Chinese).

Connections:
Global Frequency (Low) and presumably others.

Drawbacks:
SIH of terrorists.

Equipment:

  • Stakeout shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun Blast (Range 02): 07, Ammo: 06, R#02, Recommended STR: 03, Drawback: Very Long Reload].
  • Global Frequency Phone [BODY 04, Radio Communications (Scrambled): 19, Misc. Advantage (Allow Remote Sensing from Central Operations)].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Global Frequency Vol. 1 #7.

Writeup completed on the 24th of November, 2018.

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