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Joker in Mass Effect 2 (Moreau)

Joker

(Jeff Moreau profile #2 - Mass Effect 2)


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

Context

This profile is part of a series. You need to have read the first Joker profile first. That’s in the regulations.

This profile has S P O I L E R S, though it doesn’t include any information from Mass Effect 3.


Background

  • Real Name: Flight Lieutenant Jeff Moreau.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Joker obliquely mentions that his mother is deceased.
  • Group Affiliation: Crew member on the Normandy SR2.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile aboard the Normandy SR2.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


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Powers and Abilities

In Mass Effect 2, Joker confirms his extraordinary piloting skills and, in DC Heroes terms, his surprising Hero Points  total. He’s a cinematic-level  ace, handling chases through asteroid fields and space combat with unmatched skill.

Joker is also shown to handle small arms to deliver stable, reasonably accurate fire.

Joker (Jeff Moreau) squinting

Several scenes and lines depict Joker as an important social presence on the Normandy, popular with the crew and creating camaraderie. Shepard acknowledges this early on, wanting Joker to work with her in part because of these skills of his.

Moreau is also an important reason why E.D.I. takes a liking to organics. In DC Heroes terms, Moreau’s INF and AUR are higher than what was demonstrated in the first game.

Just walk it off

Joker’s medical condition is retconned . Whereas he previously needed crutches and braces to move around, he can now walk without risk of injury, through slowly and with an awkward gait and stunted posture.

This may be a game engine constraint – it seems Bioware reused the husk model and animations. Out of universe, the change likely took place because one sequence makes Joker the playable character. Developing new animations for this brief sequence presumably was too expensive, forcing a change in the depiction of Joker’s handicap for ME2.


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History

After the destruction of the Normandy and the death of Staff Commander Shepard, Flight Lieutenant Moreau’s life took a turn for the worse.

He apparently suffered from survivor’s guilt over his CO’s death, as she perished getting him out of the helm when he irrationally tried to save the ship. Furthermore, there was a political backlash against Shepard – news of her death were partially suppressed, her crew was dispersed, and Joker was grounded.

After several months, it became obvious that the Systems Alliance was going to let its best pilot languish off-duty or in some desk job. Nobody important would touch somebody associated with Staff Commander Shepard.

Cerberus

Though Shepard’s old crew drifted apart, Joker and Dr. Chakwas remained in contact. Chakwas continued treating Moreau’s brittle bones disease. It is presumably in this context that the doctor and the helmsman were approached by the pro-Human terrorist organisation Cerberus.

Joker (Jeff Moreau) consults multiple data displays

Cerberus — probably represented by Miranda Lawson — presented them with proof that they were about to bring Commander Shepard back from the dead.

Though Shepard and her crew had been deadly enemies of Cerberus, Lawson made it clear that Cerberus was the only agency able and willing to resurrect Shepard. They were also the only ones willing to provide her with all necessary means to stop the Reapers.

She also presented to Moreau and Chakwas proof that thousands if not tens of thousands of Human colonists were being abducted, and the truth covered up. Cerberus thought that these disappearances were connected with the Reapers.

Moreau and Chakwas’ morale was low, as they were aware of the gravity of the Reapers threat and the lack of Council or Alliance action. Suspecting they’d be sidelined for years, Moreau and Chakwas agreed to work for Cerberus.

However, they made it clear that they weren’t actually joining Cerberus. They’d take orders from Shepard and no one else.

Op-check is clean, board is green

In typical Cerberus fashion Joker was only told of Cerberus’ plus-sized replica of the Normandy the day before he was assigned to helming it.

Joker mentioned that Cerberus had let him fly again before that, albeit the piloting jobs he did for them are undocumented. These likely included ferrying Miranda Lawson and her lieutenant Jacob Taylor to investigate the mass disappearance sites.

Joker (Jeff Moreau) at the helm of the SR2

On the new Normandy Moreau had a new crew to work with. But the engineering staff was straight from the Alliance Navy – two highly skilled flight engineers who had quit in disgust over the military’s lack of recognition for Shepard’s exploits after her death.

Coordinating with Engineer Gabriella “Gabby” Daniels and Engineer Kenneth Donnelly was thus presumably easy, especially since they shared Joker’s sense of humour.

Ee-Dee

The third key colleague of Joker was more problematic – a thoroughly illegal Artificial Intelligence named EDI (Enhanced Defense Intelligence). Like most people Joker hated AIs and expected it to become hostile toward organics sooner or later, but they slowly became friends.

After Shepard’s resurrection Cerberus’ leader, the Illusive Man, produced Joker as his trump card. This finished convincing the Commander to conduct a mission for Cerberus.

Though Shepard was in a dire state, Moreau and Chakwas were instrumental in helping her recover. Joker proudly unveiled the new ship to boost the Commander’s morale. Shepard had it christened the Normandy (technically, the Normandy II).

Joker (Jeff Moreau) ME2 character model sheet

After Shepard finished recovering and familiarised herself with her new frigate, the Normandy SR2 left her Cerberus berth for the last time, with Flight Lieutenant Moreau at the helm.

Like her predecessor, the SR2 was about to play a key role in some dramatic galactic history.


Description

Joker now sports a Cerberus uniform. It is mostly off-white rather than blue, but otherwise comparable to an Alliance uniform. His cap now reads “SR2”, and is probably an actual baseball cap with a custom logo.

Joker is still voice-acted by Seth Green. His physical resemblance with Mr. Green, and the similarities in behaviour and sense of humour, are more marked than ever.

Here are full excerpts showing how Joker talks and moves (there are considerable S P O I L E R S), with a focus on his interactions with E.D.I..

 

Joker doesn’t pilot using a joystick or yoke. Rather he has an array of tactile screens, most of which are actually haptic interfaces (fingers-tracking holograms) rather than solid surfaces.


Personality

Joker is elated to be back at the helm and under Shepard’s command. Though he knows that the mission is practically a suicide run, he’s also aware of the stakes, and he trusts the Commander to beat impossible odds just like she trusts him to pull off some crazy piloting stunts.

Shepard’s Normandy is the environment in which Moreau thrives. His personal loyalty toward the Commander is even stronger after the 2 awful years since her death.

With Shepard back, Joker instantly goes from being a brittle-boned has-been associating with terrorists to being the peerless ace flying a cutting edge warbird for the toughest soldier and awesomest leader in the galaxy. Who is a personal friend of his.

Ee-Dee

Joker is popular among the crew, but the “person” he spends the most time with is EDI. Originally Joker hated having some stupid computer haunting his ship and talking to him all the time. To his chagrin, the AI further developed an interest in him as the primary specimen it observed to understand organics and their reactions.

Joker (Jeff Moreau) sitting in the conference room

However, as times goes by Joker opens more systems for EDI to monitor, essentially making it his copilot. Though Moreau insists that he can’t stand the AI and doesn’t want it chatting with him, the Normandy has a limited engineering staff.

On the other hand, EDI can process information about millions of ship systems extremely quickly, allowing Joker to push the ship even harder yet making it run safer.

Despite his grandstanding about how AIs are menaces and EDI is going to kill them all, Joker eventually starts calling EDI (who speaks using a rich feminine voice) a “she” despite his efforts to keep referring to the AI as an “it”.

As they continue working together and EDI develops a personality, their discussions evoke nothing more than a bickering couple with strong sympatico.

Geez, you’re such a downer

Moreau’s emphasis about proving just how good he is is gone. After the Ilos airdrop and the battle for the Citadel in 2183, he doesn’t have much to prove. Plus, he knows that his friend Shepard trusts him.

That he was grounded right after proving that he’s the best of the best presumably hit him that much harder.

Joker retains his taste for cynical sarcasm, humorous remarks and taking the piss  out of the crew. His anti-corporate streak, already present in the first game, develops as he professes sarcastic contempt for Cerberus operating procedures and budgets, which he considers corporate in nature.

”Joker” was originally a sarcastic nickname, but Moreau is now one of the funniest and liveliest Normandy crew members. He prefers his jokes to be in poor taste and to roast his friends and colleagues.

Other traits

Joker seems to harbour a degree of anger and frustration, presumably because his severe medical condition imposes endless constraints upon his life. However, he wraps it in amusing cynical remarks, off-colour jokes and acerbic ribbing so he doesn’t sound like an unpleasant person and can enjoy being popular.

Joker (Jeff Moreau) looks dismayed

There appears to be a progression in how Joker handles his problems. It goes from his apparently bitter youth, to the far more pleasant but still defensively arrogant person he was in the first game, to his relaxed if crude style in the second game.

Moreau often delivers too much information about missing having a sex life, usually through salacious remarks about the women and Asari on Shepard’s tactical team.

He also seems to watch a fair bit of porn. EDI indicated that some of these videos were technically illegal, but given EDI’s synthetic sense of “humour” it’s impossible to say whether it’s true or a “joke”.

Joker also seems knowledgeable about classic science fiction movies from way back, as he made several references to 2001 : A Space Odyssey or The Matrix. This is likely tied to his passion for starships.

The doc

As Dr. T’Soni is reunited with Shepard and they rekindle their romance, Joker happily welcomes the Asari back on the Normandy. Liara is perplexed by Joker’s remarks though, as he’s piling up libidinous innuendo and references to girl-on-girl erotica.

Since Liara doesn’t really understand Human genders, she has no idea what he’s chuckling about. Which only encourages Joker.


Quotes

“Hey Commander, we got Garrus back ! That’s great, because he was totally my favourite. With that pole up his arse.”

(After Shepard recruits Subject Zero) “OK Commander, glad you’re back, but keep… keep an eye on that last one. [The Normandy] can only hold so much crazy.”

“I’m glad that mess is over for Tali, Commander. Some of those Quarians… I guess living aboard a ship can really mess with your priorities.” (slight beat) “Not that I would know…” (awkward beat) “Ah, I just burned myself. Great.”

“Commander, [Subject Zero] and Miranda are about to have a catfight, you should intervene before they tear up a bulkhead or something. Oh, and can you take pictures ?”

“Yeah, this is 98% of my job. I just watch buttons flash. Sometimes I press one.”

“I’m glad things worked out, Commander. I was worried you’d dump Samara for some smoking hot Asari soul-sucker with a death fetish, all lithe and sexy and… never mind.”

(Alluding to Grunt) “You know Commander, I’m not real broke up that Wrex isn’t coming with us. I’m good with our current amount of headbutting. I’d say we’re at headbutting capacity.”

“I don’t trust him. I don’t trust anybody who earns more than I do.”

“C’mon Commander, what’s the point of being on a corporate ship if we can’t inflate our results ?”

(As Joker reluctantly overrides the AI’s blocks so it can take full control of the ship) “If you start singing Daisy Bell , I’m *done*.”

(After Liara comes aboard the Normandy to have a romantic dinner with Shepard)
Liara (cheerful): “Oh, and I saw Joker, he seemed happy to see me.” (perplexed) “He asked me if we were going to reenact scenes from some vid called… Vænia ?”
Shepard (sighs resignedly): “He would…” (Vænia seems to be a big-budget, sprawling Asari romantic movie saga, which Asari consider classy but that Humans like Joker watch for the love scenes between gorgeous Asari actresses).

(As the new Normandy’s overpowered artillery hits the ship that destroyed the original Normandy) “HOW D’YA LIKE THAT, YOU SONS OF BITCHES !”

“If Mom could see me now… we’d have zombies on top of everything else.”

(After Shepard recruits Thane Krios) “Another killer alien aboard, Commander. Gee, thanks. Why can’t you collect coins or commemorative plates or something instead ?”

E.D.I.: “I am concerned, Jeff. You may have stress fractures.”
Joker (working furiously) “Yeah well that’s what pills are for.” (stage whisper to Shepard about Ee-Dee) “Jeez, she’s *so* my mom.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Joker

Dex: 02 Str: 01 Bod: 01 Motivation: Serve and fly
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Helmsman
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 010 HP: 030

Powers:
Enhanced initiative: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:
Enhanced Initiative is a Skilled Power, is Linked to Vehicles (Space) and is only active when flying a starship. When piloting, Joker has an Initiative of 019.

Skills:
Vehicles (Space): 09, Weaponry (Firearms, Heavy): 04

Advantages:
Dream Team (w/EDI as flight engineer/copilot and Garrus Vakarian as gunnery officer. Rupture condition – not being under Shepard’s command), Expertise (Astronavigation and Mass Relay navigation, Military spaceships and protocols), Language (Council Trade).

Connections:
Staff Commander Shepard (High), Crew of the Normandy SR2 (High), EDI (aka Enhanced Defense Intelligence, aka Ee-Dee, High).

Drawbacks:
SPR (Joker’s bones are very fragile. He has 0 APs of movement speed, and his RV against anything that can break bones (including falls that wouldn’t hurt most people) is zero.).


He’s a leaf on the wind

Joker’s Vehicle Skills assumes the use of the dogfighting combat rules in Blood of Heroes : Special Edition p182, allowing him to deny more ordinary pilots from drawing a bead on his ship.


Just walk it off

Joker’s medical condition is written up in the same way as in ME1, since in DCH terms the difference is slight. Of course, in a tabletop RPG you don’t have an animation budget, so there’s no reason to assume that Joker’s mobility has improved for game production reasons.

Especially since the scene with a playable Joker would likely have been more striking if expanded to represent Moreau’s full mobility difficulties.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Mass Effect video game trilogy – specifically the second game.

Helper(s): Eric Langendorff, Roy Cowan, Gareth Lewis. Enhanced uniform textures (on most of the shots) by Jean-Luc Fortier .

Writeup completed on the 4th of April, 2012.

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