Kelly Jenkins

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Kelly Jenkins
Wild Cards character
First appearance One-Eyed Jacks (1991)
Created by unknown, possibly Stephen Leigh
Aliases Dr. Tachyon (imposter)
Relatives Illyana (surrogate daughter), unnamed son

Kelly Jenkins is a character from the Wild Cards series of books. Briefly appearing in One-Eyed Jacks, Kelly became a more prominent character in Jokertown Shuffle and Double Solitaire. A small town girl, she came to New York with dreams of becoming famous. Instead, after several days on the street, she fell in with a young man named David Butler and the gang of juvenile delinquents that would eventually come to be known as the Jumpers. One of several wannabes awaiting initiation by the ace known as Prime, Kelly never received the jumper gift to exchange bodies with their victim. Instead, she fell prey to another jumper's capricious use of their nearly unstoppable power.


Born in Atoka, Oklahoma, USA, Kelly Ann Jenkins was an attractive young girl with dreams of becoming a famous model/actress. In her sophomore year of high school she ran away from home, taking a bus to New York City, envisioning her future triumphant return. Reality was much crueler than her daydreams. Living on the streets, dodging come-ons from pimps and other unsavory city dwellers, Kelly finally broke down and placed a collect call to her family. Her father refused to accept the charges. Destitute and alone, Kelly's blossoming beauty attracted the eye of David Butler. The handsome protégé of "Loophole" Latham, Butler was an intern with the Latham-Strauss law firm by day and leader of an emerging wild card gang known as the Jumpers by night. Taken under David's wing, Kelly's dreams seemed to suddenly come true. Her new friends blithely used their powers to gain access to the upermost circles of wealth and privilege. Limosine rides, expensive hotel rooms, and champagne dinners were all paid for with the money of jumped businessmen. Infatuated with David and hoping to one day obtain the body-switching powers that made all this possible, Kelly's only distinction from several other wannabe-jumpers was David's protection. All that changed when David was suddenly killed by the joker vigilante known as The Oddity. Bereft of her protector and without any powers of her own, Kelly was just a pretty Nat girl surrounded by Wild Card criminals.


Kelly was among the group of jumpers and jumper-wannabes that first approached Blaise Andrieux. Awed by how effortlessly the quarter-Takisian could control their minds, they eagerly recruited him into their ranks. Initiated into the jumper gang by Latham, known to the jumpers as "Prime", Blaise quickly became their new leader. Fascinated by his cruel good looks, alien ancestry, and fearless nature, Kelly fell for the young man even harder than she had for David Butler. Hoping she would lose her virginity to Blaise (who idly encouraged such fantasies even as he devised better uses for her), Kelly's life soon took a nightmarish turn. Terrorized into a permanent triple jump by her psychotic "boyfriend," Kelly was left trapped in the body of Blaise's grandfather, Dr. Tachyon, while the alien scientist was forced to inhabit hers. Moments after the jump, Blaise stripped, beat, and raped the now female Tachyon occupying Kelly's body. Not yet able to access his new body's telepathic abilities to stop the grotesque spectacle before him, Kelly was physically restrained and forced to watch.

Cowed by Blaise and succumbing to the alcoholic tendencies of "his" new body, Kelly fell into the role of pawn and imposter. Over the following months he was forced to pretend he was really Tachyon, becoming the front man for the "Jump the Rich" reign of terror and preaching violent wild card revolution at his captor's instigation. Unable to properly control the telepathic powers he had inherited along with Tachyon's male body, Kelly slid deeper into alcoholism and mental instability. Unknown to Kelly at this time, he and Blaise were being stalked by the ace vigilante Black Shadow. Meanwhile, after subsequent rapes and beatings, Tachyon had become impregnated with her own great-granddaughter - much to the amusement of Blaise and those jokers who resented Tachyon as the author of their misery. Kelly was forbidden to visit or even see Tachyon during this time. Somewhere in Tachyon's second trimester, Kelly used his newfound mind control abilities to overpower the guard outside her cell. Lacking precise control, he accidentally killed the unnamed jumper in the process. When Tachyon demanded she be returned to her rightful body Kelly admitted he was never a true jumper and, now, never would be (as Latham had been assassinated in the meantime by Mr. Nobody). Before Tachyon could convince, much less teach, Kelly to use his telepathy to overcome their mutual tormentor the visit was violently cut short. Kicking and beating both Kelly and the pregnant Tachyon, Blaise separated them once and for all.


Tachyon eventually escaped captivity (but not Kelly's body or its delicate condition) with the help of Black Shadow and the joker revolutionary called Bloat. Kelly would not see Tachyon again until several months later, once both of them had returned to the planet Takis.

Shortly after the first Battle of the Rox, Tachyon returned to the contested island with the help of the Great and Powerful Turtle. Bloat was unable to comply with her request that Blaise and her original body be returned to her. Amid the chaos of the National Guard attack Blaise had escaped the Rox, taking Kelly with him. Bloat could only offer Tachyon the mental image of a seashell (glimpsed when Blaise's mind shields slipped during the attack) as a clue to her grandson's location. Bloat had interpreted a vision of Baby, Tachyon's living spaceship, as a seashell. Realizing Blaise meant to leave her permanently trapped not only upon earth, but in Kelly's pregnant body, Tachyon and the Turtle immediately set off to stop him. Turtle's telekinetic powers proved unable to prevent Baby from activating its recently repaired "ghost-drive."

The alien spaceship escaped and Kelly, albeit unwillingly, accompanied Blaise and his pet killer Durg to the planet Takis. Once there, his role as imposter was next to useless. The telepathic Takisians were well aware that Kelly was not the true Dr. Tachyon. However, the body that Kelly inhabited represented thousands of years of selective breeding by House Ilkazam and was not without some value to rival clans such as Ilkazam's hereditary enemies, House Vayawand. Specifically, Kelly could be used to father rival claimants to the Ilkazam throne. Swiftly married off to Mona'ella, daughter of Vayawand's ruler, Kelly lost his virginity, but not in the way he expected, bedding a wife instead of "his" former girlhood crush.


By the time Kelly and Tachyon were all too briefly reunited, several months had passed. Desperate to regain her true form before giving birth to Kelly's child, Tachyon had managed to book passage on a Network ship back to Takis. Accompanied by Captain Trips and Popinjay, Tachyon arrived too late to have Blaise arrested. Kelly and Tachyon's mutual tormentor had already usurped rule of the Ilkazam's enemies, House Vayawand. It wasn't until the traditional yearly observance of armistice between feuding Houses that they both actually stood in the same room. Amid the alien equivalent of Yuletide, they sought each other out, drawn together by their mutual unhappiness as the rich and powerful of Takis celebrated all around them. Now in her third trimester, the telepathic powers of the fetus Tachyon carried had sufficiently increased to pick up Kelly's self-taught telepathy. Though standing close by, Blaise's own telepathy (geared toward brutal control rather than mental subtleties) was unable to detect the unspoken communication.

Realizing there would be no way to switch back in time, they discussed the future of their mutual daughter/granddaughter instead. Kelly warned the expectant Tachyon of her female body's numerous drug allergies, which might complicate delivery, only to learn that natural childbirth was a component of the Takisians' "survival of the fittest" philosophies. In return, Tachyon offered Kelly some brief pointers on how to hone his unorthodox style of telepathy. As with their brief reunion in Tachyon's cell on the Rox, Blaise brought Kelly's curiosity to an abrupt end. On Takis as on the Rox, bloodshed soon followed and the Takisian World War intensified further.

Months after finally giving birth, Tachyon brokered a deal with Blaise to return her and Kelly to their rightful bodies. Kelly was somewhere between irritated and delighted when, upon being jumped back into her true form, she discovered Tachyon had managed to get her body pregnant with a second child (a boy this time) in the weeks prior to their return to normal.

Current status[edit]

When Dr. Tachyon's other human allies returned to Earth, Kelly chose to remain on Takis. She still retains some of the limited telepathy force-fed into her mind during Tachyon's occupancy of her body. Kelly currently lives in the Ilkazam compound, helping Tachyon raise his surrogate daughter. As of her last appearance it is unknown if she carried her second child to term, though it seems likely in light of Tachyon's plan to interbreed the telepathic and "mind blind" populations of Takis. What part Kelly or her offspring will play in future Wild Card books is uncertain.

Criminal Record[edit]

It is unsure what sort of welcome Kelly can expect back on Earth should she ever return. Except for three hand-picked members of the now-defunct gang, most of the jumpers left behind on Earth were summarily executed by the government. Lacking the jumper power, Kelly is not a true threat, but victims of jumper crimes might demand prosecution. She is likely still wanted by the State of New York on a variety of charges; accessory to armed robbery, accessory to kidnapping, accessory to assault and battery, and accessory to murder. While trapped in Kelly's body, Dr. Tachyon was briefly detained by the US government. Government agent Phillip von Herzenhagen threatened Tachyon with prosecution for Kelly's crimes if she did not cooperate with their attack on the Rox. It was well known that the doctor was not Kelly, but a possible jail sentence could be used as political leverage to ensure the alien's obedience and, insofar as fingerprints are concerned, Tachyon was Kelly Jenkins.