Jacob Andrew Jensen did not join the Army to see the world. He didn't join for the action and adventure. Though that was totally a bonus. So was seeing the world. No, he joined the Army because he just couldn't see himself staying in school or sitting behind a desk everyday for the rest of his life. Or worse, being picked up by some three-letter agency to sit behind a desk all day. And the Army didn't have his full records; he'd made sure of that.
Growing up Jake's family life was normal. Until his seventh birthday and then his parents began arguing. Quietly at first, louder as the years went by. He wouldn't know that they were arguing about him until he was almost nine.
Before his seventh birthday Jake had taken apart a shortwave radio, an FM stereo, a tape deck, and a record player. He'd been able to put them back together and make them better too. He graduated to his remote control car and the incident with the car, the dog and the mailman shall never be spoken of again. His school wanted to push him up three grades. His father didn't want a freak; his mother wanted what was best for him. He moved up two grades instead. One year behind his brother.
To make sure he was as well rounded as he could be and so he would have friends his own age his mother signed him up for things at the local YMCA. He took to baseball and swimming and soccer. Hockey was added in the winter. At the time he was too small for football and basketball.
His next home improvement project had been to take apart the television and Atari in his room. The Atari was so much more fun once he'd 'fixed' it. And half way through the seventh grade the school pushed him up another grade and he then had homeroom and history with his brother. His brother had not been amused.
By the time he was thirteen his parents were still arguing about his future--two colleges had come scouting after him. But now they were also fighting about his brother. He was rebelling. Jake knew he was partially to blame for his brother dyeing his hair black, smoking, and for the piercings in his ear and nose that he'd somehow managed to get and hide from their parents, but it really wasn't Jake's fault that he found school so easy.
His father moved out before the end of the school year. The arguing didn't stop. Now it just happened every other weekend when his father came to pick them up for visitation. Sometimes Jake would go, sometimes he would climb out his bedroom window and refuse to come out of the tree in their backyard until his parents stopped fighting. Often it meant his brother left with his father and at some point his mother would leave his dinner sitting on his windowsill.
Within a year his father would stopped coming by; even for his brother. After that it didn't take long for him to simply disappear from their lives. Jake would never use his skills to look for him either.
He still hadn't had his growth spurt when he took earlier graduation from high school and started at MIT. He was roomed on campus with another boy who was only a few months older. He helped the boy with his English, the boy taught him Russian.
It would be language number six. Well, eight but most people didn't consider being fluent in Klingon or Elvish a useful skill. He disagreed, but he'd learned early on that most adults just didn't understand him. Honestly, that most people didn't understand him. Probably why they also hadn't understood his need to join the quiz bowl in high school or why he went to the local pizza place for trivia night.
When one of the other students in his hall got busted for hacking and was carted off by men in black suits Jake learned to hold his hacking and computer skills closer to the chest. It was too late to hide the fact he excelled at anything tech, but he made it appear as if he'd reached his peak.
He was almost through the requirements for his Bachelor's degree when his brother seemed to have cleaned up his life and married this girl he met at a local coffee shop. He likes Beth. She's a nurse and feels like the big sister he never had and always wanted. He never understood what she saw in his brother, but then love and romance had never been something he'd focused on before. He went home for the wedding where his mom cried and his father didn't show up. His brother and Beth moved into the family home to help their mother.
At the end of the second semester of his Master's degree his niece, Anna, was born. Jake was hooked the first time she opened her little blue eyes and smiled at him. He refused to believe it was gas or any other involuntary reaction.
The year he turned twenty-one several things happen. He drank alcohol for the first time...legally. Got drunk. Swore to never do that again because the hangover could hurt his big brain. His brother started on the drugs again. He finished his Master's degree. His brother, while high on whatever it was, got behind the wheel of the family car with their mother and Anna inside. The car was barely recognizable as such when it finally stopped rolling and hit the embankment. It was a miracle Anna didn't die as well.
Jake attended the funerals for his mother and brother trying to support both Beth and Anna as best he could. His mother willed him the house, which thankfully, was almost paid for. His brother had very little in the way of assets and no Will. Jake had the title on the house put in his and Beth's name and told her the house was for her and Anna.
The last thing he did was join the Army. Beth set up his old room with new furniture so that he always has a home to come back to.
His Army records state he's a college drop out. Which technically is true, he dropped out of the doctorate program, but he was getting bored anyway. Jake was no longer Jake, but Jensen and he's fine with that. He made it through basic and he owes his mom for making sure he got out of the house and into some type of exercise. The military just honed his running abilities, but then turned around and hasn't used them. He puts half his pay into a joint account to help pay any bills on the house. His first year flew by as if it was nothing.
The need to talk, to fill the silence started after an assignment went bad. He'd been placed with a tech and comm unit stationed outside of the "hot zone". Military intelligence sucks. The temporary base was in flames and the screams lived on in his dreams for several months. But it was the quiet after that haunted him. That's when the quoting of trivia and looking like the geek that techs are supposed to be, unless one actually pays attention to the muscles he hides under his clothes, came out.
Over the next seven months Jensen was transferred three times. Never for incompetence, but because his commanding officers never know what to do with him. He was rotated back to the States for training. And more training. And special training. His new CO had no idea what to do with him either and he got bounced from unit to unit for another half a year. Then he got loaned out while he was back in the States.
He's not sure what to think of Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Clay expect that Clay actually listens to him about the tech stuff even while telling him to shut the hell up with the random chatter. When they returned to base he found out that he'd been re-assigned again. But this time it's okay; it was to the Losers.
Jensen's not sure, but Clay might be insane. All the Losers might be. He feels like he finally fits in. He adores Pooch and the man sure can drive. And Jolene, his fiancee, is awesome. She sends the team cookies.
Roque is well, he's not afraid of Roque. Roque thinks he is and that works for both of them, but he was graduating from high school when he was fifteen and not everyone appreciates it when geeks ruin the grading curve. Plus with his size and muscle he's fairly certain he can hold his own against the man. He just never wants to put it to the test.
Then there's Cougar. Who's as quiet as he is loud. Who doesn't seem to care that he prattles on about everything and nothing. And who can carry on a conversation with him while saying less than a dozen words. They are often bunked together on missions and that seems for the best. Jensen comes to rely on Cougar's calm to keep him tethered mostly to the ground.
For that alone, he's taking Cougar home with him on their next leave.