Jepperd is a wandering solitary nomad when he runs across the hybrid child, Gus, whom he names “Sweet Tooth” for his penchant for candy bars. He initially made his money working for the government in ruthlessly trapping and turning over hybrids, bartering for them and earning a profit on the side, but is touched by the kid’s humanity enough that he agrees not to hand him over, and tells him to stay out of sight. He thinks creatively in the moment, but also has poor people-skills; Jepperd is bluff and detached in his decision making, initially seeing Gus as a liability and wanting nothing more to do with him, telling him repeatedly that he is leaving in the morning and not taking Gus, etc. He made a living as a pro football player before the virus hit, and uses those skills to protect Gus and himself. Jeppard is always looking for an angle to profit off of, is a successful negotiator for goods, and doesn’t mind bending the rules. He even uses semi-blackmail in dealing with a nice family who took them in for the night, informing him of what they are going to give him and why. He comes up with a helmet and tells Gus to pretend to be human, pretending to be a hybrid, warning him to keep his ears still and repress any “deer sh*t” he’s likely to do. Jeppard often uses his fists more than his words, is not afraid to take risks, breaks into a guarded train car to steal meds, urges Gus to catch a train, tries to fight his way out of being captured, chases after Gus whenever he runs away, and tells Bear not to crush Gus’ hopes (which he sees as delusional) about his mom. He starts out rather inconsiderate and callous, but the more he hangs around Gus, the more he becomes more emotionally attached to him and starts making decisions, against his better judgment, to either keep Gus safe or happy (such as when he decides to rescue “Dog,” Gus’s stuffed toy, rather than leaping off the train, and winds up in a brawl). He spills his entire back story, tragic as it is, to help Gus understand that he can relate to being afraid, and encourage him not to give up, that he doesn’t need a blood family when he can create his own, and “together” we can do whatever we want!

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Jepperd is a tough-talking no-nonsense, fearless man who prefers to settle problems with his fists and through aggression, who uses a bear trap to kill people with who come after Gus, and who initially saves Gus because he cannot stand to see him being “picked on.” Though he adamantly insists he’s not going to do anything to help the kid, and tries on several occasions to walk away, each time his sense that he ought to be protecting Gus, because he’s such a little idealistic “fool,” causes him to go back. Over time, he becomes Gus’s unofficial guardian. He asserts himself against everyone and everything, making sure to intimidate people to keep them at a distance, and has a hot temper; he warns Gus that “you don’t want to see me really angry.” He is fiercely protective of his own and his possessions, but also risk-taking and often assumes he can “handle” whatever happens. His 9 wing, however, becomes amenable to Gus the longer he’s around him, and often causes him to back down when he can see he’s made Gus too upset. After a while, he starts to like the kid and not want to say anything that could pop his idealistic little bubble, even though Jepperd also wants to “prepare him” for the brutal reality of the outer world being a horrible place where a lot of people want you dead.