|Real Name||Maxim Travnicek|
|Wild Card Traits||Blue skin, enhanced senses, wall walking.|
Inventive genius (formerly)
|Place of Birth||Czechoslovakia|
|Citizenship||United States resident, deceased|
|Event Participant||Rox War|
|Base of Operations||New York City|
|Affiliations||University of Prague, University of Heidelberg, MIT, Texas A&M|
|First Appearance||Aces High|
|Final Appearance||Dealer’s Choice|
|Creator||Walter John Williams|
Dr. Maxim Travnicek is a fictional character from the Wild Cards series of books. He is a genius level scientist and notable for for being the creator of Modular Man, an android construct advanced enough to possess an almost human personality.
Originally hailing from Czechoslovakia, Maxim Travnicek was an ace with the ability to invent just about anything, regardless as to its scientific basis. His greatest creation was the android Modular Man, the prototype for an army of androids to be supplied to the United States military. At first, Travnicek instructed his creation to generate publicity for his androids by fighting "enemies of society." Modular Man joined New York's community of aces in the early 1980s and Travnicek would quiz the android about the various aces he worked with.
When the Sleeper, Croyd Crenson, became "Typhoid Croyd" and infected others with a variation of the wild card virus, Maxim Travnicek himself was also infected. The inventor lost his ace ability and became one of the more bizarre jokers on record. Not only did Travnicek physically mutate, becoming a faceless blue creature with tentacular fingers and a "organ-lei," but certain mental changes also occurred. Travnicek became obsessed with experiencing new sensory stimuli, and became increasingly amoral about how he procured these sensations.
In September of 1990, intrigued with the pleasurable sensations induced by Bloat's reality warping powers, Travnicek ordered Modular Man to fly him to the Rox despite the danger. In exchange for Modular Man's services in the battle to come, Travnicek was welcomed to the island and supplied by Bloat with a specially created tower designed to his precise specifications.
Around this time Travnicek also participated in the Wild Hunt summoned by Dylan "Herne" Hardesty. Caught up in the whirlwind of savagery that was the Hunt, Travnicek leapt down from his private tower and knocked a joker called Rolypoly off one of the Hunt's horses, taking his place. The target of the Hunt, Senator Gregg Hartmann, escaped with his life, but Travnicek discovered it was pleasurable to kill anyway, having slashed a woman's throat with a broken bottle and then licked up the blood.
Travnicek was plunged into the Hudson River with the rest of the Hunt when the Great and Powerful Turtle destroyed the George Washington Bridge in an effort to stop the carnage. Modular Man discovered his creator swimming strongly for shore and rescued him from the water. They returned to the Rox where Travnicek ordered his android to continue fighting for the Rox.
By now, Modular Man was desperate to escape his hardwired bondage to Travnicek. Though he could not fully articulate it, the android had a plan to be rid of his creator forever and enlisted the help of the ace Patchwork. While Modular Man was away and could not protect him, Patchwork killed Travnicek with a grenade. Repulsed by Travnicek's calculating coldness and duplicity, Bloat chose not to save his fellow joker and let him die.
Wild Card traitsEdit
As an ace, Dr. Travnicek had an enhanced genius ability that manifested itself in his inventions. He was able to intuitively create technology far beyond the reaches of modern science. This inventive capacity was expressed both by constructing advanced hardware, flux generators and so on, as well as by coding software, specifically sophisticated AI programs to simulate human thoughts and personality. Travnicek's crowning achievement was the self-aware android known as Modular Man. Travnicek's ace seemed to be only partially under his conscious control, sometimes entering a trance-state when having a burst of "inspiration."
After becoming a joker, Travnicek lost his wild card genius, yet gained something in the exchange. Though faceless and inhuman looking, the cluster of new sensory organs around Travnicek's neck provided him with an array of senses that he initially understood only a little. Travnicek described these senses as ranging from the microscopic to macrocosmic, and all of them seemed to generate a pleasure response in the new joker to one degree or another.
In addition, Travnicek's physical mutation seemed to revitalize him. Upon becoming a joker the aging scientist began displaying an agility and athleticism not previously evident. The cilia replacing his fingers and toes allowed Travnicek to cling and hang onto surface in a manner not previously possible, up to and including walking on walls and upside down.
Originally, Travnicek was a handsome man, tall and slightly haggard with greying blonde hair and thick glasses. After exposure to the Sleeper's mutant strain of the wild card virus, Travnicek became an odd looking joker with blue skin, a bald head, and a featureless, mouthless face. There were cilia where his fingers and toes used to be, and a cluster of sensory organs around his neck. Some of the organs were flower-like, others were trumpet shaped and used for speech. This new form altered Travnicek's diet somewhat, which came to include such things as flies.
Maxim Travnicek is a surly misanthrope, obsessed with his work and hungry for the finer things in life denied him during years of study and privation. He has very little in the way of ordinary human values and exhibits a distinct callousness toward Modular Man, the sentient android he created. This was only exacerbated by Travnicek's transformation into a joker. Distracted by his new enhanced senses and determined to enjoy his new life, Travnicek became completely self-absorbed and hedonistic.
Travnicek frequently availed himself of prostitutes. Initially, he could only afford jokers like Lorelei, but moved on to higher end call girls once he had Modular Man start robbing banks for him.