Name: Alexander "Alex" Tarquin
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Acting, Stage Tech, Fight Scene Choreography, debate, music (singing and sound-editing), carpentry, metal-working, swing dancing
Appearance: Alex stands at 6 feet 2 inches and weighs in at 193 lbs. He has broad, powerful shoulders tapering down to a thin waist. His bright green eyes persistently sweep around any room he occupies as though assessing a potential audience. A mane of tousled tawny hair falls just over his ears to the very top of his neck. His body is lanky, with his arms and legs just a little too long for his torso, and he tends to wear loose shorts and pants so that they billow around him whenever he gestures theatrically. He has high cheekbones and a well-defined jaw. He is athletic and pays a great deal of attention to his appearance, making sure to wash and condition his hair at least every other day and using acne creams to make sure his complexion remains smooth. He tans easily and so tends to be golden-brown even after spending several days indoors, as long as he spends at least a token amount of time in the sun.
On the day of the abduction, Alex was wearing a red satin button-up shirt and black designer jeans tucked into the well-worn paint-spattered boots he used for working backstage.
Biography: The Tarquins came to Kingman rich, and have been all the richer for staying. Their history in America stretches back to the early days of the original thirteen colonies, where they were typically accountants and middlemen for several merchants and businesses operating along the East Coast. They have stayed comfortably upper-middle class through most of the history of the United States, and ended up profiting off of World War II when they first negotiated the rights to provide training equipment to the Kingman Air Force base and then negotiated the rights to purchase and sell obsolete military equipment from the same base and other bases throughout the southwest. The Tarquins are perpetual middlemen, but their business is lucrative.
Alexander Tarquin was born to this familyspecifically, to Edward and Lyra Tarquin (respectively an accountant and a lawyer) who lead their own small Arizona all-service firm with a sterling reputation. Lyra Tarquin (nee Lyra Gould) was a west coast lawyer principally focused on business and contract law who married Edward Tarquin and brought her clientele with her (having passed both the Arizona and California bar exams). Although many clients were lost in the transition (particularly those with strong ties to LA), several with concerns across the West Coast and Southwest followed after, eager to keep their businesses in stable hands. Edward Tarquin, who inherited his father's position helping run the books for numerous businesses throughout Arizona, met her at a business conference and they forged a partnership in business and in romance.
Alex's was a complicated birthhis parents both had fertility issuesso when Lyra inadvertently became pregnant while they were considering surrogates they considered it a minor miracle. Alex is their only son and their pride and joy, and they use their considerable wealth and influence to dote on him.
As a result, Alex was a chubby and badly-behaved child from the time he could toddle. He tended to throw tantrums when he didn't get his way, which made him a nuisance in class. His parents' frequent praise and constant attention also gave him an inflated sense of his own abilities and importance. He tended to be fidgety and bossy, overriding his classmates' wishes whenever he could.
This noxious combination was exacerbated by his childhood fascination with Disney movies, which led to a wider fascination with musicals in general. Alex loved the elegance and creativity of classic musicals such as Singing in the Rain; the grand feel of a world filled with music, orbiting around these talented stars. Alex decided that he would be such a star, and took every opportunity to demonstrate this belief, bursting into song in stores and in class and in the middle of other students' performances and presentations. His teachers saw his behavior as evidence of ADHD and suggested he see a counselor, but his parents saw his habits as signs of special intelligence and creativity and refused to believe their son might need correcting. They paid for singing and dancing classes so he could be closer to the old stars he idolized.
These habits quieted as he aged, but were still prevalent enough to be troublesome. He developed enough social awareness through grade school to ultimately respect his teachers' authority, but could be dismissive and condescending towards those same authority figures, often obeying the letter of the law but not the spirit. As a child who believed himself extremely special, he was easily daunted by hard work, and so at subjects which he did not immediately excel he would give up easily.
His parent's denial of his problems did him a disservice as he got older. A chubby young man with a love of musicals and a flamboyant taste in fashion was easy pickings for any bullies. Beaten, harassed, and mocked at every turn, Alex's runaway self-esteem crashed. Around 7th grade, he sank into a deep and lethargic depression, over-eating to compensate for his sudden self-doubt and so feeding into a nasty cycle of self-recrimination as he hated himself more and more for being overweight and ate more and more to compensate for his feelings of inadequacy. He stopped participating in acting and music as he sank deeper and deeper into depression.
His parents might have seen the problems at this point, but both Lyra and Edward are firm believers in the nature of life as a meritocracy, believing that all their wealth and influence have come from hard work and talent. This same mentality had encouraged Alex as a child--if he was truly special and intelligent, he was entitled to more--but it also discouraged needing outside help. If Alex had a problem, it was his job to solve it.
This cycle was broken the first time Alex saw The Princess Bride. Alex loved the movie, but found himself particularly fascinated by the sword fight between Inigo and Wesley. This fascination led him on a wider search through action movies, studying similar fight scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean and then binging through wuxia films and old Bruce Lee movies. He developed a deep fascination with fight scene choreography, buying books and reading and watching online tutorials on how to arrange a good fight for the stage and on camera.
Alex's interest in fight scene choreography was born from a number of factors. His sudden interest resulted principally from envy of these graceful, confident figures who so embodied the theatrical elegance he'd envied in musicals and combined it with the physical prowess he so lacked. The choreography spoke both to his long-held theatrical interests and his fantasies of power. Alex might have become deeply depressed, but his conviction that he was capable of greatness had never really been destroyed; it had only been frustrated and minimized by his bullying and his constant failure to measure up to his self-image. Fight scenes provided a peculiar reinvigoration to his old ideals. They let him believe that his power fantasies had merit; that the right person, with the right combination of talent and drive, could really be a powerful force in the world. His belief and his historic disregard for the word of established authorities means he typically eschews any word from anyone with actual fight scene or martial arts experience, assuming his opinions trump practical experience.
His fascination with fight scene choreography led him to order DvDs and books through his parents so he could better understand the intricacies of the art. He began attending local martial arts classes, trying to measure up to the physical demands of challenging fight scenes. He failed consistently for months, and so he augmented his training with regular workouts, both at home and at local gyms. After more than a year of set-backs and frustration he had lost a lot of his weight and gained a measure of physical confidence. His self-assured disdain for the advice of higher authorities often makes him a frustrating student, and he has been booted from a few classes before.
Alex did some research into those well-known for their work as fight scene choreographersWoo-Ping Yuen of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Jeff Imada of the Bourne series, as well as stars who'd come to fame largely through such choreography, such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. But in all his research he found a consistent underpinningthat these choreographers had essentially created these positions for themselves by envisioning a scene or applying a particular art or style in the most entertaining way. Alex puts a higher value on understanding the basics and interesting applications of a particular style and seeing what kind of scenes that could create than on trying to follow one particular dogma of stage combat or choreography. To that end, he spends more time working out to keep himself flexible and strong, then studies the essentials of a fighting stylelearning its basic underpinnings so he can apply it's flashiest moves in a cinematic fashion.
Although he loves the works of Bruce Lee and spent eight months trying to learn jeet kune do, its essential philosophy of minimal effort for maximum impact does not generally lend itself to theatrics outside of the hands of a master. Alex knows no style of fighting particularly well, but he has a grasp on the absolute basics and the flashiest-looking moves from a number of styles, including some of the strikes and throws from silat after watching the Raid films and the best disarms, lunges, and parries from foil, epee, and saber fencing after watching Pirates of the Carribean. He also takes a twice-a-week morning tai chi class, inspired by a binge on Avatar: the Last Airbender, which also motivates his current studying habits as he tries to learn the flashiest moves and essential movements of Baguazhang, Hung Ga, and pinyin.
His physical confidence was restored by the end of his 9th grade year, and with it came a relative end to bullying (in part because of his new physical fitness, in part because of the restoration of his self-confidence, and in part because he'd hit his growth spurt) and renewed interest in theater. Alex threw himself into myriad forms of performances, including local Kingman theater, high school plays, vines and online videos. Alex still prefers to take a central role and likes to act as the star of the show whenever possible; however, his obsession with fight scene choreography has given him a better appreciation for how much every performance is truly an ensemble effort. Though a movie star may largely carry a film, he cannot do so without the support of a staff of technicians, directors, specialists, and other actors. No actor ever truly operates by themselves, even if they put on a one-man show.
Alex's greater appreciation for the demands of great film also gave him the drive to learn the intricacies that go into performances of all kinds. He started doing tech work backstage on plays where he failed to win roles at audition, helping to do prop-management and set design. He learned how to edit and mix sound for stage, screen, and web. He learned about how to compress or save files in different formats for different purposes. In essence, he aimed to become as adroit as possible at the myriad demands of acting in all its forms. Alex believes that, if there truly are no small parts and only small actors, then it is the duty of anyone involved in a performance to be at their best, and to be capable of stepping in for anyone who is falling short of their duties.
In his quest to be a better contributor to great works, Alex augmented his knowledge with carpentry and shop classes at Cochise, and became relatively comfortable working with both wood and metal. His particular aptitude is for stage mechanics; building rudimentary devices somewhat ad-hoc to serve the needs of the productions he is a part of. He's gained a reputation in the theater department for being able to quickly repair problematic equipment, including fixing trapdoors and getting prop guns to fire. Alex has a knack for quick repairs, but typically lacks the patience for longer projects, getting frustrated when something goes wrong or takes more time than it was supposed to.
Alex's single-minded focus on acting does have a deleterious effect on his schoolwork, which is not at all helped by Alex's intrinsic brand of laziness. Although Alex is extremely diligent when it comes to projects he's passionate aboutchoreography, acting, and maintaining his self-imagehe finds any action that demands his labor without engaging him to be distasteful. His grades in all subjects are extremely inconsistent, split between his high test scores and his often-incomplete homework assignments, which usually fail to engage his interest. This has resulted in erratic report cards throughout his school career; in the last four semesters, his semester GPA sank as low as 2.1 and rose as high as 3.8. Although erratic, Alex has successfully avoided academic probation since his grades always recover in the semester after they drop. Since he usually manages to recover on his own, his parents usually give him a fair degree of leeway--in part because of their tendency to spoil, and in part because Lyra's academic performance was similarly sporadic until she reached law school.
Alex's focus in school is always on extracurriculars. Aside from his various acting commitments, he is a tenor member of the school's choir and a prominent member of the Debate team. The former augments his capabilities as a performer, while the latter offers him a wide variety of forms with which to practice his skillsthe various individual events to sharpen his acting talents and the various debate formats to hone his rhetorical abilities. He favors Public Forum debates and extemporaneous events such as Humorous Interpretation. He is also the founder and president of Cochise High School's Swing Dancing Club. He became interested in swing dancing because of its physical demands and its intense showmanship, echoing the love of musicals from his past. Since it was never easy to find a place to swing dance in Kingman, he decided he would make one.
As a result of his inconsistent academic performance and his commitment to such a wide array of extracurriculars, Alex's relationships with the faculty and staff of Cochise high school can be somewhat strained. He has an extremely positive relationship with the members of the theater department and the debate coach, but his other teachers' attitudes towards him range from amused exasperation to genuine dislike, since Alex has retained his dismissive attitude towards authorities with whom he disagrees. Alex is generally socially aware enough not to be openly insubordinate, with a few notable exceptions: one of the only classes he ever came close to failing was a P.E. class where he refused to do several of the exercises.
Alex's many activitiesas actor, choreographer, technician, sound editor, singer, and debater, among othershave put him in contact with a wide variety of people. Alex's relationship with others tends to be very hit-or-miss. Some find his confidence and joie-de-vivre infectious and charming, while others find him arrogant and narcissistic, since he tends to preen and strut even while he does ostensibly selfless acts. This all-or-nothing quality extends to his romantic relationships, as well; some find his constant self-interest too draining, while others find his exuberance and self-confidence intriguing and refreshing.
Alex remains extremely close with both of his parents. His father, who has struggled with depression all his life, was a supportive influence during his darker years, assuring Alex that his sadness in no way made him broken or defective. Alex's relationship with his mother was more complicated; Lyra had struggled with obesity in college, and found her son's lack of self-discipline to be a disgusting personal failing. Her disdain led to a series of fights throughout his depressed years that tended to augment his depression, and even after recovering things remain a little rocky between the two of them, since Alex blames her in part for his depression during those years. This conflict is not helped by the fact that Lyra views Alex's recovery as confirmation of her view: he was able to solve his problems in the end, which confirms to her that it was his weakness that let them persist in the first place.
It might have been wise for his parents to have Alex seek counseling, either as an attention-seeking child or a depressed adolescent, but though both Edward and Lyra are indulgent towards Alex they also firmly believe that people in America make it by virtue of hard work and self-reliance and so do their best to encourage these qualities in him. Their essential viewpoint is that a person either pulls themselves up by their own talents and the help of friends and family, or they lack the essential strength to be successful. The Tarquins view government aidand, by extension, support groups and counselingas crutches for those unable to make it on their own. The truly successful make their own support structures.
Alex generally agrees with his parents' attitude, but his experience with depression and isolation has made him more empathetic towards others. He is more aware of and empathetic to the struggles of those around him, both internal and external. Partially in reaction against his mother, he always tries to encourage anyone he knows struggling with depression or their mental health, to tell them they have the power to overcome. Alex still believes that strong people build their own support structures, but he also believes that he can be part of that structure.
Like most things Alex does, however, his involvement in others is motivated in part by his self-serving narrative, which means he does seek approval and gratitude. He can be petty and vindictive to those who he feels don't respond appropriately to his offers of friendship, treating them with open disdain. Alex wants to be liked, and when he cannot get that he responds cruelly. This reaction tends to be pretty uniform, regardless of the other person's personality: if he feels that he is treated with respect, Alex is kind and gracious, and if he feels otherwise he is angry and openly hostile.
Alex's self-centered worldview remains essentially unchanged from when he was a child demanding the attention of his parents, teachers, and peers. All that has changed is his perspective; he sees himself as a small but undeniably essential part of the world, capable of contributing to it in a way no one else can. Alex sees his victory over depression and his steady transformation into a physically fit Renaissance man as validation of his essential self-worth. He is equal to the challenges life has presented him thus far, and will always find a way to win through, no matter the obstacles before him.
Advantages: Alexander is intelligent and possesses an unusual amount of experience for his age in mechanics and carpentry, with some experience in metalworking for good measure. This knowledge may allow him to make effective use of limited resources towards creative ends. He is physically fit and knows many different ways to fight, though most of this knowledge is hampered by the fact that what he knows was learned for the purpose of choreography and performance rather than actual combat.
Disadvantages: Alex is spoiled and sheltered, which will not serve him well given the harsh demands of SotF. His persistent disinterest in tasks that do not arouse his passion will likely prove disabling given the grueling demands of survival. Almost everything he does is built into a self-serving narrative, and the breakdown of this narrative has habitually led him to depression and emotional instability. What he knows of fighting was learned in pursuit of a power fantasy that could prove dangerous when exposed to actual violence, and what knowledge he has may make him overconfident, especially given that almost everything he knows was designed only to look good on the stage or on film.
Designated Number: Male student No. 032
Designated Weapon: Machete
Conclusion: B032 is going to figure out quickly this isn't a fake play fight. I can't wait for him to hit that first mark, realize it didn't work and get his ass kicked.- Josie Knight
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B032 - Tarquin, Alexander "Alex"[/DECEASED]
- Joined: June 1st, 2011, 8:03 pm
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