literatimariano: (Smirky smile)
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THE PLAYER
Name/Nickname: Kristine
Age: 28
Pronouns: She/her
Contact: krharbek@gmail.com, harbek on Trillian, krharbek on AIM
Currently Played Characters: None currently


THE CHARACTER
DW account: [personal profile] literatimariano
Name: Jess Mariano
Alias: Hooligan, troublemaker, punk, hoodlum, slacker, that little shit...
Age/Birthdate: 19 / October 29th, 1984 (Scorpio)
Species: Human
Gender: Boy
Canon: Gilmore Girls
Canon point: End of season 4, May 2004
Played By: Milo Ventimiglia

Icon:



Abilities:
His riftpower is video game logic. This is really a collection of lots of minor powers, which will vary depending on situation...

Respawn: He's not invulnerable, but if he's killed, his body will fade away, and he'll appear at the beginning of the "level". The location is usually tied to sleep/unconsciousness. He'll suddenly wake up with "full health" where he woke up last. (This will probably lead to a lot of reckless behaviour when he figures it out.)

Stat boost: Increased strength, agility, endurance, durability, reaction time... However, only when the situation and his mindset calls for it. He can still be super clumsy, or have difficulty opening a jar, or burn himself on the stove. But if it's for something that in his head qualifies as a Mission, such as a fight or getting around a level, then his abilities will be upped.

FIGHT: Related to the above: if he's in a fight, he will suddenly be a lot more badass. He's not a terrible fighter to begin with, but he could suddenly pull off impressive moves and dodge like hell. To an extent, this also scales to which opponent he's fighting. He could lose a regular fist-fight if he's unfocused, but still hold his own against monsters.

Parkour!: He's a decently physically adept person to begin with, but now it will be... a little ridiculous? It will also be a little arbitrary, as sometimes it will just not work, because the area he's trying to access is outside level boundaries. Which is up to me, of course.

Kaching: He just FINDS MONEY EVERYWHERE. He'll step through a bush and find a fucking $20 bill. He also always somehow just KNOWS how much money he has.

Hammerspace: Huge pockets. Like, you'd THINK that wouldn't fit, but it sure does. And it never shows on his clothes or his backpack how much stuff is in there. Carrying weight can become a problem, but even that is sometimes a bit arbitrary.

Health pickups: He doesn't need to eat as often or as healthily as he used to. He can live on popcorn with almost no ill effects. Also, injuries will heal mysteriously quickly just by eating a lot.

Interactivity: An involuntary effect on the people around him. People will just find it really easy to randomly start a conversation with him, or to be very open and honest. Hostile people will find it a lot easier to start a fight. This doesn't override a person's free will, or change their perception of him - they will just find action easier than they perhaps would normally. Very attuned characters might be able to pick up on this, but it's a pretty harmless effect, and he's unaware of it happening.


Appearance:
Jess basically looks like your typical disillusioned, rebel-without-a-cause teenager. Leather jacket and hoodie is often part of the package, especially when it's cold. His wardrobe does include a more varied collection of typical guy clothes; jeans, corduroys, button-ups, t-shirts, long-sleeves, sweaters, generally worn in layers. He usually keeps his hair in a giant coif a la James Dean. He also always has a book in his back pocket.

He's 5'10" and very fit, but has a skinny frame. His posture is surprisingly good for an anti-authoritarian supposed slacker. There's a certain tension there, with a superimposed casual calm. Sometimes the tension becomes full-blown aggressive unfriendliness, but most of the time he's just closed off. That's not to say he's always serious, quite the opposite. He has a prankster's charm and a wiseass attitude - it's the friendly warmth that's more rare. He's definitely good-looking, but it may depend on whether you find the bad-boy look attractive.


Personality:
Most people meeting Jess see one thing: a screw-up. A no-good troublemaker who'll never amount to anything; a messed-up delinquent who doesn't care about anything or anyone; an irresponsible prankster who never takes anything seriously; an ungrateful child throwing away his future. In short, a hopeless case. This is not who Jess is. It is however an image he cultivates, partly because he's heard it so many times that he believes it, and because it's just safer not to have any expectations to live up to. It's impossible to fail when no one expects you to succeed in the first place, right?

Jess is without hope, but he is not hopeless. What Jess is is a bitter, angry teenager who's been a victim of abuse and neglect, and who's been forced to grow up too quickly. His situation has always been precarious and subject to abrupt change, and he's never had a chance to mature and develop in a safe environment. His home life simply didn't allow him to learn responsibility gradually, to safely make mistakes, to learn to trust, or to explore his identity.

He's old enough to be aware of this, and that's where the bitterness comes from. He's used to having his autonomy stripped from him, and he's frustrated and tired of it. This leads him to lie and conceal large aspects of his life, because he's not being trusted to make his own choices. He believes (with good reason) that his options will be taken away from him if the people in authority don't agree with him, regardless of Jess's opinion on the matter. Adults have repeatedly failed him, and his guardians tend to swing wildly between either overly controlling or completely inattentive. So Jess takes his chances where he can get them, and he doesn't consult anyone on his decisions.

As a result, some of his major flaws are unreliability, lack of communication, and being a bad long-term planner. That said, he encourages independence in his friends, he offers compromises and alternatives, and he doesn't get mad if someone isn't available as a result of his lack of planning. He doesn't expect anyone to be there at his beck and call, and he gets frustrated if anyone holds him to standards he never demands of anyone else.

Despite his unreliability, he actually has a high capacity for responsibility, as seen by him working two jobs, and even being employee of the month. The problem occurs when he is given responsibilities he doesn't want, such as looking after his mother (who failed to look after him), or attending a school he believes will do nothing for him. He knows (because he's been repeatedly told) that he'll never amount to anything, and he'll certainly never go to college, so wasting time and effort on high school seems pointless. The devil-may-care attitude is defence mechanism, a result of caring too much, not too little. When he refuses to oblige, he is labelled selfish, ungrateful, and irresponsible.

On the flip side, he's adaptable, resilient, independent, and self-sufficient. Despite his lack of academic interest, he's highly intelligent, well-read, and enjoys stimulating conversations. He also has a sharp wit, which he wields both to hurt and to comfort. He learns quickly and has an excellent memory - his failing school was never due to not being able to do the work, but simply a lack of motivation.

He can be charming when he wants to, though it's usually cheeky and flippant, perfect for banter but not for family dinners. He's never actively cruel, but he can definitely be insensitive, and he has no problem riling someone up if he feels they're being unreasonable or humourless. Small-talk is not his strength, and he will usually get very terse when involved in a conversation against his will. He's a pretty good judge of character, or at least of when someone doesn't like him, and he ends up playing into their expectations rather than proving them wrong. He prefers small groups to crowds, conversations to parties, and honesty to courtesy. If pushed too far, he will lash out, but he's likely to feel awful about it afterwards.

To those few he believes deserves it, he can be an incredibly kind person, and he never requires acknowledgement or gratitude. He even encourages his friends to blame stuff on him, and he hates it when people he cares about get in trouble because of him, even if he has no problem getting in trouble for their sake. In fact, a lot of the time he actively hides his involvement in helping, putting other people's happiness before his own, and not wanting to take the credit. After all, that would raise expectations, and showing that he cares would only leave him vulnerable.

He's learning how to trust, but it's a slow process. Despite that, he does his best to be supportive, and he's both patient and forgiving when it matters. Rather than get angry, he encourages communication, he listens, and he respects the other person's decisions. The problem arises in Jess's inability to communicate with regards to himself. He's not used to being heard, or even asked, so he rarely shares or confides in someone, keeping his doubts and fears to himself. Receiving emotional support is still a foreign concept to him, so he never instinctively reaches out.

Having been taught that he's the problem and that he's not worth people's time, he's often only waiting for others to realise this. Part of his unreliability is when he decides it's easier to not give them the chance to reject him. He'd rather just leave, than stick around only to let down those he cares about. Too many times when he's opened himself and trusted, allowed himself to get comfortable or commit to something, has he been rewarded with failure or rejection. Disapproval is nothing to him, but he can't bring himself to face someone's disappointment.

At present, he's recently hit bottom, and is just starting to crawl his way up. He lacks direction, but he also has a growing thirst to prove himself and take control of his life. Dreams and goals are being allowed to form, letting him work towards them. There's still ways to go for him to maintain healthy relationships, but it's starting to look within reach. He's only recently been given the tools to build and to grow, and he's still learning how to use them.


History:
Jess is born in New York in 1984, to Liz Danes and Jimmy Mariano. His father disappears soon after, leaving Jess with his drug-using mother. While a loving parent, Liz is also flaky, irresponsible, and naive, with no idea how to raise a son. She has a string of questionable boyfriends, many of whom steal their stuff and leave them in debt.

In high school, Jess starts getting into trouble, skipping school and getting into fights. Unsure how to deal with it, Liz sends him off to live with his uncle Luke. Against his will, Jess goes from the big city of Manhattan, to the small and eccentric town of Stars Hollow. Luke is steady and dependable, and dedicated to getting Jess on the right path. He also has no clue how to deal with a troubled 17 year old. Still, Jess does begin to appreciate Luke. Even after Jess's pranks and thievery, Luke is standing up for him against the disdain of the town. Meanwhile, Liz doesn't even want Jess home for Christmas.

Jess also gets a crush on Rory, a rule-abiding and academically gifted girl, beloved by the town. They form a friendship over their shared interest in reading, to the dismay of everyone but Luke. Still, he never romantically pursues her. She's in a relationship with a guy named Dean, and Jess believes she's uninterested in him. They grow closer, Rory being the only one to believe in Jess's abilities and good intentions. She tells him that he can do whatever he sets his mind to, which will resonate with him for years to come.

[SPOILERS FOR CARRIE BEYOND]

Things hit a snag when they get in a car accident, leaving Rory with a fractured wrist and a wrecked car. Which Jess was driving. While Rory doesn't blame him, he knows everyone else will, so he decides to go back to Manhattan. He's only gone a week before Rory comes to visit, which convinces him to stay in Stars Hollow. Upon his return, Rory kisses him. She then disappears on summer vacation, never calling him.

Hurt by Rory's silence, Jess hooks up with a girl named Shane. This isn't particularly serious, as both of them are only in it for the physical aspects of dating. Jess spends his summer working at Luke's diner, and at some point getting a job at Walmart in secret. After Rory returns from vacation, they hardly interact. He does call her out on her silence, and on expecting him to sit around waiting for her when she's still dating Dean.

It's not until November that anything happens between them. Fed up with Rory's interest in Jess, Dean breaks up with her in front of half the town, including Jess. He later finds her at the lake, they admit their interest in one another, and Jess goes to break up with Shane. Jess and Rory begin dating, and soon become a pretty happy couple, albeit with their ups and downs. Luke lays down strict rules. Dean holds an aggressive grudge. Rory's mother disapproves, as does most of the town. Jess faces self-doubt, confused why Rory even likes him. Despite all this, Jess does his best to be a good boyfriend. He's more trusting and forgiving than Dean, but he's also less reliable.

By April, Jess is skipping school a lot, working full time at Walmart while also helping out at the diner. Luke even goes as far as stealing Jess's car to force him to go to school. When Rory wants Jess to take her to prom, Jess goes to buy tickets only to find out he can't. Because of too much absence, he isn't allowed to graduate. He refuses to actually tell anyone this, becoming more moody and withdrawn. He even ends up in a massive fight with Dean after Jess gets upset at Rory.

Jess faces another hurdle when his father shows up in Stars Hollow. Jimmy leaves before they can talk much, but he does reveal Luke was aware of his presence. When Jess confronts Luke with this, they end up in an argument, and Jess admits that he's not graduating. Luke makes an ultimatum, saying Jess either has to go back to school (which he refuses to), or move out. The next morning, Jess packs up his stuff. He never says goodbye to Rory, only apologises for not being able to take her to prom.

Having no idea what to do what his life, he gets on a bus heading for California to track down his father. While he can't stay with his mother, he does keep in touch with her, but not with Luke. Jess has to beg Jimmy to let him stay, but he ends up living there for several months, then travels around on his own.

He returns briefly to Stars Hollow to get his car, after Luke tells the visiting Liz about it still being there. Liz, who is finally getting her life together, introduces Jess to her boyfriend TJ. Jess bumps into Rory several times, but it's not until the third time he sees her that he resists running away. He tells her "I love you." He then walks away before she can respond, and leaves town once again, like a chickenshit.

Three months later, Liz is getting married to TJ in Stars Hollow. Jess doesn't want to come because of Rory, who has not reached out to him. Luke tracks Jess down in Manhattan, convincing him to come back to Stars Hollow and walk Liz down the aisle. Luke is still trying to get Jess back on the right path, and even gives him some self-help books. Which Jess actually reads.

Before he leaves Stars Hollow, Jess thanks Luke for all his help and support. He then goes to find Rory, asking her to move to New York with him. He tells her he's ready to be with her, that she can depend on him now. She refuses. Rejected, he returns to Manhattan on his own.

[END SPOILERS]


Writing Sample:
[Entrance post.]

Jess needs to get out of this damn city.

Historically speaking, Manhattan has been his playground. (Literally, if you go enough years back.) He's always known the ropes, where to go, where not to go, where you could find something exciting happening. Now it's already starting to get stale. It's been almost three years since he moved away, and a lot has changed in that time. He's changed. His friends have changed - moved on, or simply moved away. Meanwhile, Jess feels stuck, and he hasn't even been back all that long.

It's probably those self-help books Luke got him to read. How can he move on if he's just going back to what's familiar? Furthermore, how can he pursue the things he wants if he's barely making ends meet? Self-actualisation is practically impossible when survival and safety isn't guaranteed. He works too much and he's living in a dump, but New York's gotten expensive, so there's not much choice. He tried LA, but it's just not his scene. Chicago, maybe? Or perhaps Philly...

The subway train comes to a screeching stop, pulling him out of his reverie with a jolt.

He sighs and heads out, up the stairs, taking two steps at a time as he shrugs back on his leather jacket. Too stuffy and humid underground to wear it. It's starting to get that way outside too, but it hasn't quite reached it, the air dusty and crisp.

Chilly for May actually, which seems fitting. Supposedly April is the cruellest month, but Jess wouldn't mind contesting TS Eliot on that. All this evolution and momentum around him, and for all his travelling, Jess is standing still. What he needs is a change.

This is probably one of those 'careful what you wish for' moments.

He's crossing the deserted street, hands stuffed in his pockets, mind filled with frustration at both his situation and at poetry - especially at how Eliot's poetry inspired a musical about cats - and then... It happens in a flash. He blinks, and it's like the sun changed position.

A chill comes over him as he stops in his tracks, and he's pretty sure it's not just him. Everything just got colder.

Then everything gets louder, the screeching of brakes making him jerk away from the car coming at him from his right, slowing, stopping, but not fast enough.

It doesn't hit him at full speed, but it's still enough to knock him off his feet, rolling over the hood and landing headfirst on the asphalt, barely breaking his fall with his hands. His head feels like it's just been split open, which might actually be a possibility.

The driver is yelling at him, but Jess isn't cognizant enough to catch any of the words. He gets to his feet, hand going up to his hairline and coming back with blood on his fingertips. Everything is very loud and harsh and painful, and Jess doesn't want to deal with it, so he walks away.

No one pursues, and the only thing following Jess is the fading sounds of the driver's swearing. Perhaps no one else saw the accident, or maybe they didn't think to intervene. New York, city of the bystanders. Always moving, but never progressing, just like him.

He's not sure exactly how far he's walked before he has to come to a stop, dizzy and head pounding. He leans against a wall, closing his eyes, taking several deep breaths. He can feel a few streaks of blood having made it down his forehead and temple, but he doesn't make an effort to wipe it away, not yet.


THE GAME
How did you find out about Big Applesauce?
Well, I helped make it, and then I left, and now I'm back.



What interests you about the game, and your character's place in it?
Manhattan totally needs yet another superpowered trashchild, right?

Unlike all the other characters I've played here, Jess is a New Yorker, so I'm gonna get to put my local knowledge and research enthusiasm to good use. Also looking forward to putting him in more ridiculous settings, as he'll be one of the few non-scifi/fantasy characters around, and it's been a while since I've played a vanilla character. He's very genre-savvy though, so I think he'll be okay.

And just, have him hang out with all the cool people we have? There's still a lot of characters I haven't threaded with, and I neeeeed to. Gotta catch 'em all! Also, a lot of his major character development in the show happens off-screen, so I'm excited to explore his progress from trashchild to functional human being.




Anything else?
I decided he's asexual and YOU CAN'T STOP ME. (Not that you would.) It makes perfect sense, trust me, I have several scenes to cite. Like that time he got dragged to a strip club and read the whole time, literally never looking at the half-naked ladies. (He still gets crushes and likes making out with people so it's all good, nothing's changed.)


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Jess Mariano

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