.001 video

Apr. 26th, 2013 03:48 am
itsatragedy: (that was-- that wasn't smart)
[The time for observation and information gathering has clearly come to an end; much as the flood itself hadn't changed him fundamentally, he's been more affected by the experience than by the false memory of events. That doesn't matter. What matters is everyone else who was affected.

How do you know who to watch, who to be careful for, who to trust, when everything about them is subject to change so arbitrarily?

You don't. Cornell hasn't been sleeping much, these past several days. It's late (or early, however you choose to look at it) when he flips his communicator on, finally having reached the end of his tether. No introduction, no preamble-- just a man with dark circles below his eyes and a fine, sharp edge to his voice.]


[Public]

Tell me, did any of you who were, who were different, or believed-- who knew something you know now isn't true at all, did any of you feel any sense at all that something was wrong?

[He taps his finger restlessly against the side of the comm. He hadn't. Had experienced absolute conviction in a version of reality he could before and can now say with utmost certainty is not, nor was it ever, what actually transpired. His lip twists, thinking about it. He doesn't need an answer. He doesn't expect an answer. None of your input matters, not when none of you can say for sure who you are. Not when there isn't any way to know whether or not you're under some kind of outside influence.]

What makes you so sure of what you know now?

[Congratulations, Barge. You've all just made Cornell's watch list.]

Private to Ronald Sandoval )
itsatragedy: (not as planned)
OOC PREFERENCES:
CONTACT METHOD: AIM or Plurk (devotfeige)
THREAD-JACKING: I don't mind at all.
FOURTH WALLING / CANON PUNCTURE: Assuming your character has any reason to have seen some awful direct-to-DVD film that isn't sure of its own name, go for it. He'd be Very Suspicious (read: paranoid) about it.
BACKTAGGING: Always and forever.
AVOIDED TOPICS: Nothing, within reason.

IC CHARACTERISTICS:
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ~6'0" tall, dirty blond/light brown hair, hazel eyes. Being a chronic insomniac, Mark's appearance and manner of speech both tend to fluctuate in accordance with how much sleep he's managed to catch. Less sleep equals a more disheveled look (unshaven, hair swept back haphazardly, more casual clothes) and a significantly 'twitchier' verbal cadence (he speaks more quickly and has a tendency to repeat/interrupt himself). His 'default' state is generally somewhere between the two extremes. He smokes Marlboro Lights, when and where available.
DEMEANOR: Mark's what you might call just a teensy bit paranoid, so he has a tendency to watch and wait to catch people in the act of scheming (or to accuse them of it based on some menial thing they might be doing instead), but it'd be a mistake to think him incompetent; although his judgment could use some work, he's no slouch when it comes down to planning and execution. He's a talker but not much of a listener unless he's already convinced that you're worth listening to, so he'll happily steamroll a conversation if you let him. As mentioned above, the more stressed and sleepless he gets, the more extreme his behavior becomes.
ABILITIES: Nothing special.
MEDICAL INFORMATION: He's a pretty prolific smoker who suffers chronic stress-based insomnia.
OFFENSIVE SUBJECTS: Not offensive, per se, but trust and betrayal are both touchy subjects. Expect him to go on a bit of a tirade if you get caught up in that discussion.

IC PERMISSIONS:
MENTAL: Go for it.
MIMICRY: If you're so inclined.
VIOLENCE: Obviously I'd prefer OOC coordination, but you're more than welcome to start something. Mark's not much of a fighter, but he'd put up a struggle.
MAGIC: Go for it.
DEBATE: Please do; his idea of a debate would probably frustrate the more eloquent participant, but he's happy to argue with you anyway.
OTHER / NOTES: Ask Mark anything about opera.

SPECIAL ACCESS FILTER: N O P E, get right out of his face with that. None of you are on it.

.TLV app

Jan. 9th, 2013 01:52 am
itsatragedy: (jar; top of the jar)
User Name/Nick: devot
User DW: n/a
AIM/IM: devotfeige @ AIM
E-mail: devotfeige (at) gmail (dot) com
Other Characters: Perry van Shrike ([personal profile] vanshrike)

Character Name: Mark C. Cornell
Series: Hard Cash (2002 film, aka Run for the Money)
Age: ~mid to late 30s
From When?: End of film; Mark is killed in a gasoline explosion on a motorboat, ignited by a lit cigarette.

Inmate/Warden: Inmate. A corrupt FBI agent, Mark's ambitions of laundering marked FBI money "a little bit" and making a little money on the side quickly devolve into kidnapping and ultimately attempted murder, both in pursuit of larger sums of money and due to his increasing levels of paranoia in regards to the trustworthiness of his accomplices. While the most obvious room for improvement lies in his overall instability in the perception of others and the quickness with which he will himself take advantage of a perceived weakness to further his own gain, a nudge back onto the straight and narrow couldn't hurt either.

Abilities/Powers: Nothing above or beyond earth-normal. He's received standard FBI training and would be handy with a gun were he ever trusted with one (though as an inmate obviously this would be unlikely).

Personality:
Mark has what wouldn't be inaccurate to describe as something of a volatile personality, having a tendency to react in broad strokes and extremes. Though it may seem an odd first note to touch on, his love of opera is noteworthy in this regard: Mark speaks of tragedy the way one might the most sublime pleasures (romanticizing the tragic triptych of betrayal, vengeance, and suicide that makes up Tosca, in one instance), and while the extreme to which he derives enjoyment from these stories is not indicative of problems in and of itself, it does exemplify a certain kind of passion and depth of emotion that can easily go unchecked without moderation. For all that he is a pragmatic man who very thoroughly and very meticulously plans his approach to a given situation, the strength of that emotion is capable of driving him well beyond the point where reason might have stayed his hand.

These traits combined result in a shrewd but impulsive tendency: when Mark sees an opportunity, he takes it. Not for want of anything, in truth-- he's secured a comfortable career as a federal agent (what's more, a job that he's good at), but the opportunity for "more" is tantalizing all the same. At first it isn't hurting anyone directly... while working on a job at an off-track betting office he realizes that he is in a prime position as the man monitoring the money coming in and out to do a little money laundering on the side. Secure in his contacts and information, when he discovers a master thief in Taylor he immediately recognizes that their combined talents and resources provide an even greater opportunity and wastes no time in pursuing this new goal instead. This would be a dangerous enough habit without the added complication of Mark's inability to keep his emotions from interfering with his judgment, but unfortunately this is not his only stumbling block.

A greater source of Mark's volatile state lies in his multitude of trust issues. It doesn't take much for a man in his position to realize that his 'extra-curricular activities' could easily cost him his job if he's found out, and being that he's quite comfortable in his position as an FBI agent and not in need so much as want of these extraneous opportunities, it's easy to cast a suspicious eye on those around him privy to his schemes. Although he makes some effort to allow others to 'prove themselves trustworthy', he's grown suspicious and quick to anger in response to behavior he perceives as threatening and is careful to account for the possibility of betrayal in his plans. That being said, there is a part of Mark that desperately desires a comrade in arms with whom he can trust to go over his schemes and share the benefits, perhaps borne partly out of his constant distrust and the anxiety it creates. The more he distrusts, the greater the stress he puts on himself and the more desperately he wants for a partner who will help to ease the burden. The greater his apprehension, however, the quicker he is to perceive others as untrustworthy, and so it becomes a hopeless downward spiral of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Although he is shrewd and capable, the aforementioned anxiety is not limited to Mark's perception of the people around him. He is meticulous in his planning in part due to the fact that he is utterly convinced that the devil is in the details and that the slightest mistakes are the most costly. His money laundering plot being Mark's first tentative step outside the boundaries of the law (something he makes a point of mentioning to Taylor) he's determined to see it through without a hitch, noticeably agitated by his FBI partner's reluctance to buy in completely, though the partner in question does not appear to pose any threat of exposure regardless. When Taylor robs the OTB, ruining Mark's plan entirely, the effect is immediately and abundantly apparent. Although Mark mostly keeps a cool exterior, adapting quickly to this development and turning it once again to his advantage, the stress of maintaining and executing a watertight plan clearly begins to take its toll in both his appearance and speech. When under pressure in this fashion Mark becomes extremely restless and impatient, susceptible to his own turbulent emotional state and increasingly blind to the severity of his actions or the consequences to them.

All of the above is in turn exacerbated by one key element: chronic insomnia. Stress-based in nature, Mark's money laundering plot and associated concerns have haunted his sleep for three days even before the first sign of interference or trouble arrives in the form of Thomas Taylor. Mark doesn't waste any time in tracking down the thief that made off with 'his' money, setting a new plan in motion over the course of a single night (during which it can be assumed he slept very little, if at all), and by the time he confronts Taylor in person, that lack of sleep is the primary factor contributing to how visible his stress and agitation actually is, in spite of his otherwise calm exterior. The escalation of Mark's actions from then on lack a certain finesse that his original plan had in abundance; he makes an astonishing leap from small-time crook to overblown Bond villain in virtually no time at all, a credit to what sleeplessness can do to a modest amount of distrust. Every aspect of Mark's personality is affected by this, making him more emotionally volatile, liable to take advantage of an opportunity without evaluating risk/reward first, paranoid and distrusting of others to the extent of preparing for their inevitable betrayal with complete disregard for even the possibility of their continued loyalty, and consumed with an anxiety that in turn keeps him awake and drives him further away from the cool confidence he'd started with.

At his best, Mark is little more than a slightly eccentric man with a tenacity about him that speaks towards his years as a government agent and his capacity to excel. If he is suspicious of others, it is an excusable and not terribly uncommon character flaw. At his worst he's a man unhinged, unreasonable, and wildly unpredictable. Most commonly he can be found somewhere between the two extremes.

Barge Reactions:
Mark's reactions are entirely likely to vary considerably, depending on the situation or person in question. He chastises his FBI partner for an inability to 'flow' and advises him to "let it in; expand your horizons", and while the Barge is perhaps an extreme case of expanded horizons, it isn't unreasonable to believe he might take a similar attitude towards the experience. That said, while he's capable of keeping a level head and rolling with the punches, Mark's triggers for suspicion of others are unpredictable at best. He might treat any one individual like a close personal friend only to turn around the next day and hold them accountable for their actions during a flood or breach (and then, more notably, continue to do so long after it's become apparent that behavior during floods and breaches is often uncontrollable). The Barge is characterized by periods of rest between extremes, which would have a direct impact on Mark's present state of mind at any given time.

Path to Redemption:
The most important (and probably also the most difficult) part of getting through to Mark is as simple as earning and keeping his trust. He's very quick to distrust for perceived thoughts or actions, whether or not they might actually be true, so it wouldn't be an easy task for a warden to convince him that they had his best interests at heart, but neither would it be impossible. Mark very much wants to work together with someone, so treating a warden/inmate pairing as more of a partnership would very quickly appeal to that side of him. When he begins to doubt or distrust without legitimate reason, he'd do best with someone who will be insistent and stick by him regardless; what he really needs is proof that people can, in fact, be relied upon to do more than look for an opportunity to betray you and that trust itself is a two-way street.

Only after solving Mark's issues of mistrust could one begin to broach the topic of his crimes (such as they were) and hope to make progress, but by that point his more rational outlook wouldn't present too much trouble in just talking through them and sorting out what it is he was ever really after from there. With the source of his tendency for rapid escalation of poor decision-making removed, he'd be far more opportunist than criminal and could then be given a nudge towards more fulfilling uses of that desire to succeed than underhanded acquisition of wealth.

History:
No canon background is available from the film, the following is assumed for depth:
Mark was raised in the suburbs of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as the latchkey kid of two working parents who lived comfortably but impressed upon him from a young age a certain attitude of never having quite "enough". Although he was capable of performing well in school, he often let his grades slip in order to fit in better with his friends and suffered at the hands of peer pressure a number of times throughout childhood, which left something of a lasting impression in regards to the fickle nature of schoolyard alliances and in turn caused him to look towards adulthood with a more critical eye. He moved outside of Philadelphia upon joining the FBI (not out of any particular desire to perform meaningful work, but for the pay and security of a government job), where he worked and resided until...

Events of the film:
Thomas Taylor, a renown thief fresh out of prison, orchestrates the robbery of an off-track betting office where he and his crew successfully make off with $1.9 million in cash. Little do they realize that the OTB is presently being monitored by the FBI for illegal activity and that all of the $1.9 million they made off with is marked. Mark Cornell is one of the FBI Agents monitoring the OTB, who had intended to use his position to undermine the job entirely and launder the money for whatever shady operation is at work that the FBI had been trying to catch. That is to say, that had been his plan, until Taylor and his crew make off with the money instead.

Although Mark, who is parked across the street and attempting to coerce his FBI partner into going along with his scheme even as the robbery is taking place, realizes what's happened almost immediately upon entering the OTB, he's too late to stop Taylor & co as they escape in an ambulance under the guise of paramedics and police officers, having conned every one of their eyewitnesses. His fool-proof plan ruined, Mark begins to search for information on who could have possibly pulled such a remarkable heist. His search through the records yields Taylor, who he immediately recognizes (as Mark had been the one to allow him to leave the OTB disguised as a paramedic), and whose full repertoire is far more extensive than anything he's ever successfully been pinned for. Mark begins to formulate a new plan.

Taylor & crew, upon discovering that their stolen money is marked, are forced to make a deal with a launderer in hopes of still gaining some profit from the heist. They deposit their stolen money into a PO box for safekeeping overnight, only for Mark to reclaim it in their absence. When Taylor retrieves the box the following day to exchange for clean bills, he finds it filled with newspaper clippings in place of the money. Beneath the newspaper clippings is a photo of each member of the crew that had participated in the OTB heist and also of Taylor's daughter, who's been kidnapped. Just then he receives a mysterious phone call asking him to meet in a nearby hotel. Leaving his crew and the money launderer he'd made a deal with in confusion, Taylor races off in the hope of saving his daughter.

At the meeting place, he finds only an empty room and a handheld video camera. Suddenly the television begins to play a video feed of another room in the hotel, showing both his daughter and Mark Cornell. Mark sends the daughter off with his partner before turning to the camera, demonstrating that the cameras are networked between the two hotel rooms. Mark proposes a partnership, wherein he utilizes his position and contacts in the FBI to plan heists for Taylor to pull, adding that they would split the profits 50/50 and that the kidnapping of Taylor's daughter was only "a formality", promising that she would be returned upon completion of the first job. Ultimately Taylor agrees, although--not without suspicion--he attempts to follow Cornell from the hotel by use of a tracking device in a bundle of money he had refused to take (perhaps in an attempt to find his daughter without going through with Cornell's plan). The tracking device winds up in the trash, and Mark confronts Taylor in person about how this behavior isn't very encouraging of the partnership he'd proposed.

Taylor is forced to go through with Cornell's heist after all. Not trusting Cornell to keep his word about returning his daughter to him, however, Taylor seeks out the help of an old friend, unbeknownst to anyone. Though he and his crew do succeed in stealing the six million dollars, only Taylor and his girlfriend, Paige, are left alive by the end of the job, his crew having squabbled amongst themselves and killed one another throughout the course of the night, each hoping to take the money and run. Taylor and Paige take a motorboat out to meet Cornell at the designated place of their exchange, a small yacht where Mark is already waiting with his FBI partner and Taylor's daughter. When Taylor offers the bag containing $6 million, Mark unexpectedly pulls a gun on him and orders him to leave the bag where it is and come aboard, telling him that the deal has changed. He reveals that he's now working with Paige instead, passing his gun to her so that Taylor is trapped on the yacht. With Taylor's daughter locked in the cabin, Mark goes on to reveal that there is an explosive on the yacht and that he intends to kill Taylor (and his daughter, having used her as bait) while he escapes via the motorboat.

By this point Cornell's partner has climbed into the motorboat to check out the bag with $6 million, but upon opening it he discovers Taylor's 'contingency plan' in the form of Taylor's old friend (who, at only 2'8" tall, was hiding in the bag itself). After a brief struggle, both of them topple out of the boat and into the water. Just then Taylor's girlfriend intervenes to declare that she isn't working for Cornell after all, and when he threatens to remotely activate the bomb, she shoots him with the shotgun he'd handed her earlier. It fires only blanks, Mark informing her that he'd never trusted her in the first place and unceremoniously knocking her over the railing and off of the boat. Although the rest of his plan is in shambles, Mark sees that he can still kill Taylor and escape, so he activates the explosive and makes for the motorboat. When Taylor calls to him for a cigarette, seeing as how he is just about to die, Mark sees no problem in tossing him a pack; Taylor lights up and, with an ill-timed quip about how smoking kills (seriously, a bomb is just about to go off, killing him and his daughter, and still he finds time for this) tosses the lit cigarette back into the motorboat, where he'd previously disconnected a gas line when first getting onto the yacht.

The cigarette conveniently lands in precisely the spot needed to ignite the gas line, causing the motorboat to explode and killing Mark Cornell.

Taylor then saves his daughter by sliding a playing card through the lock on the cabin door, narrowly escapes being blown up himself, finds his girlfriend and the bag containing $6 million in the water, gets to shore, decides that he has turned a new leaf and wants to begin his new life with a fresh start, and dumps all of the money into the water before driving off to live 'happily ever after' with his daughter and girlfriend. Your guess is as good as mine in regards to how they could afford to do that when the reason he pulled the OTB heist to begin with was that he had no money and they lived in a horrible trailer, but never mind. Love and murder conquers all, apparently.

Sample Journal Entry:
[Hello again, Barge. Today Mark is lying atop the covers in his bed as he grabs for his communicator, holding it aloft and swinging one of his feet off the end of the mattress somewhere off-screen while he talks. None of this is in and of itself remarkable, what's remarkable is his lit cigarette; someone's finally begged, borrowed, or stolen a lighter.

... It doesn't appear to be doing much for the by-now familiar restlessness that tends to accompany these monologues.]


So I've been thinking. Here's the deal: Say you-- you, whoever you are; you, there. Through some cruel, cruel twist of fate you're betrayed by someone you trust. Trusted. Thought you could trust. Are you with me so far? You trust them, you're stabbed in the back, here we are. So you try to teach them--maybe you don't succeed, but you do try and trying's the important thing, here--a valuable lesson about trust, and trusting people, being trustworthy, but things happen and mistakes are made and anyway at the end of the day, you're dead. They're also dead. Probably. So that's all right. Anyway, here's the thing: Whose fault is it, really? Yours? For trusting them to begin with?

[He takes a long, contemplative drag from his cigarette, blowing the smoke thoughtfully out his nose.]

I think that... that's the whole problem, isn't it? I think it probably is.

Sample RP:
The first thing Mark did after dying was attempt to find a cigarette. (Which is a lie, in fact; the first thing he'd done was sleep, right there on the floor of the hotel room he had no idea how or why he'd returned to-- but he felt like shit and had been running on only the barest snatches of sleep for the past five days straight, so to hell with it all. The floor was as good a place as any. He'd woken an indeterminate amount of time later, patting down his pockets in search of his cigarettes as he numbly moved himself onto the bed, and fallen asleep again before the realization could set in that he'd given them to Taylor).

Turned out he didn't have his lighter, either. Which was patently unfair, he'd had that when he'd died. That thought wouldn't occur until some time later, though; days without sleep tended to do strange things to the mind. It wasn't difficult to convince himself he'd simply fallen asleep there in the hotel room waiting for Taylor and that the rest had been some elaborate, sleep-deprived dream-- never mind that the video camera he'd set on top of the television was missing, replaced with some other recording device (or such was his best guess as to its application). It wasn't important anyway; he'd left cigarettes in the room he'd told Taylor to go to.

They weren't there. Neither was the other room, for that matter. Neither was the rest of the hotel. It had the appearance of some sort of hotel, certainly, but it was a far cry from the one his room had been a part of and it didn't take much in the way of looking around to discover just how true that was.

When he reached the deck, it was just as clear to any onlookers that he was a newcomer to the barge. His hands found the railing as he stared out into that great, dark abyss. The awe-inspiring sight of so many unfamiliar stars was such a raw experience, so devastatingly beautiful... he really needed a cigarette. Mark turned back towards the direction he'd come from, burrowing his hands in his pockets and narrowing his eyes as he reflexively closed his fingers around the space where his lighter should have been. His impression of the first person he encountered would almost assuredly be colored by their answer to his first and most important question: "You got a smoke?"

Sample Pt2:
What are you doing? Such a stupid question. Mark sneered, plucking the cigarette from between his lips and pressing his tongue against his teeth, though he didn't bother to glance over at the intruder. "What's it look like?"

From where he was sitting against the wall just inside the stairwell, arm resting atop his knee as he bounced his leg restlessly, it was a truly baffling question for anyone to so much as attempt an answer to. He was, in fact, watching the stairs. Literally: the stairs themselves.

"There were five stairs at the bottom, before," Mark enlightened them. "Five. Now there are four."

He hadn't slept in some time, that much was obvious. It wasn't difficult to tell, even for someone unfamiliar with his habits, from his glassy-eyed look down to the edge in his voice, but Mark only puffed on his cigarette, oblivious. "Why do you think-- why would he change that? No one would notice that. They're just stairs." A beat passed; a long drag, a slow exhale, a soft chuckle to himself. He still didn't look up. "That's what he thinks. But I'm-- I'll-- I'm going to catch him at it. Then you'll see." He bounced his knee. Took another drag from his cigarette. Tapped his fingers against the floor.

"What, what is it? What!?" his stare turned on the unfortunate interloper. "Alright. Okay, you tell me. How many stairs are there?" There were, of course, five stairs. There had always been five stairs, counting the intermediate landing.

Four, without. But it was probably best for everyone involved to simply leave him to it.

Special Notes: This movie has laughably bad writing. :'(

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itsatragedy: (Default)
Agt. Mark Cornell

April 2013

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