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 [WIP] Alfred F. Jones :: The Astrophysicist

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PostSubject: [WIP] Alfred F. Jones :: The Astrophysicist    Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:33 pm

Character Name: Alfred F. Jones

Brotherhood Code Name: The Astrophysicist

Age: Nineteen-years-old


Mutant Abilities:

X-Men or Brotherhood: Brotherhood


    (Copy-pasted from the application I submitted here.)

    All right, let’s get the warnings out of the way, shall we? Alfred is loud and, no, not the kind of loud that can be drowned out by covering one’s ears. He has a penchant for constant chatter, sometimes about the most inane things, and his tendency to speak at an indecently high volume can cause many a headache. Yet while his talkative personality can be annoying, one must give him credit for the confidence with which he speaks.

    It is that confidence of his that allows Alfred to bring up his opinions, no matter how controversial they may seem, again and again before his peers. Sure, they may laugh at some of his more outrageous suggestions. However, being laughed at has never really stopped him from doing something he wants or from voicing his thoughts. He knows what he believes in, knows what he wants, and he sticks to that regardless of others’ opinions.

    Of course, given just how long he can go on about his ideas, it has been speculated that Alfred loves to hear himself talk. These speculations are entirely true. What can he say? He’s got a great voice. People should be happy that he decides to bless their eardrums with his dulcet tones. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with being self-confident and self-assured of himself, even if Alfred’s confidence sometimes borders on outright narcissism.

    His conceit, however, can get him in trouble. Since Alfred is not a bit ashamed to say whatever comes to his mind, and firmly believes that his opinions are the best ones out there, he has many ‘open mouth, insert foot’ moments. He can make callous remarks, trivialize other people’s thoughts, experiences, or opinions, and otherwise say things that others find offensive or inappropriate for a situation.

    It is not that Alfred cannot read a situation, but rather that he chooses not to. There are times when his oblivious nature is genuine, and other times when he uses it as a shield between himself and the rest of the world. If he acts like he doesn’t read the tension in the room then he doesn’t have to acknowledge it, especially if it’s a tension he caused. His mistakes, too, can be avoided by playing dumb.

    That isn’t to say that Alfred is a bad person just because he can be insensitive to others. In fact, at his core, he has a good heart. He tries to look out for others, even if that means sticking his nose into business that doesn’t concern him, and is quick to defend family or a close friend from perceived slights. In the end, he has good intentions. What Alfred sometimes fails in is the execution of those intentions.

    Then again, execution of anything, be it his intentions or his brilliant schemes, has always been one of his short comings. Alfred loves to plan grand things, but rarely comes out with anything to show for it. Some say he is a man of talk rather than one of action. In truth, he’s just someone so caught up in chasing his dreams and looking for the next best thing that he sometimes loses track of what’s going on in the now.

    Alfred is a dreamer blessed with a nearly endless amount of energy and an enthusiasm for life. Even when sick or tired, he pushes himself to be on the move doing something. Yet in spite of this, he often gives the impression of being lazy or having a poor work ethic. This is because Alfred likes to procrastinate and, when he finally does buckle down to tackle a task, it usually comes to him with an easiness that makes others envious.

    Perhaps that is part of the reason why he struggles with making friends. Though Alfred is often friendly, his tendency to intrude in others’ affairs and his carefree, lackadaisical attitude (along with quite a few of his quirks), can grate on the nerves of those around him. Yet in spite of this, deep down Alfred does crave the acceptance and approval of those around him, especially the ones he most admires.

    It is there that one finds a crack in Alfred’s otherwise confident personality. He may act the contrary, but behind his loud personality Alfred grapples with trying to connect to people. He is always aware that he being watched and judged, and consequently can suffer moments of self-doubt. Is what he doing really the right thing? Can he ever achieve the respect of his peers? Can he be liked and still be true to himself?

    To be honest, Alfred doesn’t know the answers to such questions. He does his best to lead those around him, take care of some of their affairs, and still look after himself. However, in doing so he can make unpopular decisions he sees as being for the best or ‘greater good’ and create enemies. Even when he doesn’t manage that, Alfred’s tendency to seek the praise of those around him only serves to put them off and alienate himself further.

    It is no surprise, then, that sometimes Alfred is burdened with feelings of loneliness. While those times may be strong, they are few and far between. For the most part, Alfred remains true to his optimistic nature and even when he feels down he knows there will be brighter, happier moments ahead of them. As a result of such a belief, Alfred doesn’t just survive the present. He looks forward, plans for, and builds toward a better future.
    Alfred F. Jones was born to Amelia Jones on July 4th just as the fireworks went off. Growing up, his mother would tease that she had waited until that moment just for him, that her baby was so special that he had to have fireworks to celebrate his birthday. Alfred knew she was teasing him—he’d scrunch up his nose, swat at her arm, and let out a drawn out “Mom” at the joke—but secretly he couldn’t help but cling to the idea. A display of fireworks, just for him…

    Aside from the impeccable timing, Alfred’s birth was what most would consider a fairly typical affair. Then again, a number of things in Alfred’s life were typical. He lived in a picturesque suburban neighborhood where all the parents knew each other by first name, and all the kids played with each other during the summer. His house was the kind built for a family, with a large porch for playing on, a porch swing to sit on and watch the sunset from, and a fenced in backyard perfect for a kid to run around in.

    Alfred loved that house, and left in it his fondest memories. His most cherished ones, the memories that to this day Alfred holds close to his heart, would be those summer nights spent on the porch swing with his mother drinking homemade lemonade. Tired from a hard day’s play, and eager for the comforting warmth of a hug, Alfred would lean against his mother those nights, and together they would sit as the rest of the neighborhood kids raced down the street to their homes.

    Unlike most children in his neighborhood or at his school, Alfred never knew his father as anything more than a picture on the mantle place. His mother told him that he had been a soldier, one called away to war and lost in combat overseas. Alfred had no reason not to believe her; after all, he could see the neatly pressed uniform in the picture and all its adornments. As for any mementos left behind, well, they’d gone overseas, too, only to his parents instead of his fiancé and son.

    It was a romantic tale, really, that his mother wove for him, and growing up Alfred wanted nothing more than to be like the man in the photograph with his mother. He wanted to be a hero. So he played the war games with the neighborhood boys, did the reports on this war or that war or that conflict for school, and when he had a spare hour or two, he’d ride his bicycle to the library and pour over books. In order to be a good hero, Alfred though, he had to know all about the country he was protecting.

    So Alfred studied and played and studied some more, sometimes to the point where his classmates would tease him over what they considered an unusual interest. After all, when most boys were asking for remote control cars or the latest gadget, Alfred asked only for new book on the Revolutionary War. His teachers admired his love of history, but worried over his desire to become a soldier just like his father. Some thought he was being silly.

    “Don’t throw your life away so young,” they would chide. “Stay a kid while you can and get your head out of wars and dying.”

    Alfred’s mother, though she tried, didn’t understand either. “If you want to save lives so badly, become a doctor. Put that brain of yours to figuring out ways to save lives, not take them,” she would murmur to him, hand petting his hair as she tucked him in for bed. What she really wanted to say hung between them like an unspoken curse: “Don’t end up like your father. Don’t go off to fight a war that you won’t come back from, don’t leave me alone like he left us.”

    Only it wasn’t Alfred who did the leaving. At thirteen, his mother passed away—the death certificate said vehicular homicide, but it was murder through and through. He stayed for the funeral, lingered long enough to see the trial through (and wept silent, bitter tears into his pillow when the guilty conviction never came), and found himself shipped overseas only days after his mother’s killer walked free.

    “We’re sending you to family,” they told him, but no one ever listened when he insisted that he didn’t have relatives all the way in Britain. He didn’t have any family left, really, except for that cold, roughly carved stone with his mother’s name on it.

    Alfred landed at the airport late at night, tired and emotionally drained and not a bit happy to be somewhere fries were suddenly chips and chips were suddenly crisps and someone was claiming to be his family. The simple idea made him angry; with his mother’s side of the family dead and buried, and his father’s side—what was left of it anyway—having abandoned them with his father’s passing, he knew he had no one left. Why would someone bother lying just to get him?

    As soon as he saw the bent cardboard with his name hastily scrawled in pretentious, ridiculous cursive, he marched over and opened his mouth to demand answers. The man holding the sign, a lanky fellow about his height with pea green slacks and a sweater vest that would get most people beat up, turned just as he neared, and one look that face made every coherent thought flee Alfred’s mind. Like every other instance when thinking didn’t seem to help, Alfred went right on speaking.

    “Were you born with those eyebrows or did you grow bored one day and decide to adopt a pair of caterpillars?”

    Needless to say, his time with his new “family” did not start off well. The man—Alan, his half-brother (according to him, but Alfred knew they looked nothing alike)—snapped those thick brows together in an angry glare and tersely ordered him to come along so they could head home. Alfred grinned, the gesture halfhearted, and went along, but as soon as the taxi dropped them off in front of the dilapidated house that looked like something straight from a horror movie, he wished he hadn’t stepped off the plane at all.

    There, standing on the porch, was someone he’d only seen in worn photographs.

    “I thought you were dead,” he blurted, and his half-brother had the decency to look embarrassed for the both of them.

    At fourteen and one quarter, Alfred learned that not all of his mother’s bedtime stories were true—and not all soldiers were heroes.

    His father didn’t look anything like the pictures.

    What was once a strong jaw line was now hidden by sagging, sallow skin, and the lean, proud man who once stood by his mother’s side now stood with hunched shoulders in the doorway of a house just as broken down as he was. If there had ever been any army in him to begin with, it wasn’t there now; his swollen belly hung over the front of his pants—slacks again, wrinkled and stained with heaven only knew what—and his fingers gripped the neck of a bottle whose contents Alfred could smell several feet away.

    “What happened to you…?” he wanted to ask. Instead, he picked up the shattered pieces of an image he’d carried with him for years, and forced a grin. He wound up with five brothers that day; four older (and oh, wasn’t he surprised to find out that stuck up man with the caterpillar brows and the attitude of an old man was only a few years older than he was) and one younger.

    For a few years, Alfred forgot his dream, left it behind in America while the photo of a man he once admired and a woman he thought the world of sat forgotten in his empty suitcase. He went to school, applied himself enough to get good grades, and toyed with the idea of going onto the university level to become a doctor. It wasn’t something he particularly wanted but, coming home to find his father as drunk as he’d been when he stumbled in that morning, he wasn’t sure what he wanted anymore.

    Then, one day, things changed.

    Alfred turned seventeen one week before he saw the ad. His father let out a yell and threw his bottle of whisky at the television when the campaign encouraging men to sign up and fight for their country came on, but through the dripping liquid poison Alfred watched the man dressed in the standard military uniform and remembered. Summers running around the neighborhood in his favorite camouflage shirt, chasing the enemy through the local woods with armed with water guns, coming home dirty and tired to his mother waiting with a glass of cold lemonade…

    Alfred’s heart ached even as it reclaimed his dream.

    He wanted that, wanted to be like the man on the television, like the man he thought his father had been. Alfred wanted to stand tall and proud in his uniform, decorated in medals, knowing that he had saved people. He wanted to go out there and make a difference—not for Britain, because despite the past years he’d spent on her shores, his heart never quite fell in love with the place. No, Alfred wanted to go out there for those like them, for boys who looked at the television screen and realized that they wanted to do that.

    Alfred quietly left the living room in the midst of another drunken rant, and went to his room to find a picture he hadn’t looked at since arriving.

    I’m going to do it, Mom, he thought, his fingers tracing the outline of honey blonde curls that he couldn’t quite remember anymore. I’m going to become a soldier. In the picture, his mother’s bright smile looked tinged with sadness, and Alfred only hoped she would understand. For the first time in years, Alfred carefully slipped that aging picture of his parents beneath his pillow to watch over him as he slept, and went outside with his homework unfinished.

    He had a lot of work to do.

    For six months, Alfred worked hard toward his dream. School, which had only held his interest in a way that drying paint entertained a bored man, quickly lost priority. He did his homework when he remembered, and attended all of his classes, but if the weather wasn’t dangerous he would go to the park and work out for hours. Running laps, pushups, sit-ups—anything he could think of he did in order to get his body into shape so he could do well in the army. His grades began to slip even as his fitness began to rise, but Alfred didn’t care.

    Only, as he worked out in that park, trained and sculpted his body in order to be fit enough to serve the army, something unexpected happened to Alfred one day.
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[WIP] Alfred F. Jones :: The Astrophysicist
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