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Mitchell Settles; First SOTF character
Topic Started: Jul 18 2015, 02:27 PM (510 Views)
Cannon Fodder
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Name: Mitchell B. Settles
Gender: Male
Age: 19
Grade: 11th
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Mountain biking, skateboarding, ATV four wheeling, dirt bike racing, free style motocross, wood working, computer aided drafting (CAD), robotics.

Appearance: Mitch is solid at 5’-10” tall and 175 pounds. He appears muscular and strong, with well-toned, powerful arms and legs. He is ruggedly good looking, with eyes that are deeply set, leaving them in shadow much of the time. They are a washed-out light blue color, accented with thick brown eyebrows, a heavy brow, and long, thick eye lashes. He has broken his nose on two different occasions and it is somewhat flattened, with a knobby bridge, and a distinct left hand bend. He has long, straight, sun-bleached brown hair that he usually pulls back in a ponytail. He’s Caucasian, but has a deep tan, is very agile, and well-built.

Mitch will almost always be seen wearing baggy and torn cargo shorts. The cargo shorts are handy for carrying all the paraphernalia he prefers to have with him, including a Leatherman multi-tool and other small implements for repairing the various gear he uses in his many activities. The ratty appearance of his shorts is due, in part, to his active lifestyle and many crashes involving close, abrasive contact with asphalt and concrete. He also prefers loose fitting, sleeveless muscle shirts, which help keep him cool in the hot, arid summer climate of Kingman, Arizona. In deference to needing to have his skateboard with him at all times, he carries an oversize backpack, in which he also keeps a jacket for cooler winter weather. Other things will also find their way into the backpack, notably snacks, matches, yet more tools, and spare parts for his equipment. He wears sandals exclusively, unless he is participating in one or the other of his extreme activities. Consequently, he may have more than one pair of shoes or boots in the backpack, as well. On the day of the abduction, Mitch was wearing a new pair of tan cargo shorts with the usual gear in the pockets, a black cotton tank top, and an almost new pair of Keens, a sandal like shoe with thick soles, heavy leather straps, and enclosed toes.

Biography: Mitchell Branden Settles was born September 19th, 1995 in Lakewood, Colorado. His parents were Margaret, a bookkeeper, and Eugene, an accountant. They ran a small accounting firm, keeping the books and filing tax forms for their clients. Mitch has an older brother named Lawrence, nicknamed Butch, who is attending the University of Arizona, and a younger sister named Lindsey, who is in Middle School. Mitch and Butch are not close because of their age difference (Butch is four years older), and their vastly different interests: Butch is very intellectual and prefers sedentary activities to physical ones. However, they do love and respect each other and have become closer since their parents’ separation. Mitch adores his little sister who is just two years his junior; they used to play together endlessly when they were younger. Lately Lindsey has become less interested spending time with Mitch because of her commitments to dance and music.

Because of his small stature when he was a child, and perhaps his immaturity, Mitch’s parents didn’t start him in school until he was almost 6 years of age, which made him older than the majority of his classmates when he did start. At first, this embarrassed him, but as he got older, he found the age difference was to his advantage. Mitch found he garnered lots of attention on the playground with his dare-devil antics, and came to crave that attention. He would climb to the top of the monkey bars and then come back down without using his hands. He and his fellow dare-devils would jump out of swings when they reached their highest arc, seeing who could go farther. He would ride his bicycle hard and fast, sliding and skidding around the playground, pulling wheelies and jumping the bike over small obstacles. As he got older, the stunts grew bolder; he had found his passion for extreme sports.

He was 8 years old when he crashed his bicycle into a tree while standing on the seat, resulting in a broken wrist, black eye, and some non-life-threatening abrasions. The upshot was, he ended up with a burning desire to do it again, but better. He found boys of a like mind and they had competitions to see who was bolder and crazier. Over the years, he continued in this vein, resulting in more injuries, mostly when first learning a new sport, skill, or trick. His parents, concerned for his wellbeing, encouraged him in his activities only if he sought out appropriate training and always used any available safety equipment; they understood his unrelenting passion, and this was the only way they could hope to keep him even remotely safe.

The foothills west of Lakewood possessed many mountain biking trails and Mitch thrived racing around them with his friends, pursuing his love of speed on wheels. The adrenaline rush of speeding recklessly downhill, avoiding trees, rocks, and cliff edges kept him happy, if not always healthy. The scrapes, bruises, contusions, and near death experiences were part and parcel of his need for speed. Mixed in with this were his trips to the local skateboard arena, where he excelled at the many tricks involved in mastering the sport. All the while, his father doggedly transported him here and there, admonishing him to be more careful and tending to his many injuries when they inevitably happened.

Mitchell’s friends introduced him to motorsports when he was just 14 years old, and he took to them like a Cheetah pursues an antelope. He first tried 4-wheeling on a small ATV around a dirt track right in Lakewood, and found the rush of speed and thrill of constant danger exceeded anything he had experienced before. He immediately pestered his parents to procure a used four-wheeler for him, doing endless chores around the house, for friends, and for neighbors to get money to chip in for the purchase. Upon acquiring his Quad, he immediately became a force on the racing circuit, placing very high or winning most of the junior race events he entered. His world became complete, he thought, when he got his first dirt bike, a Yamaha 125 cc he bought from a friend with some of his racing earnings. The tracks and races for dirt bikes were similar to the Quad race tracks, but the similarity to his first love, mountain biking, was what elevated dirt bike racing to a level nearing nirvana for him. The urgency he felt to pass, or avoid being passed by another rider was unequaled in his previous experiences. His skill as a rider, once again, placed him in the upper echelon of racers.

He was now fully engaged in the extreme sports activities that fulfilled his need for danger. He went from mountain trails to the skateboard park, then to dirt bike and Quad racing events almost daily, confining the race events to the weekends. One more thing awaited him, however, an event that would eventually change his perception of his world and himself; freestyle motocross. This sport is unfathomable to any but the staunchest adherents. It’s a combination of speed and skill, with a large portion of insanity. Mitch learned to race a bike up a ramp made of dirt, wood, or concrete and fly into the air, performing wild tricks; front and back flips; twisting the bike side to side in the air; releasing his body from the bike and holding on with just his hands on some part of the bike, and even losing contact with it altogether, flying along above the bike with no part of his body touching it until just before touchdown on the landing ramp. Of all the extreme sports Mitchell pursued, this was the one he loved and feared the most. He loved the thrill of completing a trick successfully, and he feared the violent crashes that eventually happened to all the riders, no matter how skilled. However, his extreme but narrow world changed dramatically when he moved two months after his 16th birthday with his mom and sister to Kingman, Arizona when his parents divorced.

Mitch was unaware of any troubles his parents were experiencing and had never seen more than minor disagreements between them; they had always identified their relationship as one of being best friends. There was certainly nothing to indicate any problem serious enough to justify tearing the family apart, ripping Mitch and Lindsey away from their home, school, and friends. Initially Mitch’s mom Margaret resisted telling her two youngest children the reason for the rift between her and Gene, telling only Butch, her oldest. However, Margaret came to recognize the likelihood of Mitch and Lindsey coming to blame themselves for the chasm that had developed between her and her husband and she decided after their move to tell them the truth: Gene was gay. He had only come out after Margaret had found him and his best friend Jerry in flagrante delicto. Caught in the act, Gene tried desperately to calm Margaret, swearing he would do anything to keep the family together, but his wife could never accept the man Gene had become in her eyes. Although no longer a practicing Catholic, and never having foisted her religious upbringing on any of her children, the echoes of her rigid, unforgiving Catholic background resonated powerfully and dangerously. This blinded her from seeing any way to live with a man who would turn his back on his family in such a way; she could only see what he had done as a repellent, impulsive choice, rather than an inevitable and essential need. The unyielding stance his mother took towards gays in general and his dad in particular caused even more problems for the remaining members of the family, generating additional fissures between Margaret and her children. Mitch, already reeling from the divorce, the sudden move, and the stress of starting in a new school, withdrew from everything except those things he deemed were within his grasp to control; extreme sports.

In late fall of 2011, Mitch, now 16 years old and a sophomore, entered Cochise High School. It was almost three months after the term had started and he was feeling bewildered and behind, with no interest in any of his schoolwork or classes. Although an intelligent boy, Mitch was never an exemplary student; his proclivity for physical sports and intense activities made studious school work seem irrelevant. Still, he had been able to advance each year into the next grade with middling or better scores, due mostly to his innate intelligence rather than his diligence. His lack of interest in his new school and his situation at home only exacerbated his need to partake in extreme sports, which was alive and well in Kingman within an enthusiastic group of avid adherents. The surrounding terrain was similar to the Colorado foothills, although the arid and temperate weather made for different riding conditions. These pursuits consumed him as never before, and he became more and more reckless in his quest for the adrenaline rush that would erase his emotional pain. He was unable to admit how devastated he was at his parents’ divorce and the virtual loss of his Dad, who had been his staunchest supporter and had always come to the races and events. His Dad’s presence at competitions had helped Mitch focus and rein in his more aggressive behaviors, and his absence from these competitions and from his life left an enormous emotional hole. A serious consequence came when, on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012, Mitch attempted a double backflip on his Honda 250 dirt bike at a regional Freestyle Motocross competition, resulting in a badly fractured left leg and arm, and a lengthy stay at Kingman General Hospital.

Despondent and fearful of ever returning to the sports he loved, Mitchell languished, refusing to make any effort to keep up with the school work his teachers sent to the hospital. Two months later Mitch was able to go home, but missing so much of the school year, combined with his poor grades prior to the accident, resulted in his having to repeat 10th grade in the fall of 2012. His mother was at first mortified, seeing Mitch's failure as her own. She blamed herself for allowing him to participate in the dangerous sports he so loved. As he healed, she came to realize she could no more keep him from pursuing these sports than she could prevent him from breathing; both were necessary for Mitchell to be the man he would become. Margaret had no choice but to support Mitch not only in his recovery, but in his endeavors after his recovery, as well. She knew she had to do everything in her power to not push him farther away, and to heal the rift caused when she and Gene divorced.

Mitch was able to eventually complete his sophomore year, but had little enthusiasm for the work. An astute guidance counselor realized Mitch would never be a classic academic, but his high scores in math and his proclivity for physical activity made him a perfect candidate for Career and Technical Education. So in his junior year of high school, Mitch discovered the skill residing within his hands and began to pursue a new passion, furniture design and woodworking. The instructor in the carpentry program recognized the talent and zest Mitch possessed and, after a few weeks of safety and skill demonstrations on the various tools and machines, turned Mitch loose in the shop. He loved the atmosphere of the shop, the smell of the wood dust, and the precision he was able to achieve with the machines. The new found love of woodworking supplanted his need for speed and danger. The feel of well-machined wood, the polish of the finishes he applied, and the beauty of his craftsmanship became his raison d’etre. Just as he had thrown himself into perfecting tricks on bike and board, he now pursued his work with the same gusto and aplomb; his self-confidence soared and he forgot, for long stretches of time, his emotional set-backs.

In addition to furniture building, Mitch learned Computer Aided Design – CAD. Utilizing his mathematically inclined mind, he developed his design capabilities, coming up with comprehensive plans that allowed him to avoid many mistakes fledgling builders make in the shop. Because of his precision in drafting the plans, he was able to know going in just how to machine each component of a project to fit with and complement the other intricate parts. The work he produced bordered on sculpture, such were the free-flowing designs of the wood pieces, and his finished work won accolades and prizes at local and regional craft fairs. By his senior year, Mitchell was, once again, a powerhouse in his field, his work recognized in shows, competitions, and trade journals. In addition, his CAD designing skills lead Mitchell to join the school Robotics Team as a designer, applying his drafting skills to the intricacies of robot design for the FIRST Robotics competitions. The lead designer directed Mitch to work on various components of the robot and he became a prime contributor in the drafting work necessary to the fabrication of the many parts that make up the robot. Mitch enjoyed the change of pace and the transition into plastic, metal, electrical, and motorized parts. He even began thinking about incorporating these mechanisms into his woodworking projects, hybridizing them into a whole new genre.

Mitchell had found his calling. The adrenaline rush of extreme sports was eclipsed by the enormous satisfaction and gratification of seeing his creativity realized in beautifully rendered and crafted designs in a variety of materials. While this did not end his participation in extreme sports, it diminished the degree to which he pursued them, and his involvement became more of a hobby than a passion. The hours he had spent working on new skills and difficult tricks he now spent at the computer designing new projects or in the shop creating his designs, seemingly effortlessly. Meanwhile, the somewhat pedantic pace of his life also allowed him to garner more appreciation for the scholarly pursuits of school and he began to excel in the classroom, as well. The problem-solving and thinking skills necessary to prevent mistakes in the shop translated well to his schoolwork, and he began to work nearly as hard at his studies as he did in the shop. Mitchell Settles was finally becoming whole.

Advantages: Mitch is nearing 20 years of age, almost two years older than his peers. His maturity will help him remain calmer in the stressful situations they find themselves in. Mitch is undoubtedly brave, almost fearless when it comes to putting his body on the line to achieve a specific goal. This will aid him in any confrontations he may have; confrontation is just another form of competition, and he has had vast experiences competing with others. He has a very high tolerance for pain, allowing him to think clearly even if injured. Mitch is skilled at problem solving and anticipating the consequences of the situations he may find himself in. He comprehends machines, both simple and complex, which could help if he comes across any derelicts on the island.
Disadvantages: Mitchell may respond to the stress he now faces by regressing into the reckless boy he once was. This could lead to confronting dangerous situations head on rather than laying back and observing or even retreating. Even if he maintains his levelheadedness, he may underestimate others’ fear and the cornered animal response this fear may elicit. The cumulative effect of his injuries, particularly his shattered arm and leg, could lead to debilitating pain, slowing him down or, worse, incapacitating him. Mitch could still suffer some emotionally instability due to the pressures and abrupt changes he has gone through in the not so distant past. This could cause him to react to dangerous situations on an emotional level rather than thoughtfully and clear headed.
Edited by Brubaker, Aug 4 2015, 12:40 PM.
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Cannon Fodder
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Thanks! All done.
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Cannon Fodder
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Thank you for your suggestions. I think the changes and additions flesh out Mitchell more fully. I look forward to any other ideas you may have.
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