Jonathan "Scott" Larkin, aka Burn
A Phoenix Becoming (Played by Mark Paul Gosselaar)
High Concept, Trouble, Solace
High Concept: Former Child Star
Trouble: You Can’t Escape the Past
Solace: Being a Nobody
Ex-Con Scott did time. In the Vault. He went through the entire process. He’s got a record now, too. Not only does this mean that he can’t do certain things in the “real world,” but also that he knows what it’s like to get there; he’s dealt with the seemier side of life and did so for some time before he was arrested.
Takes One for the Team Scott always places others before himself; maybe it was something instilled in him on the show, always playing the hero, but, deep down, Scott cares. He tends to view almost every form of situation in a “win/loss” way of thinking, and he figures since he regenerates and he’s practically a nobody now, if someone has to take the hit, he’ll do it.
Life Never Stops Ironically, though he may not be aging physically, Scott doesn’t get the luxury of just “stopping everything to think.” His body doesn’t stop healing itself, he doesn’t stop when faced with a problem, and life seems to keep throwing him more and more problems. Even when he doesn’t have problems, others do, and so he makes others’ problems his. But he also doesn’t quit. He may be defeated, he may have given all he thought he had, but somehow he doesn’t stop.
POWER: 3 (3/1 – his “primary mutation” is regeneration that is at least as good as Wolverine’s, if not better – immunity to almost all toxins, all diseases, and even aging ; his “secondary mutation” is the ability to generate flame at any point on or around his body and immunity to flame, heat, cold, and temperatures both high and low. He will most likely develop another “secondary mutation” based on his regeneration powers that will allow him, like Archangel, to use his own blood to heal others)
PROFILE: 4 (4/0 – everyone remembers him – and his powers – from “HeroTeens,” but few actually know him or his actual powers; the 4 would reflect his “civilian” recognition; the 0 would be his “heroic” recognition)
CONTACTS: 2 (He’s met a lot of people in different circles)
CHARISMA: -1 (There’s nothing really there of the real him yet as far as personality, but he is good looking)
EMPATHY: 1 (He may not be personable, but he’s been in so many situations and had so many experiences he is able to understand where most people are coming from)
FINANCES: -2 (He’s only barely making it… with help from others)
SUPPORT: -1 (Everyone knows his character but not him, and given he’s an ex-con and a mutant, he doesn’t really have a good or positive support network)
MORALE: -2 (he’s a mess)
Jonathan Larkin was a normal kid from a normal home in a normal town in normal Oklahoma, until puberty set in when he was thirteen years old, got mad, and suddenly his hands burst into flame. It scared him and everyone around him – he was a mutant that would catch on fire! He was scared, his parents were scared, the town was scared, and no one knew what to do about it except call the police.
Though he might have ended up meeting and being mentored by the “terrorist” group of mutants known as “the X-Men” or even the threat known as “Magneto,” it was Disney that got to Jonathan first.
Two years later the show “HeroTeens” came out, and Jonathan was the “leader” of these kids with superpowers who all attended the same school and were being mentored in not only how to be a hero but also dealing with life’s lessons, and Jonathan became a very public figure – no longer did people fear him because he was a mutant who could catch on fire (the show said his character got his powers by being exposed accidentally to a meteor); now he was a role-model and a hero. Or at least Brad Thompson was a hero.
But the reality of being a child star who gets asked to burst into flame over and over again (to “power up,” and of course Disney didn’t want to spend money on sets of “unstable molecule” clothing, so every time he “powered up,” an act he had to do at least three times a day, by bursting into flame – and destroying the clothes he was wearing – he ended up nude in front of a hundred people or more), to be repeatedly injured on set, first by accident but later on because it didn’t matter (he was found to be able to regenerate even grievous wounds, so why have a stunt double or even take “logical precautions”), to use silly props to show powers that didn’t exist, to gloss over real issues without ever facing them himself, to spend up to 20 hours a day on set doing the same things over and over, to be treated like property by producers, directors, and even parents, to spend what little “free time” he had making appearances… that isn’t real. But from age 15 to 20, that was his life, and from age 20 to 22, he was still making appearances.
And then everything dried up. He and the others were too old to be the “HeroTeens,” everyone everywhere knew his face… and thought they knew him. He couldn’t get another acting job due to typecasting, and even if he did, he couldn’t do what he was paid to do for so long because the character “Brad Thompson” and “Blazing Lion” were trademarked. He didn’t have an education. He didn’t have a marketable skill. He didn’t have any money. And “Andi” (real name Suzanna Lopez) was his only friend. And even then it wasn’t a friendship between Jonathan and Suzy but a friendship between “Brad” and “Andi.”
So the two got an apartment together, did what they could at odd jobs, and then “Andi” got sick. While “Andi” had a superhumanly brilliant intellect and the ability to fire multi-colored lasers from her eyes for a variety of effects (focused of course through her “Hawk Visor” – all the kids had some kind of prop that marketing could sell) – Suzanne Lopez simply had the power to make her eyes glow at varying intensities, the brightest of which often gave her headaches and could affect her vision for hours. And of course she had to make them glow as bright as possible in different colors over and over for the show and appearances, never knowing that repeatedly using her power this way would cause her to develop a brain tumor by her mid-20’s.
The two needed lots of money quickly to pay for Suzanne’s medical treatments. Neither were the kind to turn to crime – the “values” the show had taught them had sunk in on some level – and not wanting to hurt anyone, and with Suzanne not able to work from the increasingly painful headaches that only seemed to last longer and longer, Jonathan did the only thing he had been trained to do in his life – he sold himself.
Donating blood wasn’t an option – even though he could regenerate, he was a mutant, and his blood was not acceptable, and everyone knew who he was, and it wouldn’t have given them enough money no matter how much blood he sold. Taking on a job like firefighting (which would have been right up his alley, both mentally and physically, being immune to flame and able to regenerate) wouldn’t have paid anything. So Jonathan sold the only thing he had left – his ass.
Though straight porn paid maybe $100 per scene to “male models,” “gay-for-pay” porn, and especially “gay-for-pay bareback” porn paid on average $1,000 per “pop” for a “straight that would bottom.” He was immune to disease as a side-effect of being a “super-regenerator” (to get “drunk” he had to drink at least a pint of strychnine) which meant there was no need to worry about things like STDs, HIV, hepatitis – his body would not only heal itself within minutes but would eradicate the disease in his system so he wouldn’t even be a “carrier” – and his regenerative powers also kept him from tiring as quickly. And then there was the bonus that he always had a “virgin ass” – no matter what was done to him, he would heal completely and totally, usually within a minute or two. But even though he would heal, he wasn’t “invulnerable” or “immune to pain” – every time it hurt. Every time, he bled. And that was also “marketable.”
Jonathan wasn’t gay. He’d never had a “girlfriend” except for Suzanne, but that was because he never knew anyone. He’d had random sex with a fan here and there, but never a guy – it wasn’t his thing. But neither was bursting into flame, flying, using the “Lion Scepter” to make fire-construct weapons… it was all a show. And this was nothing different. And it even paid close to what he was earning as a kid. It was enough to pay for the pot that Suzanne needed to ease her headaches, to pay for her treatments (although it was clear that her cancer was most likely terminal), it was enough to pay for a place for them to live that wasn’t infested with rats, it was enough to pay for more than a meal of Ramen once or twice a day.
And then Jonathan got caught with close to $5,000 worth of pot. He was tried, convicted, and went to jail. And having powers meant he was sent to the Vault, sentenced to five years – he was a mutant with a dangerous power, which did nothing to help with a jury who still saw “Brad Thompson,” the guy who could burst into flame, fly, create dangerous weapons…
After five years he was released, having served his time. And Suzanne had succumbed to her cancer, lacking the ability to earn money for pot, treatment, a place to live… food (which of course was all over the news). He tried to make use of the opportunity prison gave to develop himself, though – he got a GED, which was a requirement of his release to parole, and he might have made a lot of friends… except most of the people in the Vault were not “nice criminals.” He had to stop bleaching his hair (the show wanted a blonde, and Jonathan had brown hair, but he had continued to bleach it for recognition and because that was just who he was taught to be), and he grew a moustache and goatee. And he decided he wouldn’t be “Jonathan” any more. Now he was Scott. Although he found out later the “worst part” of being a “super-regenerator” – he wasn’t physically aging normally, being apparently stuck in the same body he’d had since he was 25.
He made it through the half-way experience, six months after his parole having a job at a Lowe’s working in the back. He still gets ribbed a bit for his television days, although the “gay-for-pay” thing hasn’t come up yet (or gotten out yet). He’s broke again, but he doesn’t want to “sell himself” any more, although it could be argued that doing manual labor is doing just that. And he has no idea what to do with himself or who he is.
But a part of him knows that he has to do something, and it’s not just for himself. A part of him is a super-regenerator who can cause his body to generate flame around itself. A part of him is a “television-trained” martial artist. A part of him was taught to be “a hero.” And to act on that means he has to shed his past, find out who he is, and become whoever he is “supposed to be.”
But the first part of being the phoenix rising from the ashes is the former life has to burn.
Trouble: You can’t escape the past.
Scott’s Trouble is in reality the simple need for people to be able to grow from their life experiences. It’s necessary that people learn from their past, and to do that they have to accept that past and the lessons it can teach. But there’s a difference in growing from the past and trying to erase it, which is what Scott is currently trying to do. At the same time there is the other danger of slipping into the past and trying to be someone he no longer is. It’s the simple struggle for identity. All of this is sensationalized, both in the fact he was in fact a star on television that played a role as well as the fact that his most impressive power is his incredible regenerative power, something that he is just starting to notice (and hate) is slowing (if not possibly completely halting) his physical aging process.
The hooks for Scott are actually the other characters and his observations and interactions in their non-hero lives. The other characters are, at their core, teenagers. They are at a point where their lives are becoming theirs to do with as they will. He witnesses them growing, making choices, becoming the adults that they will, and also that there are people in their lives, either seeking to guide them or abandoning that role. This strikes the very important chord with him that he had tons of people in his teen years that claimed to be “guiding him,” but were just as negligent with the result that he never really grew into his own person. He’s had screw ups, but although he seems to have claimed the “responsibility” for them, he’s not processed more than “don’t do x or y will happen.”
The good part in all this is that, even though he is in his later twenties, Scott has options that many people don’t have at their disposal. He has, in theory, the time to grow – that same unaging factor that seems to bind him to forever be recognized as someone else gives him the time to become someone other than a “two-dimensional caricature.”
He’s also had experiences that most people will never have – what it is like to be famous, training in how to use his powers in discrete ways, experiences in poverty and the “seedier side” of society. All of these things provide a wealth of information that can benefit not only how he can view life but what he can share with others to help him become the person that, deep down, he will become.
Solace: Being a Nobody
Scott’s Solace right now is full-on escapism. But unlike people who can become addicted to substances both legal and illegal, or even extreme behaviors, Scott’s powers make him immune to the effects (including the addictive properties) of just about every kind of escapist behavior, be it drugs, alcohol, or even activities like cutting. In Scott’s case he “escapes” by either embracing (and “living in”) the role of someone else (a “character” of some sort) or just being “a guy” who doesn’t really interact on any meaningful level with anyone. He’s found that strychnine is strong enough to slow him down enough to not worry so much, much like someone having a few beers or mixed drinks, but that’s about it. But it’s cheap and legal and doesn’t involve anyone else.
On the other side of trying to “get drunk” is being someone other than who he is. With his boss, Claudine (see Supporting Cast), he acts out, in ways, a “role” he is used to playing, which is much more about “stage direction” than thinking or feeling. The same could be said for his interactions with Flint Marko or even his foray into porn – it’s all about not being himself, not thinking, not choosing his own actions. He can escape thinking, feeling, or even just choosing what he wears or what he does by being a “thing,” and not only does he get to escape his “non-persona,” but everyone seems to like him being someone else, so it creates a vicious cycle.