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Player name: Muzy
Characters played: Abby, Alasdair, Avery, Briony, Elisha, Jordan, Katriane, Zoe
Character Name: Benjamin Mackinnon
Age: 37
Suit/Rank: Five of Diamonds
History: Ben was Aberdeen born and raised, the only child of Anthony Mackinnon, a doctor, and Síne Barrie Mackinnon, a museum curator at a local historical society. Ben never could quite manage to relate to Dr. Mackinnon, who was a stern, distant sort of man, and he was closest instead to his mother, who was passionate about Scottish history and Gaelic music, and she filled Ben's head with stories of Scottish heroes and royals, made sure he could speak both Scots and Scottish Gaelic, and taught him songs and how to dance. Her husband wasn't such a fan, and he instead pushed Ben to concentrate on math and science and get into medical school.

Síne was the one who won that battle, and after acceptably average performances in school, Ben went on to the University of Aberdeen, where he read Scottish history and graduated with honors. There's not much you can do with history except more history, though, so after his graduation he entered the police academy and upon finishing that was assigned to the maritime and port squad, where he stayed as he worked himself up the ranks. It was when he was here that he "met" and arrested an IRA gun-runner trying to move weapons through Scotland in what was a pretty ordinary case for him. He shouldn't even remember it

When he was at detective sergeant, in his late 20s, Ben first met and fell for Kirstin Fraser, a secondary history and geography teacher at an Aberdeen high school who he met when he was hauling her delinquent younger brother back from causing trouble at the harbor. The boys on the squad teased him about it for months, but Ben contended that bringing home rebellious teenagers was, hands down, the best way to meet girls, and he kept saying that until four years later, when after dating and even formally getting engaged, Kirstin broke it off. It wasn't a surprise by that point. They'd been arguing over his job for a year. He loved what he did, the danger and intrigue of chasing down smugglers and gun-runners and terrorists, but it terrified Kirstin, and she wanted him to trade it in for a nice, safe desk job. He wouldn't.

Ironically, it was only another two years before he did just that, quitting the force entirely and settling into a quiet-seeming life in Aberdeen. The catalyst was easy to see; Jamie, his longtime partner, died in a siege gone wrong, and Ben had had enough of law and order. He’d always been a rebel, anyway, rising on the strengths of his brains rather than how well he followed the rules, so it wasn’t so surprising that he started working with smugglers in an effort to pin down just which cops had turned on them and gotten Jamie killed. But working with criminals is a slippery slope; it wasn't that many months before Ben found what he'd been looking for and avenged his partner's death - but he didn't step out of the world again. He'd gotten in deep, and he liked the danger of it.

He was an effective smuggler, for several reasons. He had the contacts, of course, informants from his years as a detective, and he knew intimately how Interpol and the police worked to fight against the smugglers. For the most part he knew who to deal with and who to avoid.

For the most part. Ben had a good five years as a smuggler out of Aberdeen, slipping away from the authorities and rivals alike, until he ran amok of a Germany-based terrorist group. His operation was decimated, his associates scattered or dead, and Ben Mackinnon himself was on the run. He couldn’t go to the authorities - he’d been hiding his second career from his friends for years - and he couldn’t risk his family, so he got into his car and drove, until eventually he drove up to a castle far too perfect and glossy to be one of Scotland’s.

It could only be Diamond Castle.

He entered the Suit as a Two, and slipped seamlessly in as one of the Castle handymen, sitting quietly at Two for six months before he got permission to challenge for Three from Queen Rachel in boxing. The match was a close-fought one, and Ben got countered in five card draw, which he bluffed his way through, and he spent the next year at Three. It was still a quiet place to hide, after all, and he was wary of making himself too visible in the Castle. But then a few things happened. First, he ran into someone familiar, who he’d known years ago first as a cop and then as a smuggler - a Nine of Spades. Then he began dating a Five of Diamonds, and in a way pulling Sophie out of her shell began forcing Ben out of his.

The relationship sputtered out within a few months, but it affected both of them. Sophie challenged to Six, and then Eight through her ex-tutor and her younger sister, and Ben challenged to Five over the summer, in speed chess with a sudoku counter.

Personality: Ben is a charmer. Flirtatious and gregarious most of the time, he’s good at teasing information out of people - or himself out of situations. He has a love of the music of his homeland, and plays the piano well, though not classically. Despite the somewhat flirtatious nature, though, Ben is not one to speak out of turn. Secrets remain secrets, thoughts are hidden behind a firm poker face, and very few people really know him well. He doesn’t speak of his past as a smuggler or his past as a detective, though he uses both to serve the Diamonds.

At the core, Ben is really a reserved, analytical man, looking at the angles and how to exploit them. The charm is genuine, but it’s also a mask always worn, and he’s at his most real with his best friend Victor - the Nine of Spades, now a Ten, from his past. Ben’s both silent and watchful and the type of man to burst out into a Scottish ballad in a pub. He loves golf above all other sports, and football too. He plays rugby with Wales - that’s Cadogan Thomas for the uninitiated - and chess or poker with anyone who’ll dare. He boxes and runs to keep in shape, and you can see him jogging across the Deck most mornings.

He chafes at orders, preferring a more collaborative relationship with his superiors, though he's careful to hide that chafing. He dislikes following the rules as well, and is the type of person best left with a vague sort of project to accomplish and the freedom to do it as he pleases. If he doesn't work with someone like this, well, he's smart enough to do the work anyway, but there;s likely to be friction in the relationship, deeply hidden behind his poker face.

Appearance: Standing at 6’3, Ben has a lean, rangy build and a mop of brown hair that’s starting to silver in parts. He prefers the clean-shaven look, having spent a number of years as a smuggler and on the run hiding his features with a beard. He’s a fairly casual dresser, preferring jeans, boots, and flannel shirts, though he can clean up when necessary, with a preference for subtle patterns and warm tones.

Character PB: Noah Wyle
Writing sample: Here.
Why this Suit? Ben’s not a typical Diamond, but he’s a self-contained man who lets few see what’s underneath. His surface sheen in different from the usual, but it’s kept to a high polish, and in that way, the Diamonds suit him to a tee.
How did you hear about us? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind...

Challenge History:

2009 (Age 34): Benjamin Mackinnon appears in front of Diamond Castle and becomes a Two of the Suit.

2010 (Age 35): Ben challenges Eduard Lang to a boxing match in three rounds for the rank of Three; it's a close match, but Ben emerges the victor. Eduard counters in five-card draw, thinking the fairly new Diamond will be easy to beat, and is surprised to find himself bluffed down to Two.

2012 (Age 37): Ben challenges Chandra Forrest to speed chess for Five and wins handily after months of practice with Sophie Berthier. Chandra counters in sudoku, which Ben also wins.

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Ben Mackinnon | ♦ Five of Diamonds ♦

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