For the Director Only!
"Deep within us—-no matter who we are-—there lives a feeling of wanting to be lovable, of wanting to be the kind of person that others like to be with.
And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving."
-The World According To Mister Rogers
There is just something about him. He's approachable, at the very least, sometimes he's magnetic. Trust in him comes fast, so opening up is easy. He can draw you in and make you feel like the only person in the room. When you are done, you tend to leave better than you came.
He tends to give thoughtful advice but there is no promise of it being any good. But he did think about it and that has to count.
Your secrets are safe with him. Your hopes and dreams and worries and cares too. Your burdens are his burdens because no one should struggle alone.
Trust matters and he will do his best not to break it. He gives it easily but understands that isn't the case with everyone. He handles with care.
There's always that one person that people just innately trust and can talk to about pretty much anything, and you're that person. You help them with their problems and share the weight of their burdens.
Cinder was born in the wastes to a small, relatively peaceful, nomadic tribe. They were artisans and traders that ran a loose circuit around the major outposts. And eventually, they were attacked by raiders and Cinder and his two brothers managed to be the sole survivors.
The trio were Pure, healthy kids. Early on, there was some dispute over Cinder's caste. He had traits that would make a good Monitor and was thus sent with the Tattlers. He didn't last a fortnight. He wanted to make friends. He talked too much. He cried for his brother, caste into the Fortunate. He didn't actually tattle. Father Fortunate made an argument for having another universal donor and welcomed the boy with open arms. He became a Meanie.
Cinder was a sweet, nice kid but felt like a stranger. Kids are not always kind. He was bullied, teases and beat up from time to time. This made growing up more difficult. He needed protection and often got it from his brother or others. Eventually, he gained a reputation as a weak and nervous type and he'd never completely shake it.
Later, he began as a Breeder, siring twice before being moved to Companion. This was where he shined and gained a certain popularity as someone nice to talk to in addition to being an attractive and fit young man. He can be whoever he needs to be. Therapist? Lover? A quick lay? It's fine with him. He is a chameleon, picking up on what one needs and delivering that, exactly.
Chance Reed (Isle of Dread)
Helping people is what you do. Your open and helpful nature makes people like and trust you rather easily, and that makes helping them easier. You weren't always deaf, it set in over a few years in adolescence. As a result, you can lip-read and are able to speak (with impairment), and still have very minor hearing, mostly just percussive sounds. Your interest in helping others led you to getting trained as an EMT. You enjoy what you do.
This is something of a working vacation for you. You're being paid well to work 12-hour shifts and be on-call the rest of the time, which isn't as bad as it could be given the locale and festivities.
Henry Erickson (Alien Mutation)
You studied at prestigious schools on Earth, and now have your first longterm assignment after being hired by Penumbra - the Noc. You did various employee evaluations at different sites, but never stayed anywhere for long before coming here nearly a year ago. All deep space jobs require monthly psychiatric evaluations, and the Noc is no different. Deep space and year long shifts can break anyone down, so Penumbra has people like you to help guard against it. You also are contracted separately by the Colonial Marshals to do their evaluations. As your first year on station nears an end, you've found it both challenging and rewarding. You've held up well, but look forward to the three month leave coming up soon.
Jody DeWitt (Prosperity's Price)
Joseph Gideon DeWitt, or Jody, as everyone calls him, grew up and became a lawman. I mean, he's a DeWitt. That's in his blood. When his brother left and became a Pinkerton, Jody decided to do just the same. He left at 17 and didn't look back.
He was still a rookie agent when a strike turned into a riot and left him with a permanent limp. He spent that time at a desk reading and learning and became an excellent detective as a result. He could obtain obscure information, put all the pieces together and gain a dramatic confession as easy as breathing. He even earned a nickname: Father Joe, The Confessor. He was lucky enough to bag himself a wife too.
So why is he back in Prosperity?
The wife, killed in childbirth. The son, too weak to live. He buried his family in February and took the next train back to Nevada. He didn't look back then either. He easily fell into a new job as deputy. Not that he does a great deal more than nap in the station's cells but still, he's there when you need him. With the Reaping approaching, his first since he left home, he considers this part of the preparation. Conserving energy.
Derek Bloom (Slasher)
It's okay, you can tell him things. Everybody does. He was built to be a firm shoulder to cry on, and he won't tell anyone. Honest. Unless it's kinky and you're famous and the tabloid pays well. A guy has to eat!
He's going to be big one day, just ask him. He'll tell you. Not modeling or acting, those days are probably behind him. No, he's settled in on the other side of the camera, filming the world all around him and telling its stories. True stories. He's great at interviews, has an instinct for stories, and an eye for framing it all. Where's he from? What was his childhood like? Silly you! He's here to tell your story, not his. Just sit down, relax, and look directly at the camera while you tell him all about it.
Coming To America
My brother will tell you all about how long we've been here. It's the Indians, then us. All the way back to the first millennium. For a while, things were tough and we were almost lost but our people eventually came. Came from the cold Northern lands with a fire in their heart for the old gods. Among those gods are Odin's twins of light and dark. Baldr the beautiful and pure and then...me. Hodr. The dimwitted blind god tricked by Loki into poisoning his brother.
I am not dimwitted.
Christianity came along and suddenly our believers were heathens. They were stripped of the traditions that fit theirs. Solstice. Yule. The rest is meant to be thrown away and replaced with Jesus and boy, are we feeling it now. Our faithful are dwindling. Nothing works as it should anymore. I know the sun is setting.
In the meantime, we get the worship where we can. The carnival opened the door for me to gain a small, close following of believers. Believers I love. Believers who need me. They keep me going and in return, I won't let them down.
The Blind Marksman
We've been with the Carnival since near its beginning, "Logan" and I, going by Holden, just happened to cross paths with them in some town up north. I think Baldr dreamt about it and they took him on as a Roustabout. They didn't know what to do with me but I planned ahead. I don't miss, you see. Point me in the right direction and I'll hit anything. Or in my case, I miss.
The Blind Marksman has been a sideshow staple since then. I didn't use my own face, at first. After I couldn't shift at a new stop, I went out there as myself. It turned out to be a better draw. And I was moved to the sideshow. I'm not bothered though. I love the sideshow and I love its freaks. It's simply strange how much a difference appearance makes. For good or ill.
Today, I have my own wagon. Big upgrade from the tent. I have two lovely target girls, one exotic assistant and more blades and bows than I know what to do with. I have The Children, my closest and strongest believers. I love and I am loved in return. I may complain but I wouldn't trade these folks for the world.
Dana Teller (Project Icarus)
Grandma always said: Stay Out Of Space.
Dana Wynn Teller grew up on a space station, the son of a bright chemist and his adventurous mining engineering wife. His father's side has worked for Penumbra for generations, stretching back to Henry Erickson, former psychologist for the ill-fated Tenotchitlan Station. His surviving daughter grew up and became a strong matriarch of her old money family.
Teller, as he prefers to be called, grew up with a wild streak that was only exacerbated by meeting Braden Bloom on his first day of high school. The pair took part in petty crime and unchecked drug use. Teller's family history gave him more legal leeway than he deserved and that extended to Braden.
Both were bright young men and straightened up long enough to seek out high education. Teller was interested in Psychology and that would be the degree he would earn. In the meantime, he found himself in a group marriage and watching his best friend plummet towards rock bottom.
As Braden found religion and left to pursue further studies, Teller doubled down on his relationships, education and later, a cushy job at Penumbra. First, as an assistant staff psychologist but he began to show a talent for investigative work and he was moved into Internal Affairs and partnered with Alexander Brooks.
His last assignment went poorly. Too much drug use, not enough sleep, evidence issues, you name it. Thanks to Brooks' assisting in covering Teller's mess, he kept his job but they are keeping a close eye, even sending along a "sober companion" to keep Teller in line.
Now, he and his wife, Mira are heading to the same place for once. Teller and Brooks have a new investigation and Teller is out to regain trust. He doesn't know he's on a crash course with his absent husband, his sister-in-law, and a variety of personalities.
Cash Freeland (Bonds of Blood)
Growing up with Cash Freeland was all about watching a smart, friendly, if somewhat hyper kid turn around in an instance and meltdown from seemingly tiny things. A moment later, he could pulls it together and is back to something close to normal. He grew into being a bundle of nerves, quirks and random anxieties. He won't meet your eyes when you talk to him. He's attached to leather jackets like Linus to a blanket. And he's constantly fidgeting. People got used to it and by high school, he was just another "weird kid."
After his twin sister, Ashley, Cash's next greatest love was music. A neighbor lady named Vivian gave piano lessons out of her living room. Of course, Stacey in her never-ending climb to the top of the social ladder, placed both of her children. Only Cash really took to it and remains under Vivian's tutelage to this day. Without a family of her own, she took to the odd little red headed boy and raised him up to play piano, guitar and then sing as he showed interest.
The family business in roofing and flooring shined a light on another talent of Cash's. He's a savant when it comes to the mechanical. He was a fast learner and sponged up everything.
As a rising freshman, he worked full time with his father. Every penny was saved until he met his goal the following summer. His parents matched it and off they went to Radio Shack. Cash was going to broadcast his own radio show and hit the airwaves just at the start of sophomore year. His equipment just barely covered town but he still put his all on it. Cash became a different person on the air. Funny, energetic and informed about music. He began with classics and moved to top 40 and finally taking requests.
How he ended up being a radio relationship guru is murky but at some point he began to dedicates Friday nights to These Friday Feelings a call in show for those lovelorn teens to poor out their hearts and dedicate songs to the ones they hold dear. Special segments includes: "It's Friday, Am I In Love?", Blind Items with Ash, and the Open Forum. Cash's advice is actually really solid and he had no problem talking to one on one to anyone while the music played.
By last Spring, Cash seemed to be living his best life. He was dating Spear Thistle and while he loved the perky goth, he didn't love the way things were escalating. It scared him. His involvement with extracurriculars was well on its way to locking down a good college. But his father had been grooming him to take the family business. His mother wanted him to keep moving up, keep being the best. Finally, imagined or not, Cash began to feel the pressure of life, profoundly.
The rumor mill began to churn and his sister, Ashley's affair with Amy Lester (of all people) was about to come to light. Ashley was all about the social climb and feared for her reputation. A Freeland and a Lester? What would people say? Cash made a choice and vanished just after the end of term. No hide or hair of the teen. Missing posters went up even though local police were sure this was a case of a runaway. He took his guitar, after all. Clothes too.
He returned just a week before his senior year and the airwaves were on again. Cash didn't talk about what happened. But a few things became certain over the course of the first term. He and Spear were not on speaking terms.. Hector, an illegitimate Thistle who moved into town in January, is a singular target of Cash's newly discovered scorn and cruelty. And now, Cash doesn't want to go into the family business anymore.
Most importantly, Cash keeps the records spinning and the phone lines on.