During one particularly fervent bout of procrastination, I decided to seek out PBs (played-bys) to help me get a feel for some of the characters that I didn't know all that well. This, in turn, made me seek out suitable PBs for all my main characters. I thought I would share, along with some info &/or some of my favorite quotes.
We begin with our former Captain (and MC of last year's WonderSaga, back when she was young and spry), Captain Audrey Mills. Her husband, renowned author and survivalist Kieran Kell, made only a very brief appearance this year, but he was my favorite character from last year, so I decided to find a good PB for him too. I always imagined Kieran as a blonde, but Sean is hot and awesome for an older actor, and I think he could maybe pull off the Irish accent. (Audrey's other husband, Col. Jackson Mills, died in the interim.)
Betty White as Captain/General Audrey Mills, 85 yrs old
Sean Connery as author/retired survivalist Kieran Kell, 82 yrs old
Fun fact: Audrey was married to both Jackson & Kieran at the same time. Though crew members are required to have one biological child, if they want another, it must be from donor eggs/sperm to maintain the genetic integrity of the ship. Audrey had Jackson's child, Adele Mills, and then she was able to have Kieran's biological child, Riley Kell, with a donor egg. Her sex-positivity and support of polyamory and BDSM really decriminalized sex on Akupara, and she was an advocate for same-sex couples despite the strict reproduction rules.
It was about 0930 and I was in the garden when I first realized that something was wrong. I was mulching in the garden when I heard someone hissing my name from the bushes near the back gate. “Captain Mills!”
“Who's there?” Whoever it was remained hidden behind the rose bushes, and I began to feel nervous.
“Please, Captain, don't be afraid. It's me...”
Kane Badru slowly came around through the gate, his face was gray instead of its usual caramel. I was vaguely aware of my shovel clattering against the wheelbarrow as it fell. I recognized him for Kane right away, but he was not the Kane I'd shared coffee with just last night. No, this Kane was the Kane I had met long ago, back on Earth. The man who stood before me now was tall and straight, with only the beginning whispers of gray at his temples and a face unmarred by time. He still carried the same shadow in his eyes, though.
“Kane? Is that really you?”
“Yes, Captain.” His voice was rough. “I'm not sure what happened. I...I just woke up and I was like this.”
I quickly yanked off my gloves and crossed the distance between us, reaching up to feel his face. His skin was cool, but it didn't appear to be a trick. He felt real. My fingers, skinny and splotchy now with age, were stark against his ashen face. I couldn't tear my eyes away, nor my hands. “You just woke up fifty years younger?”
Which brings us to the newly young/immortal, super hot Kane Badru:
Johnny Depp as retired psychologist Dr. Kane Badru, 75 yrs old (appears 35)
I was feeling calm and at peace as I began my ascent up Mount Emma. I stopped to eat a couple of figs fresh off the tree, reveling in my last taste of Akupara. I took a couple for the road, now realizing that I'd be incredibly hot and sweaty by the time I neared the top, and I wasn't sure where any springs were. The figs were juicy enough to ease my thirst. In this state of extreme calm, where colors seemed brighter and the figs and the air tastier, I found the perfect ledge. I caught my breath, enjoyed my last fig, and then threw myself from the mountain into the rapids that swirled below.
I remember the hot white light as I felt my neck snap, and then I felt no more. I died. Of this I'm now certain.
I wasn't so sure when I woke up on the damned island. It was the next morning, and the warm daylights on my face woke me. I was groggy headed but otherwise hale. I rubbed my eyes and looked around, surprised that I could turn my head with no problems. I was in the very same meadow where I'd awoken after the anomaly. The same meadow where Sebele and I had shared our honeymoon. There was a little hut not too far away. Not the same hut, no. I'd burnt that down after Sabine's birth. But this meadow is used by the Swazi people and Trancoso alike, so there is usually a shelter of some kind on the outskirts.
I still thought of it as our meadow. I still remember us plotting our life together here. We made our baby – we created Sabine - right here. We came for a picnic or camp out any time we needed to feel or smell the grass. And that is where I awoke at age seventy five, looking for all the world as I did when Sebele died giving birth to Sabine not five feet away from where I lay. It's where I woke the day after I killed myself.
Susan Sarandon as Captain Adele Mills, 49 yrs old
Fun fact: Although Adele's Second-in-Command is Solomon Olivia, she relies more on the input of Audrey and of her husband, Abel Trancoso-Urban, who is an MP and Head Security.
Amazingly, there seems to be some validity to mother's dream theory. I called a meeting first thing this morning for everyone else who was sleeping during the hours of this so-called 'anomaly' yesterday. Raya Debin, Kane Badru, Sister Veronica Germaine, Devin Harrington-James, Melani Ainja, Tina Mairey and Eric Grisham all seemed to have dreamed some form of their change during the anomaly. Jonathan Wexler and Neal Blalock seemed to have dreamed changes to others, specifically Silas Wexler and Elsa Blalock. No one has admitted to dreaming the sudden appearance of Linnea Harrington-Carter's baby. Is it possible that the child dreamed herself into her mother's arms? Or is my own mother's theory faulty?
Several people attended the meeting who were not in the emergency triage yesterday. They came to us on North Node Island, and I held interviews in my private study. Tracy Grisham, Eric's wife, had also been asleep until 0900 yesterday morning. Further testing of Eric's “odd feeling” yesterday ended in some surprising results. Apparently the cancer that he's been battling for nearly a year now has miraculously disappeared. If anything, Eric seems to have gained a striking amount of strength and fortitude back, especially considering his age. Unlike Kane Badru or Sister Veronica Germaine, he doesn't appear any younger, but he certainly moves (and tests) like it. Ivan Simelane and Tova King were present, and young princess Sukati Dlamini-Ainja was brought in by her parents, Keturah Trancoso-Ainja and HRH Mfazi Jururei-Dlamini, who is heir to the Swazi King. Naseem and Anayis Bandari arrived. They said that they had not been sleeping, but felt they had experienced something interesting during the time specified. I decided to interview them first.
Peter Mensah as MP/Head Security, Chief Marshal Abel Trancoso-Urban, 49 yrs old.
Fun Fact: Abel's mom was the original geneticist for the project. His father was an MP and Chief of the Amazonian Trancoso tribe, which was down to only six people when Kieran Kell campaigned to have them accepted into the Akupara Project. The Trancoso was one of two Amazonian tribes. This one was created by me and sports my maiden name. The second is an actual tribe known as the Jururei.
A seriously badass Joseph Gorden-Levitt as Ivan "Vanya" Simelane, 20 yr old MP
Fun Fact: Vanya's paternal family is Swazi, and his maternal family is Russian. Vanya gained telepathy during the anomaly, and he is slowly becoming the antagonist of the story as his new power changes him. He did not initially remember his dream and had to be hypnotized to recall it.
“What did you dream about?” Dr. Costa asked, his tone carefully neutral.
“I knew things I'd wondered about.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I finally knew the answers to some questions.” I hesitated. Even under hypnosis, I didn't want to share.
“We will do everything we can to keep your experiences private,” Captain Mills said, urging me to share. “What kind of things did you know?”
“Well, like my dad. I'd always wondered where he went on Wednesday evenings, and I realized that he went to see Masami Black. I knew Neal was already dreaming, and that he was dreaming about Elsa dying.” I hadn't been sad at the time, because I didn't realize she was really dying. I just moved on to...I laughed, remembering the other dream I'd seen, one that I visited. I ran my hands along my thighs, enjoying the feel of the erection that was starting. Then I realized they were still in here with me, and they might mistake my enthusiasm for Elsa's death. I quickly cleared my throat. “I knew what Tova King was dreaming, too. I stopped to egg her on a bit. It was hot. She was kind of surprising there.”
“How did you know these things?”
“I just kind of...saw it. Dad was awake. I could see it in him. Like I was leaving my hut and traveling through the ship. Neal and Tova were dreaming. My dream kind of crossed close to theirs. I could see them. I...it's like I hopped into Tova's dream for a moment and just kind of shared it. It made me kind of happy, and I went on. I went--”
I shifted on the couch and started rocking a little bit.
“What happened, Vanya?”
“Well, uh...I know where mom's Kosmic Kush garden is. I mean, I wondered about Wednesday nights, but that's the jackpot question right there!” I laughed. “Yeah, I went and found it yesterday after they told me not to report for work. Oh my god, it was so good. I can see why she keeps it secret.”
A hot Sigourney Weaver as Tova King, 55 yr old writer/reporter
Fun fact: Tova had an uncharacteristic, super-hot sex dream about Vanya Simelane. She now lives in fear of it coming true, as she feels it would destroy her husband if he even knew about it. She's struggling to save a marriage that didn't really need saved, and her husband has no clue. Because Vanya actually visited her dream and participated, making their sex dream almost dub-con, she may or may not be the only person who doesn't have her dream come true. I haven't decided if she'll really fall into bed with him, or if she'll be the one person able to block him from influencing her thoughts.
Richard Gere as Eli King, Tova's unsuspecting and somewhat distant husband. Carpenter, 55 yrs old.
Fun fact: Eli created the first upheaval on the ship when he went missing at 5 years old.
Rupert Grint as Neal Holland Blalock, formerly the Captain's apprentice. MP, 25 yrs old
Fun fact: Neal had recently married Elsa Cassiers and been made Adele's apprentice. He had come off of third shift and just fallen asleep when the anomaly happened. He dreamed his wife died, and woke to found her dead in their kitchen. Having been affected by the anomaly, which the crew still doesn't understand, he is no longer eligible to be Captain. As time passes, he learns that he can kill people with his brain. (One of many fandom homages, for those who might catch it...)
Stockard Channing as Rachel Holland Blalock, Neal's mother. Farms, 62 yrs old.
Fun Fact: Rachel has a personal vendetta against Captain Audrey Mills (played by Betty White). The first and only execution of a crew member was when Audrey killed Rachel's cousin, Neal Blalock. Neal had committed the first serious crime when he raped another crew member, and violent crimes are capital punishments. She loved her cousin though and refused to believe the execution was justified. She named her son for her cousin/adoptive brother. Rachel at first rallies to have all the affected locked up and tested, saying her son was the only one being punished when the rest of them are downright inhuman. She has quite a fit when Neal is the only one locked up after he (mostly accidentally) kills a second person.
Pierre Boulanger as Silas Wexler, 17/18 yr old who is turned into a vampire by his dreaming brother
Fun Fact: Silas is probably most pissed about not being able to eat garlic anymore. He is currently a struggling blood addict subsisting on rabbits and goats. The one good thing about being a vampire is being able to float on the shadows & mists. He is disgusted by fangirls and doesn't understand why he can't go out in the daylight if the ship's "daylights" are actually the same lights as the "moonlights", given that there's no real sun around anywhere.
I actually have several more supporting characters, but this is probably long enough. Maybe I'll do a second post if anyone is interested. At any rate, this is a good overview of how this year's WonderSaga went down. It was super fun! Neal and Vanya ended up being some of the major players this time around, which I hadn't expected. I'd planned to focus more on Kane and Silas.
Several characters were named after friends & family who volunteered their names in past years. A lot of them were killed off, but their progeny lives on. Rachel/Neal/Jess Blalock, Tracy Machate Grisham, poor dead Elsa Cassiers, Nya van Kessel, the Olivias, Dr. Tina Mairey, and probably even more that I'm forgetting all came from you guys' wonderful volunteering. Thank you!
I also wrote in an homage to my dog, Achaiah. Young Princess Sukati Dlamini-Ainja dreams of an all white dog before anyone even knows the family dog is preggers...sound familiar? Sukati ends up becoming a prophet though. I just got an awesome canine soul mate out of my dream. If I ever get the WonderSaga published, I may very well dedicate it to Achaiah. Ha!