"In the name of earth, if shall claim this place, and it shall be known as, uh... Wei-Weimannlandia?"
Anna is a studied geologist who has lived in many European countries when learning, and coordinates the exploitation of natural resources to make the project a financial success.
Anna is young and has relatively little experience in military, political or technological topics, although she went through a (short) special training for the Magellan expedition. Because of her specialization, she feels insufficiently prepared to handle the challenges of a foreign planet on her own, and when she lands miles away from the others, she is overwhelmed at first. Anna is highly intelligent, but is also a bit jumpy and doubtful. She has a tendency to talk to as well as criticize herself, and smokes cigarettes when nervous. Even with her flaws, Anna is more than aware of her duties, and will fight through her troubles to fulfill the expectations posed on her. In general, she works more than is good for her, and knows it. She's easy to put pressure on.
Anna has studied with great success in Germany, France and Britain and became a protégé of the European space program after a remarkable paper she wrote about astro-geology for her bachelor. After that she kept on studying and making research works around Europe. Her special knowledge and skills led to Anna becoming part of the Magellan expedition.
Anna has both mother and father, although they are living apart. Her younger sister is studying music and lives in Salzburg.
"Why the long face, my friend? Tell the cosmonaut, he can help."
Maxim has been a regular soldier of the Russian Federation's armed forces for over a decade, and is now in charge of combat and military operations on the planet.
He has intricate knowledge of tactics and weaponry, and can plan an ambush just as well as he can steer a heavy vehicle. Being grounded and experienced with stressful situations, Maxim is not one to get disquieted easily and radiates this feeling to his colleagues. He is jovial most of the time, and will easily lift the mood with compliments and disarmingly bad jokes. Maxim knows when it's a good time to talk or not, and the team works partly because of these qualities. As Anila puts it, without him, "we would probably have killed each other over those months in space.” Maxim in fact knows about his role in the team, and accepts it – somebody has to do the things that have to be done.
Back on earth, Maxim was disliked by some of his superiors who didn't approve of him being as popular among the soldiers and felt their position was weakened. Maxim never was promoted to any higher position. Instead, he was sent into space, not only as a way to stay in full control, but also because it allowed him to show that everyone could be successful with hard work and devotion. Maxim's only living relative is his mother. His father died as a soldier and he doesn't have any siblings. Maxim finished school decently and started military service soon after that. He has a reasonable knowledge of technology he achieved in the forces.
Despite his background and working for an international project, Maxim is a proud Russian, and insists on being called a cosmonaut, the "only real word for a space traveler" (although it's probably half-joking, too). His accent is relatively thick, which makes some of his cornier bits work in the first place. Maxim hasn't decided what he thinks of the Chupacabra yet. Even if he had an opinion, he would keep his voice down. You can't take strong stances and be a mediator at the same time, and keeping the team working is top priority for Maxim.
"So you are going into a cave full of monstrous, poison-spitting lizards? Can I join?"
Malcolm is a fan of the scientific method, works as a biologist and is responsible for researching the species of the planet as well as their culture.
Malcolm is the kind of guy who had to struggle throughout his life to reach his goals. Growing up in underwhelming circumstances in a southern downtown with his parents and siblings, it was mostly TV shows and magazines that got him interested into science. His parents were not exactly confident he could be an academic, although it was clear he was smart enough. After finishing school, Malcolm started studying biology, but had to work at a gas station's night shift to cover his expenses. When he was 20, after several failed attempts, Malcolm finally received a stipend. Freed of his financial pressure (although living in a miserably small flat off cheap food), Malcolm was able to catch up on his studies, and finished in standard time. At suggestion of his dean, he gained a foothold in the AASA.
Malcolm has been a member of the team that created the Chupacabra translation software. Originally, another member of her team, the linguist Dr. Adeel, was chosen to participate in the Magellan expedition. However, the Doctor suffered a stroke shortly before the mission started, and Malcolm was chosen as a replacement. He considers himself very lucky to have this opportunity.
Malcolm's has little interest in the financial gain the expedition is supposed to bring. Instead, he cares about learning about the planet and its inhabitants, and finds both fascinating. He enjoys collecting information about the species and ecosystem, and will be the one to analyze captured or dissect dead creatures. He is not a violent person, though also not a fool - curiosity has limits, after all.
He is the team member most interested in the Chupacabra and their culture, and would like to learn about just as well as share his own culture and knowledge with them. Malcolm will also typically be the team member to ask if in need for details on Chupacabra mythology or history.
"What is it? I'm working here!"
Anila grew up with six older brothers and had to earn her place. She can do anything even remotely related to technology – be it welding a plate or calibrating the base computer's programming.
Anila was born, grew up and went to school in a town at the Indian coast. Being strongly interested in technology and with her father being a navy officer, Anila often visited the local military aviation museum. While still visiting school, her talent in this became increasingly obvious. As a girl who had learned to fight for herself, Anila had became cocky and direct. This attitude confused some of her teachers but got her an internship at the navy at a very young age, and after finishing school Anila got offered a job at the Indian space agency – which she accepted.
Anila keeps a pair of safety glasses inside her pockets and has the habit of chewing on her pencils. She is stubborn and at times can be very rude. She shouts at the computer and thinks it's crappy programming. She also curses in Hindi. Although snarky and negative, Anila will often be the first one to speak what is on everyone’s minds.
In general, Anila is happiest when working in the base, where she will weld, code, or improve technology for the team. Vehicle repair work and upgrades are her responsibility. Unlike Malcolm, who will curiously and gladly accompany amy mission, she's happiest when she can return to doing her own stuff. It's not that she fears the outside; she just doesn't care much for it.
Anila gladly accepts the opportunity to do what she wants, and doesn't really care who she is working for. Still, having partially Portuguese origins and living in a place that had a history of annexation, Anila doesn't like the idea of using violence as a means to gather riches and territories. Her relation to the Chupacabra is similarly ambivalent: On the one hand, she finds them weird and doesn't want to interact with them too much. On the other hand, she thinks that you don't have to like people to be decent to them.
"I am not sure you grasp the importance of this mission. We have a responsibility."
Zhou is a diplomat who learned the skills from his father, and is responsible for negotiation and representing earth politically.
Zhou is the son of China's ambassador in Australia and has grown up in that country. Zhou's father insisted on having the boy attend a standard school, which taught him early on to move comfortably in different surroundings. From a young age, he came into contact with politics and has been able to observe the game of talk and help with enforcing national interests. His father was credited for the signing of some highly valuable contracts between the two nations, and so returned to China as a man in high regards and with big influence. Under his father’s protection and following his footsteps, Zhou too became a diplomat. He ascended quickly and qualified for the Magellan expedition.
Zhou can be considered the representative of Earth's interests on the planet and will take his stance from there. While he has no real opinion on the Chupacabra, he feels that, as they have no use of the natural resources the team is interested in, they lose nothing when they’re exploited. Zhou is serious and goal-oriented. Unlike Anna, he takes his engagement for the mission from within himself, and sees it as a chance to step out of the shadow of his uber-father, whom he owes most of his life's success.
Zhou left his fiancé behind when going off into space. The parting was bitter because he felt he had to put his duty over his personal life, and she hoped he wouldn't. Zhou also had a pug named "Baobao", whose silly looks and unconditional love he enjoyed endlessly. His fiancé now has to take care of the animal, though she doesn't even like dogs. Zhou has a picture of his fiancé, himself and the dog somewhere in the base. He doesn't have a picture of his father.
Zhou has a habit of staying awake until late and getting up early, which made some people joke he never sleeps. He drinks a lot of coffee to stay awake, although he admits it's not even working anymore. He calls the other team members by their last name to remind them they are not here for fun.
"Don't forget about the immense costs this expedition has caused us. We would like to see results."
Marc Antonio Garcia is a high-ranking military man in charge of mission control. Located at earth, he briefs the team for missions and makes sure everything they progress as fast as possible. He has a lot of very influential people breathing down his neck, people that spent immense amounts of money on the project, and passes that pressure to the team.
Mark Antonio Garcia was born of Mexican origin, but grew up in the USA. His parents wanted him to be successful in America, and when he showed interest in attending the military academy, they sent him there. Over his life, Garcia has fought in multiple wars and has met Zhou's father personally, but never worked with him. After years of serving in the military, Garcia got a leading position in the US space program and subsequently the Magellan expedition.
He is also the reason why the humanoid aliens are called Chupacabra. When he spotted them on camera, during the first unmanned space mission, he spontaneously called them like that. Chupacabra is Spanish for Goatsucker – and can be considered as the Latin American version of Bigfoot. It is a popular urban myth, about large scary looking creatures, who are killing goats and other animals in the remote areas of Latin America.
Despite that, Mark does not care very much about details of the mission, or the Chupacabra. His task is to pay attention when something smells like trouble or opportunity, and to stimulate the team to work better, faster and harder. The people of the team he interacts with the most are Zhou (since he takes the role of a political representative and leads the mission) and Anna (who – as the head geologist – carries the responsibility of finding resources and making the project financially successful).
Garcia should not be confused for someone with a personal dislike for the Chupacabra. He is just doing his job to fulfill the (very high) demands of the mission's backers. Nonetheless, he will still encourage considering all options available to get to the goal – which means Garcia considers violence a legitimate option. He has a son who lives with his divorced wife.