Niriko moved to the U.S. about a year ago after her parents died in an auto accident in Japan. She has come to stay with her uncle in Chicago, and began going to the Lab School. She is 14 currently. She has done well in fitting in, but has not gotten over the death of her parents.
Her uncle is a wealthy businessman who has political connections. They live in a large apartment in the Loop overlooking the lake and Navy Pier. Her father sometimes has a driver to take her to school, but she has him drop her off at a distance so she won't be seen that way.
She tries to structure her life very rigidly. She is dedicatd in to her piano studies and her kendo classes. She plays in sports at school, but only non-team sports (like swimming and track). In personality, she is generally quiet and likes to fit in. She dresses close to her Japanese schoolgirl uniform while still fitting in with the crowd. She has a fairly popular crowd whom she hangs out with, but never talks to very deeply.
To the others, she is protective of Kate. She is pleasant to Martin, but secretly thinks he doesn't apply himself.
(Played by Liz Henry)
Kate Rosen is 12 and in 8th grade. She is so short that she looks like a 4th or 5th grader, but she acts like she knows everything. Her mother is head of the Zoology department at the University of Chicago, and her dad also works at the University. He chaperones on school trips and all the kids like him because he is handsome and jokes around a lot.
Kate is in all honors classes. She skipped 3rd grade. She has brown hair, rather unkempt, which she wears in a bandana or a ponytail. She blows her nose a lot, really loud, and it sounds funny. The backpack she carries is stuffed full of books -- this makes her look even more dwarfish.
You haven't noticed that Kate really has any close friends. She hangs around with her brother David, who is in 5th grade, and his best friend. At lunch she sits by herself and reads, or writes in a notebook, like Harriet the Spy.
People make fun of her a lot - and when they do, she gets really mad. Then more people gather around to laugh at the weird things she says back to whoever is teasing her. She seems very bitter for no real reason.
In class she acts like everyone else is an idiot, including the teacher. In fact, sometimes she gets in trouble for saying rude things to teachers. Her school projects are interesting -- she always seems to make them extra creative, like making a board game or a entire fake newspaper full of hilarious jokes. Strangely, she is more interesting on paper or in her projects than she is in person.
(Played by Russell)
The son of two Christian scholars, both studying historical foundations of the Bible. They work at the Methodist center near NWU (or the Seminary at U of Chicago?). He grew up at their house in West Chicago, which often had foreign visitors coming to discuss biblical matters.
Martin spent a number of years abroad, including a year in Rome and more time elsewhere in Europe when he was younger. Most recently he spent two years in Israel, only returning in the summer of '98. In Isreal, besides learning a bit of Hebrew, he followed his interest in archeology. He got more into the outdoors life: hiking, hill climbing, and even scuba diving. Unfortunately, his school work suffered and upon returning, he is now behind a grade in most of his classes: especially English and History.
In Israel, he hung around the dig at Avidad: a trading post on the Spice Route up until Roman conquest. It was a fortress in fairly desolate hills. There he got more into hiking around, and into nature walks and such.
In person, he is large for his age (5'8'' ?) and lean but fit. He is not very glib, and tends to communicate non-verbally a lot. He doesn't like lying and isn't very good at it, although he realizes it is neccessary at times. His parents raised him with two main morals: (1) to respect tradition, and (2) to accept the differences of others. Internally, he questions (1) at this point. He is still surface respectful of authority, but questions it.
For fun he reads mythology and legends: like Arthurian legends and Evangeline Walton's _Mabinogian_. He has tried to get into international projects at the Oriental Institute and International House, but it is tough when everyone is older there. He has tried the Model U.N. (researching other countries) and the Jewish Students Association (practicing Hebrew) at the Lab School, but never really got into them.
He wants an exciting life, to be unpredictable, and not to be tied down to some path. Martin's "heart's desire" is a life of adventure and romance -- probably his "loved one" would be someone he hasn't met yet but feels an instant rapport with.
(Played by Michael LeFebre)
Steve is something of a generic introverted nerd-kid, age 13. He is into video games and computers. He reads too many Tolkien rip off trilogies, plays chess, and is obsessed with science fair projects. Also, he listens to Abba and Tom Lehrer tapes. Among others, he is easily embarrassed and painfully shy -- definitely a "follower" who never found anyone to follow around. Still, he is definitely intelligent.
His father died in Desert Storm when he was 10. After that, he moved from Texas to live with his aunt in Chicago. She works in middle management of a marketting firm downtown, and has little affection for Steve.
In person, he had brown hair and brown eyes, and wears indestructable glasses with scratched-up lenses. He has braces and a touch of acne. He is insanely allergic to cats, and annoyingly picky about his food. To the others, he hasn't really had enough guts to get to know them (or make himself known).
(Played by Lisa Margolis)
A 13-year old black girl born in 1953 in Selma, Alabama. She is too naive to really know her place, but very aware of it. She is forthright, smart, and inquisitive. She has two sisters and one brother.
Once in water-uphill world, she has found that she has the occaisional talent of seeing through walls.
She has also developed an abrasive alternate personality, called "Mike" who surfaces on occaision. Mike claims to be male, Chinese, and a mathematical genius: with a PhD (and more) at age 15. This is almost certainly a reaction to the situation of being in over her head.