|Here I present history and main features of the most important members
of the series. It's based on all TV aired episodes (the pilot included,
of course) and the novels of Peter Telep, which are (at least the first
of the two) directly based on the script(s) of Glen Morgan and James Wong,
the creators of SPACE. The list is sorted after the degree, how the person
(and/or the actor/actress) impressed me and again the ranks are from the
final phase of SPACE. And besides, I include some opinions and guesses
Captain Shane Autumn Vansen
Her parents were also commissioned officers of the USMC and she is the oldest of three sisters, but only a few years older than the other two.
Than the silicate wars began, and one day some silicate terrorists attacked (by pure chance) the house of the Vansens. The mother hided the three girls, Shane at the age of five years, in a bunk space and ordered them, to keep quiet - Shane had to control her two sisters. Finally the silicates captured Shanes parents and murdered them below the hiding place of the three kids with shots. To avoid a cry by her sister Lauren, Shane put her hand over Lauren lips and she bit in Shanes hand. These few seconds of her early life were the most important in Shanes life, determining much of her future. Consider, that Shane was at an age, in which first occasionally impressions can be remembered also as an adult, as usual only very strong ones - and around this never vanishing recall a nightmare developed over years, which Shane was totally unable to overcome. Even psychological treatment brought no relief from that endlessly repeated (night by night) nightmare. Clearly the hatred for silicates originated by this childhood experience and maybe at least a part of her sometimes observed melancholy, because she could simply never sleep easy and felt ever helpless, when she rememberd the tragic moments.
Not only the direct event coined Shane Vansen, but also the following time. Marine friends of her parents took the three orphans, but failed to be real educating adults - therefore Shane took more and more the role not only of a sister, but also as a mother for her younger sisters. These grew more and more tired of this, and finally the younger Vansen sisters broke with Shane. At that time Shane as some sort of young mother has matured very fast, compared with her biological age, and got also leadership skills by the way.
She lost the orientation a little bit, when she tried to get an adaquate job, but for example she left a position, in which she was supposed more to manage the development than develop by herself - clearly her leadership skills were clearly visible despite her low age, and remembering the bad experience with her sisters she denied it.
It is interesting, why she joined the marines. I guess, there was more than one reason. First she wanted to escape responsibility for others - ironically she totally failed in this respect, because even before her commissioning she was pressed by her fellows into the leader position. Second she wanted to overcome the helpless feeling since the childhood tragedy. Third it fitted well to her honest, open and maybe inherited posture. And I can't deny, that I think, there is at least a fourth, very important reason: she might feel the need for a revenge against the silicates, despite these were nearly wiped out at the end of the war, when Shane still was a child, and the last of them escaped into space.
The result of all these influences was a very tough, but nevertheless sympathetic, pretty woman of unsual mature character, who also demonstrated outstanding performances in flying transatmospheric war planes and all other aspects of an examplary marine officer. Together with her leadership skills and her intelligence, the door was open for her to reach even the highest military ranks in the farer future: will she be at some time General Shane Vansen, you may ask?
Another thing for sure is, that there is only one way to get rid of the nightmare, but this means end of all - it will stay with her for her entire life.
Her 58. - The Wild Cards designation is "Queen of Diamonds" (Karo-Dame).
Semper Fidelis, Shane!An even more detailed account of Kristens portrayal of Shane Vansen can be found on this new page.
A final remark: the young actress Kristen Cloke, also known for a few
remarkable appearances in the X-Files and Millenium, won a prize for the
best female performance in Science Fiction 1995/1996 and is now married
to one of the creators of the show, Glen Morgan.
First Lieutenant Cooper Hawkes
He is an human being as we are - but he was synthetically generated in a gestation tank without parents! An In Vitro, what is the neutral expression. The worse one is tank with more or less racist tone and the worst is nippleneck, probably comparable with "nigger" or "Untermensch". The last and worst refers to the navel at the back of the neck, which position probably has not only objective, but also a bad other motivation... But the In Vitroes are really normal humans, they are not manipulated in a way, to improve physical or other abilities, and in every respect compatible to natural born ("In Vivo") humans - besides the navel position.
Today black or asian people are often mistreated in racist ways, and the future of SPACE offers (evidently welcome by less honorable members of society) a new group as target for this nasty behaviour: these InVitros.
This is necessary to mention, because otherwise Hawkes will never be understood. He was "born" (at 18, what means, physically full developed, but with the experiences of a young child, virtually no such) and "educated" in Philadelphia, where he was initially trained as anti-silicate killer (can't express this in a more soft way!), supposed to fight for the natural borns to safe their and to threat the InVitros life. One day, after watching a bird in the air, Hawkes asked one of the inspectors of the "school" (a pure InVitro training facility), who monitors the birds. After that, the inspectors considered him as defunct and one of them tried to murder him. Warned by another InVitro, he could discern this intention at the last usable moment and killed the inspector, who tried the same before with him. Than he escaped the facility with the tag of the dead inspector and tried to get a job.
I guess, that he was not hunted or punished, because killing of InVitroes without a real reason was forbidden as for natural ones and so the facility had no interest in a police and justice research?
Not sufficient educated at all, but requiring a life sustaining work, he joined with his good learning skills a group of workers, building a skyscraper. When he failed to give the right signal in a dangerous moment, in which a technical failure (he wasn't responsible, of course) occured, a falling structure missed one of the other workers only by a tight margin. Later the other workers assigned the guilt to Hawkes and hunted him down as a group. Than their leader discerned due to his expectation, that Hawkes is an InVitro (which he had before hidden by relative long hair, hanging over his navel); they wanted to hang him! In a moment, in which they thought, Hawkes were dying (already hanging), Cooper used the moment off-guard by his hunters to strike back, taking full advantage of a lack of self-control and some sort of rage, clearly backed up by the missing education and his extreme youth. Finally he hunted the leader, which had ordered before, to kill him, and than a police car arrived (probably the man hunt was announced to the police), and than the leader of the hunt used this event to escape. Crying, that they tried to murder him and full of rage, Cooper damaged than the windows of the car with the rod, which he had ripped of the leader of the hunters and the police captured and arrested him.
Clearly a case of self-defence and only a minor damage of an object, Cooper was punished as most InVitroes in a totally unfair way, receiving a penalty by far exceeding all, what an InVivo could get for it. The judge let him a choice, to go to arrest for a long time, or to join the USMC for a similar time. At that time no war was on or supposed to be, therefore Cooper chosed the Corps.
When the war with the Chigs began, Cooper considered seriously to leave the Corps and to go to the arrest - "Why I should die for them?" (the natural borns) he asked for example another InVitro. Eventually only the natural born Michael Pagodin, who was ever nice and fair to Cooper, was the reason, to stay in the USMC despite the suddenly appeared war. Later the other marines of the 5th air wing, 58. squadron, became his friends and kept him finally in the Corps.
He often seems reckless, is unsure (see above) of human behaviour and unleashes fast an extreme rage, when he is provoked in any way. On the other side, he is an extremely well sniper, with a rifle also, as in a warplane and a very good pilot too.
His main goal is clearly to develop an adaquate human behaviour and maturity and to keep friendships with a few people, who offered it to him, especially Vansen, the originally hostile West and McQueen (another InVitro).
His 58. - The Wild Cards designation is "Jack of Spades" (Pik-Bube).
Good Luck, Cooper!
Also a final remark: Rod(ney) Rowland seems to be the prototype marine actor, because in the newer TV series Pensacola he played also a Lieutenant and fighter pilot of the USMC!
Lieutenant Colonel Tyrus Cassius McQueen
|He is also an InVitro, and therefore the above general remarks hold
true also for him. He began his "career" in the military with some sort
of slavery in an ammunition depot, where the work was hard and sometimes
dangerous - only InVitroes had to work at that places. One day an explosion
were immanent and the natural born sergeant closed the door of the endangerd
building to confine the explosion, despite there were many InVitroes in.
McQueen, just out of it, knocked the sergeant down and opened the door
- but too late, the explosion occured nearly in the same moment. For his
attack against the sergeant he got "only" 100 days arrest, otherwise supposed
even a dead penalty.
It's not known, how he became a marine officer, but he made it later and advanced quickly, despite his sometimes very arbitrary actions (compare Hawkes!), partly because he is an outstanding transatmospheric fighter pilot and as such became a member of the 127. squadron, the "Angry Angels" - an elite squadron, best compared with the todays "Black Knights" (VMFA-314) of the Marine Air Group 11. He married even a natural born woman, who he warned about the intolerance also against her, which he knew she would experience, and finally the marriage broke down, when his wife could no longer bear the nasty behaviour of many people. Another problem was, that McQueen couldn't give her a child because of a war-caused damage - for example once silicates tortured him for at least three days. So also McQueen lacks - nothing to wonder about - any sympathy for silicates.
So finally McQueen grew into a perfect marine, disregarding nearly every other aspect of life and flying as one of the best. Perhaps he considered the young members of the 58. later as some sort of childs, which he could never get. Especially he developed a relation to Hawkes, resembling a father-son relation.
McQueen is a very reserved person and living only for "his" Marine Corps.
First Lieutenant Nathan West
Once his girlfriend remarked, that she couldn't imagine him as a marine. Indeed, this was not supposed to happen...
He grew up in a pacifist family alongside with two younger brothers (irony: compare Shanes two younger sisters!), of which especially Neill, the medium-aged of the three, developed a somewhat rivaling relation: when they played together, Nathan had only the choice to win (age advantage!) and saden his brother Neill, or to lose intently and upsetting Neill in this way...
Besides Nathan is one of the - in my view - few males, who can easily and widely accepted communicate with women in a natural and in no way twisted way.
By some political induced action senators caused the pair Nathan West and Kylen Celina, before this firmly nominated to fly together to the Tellus colony, to seperate, one flying, one remaining on the Earth, with the only option to join the USMC, in which a squadron could be commanded to protect the newly founded two colonies. This was the original reason for West to join! He wanted simply to get back to his girlfriend.
When time came with the staying in the Corps, he developed first slowly, later faster the habits of an examplary marine, but he had to overcome hatred for the Chigs, who supposedly captured or - more probably first - even killed his girlfriend, and also the by the substitution of him by an not prepared InVitro in the colony mission created, temporarily hatred for InVitroes, which he NOT felt before. And so he lost this nonsensical feeling especially against Hawkes, but also against McQueen with the time.
He is also an ace as pilot of a fighter plane, and a good rifleman and executive officer, the right hand and lieutenant of Vansen, who is his best friend among the marines.
His 58. - The Wild Cards desigation is "King of hearts" (Herz-König).
The less dominant Characters in shorter Version
First Lieutenant Paul Wang
More like a scientist, he joined the Corps probably for character building reasons or to get a clear direction. He grew up in slums and isn't very sure of himself, hating and fearing cockroachs (Kakerlaken), which invaded his privacy, when he was a child. Also clear above the average in piloting and another USMC relevant abilities - a good shot, for example - he is clearly no killer or somewhat similar.
His 58. - The Wild Cards designation is "Joker".
First Lieutenant Vanessa Damphousse
Grown up as child of a reactor chief, she also developed good skills in engineering and became the another expert of the 58. She clearly lost the direction in life at a certain time and so joined the Corps.
Her 58. - The Wild Cards designation is "Ace of hearts" (Herz-As).
Commodore Glen Ross
Despite not being a Marine, but the commanding Navy officer of the carrier ship Saratoga, he was originally a Navy Seal and therefore in the unit, which not belongs to the Corps, but resembles mostly to it, especially the Recon Marines, with respect to education and posture. This is probably the reason for the above-average good relation to the marines on board. He plays guitarre and is especially a friend of T.C.McQueen. He was a nearly regular member of the series.
First Lieutenant Kelly Winslow
Only a few appearances, but the only human in the series (with the above exception of Commodore Ross), which tried to get close to McQueen, this very self-confident and pretty young woman sometimes enriched the characters of the main persons with another facet.
Michael Pagodin - not commissioned!
Only in the pilot, but with an important role, as first military victim shown in SPACE, and therefore never making it into the strongly desired fighter cockpit, he could have been also a regular cast. But he was wiped out, before the series really began and the friendly connection with Hawkes was the most important influence he had.
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