Putting this in a text post for eloralouistra, with the image I put together of them on the grounds that I like it and I can. My apologies to those not as obsessed with the Deca as some of us, feel free to scroll right on past.
(the order in the image: Millennia, Rallon, Magnus, Vansell, Jelpax, Mortimus, Drax, Ruath, Braxiatel, Suzair, Theta, Koschei, J'parix, Tetris, Pace, Ushas)
First, I think I ought to explain my headcanon of psycho-aesthetics, because it ties into the Deca and all that. I first got the idea from - I believe it was Sound of Drums? - where the Doctor tells Martha that he would be able to tell if the Master was on Earth because “Time Lords always do,” maybe not those words exactly, but, something along those lines. So, if Time Lords can sense each other’s presence, I thought, it would make sense if each person had their own “mental presence,” as it were, a slightly different feel that others got when nearby. People as mentally intimate as the Doctor and the Master can know if the other’s on the same planet, but strangers just know if someone’s walking past, if someone’s entered the same room. Most people’s psycho-aesthetics are quite similar, like fingerprints - there may be no repeats, but it’s hard to pinpoint exact differences. Some people - approximately ten percent of the Time Lord population - however, have psycho-aesthetics that are, for lack of less poetic terms, splashes of colour in a sea of grey. Formally called psycho-aesthetically anomalistic, although usually just referred to as outliers, they are easily singled out and often found off-putting. Discrimination against outliers is far more common than it should be, and has persisted as racism, sexism, heterosexism, etc, became obsolete in Time Lord society. Among children and teenagers, being an outlier is akin to having “Bullies, look no further!” painted on your forehead.
Which is why the Deca was formed - long before the one in canon, by a group of ten friends, all outliers, who banded together for protection, and maybe a little revenge. As older members of the group graduated, they’d adopt new students, and so on. They’ve built up reputation for millennia (no pun intended).
So, anyways, the current Deca. Leading them is Rallon, who is quite friendly, brave, and at times a bit too prideful. He fits the ‘Hero type’ far better than any of his friends, at any rate, with a natural head for leading and keeping them out of trouble (whether or not the same can be said about himself), and just about the purest morals of the group. He is aligned heavily with what’s right, although his hubris plays in in the form of not knowing when it’s better just to back down. This ends in him calling out bullies and Professors alike, and so even with his sparkling willingness to lend a hand to fellow students, he possesses the – quite accurate – tarnish on his reputation of constantly fighting authority.
Magnus, his best friend, is far more willing to step back from fights. He’s not as up-front friendly as Rallon, but is nonetheless very much a people person – in both terms of getting along with and getting his way with. He’s quite charming, and is not above using this and a dash of genius to his own ends. Despite the connotation of this, his own ends tend to be something beneficial to his friends as well as himself, if not something generally ‘good’ overall. He’s certainly on the side of good, he just happens to operate with a sort of ‘ends justify the means’ basis. He does have a rather irresponsible streak, a bit of an over-fondness for parties, and will flirt with anything that has breasts, moves, and won’t give him detention or a few broken bones for it. Occasionally, the last standard is ignored.
And then there’s Vansell. I don’t even know where to begin with him, other than to say that if I don’t want to be writing this into next week I’d best just put his general personality here with the rest, and post his backstory in separate installments. Which I will, though perhaps after I finish a drawing/fic or two to go with it.
Most people do not know much about Vansell. He tends to keep to himself in lessons, bar a few sharp-worded answers to remind them all that he’s still there, and he’s still brilliant. He’s the top of every class, scores perfectly on tests, and if ever you can’t find him, that’s probably because you didn’t check the library, although you’d have good reason – when stressed, he studies, and when studying, he really doesn’t like to be bothered. Not that he’s the sort of person you bother anyway – he maintains a frigid aura when not surrounded by friends, and has perfected the art of getting people to forget any intentions of interaction using facial expressions alone.
Despite this icy exterior, when he is surrounded by friends, he’s, well, almost sweet. While still more withdrawn than most of them, he’s no less part of the group than any of the others, and often gets dragged along on harebrained schemes against his better judgement. He’s got far more sense than the rest of them, and so usually is the one to call out the BAD IDEAS, which leads to him being teased for being the buzz kill, but he’s long since learned that it’s all just joking and so he doesn’t really mind. Indeed, he does seem to end up the butt of a few more jokes than the others, mostly because he’s the odd man out in that he actually makes an effort to follow the rules.
Overall – at this point, at least, as he is one of the characters that I find shifting as the plot does – he’s rather kind, and has his hearts in the right place; is only slightly jaded over (so far), and in that, just enough so that he’s wary of those he doesn’t know well, masking his shyness with savvy when alone in their presence. However, he is quite loyal to his friends, even if it may seem that it’s not a group he would be found among.
Of course, there’s always that the reason he originally made himself a place among them is he was offered a secured future in the CIA in exchange for detailed updates on the Deca’s doings, so internal conflict abound – he didn’t expect to become so attached.
Anyways, moving on to the fourth and final person in their little group of besties within the Deca – Drax. A brilliant mechanic and engineer he may be, but he hasn’t enough common sense to fill a teaspoon. He’s almost always the one to come up with the madcap plans, and it’s often joked that he and Rallon are vying to see who can get more detentions before they graduate. Impracticalities aside, he’s very likeable – rather friendly, without the debilitating pride most of his friends possess, and is in general, just a nice guy. He doesn’t have big dreams, he doesn’t have a big ego, he doesn’t even plan life more than a week ahead – all he wants is to fix stuff, and maybe glue Borusa to his chair. Only on the days when he really deserves it.
Oh, forget attempts at segues, I’m just going to list the rest. Starting with Millennia. She’s a bit of a genius, brilliant with computers, and even more so with musical instruments, but is one of the most absent-minded people you’ll ever meet. She needs to be reminded to eat, bathe, even sleep, frequently loses items that she’s holding, and while in ‘the zone’ as it were, writing or composing or that, disregards just about everyone, only reachable by her boyfriend, Rallon. In the moments when she isn’t concentrating like her lives depended on it, she’s quite warm and approachable, if a bit spacey.
Jelpax is one of the characters I haven’t put that much thought into. He tends to have an aura of nonchalance, and far prefers to hover in the background than join the fight itself, even if he claims to support a cause.
Mortimus is largely tactless. While willing to help his friends, he’s for the most part out for himself, leeching gossip and favours. He fancies himself a bit cleverer than he actually is, although is quite well-versed in galactic history. No one seems to know why they keep him around, although it probably had something to do with the now-graduated space-case Deca member who found him intriguing. Now he just sort of continues to hang around, even if half of the rest of the group can barely stand him. (I do, actually, have the five most recently graduated Deca members as characters. I’ll do a separate post for them, later, assuming you’d like to hear about them. The one in question here is called Ambrosia. Anyways.)
Moving on to Theta! I’ve always imagined him as slightly hyperactive, a friendly, bubbly, sweetheart who is tends to be oblivious to damage he causes to people until it’s a bit too late. He’s got his hearts in the right place, certainly, but he’s a bit of a trouble magnet, being allergic to both routine and authority, getting himself and, often, whatever friends he happens to be with at the time into and barely out of various scrapes every other week. He (almost) never tries to get the people around him tied up in his disasters, but it always seems to happen anyway, and he’s got more than a few blows to his friends to answer for. At least he feels bad about it.
Dilemmas aren’t the only thing he attracts – there’s something oddly compelling about him, and even those who don’t have crushes on him (the category of which is a little too inclusive) remain latched on to him even after there’s good evidence that it’d be far better for their general well-being to turn away. Besides, the Deca sticks together.
And Koschei. Poor Koschei. I’m horrible to the boy. I’ve not seen many interpretations of him that are close to mine: slowly going insane from the drums is common enough, certainly, but this and a dark and troubled past have turned my version into a nervous wreck who’s shy almost to the point of anthropophobia. He’d be just a lump of underfed suicidal angst if it weren’t for Theta, who does his best to look after him. He was slowly lead into the world of the Deca, and at this-point-in-which-I-usually-write/think-who-am-I-kidding-I-don’t-get-anything-written-about-them, they could probably be considered his friends. He’s still largely antisocial, however, and will freak out at the most minor of provocations. Beneath all this he’s brilliant, an absolute genius, but, well… he’s working on it.
(In case you haven’t picked it up, I ship them. Forever.)
Which leaves one canon Deca member, Ushas, ice queen extraordinaire! She cares about science, and science only. Everything else can go rot. Don’t mistake her for mean – she isn’t mean, being mean is unnecessary and illogical. She has no reason to go out of her way to ruin – or, indeed, improve – others’ lives. She just does what she needs to do in the name of science, which includes joining the Deca and behaving as friendly as she needs to towards them and lending favours in order to gain protection (she is no weakling, but strength in numbers, and like the others, she is an outlier) as well as assistance breaking into the chemical storage in the school labs. She’s entirely without humour, completely without morals, and mostly without emotions – she simply hasn’t got time for such hampering nonsense.
If you’re not sickened by my verbosity by now I’m going to go off into OCs. Mainly because Pace. At first glance, Pace is a sweet little thing, short, stout, wears bows in her hair. Do not let this fool you – she has a mind to rival Ushas’s, plus enough emotion to make her, if possible, quite a bit more dangerous. She fell head-over-heels in love with the scientist within the first few classes they were put in together, and is now her self-proclaimed assistant. To most people, Pace seems quite abused by Ushas, serving as her lab rat when they can’t find a naïve first year, carrying her books and supplies about like some cross between a cliché and a pack mule, and siding with her no matter how amoral a viewpoint she takes. In truth, Pace is just as loyal to science as she is to Ushas, and is more than willing to offer herself up to all these roles, should they earn her favour.
My other two OCs are Tetris and J’parix, and they are best described as one. They’re – are you a troper? – they’re Those Two Guys. Tetris is snarky and feisty, though not unkind, and J’parix is quite level-headed and laid back. They’re both artists, leaning ever so slightly towards being hipsters, and they are almost always the first to hear any piece of gossip that passes through Prydon Academy. They’re not technically in the Deca, but they hang around the bunch of them and get pulled into their adventures enough that they might as well be. And, hey, they’re pretty useful to have around in what is basically the equivalent of a high school – Tetris has the uncanny ability to identify ‘who likes who’ even before the people in question have any clue themselves.
So, three left, let’s see if I can even make a stab at brevity and get this reply to you at some reasonable time. Which shouldn’t be too hard with Ruath, seeing as she’s the other character of my list that I haven’t fleshed out too much. The reason for this is that in my grand scheme of events and plot and timelines and all that, around age thirty she goes off exploring on her own one time and is never seen or heard from again. (That is, until that one fifth Doctor novel. Was that her first appearance, chronologically? Anyways.) This absence means she took backseat, but in the few shreds of her personality I have sorted, she’s spunky, fiery, with more than a bit of a disregard for the rules.
Arkytior, also called Suzair, is much like her grandfather. (Yes, I actually have Theta as her grandfather, despite the fact that they’ve only got a forty-eight-year age gap between them, a full explanation would take another few hundred words but I’ll try to abridge it here. There’s a race of non-Time Lord Gallifreyans that have fairly high but not Time Lord-standard technology that are dying off, the Deca goes exploring at one point and stumbles into the midst of one of their cities, at one point a twenty-something girl runs into Theta in an alleyway, before he can do anything she takes a DNA-harvesting device, grabs his hand and sticks it in it, removing a circle of skin, and runs. Unbeknownst to him, she uses the DNA sample and SCIENCE to create a half-Gallifreyan, half-Time Lord child, Suzair’s mother. You can safely assume the rest.)
Anyways, Suzair closely resembles Theta in her hyper-friendly-bubbly-ness, although in place of his innocent damage-causing is just plain innocence. She’s rather clingy, and can be a bit annoying-little-sister at times, but she is just about one of the sweetest people you’ll ever chance upon.
Finally, if I haven’t skipped someone by accident, Braxiatel. You appear to be far more well-acquainted with him than I (I’m awaiting the arrival of the first four Gallifrey CDs via mail), so if you’ve got two cents to throw in (indeed, on any matter, not just this one), I’m more than listening. The impression I gained of him was gathered before I had read more into him, so I’ve had to sculpt it as I learn more about what the adult him is like – but I imagine him at the Academy as far more… mundane than the rest. Just a bit bumbling, and not a natural star, but has enough ambition and drive to become just the opposite. He’s going to achieve something, he’s going to make it big, he won’t let a little thing like being of average intelligence get in his way. He’s rather beleaguered by his brother, trying to keep an eye on him while not getting caught up in his world of trouble, rather, he tries to get Theta out of it. And fails. Miserably.
Anyways, I do hope I’ve done them justice – there always seems to be some dissonance in how I describe characters and how I write them. Anything else you’d like to know, please, ask, although I will warn you in advance of the time it may take me to write a proper answer such as this one. I will try and gather my thoughts and some various art-things to begin on the entirety of my Vansell headcanon, but if there’s anything in specific that you would like to know, well, you know. I eagerly await your opinions, and your own headcanon regarding – obviously Vansell, but really, any of them - if you would.