Making it on Mars: Character Descriptions: 2. Alex

Some lofty dream casting ideas for the role of Alex, an Eastern European rocket scientist, in Making it on Mars series.

2. Alex (Max’s Cis Male Primary Partner)

Alex is the complete opposite of Max in almost every possible way. A total introvert, he concentrates most of his time on his science and technology work. Taking short breaks for philosophical conversation, and maybe a board game or two. He is Max’s primary partner, and the person Max stays with most often in their polycule, however never more than a few nights a week. And lately it’s been even more seldom.

They have been together for years, but in what most people would barely consider a committed relationship, by monogamist standards. There polyamours relationship separates them from the majority of people. Alex is quite conservative, and private about his personal life. He doesn’t talk about this side of himself with his family, or even really with his best friends. 

Alex is most likely on the autistic spectrum, although never formally diagnosed, but he is extremely high-functioning. It has never affected his academic or professional life, but it often affects his interpersonal connections. He has a difficult time understanding Max’s emotional responses to things. He has a hard enough time understanding his own emotions, on the rare occasion he has one. 

He thinks emotions are completely unimportant, a waste of time, and should not be considered, or talked about as much as they are in life. He prefers logic, and has a hard time understanding or responding appropriately to other people’s emotional outbursts. He thinks people should just be better at controlling themselves, the way he is. And he thinks that most liberal minded people are a bunch of bleeding heart complainers, and he has no time for them. 

Alex has very few friends in general, and he’s ok with that. He enjoys his solitude and doesn’t think he has much time for a social life. He prefers to spend his time on his work. He loves science and is particularly passionate about astronomy, rocket science, and new technologies. He made some new discoveries and is developing a new device that can create clean air and drinking water on Mars. His research and technology work is crucial to the Mars mission. 

Alex is fairly conservative, especially when compared with Max, and they often disagree politically, and philosophically, on a lot of key issues. This is one of the reasons that they don’t have any children together. They don’t see eye-to-eye very often. Their values are so different. It would be very difficult for them to raise children together, as any kind of cohesive unit. Also, they both work a lot, struggle with work life balance, and wouldn’t have the time to raise a family, from a practical perspective.

This is more or less fine with Alex, theoretically he is not opposed to the idea of children. The world should be continuously populated with more people like him, but it’s not something that he feels very strongly about. If it happened one day, that might be OK, but if it doesn’t, that would be better. However, Max is very clear she has always wanted children. She yearns for them, but now in her 40’s it’s likely too late for her, although she is still open to the idea of adoption. 

Max is like a 3rd parent to her other partner Min’s daughter, Star. But Max often tells Alex that it feels like there is something missing in her life. She longs to be a mother of her own child. Alex experiences these conversations as pressure, and avoids them as much as possible. Alex does feel guilty about this though, and often struggles with it. He thinks Max would make a wonderful mother. He sees how good she is with Star. 

But he just can’t wrap his head around how much extra work it would be, having the responsibility of fatherhood. And how noisy it would be having an infant in the house. It would be hard to concentrate on his work. And having to change diapers all the time… not ideal. Maybe if they could skip right to the stage where they are fully formed humans, with the ability to communicate, then he could teach them science. Yes, that might work, maybe one day, when there is time. 

Alex doesn’t like to have people over very often, but Max lives to host parties. So oftentimes when Max is having a dinner party or game night with her other partners or her friends, he might stay for the dinner portion of the night, maybe a board game or two, but then he will inevitably disappear down to his basement workshop, and tinker away with a project. Then he’ll go to bed early, in the basement spare bedroom, long before Max and her friends are done with their fun. 

But now that they all live on the ship, it’s like he and Max aren’t even really primary partners anymore. They each have their own separate sleeping quarters on the ship, so that they don’t disturb one another when on different sleep schedules. Max only comes to stay with him once a week or so, when they arrange to have a proper date night together. Which seems less and less often these days.

Alex is also a bit homophobic. Not in an overly cruel way, he would never harm another human being. He is just slightly uncomfortable with it. Perhaps due in part to his conservative Eastern European background. He did not grow up in an environment where he was exposed to people of different sexual or gender expressions, and for him it is unusual, strange, and uncomfortable. 

He has a hard time with it, and struggles to accept Max’s non-binary and bisexual partner Min. He is constantly mis-gendering them, and he refuses to apologize for it, citing infuriating Jordan Peterson quotes when asked to apologize. Now, Alex and Min basically avoid each other as much as possible. Their interactions are awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. 

His homophobia has a bit of a double standard to it though. He feels that Max’s bisexuality is acceptable to him. And even fun, because he gets to participate in threesomes with her and other women from time to time. But, he is only attracted to pretty, slender, femme women, and isn’t interested in any of Max’s more queer partners. When Max spends time with those people, he will either putter around in the basement on his own, or spend a night with another woman. 

The fact that they have different sexual dynamics has never been a problem in Alex and Max’s relationship. Neither of them is a particularly jealous person. They are both very honest and open about their sex lives, and have nothing against the differing types of fun they both want and need in their lives. He prefers to keep things casual with other partners, but it doesn’t bother him that Max has more emotional attachments with her other partners.

However, the social side of it, especially when it comes to Max’s other queer partners, can be tricky. Queer Christmas has always been a challenge, and Alex will usually try to avoid these types of gatherings if he can. He doesn’t like large gatherings anyway, but it’s even more uncomfortable for him when the crowd is a queer community group. Especially when the topic of queer rights comes up. 

He knows how much these gatherings mean to Max, who is often pressuring him to get over his shit and join them. But he just can’t be bothered with it most of the time. He finds it all exhausting and pointless. But, when she really insists on it, he will often relent and join them, at least for part of the evening. And sometimes, it’s not completely terrible. 

When they lived in Hamilton, and Max was with another more queer partner, Alex would often take a trip to a sex club in Toronto. Where he would hope to meet a cute girl for some casual sex. But now they are all on the ship in the Canary Islands desert. So that makes it a little bit harder for him to find aunonymous casual sex partners. 

The ship feels a little too much like a giant house that everyone lives and works in together. There is no anonymity. You have to work with people, or walk past them down the halls later the next day, and that can be far too awkward for him. He doesn’t know how to behave in those situations. The expression, “don’t shit where you eat” comes to mind. Not a good idea. 

For the most part he tries to keep to himself, and keep his head in his work, on the ship. He continues to see Max about once a week, and maybe every other week, he will have a night with Carrie or Lee (Max’s other female partners). But those sexual encounters are becoming fewer and further between. The past ten years of living and working on the ship, preparing for the mission, and constantly talking strategy and politics, have put a lot of strain on his relationships within the polycule. 

He just doesn’t agree with a lot of their values, and it’s starting to cause friction, not just between him and Max, but also between him and all of the other people on their mission. He spends a lot of time feeling very isolated. Which was never too much of a problem for him, he likes being alone. But not having anyone who thinks the way he does, no one at all like him on this mission, that is a totally different story. 

The ship seems like a giant, never ending pride parade, with everyone dressing funny. Men with pink hair or wearing dresses. Women with all their hair shaved off and giving him angry looks. It’s a bit like continuing to work for a strange traveling circus you have been fired from, but nobody ever bothered to officially send you the pink-slip, or tell you to fuck off. 

His best, and only friend on this mission is Ron. He and Ron have worked together for years. They get along great, when it comes to their work and common interests like science, technology and rock climbing. But even Ron is a lot more liberal minded than Alex is. He is still a straight white cis man, like Alex, but he doesn’t have such a hard time with other peoples differing identities. He is a bit younger than Alex, and moved to Canada when he was a teenager, so he’s been more exposed to a liberal minded culture than Alex has. 

He finds that Ron often takes Max’s side over his, in political or social justice related discussions. And this makes him feel a bit ganged up on at times. He wonders more and more, every day, if he should continue with the mission, or hand things over to Ron, and stay on earth with his own people. He worries about not getting to see his parents ever again, if he were to move to Mars with the mission. He is an only child, he’s close with his family, and he misses them already. 

He has a couple of other close friends on Earth, who are a bit more conservatively minded like he is. They think he is nuts to go on the Mars mission with a bunch of weirdo social justice warriors. And they tell him so almost every day, in an attempt to change his mind. He is starting to think they might be right, but he’s running out of time to back out at this point. He is such a big part of the mission from a scientific and technical perspective, it might already be too late. 

He feels responsible for the mission’s success, and has a hard time with the idea of letting Max and the others go off to die in space without his help. There just aren’t a lot of particularly liberal minded people in hard sciences. Most people in technology are a little more conservative, like him, and he worries that by not going, he might be dooming the mission to fail. That is hard for him to recon with.

On the other hand he is dreading being the only normal, straight, white, man on Mars with any logic or sense. And living with a bunch of freaks and wackos, who think that funny haircuts are more important than science. It’s madness.

His politics are a bit complex. He has a strange combination of old Leninist ideals and conservative libertarian-ism. He believes in a few of the more socialist concepts such as free healthcare, education and housing for all. But he doesn’t think there should be any kind of this affirmative action bull-shit. The best person for the job should get it, period. And people who are smarter and willing to work harder should be rewarded for that, by making more money and having nicer things. 

He hates identity politics. He thinks they are a complete waste of time. The government shouldn’t have anything to do with people’s personal lives. If some people want to dress strangely, or change their genders, they can do it on their own dime. And if nobody wants to hire them, because they look like total freaks, that’s the consequence they will just have to deal with in making that life choice. 

He wishes the bleeding hearts and social justice warriors would just shut up, go read some science books, and get real jobs. He thinks there is no way the mission can be a success, because too many of these kinds of people are just lazy, useless, and looking for a handout. There is no way they will be able to get anything done on this Mars colony, if they let these liberal minded, pot-smoking, party people run things. They will just want to sit around all day doing drugs, drinking wine, and having orgies. This simply will not do. 

Perception:

If you have zero expectations of anyone or anything, then you can’t be disappointed. Expect nothing, but work really hard towards your impossible goals, and maybe one day you might surprise yourself. Science above all things. People should never stop working on improving themselves, learning, exploring and inventing new technologies. It’s all about evolution. Everything else is useless. 

Attitude:

Avoidant, antisocial and introverted. Alex would prefer just to be left alone to do his work. Occasionally he would quite like the opportunity to talk to one or two other intelligent people, about the things he is most passionate about, like science. Some nice sex with a beautiful woman, something to eat, a place to sleep, that’s all he needs in life. Other than that, the rest of the world can just go fuck off. 

Dramatic Need:

Hmmm… No reason. And the number 42. Does that answer your question? 

No? Ok, so he’s a bit like a headless chicken whose muscles are randomly contracting, and for an external observer it might even seem that there is some purpose in these movements, but maybe not. 

Ok, so he has no idea what drives him. Basic curiosity maybe? He likes optimizing things, and seeing that different theories prove to be working well. He likes being able to solve problems. Perhaps, insert Star Trek Next Gen Mission Statement here.

The truth is that Alex often feels lost in his life, a stranger adrift in a sea of even stranger faces. Sometimes, in some ways, he envies Max’s strong inner drive. He just doesn’t feel things with such conviction, and often wonders what’s the point of it all.

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