Mark VescoMark is a young Arithian on break after his second year in community college -- but it’s not much of a break. Between a part-time job at the hospital and helping out at his parents’ restaurant, Mark has little time for his old friends, the Luckless Seven, or the game he loves, Ekosi. 

Feeling trapped by his obligations, Mark is given a path back to both. His old friends have arranged their participation in a cross-country Ekosi tournament. Now presented with a chance to seize the life he wants, Mark learns that to be the best, he’ll have to battle.

Krista Filippelli - Krista is the eldest daughter of the Filippelli family, close friends of Mark’s family. From a young age, Krista has presented a picture of perfection to her friends and family: intelligence, hard work, and leadership. Krista is the clear leader amongst her closest friends, the Luckless Seven, and earnestly cares about their success. However, when she attempts to reunite the group and guide them across the country, she finds that playing ringleader for her band of misfits is a much more difficult job than she remembered.

Maria Filippelli - As a result of Krista’s apparent perfection, her younger sister Maria grew up in that tremendous shadow. While Krista spread her interest between school, sports, and friends, Maria focused exclusively on her education. Her analytical prowess and first-class work ethic made her an exceptional student, especially in math. After graduating as Valedictorian, Maria moved away to a prestigious private university in Neropolis. But when her sister ropes her into joining the Ekosi tour, Maria finds herself right back in Krista’s shadow.

Ryan Semenza - Everyone likes Ryan. The picture of reliability, Ryan can always be counted on to lend a helping hand or a caring smile to friends in need. A friend to everyone, many of Ryan’s friends look to him for advice or to act as a mediator in conflicts. However, Ryan’s happy-go-lucky personality and extreme aversion to conflict often leave him maintaining rigid neutrality in all affairs. So far, this policy has worked out well.

Bertrand Bastone - Bertrand was the middle child and black sheep in his family. Surrounded by well-adjusted siblings, Bertrand felt isolated. One place he always flourished, though, was school. Bertrand’s essays and poetry were admired by his literature teachers, and their guidance pointed him towards a private university education. 

When diagnosed with chronic Insomnia in his junior year, an ensuing bout with depression sent Bertrand into a tailspin. Unable to maintain the grades or achieve the test scores necessary for admission, Bertrand’s private school dreams evaporated. Bertrand slid through to graduation but has not attended university. While family and medication have helped get him back on track, Bertrand no longer writes, and he maintains an extremely cynical view of life. Accordingly, his few friends are very protective of him.

Jamie Lucci - You wouldn’t know it, but Jamie means well. While she prides herself on her low tolerance for pretense, Jamie comes across to others as snarky and confrontational. Her skills as a well-intentioned provocateur have been honed over the years through difficult relationships with both of her recently-separated parents. Eager to get away from home and always up for an adventure, Jamie gladly latches onto the Ekosi tour.

On more than one occasion, her no-nonsense attitude has provoked conflict with countless authority figures and friends. In Krista, she sees both.

Jacob Argo - As the son of two working-class immigrants and the eldest of his siblings, Jacob was asked to lead and protect at an early age. Harsh economic times and scarce parental supervision, however, led Jacob into some illicit extracurricular activities. Back then, looking out for his siblings was far from his mind. 

After being expelled from one school, Jacob’s high school years changed for the better when he befriended his Chemistry class partner Krista and started spending time with her friends. But by the time he was ready to play the role of older brother properly, his siblings had tuned him out. Now working through community college, Jacob regrets his failures to his siblings, and he works tirelessly to demonstrate responsibility and hard work in his life. The Ekosi tour presents Jacob with his first opportunity to relax in a long time.

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