The Wilds – Cai


Cai (surname)


The client had many character concepts that they wanted to play, and I didn’t know if they had any preference. Players tend to perform better with characters who are similar to their own temperament, so I created an adventurous television personality with a plethora of interests.


You loved the wilds before you loved show business. When others cowered at the sight of a many-eyed Komodo, you coaxed the creature into an easy calm. You’re not put off by the strange or immutable. Under sterile conditions, you never hesitated to stick your hands into a fresh carcass. You had a high tolerance for both sweet nectar and the sickly fly-nectar of the rafflesia flower. The abstractions of poisonous moths and toads would ward off predators, but they never warded off you. You were never afraid of the unknown. Your friends were unsurprised when you were the first to explore Yolanda Park. There were more surprised when you came back alive and triumphant.

Whatever your path meandered, you never strayed far from life. You became a biology researcher at first, and then a veterinarian. You spent a year as a science teacher. You became a television personality by accident.  That’s what you tell your interviewers, but it’s only partially true.  You eventually started running out of money from your career hopping.

(You’re willing to talk about your education expenses on the air. You don’t talk about your gambling problem in graduate school.)

You started off tutoring university students like everyone else, but your anxiety made it difficult to hold in-person sessions. You finally moved on to video lessons when one of your clients set their eyes on an unwelcome romance. The money wasn’t good, and you diversified into a personal channel. Your channel became popular, and you made enough revenue to hire an assistant moderator. One day, they forwarded a business email from a small broadcasting company.

Aether Broadcasting was the start of your career as a television personality, and they were looking for a new voice. There’s an audience that’s hungry for Wilds, but they didn’t have a taste for bloodshed. You were happy with that. You were happy to take your audiences through the Wilds, even if they were too busy or too sickly to go themselves.

There’s no script in nature, and the actors don’t bow out gracefully. You put your due diligence towards research, your crew members will occasionally be assaulted by carnivorous plants on camera. Those episodes got the highest viewer ratings, but you never exploited them for stardom. These are staff whom you’ve known for years, and they’ve supported you when a fickle viewership didn’t.

You probably should have thought about their careers when you risked your career on an unlikely bet. But how could you, when you’ve never been good at looking after your own career? Sometimes, you felt small in comparison to your colleagues. The tastemakers were moving the galaxy and the researchers were saving lives. You were opening up worlds, but the grateful parent letters didn’t outweigh the ever-present feeling that you weren’t doing enough. You had a six-year university degree. Two different professional certificates. A half completed graduate degree. All of them were in adjacent, but different subjects. You were restless, and your intellect especially so.

When you had a chance to expose a promising up-and-coming company for illegal dumping, you jumped at the opportunity. You met the laborers whose health had been so badly affected by the tainted water. You spoke to their families, and then you told your viewers about what a cleaner forest would mean to their livelihoods.

In short, you lead an episode that broke a dozen legal agreements between no fewer than three companies. The ramifications were catastrophic, and you were buried in lawyers from all sides. Nobody from Aether’s management wanted anything to do with you, and you left the television the same way that you left your other careers: incomplete. Your colleagues were either sympathetic or aloof. Their careers must go on.

The lives of those miners were slightly improved when the inspectors showed up. The news softened your regret. You made friends in those five years. One of those friends recommended you for a job as a wilderness guide. You signed the forms because your bills were piling up. Now, you stay for the thrills that were only possible when millions of eyes weren’t watching your every move.


You’re kind, even when others haven’t earned the privilege. You were known to be charming, an ideal pick for foreign investors and emissaries. With time, you proved that you could also be brave. Instead of drawing lots, you frequently volunteered to scout a new area. Danger thrills you, but you don’t look down on people who aren’t brave enough to face fatal drops or venomous claws.



You tell your clients that you’re in this line of work because you care for conservation, and it’s only partially true. You’re out here to do good work, but you truly shine when the stakes are high. You’ve only been accused of seeking danger twice before, and you’ve denied it each time. Would you deny your third accuser, or your fourth?