Ever since he was a cub, long before he’d ever even heard of Jamaa, Gilbert has wondered what it must be like to be a monkey. Or a giraffe. Or a penguin, a shark, a rabbit… ALL of the other animals fascinate him. He’s been known to leap at an animal he’s never seen before and pin it to the ground with his terrifying strength, but only to ask them what their fur feels like when it rains. He’s always puzzled and disappointed when, as usually happens, the poor animal is too petrified with fear to answer him.
Some of Gilbert’s best qualities are the very things that frustrate the more temperamental, impetuous Alphas the most. He is impeccably polite, quietly dignified, and (he believes) sensibly cautious. He takes the time to hear all viewpoints before making decisions, and in leading the Alphas against the Phantoms he is a wary and meticulous strategist. This drives some animals crazy, and more than once Gilbert’s carefully laid plans have turned into chaotic romps because Peck or Graham decided to “speed things up.”
Despite his fearsome appearance and warrior reputation, Gilbert yearns for a quieter life. Perhaps that’s why he works so tirelessly to repel the Phantom invasion — he imagines a day when Jamaa is finally safe for all animals, and he can devote his time to studying the inhabitants of the world he protects.
Most animals in Jamaa today don’t remember the first Phantom invasion, when the Alphas first appeared to turn the tide of battle and save our home. Peck doesn’t remember it either. She is the newest Alpha, and the only one selected by Mira since that long-ago victory over the Phantom hordes. Sir Gilbert has often wondered to himself whether Mira made the right choice.
There’s no question Peck is full of talent. She is an artist that revels in any medium, and she has done much to beautify Jamaa and inspire other animals to join her in huge, outlandish art projects. Her Alpha abilities seem to have magnified her already passionate and energetic personality a hundredfold, however, and some animals find her perpetual excitement and restlessness exhausting.
Peck’s hot temper is legendary. When Phantoms appear or her friends are threatened, her artistic exuberance flips instantly to full-throttle attack mode. She believes in striking first and planning later (much later, and hopefully while she’s off doing something more fun).
Have you ever had a friend who seemed to be made out pure energy, who could never sit still and who was always trying to involve you in some new crazy scheme of theirs? That’s Peck: she moves in a blur, gets bored easily, and never seems to run out of ideas. She takes her role as a mentor to other rabbits very seriously, though, and she is determined to get Jamaa’s rabbits into shape and ready for whatever the Phantoms might throw at them.
The first thing Graham noticed about the other Alphas was that they seemed to do everything the hard way. For example, take that time Liza tracked the Spirit Stone of the giraffes to a Phantom cavern sealed by an enormous boulder. By the time Graham got there, Liza had a dozen animals straining to move the stone out of the way, and after hours of effort they’d barely made it budge. Graham shook his head and clucked his tongue. All of that sweat, and nothing to show for it.
Why, it was the simplest thing in the world to build a waterwheel on a nearby stream and set up a system of gears, pulleys, and counterweights that could raise and lower the giant rock with the effortless pull of a lever. Sure, it took a few days to build, and Liza kept asking why they couldn’t just get a few more strong animals to pitch in and move the stone in a matter of minutes. Graham tried to explain that she was missing the point — now they could move the boulder up and down any time they wanted, without breaking a sweat! Liza and the other animals weren’t impressed with Graham’s contraption, and they seemed to forget all about it as soon as the giraffes were freed to return to Jamaa.
Graham still visits the cavern from time to time, though. The boulder-moving machine is great for breaking open stubborn coconuts.