Alien said:
I wouldn't necessarily say we're expected to be cutthroat... though there's some disconnect in-game and out-of-game. In-game Sophia is definitely expecting it, because the post of Grand Alchemist is a very politically important position. At least, it is now, Sophia's predecessor was much more hands-off and consumed with her own research (a philosophy which kinda fucked a lot of things).

Out-of-game it'll be entirely viable to be a goody-two-shoes. It'll just, be a rather submissive playthrough. Taking the initiative and messing with other people will be a pretty consistent way to see scenes where Tessa is dominant.

Not particularly related, but what gives you the impression that Aya is at a disadvantage? The mention of her nebulous 'circumstances'?
I for one don't see Aya as disadvantaged, in fact she might be more dangerous due to whatever it is that her background is.

She is probably poor which means winning would be a big deal, for now I saw we watch her and learn, could form a deal with hr to fuck up the other two.