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Major Characters in the Trilogy - Page Three

Al Capone -

The infamous gangster returns from the beyond to possess the beaten and bleeding body of Brad Lovegrove. Initially, Capone's mental insanity emerges into the body along with his soul. For two days, he floundered about in an uncontrollable madness. Gradually, however, Lovegrove's healthy neural housing and lack of alcoholic toxicology settled Capone into a coherent rational person. By this time, he was left behind as useless by the growing number of possessors.

Capone is first discovered by a realtor agent inside the shop where Lovegrove's body was abandoned. Old instincts kicked in. He materializes a Thompson submachine gun out of nowhere and blows the hapless realtor away.

Clad in a period double-breasted suit and patent leather shoes, he goes for a walk through San Angeles. He inquires as to how to call a cab from a young couple he happens upon. His abrasive manner, however, results in a fistfight that consists of one missed swing by the other man and one solid punch by Capone that tosses the man's body 15 feet in the air and kills him. The police and assault mechanoids are summoned, which Al narrowly manages to evade as they go haywire within range of his possessed energistic power. He is picked up in a car by Bernhard Allsop, another possessed person, who takes Al to a group of the possessed which Capone begins to organize.

Capone quickly realizes that, because possession is so much in conflict with the electronic infrastructure of human society, he will need non-possessed members of his "organization" to maintain basic functionality like utilities. Otherwise, the planet he his trying to rule will become a chaotic, unworkable mess. He starts by offering the Mayor of San Angeles (whom he calls "Avvy") a prominent position in the Organization without possessing him. The mayor refuses and subsequently undergoes a violently slow mental torture until he breaks down. This sets an example for others.

He plans to take out New California's Strategic Defense Network by use of synchronized flights to the asteroids orbiting the planet. This is accomplished under his leadership. He puts together a pyramid structured organization with all power naturally coming from the top (him). Capone turns the vast destructive power of the defense network upon the governmental buildings all the way down to individual town halls, as well as on military bases and police facilities on the planet. Effectively neutralizes all possible opposition to his organization. He then turns the possessed loose upon the population. Only 16 million essential personnel were protected from possession so they could operate the planet's electronics-based systems. In addition, each possessing soul was queried by the organization as to what he or she had been in their previous life to gauge their potential usefulness to the organization.

He enjoys Jezzibella so much that he prevents her possession. He finds her pushy and he likes it (in addition to her physical beauty). Capone is a sort of wildman when making love. He is constantly in control, handles Jezzibella roughly, and climaxes only when HE is ready, without regard for her. Otherwise, he treats her with respect.

As New California falls completely under his control, he learns about antimatter and the possibilities it holds for the future expansion of the organization. He is given a choice by his key advisors. Since the planet's quantity of He(3) will not last forever, he must either attack the Edenists at Yosemite and take over their helium mines or go for antimatter as a source of power. Either way, he will require the cooperation of many non-possessed to pull off the strategy. Capone decides to go the antimatter as an "insurance policy" against Confederation attack. Then, he will gather his armada of starships and attempt to capture the helium mines at Yosemite.

His forces are marshaled into three attack squadrons. The first two jump to Yosemite and are destroyed by thousands of deployed Edenists combat wasps and submunitions. But the third squadron puzzles the Yosemite Edenists for it jumps out of alignment with any known inhabited world.

Though he previously commented that “the beyond” wasn’t really all that bad, he later admits to reporters that “it’s worse than any fucking nightmare you can imagine; it shouldn’t happen to anyone.” He goes on to comment that he didn’t see any angels or demons in the beyond and that he has no idea why or how he came back. He makes it clear to reporters on New California that he intends to build an organization where possessed and non-possessed can live together.

Capone finds out through his lieutenants that a man named Ambar came back from the beyond who only died 30 years previously. Ambar knows about the Alchemist and about Dr. Mzu. Capone immediately orders the organization to search for Dr. Mzu.

Capone is given a blackhawk as a surprise by Jezzibella, Emmet Mordden, and Mickey Pileggi. Cameron Leung is the possessing soul. Jezzibella promised Leung a good body “when the universe calms down a little.” It is meant to be the flagship of the organization’s star fleet. It is described by Hamilton as “a beautiful scarlet torpedo with yellow fins sprouting from the side, and a cluster of copper rocket engine tubes at the rear.” The ship’s interior is completely 1930’s décor and styling. Capone feels more at home here than at anytime since he returned from the beyond. He is very pleased with the way the ship maneuvers. Its counter-acceleration technology allows passengers to travel without the experience of free-fall, something Capone always detested up to this point.

From the vantage point of the blackhawk, Capone watches as the first of his more than 700 assembled space vessels makes a ZTT jump for Arnstadt. The Edenist voidhawk, hovering above New California’s North Pole alerts the Yosemite Consensus to the jump coordinate alignment. The Consensus, in turn, alerts the Arnstadt government, for whatever good that does.

Ralph Hiltch -

ESA head of station on Lalonde. Born on the Kuluian Principality of Jerez. After assisting in bringing Gerald Skibbow to Guyana he is informed that three "sequestered" Lalonde embassy personnel landed on the Ombey surface on the starship Ekwan. With himself playing a major role, Ombeyan officals manage to quickly isolate the Xingu continent from the rest of the planet. They place a 1 a.m. curfew over the region and shut down all motorways. There is some difficulty stopping all traffic completely as only vehicles on the major motorways are supervised transportation flow management computers. On minor motorways traffic is under autonomous computer control and in farming regions there many outdated manual steering vehicles remain.

In an emergency meeting of Ombey security authorities, Ralph makes three things clear. One, physical contact with individuals "carrying the energy virus" does not mean you automatically catch it. Secondly, in spite of their vast energy power, the sequestered can be intimidated only by massive firepower. Finally, zero-tau seems to be the remedy for the "virus."

He personally supervises the assault on the Moyce's of Pesto building when the assault mechanoids go haywire. He is wounded by the possessed's white fire but manages to successfully capture six possessed (termed "hostiles" by the G66 troops) while killing 23. His own casualities are three dead 17 wounded. One of the captured possessed is Santiago Vargas, whom Ralph finds smoking a cigarette. Since Nicotine has been ban for 500 years in the Confederation, Ralph wants to know where the man got it. He doesn't buy the explanation about the dead coming back to life. He makes Santiago demonstrate his white fire abilities in an attempt to learn of its distance and other characteristics. The flame seems to be effective up to about 120 meters.

Ralph learns that the entire night shift of Mayo's has been possessed. Many of them are out on deliveries, have gone home or who knows where. He realizes that the situation is quickly getting out of hand, but remains professional, requesting a list of all the names and proceeds with tracking them down individually.

53 delivery trucks left Moyce's that evening. Ombey's sophisticated automated transportation network tracks them down. As they are located, the Strategic Defense Command on Guyana destroys them with the planet's SD weaponry. One advantage in the favor of the authorities is that all the delivery trucks are running by automated drive. So, the possessed cannot stop them until they arrive at their assigned designations. As more and more delivery trucks are destroyed, it is discovered that one of the original Lalonde embassy possessed took a taxi from Moyce's.

The taxi is tracked and found abandoned, it's passenger boarding a bus that left Pesto and is running down the length of Mortonridge. The bus is transformed into an old diesel Ford Nissan omnirover. This naturally mystifies Ralph and all the other Ombey authorities monitoring the situation. There haven't been any combustible engine vehicles since the year 2043. Ralph mentions to the group that there were also reports on Lalonde of the use out of date Earth technology like steamboats as the "virus" broke out.

A giant white bolt of flame suddenly erupts from the bus and hits a security spaceplane that is tracking it. The plane spins out of control and crashes. Immediately upon impact the fuselage of the craft emits foam under tremendous pressure into the cabin encasing the AT Squad members inside, preventing them from impacting with anything in the crash. A moment later the foam slides out of the wreckage leaving the AT Squad weak but alive.

The bus is eliminated by SD fire. But, the automated transport computers reveal that the bus had already stopped four times along its route through Mortonridge.

He gets credit for suggesting to the Ombey authorities to place the six captured possessed individuals into zero-tau. All possessors left the bodies, two just by being threatened with zero-tau. Unfortunately, no one has any idea as to why this is so. Persons abandoned by the possessed are disoriented and withdrawn afterwards. The longer the possession, the more severe the symptoms.

As he is flying to Rainton to personally inspect matters there, Ralph learns of the developing panic in Exnall. He orders that the communication network, which was shut down by the chief inspector, be brought back up for datavise of a direct appeal of calm from the Xingu Prime Minister. To his dismay, he learns that they are having trouble bringing the network back up. There are mysterious "glitches" in the electronics (caused by growing numbers of the possessed). To make matters worse, there are reports that a huge crowd of Exnall citizens are gathering at the police station, making a large number of people susceptible to possession.

At Exnall, Ralph comes face to face with Annette Ekelund, the possessed Lalonde embassy personnel member who successfully inflicts the outbreak of possession on Ombey, specifically in Mortonridge. He remains calm and calculating though she tells him that he will never retake Mortonridge and that out in the galaxy there are now tens of millions of possessed bodies on planets and habitats throughout the Confederation. He threatens her with the solution of zero-tau if any of the possessed try to get off Mortonridge. "This is only the beginning," he says as he walks away, reluctantly accepting the stalemate.

Thanks to his tenacity, possession was driven out of Pesto and isolated on the Mortonridge peninsula. Though several thousand people manage to escape before possession spread to their area, about two million remain unprotected. The red cloud phenomenon that occurred on Lalonde is repeated on Mortonridge, covering the entire area within a day and a half.

Hiltch appears at Burley Palace before Princess Kisten, Admiral Farquar, and Roche Skark to analyze the situation and formulate a plan. His recommendation is that, since existing weaponry technology falters in the face possession, bitek should be considered as an option to be used against it. This is a remarkable request because it flies in the face of hundreds of years of political isolation between the Kulu Kingdom and Edenism. Yet, there seems to be little alternative. Princess Kirsten refers Hiltch to King Alastair, her brother, to make the request to pursue a political alliance with the Edenists.

He travels to Nova Kong and is granted an audience with King Alastair II, ruler of Kulu, regarding the possession crisis and the need to enlist Edenist support. Bitek is so far the most efficient way of dealing with the possessed. Further, Ralph argues that the Edenists stand to gain as much by the liberation of Mortonridge as Kuluians. It has to be done, he says, in order to prove that the possessed can be overcome and sent back into the beyond. A victory at Mortonridge would be an important first step in an undertaking that Ralph fully expects to last for several decades. The King rules that the Edenists should be approached to see if they are willing to cooperate. In the meantime, Ralph is to return and formulate a detailed plan for the liberation of Mortonridge. When an agreement is reached with the Edenists and a plan agreed upon, then the King will take the matter before Kulu’s Privy Council for their consideration.

Gerald Skibbow -

A Group Seven colonist. Hoping to forge a new life, but possessing a weak personality. Father of Marie. Gerald, his wife, and daughter inhabit the savanna region beyond Aberdale. Plenty of grassland for animals. After the reality dysfunction erupts, Gerald is possessed by someone named Kingsford Garrigan. He is captured by Jenny Harris’ security team, placed aboard the Ekwan, and put into zero-tau, which he violently resists. He suffers a broken hand as it is smashed by the blunt end of a TIP carbine as the crew battle to force him inside the pod. Ultimately, Gerald’s resistance is overwhelmed, the pod is sealed and he is taken to Ombey for interrogation. When he emerges from the pod, however, he is no longer sequestered. Rather, he is highly traumatized and doctors are concerned that he might not recover full contol of his mental capabilities.

He undergoes psychotic treatment by two doctors to uncover what he experienced on Lalonde. The doctors are able to actually enter Gerald's mind via the same neural technology that allows people to datavise information and to experience sensovision. One of the doctors finally is able to see the horrors that occurred when possession was first unleashed on Lalonde and controlled by Satanic cult followers. "Oh, God," the doctor says absently. Hamilton writes: "Gerald gave a giddy laugh. "God? There is no God."

As his recovery continues, he is allowed more freedom. He goes to Guyana’s lounge several times. During one visit, while sipping tea, he sees on the holoscreen Kiera Salter’s (Maria’s, his daughter) datavised invitation for everyone in the Confederation to come to Valisk. He immediately recognizes her and breaks down into tears.

His doctor’s begin to treat him for his new “obsession” with going to see “his daughter” Kiera Salter. Gerald tries to escape, but is foiled until a woman suddenly appears and works on his behalf. The doctors realize that she is possessed and back away. The woman takes Gerald and manages to avoid two Royal Kulu Marine squads and venture into a maintenance tunnel. Gerald is frightened and doesn’t understand why the woman wants to assist him. It is at this point revealed that the woman is actually his deceased wife, Loren, returned to possess the body of Pou Mok in order to help Gerald escape Guyana and get to Valisk in order to “save” his daughter Marie.

Loren finally works Gerald back to Pou Mok’s apartment. There she takes advantage of a set of cosmetic adaptation patches to change his face enough not to be detected by Guyana’s recognition sensors. His escape and the antics of Loren (known to be possessed) have resulted in a quarantine issued by Atherstone for Guyana in the form of a code two alert. Still, he manages to negotiate a birth on the starship Quadin in order to escape Guyana.

Andre Duchamp -

Captain of the Villeneuve’s Revenge, an Adamist starship involved in trade throughout the galaxy. He goes to Tehama, an asteroid in the New California system that is highly successful financially and industrially. There he runs into Hasan Rawand, another trader, who insists that Andre pay him an amount of money he allegedly owes plus interest. Andre denies the debt. There is a fight in which one of Andre’s crewmembers is almost killed but for the last minute intervention of Erick Thakrar, a CNIS agent posing as a member of Andre’s crew. He volunteers his ship and crew for the mercenary mission against the “revolt” on Lalonde.

In escaping from the chaotic defeat in Battle of Lalonde, he takes the Villeneuve's Revenge to the Culey Asteroid. Erick Thakrar receives a full clone repair there at the cost of some 200,000 fuseodollars for which Duchamp has to foot the bill.

When Hasan Rawand and the Dechal land on Culey and seek revenge upon Erick Thakrar and himself, his crew quickly takes Erick from the hospital and places him aboard the Villeneuve’s Revenge. Their escape is made possible, ironically, by the intervention of CNIS agents attempting to prevent Erick’s departure. The CNIS end up in a shoot out with Rawand’s mercenaries in the airlock outside Duchamp’s ship. They kill their adversaries, but the Villeneuve’s Revenge escapes in the process by launching from inside the docking bay. Such action does heavy damage to the docking area and minor damages to the ship’s hull as it makes a ZTT jump away.

After his escape from Culey, Duchamp takes the Villeneuve’s Revenge to the Chaumont asteroid in order to secure a cargo charter of some kind. There he meets Iain Girardi, a representative of Al Capone’s organization. He takes Girardi up on an offer to go to New California and serve with numerous other Adamist starships like his as deterrence against attack. His crewmembers initially refuse to go along with the seemingly ridiculous plan. They narrowly escaped the possessed and now their captain wants to do business with them! But, suprisingly, Erick Thakrar agrees to it, realizing that he could gather useful information for the CNIS.

Erick Thakrar -

A CNIS agent attempting to sign on as a crew member of Lady MacBeth in hopes of scouting out information on pirating activities and antimatter production throughout the Confederation. He is accepted, at first, but ultimately rejected because of a nagging negative instinct Joshua has about him. He finally gets accepted by Captain Andre Duchamp for a crew assignment abroad the Villeneuve’s Revenge, an Adamist starship with a fitted antimatter drive.

While traveling on the Villeneuve’s Revenge, he becomes involved in a brawl over an alleged debt of the starship’s captain, Andre Duchamp, with Hasan Rawand. During the fight, one of his fellow crewmembers is also stabbed to death. Erick intervenes with a nanonic implant. A tiny patch of skin above the second knuckle on his hand fires out needle-sharp fission blades. Upon penetrating the body, the blades expand and release microscopic projectiles that seek out and invade nerve strands, send chaotic signals to the brain, causing convulsions and loss of muscle control in the target. This helps Andre and the rest of the crew escape.

As a crewmember of the Villeneuve’s Revenge, he serves as a weapons systems specialist. He fires X-ray lasers at the Krystal Moon’s microwave dishes in as part of the ship’s efforts to board the vessel and steal its cargo pods. He refuses Captain Andre Duchamp’s orders to fire on the lifeboat that the crew of the Krystal Moon uses to escape the stricken vessel. “Piracy is one thing,” Erick says defiantly, “I’m not party to slaughter.” He tries to turn in Andre Duchamp to authorities at Tranquillity on piracy charges but is not allowed to because of the sudden appearance of Laton and the subsequent “events” on Lalonde. Since Duchamp volunteered the Villeneuve’s Revenge to go to the stricken planet, Erick’s superiors deem it more important that he stay undercover on the vessel and make an attempt to uncover as to where the Yaku (the starship on which Laton left Lalonde) journeyed.

Being a crewmember, he remains aboard the Villeneuve’s Revenge as it sends down its six-person mercenary team to Lalonde’s surface. The ship loses contact with the team as the mysterious red cloud that seeks out all the landing teams of Terrance Smith’s mercenary force engulfs it. The ship’s space manages to reestablish contact, however, as it reemerges from the surface. Redocking with the starship, the crew is suspicious of allowing the spaceplanes passengers back aboard. But, when one crewmember takes pity on their complaints of bad air quality on the spaceplane due to its contact with the cloud and opens the hatch, the now possessed landing team suddenly boards the ship. Erick orders all hatches codelocked immediately to contain the invasion. He nearly goes hysterical as he watches the possessors chop a fellow crewmember to pieces. For the moment, he is isolated in the Villeneuve’s Revenge crew lounge, shut out from both the attackers and the crew. When the invaders burn their way through a hatch and enter the lounge, Erick has only one choice to save himself. He activates the ship’s emergency fire extinguishing system, dumping the life support system’s oxygen straight out of the ship’s hull. His arm is hit by a blast of white fire as he flips the switch, causing him great damage. The drifts on the edge of consciousness, his neural nanonics barely keeping him stabilized. He has the presence of mind to activate the Confederation Navy’s vacuum-survival program, which slows his heart down and shuts down various bodily organs thus reducing his required oxygen intake. Meantime, the possessed are killed one by one as their capillaries rupture and their membranes are ripped apart by the force of the decompression.

Erick suffers tremendous physical damage during the decompression aboard the Villeneuve's Revenge. Thanks to the high quality of his neural nanonics, the emergency suspension program he ran at the critical moment saved him from major damage to internal organs or neural structure. However, he will have to undergo a complete lung transplant and some blood vessel reconstruction. His hand and forearm were also lost during the event, but will be replaced by a simple graft.

While he is in recovery from his operations on Culey, he makes contact with CNIS Lieutenant Li Chang. He tells her he wants the crew of the Villeneuve’s Revenge arrested and wants to be sent to Trafalgar to finish his recuperation. Chang gently informs him of the outbreak of possession, the Confederation-wide ban of space travel and that arresting Andre Duchamp and his crew on Culey would not hold up because of Culey’s corrupt political and justice system. He resigns himself to all this bad news, lying helplessly in his hospital bed unable to move due to all the nanonic patches and implants.

He awakes from a hazy sleep to discover that he is being removed from the hospital room by two “fellow” crewmembers of the Villeneuve’s Revenge. It seems that the Dechal and Hasan Rawand has also docked at Culey and will make an attempt to kill him and anyone else associated with the Villeneuve’s Revenge. Helpless to do anything about his condition, Erick alerts Lieutenant Li Chang to stop the crew before they take him back to the ship. En route to the ship he and the crewmembers are intercepted by Rawand and some of the crew from the Dechal. There is a standoff in the airlock until Chang arrives with a CNIS covert squad.

A fist-sized sphere enters the airlock and emits a photonic blast that blinds some of Rawand’s mercenaries. The CNIS squad manages to kill Rawand and his crew, but Erick and the Villeneuve’s Revenge escapes in the process.

The nanonics on his face and neck are removed by doctors on the asteroid Chaumort. The other portions of his body must remain covered by the patches, however. When the crew of the Villeneuve’s Revenge refuses to follow Andre Duchamp to New California to form part of the armada Al Capone is piecing together to deter an attack upon New California by the Confederation, Erick sees this as a chance to do useful surveillance for the CNIS. He agrees to go with Duchamp to the surprise of the rest of the crew.

Rubra -

A Edenist Serpent who germinated Valisk, a bitek habitat second only in its renown to Tranquillity. Unlike Tranquillity, however, Valisk was inhabited by a more decadent population. The habitat orbits the gas giant Opunita. Unlike other bitek habitats, Valisk featured a desert landscape extending from its northern endcap that gave way slowly to a grassy savanna plain just prior to the salt water reservoir at the southern endcap.

Originally, Rubra opened Valisk to all peoples seeking religious freedom. It was especially attractive in the early days to fundamentalist Brahmins, but all manner of people came sooner or later. Many of the cults became so off the wall with their drug and stimulant-induced programs that Rubra ended up banishing any more from entering.

About 25 years after germinating Valisk, Rubra performed what Hamilton refers to as a “triumph of genetic retro-engineering” when he copied voidhawk bitek sequencing to create a fleet of blackhawk, all captained by Rubra’s prodigious off-spring. Already immensely successful in the stellar transportation business, Rubra’s fleet of blackhawks made him unchallenged in the galaxy.

At his death, Rubra transferred his personality pattern into Valisk’s neural strata. From that point the habitat took on all of Rubra’s obsessional tendencies and his business, Magellanic Itg, began to decline. His 250 offspring each had a special modification made to their affinity gene. They were bonded to the habitat and to their individual blackhawks alone. Effectively, this meant that his offspring and all their descendants were bonded to his personality.

During a weekly routine check on one of his 8,000 descendents living on Valisk, he discovers a flaw in his neural strata routines. He further discovers some of his sub-routines missing altogether. There is no logic behind any of it, the flaws appear to be totally random, which causes him concern. In tracing the sudden discovery of malfunction further, he discovers the source. Dariat. After 15 years of absolutely no contact, Dariat, for some unknown reason is assaulting his neural strata.

Realizing that his mental capabilities are not optimal and after receiving a late communication about the Yaku and its sequestered passengers, Rubra grudgingly expands his affinity band to consult with the Kohistan Consensus for the first time in over 100 years. He learns from the about Laton's "proteanic virus" and agrees to make all flights in to and out of Valisk prohibited until he can track down the three sequestered passengers from the Yaku. What Rubra doesn't realize, but soon finds out, is that possession is already spreading within the habitat. He tracks down Kiera Salter. She threatens him, but he manages to temporarily isolate her group. He informs the Kohistan Consensus that he will not be able to save the majority of his population from possession, and that he will have to take on a great deal on internal damage in order to save what he can.

As possession takes its course through Valisk, Rubra attempts to warn his citizenry about the spread, where the possessed are as they move from starscraper to starscraper. His mercenary troops are ineffective for the most part against the possessors. Their technology fails them and they end up no match for the energistic force inherent in possession.

In a short time, only a few hundred non-possessed remain on Valisk. Rubra uses his many subroutines to guide each one as best he can away from the possessed, but inevitably his efforts are failing. He discovers Dariat as some of the possessed subdue another victim. Rubra taunts Dariat causing the later to fly into a fit of rage that almost causes his energistic abilities to go out of control. Still, Rubra asks Dariat to join forces with him. In joining forces he hopes to become strong enough to overcome the possession that is overtaking Valisk. He attempts to persuade Dariat by telling him that he will reveal some secrets his knows (being the habitat’s personality) about Dariat’s long lost love, Anastasia Rigel. Dariat is enraged further by such tactics.

He continues to try to get Dariat to agree to join him. Dariat is adverse to the idea, even though Rubra reasons that, while they each is opposed in his own way to Kiera Salter, they are too weak to effectively oppose her unless they unite. Shifting his attention to the Kohistan Consensus, he is requested to allow for the destruction of the support base for the hellhawks at Valisk. Rubra grants this request. He destroys his own SD system so that it can’t be used against the 300 voidhawks that emerge suddenly upon Rubra’s OK signal. The voidhawks blast away Valisk’s industrial stations, thereby depriving Kiera of their armament manufacturing abilities while refusing to allow the hellhawks to launch from their docking stations. Rubra makes contact with a sulking Kiera, telling her that she must not make any attempt to acquire combat wasps from other sources or the hellhawks will be destroyed in the next voidhawk attack.

Dariat -

An eighth generation descendent of Rubra. At age 14, he falls in love with Anastasia Rigel, a young girl who lives in Starbridge. He is swept up by her beauty, grace, and is interested in the primitive culture and lifestyle (he learns to milk a cow, for example). But Rubra refuses to allow Dariat to develop his association with Anastasia before it really gets started. Rubra teaches Dariat how to use the affinity bond with the habitat, to call upon the vast amounts of data and power that are there. But Dariat never could get over his attraction with his former lover. In an attempt to dissuade him from further thoughts of her, Rubra points out Anatasia’s real lover, Mersia Columba. Dariat, overwhelmed with jealousy, kills Columba. Upon this, Anastasia commits suicide. Dariat blames Rubra for all this and refuses to communicate with the habitat personality at all. Dariat’s hatred grows and festers for 30 years. Until, the Yaku arrives. Dariat, not afraid of the possessed as they begin to take over the population of the bitek habitat, welcomes them. He intends to use them to take revenge upon his most hated enemy, the habitat personality itself.

Dariat takes poison and kills himself in order to take over Horgan’s body. As he dies, he briefly experiences “the beyond.” As he takes over Horgan’s body he is simultaneously tormented by the conditions there. Hamilton writes, rather poetically: “Centuries which aches like a lover’s heart laid still. To leech and leech what is new to find only that which is stale. Yet even such an insipid taste surpasses the hell which lies further from the taunting glimmer of the lost home of our flesh. Madness and dragons lie in wait for those that venture away from what we discern. Safer to stay. Safer to suffer the known rather than the unknown.” Dariat then begins to feel Horgan’s tortured pain “flashing into the nothingness of the sixth realm.” Horgan, in his helplessness, accepts Dariat’s offer to “help” with the pain. But, it is all a trick. Marie (Kiera) has used Dariat. By showing him briefly what “the beyond” is like, he commands his obedience, not to take revenge upon Rubra, but to capture the habitat’s blackhawks for the possessor’s cause.

After taking on his new body, he relishes in its youth and uses his newfound energistic powers to transform himself into a physically fit 21 year-old. Four other affinity-capable bodies are possessed and he trains them on how to subvert Rubra's mental routines. In this manner, they isolate Tacoul Tavern from Rubra's control and seal the door into the establishment without anyone noticing. He then gets into an argument with Kiera Salter over the purpose of their little possessed group. For Dariat, it is revenge against Rubra that is sought. For Kiera and the others, it is to multiply the number of the possessed as fast as possible.

He becomes increasingly disenchanted with Kiera and her plans of conquest of Valisk. His hopes of inflicting some sort of revenge directly at Rubra are cast aside by the tide of events. But Kiera keeps him close to her side as and aid because no one knows as much about Rubra as he does. Dariat warns that Rubra could decide to contaminate the environment of Valisk in any number of ways. But, he adds, Rubra probably won't attempt such action because the possessed have hellhawks loaded with enough combat wasps to annihilate many habitats.

Dariat has taken the clever precaution of guaranteeing the cooperation of the hellhawks (as opposed to them flying off someplace else) by placing enough human bodies in zero-tau to give each hellhawk personality a body when Valisk is finally taken out of the universe.

He continues to get into trouble with the possessed when, upon assisting a small group headed by Bonney Lewin, Rubra makes affinity contact with him and throws him into an almost uncontrollable fit of rage. Bonney chastises him for his behavior, having no understanding of his past experience with Rubra. The incident draws the wrath of Kiera Salter herself, who threatens to send Dariat back to the beyond if he has another emotional outbrust. Dariat is flip to this, however. He knows they need his knowledge of Rubra in order to completely control Valisk.

Fletcher Christian -

The possessor of Eamon Goodwin. Fletcher saves the Kavanagh sisters and Carmitha from certain rape and torture by a group of the possessed. When the white fire attacks him it does not affect him. This causes the group threatening the three ladies to back off. "I am defending the honour of these ladies," he confidently tells the would-be assailants, displaying a personal code of conduct that was common during his time. Initially, he introduces himself a "Titreano," a name given to him by the island people he came to know some 800 years ago before his death. He explains the trio the facts about possession and comes to convince them that soon the entire planet will be overcome. He then displays some of the powers of possession by single-handedly lifting Carmitha's wagon and mending its missing wheel to the bearing. Young Genevieve talks him into traveling with them to Bytham.

He escorts the Kavanagh sisters through the military security of Norwich's Bennett Field aerodrome by transforming his clothes into a military uniform. But the trio has difficulty locating the Far Realm. Instead, they run into Quinn Dexter and Lawrence Dillion, who are in the process of possessing the facility and seeking a way off the planet themselves. When Quinn tries to take Louise's transport contract away, she resists. A mysterious figure from the other end of the hanger fires a white bolt at Quinn and Dillion enabling Fletcher and the sisters to escape and get to the Far Realm's spaceplane.

Once in orbit on the Far Realm above Norfolk, Fletcher senses that Quinn Dexter is on the Tantu. At first he tries convince the Far Realm's captain to follow the Tantu as the later ship jumps out of orbit. Rebuffed, he tells Louise Kavanagh that he feels destined to become Quinn's "nemesis." "He is not as the other possessed," he tells her. "He is a monster, a bringer of evil."