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.

After his escape, the Quadin takes him to Pinjarra, where he is unable to find another starship to transport him to Valisk. Only inter-orbiting craft are available. He discovers that a neighboring asteroid, Koblat, is not honoring the Confederation quarantine. After arriving on Koblat, his anxiousness and desperation cause many starship captains to refuse to transport him even though he can afford the fee. These refusals often send the unstable personality into a tantrum.

As he is composing himself after yet another rejection, Gerald happens upon Beth, a Deadnight who reminds him of Marie. She is being accosted by three young men. Gerald shakily pulls out his nervejam stick and orders them away from her. His intensity and instability cause the others to yield. But, Gerald realizes that Beth is not his daughter, his mind was just playing tricks with him again. He begins to weep. Beth takes pity on him and takes him to her apartment where he meets Jed Hinton. It is here that Gerald learns a starship will soon come near Koblat to take Deadnights to Valisk. All Gerald has to do is secure an inter-orbiter to get them to the ship. This he manages to do.