Brent (meaning: high place, holy one – Celtic)
Brent is a liaison of an unnamed agency, he is also a place-holder for Bahati’s romantic interest, and acts as a foil for her.
Collared Bahati to check up on my understanding.
“What’s all this about Toba?” I’d done my homework and read my notes so I half knew the answer.
“Well, that’s the big issue. Toba was a category eight volcano near Java about seventy-five thousand years back. That eruption cut us down to less than ten thousand breeding couples and it’s the closest that homo sapiens has come to a full stop.”
“So what about Darwin?”
“You’re talking evolution. I’m talking catastrophe.”
Bahati (meaning: lucky, East African – Swahili)
Team leader Cradle Hood; Project liaison Alien, Toba
She delves back into the history of mankind, looking for suitable motifs that would be emblematic of lost cultures and pays due regard to the place that for a long period was the cradle. If asked about her job, she would say she is a Cultural Theme Administrator.
“And we prepare a cradle; that the children might have identity.”
Hsuchia Redmann / Shoe
Redmann rules the ruins of New York. A fact of family. Shoe is determined to be free of their clutches. And so she meets Triste. She has secrets that she must keep from him. Even knowledge of her name could prove his undoing. Redmann’s reach is long.
She rehearsed her tale. ‘Wanted to join a service, medical perhaps. Kept putting it off. Friendships were with those who liked the outdoors. Joined this group. Romance of adventure, nothing more.’
Ruzhena wants what she wants and isn’t particular how she gets it. She knows that Brent is a former buddy of Watcher and uses that as a lever to ensure that Watcher works for her. She even gets to spend downtime with him…
After several minutes and coffee poured from the thermos flask, Ruzhena sighed in contentment. Several birds skimmed the lake surface, doing as wildlife does.
“You know, the longer I’m here, the easier it gets to let go.”
“And the weird double-think.” She paused a moment then added, “Distant.”
“Like stars in the sky.”
“Full of little green men.”
Triste is of course unaware of why things fall out as they do. He lives life moment by moment, a loner, a good killing machine, busy shaping events with his ordnance, but not ready for emotional contact. Triste’s life is a lie.
Broken vents were overgrown by climbing plants. A steady breeze pushed fronds and leaves aside. Early morning sunlight played on metal-clad mezzanine, coloured by a pitted, rusted grid of steel, in reds and browns, then lattice-like pouring down to gravity’s ground. Dappled spots of light struck concreted floor below, flickering faithfully to that high breeze. The unquiet air carried a metallic smell.
Below was Triste, with company. He played cat and mouse.
Ten or eleven moving blotches, viewed through the infra-red overlay on his headgear. They had followed him. He’d headed for this place, a large warehouse. Former warehouse. Those that pursued liked to corner their prey. Capture by them would lead to an unpleasant end, accomplished by much savagery.
Feminized contraction from ‘Xhenogie’.
The character of Xeghita took some working on. Her name and role was unclear until very late in the book. If you have read the book you will realize she can do a number of things, at a genetic level, that you wouldn’t want your parents to know about. I ended up quite liking her (from a distance). She operates according to her nature, but limited by her circumstances.
An image comes into her mind. She sees light and warmth refracted through the ages. The comfort of caring.