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Character Page for Count Zero, beware of unmarked spoilers. Needs Love.

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Main Characters

    Turner 

Turner

An extraction specialist on contract with Hosaka who bring him out of pseudo-retirement in Mexico to extract Christopher Mitchell from Hosaka's chief rival, Maas Biolabs. When the extraction goes pear-shaped, he chooses to ensure Angie Mitchell's safety.


  • The Ace: Is well-known in corporate and private military circles for his skill and professionalism, with one agent in Arizona complimenting his skill when he was on the opposite side of a conflict.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Tries to live quietly in a rural Mexican coastal village after being rebuilt. Not only was Hosaka monitoring him the whole time, his girlfriend was one of their "field psychologists".
  • Corporate Samurai: Fits this perfectly up until he gets burned by Conroy, who even mocks him as "Mr. Bushido" at the end of the book.
  • Genius Bruiser: While not as smart as his super-genius brother, Turner is obviously very intelligent in his own right and is a hardened mercenary.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: A mixed bag falling more on the good side. He sleeps with his brother's neglected woman while staying with them, and ultimately marries her following his brother's death.
  • Hand Cannon: Has a Smith & Wesson .408 caliber (10.4mm) snubnose magnum as a Weapon of Choice with custom explosive ammo to up the firepower further. Most tellingly he uses it to shoot down a helicopter late in the book.
  • Hired Guns: Is a professional mercenary complete with a very good agent who secured his current contract with Hosaka.
  • My Greatest Failure: Never got over a failed assignment in Mexico early in his career where all of his charges were killed by rival mercenaries led by Conroy. The failure combined with the sickening callousness his employers displayed is part of what makes him retire at the start of the book.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The stoic, corporate careerist Turner versus the alcoholic, perennially-jobless Rudy.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Tries to retire in Mexico after being rebuilt due to years of trauma catching up with him at once. However, his handlers at Hosaka call him out when they deem him stable enough to work again.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Kills one of his subordinates during the botched Mitchell extraction, having pegged him for one of Conroy's plants among the mercenary team.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Is reconstructed after getting caught in a bombing in New Delhi by having either cloned parts brought in, or having open-market spares grafted on, like his eyes and genitals.

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    Count Zero 

Bobby "Count Zero" Newmark

A teenage "hotdogger" (amateur hacker) out of the Barrytown Projects in New Jersey. After nearly dying in what was meant to be a simple job, only living due to the intervention of a mysterious presence in the Matrix, he gets drawn into a massive conspiracy which threatens to reshape the entire structure of the connected world.


  • Audience Surrogate: Even moreso than Case in the first book, with his inexperience leading to his allies spelling things out for him more often than not.
  • Broken Tears: Breaks down crying when Jackie is killed by Virek's cyber-ICE, both out of sorrow at her death and horror at Virek's casual dismissal.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Unlike the jaded veteran Case, Bobby is a highly-naive amateur whose desire to be a hero clashes with Case's "just a job" mentality.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Wants nothing more to become a professional hacker and escape his dead-end life in Barrytown. He gets his chance and then some.
  • Potty Failure: He wets himself after getting fried by cyber-ICE on his first "pro" run, likely due to both the nerve shock and the whiplash of being saved by "The Virgin".
  • Rescue Romance: While they don't meet in person until the very end, it's implied that Angie's saving him in the Matrix factors into his love for her.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: It's implied that he does have a knack for hacking, but his lack of experience and naivety hampers him from being the hotshot he wants to be.
  • Tag Along Kid: How he's seen by the vodouisants at first, only being taken along due to his first-hand encounter with "The Virgin" in the Matrix.

    Marly 

Marly Krushkhova

A disgraced former art dealer based in Paris, she's hired by the incomprehensibly-wealthy Josef Virek to hunt down an elusive artist who produces singularly moving pieces of box art. She quickly realizes that the "Boxmaker" is no mere artist, and Virek's plans are far more sinister than anyone could have expected.


  • Action Survivor: While she faces less direct peril than Bobby or Turner, Marly knows she's over her head with Virek but handles herself with remarkable cunning and courage in order to thwart him.
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: One benefit of being contracted by Virek is he gives her a "reasonable" salary and credit line, just in case she needs to purchase, say, a corporation.
  • Break the Cutie: The poor girl has had it rough being first betrayed by her con-man lover and disgraced by the professional community, and that's before she becomes the servant of a sociopath who has near godlike reach.
  • The Fashionista: The first thing she does with Virek's endless money is to buy extremely fashionable clothes and get a makeover.
  • Never Live It Down: Has become persona non grata in the art community due to her accidentally selling a forgery, one given to her by her con-man boyfriend.

    Virek 

Josef Virek

The single richest man in the world, and a well-known philanthropist and patron of the arts. Unknown to most, he's been confined to a life support tank for over a decade, his body ravaged by several hyper-aggressive cancers. His desperation to escape this purgatorial existence is what leads to the main conflict of the book, with him at the nucleus of it all.


  • Affably Evil: Slides between this and Faux Affably Evil depending on his mood. On the one hand he is extraordinarily generous and patient with Marly, but at the same time doesn't care at all about her as a person. His total disregard for Jackie's death, and all the other killings done on his orders, also show off his darker side.
  • Big Bad: He is at the center of all of the tangled plots, having a hand in nearly every misery visited upon the protagonists.
  • Body Horror: At this point he's almost nothing more than a conscious tumor locked away in a life support vat, in his own words he is trapped in "four hundred kilograms of rioting cells".
  • Brain Uploading: What his endgame basically entails, using the biochip/bio-weave technology developed by Mitchell with the AI's aid to completely digitize his consciousness, thus becoming truly free and immortal in the Matrix.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Nothing happens without his knowledge, with his "gestalt" having thousands of well-paid informants and monitoring systems.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: He only "lives" due to his confinement to an ever-expanding life support vat, and it's his desire to escape this hellish existence that drives him to extremes.
  • Death Seeker: What he was prior to learning about Mitchell and the AI Loa, desiring to end his awful half-life but being unable to due to the legal and economic ramifications his death would bring.
  • Fiction 500: He's wealthy enough that buying entire space stations and corporations barely registers, several characters contemplate whether or not he counts as human anymore just by the sheer nature and power of his wealth.
  • Oh, Crap!: He completely loses his composure when Baron Samedi comes for him in revenge for Jackie's death.

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Turner's Arc

    Conroy 

A veteran mercenary who has history with Turner, serving first as his handler at Hosaka before betraying him at the Mitchell extraction when Virek tempts him with his infinite wealth.


  • Blondes Are Evil: Described as being a bottle-blonde, and is by far one of the most vile characters in the book.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Unlike Turner, Conroy has no concept of loyalty and will gladly betray anyone to get ahead.
  • Deal with the Devil: He destroys his reputation in the mercenary world by pulling double for Virek, but doesn't care because the kind of money Virek offered him would mean he would never have to work again.
  • Dirty Coward: He never puts himself on the line, preferring to manipulate others into doing his work for him while he stays well back.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has two of these moments, the first when Turner interrogates him at gunpoint and finally when Jaylene Slide has her man wipe out the building he's in with a recoilless rifle.
  • The Stoic: Puts on a front of being coldly logical and professional as a way of compensating for his actual cowardice.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Hires and disposes of low-level thugs and hardened professionals alike when working for Virek, most notably with the extraction team in Arizona who he has vaporized by a railgun strike, and the assassins who killed Lucas who he has Oakey fry with his laser.

     Angie 

Angie Mitchell

Christopher Mitchell's teenage daughter who gets sent out in his stead. While seemingly normal, she actually has advanced bio-weave grafted into her brain which allows her to interface with the Matrix without a deck and makes her a prime vessel for the Loa to possess.


  • Astral Projection: Her ability to interface with the Matrix on her own is effectively a technology-based version of this, and it's in this form she's venerated as "The Virgin" by the vodouisaints and saves Bobby's life.
  • Blessed with Suck: Has world-altering technology grafted into her which allows her unprecedented power in the Matrix, it also makes her a massive target for amoral megacorps and makes her prone to Demonic Possession.
  • Bodyguard Crush: She develops obvious feelings for Turner, and while he is also attracted the obvious age gap and circumstances leads him to not act on it.
  • Demonic Possession: How the Loa manifest themselves, it's not pleasant for her.
  • Guinea Pig Family: Was experimented on by her father at an early age, having the bio-weave grafted to her brain at the behest of the AI Loa who had helped her father succeed in his research.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Despite the questionable things Mitchell did to her, in the end his love for her is what led him to send her out in his stead while he stays behind.

     Rudy 

Rudy

Turner's underachieving but brilliant brother who shelters Turner and Angie after the botched extraction and reveals what exactly Angie has in her head.


  • The Alcoholic: A barely-functioning one at that, Sally implies he's getting worse as he ages.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Less so lazy than unambitious, but Rudy is undoubtedly a super-genius and brilliant inventor who prefers to sit around and drink all day rather than do anything with himself.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dies protecting Sally and Turner, refusing to inform on him even when threatened by Conroy and Oakey.
  • Killed Offscreen: His death is mentioned in passing by Conroy, having tracked Turner to his place.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Rudy is a skilled engineer who also seems to have a working knowledge of medicine and biology.
  • Thicker Than Water: He and Turner are estranged at best, but when the chips are down he puts his life on the line for his brother's sake.
  • Weekend Inventor: Has developed technologies that could get him a job anywhere, but instead chooses to live off patent money while his inventions lie around his home.

     Oakey 

Oakey

Another mercenary operative who has history with Turner and Conroy, taking up with the latter as his man on the ground in the pursuit for Angie.


  • Cold Sniper: Is a crackshot with a handheld laser projector even from a moving helicopter, having killed off Lucas' assassins on Conroy's orders, Rudy's cyberdogs, and the unfortunate hermit at the petrol station.
  • The Dragon: Is Conroy's chief agent in his pursuit of Turner and Angie, being one of the few pros willing to work with him after Arizona.
  • The Engineer: Is primarily a technician, and is introduced in that capacity.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: He clearly remembers Turner from their work together in Marrakesh, Turner doesn't remember Oakey at all.
  • Functional Addict: He's introduced offering alcohol and drugs to Turner, and keeps a flask of bourbon on him at all times.

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Bobby's Arc

    Beauvoir 

Beauvoir

A bigtime houngan (Vodou priest) from the Sprawl who brings Bobby into his world after his encounter with "The Virgin", he helps Bobby adjust to the dark and violent world of the Sprawl as well as filling him in on just what the Loa are.


  • Badass Preacher: While his official title roughly translates to "priest" he's also an extremely dangerous man, being both a skilled black market businessman and a lethal infiltrator.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Less deadpan, but makes up for it with heavy snark.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Sneaks his way into the besieged Gentleman Loser to provide backup and extra firepower, although the situation is resolved before he and Turner need to enter the fray.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Averted like rest of the vodouisants, being a more realistic (for the time and genre) portrayal of a practitioner of Haitian Vodou.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Part of his signature look, alongside his sharkskin robe, are thick-rimmed glasses with no lenses.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Lucas' blue, being far more aggressive and openly emotional than Lucas.

    Lucas 

Lucas

The other houngan from the Sprawl who comes for Bobby after his encounter with "The Virgin". He has history with The Finn, and is the one who takes Bobby out of Barrytown to the Sprawl proper.


  • Badass Preacher: While not as openly dangerous as Beauvoir, Lucas is clearly formidable and has a reputation from his days on the street.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Keeps a massive walking stick which can turn into something like a flanged mace.
  • Cool Car: "Ahmed", his automated and unbelievably sumptuous Syrian-made limo.
  • Killed Offscreen: Is assassinated on Virek's orders, getting vaporized in his limo by a rocket strike.
  • Mr. Exposition: Shares this role with Beauvoir, spelling out the vodouisants history and motivations to Bobby.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Between his impeccable fashion and his incredible limousine, Lucas gives of an air of power and refinement.

    Jackie 

Jackie

A mambo (Vodoun priestess) and "horse" (willing vessel) of Damballa Wedo, the great serpent Loa. She works closely with Lucas and Beauvoir and is tasked by them to be Bobby's handler in the sprawl.


  • The Cracker: Apparently has some hacking skill as Jammer tasks her with monitoring Bobby as he makes a run from Jammer's deck. This is unfortunately what gets her killed by Virek's ICE when the two try to make a second dive.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: While never necessarily "icy" she barely tolerated Bobby at first, but eventually built a solid rapport with him, sadly just before she dies to Virek's cyber defenses.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Hits Bobby with heavy snark all throughout their time together, being sharp at first but eventually softening to a more playful, affectionate ribbing.
  • Willing Channeler: What her role as a "horse" entails, allowing herself to be possessed by her favored loa.

    Jammer 

Jammer

An ex-console cowboy turned owner of the Gentleman Loser, a slick nightclub in the Sprawl which caters to the cowboy and other high-end criminal crowd. Jackie and Bobby go to him in the hopes of finding out more about "The Virgin".


  • Ace Custom: He has a custom-built deck which Bobby immediately begins drooling over, apparently it's one of the most powerful and fastest in the world.
  • The Cracker: An ex-cowboy who still knows his way around a deck.
  • Fingore: Has his hand mangled by a laser blast, forcing him to hand over his deck to Bobby and Jackie.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Is deeply unnerved by the loa, something he tries to hide behind skepticism.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Can't deck with his burned hand, which makes it fall to Bobby.
  • N-Word Privileges: Refers to the vodouisants as "wacked-out spades" (a deeply pejorative, if archaic, term for blacks) and isn't called out by any of them present.

Marly's Arc

    Paco 

Paco

Virek's Spanish agent who serves as Marly's minder, and later pursuer, in her search for the Box Maker


  • Battle Butler: Serves as a major-domo figure for Virek, and is implied to be extremely lethal when he desires.
  • Born into Slavery: Implied, given he's apparently been in Virek's "employ" since early childhood.
  • Cultural Posturing: Is adamant in the superiority of Spanish coffee over French.
  • Dashing Hispanic: Is very suave and handsome, an image likely cultivated by Virek.
  • The Dragon: Is Virek's chief agent, monitoring Marly throughout her search for the Box Maker and even pursuing her into space to make sure she fulfills her duty.
  • Master of Disguise: Is adept at blending into crowds and assuming roles, first appearing as a bellman in Marly's hotel then later as a waiter at the cafe she meets Alain in.

    Box Maker 

The Box Maker

An enigmatic figure who has created incredibly moving works of box art out of seemingly random items. Virek believes they hold the key to ending his wretched existence, and tasks Marly with finding them at all costs.


  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted, it's the closest thing left to the original super AI formed from Wintermute and Neuromancer prior to their fracturing, but it's completely benign and merely wishes to reconnect its fractured self to end its loneliness.
  • Eccentric Artist: What it's assumed to be by Marly at first, given that its box art takes random junk but makes it into incredibly powerful and evocative art pieces.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Is utterly disgusted by Virek, and hates that he sees it as salvation.

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