Character page for Panopticon Quest.
Jamelia Belltower is a veteran NWO spy who's seen it all and done it all. Over sixty years old, she doesn't look like she's aged a day over 25. She would be the Da Vinci of Espionage. If Da Vinci was female. And Middle Eastern. And had a personal kill count larger than the standing armies of some nations.
- Achievements in Ignorance: As a 20-year old cafe waitress in Beirut, Jamelia infiltrated an NWO station. Despite not knowing anything about them at all. Without any training.
- Badass in Charge: She's a Senior Operative of the NWO, which means she's been working successfully and effectively in the field for over 40 years.
- Benevolent Boss: Despite the fact that she's a pretty terrible person, she treats her employees well and doesn't care if they were grown in a tank as long as they're good at their job.
- Everyone Has Standards: Jamelia is willing to go pretty far to get the job done, but forced mind alteration like with the NWO's Series-P or Threat Null scares her, even if she won't admit to anything more than concern out loud. This is due in no small part to the fact that, fresh off going through INVISIBLE BEAR, she was left little better than a Series-P.
- Experienced Protagonist: Jamelia is a veteran Operative by the start of the story, highly placed enough that she is on personal speaking terms with the head of the entire NWO, and has considerably more experience than the rest of the main cast.
- Fake Memories: Jamelia discovers that her memories were altered as part of her psychological reprofiling, and that she actually joined the Technocracy several years earlier than she had previously believed to cover up that she was once part of a black ops unit that was a precursor to Panopticon. This included all her memories of her daughter.
- Famed in Story: Feared and renowned on both sides of the Ascension War.
- Fights Like a Normal: Her paradigm is one of being a Bourne-style "sufficiently-skilled normal could plausibly do this" superspy, which has the benefits that almost all her totally not magic is Coincidental and she can operate at near-full ability in environments where heavy cyborgs, Powered Armor or even Bond-style gadget-dependent fellow Operatives might be circumscribed. Not that she's adverse to getting an edge where she can.
- Guile Hero: Though Jamelia is more than capable of violence, manipulation and disruption are where she truly excels.
- I Have Many Names: As an Operative, she has used many aliases over the years, Jamelia Belltower being the most recent. These include Jazmin Black, Jazmin Blade, and Jane Brahmastra (yes, really). But her original name was Illiyeen al-Hallaq.
- In-Series Nickname: Threat Null calls her the Adversary.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: At the start of the Chronicle, she didn't have Adepthood or Mastery in any one sphere, but she had two dots in almost everything, making her very versatile.
- Knight in Sour Armour: She cynically pretends to be an idealist pretending to be a cynic. She (much to her own surprise) is actually a cynical idealist pretending to be an idealist pretending to be a cynic.
- The Leader: She's the Director of the Construct.
- The Man: She is The Man. The one who anti-establishment rebels try to fight before The Man's boot crushes them. She's the one wearing the boot and doing the crushing. And she's The Man despite being female, petite, and Arabic.
- Manipulative Bitch: Both her job description and her hobby. Never let her near a phone or there'll be very disruptive phone calls being made which will cripple any attempt to catch her.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Jamelia can mimic a whole host of voices, which comes in handy with her Manipulative Bitch nature.
- Married to the Job: Jamelia is a chronic workaholic who uses stimulants to stay awake longer so that she can get more work done, actively avoids taking vacations whenever possible, and has no personal life outside her work. This is because her personality was deliberately constructed that way when she underwent a complete psychological rewrite.
- Nerves of Steel: Facing down werewolves, vampires, or space marines in powered armor doesn't make Jamelia so much as flinch.
- No Place for Me There: As she says in JB LXV, one of the things she wishes for is a world that doesn't need people like her.
- Older Than They Look: Jamelia is in her sixties, but she looks like a twenty-something at most thanks to Union life extension.
- Parental Substitute: As the story progresses, Jamelia becomes something of a surrogate mother figure to Henriette.
- Power of Trust: Jamelia has a deep-seated fear of betrayal stemming from when her lover Silent Starling betrayed her, and a major part of her character arc is learning how to place her trust in others again. It doesn't help that as an Operative, being Properly Paranoid is in the job description.
- Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Well, technically backsliding from Islam. While hiding in Moscow after the return from the Umbra, Jamelia reflects on how she was willing to bend and break the tenets of her faith as part of her service to the Union, and wonders whether her continued observance of aspects like wearing the hijab or foregoing alcohol and pork is because she still genuinely believes or whether she's merely playing out a habit.
- Supernaturally Young Parent: Her daughter Alice looks older than she is.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Jamelia has a way with words that she is very adept at using to break her foes.
- Unstuck in Time: After traveling back in time, Jamelia's mind reverts to her younger self from the Paradox backlash.
- Wall Run: Becomes able to do this after gaining Legendary Dexterity during the London arc.
The Syndicate Financier of the Construct who defected from the Cult of Ecstasy.
- Benevolent Boss: Believes strongly in providing good incentives to help people perform. For example, he once took Rose to Disney World as a reward, which managed to pretty much be the happiest day of her life.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: A lesser form in that he only diverts some of his money to funding a world-wide sinister conspiracy.
- Defector from Decadence: How he views defecting from the Cult of Ecstasy. They would disagree and pin him as defecting to decadence.
- The Hedonist: Was fond of alcohol, casual sex and recreational drug use as an Ecstatic. Even post-defection, he is still rather prone to this.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: He doesn't have Mastery in any Sphere and there are other main party members with higher Arete/Enlightenment, but by JB CLXXXV he had dots in most Spheres, the highest total number of dots in Spheres of the party and Adepthood in a whopping five Spheres.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Donald likes indulging in drugs and sex, but he also cares a great deal about his friends and subordinates and makes sure to look out for them.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Manages to snag a Reality Deviant construct by using a contract.
- Non-Action Guy: He's a lover, not a fighter, and while he's not completely helpless at the sharp end, he'd rather not stay there any longer than absolutely necessary.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He plays up the party animal appearance, but is more competent and reliable than he appears.
- Outside-the-Box Tactic: Due to his past as a Traditionalist, he sometimes offers useful perspectives that dedicated Technocrats don't think of.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: The Syndicate board were embarrassed by his playing a big part in the uncovering of the Special Projects Division's corruption, so they gave him a medal and what was supposed to have been a position of no importance. Events would later prove this to be quite the Reassignment Backfire.
- Squishy Wizard: The least physically capable of the main party. Even the near-baselines like Jamelia, Harlan and Guofan are still enhanced to peak human if not mildly superhuman, but Donald doesn't have that.
- Uncanny Valley: Said In-Universe of him by Janice when they meet in the Spy's Demise - there is enough left of the old Ecstatic he used to be left in him as to be painful and disconcerting to anyone who knew him back then and can spot how he's changed post-defection.
- Uncle Pennybags: Donald uses his substantial wealth to support the Construct and treat his friends to a good time.
- The Unfettered: When the chips are down, he can put everything aside and focus like a laser on completing the mission, though he'll usually feel guilty about the cost afterwards.
Henriette Langley is a vehicle expert, a great helicopter pilot and stunt driver that makes her potentially useful in subtle operations or "subtle" operations gone wrong. She's also a surprisingly good computer hacker. Of course, the reason she's here in this Construct is because someone didn't want her back in her home Convention, Iteration X.
- Ace Pilot: She's very skilled with just about any vehicle, though her preference is a mech.
- Brought Down to Badass: She used to have a more powerful cyborg body, but it was taken away after the failed Autochthonian reclamation attempt to be given to a more functional user. Under Jamelia's mentorship, though, she is learning to apply herself in ways that don't just entail brute force,
- Expy: Of Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Except with even more trauma.
- Important Haircut: She cuts it short after the events of the Umbra Arc as the result of her Jerkass Realization.
- Jerkass Realization: Thanks in part to increased self-awareness gained from learning hyperpsychology, in the aftermath of driving her abused, traumatized sister to effectively commit suicide, Henriette takes a good look at herself and decides that she doesn't much like what she sees.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Henriette frequently puts her foot in her mouth, constantly criticizes others, and at her worst can be deliberately cruel and something of a bully. This is mostly the result of being an insensitive and impulsive teenager, and she usually feels guilty after doing something hurtful.
- Parental Abandonment: Both her parents were lost in the Dimensional Anomaly.
- Self-Made Orphan: Her parents were actually assimilated by the Autopolitans, and Henriette was forced to kill them during the failed Autochthonian reclamation attempt. Although her parents were effectively already dead and what she killed were nothing more than puppets in their likeness, Henriette still suffered from horrible guilt because of it.
- Sore Loser: Henriette is very proud of her intelligence and skill, and tends not to take it well when she is shown up or has her ignorance of a subject pointed out to her.
- Took a Level in Badass: As part of Jamelia's mentorship, she is being trained in how to handle herself when a mech isn't available.
A product of the Progenitors' EXEMPLAR III programme with vampire implants.
- Artificial Human: Rose is a modified clone of Reina Lior, one of the heroes of the Order of Reason.
- Badass Adorable: Rose is cheerful, excitable, naive, and capable of killing a paradox spirit with her bare hands.
- Bad Powers, Good People: A quintessential example. Rose is a sweet, caring, idealistic woman, who can sprout claws to murder everyone in the room or teleport by turning into a cloud of blood.
- Break the Cutie: After being ordered to kill Donald by Miss Clock through Conditioning codes and having that Conditioning purged by Reina, Rose's idealism is brutally shattered.
- The Cutie: The most adorable, cute, and huggable member of the construct. She's been described as a moeder moechine.
- Enemy Within: Has Thorn in her head, a speculated derivative of the Beast that taunts her over her weakness at every opportunity. Thorn has since been removed and replaced with Reina Lior as her Avatar when Rose bought off her Demented Eidolon. Played with when she somehow debilitates Reina and comes back while the Spy's Demise is under siege by the Anathema; Thorn is now still an unpleasant sort, but more in the drill sergeant or stern teacher style of tearing down to build up rather than her original tearing down just to destroy.
- Entendre Failure: One of her more notable characteristics is her constant failure to recognize innuendo and sexual euphemisms.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Rose has vampire genetic material incorporated into her and an extra nervous system cloned from some monster from the stars.
- Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: In the alternate ending where time-travelling Jamelia takes on fatal Paradox to help the Union mitigate the damage from Ravnos and the Avatar Storm, Rose, now reduced to the Avatar for a successfully-reborn Reina, is still able to think about why Jamelia did what she did.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Rose is generally very naive, and has absolute faith in the Technocracy and its goals. Sadly, she ends up being harshly disabused.
- Younger Than They Look: Chronologically, Rose is only five years old, but she has the body of a woman in her twenties, and mentally she's all over the place.
A Progenitor prodigy, being the daughter of two famous Progenitors, and Rose's adoptive mother.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: She is superhumanly intelligent, but has difficulty focusing on any one thing.
- The Chains of Commanding: She could be a good leader, but as others note, she has great difficulty with making hard decisions that may cost the lives of her subordinates.
- Creating Life Is Awesome: Serafina really enjoys her work. Her Avatar Alicia enjoys it even more.
- Heroic Seductress: When infiltrating a Progenitor Construct to save Alice Serafina uses her sexuality to obtain the clearance she needs to subvert security and covertly take over the base.
- Hot Scientist: As a Progenitor test tube baby, she was made to be superhumanly attractive.
- Imaginary Friend: Had one as a child that was actually a Not-So-Imaginary Friend.
- It's All My Fault: She blames herself for giving the order to drop a nuclear bomb on Moscow, and very nearly commits suicide. She actually attempts suicide later on thanks to a memetic attack by Miss Clock, and only survives thanks to a timely intervention by Alicia.
- Mama Bear: She's very protective of Rose.
- Meaningful Name: In SR XVII, Father Orisino points out the significance of her name deriving from "seraphim".
- Minored in Ass-Kicking: She's much more comfortable in a lab than in the field, but when going into action is inevitable in Mexico, she does quite well with the aid of a Supersoldier that doubles as Bio-Armor.
- Noodle Incident: Despite her superhuman intellect, she has often shown very poor judgement. Especially when she was a teenager. Her standard defense is "It was the Nineties!" whenever one of these embarrassing incidents get name-dropped.
- Teen Genius: Was one. To the extent that she tried to clone herself a hot boyfriend at fourteen (and got caught doing so and got in a lot of trouble for misuse of equipment).
John Kessler was one of the more respected Iteration X cyborg shock troopers until he went missing in action for 20 years back in the halcyon days of the early 90s. A man with biceps the diameter of tree trunks and a chest that looks like anti-tank missiles would bounce off of, Kessler is a great driver, capable of piloting, and a lethal personal combatant who has incredibly heavy augmentation, rendering him basically a man-sized mini-tank. To top it all off, he holds two degrees and is actually quite talented at a lot of things, like chemical and mechanical engineering.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Kessler is a pretty fun guy to be around, and frequently makes terrible puns in the middle of a fight.
- Brain Uploading: As of JB CXLVI he uploads himself into a nanomachine-comprised chassis after his previous body is badly damaged.
- Combat Pragmatist: He has no qualms about challenging the leader of a werewolf tribe to a duel so that his allies can shoot the other werewolves in the back.
- '80s Hair: Commented on several times as part of the way that he's stuck in the past.
- Expy: Of the 80s Action Hero in general, and The Terminator in particular, being for all intents and purposes a T-800. He gets a mid-season upgrade to what is essentially the T-X, complete with integral plasma cannon.
- Famed in Story: He is the kind of boogeyman the Traditions talk about when bringing up the matter of implacable Iteration X killer cyborgs - and that was before he started adding to his Legend during the course of the quest.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: He has more than a bit of trouble adjusting to all the changes that have happened while he was trapped on another planet.
- Genius Bruiser: Kessler is a huge man and a lethal combatant, and together with his many quirks, people often overlook the fact that he is also a capable engineer and a brilliant tactician with a depth of experience second only to Jamelia among the main cast.
- Important Haircut: After undergoing character development, Kessler cuts his hair, symbolically moving forward and coming to terms with the modern day.
- Man in the Machine: He's basically most of a brain in a robot body. Despite that, he's well-balanced - or at least was before he wound up stuck on an alien world for twenty years. Now he's well-balanced by the standards of eighties action heroes.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He is not above pretending to be a dumb grunt. Jamelia admits to herself that even as canny as she is, she too underestimates him from time to time.
- Robinsonade: His backstory is that he was stranded on another world for two decades.
- Serial Prostheses: He kept getting parts of himself replaced with augmentation due to damage. As of JB CLXVI, even his brain is gone, uploaded into a distributed nanomachine cloud.
- Soul Power: Kessler learned to use spirit magic (not Dimensional Science) to survive on the alien planet, though he rationalizes it as psychic powers gained from drinking dragon blood.
- Walking Disaster Area: Pretty much everywhere Kessler goes inevitably turns into a scene from an action movie.
A Void Engineer who was a member of Jamelia's construct until he defected to Panopticon.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Jamelia thinks his hardline anti-Reality Deviant attitude would have been a perfect fit for an earlier, more Pogrom-obsessed Technocracy.
- Brainwashed: By Threat Null.
- Cynicism Catalyst: His hatred of Reality Deviants mainly stems from an incident during a battle where the Void Engineers were cooperating with Traditionalists against Threat Null, only for a Tradition Mage to friendly fire on his team.
- FaceHeel Turn: He transferred to Panopticon because he didn't think that Jamelia was hardline enough.
- Fantastic Racism: He hates Reality Deviants and doesn't think of constructs as people.
- Fighting from the Inside: Siddharth subverts Control's orders by carrying them out with greater force than necessary, drawing attention to himself and increasing the chances that someone will detect him.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Is loosely modeled after SeaDart, a somewhat infamously hard-line forum user who is an Indian in/formerly of the Republic of Singapore Navy.
- Redemption Equals Death: Jamelia manages to convince him that Control is the enemy of the Technocratic Union, and he resists their mind control long enough to destroy a piece of equipment that sabotages their plans at a critical moment, killing himself in the process.
- Space Marine: His role in the Void Engineers before he joined Jamelia's Construct.
A former Virtual Adept who defected to the Technocracy after the battle at Moscow and joined the Void Engineers.
- Conflicting Loyalty: Elsa is torn between protecting the Void Engineers' secrets and the gratitude she feels to Jamelia and the other members of her construct. To avoid having to choose between them, she suggests to her superiors in the Void Engineers that they assign her to Jamelia's amalgam so that she can keep an eye on them.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: She sometimes slips into talking like she was still a Traditionalist.
- Expy: Of both Motoko Kusanagi and Samus Aran, though the latter was originally unintentional.
- Famed in Story: Not as much as, say, Kessler, but still enough of an underworld legend that Mafiya lieutenants know not to mess with her.
- In Harm's Way: Elsa is an adrenaline junkie, and repeatedly throws herself into dangerous situations for the thrill of the challenge.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Her cyberbody is not as strong or tough as Kessler's, but it's faster, and it's not as fast as Jane Clarent's, but stronger and tougher.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Elsa flirts with pretty much every woman she meets.
- We Can Rebuild Him: In her backstory, Elsa was grievously injured by her encounter with a Series-P, and had to be reconstructed as a full-body cyborg.
Wufan 'William' Guo
A Media Control Specialist of the Void Engineers' Neutralisation Specialist Corps assigned to "chaperone" Jamelia and co after the Umbra Arc.
- By-the-Book Cop: Believes in strictly following protocol unless there is sufficient evidence to convince him otherwise.
- Consummate Professional: He is all about the mission, to the point that he thinks nothing of throwing away his original face and considers it not worth the time and resources to revert the surgery involved.
- The Men in Black: What his methodology is, being tasked to police the Void Engineers' secrets, even from the rest of the Union.
- Only Sane Man: He thinks he's this, given all the neuroses and quirks of the rest of the bunch.
Jason "Bro" Brakowski
A hard-partying frat boy turned NWO Operative who leads the Amalgam's TAC-1.
- Expy: His name and backstory - a party animal who Awoke to his talents on a vacation gone wrong - bring to mind Jason Brody.
A US Marine corporal who was rescued from a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan by Iteration X and joined the Technocracy thereafter. She now leads the Amalgam's TAC-2.
- Amazonian Beauty: Outright described as such, between Iteration X plastic surgery and being 1.9 metres tall.
- Death Faked for You: As part of her recruitment, the rest of the world, including her parents, was led to believe she had died in a heroic Last Stand.
- Leonine Contract: How she got recruited - her rescuers gave her the choice between coming with them and helping to discover the masterminds of the ambush, or refusing and trying to hold out long enough for reinforcements.
The eponymous antagonist faction. Internal security for the Union that went dark after 1999 only to suddenly and overtly resurface.
The group as a whole:
- Adaptational Villainy: While Panopticon being a pseudo-Convention with unlimited remit to defend the Technocracy against all threats internal and external is canon, the M20 corebook at least never explicitly has them be puppets/servants of Threat Null as they are here.
- Conspiracy Redemption: Inverted; Aleph and his inner circle are shady but ultimately good guys, and it's their underlings like Clock that are blindly loyal to the evils of Control.
- State Sec: Insofar as the Technocracy can be considered a "state", they otherwise fit the criteria. Internal Affairs, answering direct to Control rather than going through any normal Convention's chain of command, fully independent equipment-wise; they are described as essentially a Convention unto themselves.
- Who Watches the Watchmen?: One of the reasons for their existence is as internal security for the Union. By quest-start, though, it's anyone's guess if they're really doing all this for the good of the Union or merely being Control's pet murderers and the threats they allegedly curtail are just those who have fallen out of favour or earnt the personal ire of a member of Control rather than genuinely being an enemy of the Technocracy.
Ms Jazmin Clock
A clone of Jamelia who works for Panopticon and Control.
- Evil Twin: Of Jamelia. Though she's not really evil- or at least no more so than Jamelia, which is perhaps not saying much- but she is loyal to Control, and one of the main antagonists of the later arcs.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: Ms Clock is extremely competent and dangerous, just like Jamelia.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Uses it on Serafina. It would have worked too, if not for Alicia's timely intervention.
- The Psycho Rangers: Like the original, she leads a cross-Convention amalgam with an Iteration X pilot, a superhumanly intelligent Progenitor, a Syndicate Financier and a highly-augmented cyborg.
The head apparent of Panopticon.
- Dragon with an Agenda: It eventually becomes apparent that he's not entirely in line with Control's agenda.
- The Faceless: He likes to conceal his face in darkness, and somehow can do it even in a brightly-lit room.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Played with. He has tried and successfully committed suicide several times when he realised how he was a puppet of Control, but they kept bringing him back.
- Manipulative Bastard: During the Grand Tribunal after Moscow, Jamelia notes that he's playing the rest of Command like fiddles without using a drop of magic whatsoever.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Given the belowmentioned Theme Naming of his inner circle, "Aleph" probably isn't his real surname, and "Augustine" may not be his real first name either.
- The Spook: Knowledge about him is so limited in Union circles that Donald had to go to Traditionalist sources, and even those were sketchy.
- Theme Naming: He and his inner circle are named after letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
- Villain in a White Suit: He sometimes wears the uniform of a NWO Man in White. Whether he actually used to be one, no one knows for sure.
A NWO Operative who is a fan of Jamelia.
- Emergency Transformation: After her intermetric weapon blows up on herself, she gets xenobiological grafts.
- Locked into Strangeness: Has become an albino after Paradox backlash from using an experimental weapon.
- Skilled, but Naïve: She is quite talented, but painfully inexperienced.
- Unwitting Pawn: When recruited into Ms Clock's amalgam, she has no idea of Panopticon's true goals or the fact that Ms Clock is not actually the real Jamelia.
- The Worf Effect: The first time she goes into combat post-Emergency Transformation, she wipes the floor with a high-end Progenitor werewolf-killing combat homunculus.
- Evil Genius: He is extremely smart even by the high standards of the Progenitors and very much one of Control's Earthside agents.
- Insufferable Genius: There is something about his attitude that makes most people want to punch him.
A former NWO man who can be blamed for the existence of the Series P.
- Body Surf: He can move, Agent-style, between Sleepers every time his body is killed.
- Exit Villain Stage Left: After the last convenient host body is killed in the Battle of Moscow, he hightails it out of there and isn't seen for many subsequent arcs.
- For the Evulz: He was a fratricidal loose cannon even before he became an Agent. In an alternate timeline where time-travelling Jamelia takes fatal Paradox to help the Union mitigate the damage from Ravnos and the Dimensional Anomaly, he goes Nephandi after realising that the Union's supply of missions where he can indulge his sadism is drying up.
- "Instant Death" Radius: One of his Spirit Charms gives him preemptive attacks on anyone fighting him in CQC.
- Knife Nut: When Jamelia fights him in Moscow, he is armed with a high frequency knife.
- Old Soldier: A veteran of the Great Patriotic War.
An Iteration X pilot of a Spider Tank.
- Emotionless Girl: She is an emoneut, someone who had their emotions suppressed by Iteration X methods.
- The Rival: She was a competitor with Henriette to go on the Autochthonia reclamation mission, but wasn't as good, something that the latter tended to rub in her face.
Warren Harvey Roth
A Syndicate man.
- Expy: His Crimefighting with Cash and Dark and Troubled Past facets have led to questgoers calling him Batman.
- It's Personal: Something supernatural apparently killed his parents, so now he has it in for all Reality Deviants. It's later confirmed to be a Euthanatos.
- The Unfettered: He wants war on the Reality Deviants, and he doesn't care how many innocents will die in the crossfire.
- Enemy Civil War: Nichols claims that Conditioning is the only thing defying this and preventing the respective Conventions from turning on each other. As we learnt from the few glimpses at their perspectives, though, Interservice Rivalry is still fully in effect.
- Flanderization: In-universe. People who undergo Void Adaptation become defined solely by their prominent traits, lacking all the subtlety and nuance possessed by actual human beings.
- Transhuman Aliens: All of them have been altered beyond human norm to some extent, though the Autopolitans and the Transhumans are more obviously so.
- Was Once a Man: Threat Null is composed of the Technocrats who were cut off from Earth by the Dimensional Anomaly and underwent a process called Void Adaptation, which causes people to transform into spirits that are warped caricatures of the way people perceive them. Many of them proceed to convert captives into more once-human things.
The Autopolitans are the Iterators stranded by the Dimensional Anomaly.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Whatever human restraint and other qualities they once had, all the augmentation they've been through - wittingly or not - has stripped them of their humanity.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: The Autopolitans will forcibly convert anyone they get their hands on into an obedient drone. Among their victims are Henriette's parents.
The Transhumans are the Progenitors stranded by the Dimensional Anomaly.
- The Beautiful Elite: The Transhumans are almost universally at the peak of human beauty.
- Evilutionary Biologist: They represent the Progenitors' desires to improve people taken to the extreme.
- Obliviously Evil: The Transhumans seem to be incapable of malice, and only want to help people by forcibly integrating them into the hive mind. They don't understand why anyone would find this objectionable.
The Agency are the NWO stranded by the Dimensional Anomaly.
- Body Surf: Some of them can possess people, and jump to a new body whenever they are killed.
- Complexity Addiction: The Agency's plans are incredibly convoluted, and frequently interfere with each other.
- The Men in Black: As caricatures of the NWO, they exemplify this trope to the point where it defines them almost completely.
The Residents are the Syndicate stranded by the Dimensional Anomaly.
- Animal Motif: As hoarders of wealth and power, many of them seem to have draconic attributes.
- Greed: One of their defining characteristics.
The Subjugation Corps
One of the Void Engineer methodologies that underwent Void Adaptation and serves Threat Null.
- Expy: They're a horrific amalgamation of the aliens from XCOM: Enemy Unknown and War of the Worlds.
- Fighting for a Homeland: Even moreso than the rest of Threat Null, to an extent which is both horrifying and tragic. The rest of the conventions are fully aware that Earth is the prize, whereas the Corps is so far gone it merely thinks Earth is just a planet of Human Aliens and the real Earth is still out there.
- Human Resources: A lot of their technology uses humans as components or power sources.
- Obviously Evil: With spaceship classes named for conquerors and totalitarian regimes like Cortez or Khmer Rouge, not to mention their very choice of name, they're not very subtle about their evil.
The Dimensional Sterilization Unit
Another Void Engineer methodology created by Control in an attempt to mitigate the Dimensional Anomaly and return to Earth.
- Expy: Their impossibly-advanced postsophont beings near-totally merged with their spaceships schtick calls to mind the Xeelee.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The things they did to themselves in pursuit of returning to Earth have changed them so drastically that they will take Paradox merely returning to Earth.
- The Unfought: They have never been directly combated, only known of through bits of their technology gifted to the Earthside operatives of Threat Null.
- Was Once a Man: Extremely far from human even by the standards of the rest of Threat Null, so twisted by the extreme augmentations they did to themselves that they can't return to Earth any longer.
Henriette's younger sister who their mother was pregnant with when the latter was captured by the Computer.
- Deity of Human Origin: When her rage at her sister and the mockery of a normal life the Computer uses to control her finally boils over, she absorbs an Autopolitan mothership and undergoes a rapid apotheosis, transforming herself into an Incarna.
- Driven by Envy: Of her sister, Henriette.
- The Power of Hate: It causes Henrietta to turn herself into a god of rage and murder.
- Tyke Bomb: Indoctrinated and raised as a living weapon by the Computer. When she finally breaks free, the results are spectacular, to say the least.
- Walking Spoiler: Almost everything about her qualifies as The Reveal.
- You Are Who You Eat: After consuming vampires to use as a source of Prime Energy while in Moscow, she starts to take on vampiric qualities.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: For all that Henrietta is a vicious, sadistic mass murderer, she never really had a chance to be anything else.
An aspect of the Computer sent to personally eliminate Jamelia and her amalgam.
- The Assimilator: It can repurpose human brains as tools.
- Deus Est Machina: The Anathema is an avatar of the Computer, and retains its godlike capabilities, albeit to a much lesser degree.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Anathema-class Aspects are stealth and infiltration rather than dedicated combat platforms, "only" the second smallest and weakest of the classes of Aspects. That still leaves them resistant to anti-tank weapons and magic, tank killers both at range and in melee, superhumanly intelligent... and that's before they start throwing around Enlightened Science procedures.
- Reality Warper: The Anathema has assimilated a Marauder before, and as a result, it can force the world to conform to Autochthonian rules.
A 50th generation Transhuman construct sent to convert Jamelia after Moscow.
- Always Someone Better: Vastly superior in capability to Rose.
- Killed Offscreen: Hunted down by Damage Control and killed, though not before giving them the kind of nasty fight you would expect.
Jamelia's former mentor, now a vengeful spirit serving Threat Null.
- Disappointed in You: The main reason for his anger at Jamelia. After Silent Starling's betrayal, Jamelia was broken, traumatised... and on the cusp of the epiphany that would have let her attain Enlightenment 6. For the uninitiated, this is the first step on the road to Archmagedom, something few Mages or Enlightened Scientists achieve and even fewer a mere 15 years post-Awakening. She fled from the shakeup in her worldview this would have entailed, even lost Enlightenment, and he took it very poorly.
- Evil Mentor: He taught Jamelia and Alice in the ways of being a NWO Operative prior to his being lost to the Dimensional Anomaly.
- Fighting a Shadow: While Rose's use of phase disruption abilities has killed the Man in White, he is but a part of the greater Control Incarna, and this loss is not a critical one.
- The Ghost: Despite being critically important to the plot, he spends a large portion of the story unseen outside of flashbacks.
- A God Am I: One of the clearest signs that the Man in White has lost his humanity is that he refers to himself and the rest of Control as gods and the rightful masters of the baryonic universe.
- The Heavy: His manipulations are directly or indirectly responsible for pretty much the entirety of the plot.
- Power Floats: As the Man in White, walking is literally beneath him.
- Revenge by Proxy: It's implied that he took out his anger at Jamelia on Alice through cruelty in her training, such as arranging for her to fight a HITMark with the safeties "accidentally" removed.
- Villain in a White Suit: To be expected of an Inner Circle member in the Ivory Tower. Unsurprisingly, the second thing done by the aspect of the Control Incarna that used to be him after incarnating in an EXEMPLAR IV body is ask for a white suit.
- Words Can Break My Bones: As the Man in White, he can project physical force through his voice.
- Xanatos Gambit: One of his specialties, and one that he passed on to Jamelia. His plans often deliberately incorporate multiple points of failure which are traps for anyone trying to exploit them.
Syndicate VPO of Energy, thought missing after the events of 1999, only to return as a Resident.
- Arab Oil Sheikh: What he was in life and still mostly looks like.
- The Corrupter: Attempts to tempt the party with various things of great value. One untaken option would have resulted in him buying out Duma to turn against the party.
- The Final Temptation: Even to the last, he was desperately trying to cut deals to stave off his end.
- Liquid Assets: He can trade the value of almost anything. When the party first reaches him, Father Orisino immediately sets him on fire, prompting him to reveal that he's letting the father's flock burn in his place. If Alice had taken his offer, he would have traded out her experience, genetics and training.
- Non-Action Big Bad: The confrontation with him ends up being a purely puzzle/social conflict, with the danger being his flunkies and incoming Panopticon forces.
- Red Right Hand: Draconic eyes and tongue betray the fact that he is no longer a man.
A Progenitor product of the EXEMPLAR II programme. A clone of Paris who works in Ethical Compliance.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Casually getting multiple headshots is child's play for him.
The Sword-Class A.I.s- Almacia, Baptysme, and Courtain
- Artificial Human: Clones of Catherine Nichols raised in a time-accelerated virtual reality.
- Child Prodigy: All of them, though Almacia stands out for being the youngest of them biologically and a talented biologist.
- Genki Girl: Almacia is incredibly perky, a trait she most definitely does not share with her sisters.
- Spaceship Girl: This was their original purpose; they were created to pilot Void Engineer ships, but Baptysme was unable to interface with a ship.
- Theme Naming: They are named after legendary swords from the Matter of France.
A NWO Operative sidelined when his psionic talents fell out of favour with the Technocratic paradigm.
- Adaptational Heroism: He may be a smug assassin of a global conspiracy and a distant father, but he's still a far better person than the original, not that this is a high bar to clear.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: His eyes glow Red when using some of his psionics.
- Grumpy Old Man: As a result of his sidelining, he was given an inconsequential caretaker position in charge of an insignificant facility and its MIB contingent. His introductory scene is more or less a bitter diatribe about how the Union has left him to rot. In the alternate timeline where time-travelling Jamelia takes on fatal Paradox to help the Union mitigate the damage from Ravnos and the Avatar Storm, his discontent is shown to have been so great that he leaves behind an unquiet ghost after his death.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In a way. The fact that his Psychic Powers paradigm can explain almost every aspect of magic makes it much harder for him to have the worldview-shaking experience needed to hit Enlightenment 6 than someone with a more rigid paradigm.
A member of Iteration X Shock Corps, specifically the Kingslayer programme.
- Expy: Even moreso of Motoko Kusanagi than Elsa, since she also has innate Invisibility Cloak and the same backstory of being augmented as a child after a plane crash.
- Fragile Speedster: Her cyberbody is incredibly agile - the Storyteller says it's rated Dexterity "Yes" - but so thinly-armoured that even Sleeper rifles can damage it.
The leader of the NWO's Tyrants, a programme to give the Order heavy combat options via highly-augmented cyborgs.
- Expy: Of Jaron Namir, being a heavily-augmented cyborg of Israeli origin.
- Genius Bruiser: Tyrants may have augmentations that let them match the average Iteration X Shock Corp trooper in combat ability, but they are still Operatives with all the cunning that implies.
A Progenitor product of the EXEMPLAR II programme. A clone of Achilles.
- The Berserker: He is always angry all the time. It's so bad that he has to be put in VR almost all the time he's not on deployment.
- Lightning Bruiser: So tough he No Sells a Vampire repeatedly punching him in the unprotected head, so strong he pulls limbs off easily, and still so fast an Elder Vampire that is familiar with Celerity in action is surprised.
- Necessary Drawback: His incredible power comes at the cost of needing a dedicated support staff to run Paradox mitigation.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Considered more destructive than many Etherite Humongous Mecha.
Professor Joseph Bastion
The current head of the NWO.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He may be as cagey and paranoid as expected of an experienced Senior Operative prior to his unplanned promotion, but within those constraints he is willing to give unorthodox plans and perspectives a fair shake where more hardline Technocrats might shut them down at best and have the suggester killed or reprogrammed at worst.
- You Are in Command Now: Literally. He was the highest-ranking Earthside member of the Order when the Dimensional Anomaly hit, meaning that he ended up as the holder of the Order's seat in Command afterwards.
Henriette's boyfriend, a brilliant Iteration X pilot, who died in the failed Autochton reclamation mission.
- Not Quite Dead: Someone (something?) that claims to be him reappears alongside Yinzheng in Switzerland.
- Posthumous Character: Thoughts of him frequently come up in Henriette's mind, including the mental scars from his Heroic Sacrifice getting her out.
The leader of the now-defunct NWO HELMETSHRIKE Squadron Seven, under which Jamelia once served. Now serving the Syndicate as an Enforcer.
- Mentor Archetype: It was under his tutelage that Jamelia learnt a lot about operating effectively in Technocracy-hostile environments with limited, often field-salvaged resources.
- Sociopathic Soldier: There are indications that he enjoys the violence and mayhem parts of his work a bit too much. He ends up being seduced into Panopticon by Clock because of this.
A Progenitor product of the EXEMPLAR II programme. A clone of Lu Bu.
- Badass Biker: Rides a red bike, presumably as a stand-in for Red Hare.
- Enhanced Archaic Weapon: He uses a bow as his ranged weapon... one made of hypercarbon and primium that fires plasmaburst arrows, that is.
- Necessary Drawback: Not as capable a killing machine as Piero, he gets a complement of Power Armored cyborg bodyguards and has actually had need of them a few times, something he's not proud of. That said, he also doesn't need the dedicated anti-Paradox support staff that Piero needs to operate.
Harlan's daughter and a close friend of Serafina, she was a psychic Operative in training until she defected to the Traditions and ended up joining the Hollow Ones. She's actually Jamelia's biological daughter, though neither of them knew it due to edited memories.
- Broken Bird: Alice's abusive childhood and life on the run have left her very bitter and cynical.
- Defector from Decadence: She fled the Technocracy and ended up joining the Hollow Ones after Serafina was put through personality alteration.
- Necromancer: Alice is a practitioner of Death magic.
- Pragmatic Hero: Alice will do whatever it takes to survive. And she hates herself for it.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Befitting her role as a creepy waifish psychic girl, her hair constantly falls in front of her face unless she makes an effort to actively change it.
- Tyke Bomb: She was trained as an Operative from a young age, possibly as a replacement for her mother. She fled before her training was complete, though as some characters note, Incompletely Trained by the exacting standards of an Inner Circle member like Blanc still makes her more than adequate for the average Operative.
An Etherite once part of the CIA. His real name is Thomas Gomez.
- Tuxedo and Martini: He dresses and acts like such an agent.
A centuries-old Euthanatos assassin, and an ally of the Void Engineers in their fight against Threat Null.
- At Least I Admit It: When Father Orisino calls him a murderer, he says that he doesn't dress it up.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: He chooses to die at Alice's hand to satisfy a curse that had been placed on him.
- Boom, Headshot!: He insists Alice shoot him in the head so the Technocracy can't go through his brain for any reason.
- Famed in Story: He is so infamous as an Ascension Warrior that there are specific Conditioning unconscious triggers that get invoked on sight.
- Gender Bender: His narration mentions that he gave birth at one point. It's very strongly implied that child was Jamelia.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Alicia unknowingly foreshadows it when she meets him.
- Old Master: Christos has a vast breadth of experience to draw on, and is extremely skilled in magic and a wide variety of mundane skills.
- Really 700 Years Old: Two hundred at a minimum.
Father Luiz Orisino
A Mexican Celestial Chorister/Knight Templar (it's complicated) who fell afoul of Threat Null.
- The Atoner: His primary motivation is to make amends for falling for al-Saud's deception and endangering his flock.
- Badass Bookworm: Orisino is more scholar than fighter, but he can certainly deliver righteous wrath when needed.
- Badass in Distress: First appears as an unwilling component of a Subjugation Corps spaceship.
- Badass Preacher: It helps that he's a mage who can call down angels to smite the wicked.
- Rasputinian Death: Ribs shattered, set alight by a plasmathrower burning so hot his flesh is melting off the bone, he keeps killing Panopticon forces until he gets disintegrated entirely by the fluctuating dimensional fields of an intermetric weapon.
- What an Idiot!: In SR XVI, Christos calls him out In-Universe on being stupid enough to fall for al-Saud's lies despite his knowledge of spirits.
- Willing Channeler: He summons the angel Duma into his body to reclaim his church from al-Saud.
A Verbena witch who is one of Donald's ex-girlfriends.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Literally; one of her past lives was a witch hunter, and it's implied that one of his victims was a past life of Roth's.
- Enemy Within: One of her past lives was some kind of serial killer and it tries taking over at inopportune moments. It turns out to be Progenitor Damage Control Constable Ami Shirai, one of Jamelia's former comrades in Vigilance and HELMETSHRIKE.
- Incompletely Trained: Her first mentor was not much more experienced in the arts than her, and her paradigm is something of a mishmash as a result.
- Not So Different: In JB XII, she counts on her being white to blend in, noting in her internal narration that the institutional racism of the Technocracy works to her advantage... and shortly after, without the slightest amount of self-awareness or missing a beat, she thinks to herself how Artificial Humans are "wrong".
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "Janice Moullin" isn't even her real name, merely a cover identity. As revealed in Janice XXVII, her real name was Amber Thursson.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The "impurity" of her paradigm causes conflict with more traditionally-minded Verbenae like Selene, which is a problem when they need to stand together not just against the Technocracy but also the hardliners of the Rogue Council.
A dead Euthanatos archmage who still exists as a ghost.
Just as Threat Null is made of the Technocrats lost in the Umbra after the Avatar Storm came down, so too did the Traditions lose most of their offworld assets, Void Adapted into spirits Hellbent on waging the Ascension War against the Technocracy. They and their Earthbound patsies have no room whatsoever for compromise with or mercy for the enemy.
A young Mage who thinks she's a Magical Girl.
- Powered Armor: Her outfit really is a suit of salvaged Iteration X equipment, not that she knows that. Unfortunately for her, the backdoors are still intact.
A former Void Engineer who left the Technocratic Union. She plays an important role in the Umbra arc.
- The Archmage: Nichols is one of the very few people in all of history who have achieved Archmastery of a Sphere, in her case Dimensional Science.
- Grumpy Old Man: Well, woman. Nichols is generally irritable and has very little patience for youthful stupidity.
- Mentor Archetype: For Jamelia. Nichols is an older, more experienced figure who helps bring Jamelia to a greater understanding of the nature of reality. Jamelia and Nichols herself both agree that she's terrible at it.
- Temporal Sickness: Repeated time travel has caused Nichols to accrue permanent Paradox, which imposes limits on her ability to use magic/Enlightened science.
- Time Master: Literally. Nichols is a Master of Time, and she sends Jamelia into the past using a time machine.
- A Wizard Did It: When Henriette is confused about how a fission-powered Etherite Humongous Mecha can do things that fission shouldn't be able to let it do, her response is to invoke Dimensional Science as an excuse, knowing full well the young Iterator doesn't know anything about the Sphere to disagree.
A Marauder with some kind of understanding with Jamelia.
- Cute and Psycho: A cheerful, perky woman who likes to torture people with acid and crowbars.
- Expy: A Gender Flip of Steven Heck from Alpha Protocol.
- Gender Bender: As a Marauder with expertise in Life, Heck can change gender on a whim, and was male when Jamelia last interacted with him/her.
- Mad Oracle: Although filtered through her own warped perspective of reality, Stephanie appears to have an uncanny insight into a great many things.
- Mythology Gag: She appears to be living in Mage: The Awakening, the Spiritual Successor to Ascension.
- Torture for Fun and Information: Stephanie takes a disturbing amount of enjoyment in torturing people for information.
One of the founders of the Order of Reason, the original Reina has been dead for over a century, but her personality lives on in her clone, Rose.
- The Archmage: Downplayed; she never attained six dots in a sphere in life, but the fact that she had Arete 8 meant she was well past the minimum understanding of Reality to take the step, and she did have Forces, Matter and Prime 5.
- Create Your Own Villain: She was one of those responsible for the Computer, something the Anathema mocks her with by calling her "mother".
- Crisis of Faith: Reina did not take the realization that all gods are fundamentally the product of human minds that accompanied attaining an understanding of consensual reality very well.
- Deus Exit Machina: After purging Rose's Conditioning, she is somehow debilitated by Thorn and left out of action just when those within the Spy's Demise need her leadership most.
- Electronic Eyes: Both her eyes had been replaced, though one is more obviously artificial than the other.
- Famed in Story: Reina is a legendary hero to the Technocracy, notably the mother of their Powered Armor programme, which is the reason the Progenitors attempted to resurrect her as part of Project Exemplar.
- Fish out of Water: Reina died at the end of the 19th century after having lived for centuries, and her knowledge and values are more than a little out of synch with the modern era.
- Instant Armor: She can teleport her armour to herself.
- Jeanne d'Archétype: She fulfils most of the criteria. For extra irony points, not only did the Order of Reason metamorphosing into the Technocratic Union mean she went from being on the oppressed's side to the oppressor, but the original Jeanne also got cloned as an EXEMPLAR who rejected her own nature.
- Outliving One's Offspring: She had and outlived many husbands and children.
- Serial Prostheses: By the end of her life almost every part of her was either a mechanical or organic replacement, with only her brain intact, and even that was reliant on concoctions to maintain.
- Split-Personality Takeover: Thanks to Inner Knight, Reina is capable of taking control of Rose's body at certain moments.
- Warts and All: Though Reina is every bit as capable and skilled as her reputation makes her out to be, she is also a deeply flawed woman, who among other things was not a very good mother and neglected her children.
- We Were Your Team: Popular and respected across the Order/Union, especially with the lower ranks, her death was the catalyst for many changes, including the Electrodyne Engineers' defection to the Traditions as the Sons/Society of Ether and the Invisible College's reformation as Control.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: It's suggested that she let herself get killed because she was just so old and tired of it all.
- Genki Girl: Alicia is extremely energetic and playful.
- Spirit Advisor: To Serafina. Though she's not a very profound source of cosmic wisdom.
- Walking Spoiler: The truth about who or what she is is a major spoiler about Serafina.
An academic of the NWO's Ivory Tower who Jamelia uses when time travelling back to 1999.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Far more powerful as a ghost than he ever was as a living Mage.
- Ghostly Goals: He wants revenge on Jamelia for using him and getting him killed.
- The Power of Hate: While his having dots in Mind helped, it was definitely his hatred of Jamelia that let him stick around as a ghost.
- Pretty Boy: Described as having an almost painful natural handsomeness.
- Revenge by Proxy: Choi decides to enact his revenge on Jamelia by targeting the people she cares about. Specifically her daughter.
- Wild Card: Initially forms an alliance of convenience with Ms Clock and Panopticon to hunt down Jamelia, but after Alice reprogrammes Panopticon-commanded MIB to attack him, he decides to break it off and do his own thing.
A spirit of British imperialism that Kessler imbues into a suit of primitive powered armor.