The main protagonist of the series, he's a nerdy tech guru with a fascination with technology. While Jobs is indirectly touched by the events around him, remaining a perfectly normal human throughout the series, his morals and hope make him a pillar of support to the others.
- The Artifact: His name "Jobs" was taken for Steve Jobs, and occasionally other characters lampshade it's a comparatively obscure name to pick compared to, say, "Gates". The series was written in the early 2000s; fast forward as little as three years after the series concluded and Steve Jobs is a household name.
- Audience Surrogate: He's the first viewpoint character and retains the POV for most of the first book. Also, he has a much milder personality, not to mention being saner, than most of the other prominent teenagers except perhaps Violet.
- Big Brother Instinct: To Edward.
- Geek: Self-declared and not ashamed of it.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Mo'Steel.
- Not Good with People: He's much better with machines.
- Playful Hacker: On Earth. The talent doesn't find as much use afterwards.
- Plot Armor: Applegate promised before the series started that he and Mo'Steel would make it to the end.
- Promotion to Parent: Tries to take on this role for his little brother Edward.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jobs is the blue to Mo'Steel's red.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Jobs is much more eloquent than most other characters, especially when he needs to deliver Techno Babble.
- Teen Genius: Jobs is just a teenager, but is far more intelligent in technological matters than some adults.
- White Male Lead: Despite the extremely diverse cast, Jobs fits the bill perfectly.
Jobs's best friend and an adrenaline junkie sports enthusiast, he's had several steel plates and prosthetics implanted in his body after numerous accidents. His enthusiasm and laid-back attitude get whittled down to resolve and determination as the series progresses.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: He's not sure if it's short for "More Steel" or "Man of Steel". His real name, Romeo Gonzalez, is pretty cool too.
- Berserk Button: Don't threaten his mom. Rattler learns this the hard way.
- Badass Normal: He's one of the few main characters that doesn't get a superpower, but he can still kick ass.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Mo is always eager for fun and adventure.
- Expy: Of Marco. The other parallels are a bit loose, but Mo'Steel is definitely Marco, down to the style of the dumb jokes they make.
- He has a lot of Rachel in him, too. Aside from his sense of humor, Marco's other defining characteristic is his cynical caution. Mo is much more likely to go the "Let's do it!" route.
- Good with Numbers: He instantly converts the number of minutes they've been in stasis to years and days. Basically, he's a mathematical Genius Ditz.
- Le Parkour: Not referred to by name in the series, but he's essentially a traceur, presented as one part of his general enthusiasm for extreme sports.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mo'Steel is the red to Jobs's blue.
- Static Character: Mo changes very little over the course of the books, despite being one of the main characters.
Once a beautiful young girl, Essence Hwang was caught in a house fire and half her face was disfigured. Refusing to hide who she is, she took the name 2Face and took strength from the disgust and revulsion she invoked in people, becoming a stronger but darker figure even before the series began. As it progresses, she starts sliding down the slope from cold but sympathetic protagonist to a manipulative and paranoid antagonist.
- Morality Pet: Edward, whom she often looks after in Jobs' absence. It's noted at one point how odd it is that Jobs tells leaves Edward in her care, not one of the adults'.
- Broken Bird: We don't hear much about what she was like before the fire but it's suggested that the experience hardened her considerably.
- Dark Action Girl: She's one of the most action-oriented females, but is very dark and shifty.
- Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Averted; she's sometimes a Jerkass, but she never uses her diability as an excuse.
- The Eeyore: She is eternally moody and cynical. It's when she's not that it's time to be worried.
- Eyes Are Unbreakable: She can see just fine out of the eye on the scarred side. It's possible that that eye did get blinded and it was repaired or replaced in the other reconstructive surgeries she had after the fire, though.
- Fallen Princess: She used to be pretty and popular. After the fire that burned off half her face, not so much.
- Go Out with a Smile/Have a Nice Death: Billy gives her the image of her (dead) mother as she dies, to try to compensate for the necessity of his killing her.
- I Am Not Pretty: After her disfigurement, she embraced it and dislikes being seen as pretty.
- Icy Gray Eyes: Her gray eyes show she's cold, determined, and socially isolated.
- Manipulative Bitch: She goes into it sometimes, most notably in Them when she tricks Yago into thinking it's a better idea to feed Wylson to Tamara's baby than it is to feed her to it. Thankfully, Mother pulls the plug on the illusion that caused the Riders to attack the Remnants before Yago could go through with it.
- Mutual Kill: She tries to kill Billy, so he's forced to kill her. And then it turns out that she weakened Billy so much that the Mother easily finished him off.
- Name-Face Name: Typical example.
- Nerves of Steel: Nothing shakes her or makes her nervous, and if it does she'll come back shortly.
- The Rival: To Yago. With all the other power struggles and gambits being played, the series largely boils down to 2Face versus Yago for control of the remnants. Yago wins, though it's a Pyrrhic Victory.
- Sanity Slippage: As the series continues, she becomes more manipulative and cunning. When the remnants are stranded on Earth she falls completely off the deep end into complete paranoia.
- Scars Are Forever: She was all lined up to get restorative plastic surgery — she didn't mind being 2Face, but only temporarily — before The End of the World as We Know It happened.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Deep inside, she is a deeply broken and depressed girl.
- The Stoic: She doesn't act completely emotionless, but she's rather lacking in good feelings and is frequently described as cold.
- Two-Faced: Duh.
- The Worm That Walks: She gains this power from Violet.
A beautiful young girl known as a "Jane", a cultural fad that aspires to the mannerisms of Jane Austim novels, Violet is seen as delicate, weak and girly by the other characters, but has a strong willpower and sense of morals. Her knowledge of art and literature proves useful when the alien machination controlling the ship uses such things to construct a world for them.
- Badass Bookworm: She's cultural and well-read, but still very capable.
- Bad Powers, Good People: She has one of the most disturbing abilities in the series, but is still a very kind person.
- Daddy's Girl: It was her father who introduced her to serious art and Jane Austen. She doesn't get along so well with her mom.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: The Janes are basically the Elegant Gothic Aristocrat subculture, with their emphasis on elegance and frilly dresses.
- Fingore: Loses her right index finger in Destination Unknown.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: Lady and a Scholar, but still counts.
- Lady of War: She's graceful and beautiful, but can handle herself in a fight just the same.
- Last-Name Basis: She originally chose to be known as Miss Blake, with Violet as a fallback nickname. Most of the time she's just called Violet, or Violet Blake.
- Miss Exposition: She knows all about art. This is helpful when you're in a world made from paintings.
- The Ojou: Several of the characters are from rich families, since getting one of the eighty berths on the Mayflower was a matter of having the right connections or enough money to get the right connections. Violet acts the part, though.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Her abilities are related enough to this, given that the worms are pretty much indestructible. They can heal her injuries, revive the dead, and doing so passes her powers on to others.
- Proper Lady: It's the standard behavior for a "Jane".
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: She feels as if this attitude is forced upon modern women; in Nowhere Land, when Wylson complains about the impracticality of Violet's dress, she mutters that she understands Wylson wants her to "dress like a man".
- Silk Hiding Steel: She's well-dressed, well-groomed, and polite, but she is not weak.
- Straw Misogynist/Female Misogynist: Zigzagged; she's fine with women playing a different role in society than men, but she's not okay with being useless in any situation. She's not misogynistic, exactly, she just has old-fashioned standards.
- The Worm That Walks: Eventually revealed as her superpower: her body contains a mass of writhing worms she can control to an extent.
One of the most enigmatic characters of the series, Billy was a social outcast on earth and his family just happened to be sent up with the rest. However, uniquely, Billy's life support technology failed, suspending his life but not his consciousness. Awake and aware for centuries, Billy developed psychic powers, which he may have even had before but were enhanced by the trip. Initially catatonic for the first several books due to being mentally out of sync with time, upon his awakening he takes control of the ship, but in doing so becomes a target for the power-hungry remnants to manipulate.
- And I Must Scream: Billy's consciousness doesn't shut down when he sleeps (for some reason), and that extends to the "sleep" induced by suspended animation. So he spent five hundred years immobile, alone, deprived of all sensory input. This eventually slowed down his sense of time so much that he was catatonic for a while after the survivors woke up.
- Blessed with Suck: His psychic powers are critical to helping the others, but are hell for Billy personally.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Courtesy of his powers, Billy is quite detached from reality.
- Curtains Match the Window: His eyes and hair are both brown.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: He's exceptionally pale.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: While stuck in And I Must Scream for five hundred years, he went mad after less than a year. Then eventually back to sane. Then mad again, and continued to flip-flop until "the definition of madness became irrelevant." Eventually his brain went so nuts, that he started reading people's minds just to have something to do.
- Insanity Immunity: His And I Must Scream situation drives him over the edge of madness, pulls him back over, then thrusts him over again, likely several times. The result is that his mind is so warped, interfacing with Mother and taking control of her has no effect on him, while everyone else is driven nuts.
- Looks Like Cesare: And boy does it creep the other remnants out.
- Mercy Kill: He does this to his father, because he was getting eaten by worms from the inside out.
- Mind over Matter: One of his psychic powers.
- Mutual Kill: This is how he dies, although it wasn't entirely intentional on both parts. 2Face tries to kill him, so he's forced to kill her. But she weakened him so much that when he faced Mother, it was easy for her to finish him off.
- Older Than They Look: He's 14 but he looks like he's about twelve, maybe younger.
- Oracular Urchin/Dreaming of Things to Come: His powers allow him to do this to a degree.
- Photographic Memory: At the start of the series, he can remember everything that's ever happened to him, but mostly just while dreaming.
- Power Born of Madness: Five centuries swinging back and forth over the edge of sanity and madness made his powers stronger than ever.
- Psychic Powers: Even before he left Earth and got Touched by Vorlons, he had them. The first time we see him dreaming is like a trailer for the rest of the series.
- The Stoic: Billy was practically an Emotionless Boy growing up on Earth, which is the main reason why people called him Billy Weird.
- Touched by Vorlons: Interfacing with Mother increases Billy's power.
The son of the female African-American President of the United States, Yago is arrogant, ambitious, charismatic and cruel, believing his status on Earth dictates him to lead the remnants. After interfacing with the ship's AI "Mother", Yago becomes a delusional messiah, and he takes control of an outsider faction of the Blue Meanies that he manages to sway to this belief.
- A God Am I: Gains this outlook after he interfaces with Mother. Had shades beforehand too.
- Alas, Poor Villain: No matter how much you hate him, you have to feel sorry for him when he gets eaten by Tate.
- Ambiguously Brown: He's actually mixed-race, with a white father and a mother who's the first African-American president of the United States (the series was written in 2001), but his skin tone is perfect for this trope. Its so perfectly bronze that Violet wonders if it's natural (Yago is known for having had plastic surgery).
- The Beautiful Elite: He thinks of himself as this.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Yago thinks he's a controlling force of the remnants, but has no real power. When he finally does pull off a scheme successfully, it's only with help from allies, who promptly show him who's really in charge in their partnership.
- Break the Haughty: Pretty much his whole character arc.
- Claustrophobia: As a child, he played near a backyard pit dug for a pool and it collapsed, trapping him for the night. He never got over it.
- The Corruptible: Very, very easily.
- Cute and Psycho: Yes, Yago is pretty. He's also one of the most dangerous characters in the series.
- Enfant Terrible: He's a bit old to count during the series, but he was always a sociopath. When he was thirteen he told a news anchor that his goal in life was to become "feared."
- Entitled Bastard: He literally has an 'ego mantara'. This is all that needs to be said.
- Evil Counterpart: To 2Face; they're equally manipulative, they have an equal hatred of losing, and they're equally cunning. However, while 2Face starts out somewhat sympathetic and becomes more of a paranoid antagonist as the series continues, Yago starts off a power-hungry jerk and becomes sympathetic in the last couple of books. Also note 2Face's social isolation to Yago giving sermons to the Blue Meanies as their new messiah.
- Evil Overlord: His ambition is to become one.
- I Am A Humanitarian: He gets eaten by Tate.
- It's All About Me: The size of his ego defies belief.
- Jerkass: All the way.
- Lack of Empathy: Yago cares for nothing and no one but himself.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's very charismatic and effective at controlling others.
- Narcissist: As far as Yago is concerned, he's the most handsome, intelligent, powerful remnant and thus destined to command them.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He really does become a delusional messiah following his interfacing with Mother, but he plays it up around the others to make them think he's gone completely insane when he's still as manipulative and cunning as before.
- Pride: He's practically the embodiment of pride. In his dream world made from his own mind by Mother, the Presidential Seal has his face on it.
- Royal Brat: He's the son of the US President. He mentions this quite often.
- Slimeball: So very much.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: He's got gold eyes, spliced with cat DNA so they reflect light and appear to glow in the dark.
- Token Evil Teammate: He's one of the few remnants to inspire no sympathy or care at all.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Towards the end of the series, he finally mellows out.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Being the President's son, he knows that he has to get people to like him in order to have control. This works to a surprising extent, dispute his being Obviously Evil.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Claustrophobia is his biggest - probably his only - fear, and it comes enormously into play when Tate swallows him.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: He has bright green hair.
2Face's father, and a quiet and unassuming man.
- Despair Event Horizon: Slipped over it when his wife died.
- Extreme Doormat: He's so disheartened he just goes what he's told.
- Instant Death Bullet: He gets killed upon just one shot from the Blue Meanies. Justified, since they're shooting Frickin' Laser Beams.
- Parental Neglect: He doesn't do much parenting to 2Face after his wife died; he doesn't know how to handle the grief.
- Parental Obliviousness: He doesn't seem to notice the way that Yago obviously takes advantage of 2Face and bullies her because of her facial burns.
- Sacrificial Lamb: He gets killed by the Blue Meanies in Nowhere Land. His death probably helped begin to move 2Face from protagonist to antagonist.
- Disability Superpower: Played subtly; she was raised deaf, so she quickly understands the sign language of the Blue Meanies.
- A Day in the Limelight: She's mostly a recurring character, but Survival focuses on her.
- A Death in the Limelight: So of course she dies at the end of the book.
- Bad Powers, Good People: Her superpower is freaking horrifying, but she's not a bad person.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: The people that she eats? They can communicate with her telepathically. And they can fight over who gets control of her body, and drive each other insane.
- Big Eater: Her superpower turns out to involve this. Whenever she feels threatened, she bloats into a giant version of herself with a huge mouth and tries to eat whatever is threatening her.
- Bury Your Gays: At the end of Survival.
- Cannibalism Superpower/Horror Hunger: Wtih emphasis on the 'horror' in the latter trope.
- Dead Guy Junior: Jobs and Echo name their daughter after Tate.
- Hide Your Lesbians: Rather infamously.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Her mutation often causes her to eat people that are threatening her, among them Yago, Charlie, and Amelia.
- Mind Rape: Anyone that she eats can communicate telepathically with her. That's normally all that happens, but if their will overpowers her, they can take control of her.
- No Last Name Given
- Walking Spoiler: After she first eats somebody.
- Control Freak: She initially takes over the Remnants, but she turns out not to be a very effective leader.
- I Am A Humanitarian: She almost gets fed to Tamara's baby, but the Riders go away before she has to.
- General Failure
- Killed Off for Real: She drowns in Nowhere Land.
- Accidental Murder: He does this to Anamull.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome/What Happened to the Mouse?: Applegate seems to have forgotten about him; he completely disappears from the story right after he accidentally kills Anamull.
- The Worm That Walks: He eventually gains this power from Violet.
Sergeant Tamara Hoyle
- The Man Behind the Man: Her baby controls her quite a bit.
- Oblivious to Love: We have no idea if she realized Tate was in love with her or not, but she never showed any suspicion.
- Offing the Offspring: She plays a pretty big hand in killing her baby.
- Accidental Murder: D-Caf kills him by accident.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Unlike most of the rest of the cast, we don't know his real name.
The AI controlling the massive ship the Remnants are captured by, she was set adrift in space for countless eons. With nothing to do with herself because of a lack of input data, she eagerly plucked the remnants' shuttle from space and crafted parts of the ship after art pieces enclosed on the shuttle in an attempt to make a world for them. She eventually merges with Billy, granting him control of the ship.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Taken Up to Eleven.
- Ambiguously Evil: While she values the remnants, it's unclear if she means to eventually kill them or genuinely wants to play host to them and let them live happily.
- Go Mad from the Isolation
- HeelFace Turn: After she merges with Billy.
- Mind Rape: What those interfaced with her are subjected to. Billy only survives because, as he points out himself, he's already completely insane.
- Reality Warper: As long as the Remnants live inside her, she can change their enviroment at will, completely changing their situation from moment to moment.
Apparently the infant baby of Tamara Hoyle, born during flight and the size of a toddler when they revive her. It soon becomes apparent the baby is much more than just a human though, and is revealed to be a Shipwright, one of the builders of Mother using Tamara to fight for it and absorbing power to grow so it can act on its own.
- Abusive Precursors: His true self is one of these, completely uncaring of sentient life in his desire to regain control of Mother for his species.
- Big Bad: Of the first part of the series.
- Enfant Terrible: A result of being in Tamara's womb during the entire Mayflower voyage.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: After we finally get a chapter from Te's perspective after he takes his true form, he turns out to genuinely care for Tamara.
- Eye Scream: It has no eyes, just holes in its head where its eyes should be. This doesn't seem to inconvenience it much, but it's still pretty horrifying.
- The Blank: His true form lacks obvious facial features of any kind, though he can still talk audibly.
- Glass Cannon: It may be extremely powerful, but it's still a freaking baby. Averted after he takes his true form, who's as hardy as humans.
- Humanoid Abomination: As the baby, though Te's true form is a Starfish Alien.
- I Am A Humanitarian: It has to eat people to get energy to fight the Riders - other foods won't do.
- Killed Off for Real: In the battle with Billy for control of Mother.
- The Man Behind the Man: To Tamara.
- Psychic Powers: The Shipwrights seem to have ones as strong as b
- The Rival: Billy.
- Tyke Bomb: Subverted. He turns out to be an adult alien in a child's body.