The Crew | Factions (Corporations: The Board, Auntie Cleo's, Spacer's Choice, C&P Boarst Factory, MSI), SubLight Salvaging & Shipping, Iconoclasts, Other Groups: Groundbreaker, Deserters, Gorgon, Eridanos, Marauders, Outlaws | Other Characters
Dr. Phineas Vernon Welles
The rebel scientist who wakes you up on The Hope.
- The Atoner: He's done some things in his past that he's not proud of. Specifically, a decade ago he accidentally killed a dozen of the Hope's colonists while running experiments to try to figure out how to safely revive them from stasis. Saving the remaining colonists is his way of atoning, and in fairness to him, the Board had already written them off as dead and had no compunctions about disposing of them.
- Big Good: He is the central mission giver of the game if you're planning to oppose the Board.
- Deadpan Snarker: A good portion of his lines are him snarking away. Character creation is replete with various zingers on your skill, stat, and background choices.
- Defector from Decadence: He used to work for the Board, but rebelled when he realized that they were ruining Halcyon. More specifically, he was fired and declared a wanted criminal when he accidentally killed a dozen Hope colonists in an unauthorized experiment, but he is genuinely ideologically opposed to the Board and its methods.
- Defiant to the End: Will not give in to the Board, even under threat of death.Phineas: They say I'm a murderer — and they're right. I am. I regret what I've done. But I'm not about to turn myself into the Board. I'm not going to go begging the Board's forgiveness.
- Despair Event Horizon: If you turn him over to the Board, Phineas will start a prison riot and hold Adjutant Akande hostage. Suggesting the board could still spare him has Phineas respond that he has no intention of surviving, and that it's time he "paid the price for (his) failures". Depending on certain dialogue routes, he will either go down in one last fight, or commit suicide.
- Determinator: He will spend his last breath reviving the Hope's colonists to save Halcyon, if he has to.
- Einstein Hair: Like any self-respecting mad scientist, his hair stands up, giving him a Doc Brown or Rick Sanchez look.
- Failure Hero: If you side with the Board. All his human test-subjects die in agony, apart from a single person who then turns around and betrays him. His attempts to take down Akande (and you, if you don't manage to talk him down) will also be for nothing, ending in his death. The Hope colonists are then jettisoned like trash. Everything he spent his life working towards ends in failure.Phineas: Yes, I failed. There — I've said it. I'm a failure. I failed the colony. I failed myself. I failed you.
- The Farmer and the Viper: Even though Dr. Welles revives the Unplanned Variable and sets them free from what would have been indentured servitude even had the Hope's journey not been interrupted, the player can turn around and betray him by helping the Board capture him. However, he doesn't mind the idea of you getting into their good graces and will even encourage you to plant a tracking signal (albeit a corrupted one) in his lab on the basis that they'll find him eventually and it will curry favor with Akande. Although he will almost state this trope if you are on the Board's side and having a 'talk' with him.
- Final Boss: Should you side with the Board, Phineas will be your final opponent.
- Forgiveness: Telling him you forgive him for the lives lost in his early attempts to revive the Hope colonists — bearing in mind that, despite his youthful hubris, he was trying to save them — is deeply meaningful to him, the first step in being able to forgive himself. This changes his attitude in the ending slides, and combined with the UV's other choices, can result in a slightly better ending for the Hope colonists.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: 35 years on the lam have left him extraordinarily depressed and lonely underneath his buoyant exterior.
- Hero Antagonist: Becomes this if you side with the Board, making a last-ditch effort to inspire an uprising with a riot on Tartarus — even knowing that it's doomed from the start.
- Hidden Depths: While Phineas isn't keen on leaving his isolated lab, he apparently had a lot more of a social life back in the day. Gladys can comment he was "quite the dancer back in his prime".
- Hoist by His Own Petard: An Unplanned Variable can not only do this to their savior by joining the corporate overlords they were woken up to fight, but they can also kill Phineas himself with either the Shrink Ray he created or his custom Spacer's Choice "Phin's Phorce" rifle that they can steal from his lab after he is taken to Tartarus, which the Unplanned Variable would've been gifted with if they had ultimately sided with Welles.
- Holding Out for a Hero: His plan to defeat the Board ultimately boils down to clinging to this trope in two ways. First, revive a competent and expendable who has the skills needed to acquire what he needs to revive the other colonists. Second, and lastly, hope that the awakened scientists, engineers, and intellectuals will be able to come up with the solutions to the colony's woes that Welles was unable to.
- Hypocrite: Due to having some rather violent fantasies about killing the heads of the various corporations, Welles is perfectly fine with any number of heinous actions, no matter how brutal or depraved, a villainous Unplanned Variable performs so long as they are in service of defying and sabotaging the Board. However, he's quick to decry the protagonist's malicious character traits he previously tolerated and even lauded if they're ever used against him in the finale.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: For all his brilliance, he's so focused on reviving the Hope's crew and overthrowing the Board that he never deigns to investigate and subsequently discover what's actually killing Halcyon, unforseen biological incompatibilities with the crops grown there with humans, which the Board has nothing to do with.
- Mad Scientist: A madcap mad scientist who's spent years in zany isolation crafting incredible new devices while working on a project most of the colony thinks is impossible.
- My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction to discovering that Earth is no longer there. His war against the Board potentially threatened human extinction. You can either reassure him or say that he was foolish.
- If you side with the Board, Phineas will bitterly place the blame on himself for having revived you. However, if you treat him with compassion, he will also apologise and ask you to forgive him for involving you without ever giving you a choice.
- My Greatest Failure: The deaths of the previous colonists he failed to revive before finally succeeding with the Unplanned Variable. If the Unplanned Variable sides with the Board, or just goes on a murderous rampage across Halcyon, then his greatest failure is turning you loose.
- Player and Protagonist Integration: Phineas is a loose representation of the Player. The game's initial Character Customization sequence is framed as Welles choosing to unfreeze a Hope colonist who happened to have all those attributes. His initial plan was to more directly guide the Unplanned Variable through a communicator (Controller), which doesn't work out as the device is irreparably damaged after they crash land on top of Alex Hawthorne. If the protagonist sides with the Board, Phineas has a blistering tirade against them for deviating from the mission he gave you, which illustrates some of the darker aspects of the "Advisor" variant of this trope.Phineas: We could have saved this colony, you know. That was always the plan. I revive you. You do as I say. I tell you to go there, get me this, shoot that. And you do as I say. If you just listened to me, we could rescued everyone on the Hope. We could have been the saviors of Halcyon. But you didn't listen. No one in this damn colony every listens!
- Plot Armor: Phineas is the sole exception to the game otherwise allowing you to kill everyone you meet, as you need him as your quest-giver for over half the game. He spends the entire game in a room that you can't enter, talking to you from behind a sheet of bulletproof glass, which prevents you from just murdering him whenever you want. Furthermore, the automated navigation of ships in the setting allows him to scramble attempts to simply track you or your ship to his asteroid hideout, preventing you from simply handing him over to the Board even if you've already been to his base.
- Properly Paranoid: He will not come out of his room since he doesn't trust you to not murder him. Considering that it's a very real possibility (and he'll even cite your actions in Edgewater if applicable) he's not wrong. A Note to Self visible only from his side explicitly notes that the Unplanned Variable could have been made unstable by the long-term freezing and potentially traumatic unthawing, and that he intends to take appropriate precautions.
- Revenge Before Reason: One of his darker lines of dialogue in the pro-Board endgame has him state that he wouldn't surrender to the Board if the lives of everyone in Halcyon depended on him doing so, hinting that his crusade was more about getting back at his former employers than necessarily saving the colony.
- Sad Clown: Phineas is often inappropriately upbeat, and has a love of puns (which the player can either find amusing or shoot down). However, he's deeply traumatised by having killed a number of the Hope's colonists with his experiments. Siding with the Board will reveal his pain in greater detail if you have the right dialogue skills, and also give him the added guilt of having those sacrifices be for nothing. He'll also put the blame of the player's actions entirely on himself for having unthawed them.
- Thinking Out Loud: He's very fond of talking to himself out loud as he works. 35 years on the run will do that to you.
- Too Dumb to Live: If you decide to betray him, he won't notice the signal transmitting from the Base, until the Board's soldiers are at his doorstep. ADA will even state as this.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Starts out as this for the Unplanned Variable, but the communicator he provided to monitor and chat with the protagonist is damaged early on, which gives the newly unfrozen colonist the opportunity to sell him out to the Board with Welles being none the wiser.
Captain Alex Hawthorne
The original owner of the Unreliable. Crushed by your escape pod minutes into the game, leaving the player to recover his ship and repair it in his stead.
- The Ace: Described as such but was a Broken Ace by the time of his death.
- The Alcoholic: His terminal confirms that he was more than fond of a drink.
- Broken Ace: He was apparently much more dashing once but has gone through a long decline assisted by alcohol.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Being crushed by an escape pod is a hell of a way to go.
- Expy: Being made out to be the dashing smuggler, ace pilot, crack shot, and all-around Lovable Rogue at every turn, Alex Hawthorne is the setting's answer to Han Solo, complete with the Unreliable as his Millennium Falcon. Of course, you accidentally crash-land on top of him with your escape pod before gameplay even begins, as an Establishing Character Moment for you, what's left of Hawthorne, and the colony as a whole.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Phineas' early narration makes him sound like a Han Solo-like dashing rogue. And yet, somehow that doesn't seem right considering how he dies. That said, discussions with people who knew him indicate he did fit the description. The man programmed ADAs personality, was a close associate of the head of Sublight, and had a ton of schemes and plans in his back pocket.
- Gadgeteer Genius: May have helped cause ADA to become sentient. Also helped turn SAM into a super-robot, although if PAM on Gorgon is any indication, SAM might not have had far to go.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Refuses to turn in Welles to the Board despite them offering him a lot of money.
- Idiot Hero: Despite his supposed skill as a spacer, Hawthorne was too dumb not to stand directly under where your pod was supposed to come down. However, later dialogue with ADA implies his judgement was severely impaired by a recent head injury.
- I Work Alone: Despite having crew quarters on his ship, he preferred to work by himself with only ADA as his companion.
- Nice Guy: Apparently was a decent person who didn't deserve what happened to him.
- Odd Friendship: Multiple:
- With his maybe-sentient starship ADA.
- With both Board bureaucrat Udom Bedford, who is devoted to finding Phineas Welles, and Phineas Welles himself. Both of these friendships appear to be genuine.
- Posthumous Character: Your first act on arriving on Terra-2 is to kill him, albeit unintentionally.
- Serious Business: He was obsessed with Science weapons, and threatened bodily harm towards Welles for refusing to even so much as let him touch his prototype Shrink Ray.
- Take Up My Sword: You can take up his name, ship, and cause to glorious heights.
- Too Dumb to Live: Held the beacon that was guiding your escape pod instead of planting it and retreating to a safe distance, resulting in his being crushed to death when the pod landed on him. Downplayed when ADA reveals he had been suffering from a head injury at the time, which was implied to have clouded his judgement.
- Undignified Death: Told to plant the guidance beacon in the ground and stand back, he held on to it, and your landing pod squashes him. Worse, the people you can inform of his death are Phineas, who curses him for a idiot for that and ADA, who shows regret that it happened but doesn't want to stay grounded forever and very soon tells you to say you're him and you can take his place.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Literally dies within a minute of being introduced, and doesn't even get a speaking line. The only time you see him in-game is his body after his head met the bottom of your escape pod.
- Blood Knight: They all really enjoy killing things.
- I Call It "Vera": Joy calls her rifle "Sunshine", and treats it like a partner-in-crime.
- Mauve Shirt: Like Jeremy, while they're all named and voiced, they can all be killed during the siege on Devil's Peak due to their reckless tactics.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: They won't even take bribes if there isn't such a penalty fee clause in their ledgers.
- Shadow Archetype: To an Unplanned Variable with teammates, as Berthold Fox will storm the interior of Devil's Peak flanked with two companions (Donald Anderson and Addie).
An information broker living on Monarch. Phineas needs to get in contact with him to locate more dimethyl sulfoxide.
- The Alcoholic: Mildly, but he is well-stocked with liquor and his supply list for Nyoka is topped by additional cases of purpleberry wine.
- Deadpan Snarker: Can even engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat with the Unplanned Variable.
- Knowledge Broker: He makes his living selling information to willing buyers.
- Non-Action Guy: When Marauders show up at his relay station, he barricades himself in the communications room and waits for rescue.
- Self-Applied Nickname: Keeps trying (and failing) to get people to call him "the Broker", but it's a small colony, and anyone who knows who he is at all already knows him as Hiram.
- The Strategist: He was actually the one who came up with the plan for Monarch Stellar Industries to take control of Terra-1.
- Sweet Tooth: Has a fondness for purpleberry in general, wine and liqueur in particular.
- We Used to Be Friends: Used to work for MSI with Sanjar and Graham.
A seemingly wholesome family living outside of Stellar Bay. Spoilers follow.
- Ambiguous Disorder: The daughter seems to have a learning disability based on her childlike mannerisms. Whether this is the result of of mental degeneration, as seen in her brother's writing, or congenital isn't made clear.
- Ax-Crazy: They lock you in, insisting you stay for dinner. When you find the body in the attic, they see the blood on your shoes and attack.
- Big Ol' Unibrow: All of them have big bushy monobrows.
- Blatant Lies: If you turn around and try to leave, you will discover that the front door is locked. Raising concern about it will have the father apologize because the lock constantly malfunctions and he promised it will be fixed after dinner. Refusing to let the matter go will eventually cause everyone to become hostile.
- Cannibal Larder: The half-butchered corpse of their former drug dealer can be in a locked room upstairs.
- Cannibal Clan: A family of happy friendly humans in the wilderness? Must be cannibals.
- Expy: To the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Possibly also to Fallout 3's Andale.
- Gut Feeling: The moment you speak to one of the Mathers, your squadmates will tell you that something isn't right and that you should get out immediately.
- I'm a Humanitarian: They're a family of cannibals.
- Interface Spoiler: In order to prevent the player from merely walking out or fast-travelling to escape their hom, walking into their front door requires instancing a new area, like entering a dungeon. This easily tips off the player that they are in danger.
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: They get caught because their drug dealer started missing his shifts. Subverted as this is because they killed and ate him.
- Shown Their Work: Prion diseases are a known risk of eating human organs, in particular the brain. The son's mental degeneration can be seen in a series of poems in which he goes from mildly eloquent to barely being able to spell.
- Stepford Suburbia: Their house is one of the nicest on Monarch and they are some of the kindest people. It is actually unsettling.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Subverted as their normality actually makes them abnormal on Monarch.
- Too Dumb to Live: They ambushwhat is likely a trio of heavily armed mercs.
- Walking Spoiler: Talking about them in any detail inevitably spoils the fact that they try to kill and eat the party.