A mixed-race woman in her early twenties, and a student in William's British Literature class. She'd rather be taking art classes, but British Literature fills a graduation requirement for her. Despite her exotic appearance, Cora is a serious, high performing student.
A literature professor at Hastings University, a Caucasian man about the same age as William. Josh is well liked by the administration and always one of the most popular English professors, teaching courses with names like "Sex in Shakespeare". When off duty, Dr. Perkins can often be found down at O'Rourks drinking with the older students.
Marguerite is smart and engaged, the kind of student who asks a lot of questions and pays close attention to the teacher... or is that just in William's class?
A Model A228 Mark II Companion Android, she appears to be a woman in her mid-twenties. As a prototype for the most advanced android yet developed, Maria is virtually indistinguishable from a human being. Her advanced artificial intelligence allows her to think and act like a human, but whether or not she has real feelings is a question Meerschaum Industries does not wish to explore. She is placed in William's apartment as a test of her abilities.
While she may come across as knowledgeable and even bossy, there are many things about real human beings she finds perplexing, and she can be quite vulnerable outside of her normal environment.
Maria Full View
An assistant lab technician at Meerschaum Industries, a Caucasian man in his mid-twenties. He is a gifted roboticist, but he tends to think of the results as being technically interesting but nothing more. He's also very concerned with following the rules and covering himself.
Working under Ravi Chandrakar is both awe-inspiring and frustrating for him, because Mark doesn't share Ravi's interest in the robots themselves.
A succesful television personality who interviews celebrities and other newsmakers. Melissa is a commentator rather than an unbiased journalist, and she always conducts her interviews with particular edge. She specializes in "gotcha" questions, hoping to create web-ready clips that will generate a lot of hits.
While many critics feel her "ambush tactics" are detrimental to serious journalism, Melissa Buchowski's legions of fans are unconcerned.
A Caucasian man in his late fifties, Mike has been preaching the gospel since high school. Adhering to a very conservative brand of religion, Mike made a name by campaigning against stem-cells, but advances in medical technology have rendered that issue defunct. In the search for something new, Mike has latched onto robotics as being the "moral issue of the mid-21st century". At least he might get a television appearance out of it.
James is a troublemaker, not because he's malicious but because he's very intelligent and thus easily becomes bored with the people around him.
Lewis discovered marijuana a couple years ago and it has become almost a personal calling for him. Other than getting high, his main hobby is skateboarding. He's actually better at staying out of trouble than his friends, because he doesn't want to attract police who might search his pockets. Marijuana posession might be legal now, but Lewis is still below the legal age.
Walter Brinkman's great secret is that he is actually a college student, unlike his high-school age friends. Walter is rather short-statured and is somewhat sensitive about it, and has an intense, easily roused personality.
An Indian-American man in his late twenties, Ravi is the technical mind behind Meerschaum Industries. Ravi, a cybernetics wunderkind at MIT, was one of the first hires Rick Fredersen made when he bought Meerschaum. Ravi doesn't fit the bookworm stereotype- in contrast he is outgoing and witty, fun at parties, and would be quite popular if he could only drag himself away from his work.
Ravi's work at Meerschaum has already resulted in the extremely successful A165 model android, among others; the A228 series, such as Maria, are his greatest creation yet.
Privately, Ravi sees robotics as a quasi-spiritual mission; for him, robots are limited creatures that must be brought transcendence but the human hand. His relationship with the robots he creates himself is rather complex.
William's maternal uncle is a vigorous Caucasian man in his mid to late fifties. Rick hails from the Northeast United States, and has the accent to prove it. Rick puts Maria in William's appartment in order to test her in "real life conditions".
Rick has spent his entire adult life "on the make", constantly starting or aquiring new businesses, then selling them off when he gets bored. He practices a backslapping, man-of-the-people style of leadership which some people enjoy and others find annoying. A symptom of this is his love of nicknames, which he bestows to anyone who doesn't already have one, and he insists everyone call him Rick: not Richard, and certainly not Mr. Fredersen.
While nobody's idea of a humble man, Rick understands his own limitations and tries to find the most skilled people he can, and then lets them do their work without second guessing. He purchased the moribund, nearly bankrupt Meerschaum Industries for a pittance, then staffed it with talented recent graduates such as Ravi Chandrakar. He gambled (correctly) that the company would find success quickly, allowing him to pay the salaries his new employees would then demand.
While estranged from his children and ex-wife, Rick is fond of his nephew William, perhaps partly because William has never asked him for anything, and partly because Rick feels there is a similarity between them.
A literature professor at Hastings University, Rocio is an Hispanic woman in her early thirties. She specializes in 20th century world literature and poetry, and also occasionally covers Spanish language material, though this is not her specialty.
Dr. Vega is a subject of great interest among the male students and faculty at HU, among them William. Rocio, for her part, has a failed marriage behind her, making her very cautious about getting involved with anyone else.
A Caucasian man in his sixties. Long ago he was a sheriff's deputy, and frequently reminds others about it, but now he works at the mall where he doesn't have to deal with problems more serious than backtalking teenagers. He doesn't like robots very much, having grown up in the late 20th century, when such things didn't exist.
A bachelor, he lives alone in a high-rise apartment. William is a dedicated professor who is most at home talking about fictional characters, but not so comfortable with real people. He nurses a mild crush on Rocio Vega, a fellow professor, but has never acted on it. The only person he is at all close to is his uncle Rick, who is also the only person who calls him "Billy", a nickname he can't stand.
William isn't a technophobe or Luddite, but sometimes he regrets the way the world has become so computerized, particularly when it comes to literature. He's also rather suspicious of humanoid robots, and has to be talked into accepting Maria.
William in Formal Clothes
William in Casual Clothes
An African-American man in his late twenties who works as a delivery supervisor for World Freight, a major delivery company. He oversees a team of robots, and spends most of his time dealing with clients and customers. He tends to appear when there is an important delivery to be made.
Last Updated: March 9, 2011