Characters With Spoilers
Jason is, in essence, exactly what he appears to be: a bright, relatively young man (Jason is about 24-25 at the start of Digital Knight) with a knack for rooting out hidden information and thinking VERY fast on his feet.
On closer examination, though, Jason is something a bit more unusual; a man who can take repeated blows to his worldview and accept them without hesitation when the evidence appears. Very few people have both the mental stability and flexibility to deal with their world being repeatedly turned upside down like that. Jason has it, and has it in spades.
Other people have commented that there may be something else to it, which — for lack of a better term — one could call a Weirdness Magnet. Jason seems to continually encounter the strange, the alien, the paranormal, once it begins to enter his life. His first encounter might be reasonable — as photographic consultant to the local police, oddities of photographs would eventually make their way to him anyway. But then he takes a drive, and happens across a murder scene that sends him talking to Verne… and another paranormal event. The publicity brings another stranger to his door — and into another adventure. He goes on his honeymoon, and just happens to go to a town concealing twin faces of terror.
And that’s only the beginning.
Bubbly new-agey girl with a gypsy-like theme. Head in the clouds. So open-minded her brain falls out. All of these, and more, are the impressions many people get of Sylvia Stake at first.
They could not be farther from the truth, and — as certain demonic jailers discovered — this can be a lethal miscalculation. Sylvia Stake is just as bright as Jason, with as much courage and mental toughness as her friend and eventual husband, and perhaps even more pragmetic logic behind all her actions. She is also one of a vanishingly small number of people with the gift of true precognition, the ability to look forward a few moments in time and see or sense what is to come, not what has yet happened. This is the key to saving Jason’s life on more than one occasion, and none more clearly than the moment when a Werewolf disguised as their friend Renee was about to kill Jason. Almost no power can pierce that disguise, and Sylvie’s did not; but she saw what would happen, and knew that Jason was in danger, and with that single moment, a single look, conveyed the warning to him just in time.
Sylvia is also a true talent in the field of magic. Though magic has — until very recently — been suppressed to nearly nothing on Earth, she has the inherent talent, and has found pathways to the true power. Now that she has someone with knowledge dating from the most ancient days, there is no telling what she may be capable of.
V’ierna Dhomienka was his true name once, so long ago that glaciers have come and gone, entire species evolved and disappeared, in his living memory. A priest of ancient Atlantaea who, hammered by disaster and loss again and again, withdrew into himself, nearly becoming the enemies he most despised. The pattern upon which the modern vision of “vampire” was based, the latter a mockery and cruel reminder of what Verne has lost. For uncounted years he kept to himself, withdrawing farther from a society in which he had no true place — until a man named Jason Wood broke through that uncaring front and reawakened Verne to his true self.
Verne Domingo is — with one terrifying exception — the most powerful being encountered in Digital Knight. Virtually unkillable except by a few very specific methods, possessor of supernatural strength and speed, able to control the very weather itself, Verne is a nigh-unstoppable force of nature when he chooses to act. Yet with all his power he was unable to protect the things most precious to him against an enemy that he could not fully understand. Now with renewed purpose and faith in life and the Lady to whom he had long since dedicated himself, Verne is now ready to confront enemies — and old ghosts — in order to rejoin the world as a living force.
Short, dark-haired with some premature gray, Renee Reisman learned long ago that the only way for a small woman too succeed in many police forces was to be twice as tough, strong, and determined as any of the men around her. Renee is a good cop, one of the best, and when confronted by the inexplicable she, too, doesn’t waste much time trying to ignore things that don’t fit her worldview. She’s known Jason for years, when Jason was a brash young punk fresh out of college at 18 (jumped several grades), and gave him his first shot at working for the police. Even in death she acquitted herself well.
Once Elias Klein was one of the best cops — looking gangly, tired, bored, but actually sharp, alert, bright, and with almost limitless endurance. But that brightness brought him to the attention of the very wrong sort of people when he doggedly traced clues that would lead him to something terrifying. His terror, unfortunately, did not last long. The vampires who made Klein knew exactly who he was, what he was doing, and most importantly where Klein lived. This made him the perfect tool to arrange an unmasking, perhaps a killing, of Verne Domingo.
Unfortunately, Jason Wood also knew Klein, and in the end Jason was just a hair better at figuring out things on a moment’s notice.
The Werewolf King. Monster that scares monsters. Deadliest thing encountered in any novel I have written. Virigar may at first appear to be merely “Another Monster” but he is something much worse. He has been around for literal ages; Verne remembers that Virigar — and his people — were there in the days of ancient Atlantaea. He can rip the soul from a living body and consume it… or worse. Weapons do not harm him unless they are made of silver — and it appears that even silver is survivable by him, if it isn’t sufficient to kill him outright. He has a direct grudge with Verne Doomingo, and would with Jason — except that from Virigar’s point of view, Jason played the game very well. He will kill Jason — but when? That is a secret Jason will never know until the day that Virigar comes for him.
From what he has said, and others have said about him (in both Digital Knight and Trial Run), Virigar treats almost every encounter as a game, one in which his being defeated fairly is, at least to Virigar, an entertaining and worthwhile experience in and of itself. What that implies about his actual power and long-term goals is frightening, the more so because no one has any clear idea as to what, if anything, can really kill him as opposed to merely injure him. What is known is that multiple adversaries — ranging from other Wolves to monsters of very different types — are utterly TERRIFIED of the King of Wolves, and Jason has successfully used that as a defense on more than one occasion: “Virigar’s marked me as his own. You want him mad at you?”
Tai Lee Xiang/Raiakafan
Adopted child of Verne Domingo, back in the days of Atla’A’Alandar, Raiakafan Ularion (“Thornhair Fallenstar”) was a member of a species not known to Verne or his people at that time; later, when Commander Sasham Varan (in the currently-unpublished work Demons of the Past) visited Earth in search of traces of fallen Atlantaea, they discovered that the species was called Uralians, and they were considered some of the most savage and uncontrollable creatures in the galaxy. Raiakafan had, as a child, encountered a mysterious man who was able to teach him language, civilized behavior, and the beginnings of the martial art known as Tor. The man was Torline Valanhavi, the Eternal King, once ruler of Atlantaea.
Tai Lee Xiang was once known simply as “Alpha”, the supreme result of a top-secret genetic engineering experiment. He escaped and for some years lived a quiet life in a village in the Far East, even eventually marrying a local woman and having three children by her – two of which showed evidence of the genetic oddities, the third seeming normal. But “The Project” eventually caught up with him and took him back, along with his family. But strange visions and impossible memories gave him one more chance to escape, and he did – though not with all his family. Still, he had one other memory, one other possible source of help… and he found it.
Somehow, both of these stories are correct origins of the young man who goes by both names. They are contradictory stories; it is not possible that they are both true. Yet they are.
By whatever name, Tai Lee/Raiakafan is a terribly formidable fighter, possessing superhuman strength and speed and other combat-oriented capabilities not easily described. He shares with Sylvie an ability to sense the future, which is in great part responsible for some of his most impressive victories. He is fiercely loyal to Verne, but on occasion has shown something else – an almost mechanical and frighteningly cold side that seems prepared to react with lethal violence if certain secrets are breached. What this is, even Verne does not know for sure.
The typical hacker of fiction is depicted as something between a clueless geek and a wizard, unable to ask a girl on a date but able to get the access codes for nuclear weapons by using a dialup modem through a 30 year old C-64.
The Jammer very nearly IS this cliché, though less clueless and more physically competent. Ingram Remington Locke was a good, somewhat spoiled, very bright child through the age of 5 or 6, when his mother was killed in a car accident and, a week later, he heard a gunshot and ran to find his father in his study, brains blown out from a pistol shot to the head, an apparent suicide. The traumatized young man was not fostered to another family because his parents’ wills had arranged for him to be cared for in the family home, and Ingram appeared to make a full recovery; one of the few visible remnants of that experience is a complete refusal to have contact with firearms of any sort.
Beneath the model citizen demeanor, however, was a hidden rebel, someone whose anger, isolation, and lack of understanding of what had happened to him as a child made him push at the boundaries around them. His genius manifested in complete mastery of computers… and other activities. By the time he was eleven he was already breaking into secure systems around the world, and had begun studying physical criminal techniques – breaking and entering, alarm neutralization, and so on. The criminal activities he engaged in were, in a sense, his therapy, doing something that gave him a feeling of danger, of fighting a system that somehow had failed him.
By the time Ingram Remington Locke was 16, he – or rather, his shadowy alias, The Jammer – was a criminal of worldwide reputation, although not implicated in any violent crimes since he avoided any physical conflicts whenever possible, and used his skill at aikido to make such conflicts brief and hopefully not severely injurious to anyone.
Eventually, however, he went too far, emptying the bank accounts of members of a powerful organized crime group. Fortunately for him, just about the time they caught up with him, so did another group: Project Pantheon. They offered him amnesty, protection, and an opportunity to use his phenomenal skills for the right reasons. They also promised to look into what had happened to his parents for him, using their resources.
The Jammer now works for Project Pantheon in the International Security and Investigation Section, under the watchful eye of James Achernar. Though he would be reluctant to admit it, Ingram looks up very much to Achernar and is grateful to him for saving Ingram’s life and giving him something worthwhile to do.
Showing up twice in Digital Knight and once in the web-published Trial Run, Achernar is one of the senior agents in the ultra-top-secret Project Pantheon, a subgroup of the International Security and Investigation Section (ISIS) of the United Nations. Project Pantheon’s mission is to deal with the events and problems that ordinary agents cannot deal with, and Achernar is one of their first agents.
Well-experienced in field operations from the time he was a green Air Force Lieutenant sent out on a bizarre investigation — a supposed UFO crash — Achernar has multiple qualifications for his job, with skill as an aerospace engineer and pilot as well as a degree in psychology with a strong minor in parapsychology and the occult that developed into a full Ph.D. In the field, he has two legendary qualifications: he is unmatched, even now at the age of probably 60, in his speed at the draw and accuracy of fire, and he has shown an almost supernatural ability to withstand physical punishment, having been in multiple firefights and despite multiple gunshot wounds has never gone down due to injury until the mission was complete.
Now a lead agent probably destined for the director’s chair in the next few years (if he can’t figure out how to dodge the desk), Achernar is watching activities in Morgantown very closely indeed, through his agent Jeri Winthrope, because both Verne and Jason have stumbled into something even bigger than they realize… something that the Governmment might well be able and willing to kill in order to keep it secret.