Gabrizan is a Zandrian, with the Zandrian name of Nazaret Bagarin, sent to Terrestra to help investigate the poison cloud that plagues the planet. When the cloud lifts spontaneously, the mission is aborted and he is called back to Zandra.
Whilst on Terrestra he meets and falls in love with Marijam Kennedy. He has the impression that his feelings for her are stronger than hers for him; he sees her as someone who is intent on having a very interesting career. In an attempt to impress her, he applies to be part of a very prestigious project. It is whilst he is attending his two day interview that he is called back to Zandra.
He never really gets over Marijam and never has another serious relationship.
He works hard on restoring plant life to Zandra, a planet that will soon be in even more crisis, because of its dying vegetation, than Terrestra was at the time of the poison cloud.
One day, however, he meets Kaleem. He is shocked to find that he has a son. He is reconciled with Marijam and she agrees to become permanently attached to him.
Only elders have access to this. It is the totality of Hidden Information and then some. The Babel Prophecy is Golden Knowledge, for instance. Elders are so naturally wise and have access to so much extra wisdom that they are close to knowing the meaning of life, so normal Terrestrans believe.
Heads of Service
These are to Terrestra 3500 what ministers are to UK government. They are elected by other members of Council. And will take on a particular role. So, there are Heads of Transport, Science and Education, for example.
This is information that is kept from the general public. Heads of Service have access to Hidden Information that pertains to the service they administer. Elders have access to all Hidden Information and also to extra information called Golden Knowledge. For instance, the Head of Transport would have known that in fact a few people did leave the planet, but the Head of Education would not. All elders would know this.
Information is hidden in order to control the population and because a little knowledge can be dangerous. Hidden Information is to Terrestra 3500 what drugs are to earth in the 21st century. Punishments for accessing or attempting to access Hidden Information are severe.
Marijam dabbles in this a little and Kaleem more so. Kaleem also gets involved with Hidden Information Pedlars.
Hidden Information Pedlars
These are the equivalent of our drug pushers. They live underground. They try to pull others into their world. They are a criminal force. Kaleem has quite a brush with them in The Prophecy.
As Kaleem is not able to travel to other planets, he spends some time in interactive scenes that are created with sophisticated holograms and extremely clever dataserve programmes. He learns how life on other planets amongst other cultures might be.
The technology for this is good on Terrestra and even better on Zandra. You can go to the gym in your own home, for instance, by calling up a holoscene. A good holoscene will really make you think that you are there.
You can also project yourself somewhere else in a holoscene. Razjosh visits Kaleem several times this way.
Ianus is one of the Z Zoners who finds Marijam and puts her in contact with Narisja.
Also known as the Peace Child, Kaleem Kennedy and Kaleem Bagarin. However, until almost the very end of the book, he is known as Kaleem Malkendy.
We first meet him when he is sixteen years old. He is different from other young people: he is blond and has skin that tans easily at a time when white Terrestrans are pale-skinned and have dark hair, he lives in a cave apartment beneath the surface of Terrestra whilst most other families live on the surface now that the poison cloud has gone, and he has no idea who is father is at a time when family connections are well-documented. He is bullied by some of the young people in his schooling group.
The elder Razjosh, the current Peace Child, has been watching him and sees his potential as the next Peace Child. There is also a suggestion that he might be the Peace Child who is associated with the Babel Prophecy. His mother, Maria Malkendy, also happens to own a copy of the famous picture book The Tower of Babel, written and illustrated by a well-known 21st century artist, Davina Patterson.
Razjosh provides Kaleem with a better dataserve and starts training him up as the new Peace Child. He also uses hololessons and also visits Kaleem in holoscenes.
Kaleem becomes ill with the Starlight Racer Fever. This is extremely worrying as there has been no disease on Terrestra for over 200 years. The diastics system cannot cope with this disease, and soon it is widespread, causing several deaths and Maria to go into a coma. Whilst ill, Kaleem begins to dream about the Babel Tower and some strange children with adult faces. He continues having these dreams throughout the novel.
Kaleem is desperate to find out about his father. Whilst Razjosh is on a Peace Child mission, and whilst all on Terrestra are confined to their homes, Kaleem leaves his apartment and starts looking at some Hidden Information. It brings him no news about his father and he only just manages to get clear of the Hidden Information pedlars.
Razjosh’s mission to get help from Zandra with the Starlight Racer Fever fails. The situation on Terrestra becomes even more desperate. Kaleem has to go and live as a spy on Zandra. All is going well until he gives himself away by mispronouncing a word.
He is put into prison. Prisons on Zandra are quite benign, though his situations is slightly uncomfortable as his is kept in isolation. However, the one human prison guard who visits him from time to time, Charlek Smithin, becomes a friend.
Whilst in prison, Kaleem is allowed to carry on with some projects. Ironically, it is whilst he is there that he learns more about the role of the Peace Child. He suddenly has a brilliant idea about how he can persuade Terrestrans to trade with Zandrians. He and Charlek establish that Terrestra can swap Starlight Racer Fever vaccine for acorns, which Zandra desperately needs and which are plentiful on Terrestra. This can be done without any fear of spreading disease and without any need for Terrestrans to leave Terrestra.
Kaleem is allowed to discuss his ideas with the experts at the Planation Centre. He goes there with Charlek. He meets Nazaret Bagarin there. Nazaret looks like an older version of Kaleem. They manage to talk. Nazaret aka Gabrizan Taylor is indeed his father.
Kaleem successfully gets the powers that be on both Terrestra and Zandra to accept his ideas. Nazaret and Maria are reconciled. In a voice file, Marijam Kennedy aka Maria Malkendy explains the circumstances of Kaleem’s birth.
Kaleem now feels a little more secure about his identity, though he still worries about his otherness, the burden of being the Peace Child and the aggravating mystery about the Babel Prophecy. These concerns provide the basis for two further stories, Babel and Peace Child.
Kayla is the sister of Louish Kennedy and therefore the aunt of Marijam. She has constantly tried to instil some fashion sense into Marijam – and failed. Marijam still prefers dull grey ripon tunics.
Lana is the line-manager of Tulla Watkins. She knows much about the poison cloud on Terrestra. Kaleem is so taken aback by this that he pronounces a word that Zandra and Terrestra share the Terrestran way. Shortly after that, Kaleem is arrested and is charged with being a spy.
Lorretta is the android guide who shows Kaleem around during his hololesson on Tarantet.
This is found deep within the cave system. However, it has a skylight that connects to the surface through a system of mirrors, a little like a periscope. It is such an iconic meeting place that it stays open even after the poison cloud has shifted.
Marijam and Gabrizan met in this bar the night the poison cloud lifted.
This is the biggest town in the A Zone (see Normal Zones). Most Heads of Services and even most ordinary Council Members opt to live here as they can more easily get to the meets, even though most of the time, of course, they work form home.
It has the name “harbour” because in the days when Terrestrans still travelled, most of the spaceships, including the big supercraft departed from here.
Louish is the permanent attachment of Frazier Kennedy and mother of Marijam. She is full of fun and very glamorous. She stops Frazier from taking life too seriously and is a good contrast to her rather serious daughter.