Margaret Lindess - My Fair Lady

At 98, the Lady is one of the oldest members of the Concordat. She was born as Margaret Lindess in 1917, the youngest daughter in a upper class family. According to herself she was "well educated in all the useful skills: the piano, sitting around looking beautiful and making polite conversation". At 19 she was married to a up-and- coming medical doctor. But instead of becoming a bored housewife she began to read, gathering a broad education and becoming a spirited debating partner to her husband and his colleagues.

In the early '70s her husband died and was cryonically suspended. In the years before and after his death she got in touch with the immortalist movement. While he had been a long-time proponent of life extension and cryonics she had been more sceptical, but she agreed it was a good try at least, and eventually became more and more convinced that it could really work. She also decided she wouldn't risk it, she would damn well survive without freezing until her dear husband could be revived.

She enrolled at university at 60 to the surprise of everyone who thought she was too old. Even more, she got herself a degree in computer science. During the '80s and '90s she ran a small software firm, employing her grandchildren and doing surprisingly well in the field of medical software.

But she also noticed the worrying trends in society, and began to take action. The details are a bit uncertain, but she appears to have been among the originators of the Concordat idea already at the millennium, helping set up secure channels and untraceable accounts for the day they would be needed. She also convinced the cryonics organization holding her husband to hide the cannisters off site, which turned out to be a valuable stratagem as the Knights of the Oppressed Earth attacked in 2008 and destroyed the apparent facility.

In 2009 she went underground, faking her death to mislead possible pursuers (she has dubbed herself "prudently paranoid"). She became My Fair Lady, diplomat extraordinaire and one of the Concordat's most respected characters. She is not tied to any group, moving around unpredictably between some of the founding groups. Usually she works through SubNet to keep the Concordat on the right track by moderating debates, asking uncomfortable questions or encouraging various projects.

The Lady is extremely spry for her age. When asked about the reasons for her success and longevity she told a questioner "Genetics, ambition, paranoia and sheer stubbornness." She has undergone some life extension treatments, but it is clear that it is more her will than medicine that keeps her alive. She has some trouble with her short term memory and reaction speed, which she is increasingly relying on software agents to handle for her.

She regards herself as a kind of adventuress, a kind of mixture between a grandmother and the scarlet pimpernell fighting for what she believes in - with style. This romanticism may be her main weakness - while she is quite experienced and well connected, she might be just a bit too flippant in a critical situation. Still, she has many loyal friends who look out for her, which may be her greatest asset of all.

Yi Denkou - Still River

Still River is an independent interfacer on the Market, specialized in trade in biotechnology and Asian finance. In the physical world he is Yi Denkou, central manager of Wuhan Environmental Combine's Hunan division . He is playing a very dangerous game: if the Concordat found out who he was his credibility would suffer noticeably. If the People's Liberation Army found out, he would be dead.

Yi grew up in Wuhan during the '80s, and he got business in his blood. It was so exciting to see people trade, the tricky games of tact, psychology, greed and knowledge that gave wealth to the participants - well, some of them. He managed to apply his considerable energy to both earn money by helping his brother start up an Internet firm and to get himself an official business education.

Despite his business acumen Yi was surprised by the 2001 coup. During the crackdown several of his brother's friends vanished and the firm was forced to close, but Yi did not suffer personally. Instead he found the opportunity to jump onto the formation of the Wuhan Environmental Combine, one of PRC's great projects to encourage industrial development, fix the environment and manage local unemployment problems. The combine was in desperate need of people who could make it work economically and not just politically, and Yi was the right man at the right time. He managed to convince his superiors about the need for importing ecological know-how, and was sent head-hunting. He returned from Australia with a team of graduates from Sydney University, which managed to make the huge project a success despite everyone's misgivings. Since then his career has been smooth and rising, despite the occasional run-in with crusty old planners. But Yi has cultivated his own network, and is doing well in the Byzantine hierarchies of WEC.

The 2001 coup scared Yi much more than he would admit. He realized how precarious his life was and the existence of forces that could simply wipe him out for no reason, just like his brother's friends. Since then he has been doing his best to gain security and power so that nothing like that could ever happen to him. He has cultivated the proper friendships and deals, married a lovely wife of the right family and carefully paid his respect to the Powers That Be. But that wasn't enough, that just made him a straw that didn't stick out. He still knew some old friends who were secretly involved with the democracy movement, but he knew it would not amount to much protection even under the comparatively liberal '10s. But through an old friend from the Internet firm, now part of the movement, he heard about the Concordat. He made his own discreet inquiries through the net, and became interested. Around the same time he became manager of the Hunan division he also joined the Concordat as Still River.

Still River has built up a solid reputation as an interfacer with a through knowledge of Chinese economics, politics and ecology. While he isn't trained in biotech he can tell his DNA from RNA and is quite good at mediating deals with agricultural or ecological biotech. Using the IOUs he earns through his interfacing he is trying to build himself a sanctuary, a way of saving himself and his family if things ever turn bad. And judging from what he is learning from the Concordat and seeing in the PRC, he will need it.

Although he won't admit it even to himself, he also has some political reasons for his dealings. The PLA regime is holding back the trade, tying it up out of fear of losing control. PRC could become so much greater if it was freer, but that will not happen as long as the PLA runs the show. But the clouds on the horizon promises rain, and he plans to take advantage of it in every way he can and not be swept away by the torrent.

He is living two lives as Yi and Still River, carefully keeping them separate through mental training. He is faking a mild VR addiction (fairly common and nothing to remark upon) which neatly explains away his time spent on the net, actually interfacing rather than playing virtual games. He has bought some clever software that not only encrypts his communications but also hides them inside game signals, making it extremely hard to discover what he is really doing. He has also begun to set up an alternate identity and escape route for his family, as well as analyzing his own combine for exploitable weaknesses or possibilities. So far he has found a few pieces of insider information that he is hoarding for the time he really need big help.

Laura - Top Tripp

Laura never got along with other people. They were stupid and lazy, and they couldn't stand her for not being it - not to mention pointing it out all the time. So she stayed on the net most of the time, playing around with virtuals, inventing more clever game-actors, then moving on to making agents that made nifty things (like pestering her classmates or random people) and eventually becoming a real wizard at making software dance to her tune. She might have had a future in the software industry somewhere despite her abrasive personality, but she couldn't stand the idea of doing something like that. She was good, she deserved more than churning out clever agentlets.

It was one of her net.acquaintances who introduced her to WETF. She had developed a nice little virus to really rot the guts of Microsoft's macrolanguage while sending back any data looking like credit card numbers to him, and he and his friends were suitably impressed to invite her in. She liked the ideology of WETF: power to those who know, will, dare and keep silent - people get the rulers they deserve.

Today Laura is involved in a little WETF project to hack people's software agents. Most users doesn't even realize how much their agents can be trained and configured, leaving huge security holes ripe for picking. Through their agents anybody knowledgeable enough can tell what they are working on, what they are buying, what information they are looking for, not to mention the keys to their home computers. But could the process be automated, so that Laura and the others could let loose agents to do the job for them? That way they could lean back and let the software find the tidbits for them. A small step for mankind, a giant leap for WETF.

Physically, Laura lives in an untidy apartment high up in an apartment stack in Brisbane. She seldom goes out, has no local friends and overall suspects that she has more brainpower than the entire block of losers.

Laura is an insufferable arrogant, witty and abrasive girl. The only people she respects somewhat are those who prove themselves to be her equals - with them she competes fiercely. She is not a team player, and sooner or later she will likely have a run-in with the others in her cell.