This is a very early personnel roster I devised for my story On a Hot World that I’ve briefly mentioned here. Of the people mentioned below, only Morris Kuludu, Michael Lawrence and Sally Drew have been retained.
Kempson Base has 30000 personnel. The chief of these is 6-Science’s Dr Morris Kuludu, an exobiologist by training. He is a man of southern African origin who has had 40 years of service to 6-Science, mainly in the fields of exobiology and genetic studies of alien fauna. He is known colloquially as the Farmer though he smiles wryly at that appellation and informs the speaker of it that he is more a dissector of strange animals than a farmer. He is a softly-spoken man in his late 60s who likes to do his scientific work when the administration of a base allows him.
Ethan de Wett
Actual personnel, political and law enforcement overseeing is performed by 4-Navy’s Vice Admiral Ethan de Wett. He is a military man, and is not strictly bound by 6-Science’s edicts. In practice, he is Dr Kuludu’s second in command and will defer major decisions to the Farmer himself save those involving 4-Navy activity, which he is in command of. Both men rarely have disagreements on governing principles and are on very friendly terms. Like most 4-Navy lifers he is a pragmatic fellow who frowns at frivolity or excessive intellectualism. He is a tall, stout man in his early 50s with short grey hair. Both men generally get together in one of the recreational rooms, usually to play their favourite pursuits of snooker or cribbage.
The head of security is Colonel Thurstan Persis, a 4-Navy officer. It is he who ensures the net is functioning, personnel behave themselves, and that Tukonmi’s diverse autochthonous life does not present a threat to the base. He answers to Lt. General de Wett on these matters, who in turn, reports to 4-Navy’s HQ on Earth.
The head of crop production is nominally Dr Kuludu, though he delegates this duty to Dr Anders Pelasaert. Dr Pelasaert is an exobotanist and his knowledge of flora is unparalleled in the station. It is often joked that he could name every terrestrial plant, fungus or otherwise at sight. He is ExUN’s and human space’s foremost expert on the crop plant and often risks his life out in the fields to study them. He views all life as something to be respected and disavows greatly the practice of hunters elsewhere on the world pursuing game. Dr Kuludu shares this belief as well, though, diplomatically, he is more reticent.
Dr Hazel Cerbenaux is the base’s chief of planetology and ecology. She heads a team devoted to studying the large world that Tukonmi is, and is currently investigating the deeps and aquifers. A geologist by trade, she is often to be found in the base’s zoological park engrossed in her pastime of exobiology, a subject which she is currently studying to add to her impressive list of credentials. It is ultimately Dr Cerbenaux who says what may be exported or imported onto the planet.
The production of angeptas is headed by Dr Michael Lawrence. He is a genetic engineer and has possibly the most controversial job anywhere in human space. He views angeptas as art-forms and believes the task he oversees is for the common weal. A brilliant and sharp-witted man, he is always at loggerheads with ExUn’s ethical element over the creation of his designs, most of these politicians or bureaucrats believing he is a fanatic and seeks to replace humankind with superior bred people. This argument is as old as genetic engineering itself and Dr Lawrence finds himself continually annoyed with the interference in what he considers to be a necessary task. Rarely a Tukonmi month passes without some 6-Science bureaucrat at his side on a tour of inspection. The truth of the matter is, Dr Lawrence sees himself as being given a task to create and maintain 100 male angeptas and fails to understand why ExUN back-pedals or hinders this task.
The exobiology of Tukonmi itself is led by Dr Martin Sedgewick. He is basically the fauna counterpart of Dr Palaesert and is technically the base’s 4th in command after Dr Kuludu, Lt Gen. De Wett and Dr Palaesert. He maintains the zoological parks, labs and expeditions. Like Dr Palaesert he is a conservationist and is thoroughly opposed to hunting and is not overly keen on his position when it involves giving orders, feeling he is a scientist and a learner not a bureaucrat.
Chief Engineer of the base is Commander Elizabeth Booker of 4-Navy’s Planetary Support and Engineering, that arm devoted to general construction work and military engineering. She lives in the building known as the radar station to the personnel, approximately 6 km north of the base. She is in charge of all traffic in and out of the base, both internal and space-bound and has direct command over radio and radar controls and answers to Col. Persis. A cool and remote woman in her late 30s, she rarely associates with anyone save by necessity and speaks only when she has to.
6-Science’s personnel section on Tukonmi is headed by the eternally upbeat Steven Wallach. He spends a fair deal of his time off Tukonmi in his capacity as recruiter. He never frowns or seems despondent about anything and his cheery nature has broken the ice and unstuck an impasse on many an occasion. He’s no scientist, and doesn’t even remotely pretend to know what goes on in Kempson when it comes to botany or biology. Also seems to know everyone by name, which is a sizeable achievement given Kempson’s population.
Piotr Prokofiev is nominally the chief information officer of Kempson Base. He is the one who decides what the public reads about Tukonmi, as well as overseeing the information technology systems of Kempson. Although he was born in Russia, he cannot speak Russian and speaks English with an American accent due to his upbringing in California. He is a quiet and reserved man who politely nods his head at all. He is a 5-Covert operative, though this is known to Dr. Kuludu alone. His stated mission is to gather intelligence on the angepta program and make an assessment for 5-Covert on the viability of them as soldiers of war.
If there is anyone on Tukonmi who can out-cheer Steven Wallach it is Sally Drew. She is a bouncing and bubbling woman in her mid-30s and her task is recreational officer. She is a 6-Science official and doubles as Wallach’s second in his absence. Essentially, all the parties and functions of Kempson are arranged by Sally and she performs these tasks with glorious gusto and indefatigable enthusiasm. She is seen as an airhead by many on the base, though she is widely liked. She is an impossible person to dislike.
©1996-present Peter (Booth) Greenwell - texts and images CC BY-SA 4.0
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