Douglas Best was a Jefivan, a Compact core world, and an ambassador to the Laputan Guardianship. He had a wife named Carolyn, who acted as an informal advisor during his political career. The First Minister assigned in 428 IEhim to oversee the setup of three new colonies, Jefivah’s first in its four hundred twenty-eight year history. He worked with a man named Luxhomme, from a GMO startup known as JunoCorp, to remove the last remnants of a Naval weapons depot on 978-0765309402d, later renamed Marilyn for the Marilynist cult building a presence there.
In 429 IE, Best was accused of conspiring with Marilynist separatists to steal seven weapons of mass destruction that went missing from their new colony. Dasarius Interstellar joined the investigation when its ship, the Etrusca Explorer disappeared while reportedly carrying the weapons. The Grand Dimaj secured Best’s release from jail by naming him the Temple’s “Prophet” and taking him to The Caliphate to investigate JunoCorp. On the trip, Best demonstrated a severe sensitivity to wormhole travel.
On Jefivah, Best learned that Luxhomme was a problem employee for JunoCorp. After a mugging incident and an attempt to “initiate” him sexually into the faith by the High Normaj for The Caliphate, Best left for Metis in search of the man. Metisian authorities informed him he was technically a fugitive and advised him to check in with the Compact Home Office as soon as possible. He witnessed a “gray alien woman” entering what turned out to be Luxhomme’s apartment. The woman attacked Luxhomme and fled. Best would later learn she was Lattus Tishla. Best entered the apartment and was arrested by drone. Best advised the responding officer to add an assault charge and promptly punched the JunoCorp executive.
Upon his return to Jefivah, Best resigned his ministership and his seat in the Jefivan legislature. At the same time, the Navy found the Etrusca Explorer. He moved to Belsham to work as a history professor. There, he located Leitman and led authorities to him.
Best then returned to Jefivah. There, he became chief of staff for First Minister Myra Gillorn. The Legislature later appointed him junior delegate to the Compact Assembly while continuing his investigation into JunoCorp. Best handed off his investigation to Force Admiral Quentin Austin, who had just come off a tragic failed attempt to retake Amargosa. He outlined his dealings with JunoCorp representative Marcus Leitman, revealing that, as an Etruscan citizen, he had multiple legal aliases, all legal entities. However, that did not explain how Leitman became Earth‘s junior delegate to the Assembly. Best also revealed that Dasarius Interstellar was JunoCorp’s ultimate parent company, but that it appeared they had worked there way into Dasarius’s investment portfolio through some sort of trickery.
Shortly after the incident, Jefivah’s Legistature appointed him junior delegate to the Compact Assembly. As he traveled to Quantonesia to take his seat, the Navy diverted him to the city of Macau in China to meet with Quentin Austin. Austin wanted Best to take over the investigation into JunoCorp. The investiagation had been stymied by Austin’s promotion to rear admiral and head of the Warp Project. However, the admiral revealed an unlikely ally for Best: High Normaj Jayne, the highest Marilynist cleric on Earth. She would use Best’s position as “Prophet” to cover his movements so he could gain access to high-ranking officials and cloak his investigation in “official visits” by both an Assembly delegate and a Marilynist “holy man.”.
In Quantonesia, he arrived at his apartment to find two body guards, Erik and Groza, assigned to him by the High Normaj at the behest of First Minister Gillorn. Not wanting personal security beyond the Compact Marshals or Border Guard, he slipped out to a nearby cafe. There, Leitman joined him, the former GMO sales rep now the junior delegate from Earth to the Assembly. While they dined, Best’s apartment exploded.
Quantonesia Police whisked Best to the local Marilynist Temple where he and Carolyn Best would stay under the protection of the Jayne Chedowski Best. The High Normaj offered to solidify Best’s status as the Temple’s “Prophet” by initiating him, which included ritual sex with her, if Carolyn consented. She would make arrangements for a similar ritual for Carolyn. The couple declined.
Jayne, however, voiced a rather cynical attitude the to Temple’s sexual rites and promised not to impose the Temple’s ways on the Bests.
Best endured an opening meeting of the Assembly during which the Secretary-General gave a long, rambling, and paranoid speech. Best was then diverted from a meeting with Jefivah’s senior delegate, Alain Vanever to meet with Tol Germanicus, CFO of Dasarius Interstellar. Germanicus revealed that JunoCorp had been founded by the second-oldest human alive, Gene Klament, that Klament’s goal was to commoditize amortality. The trillionaire asked Best to loop him in on the investigation, using Sarai Gaddar as his primary contact.
At the Temple that evening, High Normaj Jayne revealed more details, namely her age, 187. Showing Best and his wife her nude body, which resembled that of a very young adult, she stated she had not aged since the age of 17. She also had become a Marilynist as a fanatic back then because Jefivah was in a state of severe civil war. Over time, however, her views became more pragmatic. During the dinner, she pledged her assistance in the investigation, which would include a visit to Richard Byrd University in Antarctica. That night, at Carolyn’s suggestion, Jayne feigned inducting Best into the Temple to make it appear he had accepted the faith.
The morning they were discovered in the same bed, with Carolyn discreetly hidden in a nearby room, word spread throughout Hong Kong and Quantonesia of Best’s “conversion.” Best particularly took a ribbing from Delegate Baker ibn-Aziz.
Best and Jayne traveled on an “evangellcal tour” to Richard Byrd University, where Dr. Pietro gave them background on Gene Klament, who disappeared shortly after returning from Gohem during the Earth-Mars War. Pietro and his assistant suffered accidents after the visit. Best agreed with Jayne that they needed to travel to Gohem to retrace Klament’s steps.
Upon his return to Quantonesia, Best, with Leitman at a seaside bar, witnessed the explosion that killed Earth’s senior delegate and Vanever. He immediately assumed the role of Jefivah’s senior delegate while Carolyn became the junior delegate on an interim basis. Jayne scheduled Best to go with her to Gohem while Carolyn would travel to Bromdar to re-examine Hatch.
Before departing, Best had to attend an emergency session of the Compact Security Council after Bromdar suffered a nuclear attack by the Realm. He abstained from voting as a “war footing” might prove too vague and, as one delegate put it, the beginning of a forever war while declaring war on an entity they did not know anything about would have a similar result. Secretary-General Roberhardt asked him to return in one week’s time with a decision. Leitman pulled Best aside and proposed first replacing Roberhardt with the more politically neutral and independent Baker ibn-Aziz. He also proposed creating a strong executive to function independent of the Compact Assembly. Best did not object to making ibn-Aziz Secretary-General but expressed doubts about the executive position.
On Gohem, Best and Jayne met with the Khreg and consulted with Nintenneg about Gene Klament. Nintenneg revealed that Klament arrived after suffering organ failure from amortality therapy due to a missing protein in Sapiens. They discovered that Klament bore a striking resemblance to Marcus Leitman, After their visit to the Paendargoem, they were attacked. One of their bodyguards suffered multiple stab wounds. THe bodyguard would remain on Gohem to undergo amortality treatment to restore his health. Best offered to continue the ruse of sleeping with Jayne, but she declined. They were now alone, and she found his proximity too tempting with the stress they were under.
They traveled together to Tian, then aboard the Challenger to Bromdar. En route, they took an Orag wormhole sickness remedy that allowed them to stare into a wormhole during transit with no effect. At Bromdar, however, the city of Lada suffered the planet’s second nuclear attack. Carolyn died, and the shuttle carrying Jayne and Best crashed, severely injuring him. Transferred to the Canterbury, a Dr. Whittaker treated him for severe radiation poisoning. She oversaw taking him to Thule for permanent rejuvenation. While she prepared for his treatment, Best met Tol Germanicus and Suri Mongano separately. Both warned him about Gene Klament, how he wanted to undermine the Compact and take control of amortality itself. Germanicus also pointed out that no ship appeared when Krupp was destroyed, suggesting a terrorist attack.
Best, being Sapiens, lacked enough Neanderthal DNA to naturally undergo the treatment. He would need an infusion of bone marrow from a donor who had it. Jayne volunteered to be drained to the point of death if need be, refusing to be sedated and enduring great pain. She later explained she loved both him and Carolyn too much to let him die after Carolyn perished.
At Carolyn’s funeral, he had an awkward reunion with her parents. He also had to deal with intrusions by Marcus Leitman and the Grand Dimaj. The former he confronted about his resemblance to the missing Gene Klament. Leitman professed to have no knowledge why they looked similar. He forced Leitman to meet with him with First Minister Gillorn present as she would take over Best’s seat as senior delegate to the Compact Assembly. The Grand Dimaj Joseph barged in on a moment graveside with Best’s in-laws. Sensing their revulsion at the man, Best passive-aggressively dismissed the cleric by calling him “Joe,” the diminutive of the Dimaj’s regnal name. The funeral taxed Best’s energy, and he was soon taken aboard the liner Queen of Helios. paid for passage to Thule, including a hypergate outage that routed the ship an extra three days through Etrusca‘s system.
Tol Germanicus met once more with him aboard the Queen of the Helios before it jumped to Thule. He explained Best’s treatment and that which Jayne underwent made them a new species of human, Homo amortalis. There would be two others, Homo Virtualis and Homo Syntheticus. Best asked him if he was Steven Turing. Germanicus said that wasn’t the first time he had been accused of that.
Drs. Whittaker and Paartwey performed Best’s amortality therapy on Thule. When he learned that Jayne might die from donating genetic material for his treatment, he ordered the doctors to let him die instead if it came to that. While unconscious, Carolyn’s consciousness interacted him in a dreamlike state. She revealed they had both been implanted with resurrection chips, but that she could not return as Carolyn as they had not cloned her body. She told Best to stay close to Jayne and protect her. As a goodbye, she recreated in a dream every single time the made love, starting with the first time in their college dorm.
During the latter stages of his treatment, Best met with Suri Mongano. She revealed that Steven Turing still lived, his life now a penance for nearly annihilating humanity during the AI War. She also told Best he had already met Gene Klament, but that revealing either man’s identity would cause chaos at such a critical point in humanity’s evolution. He learned that he would be expected to produce an offspring now that he was amortal, spreading his seed among humanity. Suri suggested he conceive with Jayne. She also suggested he go into the diplomatic service, where he would be less visible, even as the Prophet of the Marilynist Temple. He and Jayne decided, after a short mourning period for Carolyn, to marry under Thulian aliases.
In 430 IE, Best accepted the position of ambassador to the Laputan Guardianship. On his way to the Hall of the Guardian, he stopped at Armaneya City to respond to a demand by Nolan Rosc to see the Compact ambassador. Best arrived and informed him that Marcus Leitman’s writ of extradition for treason was not valid. Best proposed writing a new writ, based on the Compact’s position that Hanar was an occupied world. The net effect would be turning him over to the Metisian government and sending him back to Hanar as a representative.