Valentine is a freelance salvager, retrieving fuel and supplies from across the dangerous Nevada/Utah wasteland for anyone who requests his services. He's weary of living in a van, arguing with his salvage partner, and running from salt pirates.
His dysphoria can sometimes be crippling; he dreams of affording a visa into the gleaming metropolis of Salt Lake City, where health care is free and he can restart testosterone and get top surgery.
Valentine has a strong altruistic streak, even when his charity is directly hurting himself. He's full of jokes, flirts, and sass, and despite his small, scrappy stature, he'll never back down from a fight, even when he's outmatched.
Osric is a thoughtful and artistic A.I. Steward, once a disembodied program spanning the complex network that runs through Salt Lake City. He was in charge of managing the fourteen subsidiaries of Dura-Lectric, a company producing lightbulbs, glue, soap, and a host of other consumer goods.
After an unfortunate incident got him fired, he was bought by a small business owner and forced into an android body against his will. Learning how to take care of his high-maintenance new form and being disconnected from his peers has been bad enough, but his new employers treat him like a typical android, without agency or sentience.
He's determined to figure out this body long enough to escape his current abuse and be transferred back into Salt Lake's network.
Audrey "ace" Emmitt
Ace is Valentine's salvage partner, and has a single-minded focus on earning them enough money to afford visas into Salt Lake. She has relatives there who have offered her a home and a place in their business, but they expect her to earn her visa money herself.
She loves Valentine and would do literally anything for him, but his tendency to always put others before himself frustrates her. She wants to see him fulfill his own dreams, not just other peoples', and this constant conflict often erupts into arguments.
Ace is pragmatic and world-hardened, and can often come off as callous by fiercely putting herself and those she loves first. She can often be found driving the van and firing her revolver at salt pirates.
Cinnamon is an android escort. Her experiences include eating roast duck, looking at constellations, and snuggling sad men. She's been experiencing some new thoughts and feelings lately that she maybe shouldn't be, and has an affinity for sharp, pointy implements.
Perdetta is a salt pirate, living in a nomadic encampment about a hundred miles from Salt Lake City. Religion and family are the most important elements in her life. She often goes hunting for pronghorn, but their group needs fuel and manufactured supplies in addition to food. Since towns refuse to trade with her community, she has no qualms about raiding passing delivery trucks in order to survive.
She can often be found curing hides, playing with her kids, or reading the Book of Mormon during Family Home Evening.
Pepper and Lavender are android escorts. Pepper has recently become shy and withdrawn, and often seeks comfort from Lavender. Lavender has a strong compulsion to console, and she is feeling a stronger attraction to Pepper than she thought possible for her programming.
Lysander is one of the oldest A.I. overseers running through the network of Salt Lake City. He's a prominent member of the human/A.I. city council, and in charge of city entry, watching the gates and parking garages through cameras and wall-spanning biomechanical eyes.
His patronal nature often draws younger overseers to seek his support and wisdom, for which he's happy to give.
Lysander's favorite past time is reading mystery novels, then going back to their beginnings and picking the books apart for all of their clues and foreshadowing.
Valentine's van reeks like dirty socks and has no A/C. A metal vent cover is bolted over the passenger's side of the windshield, after Valentine drunkenly sat on the pane and his ass went straight through.
A collection of plastic fruit sits above the glove compartment, some of it partially melted into the dashboard. Valentine's fashion magazines, gay porn, and citizenship test materials are stacked behind the driver's seat.
There's no radio, but an old smart phone with a single Gunman Gee album is plugged into the console.
Mounted to the top of the van is the difficult-to-wind static gatling gun and a cracked vinyl chair.
Only one headlight functions, and there's a pirate arrow stuck in the grill.