“Fractonia” has some key characters that propel the story forward. Matthew, Merc, QM, Spudski, and Brady are central to plot. Learn more about these key characters in the paragraphs below.
Matthew “Math” Roberts
Matthew is an Earth dweller. He probably looks like someone you know: wavy hair, freckles, intelligent eyes, and a toothy smile. He doesn’t often get picked on at school, but he also isn’t exactly high profile. People notice him when they need to notice him, which isn’t too often. His class peers think of him as a bit of a nerd, but only because he loves Mathematics and Science. Of course, all intelligent people know that nerdiness has little to do with Maths and Science, but try telling that to science-haters. It turns out that Matthew not only enjoys Maths and Science – he is pretty good at numbers, too.
Matthew has never thought of himself as a nerd – he considers himself an adventurous learner. He isn’t the typical bookworm who finds fresh air toxic and feels doomed to seek his adventure in someone else’s words. He isn’t addicted to digital gaming and doesn’t binge on nutrition-empty junk food. Matthew actually thoroughly enjoys participating in, and watching, sports. He is a quite an accomplished young sportsman: he runs on the school cross-country team, plays a little squash (although he didn’t make the third team that he was trying out for), has played soccer and hockey in the past, and will soon be trying out for his school’s new kayaking team. He is an avid camper and outdoorsman, and is always eager to build things (especially if he can use his dad’s power tools).
Matthew has never pinned this on himself, but anyone can tell that he is a true explorer at heart. He isn’t the fearless warrior he has discovered in the pages of history, but he is courageous and he has a hunger for adventure. Somehow, without trying too hard, he has become a magnet for adventure. If you ask him why, Matthew will tell you that adventure finds him because he is always ready for it. What made him so ready? Matthew is of the opinion that it all started in the north corner of a small library when he was eight, but that is a story for another day.
H.G. “Merc” Hermes
Merc is an interesting fellow, and we use the term “fellow” quite loosely here. He isn’t human. He is not even extraterrestrial in the sense of originating somewhere off-Earth in our Greater Universe. No, Merc is something different: he is an Exotic. And what is an Exotic, you might ask (and should ask)? An Exotic is simply a difficult-to-define life-form from the other side of the Beyond Realm boundary.
In Fractonia, Merc has taken on a physical form that resembles a human mosquito, and he has adopted the voice of a man. Because of his masculine voice, we refer to Merc as “he”, but actually all Exotics are genderless. And yes, your eyes did not deceive you – he doesn’t wear clothes like we do on Earth.
Merc, or H.G. Hermes as he is formally known, is part of the Inter-Realm Royal Service Extraordinaire. By the time we meet Merc in the book, he has already been serving as the Communications Officer at the Fractonia Outpost for 7 349 215 yonkinots. That’s right – that is a lot of yonkinots.
When Merc started his existence as an Exotic – Exotics are not born – he was immediately assigned his own personal mission. As with all Exotics, the name bestowed on Merc was directly linked to his mission. Merc was given the mission of serving in the Inter-Realm Royal Service Extraordinaire. He never had to think about what career to follow, or what job to apply for. All of that was decided for him at the start of his existence. You can think of the Inter-Realm Royal Service Extraordinaire as a kind of messenger service that operates on a level beyond the comprehension of Earth beings. It’s a bit like a super-glued mix of FedEx and the Earth’s internet on intergalactic steroids. Basically, this service ensures an uninterrupted flow of communication between all the realms on this side of the Beyond Realm.
The Exotics are well-studied and are aware of the history and scientific knowledge of all realms that lie on this side of the Beyond Realm. The Exotics are not restricted by the time lines that realms like Earth are tied to, and can move backwards and forwards on the timelines of other races and civilizations at will. Throughout the history of Earth, Exotics have come and gone, inserting themselves into Earth history and lingering in the legends and myths that persisted through time. Exotics have roamed Earth for as long as Earth has existed, but they were particularly fond of the periods associated with the Greeks and Romans.
When it came time to give the new Exotic (who we know as Merc) a mission and a name, the ancient Exotics decided to pick something that reminded them of a happy moment from Earth’s past. They laughed long and hard as they remembered some of their experiences as “gods” to the Earth beings. One of the Exotics on the Earth at that time was on assignment. He served as the Communications Officer for the Inter-Realm Royal Service Extraordinaire at the Earth Outpost. His name was Zinlashicka, but the Earth beings insisted on giving him one of their own names. Some cultures referred to him as Hermes, while others named him Mercury. The ancient Exotics chuckled about these strange names, then decided it was fitting to name the new messenger Exotic by a name that could give them much pleasure every time it was uttered. And so H.G. “Merc” Hermes was initiated and assigned.
If you are unfamiliar with Earth’s system of naming for elemental substances, you may be unaware that Mercury is represented by the letters H and G. In scientific shorthand, mercury is written with the letters side by side as Hg. Obviously the Exotics were on top of such scientific knowledge, and instead of giving Merc a predictable Earth name like Mercury Hermes, they named him H.G. Hermes. It was now with much fondness and the odd giggle that Merc’s Exotic friends call him Merc for short.
“QM” Quicksilver Maximum
Quicksilver Maximum or QM is a member of the ancient race of Skidmeisters. A Skidmeister is a transporter being. Its main function is to move fluidly and very quickly within the boundaries of any realm on this side of the Beyond Realm. A Skidmeister can easily slide between realms, by itself or while carrying passengers. Skidmeisters are formless and genderless when not on assignment, but easily adopt a physical form and take on a gender to match their assignment.
Exotics has similar movement abilities to the Skidmeisters, but cannot move as quickly as the Skidmeisters. Obviously, for Exotics that belong to a messenger service, getting around quickly is essential. So, when a new Exotic is initiated and assigned to work for the Inter-Realm Royal Service Extraordinaire, they are immediately coupled to a Skidmeister that will help them move at speeds that are expected of inter-realm messengers.
Quicksilver Maximum was the obvious coupling choice for H.G. Hermes. The ancient Exotics simply could not help themselves, and they were gleefully giggling at their own craftiness when they tied the moody Quicksilver Maximum to the fun-loving H.G. Hermes. (You are smart, so I am sure you can see why Merc and Quicksilver belong together.)
When QM discovered that he was assigned to the beautiful realm of Fractonia, he decided to switch his normally dark, formal skin (i.e. his “skin” is the way he appears to other beings) for something galactically cool and youthfully trendy. He had heard about surfing the intergalactic waves, and felt that such adventurous activity would suit him well. But it turns out that intergalactic surfing isn’t nearly as much fun as QM originally thought it would be. In fact, space surfing turned out to be very hard work, especially since Merc was always delivering something or other to some remote realm. Time-space ripples are everywhere, so there is plenty of ups and downs: the ups are particularly hard work for a Skidmeister in a surf skin. And don’t get QM started on the monster rogue waves – you will be tied up for millions of yonkinots listening to his surf hardship stories. By the time we are introduced to Quicksilver Maximum in Fractonia, his upbeat persona has devolved into that of a gloom-and-doom pessimistic trapped in a blue surfboard. (Unfortunately, a Skidmeister cannot swop his skin for a new one in the middle of an assignment, so QM is stuck with being a surfboard until Merc gets a new assignment.)
King Spudski is the leader of Fractonia, and the brains behind the brave attempt to rescue the remaining Fractions from an evil attack. King Spudski is not your average Fractonian Whole. When he was fractured by The Great Divider, his royal life fluids reacted a little differently to the life fluids of all the non-royal Wholes. His royal life fluids vaporized as he fractured. The vapors drifted away from the broken realm of Unitopia, and it was these floating vapors that eventually wafted into the nostrils of the members of the Interdimensional Commission. The Commission smelt the trouble caused by The Great Divider and responded to the powerful message that tickled their nose hairs.
It was the sacrifice of King Spudski’s royal life fluid that brought The Great Integrator to Fractonia’s rescue. Because King Spudski’s royal life fluid was donated to serve as a universal messenger, much of it was lost to him. When his Parts eventually reunited, they formed a Whole that was a lot smaller than the average Whole in his kingdom. The new King Spudski didn’t look as elegant or light-centric as the other Wholes. Instead, his regained wholeness looked shrunken and deformed. But no Whole that ever laid eyes on him thought of King Spudski as ugly. To the Wholes of Fractonia, King Spudski was a selfless leader and worthy of their admiration and devotion. He sacrificed a part of himself so his realm could be restored, and that drew the respect of all worlds on this side of the Beyond Realm.
King Spudski is a featured design on various clothing and gift items offered by Café Press.
Miss Brady is the Mathematics teacher at Matthew’s school. She is no ordinary teacher, and students are often heard whispering about her strange powers. Does she really have “powers” in the supernatural sense of the word? I cannot be sure, but it is said that she can read a student’s mind. (That’s the word in the school corridors, and as yet no-one has disputed it.) Miss Brady can tell if you have done your homework just by looking at you. (That qualifies as a supernatural power, doesn’t it?) Matthew is convinced she has done a little inter-realm travelling of her own, but he cannot prove it – yet.