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William Lowell - Expat Professor
A Boston Brahmin with an elite education, impeccable publications, and a world-class mind — but no tenure. Why? Is it the Tibetan mafia, intimidating university administrators? The Red Chinese? Shadowy forces that want to silence a mind that dares ask the challenging questions about the cultural history of ancient and medieval Inner Asia? Or perhaps it's slightly unsettling enthusiasm for detecting traces of the ancient Indo-Aryans everywhere; his habit of quoting Persian and Sanskrit poetry at great length for little provocation; his multiple barely-controlled neuroses; the way he physically blocks people from leaving the room when particularly interesting discussions of petroglyphs in the Hindu Kush are underway; the general aura of dusty, bookish mania teetering on the edge of a breakdown?
Played by Kim Kuroda (KimK).
Todd Saint-James - Failed Anthropologist
An English toff with an accent that drifts north under stress, Todd's career seems to be on a terminally downhill slope. Initially an academic anthropologist working in Afghanistan and Central Asia, he quickly turned 'consultant' to various shadowy agencies. Academy gossip linked him to US military Human Terrain Teams and worse… Convalescing after a mysterious and traumatic car accident in 2007, Todd now survives as a travel writer and novelist - of sorts. Dissolute and edgy, he seems to be searching for something or someone: a mystery, a lost lover, an old enemy, or perhaps simply a place that will grant him healing and peace.
Played by John.
Mattias Fjäder - Skilled facilitator
Swedish expat with over 20 years of experience with all aspects of Uzbekistan. A friendly smile, an honest handshake and friends and contacts everywhere. 15-20 years left to retirement, rugged, balding, grey beard, a bit of a gut and completely at home behind the wheel of a beat-up toyota land cruiser.
Played by Mattias.
Hsi Lien - UN Crime Buster
Hsi Lien, a tough, feminist, no-nonsense Chinese-American. Formerly an NYPD vice detective, she transferred to the UNODC to track people-smugglers in Central Asia. When Uzbekistan cracked down on NGOs in 2007, Lien went solo.
Played by Pip.
Special Agent Thomas Weston - Neocon Investigator, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, 701st Military Police Group, Field Investigation Unit. Coming from a very conservative and religious blue-collar background in Greenville, SC, Thomas Weston has maintained many of these values and his exposure to foreign ideas and culture have only reinforced a sense of xenophobia. A Southern Baptist and supporter of neoconservative doctrine, his heroes include Rick Warren and Ronald Reagan.
Played by Robert.
Sharaf Bukhari - Uzbeki Government Minder
Sharaf's exact job title is something like liaison to foreign guests. He's not a guide though he'll call one if you need one. His actual job is to help keep you out of trouble by making sure you don't photograph train stations or police and to make sure you don't endanger yourself by meeting politically unreliable individuals. He's a necessary evil in this part of the world and he's just doing his job. He mostly wears a civilian suit in the city but sometimes appears in the uniform of an army lieutenant. He doesn't mind dealing with foreigners too much, provided they're good for business and not going to cause any trouble.
Played by Quentin.
Special Agent Zac Nordman - Forensic Field Specialist U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, 701st Military Police Group, Field Investigation Unit. Recently attached to CID from a regular Army unit, Special Agent Nordman is a slight man with deeply tanned hands and lower face, with prominent goggle-shaped tan lines. He walks with the delicacy of someone who might expect the next step to be his last on two legs and has a number of repeated quirks such as always entering rooms at a diagonal and inspecting seals of bottled water, not in a nervous way, but in fact, with a near mechanical calm.
Played by Nuwishas Tail (Josh)