Chapter 3

How can Doug be so involved in so many different lives at once?

©iStock.com/ JTeffects

©iStock.com/ JTeffects

Doug, Josh, and Debora are neither human nor Paradisian. They are Deón—“eternal ones.” (Although Chris knows Josh’s middle name, he doesn’t know the translation, so doesn’t catch onto its significance.) The brains of the Deón work differently. Whereas the human and Paradisian brains are finite, limited in both the extent of their capabilities and in their capacity to multitask, the Deón brain is infinite and able to accomplish any number of tasks at the same time. Also, Doug doesn’t need to use his mouth to speak through the transmitters since they are designed to directly convey his thoughts.

Doug’s ability to talk to many people at once actually does manifest in this book, although both Chris and Susana are too busy to pick up on it. In Chapter 20, when Susana’s bitten by the snake, Doug helps Chris to verbally calm Susana while he is also making at least three other calls to Josh, Debora, and the hospital.

 

How can the transmitters do everything they do and still be no bigger than a quarter?

Paradise Island possesses both materials and technology that are not available elsewhere. So, just as computers that once took up an entire room now fit into your cell phone, Paradisian technology allows for smaller, more efficient components in the transmitters. In some cases, the technology involved was known to the exiled Paradisians before they rebelled. However, they are not always able to reproduce that technology, since they don’t have access to the raw materials that are available only on Paradise Island.

But if the technology of the transmitter seems amazing, consider that of the chain. Although it looks like a simple, flimsy chain, the amazing possibilities of the metal used (tsuma)transform it into a remarkable tool. Before a runner even receives his transmitter, the chain itself is programmed to respond only to that runner’s touch. Once around the runner’s neck, it monitors the chemicals and oxygen saturation through his skin to detect duress, drugging, or death. If it detects any of these conditions, it will not, under any circumstance, reform the clasp that allows the transmitter to be removed. Another function of the chain seen in the next book is its resistance to being separated from its owner, even if the owner willingly removes it. Programmed to permanently attach itself to the last place its owner placed it, even if this is a trash can, it can become quite a nuisance. This idiosyncrasy, combined with the receiver’s continued verbal transmissions from Doug, explains why backslidden runners like Ben Strider, after typically trying multiple ways of disposing of the thing, finally bury it. In the next book, we also discover that the chain has an emergency program that allows a runner in extremis to receive a boost of energy by simply uttering Doug’s name.

What’s behind Stan’s bizarre quirk of not wanting his picture printed?

People accept this as one of those eccentricities the rich are famous for, but there are actually at least two good reasons for it. First, Stan takes on different guises in order to better deceive people. We see him do this in Chapter 12, when he assumes his well-developed persona of Morgan Charles (who even has his own biography on Wikipedia, despite the fact that he doesn’t really exist). Having an easily recognized face would make such endeavors virtually impossible to carry off. Second, Stan prefers to have people think he’s human; the more they identify with him, the more apt they are to fall for his deceptions. But it would be difficult to explain why a human never ages. By assuring that no pictures exist to document his stable appearance over time, he can use lines like, “Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve got a fantastic plastic surgeon,” or “Oh, you’re talking about my father. People often say we look just alike.”

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