Formed from merger of two companies - Wessex Organic Technologies and Smithston Frontiers.
Wessex Biowonders is a subsidiary company of Wessex Organic Technologies specialising in biotechnology and genetic engineering. Its stake on the planet is the creation of various biotechnical products from local plant and wildlife that can be used to enhance terraforming efforts on the planet. While it is a company with a strong public image, even appearing enthusiastic about establishing mankind in deep space, Smithston-Wessex is a public company whose board of directors are dedicated to the bottom line and appeasing their shareholders. This puts them at odds with their science staff as the board's demands can be unreasonable at times.
Despite a popular public image, Smithston-Wessex's board are aware of several rising deep-space companies that could surpass them. Some of its board are deeply worried that if things start becoming problematic, the terraforming project could potentially remove Smithston-Wessex from the top spot of the deep space development industry.
The base itself was developed by Smithston Frontiers subsidiary Grayston Frontier Engineering, who specialise in constructing offworld habitats. Grayston also run the base's engineering department. During the story, Grayston take an interest in the material of Four's cocoon. Its lightweight but rigid composition make it a material of interest for construction, body armour and vehicle assembly. Grayston engineers would be fascinated in analysing the creature and how it produces this compound for hibernation.
Occupation: Lead biotechnician, Outpost Wessex-Choris
Marital status: Married, but relation estranged
A senior biotechnician working for Wessex Biowonders, David Stensson is the lead biotechnician for Smithston-Wessex's efforts to exploit the features of the planet for terraforming. David has worked with Wessex since being offered an apprenticeship after graduating from university. Initially a talented researcher who developed a number of organic petrochemical compounds.
In his later years however his career has fallen into stagnancy. A few years prior to the story, David was working late when his child passed away in hospital. David had been kept at work throughout the period his child was in hospital and after they passed away he took up an opening for a senior position at Wessex's Choria outpost on the far-off planet. He felt that he was not suitable for caring for a child due to company pressure and decided to fully dedicate himself to company efforts.
Although he was a man passionate about the possibilities nature provides for new technologies when he graduated with his doctorate, David has become more jaded as the excitement of his earlier projects become a more distant memory and his reality is of projects he might never gai nrecognition for. He is wholly professional in his behaviour. He is cold, focused and indifferent to the problems of people around him, but approaches his efforts with a cold enthusiasm. Never smiling until his paternal instincts are awakened in his care and excitement for Four.
Age: late forties
Occupation: Senior researcher, Orton Nanotech
Marital status: Married, but relation estranged
The wife of David, Amelia is a senior materials researcher for Orton Nanotech, a partner of Smithston-Wessex. She met David at a conference on the use of micro-scale technologies for exploring and colonising outer space.
Amelia raised a child with David when she was in her thirties. When the child fell ill, she attended it in hospital, comforting it while David was working on a project for Wessex. She has felt mild resentment for David abandoning his responsibilities as a husband and father by moving to the outpost. By the time of the story she has planned a divorce, falling for a colleague at Orton.
Unlike her husband, Amelia has a more positive outlook on life. She still enjoys her career but feels uneasy talking to her increasingly distant husband. By the time of the story, she is following though with a divorce, something she feels uncomfortable doing as it is as she is well aware of the pain it could cause, but hides these feelings aside as David's distance from her eases the pain.
A native to the planet outpost Wessex-Choris is established on, Four is raised within the base overseen by David. As a creature growing up in an alien environment, Four resents his confinement, becoming bitter at the staff until David starts being kinder to him.
As a creature growing up in an alien environment, Four is highly observant of his surroundings, and becomes known for staring at new things and people to understand them. While still a beast, Four is intelligent, good at solving puzzles as the researchers discover, but always longing for the chance to explore the outside.