Character Profile – Charlie Semaj
I thought people might be interested in some of the character notes I made when writing the Exodus series. Not all of these are completely publishable, as they have spoilers for unpublished episodes, but I’ll post up what is visible over the next few days. Here is Charlie Semaj, the first character we meet.
Charlie Semaj is one of the early children that were genetically modified by Hephaestus Genetics. He was born to a surrogate mother in Cambridge in 2025 and grew up in the children’s home there, leaving it to attend University College London in 2043 where he studied Genetics for a year. When the scandal broke and Hephaestus went bust Charlie lost the funding for his univeristy place and had to drop out having only completed his first year.
Returning to Cambridge he formed a self-help group with the other Hephaestus children that he’d grown up with, joining up with some of the others that they discovered from other children’s homes in the East of England. Charlie became active in the civil rights movement and ended up as a clandestine activist enabling the genetically perfect to escape from persecution.
Charlie is about 1.75m (five foot ten) and has sandy brown hair, pale skin (you’d describe him as white, but he’s not the sort of pasty white you get in many Northern Europeans). His eyes are a light brown and he is a slim build, you’d describe him as wiry most likely. His hair is a medium brown.
Being aware of the panopticon makes Charlie go for clothes to fit his persona, and he rarely wears anything closely fitted, preferring to be able to look a different size/shape with the leeway afforded by his clothing and where he can pad things. Often he wears a hat or hood to cover his hair and face. He also goes in for terminals with opaque and/or ostentatious glasses to try and draw people’s attention away from his other features.
When dressing as Huw he wears well tailored clothes from a premium tailor on Saville Row, as befits the back story he has created for Huw. He looks and dresses as ‘old money’. He also eschews a hat, but does dye and style his hair differently to make him less recognisable as anyone but Huw. To some extent the camouflage elsewhere allows his lack of disguise as Huw to work better.
The money for this comes from two sources. The first is funding from Hephaestus, which still exists in orbit and is using Charlie and his group to collect longitudinal data on the children as they grow into adults. Although formally wound up the company was bought out by some of the staff and its work continued. There is still a market for genetic modification, but not quite as widespread as before.
The other source of funds is from people who need false identities for themselves. Charlie’s team normally collect money from those that they smuggle out for two reasons, a) the person would otherwise have to abandon their assets in the UK if they left and this avoids that; b) they need to fund the work of the team and also pay off some of their facilitators and the travel agents. They run asset wind-up as a service, so if there is a surplus they re-cycle it to the bank accounts of the new identities. They run this at a profit margin to allow for getting people with no funding or assets out of the country too. Also some of their customers are not Perfects or their immediate family, so these people are charged even more, especially as Charlie is aware that many of them are organised criminals.
Charlie is a hugely pragmatic person, and will do whatever deal he needs to achieve his goals. He has strict control over himself and won’t surrender to his emotions or desires while he sees himself on active service. This means that he has avoided intimate contact with others (he prefers women, but finds some men moderately attractive as well – probably on a 90/10 split). He also doesn’t drink or take drugs and is even careful of over the counter medicines that could cause drowsiness. He is scared of losing control and in doing so making a mistake that could lead to a disaster of some kind.
Charlie lives to his high moral standards, because he sees it as necessary to achieve his goals. He calculates carefully before acting, but fortunately is possessed of a quick thinking brain that usually lets him make decisions within the loop of anyone else that he is faced with. This is also true of his physical reflexes. In his youth, before everything went askew, he was a 2nd dan black belt and has kept up his training. When he needs to fight he can often wait for the other person to hit first, dodge out the way and then retaliate viciously to end it. This confidence means he is unlikely to escalate to violence until after the other person has done so.
Charlie and Pandora
Although Charlie is aware that Rosie has a thing for him, and Cat also made a play before she hooked up with Mark, he has not allowed either of them to be successful with him. In part this is from keeping away from intimate relationships in case it skews his team’s judgement. He can easily control his impulses with most women he knows, the sole exception is Pandora. He hasn’t acted on his attraction to her because of his strong sense of duty, and a worry that although legally an adult (and physically looking like one) she is still too young. It has taken him a lot of willpower not to relax his rules and follow up with Pandora. He has had to stay away from her and the house more than he would normally.
Charlie can’t quite define what it is about Pandora, he barely knows her. However when she is with him there is a physical arousal and he feels light headed. She looks very pretty and has an attractive body shape, but no more so than some of the other women he knows. Her smell is intoxicating to him, and he hasn’t yet worked out what the perfume is, but reckons it should be classed as a weapon of mass distraction.
In short, Charlie is biding his time with Pandora, when she is a bit older, and they are both somewhere safe, he will make his move.
Charlie may well be abstemious and careful in his patterns and habits, but he does love good food. Given a choice he particularly likes Lebanese food, although he eats a wide variety. His choice is very much quality rather than quantity.