Song of the Earth
Ben is a scrawny man of six feet. He is white, with short brown hair and brown eyes. He is in his mid-twenties.
Ben Bickley Awakened at the age of 19 as a Virtual Adept. He was 21 when Cadence Richmond brought him over to her side of the Ascension War. He willingly converted to become a Technocrat and member of Iteration X, maintaining his old contacts to be a spy for the Technocracy. His conversion was handled by Quentin Ramsey. Questions about his loyalty kept him at 5th degree, and his attitude and conduct with his coworkers only intensified it.
At 25, he was placed in an amalgam with Cadence, Xifeng Lin, James McAvoy, and Russ Jones that was charged with pursuing the Achilles case, aka capturing Sonia Farooqi, the teenage student of Odysseus. It was the first time he was put on a team with Cadence. Their first mission was actual cleaning up the excrement deviant that attacked a mall, completing missing that Sonia was one of the unconscious victims.
After the cabal breaks, Jacob returns to Sonia’s house trying to find her, and Ben, Xifeng, and Russ find him there and question him. Jacob gives them a pair of random kids’ names to ask Sonia about, including, as fate would have it, America Anders. Then Ben asks him how long he’s been a vampire, precipitating a confrontation. Though it’s close, ultimately Jacob escapes, abducting Russ in the process.
Cadence picks Xifeng and Ben up. Though they are lovers, she does not take Ben’s side in the argument, telling them they need to work together as amalgam or they will all fail together.
Kate discovers Ben’s identity in Russ’ mind, as he is the cabal’s hostage, but as Russ doesn’t know any of his associated aliases she doesn’t learn any.
When Jacob calls Xifeng, Ben is able to trace the hotel he and the shattered remnants of the cabal are staying at. The amalgam, with some backup attack, finding 2 vampires—Jacob and Kianna—Will, Jahan, and Dylan. At first willing to help James, Ben leaves him to die when Jacob runs after them, something James has never quite forgotten. Jacob shoots him in the leg and buttocks.
After the battle, Jahan tumbles out of the back of the van. He is picked up and reconditioned as a Technocrats. He ends up striking up a friendship with Cadence. Weeks later, when he is back in his home, he alerts Cadence when he thinks his friends are coming to bring him back to their “cult.” Cadence makes Ben come along on the stakeout. During the course of battle with the cabal, Jacob executes Cadence with a shot to the head. Afterwards, Ben vows to see the vampire burn.
While they are leaving the scene, Dylan crashes into their car while struggling with the serial killer Chad Smith. Both Ben and Russ are knocked out, seriously injured. Xifeng escapes the car and shoots Smith, killing him.
After the Virtual Adept raid on the Rock Island Construct, enough incriminating evidence comes to light to reverse Xifeng’s demotion to the 5th degree. She is promoted to supervisory status and moved to Cincinnati. Ben, along with the surviving members of AT-12 moves with her. While they also now work with a new amalgam, WU-51, the only new member of AT-12 is Vic, another former Virtual Adept. While Ben is initially uncertain of them they get along well fairly quickly.
Ben and Vic head to the Old Man’s to gather intel on the city as it is. When Ben lived in Cincinnati before, he actually lived at the Old Man’s for a time when he didn’t have anywhere else to go. Here they meet Jahan. Speaking privately to him, Jahan confides his regrets about no longer being with the Technocrats, and Ben tells him how Cadence brought him over. Then Jahan warns him that Mackenzie, the Man in White, is a Nephandus. They exchange email addresses to stay in contact.
Ben confides in Xifeng and Xifeng alone, who tells him to keep quiet and sit on it. She forbids him from hacking into the Men in White’s database.
During Super Tuesday, Ben and Vic provided backup to the amalgams as they attempted to capture Sonia and her cabal. With the arrival of Jerusha, Sapphira, and the other Nephandi, they are disabled and later hospitalized. After this event, AT-12 is dissolved and its members placed into WU-51.
Ben, Vic, and Xifeng all go out to the Carnival to have fun, but things get weird. Vic disappears and then Ben and Xifeng end up sleeping together. After that, Xifeng is more or less normal, but Ben is infatuated with her. Later they meet Jianyu and Daniel and he ends up kissing Daniel before switching bodies with America mid-kiss. America’s body is in the Hall of Mirrors with Will and Jahan. He works with the Avengers through a terrifying confrontation with the Marauder, Joshua, but Xifeng ends up a cat and Vic is still MIA.
At the mercy of the cabal, Davey Darkefell rifles through his mind and gets every Digital Web alias he has every used, exposing him and dangerously blowing his cover on the Web. Then they release him and Xifeng so the Technocracy can deal with the dangerous Marauder. Ben is too nervous to report the situation immediately so he keeps the cat-Xifeng in his apartment the entire weekend. When he takes her into work on Monday her supervisor, Rick Morgan, is furious, thinking him completely incompetent.
His fear of the Psych Ops makes Rick very curious though. He begins an investigation of Ben’s computer usage, his studying of the Men in White, and that it happened after the amalgam began an email correspondence with Jahan Meshadi. Rick resets his password and impersonates Ben to ask Jahan about Mackenzie. Getting his answer, he comes into XIfeng and Ben’s conspiracy around Mackenzie.
Ben is only a novice of Correspondence, Matter, Forces, and Mind. Since coming into the Technocracy 5 years ago, he hasn’t progressed at all.
During Black Tuesday, Jahan abducts Ben and rolls his mind, changing his alignment to Jahan/Cadence and using him to help ‘ressurrect’ Cadence. Ben manages to be a nuisance to the fighters until Jacob, compelled by the real Cadence, storms his safehouse and knocks him out. He is taken in by the Technocracy and scheduled for reprocessing (again) with Quentin Ramsey.
After a few days Quentin learns what Ben knows about Mackenzie being a Nephandus, and he and several other Men in White abduct Mackenzie in the middle of the night to interrogate him. James, at the construct for an unrelated reason, finds out, and asks Ben what he told Quentin. Ben, still on truth drugs, is forced to tell him, and realizes he’s a Nephandus.
James knocks him out, and then kills him horribly, strapped to a table and bisected by a laser.