Name: Evelyn Fionnuala Riley
Birthdate: April 30, 2002 (age 26)
Evelyn Riley is the daughter of Andrew and Maureen Riley and the younger sister of Karen Riley. Maureen and Karen died in a car accident when Evelyn was five, and this event affected Evelyn’s entire life. Her father, Andrew, was a lawyer suddenly thrust into grief as well as the responsibilities of single fatherhood. Because he had to continue working, child-care duties fell primarily to his sister, Evelyn’s aunt Megan.
Evelyn becomes a reporter for the World Times in New York, sharing an apartment with Lucie, her friend and dorm mate from university. When Evelyn learns that productivity and absenteeism have increased at the same time at General Motors, she goes to Detroit to investigate.
Among her interests are hiking and listening to Irish musician Sinéad O’Connor.
“Human beings—all life forms—are not fully free, nor are they meant to be. Complete freedom isn’t any beautiful thing, because it means you’re not getting anything back either. I think we need to be beholden to each other.”
Name: Ryan Charles Gregory
Birthdate: September 18, 2000 (age 28)
Occupation: automobile-assembly line manager at General Motors
“We don’t do what’s right because of the hope of reward or fear of punishment. We do it because it’s right.”
Name: Geoffrey Bubb
Occupation: assembly-line worker
Geoffrey Bubb is a worker at Detroit-based General Motors, one of the two remaining automobile manufacturers in America, and a friend of Ryan Gregory.
“To exploit is to take undue advantage of someone else’s need, whether that be unfair wages paid or unfair prices charged. I have just summed up the current state of modern capitalism in one sentence.”
“We are not communists. We advocate private property, and we would never take someone else’s rightful property by force. That is the point: there is much property that is wrongful, and we leave it to the Congress to decide where that line falls.”
Name: John Galt
On November 22, 2019, retired physicist John Galt issued a challenge to the dictatorial Thompson administration. He commandeered America’s airwaves to proclaim that it was he who had caused the disappearances of the Nation’s top business executives, to protest and counter the Administration’s abuses of free enterprise. He stated his and everyone else’s individual freedom, rejecting the oppressions of the Thompson regime. John Galt told America that it needed its business leaders far more than those business leaders needed America.
Galt’s strike succeeded in toppling the Thompson regime, but it also caused a pendulum swing in American politics. After the government collapsed, Galt’s ally Richard “Rick” West took office via unopposed referendum in 2020, after which a new constitution was passed, similar to the original US Constitution with one major difference: it forbade the regulation of economic activity. West also ended income taxes and social programs for the needy, otherwise known as “parasites”. Galt and his supporters agreed with the new constitution and West’s policies, so all was well in their minds until West allowed Galt to be charged, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to prison for “economic terrorism”. John Galt languished in the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, for eight years.
“Our opponents mean well, but they always mean well—with other people’s money. Once again they’ve gone too far. They’ve not only taxed us, they’ve taken our very businesses, our property. This is communism. If we don’t take immediate action to nip this in the bud, our American way of life will be gone forever.”
Name: Dagny Taggart
Occupation: President of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad
Dagny Taggart investigated Galt’s strike and tried to stop the disappearances until she realized their purpose and sided with Galt against the loss of freedom in American society. She actively assisted his strike, shooting a guard dead to rescue him from Thompson’s torturers. After the Constitution was restored, she returned to Taggart Transcontinental, where, against her will, the board of directors insisted she succeed her brother as line president. When her love John was imprisoned, she saw little hope of helping him. Broken-hearted and disillusioned, she sank herself back into her work.
Now, in 2029, John Galt and Dagny Taggart perceive a new threat to American liberty in the form of liberal reformer and president-elect Laurence Sterling, and they adopt new tactics in their fight. Along the way they find themselves crossing paths with a bright young reporter named Evelyn Riley.
“Earlier in my life, for most of my life, I was driven by my desire to run the railroad. And that was a fine goal. But then Hank and John changed everything, and they taught me that society improves through the efforts of its best minds, working unfettered by government intrusion. I didn’t care about politics—I just wanted to run a railroad. But they showed me—they showed the World—how important they were, how important we were.”
Name: Bilou Agobas
Hoshti’s partner, from France. Communist.
“The Planet Earth is a cesspool of avarice and apathy.”
Name: Hoshti Goshtas
Bilou’s partner, from Japan. Communist.
“Partnerism only shares each business with its employees. What about the needs of the state? What about the needs of the jobless? Why should we allow the capitalists any continued say over the means of production with which they oppressed us? No. An arrangement in which the capitalists continue to be rewarded with money and private property is unacceptable.”
Name: Aisa Akston
Occupation: private-security consultant
Aisa is the niece of philosopher Hugh Akston.
“There’s nothing I love more than seeing liberals fight each other.”
Name: Lee Bowder
Occupation: computer technician
Lee is an outspoken advocate of anarchy.
“We celebrate the beauty and reason of the individual, and resist the coercion of the state and the tyranny of the majority. We laugh and cry about the bullshit ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ pigeonholes that people throw themselves into. They think we favor violence, but I’ve been taught how to fight, and you’ll probably never find anyone less likely to harm a living creature.”
Name: Philip Crane
The former governor of Pennsylvania, Mister Crane falls between Objectivism and Libertarianism.
“Any government beyond the bare minimum is an act of aggression on a free, moral individual.”
Name: Jason Garmage
Occupation: Senator (R.—W. Va.)
The Senator is the best friend big business has in the Senate.
“My friends are suffering terribly. The workers are voting themselves raises, shorter hours, and even quitting their second and third jobs. Most of America is happy, but those of us with fortunes to protect are devastated.”
Name: Cyrus Godwin
Occupation: charismatic leader
Godwin leads a mysterious group of free individuals called the Exchange so opposed to collectivism its members don’t even acknowledge they are members of a group or use plural pronouns. They only use the personal pronoun “I”, refer to everyone as an ego, and do not accept hierarchy of any kind. They operate entirely on the basis of economic value as they perceive it.
“Everything is exchange. A is A, and I am I!”
Name: Roy Hallsman
Occupation: adventurer for hire
An old friend of Ryan Gregory.
“Our land isn’t different from the land anywhere else. What makes the U.S. distinctly different is our government. So if you ‘love our country’ it is our system of government that you are talking about. Our government is our collective way of working together and sharing the expense for things we’ve decided are important to us, so if you hate taxes you hate our system of government. But as Churchill said, it’s the worst form of government except for all the rest, so if you hate this one, try another.”
Name: Miriam Morris
Occupation: CEO of Better You cosmetics and current head of the Chamber of Commerce
Miriam Morris made her fortune by creating and leading the cosmetics company Better You Cosmetics to nationwide success through home cosmetics parties and commission-based franchisee sales.
As the leader and public face of the Chamber of Commerce, it is her task and top priority to protect an environment friendly to business interests.
“I suggest we take our business elsewhere. Let us show America how much it needs us.”
Name: Nya Rayt
Occupation: secretary to Senator Jason Garmage (R.—W. Va.)
Nya is the descendant of Russians who suffered under the Soviet Union. She tends to see totalitarian oppression wherever she sees liberalism in American society.
“There is nothing more despicable than moral weakness. Physical weakness may not be preventable, but moral weakness has no such excuse. It is cowardice. Our civilization has proved quite destructive, in that it allows the weak to survive and even to thrive off the strength of others. When the weak prey upon the strength of the strong, they drain society and sap it until it will die unless defended by those with the vision, the morality, and, ultimately, the strength to defend it.”