After I read Kiss of Snow, I started to re-read the entire Psy series. I did so because in reading Kiss of Snow, I began to form a picture of Kaleb Krychek in my mind and I had to go back and figure out if the previous mentions of him fit the crystallizing image.
This is a post full of spoilers. Please don’t read and complain you got spoiled. Everything in this post is spoilerish. It’s like a spoiler fiesta. Or a spoiler pinata that’s been broken open with all the spoilers lying on the ground. Warning given. You can read the conversational review here. Let’s begin.
I’ve placed citations to the books whenever I’ve stated a fact. A fact is something that is confirmed by the text in one of the Psy-Changeling books. Supposition is everything that doesn’t have a cite.
Kaleb Krycheck first appears in Visions of Heat. Even after 10 books, Visions remains one of the best sources of information on Kaleb. A space on the Psy Council, the governing body of the Psy people, was created when Santano Enrique was killed by the Changelings at the end of Slave to Sensation. Kaleb’s name was floated by Shoshanna Scott, partner to Henry, to replace the empty Council seat.
“Another possibility is Kaleb Krychek,” Shoshanna responded. “He’s a cardinal Tk and part of the Council ranks. I’m placing the files on him beside the ones on Faith. You’ll note that his control over his telekenetic abilities is reputed to be superb.” (Visions)
Kaleb’s power is that he can drive individuals clinically insane. He is also a Tk that purportedly can create earthquakes and possibly even level a city. (Kiss of Snow)
Kaleb was placed in a training facility at the age of three and after displaying considerable power was taken by Enrique for personal mentoring (if that sounds ominous, it is). Kaleb was Enrique’s protege:
Cold and desolate, each unmarked grave reminded him of the lightless rooms used by another killer, a sociopath who’d groomed Kaleb to be his audience . . . and his protégé. (Bonds of Justice)
It was several pages long and stamped with the seal of the training facility where Kaleb had been placed at age three, when he’d first begun exhibiting his considerable telekinetic strength. As was usual, the juvenile files had been sealed at Kaleb’s majority, which was why she’d had such trouble getting them…and why she hadn’t known the name of Kaleb’s trainer: Santano Enrique. (Caressed by Ice)
At the age of seven, something seismic happens in Kaleb’s life.
He came to stand beside her, hands in the pockets of his tailored suit. “On the contrary, Nikita. I alone was responsible for my ascension to the Council.” He’d set his eye on the goal at age seven and never blinked. No one had been allowed to stand in his way. But then, all the Councilors had blood on their hands. (Caressed)
Nikita notes that his files show a significant gap between ages seven years, four months and seven years, seven months.
She soon began to notice odd gaps in the record. There was a continuous accounting of his progress up to age seven years, four months, but the next entry didn’t appear until age seven years, seven months. What had Kaleb been doing in the intervening three months? Again and again, the pattern repeated itself. The gaps were highly irregular. Training logs were meant to be kept strictly up-to-date.
Each gap in the log appeared one week to the day after Kaleb had had a personal training session with Enrique. With any other trainer, it would’ve been a cause for concern, but not a major problem overall.
Kaleb is inextricably tied to the Netmind and the Dark Mind (more on this later). He first spoke to the Dark Mind at seven years of age. (Mine to Possess)
Kaleb and the Girl
I think Kaleb searches for someone. Perhaps someone he was trained with under the hands of Enrique. I posit that Kaleb was raised with another Psy, perhaps an F Psy, who became important to him. Enrique figured this out and ensured Kaleb’s compliance with threats toward her. We know from Caressed by Ice that Silence is implemented by a biofeedback inside a person. Emotional response triggers a violent pushback using the Psy’s own skills which is why the stronger the Psy, the more likely they will go insane as the Silence breaks down.
According to the discussion in Visions, there are two types of individuals that are uniquely suited to controlling the NetMind: Tk and F Psy (the Council contemplated inviting Faith Nightstar, the strongest F Psy in existence to be part of the Council). There are anchors to the Netmind. The councilors are anchors but two gradients are uniquely qualified to control the NetMind: Tk and Psy (Visions of Heat)
I think that this girl and Kaleb will be responsible for bringing the NetMind and DarkMind together.
Sascha’s eyes met hers and there was such grief in them. “Until the DarkMind and the NetMind are merged again, the Psy will continue to produce the most vicious serial killers on the planet.” (Visions of Heat)
Kaleb searches for something:
However, today, Kaleb had no interest in mining the PsyNet for data—except for the one crucial piece of information that he searched for constantly, day and night, awake or asleep. That task hummed in the back of his head as usual, but his conscious mind was focused on reaching the dark core of the Net, home to the psychic vault of the Council chambers. (Mine to Possess)
My theory is that he is searching for this girl turned woman. She is represented to him by a small platinum charm:
After his aide left, Kaleb took a small platinum charm from his pocket.
A single star. A marker.
The NetMind and DarkMind had both defied him in his search for the owner of the charm, but he would succeed. Failure simply wasn’t an option. (Hostage to Pleasure)
Kaleb’s emblem is a star. The PsyNet is like a web of stars. Kaleb’s woman is somewhere in the PsyNet, initially hidden by Enrique but now is obscured by the NetMind and DarkMind. I believe that the minds are hiding the woman because she is their anchor. She may be considered a maternal figure to them. Kaleb treats the PsyNet proprietarily:
“That’s their mistake.” Kaleb would allow no one to shatter that which he considered his. And for now, the PsyNet needed his fellow Councilors. When it no longer did . . . (Branded by Fire)
I also posit that the woman is from Russia. Kaleb’s base is there but in Branded by Fire, he acknowledges that he does not own the house.
He looked at the chip in his hand. Each intruder had had one in the back of his neck. Clearly, it was equipped with some kind of a suicide strategy—or perhaps murder was more apt. But why would the Alliance target Kaleb? Not that their reasoning mattered. The assassins had signed their death warrants the instant they set out to destroy the house.
Because this wasn’t truly Kaleb’s house. He was only a caretaker. And he took his responsibility very, very seriously. (Branded by Fire)
In Bonds of Justice, we find that Kaleb has found a fragment of information that might lead to his “quarry”.
Councilor Kaleb Krychek was just getting into his car for the drive to his office in Moscow when he felt it. A telepathic ricochet. Catching the returning tracker with a psychic hand, he leaned against the vehicle. He had thousands of these invisible psychic constructs scattered throughout the Net, all of them primed to scan through billions upon billions of bytes for data for one name.
This was the first one that had returned since he began his search six years, five months, and three weeks ago.
He was careful with the old and fragile construct, not wanting to lose what it had brought back to him. It took him almost ten minutes to penetrate the layers of his own security—and then, there it was. That name, linked to information that had passed through a distant part of the Net two weeks ago. The information was fragmented, the trail would be difficult if not impossible to pick up, but that mattered little at this point.
Because at last, he had confirmation that his quarry was alive. (Bonds of Justice)
Kaleb admits that the person he searches for is a her but that he cannot teleport to her:
Kaleb looked at the body of the human he’d just killed, his fingers playing with the small platinum charm—a single perfect star—that was always with him, no matter where he went. Glancing down at the star, he said, “For you.” For the one person who he knew better than anyone else on this earth, and yet could not teleport to, no matter how many times he tried.
And he’d tried every single day for over six years.
Kaleb and the DarkMind
The DarkMind is a sentient being, one half of the being that controls and informs the Psynet. The Netmind is “unique sentience that lived in and made order out of the chaos of the PsyNet.” (Caressed by Ice) The Netmind was trained by the Councilors and through Silence to manipulate the PsyNet. The PsyNet is breaking in two: Netmind and DarkMind. It is evidenced by the twins Ashaya and Amara Aleine (Hostage to Pleasure) but further bolstered by Faith Nightstar’s visions. At one time, before the Silence, the PsyNet was “rainbow-hued and alive.” But the years of suppressing emotion has created a duality. (Visions of Heat)
The DarkMind, by comparison, was pure chaos. Very, very few people knew about the DarkMind. And only one could assert any control over it.
As a cardinal telekinetic, Kaleb had a natural affinity with both the NetMind and the DarkMind. Now he reached out a psychic hand and touched the DarkMind. (Mine to Possess)
Kaleb and the Ghost
I have, for some reason, always believed that Kaleb was the Ghost. The Ghost first appears in Caressed by Ice. The Ghost is a rebel who is responsible for the destruction of a Protocol I lab. Protocol I was a program that would see the implantation of chips into the Psy and create one true hive mind. The Ghost has unknown loyalties. The Ghost is one with both psychic and physical warfare skills. (Caressed by Ice) Faith notes in Visions that Kaleb’s climb up the Council ranks was unusual for a Cardinal. Cardinals are usually too cerebral to be concerned about politics.
The Ghost is an expert at finding classified information. (Mine to Possess) Kaleb is jacked into the web running discreet searches at all times, on a low level. (Bonds of Justice). Both are able to ride the slipstreams of data without detection. (Kiss of Snow and Blaze of Memory). Both the Ghost and Kaleb have been described as having blood on their hands. (Caressed by Ice and Blaze of Memory) Both the Ghost and Kaleb are able to teleport.
Both have unique connection to the Net:
The other man had looked at him with those eyes that held nothing of humanity.”I found it because I go where no one goes. There are places in the Net that belong only to me.” (Kiss of Snow)
Kaleb paused, as if considering how much to reveal. As a cardinal telekinetic, perhaps the most powerful Tk in the Net, he wielded considerable control over the NetMind, the neosentient entity that was the Net given form. It provided Kaleb with a conduit of data no other Councilor could match. (Blaze of Memory)
But most importantly, the are both looking for some one person:
The only thing the Ghost had admitted to date was that there was at least one individual in the Net who had some value to him, one person he did not want dead. That was the solitary thing that kept him from annihilating the entire Council, an act that would cause a psychic shockwave that would destabilize the Net, killing millions. (Kiss of Snow)
It was a scene in Blaze of Memory that really cemented my idea that the Ghost and Kaleb are one and the same. In Blaze there is a scene featuring Judd, the priest Xavier, and the Ghost. Xavier tells the story of the woman that he has lost, a woman that he made jump over a cliff into water to save herself. Xavier tells this story to Judd to explain why he believes in God:
“The answer,” Judd said, “is that so long as Xavier believes in God, he can believe Nina lives, that she somehow survived.”
“That logic is inherently flawed,” the Ghost pointed out, but there was something in his voice that Judd couldn’t quite catch.
Xavier shook his head. “There is no logic to it, my friend. It has everything to do with the heart and nothing to do with the head.” (Blaze of Memory)
So these are my theories. I’m interested in hearing yours about anything. (Also, I love Vasic, Aden and all those poor, poor Arrows but that is another post.).