Paolo Cortázar is a former member of Protogen's nanoinformatics research division.
Dr. Cortázar was part of the nanoinformatics research group on Thoth Station, along with Dr. Brown and Dr. Quintana. Once Protogen's activities with the protomolecule were made public, he and the other scientists of Thoth Station were arrested and placed in a Belter-controlled prison. His sexual orientation is mentioned as gay.
Mother's Illness Edit
Cortázar suffers from depression and is seemingly very lonely. He became more or less obsessed with the medical field after his mother's death from Type 3 Huntington's disease, which seems to fill the void in his personal life.
Academic Endeavors Edit
After his mother's death, Cortázar applied to many schools and was rejected by most. He was finally accepted at the slightly less-respectable university at Tel Aviv. He involved himself with the nanoinformatics clubs and dug himself into the nootropic drug culture that was very present at the school. On nearly the eve of him being kicked out, and damned to return to a life on "Basic" support, he is contacted by one of his classmates, Aaron, who offers him a position at his new company. He gives Cortázar the contact information of Antony Dresden, his boss.
Dresden and Protogen Edit
He was interviewed by Dresden, and put through battery of mental and ethical questions. The majority of the questions revolved around human and animal suffering and the relationship between who and what should be able to determine who and what should be subject to suffering. Dresden makes the argument that human testing should replace animal as it's gets more to the point, and causes less suffering overall. Paolo is very concerned by this, and begins to fear Dresden.
The Treatment Edit
During the interview with Dresden, the doctors in the room slowly begin drugging and subtly inducing Paolo with sedatives and other mind altering drugs. Once under the influence of the drugs that have been applied to him, Dresden asks him the questions once more. Does he think that animal testing should end, to be replaced with human testing. Paolo, now under the influence of strange psycho-active drugs, laughs it off. He feels absolutely euphoric. He enjoys his altered state so much so, that he decides to permanently be put under its effects. The man, and consciousness, that was once Paolo Cortázar was no more.
After he joined the company Protogen, under Dresden, and he many other scientists were sent to a joint Martian/Protogen research station on the moon Phoebe. The moon was bleak, and the lab there was of military origins and very cramped. On Phoebe there was a mix of Martian and Protogen employees. In total, there were a few hundred people on Phoebe. After the protomolecule was discovered, it was used on the Martians stationed on Phoebe to test its effects on humans. The station and laboratories are then destroyed, and all the Protogen employees evacuate the moon.
Thoth Station Edit
After Phoebe, the Protogen scientists are moved to Thoth Station. Thoth station is turned into a huge melting pot of many many different research groups, in which Cortázar is just a part of one small sub-sector. Everyone in the research department, had undergone the same 'treatment' as Cortázar. It leaves everyone very calm, sedated, and emotionally detached and yet easily agitated mind set. This leads to at least one fatal incident.
They believe that the sacrifice of millions of people on Eros is for the greater good of humanity, and will ready the human race against any sort of threat by the aliens who launched the protomolecule. Cortázar, deep down, is not fooled by the fact that he knows if he, and the rest of the scientists, had not undergone the "treatment" that they would not have been so easily convinced and blinded by this idea. Eventually the day comes, and the entire team waits for the data to come pouring in from Eros. "Religious ectasy" was used to describe the incoming data from the wholesale slaughter on Eros that they were observing. Eventually the complexity of the incident soon began to puzzle the scientists on all manner of levels. Cortázar and many others begin to be pushed to their moral and psychological limits. Despite this Cortázar is reveling in near orgasmic pleasure at the endless loop of discovery, problem finding, and solutions that the Eros incident is providing him.
The Raid Edit
Suddenly amidst the height of his elation, one night, the OPA Belters raid the station. The security teams try in vain to round up the scientists to destroy all of their work. This leads to the killing of a majority of the scientists on Thoth, and the arrest of the remaining.
The Big Room Edit
Even in prison, their research lives.
While imprisoned, after the Eros roundup, much later in Dr. Cortázar's life, a Martian comes to visit the Belter prison. After years of captivity, and only having themselves as company, a man from Mars coming to visit was astounding. He presents the research group with some data, and a request for assistance in regards to a matter that he only reveals to Dr. Brown. The other members of the research group feel snubbed, by this, and attempt to find out what it is that Mars and this man want from the exiled group.
Quintana sparks the fight, by stealing into Brown's room, beating him and stealing the tablet that the Martian man had supplied to him on their first meeting. Presumably filled with data about whatever the man had shared with Brown. This starts a near civil war amongst the scientists. During the late night scuffle, Paolo is able to get the tablet from Quintana. Later, he takes a look at the device of so much curiosity, and finds notes based on their research of the Protomolecule. He later speaks with Brown and he tells him that Mars has solved a certain problem, and was expanding on the Protomolecule researched that Cortázar and the rest had initially begun. Brown let's Cortázar hang onto the terminal, and Cortázar eventually divines what he believes that the Martians had found. He discovers the secret of what the Proto-molecule can do and the reasoning behind it. Convinced that Mars would only pick one of them, he devises a plan to provide Brown with a false story about his findings, and let him look like a fool in front of the Martian, while he himself would provide the accurate answers.
Eventually though, he realized that this strategy may have backfired. He realized that perhaps instead of Brown providing the wrong answer and getting ignored, Mars may have wished to trade away the person with the wrong conclusion, which Cortázar set Brown up with. Cortázar then back pedals and begins telling Brown the truth about what he found in the tablet. Brown eventually listens and takes the bait again. Unfortunately, a scuffle breaks out between Quintaina and Cortázar, and he's stabbed right below the ribs by Quintaina. Quintana is shot to death for this. Brown is sequestered as a protective precaution by the Belters, under Martian orders.
Head of the Class Edit
Cortázar is later summoned by the Belter Michio Pa (who subsequently in Abaddon's Gate is partnered up with Captain Ashford). She questions Cortázar about his mother and her illness. He has been removed from the prison and brought to what most likely is a ship, or station near Mars. He is provided with tablets of data and information about what's been happening in the system since his internment in the prison. He's both elated and a bit saddened about all he's missed. It includes information about Eros (which he was involved with anyway), Venus, the incubation of the protomolecule on Venus and the creation of the Ring Gate, and the discovery of the multiple other Ring Gates.
He finally meets the Martian. The same man he'd been trying to sway to get him out of the prison by sabotaging Brown. The Martian promptly calls Cortázar out for lying to him about his discovery of the information in the tablet. The Martian informs Cortázar that the room in the prison was bugged, and he knew that he fed Brown false information. But the fact that Brown wasn't clever enough to know that it was false, made the Martians feel as though Cortázar should be chosen. In a very round about, backwards way, Cortázar's plan had worked, but not for the reasons he intitially aimed for. The Martian tells him about a task force that he's leading to examine and research data about information coming through the Ring Gate. He invites Cortázar to join him.