This page contains a synopsis of the novel Hyperion.
The novel begins with the Consul receiving a message from Hegemony CEO Meina Gladstone that he is to return to the planet Hyperion as a member of the Shrike Pilgrimage. It is explained that the Time Tombs on Hyperion appear to be opening and an Ouster fleet is approaching the system, although their intentions are unknown. Gladstone also explains that one of the pilgrims is suspected to be an agent of the Ousters, but they don't know which one. The Consul is to meet up with the Templar tree ship Yggdrasill along with the other pilgrims on his journey to the Outback planet.
The Consul's past as planetary governor of Hyperion is then briefly explained. His time there was mainly uneventful, except for various Shrike cult member disappearances. It is here the Shrike is first described as "a creature which defied physical laws and which communicated only through death."
The Consul awakes from cryogenic fugue to a Het Masteen, a Templar, who explains the tree ship is not far from Hyperion. The Templar explains that the six pilgrims are the only passengers on the ship at that time, this being odd as tree ships are considered a luxurious way to travel. The Consul assumes the tree ship is being hired as an emergency evacuation ship for Hyperion is the Ousters attack. The Consul is then brought to the other pilgrims, where each is introduced:
- Father Lenar Hoyt, a young priest of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Colonel Fedmahn Kassad, a famous FORCE officer known as the "Butcher of Bressia."
- Martin Silenus, a very old, foul-mouthed poet.
- Sol Weintraub, a well known scholar who carries his infant daughter, Rachel, in his arms.
- Brawne Lamia, a Lusian private detective.
- Het Masteen, the Templar, is then revealed to be the seventh pilgrim.
The group then discusses the uncertainty of the Ouster fleet's intentions. Hoyt tries to keep a positive attitude while Kassad has a more pessimistic view of the Ouster's goals. The conversation then turns to their arrival at Hyperion, and the pilgrims' journey from the capital, Keats, to the Time Tombs. It is explained that no one who has made the pilgrimage to the tombs has ever returned, and that ships' logs show no sign of violence.
Sol Weintraub then suggests that each person should tell their story, pointing out none of them are members of the Shrike Cult, yet all have been chosen for the pilgrimage. He explains each pilgrim holds a piece of the puzzle and only by telling their stories can they understand why they have all been selected. The group agrees to each tell their story, starting with Father Lenar Hoyt.
The Priest's Tale: The Man Who Cried God
Hoyt's tale is from the logs of Father Paul Duré, a friend and mentor of Hoyt's. After some controversy regarding an acheological dig, Duré requests a posting on Hyperion, where Hoyt has been chosen to accompany him as a kind of spy for the church. Hoyt was only to see Duré to the spaceport then leave, leaving him with substantial time-debt. Hoyt accepts the assignment, however. During their travel to Hyperion, Hoyt learns that Duré plans on visiting the continent of Aquila and studying the Bikura, a mysterious tribe thought to be only a legend. They are suspected to be the survivors of a crashed seedship from several centuries prior, and are thought now to be the product of extreme inbreeding, as they are described as "too stupid, lethargic, and dull to waste time describing." Lenar then leaves Duré to Hyperion, while he travels back to his studies.
The story then switches to the log files of Duré during his time with the Bikura. The logs begin with his journey to their homeland, which is through dangerous terrain. He hires a guide, Tuk, to aid him in navigating the area safely. One morning Duré awakens to find Tuk murdered, his throat cut in his sleep. The priest quickly blesses him before moving on to find the Bikura some days later. He describes them as short, bald, robed figures that move as wraiths over the terrain. They all appear to be between 40 and 50 years old, and have faces that reflect placid idiocy. Duré learns that the Bikura are the ones who murdered Tuk because he was not "of the cruciform", while he was spared because he was wearing his cross necklace. The Bikura speak of differences between "Death" and "The True Death", but never explain what this means.
As Duré spends more time with the Bikura, he learns the Bikura call themselves the Three Score and Ten (70), and do very little, if any, activities. The only group activity they seem to do is a daily climb down a nearby cliff face and go "worship", but the priest is not allowed to go with them. He decides to sneak down while the Bikura are gone foraging and discovers they have been going to a labyrinth that resembles an enormous church.
Later, Duré is spotted bathing by a Bikura and upon returning to the village he is nearly murdered by the group for not "being of the cruciform." Instead of killing him, however, they decide to make him of the cruciform and lead him through the labyrinth to a cave encrusted with pink, glowing crosses. The Shrike enters the cave and examines Duré, but leaves without harming him. The Bikura then take a cross from the wall and fashion a necklace from it, which they place on Duré. He is then led back to the Bikura camp and passes out. When he awakens, he finds the Cruciform has grown into his body and is unable to be removed.
Some days later, Duré learns the Bikura are all sexless. Alpha, the lead Bikura, then dies from falling from the nearby cliff. When he attempts to bury him, the other Bikura become upset and take the body to the labyrinth "church" where they perform a short ritual and leave the corpse. Duré stays, however, and witnesses the cruciform reconstruct Alpha back to life. Not long after, another Bikura dies, leaving almost no remains except for his cruciform. The priest later sees another Bikura now has 2 of these parasites instead of one.
Duré now knows what has happened to the Bikura. Each time they are resurrected, the reconstruction is slightly imperfect. Each time they become a slightly worse copy of their old self until eventually they all end up as sexless, mentally retarded pygmies. Duré sees this fate as terrible and decides he must rid himself of the cruciform parasite. Simply leaving on his own is not easy however, as leaving the vicinity of the Cleft triggers immense pain to him. He concludes that with enough pain or physical damage, the parasite may be killed or at least made to retreat from the body. He eventually crucifies himself to a Tesla tree (a native Hyperion species which acts similar to a giant Van de Graaf generator).
The story then return to Lenar Hoyt, who recalls traveling to find Duré and discovering the Bikura along with the priest's notes. Hoyt explains that they eventually found Duré's charred remains and that he had died the "true death" in the end. The village was then destroyed with nuclear charges, wiping out the Bikura.
The Consul notices Hoyte is in severe pain after concluding his story, and after some convincing (through withholding his pain medication), convinces Hoyt to tell what actually happened to Duré. It is revealed that he was not actually killed, but continually resurrected for seven years as a charred corpse attached to the tree. Hoyt removes the Cruciform easily from the remains at this point, and Duré smiles at him before finally dying. Hoyt ensures all the Bikura are murdered and their village destroyed permanently, but not before they infect him as well - it is revealed that Hoyt himself has his own cruciform as well as Duré's attached to his body.
The story continues with the pilgrims landing in Hyperion's capital city of Keats. The Consul and Martin Silenus comment about how much more busy the city appears compared to when they lived there. The group observes a crowd of people looking to evacuate the planet as FORCE troops attempt to keep them organized.
As the group moves out to their transport, the Consul runs into Theo Lane, an old friend and the Consul's former aid. Lane, who was also a consul of Hyperion until recently, helps them secure transport. As they travel, Lane explains to the Consul that, while the overall number of people on Hyperion has stayed the same, the city of Keats has undergone substantial population growth, and most of the population wants off the planet due to fear of the Shrike, who has been appearing further and further from the Time Tombs in the recent past. Lane wants to convince the Consul not to go on the pilgrimage, but the Consul insists he must. The group heads to a bar where they discuss their personal histories and current events, when an android, A. Bettik, approaches them and leads them to an old barge where they later pick up Het Masteen.
The group discusses various topics over breakfast, such as Silenus' age (being old enough to remember Old Earth). The pilgrims then turn toward telling more of their history, this time with Fedmahn Kassad.
The Soldier's Tale: The War Lovers
The story begins with Kassad in his FORCE training days, in a simulation of the Battle of Agincourt. During the battle, Kassad is nearly killed but is saved by a mysterious woman. The couple share an intimate moment on the battlefield and Kassad falls asleep; when he awakens, the woman is nowhere to be found. After the simulation ends, Kassad spends time looking for the woman at his training academy but is unable to locate her except for in simulated battles.
After his training, Kassad becomes a well-decorated soldier after resolving a conflict involving a genocidal Muslim extremist known as the New Prophet. After his victory, he is visited by the woman in a dream, but awakens before she can give him a message.
Kassad is then sent to Bressia, where an Ouster fleet of 3,000 ships had began attacking the population. He leads a group of FORCE soldiers to defend the planet, which turns to a bloody guerrilla war between the Ousters and his forces. After 97 days, Kassad's men force the Ousters to withdraw, earning him the nickname the Butcher of Bressia and a reputation for being a ruthless and ethically-questionable soldier. Kassad is injured near the end of the battle and while being transported to Hyperion, the medical ship is attacked. He manages to survive and obtain some combat supplies before Ousters board the ship. He fights his way past his enemies and steals an Ouster boarding ship and crash lands on Hyperion.
When he awakens, the mysterious woman is crouching over him. Now finally face-to-face with her in the real world, Kassad asks her name, she replies Moneta. He then finds out he crashed in the City of Poets, an abandoned settlement not far from the Time Tombs. Moneta then tells him an Ouster ship that had followed him to the planets surface nearby had already been massacred by the Shrike. She leads him to the Time Tombs, and explains that they are surrounded by anti-entropic fields, which cause the tombs to actually move backwards through time, as does she. Kassad can see the Shrike's Tree of Thorns with countless Ouster and Human bodies impaled on its metallic branches.
Moneta leads him to a tomb where she applies a silvery metallic skin-suit to his body. The suit covers them entirely, and grants them incredible strength and speed. The Shrike appears and leads them to an Ouster encampment, and Kassad realizes that time has stopped; Moneta explains that the Shrike controls the flow of time. As Kassad examines the scene, time begins to flow again and the Shrike begins its attack. Kassad also begins decimating the Ouster troops effortlessly alongside Moneta. Soon the Ousters retreat back to space, Moneta mentioning they will carry the message with them back to their kind.
Kassad and Moneta begin to make love, but Kassad notices her changing. Steel thorns begin to emerge from her skin, her teeth becoming rows of steel blades, all the while filling Kassad with visions of a great interstellar war. He draws away from her, expecting to be struck down, but she returns to normal. Kassad falls unconscious. Two days later he is discovered by Hyperion's Self-defense Force, where he is treated and regains consciousness several days later. He resigns his commission and fades into obscurity over the next 16 years, thus concluding Kassad's story.
The other pilgrims discuss the implications of the Time Tombs moving backwards through time, along with Moneta. They question him as to whether she was the Shrike, to which Kassad responds that he doesn't know. The Consul asks if Kassad saw any of the pilgrims on the Tree of Thorns, to which Kassad answers yes. Hoyt asks if Kassad believes he's supposed to start the interstellar war, to which Kassad tells him yes. Hoyt then asks what Kassad plans to petition the Shrike and Moneta for, granted he can find them. Kassad states he only plans to kill both of them.
The barge the pilgrims are traveling on arrives at the town of Naiad, which is now burned to ashes. Brawne Lamia questions A. Bettik as to why nobody knew the town had been destroyed. Bettik replies that communication technologies are all down. They continue down the river and the Consul asks who will be the next to share their story. Martin Silenus says it's his turn to give his story.
The Poet's Tale: Hyperion Cantos
Silenus' story begins with the history of the planet Hyperion. Sad King Billy originally sent five seedships to the planet. He describes the initial creation of the City of Poets, built mostly by android labor. He describes the city fondly, but mentions the trouble caused by the Shrike with no one able to protect them from the creature.
Silenus goes over his own personal history, starting with the fact that he was born on Old Earth. He was born to a very wealthy family and he "offers no apologies for it." He describes the creation of the World Web with the introduction of farcaster technology. In his youth he was given a "classical" education without the aid of technology implants, which he believes gives him an intellectual edge.
As a young adult, his family suffered financial difficulties and he was placed aboard a slower-than-light ship where he remained in cryogenic stasis - his family hoping that the long-term accrual of interest would be enough for him to pay off their debts. They were wrong however, and Silenus ends up working in slave labor conditions on the planet of Heaven's Gate. Due to complications of the stasis, he is left mentally handicapped for several years, particularly his language skills.
Eventually, his mental faculties return and he begins writing his Cantos. Through a stroke of good luck, a writing of his, The Dying Earth, is published and he becomes immensely wealthy in a short period of time. He purchases a home that is built with farcasters, describing his home as having "thirty-eight rooms on thirty-six worlds." His Cantos goes unfinished, however, and he eventually moves to Hyperion for inspiration, befriending Sad King Billy in the process.
During the early part of Hyperion's settlement people begin to go missing or are murdered. At first, it is believed there is a serial killer on the loose, but eventually they learn it is the Shrike. The population becomes terrified of the monster, but Silenus believes it to be great inspiration for his writings. Sad King Billy visits Silenus one night to discuss his writings, mentioning the fact that he is unable to write without the Shrike causing bloodshed. Silenus become enraged and attacks Billy, but is knocked unconscious by a neural stunner. He awakens in a courtyard to Billy explaining that his manuscripts must be destroyed, as he believes they are the cause of the Shrike's attacks. As he is burning the literature, the Shrike appears and grabs Billy. Silenus destroys the rest of the papers, and the Shrike teleports away with Billy still in his grasp.
Years later, Silenus still laments the fact that his Cantos goes unfinished and wishes to return to the Shrike once more to complete his work.
The pilgrims reach the outpost of Edge, where they await to transfer to a windwagon which will transfer them across the Sea of Grass. A. Bettik explains that the androids who have been aiding the pilgrims are now free, and they will be pursuing their own "purposes and pilgrimages" on Hyperion.
The Sea of Grass is described as several billion acres of very tall (several meters) grass which seems "infinite and seamless, stretching to all horizons and apparently rising to precisely the same height as far as the eye could see." It is described as a dangerous environment: due to being so massive it would be easy to get lost, the grass is sharp, and there are predators known as grass serpents.
As the group awaits for their transport to arrive, they discuss what they believe will happen when they eventually reach the Time Tombs. Het Masteen believes there may be "salvation" offered there, while others are more skeptical. Masteen explains he is carrying a Möbius Cube, which are used to contain highly volatile materials such as bombs, though he doesn't say what he is carrying.
The windwagon arrives during the conversation and the pilgrims board it, discovering is contains no crew and therefore must be automated. The group decides to have dinner and the conversation turns to the next pilgrim's story, now focusing on Sol Weintraub.
The Scholar's Tale: The River Lethe's Taste is Bitter
The story begins on Barnard's World where Sol Weintraub is a professor of history at a Nightenhelser College. He and his wife Sarai enjoy their small-town life and eventually have a child, Rachel. Rachel is described as a "not insufferably perfect" but overall she was a good child. As an adult, she studies alien and pre-Hegira artifacts, which eventually lead her to Hyperion and its Time Tombs.
While Rachel was researching on Hyperion, Sol has moderate success as an author of several books which discuss the nature of morality and God. One night, Sol has a vivid dream in which an ominous voice tells him "'Sol! Take your daughter, your only daughter Rachel, whom you love, and go to the world called Hyperion and offer her there as a burnt offering at one of the places of which I shall tell you." After ignoring the voice's command, it tells him "'You have had your chance, Sol Weintraub. If you change your mind, you know where to find me." Around this time an accident happens on Hyperion involving Rachel and the anti-entropic fields of the Time Tombs, infecting her with a strange condition causing her to age backwards. The doctors call her condition Merlin's Sickness. Rachel's condition causes her literally live her life backwards, remembering what happened to her the day before her current age. This causes her much confusion, eventually leading to a break down where she begs her parents to simply pretend everything is normal. Her parents agree, concluding it will be the healthiest way for her to live.
Sol continues to have vivid dreams that demand he take his daughter to Hyperion as a burnt offering. This motivates him to write a new book based on the biblical character of Abraham and God's demand to sacrifice his son, Isaac; he eventually comes to the conclusion: Allegiance to a deity or concept or universal principle which put obedience above decent behavior toward an innocent human being is evil.
Sarai eventually confesses to Sol that she's been having the same vivid dreams and wishes to take Rachel to Hyperion, but Sol disagrees, believing it is the wrong choice. Sarai then tell Sol how difficult Rachel's sickness has been, and Sol suggests she go see her family for a short time to recuperate. During her stay with family, Sarai is in a vehicular accident and is killed.
As Rachel re-entered infanthood and time draws closer to her birth date, Sol decides he must go to Hyperion to find a cure. As Sol concludes his story, he asks if the other pilgrims would like to join him on the deck for some fresh air, to which they all agree.
The group decides to take turns keeping watch over the night. They observe a space battle in the night sky, seeing the Yggdrasill destroyed. Het Masteen says nothing and goes below deck, obviously distraught. Kassad hands the Consul a deathwand to keep watch with, and heads inside.
The following morning, blood is discovered in Het Masteen's room and the Templar is missing. The group searches for him but find nothing, guessing that the Shrike may have taken him. They find Masteen's Möbius Cube unopened, and the Consul speculates it may contain an erg that Masteen hoped to use against the Shrike.
The wagon reaches the port of Pilgrim's Rest later that day and the pilgrims discover the location is also empty. The weather in Pilgrim's Rest is cold with snowfall, and the cable car used for transport isn't operating. Kassad is able to get the tram working again, and barely makes it back onto the transport himself.
Brawne Lamia begins her tale after everybody gets settled in.
The Detective's Tale: The Long Good-Bye
Lamia's story is told in noir fashion. It begins on her home planet Lusus with a client by the name of Johnny asking her to investigate his own murder. Johnny is a cybrid, a human body controlled by an AI mind. Johnny explains that although his consciousness cannot be destroyed, his body can, and this caused him some data loss, losing the memory of five days.
Lamia takes the case and asks to see where Johnny was murdered. They farcast to Madhya, a planet not yet officially part of the WorldWeb. Johnny explains he was infected with virus that ultimately killed him, leaving him disconnected from the TechnoCore for around one minute while his backup persona was being retrieved. He suspects there was someone there with his at the time due to farcaster records, and the pair travels to Tau Ceti Center to investigate further.
Lamia questions the cybrid as to why anyone would wish to kill him, to which he responds he doesn't know and that the attack on his cybrid body was one that doesn't make much sense, as attacking him in the datumplane would have been a more effective way to eliminate him. He goes on to explain that he is not entirely AI nor entirely human, but a mixture of both. His mind is a recreation of a historical poet (John Keats).
The two later depart, but Lamia follows him through several farcasters finding nothing of interest. She then visits a hacker and AI expert, BB Surbringer, to ask him about the nature of AIs and cybrids. He explains that a cybrid's persona template will eventually decay over time, causing them to go insane.
Later, Brawne goes to a bar to meet up with a source to find more information on Johnny's murder. The man tells her that Johnny was with a Templar and another man sitting at a table in the bar and that they were speaking very quietly before Johnny and the other man left, leaving the Templar behind. She then receives a call from Johnny asking her to come to his residence quickly. She arrives to find him bloody on the floor. Lamia tells him he'll need to stay at her home as he needs protection.
The next day they go out looking for the attacker, whom they eventually find. A chase ensues with Lamia and the man, going between several planets through farcaster portals. When Lamia catches the man, he self-destructs revealing he too was a cybrid. As she escapes from authorities now chasing her, Brawne is aided by Johnny through a farcaster where they meet up. The planet is a reconstruction of Earth in the Hercules cluster, which Keats believes was built by the TechnoCore for unknown reasons.
The two spend the night together at the original John Keat's home and awaken to five attackers. Brawne is able to fight them off and interrogates one into confessing that they are from the Shrike temple on Lusus, but is unable to get any more information from him before he falls unconscious. They travel to the Shrike temple on Lusus where the bishop explains that Keat's persona is closely linked to the planet of Hyperion. The bishop then reveals that Johnny had been to the temple eight days earlier to volunteer for the Shrike pilgrimage, which explains why he had been in discussion with a Templar: the treeship was to be the transport to Hyperion. They determine that for Johnny to go to Hyperion, his consciousness would have to be completely transferred to his cybrid body, as Hyperion is not part of the WorldWeb and therefore doesn't have direct access to the datumplane.
Brawne agrees to accompany Johnny to Hyperion, and they head to Tau Ceti Center where they meet with Meina Gladstone to ask about the TechnoCore's interest in Hyperion. Gladstone is vague, and can only state that Hyperion remains a mystery to the TechnoCore due to the unique nature of the Time Tombs. To discover what the TechnoCore knows about Hyperion, the two decide to hack into the core datumplane with the help of BB. Keat's sacrifices much of himself to give BB and Brawne access, and the two eventually make it to their destination and obtain the data; BB is killed in the process, however.
Johnny explains that the Core is divided into three factions:
- The Stables - AIs which believe humans and AIs must coexist.
- The Volatiles - Those who believe mankind has outlived its usefulness, and now only represent a threat to the TechnoCore.
- The Ultimates - A group of AIs only concerned with creating the Ultimate Intelligence, an AI god capable of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.
He goes on the explain there are 2 possible futures at stake:
- The AIs have sent the Shrike back in time as a retroactive first strike on humanity from a future where the TechnoCore now rules.
- The remaining humans have sent the Shrike back in time as a final attempt to destroy the TechnoCore before it can become the dominating force.
Both futures imply a future war between man and AI.
The two assume farcasting is no longer an option as the TechnoCore is now looking for them, and decide to go to the Shrike temple to wait for transport to Hyperion. They are attacked by Core agents as they near the temple and Johnny is killed, but not before transferring his memories to a Shrön loop implanted into Brawne. She survives the attack to find out she is pregnant with Johnny's child, and continues on their mission to Hyperion, leading her to meet the other pilgrims.
As she concludes her story, Kassad asks if she believes that Het Masteen was the Templar Johnny had met with. Brawne says it's possible, but she never found out. The group decides to turn in for the night with Kassad and the Consul keeping watch.
The pilgrims arrive at Chronos Keep, a building used as a church by the Shrike Cult located not far from the Time Tombs. The group decides to rest there for the night and then visit the tombs in the morning. They bring up the Consul's story yet remains to be told, but the Consul says there's no point, now that the pilgrimage is ruined thanks to Masteen's disappearance. The others speculate whether Rachel, Lamia's unborn child, Duré's cruciform, or Keat's persona stored in Lamia could count as the seventh pilgrim, and that they should continue on the pilgrimage regardless. They spot more space battle activity in the sky, noting that the war has truly begun between the Ousters and FORCE defenses.
Father Hoyt spots someone in the distance, and upon closer examination it appears to be Het Masteen heading for the Time Tombs. They decide they'll attempt to meet with Masteen the next day whent they arrive at the tombs, then turn their attention to the Consul's story.
The Consul's Tale: Remembering Siri
The Consul's tale is told in logs of his grandparents, who met on Maui-Covenant. Due to the nature of their relationship, his grandfather accrues massive time debt, causing their relationship to span over decades for his grandmother, while only 5 years for his grandfather. It begins with his grandfather visiting his grandmother, Siri's, tomb after she has died of old age, and he recalls the story of how they met.
It begins with Consul's grandfather, Merin Aspic, working on a spinship as part of a farcaster-building operation. While on a brief R&R period on Maui-Convenant, Merin and his friend Mike Osho use a Hawking mat to travel to a festival where he meets a local named Siri. Siri and Merin almost immediately become lovers, and she begins to try teaching him about the value of life and ecology.
Merin also learns that the local population of Maui-Covenant is preparing to resist becoming part of the Hegemony, as they fear this would lead to the destruction of their culture and ecology. Siri's cousin, Bertol, confronts Merin because he works under the Hegemony, insulting him and Mike. The ensuing fight leaves Mike Osho dead from a sword wound, and Merin retaliates by killing Bertol with an industrial laser pen. He and Siri then flee before more separatists arrive.
The story cuts back to Merin visiting Siri's tomb on the day of the farcaster's activation on Maui-Covenant. It is revealed that Merin and Siri had children together, and those children are now actually older than Merin due to his time debt. Aspic's oldest son, Donel, helps him enter the tomb and continues to recall their history:
It is the sixth reunion of Merin and Siri, with Merin at age 23 and Siri just having turned 70. Siri has amassed great wealth in his absense but has remained faithful to Merin throughout the decades they spend apart. They vacation together and Siri asks Merin what will happen to Maui-Covenant after the farcaster is finally activated on the planet's surface. Merin explains that anyone in the WorldWeb will be able to to travel to her planet instantly, leading to the eventual assimilation of their culture into the Hegemony's, as well as strong industrialization of the planet due to its rich oil reserves (needed for plastics throughout the WorldWeb). Siri worries that all she loves about Maui-Covenant will be destroyed once the farcaster opens, and questions Merin as to what would happen should the residents of Maui-Covenant resist the Hegemony's construction of the farcaster. Merin explains that they would eventually send FORCE troops to suppress any resistance and the farcaster's activation is inevitable.
The story once again returns to Aspic in Siri's tomb, which he now finds to be empty. His son explains that Siri was cremated and that she left instructions for Aspic in her tomb. He reveals a box within the tomb to Merin, who opens it to find a weapon, a comlog, a communication device, and the hawking mat he had originally used when meeting Siri for the first time. Siri has left several diary entries for Merin on the comlog for him to review, all of them showing her faithfulness to him over all their time apart. It is then Aspic decides he will attempt to destroy the farcaster before everything Siri loved would be destroyed.
The Consul concludes his story as Aspic ends up beginning a valiant but lost battle against the Hegemony in which he is ultimately killed. He then reveals that Merin's son Donel is his father. Donel later becomes a Hegemony senator, which the Consul believes shows his weakness – rather than fight the Hegemony, his father embraced them. After the Hegemony won the battle for the planet, the local animal species are all completely destroyed to make way for industrialization.
The Consul eventually decided to bide his time and work for the Hegemony until he can find a way to destroy it. He discusses the Hegemony's policy of destroying any indigenous species considered to be an intelligent threat to humanity.
Eventually he is sent to Hyperion to deal with the Ouster threat, but instead becomes a double agent. He describes that the Ousters are not barbarians, but in fact far more sophisticated in many ways than the Hegemony. The WorldWeb and its inhabitants choose to terraform planets in an attempt to cling on to the old way of life on Earth, while the Ousters manipulate themselves to new environments. He reveals the Hegemony's plan for Hyperion and the TechnoCore's fear of the uncertainty it represents. The Ousters in return show the Consul that Earth's destruction was not a mistake, but a deliberate action by the TechnoCore and the fledgling Hegemony.
He returned to Meina Gladstone and tells her what the Ousters have revealed to him, omitting the fact they have promised him a device that would open the Time Tombs, releasing the Shrike on the WorldWeb. He is assigned to Hyperion as planetary governor, where he remains in contact with the Ousters.
The Ousters believe the Shrike is a tool from future humanity, sent back to rescue them from the TechnoCore. They send scientists to Hyperion to experiment opening the Time Tombs, but they refuse to use the device with the Hegemony battle so close. The Consul decides to murder the Ousters involved and activates the device, releasing the Shrike. The Consul tells the Ousters that an accident has happened. He then tells Gladstone that an Ouster invasion is imminent on Hyperion, hoping to draw them closer to the Shrike and thus eventually destroying the Hegemony.
The other pilgrims are stunned to now realize it is the Consul who is the spy that Gladstone had warned them about. The Consul then reveals he's been in contact with his own ship and the Ousters the entire time through the use of Siri's comlog, which was modified by the Ousters. Kassad asks if it was the Consul who attack Het Masteen, to which the Consul denies. The Consul then states that Masteen's reaction to the Yggdrasill's destruction was far too subdued, and something is not what it seems.
The group struggles with how to handle the Consul, whether to kill him as a traitor or trust him to continue on. Sol Weintraub concludes that the TechnoCore and Hegemony would have known the Consul would eventually turn on them, as both have betrayed his family in the past; therefore, the Consul is no more in control of his destiny than any of the other pilgrims. The group concludes that they should all continue on together, as it will be their best hope for survival.
The group awakens the morning after the Consul has told his story, and decide to head out early to the Time Tombs. They decide to leave their luggage behind, believing they won't need it one way or another. As they travel to the tombs Sol Weintraub begins singing "We're Off to See the Wizard" to Rachel, perhaps referring to the Shrike as "the wizard." The group, although confused by the meaning of the song, decides to sing along with him as march onward to the tombs and their respective fates.