|Position||Member of the Dust|
Erin was born on the East Coast near the end of the States War. After an incident in which a pizza delivery boy was shot at their doorstep—where Mr. Arbitor stood holding a baby Erin—her parents were both glad to be Marked. Her mother left her job as an economics professor to help work on merging the American Union and European Union economies. Her father, by contrast, spent most of Erin’s early years as a policeman. But his switch to “government work”—that is, working as a DOME agent—fueled Erin’s discontent. She missed her father’s days as a policeman, when he was strong and tough and admired.
Erin developed excellent computer hacking skills as a result of weekends spent in her mother’s workplace. Her mother, Dr. Olivia Arbitor, gave her a choice between playdates and trailing along at the office. Erin hated playdates and opted to go to the office instead. Dr. Arbitor taught Erin a little about computer programming in order to entertain her. When Erin started delving into source code, Dr. Arbitor sent her to her friend Mac, who worked down the hall. Mac was a computer whiz with a mischievous streak. He had hilarious fun teaching hacking tricks to Erin—until he showed her how to pull a Valentine’s Day prank that got her tablet banned from the building’s computer network. Erin figured out how to hack into Mac’s operating space, however, and he taught her everything else he knew by messaging back and forth. As a result, Erin can get into nearly any online source she wants—even secret areas of government websites.
When DOME transferred Erin’s father to Spokie, Erin was furious. Erin had recently received her Mark and was enjoying the opportunity to experience city life on her own. Not only did Erin not want to leave Beacon City, Erin did not want to leave her mother, who decided to stay in Beacon City with her high-powered job as an economic software analyst. Erin had to leave, however, because of her mother’s frequent business trips to Europe. Unwillingly, Erin packed her belongings (along with her illegal, nasty, iguana, Iggy) and got on the train beside her father, bound for the no-name Midwestern town of Spokie.
“We go to him—first thing—when we have evidence that stands on its own. Not a minute sooner.”
“But Peck’s gonna kill me by then!”
“Oh, give me a break. He’s not trying to kill you. He’s probably just trying to kidnap you.”
—Erin and Logan
Erin loved life in Beacon City, and she resents everything about the Midwest—life is slow, school is mostly review, and, worst of all, her mother is not there. Worse, she notices that the apartment she now shares with her father is not large enough for the three of them, leading her to believe that this separation may become permanent. Hurt and angry, Erin believes she has a right to know why her father would forcibly uproot her. One evening when Mr. Arbitor is late coming home from work, Erin opens a box of classified material that he had left with his unpacked belongings. She knew that her father did “government work” for DOME, but the box reveals that he is a secret agent tasked with an important mission—tracking down a mysterious Markless fugitive only known as Peck. Peck is wanted for murder and assault, but his main activity seems to be tracking and, in some cases kidnapping, twelve-year-old Pledges. Something about the Mark, it seems, rubs Peck the wrong way.
Erin hopes that once her father finds and arrests Peck, they will both be able to return to Beacon. When she meets a boy at her new school who tells her that he feels someone is watching him, Erin guesses that she may have a better lead on Peck than her father does. With the cooperation of the boy, a twelve-year-old named Logan Langly, she thinks that she might be able to speed things up by locating Peck herself. Several days later, Logan tells her that he found a note burning on his desk. Presumably from Peck, the note told him to come to the Spokie playground at midnight.
Using her visiting privileges as the daughter of a DOME employee, Erin steals surveillance equipment from DOME and uses it to stake out the playground with Logan. Unfortunately, no one shows up. Believing that Logan deceived her, she becomes angry with him and goes home. The next day at school, however, Logan manages to convince Erin that he was being honest with her. At Logan’s suggestion and against Erin’s better judgment, the two ask for information about Peck on Slog Row, home to the Markless community in Spokie. Although everyone refuses to talk about Peck, Erin figures out that the one group of teens who claimed they never heard of Peck had something to hide. With her hacking abilities, she turns on the old security cameras in the Fulmart where the teens have taken refuge. Erin’s suspicions are rewarded when she sees the group pack up and leave the very evening after she and Logan visited. Fetching Logan from his house, Erin and Logan follow the teens out of town, hoping that the group may lead them to Peck. Instead, a member of the group named Meg Steward ambushes them. Meg hits Logan in the head with a rock and then hurls it at Erin, striking Erin’s arm and causing her elbow to swell. The rest of the group circles around Logan and Erin, but Erin brought several taser beans with her. She flings one at the oldest boy, Blake, knocking him unconscious. She hurls another at Meg’s hand, distracting the teens enough for her to grab Logan and escape.
The cornfield incident only cements Erin’s opinion of the Markless. Never having known any herself, she views them all as criminals. Although Logan—caught and grounded by his father for being out after dark—can no longer accompany her, she uses her hacking skills and surveillance equipment to mount a monthlong surveillance effort on the teens. She learns that they call themselves the Dust and that they are in communication with Peck, carrying out his plans. At last her surveillance pays off. She discovers that the Dust is planning to kidnap Logan’s longtime best friend, Dane Harold. Logan tries to warn Dane of the danger, but Dane refuses to listen. Against Erin’s better judgment, Logan calls DOME for help.
Mr. Arbitor knew that a vigilante was trying to catch Peck, but Logan’s phone call cements another agent’s assertion that Erin is responsible. Erin’s father tries to intervene in the kidnapping, but he is more upset about Erin. As a result, Logan is able to use the flash pellets Erin gave him to help both of them escape DOME and follow the Dust. Erin is briefly blinded by the flash pellets, but Logan manages to get the two of them to the Fulmart, where the Dust fled after kidnapping Dane. Although Erin’s sight has returned, she is taken off guard by Blake, who jumps out and wraps an arm around her throat. Using her as a hostage against Logan’s smoke bomb, he insists that he needs to speak with Logan. Erin’s father bursts in then with a team of agents, however, and Blake lets Erin go. Thanks to Meg, Blake and the Dust escape DOME. Logan and Erin, however, do not. Erin committed treason by opening her father’s classified box, not to mention stealing equipment from DOME and playing vigilante for a month. She is released after telling DOME all she can about the Dust. She and Logan are present when DOME clears Slog Row, but Erin does not see any members of the Dust.
Following their arrest, Erin and Logan have little further contact. The solitude brings to the fore something that Erin had begun to realize during her vigilante work—she is beginning to care for Logan as a true friend, rather than as a means to get her home. When Logan comes to Erin insisting that he has met Peck and that Peck is right about the Mark, she strongly disagrees with him. Despite her feelings, she engineers the hack that enables Logan to escape after his failed Pledge. Erin still believes in the Mark, however, and she tells DOME the content of her conversation with Logan. This information allows DOME to destroy Peck’s warehouse and force the Dust to flee. Erin meets Logan at the burning warehouse, where he had come for refuge, and tells him what she has done. She cares deeply for him, but she actively opposes the Markless cause. Nothing, she believes, can change that—not even her feelings for her friend.
"Assuming your source is right, when do we move in on Logan? How do I know you're not just gonna kill him? And how does any of this fit with Peck and the Dust?"
"Well, sweetie...that's where you come in." —Erin and Mr. Arbitor
Erin feels more lonely than she has ever felt in her life. Her father is still extremely busy, and she lost her only friend when Logan fled from Spokie. The other students at Spokie Middle are full of questions about her involvement with Logan, but they are more interested in gossip than friendship. Driving them away, Erin devotes herself to trying to find Logan. She hopes that if she helps DOME find him, then he will be able to receive the Mark and return to school as if nothing happened. She will have her friend back. Logan will have his life back. If she helps DOME track down Logan, everyone’s problems will be solved.
When DOME receives a tip about Logan’s location, Erin comes up with a plan to reach Logan and capture the Dust in the same stroke. She passes the tip to Hailey Phoenix, who quickly goes to find Logan and lead him to the Hayes’s farm. DOME agents trail Hailey and then surround the farm. Erin accompanies them, believing that she can persuade Logan to give himself up. Unfortunately for Erin, nothing unfolds as she hoped. DOME agents shoot Papa Hayes while the Dust flees to safety. Erin confronts Logan by the stream and pleads for him to give himself up, promising that everything will be all right. Logan, however, does not believe Erin. He tells her that her actions have killed him and then throws himself into the freezing water of the stream in order to escape.
Terrified and devastated at this turn of events, Erin learns that DOME is upset with her father for the unsuccessful raid. Mr. Arbitor is to return to Beacon City, but not for the reason Erin wanted—DOME is demoting him for his mistakes. Erin begins to wonder whether she might have made some mistakes of her own. Logan, she reasons, is not an idiot. He would not have thrown himself into a freezing stream unless he was absolutely convinced that the Dust was right and Erin was wrong. What if he learned something from his Marker that corroborated Peck’s story? If Logan somehow learned where Lily was taken, then finding Lily could lead her to Logan. Erin hacks back into Logan’s Pledge tape, beginning an investigation which leads her to conclude that Peck was more right than he knew.
Erin’s and her father’s return to Beacon City is anything but the way Erin hoped it would be. Her mother resents their return, and Erin’s parents fight repeatedly. During one of their arguments, Erin grabs her tablet and slips outside. She knows that Lily is Acheron, and since that prison is located in Beacon, she guesses Logan may be nearby. Her major task is to find him—a challenge, since she is Marked and has no idea where the Markless in Beacon congregate. Striking up a conversation with a Markless hacker named Shawn, Erin promises Shawn her tablet if he will lead her to the Markless sublevel. Shawn agrees, taking her to the abandoned nuclear reactor that Beacon’s Unmarked residents have claimed as their own. Shawn finds Peck and the Dust and brings them to meet Erin.
Unfortunately, their reunion does not turn out as Erin had hoped. Peck does not trust her and does not want to hear anything she has to say. Logan pushes his suspicions aside only long enough to hear part of what Erin's news—enough to know how to get into Acheron, but not enough to know that Lily is probably brainwashed. Peck has Tyler stand guard over a bound and gagged Shawn and Erin while the Dust plans the rescue mission. When Lily betrays her brother, leaving Logan, Joanne, and Eddie trapped in Acheron, Peck comes back to Erin for help. He apologizes for not listening to her, and together he, Erin, and the Dust put together the plan that spawns the Markless protests. Once the protests are underway, Erin and Shawn accompany the Dust into Acheron, hacking into the security system so that the Dust can get through.
After Logan’s rescue, Erin remains with the Dust in the Markless sublevel. She knows her parents are probably worried, but she cannot stand the thought of losing Logan again. Additionally, once DOME discovers Erin’s involvement in the Markless protests, she is likely to be as much a fugitive as Peck or Logan. But in the Markless sublevel, Erin makes another discovery. She came across information about the Project Trumpet virus while researching Acheron. Now she feels ill, and she suspects that she might have the virus herself. Erin may have found Logan, but now she faces a fight for her life.
"Peck, let it go. I trust her. She's trying to help." —ErinWith Erin’s fever worsening, Peck drives her, along with Logan and Hailey Phoenix, west. Erin discovered that the creator of the Project Trumpet virus, Dr. Rhyne, lives in Sierra City, and the Dust hopes that Dr. Rhyne may be able to provide a cure. Erin’s fever forces them to stop at a drugstore in order to purchase medicine to keep her temperature down. But since their only means of purchasing medicine is Erin’s Mark, DOME traces the Markscan and almost immediately begins tracking them. It turns out to be Dr. Rhyne herself, through the help of her son Sam, who prevents DOME from arresting the four. Sam lands near them in a POD, convinces them to get inside, and takes them back to his mother’s laboratory in the Sierra Science Center.
Dr. Rhyne is much like Erin in some ways—direct and confident. She and Erin come to understand each other quickly, and Erin convinces a suspicious Peck that Dr. Rhyne can be trusted. The doctor might work for DOME, but she is also an independent thinker and a woman of her word. When she says that she will not turn them over to DOME, she means it. Dr. Rhyne is stunned, however, by Erin’s illness. Erin contracted Project Trumpet when an unknown protein activated the vaccine that was supposed to protect Erin from the disease. Dr. Rhyne begins investigating, but she fears she cannot save Erin’s life without knowing what protein caused the problem. Meanwhile, Erin grows weaker.
Erin’s father, desperate at her disappearance, refuses to believe Dr. Rhyne’s claims that Erin and the others escaped into the Northwest. He is certain that Erin remains at Dr. Rhyne’s laboratory, but Dr. Rhyne does not trust him enough to allow him to speak with Erin. Mr. Arbitor resorts to kidnapping—specifically, nabbing Blake, Shawn, and Tyler and subsequently convincing them and the rest of the Dust of his good intentions. When the Dust uses the Arbitors’ tablet to call Dr. Rhyne, the doctor let the call through. Erin is suspicious at tablet call, knowing that none of Dust’s members actually have tablets. When her parents appear on the screen, however, she is overwhelmed. She explains her illness to her parents, and Dr. Rhyne reluctantly tells them that without the activation protein, it will be extremely difficult to find a cure.
Erin then reveals that she has figured out that, since the activation protein is unique to her, it might well have come from the DOME equipment she stole back in Spokie. This suggestion allows her father to organize a sweep of DOME headquarters by the Dust, collecting samples that turn out to include the activation protein. Dr. Rhyne begins working on a cure, which she develops after Logan, Hailey, and Peck leave Sierra on their separate missions. The cure not only saves Erin’s life, it also saves the lives of the American State’s Marked population after Logan accidentally spreads Project Trumpet by unleashing the Lahoma weather mill. Putting Dr. Rhyne’s new cure into the weather mill, the resulting storm ends the Project Trumpet plague. Erin returns to Beacon following her recovery, where she joins the Dust in her parents' apartment.
"She's not even trying." —Logan Langly, about Erin
Following the end of the Markless protests, DOME forgave Erin's participation in the Dust and allowed her to return to her old Marked life. By the time Logan glimpses Erin through the Ultranet, she is a student in an extremely competitive private academy known as MAD (Marked Advancement). Erin is fifth in her class of twelve hundred, but she hates the school and is putting out little effort in either her studies or in relationships with her classmates. She shuffles from one classroom to another, friendless and alienated from the Marked society that surrounds her.
Erin has long, straight copper-colored hair, as well as “cobalt blue” eyes. She enjoys wearing clothing made of brightly-colored synthetic materials.
Erin has a strong, logical personality. Her outward beauty covers a brain that is rational, determined, and anything but fragile. If Peck is the visionary of the Dust, then Erin is its mastermind. The success of the Markless protests and second Acheron break-in were largely the result of her careful planning. Unlike Peck, however, Erin has trouble figuring out the truth when few facts are available. As a result, she trusts in DOME’s good intentions for longer time than Peck or Logan did. Erin’s strength lies in seeing connections between seemingly isolated facts—connections that everyone else misses. It may have taken her longer to turn against DOME than it did Peck or Logan, but by the time she did, she had marshaled an army of facts sufficient to turn the American Union on its head.
Erin does not usually exhibit outward tenderness. In fact, the first time Logan hears her speak sympathetically, she is merely trying to find a different way of getting him to Pledge. Erin does not particularly like other people, and she absolutely does not want to have children. She initially exhibits an extremely negative attitude toward the Markless, frequently using anti-Markless slurs that make Logan wince. Erin does have feelings, however, and she can be very protective of those she cares about. Her parents’ separation upsets her deeply, and she remains with the Dust partly to avoid losing contact with Logan again. Erin will never have a mild personality—her mind is too analytical for that—but experience is beginning to teach her that sometimes compassion is the right response to problems in the world. With maturity, Erin shows promise of becoming a person who can show both wisdom and understanding.
Family and RelationshipsEdit
Erin had a close relationship with her parents when she was young. As she grew older, however, her parents’ lives grew busier, and the three did not communicate as well as they once had. When her parents ignored her opposition to the idea of moving to Spokie, Erin began keeping her thoughts to herself, feeling that her parents did not really care about her. This habit caused Erin to turn into something of a vigilante rather than trusting her father with what she had learned about Peck. Even after Erin’s arrest forced her to confess her activities to her father, she did not really trust him again. Her cooperation with DOME following Logan’s flunked Pledge was done for her own reasons—wanting back the only friend she had. Her father, meanwhile, was not honest with her, leading her to believe that DOME would not treat Logan harshly.
When Erin became suspicious that Logan and the Dust might be right after all, she did not share her doubts with either of her parents. Instead, she investigated on her own, and then left to find Logan without even saying goodbye. Weeks passed before her parents discovered, through DOME, that Erin had thrown in her lot with the Dust and was by then a wanted fugitive. Erin’s disappearance actually had some good results for their family, however. Her parents’ concern for her forced them to communicate and to cooperate with one another, which they had not done for some time. They were also forced to come to terms with the dark side of the Global Union. Their newfound discoveries, about the world as well as each other, helped them to contact Erin in the interest of a more honest conversation. While the Arbitors have a long way to go in order to repair their family relationships, they have made a great deal of progress.
Erin is an expert computer hacker. She has a quick mind and is good at solving mysteries, however complicated. She also is extremely interested in science and spends much of her time at the Sierra Science Center helping perform experiments in Dr. Rhyne's laboratory.