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Joey Stein is a hyperspace theorist, member of the Brandt Dynasty Expedition and one of the team of five that was sent to investigate the Faller artefact known as the Forest, along with Laura Brandt. After two of their team were killed and copied by the Fallers, Joey was caught and was partially absorbed by a Faller egg when he managed to contrive a method of escape for Laura, even though he knew he would be killed in the process.

He was stuck in the time loop around the Forest with Laura, until Nigel Sheldon rescued them both. It was impossible for Nigel to rescue Joey's physical body, however he downloaded his memories into an escape pod, which eventually reached Bienvenido by a strange accident. The pod had been damaged, unable to fly through space and land, and had become entangled in one of the Trees that formed the Ring around Bienvenido after the Great Transition. However when the Bienvenido space program known as the Silver Sword launched a nuclear missile at the Tree, he managed to alter its course such that the explosion set him free and allowed him to land.

The escape pod was also the means by which Nigel and Paula Myo implemented their "Plan B" of Nigel's mission to infiltrate the Void. Plan B was to get Paula into the Void, and this was implemented by sending a clone of Paula in embryo form with Nigel, to be "born" if the plan needed to be activated. The first thing that Joey did as he was approaching the surface of the planet was to send out a broadcast message via the Eliter's communication channels for anyone to help him when he landed. A forest warden, Florian, heard that message and took the newborn baby from Joey to raise her to adulthood over the course of a month.

The escape pod was found by Section 7 and taken to the government buildings, where Joey encountered Bethaneve (in her identity of Section 7 Chief Scientist Faustina), the head of Section 7 Stonal, and Prime Minister Adolphus. The latter was in the final stages of terminal cancer, and asked Joey to heal him. Joey took this chance to heal the Prime Minister's body, download his memories into the pod, and then copy Joey's memories to the Prime Minister's body. Hence Joey re-lifed himself by impersonating the Prime Minister of Bienvenido.

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