For most people, needlecasting is very disorienting, but Envoys and soldiers could needlecast into new stacks and bodies and be ready to fight moments later, making them extremely formidable.
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Although she did a lot of awful stuff to try to save Tak and reunite them, she's also become pretty much evil thanks to her extended life. She never got to institute that plan, however; the Envoys were betrayed by Rei and ambushed by the Protectorate, and just about all of them were killed. In most cases, you can survive the loss of a sleeve if your stack is unharmed. “You have your answer, Tak. When Rei saw that Tak was getting especially close with Quell, she made a deal to betray Envoys to the Protectorate for a whole bunch of money. Season 1's Tak was (mostly) played by Joel Kinneman, but because of the joys of resleeving, in Season 2, he's played by Anthony Mackie. Quell and the Envoys wanted to stop a future in which only the mega-rich were allowed immortality through the use of cortical stacks, so they fomented rebellion against the use of the technology and the Protectorate.
Quell even had a plan to destroy all stacks using a computer virus that would render them useless after 100 years.
When Trepp turned them in, she used the proceeds to increase the reward for Anil Imani, who was missing. At a club, Takeshi convinced Durov and Okada to show them the reason Axley believed Quellcrist was alive.
He still wanted to follow Axley’s lead on Quellcrist and decided to track down Trepp. But in Season 1, the Envoys have taken on something of a mythic status in history.
When she realized that rich people were able to use stacks to become effectively immortal, creating an even more ridiculous and horrible class gap between wealthy and poor, she founded the Envoys in an attempt to destroy stacks once and for all. Double stacking is illegal, but that doesn't seem to do much to stop people from doing it. So Quell might still be out there somewhere, but we have no idea where she is or what she's been doing. It was Jaeger that convinced Tak to join up with CTAC, which turned Tak in to an effective soldier.
The essential thing you need to understand about the world of Altered Carbon is the concept of "stacks" and "sleeves." Poe is there, but all he can say is that his favorite human is on an “epic quest” to find Quell. AN OFFER HE CAN’T REFUSE | Kovacs’ consciousness is spun up in the virtual subroutine, where the meth boss himself shows him the souped-up new sleeve (aka body) that could be his if he agrees to be the meth’s bodyguard. The protagonist of Altered Carbon, Takeshi Kovacs is a former member of the Protectorate's Colonial Tactical Assault Corps (CTAC), as well as an Envoy, which makes him a guy with some particular ass-kicking capabilities. Rei had previously helped Miriam when she nearly killed Lizzie, a sex worker Laurens had gotten pregnant, by using VR torture to drive Lizzine insane. And he can’t figure out who was gunning for his boss: Meths, by virtue of their near-unlimited resources.
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