Markus Kessel prefers to be called simply "Kessel", but will answer to "Markus". He doesn't like "Mark" at all. Kessel's family was originally from Germany, but moved to the United States several years ago. His mother works for Ikibomot as a research scientist in the biological labs, and his father... well, no one is sure exactly what Kessel's father does, as no one has ever seen him, and Kessel will tell various extraordinary, and often contradictory, tales about him if asked. One thing for sure is that his family has quite a bit of money; not in the fantastically rich category of Yurika's family, but certainly very well-to-do.
Kessel is the master of the road trip, with "road" being defined very broadly. Any excuse that Kessel can find to take himself and as many friends as possible on a prolonged jaunt across the countryside (or the continent, or the ocean, or...) will have them rocketing off in his vintage 1964 Buick, a private jet, a luxury yacht, or whatever else he can commandeer. With his family's wealth and the Ikibomot labs at his disposal, this can result in some quite astonishing modes of transportation. Kessel's trips are not always approved by his parents, the school, the owners of the vehicles in question, or the local law-enforcement authorities, but Kessel considers it a welcome enhancement of a trip's enjoyablilty to have to dodge some opposition.
In the school, Kessel is a junior as the story opens. His favorite subjects are the sciences, but he does well in everything except for the literary subjects. Kessel considers pleasure reading to be a waste of time, and can't understand his friend Steve's obsession with books. A very physically active person, Kessel is a member of the baseball, basketball and track teams.
Kessel's closest friends are Yurika Ikibomot and Steve Lefkowicz, the three of them having forged a strong bond when they were freshmen together. Kessel also hangs out with the sports crowd (to which Steve also belongs) and the "mad scientist" group.
Kessel is about 5'8" with a muscular build, but he has the lean muscles of a runner rather than the bulk of a football player. He has blue eyes, and blond hair which he wears in a buzz cut. Kessel avoids formal clothes whenever possible, usually wearing blue jeans and t-shirts. He often wears a Boston Red Sox windbreaker jacket and baseball cap, and will cheerfully respond to disparaging remarks about the team's record by knocking the critic into the middle of next week.