|“|| Howard: Well, Astrid. I guess we just found the limits of your big old genius brain. Point is that someone who was very seriously dead is suddenly not so dead anymore.
Astrid: But...but Drake...
Howard: As dead as Brittney. Which might be a slight problem, seeing as Brittney isn't exactly dead herself.
Howard Bassem was part of Orc's crew and ran a black market. He was killed by Drake in Fear.
Howard is a small, "weaselly", skinny black kid that sticks up to Orc. He is also physically weak.
Howard jokes around a lot, annoying others. He is selfish, doing what he can do survive, as well as pleasing Orc. Howard never follows the rules, and frequently insults people, calling them morons or idiots most of the time.
He often went against others, as shown by his operation of the alcohol and, supposedly, drugs. Even though everyone was told to shut down their drugs and booze businesses, Howard still went on, creating his own at the disused Coates Academy, after Caine leaves it to go to San Francisco de Sales Island.
Despite going against the rules, he is weak and a coward. However, because he has Orc on his side, he has never properly been challenged. He is also fairly intelligent, as he managed to keep things secret.
Because of Sam's absence, Howard took advantage of the confusion and helped Orc come to power as appointed Captain, in charge of "stopping everybody running crazy" and "busting everything up, taking anything they wanted". Howard made sure that someone helped Mary get the necessary materials to take care of the prees as long as she knew that it was Orc's crew that helped her.
Caine arrives and takes control. Howard then takes an important position under Caine's leadership, such as tying Sam up, guarding shops or trying to stop Sam and his friends from escaping, until Orc is devoured by coyotes. Howard makes a deal between Drake and Pack Leader, but runs away to find Orc. When he sees Orc's mutation, he is horrified but helps Orc.
Howard is seen acting as Orc's manager. He decides when Orc should work, and how much he gets paid, usually in the form of alcohol. He also spots Drake with a gun in the hole created by Sam at the power plant. This ultimately saves Dekka's life and probably many others.
Somehow, Howard has managed to weasel his way onto the town council, being Orc's representative due to Orc's cement body making him ideal for doing the more dangerous jobs. He also aids Edilio, Dekka, Computer Jack, Ellen and others in preventing the fire created by Zil and the 'Human Crew' from spreading across parts of Perdido Beach. After the fire has stopped he has a breakdown, crying in front of Astrid, Albert and Edilio, because he is so sad of everything that has happened. Through the book he starts standing up against Astrid, because he thinks she is a bad leader.
Howard is tasked with guarding Drake/Brittney with Orc. He later saves Albert's life and conceals a boy's corpse which Orc was responsible for killing.
Howard leaves the lake to check on his alcohol at Coates Academy. He encounters Drake and his coyotes. Although the coyotes are starving, they are forbidden by the Gaiaphage to kill anyone (they could not discern who was "important" to the Gaiaphage's plans, like powerful freaks). Howard is strangled by Drake in order to feed the coyotes.
- Sam Temple
Sam and Howard originally disliked each other. Howard was part of Caine's team before the Thanksgiving Battle, but joined Sam. After the death of Duck Zhang and the supposed death of the Gaiaphage, Howard had to work with Sam on the council. He and Sam the started to respect each other more and work together better.
Howard understands the stress Sam goes through and Sam understands what Howard has to do to keep Orc relatively safe. An example of this is when Sam confiscates a bottle of alcohol from Howard, although he knows how many Howard has, and Howard shrugs, knowing that Sam is going to drink it.
Howard was originally Orc's "number-one toady", giving him protection. However, when the coyotes devour Orc, Howard worries about him and tries to find him. He is horrified at Orc's mutation but helps Orc get beer, arranging for him to get it by doing dangerous jobs. Later, Howard goes looking for Orc when he gets drunk and tries to take the beer from him, but Orc hits him away. However, Howard still hides the body of Orc's victim. He also figures out where Orc went to hide. In Fear, Howard is frustrated that Orc has become a Christian, but Orc is furious and devastated when Drake kills Howard and vows to rip Drake apart. Orc describes Howard as his own Satan and tempter, but also his only friend, even though they used each other.
- Astrid Ellison
Howard and Astrid disliked each other. Howard enjoyed annoying her, and Astrid didn't like how he ran the alcohol operation. However, Orc likes Astrid so Howard had to spend some time around her. They were on the council together, which Astrid hated and Howard enjoyed. Like his fellow council members John and Edilio, he does not want her as head of the council.
- Drake Merwin
Howard was scared of Drake, but agreed to keep him locked up in his and Orc's basement. His fear is possibly strengthened when Drake goes up against Orc. No-one messes with Orc, and yet Orc couldn't manage to beat Drake.
When Howard goes to fetch some of his homemade alcohol from Coates Academy and bring it back to Lake Tramonto, Drake strangles him to death in order to feed the coyotes. In his last moments, Howard tries to bring back Drake's sanity, but does not succeed.
- Howard likes to dub things. It was him who invented the term "FAYZ", for Fallout Alley Youth Zone.
- He has also come up with the names for 'Bertos (from Albertos), Sammy suns, zekes (from E.Z. killers), Cabka (from cabbage and vodka), Mary's Big Jump, and the Big Split.
- The only FAYZ terms not made by Howard are the terms for mutants (such as moof, mutie, freak and chud) and the flying snakes, greenies (made by Hunter).
- According to Penny, Howard has some "strange little desires of his own". She stops herself before revealing what they actually are.
- Howard can drive with one hand.
"Yeah, Sam. Didn't you know only Astrid is allowed to lie?"
"Where are the girls? Farmer Goth and Farmer Emo?"
"You guys need anything?" – Sam
"You mean, aside from a hamburger, a peach pie, a bucket of ice cream, a DVD, a TV, a phone, a computer, and a one-way ride out of crazy town?" – Howard
"Yeah. Aside from that." – Sam
"Maybe we better pass some laws real quick so Sam can save our butts legally."
|Sam Temple | Astrid Ellison | Albert Hillsborough | Edilio Escobar | Dekka Talent | Howard Bassem | John Terrafino | Ellen|