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Vincent Freeman is a genetically inferior man due to his natural conception. Because of his genetic predisposition for disorders he is denied his dream of going to space. In order to achieve his dream, Vincent buys DNA from someone who is gentically superior in order to pass genetic screenings and passes himself off as a "valid." He is ultimately granted his chance to live his dream when the doctor in charge of genetic screenings fakes his genetic validity because he wants to see if Vincent is able to go beyond his physical limitations.
Irene is Vincent's co-worker. Though Irene is a "valid", she is also denied her dream of going to space because of her predisposition towards heart troubles. Irene and Vincent fall in love. Ironically because of Vincent's borrowed DNA, Irene believes him to be beyond her.
Anton is Vincent's younger brother. Conceived with the aid of genetic selection, Anton is genetically superior to Vincent and is deemed "worthy" to inherit their father's name. As children Anton continuously shows up Vincent by beating him with tests of strength. Anton and Vincent meet again when Anton (who is now a detective) shows up to investigate a murder in Vincent's place of work.
Dr Lamar knows the truth about Vincent's identity yet still allows him to live his dream in space, claiming that Vincent reminds him of his son. Dr Lamar understands how one's genetic predisposition does not determine their life.
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The launches represent Vincent's dream of flying to Titan. He wants the freedom of leaving a world that confines him because of his birth. He wants live on his own terms and prove, mostly to himself, that he is extraordinary.