Anton Mertens is introduced in the season three episode “A Simple Life”. He is the owner of a bait shop that operates in the Upper Level. While he doesn’t seem to have any official role or responsibilities, it is clear that many in the Upper Level consider him to be someone of great authority…
The following sections cover Anton’s story as it has unfolded over the course of Township’s run:
Occupation: Bait Shop Owner (S2), Scientist (S4)
Origin: Upper Level
Anton is introduced as the owner of Anton’s Bait Shop, where an injured David Nash is brought in by fishermen who worry that David works for the one known as “Thresher”. Anton takes David in, and after learning the young man is from the Lower Level, nurses him back to health and gives him a job.
He reveals to David that he is knowledgeable about the Upper and Lower levels, and the World Ship itself, but he never gives David any insight into how he knows this information. When the Guardians, Ronin’s team of protectors in the Upper Level, arrive to meet with Anton, the older man helps David Nash confront his captors and formulate a plan for their next course of action.
We last see Anton when he bids David Nash farewell.
After learning that Anton had a very close relationship with Ronin, the old fisherman takes David Nash to Ronin’s “journals”, where the old leader kept written accounts of every adventure he had ever undertaken. He also reveals that Thresher and Ronin had a deeper relationship as rivals that stretched back longer than anyone remembered. He helped David read through dozens of journals, but with the amount of writing that Ronin had done, they realized it would be a daunting task to read it all.
A year after the events of Season 3, Anton arrives at the Hub, where David Nash now lives. He explains that he has a plan to learn more about Thresher, and reveals to David that he knew more about Ronin than anyone else. He takes David to the private journals of Ronin and explains that the olde leader of the Hub once lived on another World Ship. He also explains that Ronin and Thresher were longtime rivals, and that Ronin’s journal might give them some insight into their conflict and how it involves the Hub.
Later, when the city falls under attack from Thresher’s goons, Anton attempts to escape with the Book of the Travelers, but Thresher captures him. He stabs the older man and lets his body sink into the water.
In the wake of Thresher’s attack, David Nash fears that Anton was kidnapped. When the elderly man returns to town, he reveals that things on the World Ship are a little more complicated than most people understand. It turns out, the CORE is a genetic laboratory, where the individuals aboard the World Ship are “built” and imprinted with the data that is assigned to their crew manifest. There are no memories for the citizens to “remember” because they are wholly new individuals, starting their first day when they arrived from the CORE.
As David struggles to understand the science. Anton points out that he died a few days prior, but that his genetic information, which was stored in the CORE, created a new copy and he simply returned to the Hub. David questions Anton’s ability to remember any of this if he was a new copy. Anton explains that he is unique, having finally mastered the ability to store individual memories, but not until long after the other citizens had already undergone the process to be “built”. He is the sole individual on the World Ship that can remember his prior life.
After explaining his own story, Anton adds that Ronin and Thresher were refugees from another World Ship that had failed years prior. Ronin had the Book of the Traveler and told Anton that it must be kept secret, or Thresher could use the information within it to doom their own World Ship, intentionally or by accident. Anton then spent the rest of his days helping Ronin establish the Hub, helping other citizens, and keeping a watchful eye on the World Ship. As the only one that truly understood their past, Anton had a heavy burden to carry.