Cosima has been coaxed out of his usual environment by Rich, who through an accidental process of transmigration has become a cohabitant of Cosima’s brain space (See Glossary entry on ‘Disembodiment‘). That makes Rich responsible to some degree for Cosima’s survival.
As the novel unfolds Rich will become obsessed with this obligation to his Gallutian companion. He will be uncomfortable leaving Cosima for extended periods, and find himself spending more of his waking hours in Gallus and less on his home planet, Earth, because he fears Cosima cannot survive alone.
This will produce tension in the story. Rich’s wife Kali, his mother, Dr. Morrow, everyone he knows in the ‘real world’ will question the amount of time he spends ‘zoned out’. He himself will lament the growing evidence of neglect as the clothes pile up in his bedroom, the dishes in the sink, and takes on the unkempt look of the half mad.
If he walks like a looney, and talks like a looney, he probably is a looney – that will be the common consensus, and Rich himself is not at all sure of his mental state.
To fulfill his obligation to Cosima, and honour what he comes to consider a friendship – even thought Cosima is ‘only a chicken’ – he will have to run against the surging tide of incomprehension, fear, ridicule, and self-doubt.
The ultimate test of his friendship will come when Rich realizes he has no idea if Cosima is eventually going to lead him to any kind of understanding about what happened to Elgar, which was ostensibly his reason for entering Gallus.
He begins to feel that his travels with Cosima have nothing at all to do with his abducted son, and at that point must decide whether to continue with his extraterrestrial quest or abandon Cosima as part of a lost hope.
In choosing to carry on, he proves himself truly worthy of the title ‘Friend’ and that will be the transition point in his life’s story.