Academician Umbaste was named as the nominal acting President during the Faraway Declaration in the expectation that the real President would only be absent for a few hours at most. However, after six days of waiting, he was shakily inaugurated.
The Book of the War recorded that he was a "yes-man": he had little or no will of his own, and even during meetings of the ruling Houses he never spoke except when urged. To combat this, the ruling Houses nominated the future War King to the high assembly immediately after Umbaste's inauguration, and, unimpeded by any Presidential effort, the War King set about implementing his forty years of planned protocols in preparation for the upcoming War in Heaven.
Umbaste remained the nominal leader of the Presidency for thirty years before, without any warning, he opened his biodata directly to the caldera, perhaps in an attempt to gain insights into future events. This launched him into a fugue state that lasted for an entire year, his mind lost somewhere in the meta-structure of history. Eventually he returned to his body, but he could only repeat the word "One", and after several days, he disintegrated himself. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
Mr Smith suggested that Umbaste did not commit suicide and that there was more to the story of his death than commonly known; however, the details were lost when the secret minutes of House Dvora were burned in the records library. (AUDIO: A Labyrinth of Histories)
Behind the scenes
- In his first appearance, the War King was hinted to be the Magistrate from The Infinity Doctors; in that case, the unnamed Lord President from that novel would be Umbaste. While he is portrayed there as significantly less spineless than Umbaste is in The Book of the War, the in-universe Book of the War established itself as an unreliable narrator, and Mr Smith suggested in A Labyrinth of Histories that there was more to Umbaste's story than commonly known.