Az used to be a surgeon in the city where he met and married his wife, Maddy. One day, the couple discovered the lesions found only in Pretties' brains and began to research them, finding out that only Pretties with jobs requiring quick-thinking were free from lesions. They concluded that the lesions were an intentional part of the Pretty Operation. Special Circumstances soon shut down their research and ordered them to forget about the lesions, threatening to take away their licenses. Agreeing that they couldn't forget what they learned, the couple decided to run away. They wanted to see how a community of people unaffected by the lesions would evolve, so they gathered a handful of rebellious Uglies and fled to the wild where they established the Smoke.
After some time, the couple had a son whom they named David. Growing up in the wild, he was curious about the city his parents came from and explored its boundaries, where he met tricky Uglies curious about the outside world. He helped guide many of those Uglies to the Smoke.
- Main article: Uglies (book)
Az and Maddy always thought that Special Circumstances might find them one day, and so carefully prepared a hidden cave filled with supplies in case they ever needed to run, teaching their son what to do should they be invaded. Their paranoia turns out to be fortuitous after Tally accidentally sets off her pendant's tracker. Special Circumstances arrives within hours and find Az and Maddy, kidnapping them and setting fire to their home. As the house is built into the side of a mountain, the Specials throw an explosive through the window and blow it out from the inside.
Back at Special Circumstances Headquarters, Dr. Cable worries that Az and Maddy have known about the lesions and the Smoke for too long, meaning that they may still remember it all even after the Pretty Operation. She decides to try out an experimental brain surgery meant to modify their memories, but the risky procedure accidentally kills Az.
- David inherited his father's large nose.
- Az used to be a middle-pretty, but he and his wife decided that being the only Pretties in a community of Uglies was too strange, so they reversed the procedure as much as they could in order to return to their natural, Ugly selves. However, they still retain internal features that were impossible for them to reverse, such as Pretty immune systems and teeth.