Baker met Nick Andros in June of 1990 shortly before the Superflu outbreak and arrested Vince Hogan, Billy Warner and Mike Childress for beating and robbing the drifter. Days before his death, Baker deputized Andros. When Baker and his wife died, Nick was the only official law enforcement officer of any kind left in Shoyo- and one of the only people left alive in Shoyo at all.
In the extended and uncut version of the book, Baker has a much more significant role in the early stage of the story than he does in the miniseries. He brings Nick along as he rounds up each of the men who attacked him, and is the primary source through which Nick learns about the superflu epidemic. As more and more state and local law enforcement in Arkansas are unable to stay on duty as they fall ill with the superflu, Baker, despite being ill himself, has to work harder and harder to maintain some semblance of law and order in Shoyo. He makes Nick a sheriff's deputy, and begins handing over responsibilities to him. When Baker dies, Nick cares for his wife Jane, until she dies as well.