Character logs from the Vinctalin Legacy: Series
Log: Dr. Alexander Byefield
I like to push myself but only so far as is healthy. I enjoy exercising for the relief of tensions, physical and mental, for relief of the mind and for the muscles I occasionally show off. As a doctor of medicine I advocate any physical exercise that is steroid-free and not extreme enough to cause injury. As a psychiatrist I recommend exploring one’s own psyche, with care. I would therefore strongly discourage anyone from doing what I was doing on that fateful night.
I shared a house with friends. It was a good-sized property that we had made one major alteration to. In the basement we had a laboratory for the purpose of psychological experimentation. I had spent several hours late at night making notes and being sure to keep the science pure in my experiment. My friend checked the alarm was set and left me to it.
The thing with a sensory-deprivation chamber is that you lose touch with reality, including time. And the thing with me is, I’m so good at losing myself, blanking my mind, that we knew I should stay in there for longer than we could allow anyone else. The theory being that having experienced the induced symptoms of paranoia, once back in my right mind, I could better understand the suffering of some of my patients.
When I came out I felt fine. Somewhat spiritual certainly, but not disorientated or delusional. I recognised the lab as it should be. At first I was a little dismayed to find that none of my friends had stood guard over the chamber in case I should run into difficulties, but I assumed whoever’s turn it had been had slipped out to the lav.
I wanted to complete my report with everything fresh, and possibly a little too clear. I made no assumptions concerning the clarity of thought since certainly I had experienced a change in my normal mental state. From time to time during the two hours I spent writing up my work, I wondered why none of my colleagues had been down to check on me, but I was not perturbed. We had plenty of safety checks inside the chamber and I was probably being monitored via computer data.
It was dawn by the time I’d finished and climbed the steps planning to frighten them with a story of how their neglect had almost cost me my life. A person with a dangerously macabre sense of humour might say the joke was on me. You see, I survived the night. They didn’t.
For long moments I questioned the results I’d just written up. Could I have overestimated my mental stability? Had I discovered something new in changing mental states? Yet the cold truth hit me hard long before I could make any sense of it.
Now in this new life, without my friends, it is difficult for me to make those around me understand the ethics and philosophy by which I lead my life. I am a psychiatrist. I understand what can motivate a young lad into attacking females out of lust as well as lashing out in fear. Although I was willing to defend others from such an attack I would rather take a beating than cause serious harm to a traumatised boy who hardly knew the day of the week even before being struck by this terrifying catastrophe. I am a true pacifist. I would actually rather die than take the life of another human beings. Yet only a couple of days into this dreadful new life I did kill that confused youngster, unintentionally yes, but he was just as dead as if I’d picked him off with a sniper’s rifle.
And so, when those around me demanded I should fight and kill the aliens I had come to know, I refused. I was not afraid of the labour they forced on us. It was hardly arduous. I was fascinated by their society. I compared their physiological and psychological profiles to ours and they measured up favourably. I saved the life of one of their females, along with her baby. Frankly I couldn’t even begin to understand how others could consider attacking them never mind murdering all of those whose whereabouts we knew of. They were family groups, for pity’s sake. I asked what they planned to do with the children and they had no answer that they would tell to me, so it was obvious. And that of course was entirely stupid because what exactly could they be fighting to preserve once they’d turned us into the slayers of children?
So I was forced to fight in my own way. I made certain of reaching the Tendanny village first and I talked to them. Now we have an alliance with at least some of the people my ‘comrades’ would have slaughtered, and whose love-ones have been slaughtered by, I concede.
Most of the people joining Jonathan and Stanzi’s desperate rebellion had no idea where it would lead. They’d sunk to being governed by their survival instincts. But I have no doubt that Jonathan and Stanzi knew what I did: if we survived the first battle against one small settlement of Tendanny we would die when the Guards were sent to crush us. What none of us could have known, got nowhere near guessing even, was the nature of that alien hierarchy.
At the end of this latest and bloodiest of battles I have become a proficient surgeon. I have stitched up enormous gashes in the flesh of people I’d come to care about. Some will die from the blood-loss I have no equipment to replace. Some will die from the poison injected into those wounds by those dreadful talons. Some will live to fight another day.
I am sickened to the core.
In part my job has become, for as long as I am alive to do it, the balance to Jonathan’s ‘survive at all costs’ and the sole provider of the argument against Stanzi’s ‘kill the bastards any way you can.’ So clearly, I will continue in the only way I know how: saving any lives I can, for as long as I can. Then I will gladly die.
Initial impressions of key personalities: Jonathan is an eagle-eyed, astute schemer with an extraordinary overall comprehension of social forces. That doesn’t mean he always picks the best path through life. He judges me to be a naïve idealist. Stanzi is of a type I have occasionally seen on a professional basis. He is potentially one of the most dangerous men I have encountered, not because he has a mental illness, but because he hasn’t. He is extraordinarily intelligent and he has a will to survive at any price. His saving grace is that that will springs from a desire to protect others rather than himself alone. He believes, possibly quite rightly, that no one will survive this invasion without him. He is a highly-trained, expert killer. And he is charismatic. Already he has a fan-base willing to follow him into death.
Log: Benjamin Stanzini
Yeh. More of a doer than a writer, but Caroline can be very persuasive. So can I. I will be requiring a rich reward in bed tonight when I show her my homework. Also, I agree that my miniscule army of courageous, untrained, inexperienced civilians, deserve recognition. We’ve fought and won battles a trained platoon of regulars might have lost. They entered into combat they calculated, quite rightly, not one of us could survive. I was as dumbstruck as the rest when Mighty Mettle the leader of the Disciples of the Protectors, Military Martyr to the Advanced Human Society, veteran of Vinctalin wars across the galaxy, rescued us.
At that stage I guessed we were caught up in a galactic war that had just reached Earth. It was some time later that I realised the AHS didn’t actually have the wherewithal to win their fight against the Vinctalin. On the other hand we had Jonathan Trad-Williams and Pakow Lam Fellen which, in my estimation, was a far more scary prospect for any enemy than Mettle and all of his recruits put together.
Once Jonathan had the upper hand over the leaders of the AHS we could devise a plan to attack the Vinctalin home world and wipe out every last bastard one of them. Except of course, we didn’t know as much as we thought we did. We won that war only to discover that wasn’t the only Vinctalin Linkage in the galaxy.
Now off to collect my gold star.
Log: Caroline Lambeth
Two years ago I felt to be in a strong, safe position. Our allied forces had destroyed the Vinctalin linkage in this sector of the galaxy, Pakow Lam Fellen had brought home to Earth huge armies of Vinctalite Guards and he was building a planetary defence system superior to anything owned by the Vinctalin or the AHS. Also and better, my darling little son was thriving and his father had returned home safely.
Nothing on Earth has ever run smoothly for any length of time and this was doubly true of the post-invasion era. Our immediate concern following the Great War was the two Vinctalite Emperors that had come back with the victorious allies: Hal Laxshoo and Threllor Lam Zondex. Also, two of Pakow’s older brothers turned up. The two Vinctalite Emperors put any of Earth’s leaders from any period of history, to shame, in terms of mendacity. Along with the deceit and false historical accounts we’d been given from the AHS, as Stanzi would put it: every bugger in the galaxy is tricking out every other bugger. They make our old despots look like Goldilocks.
Just over a year ago Zondex attacked our town. We survived by the skin of our teeth but he left a ghastly legacy which meant that Stanzi once again had to lead in a war he might not return from and I couldn’t get back on the roller coast with him this time. For the sake of my sanity and the care of our son, and not without heartbreak, I decided I had to leave him.
Shortly after that we were forced to evacuate the town we’d built up through years of hardship, because Zondex had sent a message, believing he could trade with the Vinctalin. Pakow Lam Fellen knew there was no chance of that. He warned us to prepare for a massive Vinctalin attack which he expected to be able to defend us from with the use of his new armies, armaments and the PDS.
Our allies failed us. Our town was destroyed and once again I survived, along with my child and my friends. But Pakow lost almost all of his Guards. All over again we were rescued by the Advanced Humans but soon after we re-grouped and settled into a new town I was betrayed by a new friend who stole a precious piece of equipment and took it to the AHS Home World.
I know Stanzi well. When I wanted another child I had little difficulty in getting him to sleep with me again. It broke his heart and I am very sorry for that, but how can I regret any method that gave me my darling little daughter. Around that time I also became one of Earth’s new Ambassadors to the AHS, and Alex’s lover.
We discovered more lies, deceit and danger in the AHS. Jonathan devised one of his horribly effective schemes which resulted in our take-over of that world a few months ago.
Alex uncovered truths that shocked their citizens more than it did us. They had a secret ruling elite, calling themselves Veekeren, who felt to have the right to recruit people like us from worlds they’d rescued and which had long ago supposedly been created by them. I cannot praise Jonathan enough. Because of him we liberated the ordinary recruits to the AHS and repaired that entire world.
Log: Emperor Pakow Lam Fellen
Before I came to Earth with my master Barenbana, a member of the clan of Halbolival, I had a father who had eight wives and twenty-three children. In the Tajat uprising I lost my father, all of his wives, nine siblings and was unable to ascertain the fate of six more. Since then I have married and begun rebuilding my family with the birth of my twins. The wife I loved with all my heart was slain in a Vinctalin attack. I survived their torment and their slavery for many years. I lived with bereavement they caused. And finally, I am broken by them: once more the victim of Halbolival’s torture.
Even so, I can look back without regret. Almost four years after coming to Earth I have been freed from Vinctalin slavery; a condition I could previously never have imagined. I have played a major role in the destruction of their Sector 3 Linkage and aided in the liberation of the AHS Home World (Irax); also situations that could never have entered my thinking in my old life. And I remained on that world long enough to set up a new, fair government of their own people. I left Hal Laxshoo ruling that world as my representative, and as my spy.
Soon after that Alex, as an Ambassador for Earth, set out on a tour with the Ambassadors of Irax, with a view to educating them on the Veekeren influence in the galaxy, escorted by Stanzi, my sister Pitlon Gowry and a few of Mettle’s Disciples. Alex wanted the Ambassadors of Irax to understand the extent of the deceit of the Veekerens who had ruled their world for centuries.
Some of that was achieved before they were stranded by a form of Vinctalin new to us. Alex described them well, as halfway to human, which contrasted with the grey beasts I had known. He also believed they could become our friends: a concept I refused to entertain. At that time we also encountered another species of Vinctalin on Earth. They have a wholly human appearance, though I suspect they are engineered. I was driven to destroy those members of the latter group that came to Earth, in revenge for my Guard, Vesen Lassa’s, murdered lover.
We have explored far-off worlds that long ago were occupied by Vinctalin, in an effort to uncover our own history and physical make up. Tests show that my race, the Vinctalites, possess a minute quantity of unidentified DNA. My discoveries have proved unpalatable to us all, as well as disturbing to the humans of Earth.
This time I cannot survive Halbolival’s abuse. I fear the data it took from me will cause the destruction of both Earth and Irax. I cannot imagine how those worlds can survive its wrath but I have hope that my friends will find a way to live on, perhaps hidden on an unchartered planet.
If you recover this log, Pitlon, please express to my family and friends my joy for the years of freedom given to me by Alex, the pleasure I have known in my love for them all and my faith that one day the Vinctalin will be defeated.
Log: Jonathan Trad-Williams
At the beginning I lost my mind. Something I’d never before experienced. That was understandable. The unexplained loss of my family – to find them dead – well, I still don’t have the words, the concepts, of how I felt. Neither do I try to define them.
Other than that horror, that indescribable loss, there is one more crystal memory from the first day of the invasion. I asked myself a question. Could we fight back?
Immediately I had an answer of a kind. It was more of a should than a could involved in my plan. You see, I’d met Benjamin Stanzini and I knew, I knew he could provide the other fifty percent of what we needed to do. We would win one small fight and after that there would be another step we could try to take. If we won that, there’d be another. That is business and that is life, no matter the nature of the competition.
I would apply every ounce of my renowned stubbornness, all of my ingenuity, every atom of my physical strength and every last one of my many skills in leading and manipulating those around me, to defeat whatever enemy had the temerity to take that which is mine. They had killed my family. I had nothing to lose. But don’t mistake my long series of wars for mindless revenge. I simply could not allow them to take anything more.
This log continues the account six years after the initial harvesting of Earth by our appalling enemy, the Vinctalin. Our small expeditionary force had been investigating the origins, and indeed the nature of, the Vinctalites, when we were caught by Halbolival itself. Poor Alex suffered their torture once again. This time he survived as the result of a strange friendship with a Vinctalin I do not trust, naming himself Landresiman. Unfortunately that rescue was too late to save the life of my very good friend, Pakow Lam Fellen.
When we landed back safely on Earth I could hardly believe my eyes. Pakow’s comatose body was being carried to the hospital as I looked at rank upon rank of Vinctalite Emperors and Guards. Pakow had told me to trust his brother’s abilities, whilst taking care concerning his loyalties. No one could possibly have guessed at this though. Rosek Isolla had devised a means of contacting the Vinctalites attacking Earth in the names of their various Vinctalin masters, through his boosted cytrel implant. He sent them proof that they could be free of the Vinctalin.
Clearly there was no way I could form an alliance with those awesome Emperors, never mind command them. In fact, I was down to planning the survival of the few humans left on Earth when an unbelievable opportunity for my most audacious proposal ever seemed to write itself. And only marginally less astonishing to me at the time, though I should have known better, I found Rosek Isolla to be as honourable as his brother. He’d felt ready to take his brother’s place as Emperor, but instead he saw a better role for himself in my scheme and set off to begin the war that would end all wars, so far as the Vinctalin were concerned in any case.
No one, not even Pitlon, knew how Pakow could have awoken from his coma, considering the appalling damage Halbolival had inflicted on his brain through overworking those horrible implants. In fact, the mystery of Pakow’s albeit arduously slow recovery, was explained when the people who should have allied with us millennia ago, revealed to us our lost ancient history. Alex, of course, had this worked out long ago. There was no coincidence in the existence of human beings inhabiting many planets in the galaxy. With that final piece of the puzzle the end of the Vinctalin was, in my mind, a matter of time only.
And so we forced the descendants of those joint ancestors of ours to join in the war that would finally see an end to any bio-engineered race, other than our friends of course. Those who had dubbed our first set of battles The Great War, had no name for what was to end this story.
The winning of each battle. The inch by inch, sector by sector, retaking of our galaxy was a wretched, horrific, relentless series of campaigns in which we lost many very, very courageous men and women. For details of this historic victory I refer you to Book 5 of The Vinctalin Legacy. There you will come to understand my awakening, along with that of all the humans of Earth.