My next story has been a long time coming. I published the first Teristaque Chronicle back in December of 2014. At the time, I had no clue what I was doing with writing, publishing, or anything. All I knew was that I had a story to tell, and I’ve been letting it unfold for years since then.
The tale I am here to share with you today was conceived while I was writing Kal’s Fall. The only reason it took me six years to write was because I didn’t realize how Makiuarnek fit in Kal’s past until recently. With this series, I wanted to create a blend of episodic space opera that dealt with the problem of the day but was all connected to each other. I knew that every character would eventually become front and center for a book of their own, even if Kal’s journey was the main through line of the series.
I also knew that I wanted Makiuarnek to be a person who thinks they are doing the right thing. Too often, villains are portrayed as monsters driven by a demonic evil that compels them to commit atrocities. Whereas I believe that the real life monsters, the dictators murdering and locking up their people and so forth, are just people who have belief systems that harm other people.
I saw this documentary that stuck with me. They interviewed Hitler’s secretary. While Hitler is indisputably the classic model of an evil villain, he was still a person despite being misguided. His secretary told stories about how he would black out the windows of his limo and plan routes through the city so he wouldn’t have to see the destruction first hand. During his final days, he said that because the Germans had lost the war, women would be raped and people murdered. In short, Hitler thought he was doing the right thing.
The idea has stuck with me. People aren’t inherently evil, but are convinced by either themselves or others to do evil acts because they believe their influence on the world will be positive. I try to write most of my villains with that premise in mind. I feel that idea explains so much in why we have a lot of the problems we have today. Imagine a planet where the media, your leaders, your co-workers, everyone you encounter say that’s a bad place. The aliens there do bad things. Now imagine you’re sent into that area armed with a deadly weapon. I can see how a person might overreact and gun down a villager.
If I were to wave my magic wand and fix the world, I’d send the armed individuals trained for combat into the places where an armed response was required (like terrorists swarming a hotel for example). However, for the drunk guy asleep in his car, I’d send the social worker, the addiction counselor, or maybe even an ex-addict themselves who’s been there. The point is that sending guys with guns is like using a hammer for every situation. Sometimes, you need the screwdriver, sandpaper, or maybe just a shop vac to get the desired result.
With the Teristaque Chronicles, I’ve been telling the story how Makiuarnek thinks that he is not only doing the right thing, but believes that the hammer is the best approach. In turn, that use of force shapes our lead character Kal. In this story, we finally get answers to some questions that have been seeded ever since story one. We are going to find out what happened with Sarge and Makiuarnek back before Kal was born when they first touched down on Nigramoto. We are also going to see what Sarge was doing when he met Kal back in Kal’s Fall, and how it might not be what you thought it was.
Enjoy, and thank you for being a part of my writing journey.
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