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      Characters Wikis



      Baal – The firstborn son of El, Baal was raised by his father’s side on the outer fringes of the Sirusian empire. Distanced from the influence of Soma’s strict societal codes, Baal’s attitudes and appetites swiftly grew beyond the constraints of Sirusian decorum. Deferring traditional companionship, Baal instead found counsel – and pleasure – among his Irin and human workforce, fostering a loyal and devoted following among them.

      What concerns El had with Baal’s equitable treatment of “the mules” were assuaged by profits they generated. On Soma however, the rumours of Baal’s deviation from Sirusian codes drew the ire of the more conservative houses, and marked him an enemy to be struck down at the earliest sign of vulnerability.

      Thus, upon El’s death, Baal had no choice but to return to Soma and secure the family’s position as its patriarch. Though bitterly missing its freedoms, Baal found vicarious comfort in passing the stewardship of Earth to his favoured son, Marduk. This decision came with a cost however, unravelling the last remaining threads of cordiality between Baal and his younger brother, Yahweh, who assumed himself to be the rightful executor of all off-world assets.


      Desala – Baal’s eldest daughter. Fiercely clever and achingly ambitious, Desala’s ruthless acumen would have made her the obvious choice to inherit the family business – were she born a man.

      Desala’s youth was spent ensconced within the Sirusian social machine and, desiring above all to elevate the family position, she moved within the circles of influence as a woman of Soma was required. Navigating the brutal trials and politicking of Sirusian matchmaking, Desala achieved a remarkable pairing with the son of a house of wealth and esteem. By Sirusian law however, pairings are dependent on successful procreation, and when Desala’s son, Vazier, was born with a rare and crippling genetic deformity, she found herself cast adrift, reverting once more to her father’s house.

      Thus returned, Desala was the first to interpret her father’s growing weakness and disinterest in the wake of Marduk’s death, and soon took matters of business into her own hands: planting spies in competitor firms, greasing the palms of ministers and blackmailing the rest.  Earning her father’s appreciation, but still seeking his respect, Desala will stop at nothing to ensure the rise of her house.


      El  – Descended from the illustrious Anahita and Mithra. Father of four sons and four daughters, his two eldest, Baal and Yahweh. Inheriting the family business at the brink of collapse, El poured all remaining wealth into a bold revitalisation of Earth’s long-dormant mining operations. A man of determination rather than innovation, in 5120BC he personally directed a geological engineering program designed to bring rivers and cheaper hydraulic mining techniques to unlock new regions previously deemed uneconomical to exploit. With no lines of credit and no time, he used the human descendants he found on his arrival. He was a fair and hardworking boss, much respected by his employees and children.

      By 4000BC, El’s successes on Earth had secured the future of the family, and opened the door to further acquisitions. Leaving his eldest son, Baal, in charge of Earth, El returned to Soma to oversee the expansion of the family’s operational portfolio, remaining until his death in 1462BC.


      Marduk – Firstborn son of Baal, Marduk was the sole product of his father’s brief loveless first marriage to Tiamat, who swiftly remarried his youngest brother Yam. Unusually the baby Marduk remained on Earth to be raised by his father. Marduk was spoiled from an early age, and soon grew to resemble Baal in both appearance and appetites. Encouraged by his father, and often by his side, Marduk spent the centuries of his young manhood exploiting his privilege to the fullest indulgence of his desires. Upon Baal’s return to Soma following El’s death, Marduk was formally promoted to Head of Earth Operations. Left unchecked by his father’s presence, Marduk’s ego swelled to match his excesses: viewing himself as  a true God-king, only the deft management of his Irin aides kept mining operations running smoothly. Rumour of Marduk’s egregious behaviour soon began to echo within the familial network, stoking the resentments of Baal’s three brothers, Yahweh among them, who viewed Earth as their rightful inheritance…


      Mureb – Second son of Baal and father of Sarosh. Mureb’s homosexuality remains a source of irritation for his father, though less so than his lack of any interest in the family business. Seeking neither position nor approval, Mureb nonetheless takes pains to sustain cordial involvement in the family’s operations for the sake of Sarosh’s future standing.


      Omal – A junior Watcher stationed on Earth’s moon. Omal works covertly for Desala, keeping her apprised of any actions committed – or withheld – by Satan or his Watchers that could jeopardize Earth’s unrealised asset value. A proven and trusted informant, she frequently serves as liaison between Desala and her earthbound agent, Merkot.


      Saneen – An Irin of Yahweh born into exile on Caspius. Saneen has endured the desolate world’s bitter conditions and backbreaking demands better than most, and regards it her duty to use her strength to safeguard those without. She was once involved with Wariq, but ended the relationship when it became clear he was unable – and unwilling – to contend with the demons borne of his despair. Saneen does not care to hope for freedom, but she does believe in it.


      Sarosh – Son of Mureb. A bespoke conception born via surrogate, Sarosh possesses striking looks and stature. As a male heir, Baal took considerable personal interest in Sarosh’s upbringing, urging him at all turns to prove his worth as a man of Soma. Sarosh saw his chance upon the outbreak of the Third Colony Rebellion. Enlisting for military service, he declined officer track and instead volunteered for Special Infantry. Thrust into a brutal and bloody series of conflicts across multiple star systems, Sarosh grew increasingly disillusioned with the objectives of the Sirusian military, resulting in a tempestuous affair with a captured rebel commander. Hauled before a military court under charges of treason, Sarosh was spared imprisonment only by Baal’s interference. Now disgraced and firmly out of favour, Sarosh seeks redemption serving his parole and his grandfather as warden on Caspius.


      Satan – Satan was born of an unnamed Sirusian father and a human woman. He was adopted by a troop of Baal’s Irin, and eventually became one himself. Baal saw an opportunity to employ this young man as a spy in Yahweh’s own guard. Baal, increasingly concerned about Yahweh’s erratic behaviour, needed someone to report trouble back to him. This Satan did, and in recognition, when Yahweh was sent into exile, Baal took him back into his service, promoting him to his son’s personal bodyguard.  Satan was obedient, and saw Baal as a father figure, but, by contrast, Marduk appeared self-absorbed and a poor administrator. Marduk, for his part, shared the antipathy, and viewed Satan as little more than a conniving servant seeking to compete for his father’s affection. 

      Solitary by nature, Satan showed his love more with animals than his own kind. Away from his duties, Satan’s love of music evolved into a style we would come to know as the blues. A search for musicians would often draw him into the backstreets of ancient cities while on tour duty with Marduk. On one of these excursions he encountered a human girl blessed with an angelic voice. Restrained by his duties as an Irin, Satan nonetheless developed a powerful platonic relationship with the girl, but when word of her talents reached Marduk’s ears, it was not long before he desired to have them for himself…


      Sofi –   Anahita’s mother. An Armenian religious refugee from Aydincak, in Turkey. Pregnant and unmarried at just 15, in a conservative community, Sofi was disowned by her parents. While searching for her child’s father she was arrested near the Armenian border. Satan covertly sponsored Sofi’s case through the charity Caritas in Istanbul. They advocated for her release. With their help, Sofi was able to secure political asylum in Sweden. After giving birth to Anahita in Stockholm, she was settled in Visby, Gotland and employed by a cleaning services company for the municipality. When Anahita’s health began to deteriorate with the onset of adolescence, Sofi pursued every avenue in search of a cure, but with time running out, and the bureaucracy of the healthcare system stymying remaining options, she has become increasingly reliant on faith to deliver her daughter’s salvation.


      Smugglers –  Members of a rare, seemingly nomadic species who arrived on Earth shortly after the enforcement of the quarantine order. Their primary interest is in the acquisition of cultural items, biological specimens and human paraphernalia for the purpose of trade. The custom of bargaining brings them great pleasure, which Satan has used to develop a close, though discrete, relationship with them.

      Physiologically, they possess a cephalopodic ability to alter their shape and colour at will, as well as regenerate damaged limbs and organs. A specially adapted internal organ grants them the ability to generate significant amounts of electrical charge for defensive purposes. The true extent of their technological capability is unknown, though for five hundred years they have evaded Sirusian detection and interception measures, including Hornet ships and advanced drones, with little apparent difficulty.


      Vazier – Desala’s only son, and grandson of Baal. Vazier suffers from a deformative genetic illness that renders him painfully crippled and socially outcast. Though highly intelligent, he is nevertheless despised by his grandfather and resented by his mother. Vazier lives for the world within his mind, protected by irony and  jocular cynicism.


      Wariq – Son of Yawer and only male heir of Yahweh. Within the cramped empty life on Caspius, Wariq relies on alcohol and women to ease the burdens of expectation and ceaseless waiting. Though plagued by insecurity, Wariq remains a voice for his people and is not afraid to confront the injustices perpetrated against them. Trapped in limbo on Caspius, Wariq has lost hope, but not his potential.


      AR7000-1384-2172 AKA “Wilson” – Since the enacting of the quarantine, the bulk of Earth’s monitoring has been carried out by drones. Typically spheroid, these flight capable, semi-autonomous devices are able to collate and process data on a scale simply unachievable by the handful of stationed Watchers. However, the spread of human digital communications and surveillance networks has greatly reduced their necessity. Of the small cohort of passive surveillance drones remaining in service, AR7000s are undoubtedly one of the most advanced. Manufactured and coded to strict compliance with Sirusian artificial intelligence laws, The software applies scripted dampeners to meet the AI code. These dampeners can be removed illegally. 


      Yahweh –  El’s second son.  An introvert, Yahweh endured relentless bullying from his more exuberant siblings, in particular Baal, who considered him weak. El sought to ease tensions by placing the increasingly withdrawn Yahweh in charge of supplies and logistics  for Earth’s operations – a position requiring minimal interaction with his brothers. A tinkerer, with a mind for efficiency, Yahweh soon devised plans to replace the expensive Irin workforce at the logistics hub with a new breed of humans capable of a broader range of tasks comparable to Irin. Following a successful trial breeding programme, Yahweh presented his creation – the Jews – to the family for approval.

      But to Yahweh’s dismay, his Jews were met with contempt from his brothers. The Irin, in turn, saw them as a direct threat to their established hierarchy. Using his position as the favoured son, Baal convinced El to shutter Yahweh’s program and send the Jews to work in the mines. 

      Unwilling to forgive Baal for his interference but unable to challenge him, Yahweh resolved to fulfil his duties as demanded, on the understanding that, upon Baal’s departure, Earth would be his to administer as he saw fit.  But when Baal instated Marduk as administrator of Earth, Yahweh could bear the years of ignominy no longer, and resigned in protest. Travelling to Soma, Yahweh petitioned Baal for the formal division of the family business into two subsidiaries- one controlled by each, entirely independent in its operations. When this was refused Yahweh then demanded the return of his workforce, the Jews, claiming his rights in having manufactured them himself. When Baal once again refused, Yahweh vowed to take matters into his own hands.  

      Yahweh was as good as his word, unleashing a virus on Earth which claimed the lives of Marduk’s entire personal human staff in Egypt, and gravely sickened several of his Irin. Enraged,  Baal initiated a criminal investigation, and Yahweh relocated his Jewish workers while the court deliberated. Baal’s presence on Soma proved decisive: Yahweh was found guilty of all counts, most significantly causing grievous bodily harm to Irin workers who – unlike humans – have limited rights of personhood within the Sirusian legal system.

      Using his influence within the courts to enact Soma’s laws of guilt by association and collective responsibility, Yahweh’s family and immediate staff were sentenced to 800 years of exile and labour on Caspius, a cold and brutal depleted mining planet. Yahweh died on its surface 220 years later, a broken man. 


      Yawer- The only son of Yahweh and Ashera. A mere child when his family was sentenced to exile in 1320BC, what little Yawer remembered of life before Caspius spurred him in young manhood towards thoughts of freedom. Frequently clashing with the warden of Caspius and his men, Yawer stood tall as a rallying, vital figure among his people, vowing to challenge Baal when the time of their exile ended. 

      When sudden news came to Caspius of Marduk’s death, Yawer’s elation fell quickly to horror upon learning that Baal was accusing him of causing it. Charged with organising a group of Levite fanatics to infect Marduk with a virus sourced from one of Yahweh’s former facilities on Earth, Yawer possessed neither the funds nor allies to mount a defence. The guilty verdict but a matter of process, Yahweh was sentenced to permanent exile on Caspius, along with all of his kin. His spirit broken, Yawer henceforth forsook rebellion for the comforts of compliance.



      Caspius – This planet was at an early stage of ecological development at the time of its discovery by a team of Sirusian exogeologists. Hosting lucrative deposits of rare earth elements, particularly Gadolinium and Europium, the planet was purchased at auction by a consortium of houses with primary interests in the manufacture, sale and licensing of superluminal drive technology.

      The uniform density of the planet’s crust created ideal conditions for rapid systematic exploitation of its wealth. Initial extraction and processing of surface deposits disseminated trillions of tons of mineral waste into the atmosphere, engulfing the planet in perpetual dust storms. By the time deep mining operations had commenced all native ecology had ceased.

      Upon completion of of deep mining, the owners of Caspius sought to extend its profitability by offering its use to the Sirusian State as a penal colony: Prisoners and exiles would be “employed” at no cost to extract the remaining dregs of usable resource, performing bio-cementation to stabilise the abyssal quarries.

      Caspius was hand picked by Baal as the location for his brother’s exile. Now three millennia hence, the house of Yahweh remains its primary labourforce.


      Soma – The Sirusian homeworld and heart of their colonial empire. Soma is the only naturally habitable planet in orbit around Pi3 Orionis, the main sequence star in the Orion constellation. A lush and verdant world with an abundance of resources, how Sirusians came to colonise Soma prior to their attainment of superluminal travel remains subject to heated historical debate amongst its scholars. Archaeological records however, indicate their arrival occurred approximately one hundred thousand years ago (Earth calendar). The true homeworld of the Sirusian species remains unknown.

      Mining or exploitation of Soma’s resources is strictly prohibited by its ruling class, who instead make use of commodities from its many colonies and trading partners to supply its requirements. As such, the natural environment of the planet remains uniquely pristine comparative to other worlds of equal civilisational development. This is reflected in the Sirusian property market, where habitations closer to the ground are the most sought after and fetch the highest prices. For many Sirusians, the ability to explore the many diverse, untouched habitats of Soma depends entirely on the acquisition of a permit determined by the annual tourism quota. For all its beauty, the beauty of Soma is not for all: By law no persons with less than twenty-five percent Sirusian DNA is permitted to live or work in its geocentric orbits.





      Technology Wikis


      Rail Gun – A weapon of the Watchers that uses electromagnetic force to launch high velocity projectiles. The projectile normally does not contain explosives, instead relying on the projectile’s high speed and kinetic energy to inflict damage. This weapon, when not attached to an ammunition printer, has a projectile which is a vortex generated ion ball. This can be fired short distances, and therefore requires no solid ammunition.


      For more serious firepower an ammunition printer can be added to the rail gun. This allows for rapid printing of solid compound projectiles which add range to the weapon. Additional doping bags allow the printing of a range of explosive projectiles.





      However in non-combat situations Watchers preferred to do without the awkward feeder and printing units and keep it in ionic mode.




















      Scarab 3D printing – One of the great mysteries of the gods is that, while we have numerous extraordinary architectural marvels left from their time, there is a complete absence of mechanical equipment commensurate with the construction works. These scarabs are attached to the Watcher’s backs. These store the boron doping agent, and the carbon and nitrogen harvesting units 

      They used cubic phase polymetric nitrogen, an extremely strong and light, but volatile structure, and secured it in a CG-N lattice with a boron oxide doping agent. This simply collapses into dust if the doping agent deteriorates with time or when actively disengaged.











      Hornet 1020RC – In service between 1500BC and 300BC, the main vehicle for Watchers to travel within a planet’s atmosphere, or for small interplanetary flights.

      Extremely popular for its high speed and range. Few vehicles of this size were available with warp capacity and good intra-atmosphere manoeuvrability. Usually there were four vehicle types, interstellar (IS), interplanetary (IP), entry and exit (EE) vehicles, and intra-atmosphere (IA). A 1020RC could handle long periods of IA, then smoothly transition out of the atmosphere to a nearby planet at L18 (18 x the speed of light), getting to Jupiter from Earth in a couple of minutes. While L18 was slow compared with the L115 of a typical commercial IS spacecraft, these were still extremely fast times for IP travel.


      The warp drives, however, remained too delicate for atmosphere re-entry, so 1020’s were taken down to the surface in other vehicles with specialized hangars. IA speeds were 30km/s or 112,000km/h with incredible acceleration and manoeuvrability.


      The 1020 is a two-man vehicle, with somewhat cramped quarters, crew protected from the intense Gs by the inner rings AG fields.

















      P1 Halo – Standard issue visors. For the viral, bacterial, and atmospheric adjustments, the Watcher uses a ‘throw-away’ halo printed by his scarabs. The unit can be constructed or removed in under 5 seconds.








      C-722 Centrifuge

      Suitable for the extraction of Embryonic Stem Cells (ESC) from mammalian blood, internal fats, marrow, and spermatozoa sources. Standard magnetic cell sorting using 5 grades of colloidal super-paramagnetic microbeads, conjugated with annexin-V. Immune response triggers in the telomerase are stripped away in sub-unit 4. Cells are stored in Base unit 2 with retinoic acid suspension fluid. Base unit 3 prepares 3D growth factor scaffolds from a wide range of growth factor cultures and completes seeding of ESCs into the scaffolds. Filters complete the process before delivering IV ready product in the central tube. Base unit 1 contains peripheral and waste cell matter for disposal, rotated to counter motion of the main centrifuge.

      Up to 17.000 RPM (32.3g) with 4×36 mL tubes. Internal power source. Weight 1350gm.









      AR7000 – The most popular observation drone in the arsenal. Robust, long lasting, fast, and with a full suite of observation tools, the AR7000 incorporates the highest standards of Adaptive Intelligence.













      AR900 Micro Drone

      In sleep-mode the drone maintains a zero-gravity setting. and can compress to 20% of its size by dispensing with non core spatial elements. This is achieved by  using force fields instead of a solid frame. This is highly beneficial for ease of transport. However, the drone also contains no internal energy systems, and requires charging. This limits surveillance missions to 150 hours.



      Sirusian Employment Laws


      Mining Code

      With a trillion species at varying degrees of sophistication, laws determining civic and commercial rights in the galaxy, present lawmakers with many challenges. As interstellar travel became practical, Sirusian influence expanded out from Soma, coming into contact with other communities, with biological, territorial, and legal consequences. The legal code evolved with each colonization, war, peace, and trade treaty. To the Sirusians, for territory not covered by existing treaties, possession remained 9/10th of the law. The first Sirusian to arrive at a new planet, moon, or asteroid, would claim ownership. The government would take its 25% cut, and the resources would be cataloged, mapped, and registered.

      Explorers would send back assays, samples, videos, and scans to present to the market, often selling their rights before even attempting any economic activity. The owners would then raise capital to set up mining operations on their new acquisitions, and head out with a mining fleet. Time and again the harsh reality of inflated figures, extrapolations, or outright falsehoods, greeted the new owners. Indebted to lenders back on Soma, and at the beck and call of see-sawing commodity markets, these entrepreneurs soon realized that only the most cost-efficient operations could survive, and to do this required cheap replaceable labour.


      Irin Contracts

      The law defined anyone with less than one half Sirusian DNA, as Colonial Labourers. Colonial Labourers had different employment, property, and civil rights. They could not own property on Soma itself, nor equity in Sirusian listed companies. They could not work on Soma, and access was carefully regulated. They could, however, be signed to Indentured Contracts. These could be up to 1/5 of the length of that species lifespan. The years left on the contract could also be sold on to other employers. Indenturees usually entered into an indenture for a specific upfront payment; a wage; sometimes just transportation to a new planet, a new start; or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage. In some cases, the indenture was made with a spaceship’s master, who sold the indenture to an employer in the colonies. Many contracts for work on new planets involved a share in the profits, and others would be offered a piece of land on the planet after the contract was completed.

      These were the Irin, the backbone of the Sirusian workforce, and almost all the work in the Colonies was done by this group. Runaways were usually sought out and returned to their employer, though word spread quickly about who were good or bad employers, and this, more than the contracts themselves, tended to drive the market. A network of feedback ensured that planets with dangerous working conditions, disease, extreme conditions of heat or cold, or cruel owners, were soon blacklisted, and securing labour became virtually impossible.


      Mule Law

      During tough economic times, even indentured Irin would prove too costly. There were minimum levels of biosafety, hours, and remuneration built into the contracts. Owners began looking at ways around these legal limits.

      Blending the DNA of Irin with the DNA of livestock, it was possible to create new species that fell outside the definitions of a being under the law. They were simply tallied in the company’s inventory as pack animals. Not a vassal or slave, these workers had no legal rights at all, and were viewed as property. These creatures were given the derogatory name mules. Mules were often sterile in the early days. Exotics, like half man half fish, or minotaurs, half man half bull, were at best, entertaining. The challenge was that most of these mongrel creatures were infertile, unable to breed, and soon died out. This problem made the exercise impractical and expensive. Mixed breeds could also be stubborn, stupid, and lazy, creating more work for the Irin in supervision, than they offered economically. Others proved rebellious, and Irin would be killed during unexpected insurrections. Too many Irin deaths, and a mining operation could be shut down by the courts. Indentured contracts would become impossible to renew, or ruinously expensive. Ideally, mules needed the right temperament; subservient yet thoughtful; hardworking yet calorie efficient; and an ability to understand complex instructions.

      Companies developed research departments that specialized in this work. Skilled breeders were in high demand. Beyond producing good, cheap workers, the best breeders could offer a product with two important features. Firstly, companies sought species that could breed frequently, ensuring an unlimited supply from a small, well-managed, purchased stock. Secondly, one that provided compatible stem cells and growth factors that could be harvested from their blood for the Sirusian senior management, or their elite Irin. This avoided the difficulties of shipping these expensive nutrients in with their short shelf life. Compatible stem cells were essential to ensure the team’s longevity. Without them a Sirusian’s life span would shrink from 4000 to 500 years.

      This last criterion meant that breeders were always pushing the legal boundary of the DNA regulations. Implanting ‘interrupters’ that would change the sequencing of the DNA, without changing the compatibility, was one in an arsenal of tricks used to reduce the qualified DNA. Although illegal, many breeders would even use pure Sirusian DNA. Playing with the alignment, and annealing of the oligonucleotide fragments, they could still come in under the legal limits. This ensured finer stem cell supplies for the discerning customer, and the authorities generally turned a blind eye.

      Naturally, the relationship between Irin and their mules was a complex one. The Irin appreciated being able to give the most arduous work to their mules, but they felt threatened when mules were given work ‘above their station’. On earth the preferred breeding stock was homominae. With species of chimpanzee, gorilla, bonobos, and gibbons the DNA source of choice.

      With the passing of each millennia, the gap between advances in new breed capabilities, and a deteriorating existing inventory, would begin to widen. At a certain inflection point, owners would need to review the efficacy of upgrading the mules, a process known as Mule Replacement Protocols.


      Inheritance Law

      Inheritance is patrilineal on Soma, with sons inheriting all the assets, and daughters with rights to an income. The first born was also entitled to a minimum of twice what the other sons received. This offered a degree of flexibility should the father wish to keep the assets tightly held. For example, a father with four sons and four daughters could make an allocation of 60% for the first born, 20% for his favourite, and 10% each for the other two. The income for the daughters would be the responsibility of the eldest. As daughters were exempt from tax, this had generated a whole universe of creative accounting, and unwritten contracts, leading to much legal wrangling on a brother’s death, with assets often languishing in escrow for centuries, as disagreements awaited settlement in the courts.


      Gender Norms

      While women worked regularly in the Colonies, it was considered a sign of poverty in Soma society if the females in the household sought paid employment. The woman’s tax advantage ensured that a significant amount of funds would be cycled through them, ostensibly as income. But once they were married this tax break window would close. So, in wealthy families, curiously, marriage was not overly encouraged, and there were many cases of women in relationships not formalised by marriage. Often adrift in this economic trap their position became opaque. A marriage was also only consummated by the birth of a healthy child. Failure to deliver a child brought much shame to a young bride, and a successful birth, particularly of a son, was met with a formal ceremony grander than the marriage itself. Failure to produce an heir could see a bride returned to her father’s house, with no compensation. As damaged goods, a second marriage was often difficult to secure.


      Smallpox and Sirusians

      Variola virus was a large weapon-grade pathogen from the First Colonial Wars. It is uniquely adapted to cause severe, widespread illness in Sirusians, by thwarting an effective immune response to the infection. Poxviruses produce many proteins that are not necessary for virus replication, but enhance the ability of the virus to evade detection or treatment. Orthopoxvirus egress inhibitors in animals offer a natural protection from smallpox, but not so for Sirusian DNA. There are unique molecular strings on the surface of Sirusian cells that makes them distinctly susceptible to infection with variola virus, and induce encephalitis. This genetic basis of the infections, and the range of mutating proteins it generates, makes this extremely dangerous for Sirusians. The virus has a large arsenal of genes to produce viral proteins that incubate in, and infect immune system cells, with proteins secreted by infected cells that modulate interactions between the viral proteins and mediators of the antiviral immune response. It is these mutating secretions that nullifies the effects of vaccines, which generally work with protein markers. The sheer volume of unique secretions, numbered in the millions, and always growing, act like an encryption key, that hides the nature of which protein will attack which immune system cell. These secretions, all too swiftly, modulated their proteins to attack Sirusian elements in the human DNA string as well, with devastating consequences that would haunt mankind for centuries to come.


      Interview with writer Rob McMillan

      Last of the Irin came into being as most things do, which is to say outside of my limited awareness. By the time the enigmatic persona calling himself “Wildfry” approached my institution, it was to nurture, rather than nature, his conception of a science fiction story steeped reverently in historical fact.

      While the particulars of how mine became the voice to perform this act of literary midwifery remains largely unclear to me, there are three determining elements that I can assume played their part:

      1)            My inclusion in a shortlist of worthwhile alumni drawn up by a former Professor who, until that particular moment, I had believed to be infallible.

      2)            Wildfry’s acquisition of a first draft screenplay of mine pertaining to demonically possessed chimpanzees, which – God willing – shall never see the light of day.

      3)            I was cheap.

      Given such an auspicious starting point, it will come as no surprise that when Wildfry offered me to join him on his ship in Asia for an undetermined stint of story development, my acceptance was not necessarily a mark of courage.

      As the tender navigated the nameless oriental bay which was to be my destination, my eyes discerned, from quite a distance, that Wildfry’s floating home was, true to his word, a ship rather than a boat. The validity of the distinction (and indeed the existence of the ship at all) came as a relief, indicating as it did that Wildfry’s offer might likewise be true and accurate, and not mere pretense for harvesting my blood and organs.

      The astute reader will already perceive, by virtue of this foreword’s existence, that events on the boat likely proceeded sans disaster or ritual sacrifice. This is mostly true, and indeed while there is much that could be said about every facet of this trip – including this writer’s introduction to foetal blood serum infusions – such details sit outside the business at hand, not to mention the comprehensive non-disclosure agreement I signed before being allowed aboard (yet another acceptance we shall mark as courageous and discerning).

      Having been brought a considerable distance at almost equally considerable expense, it was understood that my time aboard would adhere to a strict schedule reserved almost exclusively to the essential development of the project. First was my introduction to the illustrator, a polite young dutchman who, having already been sequestered below decks for weeks, had wrought the foundations of the Last of the Irin’s conceptual design and visual language. If I was at all intimidated by this unassuming European’s artistry and productivity (and I was), this was eased by his enthusiastic commendations for my aforementioned “demon chimp” screenplay.

      Days were spent in creative meetings led by Wildfry, who imparted the essential concepts around which the fiction of Last of the Irin would be crafted. While he laid out lifetimes’ worth of meticulous personal research on the origin of God and gods, societies and peoples, beliefs and rituals, artefacts and technologies, victories and tragedies – all in mind-boggling detail spanning a vast portion of human history – my challenge was ostensibly to nestle on an expansive sofa and take notes.

      Suffering as I was from an extensive case of jet lag, the real work proved to be in not allowing this avalanche of academic information to sweep me into the beckoning cave of Hypnos. Enabled by my dislocated internal clock, however, the nights were my own, and afforded me precious time to process my daily educations with more present eyes. In these dark hours, it became evident that the more I absorbed Wildfry’s ideas, the more I was myself absorbed by them, and, by my third night of shunned sleep, the natural sympathies of past, present and future revealed themselves to me with utmost clarity.

      The design of Last of the Irin’s fiction, I determined, was not to reinterpret the past, but to return to it and redraw it in a form suited to our times; to shed the literary continuity that had become the halting collar around our necks. What better form for this task than the graphic novel, whose comic conventions are well known for cycles of crisis and rebirth whenever the fiction overwhelms the story’s origins?

      Base truths housed within high fiction, not to find an audience, but to be found. To draw those who, as this writer once did, engaged without awareness, but upon discovery, shall recognise something to which all the evidence required is but a windowed glance: Our society is a faltering strain, going through the motions, empty ritual in the absence of our masters. If reinvigoration requires infusion of new blood, what better than that of its old sires, who for so long have been forgotten?

      Time will tell. When the work is done.

      Robert McMillan