My name was nobody, but now it is Justice, I was an assassin, but now I’m the right hand of righteousness. I have killed seven people professionally throughout the galaxy; and another six as judge, jury and executioner; and tonight, before I die, I intend to take another life, the one who found me, the one who created me. I have travelled to dozens of worlds throughout the galaxy. I have swum naked in the moon pools of Tregeta; I have climbed the Ruby Peaks of Doona; I have seen battleships burn around the rings of Solos; and above all I have loved. But first I must leave a record of the events that have shaped me, the events that led to my recruitment by “The Organization”, and the divine light of redemption that saved me.
I was born on the green and lush planet of Vail; my father was human, he was a miner, and he came to our world soon after our defeat at the hands of the Earth Empire. The humans had spread far throughout the Rim worlds at this time, having been finally accepted amongst the other races. He met my mother, raped her, and then married her, out of some pretence of doing the right thing. Humans and Vaillians have always been compatible species, due to our similar anatomy as humanoids. My childhood was much the same as any other on Vail, there was nothing special about me...but youth fades quickly. I was as ordinary as they came, an average student, who cruised through life, not knowing who they were or what they wanted. The only tragic event of my youth was when my father beat me. You have to understand it was a strong custom of our people to always respect our elders, especially our parents; because they had spent the best part of their lives raising us, teaching us, protecting us. And in time as they grew old and became feeble, they would become our children to protect and look after; the circle of the child becoming the parent and the parent becoming the child, would be ever ongoing. I felt none of this towards the man who called himself my father.
I can so vividly recall the night he came into my room, reeking of Drellian Ale. My cries meant nothing to him as the smell of his gingivitis washed over me, the sight of his blackened teeth like the jaws of some monster from the marshes that were my playground. I was home alone and so there was no one to stop him as he tore into me. It would be an event that would occur many times until I planted a clever in his back. I was fourteen when that happened, and the pleasure I derived from it I shall never forget. It was like a drug, coursing through my body, filling me with a desire that I had never felt before. Even the coppery taste of his blood splashed across my face tasted sweet.
But even on Vail patricide is a crime and I would have faced a long incarceration had it not been for the mercy of my mother. She sacrificed her life for mine by taking the blame for my killing. I suppose she did it out of love – for why else? But I was resigned to my fate at the time, I almost welcomed it. Perhaps if she hadn’t loved me so much, my life would have turned out differently and many more lives would have been saved. My mother would spend thirteen years in prison and die a year after being release with no one to look after her. It was just another regret to add to the list in the book of my life...and that list is a large one.
With the loss of my sole surviving parent I was put into a government work house. I might as well have gone to prison. I eventually took off just after my sixteenth birthday, making my way to Vella – the floating capital of Vail; where I wasted no time securing passage on the first available freighter heading off-world. Even working as a grunt on a cargo ship I felt my first taste of freedom as the greenness of my world vanished behind me into the vastness of space. I never looked back and it would be many years before I would set foot on my home world again. I worked from freighter to freighter, going from port to port, throughout the Rim for the next two years; travelling from one backwater world to another scrapping credits wherever I could get them or steal them. It was a miserable existence...but I loved it. To be my own person, not answering to anyone, was like heaven. But the fickle hand of fate would intervene many times in my life.
We were bound for the frozen planet of Homos on an ore freighter when we were attacked by the Teygeta battleship “War Child”. The Teygetians were at war with the cold blooded Draconians – a reptilian race from the Draco System. We were shanghaied and I soon became a gunner on the greatest warship ever known to grace the stars. The “War Child” was already legendary having never lost a fight, and as strange as it may seem, the years I served upon her was the first time I ever felt I truly belonged somewhere. The war with the Draconians had already been going for five years and it would be another three before the Teygetian Constellation finally succumbed. But during this period the “War Child”, under the command of the brilliant Captain Fairfield would take down four battle cruisers, two snub carriers, seven cluster class destroyers, and countless cargo and supply ships. It would take part in the battles of “Orion’s Belt” – “Bankirk” – “Trevi” – and be the deciding factor in the “Battle of Solos”; although it would be its final curtain call. I was in a life pod when the “War Child” burned up in the rings of Solos after ramming and destroying the Draconian command ship. Captain Fairfield was an exceptional person.
With the end of the war I was once more free to go where I wanted. At twenty-two I found myself upon “Helms Gate”; an asteroid in the cascades that had been converted into a city, having started out as an iron ore mining facility. Now it was gambling joints, brothels, corporations and ship sale yards. It was in neutral territory and thus a perfect setting to do business both legally and illegally, a den full of scum and villainy. I quickly found myself working for one of the crime lords, an arachnid called Talon, and his unruly associates. I was mainly a bag man, a go between, but it was at this time that I met him - Falstaff – head of “The Organization”; a secret cabal of intergalactic assassins whose history went back hundreds of years; guns for hire if you had the coin. They assassinated the high and low alike, claiming no allegiance to any one or any cause.
Many believed that they were wiped out by the battle master ‘Sojourn Deng’ during the “Ecliptic Campaigns”; while others claimed that they never existed, that they were made up – an invention – a ghost story. I was to learn otherwise when the vile Falstaff found and recruited me. But it would be many years and many jobs later before I would find out his true nature. However, in the beginning...he was a saviour to me.
Copyright (C) Peter Jessop 2010