Hogglos Beaten Back and Gareth Breaks Silence!
The Hogglos have once again been halted by our brave colonists! Congratulations to all those who helped foil Gareth’s plans! One colonist — “Lucky Akbar Sylphe” — managed to tame a rare Hogglo Pygmy Black on March 19!
In addition, CalyNET received a fascinating transmission from the infamous Gareth. The CDF have tried to suppress the release of this information, deeming it unfit for public consumption. However, we at CalyNET believe colonists will appreciate this glimpse into the mind of the dangerous criminal. We reproduce it here, unedited and in full.
Silence is like a dark womb. It can block out the world. Deaden the pain of memory. By not talking about something, it becomes unreal. Like it never happened.
But such thoughts are childish.
Marvin has spoken. Once again, he goes before me and shows me the way.
So here is my story. Now is the time to tell it.
As you read, you may well decide that I am a vile murderer. But everyone is a murderer — if only the conditions are right. If you judge me, then you must judge yourself.
And if you are truthful, you will always find yourself wanting.
On Earth I was a wildlife biologist. Animals had always fascinated me. The birds and fish always seemed to remain untouched by petty human troubles. Amidst the chaos of an overpopulated city and a failing government, only the world of animals had balance. I chose that world over my own. I delved into my studies. I lived in the field, inhabited my research. Work became my refuge. My sanity. My escape.
But Calypso was a far better escape. A new world, totally untouched by man. With new creatures and new discoveries to be made, why stay behind on Earth where only a few meaningless projects were raking over old ground? Calypso was unknown. And wondrous.
My brother Jared and sister Mina were both top-class weapons engineers at OmegaTech. They managed to secure my position on the good ship Exodus with the first wave of colonists to Calypso.
Waiting in the belly of the ship, I prayed. I didn’t believe in a higher power, but when you’re about to be launched further into space than any human being, then praying seems like a good idea. I prayed fervently — again and again — that the shell of the Exodus would hold. And as I looked about, I could see that others were doing exactly the same.
And hold she did.
My brother and sister never seemed to doubt that we would make it. They laughed at my weakness. They had always been the strongest, and I the ‘runt’. They had followed our father into the arms business, whilst I had a horror of weapons (which they mistook for simple squeamishness). Life was my concern, not death. The family business was detestable to me.
Funny how things change, isn’t it?
My siblings stayed at the base organising supplies while I spent my days wandering with armed hunters to study the local wildlife. It was the most exciting time of my life. I literally had the whole world before me.
As you know, it wouldn’t last.
The hunters and I we were almost at the city’s edge when the sirens sounded.
We ran to the perimeter, getting through just before lockdown. CDF soldiers stood guard, drawing up the barriers and blocking the safe return of thousands of desperate colonists, their screams rising in a deafening cacophony of blind, manic terror.
I will never forget that sound as long as I live.
My hands were shaking as I checked the roster: my brother and sister were out in the wilderness, weapons testing just a couple of kilometers outside the city. I ran to the CDF detail guarding the nearest entrance and pleaded with them to open the gates. Begged them. Threatened them.
But they were immovable. A fine testament to their ‘elite’ military training.
And suddenly I knew my brother and sister were about to die and I couldn’t breathe. I clawed for air, pain burning my chest…
I woke in a makeshift bed on the Exodus. I was told about the recent robot attack and radiation storms and put on immediate military detail. Numb and confused, I endlessly made calculations for RX Unit production schedules. Our job was to keep the android army supplied with soldiers, and I played my part. As best I could.
When we were finally given the all-clear, we came back to rebuild.
I searched, but I had to accept the inevitable. They were gone.
I blamed the CDF. I blamed myself and my weakness: how I had pathetically fainted when my siblings needed me the most.
Not knowing what else to do, I once again threw myself into my work.
And slowly — as the months passed by — I began to find some kind of solace.
I was given a rewarding project in the Hogglo unit of the The Colonial Xenobiological Institute. I told myself there was no future in blaming and hating. I buried myself in my work and as I did so, the pain of my loss was dulled. I would never forget my siblings, but the satisfaction I gained from my research sustained me through those difficult times. I began to gather some semblance of normality. To live again.
But then I had a visitor.
I was returning home after a long day at work. As I was shutting the door a hand shot through the closing gap, pushing me violently backwards. A heavy boot crushed my chest and pinned me down. I tried to identify the intruder, but their face remained obscured in the half-light. Unable to pick myself up, I waited for the inevitable attack. None came. Instead, the figure simply stood motionless in the gloom and watched me. I shouted at them to get out. Then they turned on the light.
It was my brother, Jared.
I couldn’t believe it at first. But he didn’t give me any time to get used to the idea. He hauled me up, looking anxiously out the window. I noticed he was carrying a heavy firearm. He told me he hadn’t much time, but that he was now what they called a ‘wastelander’: one of those who had been left behind to rot. Our sister had died of radiation poisoning, slowly and in great pain. Against all odds, Jared and a few others had survived amongst the wreckage. And now they wanted revenge. He asked me to use my equipment and knowledge to help him create biological weapons to attack the CDF. Take over the settlements.
But I refused. What happened was terrible, but in the end it was pointless to bear a grudge. That would only consume us. Kill us inside. I urged him to give up his revenge. Perhaps with my help he could start again. Change his identity, try to re-integrate…
But he backed away, disgusted.
“There is no going back for me, Gareth. I never knew you were so spineless. You’re no brother of mine”.
And with that, he walked out. I never saw him again.
After that, it felt impossible to return to normality. My routine seemed altogether meaningless. I couldn’t stop thinking of my brother. Of all that had happened. I went about my daily tasks mechanically and without vigour. Soon, even rising in the morning became difficult. My health suffered. Often I was so weak that I almost collapsed.
It was around this time that I met Professor Marvin.
He became the new head of the Mammalian Department and my superior. He started taking an interest in my work. He believed in me. Encouraged me to push forward. Under his positive influence I started to recover my health. I made significant progress with my Hogglo projects. In recognition of my efforts, he promoted me.
But he also helped me in other ways.
He made me see the truth.
He showed me how the CDF had done terrible things to us both. He told me of Project Migration: the horrific experiments the CDF had performed on himself and other colonists. He showed me his scars: proof of how they tortured those they were sworn to protect.
Then he showed me what I had stupidly failed to see.
The CDF had not shut the colonists out to save us. It was simple human disposal — decreasing the numbers of those who could stand against them.
My brother had been right. It was only fitting that my research be used as a means of retribution. When Marvin asked me to help him with his mutant experiments, I was honoured.
For what is life, really? Life is — above all else — cruel. A bloody battle for survival where the strongest survive. The only reason for studying life is to control it. Control it and wield it like a weapon: a breathing, writhing mass of flesh to snarl and bite and rip. To cry havoc and birth monsters.
Birth is not a miracle. Birth is bloody and undignified. Repulsive. Birth is merely a way of sending fresh soldiers to the field.
An eye for an eye.
And if the whole world goes blind?
Then that is the price that must be paid.