Most villains are aware of the world's status quo. They either love it or hate it.
Open your mind to the fearful, hateful creatures that will do anything to keep themselves comfortable.
In Suns Go Dark, I wanted to explore the older generation's fear of losing their palatial comfort, and passing that fear down to the young workers laboring on the sun-farms as their predecessors once did.
Everyone is afraid the world will break.
It feels that the most compelling defiance is existing without fear. We learn throughout our lives what we ought to fear. People with experience reiterate that if you want to survive to an old age: be wary of these things. Bad things have happened to people that haven't been wary.
What does our girl protagonist, Einie, fear? What do her fellow young urchins up in the sun-farm fear? At the outset, they've been told to fear not making it down to the planet. They fear being singled out for the more intensive selection processes. Countless elders lived good lives. They fear be individuals.
Those that were individuals working the weirder jobs usually die young. You must endure countless tests, so the common feeling is: why bother? Better to keep working under the promise that the work on the sun-farms will perpetuate the status quo that'll one day produce the next coming of the Emperor.
Just don't break the world before it happens. Ahem, uh, it's not by accident I'm publishing free books to read online with a thru-line story of destroying an antiquated industry.
What do those old folks on the planet fear? They fear their victory, their survival of adolescence, be negated. They fear the selection process for finding the Emperor be undone. A good life is their reward. Most everyone on the planet is comfortable and taken care of, thanks to the sun-farm's energy. To them, the system works. They fear their lives' simplicity ending. They want to live long enough to see a new Emperor rise, the way a Boston sports fan wants to see their faith rewarded, and witness a Red Sox World Series.
To go against this is to go against gravity, or sunlight, or against an idea like that people have individual names—it's inconceivable.
Then the protagonists start breaking the world's rules.
One day, Virgil, one of our stargazing protagonists, already a fringe, troublemaking thief steals part of a sun. He wants to use the gathered resources to look beyond the world's closed system. Virgil is an individualist thief. His very soul has a different team color from the status quo. The people down-planet know his type, sure as shit, they do.
"Just a thief," they say with no effort to hide their words. They want everyone to hear what they think. They're not in mixed company, not that that would stop them. "A beguiling, lazy thief."
Remember, to them, a person who doesn't go down-planet at a certain age is a delinquent. They know what to do with delinquents. They know the damage a delinquent does. To them, they figure Virgil ought to be happy to have survived the ordeals of working in the farms, now reap the rewards like the rest.
The older generation is insistent you don't smash the system. Validate the path of others and follow them down to the good life. Life is good on the planet. They have made it good through years of improvements.
Except Virgil refused labor in the first place.
Now we turn our sights to the Invincible Urchin: Einie. We learn early that she somehow met Virgil while he was doing what he does—defiance.
What makes Einie remarkable in this landscape of persistent status quo? Well, we learn quickly she's invincible. It's been a long time since an Emperor lived. Past Emperors' traits are cloudy. A few things are sure though: it's been a long time since we've seen one, and Einie fits the description of a changing world.
To keep Einie from being a mere plot device, she carries an interesting trait into the status quo Virgil would like to hit back at: Einie is fearless. She wants to be Emperor. Unlike most, she HOPES she's a weirdo, a responsibility nobody has ever really wanted, prefering perpetuating the status quo instead.
This is weird, right? Everyone else is supposed to accept their place and be relieved of responsibility, passing the responsibility on to the next generation.
Einie wants her invincibility to be a sign she is the reincarnation. Young, angry, empowered, a personality the opposite of what the status quo wants, and they want to smash the system. Here is Virgil's challenge: when faced with the opportunity to live a life of complete defiance, which he seemingly desired, would he do it?
Would he defy his friend?
Read Suns Go Dark, as well as Ghost Little's other free books to read online over in our library.