The Origin of the Martian

Author's Commentary #10

Since it's chapter 15 and Viekko is off doing some thrilling heroics, I thought it might be fun to talk a little bit about where his character came from and how he evolved to be the smart-ass, barely functional Martian bad ass that is currently charging head first into battle.

I can trace Viekko Spade to a character I put together for a tabletop RPG some friends and I were trying to put together long before the first concept of Ruins of Empire entered my mind.  It was for the Serenity RPG which... yes, it exists.

At the time he was a trash-talking, drunken, gambling-obsessed ship captain who took more than a little influence from Captain Jack Sparrow.  (In fact I think I ripped off his criminal rap sheet from the one read aloud to Sparrow in the first Pirates movie, something that made the GM giggle more than a little.)

We never did get the game going and Viekko found a nice, quiet spot in my mind to sleep it off until he was needed again.

Flash forward around five or more years.

I was looking at starting a new project since my first book kinda hit a brick wall.

The basic idea that started to form the Ruins of Empire series revolved around a team of explorers.  I wanted characters people would be interested in, invested in and build the world around them.  And as I was sitting around thinking about who these people could be, it was time to dust off Viekko Spade.
The first concept art for Viekko Spade as created by me on Hero Machine.

By this time he'd morphed somewhat.  I'd decided that he'd be the only member of the team to be born on a planet other than Earth and, in fact was the only person on Earth that wasn't born on Earth.  Cowboy Bebop's Jet Black provided some of the mannerisms and style.

At the time and, to a certain extent, even now I believe really interesting characters are more defined by their flaws then their qualities.  It's what humanizes them, what draws us to them.  As I talked about earlier, it seemed only natural that Viekko would be struggling with some kind of addiction.  Hence, Triple-T.

When I first created him, he was also fanatical about the value of civilization, law and order.  He almost came off as an ex-cop rather than an ex-military man.  But as his character started to develop on paper, I saw a man who very much loves his martian warrior culture and misses it terribly.  He was also a man to tended to shun relationships but that also evolved into somebody that I feel actually craves more intimacy but struggles with feeling of inadequacy and rejection.

Other than that, I am surprised how little Viekko has changed since those days many years ago when I first started creating his character. He is, in many ways, the bedrock on which the rest of the Ruins of Empire Universe is built.


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