It has taken me quite a long time to write this post; the next in my series of posts about the sequel (or prequel, depending on your time travel point of view) I am working on to my published novel, Beneath the Surface. I’m not quite sure why. My idea for the follow up involves looking at the lives of three characters from the original novel whose actions are vital to the success or failure of the main character, Maria; looking at their earlier lives and how they became the people who became so determined to help Maria. I also wanted to add in some new characters, using them to show what life on Earth was like before the Event, the controlled takeover of the human race.
So far I have written about one of the original characters, known as Crash, and a new face, a soldier called Lance, who works for General Randall, the man in Beneath the Surface who orchestrated the takeover. But for some reason, the next original character I wanted to focus on, Angelo, has been difficult to write about. He is connected to several of the other characters – some he has met, some he will meet in the future, and some he knows only by codenames.
Angelo is the first of the “future” characters to come into Beneath the Surface, and he is immediately cast in the role of historian, telling others the story of the journey the human race has taken to arrive at that point in time – no longer on earth, no longer their own masters, no longer truly human. The following is an extract from Beneath the Surface:
“The story begins in a place far away from here, in a time so long ago you may not even be able to comprehend it. The place I am talking about is the planet earth, where the first of our kind evolved, millions of years ago. But the aliens existed first, and they saw the seeds of our kind growing. They saw what we would become…. With promises of strength, power and glory that would make them leaders of the world, General Randall and Silver spent ten years waiting for the results, welcoming the aliens with open arms. But they were hostile….”
When looking at the character of Angelo, I saw him first and foremost as a father. He is caring and protective of the young, and determined to tell them the story of where they came from. He makes it clear that the very young, the old, the sick and disabled did not survive the changes brought upon them during the takeover, 160 years previously. When telling the story of his past I wanted it to be clear that the loss of his own child during this apocalyptic time, as well as his traditional family background, is part of what shaped his personality and created his desire to help Maria in her goal. Fatherhood, and its sudden end, were always going to be important to him.
It seemed apt, then, that any back story of these events seen through Angelo’s eyes would be written in the form of a story to his son, the one person he felt he should have been able to protect. His son was born after the takeover, after humans began to change into hybrids – he was pure, and because of this, Angelo’s family were given certain privileges. But his son was too weak to survive the changes to his body, and after his death, those privileges they had received suddenly seemed to Angelo to be wicked; selfish and tainted with the reality that his son would have lived if the regime that had provided them with security had never existed.
From that point on, he was determined to seek out the truth; to dig a little deeper into the new world he had once felt so comfortable in, and when he doesn’t like what he finds, he makes it his mission to warn others of the reality of the “glorious future” promised to them by General Randall. He goes from working for The Post – a government sanctioned paper which reports on only the positive side of things, to going undercover and writing anonymously for the rebel website Progress Civilisation.
The motivations of the character of Angelo come from the death of his son – he is desperate to try and make amends, as well as to maintain the hope that there will be some survivors left on Earth, who would read his story and know of the sacrifices people like him had to make. Angelo wants to keep the memory of his son alive, as well as try and convince himself that he did not die in vain.
“To tell your story I have to start with mine, because without me there would be no you. The survivors I am hoping for probably won’t be the slightest bit interested in that, though, and will probably skip the beginning of this story in favour of reading about sickness and hybridism and aliens and rebels and all that much more exciting and sensational stuff. Not just for the excitement, I hope, but because of a search for the truth. All official publications are an absolute load of shit, if you’ll excuse my language, and hopefully the people of the future will know this, and have a desire to know what really happened. And hopefully, this story will do just that – reveal what really happened.”