Let me tell you a story.
It all started with the Wii.
There's a longwinded tale about how Wii bowling led to Wii Fitness which led to Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles which led to RE Darkside Chronicles but I'll spare you that. All you need to know is that rekindling my love for Resident Evil reminded me of the fanfic I wrote many years ago. In fact, there were two fics affectionately titled Rookie1 and Resbox2. Rookie was set before the Mansion Incident and dealt with Rebecca joining S.T.A.R.S and the initial investigation into the cannibal murders. Resbox was set after Code: Veronica and followed the survivors of the games up to that point as they hid out in France and decided how to go about taking down umbrella.
I was seventeen and they were terrible.
Regardless, upon being reminded of the existence of these fics I decided I wanted to read them and soon set about tracking them down.
Now, I've always been about 10 years behind in terms of technology or, just y'know, anything remotely modern and those fics were written on a very old computer that was given to us by family friends. It ran Windows for Workgroups, guys, Windows for Workgroups. I still have the computer because of all the treasures trapped inside but unfortunately the monitor no longer works and it's seemingly impossible to track a replacement down. Fortunately I had printed out those stories way back in the day and stored them with a load of other printed work in amongst piles of computer paper I had seen fit to draw on. So off I went to dig them out and in the process I found sections from other stories I had written and forgotten about. This time they were original stories, inspired by other things, yes, but original. These had chapter titles but were never really given full, proper titles so I refer to them now as Gladsheim Angel and Neuronet - also affectionately titled Sci-Fi fic and Police fic, respectively.
Sci-Fi fic came first and wasa space-based story inspired greatly by Andromeda with its salvaged warship, the Gladsheim Angel, its incredibly aware AI, and an unlikely crew assembled through unlikely meetings. Dalett Cshesta3 gained ownership of an antique warship before falling victim to some shady medical experimentation. His blood was infused with cells from an advance human being, known as a Hyper, and the story follows his mission to find out who did it to him and for what purpose. Helping him is a woman named Vessa, the daughter of a doctor connected with the facility where Dalett's blood was infected. Then there's Brekke, a genetically engineered being who can shift between the forms of various species, and Tyarn, a Hyper who was held in the facility that created Brekke and many other genetic anomalies. Valkyrie joins a little later, a cat-like xenobiologist working for Vessa's father and Ilasnay, a young man who knows - quite literally - all there is to know about technology.
The character of Ilasnay, the only human member of the crew, was renamed Toby4 a little later and featured in a one-shot I wrote for a fanzine called Fantastic Realms5. It followed his experience in a military prison during an air raid. He gets out of his cell only to be confronted with the results of illegal genetic engineering and bio-organic weapons manufacture. Very Res. While he's trying to find a way out - and to survive - he meets other characters who it is hinted at have a connection to other members of the Gladsheim Angel crew. It ends on a rather macabre note with Toby becoming a test subject for technological experiments and being left to die. I was a lovely, sunny child. Fear not, though, Toby was later found in the follow-up fic, saved and patched up but ultimately ended up back in prison. Very sunny.
His case was picked up by Claire Seaker6, an old colleague from back before he joined the crew of the Angel. Years previously the police department had tested a new machine that was capable of linking directly into a person's brain and feeding back images. It could also be used to send someone's subconscious into the brain of another person7. Of course, things didn't go well. Toby, a technological genius, was overseeing the trials in which Claire's brother took part. Something went wrong and Christian8 ended up in a coma, Toby ended up taking the fall and was forced out of the department, hence his career change. However, despite the blame she placed on Toby for her brother's 'death'9, once Claire found out about his imprisonment and suffering she immediately went to his aid. The story then continued with Claire uncovering the extent of the illegal bio-engineering and neurological experimentation and trying to expose it, all the while trying to keep herself and Toby alive. Again, very sunny.
But why, you may be asking, am I telling you this? Because these fics are old, and unfinished and what I have of them is badly written, though incredibly well researched and thought out. You should see the pages and pages of notes I have about star systems, technological theories, time and date systems, alien species, currency, languages... I put my heart and soul into these things. I didn't just write stories I created worlds. And these worlds continue where the stories don't. The Isle of Albion from Fantasy10 fic now houses To the Soul and In Fang + Thief. Genetic experients once locked away in a detention centre on Vatarn now roam the wilds of Kilfney. Over the years I kept picking up bits and pieces from here and there and reimagining them or rehoming them. But having found the original material again I am struck by how much I still love those stories. I still ache for Toby and the terrible hand he's been dealt and I still wholeheartedly ship the volatile relationship between Dalett and Vessa.
Nowadays you guys know of Masa and of Jun. You're so gracious to love and cheer for these characters I've only given you glimpses of thus far. And these are the characters that you'll get to see grow and the stories you'll get to read.
My other guys, though, the ones I had before dA. These are the characters that will probably stay locked away in that box under my bed. They'll probably never get their stories told in the epic novels I envisaged writing as teenager. But I want them to live on. I wanted to share them with you so that in some small way they could be known and recognised. So that these characters that I slaved over and loved could be more than just scribbled words on a scrap of paper.
More than that, though, I feel that I've reconnected with a part of myself that had been lost in time, that ambitous teenager who spent 8 hours a day researching and writing. When I look back I feel really proud of what I set out to achieve and what I managed to accomplish, even if the two never really balanced.
And so with that realisation we come to the end of the tale. But if this tale's taught me anything it's taught me this: There aren't so much beginnings and endings as evolution and growth. Everything is connected and it's all a part of you, it's what makes you and nurtures you.
So treasure everything.
1 So-called because Rebecca was a rookie at that point.
2 I bought a Gamecube solely so I could play Resident Evil Remake. It became affectionately known as the Resbox. Res(ident Evil) Box(Cube).
3 Any Escaflowne fans out there?
4 Named after Tobey Maguire but based on Wayne Murray from Thirteen:13.
5 A Sci-Fi and Fantasy fanzine for artists and writers. The one-shot was for a competition to write a story about genetics inspired or influenced by a song. This was written to Showbiz by Muse and 50 Stories by Thirteen:13 - two very intense, dark and emotional songs. The links go to YouTube and I do recommend listening if you want some angsty feels.
6 This is a very old handle of mine, back before I was Gasara.
7 I had read about the film The Net.
8 Claire and Chris, anyone?
9 Though the machine kept him in a form of coma he was technically dead. He was often referred to as being killed or being dead even though his body was still connected to the machine in a form of stasis.
10 Fantasy fic was written while I was still at school, somewhere around 13 or 14 years ago. I literally wrote it at school, mostly in history lessons. It was about a girl called Lavinia and her experiences living in the family inn and later on the castle of the king. It was heavily influenced by Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt. The countries of Mercia, Owrystia, Landenyn, Danethan and Kilfney first appeared in this story though the isle wasn't called Albion until To the Soul.