Two in one day! I'll make you guys grow used to this, and then I'll be stuck when I have work.
Kral sat in the medical evacuation transport, or MET, and thought as he punched in the course for the Arc. It would be a two day long trip, even with the new probability drives. Plenty of time to think.
Plenty of time to watch the disk. He reached into his pocket and pulled it out. It was small, and unassuming for something so very important.
He plugged it into the console and opened the first file labelled Kral.
Kral. I assume that you are reading this. I’d like you to start with my history. Open recording 001. That will give you a history from the beginning. If you don’t have time for everything I have prepared a summary. That is video 328. Or, you can watch and read these in any order that you please. Many of the videos are supplementary, or not immediately necessary for understanding. They are marked with a star at the end of their designation.
Kral read the message, then opened recording 001.
An image of the agent, but a younger version of him popped up on the screen.
“Hello. I am not sure who is watching this, but I assume that this is because these have been found. First, this is a testimony. Everything that I say in these is true, or the truth as I know it. There are supplementary documents to back up my claims, filed in folders named the same as the videos that they pertain to.
“First, this is my first recording. This is a confession of my sins, and of the sins of others. I was born thirty years ago. I have been a murderer and a villain, a lover, almost a father and a husband, and many other things. Right now I am a slave to a man more evil than I ever have been or ever could be. His name is Callion. But you will hear more of him soon enough. Right now you want to hear my story
“I was born on the Earth. But not the Earth that most of you know. My mother and I lived in the Undercity, the city never shown, never spoken of, never ever admitted. Nobody wants to believe that it exists. In fact, the Earth Council does not even recognize its existence in any official document. Those who ask about it are ignored. If they persist, they disappear in unfortunate ‘accidents’. But it does exist. And it is a horrible place.
“There crime holds sway. You cannot do anything without the express permission of those who rule, or else you will be killed. In fact, you may just be killed anyways. It is a brutal place. More brutal than any other that I have been to, and I have been to many brutal places. Where those who see Earth see the shining towers and the center of humanity, the great swathes of elevated farmland, the greenhouses, all that I can see is the hell where I grew up.
“My mother was killed when I was but four. I guess I should thank the bastards who killed her as it meant that I survived to this age. If she had still been alive Callion likely would have found me.
“Well, in my official file it says that I killed my mother, but thats a lie, so ignore it. Most of that file is a lie. Anyways, I was alone, at the age of four, in a world that wanted to kill me because my skin could be tanned into leather and I had enough muscle on my arms to make a nice evening snack.
“I would like to say that I did not descend to their level and their debauchery, but I did. I killed people, ate human flesh, committed many many atrocities. But everyone down there did. I made my way out and past that, and that is what counts. However, I was different in another way. Every time that I killed someone, I made sure that it was artfully done. I made sure that they had a beautiful death, that they died knowing fear and pain, that they died knowing that they had been bested by a child. That they died to satiate my hunger for emotions.
“Now, this type of disorder is classified as psychopathy. I am a psychopath. I know that. But, do not judge me on that please. I was born that way, then made more that way by circumstances.
“Do you think that the way you are raised is more important than your genes? This is a the age old nature versus nurture debate. I will tell you which side is right in this.
“Neither. There is only one thing that decides what type of creature that you are: you. I decided that I would survive. That dictated that I do horrendous things. Then, later, I decided that I would be a good person, love somebody, maybe even settle down. But, it is who we decide to be that shapes us, that makes us who we are.
“I won’t give you any more details of my childhood. They are not worth mentioning, save as examples of the horrors of the Undercity and the brutality that humans can bring themselves to. The lengths to which people will go to to survive.
“Suffice to say that I grew in strength and in cunning. I became better at hunting than anyone out there. By the time I was twelve I ruled my district. They called me the Halfling, a mark of respect I assume.
“It was through this that I caught the eye of a crime boss. This was not Callion, although he too is a crime boss, and this was the first step on the road that led to him. This man was named Big. Just Big. He was a small man, but he was the big man in the area, so that is why he was called Big.
“He approached me, and asked me to be a part of his organization. I killed him, and took over his organization. I ran that organization like a clock. Everything went smoothly, everything went as planned. It was a well-greased machine, and I was the key that turned it, the mind that directed it, the mouth that it fed, and the legs that kept it one step ahead of the law.
“Those were relatively good times. I had enough real food. I did not have to eat humans. Real crime decreased in my territory as I turned the group slowly, subtly to better pursuits. But it did not, could not, last. A new boss was moving in on my territory, and so I began to find out what I could about him. I was sixteen.
“He was powerful. His gang was spread across the Solar System, and had connections everywhere. He himself was involved in minor league politics, and had friends in high places. He likely would have called the authorities down on us like he did the gangs that opposed him everywhere else, except for the fact that the authorities would never venture into the Undercity.
“So, we fought back, and we won some, and we lost some. Then, one day, the boss offered us a peace. That was the first time I met with Callion.
“Through the betrayal of one of my own I ended up working for Callion. Soon afterwards, without my direction, Callion crushed my gang, which had turned to self destructive pursuits.
“When I was in Callion’s service I began to kill people. I was a monster, an angel of death. Callion would point me at a target, and that target would wind up dead the next day. The only good thing that came from my service to Callion was that it allowed me to finally escape the Undercity. I was freed, freed to the world, unleashed on the poor unsuspecting masses. I no longer had to ever even think about eating the flesh of another being, never had to think about the debauchery that my own goons would be committing, the crimes that would be done in my name.
“But I was not free. True, I could still kill others in a fashion that pleased me, that was art, that made their deaths beautiful. But I chafed at his command.
“So I fled. I fled the crimes, the violence, the constant murders. I left to live a life on the run. Finally I arrived on Mars and met someone that I loved. To protect her I will not name her here; if she wants to be involved she will get involved when she hears of my trial. I was happy there for three years.
“Then Callion found me again. At that time I was running a bakery. When he found me I was had just been about to go make a batch of biscotti. Its funny how you remember the little things. So, he found me. And he threatened the one that I loved. And he made me into a killer again. He made me into someone that I had given up on, that I had put aside.
“And to ensure that I would stay his, when he used me to rise to a position of power within the Arcernment he used his new connections to make sure that I was implanted with a neural control chip. I would be forever loyal to the Arc, and, as he held a position in the Arcernment I would have to follow his orders so long as they did not interfere with the safety of citizens. In the process he took away what I loved, the art of the kill, so as to remove my signature from all the assassinations that he made henceforth. Thinking about making art makes me double over in excruciating pain.
“That sums up the general lay of things. I’m going to make more individual disks with specific records and relation to specific times”
The recording went off, and the screen blanked. The disk ejected without warning.
But Kral wasn’t paying attention. He stared at the screen, wondering at how Jor could have lived a life like this. How he could have been at all normal now? How could he have not only survived, but flourished? Succeeded? Used his pain and his strengths to make the world around him a better place?
“And you called yourself a psychopath. Jor, I hope that you know better now. No psychopath would care so much as to reduce efficiency of their criminal empire to make the lives of others better. Nobody but a king among lesser men would do that”Kral sat back in his chair. He didn’t need to see the rest of the disks. The emotion in Jor’s voice had been clear to him after knowing the man for a year. He had seen a tear down his cheek when he spoke of the woman, and of his bakery. He trusted his commander, and that was enough.