In celebration of the release of Earthshatter, I’m happy to present some behind-the-scenes information and concept art on some of the characters you will meet in the novel!
Every member of the Crew was chosen by Kyrios, a near-omnipotent AI, for a purpose they have yet to discover. They were each given a card with their likeness and a title beneath it, the only clue they have as to the plan Kyrios may have in store for them…
Doctor Joachim Mauer is the foremost pioneer in the research of the creatures he chose to name skolopendra in honor of the extinct centipedes which they closely resemble. As a behavioral biologist, the discovery of an extremophile life form that is able to seemingly thrive in the arid wastelands much of the world has been reduced to is thrilling. Even though research source material is limited to vague reports and video files from scouting drones, he has been able to start building a comprehensive picture of this new arthropod species.
His conclusions have been rather unsettling.
The creatures appear to be extremely hostile and remarkably resilient. They display behavioral paradigms consistent with swarming organisms. A live specimen has been impossible to capture, and for some reason the Electorate has denied again and again his request to send a research team out into the wastelands to gather more data. He has even gone so far as to request the assistance of Enforcers in order to ensure the safety of the scientists outside the walls of Haven VII, something he is now regretting. An armed platoon of Enforcers has come into his lab to ‘assist’ him, although just in what fashion remains a total mystery.
If the creatures weren’t so fascinating, Joachim might just be alarmed by the subtle but unequivocal signs that something big is happening around him. Something that has the Electorate on edge, almost as if they feared an attack of an invisible force which could strike at any moment. Something that may or may not have a distinct link to the ferocious creatures he is desperately trying to understand.
A skolopendra centipede. Art by Albert Nothlit.