FAQ’s Answered #8: What Inspired The Akx?


Today in a series of replies to FAQ (frequently asked questions) sent to me by fans (and sometimes not so much), I answer the question:  “What inspired the Akx – the frightening villain from ‘Demonspawn’?

In the second book in the Galaxii series, “Demonspawn“, readers are introduced to a curuiosly named villain – the ominous and sinister Akx. Without giving too much away about the story in the form of spoilers, the Akx isn’t the only villain which the valiant surviving members of the starship Mordrake have to face in the story – but it is definitely the more terrifying!

Demonspawn” starts off with the Mordrake – marooned in deep space after taking heavy damage in a skirmish with a Corsair raider. The situation and outlook are pretty grim – the survivors are cut off from all long-range communications and the ship is stranded away from the nearest shipping lanes. To make matters still worse, they haven’t the parts to repair their warp engines and the emergency batteries – which are the only thing keeping them alive – are quickly running out.

While preparing for a grisly, lingering death, the Mordrake – currently drifting through an astor-field – accidentally stumbles across a derelict alien vessel which Commander Lofflin siezes as a godsend! He decides to lead a boarding party to search the long-dead alien ship to cannibalize it for spare parts in order to effect repairs to their own ship! It’s an ambitious plan, but the survivors are desperate!

Unfortunately, it’s never really that simple! Space is a pretty dangerous place – and there’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’!

Although the alien ship is powered down, with a few basic systems still operating at a very low level – and the decks are littered with the grisly remains of its unfortunate long-dead crew – not everything aboard is as dead or harmless!

Commander Lofflin, having inherited command of what remained of the Mordrake after the untimely death of its Captain, tasks various teams of technicians with recovering the parts they need to repair their ship. For the Mordrake’s surviving entechs, the weighty responsibility involves finding and identifying the alien equivalent parts – and then removing them without damaging anything – which turns out to be quite a time-consuming task. Meanwhile, escorted by a light compliment of security marines, all the Mordrake’s boarding party members work by flashlight in a dark, eerie, shadowy ruin of a ship – stepping over shredded humanoid remains…

The crew is startled by what at first seems to be a series of seemingly unrelated accidental deaths among the tech and security teams aboard the derelict. Pretty soon however, as the laborious translation of the alien captain’s log keeps measured pace with the events unfolding on the derelict ship, it becomes clear that there’s more to these accidents than meets the eye.

The Akx is over 6000 years old, and it’s a top-secret prototype weapon – a machine created by a long-dead alien civilization – and still very much alive! It’s pretty much invincible because it knows what its victim’s fears are and uses these to beat them before they can make a move against it! Then, while they’re lying slumped in a heap of fear on the floor, it strikes! As if that isn’t bad enough, it seems to draw some kind of satisfaction or enjoyment from the fear it creates, and then the kill itself!

The Akx is a creature of nightmares – it’s a predator. It preys on it’s target’s weaknesses, and in inspiring terror, it fulfills some need which drives it to want more. Being armored and powerful, it is also pretty much impervious to unprepared attacks. Because it is also a master of camoflage, it’s also difficult to track or detect.

I’m sure I could, if given the motivation, write a couple of pages about the symbolism of flesh and blood mortals facing off against an unbeatable machine predator on its home turf!

…but what inspired this dreadful monster?

When I first started writing “Demonspawn” – which was back in the early 1990’s – I wanted to create a villain, a nemesis, a kind of monstrous adversary that could survive almost forever – a kind of undying evil that could lie in wait for its next prey to come sauntering up to it, obliviously.

I pondered the different possible choices… some kind of alien organism in cryostatis perhaps, wating to pounce on anyone foolish enough to board the ship? A robot of some kind? A ghostly apparition or malediction? It took a little time for me to decide! I wanted the villain to be absolutely terrifying – and unique – so instead, I combined elements of all three possibilities!

The Akx became a sort of robot – an experimental war-droid, but one with a sort of rudimentary personality… a cracked, twisted personality bent on stalking, tormenting and killing for pleasure – created by the malfunction that caused it to kill its own original alien crew so long ago! Instead of just using its sensors to read it’s victim’s minds to determine how best to generate emotions or delusions to terrify its victims to death – as intended by its long-dead builders, something unforseen happens – the Akx assimilates and learns from these, and integrates them into its personality!

This, I feel, made the Akx more than just a soulless droid with a programming glitch! The Akx becomes the personification of every frightening thing – a bogey man, the monster lurking in the shadows – the ghoul in the closet… to waking up in your own coffin! The Akx is pure glorious evil given terrifying, unyielding, unforgiving physical form!

What inspired the Akx? Terror! Pure, unadulterated terror!

Where can you get “Demonspawn“?

You can find my books all over the place – on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Lulu, Smashwords, PayHip, and a stack of others around the world! You can also find them on my website’s Shop page.

For South African readers, Kobo lists all available titles in South African currency!

I hope this answers this question to your satisfaction!

Cheers!

Christina.


If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form.

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