Kaa Birith is the main antagonist of my Viridian System science fiction series. I thought as I’m writing the third book, Zanzibar’s Rings, this month, it might help if I gave you a hint or two about him.
My protagonists are Lars Nilsson, Pete Garcia, Dolores Azulzambi, and Maggie Ingleton. In the first book, Lars is kidnapped by the Kaa. In the second, the Kaa gets involved in some planetary-based land grabs, including one which Lars and Pete stave off by buying land adjacent to his, so he can’t expand. And in the third, by a very unhappy accident, Dolores is ferrying him from another system back to their home planet.
Kaa Birith; origins
Most of what my readers know about ‘the Kaa’, as we call him for short, is that he is an Imperium Senator, which means he’s near the top of the hierarchy that runs the largest political unit in the galaxy. Readers of the blog may remember a short story, the Inspector Calls, giving some insight into Lars’ background: bullied by his father, who manipulates his mother into carrying a treason rap. He wasn’t called Kaa Birith then. But then, Lars wasn’t called Lars Nilsson, either.
Here’s an extract involving Kaa Birith from the Perihelix;
Kaa Birith stepped out of his personal jet as it hovered under an awning that sheltered the entrance to a grand villa. He waved at Lars to follow, which he did, silently, as he had for the past two weeks.
In the gloom of the tropical storm, Lars was surprised to make out a villa set out in almost identical style to the one they’d left on Sunset Strip. The white and cream stone of Nusa Dua replaced the tan sandstone of the Viridian planet. He crossed the threshold and stood, taking in the opulence of the furnishings. He was getting used to drinking tea out of porcelain cups. It seemed he was going to have to endure even more luxury. One corner of his mouth curled as he thought how often Zito had tried to persuade Pete and himself to buy goods such as these, on the simple basis that they could afford them. Neither miner placed much store in ostentatious display of wealth. They had a strong preference for function over value. Lars wondered if he could get used to this sort of life.
Kaa Birith had chatted to him several times each day on their journey. Casual one-sided conversation. He never asked Lars questions that needed answering, never wanted to know what he’d been doing, never expected him to reply. A senator was used to difficult conversations, Lars thought, but even as he stubbornly resisted every pleasantry and conversational gambit, Lars admired the man’s skill and patience in dealing with an intractable foe.
Oh yes, they were foes. Lars knew this man very well. He didn’t know exactly what Birith had been doing since he left Lars’ planet, but he had seen him from time to time on the newsfeeds, and he knew what he’d been up to—climbing his way through the ranks of the Imperium to be elected to the Senate. Someone had greased many palms to get a man from the obscure and unremarkable planet Ulric to rise to the ranks of Senator. How had he become this rich? Or was it all show? Lars wanted to know where his new name came from. That would provide clues, he was sure. He’d not been able to access the databanks on the ship for fear of the Kaa seeing what he was doing. Not that he could do that here either, but he wanted to give the man as little as possible advantage over him. Birith had demonstrated that he knew everything about Lars that was on record. Fortunately most data about Lars were things he’d put there. He and Pete had taken steps to clean their paths and populate them as effectively as they could when they changed their names. The trouble was, Kaa Birith knew his birth name, just as he knew Kaa Birith’s.The Perihelix Ch.11 (c) 2016 by J. M.Pett
As I started the month having written 19k words of the book, by now I should be around the 45k mark. But I had to do some background work, like timelines, to help me get the story straighter. Sometimes that belongs in the editing phase, but I needed to know what was happening when, in order for the onward plot to make sense. I didn’t fancy rewriting the whole lot!
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