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The Crew Of Starshatter: Alric von Englebert ("Old breed? New breed? There's not a damn bit of difference so long as it's the Marine breed")

ZuvielOct 6, 2019, 8:23:02 PM
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I have never really understood why people dislike the "soldier character". I guess they think it is a cliché that is not based in reality. Which is a mistake because it shows this type of people have never really seen a military man, or they have never read a faithful representation of one. There is something awe-inspiring and humbling when you see these people. It is written in the expression for most of them. It's the expression of someone who has clearly faced their own mortality, not on the battlefield, but in their mind. They have clearly realized that the path they have chosen may very well lead to their death and they choose to walk it anyway. Unlike us, who  are uncomfortable thinking about death, they have become masters of their own mind and instincts, and therefore they are truly the masters of their lives.

What separates Alric from the other members of the crew is that, while the rest of them chose their calling in life, life chose his calling for him. I am not saying that he is unhappy being a marine, but I find it tragic that he never got the chance to choose. He might have been a great engineer or a cook, we will never know and that is cruel, especially for a terran. For terrans the freedom to choose is a fundamental part of what makes them who they are. Think about it - they choose to kill themselves in stead of being captured not because they are scared or (mentally) beaten, they do it because they prefer death to slavery. For them, to be denied that kind of choice, is just about the most monstrous thing someone can do.

Alric also carries an immense burden on his shoulders. He is one of the First, the last one in fact. He realizes what he represents and the living symbol that he is. He cannot allow himself to show vulnerability or weakness at any moment on the battlefield. By simply existing, he brings confidence to countless people that they just might survive after all, his actions inspire countless more, to take up arms and join the fight for life. But there is the flip side as well, should he falter, show weakness or die, the magnitude of the repercussions would be just as big. To know that your life is not just your own can be inspiring but also crushing. The fact the he keeps on moving forward, unwavering should tell you a lot about the type of man he is.

Not only is he a living legend, but an avatar for life as well. It is an incredible burden as such people are truly rare. That also makes the target on his back even bigger. That means should the crew ever face a dark creature born from the Unlife be is not simply their best chance for survival, the is the only chance they have. But he is also more vulnerable against such an enemy. The focus and level of control this man has is truly inspiring.

The cruel irony is that  a man who carries the force of life, never really had one to begin with. Alric has never truly lived. His entire life so far has been one battle after another and nothing else. I hesitate to call him broken, because to be broken would mean you know what it means to be happy, to know it can be better. Alric doesn't. From the start death and loss is all he has ever known. Only now is he slowly learning what is means to be alive. To experience joy, hope, desire to greet the next day. He is learning that there is an important, vital distinction in what motivates you in combat - vengeance or the desire to live, not the mere instinct, but the true desire for life. Because it separates those who drag themselves into the arena and those who step into it firmly, with a head held high, and while some may not be able to make a distinction, you should know it makes a world of difference.