Ronin have been portrayed throughout literature and cinema for years as wandering warriors. The word ronin actually means ‘wave man’ which is an idiomatic term that means ‘wandering man’ or ‘vagrant’ a person without a home and it originally meant a serf who had either left or deserted his masters land. Later though it came to mean a samurai who had no master. This is illustrated in the term ‘wave man’ as one who was socially adrift.
According to the warriors code of the samurai (Bushido Shoshinshu) a samurai who lost his master was supposed to commit seppuku, the ritual suicide also known as hara kiri. Those that chose not to were supposed to suffer great shame and were social outcasts. Many became mercenaries or outlaws. That is a brief description of them, for a more detailed work on ronin I can suggest Wikipedia which has some excellent reference material pertaining to this subject with several links to other sources both on and off that particular site.
In the media ronin are often portrayed as mercenaries or bodyguards and it was this portrayal I chose for my central character, Kurt Stryder, in the first of the Col Sec series, Ronin.
When we first meet Kurt he is a soldier in the Special Forces known as Recon Delta for Colonial Security(Col Sec) which served to protect the Colonial Confederation against the only other super power in the galaxy, the Elysium Alliance. A soldier doing what he saw was his duty. He had volunteered for a special programme that he had been informed would help revolutionise warfare. They were hoping for the super soldier, something that had been tried through various channels throughout history but never quite accomplished. Kurt, not quite sure what to expect, did his duty anyway and volunteered for the programme, something he thought any good soldier should do.
His reason for enlisting in the military was something his father had told him, and it gives us an idea into the character of the man. His father told him that for evil to triumph all that is required is for good men to do nothing.
In Kurt’s eyes he was doing something, he was hoping that the outcome of the programme would prevent the evil of warfare from triumphing.
He comes to learn quite quickly that the programme is a success but due to the interference of agents of the Alliance he is the only survivor. He is faced with a dilemma. Knowing the truth about what the programme has done to him, how it has changed him and what he is now capable of should he inform his masters at Col Sec or should he keep it a secret? Having served in the Special Forces for some years he knows the outcome of war, has seen the brutality and hardship it bestows on others and how it changes the very nature of those that take part. Does he really want to perpetuate that act or does he, like his father told him, do something to prevent that evil from persisting.
Because he is the only survivor he informs his masters that the programme was a failure and due to the loss of life involved they deem it too dangerous to continue, basically shelving the project. Of course because of the Alliance’s involvement they cannot leave it at that and decide to learn the truth for themselves by kidnapping Kurt and performing their own experiments on him.
What happens next helps him come to the decision that shapes the rest of his life.
That’s all for now,
see you soon,