Character Profile 4 : Hermes, HRMS 77
Hermes, HRMS 77; the Collective
First Appearance : Tales of Reign
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The trope of an ever-evolving identity pairs well with a main character yearning to become something identified. Today all the spoilers are coded into details about Hermes, the device, and the messenger.
““Wrong, it is my body!” Came a voice from all around us.” TOR Chapter 4 ‘Don’t Shoot The Messenger’ Page 43 HRMS Collective
Data. Droids. HAL. When it comes to science fiction we’ve loved our robots and androids since Asimov. There have been many iterations of how they behave, what their functions are, the distinctions drawn between their tales and Pinocchio, yet the evolving states of robotics began to really change with artificial intelligence. My synthetic character's path started with a long dead group of aliens and a ship and clear orders to safeguard a message.
In the first draft of Reign, the ship he traversed the galaxy to begin his fated tale had a mind of its own. When the story grew beyond sketches and the map for all of the chapters ahead, AI was a hot-button topic, as it should be and still remains. I was already exploring the way the Mor’h communicate and how they preserved their existence, storing entire generations in downloads and uploads. These hives of characters still interacted in digitally preserved constructs. Without stepping too deeply into spoiler territory, Reign’s mission is vague and critical to the survival of the Mor’h, successful contact with Sol required subtlety and guise and experience, none of which Reign possesses early in the story. The Mor’h design a Trojan horse of sorts, create a matrix to contain several of their greatest minds, five to be exact, and integrate them into the vessel delivering Reign to his fate. Reign names this Lo’Nor, or pilot craft, Hermes, after the messenger from Greek myth.
Featured : Rough Sketch Duraframe HRMS
The simple nature of a ship with a set of traits that are animated into characterization or literal personifications of individuality wasn’t enough for what I had planned. Hermes, designated HRMS 77 on the side of the ship, began to experience strange behaviors. After the first events in Sol, the oddly cohesive collective state the minds had become, is placed into a standard freight assisting android. From there Hermes begins to take on a new life, the long dead characters inside the duraframe are experiencing the world in physical form for the first time since their real deaths. The character of Hermes begins to evolve from this reawakening quickly.
It is in Tales of Reign Dominion that I truly begin exploring the depth of Hermes growth. The character starts converting, shaping his physical appearance to accommodate the growing personality inside. What takes shape in the digital construct of Hermes mind, the eventual shucking of the collective, emerging as a single entity is one more way I choose to explore the right to personhood, the value of life, and what all of the supporting characters within the story are willing to accept. If there is a central theme among the cast of Tales of Reign it is the struggle to belong. Hermes' becoming is in constant flux but there remains a core structure underneath this amalgamation of races and artificial intelligence that persists to create room in the worlds around him. Ultimately his message is still evolving.