Clandestine organizations drive our imaginations to the brink of wonder. Groups like the Illuminati, the Skull and Bones, the Freemasons. The idea that someone has ultimate control over this mess of a world is both mysterious and hard to believe. And the idea they'd kill to protect their secrets (for the betterment of the world) is somewhat terrifying. But in a way, we want these organizations to exist. They, for all their self-serving purposes, bring a different sort of order. And usually it's a mysterious, weird order, which makes things fun.
I grew up heavily involved in the Roman Catholic church, and those memories, both good and bad, prompted me to explore the idea of a secret organization in Galefire II : Holy Avengers.
The organization is called the Eminence Command Central, or the ECC. They're a group of high-tech monster hunters with a chip on their collective shoulders and a deep belief that God wants them to rid the world of Hell's spawn, those creatures that find their way to Earth through the Fade.
Bess Winters, one of my lead characters in Holy Avengers, is one such ECC commando. She has razor faith and a pair of Glock 33s. At the start of Holy Avengers, her skills and her faith are pushed to their limits when she goes up against one of the most nefarious whorchals of all time.
While I don't practice the faith anymore, I didn't want to put the Roman Catholic church through the ringer or otherwise write a hit piece against religion in general. Quite the opposite. I share many traditional religious values with Bess; a grim zeal for our chosen professions, a sense of fervent devotion to our craft, and the belief that there is something beyond this world.
Bess encompasses the best of all that. A real ass kicker and devotee. In my case, I'm a bit agnostic about it all. I just don't know.
At the same time, Bess can be stubborn and a bit unforgiving, especially when she butts heads with certain members of the Eighth Street Gang. She believes her faith is the only faith and that it's her way or the highway.
That's why it was important to me to throw the Eighth Street Gang and Bess in the same room and see what happened.
It was intense.
I hoped that when push came to shove, my characters would surprise me. Well, it didn't turn out like I expected, but I wasn't disappointed either. Turns out people can be flexible, and diversity can be a powerful thing.