Suruk The Slayer

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Wit, philosopher, man-about-town: Suruk the Slayer is none of these things. He is instead six-feet-five of greenish-grey alien warlord, and the closest thing he has ever got to sophistication is chopping the head off someone who happened to be wearing a top hat at the time.

A Meeting of minds

Suruk is a warrior of the M’Lak, a species with whom the British Space Empire once had an entirely ineffectual war. Now, in return for fighting the Space Empire’s toughest and most dangerous enemies, the M’Lak are allowed to fight the Space Empire’s toughest and most dangerous enemies, an arrangement that satisfies everyone. Suruk himself first encountered Isambard Smith during Smith’s gap year. They met shortly after Suruk, along with most of his clan, had stormed the fort which Smith was failing to defend. Impressed – or possibly just amused – by such reckless bravery from someone with neither mandibles nor tusks, Suruk decided not to take Smith’s skull, and the two have been best friends ever since.

In return for the chance to see the galaxy on board the John Pym, and the occasional loan of bail money, Suruk has fought beside Smith many times. Suruk approves of Smith’s toughness, moral fortitude and lack of emotional expression (except righteous anger). In return, Smith considers Suruk to be a nice chap, despite all the mayhem, and, for an alien, surprisingly good at not making a fuss. Suruk’s needs are few, except for whetstones with which to sharpen his spear and industrial quantities of Mr Shiny to polish his skull collection.

Making friends and other painful experiences

The addition of Polly Carveth and Rhianna Mitchell to the crew has caused Suruk some trouble, on the basis that the strong are strongest alone and that girls just giggle and spoil things. Although he regards Carveth as feeble and cowardly, Suruk has a degree of affection for her, since she is short enough for him to rest his elbow on her head. Rhianna unsettles him, though, partly through her psychic powers and also through her belief that violence doesn’t solve anything (Suruk believes that violence solves everything). Suruk himself can testify that evil can only be thwarted by giving it a sharp blow in the mandibles – honourably, of course.