Gestalt is an initiative spawned from the joint efforts between King Sulwyn Starsong and the Director of Vaifen’s National Intelligence Center, James Exley.

It was created out of the imperious necessity for an elite task force group that could turn the tide against the extraordinary threats of the Ashen Reckoning, who has unleashed a series of gruesome terrorist attacks on Vaifen, claiming the lives of hundreds of its citizens.

From the moment of its inception, Gestalt was envisioned as a small and multidisciplinary team composed of some of the finest sons and daughters in Vaifen. To achieve their goals, the Gestalt unit boasts bleeding edge technology unlike anything the nation’s has ever seen before, and is granted exceptional operating liberties that allow them to act in a more unrestricted manner when compared to the rest of the nation’s security apparatus.

Furthermore, at the center of their arsenal rests a series of highly advanced Battle Suits that enhance the team’s already exceptional abilities to new heights, with a wide array of firearms and other types of weaponry tailor-picked to each team member’s corresponding aptitudes.

The initial team is made of seven members: Five in the Strike Team, who are each assigned a color-coded Battle Suit; A Quartermaster, tasked with the design and maintenance of Gestalt’s arsenal and systems, and an Operator, tasked with providing the team with support during their missions.

All seven members carry out their duties under the watchful eyes of National Intelligence Director James Exley, who oversees the entire autonomous project.

The Gestalt initiative was assigned its own separate enclave, and allowed to operate independently from the rest of the nation’s security forces — which, as evidence may suggest, could be compromised by Vaifen’s enemies, both internal and external. No expense was spared in the creation of Gestalt — as the security and peace of Vaifen demanded it so.

The initiative is not without its detractors, however, made worse by the fact that the Nation’s regent forcefully exerted his will to authorize and implement Gestalt without undergoing through the due legislative process that a project of such nature calls for.

Members of Vaifen’s Senate, politicians, and those who oppose the rule of the Crown of Starsong who, upon seeing Gestalt in action, have had no qualms in denouncing the team as nothing but the “Crown’s armed thugs” — an organization that while they have reluctantly accepted that is indeed fighting against the greatest threat to Vaifen’s safety in recent times, “ultimately answers to the King and to the King only.”

While each member comes from a different background and excels in their own respective areas, they all share a desire to do good, to protect others, and to bring peace to a nation under siege.

ERRON LEITNER

Hailed as one of his generation’s finest soldiers, Commander Erron John Leitner was the first to be recruited into the Gestalt fold to lead the Strike Team.

Erron is a tall man of humble origins, kind-hearted, charismatic, and always willing to face each and every day with a smile. He was born in Vaifen’s southern region of Jera, son to a hard-working farmer and a loving mother, and brother to a rebellious younger sister.

Gifted with remarkable physical prowess, Erron stood at a crossroads towards the end of his high school education and a choice had to be made by the young graduate: To pursue a promising sports career or to join the military — he opted for the latter, much to the dismay of his family.

His astounding performance and discipline as an early cadet drew the immediate attention of General Michael Traxler, who didn’t hesitate to snatch the talented soldier and directly oversee his training, recruiting him into the special unit that he founded and commanded: Silent Echo.

By blood, hard work, and sweat, Erron joined Silent Echo and rapidly exceeded Traxler’s wildest expectations, becoming the youngest person ever to join the infamous elite black ops group.

His tenure on Silent Echo, while prolific, was rather short-lived. All details pertaining to Erron’s days as part of Silent Echo remain completely sealed and highly classified, much like the rest of the group’s actions.

Erron participated in several of Silent Echo’s clandestine operations — up until the tragic events that unfolded on the night of Operation Warm Daylight, a mission with catastrophic results that took place in the forests of Nimir, where Silent Echo met its demise.

The circumstances and events that transpired that night remain a mystery to all but the top echelons of Vaifen’s governance.

What little is known through hearsay is that on that night, Silent Echo was meant to quell a small group of rebels in a simple sweep — but they were ambushed and brutally massacred, leaving Erron as the sole survivor.

The young soldier could only watch how his General and mentor sacrificed his own life so that he would live to see a new sunrise, the worst in Erron’s life.

Following the tragedy of Warm Daylight, all records regarding Silent Echo were sealed, and without its founder and most elite soldiers, the unit was disbanded by the government of Vaifen. Erron was immediately granted the rank of Commander and honorably discharged — never to speak a word to anyone about what happened that night.

His reinsertion into civilian life was marked by peace and tranquility, which allowed the young man to heal and overcome the tragedy to the best of his ability, eventually returning to work on the farm that had belonged to his family for generations, until his father died of illness.

Erron moved to the capital city of Ternion with his mother and sister, and worked in the field of private security for a brief period. While well remunerated at his job, Erron often considered it an unfulfilling misuse of his talents and teachings — and so did others.

General James Exley, aware of the young soldier’s prowess and talents, often kept an eye on the sole survivor of Silent Echo. He contacted Erron, and offered him a spot in the Gestalt project.

Once again, duty calls to a soldier of Vaifen, seven years after the events of Warm Daylight. Armed with the teachings of his mentor, the memories of the friends he lost that night, and his unshakable loyalty towards the Nation. Erron now finds himself clad in Gestalt’s blue Battle Suit, leading a chromatic quintet that fights for peace and justice for all of the people of Vaifen.

GALE LACROIX

Gale is a former intelligence agent with a keen aptitude towards infiltration and marksmanship only matched by her beauty. Many have heard the whispers of Gale’s weapons in the past — whispers in the form of bullets that carry her death sentence.

Born in Vaifen’s coastal region of Talcea to a prosperous household, Gale was often at odds with what was expected of her. As a young teenager, she sought the thrill of being a scoundrel, which allowed her to develop a remarkable talent and a skillset that made her able to blend in and out at will, always getting what she wanted, one way or the other.

The adventures and experiences lived through her late adolescent years nurtured a path that led Gale towards the field of espionage right as she entered adulthood. As part of Vaifen’s intelligence apparatus she had to deal with death and espionage almost at a daily basis, employing her talents to undermine threats to the stability and security of the nation, the gathering of intelligence in other countries, and dispatching those that got in the way of Vaifen’s interests.

Such line of work often forces those walking that path to cast off their moral principles and embrace an unscrupulous cloak, to become a heartless individual and lose yourself in the roles your current job calls for — and for the longest time, Gale embraced that to its fullest, until one day, her career came to a grinding halt when love pierced through her veil, something that almost cost her life..

Yet, fate sought to bless Gale, who dealt with death almost daily, with the gift of life, in the form of a daughter, Lilly. Bringing her daughter to the world changed everything for Gale; raising Lilly gave Gale a new perspective that allowed her to see and value life through a newfound lens.

The talents she accrued and sharpened over the years aren’t exactly motherly material, nonetheless, she is determined to be the best mother for her daughter. Lilly is her treasure — the purest thing that’ll ever be in her life after so many missions, deaths, lies, and deceits.

It took General James Exley some convincing, but he managed to sway Gale into joining Gestalt and its second member, embracing the color yellow. She now fights to protect her nation, so that her daughter can one day grow up in peace, and live a fulfilling life — staining her hands with blood so that her daughter won’t ever have to.

CADE SAUNDERS

Cade, a man born in a family with a longstanding and stalwart military tradition, was recruited by Exley to be the third member of Gestalt.

Throughout the years, the Saunders family has given Vaifen upstanding Generals, Admirals, and other distinguished officials across the branches of the nation’s military. Thus, family tradition dictated that Cade pursued a military career just like his father, uncles, and grandfather did in their time.

Instead, the young man chose to pivot towards Vaifen’s Special Forces — an unheard path in his family’s lineage, where he performed remarkably and always upholding a sense of duty worthy of his family name.

His choice wasn’t well received by his family, especially his father, who always envisioned his son as a bright General among Vaifen’s ranks.

What drove Cade to divert from his father’s grand designs? An unconscious desire to rebel? A sense of higher calling? To build his own path in his own terms? The answer is something he’s never shared with anyone — and perhaps may never will.

Joining Special Forces allowed Cade to attain expertise across a multitude of firearms and combat tactics, additionally, Cade also opted to train in the specialty of combat medic. One day, a rather fortuitous impasse between Cade and one of his superiors at the time drew the attention of Exley, who found his outstanding performance more suited to Gestalt’s needs, depriving Special Forces of a most valuable member in the process while giving Gestalt its third member.

Cade accepted the offer with pride and left away Vaifen’s Special Forces almost instantly. As someone raised with a high regard for meritocracy and a “by the book” inflexible way of doing things, his expectations with regards to Gestalt often clash with the reality of the team — especially with the relaxed and easygoing nature of some of its members seem to exude and the way some were selected, not to mention their past deeds.

While not fond of it, he was assigned the color green among the team; his stern nature means that he’s rarely seen smiling, and some may say he’s incapable of doing so.

CAMERON BENNETT

A young carefree woman with an intoxicating energy, an unbound curiosity, a recklessness that has caused headaches to many in the past, an even greater love of music, and prone to speak her mind — even during inappropriate times.

Cameron’s talents rest not in physical prowess or in the art of strategy. Beneath the apparent immaturity that she radiates at a first glance lies one of the most dangerous hackers on the planet.

To talk about Cameron is to talk about the rumored “Rhapsody,” a recent myth in the field of cybersecurity.

No one could accurately prove the existence of Rhapsody, and for the longest time, cybersecurity services around the planet thought of it as a non-existent escape goat figure — a moniker used by hackers to shift culpability away from themselves.

Still, based on evidence, it would seem like Rhapsody, the real one, has never acted out of malice.

From unmasking criminals hidden in plain sight, cases of corruption, to casting a light over companies’ unethical practices, the list of attacks that can be accurately attributed to the Rhapsody and not any copycat or third parties are numerous, yet not a single one of those crimes has caused harm to innocents — quite the opposite rather.

It would also seem like Rhapsody has had enough of the imposters as people and groups that have used the name for ill-intent have begun to be captured after leads provided anonymously through untraceable means.

The myth of the Rhapsody, recent as it may still be, continued as it was until not long ago, when one single analyst among dozens at Vaifen’s Intelligence Center was able to outwit Rhapsody. It was then when it was revealed that the Rhapsody was no group, just a single person: Cameron Bennett.

Director Exley personally offered Cameron a deal, she would never be prosecuted for her actions as the Rhapsody so long as she agreed to join Gestalt and employ her talents for the good of the nation — to which she agreed.

Clad in a modified version of the original prototype BS-100 Nightingale Battle Suit — now bathed in pink, she sings her song of control in the battlefield with the help of her SED-A10 Drones. As an orphan, Cameron sees in her teammates the brothers and sisters that she never had.

Quartermaster Edram Pertz and Cameron are often trapped in a never ending competition; her incessant tinkering of her suit’s firmware to allow the suit’s systems to run unsigned code for the explicit purpose of installing a music player in it has made the quartermaster patch the suit’s firmware over and over again.

It is a game for Cameron, a game that she says will only end when the Quartermaster finally adds it as an official feature in the suit’s operating system.

BASTIEL ISTHAL

Bastiel’s life has always been atypical and marked by the legacy of his family from the moment of his birth. His father, Aeoros Isthal, was the instrumental actor in establishing an alliance between the Nasivern race and the Nation of Vaifen almost three decades ago, while his grandmother, Isthara, was the celebrated hero that helped bring down the Arghest Empire during the Nasivern race’s Age of Devastation.

The heroic deeds of his family and the history of his race are only known to Bastiel through the tales and words of others, as he was never able to meet them. His mother, father, and grandmother all fell in battle during the fall of Nineveh — the darkest hour of the now near-extinct Nasivern race, often referred to as the “Heirs of Sin.”

His father’s last request to his friend and ally, King Sulwyn Starsong of Vaifen, was for the regent to take care of his then infant child, to make sure that he lived a peaceful life. It was a promise that the troubled regent agreed to right before the man known as the “Indigo Blaze” charged towards his last stand, sacrificing himself so that the spark of his people would endure.

Following the tragic events that ended with the decimation of Nasivern race and homeworld, King Sulwyn took care of Bastiel and raised him alongside his son and soon to be born daughter.

Growing up among the Royal House of Starsong, Bastiel always felt like an odd piece out, as if he was aware that he lived in a world that wasn’t his own to begin with. Nonetheless, he lived a joyful childhood life within the confines of the nation’s Crown and its luxuries, causing all sorts of mischief along with the royal heirs as the years went by.

King Sulwyn always aspired to uphold the promise made to his friend, to make sure that Bastiel lived a good, fulfilling, and normal life — as it was his father’s last wish. But a fateful encounter at the age of ten changed everything for the young white-haired boy. An exchange between the King, Bastiel, and a man from a bygone era one night opened the way for Bastiel to walk a path towards the doctrine of those that preceded him, and thus, Bastiel embarked on a long journey.

Year after year, the young child would travel to an undisclosed place in Vaifen and train in the ways of the Nasivern warriors and their Absolute Doctrine, hoping that one day he too would be able to become a hero worthy of their ancestral tradition.

What he lacked in life’s social aspects was now heavily compensated by a keen warrior sense, a mastery of melee and unarmed combat, and his unshakable loyalty for the Nation of Vaifen and its Crown.

Even though he always struggled with the intricacies and nuances of what’s considered a normal life and with finding his own place, Bastiel deeply cares for the royal heirs that he grew up alongside and harbors an absolute respect towards the King of Vaifen. He also would stop at nothing to protect the royal family and those that he has the blessing of calling friends and innocents alike.

Entranced by the stories and heroic tales of the fallen Nasivern that he grew up listening to, the young white haired man is burdened by a legacy that he feels obligated to respect and live up to — yet, the planet Orbis and the Nation of Vaifen itself are much different than the fallen Nasivern society, and there’s little to no room for a Nasivern hero in a modern human world.

After graduating from high school, he found little to no interest in pursuing a professional career, dropping out of higher education. He continued to train and travel through the years to hone his abilities while engaging in all sorts of exploits and antics alongside the two Royal Heirs until he moved on his own.

Since then, an itch began to bother in his mind, like a splinter that pierced through him — a burning desire to be a hero, and to employ the Absolute Doctrine that he was now close to mastering to start doing good in the world.

And so, he adapted the heroic dreams of his childhood down to a more grounded reality, and opted to craft a persona for himself, concealing his identity with a modified helmet, a jacket, and a red scarf.

Agito,” he called it.

Bastiel would spend night after night dispatching his own unsanctioned sense of justice, with more than a handful of close encounters with both sides of the law.

King Sulwyn Starsong, aware of the potential in Bastiel, his nature, and dreams, personally offered him the fifth and final spot in Gestalt’s strike team — an offer that the young man did not hesitate to accept.

Clad in crimson red, armed with blades most sharp, wielding the legacy of his people, and ready to serve his nation and crown. Bastiel aims to carve his own path in Vaifen’s history, just like his family did in the past, aiming to become a hero in a modern fragile world that he may not ever be a normal part of.

EDRAM PERTZ

Stout, with a disregard for workspace order, and with an insatiable appetite for creation. “Eddie,” as he’s affectionately referred to by his teammates, is Gestalt’s sole Quartermaster.

Tasked and credited with the creation and maintenance of the entirety of the Gestalt Arsenal: the Battle Suits, weapons, gadgets, and even the Gestalt Operating System that links everything together.

One of Gestalt’s two Nasivern members, Edram’s mother and most of his family died during the fall of Nineveh, while his father, Edorath Pertz, an engineer, died years later in Vaifen after a catastrophic workplace accident.

Edram longs to restore the technology of his people, lost through centuries of strife and conflict. He’s always seeking inspiration from the past in order to create the tools that will shape a better tomorrow, that is his way of preserving the memory and legacy of the Nasivern race he belongs to — a race all but set to be extinct with time.

One morning, he was looking into his father’s belongings and stumbled upon an old photograph of his old man and his peers standing behind two of the most renowned Nasivern Battle Armors
of the time: The Acri and the Illustris.

That single photograph sparked a fire within the then aspiring engineer’s mind, setting his eyes upon one single goal: to bring back the glory of those advanced suits to life once more — to eventually go even further and surpass them even.

To that end, he began to create a full fledged proposal towards the end of his college education. His ambitious and zealous dream required a heavy amount of funding, which made Eddie do all sorts of things, indebting himself with dangerous people in the process.

His original proposal envisioned a fully interlinked and automated battlefield solution that combined advanced technology with suits inspired by the Nasivern armors of yore that would be wielded by nothing but the best of warriors.

However, his proposal and the proof of concept PeRTZtech-BSX0 Battle Suit were not met with the reception he expected, nearly crushing his dreams. It did, however, call the attention of General James Exley. Exley not only took care of Edram’s debt, he “got rid of the rest of the problems that came with it” as well.

As soon as Edram joined the then nascent Gestalt project, he was given a vast amount of resources to bring his vision to life.

To craft individually-tailored battle suits that enhances the user’s own personal abilities and talents, that was Edram’s initial goal — but given the fact that the team had not been assembled yet, he had to scale down his ambitions and procure a single, unified series of five first generation suits, which he nicknamed the “Nightingale Series.”

Edram takes pride in all of his creations, but he is aware that the suits and weapons he designs
lack a soul and a fighting spirit of their own, which is what their wielders provide.

There are many lost mysteries of the Nasivern’s ancient technology that he would love to unravel and restore — fortunately, time is not a resource that he needs to concern himself with.

LEAH SUTHERLAND

Nicknamed by Cameron Bennett as the “smartest woman in the room” and with a natural talent for strategic forecasting. The young Leah is among the Intelligence Center’s new generation of analysts and certainly one of the brightest.

Leah is also the only person that was able to do what many could not, catch the Rhapsody, a monumental feat that she, unfortunately, cannot boast about publicly, yet it doesn’t bother her at all.

People are often difficult for the introverted woman — chaotic and noisy even, but numbers, patterns, plans, layouts, they’re all so clear to her, so beautiful, that’s where she finds order where others would see chaos. Her personality is a polar opposite of Cameron’s, she is extremely shy and silent, but able to come out of her shell when she’s working on what she does best.

Leah is Gestalt’s guardian angel, the soft voice that guides the team during their missions. Exley has kept her under his wing for most of her career and trusts her enough to let her call the shots when possible — something that’s rather unheard of in the past.

JAMES EXLEY

The main architect of the Gestalt project.

General James Exley is one of the most renowned names in Vaifen’s intelligence apparatus, a veteran of the war against the Svarzfal Republic — were the then young intelligence agent made his name known.

He is a man devoted to his work and his duty towards the Nation of Vaifen, with a shrewd mind, and one of the few people in the world with the rare privilege of having King Sulwyn Starsong’s absolute trust.

Recently placed at the head of Vaifen’s National Intelligence Center, he immediately began to shake down its core and rid it of the entropy that had plagued it for so long. His private life has always been shrouded in mystery. “He’s married to his job” is a joke that is often murmured among the halls of Vaifen’s National Intelligence Center.

Aware that the entire Vaifen’s security apparatus has been subject to corruption and cannot be trusted — the mishandling of the Ashen Reckoning being the most glaring piece of evidence of said hypothesis — James, along with King Sulwyn enacted a plan that aims to restore the peace that the nation enjoyed in the past, preserve its present, and to ensure the nation-state’s rightful place in the future.

And thus, the Gestalt project began its inception, much to the distrust and complaints of his peers, whom he kept out of the loop.

Exley’s strengths are not valued in physical terms, or even in the nuances of military warfare. He is a man of intelligence, with an astute mind when it comes to managing assets, to end conflict before it erupts — to arm his deck with the right cards, and to know when and how to play them best for the benefit of the nation.

His meticulous selection of the Gestalt team is one of the most exemplary displays of Exley’s sagacious nature.

Whether or not his overly expensive plan and the team he carefully constructed yields the immediate short-term positive results that Vaifen desperately needs — and the threat of the Ashen Reckoning and their leader, Dogma, is stopped once and for all, is something that will make or break James Exley’s name in the annals of Vaifen’s history.

Sword of Vaifen is a work in progress. Things are not set in stone and can be subject to change.

Every image, logo, and any other graphics that you see here are placeholders, none of them are final.

2023, by Christian Kaleb Caruzo.


3 Comments

Mew · September 7, 2019 at 2:39 am

I have really been looking forward to this preview. Your writing style and creativity are amazing and I can tell this story is going to be fantastic. I particularly like Cameron/Rhapsody. I can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into these characters, they honestly read like they could be real people. It’s easy to tell that they’re going to have a lot of depth to them. I’m really curious about the Ashen Reckoning; i.e., what their motives are, how and why they were formed, etc. I’m also interested to find out more about the different nations, worlds, and races. Additionally, the technology they have sounds really cool. I can’t wait for more of this.

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The Nightingale Series | ckaleb[dot]com · June 28, 2020 at 6:54 pm

[…] the moment he was recruited into Gestalt to serve as its Quartermaster, Edram Pertz was tasked with one crucial mission: To conceptualize, […]

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