Preface to Requiem Eternam: The Chronicles of Coren Slade

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,

Et lux perpetua luceat eis

Lord, please grant them eternal rest

And shine your eternal light on them

- Excerpt from the Requiem Mass, Introduction

I have been asked ‘why’ more times than I care to remember. Why am I writing yet another biography of Coren Slade? Why would anyone want to read it? What is there possibly left to be said about him? Aren't we already steeped in enough Corenism to fill the galaxy and overflow into the great emptiness beyond?

My answer is this: although I am a biographer, I am not, in fact, writing a biography. What I have attempted to do is stitch together an autobiography—something that has never been done before. How I do this is another matter.

I cannot divulge the new sources I used in preparing this book. These sources provided me with fresh material, never previously published. I am fully assured of its authenticity, though I realize my assurances will not assuage the skeptics. For this, I will rely on my reputation for scrupulous honesty, along with the promise that one day—perhaps long after I am dead—but one day, when certain conditions are met, all will be fully explained.

For an author compiling a book such as this, it is quite a dilemma. If I don't swear absolute confidentiality to my most sensitive sources, I won't get the material. If I use the material without naming the source, readers may not believe it. I have accepted that trade-off in the hope of presenting a clearer picture of the young man, the soldier, the visionary, the heretic: Coren Slade. His life—dissipated over space and time—held so much, full of the tragedy of existence and the triumph of persistence.

Additionally, I believe another telling of his story is needed because he has come to represent so many different things for so many different people. Those who admire him point to his peaceable nature and to the movement he started, to his generosity and self-sacrifice. I believe those people are in many ways correct.

Those who despise him, who have attacked his actions and tried to prevent them, denounce what they see as his authoritarianism and lack of respect for all life, no matter its origin. Apart from their overtly violent actions, I believe those people are largely correct as well. These two seemingly contradictory aspects, along with many others, are all part of the man, just as they are a part of all humans, albeit with much less impact on history.

The themes of his life and those terrible, turbulent times are clear in retrospect, and I will not enumerate them here. Those of you familiar with Slade will already know many of them, though you may find a few surprises in the latest material. Those of you who have heard the name but are unfamiliar with the particulars and with exactly how so many people died, should be allowed to discover these wonders and horrors for yourselves.

He lived his life, as unusual as it was (or is?), one day at a time. He had no certainty of the future, no clarity about the past. He had no stark insights into himself in the very earliest years. He was untried, unseasoned; he had no knowledge of the human winnowing already approaching by the time he was born. Slade realized things about himself only through harrowing experience, not brilliance. Still, billions of humans are born, live, and die, suffering more than he did, without his uniqueness.

I mentioned that this is partially an autobiography, or an attempt at one. I mean ‘partially’ in three different senses.

First, Slade never sat down and composed an autobiography on his own. I, however, have taken the things he did write and record, and with minor edits, combined those with my new source material into a coherent (I hope!) narrative.

Second, I have chosen to interweave the autobiographical sections with a more standard depiction of the events as seen through the experiences of a less well-known Soldier. Even here, based on unique sources, I believe there is material of interest.

Third, and finally, we have the newly decrypted communications we have all spent so much time reading of late. Once we knew where to look, and what to look for, they were easy enough to find. Had we known their form and content early on, we might have avoided the destruction, and books like mine would not be necessary. I have placed these communications where I believe they fit chronologically, so that we can examine both sides of the conflict as it approached.

Cor, Corey, Coren; PAPA, Soldier, Slade; friend and confidante; hero and martyr; heretic and destroyer: these are how he is known. I hope that by reading this book, you will understand him better and perhaps see him in a new, more human way.

Beyond that, it is my fervent wish that this book will promote a dialogue between the bastions of pro- and anti-Corenists. We have seen such destruction. We struggle to get back to where we once were. I believe the best way to do that is by promoting a dialogue, to acknowledge our differences and then work together on our agreements.

Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Here, then, is the story of Coren Slade in his own words, for the first time.