|Created by||Gerry Finley-Day|
|Formats||Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) 2000 AD.|
|Publication date||November 1979 – July 2006|
|You're Hit, You're Dead!||ISBN 1-905437-83-8|
|Back into Action||ISBN 1905437978|
The V.C.s was a future war series that appeared in the science fiction comic 2000 AD No. 140 – 178 (1979–1980). Written by Gerry Finley-Day, the first episode was drawn by Mike McMahon who designed the craft and the main characters. The main series artists were Cam Kennedy, Garry Leach and John Richardson. Dan Abnett has recently finished the series at Book 5 with the help of artist Anthony Williams who has been working with Abnett on this for quite a while.
The original V.C.s were:
They were joined by:
When the team was reformed new members included:
The strip is set in the year 2531. The Solar System is engaged in a war of survival against an alien species known as "Geeks". Steve Smith, a raw recruit, has just completed his training and signed on with the Global Combat Corps as a star-trooper, but is quickly thrown in at the deep end: he is assigned to the hard-bitten crew of a space patrol ship crewed by the "Vacuum Cleaners" or V.C.s for short; so called because of their penchant for clean kills, with little to no debris. The twist is that Smith is the only Earth-born crew member: the rest of the crew are all from colonies on the other planets of the solar system, often being physically adapted to alien environments, and having little love for 'Ma Earth'. A major theme of this series is the antagonism between the crew (often racially motivated), particularly towards the "earthworm" Smith; and Smith's struggle for acceptance by the crew. Like many war stories, there is a high mortality rate amongst the main characters.
The V.C.s are regarded with contempt by the Earth-led high command, but are acknowledged as the best crew in the fleet. Eventually, the Diplomatic Corps (known as 'dishwashers') recalls most of the fleet back to the colonies in an effort to show the Geeks that they mean peace. However, the Geeks take this as an opportunity, and a Geek armada attacks every major colony in the system, including Mars and Earth. After this, a counterattack is launched against the Geek homeworld by the Dishwashers. Following a preliminary attack on what was thought to be the Geeks' home planet, the V.C.s disobey orders by going down to the planet to save a platoon of 'green' soldiers. The 'Dishwasher' in charge perceives this as a slight, and gives the V.C.s punishment by sending them on near-suicidal duties. Much in the style of The Dirty Dozen this results in a high fatality rate and over the course of the series all of the V.C.s save Smith and Jupe are killed off. Ultimately Smith, the sole member of the original V.C.s who remains fighting fit, leads a heroic attack on the Geek homeworld that ends the war.
The VCs were revived in 2000 AD in 2002 and are still active. The new series is written by Dan Abnett and initially drawn by Henry Flint, later replaced by Anthony Williams. In the new stories Smith, now a major, is a veteran of the first Human-Geek war who leads a squad of raw recruits when a new war breaks out between the two races just as Earth is on the verge of joining the Polity, a galactic alliance of species. It was later revealed that "The Polity" was behind both wars. At the end of Book V, the Humans finally negotiated a deal with the Geeks.
Even though they are still considered a single species, the humans of the 26th century appear to be a race at the threshold of evolutionary divergence. They have spread to the rest of the solar system, colonising the many planets, moons and planetoids within the influence of their sun. A belligerent, persistent and aggressive species, they have risen to each challenge presented by their dozens of new homes, building stations, fortresses and cities wherever the space can be found, and even undergoing genetic treatment to better adapt to their worlds. A great deal of animosity that shares elements of both racism and national pride exists between the colonists and the humans that chose to remain on Earth. Smith, upon encountering the V.C.s, observed in his diary that his comrades were all 'half-castes', while his father, upon seeing Jupe on a vid-screen was surprised to see a 'real, live Jovian' and described him as an 'ugly-lookin' fish'. Conversely, the V.C.s, all colonists from different worlds, often used the term 'earthworm' to describe Smith and his compatriots.
By the time of the second war, humanity had even colonised the Kuiper Belt, tightening their grasp over their solar system.
Also known as "G'egeekajee", they physiologically tend to be upright and humanoid in outline, but all resemblance to humans stops there. They are a polymorphic species of r-strategists (prolific reproducers). Geeks possess a strange blend of reptilian and insectoid characteristics, perfectly adapted to life on their jungle homeworld.
During the first war, they often used guerrilla tactics and traps against the humans, rather than straightforward warfare. Whilst they can and do engage in battle, they are far more fond of weakening the enemy first and then going in for the kill afterwards. Examples of their tactics include:
Geeks have an emphasis on controlled breeding, which pervades their culture and tactics. Many Geeks are predestined for one role or another; the circumstances of their creation generating specific physical characteristics. They are several different kinds or castes of Geek: the most common serve as soldiers, appearing identical to human eyes but for a distinguishing pheromone. A Geek general is recognisable by its swollen cranium and facial tentacles, suggesting that it and others like it are bred for heightened intelligence and advanced tactical planning. Some Geeks are bred solely for the purpose of breeding; they are sent into ships as kamikaze troops, laying dozens of eggs at the moment of death in order to overwhelm the enemy with their young.
The Geeks first became involved in human history when they waged war on humanity during the early 26th century. The resultant interstellar war affected every one of the burgeoning colony worlds in the Solar System held by the humans. Notable victories scored by the Geeks during this first space war included:
The Geeks use the inner phonemes as abbreviations so the name they call themselves, G'Egeekajee, becomes Geek and their name for humans, Kajeek'Gedek'Ka'Aak, becomes Eeek-Ek-Aak (this means "murderous pink-skins of Earth"). They are capable of speaking English, but this is only shown by leaders of the Geek military.
The Polity are an intergalactic superpower that have advanced technology such as the ability to freeze time. They start wars between other aliens for their own amusement. It is late revealed in "Mail Call" that they consider themselves to have evolved so much that they now believe that they are unable or unsuited to fight, they have to rely on mercenaries such as the Naxon to fight their wars. It is also revealed that any species within their empire are slave races. In the end, their spies informed them that the Humans were secretly negotiating with the Geek Apologist faction for a peace treaty. The Polity decided to sabotage the peace talks and enlisted the help of Naxon mercenaries to assassinate the Apologist leader.
A "race of exterminators" according to Keege, they act as mercenaries to the highest bidder exterminating entire species. They have highly advanced military technology that can destroy an Earth ship with their shield at 100%. Contacted by "The Polity" during an extermination of the natives of 41 Hydra to assassinate a Geek ambassador to Earth, they were unsuccessful in their mission after the entire group perished and their leader killed.
They have largely appeared in their own eponymous strip in 2000 AD: