Back by popular demand—Fireside Chats! A chance to sit down and discuss issues and topics with important characters.
Our first chat is with someone from New Detroit in the future—2025 to be exact. Please help me welcome Griffin Carter.
Hiyah. Can we get started? I don’t have a lot of time.
All right then.
If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do? I can’t ignore my responsibilities. Everyday is a struggle to reverse that damned vaccine and keep my sister stable.
Stable? What’s wrong with your sister? She was one of the first citizens injected with the vaccine. It had bad side effects.
Like? First, she was sick for about two weeks. Vomiting, high fevers. Most of the time she was incoherent. When that finally died down she kept complaining about not feeling like herself. She had no interest in anything or anyone. Lost a long-term relationship because of it.
So how is she now? When she stays on her meds, she’s on an even keel. It’s when she doesn’t take them that we have problems.
What type of problems? She self-medicates trying not to feel emotions and bury her memories. So she drinks and she gets high.
Wow. One last question on this topic. You said she’s on meds. What are they for? Neurotransmitters. I’m trying to keep her emotions from peaking too much in either direction. Gliese has her good and bad days. The good ones are manageable. She’s neither pleasant nor angry. But on the bad days… let’s just say I don’t know what frame of mind she might be in. Mostly she’s depressed and looking to harm herself.
Sorry to hear that. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? People don’t know what to think, and I like to keep it that way.
Why is that? I used to be military, an interrogator. I could uncover secrets. It didn’t matter how well a person covered them up I could find them. So I learned to bury my own emotions, secrets… any info that might be used against me.
It’s rumored, though, that you’re a hothead. Someone with a history that’s not so well hidden. Care to elaborate? Not really. Everyone has something that pushes their buttons. I’m no different in that regard.
Okay. According to your file with Riza, you were married. Is that true? Yeah. Her name was Gena.
What happened to her? Riza killed her and our unborn baby.
I’m sorry. How did that happen? I wouldn’t report to duty. Soldiers landed on my doorstep and shot them.
That sounds unbelievable. Why would the military kill your family? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just take you into custody? No shit. But it happened. I believe you know someone who was there. He can back up what I said.
Who? Sergeant Asher Jones.
[Gasp] Sergeant Jones seemed like an upstanding gentleman. Don’t let his crooked smile fool you. He was there and did nothing to stop his men from killing them. After all I did for that man…
[Sits on edge of chair] Tell me about it. What did you do for him? I took him in when he had no home. When his family kicked him to the curb, I picked up the pieces. Lived with me for two years.
So you two were friends? Not exactly. I was more like his guardian. Made sure he had a roof over his head and food to eat.
And he stood by and watched your wife be murdered? Can we stop talking about it? [He clenches his fists.]
Very well. If you could spend the day with someone you admire, who would you pick? I know this sounds pathetic, but I have no one I want to spend any amount of time with.
No family? I have my sister and my stepdad.
His name’s Leon. Right? Yeah. Leon came along after my dad died. He married my mother and moved us to Canada.
I thought you said Asher lived with you. I stayed with Leon until I turned 17. He let me move back to the States. I lived with my aunt and uncle until I turned 18. Then I got a job and my own place.
Do you think you’ve turned out the way your parents expected? I doubt it. My father wouldn’t have wanted me in the military. He was a scientist. Mom wanted me happy. She never approved of me moving back to the States.
So why did she let you? It was move in with my aunt and uncle or jail. I was a bit of a delinquent, and it was getting worse.
Are you in touch with her? She died back during the Virus.
I’m sorry for your loss.
Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done? What would happen if you did it? Find a cure for the vaccine. If I ever find it, I treat my sister first.
What’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life? You’d think it was losing Gena, but the time at North Woods was the worst.
What is North Woods? Exile for traitors of the American Republic. It’s a former military installation, in the Upper Peninsula, turned into a prison.
What happens there? They strip you of your sanity. If they can get you to confess to your crimes, they’ll leave you to rot in a cell until you die. Don’t confess and you’ll be lucky not to go insane.
What crime landed you there, and how did you leave? I punched out my CO. I’m the first person to ever escape the place.
Aren’t you afraid they’ll find you? Got to catch me first. Why do you think we’re having this conversation away from the American Republic? If I step foot in the AR, I’m as good as dead.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone? Just between us… I contributed to my cousin’s delinquency.
How so? I was living on my own. Bored as hell. Mark would come by my place to hang. He wanted to try a beer. I didn’t stop him. He wanted to try a cigarette. I didn’t stop him. I even let him try a joint. It became a habit. He even brought Asher around. They spent so much time in my basement getting bent and drunk. Kept me entertained.
That wasn’t very nice. Why did you do it? I told you, I was bored.
And how old were they? Let’s see… Mark was 15 and Asher was a year younger.
You’re despicable. [He shrugs his shoulders.] Never claimed to be a saint. It turned out alright. All of us landed in Riza.
What’s the most important thing in your life? Finding a cure to that vaccine.
How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change? I’m just getting through it, lady. Day by day. If I could change anything, I’d bring Gena back. She made me a better man. We met in high school, but didn’t start dating until years later. I think I was, like, 20 when I proposed. We married a year later.
Anything you care to add? Naw. I’m good.
Well, this has been an interesting, yet disturbing, conversation.
Join me next time for another Fireside Chat. We’ll be speaking with another character from the future—Mark Carter.
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