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A Galactic Soldier of Fortune Special Interview by C. J. O'Reilly

Transcribed by Glen E. Terry, Copyright 1999

Edited by Lowell R. Matthews for The Guild Companion

POSEIDON, Lambda Serpentis System—As fate would have it, I was here in the Outer Rim when he first made the scene. I booked a flight to Poseidon, hoping to talk to him up close.... On route here, however, a lot of things happened in this sector of space—assassination attempts, conspiracy, corruption, Brood awakening... war. As it turned out, the man I wanted to talk to was right in the middle of all of it.

So when I finally got to Poseidon, I was not at all surprised to find that he could be easily contacted at an Edge Runner's bar.... And yes, they have those even on Poseidon. So, like on any assignment, sometimes before you get to the primaries, you need to scope out the environment that you're going to be introduced to. My instincts were right on in this case.

The "Lost Hope" is an Edge Runner's wet dream. The people who frequent this establishment are all regulars, and outsiders are generally given the brush-off. 'Runners are a strange batch.... Many times they are clannish, not wanting to talk to people that haven't seen any trigger time. I think that most of my readers know what I am talking about. I have never thought it was some kind of elitist, snobbish thing.... It's actually a lot more straightforward than that. They know their own.

The bar is haven to a number of interesting people; if I am lucky, I might have the opportunity to interview a few. Everyone at the "Hope" has a story, and most of them have many stories. The owner/operator is one John Graston, and he is no exception. The Professor used to be in the Long Range Insertion teams during the war. He's been in the thick for a long time. When he got out of the business, he finished up his degree in Military History and then opened the place as you see it today.

Scott Michaels is not your ordinary Ex-VegaPol—for a number of reasons. I could give you a whole rundown, but you have seen the Vids... the news clips. So I will get straight to the heart of the Interview and let you see for yourself.

C. J. O'Reilly: You have made a lot of enemies in the last couple weeks—some pretty powerful ones.

Scott Michaels: Yeah, well.... That's the rumor.

O'Reilly: Tell me why you left VegaPol.

Michaels: It wasn't any one thing, I can tell you that much. I guess it comes down to the fact that sometimes VegaPol and I don't agree on some things.

O'Reilly: For example?

Michaels: Let me just say that there is just an awful lot of bureaucracy involved.... Not to mention the fact that VegaPol is purely retroactive.... The people you tell yourself you're helping are in all likelihood already dead... or raped... or worse. You have to detach yourself from it just to keep sane. I think I have gotten to a place in my life where I just can't be part of an organization that embraces apathy as if it were a virtue.

O'Reilly: That's pretty damning, to say that they don't care.

Michaels: I am not damning them at all. That's just the way things are. I don't blame them—hell, I sympathize. It's hard to care. Especially in that line of work, it is real tough. You care and it gets to you. The blood... the bodies... the shattered lives. It takes a lot of work and a lot of emotional sacrifice to care about someone that's lying there with a point-blank blaster shot to the face. That's easy compared to trying to objectively get a report from a young girl who has been raped and beaten. I've seen some ugly stuff in VegaPol.

O'Reilly: I have had a lot of friends that have done police work. Some are VegaPol; some are provincial. They tell me that it gets pretty grim.

Michaels: It does. I think in some ways the provincial guys really get the (expletive deleted)-end of the stick. I mean everyone says they want to be in VegaPol if they are interested in police work. The Provincials are the ones who have the day-to-day crap—domestics, gang crimes, murder.... They see it all.

O'Reilly: So you want to do some work where you can care more?

Michaels: Yes and no.... I mean sure I want to do some work that I can care about, but the biggest thing is that I just want to help people for a change. I want to see things get better for them. (Smirks.) I think it would be nice to take down a bad guy and not have to see the good guy on a slab in the morgue.

O'Reilly: You don't get that kind of thing from Moskava?

Michaels: (Laughs.) Nope. Moskava is not a bed of roses. Especially when you used to be in their Black Ops program. Go to exciting worlds, meet new, interesting people and kill them.

O'Reilly: You're pretty forthright about that. Aren't you afraid of reprisals?

Michaels: Nah, I mean there isn't a lot I can do if they want me dead. I don't know who most of my victims were anyway. I am trying to get past that whole thing. I am going to school... getting out of the business, and I am seeing a therapist to help me with a lot of those issues. I want to enjoy life for a change.

O'Reilly: You keep saying you're getting out of the business. Do you have something else in mind?

Michaels: Yes, as a matter of fact. I have been planning on opening a business. I want to do some private investigations work. Get out of the rat race.... Be my own boss, help the people I want to help. Preferably, living people. (Smiles.)

O'Reilly: PI, eh? Once an EdgeRunner, always an EdgeRunner?

Michaels: I guess so. I am not sure peeking in on some guy cheating on his wife is really EdgeRunning, though. Kind of tame for an EdgeRunner, don't you think?

O'Reilly: It is in some sense EdgeRunning, don't you think? Recon and investigation and personal security for fun and profit?

Michaels: I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess you're right. I want to help the little guy, the underdog. I suppose that's pretty edge.

O'Reilly: Some might define that as an EdgeRunner's place. I mean if you're part of a Corp-sponsored program or in the military, then you have contacts, hardware... resources. There's some safety in that.... I mean, relatively speaking.

Michaels: That's true. Thanks for the time—I enjoyed our talk.

O'Reilly: I should be thanking you. But you're welcome.

Editor's Note

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