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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Character Interviews » Jack Tantiss

   
Author Topic: Jack Tantiss
Disgruntled Peony
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Hi! I'm Jack. I'm a pilot, a hacker, and either a genius or an idiot depending on who you ask. I was born and raised on a multi-generational ship called La Señorita Roja. The ship was originally designed for terraforming and colonization, but the populace gave up the idea of settling down anywhere decades before I was born. I come from a long line of space nomads.

I've got a bunch of high-tech gadgetry wired directly into my brain that boosts my intelligence and computational abilities. Unfortunately, increased intelligence does not mean increased wisdom or common sense. The tech in my head is also experimental (read: full of bugs) and has landed me with a heap of mental disorders and neuroses. But, hey, I'm functional enough to keep myself out of a mental ward, and that's what counts, right?

I currently owe a massive debt to the mob. Guess who loaned me the money to fund the illegal procedure that souped up my brain in the first place? I'm in between jobs at the moment, and I'm getting desperate enough for money to consider acquiring it through less than legal means. Hacking a bank sounds like fun. What's the worst that could happen?

[ July 11, 2015, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: Disgruntled Peony ]

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Robert Nowall
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Well, I imagine your original acquisition of the money to fund this illegal procedure was probably illegal in itself---loansharking laws and all that---but that's as maybe. You're in for a penny, in for a pound...or whatever it costs.

How about the implanted gear? I mean besides its effect on your mental state. Is is comfortable? Is it noticeable when you walk around outside?

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Disgruntled Peony
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Most the implants are internally housed in my skull, but I have a set of data ports and interfaces on the back of my neck in case I need to plug into a hard line. There's also a tiny little camera back there so I can see which port I'm trying to interface with. I can use it as a literal eye in the back of my head in a pinch, but that gets disorienting really fast.

If my neck is uncovered, the implant is definitely a noticeable thing. That leads to getting stared at, which I don't like. Fortunately, I'm very fond of hooded jackets.

The area around the visible part of my implant has a tendency to itch and ache, but I'm careful to keep it from getting infected. The rig has a see-through protective cover which is mostly to protect from moisture and the like, but if I'm going to plug into anything I need to remove it. I prefer wireless connections whenever possible.

I have a borderline phobia of being touched by other people, especially in the head and neck region. I'm afraid someone might try to rip the external bits out of my skull. It would shred at least half my implants and I have no idea where that would leave my brain and spinal cord.

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Grumpy old guy
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I have two questions to start with: Are you still on the multi-generational ship, and why get all that experimental gadgetry wired into your head?

Phil.

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Disgruntled Peony
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I left La Señorita Roja right before I got my implants. I love my parents, but they both have very strong opinions of what I should and shouldn't be doing with my life. Papa wanted me to follow in the family business, but I'd rather fly ships than fix them. Mama's very traditional--if she finds out I've been augmented she'll have a fit. I still keep in contact with them, but everything's long-distance.

The reason I got augmented is because I was trying to short-cut my way into my dream job: flying for the Galactic Navy. I've wanted to fly the big, awesome top-of-the-line fighters and transports for as long as I can remember.

The problem is, in order to become a full-fledged GN pilot there's a minimum of eight years of schooling needed in order to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to do the job. My implants were supposed to give me access to all of that in a fraction of the time. The financial cost for the tech was comparable to what I'd end up owing in student loans, and I'd be able to jump right into work if I was able to pass the tests.

I passed all of my tests with flying colors. I'm fully capable of flying anything I could ever dream of. I still didn't get the job because I failed my psych evaluation.

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Robert Nowall
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So the only thing standing between you and your dream is a poor psych exam?
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Grumpy old guy
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Why do you think you failed the psych exam?

Phil.

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
So the only thing standing between you and your dream is a poor psych exam?

When I say I failed the psych exam, I mean I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a mild form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder, Primary Insomnia, and Sexual Aversion Disorder. In case you don't know what any of that means: I have focus problems, I have an obsession with numbers, I have trouble with mood swings, four days out of five I'm low enough on sleep I might as well be intoxicated, and pretty well anything related to sex terrifies me.

So, yes. The only thing standing between me and my dream was a poor psych exam.

quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
Why do you think you failed the psych exam?

Phil.

It was rigged.
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Grumpy old guy
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So, you're paranoid and have a persecution complex as well as all the other stuff you've mentioned. Have you always been like this, or is it the result of some childhood trauma?

Phil.

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Robert Nowall
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So are these all real problems, or can you work with them in your current job or your dream job? (And are any real people actually "out to get you?")
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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
So, you're paranoid and have a persecution complex as well as all the other stuff you've mentioned.

I prefer to think of myself as reasonably suspicious. You're probably right about the persecution complex.

quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
Have you always been like this, or is it the result of some childhood trauma?

I didn't have a bad childhood, exactly, but I wouldn't call it a walk in the park. Being born to a family of spacers is kind of like being born into a family of farmers: everyone learns to do their part from a young age as a matter of survival.

I've always been inquisitive and skeptical. Papa said I was precocious. Mama called me her little devil child and joked about exorcisms on a daily basis.

Mama and I have an ongoing cold war on the subject of religion, by the way. She's very Catholic, and I feel a lot of the old religions like Christianity are outmoded. There are certainly still things to be learned from them, don't get me wrong, but I feel that society and science have developed to the point that such antiquated beliefs need to be revisited.

quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
So are these all real problems, or can you work with them in your current job or your dream job? (And are any real people actually "out to get you?")

I've learned to manage most of my problems over time, at least to my satisfaction, but when first I applied to the GN everything was still fresh and raw. I re-apply every year like clockwork, but I haven't managed to get hired yet.

I should mention that just because I'm not GN material doesn't mean I can't fly. I've got all the necessary licenses, and I've picked up a bunch of freelance work over the last five years. The problem is, I crashed a ship three months ago. In my defense, the only reason I crashed is because half the ship's systems and one of the engines got fried. Everyone survived, with no worse injuries than broken bones. Even so, nobody's wanted to hire me since. The general sentiment seems to be that you're only as good as your last run.

(Also, yes, there are in fact people out to get me. I owe a lot of money to a lot of people one never wants to owe money to--or anything else, for that matter. I've fallen far enough behind in my payments I've started getting death threats, although I don't see how killing me would get them their money.)

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Robert Nowall
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There you go. You have other options available. And people will forget, and someone will desperately need someone to fly a ship...
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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
There you go. You have other options available. And people will forget, and someone will desperately need someone to fly a ship...

And in the meantime I'm stuck planet-side with no money. I don't do well with boredom. I'm going stir-crazy.

[[Side-note: I did edit the previous post because I realized I'd forgotten to answer the parenthetical question.]]

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Robert Nowall
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Killing someone over not paying a debt settles the debt with the guy's life---or so the theory goes. Really it's just revenge and a warning to the others.

So you'll have to find something to do that'll put money on your table (even if it passes to the loansharks.) Long ago, I had to make a choice between writing and doing something that paid real money. I chose the latter...but it's the last time, I swear, I ever do anything strictly for the money.

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Grumpy old guy
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For me, you are a narcissist with associative disorders and beyond borderline sociopathy. It's all about you; and why should you put in the hard yards to get somewhere when it's just sooo easy to spend some cash. It's never your fault, and if someone gets hurt there's always someone else to blame; never you.

So, if this isn't the result of your childhood experiences, what do you think caused you to have this type of personality.

Phil.

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JSchuler
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So, if I got this correct, you wanted to join the Galactic Navy and be entrusted with their bleeding-edge fighter craft, so you went and did something that is not only illegal, but also forces you to carry around the evidence of it everywhere you go?

Why would you think the GN would accept someone like that? From your description of their requirements, they are not desperate for recruits. Even if you passed the psych exam and cleared every other hurdle, you're just a CT scan away from getting kicked out and probably arrested. What was your plan?

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
For me, you are a narcissist with associative disorders and beyond borderline sociopathy. It's all about you; and why should you put in the hard yards to get somewhere when it's just sooo easy to spend some cash. It's never your fault, and if someone gets hurt there's always someone else to blame; never you.

So, if this isn't the result of your childhood experiences, what do you think caused you to have this type of personality.

Phil.

Wow, when you put it that way, it makes me sound like a terrible person. I guess I do have some sociopathic tendencies, but I'm not entirely out of touch with my humanity. I do, in fact, care what happens to individuals and small groups. I've got a soft spot for the little guy, because I've been there. It's governments and faceless corporations I could care less about. If I'm going to steal anything, it's from organizations that are rich enough they can afford the loss.

I can't really blame all of my faults on the augmentation, but that definitely made them jump by leaps and bounds. Knowledge reshapes how people view the world, and suddenly I had all the knowledge I could ever want (and even more that I didn't want) available with a thought. That kind of thing can mess a person up if they're not ready for it, and I was nowhere near as prepared as I thought I was.

quote:
Originally posted by JSchuler:
So, if I got this correct, you wanted to join the Galactic Navy and be entrusted with their bleeding-edge fighter craft, so you went and did something that is not only illegal, but also forces you to carry around the evidence of it everywhere you go?

Why would you think the GN would accept someone like that? From your description of their requirements, they are not desperate for recruits. Even if you passed the psych exam and cleared every other hurdle, you're just a CT scan away from getting kicked out and probably arrested. What was your plan?

Okay, see, there's a bit of confusion as to particulars here and it's my fault for not clarifying earlier. The tech itself isn't illegal. It's just not commonly used by the general populace. The operation I undertook to get it was illegal, but only because it was performed by a back-alley surgeon with illegally-borrowed funds. I will grant you, I hadn't thought about how I'd explain where I'd gotten my augments. If it came up, I'd have probably just lied and said I got them when I was still living at home.

[ July 18, 2015, 11:05 PM: Message edited by: Disgruntled Peony ]

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Robert Nowall
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It does look like you have irreconcilable goals---getting into this Galactic Navy as a fighter pilot with this gear in your head. Could you get into the Navy in some other way, and try to wangle a transfer to fighter pilot duty?

I've neglected to ask you questions about your background. You say you were raised on a multi-generation starship. You're not still on it, are you?

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wcoditwgth
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This may seem like a suicidal proposition, but have you considered stealing a ship from the Galactic Navy? From what I understand thus far, the Galactic Navy doesn't have the best background checkers if they didn't catch on to the "suddenly has multiple, uncommonly used implants." It shouldn't be too difficult to get a maintenance job or something that gives you access to the ships themselves.
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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
It does look like you have irreconcilable goals---getting into this Galactic Navy as a fighter pilot with this gear in your head. Could you get into the Navy in some other way, and try to wangle a transfer to fighter pilot duty?

I've neglected to ask you questions about your background. You say you were raised on a multi-generation starship. You're not still on it, are you?

Honestly, I've begun to feel like getting into the GN is a pipe dream at this point. There are other things I can do with my life. If I manage to pay off my debts, I can work toward buying a ship of my own. That would be just as good, but it's going to take a lot of work to get to that point.

I left La Señorita Roja right before I got my implants. I was two months away from being 18 at the time. I'm 23 now. If you want more information on why I left, I discussed it with Phil earlier.

quote:
Originally posted by wcoditwgth:
This may seem like a suicidal proposition, but have you considered stealing a ship from the Galactic Navy? From what I understand thus far, the Galactic Navy doesn't have the best background checkers if they didn't catch on to the "suddenly has multiple, uncommonly used implants." It shouldn't be too difficult to get a maintenance job or something that gives you access to the ships themselves.

I hadn't considered that, no, but I like the way you think. That sounds like a challenge, and therefore a great deal of fun. I may well give it a try.
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Robert Nowall
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Well, you'd have to be able to take that ship somewhere where no questions would be asked...
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wcoditwgth
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Well, stealing from the GN would comply with the previous statement that if you stole something, you'd steal from a government or corporation.

How far are you willing to go to get a good ship? It looks like you are willing to steal or purchase one (if you have the money), but are you willing to go further into criminality? I'm not sure how the ship registry works, but I would assume that there are individuals/groups/black marketers who can change the ship's registry. And if you can do that, well, you wouldn't need to be restricted to the GN then. You could just look for some rich person with a good ship and then steal it (maybe his identity and money as well).
In short, my questions can be cut down to this:
How effective are the police?
How far are you willing to go?

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