[Spoilers for STARSHINE follow. I'm just saying.]

***

Reporter:  I’m here today with Alexis Solovy and Caleb Marano. These two individuals have been at the center of a storm of recent events. Now, amid rumors of conspiracy, murder and even aliens, they’ve agreed to go on camera and answer our questions.

First things first—how did the two of you meet?

Caleb:  She shot me.

Alex:  I shot you down. Then I shot you.

Reporter:  Seems like a rather inauspicious start to a relationship.

Alex:  Was that a question?

Caleb:  I’ve had worse starts.

Alex:  You have, seriously? I mean, I thought it was kind of memorable.

Caleb:  Oh, it was certainly memorable. And I said I’d had worse starts—not better outcomes.

Alex:  …Oh.

Reporter:  Some people are looking to you to be saviors of humanity. How do you feel about being asked to shoulder such a weighty burden?

Alex:  Annoyed.

Caleb:  It may be difficult to believe, but my job is at its core about protecting people. Not usually so many people at once, but…I’m glad to do it.

Reporter:  Ms. Solovy, do you want to expound on your answer?

Alex:  Look, I never asked to be a savior of anyone…except maybe him.

Caleb:  Thank you for that, by the way.

Alex:  You bet.

Reporter:  Ms. Solovy, your father died in battle during the 1st Crux War against the Senecan Federation. How has becoming acquainted with Mr. Marano and visiting Seneca affected your view of the Federation?

Caleb:  Alex, you don’t have to—

Alex:  No, it’s fine. My father died a hero. He gave his life to save others. I wish he hadn’t chosen to do so. But it had very little to do with who the foe happened to be.

Yes, I hated Seneca when I was a child, because I was young and grieving and I didn’t understand anything. But what truly changed my mind about the Federation wasn’t meeting Caleb or even visiting what is a beautiful, extraordinary world. It was discovering an alien armada that intends to exterminate all of us. I guarantee you these aliens don’t give a [expletive bleeped] who’s Alliance, who’s Federation and who’s Independent.

If we want to survive, we had better stop caring, too.

Reporter:  Mr. Marano, do you have anything to add?

(Caleb stares at Alex a moment, a smile tugging at his lips)

Caleb:  How could I?

Reporter:  Ms. Solovy, does it bother you that Mr. Marano has killed people?

Alex:  You’re joking, right?

Reporter:  Not actually, ma’am....

Alex:   Wouldn’t you kill to protect innocents, or those you care about?

Reporter:  His file indicates he’s killed upwards of 250—

Caleb:  I’m not sure we should be—

Alex:  Most people suck, and a lot of them have guns. Next question?

Reporter:  Mr. Marano, why did you become an assassin?

Alex:  That’s the same question.

Caleb:  I’m not an assassin.

Reporter:  You have assassinated people though, yes?

Alex:  Caleb, you don’t have to—

Caleb:  If someone represents a threat to others, and my government determines they need to be stopped but can’t be reined in via conventional means? Then, yes, the decision may be made to kill them. Once the choice is made—rarely by me, though I won’t deny making the call when it’s the only option—‘assassination,’ as you call it, is the safest method for everyone. Frontal assaults and gunfights have a way of harming innocent bystanders, which is not something I want to do. Incidentally, they also pose a greater risk to me…and I do value my life rather highly.

Reporter:  That’s a bit arrogant of you, isn’t it?

Caleb:  Not in the slightest. It’s merely truth.

Reporter:  A lot of attention has been directed at your tumultuous romance, not all of it positive. Would either of you like to respond to the critics?

Alex:  I don’t know what you’re talking about. This is the future. We possess faster-than-light space travel and quantum communications—why would we have romance?

(Caleb leans over and whispers in her ear)

Alex:  Okay, there might be a little romance.

Reporter:  Ms. Solovy, how does your mother feel about you dating a Senecan intelligence agent?

(Alex doubles over in a fit of laughter)

Caleb:  Baby, I think that was an actual question….

(Alex sits up, sucks in a breath, and resumes laughing hysterically)

Reporter:  Ms. Solovy?

(Alex wipes tears from her eyes)

Alex:  I’m sorry. I have no idea what she thinks about it—or anything else for that matter.

Reporter:  You and your mother aren’t close, then? She is a very influential leader in the Earth Alliance military.

Alex:  So I’ve heard. Look, my mother and I don’t see eye-to-eye on, well, everything. It is what it is. Let’s just leave it at that, okay?

Reporter:  Very well. How grave a threat do you believe these aliens represent?

Alex:  It’s not the end of the world—but you can see it from here.*

Reporter:  I don’t understand.

Alex:  There are a lot of things about these aliens I don’t know—where they come from, what their motivation might be, how their weapons operate, what their maximum FTL speed is. But I do know their technology is superior to ours, their forces are superior to ours, and they intend to kill most if not all of us.

If we want to win, we’re going to have to fight a new war—not the 1st Crux War and certainly not this supposed 2nd Crux War. We’re going to have to be willing to take chances, try new approaches…even turn our entire concept of warfare on its head.

Reporter:  How do you propose we do so?

Alex:  Hell if I know. I’m not a military strategist and I’m certainly not a politician. But if we want to survive, we’d better figure it out real damn fast.

Reporter:  I imagine a large number of people in both the Alliance and Federation are working on exactly that as we speak. Who do you think stands the best chance of devising a solution?

Alex:  To be honest, there are so many people circling around this whole disaster, I can’t even keep everyone straight.

Caleb:  I just keep a cast of characters stored in my eVi. You should try it.

(Alex looks sideways at Caleb)

Alex:  On that note, you want to get out of here?

(Caleb grins)

Caleb:  Time’s wasting. We’ve got places to be and….

Reporter:  I’d like to thank Alexis Solovy and Caleb Mar—

Alex:  Alex.

Reporter:  I’m sorry?

Alex:  My name. It’s Alex.

***

First in a series of interviews with characters from the Aurora Rising trilogy. The second interview, with Miriam Solovy and Richard Navick following the events of VERTIGO, can be found here: http://www.gsjennsen.com/blog/2015/1/16/interview-with-admiral-miriam-solovy. The third interview, with Caleb Marano and Noah Terrage following the events of TRANSCENDENCE, can be found here: http://www.gsjennsen.com/blog/2015/4/20/interview-with-caleb-marano-and-noah-terrage.

* Credit where credit is due: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Trailer