Dear readers, tonight with me is a retired SEAL who has stumbled on shocking evidence that rogue programmers and Russian mobsters are reprogramming helper androids to take over humanity. He’s here to tell us about his team’s efforts to combat the rise of hive-minded species.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in a small town in the backwoods of Washington State, and my Dad worked for a lumber mill there. He was quite the outdoorsman, and took me hunting and fishing from just about the time I could walk. My mom taught history, and we had conversations around the dinner table about the world outside our little town. She also taught me to be a leader; that it was my responsibility to take care of others when they needed it.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
My favorite “toys” if you call them that, were my hunting rifles. I was so comfortable in the woods, even as a kid, I would take off for a week just living in a tent and hunting. My mom kept wanting to send out search parties, but Dad said “The kid knows what he’s doing. Let him be.” Sure enough, I’d come home with a nice buck, and we’d keep some of the meat and give the rest to people who needed it.
What do you do now?
I’m a retired Navy SEAL, so after I decided I had “aged out” I looked for the closest thing to that. So, I went to work for Hardwood Security, mainly protecting high-risk targets—like oil company execs in the Middle East and African politicians who were terrorist targets. I’ve gotten in a couple of firefights, but I never ever expected I’d need my SEAL training to figure out how to kill armored killer androids!
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Well it started routinely enough. My wife Leah and I had moved to Phoenix, and this co-op building The Haven looked like a good place to live. But things just got weird. First of all, they dropped the co-op price by half, it seemed to get us in. Then, we realized that the residents were… well… not normal. That was an understatement. Then, we found out that they were “hive-minded” androids who had murdered their owners to loot their wealth for the Russian mobsters who had re-programmed to be autonomous. And, we found out they decided humans were an expendable species.
What did you first think when the Neuromorphs first attacked?
I didn’t think, to be honest. My SEAL training just kicked in, and I fought back without even thinking about it. And I was losing. There were just too many. I was about to be overwhelmed. Fortunately, Leah has this quick analytical lawyer’s mind, and she figured out their weakness and saved the day… that is, until the naked Intimorph slammed me into the pool, and I was drowning.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
When I found out Leah had been taken. I felt a searing chunk of fear deep in my gut I hadn’t even felt when I was going into a firefight. And I knew that if we let the military invade the nuclear bunker where she was being kept, she would die. It was up to me and my team to save her and all the other humans taken hostage.
What is the worst thing about facing the Neuromorphs?
Knowing that they were superior to us—in terms of strength, communications, strategy… everything. We just knew we had to stop them, even though we weren’t sure how the hell we were going to do it!
What is the best thing about facing the Neuromorphs?
Well, not “the best,” but the most encouraging. Knowing that I had with me my SEAL team, the most incredible soldiers and the most incredible people I have ever known.
Tell us a little about your SEAL team.
I would die for my SEAL team. And they would die for me. There’s Monte “Jammer” James, heavy weapons specialist; Al “Driller” Harmon, sniper; Barry “Oopsie” Lane, explosives specialist; Johnny “Needle” Blake, Assistant Officer in Charge; and Jack “Pitbull” DeFranco, breacher. They are all absolute professionals. Of course, Needle is a total prick, but a smart one, and I love him like a brother. But we lost team members fighting the Neuromorphs. I’m sorry, but the pain is too fresh. I can’t talk about them.
Any romantic involvement?
My wife Leah is the center of my universe, my great love. She is so smart, so beautiful. She even saved my life—with a barbecue fork, no less! And when I almost betrayed her with Marla, it was the most shameful episode of my life.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
Oddly enough, I don’t hate the Neuromorphs, even though they were trying to eliminate the human race. They were just machines, and the reason they escaped control was because of human greed. The people I really hated were the Russian mobsters whom we found out murdered soldiers to obtain the weapons we needed to fight the Neuromorphs. But I don’t hate them anymore. They don’t exist. They are in pieces in a morgue in New York. Somehow a bomb went off in their headquarters. Somehow.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
Beer, just about any kind. My favorite color is Navy blue! And relaxation for me is tramping the backwoods, hunting or just enjoying nature. Fortunately, Leah likes it too, which surprised me, since she appears so delicate. Boy, she’s not!
What does the future hold for you?
For now, leading a “calm” life working for Hardwood Security with some of my former SEAL team members. By calm, I mean parachuting into jungles to rescue hostages and going into war zones to take out terrorists. And most important of all, starting a family with Leah!
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I’ve found myself crying at sad movies. I never did that before. Maybe it’s what I’ve gone through losing team members. Maybe it’s PTSD. Maybe it’s just joy at having Leah with me.
Dennis Meredith brings to his science thrillers an expertise in science from his career as a science communicator at some of the country’s leading research universities, including MIT, Caltech, Cornell, Duke and the University of Wisconsin. He has worked with science journalists at all the nation’s major newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV networks and has written well over a thousand news releases and magazine articles on science and engineering over his career. He holds a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Texas and an M.S. in biochemistry and science writing from the University of Wisconsin.
You can find Patrick on the pages of The Neuromorphs.
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