Dear readers, tonight with us is a young woman from a near future where magic has returned to the world. She’s here to tell us about life as an experimental subject, growing up at the Institute for Paranormal Dysfunction, and now working in a [redacted] department of the US Bureau for Internal Development.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Are you really sure it’s okay to answer that question? Like, really sure?
Well, okay, I guess.
I grew up in the Institute for Paranormal Dysfunction. My, uh, uncle worked there. It was pretty cool. My best friend Faith still lives there – she’s due to have pups any day now. I’m pretty excited about it! I’m gonna visit and help. I had quite a few adventures there with her. [Giggles] She almost blew me up, once!
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
Toys? Well, I had a toy bow and arrow, but I managed to get the rubber cups off the ends, and attached some weights so it still worked. Mostly though I guess I just hunted and stuff. With Faith.
What do you do now?
You’re really sure I’m allowed to answer that?
[Shrugs] Basically I kill people. But recently I’ve also been allowed to do kind of little bits of actual spying too.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Well, I really don’t think I’m allowed to talk about the stuff right before I joined the Department. Like, seriously not.
But after that, I had practically a whole year of doing nothing except training and learning how to be a kind of assassin-spy. Some parts of that were really neat; others were so dull you wouldn’t believe! But then Mother decided I didn’t have enough social skills, so I was sent to this acting school. Girls can be bitches, you know? Plus I wasn’t allowed to kill anyone, even if they really deserved it. So that kind of sucked. But I met my other best friend, Marcie, there.
Um. It wasn’t our fault the school burned down and stuff.
That kind of didn’t end too well, so I went off on my own for a bit. Especially when Uncle, when Uncle….
Uh, what was I saying? Um, the Department really wanted me back though, so we kind of, came to an arrangement? Then they all thought I was The Breaker, so we agreed I’d hunt him down myself and prove I wasn’t.
So, yeah. Basically I kill bad guys.
What did you first think when you learnt about the aliens?
You know about the aliens? Even Eagle and Mr Abrams think I was making that up – or Godsson was. They call him ‘The Manipulator’. [Rolls eyes] Like I wouldn’t know if I was being manipulated? Sometimes I think they’re more scared of him than Melisande d’Artelle, and not just because he and the Dragon and that other guy killed her. But, yeah, the aliens: I mean, I can’t prove they’re here, but my hunches are usually pretty good.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
I think the scariest moment was when I heard Marcie never made it home after the Fist Fest…? No, wait, it was a bit later, when I discovered The Breaker had grabbed her, to get at me. [Swallows] I was afraid I’d be too late.
What is the worst thing about working for the Department?
I guess it’s the need to lie to everyone outside it. It makes it hard to make proper friendships, you know? Especially since I mostly meet people when I’m on actually on a mission. Even Barney and Teef and all the other guys in the Dumps… I can’t really talk about lots stuff with them. Also, I keep finding out about stuff that everyone knows, but no one ever told me about, so I look stupid.
What is the best thing about it?
The best thing about working for the Department is that you’re kind of like a superhero, ’cause you get to kill bad guys and make the world a better place! And you also get to save a lot of people along the way, if you’re lucky. And you meet lots of interesting people too. Oh, and the Department has some cool gadgets.
Tell us a little about your friends.
Well, I have lots of friends. There’s Faith, she’s an Asgard Model 3 CK9. She and Mr Shanahan fought together in the Brazilian Eco Wars. And Marcie, of course: she plays Stryker Zaxx in Underworld? She’s awesome! Her younger sister, Amanda. Teef, who has his own tech shack in the Dumps, and his son Barney: he’s a real whiz with gadgets! They’re both ogres. And James and Emma are pretty friendly, in the Department. [Thinks] So, yeah: that’s seven people who are friends! That’s a lot, right?
Any romantic involvement?
[Grimaces and swallows. Shaking her head.] I don’t wanna talk about Luiz. It… didn’t end well.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
Un- Uh…. Huh? What were you asking? Oh, who I really hate? You mean, who’s also still alive, right?
[Thinks] Really hate, not just hate a little bit? Just… [pauses and carefully wets lips] Just one person, really. Who I won’t name. But he knows who he is.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
I love hot chocolate!
Favourite colour? I never thought about that before. A favorite colour? Wow…. Is it green?
Relaxing? Spending time, just chatting and stuff, with Faith or Marcie I guess. I also like dancing, though. And sex.
What does the future hold for you?
Well, in my line of work I don’t make really long term plans, you know? I just do the best I can and try to make a difference. You can’t kill all the bad guys, right, cause there’s always new ones coming? But it’d be pretty sweet to kill all the worst ones. Oh, and those aliens: I’m pretty sure they’re up to something sneaky. I expect I’ll need to stop them somehow.
But what I really want is to be allowed to pick my own targets. Mother and Father still treat me like a child, like I didn’t pay attention to their lessons or something. But Eagle’s pretty cool, and he’s the one I really report to. I think I can persuade him to let me go solo. Or maybe even team up with other people doing the same kind of stuff, but with less rules.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
Um, well, the Department’s found a small R&D company here in New Francisco doing some pretty scary work on human memories. I’ll be going undercover to find out what it is and maybe put a stop to it. It’ll be my first actual spying mission, and I’m sure it’s gonna go great!
L. J. Kendall failed to drown on five separate occasions on Sydney’s northern beaches. He worked in the IT R&D field while extremely happily married for 30 years to an adventurous mediaeval scholar 22 years his senior until her death in 2014. He shares a house with about 7,000 books, and spends most of his time in his imagination. Leeth’s story has been over 25 years in the making.
Dear readers, to meet a young woman entrusted with an enchanted gem. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.