Author: O.E. Tearmann
Narrator: Kirt Graves
Length: 13 hours and 16 minutes
Series: Aces High, Jokers Wild, Book 1
Publisher: Amphibian Press
Released: Jun. 28, 2019
Genre: Technothriller; Cyberpunk; LGBT
Sex. Drones. Rock and roll.
Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned.
Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.
Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.
O.E. Tearmann lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, in what may become the Co-Wy Grid. They share the house with a brat in fur, a husband and a great many books. Their search engine history may garner them a call from the FBI one day. When they’re not living on base 1407 they advocate for a more equitable society and more sustainable agricultural practices, participate in sundry geekdom and do their best to walk their characters’ talk.
Kirt Graves has 20+ years of experience as a stage actor & vocal performer. His first audiobook was featured as an Audible Five-Star Fave.
Interview: Aidan Headly, Commander, Base 1407 of the Democratic State Force
Interviewer: Chris Hensworth, Co-Wy Regional Morale Officer, writing for the CO-WY Battle Cry
Commander Headly is the Unit Commander for Base 1407, one of our best units and a shining example of what can be achieved by units in adversity when they creatively tackle morale and personnel problems. We will be interviewing the members over the next few months.
Commander Headly. Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me for the CO-WY Battle Cry.
Headly: Um…yeah, no problem. You’re going to be coming and interviewing everyone?
Hensworth: Yes sir.
Headly: Right. You may need to redact some of our hydroelectric specialist’s stuff. Anyway, where do you want to start?
Hensworth: Commander Headly, everyone has been impressed with your resolve and your diplomacy. What single event has had the most impact on your life?
Headly: Hunh…I guess meeting my buddy Jackson when we were teens. He got me through a lot, and gave me a lot more confidence. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have done what got me into Command school.
Hensworth: How would you describe your most influential relationship?
Headly: Hah. Um…man, that’s kind of personal. I guess I’ll tell you about my boyfriend. Kevin. Being around him is like being wrapped in a warm blanket with bad song lyrics and good poems written on it. I know a lot of Commanders try to cut fraternization off, but I do think healthy emotional ties of all kinds help us stay stable and deal with the bull–sorry, the stress and trauma we’re all under in the war.
Hensworth: What philosophical concepts drive you?
Headly: Everybody’s worth something. Everybody’s good at something. And when you find the spot where they work best, you’re blown away by the results.
Nobody deserves to be thrown away.
Hensworth: If you could undo one decision in your life, what would it be?
Headly: Um…can we skip this one?
Hensworth: Of course, sir.
Hensworth: What do you consider to be the greatest weakness in your society?
Headly: Hah. That’s an easy one. We treat people like they’re only worth what they can produce for their bosses. The money trickles up to the people running the Corporations, and the shi…sorry, the crap rolls downhill. It’s fu…it’s messed up, and it’s messing us all up. We need to start acting like people are worth something because they’re people. They’re assets in themselves. People aren’t numbers in a profit-and-loss spreadsheet.
Hensworth: What do you consider to be its greatest strength?
Headly: Well, it’s good at keeping people in order. I don’t know if we want to be ‘in order’, though.
Hensworth: In your free time – if you have any! – what activities do you enjoy?
Headly: The gang–our unit–we have movie nights and game nights together about twice a week. Tuesday nights me and Kevin watch old movies. I mean really, really old. He studies history and he digs up stuff older than dirt. And I do a lot of carving and engraving work; engraving designs on metal and wood is relaxing for me, and the stuff’s fun to decorate and give as gifts. I like making something beautiful.
Hensworth: What sort of environments do you personally find most soothing?
Headly: These days, the rec room with an old movie on is amazing for relaxing. I was in a garden once. It was like heaven. But most of the time? My room, with the lights turned down and something quiet playing.
Hensworth: How do you see yourself in relation to current events?
Headly: I’m just one soldier, and we’re just one base. But I get up and try to make a difference every day in this fight, and I know a million other people are doing the same thing. And maybe together we’ll win this war someday.
Hensworth: How do you see the arts in the realm of political power?
Headly: It’s what helps me get up every morning. The movies Kevin finds, they remind us that things were different in this country once. The art that people send around is sometimes the only reason to smile in a shitty day. Even the tags on the buildings on Grid, they’re kind of a shout, you know? ‘I’m here, I exist, I’m alive.’
All that is worth something.
Hensworth: Similarly, how do you see the sciences?
Headly: I guess…look, people are people. Science just lets them be people in different ways. A drone can plant seeds or it can drop bombs. Nanoids can do surgery or liquify your heart from the inside. Drugs can heal you or destroy your life. Basically, it’s tools. But we’re holding the stuff. We need to stop treating tech like it’s an animal in its own right. Somebody coded that. People told it to do stuff. We need to get better at deciding what to tell it, I guess.
Sorry, I think I cussed in there. Do you have to redact cussing?
Hensworth: Hah, no worries sir. We’ll clean it up.
Hensworth:What do you consider the responsibility of government to be to the people?
Headly: It should be for the people, first. The Pre-Dissolution government wasn’t perfect, but it was supposed to give everybody a solid start so they could become the best they could be. They did better, they made the country better, they made money for the government. It was supposed to be a…there’s a word…symbiosis! It was supposed to be a way that people took care of each other, and got to have a say in things. We don’t have any of that anymore. We ought to.
Hensworth: What do you consider to be the responsibility of the citizenry to the government?
Headly: Help make sure the system stays fair. When it’s fair, don’t try to game it. Do stuff that helps each other out, like not over-using the water and recycling the waste. Anybody who tells you why something is a good idea and then asks you to buy in, they’re a government that’s worth talking to. But tell anybody who says ‘do what I say, I’ve got the power’ to go screw themselves.
Hensworth: What practical steps can individuals take to improve their own society, whatever that is?
Headly: First, do what you need to keep your head up. Keep yourself together. Take your meds, do your counseling, whatever you need.
Next, talk straight. Tell people the truth, even when it’s hard. Talk about hard things. Don’t yell, talk. And talk upwards too. Call reps and tell them what they need to hear. Talk about manipulation, about people hiding suffering behind other stuff. Don’t be bullshitted.
Be compassionate, I guess. Remember that other people have shit to deal with too.
And try and help, wherever you are.
Giveaway: Writer’s Tears whiskey with signed set of books
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