Q: Who or what are you?
I'm Mandy. I'm a mercenary. And not “oh look, I'm part of a Private Military Contractor, I work in a glorified army with better equipment;” teams are for sissies. I live in 2093, which looks like it's shaping up to be an interesting year. It's strange; you'd think the world would look weirder after a nuclear war. Thankfully, I live on the east coast. I never really liked California.
Q: Tell me about your past? Who are your parents, siblings?
I was born in 2068, San Francisco. I'm happy to've grown up around the world – I saw most of it before it was nuked in 2090. I've three older brothers whose asses I must kick every once in a while. My father is a founding member of the Mercenary's Guild, founded after the start of the Islamic Republic of France [IRF] in 2050. My mother is a “housewife,” if that's what you call home-schooling four kids in everything from the ABCs to firing a handgun. I've done some protection details, some espionage, but that was just high school. And if you ask me about prom, I'm going to hurt you.
Q: How did you become antagonistic?
I was hired for some cleanup work in France. The US sent some spies to destroy the IRF's nuclear stockpile. Some senators thought they could win brownie points with the IRF by turning in their own guys. I was not involved in the missile strike, or the raid that took them out. I was only supposed to get any stragglers. There was only one – Lt. Kevin Anderson. He didn't want to die. Thankfully, I was paid for the Paris job. Now the Senators have to pay me extra if they want him to stay dead.
Q: What do you hope nobody ever finds out about you?
Nothing. I like my job. I like my life.
Being single sucks. But I'll live.
I respect Kevin Anderson. But so would anyone who read his file. Do I understand why he wants to kill my clients? I'd do the same in his position. I'm still going to kill him.
Do I like my employers? Does anyone like congress? I still take their money.
But do I have to rush? There are 14 senators on Lt. Anderson's little list. I only need one to authorize my payment. They know that … I just never overly stressed the point when the contract was negotiated. Was that my fault? No. Maybe I wouldn't want someone to point it out to them, but it was never a secret.
Obviously, my life's an open book.
Q: What do you like or dislike about the other characters from your book?
I like Lt. Anderson … Kevin. He's challenging. And hard to hit, even when I'm aiming carefully. Sure, he's not bad looking. And he's daring – the man jumped onto the third rail just to escape me once. How many people understand you can walk along the third rail as long as you don't touch anything else? And he timed it so close to the train that I actually thought he was road kill. Then he did that trick with the credit cards. He's a cunning little bastard. I never said I wanted to kill him. It's just a job. I mean, these bastards killed his friends, they killed his wife, everyone else he knows is under surveillance in case he ever swings by. You have to feel for the guy. I just hope I can put two into the back of his head so he doesn't feel anything.
As for dislike … if Kevin Anderson had enough money, I would consider taking a counter-offer to wipe out my clients for him.
Q: What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?
I saw Kevin crying over his dead wife. It was heartfelt and touching. He seemed just so sad, you just wanted to console him. I did the only thing I could. I shot him twice in the chest. He got better.
Q: What's the worst thing you've done to someone?
Define “worst.” There's an Afghan warlord who's missing a poppy field; he doesn't like me much. I once worked over someone with a food processor and a microplane grater, but he had it coming. One of those tin-plated, powered-armor “Iron Men” mercs “accidentally” caught fire while inside a suit; but he stole my kill. He got better.
Q: What type of places do you hang out in?
The office, mostly. I'm either there or on assignment. The last time I went home … technically, I live with my parents, but I don't think I've slept there in months. It's 2093 now, so … it's been a while.
Q: What annoys you more than anything else?
Stupidity and arrogance, usually in a splendidly destructive combination. Which kinda describes my clients right now. Who thinks it's a good idea to blow away an entire ops team for political brownie points?
Q: What would be the perfect gift for you?
A high-velocity .22 caliber handgun with 20x magnification, specifically modified to fire high-explosive, armor piercing, chlorine-isotope rounds. I could stop a truck with one of those things. And probably blow away the front half of it in the first burst.
Q: Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets? What kind?
The closest I have to a pet is the guy in our supply room. He gets me coffee and ammo. That's all I really need. I don't have him on a leash … actually, I do, it only looks like a comm unit.
Q: Do you have a mentor? Who are they? How did you become their student?
My parents are my mentors, really. They taught me everything. Do I really need to answer “how” I became their student?
Q: What do you find most relaxing? (Not as in stress relief, but as something that actually calms you down.)
My job is relaxing. Where else can you hunt down a terrorist one week, and spend the next on a beach, guarding a celebutard who drives around in a stretch Hummer? Outside of that, my morning coffee. No one interrupts my coffee. Ever.
Q: What do you think of drugs and alcohol? Are there any people should not do? Why or why not?
I'm 100% for drug use. I encourage people to take drugs. We need fewer stupid people in the world. Who'm I to stop them? They should do me a favor, and not take anyone else with them when they go. Besides, it's easier for me when my target is blitzed out on his couch with a Wicked Sixty patch on him.
Q: If you could change anything in your book, what would it be and why?
I'd've done some due diligence on my clients. They're senators, how bad could they be? Pretty bad.
Q: What's the worst thing someone ever did to you?
I was stabbed once. I hate being stabbed. I'd rather be shot. Or blown up.
Title: Codename: Winterborn
Author: Declan Finn and Allan Yoskowitz
Page count: 280
Genre: Science Fiction / Adventure
Price: $9.99 Kindle, or $14.95 in Paperback. On Amazon.com