Interviews with my imaginary friends: Natalie Dahl

For this year’s A-to-Z April Challenge, I’m interviewing characters from my and/or my twin’s fiction. Some of them are major characters, some are supporting cast, and some have managed to avoid any page-time (so far).

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I know the theme says interviews, but I want to do something different today, so I have a snippet of story about this character to share.

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Wind whipped over the broken land, loud even through the helmet of her hazard suit.  This one had better pay off, she thought.  We can’t afford to keep coming out here.

Once, Natalie had believed running a salvage operation would lead to big profits, not to mention public acclaim, if she managed to turn up something good, like pre-War cultural artifacts.  Collectors always wanted those.  Sure, metal that wasn’t irradiated all to hell and back was in demand by some of the outlying enclaves, but that wasn’t where the real money was, nor her own interests.  So she chased rumors of ruins, of places that had been forgotten and therefore hadn’t already been sifted through by three generations of looters and salvagers and the damn government’s own secret-finders, because sure as the Fire and the Ice, there were people under Jellico whose job it was to see that no one else got their hands on certain things.

“Boss, something over here — I think it could be the front door.”  That was Asher on the radio, who never called her Mom when they were working.  “Want me to check it out?”

“Negative, Ash.  Wait for the rest of the team.  We’ll be there in a minute.”

Could they be so lucky?  If Ash had located an entrance to those pre-War ruins — underground pre-War ruins, hidden and undisturbed all this time — that she’d been seeking for years, maybe they’d finally found something that would bring in those big profits.

Natalie picked up her pace, but not enough to compromise stable footing.  A rip in her suit could mean a couple of hours in decon — and the cost of replacing the suit, of course — or it could mean a horrible death.  No knowing which.  Better not to take the risk.

Ash and Theo were waiting for her when she crossed the ridge on the other side of the gully; Erin still hadn’t arrived.

“So…?” Natalie asked.  “Is it?”

Ash grinned inside his helmet.  “We haven’t opened anything, Boss, but… Yeah.  Looks that way.”

Erin walked up then, carrying the other satchel of survey equipment, the one with the deep-sonar gear for finding and mapping underground rooms.

Ash pointed out the scarred metal slab peeking through wind-deposited sand and soil.  Erin nodded and slung out the sonar gear.  Just like that, the team went to work, each knowing what to do.

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About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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