Do you have a first name?
May I ask what it is?
Okay — What is it you do for a living Mr Calder?
Several things. Mainly, I help out at Mamma Lou’s place. Mamma Lou raised me from when I was almost a baby. I look after her girls — keep the customers civil and civilised. I’ve also done some bounty hunting and a few other things.
What about school and education?
The usual — grade and high school here on Janus. Mamma Lou paid for that. She also paid for me to go to college back on Earth. I majored in Languages.
When did you graduate?
I didn’t — dropped out halfway through my final year.
Why was that?
Because there’s only one way open for a graduate — becoming a package-man. That wasn’t what I wanted, so I dropped out and enlisted in PDG ExSec. I did my seven years, took my discharge and came back to Janus.
You seem to be attracted to violence, Mr Calder — External Security, keeping order in a cathouse, bounty hunting. Do you like violence?
“Like” isn’t the word I’d use. I can be violent when I have to be — when the circumstances call for it — but I neither enjoy it, nor feel bad about it. It’s a question of doing what needs to be done at the time to protect others and to protect yourself. I just seem to be rather good at it.
A man of your obvious intelligence could go far in a more, shall we say, acceptable line of work, but you choose to stay in the Outer Levels and lead what some would call a somewhat dubious existence — why is that?
There are a lot of bad people in the Outer Levels. It’s a squalid, overcrowded, often dangerous place, but there are also a lot of good people there. The good people have something you rarely find down among the package-men and women in the Inner Levels — humanity, or should I say decency. They might be the lowest of the low, with little money and even less hope, but they’ll help you if they can and only expect in return what you can afford to give. They’ll trust you and you can trust them.
Besides — it’s home.