A Day in the Life of a Cybernetic Merc

a day in the lifeVick Corren: A Day in the Life of a Cybernetic Merc

Elle E. Ire


One of the members of my local writing group wanted to know what a typical day (not all the crazy, unusual, heroic stuff, but the mundane minutiae) would be like for my main character. I think she’s curious about just how deeply I know Vick Corren, the cybernetic mercenary soldier protagonist of THREADBARE. Given that I’ve had Vick in my head for about twenty-five years, I’d say I know her pretty well. In case anyone else is curious, I’ll share Vick’s day with you.

So, what would a typical day for her look like? Well, unfortunately, Vick isn’t all sunshine and positivity in the mornings. Not to say she isn’t a morning person. She’s a morning, afternoon, evening, and night person, ready to do whatever needs doing, regardless of the hour. But mornings are a little tough. For one thing, Vick tends to run on minimal sleep, with her computerized implant, also known as VC1, maximizing her energy usage to prevent fatigue as much as possible. When Vick does sleep, she doesn’t tend to sleep well. Given some of the traumas she’s endured, like, oh, say, dying while trapped in an airlock and being brought back to life by replacing sixty-three percent of her brain with a snarky computer, she has frequent nightmares. She rarely remembers them, just vague impressions, though occasionally one will stick well enough to thoroughly shake her. And that means her empathic teammate, Kelly, will undoubtedly contact her within minutes to make sure she’s okay.

ThreadbareFS_v1Assuming she can breathe through it and make herself function, (or even if she can’t, since that would be admitting weakness), Vick will say she’s fine and get on with her day, even if it’s three in the morning. If it’s very early, then she’s off to the Fighting Storm’s base gym for a heavy workout including some kickboxing to take out the nightmare frustration. At this hour, she’ll have the facility to herself, or maybe there’ll be one spectator—Kelly, who never believes Vick when she says she’s “fine.” If Kelly’s watching, Vick will put on a little extra “show,” pulling out all the stops to be as impressive as possible. Maybe there’s nothing between them, but, for some reason, Vick feels the need to demonstrate her agility and power when Kelly’s around.

After the workout, it’s a quick shower in the gym and a big breakfast with or without Kelly. If it’s with, it probably takes place in Kelly’s quarters and includes things like napkins and healthy choices like fruit and yogurt imported from Earth. If Vick’s alone, it’s in the Dome Diner, a restaurant popular with the locals on Girard Moon Base and famous for their six eggs/three meats breakfasts that cater to the heavy mercenary soldier population.

From there, it’s weapons maintenance or researching military strategy or martial arts classes four days a week, or a trip to the Fighting Storm’s medical department the other three days a week. In Medical, her personal team there downloads information from her implants, checks the brain-implant interface, treats her for her chronic headaches, and monitors her other biological functions, many of which are also regulated by the implanted technology. Vick dreads going to Medical. It’s uncomfortable, invasive, and unnerving to have her “handlers” know more about what goes on in her head than she does. But she goes. She goes because she’s ordered to go.

After her medical “tweaking,” it’s time to work with Kelly on better identifying and processing Vick’s emotions—a much more pleasurable experience. In the airlock accident, the resulting brain damage destroyed Vick’s ability to connect with her own emotions. As an empath, Kelly can read what Vick’s feeling, explain it to her, and help her rebuild those pathways. Kelly also gives Vick the opportunity to purge emotions that have built up between sessions, pushing them out through an empathic channel that bonds the two of them together. The act is sometimes stressful but ultimately rewarding, exhausting but relaxing. Once their session is complete, Vick will often take a quick “power nap” to recoup her energy before any late afternoon activities.

Late afternoons are normally made up of mission briefings, or perhaps a second workout with sparring partners—Lyle from her own team or anyone who happens to be in the gym who’s willing to get physical with a cyborg. If anyone volunteers, Vick anonymously buys them a beer at the Alpha Dog Pub in the promenade dome the next time she sees them there.

The second workout means a second shower, then dinner with Kelly involving far too many leafy green things and not enough vat-grown beef. After dinner, it’s a quick walk to the pub for a couple of craft beers—Vick can’t get drunk. The implants won’t allow more than a good, solid buzz. But she likes the taste, she likes being surrounded by people, even if she doesn’t really feel like she’s part of the group, and she likes taking the edge off her consistent frustration and anger with the state of her life. She’s property—owned by the Fighting Storm, a machine not a person. The least she can do is spend her miniscule allowance (not a paycheck–the Storm takes most of her earnings to pay her medical costs) on some quality beer.

Bedtime is reasonably early—around 11:00 P.M. since the nightmares will have her back up by three, and she’ll do it all over again.


Elle E. Ire resides in Celebration, Florida, where she writes science fiction and urban fantasy novels featuring kickass women who fall in love with each other. She has won many local and national writing competitions, including the Royal Palm Literary Award, the Pyr and Dragons essay contest judged by the editors at Pyr Publishing, the Do It Write competition judged by a senior editor at Tor publishing, and she is a winner of the Backspace scholarship awarded by multiple literary agents. She and her spouse run several writing groups and attend and present at many local, state, and national writing conferences.

When she isn’t teaching writing to middle school students, Elle enjoys getting into her characters’ minds by taking shooting lessons, participating in interactive theatrical experiences, paying to be kidnapped “just for the fun and feel of it,” and attempting numerous escape rooms. Her first novel, Vicious Circle, was released by Torquere Press in November 2015, and will be rereleased in 2019 by Dreamspinner Publications along with her new novel, Threadbare, the first in the Storm Fronts series.

To learn what her tagline “Deadly Women, Dangerous Romance” is really all about, visit her website: www.elleire.com. She can also be found on Twitter at @ElleEIre and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ElleE.IreAuthor.

Elle is represented by Naomi Davis at BookEnds Literary Agency.



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