origins: Feed, first installment in Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy.
app link: aqui
played by: Aubrey
AIM: meant to care
In 2014, the world ended.
That is to say, in 2014, two manmade viruses were released into the world. The Kellis flu was designed as the cure to the common cold, and Marburg Amberlee as the cure for cancer. Both did exactly what they were meant to, but when they combined in the human body and formed a new virus, Kellis-Amberlee, there was an unexpected side effect: the dead started to rise.
People were hit by cars, or had heart attacks, or fell off ladders, and then they got back up again and started biting people. And the people they bit soon started to do the same, and before long you had a global outbreak. Entire cities and nations fell, and over thirty percent of the world's population was killed in one summer - and for days while people died, governments and news networks all denied that it was happening.
It was exactly like every zombie movie ever made, and it could have ended the same way, except for one thing: plenty of people had actually seen those movies, and already knew how to fight back. Aim for the head, don't get bitten or let them bleed on you, and generally behave like a human in possession of a functioning brain, because that's the one thing the other side doesn't have - that and bullets. Those who found ways of fighting and killing them spread their knowledge over the internet, through blogs and Youtube videos and any way they could find, too fast and too widespread to be silenced. In the time it took for governments, the CDC and WHO, and mainstream news to get their acts together, the world could have ended - but it didn't, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to both George Romero and the bloggers of the world for that.
The world gradually returned to a semblance of normalcy - which isn't to say nothing changed. These days, frequent blood tests are a part of life, required to do things as simple as get in a car or enter a building. Most people don't leave the house if they can help it at all; those that do usually do it armed. Most buildings resemble small fortresses, hospitals aren't that far off from prisons, and travel outside of cities - or even in some parts of cities not adequately secured - is considered taking your life into your own hands. Because all mammals over forty pounds are capable of amplifying, few people keep dogs or horses or any large animals anymore - those that do, do so under strict regulations, far outside of cities, and are usually regarded as a little bit crazy and/or suicidal. For the same reason, it's not safe to eat any meat from mammals, and though bird and fish are still safe, many people are simply vegetarians anyway.
And, of course, internet journalism rose to a position of prominence and respectability. After the Rising, many people no longer trusted mainstream news organizations, and so turned to blogs for their news - over time, internet journalism became a licensed profession, and developed its own particular specialities and distinctions. Newsies like Georgia attempt to report the news, as devoid of opinion as they can manage, while Stewarts offer opinions based in fact. Irwins, including Georgia's brother, poke zombies with sticks for the entertainment of the masses, Aunties offer recipes, homemaking tips and stories of their lives, and Fictionals do exactly what you'd expect, with a hundred subcategories that don't mean a damn thing to anyone who's not a Fictional.
Three years after the Rising, two children were born, about six weeks apart. Both were orphaned by zombies, adopted by two bloggers attempting to put their lives back together, and named Shaun and Georgia Mason. The Masons lost their biological son, Phillip Mason, in the Rising - the first confirmed case of animal-to-human transmission of Kellis-Amberlee - and never quite got over that loss.
From the outside, they looked like a happy family, raising their children in the closest thing to a normal life possible post-Rising. The reality was that they were raised as props for photo opportunities - chasing ratings was safer, for their parents, than actually caring about their children. However, the effort of raising Shaun and Georgia as "citizens of the world, not citizens of fear", as their father once put it, meant they got things few children of their generation ever saw - trips to the zoo or the movies, the ability to play outdoors (in adequately secured areas), pets too small for full viral amplification... Being brought up that way, Georgia and Shaun never really had a chance when it came to having safe, sane, or what most people post-Rising would call normal lives. They got their journalist licenses as soon as they were old enough, and have been working as bloggers - which includes going out in the field and poking zombies with sticks - since then.
Over the past few months, they've been following Senator Ryman on his presidential campaign. The job was big enough on its own, the kind of thing that would make or break their careers, but Georgia and her team managed to dig up a conspiracy - one that leads right back to Ryman's running mate, Governer Tate, and the CDC.
Georgia is a natural journalist - smart, determined, and a born cynic. She makes a point of projecting a particular image to the world at large. She's the hard-hitting reporter of the team, the one who doesn't pull any punches, is absolutely devoted to the truth, and if she has a sense of humor, it's nothing but dry, biting sarcasm. There's a common perception among certain members of the press corps that she sucked up the entire supply of "jaded and cranky" between her and her brother, and now spends her time glowering from behind her sunglasses, gathering facts with which to ruin anyone who might annoy her, and possibly plotting the downfall of the western world. It's not true - mostly - but that kind of a reputation has its uses, so she doesn't really mind.
As a rule, Georgia is not terribly friendly. To anyone. It's not that she doesn't make friends, but if you're not used to her, it might take a while to recognize the relationship as friendship, at least on her end. All her friendships double as working relationships - probably a result of her warped childhood, if you want to look at it that closely (she doesn't) - and she tends to focus on the professional side of the relationship more often than not. Buffy's a "decent friend and a great techie"; Mahir, probably her best friend besides Shaun, is more likely to be regarded as her second in command than as a friend at all; and the highest praise and most affection she tends to show is in telling a friend they did well at their job.
Even when she does get close to someone, she retains a healthy awareness of their faults and weaknesses as well as their good points, and there's always a sense she's keeping them at arm's length - and that's because she is. Georgia's an extremely private person, who doesn't like to show emotion and doesn't even seem to have a personal life because that would mean opening up more than she's comfortable with. The only person who gets past that carefully constructed defence is her brother... and even then, she's more likely to express her affection for him by telling him she hates him and threatening to leave him for the zombies than in any normal fashion.
It's easy to think Georgia doesn't like people, but that's not what it is. Rather, she just has a fairly cynical outlook on human nature - people tend to accept the first easy answer given to them, and act on fear before reason - and she is not particularly surprised when people act according to it. That doesn't mean it doesn't annoy her when people don't bother to look for the right answer, or settle for entertainment value and what's comfortable to hear over the truth. She takes comfort in the fact that she and the people she cares about are smarter than that, and she has a tendency to get judgmental and sometimes just plain bitchy when she thinks someone's being stupid, especially willfully so. On the flipside, it tends to be somewhat of a surprise to her when people do use their brains, so that plus not being a horrible human being can sometimes be enough to earn you a little goodwill from Georgia.
Georgia's a leader almost as naturally as she is a journalist. She's happiest when she can delegate and trust people to handle their jobs without her worrying too much about them, but there's a reason she ended up as administrative head of After the End Times, and a reason that when she gives orders, people listen. She's practical and pragmatic, and very good at organization, with a head for facts and a talent for seeing the bigger picture. What's more, she doesn't panic in a crisis - she just goes cold and rational, expects the worst and plans for it.
Georgia and Shaun were raised to a faith of "tell the truth, know the escape routes, and always carry extra ammunition". That sort of thing is kind of bound to happen with parents like theirs. Knowing the escape routes and carrying extra ammunition are kind of background noise for her - she never forgets, but as far as conscious, active concerns go, she mostly leaves that sort of thing for Shaun to worry about. The part about telling the truth, though, she took to heart maybe more than even her parents intended. She's not really religious in any way, shape, or form, but her devotion to the truth comes damn close.
Telling the truth isn't just important to Georgia, it's her driving purpose in life. That doesn't mean that she's incapable of keeping a secret, or that she's tactless (though you might not know it from her habit of using the truth as a weapon when annoyed), but when it's important enough, there's not a thing in the world that can stop her from making sure the truth gets heard. She believes, above all, people should be allowed to make their own choices and form their own opinions, and doing that requires knowing all the facts. Knowing the whole truth means you don't have to be afraid of what you don't know. Given that, hiding the truth from people, or warping the truth until it's impossible to separate fact from opinion, and forcing people to live in fear is the closest thing to evil she can think of.
The only thing that matters to Georgia as much as the truth is Shaun. Growing up after the Rising means it's not safe to really trust many people - unless you know their personality so intimately that you can tell immediately when something's off, and know for sure they'll tell you if they know something's wrong, trusting other people means gambling with your life every single time, and Georgia's too attached to survival to do that if she can help it. This narrows most people's circle of trust to immediate family, significant others, and, on very rare occasion, extremely close friends. And with Georgia's parents being mostly interested in their children as props for ratings, the only person she really trusts is her brother.
In another time and place, their relationship would be described as unhealthily codependent - as it is, it's a survival mechanism, though still regarded by some people as a little creepy and questionable, even in their world. She can't sleep when he's not at least in the next room, preferably with the door open so she can hear him. She relies on him to run interference when she can't deal with people, and vice versa, and while she's perfectly capable of handling herself in field situations without him, she's happiest when Shaun's around and watching her back. Shaun being who he is, a part of her has accepted that she's going to lose him - probably some day sooner than either of them is ready for. The rest of her is certain that she won't survive all that long once he's gone, and doesn't want to. In the meantime, all she really wants is to keep reporting the news, telling the truth as best she can, and to be around her brother for as long as she can possibly keep him.
Like most people of her generation, she's got a bundle of issues any sane person is bound to develop in a world where zombies are a constant threat. She's deeply uncomfortable in crowds (which, for her, begins at maybe eight people in one room), though she's much better about that than most people her age, who tend to run screaming from crowds if you can even get them close enough to that many people. Animals over forty pounds - that is, big enough to amplify - are something she regards as potential threats, no matter how well-trained and controlled, and if she can avoid even being in the same general area as animals that big, she will very happily do so. She really dislikes physical contact from just about anyone but Shaun, and she very quickly gets tense and nervous in open spaces, anywhere without clear lines of sight, or any building that's not adequately secured and doesn't require blood tests to get into. Oh, and she believes that a person having obvious open wounds of any kind - even just a scratch - or acting strangely is a valid reason to point a gun at them until they get a blood test. That shouldn't be a problem or anything, right?
Abilities & WeaknessesEdit
- She's a blogger heading a major news site, which means she's pretty tech savvy, a damn good writer, and talented at sifting through a lot of information to find the bigger picture.
- Trained with most firearms - primarily handguns, but give her a shotgun or rifle or even a crossbow and she'll probably be able to keep herself alive with it. And in her world, "keeping yourself alive" generally means being able to manage headshots from a reasonable distance.
- In good enough physical shape to... not be easy prey for zombies in the field. She's got a lot of practice running for her life.
- She's a carrier for Kellis-Amberlee in its dormant form, and has a reservoir condition - basically, due to exposure to live KA when she was too small to amplify, she now has the live virus kennelled off in a specific part of her body (in Georgia's case, it's her eyes, though other reservoir conditions exist). Her pupils are permanently dilated, giving her extremely good low-light vision. Her eyes don't water, and she doesn't need to blink much. In addition, her reservoir condition has taught her body how to deal with the live virus, and if exposed to it, she'll still amplify, but she'll get better.
- Something of a natural leader, and very good at reacting calmly and rationally in a crisis.
- Her upper body strength isn't the best - she nearly failed her field trials for her license twice because of it.
- Without her sunglasses, she's basically blind if there are bright lights anywhere in the vicinity. Worse than blind, really, because blind people don't have to deal with intense pain due to exposure to light.
- Prone to migraines, which can be seriously incapacitating. The severity is directly related to her exposure to bright lighting conditions, but constant, low-level pain is pretty much normal for her.
- If exposed to live Kellis-Amberlee, she will still amplify, and until she gets better, will still be as dangerous as any zombie. In addition, after amplification she's likely to develop a secondary reservoir condition as an immune response to the virus. Theoretically she could spontaneously amplify without any outside exposure to the live virus, but it's exceedingly unlikely.