Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Character Interview: Christopher "Kip" Oliver

Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Welcome to my first character interview! This interview will be with the man who takes care of the Fence Jumpers. If you aren't familiar with the story, Fence Jumpers is a serial story about a group of kids/teens who vandalize buildings with graffiti to cover up their attempts to infiltrate government property and learn why people are disappearing and why people aren't looking for them. They're called Fence Jumpers (Jumpers for short) because they have an affinity for climbing and vaulting over fences, especially ones with "no trespassing" signs on them.

Without further ado, meet Kip!

*Kip enters calmly, dressed nicely in clean jeans and a plaid button-up shirt with his dark brown hair neatly combed. He sits down in a friendly manner, but seems a little bit nervous.*
Welcome to the interview, sir! Tell us about yourself. Don't worry, none of this will be available to the authorities, so you can say what you like.
K: "Thank you. Well, my full name is Christopher Adam Oliver, but almost everyone calls me Kip, so feel free to call me that too. I am... Twenty-six? Yes, I think that's right. It's been a while since I tried finding out. I used to work in a governmental position interning as a research assistant, but now I'm full-time fugitive alongside the Fence Jumpers.
What kind of research did you assist in?
K: "The capability of connecting prosthetics to the brain, enabling the patient with the prosthetic to control it with some degree of ease."
Why that field?
K: "It fascinated me. The idea that a limb of metal or plastic could be controlled by the brain? Incredible. It would be an amazing breakthrough. If we can connect prosthetic limbs, maybe we can use more than just those to replace absent or dead parts, internal organs like hearts or lungs."
That sounds like a massive undertaking. But what happened that made you lose your job? If you loved it so much, why stop?
K: "I didn't quit voluntarily. I loved my work and the work the other scientists were doing. But as I was finishing up for the day, I got an email. Upon opening it, I realized it was sent to the wrong address. I forwarded it on to my superior, since he was the intended recipient. But I was stupid and read the email, I learned that the work my boss was doing had a bigger goal in mind. The research we were doing was for cyborg creation, from what the email suggested. I was alarmed, and the next morning I confronted my superior about it. He waved me off and warned me not to speak of it again. This, of course, got me curious, and it did some digging. This digging alerted someone higher up, who sent security for me. A coworker saw them coming and warned me. I escaped and never went back."
That must have been hard for you, leaving your job like that. What happened after?
K: "It was hard. I wanted so badly to stay, to continue working, but I knew I wouldn't be able to stay. Either I escape, or I'm arrested. After escaping I knew I couldn't go home, that I couldn't contact any friends or family without putting them in danger. I went into hiding. I was looked for, a news report even had me as a wanted criminal, someone who had been leaking research secrets to other facilities. That solidified my future: I couldn't go home ever again. I was on my own."
How long was it between this event and finding the Jumpers?
K: "About a year, I think. I was a fugitive, so I hid wherever I could. By that time, the Nabbers - people who kidnap the homeless or orphans who are on the run - had begun sweeping the streets of the city and suburban areas for the homeless or orphan. I was hiding when I met a kid in his early teens. He shared my hiding place, so neither of us dared betray the other. After that, he took me back to what he called home, which was a nest of tunnels and caves under a warehouse in the really old parts of the city. We're still there today."
How many kids were down there?
K: "Oh, not more then fifteen. They were all so young, and terrified. The boy who found me, Rory, was the oldest at fifteen. He... *Takes a shaky breath* He was captured a week after I began living with the kids."
Was Rory what made you and them decide to start their current "careers" as graffiti artists?
K: "It was. Rory's little brother Cody was all for it. So we started the Fence Jumpers, and they were all out at the old playground, training and exercising for attempts at infiltrating buildings for answers. No one comes to the old parts of the city anymore, so we were pretty safe at the park. Things got a little more dangerous as time went on, but we've adjusted."
How did you find more kids?
K: "We would get them off the streets as we found them, and take them back to the hideout. We lost some good kids, though, too... But we fight for them, wherever they are."
Of course. And what do you think of all the kids and being, in a sense, a father figure? You're probably the oldest of them all.
K: *Laughs* "Oh yes, I am the oldest. They're all in their teens or younger. I was twenty-two when they found me, and Rory was, as I said, the oldest. I don't know how much of a father figure I am to them, since they sometimes prefer to completely ignore me. But they're all great kids. All of them are incredibly brave and strong for each other, especially for the youngest of them. Cody became as much of an anchor for them as I was, maybe more so. They're all great, though. They've become a kind of family to each other. Some of them would gladly die or be caught in place of others."
They sound like a close-knit group. Are there any kids in particular you find that stand out among them? Someone who seems to be more at the head of the charge for their goal?
K: "Some, yes. Cody is definitely among the top. He's friendly with everyone, and loves them all like his own siblings. A lot of the younger boys look up to him. Claire is a calming point for the girl Jumpers. *Smiles* She's blunt, but it seems to keep them all from going to hysterics. I don't know much about her, but she seems to have a special place for Cody. Their relationship encourages the others to keep going, and them together makes everyone a bit happier knowing that not even what's going on above ground can stop people from loving each other.
They sound adorable. Is there anyone that stands out as a trouble-maker?
K: "Wes is one of our aspiring mischief-makers. He's a kid I still don't know if I fully understand, like Claire. He's great with the others, but there are moments when he seems cold and snarky. He's popular with some of the girls, but drives a lot of the kids crazy. He probably has his own set of problems to deal with, we all do, but he has a strange way of doing it.
I see. While we're kind of on the topic of family and love. Do you have any family? Or a special someone?
K: *Hesitates* "I have a father. My mother died a couple years before I became a fugitive. My father worked as a mechanic, and still does to the best of my knowledge. I have an older brother, who is married and has twin girls. The twins should be... Oh, twelve, maybe? I think they're twelve. I haven't seen them in years... *Swallows, blinking at the ground* As for my love life... I do... did, have someone. She... *Smiles shakily* Emma was amazing. Funny, clever, and beautiful. She was studying to become a doctor, and she understood my gibberish when I talked about my work, and we would sit and discuss theories or procedures for hours. She worked part time at an ice-cream parlor while she was in college, and I would hang out there to do homework. Or tried to."
What happened to her?
K: *Bitterly* "I ruined our future together. I became a fugitive. She was still alive when I saw her last, but it don't know where she is now or what she's doing, if she's alive at all... but after I read that email and approached my boss, I destroyed any chance of a future with her. I had asked her share for future with me a few days earlier, and promised to give mine to her." *Inhales sharply, leaning back* I'm sorry, can we change the subject?
Sure, sure. What was your childhood like?
K: *Laughs* "My childhood? Goodness, I was a terror. I was the child every parent wishes they never have. It didn't help that I had an older brother who encouraged and promoted my mischief. I got into everything, and explored all day and came home late. I was nosy and curious, which I suppose stayed with me while I was an intern. I hated being cooped up inside, and if I was I wouldn't keep still.

"As I grew up, I calmed down. My brother and I still got into a fair amount of trouble, but I didn't mind staying indoors as much. I became engrossed in reading, and nearly always read anywhere. *Smiles* My parents encouraged this behavior. I was still active, and would often tag along with my brother when he went to the gym."
What was your brother like?
K: "Evan was tough. He knew what he wanted, and when he wanted it. He rather relished the idea of trouble, and he would jump into it and think later most of the time. He was one of the biggest kids in our school, but he was never a bully, and he stood up for the ones who were bullied. He stood up for me, too, his annoying nerdy brother. He married his high school sweetheart, Rebekah, after college. They moved away to New York province a couple years after the twins were born."
He sounds like a nice guy. So what do you think of recent events? With Skyler and his sister and all that's happened?
K: "It's been rather crazy. Skyler's a bit timid and unsure of himself, but he's a good kid. Hannah does well with him, and makes him feel more at ease, which is good. As for the other events... Obviously Tony's capture.... that's rough. *Falls silent, but then clears his throat* I'm worried, too, about what happened to Claire and Dimitri, when they both blacked out. I don't know what to think about that. It worries me to think there's someone among us who maybe isn't one of us. It frustrates me that I don't know how I can find him or her. I'm also a bit worried about Skyler. A lot has happened since he came, things that haven't happened before, and I suspect he blames himself for some or all of it. The whole event with Madison Carter was probably a good thing. I feel better knowing we have someone up top that we can trust."
I hope you guys can figure things out. Okay, last questions: what's you're favorite color, favorite candy, and favorite music?
K: "Wow, um... my favorite color would probably be steel blue. Favorite candy... Anything chewy, but not gum. I hate gum. Music... I like the really old jazz music that was played long ago. It was Emma's favorite, and she got me into it."
Aww. Well, thanks so much for letting me interview you, Kip. I learned a lot, and I hope the readers did too. But I'll let you get back to your Jumpers now.
K: "You're very welcome. I enjoyed the interview. I hope anyone reading it will enjoy it, too. It's not often I get to reminisce. *Chuckles* The kids never seem to have the time to listen to my ramblings.
Ha, well they are certainly missing out. Thanks again, Kip!

*Kip stands, nodding, and departs.*

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this interview! I know I did. And I will hopefully see you all on Saturday. And if not Saturday, then soon after, because I need to catch up on writing more of the Jumpers. So sit tight! It'll be here! :)

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