Moving forward! This week is Glass House's Inauguration Blitz—not annual, since this only happens once every four to eight years! Our … once-every-four-to-eight-years Inauguration Blitz, then. We’re focusing on government, how the country was born, presidential and congressional behavior and ethics, and—most importantly—the idea of revolution. With that in mind, we’ve gathered some of our favorite revolutionary characters for some down-and-dirty answers about their fights, who they’re fighting against, and when they know it's time to stand up and fight for the right side.

Next up, we have Helen, that crafty and brilliant heroine from George Ebey's Helen of Mars series.

1.     So first, the obvious. Tell us about your world. Where do you live? What’s the story there?

I live in Portland, Oregon. But that’s just where I eat, sleep, and occasionally check in with my parents. Truth be told, a majority of my time is spent online, playing games that take place in a bunch of different settings. It’s said that my generation will likely spend 30 to 40 percent of their lives fully immersed in some kind of augmented reality. I’m afraid I’m no exception. I’ve likely seen more artificial worlds through the eyes of one of my online avatars than I’ve seen the real world through my own eyes.

2.    Got it. And now, the bad guy. Who are you fighting against? And why?

My nemesis, you might say, is a shady company called MARSCORP. They own a fleet of cargo ships and robotic rovers, which they use to mine the surface of Mars for valuable minerals. And if that were the extent of it, everything would be fine. But there’s a problem.

The mining rovers are controlled remotely from Earth—sort of like a video game avatar, only it’s a real piece of equipment … on a real planet. It’s expensive to put them in the field, and to offset this cost, the company leases the rovers out to individuals to do the mining work for them. If you buy into one of these leases, you get to keep a percentage of any ore you find. So you could hit it rich … if your rover finds a particularly valuable deposit.

But here comes the other catch. In order to get one of these leases, you have to put up collateral, which could include, you know, everything you own. Your savings, your house, and any other asset you might have. If something happens to your rover—if it breaks down or gets damaged in some way—MARSCORP keeps your collateral and you end up with nothing.

So yeah, not good. A lot of people take the deal anyhow, because they see it as their ticket to untold riches. But in reality, most of them end up working like slaves for MARSCORP, never finding enough to pay off the initial investment, and worse, losing everything they have if something bad happens to their rover equipment. Essentially, MARSCORP is risking nothing while the average Joe who buys into a lease is risking everything.

The way I see it, they’re selling an impossible dream to people who are just looking for a way to get ahead. It’s basically predator lending, and it’s going unchecked because a few people in power are making a ton of money from it—mostly off the hard work and risk-taking of honest folks.

So what’s the answer? Call me an idealist, but it’s pretty clear to me. That’s not right. And it needs to stop.

3.    What do you think of revolutions, then? Obviously you’re a fan of fighting back. If you come across a corrupt government or system, do you think it’s your responsibility to fight them?

Yeah, I think that if you see a system or organization clearly using their power and influence to subjugate others for its own gain, you have a moral obligation to stand up to it. If that’s a form of revolution, then so be it. I didn’t aim to be a rebel—but here I am. And I don’t think I’d change that.

4.    What’s your goal with your fight? What do you hope to see happen?

I want MARSCORP to be held accountable for what they’re doing. I want them to admit that they’re setting people up for failure—and put safeguards in place that will make things fairer for them. After all, those people are just trying to earn an honest living. Is it right that they’re punished by someone who has more money than God, and who doesn’t care about the little people? Of course that would cost MARSCORP money, which means they’ll never do it.

Not unless someone makes them.

5.    Do you think you’ll succeed?

I have to. Unfortunately, my own parents have decided to buy into one of these Mars mining leases. They don’t see the danger involved. They only see their shot at making a fortune. I tried to talk them out of it, but they won’t listen. My family has put everything on the line for this.

And there’s something else that I haven’t mentioned yet. Not every rover operator is content with simply mining to make their money. Some operators are using their rovers to attack others and take the ore deposits that the miners worked so hard to find. What you have up there is a Wild West—on Mars. Gun-slinging bandits are holding people … or rovers … hostage, stealing everything they have, and getting away with it! And so far, MARSCORP has done next to nothing to stop this. They actually allow it! They don’t care if your rover is attacked and destroyed by some would-be thief. Why would they? They’re making money either way. 

So, you see? I have no choice but to get involved. I have to do whatever I can to help protect our family’s rover, while at the same time trying to figure out a way to force MARSCORP to give up this ridiculous scheme. And stop the bandits up there, while I’m at it. The odds may be against me. But as far as I’m concerned, failure is not an option.

6.    How do you know you’re doing the right thing? Don’t you think there are a lot of other people who are probably on the other side of the line?

Look, I have no problem with companies making money … as long as they do it fairly and follow the rules. But MARSCORP is using its position of power to make its own rules (rules that improve its bottom line at the expense of others), and that’s not right. As long as they insist on doing that, I’ll continue to resist them. And yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m doing the right thing.

7.    Final question. What do you think of being a heroine rather than a hero? Does it matter? Can a girl be just as revolutionary as a boy?

 Are you kidding? In my world, a girl can throw down just as well as any boy. A person’s skill is defined by how hard they work, not what their gender is. My best friend, Misty, and I have played countless games over many different platforms. Our avatars have battled beasts, conquered quests, and beaten the tar out of a slew of rival players, both male and female. These are the skills I plan to use once I get my hands on the controls of a Mars rover. 

And when I do, MARSCORP is going to find out just how well this girl can play their game.

Keep up with George, and watch for the first full Helen novel, out this year! 
Twitter: @ebeybooks
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