We find Christian Edge finishing cleaning the workspace of the galley. He gives it a last wipe and hangs the rag to dry. Looking up he notices the camera.
Christian: I just finished up the dinner dishes, but I can heat up something for you if you are hungry.
Interviewer: No, no. I wanted to talk if you had a moment.
Christian: You want to do the interview?
Interviewer: Oh you’ve seen us moving around the ship...well yes. Where do you want to do this? Would you accept cameras in the Companion Suite?
Christian: No, sacred space.
Interviewer: Of course.
Christian heads into the lounge and takes a seat at the long table. His handsome face framed by the portraits he’s painted of the crew.
Christian: Fire away!
Interviewer: First the easy ones..
What is your job on the ship?
What brought you to the Summer's Gift?
What sort of life did you leave behind?
What do you think of your crewmates?
Christian: "Not wasting any time I see…. My job on the ship, Christian says as he settles down on the lounge chair, "I'm the ship's steward. Which means, basically, that I cook, clean, take care of the passengers and the crew. Ship's mother. I came here, to the Gift... I was on leave from the Guild. I wanted to work, to see the 'verse."
Interviewer: "Isn't this an unusual way for a Registered Companion to see the Verse? Why not a cruise ship, or luxury liner?"
Christian: "I own a fourth of the ship. I have a vested interest in making sure the Gift is profitable. Truth be told, luxury liners, cruise ships. They don't explore. They visit. I wanted to explore."
Interviewer: "I can't imagine the selection of clients is quite the same on the Rim as in the Core. So, profit and comfort must not be your primary interest. But exploration? What do you think is out here?"
Christian: "People." Christian leans forward. "Companions are in the business... the study of people. People on the Rim are different. Even the wealthy, even the affluent have a flavor I can't find back home."
Interviewer: "Can you explain this difference to a layman?"
Christian: "The difference between Beethoven and the Beatles. Picasso and Lorm of Shinon." Christian explains.
Interviewer: "Does your Companionship interfere with being Ships Steward?"
Christian: "So far, no. I've yet to have a client who has contracted me for an extended period of time while aboard. Eventually, I suspect that will happen. I'm not sure what will happen then."
Interviewer: "Who on the crew could take your place in the galley or lounges?"
Christian tries to imagine someone else doing the job. Arden? No. Rina? Great Buddha, no! Nika?
Christian: "Rick, I suspect, or Nika. They might share the duties."
Interviewer: "The crew on a light transport are not usually selected for their charisma or personalities. Do you feel out of place in this rough world?"
Christian: "There are times, yes. But the crew of the Gift are very welcoming, very accepting. One of the joys of being on the Rim is that differences are often accepted because survival makes them less important."
Interviewer: "You are a Buddhist correct? Are you a pacifist as well?"
Christian: "I wish I could be, but as much as I believe in Buddhism, I also believe in another ancient idea. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Interviewer: "It seems like violence is unavoidable for a ship ‘’Out in the Black’’"
Christian: "Unfortunately, out here people often have to solve their own problems."
Interviewer: "There isn't much in the way of law out there? What about the Federal Marshalls?"
Christian: "The Marshalls aren't as numerous a force as they would like to be, I'm sure. It isn't like in the Core, where you have more than enough officers to respond to any emergency.”
Interviewer: "Speaking of violence, one of your crewmates told me a bit about your encounter with Reavers. Did you know what you were involved in when you set out to explore the verse?"
Christian: Reavers... No. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Not really."
Christian gets a far away look for a bit and the camera does a close up. He seems to be lost in thought for a moment then glances away. The camera pulls out again.
Interviewer: "And yet, here you are back en route to Blue Sun."
Christian: "I'm either very stupid or very foolish. Take your pick."
Interviewer: "Is that it? Or is there something you are looking for out in the black?"
Christian glances down the hall as he considers the question.
Christian: "I might be. I don't know yet. I'll let you know if I find out."
Interviewer: "You call yourself a student of people... do you think people who ply these space lanes share something. something that brings them out here, the risks, the vast distances..."
Christian: "They share the black. Their reasons, their motives, what they get from the experience... that's an individual thing."
Interviewer: "So nothing unusual..."
Christian: "No. Some people are running, some people are looking for adventure. I suspect, disappointing for you I know, many are simply looking to survive"
Interviewer: "I think many people watching this don't really know what survival means out here. So survival is not a bad answer. Not your answer of course."
Christian: "No. Though I do want to survive. Jobs can be scarce here. Many of the planets were terraformed poorly or barely at all."
Interviewer: "You've been described as the “conscience” of the Summer's Gift. First, what do you think that means? Second, do you worry that your survival Out in the Black is not helped by a good conscience?
Christian: "I have? … I suppose. My crewmates aren't as ruthless as they would like to believe. There are times when it seems easier to pass by someone in need without helping. That's shortsighted thinking. Karma dictates that our actions always return to us. I just remind my friends of that."
Interviewer: "Do you think that attitude is shared by the crews of other ships? I’ve heard most ships can be quite ruthless"
Christian: "I haven't met many others. I‘d hope they would do the same."
Interviewer: "This ship seems to have its share of .... er problems. Do you think there'd be more problems if you just 'passed by without helping'?
Christian: "No. I think if we did, we would very likely end up dead. The trouble would still come, but we wouldn't have the angels on our side. So to speak."
Interviewer: "One last question, for now. If you could petition one of your angels for something to change on the Summer's Gift, or with her luck, or whatever, what would it be?"
Christian leans against the arm of the couch, lost in thought.
Christian: "Let me see." He says, thinking. "I would like better furniture, I think." He smiles.