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ALONG WITH THE WARNING ABOVE THIS INTERVIEW I WOULD PERSONALLY LIKE TO THANK LIZZIE FOR BEING SO OPEN WITH ME AND ALL THE PEOPLE WHO AREN'T EVEN AWARE OF THE HAPPENINGS IN PARAGON... Character Interview Trigger warning: the following interview contains discussion of sexual violence. Hi Lizzie, thanks for sitting down at chatting with me about your experience's while you've been at Paragon. Some of these questions might be difficult so you can choose to not answer any questions that are too personal. Thank so much for inviting me here, Clare! I appreciate the heads up – thanks for being so understanding. I’m eager for the opportunity to share my story. [Smiles.] Q1. When you were initially separated from your mother Regina at the gates of Paragon where were you taken immediately afterward? [Nodding, deep breath.] When they broke the news that I wouldn’t be allowed through the gates, my mom and I were actually already separated – they’d tested her first and sent her through, and she’d gone without thinking because she knew I wasn’t sick. So when my “test” came back and they claimed I was carrying the virus, there wasn’t anything we could do. The soldiers took me away without a word, heading toward the outer gates while my mother screamed through the fence. I was just too shocked to react – you know how that happens, when you just freeze like that? I couldn’t process what was going on, that I was sick, that I was going to die… And then we turned a corner and I couldn’t hear my mom anymore, and one of the guard’s comm device crackled and he looked up at the watchtower for confirmation. I saw someone in there nod, and they changed direction. I thought there was a mistake with the test, that they were taking me back – but they didn’t. They brought me through a side door and deposited me with some other women in a hotel in a deserted part of the town. Q2. How many other girls were taken as concubines? At first there were just a handful of us, but by the time they closed the gates for good, there were probably 25 or 30. Q3. Do you know what kind of drugs they had you on, or was it like the "stitch," to keep you amiable with the "Clients"? We were scared, but we weren’t about to sit down and take their abuse either, so soon they realized that if they gave us some kind of sedative it would keep us more calm, more compliant. They put it in our food and water, so we didn’t have a choice – it was either take the drugs or starve. I think this was probably where they got the idea to do it to the population at large, since they’d started using it with us years before they tainted the compound’s food, and it worked – there were a lot fewer incidents once everyone was mildly sedated. Thankfully, we weren’t subject to the stitch, unless (like me) you fought back, and ended up on one of the dramas. Q4. They said that all the concubines were sterilized so there wouldn't be any unwanted pregnancies, why would they do that with what they considered "the brightest minds of Paragon & women who were beautiful"? Wouldn't this be a waste of new life for their new "Egalitarian" world? Oh, absolutely – if they considered us citizens. But I was one of the unlucky few who were chosen for a different – darker – purpose, on the whims of a small group of powerful people who felt entitled to whatever they wanted. We were disposable to them. [Shrugs.] Q5. What were the living conditions in your quarters like? We have the opulence of the "Uppers" & the squalor of the masses. Where in between those areas? The living quarters were the one thing we couldn’t really complain about. The men of the Ruling Class were used to living a certain lifestyle, and they made us part of it – our rooms were clean, large, comfortable, well-decorated. We were lavished with clothes and jewels, so they had something pretty to look at when we joined them at the feasts each day. And though they fed us separately and our food was tainted with the drugs, it was plentiful. In that respect we were better off than the rest of Paragon – we did not go cold or hungry in the winter months, and we were not put to hard labor. All we lacked was the one thing we needed most: freedom from their abuse. Q6. When you became aware of your surroundings, how long did you have to continue before they got you out? I was actually aware of what was going on from the beginning. The drugs aren’t like the stitch, where you lose your memories and just start living this other life. I still knew who I was, still knew I was being kept against my will – it just… was harder to care, under the influence of the drugs. But I was careful about what I ate, and tried to stick to foods that didn’t absorb the drugs well (like raw produce) as much as possible to minimize the effects the drugs would have on me. And after about two and half years of that, I finally decided that I’d rather die than go on living that way, so I attacked the man who put me there, and that’s when they moved me to the jail. But I wasn’t there for long before an old colleague of my mom’s – from before Paragon – recognized me and help me escape to her. Q7. After being reunited with your mother and coming part of the rebellion did you have any other personal vendettas against members of the ruling class? Besides the one you actually fought off? You know, the majority of men within the Ruling Class actually aren’t *bad* people. I don’t think a lot of the men we would see at the feasts even realized that we were being abused – they just thought we were entertainers, or servants, like the waiters or the cleaning staff they brought in to maintain the hotel. There was only a small subset who would visit us in our chambers, who would… force us. The rest, they were just there, doing what they’d been asked to do in trying to figure out how to run the colony. Obviously, we were resentful of them, of the power they held and their inability to use that power to help us, because they didn’t care enough to see what was going on right under their noses. But a vendetta against them? No. They were victims here, too. Q8. Do you have issues about with being touched in intimate way after your awful experience? [Shrugs uncomfortably.] I’m sure as much as anyone else in this situation would. I haven’t really been close in that way to anyone since… But someday, with the right person. Q9. Do you have any friends who are still being kept as concubines in Paragon? If so is there any way to get them out? Yes, I’m sure there are still women trapped there. [Shaking head.] And I’m sure we could get them out, if we made it a priority. But so far, the rebels have been dealing with other issues. [Sighs.] Q10. Where is your mind right at this moment about your place in the rebellion? Are you still completely dedicated to the cause or do you have some second thoughts? [Considers.] What’s most important to me are the people of Paragon and preventing future abuses. Paragon *could* be a wonderful place to live, if we approached things a little differently than we have thus far. I’ll support whoever can deliver that future, whether it’s the rebels or even the leaders of Paragon, if they were willing to change. I do believe in second chances.