Mae is in the RUNA’s military. Specifically, she is a praetorian, which is me showing off with my college classes on Latin and Roman history again. I mentioned in Justin’s post that the RUNA has adopted a loose Greco-Roman culture. In the Roman Empire, praetorians were the emperor’s elite guards. They were well-trained and often instrumental in overthrowing the emperors they were supposed to protect. This is because the later Roman Empire was diverting so much of its regular military into conquering new lands that the praetorians were pretty much the only soldiers left in the city. So, if you wanted to stage a coup and become emperor, “all” you had to do was get the praetorians on your side to turn against their leader.
Anyway, back to the future. The RUNA has a senate, not an emperor, so that’s who the praetorians protect. They also fight on the RUNA’s behalf in the dangerous areas outside the country. Why? Because the praetorians are badass. The RUNA doesn’t like genetic manipulation--not after that virus that took out half the world--but they’re totally cool using technology to make super soldiers. Praetorians have tiny implants in their arms that amp up whatever neurotransmitter or hormone happens to be going strong. So, if you’re in a fight and high on adrenaline, the implant picks up on that and helps you increase your adrenaline to crazy levels that make you faster, stronger, etc. A fun(?) side effect is that the implant will also “helpfully” increase the chemicals of lust churning through you when you’re turned on. Don’t mess with praetorian sex lives.
The other thing to know about Mae is that this tough soldier girl actually comes from a posh, aristocratic background. In the RUNA’s formation, certain ethnic groups wanting to protect the purity of their genes were exempted from forced breeding. Mae is the descendent of one of these groups (which slang calls “castes”), a Finnish one, so she’s a rare blonde in the dark-haired RUNA. The castes, still hardcore about their genetic purity, like to keep their women pampered and at home having kids. So, the fact that a prime specimen like Mae ran off to the military is something of an oddity.
So Mae is a contradiction, a once-fashionable young woman trained in music and grand parties who now fights and kills for her country without hesitation. She keeps her emotions locked down, to the extent that she has sex with the lights off, lest her lovers see what she’s feeling. This impenetrable exterior drives Justin crazy because he’s made a habit (and career) of getting into people’s heads. He drives her crazy because her carefully controlled personality sees his vices as a sign of weakness. What could possibly go wrong with these two hanging out together?
One more character tomorrow!