In a world inundated by electron flow, Mike always felt the outsider. He didn’t understand computers, couldn’t ever make them do what he wanted. While his friends were engrossed in whatever latest augmented-reality game came out, he was in his father’s old garage, tinkering with solid, physical components, taking machines apart and trying to put them back together, more or less successfully.

Having fancy electronics was well and good for most people, but who did they call when their shiny toys stopped working or broke? Sure the megacorporations wanted to encourage buying new products to replace the old, but Mike’s friends knew he could stretch the life out of failing hardware, at least for a little while. Even if he didn’t have the right parts on hand, he usually found a way to make something work.

True to form he drove an old gas-powered van with a manual clutch – he explained that the reliability was worth the high cost of fuel when the local GridGuide went out, as it was prone to do from time to time. He didn’t mind that others used and enjoyed technology, he just knew that wasn’t the life he was going to lead.

Running the shadows wasn’t part of his plan either, but with agile fingers and a keen understanding of mechanical parts, particularly when everyone else seemed to focus on software, his services were in high demand. He started doing side repair jobs for “Blind Randy,” a local fence who eventually put him in contact with a fixer who saw his usefulness.

Inquisitive by nature but knowing when to shut up, he’s found that the new, exciting lifestyle he’s adopted has shown him far more of how the world works than he ever thought possible. For someone who likes to tinker, disassemble, and explore, that suits him just fine.