Reid is thin and wiry now after years of malnutrition. His once short hair is long and unkempt, shorn as often as necessary by the edge of a knife.
Once a warm and charismatic man, Reid has suffered in his isolation and is now distant, prone to long silences and sometimes unwittingly rude, lacking the social niceties he once had.
Reid's sole possession is his combat knife, dulled from heavy use over the years, but still strong and crudely sharpened as often as he was able.
Since finding his way out of the forest Reid has only talked to the expedition that found him, and has yet to re-establish any ties to the rest of the world as it is.
STAFF APPROVED ABILITIES/SKILLS/HISTORY
Reid is a highly trained operative, skilled in wilderness survival, ranged and close combat as well as infiltration, extraction and deep cover work. His survival and close combat skills have been honed since the event, but the other skills are more than a little rusty.
Reid became a member of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) at 26, having served in the Australian Army for 6 years at this point. He transferred to a counter terrorism unit still under the jurisdiction of SOCOMD (Special Operations Command) at age 29, and was tasked with pursuing Christopher Barkum, a known terrorist who had fled Australia to the U.S. He went on load to the D.E.A., who were pursuing known associates of Barkum's. It was during this time that Reid met and fell in love with Eris London, a young pilot and special agent working for the D.E.A. Their whirlwind romance culminated in their engagement in 2009, shortly before Eris was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Reid was was torn between his duty and the desire to care for his love, but when Barkum fled to Africa in 2010, Eris insisted that he pursue. She knew that a failure to apprehend Barkum would gnaw at Reid, and did not want him to see her undergoing the first stages of her treatment in South America. He promised to return as soon as Barkum was dead or in custody, but less than a week later, the Event tore the African continent apart and Eris never heard from her lover again.
Reid was en route to a safe house in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when the Event struck. The jeep he was driving was flung high into the air as if picked up by a tornado and thrown off road into the trees. He awoke from his concussion with no real recollection of what happened, and could barely fathom what he saw. Trees towered five or six times as high and as thick as they had before, and where he could make out the sky above, the Nevus looked down on him. He became convinced, much to the detriment of his sanity, that he was no longer on Earth - it did not seem possible, although he could not explain what had happened.
His radio and mobile phone seemed useless, and this further fuelled his delusion. It took many years for him to discover the truth, by which time he had been surviving in the Heart of Africa with no human contact for almost a decade. Hunted by beasts that were not of this world, his training and a fair dose of luck saved him more than once. He learned to hide and to run. He had little reason to roam, given how dangerous the forest was, but eventually, some time in early 2020, he was forced east by migrating predators that drove him on. It was then that he encountered Dr. Harold McGill, a scientist whose expedition had come to study the forest but had failed in almost every respect to catalog its nature. Predators and an environmental hostility to technology thwarted their efforts, but when they discovered Reid they were quick to extract him over land to the coast, where the knowledge that he was no longer alone threatened to overwhelm him and once again question his sanity. Perhaps this was all another delusion: a product of a desperately lonely mind to cope with the loneliness and horror he faced.
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Bare feet thumping against the dirt. Legs pumping hard to carry him forward. Trees racing by. The conspicuous void in the chorus of noises that usually filled the forest, a void that followed him on four legs, closing the distance faster than he could open it.
A fallen tree blocked his way, but the downward slope of the land made it so that he could scramble up over the side of the trunk, whose diameter was three meters across. He did so, then leapt off without risking a backward glance. It was still in pursuit.
Ahead the trees were sparser and dwarfed by the forest behind him. Their size and distribution resembled the trees on Earth, and he had a momentary pang of helplessness. Why run? Why not just stop? Turn and face the beast. Let it take you, Reid, because then this nightmare will be over. Surviving here is pointless, because you are alone and there is no end goal other than to die. It would all be over with so quickly.
But he did not seriously entertain that voice. The hopelessness of his plight often threatened to overwhelm him, but he was singularly focused on the problem in front of him. The reason for his continued existence was a far off dilemma that he could only untangle if he survived today. Just like every other day.
He slid and ran down the hill, weaving between trees faster now. There was more undergrowth however, a symptom of the increased light penetrating the canopy overhead. It was late afternoon and a cloudless sky looked down on him. And on the void of sound pursuing him. His breath was ragged now but he dare not stop.
A mighty crack, sharp and sudden, filled the air. It sounded as if a titan had snapped one of the great trunks in two, but in the echo of that mighty explosion Reid recognised it for what it was. Someone had just fired a rifle. The realisation almost stopped him dead in his tracks, but his momentum carried him downhill long enough for him to regain his senses. He wheeled around towards the noise and kept running. If the trees had been thicker, he might not have seen them, but here he spotted the source of the gunshot from a distance - two men, one of whom held a large hunting rifle. Reid sprinted straight for them.
“RUN!” He shouted. The men looked up in surprise, the shooter raising his rifle to take aim at Reid. His eyes widened at the sight, but then his jaw dropped when he saw what came in pursuit. He adjusted his aim and pulled the trigger, another thunderclap drowned out all other sound. Reid kept running.
“RUN!” He cried again. The unarmed man obeyed and sprinted away, while the shooter, brave but foolish, cleared the chamber and fired another shot. Reid raced past him. In a few moments the man’s scream filled the air, almost as loud as the gunshot. The void of sound disappeared, replaced by a triumphant roar and the sounds of feasting.
The surviving man ran ahead of Reid but was slow, and Reid had to pull him along. When they finally stopped some minutes later, their breath came in ragged gasps. Neither talked for a moment while they sucked in air as fast as their lungs could manage. Eventually the man spoke.
“Who - who are you?” He managed between breaths.
Reid paused, taking a moment to remember his own name.
“Reid.” he said. He had so many questions. Where to start? The other man took the lead, though.
“I’m Dr. Harry McGill. Were you part of the expeditionary force?” Reid didn’t know what he meant. He ignored the question.
“How did you get here?” He asked.
“We have a ship in Pointe Noire. We drove east to forward point Charlie then ditched the jeep for horses. We set up camp at the ruins of Kinshasa and have been making forays into the trees for a couple of weeks now.”
All of this came to Reid too quickly to process. He wasn’t expecting an answer like that, and it hit him all at once. Kinshasa. He was still in Africa.
“Ruins?” He asked haltingly, confused.
“Of Kinshasa. Didn’t you come that way?”
“Yes.” He answered. But Kinshasa hadn’t been in ruins when he came that way. What the hell had happened?
Dr. McGill looked puzzled, but Reid took his arm. The creature would hunt again soon, and he didn’t intend to be here.