This article is the third in a series about the main characters from Yesterday’s Demons. The planet Verde is yearning for revival, and although these men and women don’t realize it yet, they’re the ones who are going to make it happen. Today’s article focuses on Fritz Reinhardt.
Fritz is 24-years-old and is the older brother of Cassie. Remember how Cassie is highly intelligent and fiercely determined, so much so that she holds a bachelor’s degree from the university though she’s only 20? And how next she’s going to medical school?
Fritz is just like that in some ways. For example, he’s so smart he can do something no one on Verde has been able to do for two hundred years. Two centuries ago, Verde was rocked by an event called the Blackout. Overnight, three things happened: the planet’s magic-wielding defenders, the Mantissa, disappeared; monsters took their place; and every piece of chipware on the planet broke.
As a result, parts of Verde are littered with junk. Hunks of steel that were once cars sit where they crashed or fell out of the sky the moment the Blackout occurred. Old cities like Harbrucken have sparks lines strung between the buildings, but now they’re just used to hang banners or drying laundry.
But Fritz knows how to repair chipware. He knows, from a technical perspective, what happened and how to reverse it. When Fritz starts traveling from town to town repairing chipware and spreading knowledge about how to fix it, daily life on Verde is going to change very rapidly. Mobiles will replace the post, parking garages will replace stables, sparks-powered bulbs will replace candles. Food won’t spoil as quickly. Heating and air conditioning will be possible again!
But remember how I said Fritz is like his sister in some ways, but not others? Where Cassie is fiercely determined, Fritz is… not. He realizes that restoring Verde’s chipware would bring about amazing changes and that he’d become the most sought-after man in the occupied territories. But that’s precisely why he won’t do it on a scale beyond personal tinkering.
At one point, considering he still lives on his parents’ farm and has no job, Cassie calls him a shiftless layabout. (“I mean that with nothing but love, of course, Big Brother,” she adds.) But Fritz isn’t lazy. He just doesn’t have time for anything except working on ancient chipware. Also, he’s just a little shy and a whole lot introverted. He rarely looks people in the eye. Considering he’s 24, he’s definitely a late bloomer. It’s not that he doesn’t want to share his abilities with the world. It’s just that the world would then want to talk to him about it. And that sounds tiring. He’d really rather not.
He does have one friend: Siv McCaig. When Fritz needs custom casings and parts for his repaired chipware and other inventions, he makes the journey from Hondo to Gorman to visit McCaig and Son’s because he feels Siv’s products are superior to those made by Hondo’s smith. And one day, he hires Siv not for his smithing skills but for his muscle. There’s a cave out in the unoccupied territories where Fritz found his weapon: a pre-Blackout laser gun. But a side passage is blocked by rocks and Fritz needs help getting past it to find what treasures might lay beyond. Siv agrees to go with him.
What Fritz finds in that cave sets off a series of events that will change Verde forever.
Finally, one meta note about Fritz. Not all of the book’s beta readers had a single character they called their favorite. But among those who did, every single one of them chose Fritz.