Aaron Summer’s history has always been that of an obscure idea. For as popular a man he is, not many — if any — can say they even know the man by his real name. It isn’t to say that he is a reserved man, but rather, more so impersonal, so as to dedicate more of his focus on the day-to-day survival efforts. But Aaron Sumner wasn’t always so ambiguous about his past, for he didn’t have anything to hide and forget.
Before the outbreak, Aaron Sumner was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 26th, 1964. He spent 30 formative years of the beginning of his life there getting his education, his M.D., and ultimately, meeting his wife, Lilian Sumner. Together, they moved to San Francisco, California, where Aaron got to practice working as a cardiologist doctor for the remainder of his time there. It was in San Francisco where the two got married and planned to house a family of kids. But unfortunately for these newly-weds, it seemed it just wasn’t on their fates’ agenda. Complications (that needn’t be detailed) arose, and the couple was forced to remain on their own, just the two of them.
Things began to change when, one day, Aaron was contacted by one of his longtime college peers, a biologist, who needed Aaron for a business meeting regarding some certain medical discovery. Such a business trip is what eventually got Aaron to end up in Chernarus. Arriving during the latter portion of June, Aaron was exposed to many of the horrors of the beginnings of the outbreak. Those following months were utter torture, and would soon prove to be nothing like he had ever seen before — nothing like anyone had seen before.
Amidst the confusion and chaos, Aaron would find most of his solitude by hiding in the confinements of large, urban cities, an environment he was most accustomed to. But soon enough, his solitude would crumble before his eyes, and he was left with escaping barely with his life to the countryside, but out here proved to be an even larger tribulation. Now isolated from any familiar face in a strange land currently undergoing a society-collapsing apocalypse, Aaron was rendered helpless, merely hiding and scrounging for scraps. Needless to say, he was terrified.
Fast forward only a couple of weeks, and, before long, this doctor found himself in an even worse situation: a group of Chernarussian citizens now-turned-bandits (who all seemed to be having a little too much fun with the current state of things) had found him. To Aaron’s surprise, they decided to spare him, taking him under their wing, quickly assimilating him into the pack, but not as a mutual, but as a captive. Arguably, this encounter with this group saved him. For there was an agreement among them: in exchange for Aaron’s medical care, the group would protect him from the infected as well as any other poor soul who’d choose to oppose them. But this came at a cost to Aaron’s sanity; It didn’t take long before Aaron found himself having a helping hand in the heinous deeds these savages would commit, rendering him as an accomplice more so than a captive. Such heinousness would be exhibited through acts such as being forced to keep a tortured victim alive as long as possible, agonizingly postponing the poor soul’s inevitable death. Any attempt of objection would simply be met with threats to Aaron’s own life. Too afraid of the dangers of the outside world and too afraid of the wrath of the bandits, Aaron was left powerless and now forever bearing the fact that he was unable to save those handful of survivors.
It was experiences like these that haunted Aaron for so long. It drove him to near madness. But there was one crucial impetus keeping him going — keeping him sane: The prospect of seeing (or at least speaking) to his wife, Lilian, one last time. As time went by in this mad world, he counted the days where he’d lack the chance to contact Lilian. Such attention to the progression of time can be attributed to the looming deadline constantly in the back of his mind, clouding his thoughts. You see, among the aforementioned complications of the startup of a family included the diagnosis of Lilian’s terminal cancer. Back when Aaron left to Chernarus, she was deemed to pass within two years’ time. What was supposed to be a brief business trip ended up as a much more prolonged (possibly permanent) stay. He simply wanted to hear her voice, determine if she was safe from the infection in the States, and, at the very least, to give her a proper goodbye.
But that chance never came. Eventually, Aaron was let free from the wrath of these merciless savages. An entire year was spent with them, that year being one of the most impactful years of Aaron’s life. Despite this, he refused to let this break him. Coming out of such a devastating position, Aaron was still left without any ability to fend for himself. Although he didn’t learn any new skills concerning survival, he did adapt mentally. He didn’t want to let his actions redefine who he was, and began resorting to the traits that made him who he was before this insufferable outbreak. In other words, it was a re-humanization effort. In order to forget the terrors that he was forced to endure, his new coping method resided in disassociating himself from himself. Soon, he was caught within the midst of an identity crisis.
For the following months, Aaron would travel alone, going by no name in fear of what rumors might’ve spread of his name. How much has he been blamed in the eyes of others? Did others even recognize him? The guilt was overbearing. After having to see the lowest of survivors in such desperate situations, Aaron gained much sympathy and compassion for others, both being traits he once possessed, only now amplified due to such extreme environments. He started using his medical expertise for good, in hopes to rectify his acts of being a contributor to suffering. Over time, the praise he’d receive from his patients proved to make this method successful in restoring his default, jolly mood.
For a while, he managed to help out survivors anonymously, it was a seamless operation he had going on. But it was when he decided to wear the paramedic uniform that he found did things change. Turns out he wore it consistently enough for survivors to start recognizing him by its red color. He wanted the survivors of Chernarus to be able to flag him down from afar if they had seen him, so in his mind, its noticeably striking color only made sense. It was this very fact that led to Aaron receiving his new name, Dr. Red. He liked it. If that’s what the survivors would grow used to calling him, he had no gripe about it. It wasn’t hard to adopt it, either; Having no name to properly introduce himself by just never sat right with him. And so the trend caught on, and publicly, Dr. Red was known as a beacon of hope — A smiling face and a helping hand amidst the darkness of the world.