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  1. A highschool-educated John McCaskell has spent the past several years as an interpreter for Walter Brinks, an international conflict reporter. He grew up in the endless farmlands outside Richmond, and learned how to use various hick implements of repair and destruction throughout his early life, ranging from his use of an impact wrench as a makeshift hammer to his use of an impact wrench as an impact wrench, as well as some now-vital firearms skills. His childhood was cut short by a hyperawareness of global affairs brought on by the downfall of the Soviet Union. His sudden interest in geopolitics led him to become incredibly interested in the no-nonsense, genuine state of the world beyond his nation's borders, prompting him to begin studying the Russian language at the age of 12, in order to someday be able to perceive the world without the endless static of whatever the hell those old men on TV were saying. His performance in school dropped rapidly, as he soon began to doubt that he needed to learn about the intricacies of the fall of Rome or Van Gogh's specific style of art in order to understand taxes and life and the world and stuff. Later in life, McCaskell decided that being proactive was embarrassing and nerdy. In an effort to look less nerdy, he became pseudo-punk, embracing the lack of rigidity as well as the cheap pot he could score at parties. He moved to NYC to get high and flip burgers while pretending to live the high life. He opted out of college and societal contribution in an effort to disappoint his parents and finally gain the approval of his peers. His peers, however, were all growing up much faster than him, many of which were attendees to NYU, all of whom were getting their lives together while he tried desperately to pull off 'cool uncle' vibes. It worked, though. Most of New York's lowlives brushed shoulders with him, including several members of the New York chapter of the Kovski Bratva, a declining Russian mob within the city, to which he owed an immense amount. He is still unsure how much or what for, though he does know that they made him switch apartments in order to not get his throat slit. He stayed in the same block, though, because it was all he could afford. Change, again, came rather swiftly to McCaskell's life. He woke up, hung over, the day after the festivities of his 21st birthday in his rundown NYC apartment, to learn that two planes had collided with the World Trade Centers. After several hours of nonsensical guilt-induced depression, he finally went to sleep. Soon after, he resolved to learn Arabic, in order to actually figure out what the hell that Bin-whoever guy from one of those -stan places was talking about. He picked up the language after several months, and was very proud of his noteworthy achievement of learning a third language. He was proud enough, in fact, to use it to one-up his most successful semi-friend at the bar, Walter Brinks. Brinks proverbially patted McCaskell on the head and went on with his night, though McCaskell didn't stop bragging about it. He didn't stop right up until Brinks, rising in journalistic prominence, required an interpreter for a flurry of segments about the beginning of genuine American involvement in Afghanistan and the Middle East at large. McCaskell went on to help Brinks with a great many projects over the years, across multiple presidential administrations, and going so far as to land interviews with key figures in the Taliban resistance - none of which aired in the States. McCaskell realized all too late that he'd become another pawn of the talking heads that frustrated him as a child. Unfortunately, he was still under contract, and was filming what was (hopefully) to be one of his final segments alongside his longtime business partner, shorttime almost-semi-friend Walter Brinks. It was going to be one of the biggest exposés on the ongoing militia-level conflict throughout Chernaurus and other fractured ex-Soviet states. As Brinks and McCaskell made landfall at the dinky little layover island that would put them under UN protection for (hopefully) a majority of their journey, they found themselves under blue helmet orders to sit tight. For 200-something days, it turned out. Around then, Brinks and McCaskell managed to hitch a ride with a kind fisherman to the mainland, hoping that it would prove a better chance for them to get home. Or, for Brinks to run home with his tail between his legs, again, McCaskell thought privately. Thus far, scrounging for scraps has just been a more physically demanding version of McCaskell's old 3am McDonald's runs. From the hordes of glassy-eyed flesh-behemoths to having to babysit Walter, the main difference is the severe lack of McRibs in Chernaurus.
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