Background on Search and Rescue Backup Liaison 'Jesse'
Like many children these days, Jesse grew up in a single-parent home. His father left shortly after Jesse's birth and hasn't been heard from since. Trying to make ends meet, Jesse's mother did all she could to hold jobs, but often ended up losing them because of her need to care for Jesse and her efforts as a volunteer search dog handler.
For the first thirteen years of his life, Jesse did a lot of moving around. He and his mother changed cities several times and when they did stay, it often meant changes to their living arrangements. Renting with a growing son, and a large dog, can be difficult. He switched schools several times and therefore had few friends. And although he sometimes felt lonely, he made friends with books, learning and the family dog.
Even though Jesse experienced a lot of instability early in his life, the one thing that he could always rely on was his mother's love. She cultivated a sense of resilience in Jesse that would help him throughout his life. He saw her fighting against the adversity she was continuously facing and he learned from her what perseverance and determination could do. The other constant in his life was the hundreds of hours spent at search and rescue base camps, while his mother and their dog searched for missing people.
One icy winter night near Calgary, Jesse and his mother were driving back from a search, hit black ice and had a terrible accident. His mother died on impact. Jesse survived, but with mental scars and a spinal cord injury. Having no other family and no family friends willing to take on the responsibility of caring for a quadriplegic, Jesse was forced to live in a group home at the age of thirteen. His dog also had to be given away. He not only had to adjust to life with a spinal cord injury, but had to face the fact that his major source of support -his mother - was no longer alive.
Shortly after entering the group home, Jesse befriended the director. As the place is filled with older, more disgruntled people, the director feels a lot of empathy towards young Jesse and does what he can to help make his life more comfortable. Among other things, he encourages Jesse to use his computer when he is not working on it himself. Jesse, able to access all kinds of information and explore the world of cyberspace, becomes highly proficient with computer technology. Any time the director is not at his computer, Jesse is there learning.
Jesse manages to make a couple of friends at school, but remains rather isolated. Education has become his focus, and becoming a volunteer search and rescue backup liaison. His way of staying close to his mother.
By the age of sixteen, Jesse finishes high school and attends graduation with the class of 2012. Just two days later he's in surgery.
A research grant has chosen Jesse for a neural implant which allows him to communicate directly with a computer. It also provides him with his own computer system.
By seventeen, Jesse has completed his level five backup liaison exam and is attending university online. He is ready and eager to return to the world of search and rescue, but the wait is excruciating. Due to his age, but most likely his disability, Jesse has been passed over for fourteen months. Backups not only assist the team during each search, but they also continually monitor a team's video feed, location and physiological status. This allows the search dog handler to focus on searching. Then one night Jesse's luck changes.
No one is available to backup a search dog team known as 'Lost Raven'. Using an experienced dog named 'Ebbey', the team has built their reputation through high find ratios. However, they're also known for pushing the boundaries of search and rescue protocol. Jesse is well aware of their success, even before becoming their new backup liaison. You see, the Lost Raven's experiences are being turned into an animated adventure series and Jesse is one of their biggest fans. As their real life backup, he soon faces some ethical decisions.
Adapted from 'Jesse's Biography' - Written by Marcus Ross
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