Sunday, September 15, 2013

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Travis Archer of Shadow of the Wraith

Travis Archer, hero of Ross Harrion's action-packed space opera Shadow of the Wraith, answers a few interview questions from the spaceport.

Hi Travis! Thanks for coming by. It's not every day I get to sit down with a space adventurer. So, what’s going on in your life? What do you do for a living?

I’m a space cowboy. Except there’s no cows or horses involved. Okay, more accurately, I’m a bounty hunter. But a freelancer, not one of those glorified assassins. Means I can be sure everyone I go after has done something very naughty.

As for what’s going on, I don’t really know. That’s generally how I live my life (not knowing what the hell’s going on), but at the moment, it’s more uncertain than usual.

I have a ship that technically isn’t mine and could severely damage the Alliance if word of its origins got out. I’m under investigation by the Alliance for a whole host of charges. This regardless of the fact that we and that ship have saved the galaxy twice in very quick succession, I might add. Well, kind of. Despite the investigation, the Alliance isn’t slow to take advantage of us and the Wraith, and are throwing missions at us like birdseed.
This is Juni, Travis's... assassin friend.

And then there’s Juni. Probably shouldn’t talk about that or I might find a knife at my throat.

Still, at least life isn’t boring.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Is it anything like what you’re doing now?

I wanted to be Clint Eastwood. Yes, they’re all very old films now, but you point me to a modern actor who can match him.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I just wanted to be normal when I grew up. No more being the outcast with the dead alien dad. No more being the angry psycho who you’d better not cross or you’d get thrown through a wall.

And no, normal is nothing like what I’m doing now. But now I am grown up— Did you just hear a snigger outside the door? …Now I am grown up, that’s okay.

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

Well, word is spreading now I’ve been in the limelight a little bit, but most people still don’t know. I’m only half human. I’m half Necurian. Yes, those unsociable hermits who can read your thoughts and throw you about the room with their minds.

Tell us about your friends. Who do you hang out with?

I’m not sure ‘friends’ and ‘people I hang out with’ are necessarily synonymous. Let’s see… Well, there’s Jay. He’s okay, but the less said about him the better. I suppose you could stretch the term ‘best friend’ to fit him. Then there’s the Twins. They’re not actual twins, but they act like it. Zak is our pilot, and the most unusually…nice Izarian I’ve ever met. Jindor is our version of…who’s that donkey that used to hang around with that talking bear? Arkuun-Marl. Well, I don’t know what to say about him. I say ‘him’; he’s actually a rob—

[Travis breaks off. There's a knock at the door, accompanied by an unintelligible, synthetic-sounding voice. Travis turns to to the door with a scowl.]

Shut up and go away, robot! This is MY interview!

Okay, fine, he’s an android. And the single most irritating thing to ever cross the stars.

Lastly, there’s Juni. Again, for the sake of safety, I’ll say no more about her.

They are my crew, my friends and, unfortunately, my fami— Wait, I forgot the doctor. Freeman. I don’t really know him that well, but he has saved my life a couple of times and he’ll complain if I don’t mention him.

I’m making it sound like I have a ship full of children, aren’t I? But with the absence of Clint Eastwood, there’s no one I’d rather have on my ship than them.

If you could bestow a superpower upon one of these friends, who would you choose, and what would you give them?

Just one? That’s difficult. I suppose I’d nominate Jay. And I’d give him the amazing ability to shut the hell up.

If he wasn’t around at the time of superpower distribution, it would be the robot. I’d give him an off switch. Though I’m not sure that counts as a superpower.

What do you do for fun?

That’s a surprisingly difficult one too. I used to go to shooting ranges and we’ve got flight simulators in the dock we’re using. But after recent events, shooting things in or out of a ship doesn’t appeal to me much. I don’t have much time for fun at the moment anyway. With all these missions and requests for aid, and a whole Alliance crew in my ship to deal with, I’d settle for a relaxing game of Scrabble.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years?

Relaxing beside my pool. Perhaps with my own private fleet to send out across the galaxy helping people and making me money. Mostly helping people, of course…

If you could cross over into another reality, where would you go, and why?

A god once told me that I’m destined to be a ‘hero’ again and again. But that isn’t the great, rose-tinted thing is seems. The reality isn’t what I wanted and looked for. There’s a lot of danger and misfortune to go with that. And I don’t mean for me.

So I’d quite like to cross into a reality where I’m normal. Where I’m not a ‘hero’ (not my words). Just to see what it’s like. To see what life is like there.

But I guess then I wouldn’t be me.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

I think I’d go back and stop my father from being killed. He was murdered doing what Necurians like to do most: promoting peace.

I don’t remember him and I always wondered what it would be like to have a father. It would be nice to have one. Especially one that can teach me about these abilities I’m having such trouble with.

Perhaps my mother would have died a little happier if he’d been around. I wonder now and then – particularly lately – what he’d have made of me. And what I’d have turned out like.


What are you planning on doing next?

I’m planning on getting through the Alliance’s investigation unscathed, and without losing the Wraith. Then I’m planning to get us a better system of doing things so that it doesn’t feel so much like work.

Then I’m going to settle down and work out how to properly control my abilities without losing so much energy that I pass out. That would be nice.

And throughout all that, I have to try to work out what’s going on with Juni. That’s the most frightening prospect of all.

Thanks for coming by, Mary. Sorry you had to come all this way just to talk to me, but I’m too busy at the moment to leave the dock for even a few hours. I’ll get Zak to take you home if you want.

Thanks, Travis!

Read about Travis' high octane space adventures in Ross Harrison's sci-fi novel, Shadow of the Wraith, available at:

Lulu Marketplace (hardcover) 
Amazon US (Kindle e-book)
Amazon UK(Kindle e-book)
Smashwords (multiple e-formats)

Review of Shadow of the Wraith
Review of Shadow of the Wraith's sequel, Temple of the Sixth
Review of Ross Harrison's steampunk short story, Kira

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