So I recently heard about a really interesting blogfest, where the goal is to blog about the characters in your story, as well as have a little fun with flash fiction. The prizes look pretty good, too: a couple of free books and a manuscript critique, from a couple of up-and-coming editors.
Not bad…but the 250 word limit on the character interview seemed a little too restrictive. The idea really caught my imagination, though, so I decided to go ahead and do it for the main character of the book I’m writing now: Stars of Blood and Glory.
It was really fun! Stuff like this can be great for working out different aspects of your character. I already knew most of this stuff about Roman, but the exercise helped to solidify it.
And so, without further ado: enjoy!
Hello, and welcome! I’m here on the Tajji Flame with Master Sergeant Roman Andrei Krikoryan, one of the Tajji mercenaries in Bringing Stella Home and a major character in the sequel, Stars of Blood and Glory. How are you doing today, Roman?
How do you do, my friend.
Very well, thank you. Let’s get started shall we? First question: What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?
What is my vulnerability? This is strange question to be asking a mercenary. Why do you wish to know? <narrows eye>
Um, it’s not meant to be intrusive, more just as ah, um…well, what would you say is your biggest emotional vulnerability?
“Emotional vulnerability”? Look at me. I am not a man anymore, but a cyborg; what “emotions” I still feel, they are distant and weak. Rare pleasures, like sweet, unbidden memories.
I tell this to the doctor every time at check up, but she does not believe me. She is still young, and wishes to believe that there is some humanity left in me. Who knows? Perhaps she is right. But cyborgs do not die, my friend: their humanity fades until they are a ghost within a machine.
I have wandered the stars for over seventy standard years; I have seen my homeworld conquered not once, but twice. I have killed many men, I have slept with many whores, I have watched my old friends die, and had other friends watch me, thinking I was dead. I am old–too old. And yet cyborgs do not die: they fade.
So if you consider this as “emotional vulnerability,” then this is mine: to be alive, and yet not truly living. And it is no secret. I am a man of very few secrets.
What do people believe about you that is false?
Many things, some more false than others. You cannot be soldier for as long as I without learning how to cultivate a certain, how do I say? Persona. My men, they see the side of me that is strong–and it is a true side, for in battle, it is impossible to live a lie. But the side that they do not see, that is the pain–the memories, the weariness, the silent longing. It is dull now, but it is still there, even if I do not show it.
And so, if there is something that people believe about me that is false, it is that I feel no pain. I have always felt pain, until even before the rebellion was lost. It is way of life for me now. When the pain finally stops, then I will know that I am no longer human.
What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
My best friend is the captain, Danica Nova. She knows of my pain; she shares in it. And what would she say is my flaw? That I suffer in silence, perhaps. Every time she has question, she is asking me for help, seeking for my guidance. She believes that everyone must have someone on whom they can lean, that without this, no one can truly stand. And so she sees me suffering, and wishes that I would talk with her, so that these wounds might heal.
But I do not wish for my wounds to heal. They are the last thing I have left–the pain which tells me I have not yet faded, that I am still human. I have lived many years with this pain, and I do not know what would become of me without it. And so, it is not my friends, but the pain, that has been my constant companion these many long years.
I do not know if this is flaw, but I do know that Danica would say that it is.
What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
That question, I know without a doubt what is the answer. It is that I will do anything–anything–for my men. You see my arm, how that it is prosthetic? I lost the original fighting in a battle that all of us thought we would lose. If I am fading, it is because I have given my life for my men–and I will continue to do so until I have nothing left to give.
What do you want most? What will you do to get it?
<laughs> A strange question, with an even stranger answer. As you can see, I am man of war–but if there is one thing that I wish for, it is peace. Peace! And what sort of peace, you may ask? I will tell you. I wish for the peace that one feels by coming home. <throws back head and laughs again>
And so you see, my friend, this is a peace that I can never feel. My homeworld is gone–slagged into oblivion. My country has been destroyed, my people scattered across a hundred stars. I have nothing left but to keep on fighting; and so, even though I long for peace, I continue to make war, because it is all that I am.
But what will I do to get this peace? I will tell you. Since I do not have a homeland, I will find this peace by dying for my men. It is fitting, is it not? That the man of war should only find peace in his own death? This is as it should be. But it must not be a selfish death–it must be a sacrifice, so that others may live.
Thank you very much, Roman. I enjoyed writing Bringing Stella Home, and look forward to chronicling your further exploits in Stars of Blood and Glory.
As an interesting side note, if Roman had a theme song, this would be it. Have a great day!