Q: What was your first impression of the Brightstars when they walked into the Supply Depot (SD) where you worked as a clerk?
WS: It was like being hit by a lightning bolt. I felt I'd either known them before or that they'd be important to my life in some way. That first time I looked Laren in the eye I knew we were bonded in some way. I sensed his intelligence and importance immediately and that we'd do something big together. Of course much later, when I discovered we were both in the Ledorian Order, it made even more sense. Dirck immediately felt like an old friend. I could see he felt a little lost and having been there myself I could empathize.
Q: You seem to know a little about just about everything, perhaps what is referred to on Earth as "a jack of all trades and a master of none." How did you learn so much more about life than most people your age?
WS: Going through the Academy on Mira III helped me develop a good memory. If I read something once, it sticks. When I'd get bored, which was a lot, I'd pick a subject at random and learn all I could about it. It was almost weird how often those things would eventually be something that got me out of a bad situation. I'm also good at learning vicariously from other people's experiences, especially their mistakes. When I'd watch Concurrency Reviews, which we call CRs and you Earthlings call "the news," I'd always put myself into the situation and think about what I would have done that would've resulted in a different outcome. When people got out of line on Mira III they always got caught and then the Directorate made an example out of 'em. I would always ponder why they got caught and how they could 've gotten away with it, whatever it was. That fault tree exercise Dirck and I went through for the prison rescue was a natural process for me. I just never knew it had a name.
Q: Were you fully aware of how much trouble you would have been in if you'd gotten caught helping the Brightstars?
WS: [Expletive deleted.] Yeah. I totally knew. When I worked for that creep at the Territorial Tower I saw what those people with even a little political clout could do. I not only saw it but it was my job to enter it into the records, which would set supposedly appropriate consequences in motion, deserved or not. At first I thought these people had done something horrible and deserved it. Until I knew one of them personally and was fully aware the charges were fake. That did it. I got so reeked it's a good thing my boss was on TDY to some other planet because I know I would have done something stupid like demand an explanation. After I calmed down and thought it through, I understood I could do more to undermine it by keeping quiet. He'd check on my work from time to time, though, seeing if the person he'd targeted had been arrested or whatever, so I had to put the stuff in there like he said. When the billet opened for that position at the SD I knew that was a place I could make a difference. I knew I'd be doing a whole lot more than handing out plumbing supplies. But to answer your question, while I knew what would happen if I got caught, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be, that I knew enough to operate covertly and get away with it. I saw it as an opportunity to make a difference, not a risk.
Q: What about that wild ride through Guipure Canyon? Any comments on that?
WS: [Laughs] I've never told Dirck, but there were a few moments I doubted we'd survive. But that's one thing about being Ledorian, you're not afraid to die. Death is just a threshold to another plane of existence. If Dirck had died it would have been really bad, though, leaving his mother and brother on their own with his father an eppy in the Epsilon lockup. And that made me feel that somehow we'd be okay. Sometimes you get in a situation that's so bad it has to be fate and all you can do is hope you didn't make a huge mistake. It was really the turning point for Dirck. He started to get it after that and really leave Mira III and all its culture-based compliance crap behind. I think it takes looking death square in the eye before you really understand life.
Q: So now that things have settled down, at least on Cyraria, what are your plans? Find a nice girl and settle down? Or more adventures?WS: [Smiles.] I don't know, maybe both. To be honest, I'm getting a little bored. Things are too quiet. And while things have settled down here for a while, I don't think it'll last more than a cycle or two. There's still a lot of crap going on out there galactically. They'll be back, especially now that this place is turning into a halfway decent planet. Laren promised Sharra he'd stick around, at least 'til Deven's raised, but he's pushing for me and Dirck to go to Esheron and really get into this Order thing. And I gotta tell ya, I'd love to meet that gal, Antara, who stood up to Spoigan. That's my kind of woman. So let's just say only time will tell.
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Volume I: Beyond the Hidden Sky
Volume II: A Dark of Endless Days
Volume III: A Psilent Place Below
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