Without further ado (I had a whole few intro paragraphs typed up but who needs those, right?), I present an Interview with Jazz Healy, the protagonist of the upcoming Reunion Series.
I hope you enjoy…
(Actually, because I can’t help myself: I wrote this interview after deciding that Jazz, who I’d created for a short story – available to my Buy Me A Coffee Members! – was going to feature in a novel or four. Interviewing primary characters during the character creation process helps me get to know them better and to find their voice. I’ve recently edited it a wee bit to better reflect the Jazz in Book 1 of the Reunion Series but most of the original interview remains)
Again, I hope you enjoy…
An Interview with Jazz Healy
Jazz Healy, isn’t it?
So, what’s, like, your deal?
You mean, my job?
Hey, I’m asking the questions. But yes, your job?
I’m a contractor.
I see. Well, so am I, but I’m not off every week collecting bounties or exploring ancient ruins or delivering medical supplies to quarantined planets. And I definitely don’t have Federation warrants out on me. Or Commonwealth ones. Or any warrants anywhere. Mostly, I do data entry.
We must subscribe to different job feeds. And to be fair, I’m not off every week doing those things. Fortnightly, maybe.
Not that I think I’d want to do your kind of contracting. You look like you’ve been through the wars.
Thanks. You sure know how to compliment a person.
I just mean, well, where’d you get the black eyes from? And what’s with the metal arm?
The black eyes? Nothing, really. My nose got a good whack in a recent fight with a Novus Replicate, is all.
But you should see him, right?
What were you doing scuffling with a Novus Replicate, anyway?
Can’t help crossing paths with them occasionally when you do what I do. This time I just walked around a corner and there he was, guarding a door I needed to go through.
Well, I hope the nose heals up soon. Must be hell if you want to sneeze.
It’s basically healed up already. What you’re seeing is just peripheral bruising. My nanos have taken care of all the internal stuff.
Yeah. The nanite machines in my bloodstream. They’re good for a whole lot of things. Apart from repairing injuries they can filter out poisons, regulate blood pressure, reduce pain. Mine are a pretty basic model, really. There are nanos out there that can do a whole lot more.
There are risks though, right?
Sure. But isn’t there risk associated with everything worth having?
If you say so. And the arm?
It’s a cybernetic arm. Surely you’ve seen one before.
Not up close. Can I touch it?
Fair enough. Anyway, why did you get into this line of work?
Why does anybody? Money, of course. Well, that and I like being able to roam the galaxy. Imagine living fulltime on a world, working the same job every day. Ugh.
Yeah, stability is just awful. What did you do before this?
Data entry, mostly.
No. I’ve done this since I was a kid.
Wow. You were raised as a mercenary?
Contractor. And the answer is sort of. My Mother’s a gangster way up the tree. So high up everybody just calls her Mother.
(gulps) Mother is your mother?
Yeah. But I do my best not to travel in her boost-lanes. My Dad used to be a lawman before he fell in… something with Mother.
Sounds like an unusual match.
The Milky Way is full of unusual matches.
Are they still together?
Well, that’s basically the answer to your question about whether I was raised a contractor.
Then don’t let me interrupt you again.
I won’t. So right after I became a teenager Dad finally climbed onto his moral high horse. Sort of. We lit out when Mother was off somewhere else and put a whole lot of space between us and her. And we started working jobs together.
Gotta pay the bills.
Are you and your Dad still working together?
Last I saw him, he was on a cruiser venting atmosphere, exchanging gunfire with some pirates who’d double-crossed us, and I was in an escape pod, heading towards the planet below.
(shrugs) That was twelve years ago.
Still, that sucks.
I’ve come to terms with it. Life goes on and all that. Though he should never have pushed me into that pod unless he was coming too. We were a team. Supposed to stick together through everything.
Seems pretty heroic on his part, from where I’m sitting.
Whatever. You weren’t there.
Anyhoo… Your Dad died—
His body was never recovered.
Okay. Your Dad probably died twelve years ago. You would’ve still been a kid.
But you never went back to Mother.
No way in hell! Our paths cross sometimes – it’s a small galaxy, once you’ve been around it a few times – but I keep my distance and she mostly respects that.
Well, every so often she tries something on. Though not so much for the last few years. I’m sure she’s got some master plan – she’s always got a master plan – but I’m not going to waste time trying to figure it out. Got far more interesting things to occupy my time.
I’d prefer not to disclose my current objectives. Past experiences and all that.
Care to elaborate?
Not really. Let’s just say that I’ve learned that sharing usually leads to losing.
Okay. It most get lonely, though, doing all this by yourself.
I’d take a little bit of loneliness over getting backstabbed or double-crossed or letdown, any day of the week.
Because those are the only outcomes.
They’re the most common outcomes.
Moving on. What are your hopes and dreams, Healy?
That’s a stupid question.
Well, you don’t want to answer my interesting questions so I’ve got to fall back on something.
I guess I’d quite like to have something named after me.
Heh. You’re a funny lady.
I’m serious. It’s about the only way I see that a person can become immortal.
Anything in particular?
Not really. I’d even be happy if I got a beetle named after me. Jazz-bug has a certain ring to it, right? Or if I spawned a popular term. Like if people started calling getting the job done in the nick of time: ‘jazzing it.’
I can see that catching on. Let’s see what else I have on my question list. Ah, what’s your favorite place in the galaxy?
The cockpit of my ship.
That’s not really what I meant.
I know. But my ship is what gets me to all the fun places, and the cockpit’s where I like to be when I’m on it.
That ship, just outside?
That’s the one.
It’s not much to look at.
There you go again, with the whole looks thing. That ship was my Dad’s ship. Now it’s mine. I’ve spent more than half my life on that ship. It’s my home.
Okay, okay, I get it.
And it suits my purposes for it to look like a typical old freighter. Sure, I’ve fallen a bit behind on maintenance and I really need to replace the broken mote cameras in the hold and the common room but it’s a good ship. A really good ship.
I’m sure it is.
Anyway, there are so many beautiful places in the galaxy it would be disrespectful to have just one favorite. For example, there’s this moon in the Fyar Pen System. Half-terraformed, site of a massive intrasystem war a few centuries ago. The air is saturated with dust and rock particles that get blown about by random gusts of wind. Though they’re probably not random if you’ve got the time to analyze them. Anyway, you really can’t walk the surface unless you’re wearing armor, but even top of the line armor suits get shredded if you’re too long outside the ship. I only went there because it was a rendezvous point for a delivery. Stayed inside with the shields running, though that didn’t stop the hull getting all scratched up. While I was waiting for my contact to show, the sun rose. And it was just amazing. Light glinting off all these particles. Every color you can imagine. And then the wind blew and, well, it was indescribably beautiful.
Sounds awesome. How long did you have to wait?
Huh? Oh, for my contact? He never showed. His debts caught up with him before he could make the exchange. Which left me with a ship that needed half the hull plates replaced and a hold full of black-market rip-off Sauchi V-Goggles that nobody would touch with a hundred-foot grappling line.
I ended up dumping them in a cave on another moon within that system. Win some, lose a lot, as they say.
Well, it’s probably time to wrap this up. Before we go, though, tell us what’s next for Jazz Healy.
(shrugs) Who knows? I’m about to start on a delivery run. Baby animals, of all things.
That sounds a bit boring, to be honest.
(laughs) Hopefully. The plan is: collect paycheck, go back to the treasure hunt I was on.
Ooh, a treasure hunt. Tell me more.
Fine. One detail only. The money from this delivery run will go towards a map.
A treasure map? Really, in this day and age?
You’re the one who’s calling it a treasure map. I’m just calling it a map to help me on my treasure hunt.
Yeah, well color me skeptical.
What do they say? The devil’s in the details?
I’m not sure that saying works here.
Perhaps I haven’t told you the full story.
Nobody ever does.
Uh, well, I guess I should let you get back to delivering animals and buying treasure maps.
Yes you should. Time is of the essence. The map goes up for auction in less than two standard day cycles.
Then you best get moving. Thank you, Jazz Healy, for consenting to this interview. I hope you get that beetle names after you soon.
Actually, now that I think about it, maybe a beetle isn’t such a good idea. Nobody likes beetles. A plant sounds much more my style. Something like ‘Healy’s Carnivorous Fighting Vine.’
Whatever flies your freighter, I guess. Thanks again, Jazz, and safe travels.
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