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Between Two Interrogation Droids: Vansen Tyree

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I recently had the opportunity to have a quiet sit down with Admiral Vansen Tyree of the Alliance of Free Planets. Here's a transcript of our conversation on... Between Two Interrogation Droids!

What is your purpose, or direction, in life? Do you feel that you have a destiny?

My singular purpose is to do my damn job. It may not be glamorous. It may not be important. It may not have a huge impact, or change the world. But wars aren't won or lost by the actions of individuals: you win because the men and women waging them all do their part, and their parts add up to more than the enemy. Doesn't matter if the enemy is the Empire, politics, or life itself. Putting your faith in that destiny, Force, hocus-pocus crap doesn't do a damn for anybody - if it did, there'd be a whole lot less dead Jedi in the galaxy, wouldn't there?

How are you handling the transition from being a Rebel, to being a part of the Alliance of Free Planets? Which do you prefer?

Things were simpler in the Rebellion. I like simple. I like knowing that the worst problem I'll ever deal with is having too many targets to shoot at. This new Alliance business has far too much bureaucracy and politics for a man like me, and apparently shooting at or yelling at Senators is not considered appropriate conduct.

Do you think that the Starkiller missile 'cold war' with the Empire is a sustainable situation, or should we be preparing for the other shoe to drop, so to speak? How worried are you about the Empire making the first strike in a Starkiller battle that could obliterate half the galaxy?

Whoever lets a Starkiller off the chain first, we all lose. Unlike the Alliance though, the Empire is far more comfortable with the notion of "acceptable losses". The Alliance just doesn't have the stomach for full-scale galactic armageddon, and at some point the Empire is going to grow impatient with sitting around and seething at us. It probably won't be a Starkiller, but at some point the Empire is going to get tired of peace, and they're going to call our bluff. I just hope that when a full armada of Star Destroyers starts bearing down on our homeworlds, the Alliance will have managed to get it's arse in gear enough to defend itself without resorting to the unthinkable.

Do you think that the Alliance should try to keep the Jedi in the fold and accountable to them, or allow them to operate mostly independently inside their borders?

It doesn't matter what I think, and it doesn't matter what the Alliance thinks. We may have been the guardians of these new Jedi in their infancy, but they're all grown up now, and I doubt they have any inclination to listen to what mama and papa Alliance has to say. We're not gonna go and repeat one of the Empire's great atrocities by wiping them all out - so what can we do? Give them a stern talking to? Ground them? We're utterly without teeth; all we can do is pray for the best, and hope they'll be willing to return the favour and care for us when we're all old and decrepit.

What's a 'perfect day' look like for Vansen Tyree?

No meetings. If I can make it a full twenty-seven hours without having to sit in a room with some head up their ass bureaucrat or a spineless, clueless politician, that's about as close to perfect as I'm ever likely to get.

What do you say to the rumors that you're actually a cuddly teddy bear who hides behind a gruff exterior? I'm sorry, my sources are confidential.

Lies. Treasonous lies. And these anonymous sources had better not have the last name Inirial, or Force help me there will be consequences.

And finally, if you were an animal, what animal would you be, and why?

Probably some sort of canine. An old bloodhound, or something like that. Used to be useful back in the day, used to be valuable, formidable, and all that good stuff... but now I'm old, I have no teeth, and all I'm good for is lying around and growling when the mail man passes by.

And now some questions for the man behind the character:

How long have you RPed Vansen?

I started writing him back in 2008, but didn't really sink my teeth into him until 2010/2011.

What do you enjoy most about writing him?
I like how much there is going on behind the scenes with Vansen. On the surface he always looks stern, he's always scowling, but underneath there's a whole heap of regret, loneliness, and the sense of feeling tired and obsolete. He's got that same weariness and guilt as Captain Kirk in Star Trek VI, and that's weirdly satisfying to write.

In what way is Vansen like you, and how is he different?

I have some health issues that prevent me from being as active/useful as I used to be - that's been pretty useful for writing Vansen since the Treaty, because it puts me in an adjacent headspace that I'd probably otherwise find quite difficult to find. Vansen feels entirely isolated and lonely though, like he's the last of his bloodline; and he almost hordes that loneliness like a dragon does gold, rather than letting anyone in. I on the other hand have a slew of awesome friends, a pretty big extended family, and a set of adorable nieces to dote on - so I spent far less time getting drunk and scowling sadly at walls.

Do you make any writing/stylistic choices for Vansen that make him distinct from other characters that you write?

Not consciously? Vansen is probably the character where I spend the most time narrating out his long and rambling thoughts, but that's more a thing that just happens while I'm writing him, rather than a deliberate choice.

Share something about Vansen not many people may know.

Vansen Tyree has an ex-wife, and two children. I know exactly who those children are, as do the people that write them, but Vansen has absolutely no clue. Hopefully that stuff should start falling into place soonish!

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