One of my favorite side characters is Paltronis. She showed up briefly in book three of my series, Poisoned Pawn. She was so much fun, I kept finding ways to bring her back until she became a main character. But there was more to her story, much more than what showed up in the books. She intrigued me enough to want to write side stories explaining who she is, where she came from, and how she got to be who she is at the end of the series.
If I could sit down and interview her at the start of the series when she's just starting her career with Lowell, these are some of the questions I want answered:
If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
A whole day to myself? I'd go crazy. I need something to do. I'd probably spend the day sparring with someone. Or practicing on the firing range. Or maybe I'd go for a really long run. The only times I've ever had time on my hands were the week I spent in the infirmary recovering from several broken bones and the couple of weeks I've spent in the brig. But I didn't pick those fights. I was just finishing them. I never had free time, not really. I grew up on a communal farm. I was out picking vegetables and pulling weeds as soon as I was old enough to walk. It was work or starve. The Patrol was my way out. I don't think I know how to just enjoy myself.
What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they've known you for a while?
You're kidding, right? Do I make you nervous? I thought so. I'm an expert at hand-to-hand combat. I'm supposed to intimidate people. That's what Lowell wants me to do. He says it's what I excel at. I stand around and make people nervous so he can get them to spill all their secrets. It's not what I expected when I signed up to work for the undercover division of the Patrol. I'm not good at pretending. But I am good at scaring people. Most people get more scared as they get to know me. I know too many ways to disable and kill people. It's what I'm good at. Talking to people? Not so good.
Do you think you've turned out the way your parents expected?
Paltronis: I have no idea. The farm where I grew up was a commune run by the government. My parents could have been any of the forty-three adults in the compound. Or none of them. I don't know and I don't really care if I ever find out or not. I'm out of that life. The Patrol is my life now.
What's the worst thing that's happened in your life?
I thought it was getting expelled from the Academy. I picked too many fights, broke too many bones. They deserved it, but the CO at the Academy didn't see it that way. He had me arrested. That's when I met Tayvis. He recruited me for Lowell. So I guess you could say getting locked up was the best thing that's ever happened to me. Not that working for Lowell is all happy songs and flowers, but it means I get to work with Tayvis now and then. That all by itself is the best thing that ever happened to me.
Who is Tayvis?
Just another officer who works for Lowell. He's a sector commander, works undercover. He isn't just a bodyguard, like me. He's smart, an agent Lowell sends in when things get rough. I worked with him on a couple of missions. I'd love to work with him more often, but like I said, I don't do undercover work. He does.
Are you lying to yourself about something? What is it?
Why would I lie about anything? I'm an open book. Don't look at me that way. My relationship with Tayvis is purely professional. There is nothing personal between us. If there were, I'd have to transfer. Lowell doesn't let his agents get involved with each other. I've said too much. Just believe me when I say we're only friends. Besides, I'm not sure he feels the same way. We'll have to wait and see what happens.
Paltronis, an officer of the Patrol, can kill you seven different ways. Using only her pinkie. But she didn't start out that way. Where did she get her start? Second Chances tells one chapter of her story, how she met Tayvis and was recruited to join Lowell's organization.
Second Chances is available in print in the collection, Soul Windows, on Amazon
Second Chances is available in ebook format at Smashwords, free with the code DE23P
Second Chances is now available as an audiobook download - I'll send the link when I have it.
Find more of Jaleta Clegg's characters on her webpage - http://www.jaletac.com