Dear readers, tonight with us a is law-enforcement officer on a visit between his interstellar travels. He is here to tell us about space travel and gun-fights among the asteroids.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I was born and raised in Chowchilla, a farming community that became the capital of CentCal when the old California was split into six states. It’s not a large city, only a million people, and it’s still an idyllic place to grow up. My family lived just outside the city, so I was a country kid. We were surrounded by cotton and alfalfa fields.
A neighbor had horses and we rode them sometimes; we also raced our hoversleds, usually at night so my parents didn’t find out.
What made you the person you are today?
Oh, Jesus, what a loaded question!
First off, my dad was a Protestant minister and my mother was Catholic. My dad raised me Protestant and my mom raised my sister Catholic. That’s how they compromised. But I’m an avid reader and I love history. In the course of my studies, I came to have serious reservations about religion, and eventually I quit going to church…which didn’t make my dad happy.
Then I joined the Star Marines. Everything that happened afterward pretty much started with that.
Were you ever in combat?
Yes. A year after I finished boot camp, the revolution exploded on Alpha Centauri 2 and my unit, the 33rd Star Marine Division, was deployed. The next two years were the worst of my life; I was convinced I would never come out of it alive, but somehow I did.
Weren’t you awarded the Galaxy Cross? Tell us about that.
I’d rather not, actually. I lost too many good friends, saw too many innocent people die. What happened in that church tower…well, I didn’t have much of a choice. We were surrounded, cut off, and outnumbered nearly ten to one. The Freaks were cutting us to pieces, and I was the only surviving Star Marine who was qualified on that sniper rifle, so…
Sorry. Next question, please.
What do you do now?
I’m a U.F. Marshal. Retired…I think.
What does that mean?
Well, I’ve been doing this for almost ten years. Lots of close calls. That was okay when I was single, but I have a family now, and I’d like to live long enough to enjoy them. Maybe, when the kids are grown, I’ll go back to it. Right now…I’m not sure.
As a United Federation Marshal, what was your most memorable case?
You mean my hardest case? Or my scariest?
Which case, or cases, kept you awake at night?
There have been several, but I guess the worst was the Saracen case.
Which one was that?
The press called it the Gunfight on the A.C. Express, but it wasn’t the gunfight that gave me nightmares. I lost two people who were very close to me, and when it was all over, I also lost my job. I think that case was the hardest.
And…the sonofabitch I was chasing got away.
But you caught him, eventually, didn’t you? And you got your job back.
Yes, and yes. But it took two years and the efforts of a very determined woman to make all that happen
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
When the women I loved were in danger. I know it’s old fashioned, and you can call me a sexist if you want, but that’s just how I’m wired.
You feel it’s your responsibility to protect women?
I think most men feel that way, even if they’re reluctant to admit it. But the flip side is that women have saved my ass a lot more often than I’ve saved theirs.
What is the worst thing about being a U.F. Marshal?
Getting shot at is no picnic, and neither is getting horse-whipped. But the absolute worst is when you lose friends. I’ve lost several.
What is the best thing about it?
Helping people. Saving lives. Serving justice. Making the bad guys pay. Nothing else comes close to that.
Tell us a little about your friends.
Nathan Green, of Kline Corners on Sirius 1. Small-town boy, like me. Also like me, he wanted to get out and see the galaxy. He did, but it didn’t last very long.
Suzanne Norgaard and her daughter Kristina. Have you ever met a woman from Vega 3? They’re genetically altered. They’re so beautiful it hurts to look at them. If you’ve never seen one, you simply can’t imagine.
Victoria Cross. She’s a U.F. Attorney from NorCal, now practicing law on Alpha 2. I met her in boot camp. She was the only girl in my platoon who graduated. She’s also a looker, but more than that, she’s the gutsiest girl I ever met. I didn’t want to fall in love with her, but I couldn’t stop myself.
Any current romantic involvement?
You just had to ask, didn’t you?
Okay, yeah. I fell in love with Suzanne Norgaard. She was six years older than me and probably a lot more mature, but she was wonderful. Loyal. We were together for several years. My biggest regret is that when she was ready for marriage, I wasn’t; by the time I came to my senses…well, it was already too late.
Victoria Cross. I had known her before, in the Star Marines, but we had broken up. She was there when Suzanne and I ended, and I think Vic saved my life. I was on a downward spiral, but she pulled me out of it. Turned out, she had been in love with me all those years and had never married. She wasn’t exactly “saving” herself for me, she just never found anyone else.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
What do I hate? When is your starship leaving? Do you have time to hear this?
I hate injustice. I hate bullies. I hate people hurting other people, even killing them, for personal gain.
I got hauled into court once for excessive force. They said I killed too many suspects. Maybe so, but I believe that anyone who willingly, wantonly destroys another person’s life, or steals their future, deserves to die. It’s that simple. I recognize that there are shades of grey, but there is no grey in right or wrong. If you’re a good person, you’ll do right. But if you consistently hurt people, and don’t care, then you’re a bad guy, and if I have to gun you down, I’ll sleep just fine.
I hate slavery and human trafficking. I hate the Sirian Confederacy, where slavery and human rights abuses are legal. I hate the KK, which is the real power on Sirius.
And I hate the goddamn Rukranians!
What’s your favorite drink, color, and relaxing pastime?
Pastime? What’s that? Oh, you mean VACATION! Yeah, well, I never had time for any of those until just recently. Last year, after nearly ten years in the U.F. Marshal service, I got my first vacation. I went to visit the Yancy West movie set at Galaxy Gulch. Some vacation! Turned into just another work week.
Okay, I like a beer now and then. I like to smoke an occasional joint (I still can’t believe it used to be illegal).
My favorite color? Let’s see…I guess the Federation colors, red-white-blue. Okay, that’s three colors, isn’t it.
What does the future hold for you?
As I said, I’m retired now. Or trying to be. Got two boys to raise and a beautiful wife to feed me. I’ve had enough adventure for a while, but who knows what the future will bring? A year from now, I might be back out there.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I’m a brunette man. Maybe it’s because I’m half Mexican (my mother was born in Mexico), but I just love women with dark skin and dark hair. As they say, blondes are cool, but brunettes are hot!
So how did I wind up falling in love with two blondes? Mystery of the ages, I guess.
John Bowers discovered a love for writing in 7th grade. In high school his English teachers considered him a prodigy, expecting him to become a great success as a novelist. But his church had other ideas, and went to great lengths to squelch his talent. “They called it vanity,” he says. “I defied them for a while, but you can’t fight against ‘God’ forever, and I finally stuck a pin in it.” But he never gave up the dream, and at age 44, when he finally gave up religion, he started writing again. Ambush at Galaxy Gulch is his 22nd novel on Amazon, and in spite of the wasted years, he swears he is only getting started.
Dear readers, join us next week to meet a god of chaos who’s trying to do the right thing. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.