Thursday, 19 July 2012

Space Opera Character Profile of Davi Rhii from The Returning by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Character Profile: Davi Rhii with Excerpt

Davi Rhii, our protagonist, is the former prince of the Boralian Empire whose adoptive grandfather and Uncle Xalivar helped enslave their ancient Earthen enemies, the Vertullians, the people group in which Davi was born. Secretly adopted by Xalivar’s sister, Miri, when Davi’s discovery of his true genetic background is revealed, he goes from Xalivar’s adored heir to hated enemy and his life is turned upside down.

A talented officer and pilot, Davi has been raised by Miri with the best private education and opportunity her family’s power could buy and also, unlike many, he was raised to question and think for himself. This continues to get him into trouble, not just with friends and family, but with his fiancée and his superiors. Yet Davi’s skills helped win the Vertullians their freedom and now he’s tasked with finding out who is trying to take that freedom away.

Davi’s days of special treatment as royal heir are long past. He can’t get by on his status or family name. Instead, he has to earn his way and it’s harder than he expected. Especially when it comes to his family, friends, and Tela, the love of his life.

In the trilogy’s second novel, The Returning, new challenges arise as Davi Rhii’s rival Bordox and his uncle, Xalivar, seek revenge for his actions in The Worker Prince, putting his life and those of his friends and family in constant danger. Meanwhile, politics as usual has the Borali Alliance split apart over questions of citizenship and freedom for the former slaves. Someone’s even killing them off. Davi’s involvement in the investigation turns his life upside down, including his relationship with his fiancée, Tela. The answers are not easy with his whole world at stake.

Here’s an excerpt from The Returning with Davi in action.

Davi and Uzah headed for the commissary at a casual pace. As they turned a corner, someone pushed between them roughly, in a hurry to pass. Davi recognized the Major from the meeting. Davi exchanged a look with Uzah as the major spun around.

“Sorry, sir,” he nodded to Uzah, but his sneer was anything but apologetic. His eyes turned toward Davi’s glare. “Did you want something, Captain?” He pronounced Davi’s rank as if it were poison.

“No, sir,” Davi answered, continuing to walk as their eyes met.

“Let me inspect your weapon, Captain.”

Davi stopped, Uzah beside him. They exchanged a look. Davi didn’t know whether to comply. What was the Major after? He couldn’t shake the feeling they’d met in the past. Uzah motioned for him to hand over his weapon.

Davi pulled his blaster from the holster and grabbed it by the firing tube, offering it handle-first to the major. Officers were allowed to make flash inspections of their inferiors at any time. The major tore it from Davi’s hand and looked it over carefully. “Are you fully trained in its use, Captain?”

“A crack shot, sir,” Davi answered with a smile.

“You’d better be.” The Major frowned. “If one of my men dies because you can’t pull your weight, I’ll have you up on charges.”

Davi frowned, fighting the urge to snap back. “If you make one more such comment, Major, I’ll have you up on charges,” Uzah said, his voice rising in anger.

The Major merely glared as he offered Davi back the blaster, ignoring safety protocols and holding it out firing tube-first. Davi grabbed it angrily, and the Major turned without a word and started back down the corridor.

Davi pulled the trigger and a laser beam charred the floor between the Major’s boot heels. The Major spun angrily around, raising a hand in accusation.

“Ooops. You handed it to me the wrong way, sir. It accidentally went off as I tried to holster it.”

The Major looked at Uzah, who kept a straight face despite the sparkle in his eyes. Davi holstered the weapon and stood at attention. The Major’s eyes met Davi in a warning before he turned again and headed back up the corridor at an even quicker pace.

Davi waited until he’d turned the corner then laughed as Uzah shook his head. “He could charge you with insubordination.”

“You could charge him with harassment.”

“Officers can inspect weapons of anyone they outrank with a moment’s notice. Be careful, Davi. We have enough against us already. We don’t need to make enemies.”

Davi bristled. Why was Uzah taking the idiot’s side? “Sorry, General.”

Uzah smiled. “At least he knows you’re a damn good shot.” They both laughed as Uzah clapped him on the back and they started down the corridor again toward the commissary.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured in anthologies and magazines. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited a novels and nonfiction. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF Publishing, Grasping For The Wind and SFSignal,
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