Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Twenty Questions Character Interview: Alistair Mechanus

Hello, faithful readers! This week's post will be a character interview with Alistair Mechanus, the male lead of my SFR novel Heart of Steel.
  1. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do? In my line of work, I'm almost constantly moving or working on something, so that's a difficult question to answer. I suppose if I had a completely free day--no projects, no crises, no processes to monitor, I might spend it in one of my greenhouses with Julia. I'd show her around, tell her about the different flowers I have... [he smirks] occasionally dodge the servitor robots watering the plants. My second choice might be playing a game of chess.
  2. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they've known you for a while? [He frowns.] I know that my appearance may be shocking and strange, and my mannerisms aren't exactly in line with those of mainstream society. I remember when I first met Julia, she thought I was a madman. [he shrugs] She was right, of course, but under my cybernetic implants I do have a soul, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to protect those I care about.
  3. What's your idea of a good marriage? Do you think that'll happen in your life? [He sits back.] Uhhhhhh.... well. That's rather a complicated question. I suppose my most distilled answer would involve two people with similar interests and who care about each other. I, uh, I hope this will happen in my life. I mean, I'm planning for it to happen, but the devil's in the details, I suppose. I can only hope she says yes.
  4. What are you most proud of about your life?  Mainly I'm proud that I was able to recover my humanity. for ten years I didn't know who I used to be. All I was, was a clinical machine hell-bent on world conquest, and I didn't know why. I threw myself into my work, and I suppose on some level I was afraid to remember what happened. My past was too frightening to contemplate. But... with Julia's help, I... I was able to recover who I used to be. It hurt, a lot, and I nearly broke. now, though, I can heal. I'm still a broken wreck by most people's standards, but at least I'm in a position where I can put my mind back together.
  5. What are you most ashamed of in your life?  [He is silent for a long time.] I... I lost someone very close to me. There was a car accident, and it may have been partly my fault, but... I was too busy recovering and rebuilding myself to really attend to her. She was in a coma in the hospital and... i didn't even visit her. I was too busy making sure I looked my best. she died, and... I didn't get a chance to say goodbye before they took her off life support.
  6. If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living or dead or imaginary), who would you pick? [A slow smile spreads across his mismatched features.] Tony Stark, I think. Sure, he's fictional, but in his world he's a technological genius and a celebrity. Everyone loves him. From what I've been able to find out, he seems like a good man, and a brilliant one as well.
  7. Do you think you've turned out the way your parents expected? [Breaks out laughing.] I don't think I've even turned out like I expected.
  8. What do you believe about God?  I'm not sure what I believe about God. If there is a supreme force out there that's in charge of everything, then they're doing rather a shoddy job taking care of things. On the other hand... if the supreme force is simply intellect, then everyone has the potential in them to be the force that moves the world. As for what an external supreme force might think about me... [He shrugs.] I haven't thought about it. The fact that I've made my way through some fairly horrific events should count for something, I would think.
  9. Is there anything you've always wanted to do but haven't done? What would happen if you did it? Cure cancer, I think. I mean, I have a lot of plans for the betterment of humanity, but curing cancer is one of the major ones. If I could do that, a lot of people would go on to have full, healthy lives who otherwise might not have. [He shrugs] Is it cliche? Maybe. But as long as I'm improving things, I might as well think big.
  10. What's the worst thing that's happened in your life? What did you learn from it? [He goes a bit green.] Losing Lauren. Absolutely. It broke me, on so many levels, and it taught--rather brutally--that maybe I can't save everyone... or maybe that I need to pay attention to the really important things before I lose them.
  11. Tell me about your best friend. [He smiles] Arthur is an artificial intelligence that I programmed myself. He largely serves as an intermediary between myself and the operating system that runs Shark Reef Isle, but, more importantly, he's been a valuable conversational partner and a sanity anchor--as far as sanity can be measured in someone like me--for the past decade. He's kept me from getting lonely, and he's also been there to hit me over the head with a dose of perspective when I need it. i think he cares for me as well, on some assembly-deep level. After all, I created him, though I don't exactly lord this over him. We've just been... partners for the past decade, nearly inseparable because we're connected on the mental level.
  12. What's the worst thing you've ever done to someone? Why? [He looks grave] I sent my combat drones to dismember a man while he was alive--conscious but paralyzed. He was a creation of mine--Julia's boyfriend at the time I met both of them. I'd turned him into a cyborg because he was gravely injured and I thought he would make a nice gift. it turned out that he was even crazier than me. He was willing to kill to keep Julia from leaving him. I won't apologize for it. He had to be stopped.
  13. What would you like it to say on your tombstone? "DEUS IN MACHINA".
  14. Describe your ideal mate. [He smiles] Smart, gentle, funny, a little quirky... beauty is a plus, but honestly, look at me. [He gestures to the cybernetic implants in his face] If she has the personality, everything else is a bonus.
  15. What are you most afraid of? I'm most afraid of losing my humanity again. I don't want to break, and I don't want any more people close to me to get hurt.
  16. What's the most important thing in your life? What do you value most? Right now the most important thing in my life is Julia. She helped me find myself again, even though she had every reason not to bother. I value her friendship, and the gentle affection she shows me.
  17. What do you like best about yourself? Least? I like my intellect the most about myself. It allows me to solve problems that most men--or women--of science couldn't even begin to unravel, or might think were impossible to start with and just give up. I can think outside of the box to see that there is a solution, and then work towards it. As for what I like the least... [sighs] Well, sometimes I'd like my face back, and the limbs and organs I lost. It would be nice to be fully human again, so that I don't have to worry about accidentally hurting anyone... [he looks at his metal hand] But then I worked hard to get where I am today. The scars aren't all that pretty, but at least they show that I survived.
  18. What do you like best about Julia? Least? I like that she was able to look past the mess and see the man that I am underneath. I'm sure when she worked in the emergency room she saw people who looked worse than me, but she still showed me compassion when she was afraid. [He smiles.] Then again, the Healing Angel is seldom afraid. As for what I like least... [sighs] She doesn't seem to understand that all my servants--the chimeras and the robots alike-- would never, ever hurt her. Uh.... we're working on that. I mean, it's not her fault if she's afraid, but she's not going to become less afraid by avoiding them.
  19. How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change? I'm feeling pretty good about my life right now. I'm on the cusp of something great that's been ten years in the making, and I can dedicate the culmination of my efforts to the love of myself. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me, though. I just wish it were done so that I could admire the fruits of my labor.
  20. Are you lying to yourself about something? What is it? [The thinks about this for a while] With the way my mind is, I wonder if conquering the world will be enough. I mean, I tell myself that once planet Earth is mine, everything will be great. [shakes his head] But what if it isn't? What if I'm left wanting something more? I like to think I'm sure about all this, but I have doubts. A hundred thousand things could go wrong, and then where would I be? I can only fix so many things before I have to accept the project as a failure... and then there's ten years down the toilet.

I hope you enjoyed this insight into the mind of a mad scientist who's a romantic at heart! Let me know if you want to see an interview with any of my other characters!