Thursday, July 21, 2011

Character conversations: Valentin

Segue from Maggie's conversation to talking with Valentin, her main squeeze. My comments and notes in italics.

You were involved in Glenna's uprising toward the end. How did you escape Glenna McBride's infamous seductive powers?

Not by trying to avoid it. Noticed her, of course, hard not to. I was not on her radar, I think. So I did not get full force of her attention. Saw her use it, though. On other men at that mixer before attack on Kennedy Station.

Was only just seventeen, then. Glenna, she was... old woman. (with a teasing laugh) What, twenty? Maybe twenty-one.

(I punch him in the shoulder on behalf of all women. He pretends it hurt, and it’s annoyingly cute how his eyes squish up when he laughs.) And this was five years ago that you were seventeen. Old man.

I should live so long. Be so lucky. Yes, I thought about Glenna. Maybe when I was alone in my bunk, too. Was redhead I kept looking at, though. One with... (he pauses to think) You know fabricators, systems that digest mined rock into elements, build it into plastics, all things you need on homestead.

(Fabricators are complex arrays of chemical and biological treatment systems, all run by an AI. The automated machinery can crush down anything, render it into simple chemicals and then build new substances back up. Plastics, water, oxygen, glass, metal... if all the ingredients are in what you feed it.)

Looking at Maggie was like looking into fabricator's forge as iron is cast. Glenna, she was full of anger, full of passion. Beautiful. Maggie...

Did you see that when you met her again, five years later?

Forge had cooled by then. Only iron. She was magnet, I suppose. (smiles) Could not resist.

Did we ever set a last name for you?

(he shrugs) Fine just being Valentin. Stop looking — there isn’t one. (Could’ve sworn I did when I decided your home ‘stead was called Mirgorod. Should’ve used it when we met you back at the beginning.) Works, what you put. “Last name as Russian as he looked.” (Found it later. Mirovalev.)

Just trying to keep you clear in people’s heads. Got this passel of cute guys, I’ve got to do something…

So we interview to work on accent, yes. But said you do not believe in writing accents.

Not phonetically. Not in painful detail. But a little word choice tweaking will set you apart.

Maybe I learned English young, though. Not American Russian, but can still pick it up over networks and net-school. Not tiny homestead, Mirgorod, Long Runners come and go.

Look, I’m not asking you to pick up some cheesy Soviet accent.

(with a grin, letting his accent thicken)
Pass me vodka.

Should I worry about alcoholism? (I pour a couple shots, though)

(still laying on the accent)
Live on rock and void waits to eat soul. Any slip, it get you. More vodka help you sleep at night.

More vodka make you stupid.

(pours himself another)
Famous Russian drinking, is like marathon. Train all time. Start young.

I probably don’t want to ask.

(with a raspberry)
Americans. Martian corporations we need to shuck off — none are Russian. Was Americans who wanted to live in gees, on big stations with redundancies and all safety (air quotes with that second shot in hand) they could lift up here.

But Americans are a major part of the bootstrapper population.

Still some pioneer blood left. Russians were bootstrapping before millennium turned. (empties that second shot) We got here first. Americans followed with their luggage. (image of tourists in Hawaiian shirts with a luggage cart stacked ludicrously high)

OK, that stings a bit.

My opinion. (Yup. You’re the chatty one, of the guys, aren’t you. He shrugs.) Get few shots in us, we loosen up. Except for DB. So it was me and Shen and Clay. (And Danika and Yvana. He nods.) Russian, aren’t they? And Maggie too. Hackers were always hacking. Not good, never taking breaks. Never unwinding.

One of my better reference choices...
Americans know something about working hard, at least. Makes us a little better than tourists? He shrugs at that too.

Americans still think Russian men are shadowy, dangerous Soviets? That sexy? (You shut up right there, comrade, you’re showing my age. He chuckles at that.) So why this reference photo?

What? Adrien Brody’s got Eastern European in him. Not as far off as some of my ref photos. Plus — melancholy? And those hands? Sexy, yeah.

So it’s Russian melancholy, then? (pours himself a third shot.) Cheerfulness of the damned, is that right phrase? Stereotype? What is Russian stereotype, since Soviet Union died?

Gangster? Anybody can be a gangster, though. Good question. Maybe my readers will comment on that. And this is running long, so I’m going to stand by you being the chatty one. :)

1 comment:

ali said...

I *love* this! And that photo fit Valentin's interview here perfectly.

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