And we’re back again! Third of the last, and today’s prompt the one from May 2012: “Choose your favorite of any of your own characters and conduct a ten-question interview with him or her.”
Well, at least the choose part was easy, Helena and I agreed on it at once. Kijé Yenseh! I don’t read interviews in magazines, I have no idea what usually gets asked. So we just went for the ten things we most want you to know about Kijé.
This interview was conducted by Helena Ogilvie in the long gallery adjoining the offices – I typed it up from the Dictaphone later.
1. How did you get your name?
I was named after a piece by Prokofiev; the Lieutenant Kijé Troika. The ironic part is, Rosalie first heard that piece as the background music to a retelling of the story of Atalanta and the Golden Apples – Atalanta was the fastest runner in Greece. And I, obviously, am not. That accented e causes more Huttese to be flung around the office than any other letter she uses. I believe Yenseh is after a dentist – whose name was Jensen.
We only found out later that Lieutenant Kijé was a character invented by a Russian army unit to take the rap for various disasters – it only backfired when one of the disasters ended in a brilliant success, but Kijé had already been blamed. The tsar sent for him to be given a medal or something, and the army unit had to hastily concoct a story about how the heroic Lieutenant Kijé had died gloriously in battle – I’m told the medal was awarded posthumously.
2. If you could choose, would you rather go back to being a regular Padawan, or stay as you are?
I’m used to this now. If I could have my leg back, and go on with a really decent Master, like Nasriel’s fallen in with… oh, what wouldn’t I give? But as I’m lame for life, and the odds of my getting someone like Master Kenobi instead of someone like Master Vareng are slim to nil, I’m happy enough where I am. Madame Nu is very kind to me, and I like to think I’m good at what I do.
3. Do you know who you’re based on, and if so, what lessons have you taken from your models?
I was partially inspired by Skip Tyler, from the Tom Clancy novels. He was a submariner, and a football quarterback, but he lost his leg in a car accident. Lessons… oh, Skip’s a great guy. He hasn’t let it stop him – can’t play ball or go to sea anymore, but he teaches at the submarine academy and coaches his kids’ team, lives vicariously, like. And he’s always the first to make the jokes; it’s a defense tactic, really. If you laugh about your own oddities, it’s not worth it for anyone else to, the joke’s had the breeze taken out of it.
There are some aspects of my character taken from a real person: Eric Lomax, who wrote his autobiography, Railway Man. You know, the one they made into a film. I’d like to think I’m as brave as he was. As steadfast about standing up for what he really believed in, and about protecting people. There’s some of MacGyver, too – I like that. The compassion, the… wanting to help when anyone’s in trouble, what’s the word for that?
Rosalie told me once that I’m her Lord Peter Wimsey, her Mr. Darcy, and her Adam Dalgliesh. I didn’t ask what she meant – that was in the inner office, we were working. But I rather think I know.
4. Do you ever wish you had gone with your mother when she came to the Temple?
No. Like I said at the time, I stayed with my mother. Family’s not blood – family is the people the Force gives you, by birth or circumstances or what. For me that’s the Jedi.
5. Where’s your favorite place to be, and why?
Oh… I’m happy enough wherever I am. Focus determines reality and all that. But I think there are three top contenders. One is running the Snake Alley cut in eastern CoCoTown, on a clear night, with the streetlights melting past the car and the engine screaming out of a dive… times like that, it doesn’t matter that I limp. Another is the Archives, of course. I think everybody likes the Archives – a haven, somewhere to get away from the war. Force knows places like that are hard to find. And the third is the waterfall rock in the Thousand Fountains. I can still climb up to it, and I stand there and look down at the pool, and think about… stuff, you know. Falling. Not Falling. The Lost. Something Master Fisto said once: we all have to look the Dark in the eye, at least once in a lifetime, if only to renounce it. Sometimes I wonder if I already have, or if that’s still coming for me. I guess most of the gang has faced it – Leannen and the Witch for sure.
6. What’s your earliest clear memory?
The house blowing up, of course. I was not-quite-five. I vaguely remember that there was a war on around us, and blackout at night and not enough to eat and so on, but nothing concrete, no really vivid memories, until… I was in bed, in my pajamas, of course – the sort with feet, feeted pajamas, I do remember that – and there was this enormous thump out in the street, and my… he must have been my father, but I have no idea what he looked like or anything useful like that. When I try to remember his face, I just keep getting Master Muln, or that random HoloNet actor, the one on Greatest Corellian Hero, and I know that’s not right. Anyway, my father took my hand and started toward a flight of steps, to the basement, I think. I wasn’t happy about that at all, thank you, and headed for the front door. And the next bomb landed right on the house, the blast threw me across the street, and the next-door-neighbor found me in the morning. You know the rest, he looked after me until Master Rhara came for me.
7. Is there anything about yourself that you’ve never told anybody before?
And… why would I tell you now? Actually, there are quite a few, but just one I don’t mind telling. I’m glad I’m in the Archives. I was always scared spitless heading out on missions, never knowing if everything will be fine and we’ll get the job done and come home safe, or if this will be the one, and my Master – or me – or both of us – will come back maimed, or broken, or not at all. The uncertainty really got to me. Ask the Witch, she’s dealt with my pre-mission nerves more that I care to think about. I mean… nightmares before we left, getting the shakes… I like to think I hid it pretty well, but it doesn’t matter anymore, the one has been and gone and I’ve survived it. And the Archives are safe. Nobody’s getting into the Temple, we’re like the last stronghold or something.
8. Speaking of Padawan Threeb, I understand you two have been quite close for a while now – how does that affect your life as a Jedi?
Short answer: it doesn’t. If I got a call tonight saying Nasriel had been killed – she’s off on station, you know that, right? – I’ve no doubt I could go on just as before. Same goes for her. Jedi don’t have attachments – that’s the rule, anyway, and we’re both… well, wild enough, but we try to be good Padawans. Good people. It’s like Master Yoda said – renounce any attachment you fear to lose. I’m not attached to Nasriel, losing her would not affect me, we’re just friends, we get on well together. Old friends.
9. What do you like to do with your spare time?
Hah – spare time, what’s that? Jedi officially don’t have spare time – I mean, you can always find something productive to do. But if, say, I’ve been filing stuff since dawn and the Council have demanded something on three minutes’ notice, which isn’t long enough to find an obscure file, let alone get it from the Archives to the antechamber, Madame Nu decrees it a ‘stressful day’ and I’m excused straight after sunset, instead of staying on until the Archives close for the night.
So then I’ve got a few hours free – usually ‘stressful days’ happen immediately after Master Kenobi gets home from somewhere, which means the Witch is around too. We might go for a walk in the gardens, meditate or read together – like taking turns reading aloud chapter by chapter through the Enchiridion – or watch the sparring practice in the dojo – just stuff.
If Nasriel’s away or busy, I – I draw. Mostly it’s a little macabre, artist’s impression of battles and so on, based on the mission debriefs. I try to get the geography, the tech, the little details, just exactly as they are in the report. ‘Cause there aren’t always holos of everything. One time Master Muln came and borrowed a set of drawings I’d done of an historical incident at Ithor – for a briefing for the war. So it’s not useless.
10. Well, we’ve dealt with what Rosalie and I wanted people to know about you. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Yes. Yes, there is. I don’t know all the story, because I never know all of a story, I’m the assistant Archivist, not Yoda; the war, and Master Dooku leaving – before my time, I’m afraid, but it’s easy to find people who remember. I get more time to think about it, off of active duty, and I’ve been thinking: did this really start at Geonosis… or has it been ticking over in the background for years, maybe even decades? Rosalie told me that’s the first principle of AU, picking the exact moment everything shifted. I’ve been trying to pick the moment the war really began, the moment it was still small enough to stop in its tracks. Lots of research. But I think I’m close – all I need now is what… Kei-Mu in the crèche still calls it ‘Falled’… what Falled Master Sifo-Dyas? And was there anything anyone could have done? Purely academic, because until Anakin manages to build a time machine, there’s nothing to be done… but it would be interesting to know for sure exactly when the war began.
Do tell us if you ever work it out. Thank you, Kijé.
Thanks for reading. We’ll be back next month with the next of the last.
Which of your characters would you interview?