Today, my guest is Ria Constable.
Readers of Myra and Freefall will know all about her, but for the rest of you, she’s from Wishart, loves bright colours and has been with Griff Alyoushan for a long time. Dave Travise first met her when he went with Rixon to buy Freefall. She met Griff when he bought Dave and Myra a load of spares as they worked on the ship.
We met up on New Devon, where she lives and runs a shipping agency with Griff. As usual, she was dressed in bright colours, with the trademark shells woven into her hair, but she was strangely subdued, at least to start with.
“Hi Ria, thanks for inviting me over.” I started, she had made tea and there was also a plate of the biscuits that New Devon was famous for.
She smiled, “It’s great to finally meet you, I’m a bit worried about what you might ask me though.”
“Nothing you wouldn’t want to answer,” I tried to reassure her, “if you don’t like the question, just ignore it.”
“OK, she said, brightening up. I wondered then what she had to hide. “Where do you want to start?”
“Just tell us about growing upon Wishart,” I suggested, “what you did when you were young.”
“There was just me and my father, Evan,” she said. “He had a farm on one of the islands; I never knew my mother, only pictures and a bit of video.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, “so you didn’t have any siblings?”
“No, it was just me and father. Life was pretty good if a little constricting. I did school over the web, I always wanted to be an engineer. My father had an old Sprite, the scout ship, it was kept in the big barn. At first, he told me that he had found it, later I discovered that he had served on it in the Holy Wars.”
That had been a long while ago, it had resulted in the destruction of the capital city on Wishart; everyone knows that story. (If you don’t you can find the article from Galactographic! Magazine HERE)
“I had to get him drunk,” Ria continued, “before he would tell me all about it. He told me that the crew had mutinied and landed it there. He must have been one of them, but he wouldn’t say what he had actually done. The island was uninhabited then, the farmers must have gone off to serve. The officers on the Sprite had been killed and dumped in the sea, the rest of the crew disappeared. Father was tired of running and as there was a deserted farm on the island, he decided to take it over.”
That was some story, “and nobody ever came back to claim it?”
“No,” she said, ” we found out later, some were lost in the war, the rest had all been in Brethrens Host at the end.”
And we all knew how that had ended up!
“Where did your mother come into the story?”
“They met up when he took the first harvest to market, it must have been love at first sight because she came out here to be with him.”
“And what happened to her?” As I asked, I wished that I hadn’t.
She welled up, “I don’t want to talk about that,” she said sniffing back tears.
“Sorry,” I said, “then what?”
“I grew up, my father tried to teach me about farming, all I wanted to do was fly the Sprite away from the farm and explore the Galaxy. I learned about it from the web, how to fly it and repair it. I even lifted it off the ground a couple of times. Father could see that I wasn’t going to be a farmer, he humoured me, told me that I could take it and go when I was old enough. But I couldn’t get away, there was always some reason. In the end, I gave up trying to leave, we would just argue all the time.”
“But you did get away?”
“When Rixon came to buy the Sprite I was shocked, I thought it was the ultimate betrayal. I thought that it meant that I could never leave. That I would be trapped forever on the farm.”
But it wasn’t like that?”
“No, I saw Dave and Myra, they were nice people, I worked out a plan, I was going to go with them when they left, not tell father. Then I met Griff.”
“He was amazing, if that was how my parents felt when they met, now it had happened to me I could understand it. I would have done anything to stay with him. Then I thought; what if Dave and Myra won’t take me? I’ll never be with him. So in the end, to make sure that they couldn’t refuse, I stowed away when they left.”
“And you’ve never regretted it?”
Never, we’ve had our ups and downs, Griff losing his arm wasn’t the problem other people thought it would be. At least he was still alive, a little thing like that won’t stop us. Myra and I got on really well, that’s another story.”
“Myra? Wasn’t there some awful story there?”
Ria looked like she would cry again. ”Will you tell me about that?”
“No,” she said. “I’m sorry; there are some secrets that need to be kept until the right time, the same as some promises.”
“There have been a lot of things that happened, Myra, Rixon and Messinya, that’s Myra’s mother, have all influenced my life in different ways. I’ve said and done things that I will have to justify. I once thought that I was helping a friend and it turned out badly. And before you ask; I won’t tell you about them either.”
“You might one day though?”
Ria smiled, “Maybe, you’ll just have to wait and see.”
So there you are, Ria is a complex lady, with a lot more to tell than she lets on. It would be a shame if a story as fascinating as hers was not completed someday.
Note: After this interview I discovered that Ria was preparing to enlarge on the story, to add to the part she had in the novels Freefall and Myra. Rumour has it that everything would be explained in a new book, provisionally entitled Promise me, which was in the process of preparation.