Paul Grover

Science Fiction Author

So let’s start with some background, where did you grow up?

I’m a Terran

I was born in Hammersmith in London.  When I was five my Dad took a job in the legal department of the Pan African Mining Corporation and we moved to Cape Town.  We lived there for several years and when I was nine my dad quit his job and sank his savings into an Energy Farm in Namibia.  


My sister hated it, we were between the Namib desert and the Skeleton Coast – it really was butt f**k nowhere.  Can I say that?  You might want to edit that out, sorry I forget myself sometimes.


Anyway Nina was always a city girl, she is six years older than me and was just getting into boys and parties so it hit her hard. I, on the other hand, fell in love with the place.  I could pretty much do whatever I wanted; I had a whole desert to play in.


What do you do now?

Yeah, that’s kind of a good question.  I’m still officially a naval officer, but as you know the Navy is going through some changes.  I’m spending a lot of time on the Frontier, hauling cargo and… um… doing archaeology.


Is astro archaeology something that interests you?


No, not especially, but it seems to have an interest in me.


They call you Mouse, where does that come from?


My dad used to call me Mira Mouse because of my size.  The flight controllers on Illustrious called Mouse me it because they say I sound squeaky on the comm.


I don’t mind it, it’s part of me now.


What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Umm… it’s all kinda classified.  I will say it changed me somewhat.  Yeah I’m pretty much a different woman these days.  I made some new friends along the way.  I think my fiend count is nearly at double figures.


So how was life on the Berlin?

It was okay, routine.  I think I needed that after Mars and everything that came after.  Some of you know my life has not been easy these last few years and I would be lying if I were to say it’s not affected me.


Can we move on from that now? I’m not very comfortable with it.


Sure, What’s the scariest thing you have encountered on your travels?


Another difficult one… Mars was awful, a colossal shit storm.  You know up until we deployed, flying had been a game.  All I wanted to do was go faster, lower and more extreme than anyone else.  Aussie Jon grounded me and I signed on with the Corps just to get back him.


I don’t have the words to tell you how frightening it was.  During the last few months we were loosing crews on a daily basis.  I think part of me died there.


More up to date. When we lost the ship, I honestly thought that was it. We were done for.  The Kobo was a mess and it took all of Ethan Tate’s expertise to get it running.  We did it and we got through it.


I guess if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger… although sometimes things that do kill you make you stronger, that’s a different story.


You’re one of the most decorated pilots to come out of the war, they call you the Queen of Cydonia…


Maybe… but it’s not worth it. War is never worth it.


Tell us a little about your friends.


That won’t take long!  Seriously, I have known Rich Barnes forever. He’s the biggest man you ever did see, straight talking and loyal.


Then there is Monica Garret; she is the medic on the Berlin. She can drink anyone under the table and does not suffer fools graciously.  She kept me sane on the ship and helped in other ways... I’d tell you, but it would get her struck off the medical register.


I made some new friends too, Xander is… well you know who Xander is.  He has a son called Luke who looks a lot like him.


Ethan Tate was one of our Marines on the Berlin, a sweet kid who saved our arses.


Alex!  How can I forget Alex?  Alex Kite is a total dick and I love him to bits for it.  I would not change him if I could. Probably one of my closest friends, he knows things about me no one else does.


I love them all and I don’t tell them enough.


Oh and there is Tish…


Any romantic involvement?

There is someone… it’s early days… but, you know, I think she’s the one.  Have I gone red?


Tish is the smartest and most compassionate person I have ever met.  She can handle herself in a fight, but she has an innocence the universe can’t ever take away.


Yeah, early days, but she’s special.


Whom (or what) do you really hate?

Myself… sometimes… sorry that makes me sound weird.  I have had my issues but these days I’m a lot better.


Other than that liars and hypocrites are pretty high on my list.  They change you, once you’ve been taken for a fool once you become suspicious of everyone and everything.


What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?

I like beer, there is a Tarantella brew called Belt King, they make it from belt ice and it’s lethal.  Colour – anything black matches my mood most of the time.


Out in space there is not a lot to do. I read a little now my vision is better and Tish has some weird musical tastes she’s introduced me to something called Frontier Metal… it’s brutal.


I’ve been talking to Shannon Wade about having a few JetSuit runs.  We want to fly AvCan - Avalon Canyon on Mizarma.  We’re also thinking about Fish River Canyon back home.  Shannon has never flown either.  She’ll blow me out of the sky so I’ll need the home advantage!


Shannon Wade?  The Shannon Wade?


Yep!


How did you meet her?


Long story, interesting too.


What does the future hold for you?

I wanted to sit in the desert and grow old and cranky, but I have seen what’s coming and it does not look good for us as a species.


I’m not sure war is the answer, maybe if we can come together humans will make it. If I can play a small part I’ll do it.


There are certain people who want to see me on a Steelside, but I don’t know if that’s for me.  I’d rather strap on a starfighter or a dropship. it’s what I do best.


Tell us about your ship, why Second Chance?


Tish named her.  We don’t get second chances very often and the ship’s name recognises that.  I got a chance to live my life again and I intend to take it.  This time I’m doing it on my terms.


As ships go she is very standard; we have some extra armament and the shield generator is upgraded.  I recently saw an Aurora that had been customised to bounty hunter specifications.  I got to thinking maybe the Chance could be uprated into a war horse.


Best thing about her?  My stateroom has an enviro-sim system!


You mentioned ADD in the past, how has that affected you in your career or life in general?


I’m impulsive, I don’t always think things through.  It’s always there but I think I manage it quite well.


How did you join the Navy with ADD?


I lied on my application.  Like I said, I’m impulsive and don’t think things through (laughs).  


You said you have issues, is it something you want to talk about?


Yeah, I guess.  Most people think my troubles came from the war.  I think that brought everything to the fore but I have always struggled with doubt and fear.  


Things scare me, so I try and control them, dominate them.  It can lead to some weird behaviour.


<pauses>


Over the years I have self harmed, used drugs, slept with the wrong people.  I have been suicidal.


It’s not something I talk about easily, but it is something that needs to be spoken of.  I am not special, I am not unique.  I know there will be people out there reading this who have been through something similar or are going through it.  My message to them is don’t give up, talk to someone.  It’s hard, but do it.  


There is no problem that can’t be fixed, somehow.  It’s not easy but it is worth it.  Get help and don’t let you demons take your life away,. You are too special and the universe needs you.


So what are your immediate plans?


Dunno, I have a universe to save...come back to me once I’ve ticked that off the list!