Written by David Davis
Illustration by David Davis
The Loneliest Genius: An Interview with Drakar Vadis
Conducted by Jaula Wallers for Galactic Beacon Press
Across from me, at this very moment, sits a titan. Not only of industry and celebrity, but his frame is massive; as far as his aesthetics go, this is not a bad thing. He is powerful, and his body is a physical manifestation of this simple fact. He is dressed fairly casually with a grey shirt, a blue vest, and his grey slacks and boots. Not a tie to be found anywhere, unlike most business-types I deal with. When you are as powerful as Drakar Vadis, you can dress however you please.
I was contacted by his personal assistant, Ms. Elizabeth Mayden on behalf of Mr. Vadis, as he felt the time was right for another interview considering the rumors around a mysterious new project. She explained that I would be getting an exclusive one on one interview within his office and that I should have my answer as to whether or not I would be interested in being a part of this by the end of the week. I had sent my reply as soon as I had read the message.
And now, here I was in his office, sitting across from someone who I have known of my entire life, and have only spoke to a handful of times.
J: Mr. Vadis, thank you for taking time to answer my questions.
D: I appreciate getting a chance to speak with you. This is our first interview. That surprises me.
J: Of course we’ve known each other a long time. I recall seeing you at the first Federation and Imperial Economics Summit, way back in ‘42. You haven’t aged a day since!
D: Well, I certainly feel older, Jaula. It always pleased me that you did so well for yourself in journalism. You’re quite in-demand.
J: Thank you Mr. Vadis.
D: Drakar, please.
J: Drakar, thank you.
With the introductions finished, I dive into my notes. We begin with his origins. Drakar Vadis is well, well known. In a galaxy with dozens of unique societies, he represents a completely unknown, and almost alien factor. He is the only known member of his species in the charted galaxy, something that may be impossible for anyone but him to truly understand. Regardless, I decide we must begin here.
J: You are the only known member of your race in existence, but you have gone on to become a vital contributor to our various cultures and economies. Does this individuality have any bearings toward your business and research?
D: The Silver Spiral Galaxy is the only home I’ve ever known. I want to defend her interests and survival with whatever gifts I can offer. Fortunately for me, it seems I have a certain business-savvy, and I apply it toward any opportunities I can find.
J: Such as the ExoScan project?
J: Critics within your own board at DraCo have argued that the ExoScan project is a waste of resources, and at most is an attempt to find your origins. How do you respond to claims like this?
Drakar straightens his back a bit, and begins to speak.
D: ExoScan is a project I feel passionate about, and it’s natural that there are those who are… less passionate than I am. I argue that at the very least, it’s a subsidized research project as a show of good will toward the largest governments in our galaxy. Beyond that, it represents a simple fact… we only inhabit a small portion of our galaxy, along a single arm. Taking into account the level of biodiversity we’ve shown in our portion of space alone it seems foolish to assume there are no signs of a common genetic ancestry.
J: Well, race relations have proven a touchy area for some. The terrekin and repton in particular…
D: I believe the terrekin and repton are the first real sign of this theory being correct. I hope that in time the data will only strengthen my belief.
J: Your features are rather striking in that you have a very reptonian-appearance. Is there a chance that your appearance may be influenced by some common ancestor to the repton and terrekin?
D: Nothing would please me more, but all the tests confirm otherwise. It’s been… well, disheartening to put it simply.
J: I heard the bulk of the funding for ExoScan is from you alone.
D: Well, about 40% total. The 20% from DraCo does ultimately make me the largest driving force behind the project alongside my personal 20%. Then of course comes the public sector and som cursory funding from the Federation, Empire, and Neutrality. The cyclopasian government has been particularly generous, and I am quite pleased with the amount of brainpower alone they have contributed toward the project.
J: You’ve always have a very close relationship to the cylcopasians-
D: While it was the gomben that had given me citizenship, I found myself working closely with the cyclopasians early on, and they did much to acclimate me to our galaxy. I owe a lot of my success to learning their ways and their perspectives. Sometimes the cyclopasian viewpoint can be a little fatalist for my taste, but it does really contribute to an objective mindset.
He looks almost wistful for a second. We sit in silence for a moment as I go through my notes, and he waits, patiently.
J: There have been rumblings about a new inter-factional research project, supposedly handled exclusively by DraCo. Can you confirm anything about this for my readers?
Drakar smiles. Despite his long sharp teeth, there is an inherent friendliness in the gesture.
D: What would you like to know?
J: Well, there have been sightings of DraCo representatives, including yourself, visiting high-level Federation, Imperial, and Neutrality leaders. Even despite the increasing tensions between the Federation and Empire you’re able to get them to collaborate toward something-
D: Well, I suppose this is quite the exclusive for you Jaula.
J: What is it that you want to announce?
D: DraCo has secured territorial rights to establish a research-station near the Maw.
J: The Maw being one of the largest black holes in our known galaxy-
D: Exactly. DraCo will have exclusive research-rights there, in addition to securing and monitoring it for the safety of the galaxy.
J: Why the interest?
D: Why do we visit other planets? Why are we searching for new lifeforms?
He pauses a moment, and then continues.
D: There is not a lot of immediate profit in black holes. In fact, some would suggest I am throwing money away. I believe that being able to privatize this research could lead to amazing new technologies. Then we’ll see money rolling in.
J: Do you feel scientific endeavours like these can help take the focus away from the colonization rush we’re currently seeing?
D: I sincerely hope so. I am not comfortable with the trajectory of events between the Federation and Empire. My experience with the war, as you know, was quite limited, but I’ve studied history immensely, and it just feels like our galaxy is heading down a bad, bad path.
J: Not to mention the events on Blassna-
D: I was shocked at what happened to the imperial family. The fact they never found the princess gave me a little hope, but… well-
J: Things have been particularly tense on Blassna since.
D: It’s completely understandable, though, so much confusion erupted from the murders. I met with Emperor Zartul after the incident to offer my support – and, I am sure he would argue the contrary – he’s definitely been affected by everything that’s gone on.
J: So many riots and economic problems lately –
D: Periods of transition are like that, historically.
We are digressing from the portrait of this man I wish to paint, and though his perspective on politics is fascinating, I do have a list of questions I need to ask. I only hope that his opening up could inspire him to share more of his keen insight in the future. I move onto our next set of items.
J: You’ve made the quite the reputation for yourself as being a financial daredevil. Many risky investments, and even more funding of various projects and organizations. What compels you to do this?
D: It’s just in my nature. I’ve done well for myself, and I’ve never had a reputation of being very risk-averse.
J: You unfortunately have another reputation. A rumored one, but-
D: You’re talking about this “dragon,” yes?
J: Yes. Do you have any comment on these allegations of you being a “crime lord?”
D: It seems counter-productive to me. I make more money through my company and ventures than I am sure I could make as a criminal.
J: How do you feel about this idea? How do you reconcile the fact there are those who believe this idea about you?
D: Yes, I’ve regrettably heard those stories. Listen, there is only so much I can do about this misinformation. As the only known member of my species, and the only person in the known universe who looks as I do… I’m naturally a target. It’s just unfortunate. Despite the effort my company puts forth in making the galaxy strong, and the hard work in energy and colonization technologies, I’ll always be considered an outsider. It’s just the nature of success, I suppose. I try not to dwell on these rumors. I expect one day all the good I do will exonerate me from these… well… frankly silly claims.
J: It must be a nightmare for you sometimes.
D: More an annoyance, really. The biggest annoyance is that citizens are not recognizing the serious good I am trying to do through my criminal rehabilitation projects.
J: One of the largest non-profit criminal welfare programs in the galaxy, is it not?
D: Well, I can’t say it is strictly non-profit. I hire a good number of these former-criminals who come through the program. Much of my workforce in the factories and facilities are former criminals, and they’ve been incredibly motivated contributors to DraCo profits. I give them a second chance through my programs, and they help me earn more money to do further outreach. My board and I are currently working on securing a large colony for the older rehabiltees. A place where they can stay away from the larger galaxy that has harmed them in various ways. Perhaps establish a model society.
J: You do have a board to answer to- do they ever take issue with your various projects?
D: The board’s power over me is not as much as they’d like to think. As far as I am concerned, they work around my desires and make things work as smoothly as possible. This is one thing I am confident about- I built DraCo from the ground up, and none of my projects hurt their bottom line in the two decades I’ve even had a board. Besides, we’ve keeping up with the colonization boom as much as possible. I did orchestrate that supply and research deal with the Empire.
J: Why are you still in the game, though? Have you considered retirement?
D: I really can’t say what compels me to keep up my pace, but the key thing for me is that I am simply not slowing down. As long as I am able to work at the rate I am, it would seem like a waste to not do so.
J: How do you separate yourself from your business? How do you relax?
D: I’ve become quite a fan of films, exploring cultural media of all the races. I found the human cultural archive to be quite the treasure trove. I fell in love with a novel called Frankenstein- have you read it?
J: I can’t say I have, I have never been all that taken with human stuff, especially compared to Syrien poetry and mood films.
His eyes light up.
D: I was so taken by Frankenstein that I had funded that film adaptation of it, and I am sure you saw that.
J: Oh, with Aujak Markaz as the lead actor, right?
D: Yes, that’s exactly it. I had to change some things to make it more contemporary to our society, but I feel the foundations are there.
His assistant enters the office. She is a human woman, blonde hair, tall, for a human, but her attitude is one that would befit a grey. She seems aloof, her focus strikes me as pointed, and she is extremely forward with Drakar. This is Ms. Mayden, I was introduced to her earlier. The woman behind the man? She is seen everywhere he is, hovering behind him, datapad in hand, and eyebrows arched in permanent disdain for those who divert Drakar from his agenda that she likely has laid out for him. She walks over to his chair, and he cranes his neck down, allowing her to whisper into his ear. I want to know her story, know why she is the one he relies on, but I suppose I never will.
He rises from his chair, and I do the same. He extends his tridactyle hand toward me, and I reach out, and we shake.
D: I am afraid I will need to end the interview here. Do you want to reschedule to continue further?
I look to the woman just behind him. Her head shakes, telling me no, that would not be needed. I realize that this is true. I already know more about Drakar Vadis that anyone else, barring her.
J: We actually managed to get through all my questions, enough for the interview. Thank you so much for your time, Mr. Vadis.
D: My pleasure entirely.
Ms. Mayden escorts me out of the office, and I finally notice the crimson red tint of the room. The color was so plush that I hardly noticed it when I first entered his office. I pass by a oblong stone, smoothly polished, with shapes carved into it. My stride falters slightly as I study it. Ms. Mayden pauses and turns to me with an almost military-twirl. She says it is an artifact from his past on Auliab, she gently prods by back with her palm to keep me moving forward out of Drakar’s office on the 20th floor of the DraCo building in Galactic Hub Serreven.
I am escorted by her to the elevator and I am ushered inside. She then smiles at me, albeit one that is cursory at best. I thank her and realize that I still do not have the full story, and doubt anyone ever will. Before the elevator doors slide closed she is already walking away, back to the office.