Character and traits[edit | edit source]
Richards had cool dark eyes. Between instructing in the Academy and his 26th year, he seemed to have aged, with wrinkles around his eyes and his hair was going gray.
He often complained to his ship's XO regarding lack of spare parts. He went as far as to tell him suffering from "cranial-fundamental insertion syndrome".
He was attached to the old Hurrie he was flying; sometime he gave the plane an affectionate pat.
Biography[edit | edit source]
He was the son of pilot Quentin Richards who was lost while flying. Vance graduaded top of his class in the Confederation Service Academy where in his plebe year found Winston Turner intimidating, until he figured out he was all right.
Vance was one of the pilots who was interested in breaking security codes, a hobby he kept even in his pilot career. When he graduated, Joshua Speedwell in Confed Intel was interested in getting him, and talked to Turner about it. At some point Vance cracked some fleet access codes and get into some A secured reports concerning the Varni War. After reading these reports, he formed the opinion that the future was held by the carriers, not the battlewagons or the heavy cruisers.
Around 2630 he served as a summer flight instructor for basic subsonic atmospheric flight; spending an afternoon with Richards in the right seat was said to be a torture; he had a reputation for being eager to give the dreaded red check mark, in any of a hundred different areas, that would forever ground the dreams of fleggie pilots.
When Admiral Spencer Banbridge recruited his friend Winston Turner for a classified mission, he assigned Lieutenant Richards under Turner's command; Turner was glad, as "the Fleet takes care of its own".
He had an impeccable report. By early 2634 he was serving on a carrier as a was squadron leader, with rumors that he was to be promoted to Lieutenant Commander at a training wing. Then he received orders, without any explanations, to report to Base McAuliffe as soon as his ship docks with Alexandria, and pick up Geoffrey Tolwyn, the graduate who insulted Sen. Jamison More. Richards figured that he had also pissed somebody off without knowing. On 2634.120 Richards landed his Hurricane to Johnson Island where Tolwyn was expecting him. He guided the ensign across the tarmac to the flight deck, explaining that the base was actually a junkyard and how commander Nagomo doctored the reports to seem that all craft are flyable. They entered the flight operations office, up to the main desk where he turned in his flight report and took an envelope bearing the seal of the Confederation Fleet Personnel Office. Once the marine sergeant left, he opened the envelope and sighed reading that they will receive new orders at the the base officer's club.
He motioned to go for a drink, leaving his duffel bag at headquarters, they headed for the base officer's club. They took a table in a far corner of the empty room and Richards told him to call him "Vance" while having a drink, and that their orders will arrive here. Soon after they were joined by Winston Turner, revealing that they are assigned to him, puzzling Vance who had read that he was to be retired; it would be one of his last assignments, and the two were nominated to help him. The announcement meant that Vance was most likely grounded. He asked Vance's honest and unoffocial thought about his squadron, who admitted that despite the abilities of the pilots, they are vulnerable to an attack from the Kilrathi at any time, and supported Geoff's worries that they are out to get them. He believed that the next war would be a "carrier war", something that the brass don't want to admit. He fell silent realized that he was too much warmed to his subject, but Turner wanted to hear more of his opinion, when he admitted knowledge about the Varni War.
In that operation with Geoff (which coincided with the beginning of the Kilrathi War), he served as Turner's pilot while Geoff as administrative assistant but the two boys showed a display of both wanting to be top dog tiring Turner. They followed Turner to the Hell Hole where they hired pilot Hans Kruger of the Lazarus to infiltrate Kilrathi space.
He is seen as something of a maverick himself and takes to heart the Salvor Hardin aphorism of never letting his morals stop him from doing what's right. He is instrumental in uncovering the Kilrathi duplicity during the armistice and their secret fleet, and helps Jason Bondarevsky talk Max Kruger into taking his fleet to save Earth.
After the war, he joins the Landreich and assists in their recovery of a lost Kilrathi carrier, and its use against a Kilrathi dreadnought refitted by an ambitious local warlord. He is believed to be dead in that battle, but later, he is said to be alive and well in the Landreich, lending his codebreaking and intelligence-gathering expertise to the cause of the Border Worlds.
After 39 years with the fleet, he wrote Point and Counterpoint—Intelligence and Counterintelligence in the War Against the Kilrathi his memoirs. He provided Wilhelm Schwarzmont with the text of his unpublished memoir along with declassified records, for his book.