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Archer
Gwen Bowman
"Archer"
Rank 2nd Lieutenant
Gender Female
Race Human
Born ~2630[1]
Affiliation Terran Confederation (Space Naval Academy)
Appearances
First appearance Wing Commander Academy: Red and Blue
Last appearance Glory of Sivar

Gwen Bowman was a female pilot of the Terran Confederation.

HistoryEdit

Bowman joined the Space Naval Academy and was trained on planet Hilthros where she was close to cadets Christopher Blair and Todd Marshall. She got the callsign Archer, obviously as a synonym of her surname. Despite her size and appearance, Archer was experienced in unarmed combat.

Archer throwing maniac

During a failed simulation course, she was one of the pilots who lost their ships, and was derided by Maniac for that. Later in the foyer, she got betweem Maverick and Maniac's fights, and displayed her strength by throwing the much larger and stronger Maniac on the floor. This event was witnessed by Commodore Geoffrey Tolwyn, who organized an actual space exercise with mock fire. Archer was assigned with the Red Team, under Maniac.

Archer in pod

The exercise was annuled because of sabotage. While the pilots were ordered to return to the planet, Archer had to enter a nebula were Maverick and Maniac were resolving their personal feud. Then her ship was destroyed by the turrets of a hiding Kilrathi Blockade Runner. She requested for help and the two remaining pilots went to her rescue, destroying the Kilrathi ship in the process. Back on Hilthros, Tolwyn informed them that they will enter the roster of the TCS Tiger's Claw.[2]

Lowgrav tennis

Playing tennis with Maniac

Like the others, Bowman was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and joined the Cadet Wing. On the Claw she used to play low-grav tennis with Maniac. One of her first missions was to fly reconnaisance to investigate the moons of M-421A System.[3]

Archer medallion

Blizzard expreses his feelings.

The pilot Allen Goetz soon developed feelings for her. While preparing for a mission near a binary star, "Blizzard" asked her to fly together. Moments before deploying, he Claw was under attack by Grikaths. The turmoil made Archer to fall on the floor, and Maniac (who was off duty) took the opportunity to fly to her stead. The pilots ended the menace, but they were affected by a solar flare, which among others affected Blizzard vision and crash-landed in the hangar; Archer had to pull him out of the cockpit moments before his Scimitar exploded. Later Blizzard admitted that he was in love with her, and offered his medallion to thank her for saving his life. Puzzled by the emotional reaction of the otherwise cold Blizzard, she sought the opinion of Dr. Guthrig Andropolos but was not much help.

Killer archer

Killing Blizzard.

In the meantime Archer was worried about the behaviour of the pilots who were out earlier and reported to Tolwyn that the flare might had affected their minds. Hearing these reports, Tolwyn ordered the pilots to be arrested, but they managed to enter the hangar and board Broadswords; in their delusion they planned to destroy the Claw. Archer and Hyena boarded two Epees to stop them. She attempted to communicate with Blizzard, who however saw her as a Kilrathi. Blizzard got a lock on the Claw's bridge. Archer had no other choise than to shoot at him; Archer prayed that Blizzard would manage to eject but he didn't. She would struggle with this memory for some time.[4]

Struggling with emotionsEdit

The shock of having to kill Blizzard would affect her subsequent course. Feeling that she would not perform well, she asked to be temporary excused from duty, and Maverick had to fly without wingman over Dioscuri II. However when he and Maniac (with Grunt) were lost on the planet, Archer led Payback and Hyena to their rescue. Even in the midst of the action she attempted to pursue the non-lethals solutions; While engaging the Dioscuran Dralthis, she ordered to engage using proximity bursts only, to avoid non-necessary casualties. Following a signal by Maverick, she descended to the planet where the Kilrathi engaged the base defense mechanism and launched a rocket against her, which was annihilated by Grunt.
Archer hits the dome

Destroying the Kilrathi command center

Archer persuaded herself that she had to overcome her sensibilities and shoot at the installation dome, destroying it, and causing the Dioscuran Dralthis to become inoperative.[5]
Sabres

Leading a rescue mission in Sabres.

When Maverick and Grunt were stranded on a hostile planet, Archer led Maniac, Hyena and Payback in Sabres escorted a Longbow to their rescue. Archer ordered trigger-happy Maniac not to hunt a lone Jalkehi as their orders were those of a rescue mission. She then orders Hyena to stay with the ship as she, Maniac and Payback investigate the situation. They engaged several Jalkehi in a brief dogfight. Archer had one last remaining target in her lock but fekt unable to shoot, which is done by Payback. [6]

When the Claw discovered a pulsar used by the Kilrathi, Archer with Maniac and Maverick attacked a jump buoy with defensive armaments. Having not felt useful during her withrdawal, she celebrates her victory over an automatic adversary. During the subsequent briefing, Archer displayed her knowledge concerning pulsar hypernodes and was among the voluneers to explore the other side of the jump line, but Tolwyn picked Maverick and Payback. Archer later participated in an ambush which required total radio silence from the pilots, when Maverick emerged from the jump point in need, but she dissuaded Maniac from disobeying Tolwyn and help Maverick.[7] In another ambush, Archer attempted to disable a Kamekh-class by shooting at its engines, only to have made it vulnerable to be destroyed by other pilots, something which she though unnecessary. In another, Archer ordered Broadswords to attack the bigger ships, during which Pitchfork was killed. Later, Archer participated to the rescue mission during the ill-fated ambush at Seti Beta 1.[8]

Archer's psychological condition was examined by Andropolos, who, after running a simulation, found her unsuitable for battle and grounded her. Maniac was angered hearing this, and removes Blizzard's medallion from her, to persuade her to get over that event. Soon after the Claw was under attack by Terran Confederation fighters piloted by Kilrathi. Archer was derided by Payback as she boarded her Scimitar, and was told to stay away from her. However she was joined by none other than Tolwyn himself who flew as her wingman. Archer was always hesitant and Payback took her targets in mockery. When she saw a Broadsword in attack run against the Claw however, she fired without hesitation.
Awarded the flying cross

Congratulated by Tolwyn.

For this she was awarded the Flying Cross for saving the Claw; Maniac returned her the medallion, but Archer decided to send it to his family.[9]

She was escorting four Achilles-class transports when from the distance she witnessed the funerary service for Emil Zoharian, for whose death, Maniac was held responsible. This even brought tension between Maverick and Maniac and at one instance Archer tried to enter between them, but she was dissuaded by Grunt. However when it was revealed that Maniac would not know the presence of a stealth ship, she apologised for being one of those who believed that Maniac would abandon him.[10]

Archer participated in a strike team against a Kilrathi Salvage Tug; she had to kill a Sartha only after seeing that Maniac was in danger. From the tug they stole a Sleep Ship. Soon after the Claw arrived to Oasis and Archer felt envy for the Oasians who finally found peace. She felt that Terrans were "evil spirits" in comparison to them, and even had an argument with Maniac about his swallowness and their differing point of view. When it was learned that Maverick was kidnapped by the alien who was found in the Sleep Ship, she and Maniac went to his rescue; they reached a spire where the Oasians' Maker was kept and was sought by the alien and the Kilrathi. The alien eventually won the Maker with which he intended to restore life to his world;
Archer confronts the warrior king

Convincing the Warrior King.

but Archer persuaded him to let it go as taking it from the planet would destroy it. The alien then left it were it stood and left from sight.[11]

While flying with Maverick and Maniac over Greenhouse to investigate the whereabouts of a Confederaton base, they were engaged by Grikaths. Archer once more failed to fire to save Maniac, and excused herself attributing it to a firing system glitch. After they Kilrathi pilot was downed, they located his ejector pod on the surface, but Archer noted that it didn't transmit any homing signal. The pilots found the station and were hosted by the scientists. Archer was annoyed noticing the interest of the two pilots towards Dr. Bronwyn Sing who encouraged the male competition between them. That night she saw a nightmare: pursuing a Grikath turning out to be Blizzard.

The next moring she suggested to go and look for the downed Kilrathi pilot. They reached the spot with his pod and while investigating, Archer made her remarks about Sing, which Maniac angrily attributed to jealousy. While waiting for Maverick, Archer was assaulted by one of the scientific robots and destroys it. Back in the base, she complained to Sing about the behavior of the robot and Sing admits her accusations that they already found the Kilrathi. That night Archer secretly entered the lab where the Kilrathi was held, and found Sing liberating him.
Archer vs sing

Struggling against Sing

The two women started to fight and joined by the two boys, to whom Sing admitted that she was going to use Rilgh as a biological weapon to destroy the Kilrathi with a plague. Archer boarded her Scimitar and attempted to warn Rilgh; seeing that he didn't believe her, she had to kill him, in order to save the lives of all other millions of Kilrathi.[12] While investigating the presence of a Kilrathi Carrier with Maniac, he abandoned the mission in order to locate Maverick, who was lost in the vicinity. Archer tried to remind him Tolwyn's orders, but was forced to follow him nonetheless. Indeed they found Maverick alive and helped him fight the Kilrathi and escape. Later Archer participated in the assault against the Carrier, and she run against its turrents. After it was destroyed, she killed the last survivor, Bokh nar Ragitika, whith whom Maverick attempted to negotiate.[13]
Archer vs tolwyn

Complaining to Tolwyn

Sometime later, during Tolwyn's campaign against prince Thrakhath, she was the only one who understood that the operation to liberate the Dolosians was a ruse, and confronted him about it.

Indeed, later the Claw begun a move against Agon Ra Sivar and Archer flew under Maniac flying Broadswords. With Jazzman they moved straight into the Dreadnaught and she started a torpedo run during which Jazzman lost his life, making her feel bitter about Tolwyn sacrificing pilots. Her hits caused the Dreadnaught systems to malfunction and Maverick with Grunt (who were held captive) were able to escape. Later Archer covered Maniac as he performed his run in the Dreadnaught's hangar. Later Archer was present at the ceremony to honor the memories of those who died, and awarding to Maverick the Gold Wings of the Cadet Wing Commander.[14]

TriviaEdit

  • Archer appears only in the Wing Commander Academy cartoon TV series where she was voiced by actress Dana Delany. She, Maverick and Maniac form the leading "troika" of the series. Although her character undergoes a development rhough the series, her backstory or further future were never explored.
  • Archer is based on the character of Flint; when it was decided that Wing Commander Academy should be pushed back in the timeline, Archer became an original character. Flint in the series was envisioned as the opposite of Maniac: a person who became a good pilot out of hard study and practice; unlike Maniac, Flint doesn't enjoy flying but has a strong sense of duty and her by-the-book approach contrasts Maniac's natural talent. Compared to Maverick, Flint has the same sense of devotion, but is single-minded.[15]
  • Her Scimitar(s) bear purple markings.

ReferencesEdit

  1. It is assumed that she is around the same age as Maverick and Maniac
  2. Red and Blue
  3. The Last One Left
  4. The Most Delicate Instrument
  5. Lords of the Sky
  6. Word of Honor
  7. Expendable
  8. Chain of Command
  9. Walking Wounded
  10. Invisible Enemy
  11. Recreation
  12. On Both Your Houses
  13. Price of Victory
  14. Glory of Sivar
  15. Series Bible

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