Travis was a career officer in the Federation military, holding the rank of Space Commander. His service number was given at his trial as Alpha 15105. (B: Trial) He first encountered Blake during his initial period with the rebellion, laying an ambush for him. Blake shot Travis on this occasion, leaving him with a distinctive bionic implant replacing his left eye and the surrounding area. This was possibly also the occasion in which Travis lost his lower left arm, which was similarly replaced by a prosthetic. The new arm also carried a lazeron destroyer.
At the time of Blake's second rebellion and escape from Federation custody, Travis had been suspended from duty and was awaiting court martial for the massacre of civilians on the planet Auros. (A: Seek-Locate-Destroy)
Following Blake's raid on Centero, the Federation council ordered a dedicated task force be assigned to stopping him. Travis accepted Servalan's mission with relish, laying a series of traps for Blake and the Liberator. None of them were successful, however, and Blake had the opportunity to kill Travis on several occasions, although he refused to do so, on the grounds that the Federation might actually replace him with somebody competent. (A: Seek-Locate-Destroy)
Travis managed to trace the Liberator to a deserted planet, and drew them into a close combat fight but was kidnapped by Giroc and Sinofar before completion. They wanted to observe a duel between him and Blake, and to have him learn the death of a friend, which they took to be his mutoid captain. He didn't mind sacrificing her if it meant the death of Blake. Because Blake spared him, Sinofar kept him behind to let the Liberator escape. (A: Duel)
Using a tipoff from Terloc about the location of Avalon on a Federation mining world, Travis planned to use her to draw Blake out to recapture her. Using a android of Avalon, he wanted to deliver a deadly virus onto the Liberator to kill its crew and get the ship into Federation hands. He dubbed this plan "Project Avalon". Following the failure of the project, (A: Project Avalon) Servalan took a much closer interest in Travis' activities, accompanying him in the field and using him as "muscle" in some of her more devious activities. However, these met with no greater success than his initial operations had.[source needed]
After the failure to capture Blake during his attack on Earth's Computer Control, Servalan abandoned Travis, making him the sole scapegoat for this and other failed operations and reinstating the court martial proceedings against him (in part to prevent him from testifying against her in an upcoming enquiry).
Travis was court-martialled for ordering the massacre of civilians on the planet Zircaster, and was consequently stripped of rank, dishonourably charged from the military and sentenced to death. The trial was interrupted by an attack by the Liberator, and Travis took his chance and escaped. He and Servalan made a deal where she would have him declared dead (and thus free from pursuit) if he helped her eliminate Blake.
He made a few more attempts to kill Blake and capture the Liberator, even boarding the vessel while disguised as the rebel leader Shivan at one point, but all of these plots also failed in the end.
A Traitor to his Race
By now slightly deranged, Travis finally made a deal with the invading Andromedan aliens - he would lead them to Star One, the control centre for the minefield protecting the Federation's territory from extra-galactic attack. Travis kept his part of the deal and received an unexpected bonus when Blake also arrived - Travis shot and badly injured him. However, Blake was not dead and shot Travis after only part of the minefield had been deactivated. The injured Travis was shot again by Avon and plunged into a close-by shaft where he died a spectacular death.
Travis was described as 'psychotic' by Rontane. While highly intelligent, at least to begin with, his obsession with Blake approached monomania in its intensity. His mental condition seemed to degenerate as time went by - the ruthless but patient strategist of his early career gradually being replaced by an unstable brute.
Travis' defeat by the Liberator crew on Aristo was perhaps a turning point, as after this he required drastic psychotherapy. Afterwards, he became significantly less calculating and proportionally more aggressive. Carnell noted his state of mind and told Servalan that he was "more dangerous than ever".
A more drastic turn occurred after Travis was court-martialled for massacre charges again after his failure to kill Blake at the old Federation Control facility on Earth. His guilty verdict and subsequent denouncement by respected military officials in Space Command not only marked the end of his career as an officer, but also any positive ties he or the Federation mutually had for each other, and the hypocritical attitude (in his opinion) of the Federation may have contributed to his actions at Star One later on. Towards the end of his life, his loathing of the Federation seemed to extend to the rest of humanity in general as he willingly helped plan its subjugation (and possible extermination). He seemed keen to have his part in the invasion well-known, his one regret about his collaboration being that humanity would "never know who really killed them".
According to Blake, Travis had no friends and was generally contemptuous to most around him. On the other hand, he seemed shocked and angered to learn of the death of Maryatt, the medic who had saved his life, as a result of Servalan's machinations to acquire Orac. When he learned that Maryatt would be listed as a deserter and that his family would be enslaved in turn, he began to protest but dropped it after Servalan began to push back, concerned that she might prevent him from hunting Blake. He also seemed interested exploring Keera's background with her and was somewhat disappointed when she expressed no interest in her pre-Mutoid life. He generally held the respect of the men under his command and, while he generally expected losses in any military operation, was generally protective of them in battle. On the other hand, he was less positively inclined to Mutoids; while he stated he preferred the company of the Mutoids given his bionics, he ultimately regarded them as expendable (at least when it came to his quest to kill Blake).
His relationship with Servalan was complicated. Travos certainly respected her for her ruthlessness and her position in the military, but they frequently butted heads when it came to capturing Blake. While he was primarily interested in hunting and killing Blake by any means possible, frequently her interest in acquiring advanced technology for her own use (Liberator and Orac in particular, also Coser's weapon IMIPAK) conflicted with his own goals and tactics. In his last known face-to-face meeting with Servalan before departing to Star One, he offered to rule the galaxy with her using Star One as their means of control. She quickly shot this line of conversation down, however. Given subsequent events, how genuine this offer was is up for debate.
His hatred for Blake was obsessional and only fuelled by the various defeats Blake inflicted on him over the course of the series. His interest in the rest of the Liberator crew was less intense, and he was capable of relatively rational discourse with the likes of Avon or Cally. Also, while he received come catharsis from gunning down a clone of Blake shortly before chasing Coser, he also recognized that the clones were ultimately not Blake. When the second Blake clone defeated Servalan's plan to acquire IMIPAK, he calmly congratulated him on his success, while his commentary to Servalan on her plan at the same time was rather more snarky.
Behind the scenes
- Travis was portrayed by Stephen Greif in Series A. Greif grew weary of the repetition of the part. That, better offers and an injury convinced him to leave. He recommended Brian Croucher to the producers as a replacement, and Croucher ended up playing Travis throughout Series B (ironically with far more varied storylines). The change in actors was never addressed on TV, but the shift in Travis's characterisation is implied to be the result of Federation retraining therapists, who may have tampered with his mind in some way.
- It was established that medical technology had the ability to restore his face and missing eye but he chose not to do so, explaining to Servalan "I'm a field officer, not one of your decorative staff men.".