By Commander Rhys Bejain
In the first of a regular column, Commander Rhys Bejain of the Kodiak interviews one of the new recruits to UFoP, Ensign Hidek of the Family Damai, a Valakian…. where he comes from, what made him join UFoP, his future plans and dreams. UFoP is renowned for its diversity. Just like the star trek universe in which we sim, we’re from a variety of countries, beliefs and backgrounds. In coming weeks, we’ll see interviews from admirals, captains, and commanders, but there are also others who serve, without who’s input, we’d be unable to continue.
So … (cue drum roll) introducing Ensign Hidek. (cymbal splash)
RB: How did you become interested in Star Trek?
HD: I always liked anything about science and space. When I was young, I used to watch The Original Series when they were re-aired in my country, which was many years after they were originally transmitted. I really liked the stories of exploring other planets without the need of war, explosions, battles and stuff, but instead a development with a degree of reality and a bit of suspense. Not that I don’t like explosions! It’s always good to see a Borg Cube being blown to pieces and all the special effects. 🙂 However, some sci-fi movies make the action factor the centrepiece of the story. Star Trek, on the other hand, has a balanced measure of everything.
RB: How did you find out about UFoP?
HD: I was searching for information on Star Trek on a search engine, and I found out the directory category of Star Trek games. I decided to check out the websites, and one of them was UFoP. It seemed to be very well organised. When I’d read the articles on the cadet academy, I found, to my pleasure, that it was one of the most serious and comprehensive sites about Star Trek PBEM (Play by email) on the Internet. So I eagerly decided to join it… and I don’t regret it.
RB: Tell me about Hidek.
HD: Well, he is currently an Ensign on board the USS Kodiak as Helm/Comm/Ops. He is from a very uncommon species, the Valakians, which appeared only once on the Enterprise series. He is one of the few millions of members of this race who survived a great genetic plague that killed millions the decades before they eventually found a cure and gradually joined the Federation. The Valakians coexist with the Menk, another humanoid species that grew on the same planet. He is the typical serious Valakian, who has strong ties with his family and culture. Hidek is from the second wave of Valakian/Menk cadets to be integrated in Federation vessels. He is not an expert on advanced technology or space development, since his planet was a bit underdeveloped at that time, but he does very well in his chosen field. He studied with the best professors at a Federation Academy project on his home planet.
RB: Why did you decide to make Hidek as he is?
HD: To be honest, I didn’t really like the outcome in ENT: Dear Doctor, about the death of the Valakian race, so I decided to find a solution for it. I also thought it would be a good idea to explore this interesting race that wasn’t very developed by the writers, but, in my opinion, had a lot of potential. Since there wasn’t so much information about their culture, living style and general personality, I had to invent some information about them based on what I saw on screen. So Hidek came out to be a person who is serious (or tries his best to be), and wants to be a living proof that his race is not the plagued pre-warp one, that humans knew since before the foundation of the Federation. He tries his best to have courage and quick thinking in difficult situations, but ends up being somewhat lost due to the lack of experience. This will possibly change with time, though 🙂
RB: What were your initial impressions of the Kodiak?
HD: At the start I was a little confused. After leaving the Academy I was assigned to the USS Kodiak on a period of “shore leave”, and received instructions to report for duty. I made some mistakes (like arriving right after a fight and reporting for duty directly to Admiral Hollis in the middle of the confusion, without waiting), but that was quickly “fixed” by the fellow officers in the sim. So after reading the posts of the senior staff and acquiring experience, I was able to sim almost properly. I found the Kodiak crew very diligent and organised, which helped a lot during this process of getting used to the ship and its crew. So far, everything has been very fun, and I really enjoyed the simming experience with the Kodiak crew.
RB: What’s happening on board now?
HD: Right now we’re in a mission heading to a Tzekenthi planet that has some serious troubles. They’re too far from the rest of their territory, with a research facility on the surface. However, somehow a huge explosion happened in a power plant, due to a certain energy problem. We are arriving at the planet after the briefing and trying to investigate the accident and find a way to approach and rescue the colonists, but we’re having some difficulties since the Tzekenthi are a very aggressive race and will probably react badly, considering they may not want to be helped by a Federation ship.
RB: What advice would you give a new ensign arriving on a new ship?
HD: Don’t stay lost. Try to integrate yourself as soon as you can, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. If you do make some mistakes and later realise it, just don’t worry, because it’s either not so important to the general plot or it will be fixed soon by someone. Also, don’t give up simming because some real life issues. I’ve had lots of troubles in the beginning, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to write too frequently. But the problems eventually got solved and even though it’s been only a few weeks since I joined the Kodiak, I’ve had opportunities to develop my character very well, that I wouldn’t have if I just stopped and came back after a long time. I’m the kind of person who likes more to read than to write, but if I don’t write, I won’t help with the plot and inject my personal ideas into the story (which is one of the most fun parts of simming, in my opinion). You can always find 10 minutes to at least write something, even if it’s just a personal thought or a small thing.
RB: What are your future plans for Hidek?
HD: I plan to increase his experience and awareness of the world that surrounds him. He’s still too narrow-minded, basing everything in memories from his home planet. Although he has some problems, he’s very dedicated in whatever he’s assigned to do. So Hidek will soon acquire more knowledge and maybe really prove that the Valakians are not so unknown to everybody. It’s his personal goal, and I plan to make him attain it.