Lower Decks | UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG

Lower Decks

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This month we put 1st Lieutenant Kalianna “Kali” Arashi Nicholotti in the “Lower Decks” spotlight. She’s one of the fast thinking, hard hitting Marines on the USS Resolution, who puts a great deal of thought into her sims, and that includes her character’s name.

Kali came to us after seeing the new Star Trek movie, hoping to find a PBEM RPG that would rekindled the sci-fi love she had as a kid. She said, “I read the site, the guides, and everything else, and made my way over to the forums. I finally said “what the heck” and threw out an application to see if it was still alive. Much to my surprise, and delight, I got a response the next day. The rest, as they say, is history.” Turner:
How did you come up with Kali’s name?

Nicholotti:
Kali is a very old character. She was my very first char with the old RPG I played, and she rose through the ranks to even be the Captain of a ship. She had a long, and distinguished history there, and I was proud of her (especially since I was 15 when I started playing her). The name was originally from a book called ‘The Hammer of God’ by Arthur C Clark. The asteroid in the book, set to destroy the planet Earth, was called Kali – after the Hindu goddess of death and destruction.

Her full name is Kalianna, and my best friend at the time was a girl named ‘Anna’. I put the two names together to get Kalianna, which loosly meant ‘Beloved Daughter of Destruction’. (My friend had one of those name meaning plaques on her bedroom wall that said something about Anna being a beloved daughter.)

Kali’s Middle name – Arashi – is a recent addition since I joined SB 118. Arashi is the Japanese word for storm, and for me this has dual meaning. The original Kali was the product of a troubled mind. I had lost direction in life, much like many teens today, and I was quite self destructive. In the middle of such a storm, Kali was given birth, and she was a mean hearted, emotionless woman who had lost everything in her life. At the time, this is how I felt about my own life. When I brought her to the fleet here, however, she was reborn with the knowledge I have gained over the years, and is a vastly different person. The second meaning to Arashi has to do with the fact that I love, love, love thunderstorms and other weather phenomenon.

Nicholotti has no real meaning. It was a name that popped into my head one day when I was building the original Kali.

Turner:
Did you pattern Kali after someone you know?

Nicholotti:
Kali is me with more courage, self esteem, and will power. I pull a lot from my real world experiences to play her. While I was never in the military, I have been drill instructors for both Civil Air Patrol as well as JROTC. I am the daughter of a Naval submariner as well as a Navy Corpsman, so there was plenty of military experience to pull from. In all my time (which isn’t too much, but still…) I have always prided myself in being able to stand up to injustice, not back down to challenges, and bring out the best in those around me. As many people have learned, I try not to play too hard on the Marine aspect, but more on the person to person aspect of the character. In the end, Kali is me as I would like to be.

Turner:
Kali flies a F/A 18 superhornet, and says it’s one of her favorites, and that “there is nothing better than the sound of afterburners going over your head.” I asked her how she became interested in flying, and she had this to say.

Nicholotti:
I have been obsessed with flight, flying, and really fast planes since I can remember. I didn’t play with dolls as a child, I played with model planes. I learned how to fly at 15, in Civil Air Patrol, and while I have not finished my private pilot’s license, I have had the opportunity to meet, fly in, and mess around with many interesting pilots and their aircraft. Some notable examples include the 747 used to ferry around the Space Shuttle, the Space Shuttle itself, and many astronauts (including the late Alan Shepard.) I even walked through the second piece of the space station (ISS) when it was in the mission processing bay out at Cape Kennedy. Now that was cool!

Turner:
How do you like siming on the USS Resolution?

Nicholotti:
I have had nothing but a blast since I have joined the group. I really love SIMing with the group I met up with, especially the command staff of the Resolution. I know that Kali is very glad Commander Turner was around when she needed a new heart.

So, what makes it so fun? The fact that most of us are able to sim at a fast pace, and those that aren’t are still included. I love the personality behind some of the characters, notably Dr. Deron, who has provided me with many exciting posts to read. I really look forward to waking up in the morning and reading what has transpired. I enjoy the fact that the Captain and first officer allow our characters to thrive and grow, giving everyone the chance to do something important and special, no matter what their position is.

I’m not sure that I have found anything that I really really dislike about the ship. I guess if I had to pick something, it would be the downtime we get on weekends sometimes, but even then, its still not very ‘slow’.

Turner:
You make banners for players to use on the forums. How did you get started on that?

Nicholotti:
Banners and photoshop…I made my very first banner years ago when I was playing Everquest. My guild had a forum where we would all post, and I wanted one of the cool sigs that everyone else had. I asked someone how to make them, and my first banner was born. Over the years I have learned lots of nifty tricks with photoshop, and I enjoy playing with things. When I joined SB118, I brought my skills with me. One of the first things I did, after Lt. Llewelyn made me my avatar, was make me a sig banner for the forums. Truth be told, I am always on the forums, and it makes the group more of a community thing for me. Thus, the banner was a requirement in my mind. Soon after, I started getting requests for banners, and from there, I just decided to make each ships a bit different. For example, the Resolution crew all have banners with a variation of the same background. I try to choose a quote that fits the character, and usually, they come out great. For the Challenger – A, I used a background in the same manner, but of their own class of ship. That way, each crew can have a set of banners that are similar, but unique at the same time.

I enjoy making these, and I am happy to make them for anyone. I love seeing the final result, and how much others are enjoying them. If I had to pick my favorite….it would be Dr. Eliaan Deron…the heartbeat on it just totally makes it cool.

Turner:
Kali is a Marine. Why, and what was the appeal?

Nicholotti:
When I joined SB118, I had been away from the Trek Scene for almost 8 years. I felt that I would have a bigger and better hold on military stuff than starfleet itself, so I chose to keep Kali a Marine. The original Kali was a Marine, so why change, right? Because of my personal background, I am able to play Kali as I would in many situations, which made her the logical and simplest choice when it came to a first character in this group. It took less than a month for me to feel comfortable to make my PNPCs, which are Fleet personnel. Still, I am glad I took my first steps in SFMC. It’s not always easy, but I do enjoy it a lot.

NOTE: If you or someone you know would like to be spotlighted in “Lower Decks,” simply drop me, Commander Toni Turner, an email at lostinthoughts@yahoo.com.