Tonight we have a very special guest in my interview room- Captain Quinn Reynolds, formally of the USS Eagle, now promoted to Captain and offered her own command. The vessel she’s chosen? The USS Drake, a Miranda-class vessel, a relic from the Original Series days, still in the service of Starfleet after all this time.
Let’s learn a little more about it.
First things first, however: congratulations on your promotion, Captain!
You’re more than welcome. It’s no secret that Captain Reynolds is an extremely talented writer and who generally wins any writing challenge she enters; as such, I’m filled with fanboy-ish glee that I finally get a chance to interview her. So let’s do that.
When an officer reaches the rank of Captain they are offered the command of their choice (assuming it’s not already taken, and assuming canon and fleet-theme can accommodate it). Captain Reynolds chose a Miranda class vessel, and this class’s distinguished service history speaks for itself. The Miranda class is a vessel that’s lasted through the years of James T. Kirk (Star Trek II) through to the Battle of Chin’Toka (DS9) and the return of the USS Voyager (VOY: Endgame). With such a long and proud history behind the class, I wanted to know if Reynolds thinks there are still adventures left in her.
Absolutely. I think there are plenty of stories to be told aboard a ship entering the twilight years of a long and honourable service. The Drake – in fact any ship – serves as a platform and often adds a unique and distinct flavour to the tales, but ultimately the adventures come from the crew and not the vessel. Even if a plot is driven by external forces, the interest is in how the characters deal and react to it, especially in a medium like simming.
And I’m looking forward to reading them. I agree with her statement, though, no matter the ship, the true adventure always comes from within, from the crew and the interactions between them. But I did want to know- what drew her to this particular class of vessel? She answered,
I’m a huge fan of shows like Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, where the characters often find themselves having to work around the limitations of their ships and have to use their own ingenuity in lieu of abundant resources. I thought an older class of ship would give that kind of feel, lacking many of the technologies that Starfleet’s newer vessels possess. Once I’d got that far, the Miranda seemed an obvious choice; as Trek vessels go, it’s one of the more iconic ships in the franchise and we know it’s still in service, having seen it pop up in scenes throughout the modern series.
Absolutely. As a huge fan of both Firefly and the re-imagined BSG (meeting Alan Tudyk in person was the highlight of my 2009!), I love the idea that – unlike in some Star Trek series – technology doesn’t always hold the answers and that, sometimes, you just have to roll up your sleeves and try and coax a little more speed out of the old girl…
With that in mind, I asked her if she believed that simming on the USS Drake will be substantively different from any other vessel, or if she thought the former Eagle crew would feel right at home. She said,
I think there will be a different feel to it; more rugged and frontier-like and people won’t be able to really on quite so many of the modern Star Trek tropes. There are no holographic emitters in sickbay, for instance, so the Drake has no EMH to be called on in an emergency. But we’re still telling stories and the crew of the Eagle have been telling them together for a while now. So it’s six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.
Once again, a philosophy I readily support.
I wanted to know a little bit more about the new crew’s purpose. What would she say the Drake’s primary mission is? What sort of adventures will she, as the Drake’s Captain, be taking her on? Diplomacy? Science? Intrigue? Military? Or more character focused plots such as romance, betrayal, friends and enemies from the past? Well, the answer was…
The Drake’s primary mission really is to plug the holes. She’s the ship Starfleet sends out when the “proper” ships for the job are busy or otherwise unavailable. I’m expecting that we’ll see a whole slew of different plot types while we fill in the gaps, with the connecting theme of “can we actually handle this?” to link them together. Character focused plots are always welcome and I often find they work really well as a b-plot, running alongside and sometimes interweaving with the main plot.
So the ship’s not a “proper” ship? Uh oh. Don’t tell that to the Chief of Engineering- they tend to be very protective of their ships, especially ships who are… I want to say “deficient” but I fear dismemberment, so let’s go with “differently capable” and, like a fine wine, well aged. Does she plan any particular upgrades to the Drake to keep her up to date, or is it a “Condition As-Is, Buyer Beware”?
The Drake has been continually upgraded over her eighty years of service, the problem is that Starfleet is hitting the ceiling for what they can do with her. For instance, recent attempts to install bioneural circuitry failed miserably and had to be put on hold, and fleet engineers can’t do anything about her single-layer hull. So she’s this odd mix of shiny new technologies that don’t always mesh well with some of the older equipment. She can be a bit of a temperamental old dame, at times.
Fascinating. Well, I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one to say- happy voyages, please come back in one piece, and good luck out there! I’ll be looking forward to reading more of the USS Drake’s adventures in the future!