Our community allows individual writers to create their own species, communities and civilizations- but the majority of our active characters are established species such as Humans, Vulcans, Andorians and the like. Lt JG Eyas Wulfan-Tine, Chief of Security on the USS Independence-A, instead took a different path- he plays a Pythron, a species mentioned offhandedly in one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9. From this he’s sat down and built a whole civilization and culture from the species, and I was lucky enough to be able to ask him a few brief questions.
But before we get into the formalities, at the time of writing Wulfan-Tine has recently been promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade. I passed along my sincere congratulations and he had this to say,
“Thank you kindly. Was really unexpected as this was still the first mission, but I have tried to keep my sim replies within 24 hours of receiving tags. I am really looking forward to this mission and those beyond.”
Alacrity in answering tags certainly helps endear one towards your fellow writers- a sharp tip for any new Ensigns coming through the academy!
But back to the task at hand. I noted that Wulfan-Tine had selected a species which is on the ILI, but practically nothing is known about, giving him essentially unlimited freedom to write but which meant he had no canon to draw upon. How did he feel about that? Is this a problem, or a blessing? Wulfan-Tine wrote,
“An absolute blessing, hence why I chose them. I have nothing against existing races with their own backstories, but with an essentially unwritten species and timeline, you can let your imagination run wild. I have been inventing imaginary worlds and their histories for 30 years now and find it really enjoyable. Given the opportunity I’d happily write full histories for alien civilisations forever.”
Well, there’s certainly a huge number of species in the ILI which could use a complete overhaul- someone with this level of dedication will make any wiki admin smile! I asked if the Lieutenant would consider contributing to the Pythron wiki presence. He had this to say,
“I would love to do that. I have already appended an addendum to the bottom of Eyas’ character page with my current back-story for the Pythrons. I have stressed that it is non-canon but would be really happy if it is accepted onto the main wiki Pythron page. I would update and expand it too with pictures, maps and other bits and bobs if permitted.”
Well, I have good news for you, Lieutenant- maps, pictures and “bits and bobs” go great on wikis- and the Pythron page is available to edit to anyone who has a wiki account (incidentally, if you DON’T have a wiki account and would like one, contact your CO!). If you’re interested in doing more than just the Pythron-ese, you may wish to consider joining the Species Development Committee, who are tasked with maintainance, upkeep and development of species webpages. Sounds like it might be right up your alley!
Of course, when taking a “throwaway” species like the Pythron and building upon it, there’s always the risk that someone else has a completely different idea- in this case, it’s usually best to work together to develop the species. I asked how Wulfan-Tine would you feel about collaboration with other writers in building up the Pythron species, or is the species “his baby”? He said,
“The more the merrier! I have left some nuances in the Pythron story with different factions competing for power, and a sub-species – the Vignians, who have their own agenda – so others can expand upon those too. I’d hope that if anyone wanted to collaborate they would be adding to the existing backstory rather than totally changing it, but I certainly don’t feel I have sole rights over Pythro V. Would be really nice to devise a mission involving the Pythrons one day.”
Sounds like the Lieutenant has a number of cracking ideas, all ready to be made into a story. Maybe I was just a little curious (despite what I’ve read regarding the harm it can do to innocent cats), but I asked Wulfan-Tine if he had any interesting secrets about the Pythron he thought the fleet might be interested to hear about. It turns out, he did! He wrote,
“Well…… I have simmed that Eyas has been told by his father Clovis not to forget his TRUE mission in Star Fleet. I have left this deliberately vague and will return to it one day. It could be merely something innocuous or a major plot involving Pythronian politics. We’ll just have to wait and see…..”
“As for relations vis-a-vis the Federation, the Pythrons were let down by the Federation 30 years before current events when Pythro was decimated by an alien invasion. 1 in 3 Pythrons died before Federation reinforcements arrived, by which time Clovis W’tine and his fellow warriors had already saved their homeworld. There is now much disagreement on Pythro whether the Federation is a necessary ally or an unreliable meddling neighbour. All good fun!”
Interesting. Wulfan-Tine isn’t the only writer in UFOP: Starbase 118’s history to play an original species, but since the canon species are so popular I asked if he had any advice for other writers who want to create species, or build upon species without no real canon information. He replied,
“Go for it!! The less that is already written, the easier it is really. Do a bit of background research. For example, I re-watched the only episode of DS9 where Pythrons are mentionned and looked for any character traits that might help. A good alternative source of information would be real-world history. Find some historic events in a number of lands. For example, mix a bit of medieval Byzantine politics with some Second World War strategy and who knows what might be produced. Try and keep it original though, but most of all have fun! If you can’t make it work, then try a different species.”
Sounds like good advice to me. Thank you for your time, Lieutenant- happy sailing aboard the USS Independence-A!
“Been a pleasure!”
The pleasure was all mine. Coming up next, can excessive transporter usage cause hair loss? We test the effects of repeated transportation on Starfleet Cadets. The results may surprise you!