Lower Decks: Ensign Donato Romero

As the proverbial revolving door of Starfleet Academy makes another turn, we are introduced to yet another class of successful graduates to the UFOP: Starbase 118 community. In this edition of Lower Decks, we raise a glass in welcome to Ensign Donato Romero, a freshly minted engineer aboard the USS Apollo. The writer for Ensign Romero discusses how he wanted something fresh to bring to the table, and how there was some extrinsic thought into what makes a stand-out character. The theory and tactics  behind Ensign Donato’s creation may surprise you. 

The writer for Ensign Romero, Mr. Blaine Gonzales, is an experienced screenwriter and director nestled into Los Angeles, California. Certianly with a background like that, the world was at his finger tips when creating his character. One might even jump to conclusions and think a movie-star-esque role might come into play. On the contrary, the goal for Ensign Romero was quite different from any conclusions one might draw. “I wanted Romero to be a very feasible character. As I explored the 118Wiki I realized most characters were very gothic-romantic heroes: forged of fire or born from catastrophe. So in order for Romero to stand out I wanted his background to be a little more . . . ordinary — more tangible.” A noteworthy method indeed, especially with a vast creative background to compete with. “He’s just a kid, fresh out of the Academy, trying to live up to his father’s expectations.” The only conclusions you could possibly be left with at this point, is that the galaxy is certainly at the writer’s fingertips due to his plain and simple set up, but how does someone that is so accustomed to creating and directing, mesh with a  Captain driven environment? The classic writer/character struggle lives on.

The writer/character paradigm is an issue that we all have to tackle at one point or another, and it usually encompasses one more different aspects of the UFOP:SB118 experience. Whether it be taking orders, keeping IC/OOC seperate or something like power-simming, every experienced writer in our community can agree it can be a troubling time. When asked about the inevitable strife that we all face as writers, Mr. Gonzales replied with “My biggest challenge write now is worrying about stepping on other peoples’ toes. As a screenplay writer and director, I am used to creating stories and taking charge of them by myself with very few people interfering with the creative process.” He further went on to say “…now I’m in a world where there is no writer or director, only actors, writing a story as they go along. I have marvelous ideas for new stories, new adventures, but I’m worried about hogging all the excitement for myself.”

Excitement and creativity is going to be monumental in regards to the young Ensign’s current assignment.  The Apollo, under command of Captain Andrus Jaxx, is currently enroute to the uncharted and mysterious Typhon Expanse. This should be a wonderful testing ground for Ensign Donato and his writer, as most of the crew of the Apollo, this writer included, are seeing the Expanse and all it has to offer for the very first time. It’s going to be a team effort in making the experience as fruitful as possible, and having yet another great mind onboard will most definitely bolster an already great team of writers. Mr. Gonzales dished a bit about his shot at the Expanse: “I’m super excited! It is established in TNG that the Typhon Expanse is a very minimally explored region of the galaxy, and we’re so close to the Delta Quadrant that we’re going to be haveing tons of run-in’s with the Borg. I love the Borg! I think they’re such an interesting, collective character.”

An intersting sort of character, most certainly. Time and time again our community welcomes a new wealth of eager minds and furious fingers into its collective ranks. UFOP:SB118 continues to grow with every new Ensign, and with all of the new ideas and fresh spirit that their writers bring with them. It’s truly a testament to the strength of our training staff, our mentors, and every single writer that participates to make this all work. Certainly Ensign Romero has a lot to look forward to in his service to the Apollo,  and every other ship he’ll serve on as part of a hopefully long and fruitful career in Starfleet.

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