One of the first things I read about in terms of relationships in simming was an article in the Tutorial Library titled Love is in the Particle-Scrubbed Air. The way it was written, I saw it more as a set of warnings against than an encouragement to have a relationship; but who would listen to it, right? Well, a broken heart can be good for character development!
I recently set out to learn about the parents of the StarBase 118 fleet, and the first to answer my questions were 1st Lieutenant Thomas Benton and Lieutenant Commander David Cody of StarBase 118 Operations, and their Captain Kalianna Nicholotti.
Captain Nicholotti explained that there are good number of kids living aboard the station, but those closest to her are children of these two members of the senior staff. When asked about the children in regards to simming, she responded for 1st Lieutenant Benton who has a young daughter: “He sims a good mix of fear and duty, which probably comes from a realistic view of his own military experience in the real world. I wouldn’t say there is a lot, but when things get bad, the character does appear to think about his daughter, along with more direct needs associated with his job.” Sounds like a good and caring father.
While Benton considers it a “natural pattern” for his characters to be married with children, Commander Cody, “as a confirmed bachelor who wasn’t so lucky in the love/relationships department,” by his own words “proved to be a pretty good father/dad-like figure.” The character of his daughter came into his life gradually, created by his shipmate Mr. Allen Cruise; she is an orphaned Betazoid child who, through some rough and tough times, forged a daughter/father bond with Cody, and since he loved how it rounded out the character, he kept writing the girl.
When asked how it happened IC, Commander Cody explains: “It was a loose thing, no obligations or such. Things just unfolded through IC, in the background, and through back story for a couple of years, up to the point where B’Sara became David’s ward, and long before then he had already began secretly feeling like her dad, so it just worked out without ever having to plan it.” At the same time, the writer behind Benton usually creates romantic interests for his character, but this time decided to see if there will be a writer who may want to write relationship with: “So, I created my character, Tom Benton, as a widower with a cute little daughter, readymade for ‘love and marriage,’ if any other player should ever come along who’d want to do that. Ginny, Tom Benton’s late wife, is based on a character in a novel that I once read.” Girls, what are you waiting for, a formal invitation? Well, consider this it!
Tom Benton’s daughter, Ann-Marie Hardee Benton, is six years old. When Tom and Ann-Marie first reported to SB118, Ginny had been dead for two years. While B’Sara is not that much older, she is far more mature. B’Sara’s actual age is 11, but due to some genetic tampering in her origins, her physical and mental development is ten years older.
When asked about the relationship between characters, Commander Cody explains it’s “Testy! Unfortunately, Mr. Cody suffered an MIA for a couple years that didn’t go down well with B’Sara (who’s still irritated with Starfleet about that). She’s more active now into the story since finishing the Academy, although the last she knew, her ‘dad’ was MIA or killed in action, so she’s quite a bit angry.” The character was less present since was attending Starfleet Academy, but now as a fresh ensign, will be seen more and more. The commander is anticipating the appearance of grays in his hair… maybe he’s just getting old?
At the same time in the Benton household, things seem much warmer. “Tom and his daughter are very close. They have become very close through surviving, emotionally, the loss of Ginny, and also, service families, as many of us know, have to be close to each other because such families usually never stay in one place long enough to make close friends outside the family. Thus, a successful service family is a very close one. I have tried to write Ann-Marie into the story on a regular basis. I have sent in two postings, at least, about Ann-Marie being back at SB118 while her daddy is away on the current mission. I have not been in the sim during a period of extended shore leave, but when that comes, Tom and Ann-Marie will be inseparable. Because of the two reasons mentioned above, they are a team. “
Parents always care for their kids, especially in a time of crises. Kids, at the same time, understand much more than we expect them to. This notion was asked of the two gentlemen in regards to their own children:
1st Lieutenant Benton says “Tom is concerned, always, for Ann-Marie, but feels she is as safe as is possible on SB118. Ann-Marie has the normal fears of a six year old girl, but she is aware, as much as a six year old can be, of the conditions of military life and of living in a place that might, at any time, be under attack. She has been in this type of atmosphere since birth.”
Commander Cody adds, “Oh yeah. Especially in B’Sara’s case, because she is a full blown Betazoid and even when she was (and looked like) a little girl. Children pick up on everything going on around them, whether parents realize it or not. They are extremely adept at figuring things out even before their parents’ do (which doesn’t get any easier once they’re into their teen years). As teens, there’s such a strong streak of independence, but at the same time, they don’t want us parents to know they still make sure we’re there. The greatest fear now, of course, is that she’s going to get killed on some mission that I may or may not be leading, and believe me, the temptation to order her to a desk assignment is extremely overpowering.”
It was a pleasure learning about the Ops families. Be on the lookout for the next article featuring parents of Embassy Duronis II.