As players in any roleplaying game we’re drawn to certain character classes and types. Some like the strong fighter-type, some like the sneaky information handler. In this new feature, we highlight different players who are in the same position to show how they approach their post. What drives them? What do they like most about the post? Have they discovered anything interesting in their duty? This month we turn our attention to Security.
To start, tell us a little about the writers behind the characters — what are your names and where do you hail from?
Sinda Essen: In real life I’m Chris, from Sheffield in South Yorkshire, UK.
Marcus Dickens: In real life my name is Sergio and I write from the city of Barcelona located in the north east of Spain.
What first drew you to the security post?
Essen: Actually I started as a tactical officer rather than security. As is often the way, I ended up covering both departments for some time before swapping to Security Chief full time. Although I enjoyed the broader aspects of Tactical (big guns! lots of shields!) it was the detail in Security that interested me in the end – it’s more personal I guess, there’s a lot of opportunity to interact with other characters. And arrest them.
Dickens: That’s a funny question, because I started in SB118 with another character in that position, but eventually changed to the character of Marcus Dickens who’s a former science officer. He ended up in security because he’s served in that position before and has been chief in another ships, as well as the fact that the Invicta was in need of security officers as there was only its chief. I liked the security post because my experience in real life with something related and I liked to be the one investigating when something strange or a mystery arises. I personally liked a mission where a fellow crew mate was accused of murder and Marcus had to lead the team to investigate and exonerate him as well as uncover the real murderer.
What is your favorite thing about the post?
Essen: There is a lot of variety about the role. Especially on a starbase or a ship with a civilian contingent, there is a lot of old-fashioned police work to be done.
Dickens: In my case I like the fact that no matter what the mission is, security will always be present. Either as a member of an away team to rescue someone, help anyone in distress, as escort on a diplomatic mission where you’ll have to use skill not usually related to security, defend the ship from intruders … other department have their points of interest, but there’s always a security officer around.
How do you play your character (quirks, ideals, drawbacks, etc.)?
Essen: Essen relies a lot on her gut instinct. That’s not always a good thing as it can sometimes lead to her making snap judgements of people which are not entirely accurate. I think she has grown into a good leader over the time I’ve been writing the character and she takes the protection of her fellow crew very seriously. For her, that’s the priority of any away mission – make sure the crew get back safe.
Dickens: Marcus had the advantage of experience, he’s been in the fleet for more than ten years, also he’s been department chief of security, engineering, science and FO on different ships, so he’s quite a reflexive and calm security officer. However, at this point it’s not Dickens; right now an alien named Kelrod has taken control of his body. There’s a lot of story there, but in short Kelrod and Dickens had been sharing body for many years and circumstances led to Marcus to allow Kelrod to live a life of his own in his body. So, Kelrod, being a former soldier and having spent years without a body, is intending to live life as much as possible. That means that he’s not afraid of facing a superior enemy by his own, if that helps the people he likes (that’s his crewmates), so he’s a bit bold in his statements and actions, being free of the constraints that Marcus had imposed on himself for many years. His motto will be, expect the best but be ready for the worst.
Any interesting items, species or phenomena that you have encountered that proved to be a threat (or ally)?
Essen: Virn Dakrevi. She was a nasty piece of work, a mass murderer and sociopath who escaped from a high security Federation prison with a couple of others. That was when the Conny crew were still assigned to the Apollo-A. We recaptured Virn but she was manipulating the situation all along and managed to escape, killing some of the crew along the way before Essen finally had to shoot her during a stand-off in sickbay. It wasn’t Essen’s finest hour, but it made for a very memorable story with a very memorable nemesis.
Dickens: About species, Dickens along the Atlantis crew discovered a strange lifeform in the Par’tha Expanse in the form of a purple cloud. The Cloud Dancers, as they’re called by the Krayav, were being used as a form of energy for a kind of artificial telepathic contact, but that harmed them. As an example: http://sims.starbase118.net/posts/1885485?sid=5797dc8cd59d5&p=539
About items I’d like to point out that we’ve discovered many, from artificial lifeforms that consumed an FA-150 to Iconian technology including gateways. However I’m very proud of something that the deceased character of Gwen Gardener made for Marcus and that is his prosthetic hand. Besides the fact that she made it and later died, the hand posseses some interesting features as a holographic watch, an hypo in a finger, a radiation scanner, an emergency sos signal and an emergency transporter.
Have you managed to do anything with those encounters in game, or do you plan to in the future?
Essen: The fallout from killing Virn is still something that I use in Essen’s character development now. It was a hugely important event for her, and it is something she, as a character, dwells on a lot.
Dickens: I’d like to see the Cloud Dancer again and want to do a mission that involves them again. Of course the prosthetic hand will play key moments in his career, just wait and see.
Any advice to new players interested in this position?
Essen: Think outside the box. Although it is important for a security officer to be a good fighter and a combat character there is so much more to the department than just that. Explore the role, think about the day-to-day routine of a security officer. Consider how you can interact with other departments – improving weapon design with Science and Engineering, organising joint ground and space tactics with Tactical, or speaking to the Counsellor to hone your conflict resolution skills – after all, preventing a fight is probably better than starting one!
Dickens: Keep at hand the link to the security officer wiki, you’ll need it to sim it in a believable way. Think about how other departments could help you do your job, don’t stop at the surface of a problem or a mission, there’s surely something else deep of what it’s being told. Be friendly with the medical team, you’ll need them sooner or later and when there’s ‘nothing’ to sim about, write about how to improve your department or about the personal life of your character. Remember that neither Worf, nor Odo, nor Tuvok had only their work, they had a life, with it’s problems and good things. Write about them so the others could know you better and maybe they’ll get involved in your character’s life too.
Have you seen (or written) any sims that highlight a good security officer?
Essen: One character I wrote alongside for many years was David Whale. He pretty much encapsulated all those elements that I think make this an interesting department, part detective (complete with shady contacts), part fighter and part guardian.
While I did mention before that there is a lot more to playing a security officer than just fighting, there is still nothing quite like a good fire fight! Check it out: http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php/SIM:Whale:_Last_Stand,_Part_II
Dickens: I’ve seen many posts from different players that were good shows of what a security officer should be. From those that focused on catching someone guilty of a law violations to those that preferred the protecting role, with a personal will to not kill anyone. In my case and playing with Dickens, he’s one that had found himself attached to Starfleet and want to uphold its values, however he’d learnt that he can’t blindly follow orders and regulations as Starfleet and the Federation is about people so while he values following rules, he’s one to bend one rule here and other there while it doesn’t mean to put anyone in danger or jeopardize his life. As an example of this here’s where he finds himself with some accusation upon his captain.
Thank you both for your time.