We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.
This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ens. Ryan King, playing a Human male assigned to the USS Invicta.
WOLF: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?
KING: It’s an honor to participate. Thank you.
I am originally a Californian; born and raised in Sacramento, CA. Since my final semester in college, which was about six years ago, I’ve lived in Washington, D.C. I currently work in communications for a local university and just started a Master’s program in communications. Though Star Trek is a love in my life, I can’t say it is my first love. That award goes to politics and history. So you can usually find me reading a biography or a blog on American politics first, and then catching up on my Invicta sims second. Sorry guys!
Were you a Star Trek fan before joining UFOP: StarBase 118? If so, what were your favorite shows and/or movies?
Most definitely. I first became interested in Star Trek through the ToS movies. I remember a very boring summer in junior high school. My grandparents had some old VHS movies lying around that they never watched. Two of those movies were my grandfather’s and they were The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home. I popped in Khan with the full expectation that I’d fall asleep or try something else fifteen minutes later. I was wrong. I was hooked immediately. I started going to the local Blockbuster and Hollywood Video and renting whatever Trek they had available.
I’m a fan of all of the series but I think I sort of grew-up on DS9 and Voyager. Though I was first exposed to Trek as a result of the Original Series movies, it was those two series that moved me from casual to Trekkie(er).
Is this your first simming experience, or have you done other forms of role-playing before?
I have done other Star Trek simming before. Those days were a long time ago though. For a time in my later high school years, I served in another simming organization as Captain (HoD) of a Klingon Bird of Prey. As time and life started moving me away from my keyboard, I stepped away but I always enjoyed the art of simming.
What duty post are you playing, and how’d you choose it?
I play Helmsman, not shaman, onboard the U.S.S. Invicta. This is my second stint onboard after an aborted attempt about a year and a half ago. On this tour, I chose helm because I enjoy the idea of being front and center on the Bridge. As I visualize my character, I often think of the Tom Paris style of helm officer. A steady and confident presence with a bit of an attitude.
Helm offers a certain versatility. The position gives me the opportunity to add a lot to the ship-based action in a storyline, a battle or other emergency, while also offering a lot of freedom on away teams. Helm officers, at least how they have been portrayed, are generalists. So, I can beam down to a planet and easily become a backup Security officer, or very poor Engineer, or irritable medical orderly. The flexibility is very appealing.
What’s been your favorite part of being with the community so far?
My favorite thing about the community has been the humor. The Invicta is full of great writers with evocative prose. They are encouraging and playful and let me put my humor on full display, embracing my shenanigans and also reeling me in when I fall flat. Though such moments when I fall flat are very few and far between.
Onboard Invicta I’m enjoying the opportunity of discovering my character’s voice. I am blessed to say no one has rejected an idea and I truly enjoy interacting with the crew, especially Rich (aka Captain Rahman, aka Captain Washington) and Deliera (aka Commander Core), Commanding and Executive Officers respectively. If I had to mention a second favorite, it is sitting in awe of their ability and effort in bringing our missions to life. I am sure many in the community already see it but I am often so impressed and grateful for the amount of effort they put in. The sheer amount of content they produce on the wiki, the hours they must take in developing the detailed backstories of our mission, I just think “wow” to myself sometimes.
A couple of examples of their great work are here and here. I cannot wait for our upcoming mission that they are already doing an amazing job of setting up beautifully. I had to wipe away some spittle from the side of my mouth just thinking about it, though they would both tell you that is quite normal for Ensign King.
Lastly, the institutional knowledge possessed by this crew and the caliber of storytelling is both inspiring and intimidating. My seasoned (yes, guys that was intentional) colleagues onboard are a real inspiration and I feel grateful to be learning from their talents. I look forward to what we will bring out of each other in the future.
Where would you like to be in a few years? Have a taste of command of your own? Or maybe planning on joining one of our great OOC groups?
That’s an interesting question. So, I think like a fair amount of people who join, there is an overriding ambition to have a character in the command seat. So, sure, I’d welcome it if it happens. However, I think from a longer term and more realistic point of view I would aim for a Lieutenant Commander and departmental chief role. I’d like that role to evolve into one of mentorship, perhaps with the Academy. At the end of the day, I take a lot of joy in working with other people and showing them the ropes so I think that would be a place where I excel.
In addition to that, I’d love to get a character going for the Federation News Service. With the requirements of my real life job; to always be on top of the newscycle, and my love of politics, it would be a fun and natural fit for me to take on a character that is a journalist. I love the idea of taking current events and adapting them to our trek universe.
Thanks for your time, Ens. King!
You can read more about Ens. King on the wiki.