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 Lt. Trellis Vondaryan, a Vissian male assigned to StarBase 118 Operations.
WOLF: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?
Vondaryan: I originally grew up in southern California. I moved to the Washington, DC area for a few years, though I now live in England where I’ve recently submitted my PhD.
Were you a Star Trek fan before joining UFOP: StarBase 118? If so, what were your favorite shows and/or movies?
I was. I grew up watching TNG when it was on originally, though I was never a dedicated watcher. I was too young to appreciate the philosophy and cultural commentary at the time. Later, in my teens, I caught the occasional episodes of DS9 and Voyager when they were on, too. I was too busy at college to give Enterprise a chance.
I’ve since re-watched all the series and movies. DS9 is my favorite show due to it’s slightly darker nature, long-running story-arc and development of species only shown briefly in the other shows. The Voyage Home is my favorite movie. I like the environmental theme and, I have to admit, I love most anything dealing with time travel.
Is this your first simming experience, or have you done other forms of role-playing before?
This is my first online simming experience. I’ve been role-playing in various systems for almost 20 years, though. I started playing AD&D in high school and still have regular sessions with friends now.
How’d you find out about our community?
In 2015 a friend, who unfortunately is no longer with the community, recommended I join. We had a shared interest in Star Trek and role-playing and he thought I might enjoy it. He had been a member for years and made some really good friends through the community. I had heard him talking about it for a while before he finally sent me a link to sign up. I did, and he was right, I am enjoying it..
What duty post are you playing, and how’d you choose it?
I’m in Intelligence. I’ve always been drawn to characters that have a darker, sneakier side to them (I don’t know what that says about me) and Intelligence seemed the best way of exploring that. Trellis is very open and friendly, as well, so thought the contrast between his personable nature and his secretive job would be fun to write. I was also interested in getting to play a role that hasn’t really been fleshed out in the shows or movies.
Trellis isn’t a typical covert-ops officer, though, more of an analyst. He has a keen knack for sifting through massive amounts of data and making connections others wouldn’t see (similar to Carrie in Homeland). As a Vissian he’s naturally curious and enjoys learning for the sake of learning.
He’s also deeply interested in engine technology. At the Academy he double-majored in Intelligence and Engineering, where his focus was on propulsion systems. He likes to keep abreast of the latest engine and ship designs from across the galaxy. That was part of the reason he was drawn to Intelligence — he could always stay informed of what other species were doing with their designs.
Are you working with any of our OOC teams? If so, what drew you to that one in particular?
I am a judge for the Top Sims and have recently joined the News team.
I’ve had editing experience in the past, so the Top Sims and Writing Challenge seemed like natural fits for my skill set. Plus, I wanted to get better as a writer. A logical way of doing that was to read good writers and try to incorporate their style into my own.
I joined the News Team because I like communicating and sharing information. I sometimes get so focused on my own sims and ship that I forget there’s a larger community out there who are also writing interesting stories. The News Team makes sure everyone is kept abreast of what the wider community is doing, which I appreciate.
What’s been your favorite part of being with the community so far?
All of it, really. I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people from around the world. I like how welcoming everyone has been. I’m happy getting a chance to flex my writing muscles. I especially like how I’ve been able to develop my character and a few PNPCs at the same time. It’s awesome being able to create different characters, backstories and motivations for people and have an opportunity to show that off. In my regular gaming groups I only ever play one character, though I often have ideas for others. So being able to ‘play’ multiple characters at once has been a great experience.
It’s also been fantastic reading through the wiki and getting a feel for how dedicated everyone has been to building it. I almost feel like the people and places of Star Trek could be real reading through the Intelligent Lifeform Index and Duty Post descriptions. It’s been a lot of fun getting immersed into the world like that.
Thanks for your time, Lt. Vondaryan!