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Lower Decks interview: Lt. Aitas, StarBase 118 Ops

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. Aitas playing a Vulcan/Betazoid intelligence officer assigned to StarBase 118 Operations.

WOLF: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?

AITAS: I’m originally from Minnesota, and am currently living in Texas with my husband and one very needy cat who has mastered the art of sitting on my lap right when I was planning to get up. It’s not very exciting overall, though I will admit I’m not a fan of the heat.

Is this your first simming experience, or have you done other forms of role-playing before?

I’ve done quite a bit of roleplaying over the last…well, I suppose it’s been about a decade now. I can’t exactly remember quite when I started. Did a little bit of it in MMORPGS, some in tabletop settings such as Mage: The Ascension and Eberron from Dungeons and Dragons, and quite a lot over various sites across the years. Starbase 118 is actually my first play by email experience though, so that took a bit of getting used to.

What’s been your favorite part of being with the community so far?

That’s a tough one, but I’d have to go with how the staff and other players on ops have been willing to explore how cultural viewpoints and differences within the context of the setting. There’s characters from a variety of species and backgrounds on Ops, and seeing them butt heads or work through differing perspectives on everything from clothing to romantic relationships is something I find especially intriguing.

It’s also a great opportunity for character development and encourages me to think more creatively about just how Aitas might approach different situations. She’s got a lot of different influences in her background, both from being a Betazoid/Vulcan hybrid and her past experiences with Risian, El-Aurian, and Orion cultures.

What duty post are you playing, and how’d you choose it?

Aitas was recently promoted to Chief Intelligence Officer on Ops, and she started out as an intelligence officer there. While I’ve played a variety of different roles in roleplaying over the years, I’ve always enjoyed how the process of gathering and analysing information can help facilitate plots, so intelligence-related roles are one of my favorites. Once I saw it was an option, it was a pretty easy choice.

Do you take any inspiration from films, television, or books when writing your character?

I grew up on a lot of science fiction and fantasy so I’m quite sure that I do, but in most cases it’s also difficult for me to tease out the specifics because I’ve had such a variety of inspirations there. There are a couple things I tend to go back to such as the Vlad Taltos books by Steven Brust, the Dunmer society from the Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and parts of the Eberron setting from Dungeons and Dragons.

I’ve been watching and rewatching some of Voyager, TNG, and Deep Space Nine since I joined Starbase 118, which has been pretty helpful with plot ideas as well.

Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who’s just joined?

It might be a bit of a cliché, but I’d have to say be willing to ask questions. There’s a lot of history and information to Starbase 118, and while I find myself astounded by how much of it is on the wiki, there’s still details that were important or useful to me that I had to inquire about.

Also while I’d like to think I read the documents over pretty well when I joined, there have still been details about simming and such that I felt a bit uncertain about. The Ops staff have been most helpful with answering such things, and ultimately I wound up feeling far more confident in my simming because of it.

Thanks for your time, Lt. Aitas!

You can read more about Lt. Aitas on the wiki.

About Tristan Wolf

FltAdml. Tristan Wolf, real name Jordan, founded UFOP: StarBase 118 – a Star Trek Play By Email RPG – in June of 1994. He previously served as the Commanding Officer for a number of simming installations, notably the first of StarBase 118 Operations. He currently lives in San Francisco with his partner and their Humane Society rescue dog named Baxter. Jordan works in politics, loves scifi (natch), fantasy, and new technologies.
View all posts by Tristan Wolf

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