In “odd jobs” we examine some less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them. Today, the featured character is Lieutenant Colonel Rode Mitchell, the Commander, Air Group (CAG) of the Duronis II Embassy.
CHOI: For those of us who aren’t familiar with your character, how did Rode Mitchell come to be CAG of Duronis II’s Embassy?
MITCHELL: Mitchell became the CAG for the Embassy through a discussion with Rear Admiral Turner, Captain Tyr Waltas, and Major Hannibal Parker, who commands the Embassy’s Marine unit. At the time, following the wedding of Admiral Turner and Captain Waltas, Mitchell resigned from Starfleet and traveled out to Duronis II to retire. But after arriving at Duronis II, and events events going on with Laudean protesters, the three senior officers approached me to take over as the CAG, since the Marine unit on the planet is large enough to have its own air/space wing. At the time, it was intended to make use of my experience as I’ve served as a fighter unit leader on multiple ships, and took some of the extra duties off Major Parker.
OOC, what inspired you to put him the CAG role?
On an OOC basis, I was coming back from a long leave of absence. I had come back to participate in the wedding, and knowing a lot of the crew of the Embassy, and having served before with a number of them, I enjoyed that temporary experience. So I asked to join the crew on a regular basis, and Admiral Turner offered me that CAG spot, since I have played a fighter pilot, tactical officer, and CAG aboard all of the USS Discovery’s that have served in the group. I really enjoy the role, since it brings a number of different challenges with it. First, I get to have my character be like one of the characters in Top Gun, or any of the other fighter pilot movies out there from the 1980’s and 90’s. Which makes for a lot of fun, making up crazy ideas. Plus those episodes of DS9 from the Dominion War showing wings of fighters launching into battle were my all time favorites of that series.
Second, while my character interacts with a lot of the main crew, I also interact with a lot of NPC’s and PNPC’s. A lot of them, I either create/make up, but a number of them are actually played by others in the crew as secondary characters. Some of them have been in the unit longer than I have. A great example would be Major Parker’s PNPC, Chief Burress, the flight wing’s senior noncommissioned officer. Our characters work closely together, so we are often posting back and forth between the two writers. It makes it fun. Third, I’m a big tech geek about ship classes and so forth, so I get to play in that area lot more as the CAG since not all ships are set up to have a shuttle bay that can carry fighters or lots of shuttle craft.
I’m sure many of us think of Battlestar Galactica when we hear the term “CAG,” so what does simming for a CAG in the Star Trek universe look like?
Actually, at some points, simming a “CAG” in the Star Trek universe looked a lot like what one saw in BSG. I’m the boss of the fighter pilots, shuttle pilots, deck teams, etc. I can range from planning missions, to supervising craft loading and launching, to actually flying a mission myself in one of the various crafts we have at the Embassy. The hardest side of my job is sending off those under my command to do the fighting while I sometimes have to stay behind and give orders and such. I know that’s one thing Lee Adama or Starbuck was never very good at. But then again neither is my character!
Any good stories from Lt. Colonel Mitchell?
Back in the day on the Discovery-A, when we were supporting the Ops crew of 118, the Romulans invaded Federation territory, including 118. The fleet was forced to retreat to a fall back point like you saw in the Dominion War or the Borg battles. Once a relief fleet was assembled, the Discovery-A, under the command of Tyr Waltas, led the way back. I had two carriers full of Valkyries, plus Peregrines off a third ship under my command all flying against Romulan Scorpion class attack flyers, plus those D’deridex class double hulled Warbirds. Those were some tough moments in character especially as I got shot down and had to eject the escape pod module of my fighter. My systems officer and I ended up drifting through space, and hallucinating as the oxygen levels and the temperature dropped. Luckily, a search and rescue shuttle found us before we froze. But there have been a number of times, I’ve pulled maneuvers during flights that looked straight out of Top Gun, like that upside down cockpit to cockpit move (including once, transferring from one fighter’s cockpit to another in the vacuum of deep space) and making a screaming high speed pass over a starship’s bridge (instead of a control tower).