In “odd jobs” we examine some less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them to inspire you to investigate potential for your own character.
Today we have the pleasure of speaking to Ishani Kasun, from Starbase 118 Ops.
JANN: So your character used to be the Crisis Response Department Head, could you tell us what that posting looks like on a day-to-day basis?
KASUN: I think one thing to clarify first is that the security division on Ops is handled differently than what’s seen in the show. The department is played more along the lines of a civilian police force than a military one and is split up into different departments along the lines of what duties they handle. The duties that Crisis Response covers is not just dealing with active crises but the prevention and cleanup of said crises. So while in the field they could be organizing aid, providing field medical care, negotiating with hostages or the mentally ill. Out of the field it’s mostly prep work, practice and handling the aftermath of a past crisis. For example one of the recurring issues that Crisis had to handle over the past year and a half or so was mentally and physically healing, rehabilitating and establishing several groups of now former Orion Syndicate slaves that Ops kept rescuing.
In addition, the base’s SWAT team and bomb squad are under the Crisis Response umbrella, so members of those teams are specific to those areas of policing. There’s also the possibility that they could be pulled to help out with one of the other security departments or units, so one day they could be doing general patrol work, pulled for ship duty, or helping corrections.
What brought you to choosing that particular duty post?
It was a choice born of a mad scramble for options, rather than something I had in mind when I applied to SB118. I had originally applied and gone through my cadet cruise with Ishani as a counselor, but when it came time to be assigned to a post there weren’t any more slots open for that department on Ops. I was given the option to be posted to a different ship or to pick a different duty post, and because I had a friend on Ops that I wanted to write with (my whole reason for applying in the first place, honestly) changing her duty post was the only option.
At the time the only openings Ops had was in security, the marines or intelligence. I was rather fond of the backstory for her I had come up with so far and wanted to keep as much of it as possible, so with the help of my friend and Google I came up with three positions within each duty post where it would make sense to have a psychiatry background and offered them to Capt Taybrim as suggestions. Crisis intervention/negotiator for security, psychological profiler for intelligence and I believe the marine suggestion was a dedicated counselor for/with the marines. Obviously we ended up going with the crisis intervention/negotiator option and we hashed out what that would entail. The core idea hasn’t changed much since that hurried start, but it has expanded and solidified as I worked to develop it further as it went from a small team to an actual department in character.
If anyone was wanting to SIM this duty post, what advice would you give them?
I think one thing to keep in mind is that crisis response is a blend of the medical, counseling and security departments, so you have to be willing to be flexible and dance between the different aspects of the job. Some missions your ship is on don’t have a need for crisis management so you sim your character more along the lines of a standard security officer. Other missions your character will be in their element; your ship is dealing with hostages, a natural disaster, psychoactive drugs making the population act like zombies, or something like that where you get to use all aspects of being a crisis officer.
Still, even in missions that call for more typical security officer tasks you can still bring in aspects of the position, if only in how your character views or approaches the situation. For instance when dealing with a villan your character could start out attempting to negotiate, or your ship gets severely damaged you could help keep people calm and organized while they either repair the damage or evacuate. So to boil it down, it’s more about the mindset the character has and how that influences their reactions than their actions directly.
How have you changed as a writer from when you first joined to now?
I think most of it is that I’ve become more comfortable both with the writing in general and the role. Prior to SB118 the only formal RP (for lack of a better way of putting it) that I had ever written was forum based prose, so it was a significant adjustment to the script-esque style that simming uses. Another major difference beyond the writing style was being able to do things with other people’s characters that would be considered ‘godmodding’ in the forum RP world. Leaving tags requires a certain amount of assumption about how the other character(s) would react to what your character does and that’s just not done in the forum world, so it took me quite a while to get over the feeling of ‘this is wrong’ whenever I left tags.
As far as getting comfortable with the role, I’ve played versions of Ishani before on other sites but none where she was a crisis officer or in any kind of security role before, so there was an adjustment period where I was both settling in with this version of the character while also figuring out how best to play her within this hybrid role I had come up with on the fly. I do think that the character as she was written when I first started was written far less consistently during her first couple of missions compared to how I write her now.
Do you have any memorable moments from this character you could share with us?
I think the most memorable moment was from her second mission ever. Ishani and a fellow security officer and their pilot had to take a shuttle over to a mostly destroyed starship to rescue the survivors in the middle of a battle. The rescue went well (aside from watching one of the NPCs get pulped) but they ended up having to make a crash landing in their ship’s hanger. Ishani ended up with a nasty concussion and made a gigantic fool of herself due to her injury. However, she did end up with a date out of it, so it worked out in the end, right?
How has the character changed and adapted to the role of Chief Security Officer on Ops?
I’d like to think that the change in her character has come from the change in her role (though as I mentioned above there was some settling in the beginning). Ishani’s gone from being the person being delegated to, to the person who’s doing the delegating which is definitely a change in thinking. She can’t think as a crisis officer any more, her thought process has to include how the other departments of security handle things and a little bit of how the other duty post divisions work when making decisions about how the security division will act.
Due to the way SB118 works she’s still getting in the thick of action as a senior officer, but the crisis aspect definitely takes second place to security administration. It’s definitely expanded my options for how I can play the character in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m pushing the crisis aspect of her to the side. She’s still a crisis officer at heart but I get to have her involved in investigations or transportation disputes and it feels she has a legitimate reason to be involved rather than the ‘hey we need a security officer to do standard security things and you’re the only security officer around so you’ll do’ feeling that I had before her promotion. Not that anyone on Ops has ever made me feel that way, it’s my own mental quirk.
Thank you very much!
You can read more about LtCmdr Kasun on the wiki.