Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2018 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters.
This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Lieutenant Valin Dermont playing a Human male Chief Engineer assigned to the USS Atlantis. He won the Phoenix Award: “a duty post award that recognizes engineers. Named for the vessel that legendary engineer Zefram Cochrane piloted during his historic first warp flight, this award goes to those Engineering officers who continue this tradition of excellence in the field of engineering. By performing their tasks with enthusiasm, imagination and diligence, by managing to make their equipment perform above and beyond its rated capacities, the officers meriting this award further the mission of their ship by their superior know-how. In short, miracle workers.”
GALVEN: Thank you so much for taking the time to do an interview with me! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?
DERMONT: I’m just a guy doing his best outside of Trek. I am married with a daughter and spend far too many hours working. Writing and D&D are my two biggest passions when I can find the time!
Your duty post is an engineer. Could you explain why you chose that and is there any show/movie/book that take inspiration from?
The idea of making things work just really appealed to me. No matter what is going on….sooner of later in an episode of Star Trek something is going to need to be fixed. I feel Dermont is a blend of Scotty, Torres, and my own inner thoughts that I would never be so coarse as to say out loud.
Captain Brell said in his presentation that Dermont’s family life and friendships are thoroughly explored to the crew’s enjoyment. Can you give us an example to what he means by that?
Oh sure! I think the biggest would be the time a Nausicaan enforcer for a Ferengi money-lender showed up to bother Dermont’s son (an ensign on DS26). Dermont owed from his time before Starfleet. It was supposed to just be something fun for me to toy with on shore leave. But most of crew got involved and ended up being an entire mini mission about saving his son and catching this Nausicaan!
On your wiki, there’s a lot of tragedy and heartbreak before Dermont joined Starfleet. How have you used that for character development?
It think about all of his issues before I write a sim. How would a man broken but trying to rebuild view a situation? He comes off as openly bitter and cynical. But on the inside cares so damn much…he fights with himself. It has been amazing to watch how he slowly opens up and makes friends.
What’s been your favorite part about simming an engineering officer so far?
The realistic and gritty side of it. The Atlantis has been beat up pretty bad almost every mission since relaunch. So there have been a lot of damages to repair. You never see Dermont just in engineering bent over a console. He is dragging away debris or on his back in the tubes covered in grime replacing a slagged pathway.
And lastly, what kind of advice can you give new people that want to go into the engineering department?
Remember it is a living organism! There are a dozen people down there with you! Those NPCs make it real. Get Johnson on the other end of that cable and head to the crawlspace. Have Nevok keep on eye on power conversion levels while you recalibrate the warp inversion field. The more moving parts you add gives your engineering sims that extra touch of realism.
Oh, and never tell the captain how long a job will really take.
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Valin Dermont!
You can read more about Lieutenant Valin Dermont on the wiki.