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 Ens. Geoffrey Teller playing a Human engineer assigned to the Veritas.
THORAN: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?
TELLER: I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York but for the last several years I’ve lived in Seattle, Washington with my wife and, most recently, our wonderful 5 month old son.
Were you a Star Trek fan before joining UFOP: StarBase 118? If so, what were your favourite shows and/or movies?
Indeed I was – I’ve watched every series, including the Animated one, and read a number of the EU books. As far as favorites, it’s difficult to choose but overall it has to be The Original Series as my favorite, with TNG a close second. Best movies are Wrath of Khan and First Contact, respectively. Favorite episode actually comes from DS9 – In the Pale Moonlight. That single episode added so much depth and texture to the ST universe I think it should be on a little pedestal by itself.
Are there elements of real life that you especially enjoy incorporating into your simming?
Since I started with Teller I’ve been trying to add elements to build depth into the character so I’ve given him two hobbies – coffee and sea shanties. In the case of the first, this lead (after a conversation with my Captain and some crew members in Discord) to the creation of a coffee bar for the Veritas called ‘The Brew Continimum.’ It was created just in time to serve as the setting of a going away party for members of the Veritas crew that recently transferred to our new ship, the USS Montreal.
The sea shanties idea came out of the Next Gen episode ‘Allegiance’ where Picard is replaced by an alien. During the course of the episode, Fake-Picard leads Ten Forward in a rousing chorus of ‘Heart of Oak,’ the traditional anthem of the British Royal Navy. That lead me down a research rabbit hole where I found a bunch of very interesting old tunes which each had rich stories behind them, like the tale of the first clash between a wooden sailing ship and an iron-clad steamship during the American Civil War.
Both elements have rounded out Teller in interesting directions and have become a narrative talking point for several other characters, which is an absolute joy to see.
What’s been your favorite part of being with the community so far?
It may sound cliche, but the people are far and away the soul of the community and my favorite part of SB118 – they’ve been kind, welcoming, patient and fun to talk with both in and out of character. The people make the experience of being ‘part of a crew’ a reality.
What duty post are you playing, and how’d you choose it?
Teller’s an Engineer who started life working in the shipyards around Archer IV. Based partially on what roles were being asked for when I joined the fleet and in part my own background, Engineering was a great fit for me and it’s been a blast to play so far. I don’t think I’ve gotten to reverse the polarity of anything quite yet but I’m sure the day is coming soon.
Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who’s just joined?
Try to avoid overloading your characters bio and background on the way into the Academy – it may seem like a good idea if you’ve got a character in mind but an overly elaborate backstory can end up cumbersome and difficult to integrate into the larger narrative. Try to stay flexible and develop your character organically.
And have fun. Try getting your crew to sing a sea shanty!
Thanks for your time, Ens. Teller!
You can read more about Ens. Teller on the wiki.