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Lower Decks Interview: Ensign James Colquhoun, USS Columbia

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 Ensign James Colquhoun playing a Human male Tactical Officer assigned to the USS Columbia.

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

COLQUHOUN: Sure.  I’m a Charlotte, NC native but moved to Bloomington, IN about a decade ago for school.  I finished my undergrad recently in philosophy and started a masters program in cybersecurity.  I work in IT for Indiana University. One thing I will for Bloomington, we embrace the claim to fame of Jameway being born here.  There’s a group of people working right now to install a Captain Janeway statue in town.

Having joined in November, what has been your favorite moment writing aboard the USS Columbia?

Probably our shore leave rotation on the planet Losaria.  I think the whole crew enjoyed that, getting to create a whole world and culture as we went.  Losaria still comes up in sims as fond memories for everyone.

Do you take any inspiration from movies/TV/books when writing for your character? 

I did a little bit for James, pulling from some Canadian culture, specifically Nova Scotian culture.  Though, I really drew much stronger inspiration for my PNPC Tommy Gottci from TV. He’s based on Chris Moltisanti from The Sopranos, and I try to flavor in some NY/NJ Italian slang from the movies and from my childhood, growing up in that kind of household. 

On your character’s wiki, you wrote that Colquhoun stayed in the Academy for a graduate program in philosophy rather than be assigned directly to a duty post. Was there a specific reason for that?

Yeah, a mix of personal ambition and storytelling.  I was applying for philosophy PhD programs at the time and thought it would be a fun mirror.  Unfortunately, I did not get into any of those programs and got into this cybersecurity program instead.  For James, I like the idea of Starfleet offering those kinds of options, and I’ve got planned sims for him interacting with Starfleet professors over writing dissertations and the like.

Out of all the number of duty posts, you chose tactical officer. What advice can you give new and older members who want to choose that particular duty post?

For new members, don’t be afraid to play the position “close to TV.”  Your ship can and should get shot, damaged, and should also be able to do damage.  I remember the first time we engaged with an enemy vessel, I was probably a bit too timid in wanting to drive the story with my phasers and photon torpedoes.  For older members, it’s fun to be inventive. Using that Treknobabble to do the thing to the phaser banks or deflector dish that helps save the day is very rewarding.

And lastly, do you personally have aspirations in the fleet? Are there any OOC activities you’re associated with, or any you’d like to join?

You can often find me in the wiki Discord channel, I’m no expert with the wiki markup, but web dev and design are things I’m comfortable with and helping people make the pages they want to see is a ton of fun.  Other than that, I’m happy right now to work hard to make the experience on the Columbia a good and fun one and maybe after I finish school I can look at getting more involved in OOC activities.

Thanks for your time, Ensign James Colquhoun!

You can read more about Ensign James Colquhoun on the wiki.

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