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Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Junior Grade Ben Garcia, Embassy of Duronis II 

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 Lieutenant JG Ben Garcia playing a Human male HCO officer assigned to the Embassy of Duronis II.

GALVEN: Thank you for accepting this interview! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

GARCIA: Hi! I’m Wes, and I write for Ben. I post from the U.K and always get caught out with post counts and time differences! I enjoy Trek, especially those episodes that make you think … I guess that’s what got me into Trek: I have great memories of watching TNG after dinner with my mum (many, many years ago!), and I’d marvel at how the characters grappled with high ideals and moral dilemmas. I was fascinated with Picard. Great stuff!

You joined the community in February. How did you find StarBase 118 and what made you ultimately choose to stay with us?

I re-joined in February; I found StarBase 118 a few years ago – maybe four or five? I’d done table top RPG when I was a kid, and wanted to find an online group. I cannot remember how I stumbled across StarBase 118, but I’m thankful you were there among those search results! When I first joined I was at University, and for one reason and another couldn’t keep up posting, so I took a LOA … or two.

Fast forward to this February, and I’d made the decision to carve out time for things that I enjoy. That meant figuring out what I enjoyed! That’s when all those really positive memories about how friendly and organised the StarBase 118 community are came to the fore. So, I decided to get back involved. I’m grateful to the Embassy for finding a place for me to sim (thanks guys!), and really enjoy the freedom we have on the installation to sim planet side or on one of the Embassy’s ships.

This is my longest stint as an active member, and I’d put it down to two things: the community ethos of StarBase 118 and my mind set about why I sim.

On your wiki, there’s quite a bit about Ben’s backstory especially applying for a full apprenticeship at his mother’s company. Do you take any inspiration for your writing from any TV shows/movies/books?

It was important to me to create a character with a history that challenged me and kept my interest. So, Ben’s parents are non-Starfleet: his mum is a Property Manager and his father a ‘Director’ (I’ve not decided of what yet). Both Ben’s mum and dad are motivated by achievement and creating value. I’d guess they’d be capitalists in today’s money. Ben joining Starfleet has opened up a bit of a culture gap in the family, and I’m going to enjoy simming how they cross that gap together. At the minute, the parents are happy as Ben was recently promoted, so that should keep them quiet for a bit! Ben’s backstory refers to the ‘Lunar Lake’ incident – an ecological disaster at a development covered up by his mum’s company. The event occurred during Ben’s apprenticeship. I kept the details vague to give me something juicy to write about and develop during quieter shore leaves. I watch a lot of SciFi, apocalyptic dramas and Trek: it all mingles together and inspires a lot of my ideas.  Recently though, I’ve started reading crime fiction, and I’m taking lots of inspiration about how to shape and frame ideas from this genre. Two faves at the minute are Michael Connelly and Carol O’Connel.

Out of all the duty posts out there, you chose the HCO (Helm,Communication,Operations) position. Could you tell us why you picked it and any type of advice for anyone who would want to consider it?

HCO is fun. It was also the post I felt most scared by … because in one sense it’s so vague. Don’t let that put you off though! You get to sit in on the action as a Bridge officer, and dip your fingers into as many pies as you want – it’s such a versatile post. Plus, it leaves you with lots of opportunities on away missions – once the flying is over you can jump in and help out a range of departments. I really like this open aspect to the posting. It’s a posting with oodles of untapped potential. If you really think about what an Operations Officer does, or what would be involved in sustaining comms, you realise the simming potential for those background details are immense. If you get bored? Just jump back in the driver’s seat and engage the engines!

And lastly, where do you see your character in a few months from now? Also, would you like to join any of the OOC activities 118 has to offer?

Ben will hopefully pick up some more responsibility for Operations – at the moment he is still finding his feet at the Helm, but I’m really looking forward to simming Ben dealing with things like power allocations between departments. Mundane maybe, but a fascinating part of any ship’s daily business that I’d love to read more about in sims. As for me? Yep, I’m up for getting more involved with OOC activities, and will certainly be pitching in where I can help!

Thanks for your time, Lieutenant JG Ben Garcia!

You can read more about Lieutenant JG Ben Garcia on the wiki.

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