Learn more about how to be a great simmer in this interview with a winner of a Duty Post award from our recent 2020 Awards Ceremony!
Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters and this month we’re interviewing the writer behind Lieutenant Jona ch’Ranni playing an Andorian operations officer assigned to the USS Gorkon. He won the Voyager Medallion.
GALVEN: First off, thank you for taking the time with me and answering a few questions. Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?
ch’Ranni: Hello! I’m Josh and I live in the midwest US. I’m married and have energetic twin 5-year old boys. I work in the education IT field and have loved Star Trek since I was a pre-teen. Data, LaForge, and O’Brien were my idols. So, does my secular work push me to write about Ops or did my love of those characters influence me into working in an Operations-type field in real life? Or is it both?
Congratulations on winning the Voyager Medallion! The award is presented to people who have advanced the field of Operations. Could you explain how through Jona ch’Ranni you have accomplished just that?
One of the things that fascinates me about the Star Trek universe is the science and engineering behind the fiction. Star Trek is the kind of sic-fi that could be real in a few hundred years. It’s only fiction because we haven’t attained it yet. I love thinking about all the thousands of details that would go into making life aboard a starship comfortable – or even possible! It’s the behind-the-scenes work of the countless masses that make the exploration of space by our heroes a success and so I try to draw back the curtain a little bit here and there to show what kinds of things might be needed by a ship’s crew.
What kind of advice would you have for a new and current SB118 member who would like to write for the Operations duty post?
Don’t give up on a duty post before you try it. Any posting can be written well if you take the time and make the effort to really examine what that duty post involves. Read up on what the responsibilities are and do it well. And then remember that the duty post only orients where your character is on the ship and what they are doing, not who they are. That’s provided by you as the writer.
With so much enthusiasm and drive into your character, what’s been your favorite part about simming an Operations officer so far?
I love working in details that my fellow writers bring up. For example, the security chief may say in another sim offhandedly that she needs to get some trees set up in her quarters for her pet koala. So I sim that a request has been received on my desk for just such a thing. I can use the setting of mindlessly counting inventory as a jumping off point for bumping into a new security officer that has recently arrived aboard. Or I may sim myself piloting a shuttle to the shore leave location for the rest of the group and see what hijinks ensue. The work of an Operations officer is never done and, therefore, the possibilities for writing are endless.
And finally, Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds said that ch’Ranni “draws other writers into unexpected and delightful moments of character development.” What kind of ideas do you bring in terms for character development?
While Ops may not be the most glorious position (here’s looking at you Security!) it does give me free reign of the ship and opportunity to be either a fly on the wall or an active participant in other people’s sims. I can make up any excuse to jump into someone’s sim.
But the nuts and bolts of Operations is really only half the fun. Getting others involved is the other half. I enjoyed a post-mission group therapy session once. So many times I find Jona in the crew lounge striking up a conversation with another officer just to chat and learn more about them – learn their story and their motivations.
I also work to expand Jona himself. He’s gone through a romance and then the drifting apart from that woman after his transfer. He’s had many friends and even the hint of envy at another officer’s promotion. He’s dealt with a return home to Andoria and the subsequent death of one of his fathers. I want Jona to be a real person and so I try to write him that way.
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Jona ch’Ranni!