Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards 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.
This month we’re interviewing the writer behind First Lieutenant Wes Greaves playing a human male marine assigned to the USS Thor. He won the Semper Fidelis award: “For those Starfleet Marines who have shown great skill in protecting their crew, accomplishing their mission, avoiding tragic loss of life in the line of duty, and upholding the values of the UFoP in times of crisis.”
LEPHI: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?
GREAVES: Hey there! The name behind the character is Jacob, and I originally hail from Washington state in the US, although I’ve lived all over it seems. So far I’ve called Washington, Virginia, Missouri, California, and North Carolina home. Of all of the places I’ve lived though, I still love the Pacific Northwest the best.
I’m a proud nerd through and through, like I assume most of us here are. Grew up in the 90s watching TNG after school, and I’ve loved trek ever since. In real life I’m a military police officer, however my career has been so crazy I’ve actually never been involved with law enforcement. Spent most of my time doing training to do mounted combat patrols, working battlefield forensics, and leading a section that does strategic transportation planning. In the last few years I rediscovered a love for aviation, and I am slowly but surely working my way toward a transition to commercial aviation as a new career path.
What’s been your favorite part about simming a Marine officer so far?
Honestly it’s been the flexibility. Marines in starfleet are weird. We don’t have much canon to go off of, so a lot of how the trek Marines have been developed is vague. There is a lot of overlap in the Marine, Tactical, and Security duty posts, but there are also some in engineering and medical. I really enjoy the flexibility the duty post gives me.
Wes Greaves is a former combat engineer, with battlefield first aid training. With that background I’m able to meaningfully interact not only with security, but with medical and engineering characters by playing a supporting role. The wide but limited knowledge base of Marine characters really is useful for empowering other writers and getting yourself involved in fun scenes.
What advice can you give to other Marine officers in the fleet who are striving to sim realistic characters?
Starfleet Marines are experts in ground combat, but Starfleet doesn’t engage in ground combat very often, so your character isn’t often “in their element” aboard a peaceful starship. My advice is to engage with your fellow writers within their own duty posts from a new perspective. Marines can offer a lot of interesting ideas that don’t revolve around “shooting first and asking questions later.” Try thinking to yourself “how would a soldier have to approach this function in ground combat in a universe with starship phasers, transporters, and industrial replicators”. When you really think about it from that lens, engineering, medical, tactical, operations… it all takes on a unique perspective that your character can contribute to.
Marines are lean, mean, fighting machines. Starfleet Marines however are not the same as 21st century Marines. They uphold the peaceful and idealistic values of starfleet. Never lose sight of that. It’s a tough balance to find, writing a warfighting character in a peaceful exploration based organization, but it’s do-able and very rewarding.
In the award presentation, Fleet Captain Aron Kells mentioned that you are a real life Marine. Is this the inspiration behind Greaves, or were you inspired by something or someone else?
It’s funny you mention that. I intended to write Greaves based on no one in particular. My idea was that it would be simple to write for and wouldn’t require much research. I had hoped to develop a character out of thin air just based on my background knowledge with the US Marines.
That didn’t quite work out, and I’ve found myself pouring a lot of myself into the character. I have very strong opinions on leadership, how to treat subordinates, and the types of relationships officers should have with each other. I’ve found that those values I hold have really been reflected in how Greaves acts, and a lot of times I’ve drawn on real life situations I’ve been in and decisions I’ve made to help me write how Greaves thinks and makes decisions.
It’s been interesting to re-read some of the foundational sims I wrote for Greaves as he joined the Embassy early this year, and see how much the character reflects myself in the sim’s I had forgotten the details of.
Fleet Captain Aron Kells also mentioned in the presentation that you are redrafting the Marine detachment on the Thor, and expanding on the role of the Marines in Star Trek, what has been your favourite part of that process?
I have been working on an information paper on some of my brainstorming about Marines in Star Trek. I’ve even alluded to some of my conclusions in this interview. That brainstorming has also heavily influenced my efforts to develop the Marine Detachment aboard the Thor. It’s been a really fun creative process, and my favorite part has hands down been the collaboration on the project.
I can’t say enough good things about the writers assigned to the Thor. They all are really stellar people, and I’m proud to write characters side by side with them. We all bring different perspectives to the table, and when it comes to working on the Marine Det, those perspectives have really opened my eyes to a lot of aspects of the project. Surprise surprise, we don’t all agree on everything, but there has been nothing but absolute respect amongst everyone in the debate. It’s been a joy to explore the topic with everyone.
Ultimately the final product we made TOGETHER, and it is going to create a lot of fun collaborative opportunities in the future. That and it will give the Marine Det a fun niche to work within. The people are really what make this community, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Thanks for your time, First Lieutenant Greaves!
You can read more about First Lieutenant Greaves on the wiki.