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 Esa Kiax playing a joined Trill female Com/Ops Officer assigned to USS Atlantis.
GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?
KIAX: Hey there, I’m Matt, a 24 year old MA Music Performance student and Musical Theatre technician from London, UK. Percussionist, avid gamer and lover of all things sci-fi! I’m also big on mountaineering, climbing and cycling!
What has been your favorite moment writing aboard the USS Atlantis?
So far? There was this one mission where the crew had to venture out into the Jenatris Cloud to investigate several newly discovered Chon outpost stations, it was pretty exciting to be investigating something that’s been floating there for 13,000 years, and seeing what each different away team encountered on their trip. That, and our Captain at the time ended up getting a hybrid Chon/Bolian clone of himself, which was quite interesting to work around. Though, I’m sure there will be plenty more favourites in the future!
Do you take any inspiration from music/movies/TV/books when writing for your character?
Quite often, actually! While a lot of Esa’s mannerisms are based on my own, but there are a few aspects of her personality that are inspired by the portrayal of Lara Croft in the TR:Legend/Anniversary/Underworld trilogy, a little of Starbuck from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica and there’s probably also a bit of Tony Stark in there somewhere too. A couple of my sims have been inspired by pieces of music or artworks, most recently a piece called Sense and Innocence by Lynn Vartan. I really enjoy the challenge of trying to weave these things that aren’t strictly narrative into my sims, and by definition our universe and still have them make some kind of sense!
Out of all the number of species to choose from, you picked Trill. I saw on your wiki that her former host was Darkkdust. Why did you choose Trill and what’s the thinking process like when you know it’s time for a new host?
Esa grew up on Earth, and her father’s symbiont is the Darkkdust symbiont, so as an Earth tradition she took it as a kind of surname, though she didn’t actually host the symbiont at any point. As for why I picked being a Trill, I’ve always found the portrayals of Jadzia and Ezri to be some of the most interesting writing across all the different Trek series’, seeing how they both dealt with having the symbiont’s experiences integrated into their own and how it shaped them as a person. I knew it was time for Esa’s joining when I felt like I was experienced enough within the group, and confident enough writing for her own personality before I subjected the character to 400 years worth of prior experience. Also, with joined Trills, I can keep my options open for a complete character rewrite while still keeping Esa’s history and experiences part of my simming…
Another thing I noticed on your wiki profile was an event that happened to her best friend’s parents ending in tragedy with their deaths. Eventually Esa’s family adopted Erin. Do they keep in contact often and has this or anything else in Esa’s life been key factors in her character development?
Esa still keeps in contact with her blood relatives fairly regularly, however, Erin washed out of the Academy, a situation that Esa blames herself for, and the two haven’t spoken since. It’s become a bit of a black mark on her personality, and is one of the reasons why she has such a difficult time giving advice and pointers to people. The fear of people acting on her advice and something bad happening, coupled with her perception of ruining her former best friend’s life, is enough for her to actively avoid such situations.
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?
I’d love Esa to make Chief Ops. I think the role is fascinating and there’s almost always something interesting I can do with it. After that, I’m not really sure… I don’t know whether Esa would make a good Captain, but maybe somewhere down the road I might make another character better suited for the task. For myself, I think I’d quite enjoy being a part of the training team, helping the new blood find their place in our happy little family!
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Esa Kiax!
You can read more about Lieutenant Esa Kiax on the wiki.