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 Jacob Horne playing a Human male Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Constitution.
GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?
HORNE: Sure! My name is Jeff. I live in Northern California with my girlfriend, her 11 year old daughter, and our yellow lab Snowflake. I work for one of those electric car companies where I manage capital construction projects. Work takes up a vast majority of my time but when I find a few minutes to myself I enjoy reading, playing music, going wine tasting, running, and I recently started fly fishing.
What has been your favorite moment writing with StarBase 118?
Tough to pick just one moment since each mission is different but if I have to pick I would say during Jalana’s trial when Jacob was called to the stand as a witness against her. I put Jacob in a bad spot by having him wade into the gray areas of the Prime Directive. He meant well but his actions got him and his captain into a little trouble. It was rough for Jacob but fun to write for because I got to explore a different side of him that I had not explored before. Not only was it good for Jacob’s development it was also good for me to learn to take more chances with Jacob.
Do you take any inspiration from movies/TV/books when writing for your character?
I get inspiration from all over the place. I grew up watching Next Generation so that’s definitely where I get a lot of it. I also get inspiration from work since we’re always interacting with the various engineering and manufacturing teams to really understand what they want to make sure we build them the right space. Getting to hear their conversations about how they think about the world and being involved in some of the most cutting edge stuff provide lots of ideas. I’m a bit of a nerd at heart so creating an engineering character just seemed like a good fit.
What are your thoughts on what you’ve learned in the Academy as you look back compared to now?
I think the Academy helped for sure. It definitely set the tone and provided a good overview of SB118. It’s hard to know what it’s really like until you are assigned to a ship, get settled in and start to figure out some of the nuances about simming, interacting with others, getting involved in the storylines, etc. At first I was afraid to move the story along because I didn’t want to make a mistake by making a decision about some new species or a new planet. I’ve had times where I thought the story was going in a totally different direction than other people on the ship so you have to be able to adapt and go with the flow. I’ve also struggled with wanting to jump in and just solve all of the problems.
Even though it doesn’t (and can’t) provide all of the answers the Academy is a good place to get exposed to a lot of these ideas and start to figure out your own style. Your own voice. I’ve also learned that you get out what you put in. Real life has to come first but during those periods when I have more time to devote to SB118 I find myself enjoying it that much more.
What is your process for ideas regarding character development?
At first I looked inward and picked a character that was for the most part very different from myself because I thought that would be more fun to write. I passed along little bits of me to help me have content to connect with in case I struggled. And now I honestly look at the other writers on the Constitution. They are extremely talented and creative. I see the kinds of the things they are writing about (family relationships, past and current loves, trouble with law, interdepartmental conflict, injuries, etc.) and try to get ideas for Jacob. I think that’s one of the great things about SB118 is how we all feed off of each other and really make the stories and the characters more interesting.
And lastly, what kind of advice would you give those who would like to sim in your specific duty post?
I would definitely recommend it. I think sometimes the tech can be a little overwhelming for some people. It’s hard to remember all the little bits and pieces that make up the ship work but at the same time that huge volume of tech provides limitless opportunities to be creative. You really can’t go wrong. Something broken? Make up a gadget to fix it! Plus there’s always something to do, even during shore leave. You and your character will never get bored (or a day off).
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Jacob Horne!
You can read more about Lieutenant Jacob Horne on the wiki.