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Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Junior Grade Malko, Starbase 118 Ops

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 Malko playing a Denobulan male Counselor assigned to Starbase 118 Ops.

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

MALKO: Hello, and cheers to all the readers! I am a graphic designer in Toronto who works on kids’ television, Photoshopping goofy things that appear on Amazon, Hulu, PBS and TVO! On the weekend I’m the drummer in a bar band, perform in community theatre and host a drunken Dungeons and Dragons podcast.

What has been your favorite moment writing aboard Starbase 118 Operations?

Recently, I got to write a sim that started off as a pretty innocuous sim – a routine engineering check – that turned into a ‘Tell-tale Heart’ style mystery that flip-flopped between murder and a dessert related catastrophe! The stakes were very low, comparatively to many of the gripping sims Malko has been a part of, but that’s what afforded me freedom to have fun with it. Of course, I do have to commend Lieutenant Commander Rustyy Hael on being a good sport and running with it!

Do you take any inspiration from movies/TV/books when writing for your character? 

To me, Malko is the ultimate sidekick. He’s there to alley-oop you for the slam dunk. Characters like Jake the Dog and Hobbes the tiger come to mind. It’s funny – when you first draft up a character for a role-playing game you see them as an entity separate from yourself, but the more you inhabit the role, the more you realize what aspect of your own personality you have drawn out to exemplify in that persona. No one plays a character that they don’t want to be!

Out of all the number of species, you chose a Denobulan. Which, mind you, is a great choice if I don’t say so myself. Why did you pick that particular species?

I’m a human every day (sometimes debatable) so when it came to choosing a species for Malko I wanted to find something I wasn’t very familiar with. The quirks of Denobulans appealed to me, and seemed to align well with his good-natured diplomatic origin. The Denobulan’s reflex to inflate their face when they felt threatened seemed like a fun concept, to wear your emotions on your proverbial sleeve. I imagined it could lead to interesting interactions in sims with enemies – and allies alike. 

On your wiki profile, it says that Malko didn’t even think about becoming a Starfleet officer until he was convinced to do so by one of his wives who had been saved by one due to a rough past. In what way has that and other instances improved with his character development?

In Malko’s journey to be a positive influence on the world at large, he’s realized the incredible outreach of Starfleet. In his placement at home on the Denobulan consulate, his influence was limited, especially in a time of peace. I think Malko is beginning to realize why the people around him suggested him for Starfleet, and now has trajectory to make an impact on the final frontiers! 

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’ve used my design skills in the Halloween competitions to give our characters some wicked avatars! 

I’d like to be the sounding board for people working out their characters. Simming with a counsellor like Malko and writing directly about your character’s drives, flaws and bonds is not something you always get to explore when tackling space-related crises. 

Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Junior Grade Malko!

You can read more about Lieutenant Junior Grade Malko on the wiki.

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