Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2021 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 Aine Sherlock playing a Human Female Security Officer assigned to the USS Resolution. She won the Natasha Yar Pin: “awarded to those security officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in protecting and preserving the lives of their crewmates, even at risk to their own.”
DeVeau: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? What sort of activities do you enjoy?
Sherlock: I’m Jared, and I currently live in Knoxville, Tennessee. Originally from Puyallup, Washington. As for activities I enjoy, my friends joke my hobby is collecting hobbies. It really runs the gamut from carpentry and fine woodworking to (very recently) 3D modelling. I really enjoy working with my hands, so things like tailoring and watchmaking/repair are examples of things I like to do. Before the pandemic hit, I was working in a stained glass art studio where I was our primary metal and wood fabricator and specialized in stained glass restoration. Oh, and of course: writing. Can’t forget that one.
Where do you get your inspiration for your character?
Beyond the regulars in Star Trek itself, a lot of the personality, quirks, etc. come from a couple of people in my life that I am close to. Their lives and stories have inspired the character of Aine Sherlock from the very beginning. So quick shout out to “A” and “S” for being such close friends and allowing me to share in your lives! Part of the character that’s on the job, I take from my personal experience which, mixed with her personality, makes for an interesting blend that really brings her to life.
What is the hardest thing about simming a security officer?
As I mentioned above, bringing in my personal experience helps. But, putting that into the context of Star Trek, as the rules and regulations of Starfleet, can be a challenge. Security Officers in Starfleet really need to be thinkers. They need to be in control of themselves and be situationally aware so as not to be over-reactive. I feel that writing a Security Officer who’s always going for their phaser first is just wrong. It doesn’t fit the context of Trek. So doing that can be difficult. Your character needs to handle dangerous and potentially violent situations without being a loose cannon. You also have to be a bit of a diplomat.
Being part of security could police or body guarding, have your character aware of personalities around them and how best to respond to those personalities, so they need to be flexible. There’s just a lot of potential layers to it. One thing I’ve thought about, but haven’t been faced with as the writer of Aine, is a mission where security isn’t really needed. To be the odd one out may be difficult, but I’ll figure out a way to fit in.
What’s your favourite part about writing for a security officer?
I’m not sure if this would apply if I had created a different character, but for me with writing Aine, it’s that she’s unassuming. She can get nervous in certain situations, but not when it comes to the job. When the team walks in and the second shortest person in the room is the Security Officer, well, I like that. It’s a lot of fun.
I write here as being straightforward and knowledgeable in her field, and so far I’ve had a significant response to that. And getting to add some of my real-world knowledge/experience has been a lot of fun as I feel with this character I can do it easily without it ever sounding over the top or unrealistic.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have for Aine, personally?
She has some internalized issues. She’s still hiding some things and hasn’t fully opened up to anyone. Meidra being her closest friend, she’s heard more than others. On our last leave, I did a series of sims concerning an event in her past that was actually really tough to get out there. But even IC, only a couple of people really know the story. Over time, I feel she’ll open up more and more, but for now, she’s still fairly guarded. And I imagine in the future that may even reset depending on events in her life, like an old habit.
One thing your captain mentioned during the awards ceremony was the way you show different sides to your character, including that a security officer can sometimes be vulnerable and make poor decisions. Would you share with us how you’ve shown that?
So this one has been eye-opening. Talking before about “A” and “S,” I look out how both they were and how I was around the age that Aine is. Yes, she’s a trained Starfleet Security Officer, but she’s also still just a kid. She’s made mistakes. She will make mistakes. That’s life. I try really hard to show what she’s thinking. Times when the crew’s in an unpleasant situation and she’s focused on doing her job, but it’s oO Oh my god! What the hell is happening!? Oo on the inside. During shore leave, she does the things someone her age would do on their weekends off. Which isn’t always the best choice, but not necessarily bad. I don’t try, and hopefully never will ever write her as being a perfect person.
What was your reaction when you learned you’d won the Natasha Yar Pin?
Storytime! I was refreshing the forum each day of the awards ceremony, constantly. On the day of the Duty Post Awards, I was out for the day and never had a chance to check them. I get home, open my laptop, and Discord shows I was tagged in something. When I looked in the ship chat it just said, “Congratulations Aine Sherlock and Addison MacKenzie.” And knowing what awards were coming out that day, it just kind of hit me.
I went to the forums to make sure and when I came back to Discord; I wasn’t really sure what to say other than to thank my crew. Yeah, I write the character, but the character wouldn’t be who she is without them. That they felt enough of Aine and myself to nominate me for the Natasha Yar Pin was good enough. Winning it was such an honor. And I thank them again! RESOLUTIONARIES!
What advice would you give someone who wants to write for a security officer?
Be humble with your character. That will spill over into the character. Being humble and focusing on the job, focusing on keeping your crew safe, that’s most important. Don’t have your character be the hero. No leading the charge, guns blazing. That’s just annoying. If you write your character not being ambitious about awards or promotions (of course have goals as the writer for your character), but just going with the flow and doing a good job to keep everyone safe and coming home is really where it’s at. It’s fulfilling to the character, and it’s definitely fulfilling as the writer and the only accolade you should be seeking.
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant JG Aine Sherlock!
You can read more about Lieutenant JG Aine Sherlock on the wiki.