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 Lt. Commander Atan T’Seva, playing a Vulcan/Bajoran Security Officer assigned to the USS Constitution-B. She won The Sisko Tactical Cross: “Awarded to those Tactical officers who have shown cunning and bravery in battle. Master strategists, and experts in targeting and shield power distribution, these officers have done the impossible to save their ship and the lives of its crew.”
DeVeau: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? What would you like to share about yourself?
T’Seva: First, I grew up in Nottingham, England, which is basically a tired industrial heartland. I now live in Northern Virginia, which is a lot hotter. I’m fond of pretty much all science fiction and fantasy. I have a degree in archaeology and I’m entirely too fond of horses.
What drew you to Star Trek, and what’s your favourite series and/or movie?
I have fond memories of watching the original series in reruns on a tiny black and white television (because the good TV was downstairs and tuned almost constantly to cricket) and trying to sing the theme song. I didn’t know it actually had lyrics! It wasn’t the first sci-fi show I got addicted to (I’m British. It’s Doctor Who), but it definitely shaped my attitudes.
What made you decide to play a tactical officer?
To be honest? I’d played a counsellor for a while, got bored, and wanted to get as far away from that as possible. Security/Tactical seemed to be a good way to go. There’s nothing wrong with moving on from a position or a character if you feel you’ve done it enough. Also, pew pew.
Commodore Rajel stated that Tactical is one of the most difficult duty posts to write for. What are your biggest challenges with the role?
I suppose the difficulty is that tactical tends not to play a direct role in a lot of missions, although we did recently get some tremendously fun ship to ship combat in. Because of that, you need to be versatile and think about aspects of your character beyond the job. Otherwise you can easily end up sidelined.
Now that I think about it, I suppose the counsellor has the same issues with not always being “needed” and having to find a way to use your character’s skills and background.
She also stated ‘No matter the kind mission she joined with enthusiasm, creativity and out of the box thinking on how to integrate the Tactical department.’. What are some ways you’ve implemented creativity and ‘thinking outside of the box’?
Oh, man… not quite sure where to start! I was pleasantly surprised that she said that.
I’m thinking about the mission where we ended up doing a ton of search and rescue. Actually, there were two… the attack on the mining colony and then the earthquake on Endaasi. When you’re involved in a ground mission as a tactical officer, you have to think about how that mindset applies to the mission itself and to how you can play your character.
What sort of advice would you give to those who wish to play more realistic Tactical Officers?
First, don’t forget this is Starfleet. It’s very easy to get into the pew pew and play an aggressive character. You absolutely need to be proactive, but remember that the primary goal of Starfleet is not to fight wars.
It’s more protective. To me, a good tactical officer protects the ship as a good security officer protects the crew. And there are a lot of crossovers. T’Seva has also done security and is cross trained in both, and putting that kind of background in helps. Think about how Worf protects the ship and the crew, directly and indirectly.
And finally, with any character, remember that your role, your job, is in some ways the *least* important part of your character. Relationships, backgrounds, even hobbies… pets (believe me, I have way too much fun with T’Seva’s rather sassy cat). All that matters more. The most realistic characters are the ones who are struggling with falling in love with the wrong person (and T’Seva found the “wrong” person), etc.
If you struggle to round out your characters, try using a character questionnaire that asks you things like what they drink (raktajino in the morning and any kind of decent wine in the evening), where they would go on vacation, etc. Knowing these little things makes *any* character better.
Thanks for your time, Lt. Commander Atan T’Seva!
You can read more about Lt. Commander Atan T’Seva on the wiki.