Each month we interview a First Officer or Commanding Officer of the fleet as part of our “First Officer in Focus” and “Captain’s Corner” columns to get to know them better, and learn more about what their positions entail.
This month, we’re interviewing the First Officer of the starship USS Resolution, Commander Addison MacKenzie, a human female.
DeVeau: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? What sort of hobbies do you have? Anything you’d like to share with us about yourself!
MacKenzie: I’m from Cleveland, Ohio – in the U.S. I’m a professional musician and also have a degree in sociology. I run several musical ensembles/non-profits and enjoy collaborative writing, so I suppose you could say I really enjoy working with people!
What was your first experience with Star Trek?
I remember watching the later seasons of TNG on TV when I was young, and the first six movies. That propelled me into DS9 and Voyager, and the earlier seasons of TNG once they released them in syndication. I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of DS9 during its original run, but now that I’ve rewatched it as an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the series a lot more.
How did you get into roleplaying?
I want to say I got started when I was in middle school… somewhere around the year 2000, maybe? I loved Star Trek, liked writing, and this seemed like a great way to do both and make some friends along the way.
There are a lot of Star Trek simming groups out there – what made you choose Starbase 118?
Like I said, I got started doing this around 2000-ish, so I’ve been at it for a long time. I can’t really even remember taking much extended time away from writing, which has been a great creative outlet. That having been said, I’ve bounced back and forth between many fleets and ships in that time. After a particularly poor experience with a group I had been in for a year or two, I took a chance and filled out an application for Starbase 118 in 2018. I didn’t know much about the group and hadn’t really even taken much of a chance to explore the wiki or the forums – I was just thankful for an opportunity to write with a new group of people. Once I graduated and became a full-fledged member, got to witness the breadth of the group’s infrastructure up close, and the caliber of the other writers, I was hooked!
Before she became a First Officer, MacKenzie was a doctor. Why that specialty?
I’ve always had a fascination with medicine, doctors, and the characters/actors who play such roles. Crusher was one of my favorite Star Trek characters early on, and I’ve come to enjoy other medical shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Untold Stories of the E.R., and the like. One of the things I really relish about writing for medical characters is doing the research to create a realistic medical scene, and then translating it into a 24th-century setting.
Would you please share with us MacKenzie’s journey to the role of First Officer?
Well, I suppose it’s been fairly typical. I was first posted to the Veritas as a medical officer, and eventually worked my way up to Assistant Chief Medical Officer. In my last mission there, we had a sub-plot where Addison got moved into the Chief Medical Officer and First Officer role on a secondary ship that really forced her to stretch her leadership legs. When Geoffrey Teller was transferred to the Embassy on Duronis II as its first officer to help boost its command staff, he requested that I go with him, and at that point I moved into a permanent Chief Medical Officer role. I served there and the USS Thor for a few months, and when the opportunity opened to recommission the USS Resolution, I was tapped to serve as its first officer.
Is there a particular aspect of your role of First Officer that motivates you in your position?
I love being in the position of enabling other writers to develop their skills and creativity. Watching the others in our community grow both in-character and out-of-character, and cultivating the next generation of leaders is really something that brings me a great deal of joy. It’s one of the reasons why I love spending so much time on the training team and as a mentor on the Resolution, and motivates me to continue to work on my own writing!
What future goals do you have for MacKenzie?
Right now, I have a few plot ideas I’m working on that would make for some interesting character development for Addison, including working through a few past traumas. Maybe one day she’ll find herself in the center chair, but one of the things I’ve come to appreciate most about our community is the amount of leadership responsibilities first officers are able to take on.
Lastly, what sort of advice would you give to those who are looking to serve in a leadership position in the future?
Take. Your. TIME.
It’s really easy to want to climb the ranks and jump into absolutely everything. One of the things that may not be apparent when you’re a junior officer is that the opportunities for character development early on in your “career” is much easier than when you move into a command, or even department chief roles. Take time to enjoy the evolution of your character.
Also, there are so many ways to get involved in the OOC aspects of the fleet. Don’t try to do everything all at once – it can be easy to get burnt out, and then it can be tough to enjoy writing at all. The higher you go in rank, the more paperwork that comes along with it. As you gain leadership responsibilities on your ship and in the fleet as a whole, you want to carry your share of the load, but you also have to make sure it’s a manageable and sustainable share.
Thanks for your time, Commander MacKenzie!
You can read more about Commander Addison MacKenzie on the wiki.