Lower Decks: Ensign Tahna Meru, USS Gorkon

Lower Decks: Ensign Tahna Meru, USS Gorkon

We’re here for 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 Ensign Tahna Meru, playing a Bajoran Science Officer assigned to the USS Gorkon.

DeVeau: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? What sort of things do you enjoy? Anything you’d like to share!

I am from the southeastern US, currently living in Georgia. When I’m not simming I enjoy RPG video games, crochet, reading sci-fi/fantasy, and consuming more coffee than a human being ought to. 

Tell us about your experience with Star Trek shows and movies, and which ones are your favourites?

I grew up watching Star Trek with my mom; it’s how we bonded. She introduced me to The Original Series and movies on VHS tapes when I was little and eventually we watched the Kelvin movies, Enterprise, and The Animated series together. This resulted in me being only a little obsessed and watching every series in existence when I moved out. My favorite series is Deep Space Nine. I love the slightly darker but still hopeful tone. We still talk every week about the latest episodes of the current series!

Is there a character that inspires you the most, and how so?

There are many who inspire me, but right now, one of my treasured characters is Melora Pazlar. While not everything about her singular episode has aged fantastically, she’s still one of just a few characters we get to see with a mobility disability in Starfleet. I’ve had trouble coming to terms with having to use mobility devices myself, and seeing her using them and having a place in Starfleet is comforting. As a disabled person, it’s good to know that I could have a place in Starfleet too.

How did you first get into roleplaying?

I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in college. I loved it, but I wanted a Star Trek version, so I started Game Mastering a Star Trek Adventures campaign!

How did you discover StarBase 118 and what drew you to join?

I got tired of being the “forever DM” of the Star Trek Adventures campaign and really wanted to play, but no one else in the group wanted to DM. A few Google searches later, I found StarBase 118. The group seemed really active and welcoming (and they are!) so I wrote down one of the characters that had been tumbling around in my head and submitted an application. 

Why did you choose to play a Bajoran?

I love that Bajoran culture allows faith and science to coexist, and their recent history with the Cardassians, the Dominion, and joining the Federation adds a built-in layer of complexity to the story. We got to see in Deep Space Nine and Next Generation what Bajorans who lived through the Occupation are like, and I was curious what Bajorans whose parents lived through the Occupation would be like (and, thanks to the Skarbek-verse, I had the chance to write Meru as both). If you grew up hearing stories of the Occupation, would you still hold to the Bajoran faith? And how do you reconcile your desire to join Starfleet with your parent’s suspicion of the Federation? 

What drew you to the science duty post?

I love science! I studied anthropology in college, and I love researching other disciplines to add a little extra depth to my sims. I almost wrote Meru as a medical officer for the same reason, but I worried if I did that I’d spend all my time researching minutiae instead of actually writing! 

What do you hope to see in the future with your character in StarBase 118?

Meru has had a rough go of it. As soon as she joined the Gorkon, she was drugged and kidnapped by pirates. Then, once shore leave ended, she wound up in a traumatic Skarbek nightmare where she believed she was a captured Maquis and former Bajoran resistance fighter. At the moment she feels kind of directionless and pretty disillusioned with Starfleet — she joined to explore strange new worlds and so far she’s just been drugged, kidnapped, and traumatized. She’s already working through the trauma, so I am very excited to write her rediscovering her purpose and falling in love with Starfleet again over the next few missions. After that, who knows? 

Thanks for your time, Ensign Meru!

You can read more about Ensign Tahna Meru on the wiki.

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