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 R’Ariel playing a Female Caitian and Deltan Hybrid Counselor assigned to the USS Arrow.
DeVeau: Would you be willing to share anything about you, the writer, behind R’Ariel?
R’Ariel: Certainly. I’ve been doing this “simming” or role writing for many years now. I’ve had a few scifi-fantasy settings. My last simming before joining the fleet was with a “Roaring 20’s” theme. I love writing, working together with like-minded writers, sharing our passions, together. In real life I am a writer and a therapist.
Where did you get your inspiration for R’Ariel?
I wanted to create a character that would allow me to play out the kind of role I would most likely fill were I to find myself in the world of Star Trek. At the same time I wanted to combine some of my favorite roles from the past both the alien and the natural me.
We have a couple of other Caitians in our group, but not many, and she’s different in that she’s half Deltan. Why these species, and what is it like to play something that isn’t particularly common in this sim?
I love cats. When I was young, I had no siblings, my parents got me a cat, and the cat took me in as his own. I called him my brother, but he treated me like his kitten. Still, playing as a Caitian, for me is perhaps too tempting to play a Caitian too much like a “cat”, so by combining the Caitian species with the Deltan species gave me a constant reminder to leave the cliches, but to strive for originality. Why the Deltan species? The Deltans add that telepathic or empathic nature to the character, which of course fits very well with the Counselor role. Furthermore, it creates a perfect contrasting duality – the Caitian with more fur / hair than the typical humanoid, and the Deltan with the lack of it. It puts R’Ariel in an awkward place of belonging to neither, and finding home in her shipmates. Furthermore this encourages me to play the internal conflict that helps make each experience ‘a good story’.
What do you think is the most challenging thing about playing R’Ariel?
In short (lol – she is only about four feet tall), her physical and psychological contrasts. Her character is designed to remind us that there is no stereotype that defines who we are. I like to encourage others to challenge their conceptions of who they are, and in doing so, enjoy life more. Have fun! R’Ariel is a very fun character to be around, or so that is my goal.
So why write, why role-play? What got you interested?
I find a great deal of release in writing. When I was little I used to write my own stories, but I think it was the little short plays and plays with puppets I enjoyed the most. Dressing up cute characters in various personalities, putting them together, and seeing what happens. The progression from that childhood recreation to writing out a roleplay, cooperatively with others – it works, works very well for me.
If you couldn’t play a counselor, what do you think you would do as a duty post instead, and why?
Perhaps a “mission specialist” or even a civilian entertainer or barkeep, where I could still play out social aspects. If none of these were available, I suppose I would go medical, which I ironically have chosen R’Ariel to be particularly short in experience or training. No one wants a superman for a crewmate, and it is through our weaknesses where we can best show our strengths, or at least I think so.
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant R’Ariel!
You can read more about Lieutenant JG R’Ariel on the wiki.