Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our recent 2022 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 Lieutenant JG Jack Kessler playing a male human tactical officer assigned to the USS Oumuamua. He won the Sisko Tactical Cross:
“Awarded to Tactical officers who have shown cunning and bravery in battle, including supporting their colleagues in Security, liaising with other departments, and showing the ability to think strategically in a tense situation. Master tacticians, and experts in targeting and shield power distribution, these officers have done the impossible to save their ship and the lives of its crew.”StarBase 118 Wiki: Sisko Tactical Cross
DeVeau: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? Anything you’d like to share!
Kessler: My family moved around quite a bit so I am not sure I hail from any one place. If I were to call any place home though, I would have to say that it is Michigan. I’ve spent the last twenty-four years here with my wife and children. Absolutely love this state.
Why did you choose to write a Tactical officer?
It’s Tactical! I was fourteen when TNG first aired and who wouldn’t want to be behind the tactical systems of that Galaxy Class starship? As a kid of course you always wanted to be the Captain or the First Officer running off on those Away missions. It wasn’t until I got older and joined a different RPG that I really realized there was much more to the other roles on a starship. On the Thor I really did not know what to expect at first but now I would not have changed the choice for anything. I kind of feel the Tactical position has a much cooler role to play than many might give it credit for.
What is your favourite thing about this duty post?
With Tactical I am integrated into the ship’s offensive and defensive systems obviously, but there is a tie into the Engineering side of things as well. Tactical gets to really delve into a number of the ship’s areas and you can really make it your own.
Tony, the simmer behind Commodore V’Airu, noted that you show there is more to a tactical officer than simply firing torpedoes. How do you show this in your simming?
Kessler by far is not going to be that ‘stand-in’ for the primary character who just raises the shields and says yes sir. In all of the Trek series we see Tactical and Security in different roles, sometimes merged and sometimes clearly different. I want to show a deeper side of Tactical, what the position really is. Yes, there are the glorious moments of battle when you are on the bridge with this massive powerhouse of weapons at your fingertips but there is a whole different world to Tactical that I am still discovering. On the ‘Oumuamua, I try to really show Kessler’s expertise off the bridge, his role in supporting the other departments and how Tactical really works when there is not a battle to win. I try very hard to have Kessler come up with some of the best out-of-the-box ideas that offer the CO and XO options other than weapons or your traditional ‘save the crew’ thoughts. Kessler wants to show that he is not an officer to fill a position but is there to be part of the solution. He may not be the Chief Engineer or the ship’s XO but he can defend the ship with more than phasers and torpedoes.
What is the hardest thing about playing a tactical officer?
The hardest thing about playing a tactical officer is knowing what to expect from your character. After I was accepted on the Thor and found that here at SB118 there is a separation between Security and Tactical (which is not always clear in series like TNG) I found myself doing a lot of digging to see how I wanted to portray a Tactical officer. Now that I have figured that part out, the hardest part is not asking to fire phasers at everything…..LOL
What advice would you give to someone playing this duty post?
Tactical is all you. I’m finding it has so many grey edges to other departments I can make sure that Kessler is never stuck in one scene or in one role on the ship. As Tactical you have one of the best options to get your feet into everything. Work it to your advantage and have fun with it. However, the best advice I can pass along is, to get into the SB118 forums and ask questions if you feel stuck. There’s a lot of great Tactical Officer talent and they helped me along the way so far, If you have any questions, hit me up. I am always happy to help out.
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant JG Kessler!
You can read more about Lieutenant JG Jack Kessler on the wiki.