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 Commander Karrod Niac playing a Male joined Trill Operations Officer assigned to the USS Excalibur. He won the Voyager Medallion: “Awarded to Operations officers who have shown great skill in keeping a starship in working order despite near-impossible circumstances”
DeVeau: It’s been a little while since your last interview which was when you were playing your previous character, Geoffrey Teller! Would you like to tell us anything about you that we haven’t learned yet?
Sure! I took a break last year and decided to put Geoff on the shelf for a while so I could recharge creatively. One of the ways I decided to do that was to challenge myself to come up with a new primary character to explore and after some experimentation and a lot of reading for inspiration, I came up with Karrod.
Now would you share a little about your character with us?
Absolutely. Karrod Niac is my take on a Joined Trill character who, unlike the most famous examples of the archetype, isn’t really at peace with his joining. It happened to him later in his life and wasn’t a path he’d specifically sought out, leading to a fair amount of friction around the whole subject. The Symbiote Niac has a colorful history of hosts who have died prematurely and as such, doesn’t represent the breadth of stability and experience we’ve seen from other Trill characters. It has been a very fun character to explore on the page and I’ve been fortunate enough to get some great writers to play off on the Excalibur.
Why did you decide to play an Operations Officer?
Some of it was interest and some was serendipity on the part of the Excalibur and the needs they had at the time I was thinking of rejoining the fleet. Ops is a tricky role to do well and I’m always up for a challenge, plus it broadly fit the background of the character I was working up. Really ended up working out great for all involved.
Fleet Captain Nicholotti praised you on your ability to step into the role and “showed us all what it really meant to be an operations officer, what operations did, and how he could make the position his own”. Would you go into some detail about how you handle this duty post and made it, as she said, your own?
The Ops role has always interested me and I’ve seen a lot of variations in how it’s played over the years. It seemed like a very good slot to plug in an experienced senior officer and I’m really happy with the results so far. In my iteration it has become a blend of command, engineering and logistics which effectively makes the character versatile for almost any need. It’s been a great new challenge and a lot of fun to boot.
What sort of advice would you give to those who wish to write realistic Ops Officers?
There’s a famous old maxim that goes “Amateurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics.” I’ve tried to bring that mindset into the character and have him deal with the challenges that would come from running a starship with nearly a thousand people aboard. Supplies, equipment, repairs, coordinating resources….even something as simple as managing the crew roster during an emergency…all of these are examples of the kind of work an Ops officer can get into. It’s a great role for writers who want to define their own ‘responsibilities’ aboard ship and allows for a ton of versatility during missions. Been a lot of fun to write as well.
What are your future plans for Niac?
I’ve been slowly working on unpacking the relationship between Karrod and his symbiote, Niac, and trying to show the two of them bonding and gradually becoming an actual team. At the same time it gives me the opportunity to explore the individual backstories of his past hosts which has lead to some great explorations both during missions and on shoreleave. If you happen to come by the Excalibur visit the holographic recreation of Bistro Manev, the finest little haute cuisine establishment on Trill!
Thanks for your time, Commander Niac!
You can read more about Commander Karrod Niac on the wiki.