Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Award Winners from our recent 2021 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 Lazarus Davis playing a Male Human Science Officer assigned to the USS Constitution-B. He won the Cochrane Award: “awarded to those science officers who have contributed to the advance of science during their Starfleet career, by staying knowledgeable about their field, participating in the community of science, but by placing their knowledge at the service of their ship and its mission.”
DeVeau: Hello Lazarus! Please tell us a little about the person behind the character? Where are you from? What sort of interests do you have? Anything else you’d like to share, of course!
Davis: Hello again, Alora. Always a pleasure. I’m from the United States, and right now I live in Indiana. When I’m not simming, you can find me typing away at my dissertation, down in my studio working on music, on my bike, reading, or out taking photos. And making podcasts is in there somewhere, too. I’ve got a lot of interests!
How long have you been with Starbase 118 and what brought you here?
According to my wiki, it looks like I graduated over 3 years ago. Wow. What brought me here, I think a friend saw a post on Reddit about SB118 and showed it to me. I liked the idea of having an opportunity for collective storytelling, with Star Trek as a frame of reference. I have plenty of experience writing songs and papers, but not a lot of experience in writing dialogue and action, so that was appealing too.
What made you choose science for your duty posting?
Write what you know! When I started out, I was deep in my coursework for my PhD, where I studied to become an experimental psychologist. Plus, I love science fiction-as-allegory and being positioned as a science officer gives me a lot of chances to explore that.
What is the most memorable mission your character’s been involved in?
Well, there was that one time he went to a terrible mining colony in the clouds only to hastily decide to marry one of the miners to get her out of an unethical contract in a flagrantly dangerous environment. That one had some lasting impact. Not much by way of science in that one, but some big character decisions!
In what ways has Lazarus contributed to the ship in his position as a science officer?
I feel like–at least; I hope–I contribute a lot of science fiction geekery. It’s obviously not necessary to tell our stories, but I enjoy coming up with little science fiction premises; extrapolations on something today. Classic “if this goes on…” sort of stuff. In our last mission, Lazarus did a lot of science-y stuff: the discovery of something he called a “stellar tempest” (a collection of >3 stars in chaotic mutual orbits), some novel ways a nebula was affecting ship systems/technology, and repurposing an onboard experiment on a gravity sail (think light sails but for gravity waves) into a weapon that destroyed an Orion Syndicate ship.
What are the future goals for Lazarus?
Something I’m working towards with Lazarus is that I want him to be an adult-diagnosed neurodivergent. I feel like Star Trek has mostly good depictions of characters that read as neurodivergent, but few explorations of neurodivergence. Because things like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are socially defined and the Federation is radically socially different from our present day, what does it mean to be autistic in 2398? Plus; if there’s an entire culture of people whose outward demeanour appears similar to stereotypes of ASD, then how does that impact how people understand ASD? So many interesting questions to explore, while providing me with an opportunity to make sense of my own recent ASD diagnosis.
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Davis!
You can read more about Lieutenant Lazarus Davis on the wiki.