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 Ar’Gorvalei playing a male Efrosian Medical Officer assigned to the USS Arrow.
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!
Ar’Gorvalei: When people ask me that, I usually respond, “Originally, mostly or lately?” I was born in Southern California and lived there for my early years before moving to Massachusetts, which is where my mom’s family was from. That’s where I spent my formative childhood and college years, and where I consider myself “from”. However, for the past decade, I’ve been living in the Washington, D.C. area.
What was your introduction to Science Fiction in general and Star Trek specifically?
I remember very clearly when I was seven, my mom flipping through TV channels when she stopped on this show with these two guys in yellow and blue shirts, and a giant talking rabbit ran past, followed by a girl in a blue dress. “I used to watch this show when I was a kid,” my mom said. “This was my favorite episode.” The episode, of course, was “Shore Leave”, and it was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I was hooked. From then on, I had to watch it every day it was on. From there, I became interested in other sci-fi series and books, and of course, Next Generation, DS9 and Voyager when they came out.
What is your experience with roleplaying?
Once again, it began with Star Trek. I had bought the old FASA Star Trek Roleplaying Game and then would pester my friends into letting me run games for them. It wasn’t until college that I discovered other roleplaying systems (and actually got to play, as opposed to gamemastering). Mostly D&D and White Wolf, although I’ve played a number of other systems as well, in addition to taking part in several LARPs. Currently, I’m using a self-made variant on D20 system mechanics to run an Iron Age pre-Roman Italy historical fantasy game.
What brought you to SB118?
I think I came across it while searching online for Star Trek-related images. Once I read through the wiki and began to understand how it worked, I was really excited. As I mentioned, I first got into roleplaying through Star Trek, but never actually got to play, since I was always the one running the game. I was completely unfamiliar with Play By Email, so that aspect was new to me, but I’ve really been enjoying it so far.
Why did you choose this specific character and duty post?
It was a process of elimination (laughs). I had so many different character ideas. I narrowed it down to four. Then I started writing character outlines and finally settled on two, an Efrosian medical officer or a Magna Roman operations officer. I settled on Ar’Gorvalei because the Magna Roman was going to be kind of a jerk (a bit like Rimmer from Red Dwarf), at least to start, and I decided that I’d rather not play that for my first character. Ar’Gorvalei is a much nicer person (strange, but nice!) and I borrowed aspects of his family and character history from my own life. The Efrosian warrior-priests seemed like a suitably mysterious group, and I read somewhere that sometimes junior warrior-priests join Starfleet as medical officers, so I thought it would be fun to work with that juxtaposition of ancient religion and futuristic medicine.
Where do you see your character five years from now?
Hmmm…Probably as a chief medical officer, on the Arrow or elsewhere. That is, assuming he doesn’t succeed in sacrificing himself to save others!
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant JG Ar’Gorvalei!
You can read more about Lieutenant JG Ar’Gorvalei on the wiki.