Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our 2023 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write and imagine their characters as well as their out of character contributions and achievements.
This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Junior Grade Lieutenants 101 and 000 playing a a bonded pair of Bynar HCO officers assigned to the USS Astraeus. He won the Voyager Medallion – Operations: which is “awarded to Operations officers who have shown great skill in keeping a starship in working order despite near-impossible circumstances. The officers receiving this award have advanced the field of Operations, have acted as the liaison between the Command, Science, and Engineering departments, and are technically proficient in operations maintenance, making sure duty rosters, provisions, gear, and even recreation time are available… no matter what,” and has also been awarded the Laudean Commendation which is “awarded to those who have shown great creativity in many facets of species creation or expansion, including physiological, psychological, cultural, social, and more, and their creativity will inspire their fellow simmers. The Laudean Commendation can cover many aspects of species development, such as expansion of the species on the wiki and documenting their history, but should primarily be based in In Character simming,” and is named for the SB118-created species the Laudean
Promontory: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from and what got you into SB118?
101 and 000: My name is Mason (he/him)! I’m an artist, historian, and metalhead in my mid twenties from Illinois, USA. As a child I watched the original series with my father, and in 2022 I decided to start steamrolling through the rest of the Star Trek series. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember and involved in roleplaying communities on-and-off with my friends since I was about twelve, so after a while I started to get the urge to write about Star Trek. A couple of Google searches later, I found the Starbase 118 website.
How did you decide to land on simming a pair of Bynars?
When I saw the Bynars in 11001001 (TNG 1×15) I fell in love immediately. Everything about them fascinates me— the cybernetics, the way bonded pairs seem to even form their thoughts together as they speak, the way Memory Alpha compares them to the sinister Borg… I was heartbroken when I looked at their Memory Alpha page and saw that, despite some cast members wishing for them to come back, they never really did!
I also felt deeply connected to them as a queer person. The very direct statement that “they’re not gentlemen, or ladies” in the beginning of their episode brought me so much joy. Bynars as characters in Star Trek explore queer identities through nonbinary genders and the powerful bond formed between pairs of Bynars, who seem not to be lovers or siblings or friends, but instead two halves of a whole. I think it’s beautiful and deeply compelling.
What are the biggest challenges of writing for Operations?
I think the flexibility of Operations is a blessing and a curse. An Ops officer is a real jack of all trades— they often fill in when needed for the engineering and science divisions, as seen in characters like Miles O’Brien and Data. Ops also does a lot of “managerial” work to ensure that the rest of the crew flows as smoothly as possible. The position demands a certain level of familiarity with almost every department on the ship!
This means there’s plenty of freedom and variety, but it also means that sometimes I’m left scratching my head and thinking, “What the heck am I supposed to do next?” Luckily for me on the Astraeus, Captain Mei’konda Delano and Chief Operations Officer Esa Kiax have been excellent at directing 101 and 000’s strengths into the tasks best suited for them.
How do you balance writing from the perspective of an outsider (true aliens) with relatable and engaging sims?
I think it’s important to dig into “outsider” characters and find something within them that is universally relatable. 101 and 000 may look very different from the people around them and have very foreign experiences with their cybernetics, but I think people find them engaging because they’re very open and honest about what’s going on inside their heads. They struggle with fear and anxiety on intense missions, they make awkward small talk with new people, they whisper and giggle to each other when they’re in a good mood… A couple of shore leaves ago they tried to paint a picture of a dog and ended up making it pink. They hate coffee and love to geek out about graphs. Little things like this make them relatable.
At the same time, I love digging into what makes Bynars unique and different from humans. It’s a lot of fun to play with their non-human abilities and traits, and those help to inform 101 and 000’s particular position within the crew.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to try writing for an underrepresented alien species?
Don’t be afraid to take liberties and have fun with what you’ve got! Bynars have been my own little playground to explore and it’s been great fun. It’s nice to be able to push and pull certain traits. For example, I wanted to push Bynars to be a very detail-oriented and cerebral race, so one of the things I did was pull the Bynar height range down and make 101 and 000 good at making tiny repairs in small spaces with their little hands and narrow frames. This builds on top of the foundation provided by canon and gives it more depth. Don’t feel restricted by your character, though— are they the norm among their species or the exception?
Where do you hope to take your character and writing next?
I think I’d like to try exploring 101 and 000’s independence eventually, though I’m not sure what that will look like. They are already an oddball pair and are fairly out of sync as far as Bynars go, but they’re such close companions and right now are inseparable. Who knows!
Thanks for your time, Lts 101 and 000!
You can read more about Jr Lts 101 and 000 on the wiki 001100010011000000110001 (001100000011000000110000) – 118Wiki (starbase118.net).