Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our [YEAR] 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 Lieutenant Gnaxac playing a Ferengi Engineer assigned to the USS Gorkon. He won the Scotty Cross Award: Awarded to an officer who shows extreme creativity while solving a plot dilemma or in character plot twist.
Nilsen: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?
Gnaxac : Well, I’m a Brit from somewhere in the south-east (not London, I hasten to add). I work in a local theatre, doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for the box office, ticketing software and website, etc. I also direct a lot of local theatre, with a specialism in the local Shakespeare Festival, of which I’m on the board.
I’ve been a member of SB118 for over five years, my primary being Cmdr Genkos Adea on the Artemis-A, but Gnaxac has been a PNPC of mine for a very long time – just under five years in fact!
Nilsen: A fellow theatre kid. I knew we’d get along well! As you just said, Gnaxac isn’t your first character, can you tell us about your inspirations and how you came to create him?
Gnaxac : Fun fact; I didn’t actually create Gnaxac! I inherited him from another player, long since gone from the game, who created him, wrote one whole sim for him and then left him alone. I despise waste, so when I decided I wanted a new PNPC, Gnaxac was offered to me and I jumped on him!
There was very little on his wiki or in the original sim, apart from his being an engineer, so I decided to flesh him out a little bit. After a few missteps, I found precisely what I wanted. I wanted a bit of a change from Genkos, so where the good doctor is confident and charming, Gnaxac is nervous and jumpy, and I even gave him a bit of a stutter – something I struggled with as a child.
Nilsen: We talked about this briefly in our emails, can you tell our readers some more about crossover of theatre and simming.
Gnaxac: Ah! Well both are very much team games – everyone is working together to tell a story, and you have to learn to trust your other writers / actors. It’s incredibly daunting, putting yourself out there either on stage or in a sim, and you just have to rely on the idea that everyone else is going to pick up what you lay down otherwise you just end up looking like a fool. The CO/FO are like a director or a writer, but much less restrictive/domineering (or so we hope). Both theatre and simming are creative arts that are very difficult to do on your own, but much more rewarding when you can work in a group to create a satisfying denouement.
Nilsen: Plot twists are not easy, one wrong move and it can fall flat. What needs to be in place to make a plot twist work?
Gnaxac : Oooh, great question! Breadcrumbs are my number one big thing to make a twist work – you have got to scatter at least one or two beforehand to make the plot twist truly effective, otherwise it just comes out of nowhere and is very dissatisfying. For example, for my Commander’s practical on the Excalibur (in which the Excalibur was destroyed, but hush now), I wanted some Suliban infiltrators in amongst the MSNPCs – and they had to be a little suspicious in their sims before that reveal or it wouldn’t make any sense. But on the flip side, sometimes (very rarely) it can really work if there’s no seeding of the twist and it really does come out of left field. A good example can be laid at the feet of Jo Marshall – she played one of those very same infiltrators and at the very end it was revealed they were actually an undercover intelligence operative!
Nilsen: What are some of the most memorable moments for you in SB118?
Gnaxac: Apart from the above? I’ve always enjoyed it when the crew of the Gorkon get thrown sideways into the alternative universe of Maquis membership that is the Skarbek, I have incredibly fond memories of the first time I introduced the villainous time-obsessed member of the Continuum to the Resolution crew with CloQ, and also my absolute favourite mission was aboard the USS Unpronounceable which was flipped upside down (Poseidon Adventure style) in an errant nebula. Genkos found a dog, Gnaxac woke up in a toilet with you-know-what dripping on his face, and one of my NPCs was ripped apart by crabs!
Nilsen: When your award was presented, your CO Quinn Reynolds said “Months later, I still can’t forget how he came up with the idea to use tube grubs to stabilise people in time!“ I have to ask, tube grubs to stabilise people in time?
Gnaxac : Ahaha, so we were all transported in time – I was with Reynolds, Ayiana Sevo and Tahna Meru. We realised we might be able to get home if we could pinpoint when exactly home was, and Gnaxac remembered he had a snack in his pocket – the tube grubs – that would have soaked up the temporal signature (we couldn’t use ourselves for reasons that I forget) and used that as a kind of divining rod to get us back to the future!
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Gnaxac!
You can read more about Lieutenant Gnaxac on the wiki.