Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our 2022 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 Lt Commander Talos Dakora playing a Betazoid Intelligence Chief assigned to the Artemis-A. He won the Black Cross: which is “Awarded to Intelligence officers who strive to accomplish the goals of Starfleet Intelligence while simultaneously upholding the ideals and structure of Starfleet Command.”
Promontory: What do you want the readers to know about the writer behind your character?
Dakora: Hello! Thanks for inviting me to do this interview! My name is Travis and I’m from Texas. I have a boring desk job in the real world, so getting the opportunity to write for characters that get out there and do exciting things is my favorite part of the game.
When I’m not writing with this group, I like to dabble in 3D art, game development, and music.
When you were awarded the Black Cross, your commander praised the realism you bring to the role. How do you keep your simming grounded?
Easy, I just watched a bunch of James Bond movies! (Kidding!)
No, actually despite the fact that I love a good bit of spy fiction, I’ve spent a lot of time reading articles and books from people who have actually worked in the intelligence field for reference. In the real world, most Intelligence Officers spend the bulk of their time researching, analyzing, and planning. I try to show the time and effort that Talos puts into these different aspects as I write. Of course, being in the Star Trek universe Talos does occasionally find himself in the middle of the action from time to time as well.
I also try to include the terminology, means, and methods that I’ve learned along the way to (hopefully) make the whole thing seem as believable as possible.
What do you enjoy about writing the duty post of Intelligence officer?
The thing I most enjoy about the Intel Duty Post is the flexibility. As an Intelligence Officer, your main duty is to gather, analyze and disseminate Intel to your ship and its crew. In practice, that means you might find yourself briefing the crew on a particularly dangerous situation, below decks with the science department analyzing some unusual artifact, or out in the field with the away team gathering Intel directly– and everything in between!
No matter what is going on I can usually find a fun (and plausible) reason to get Talos involved.
What is the hardest thing about playing an intelligence officer?
I think the hardest thing about playing an Intel Officer is finding the balance between the more mundane and realistic duties and the more exciting aspects of Intel work. It’s a lot easier to compose a compelling sim where your character is sneaking through a hostile facility to uncover some critical bit of information than it is to write one where your character has sat at his desk most of the day, pouring over the data and burning through cup after cup of raktajino before making that breakthrough discovery. I think finding the fun in writing both sides is a challenge, but a fulfilling one.
How do you sim this duty differently now than when you first started?
Starfleet Intelligence (from the occasional mentions or appearances) is portrayed as a sort of ominous and shadowy group in some Trek shows and other media. I initially fell into this trap when I started writing for Talos. Occasionally, adding separate (mostly innocuous) objectives from “Starfleet Intelligence” to his parts of the mission.
After doing my research and talking to people within the group I’ve since clarified that an Intelligence Officer assigned to a ship has his loyalties to the ship and its Captain first, before Starfleet Intelligence. It’s an important, if subtle distinction.
What advice would you give to someone playing this duty post?
Do your research!
Browse relevant Wikipedia articles, and read the job descriptions for real-world analogs for the position. Learn to find joy in setting up your crew for success! As one of the main people in charge of providing your crew with pertinent information, you can help drive the story in new and exciting ways!
Thanks for your time, Commander Dakora!
You can read more about Lt Commander Dakora on the wiki: Talos Dakora – 118Wiki or in this previous interview: Lower Decks interview: Talos Dakora, USS Excalibur-A