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 Jack Kessler playing a Human Tactical Officer assigned to the USS Oumuamua.
DeVeau: You shared a little about yourself in your last interview, would you be willing to tell us more? What do you love about Michigan? Anything else you’re willing to share!
Kessler: Michigan is not my home state when one thinks of birth states but I would call Michigan home over any other state I have lived in. For me, what I love most about the state is the seasons. They are more intense than any other state I have lived in. I love to camp and hike with my dogs so the state offers a great array of outdoor opportunities for us. After 23 years in the state we are still finding new places to explore and still loving every minute of it.
What was your introduction to Science Fiction in general and Star Trek specifically?
As best as I can remember Star Trek TOS was my first Sci-Fi series. My mother watched it weekly as reruns and it was time I got to spend with her even staying up past my bedtime to watch. Aside from Star Trek, my mother watched Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers. She was certainly my introduction to sci-fi but her enjoyment was just in watching the episodes. I fell in love with the entire sci-fi realm and the struggles that space travel thwarted to those who dared go out into it. Star Trek held the number one seat for me with BSG a close second, and yes I am a Star Wars fan as well – just not to the level of Trek.
What is your experience with roleplaying?
RPG’s start for me in Highschool and namely with the Robotech Role Play games. I was never really into the D&D world as most of my friends were. I loved Robotech as an animated series and jumped in the RPG as soon as it came out. As for Trek role play; a group of my friends and I created a Trek role play group in Highschool and have kept it going for the past 30 years as a private email based game play with each other. Just recently my son became involved and relaunched the game in Discord to bring some of his friends into the club and begin the literal next generation of players as us older players have started to slow down in game play. It would be fun to see him carry on the torch of a club started when I was in high school.
What brought you to SB118?
To be honest, I came to SB118 looking for new ways to revitalize my other club. We were looking for some new stimulation and new ways of doing things. SB118 offered an entirely new gaming style and one that I found I thoroughly enjoy and thus have continued to expand my characters and plans for this organization.
In your last interview, you talked a bit about the role of Tactical Officer. How do you differentiate this role from the security officer position?
This was a question I struggled with as I joined my first ship and was assigned the role of Tactical officer. As we saw in TNG, Worf served both roles and it took me a minute to really understand the difference between the two worlds of Security vs Tactical. To me the difference between Tactical and Security is really simple. Security is the ship’s police force. They keep the peace, enforce law and break up bar fights. Tactical though, we are the ship’s offensive and defensive gatekeepers. We are responsible for making sure the ships weapons systems are finely tuned and ready for battle. We maintain the offensive systems as well, shields and even the highly defined tactical sensor platforms give us the edge we need to give our commanding officers an edge over the enemy. As a kid watching TNG, Tactical and Security were one in the same but here, actually playing the role and looking at what all is involved, they are two different departments altogether.
Where do you see your character five years from now?
Well, assuming he does not get side tracked along the way by some alien beauty. I hope Kessler finds his own command and will one day have a strong crew and a great ship to set off in an adventure or two aboard.
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Kessler!
You can read more about Lieutenant Jack Kessler on the wiki.