Lower Decks: Lieutenant JG Sera, Starbase 118 Ops

Lower Decks: Lieutenant JG Sera, Starbase 118 Ops

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 JG Sera playing a Female Vulcan Engineering Officer assigned to the Starbase 118 Ops.

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!

Sera:  Sera’s handler hails from the United States – apparently a very small town (less than 500 people – just found that out last week!) – in southwest Virginia.  She works at “The Greatest Show on Earth” as an Emergency Department (A & E) provider (Acute Care Nurse Practitioner). 

What was your introduction to Science Fiction in general and Star Trek specifically?

We all gathered around the television at my Aunt’s house (who lived up the street from me as a child) to watch Star Wars televised for the first time on cable (HBO – and to really date myself, 1983).  She was the first person in the neighborhood to get cable TV so it was a big deal.  It was amazing!  I think the TV was 25” but it was color, and the daydreaming that it inspired! 

However, my first introduction into Star Trek where I really got into it, was TNG.  Oh sure there was the animated series which was…ah…nice?  And of course the TOS series was always running somewhere on TV…but on September 28, 1987, Encounter at Farpoint, Part 1 aired – and it was a good day!  After that I was hooked – and I like to learn the little details and nuances of the Star Trek universe and pull those details into my writing.  It really has become such a living, breathing thing – it fuels my imagination.

What is your experience with roleplaying?

I’ve done some tabletop RPGs – but I enjoyed the RP side of it more so than the hack and slash, so when I found online simming in the late 90s in mIRC – it was a rabbit hole of fun!  I did online simming for a few years and then found PBEM simming and that was where I found my niche.  I was in a sim group called FSG (Federation Sim Group) for years, and was honored to have the opportunity to be a first officer of one of the sims and even got to run my own sim (Romulan based)…but very similar to Ops in some ways.

What brought you to SB118?

It was somewhat multifactorial, really.  I finished my Master’s degree and found that I had a lot of free time on my hands.  I had spent the prior two plus years doing full-time school work along with my job and then life – so I was used to burning both ends of the proverbial candle.  With the grind of weekly research papers and studying over – I had a lot of awake time to fill.  

How I stumbled upon 118 was kind of serendipitous, really…I was driving home from work one morning and had a random thought – as I had finally gotten Paramount + and started watching Discovery.  “Do people still do PBEM simming anymore?  When I got home I looked online and found SB118 – and I applied.  The wiki hooked me…I have a background in research, yes? 😉

Why did you choose this specific character and duty post?

Because I wanted to suffer.  Badly.  Vulcans are my favorite Federation race.  (BUT Romulans are my all-time favorites).  I had no idea what I was getting into, but I am too dumb to quit, and Sera has really grown on me.  

I selected engineering because in a way I’m an engineer of the human body – and if one wants to write an accurate Starfleet engineer there is a bit of background work and, ahem, research that needs to be performed for ‘accuracy.’  Also my father is a marine architect / naval engineer and it’s my dorky way of paying homage to him.  I would have never survived calculus without him.

As far as SB118?  I may have had some insider knowledge about how vibrant and active the sim was – and the premise of Ops appealed to me (see my simming history above, please).  I am very fortunate to write alongside some pretty great storytellers.  It has really pushed the character development of Sera – she’s becoming quite an individual – not simply a stereotype or caricature of what a Vulcan should be.  Since there is very little canon it really pushes my imagination – and the challenge of creating alien mores, or quirks or what have you?  ::chef’s kiss::

Where do you see your character five years from now?

Empress has a nice ring to it don’t you think?  ::coughs…clears throat::

Sera is working towards a Chief position.  She is Vulcan – so servicehood is important to her.   She has a lot of information stored in her noggin, but lacks the ‘human’ social savvy to ‘make friends and influence people’ with ease.  She’s just a kid in a way – if her age is adjusted, she’s barely out of her teens.  So perhaps she’ll be less…colt-ish in five years? Also, for the sake of transparency, she may have a bingo card that is missing a bunch of daubs.  Getting closer to bingo would be nice.   

Thanks for your time, Lieutenant JG Sera!

You can read more about Lieutenant JG Sera on the wiki.

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