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 Lieutenant Vitor Silveira playing a Human Male Tactical Officer assigned to the USS Artemis. He won the Prest. Sisko Tactical Cross: “Awarded to Tactical officers who have shown cunning and bravery in battle, including supporting their colleagues in Security, liaising with other departments, and showing the ability to think strategically in a tense situation.”
Fairhug: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?
Silveira: As I usually say, I hail from the lower left side of Europe, depending on how you’re looking at the map. I am from Portugal, living in the South Margin of the river that bathes our capital Lisbon.
I work in a company that provides scenic decorations for events and museums, nominally as a print operator, but do pretty much anything aside from carpentry.
Been a Trek fan for over 40 years. My first TV memory is from a rerun from TOS episode Arena and I was hooked ever since.
Fairhug: You are one of several writers in our fleet for whom English is not your first language. Can you give us native English speakers some insight into the challenges of writing in a language that isn’t your mother tongue?
Silveira: That would fill a whole interview. The language barrier can be so challenging but often small things can be difficult to grasp.
Not only phonetically or grammatically.
Let me give you a quick example that recently reminded me of it.
When I started writing here I saw one of the writers using this: (beat). Back then I thought it was, instead of a pause in the dialogue, that in Portuguese is written like this … as some real beat, or a stutter sign. Some sound that the character made. Luckily never put that thought in a sim.
It is meant to be a pause in the dialogue, right?
Fairhug: During the 2023 awards ceremony you received the Prestigious Service Medallion for continued service to Tactical. As anyone who has simmed with you knows, your attention to detail, especially in scenes of a Tactical nature, makes it easier for everyone to respond to and also helps to bring the scene to life in a realistic and interesting way. What is it about being a Tactical Officer that you enjoy most?
Silveira: The ship battle. I always loved that in Star Trek. And I have a lot of games more focused on that like Starfleet Academy, Klingon Academy and Bridge Commander.
I always found the Tactical position fascinating, it was a natural choice, even more so when there is a distinction between Tactical and Security in the Fleet.
Not that they don’t compliment each other, but having the chance to be in the tactical seat, manning the weapons and shields, facing another ship in battle, providing fire support to an away team, solving any problem that might require the ships weapons, that is definitely my favourite position.
Fairhug: Your longevity within the fleet is well-known and an achievement in itself, having been a part of the SB118 family for over a decade now. What are some of the challenges of continuing to write for a particular post for a prolonged length of time and how have you overcome them?
Silveira: Not having Sil kicked out of the Fleet, for sure. Now seriously, I do tend to push the envelope, stepping more than a few lines sometimes. In truth I do like to show Sil’s imperfections and his tendency to make mistakes, even if well intended. That allows for good character building, having him trek a redemption path that enriches his story.
Also his passionate side. Currently as I am writing this Sil is grieving for a lost love, killed in our last mission, which will enrich his story further.
I am fortunate enough to have crewmates to help me there, for this particular plot I have to thank Lieutenant Jovenan for playing along.
Fairhug: By contrast, your 2PC – Lt. Tito on SB118 Ops – has changed duty post on multiple occasions relatively recently. Is being able to explore other duty posts part of the enjoyment of playing a secondary character?
Silveira: Well Tito was brought forth as a compromise solution to have Sil transferred. But as I kept writing him his story has grown, and now I admit I would feel sad if I was to drop him. He naturally started as a Tactical officer (we write what we know, right?) but I always tried to make him very distinct from Sil, even if they are like brothers. The enjoyment is in crafting Tito’s story, treading his own path.
When I moved him to Ops he started as an Intelligence Officer, but aside from Tactical there was always a position I felt curious about, which was Science. Over the course of his development it felt like a natural move, as his life is settling down and his tempestuous past is getting behind him, so it ended up with him moving to a department he considers to be more “quiet”.
Fairhug: Could you share any pearls of wisdom for other players who are interested in playing a Tactical officer in the future?
Silveira: Oh boy, are you sure you’re asking the right guy? Just kidding. I think every writer has its own way of playing Tactical. There are a few things that every Tactical Officer must be ready for though.
Know your stuff. I don’t mean you should tell the difference between a type X and a type XII phaser strip, but you damn sure need to know the difference between a photon and a quantum torpedo.
Remember your battles take place in space, that means considering the three dimensions.
You’re not working alone, you might be an ace with the targeting sensors, but if you don’t have a Helmsman that gets the ship out and into harm’s way, you just waste ammo. Same goes for your fellow Operations and Engineering officers, no matter how big is your ship’s firepower if you don’t work with them you better start throwing torpedoes by hand through an airlock. Same goes with the Science officer, remember that they can get a better reading from the surroundings than you, who might become battle blind.
But most importantly, never forget the one person that really matters. You Commanding officer. Never ever, in any normal circumstances, you start firing unless you’re ordered to.
The CO is not only the one in charge but the one that most likely is aware of the bigger picture.
I think those are general rules to which a good Tactical Officer should abide.
Fairhug: Finally, do you have any plans for Vitor going forward that you are able to share with us?
Silveira: Keep moving his story forward with the help of my crewmates. I am considering trying to work on him advancing in rank, but that is a long term goal. In the near future due to RL time commitment that isn’t yet possible.
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Vitor Silveira!
You can read more about Lieutenant Vitor Silveira on the wiki.