Ben Garcia

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Ship Closeup: U.S.S. Thor Continued …

In part two of the Thor’s Ship Closeup special, I meet with the Medical and Science teams to learn more about the specific medical and scientific capabilities of the Vesta class.

Hearing a rumour that the Thor’s medical team are dispensing gummy bears to encourage regular crew medicals, I’ve decided to try my luck and head over to Sickbay on Deck 10 to meet with Lt. Jg Alieth and Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Brodie.

Garcia: No, I don’t know where the gummy bear rumor came from, but I’m thankful for your time nonetheless. The medical provision seems quite substantial aboard the Thor. What medical facilities does the Vesta class come equipped with?

Alieth: The main sick bay of the USS Thor is slightly larger than that of the rest of her Vesta class sisters. We have 15 state-of-the-art biobeds, an ICU with 3 dedicated biobeds and a quarantine unit with the latest technology. We also have two fully equipped surgical suites, which are independent of each other and to the main room of the facility.

In addition to all this, we have an excellent medical department staff, assisted by the latest EMH program, which has a greater capacity of assistance throughout the ship thanks to the holoemiters. This way, medical assistance can be provided even in secluded areas of the ship, or in circumstances that could be dangerous for the medical personnel.

Brodie: We also have a fully equipped counseling suite including not only areas for individual sessions but also a morale and welfare center to cater to the crew’s wider needs – such as family issues and spiritual well-being. We have some families aboard the ship so having these kinds of facilities really makes the difference to caring for everyone aboard.


Ship Closeup: USS Thor

In a two-part article, we’re going to be taking a close look at the USS Thor, under the command of FltCapt. Aron Kells. Join us as we take a deep dive into this ship and her crew!

The Vesta class is a multi-mission explorer with a crew capacity of around 750 with a 3,500 evacuation limit. It is fitted with one 1,500+ Cochrane warp core and is also QSD equipped. In addition, the Vesta class boasts a formidable armament and a state of the art class XIX Bioneural/Isolinear Computer Core.

To put the Vesta class into some sort of perspective, when lined up against the Galaxy class it’s 30 meters longer, but 268 meters shorter in width and around 107 meters shorter in height.

To get a more tangible sense of the Vesta class, its capabilities and role within the fleet, I sat down with the Thor’s current CO, Fleet Captain Kells, and First Officer, Lt. Commander Geoffrey Teller to talk about the USS Thor – the fleet’s currently active Vesta class vessel.

Garcia: First, thank you both for taking time out to talk about the Vesta class. Why don’t we start by learning a bit more about each of your backgrounds. Fleet Captain Kells, while the Thor is the fourth starship you’ve served on, it’s the first Vesta class, yes? Can you tell us more about your career in the fleet and how the Thor differs from your previous ships?

KELLS: So what you need to know first is that I have a reputation of being the “weird ship” guy, ha. I inherited the Mercury for Kells first command, and from there I moved my crew to the Garuda, a Galaxy class ship. That was purely because I was a TNG fan first! But after that, I knew I wanted to launch something that was a little odd, which is how I came to both the Invicta and the Za, both of which are non-canon designs, and fairly unusual ones at that. By comparison, the Thor is actually pretty standard and quite powerful, which is a fun change of pace for me as a CO. Basically, the Thor can do whatever its simmers can dream up!


Writer’s Workshop: Coffee fuelled sensory description

Keep your descriptions fresh and infuse them with the lexicon of coffee!

The Coffee Tasters’ Wheel is a tool to help professionals and hobbyists articulate the complex flavours and aromas of coffee. There are several variations of the wheel, with World Coffee Research contributing to the latest re-designs. Have a google and pick your favourite one! For most wheels, tasters start in the middle of the wheel and work towards the outer edge, distinguishing the tones and hues of the blend as they proceed. For the enthusiasts among the fleet, the Speciality Coffee Association describe the methodology in a step-by-step guide – all you need is a cup of your favourite roast!


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Noa T’Nessa Levinson, Juneau

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.

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ensign Noa Levinson, playing a Human (3/4) / Vulcan (1/4) assigned to the U.S.S. Juneau.

GARCIA: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?

LEVINSON: Hi! I’m Adi, although I usually go by Adingo. As to where I’m from, suffice it to say, I hail from a location close to Europe, that isn’t quite there. I currently work in software development, and occasionally like to program for fun.

What brought you to SB118, and what’s been your favourite part of being with the community so far?

Well, after a bunch of less than successful Star Trek RPs, I was looking for a group to join, and I saw a post on Reddit advertising the community. I looked around, and decided to try it out – a choice which turned out to be incredible!

My favorite parts so far are both the community itself, and the fact that I always improve my English – it’s my second language, and being around here has really helped to expand it so far, and I’m sure it will help more in the future.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus – Geoffrey Teller, USS Thor

Each month we interview a First Officer or Commanding Officer of the fleet as part of our “First Officer in Focus” and “Captain’s Corner” columns to get to know them better, and learn more about what their positions entail.

This month, we’re interviewing the First Officer of the starship USS Thor, LtCmdr. Geoffrey Teller playing a human male.

GARCIA: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?

TELLER: My real name is Brian, and my family and I hail from Bainbridge Island in the Pacific Northwest of the US. It’s about a 40 minute ferry trip across the bay to downtown Seattle.

Tell us more about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim? How do you keep the story moving and get others involved?

Generally speaking, I do my sims in a single sitting and, for the first pass, actually use just plain old Notepad. Got into the habit early in my simming because it was the easiest way to normalise and strip formatting that different mail clients liked to apply. After I’ve got all the tags laid out that I need to respond to, I try to focus on either affirmative or additive statements – agreeing with or praising what has come before (with rare exception) and then encouraging additional conversation with pointed questions or concerns.

I find that it’s easy, especially for junior officers who haven’t developed their ‘voice’ yet, to get lost in big scenes – briefings, meetings, etc. I’ll specifically look for those people clinging to the walls and try to drag them in with a question related specifically to their speciality. It’s not a perfect system, but when a shy writer suddenly begins opening up and responding, it’s a great feeling.


Using errors creatively with “yes and …”

Yes and …” is a technique used in improvisational comedy to create fictional scenes collaboratively. At Starbase 118, we too create fictional scenes collaboratively, albeit in a different medium (writing) and genre (sci-fi). In the case of simming, “yes and …” is more a mind-set than a writing prompt. The “yes” means you take what the other character has written as the given reality – you don’t “shoot it down”, explain it away or ignore it. Instead, you embrace it! The “and …” means you build the scene by adding to the situation. This could be your character’s perception of events or their reaction to it.

This Writer’s Workshop looks at how “yes and …” is a great way to resolve “out of character” (OOC) blunders “in character” (IC) and create additional opportunities to write collaboratively with your crew!


We are a Star Trek roleplaying game

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Click here to learn more.

OOC activities

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