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Lower Decks interview: LtJG. Edward Spears, USS Constitution-B

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 LTJG. Edward Spears, playing a human male medical officer assigned to the Constitution-B.

YITO: We spoke to you a few months ago after you won duty post ribbon. Do you want to tell us a little more about the writer behind the character — and remind us where in the world do you hail from?

SPEARS: Thanks for having me for another interview. It’s always a pleasure to chat about my experiences with the fleet so far. As I have mentioned before; I live in the chilly northern reaches of Canada and tend to move around the country quite a lot as a serving military officer. Beyond that, I’m a father, science fiction fanatic, and of course a Trekkie.

Living in a country filled with diverse landscapes, climates, cultures, people, and traditions have really informed my view of the world at large. I also hold a bachelors degree in cultural anthropology, which has helped me cultivate an endless desire to learn more about the way other people live. I think my early love of Trek might have helped push me in that direction during my university studies.

Is this your first simming experience, or have you done other forms of role-playing before?

I’ve had the pleasure of roleplaying in a wide variety of formats and settings. I started with Dungeons and Dragons when I was in 6th grade, and haven’t really looked back since then. I’ve been involved with other Star Trek roleplaying groups in the past as well but had to take a break from my writing and from roleplaying in general thanks to that pesky thing we call real life.

How did you find out about Starbase 118 and what made you ultimately choose our community and stay with us?

I was feeling the urge to get back into roleplaying via writing but wanted to keep an open mind about my options. A few Google searches brought me here to SB118 and I’m so glad that this is where I decided to pick up my proverbial pen again. Creative writing has always been a passion, and doing so collaboratively is still my favourite way to keep the inspiration flowing. To get with a group of people as passionate as this, and to watch the ideas and the enthusiasm flow so easily is exactly what is keeping me engaged in this community.

Everyone from the upper echelon on down shows time and again how committed they are to not just the fun side of writing characters and having adventures, but also to the business of managing a growing community of talented people. A lot of personal work goes into keeping this community afloat and feeling the way that it does and that work by those tireless enthusiasts is really what helps keep players around, so a big shout out to everyone committing their time to the fleet’s continued mission!

When we spoke last you were the second medical officer on the Constitution, now that officer has transfer to one of the new ships, how are you finding having sickbay to yourself?

Well as we know in this fleet nothing stays the same forever. The formation of several new ships just goes to show how active this community is, and that’s how we all get opportunities to try new things, whether that’s new duty posts or new ships. At the time of writing this interview, I’m already back to being part of an outstanding team in the Constitution’s sickbay, but with a different dynamic from before. I’m beyond excited at the prospects these new character relationships are going to bring for my character, and to continue adding to the overall story of our ship.

Do you personally have aspirations in the fleet? Are there any OOC activities you’re associated with, or any you’d like to join?

My aspiration is to be the best writer I can be and to be an integral piece of telling the stories of whichever group of other writers I’m with at any given time. As to the opportunities that such continued involvement might bring; I am always excited to take on new challenges and responsibilities.

My current OOC activities include volunteering as a wiki-helper for the Constitution and continuing to work on a journal article for Starfleet Medical (It’s coming, I swear!). What I’m most looking forward to in the future is the chance to become a mentor, and to help new members of the fleet fit in and thrive as they find their feet here.

Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who’s just joined?

Can I only give one? Take advantage of the experience of all the other amazing writers you’re going to work with. Read their sims, learn how they tell stories from the perspectives of their characters, and then use that to help you develop your own unique storytelling style and to truly bring your character to life. It will help you feel connected to and inspired by your character, and will easily integrate you into the crew. Once that happens you’ll be at the centre of the action no matter what duty post you’re holding down.

Bonus advice! Don’t be afraid to take some risks in developing your character. Add some drama in your backstory, form a rivalry with a PNPC, or throw in a quirk of your character that both adds to your story, and sets you apart as unique. This roleplaying format is like a huge blank canvas for you to play with. Take advantage!

Thanks for your time, LTJG. Spears!

You can read more about LTJG. Edward Spears on the wiki. You can also read his interview duty post.

Species Closeup: Lorillian

“The Borg came and our world died in flames. Lost beyond recovery our past must make way for our future or all will have been lost.”

The Lorillians are a humanoid species who are distinguishable from humans by the vertical cleft between their brow. Approximately 15 years ago in 2381 their homeworld was destroyed by the Borg and about three-quarters of their population was lost. The survivors lived off-world in Lorillian colonies, ships or on other worlds. The two main Lorillian colonies have established their own unique self-governments since the destruction of their homeworld.

Their species have subsequently undergone massive social change with each colony developing its own culture and smaller groups integrating with other species. Over half their remaining population has abandoned their traditional beliefs and there has been a large increase in mental illness.

The Lorillians have an unusual aspect to their development in that up until the age of 4 they can only breathe methyl oxide and must be gradually weaned onto oxygen. Lorillians can also breathe methylacetylene.

As the Lorillians are a playable species, there are lots of opportunities to grow and explore the interactions of the two main colonies now that their homeworld is gone. Learn more about this species from their wiki page.

Ask the engineer: Quantum slipstream drive

What is a Quantum Slipstream Drive?
Otherwise known as “QSD” or “slipstream drive,” this is the latest in propulsion technology allowing a starship to travel at 300-lightyears-per-hour, or equivalent of warp factor 9.99998477. It is, in principle similar, to transwarp corridors used by the Borg and it was developed from technology the USS Voyager brought back from the Delta Quadrant.

How does it work?
QSD works very differently from a standard warp drive that has warp coils and nacelles. The slipstream drive routes energy through the deflector, which focuses a quantum field, allowing the vessel to penetrate the quantum barrier. The ship then enters the “slipstream.”

Does every ship have a slipstream?
As 2390, all new ships will be fitted with a slipstream drive where resources and logic suggest they would be appropriate. Starfleet wants to use the technology to expand the reach of the Federation. Older vessels will be fitted with QSD if it makes sense for their mission . A number of vessel in the StarBase 118 fleet are fitted with slipstream, and you can see a list of ships on our wiki.

Why still have conventional warp?
There are a number of limitations to slipstream drive, as it can only run for 12 hours maximum before the drive is required to shut down for 36 hours. The drive also requires 40 minutes of warm-up preparation, overseen by a trained and certified Starfleet Engineer, before it can be engaged. Slipstream Drive itself puts significant wear on the vessel’s hull, and higher than normal maintenance times are required to carefully scan the starship for hull wear. In practice, QSD is used as an additional propulsion system to travel long distances, or in case of emergencies, rather than the primary propulsion system.

Learn more about the Quantum Slipstream Drive on our wiki!

Species Closeup: Menk

“Evolution is complicated.”

The Menk are a very peaceful humanoid species that evolved on the planet Valakis. Unlike most planets, the planet of Valakis evolved two sentient species – the Menks and the Valakians. For a long while the Menks were ruled by the Valakians as they were considered an inferior species.

In 2151 (ENT: Dear Doctor) it was discovered that Valakians were dying out due to a genetic illness. Dr Phlox had a choice to either give the Valakians a cure or to not interfere and allow the Menks an opportunity to become the dominant species on the planet. Dr Phlox chose the latter.

Species closeup: Zaldans

ay what you mean. I do not trust your sugary words.”

The Zaldans are a humanoid species with webbed hands. They are blunt and a simple human courtesy can cause great offense as they interpret such actions as phony. This can cause great difficulty in interactions with other species but they are a friendly and helpful people once this is taken in account. They are one of the few species to have entire ships crewed by the same species due to these difficulties.

Zaldans are naturally aggressive and physical competition and challenges have become an intricate part of their culture. They are generally muscular, tall and athletic and therefore typically excel at inter-species sports. The species has a good relationship with Klingons showing they are respected as being honorable.

The Zaldans have only appeared in a few Star Trek episodes and as a playable species there are lots of opportunities to expand upon their basic outline. Learn more about this species from their wiki page.

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OOC activities

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