There are certain things in fiction that can bring your character to life. To anyone who writes for any type of RPG, there will be things made up on the fly or omitted from their story. For some, it is the best way to add depth. Sure, there is no such thing as a warp specialist. You will not have the ability to go online and look over the latest advances in that field to get an idea of how things work. However, there are ways that you can include what you have seen on screen into your works.
Visiting sites like Memory-Alpha.org will allow you to find everything that has ever been stated about certain fields. You can know absolutely nothing about engineering, but with just a few minutes of research you will be able to understand that warp drive works by generating warp fields to form a subspace bubble that envelops the starship, distorting the local spacetime continuum and moves the ship at speeds that could greatly exceed the speed of light.
That can sound pretty simple when you understand the moving parts, but it can get complicated if you really want to go digging. What is a warp field? What parameters do you need to have in place to form the warp bubble? You will need to decide how far in depth you want to go. You do not have to quote all of the “technobabble” you can find, to add realism to your sim. Instead, you should find that happy balance between what is going on around your character and the research you need to do. Perhaps there is a problem with the transporter system and your character has to lead the charge on repairing it? Understanding the basics, as seen on television, will help you to bring the sim to life. There is a huge difference between:
Ensign John Doe quickly moved to the transporter room. Wasting no time, he moved to the back wall and removed the panel. Reaching inside he felt around until he located what he believed to be the problem. Grabbing a tool from his tool kit, he began repairing the damaged system. One the problem was addressed, he quickly moved to the transporter control console. Running a quick diagnostic, he realized the problem had been fixed. The damaged component would need replaced, but for now the system was functional.
Ensign John Doe quickly moved into the transporter room. In his mind there were many theories as to what was wrong with the system. The targeting scanners could have been preventing them from getting a lock. If that was not the issue, it could have been the molecular imaging scanner. For a moment he glanced toward the top of the transporter pad as he thought of that option. Removing the rear console in the wall, he reached his hand inside. He quickly realized that there was a damaged control unit for the annular confinement beam. Reaching in his tool kit, he grabbed the hyperspanner. Within seconds he began to bypass the damaged circuits in the control unit. It would not fix the problem, but it would put a patch on the wound. Moving to the transporter control console, he quickly ran a diagnostic. All systems were go…for now.
In the first descriptive, the writer was able to relay that there was a problem with the system and was able to quickly put a band-aid on the problem. It used no “technobabble”, and did not even need a basic understanding of the transporter system. The reader was able to see that there was a problem and he was able to reach into the panel on the wall and fix it.
The second descriptive went into more detail to paint a more vivid picture. The writer was able to display the troubleshooting mind of the engineer. By knowing certain components, the engineer could think of the problems before the panel was even open, and begin to look in the potentially affected areas. From no more than 5 minutes of research, the following items were added to bring the sim to life:
Targeting Scanners – This is the component responsible for locating the object that needed to be transported.
Molecular Imaging Scanner – This is located above the transporter pad, and is used to scan the object and convert it into a matter stream. You will notice the engineer glancing at the top of the pad when considering the option.
Annular Confinement Beam – This component confined the transporter matter stream when it was on its way to the target destination.
Hyperspanner – This is a multipurpose toll that was used to relink and bypass circuit boards of electrical systems.
With just a little bit of research, the readers could find themselves picturing the different components and was able to get a look at the diagnostic mind of the engineer. Imagine an entire sim written like that. With just a little bit of research, a writer could really bring their character to life in the scene. The best way to add depth and realism to a character is by adding it to their environment. The more you can show about their surroundings, the more real they become.
(Written by Fleet Captain Andrus Jaxx)