Lower Decks

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Lower Decks: Ensign Ikaia Wong, USS Veritas

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 Ensign Ikaia Wong playing a Klingon male medical officer assigned to the USS Veritas.

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

Wong: Hello there and thank you for having me! My name is S4RK but most of you know me as Ensign Ikaia Wong. Anyways, I hail from Northwestern Ontario, Canada. When I’m not writing sims, I’m working hard to become a Physician Assistant. In my spare time, I can be found painting miniatures, collecting board games and obscure RPGs. I actually got interested in Star Trek through watching Star Trek: Lower Decks (And loving it!). And well, it’s actually what started me on my journey to SB118!

What duty post are you playing, and how’d you choose it?

My duty post is in medical where I also play a PA. There’s actually two big reasons for picking a PA for my character. One of which is that’s what I’m studying to be. The other is that I’m actually playing against type. Ikaia, being a Klingon, wouldn’t be the first choice for anyone to think of as being in medicine. I like the juxtaposition of having two things that don’t seem like they go together and then making it work. Oftentimes with comedy on the face of it and a much deeper story beneath the surface.

What’s been your favorite part of being with the community so far?  

I think one of my most favourite things about the community is its people and how everyone works together to create a positive and supportive environment. You’d be surprised how many other communities forget about that sort of thing. Here, you are actually paired up with a mentor who helps you learn the ins and outs of the community and how to be a great team player! Another thing I enjoy is the camaraderie of the members of SB118 in general and of course, my ship, the Veritas. Everyone has been really nice to interact with and talking to everyone has become one of my favourite parts of my day. I just want to take a moment to thank everyone for their kindness and support. It’s very much appreciated!

Are there elements of real life that you especially enjoy incorporating into your simming?

I actually use what I learned in the courses I’m taking in order to play my character better. So say for instance, one thing I actually used was things I learned about skeletal anatomy in one of my classes! So I applied that to Klingon anatomy. For example, in order to explain why Klingon bones were most likely built tougher, I suggested that they may have some extra layers of compact bone to help build up bone strength and durability or the fact that they may need to ingest more protein because of the higher cell count because of all the extra organs hence having a protein rich diet. It’s small things like that which I use to weave in some realism into how I sim something in medicine.

What inspirations did you have in creating your character?

Actually, it all started with the Star Trek Adventures RPG released by Modphius. I knew I wanted to play against type. I usually do so when I play DnD with things like my half-orc wizard who plays the bagpipes. A Klingon in medicine just felt like a fun fit. I know that there are ways I can pull humour from that but also, have an interesting conversation. I then went with that further and decided to play a Klingon who maybe isn’t a stereotypical Klingon who grew up on Earth instead. What would someone like that be like if he didn’t have the constraints of Klingon culture. Who could he actually become when he could become anything he wanted? But there is also the concept of otherness that I’m also exploring using Klingon culture and everyone’s perception of it (and perception of Klingons in general). It’s actually a concept that’s personal to me as I’m neuroatypical and queer. I actually draw upon my own experiences in exploring this subject which makes Ikaia a special and personal character to me. I suppose when it all boils down to it, the two things I use when writing for my character is playing against type and writing what I know.

Thanks for your time, Ensign Wong!

You can read more about Ensign Wong on the wiki.


Lower Decks: Ensign Serren Tan, USS Gorkon

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 Ensign Tan playing a joined Trill male security/tactical officer assigned to the USS Gorkon.

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

Tan: I hail from Canberra, Australia, meaning that I’m on the opposite time zone from most folks onboard our ship (we’re mostly Americans and Europeans). I’m a software engineer and writer by day, having written and published 25 novels. By night I’m also a software engineer and writer, just usually asleep. Outside of work, I have a strong personal interest in Antarctica and autonomous sea drones.

What duty post are you playing, and how’d you choose it?

I’m playing Security! I chose it because my previous characters were Security, Ops and Helm, and out of the three of them, Security was my favourite. Security is one of those posts where the perception of what makes a good security officer — dumb muscle — is very different from the reality. Providing security on a starship is more than simply walking the corridors and arresting people. It’s ensuring that the ship’s computers are secure and uncompromised, it’s assessing the intentions of visitors to the ship, it’s checking incoming cargo and provisions to make sure they’re safe, it’s vetting the civilian residents and performing undercover operations when required. You’re basically a detective, ICT specialist, applied psychologist, and secret agent all wrapped into one. It’s a fun post and there’s a lot to do.


Animated image of a Star Trek crew

Lower Decks interview: Ensign Maria Alvarez, USS Arrow

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 Ensign Maria Alvarez playing a Human female Operations officer assigned to the USS Arrow.

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

Alvarez: First off, thank you for reaching out!  It’s a pleasure to give back to this community however I’m able.

I live in Colorado, where I work in tech.  I really feel writing here has been a way to explore and express a creative side I don’t always get to flex at my job, and I’ve been really enjoying that aspect of it.  I have loads of other hobbies, including games, hiking, and music.

What duty post are you playing, and how did you choose it?

So Maria is an operations officer, and that duty post is a combination of what I, the writer, feel comfortable writing, and what I have pictured in my head as the sort of job she’d gravitate towards.

Operations is sort of a curious duty posting, perhaps the most generalist and nebulous space-job aside from ‘mission specialist’.  The best two examples in canon are Data and O’Brien, and the second one is really in engineering.  The cool thing is that it lets me define a very unique role for Maria, and explore a side of trek we haven’t seen much on screen.

From the start, I wanted to write someone that approaches problems differently than the average officer.  So, instead of being a crack engineer (which is already a little too close to what I do in real life), I decided to make Maria a little lax when paying attention to those pesky details and more interested in the big picture of how stuff works together.  This led me to giving her an interest in logistics and supply.  Next I decided if she were an unconventional officer, she’s probably getting in trouble a lot, so she’ll need to get really good at law and interpreting it in a different way than usual so she can get herself out of trouble.  I continued in this way, trying to build out a sensible, if disconnected tapestry of skill sets that fit her personality.  From there, I realized operations was by far the most sensible choice with the flexibility it offered, and fortunately there was a slot on the Arrow to fill this niche.

Honestly, now that I’ve gotten into the operations role, it’s hard to imagine playing another posting where there’s more rules, but that might just be my taste in writing.  I know some writers struggle with too much freedom, and that’s not a bad thing – just different.  I’ve really enjoyed writing a sort of midfielder who’s good at a lot of things, but great at very few.  Someone who gets to be the eyes and ears of the ship.  She’s eventually going to grow into the role that simply greases the whole ship along, and kind of have her work slip into the background a little (when it isn’t preposterous shenanigans).  Of course there will be rerouting power, amplifying sensors, so on and so forth, but honestly I take joy in some of the little things in the trek universe, and I feel this posting lets me explore that.


Counselor Troi talks with a member of the Enterprise-D crew while in her office

Lower Decks Interview: Meidra Sirin, USS Resolution 

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 Ensign Meidra Sirin playing a Vulcan/El-Aurian hybrid  female Counselor assigned to the USS Resolution. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

SIRIN: I grew up in a household where my dad was 100 percent Italian and mom was not. I saw how two different cultures coexisted without one overshadowing the other, and I think that is why I chose a hybrid for my character here. I love psychology and history, and it’s been fun creating someone with some of my traits, yet really different in other ways (I don’t get into drunken brawls with Klingons)

What has been your favorite moment writing with UFOP:StarBase 118?

Being allowed to help create a new species for our game. I worked with another writer, who is an amazing talent. We took a germ of an idea, and built on it to form an entire new world that hopefully will be put into play again someday,  It was sad for me to say goodbye to them, and hopefully others enjoyed the Da’al too.

Do you take any inspiration from movies/TV/books when writing for your character? 

I’ve seen pretty much every incarnation of Trek made, even if it was only a few episodes here and there. I think of how I’d act as a real counselor, and then try to incorporate it into my sims. I’m an avid reader, and love Douglas Adams, so also try to put a bit of the absurd into my writing. Depending on who you ask, I’ve succeeded.

What are your thoughts on what you’ve learned in the Academy as you look back compared to now?

I was terrified that I wasn’t a good writer when I was going through the Academy, until I realized that to really succeed here, you need to let go of your preconceived ideas on what makes a good writer. We are all constantly learning. My mentor has been such a great help to me, and I’ve grown more confident in my contributions.

What is your process for ideas regarding character development?

For Meidra, I thought about why a fifty year old Vulcan hybrid would be in StarFleet. It’s a bit older than the usual cadet, and I slowly built a backstory for her that explained it. I gave her enough flaws that she has a long way to go to become the person I believe she’s meant to be. So far, it’s been a long road, but she’ll get there.

And lastly, what kind of advice would you give those who would like to sim in your specific duty post?

Have fun with it, but research a bit about the role you are taking on, you can learn so much that will help you create a strong, vital member of your crew. Ask questions, everyone here is very helpful and if you’re asking a question, the odds are, someone else has wondered about it. 

Thanks for your time, Ensign Meidra Sirin!

You can read more about Ensign Meidra Sirin on the wiki


Lower Decks Interview: Tagia Jutto, USS Constitution

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 Ensign Tagia Jutto playing an Ariolo female HCO Officer assigned to the USS Constitution. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

JUTTO: Thanks for asking me! As you’ve said, I’m a relatively new member writing an officer on the Constitution. I really like both the creative and community aspects of Starbase 118, and even though I haven’t been around all that long I feel very comfortable here (and the Constitution writers are universally lovely and welcoming people).

I deliberately chose a lesser-known species for my character, as I find fleshing out that kind of thing really fun. 

What has been your favorite moment writing with StarBase 118?

I’ve generally enjoyed the whole thing! My group have just moved into a period of shore leave, which means there are lots of little plots going on rather than one big one, and I’m finding that really fun particularly. 


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Kettick, USS Juneau

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 Ensign Kettick playing a Remmilian male Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Juneau. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

Kettick: I’m French, grew up in a little wine village in the South-West, then moved to Bordeaux, to keep up with the theme. I now work as a safety engineer for the aerospace industry… and I guess that explains quite a lot about me and my quirks already.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Jacob Horne, USS Constitution 

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 Jacob Horne playing a Human male Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Constitution. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

HORNE: Sure!  My name is Jeff.  I live in Northern California with my girlfriend, her 11 year old daughter, and our yellow lab Snowflake.  I work for one of those electric car companies where I manage capital construction projects.  Work takes up a vast majority of my time but when I find a few minutes to myself I enjoy reading, playing music, going wine tasting, running, and I recently started fly fishing.

What has been your favorite moment writing with StarBase 118?

Tough to pick just one moment since each mission is different but if I have to pick I would say during Jalana’s trial when Jacob was called to the stand as a witness against her.  I put Jacob in a bad spot by having him wade into the gray areas of the Prime Directive.  He meant well but his actions got him and his captain into a little trouble.  It was rough for Jacob but fun to write for because I got to explore a different side of him that I had not explored before.  Not only was it good for Jacob’s development it was also good for me to learn to take more chances with Jacob.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Talas Beck, 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 Ensign Talas Beck playing a Bajoran male Helm Officer assigned to StarBase 118 Ops.

Galven: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

Talas:  Happy  to be here! Umm, what to say, well I’m 25, from the UK. In the day I develop and manage apps for a charity here in England. During the evening I love to eat pizza, chill out with my partner and my cats! I also play various games, just invested in a VR headset which has been fun! I like to do a lot of writing, currently have two books on the go, a sequel to my first book and a new idea that i’m experimenting with. The books are moving quite slowly at the moment as i’ve just started the second year of my degree in Social Sciences and Politics.

What has been your favorite moment writing with UFOP:StarBase 118?

Hiding a shuttle under the nacelle of a Borg infested ship.


Captain’s Corner – Randal Shayne, USS Arrow

Each month, we interview a captain or first officer of the fleet to gain more insight on what it takes to command a ship and learn more about how each of these staff members found their way into these roles.

This month, we’re interviewing the Commanding Officer of the starship USS Arrow,  Commander Randal Shayne. 

GALVEN:  Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

SHAYNE: Sure thing! My name is Quinn, and I’m a resident of Chicago, Illinois. I joined the group in 2015, and I haven’t looked back since. 

When did you become interested in Star Trek and where do you get your inspiration from in terms of books/movies/TV shows?

I was raised with Star Trek- indeed, I couldn’t get away from it. Much of the time, I watched through squinted eyes because the contents of the screen, even with 1960’s special effects, were terrifying to me. But I quickly grew to love it, and as time passed, I began looking toward it as a place of strength and a spiritual aspiration of sorts. To say that Star Trek inspires me doesn’t quite do it justice. That said, I am the product of an insatiable desire for books during my scholarly years as well.  They were my escape, and I devoured the exploits of Horatio Hornblower, and whatever Trek crew was contained within the mutilated rags of the secondhand novel I’d been able to scrounge that week, with gusto. 


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Junior Grade Kudon, USS Resolution

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 Junior Grade Kudon playing a Vulcan male Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Resolution.

GALVEN: Thank you for accepting to do this interview with me! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself for our readers out there?

KUDON: Happy to share!  I live near the Boston area in Massachusetts.  I’m 41 and I teach high school history and economics.  I grew up and went to college and grad school around Boston and am finally starting to branch out with some travel outside New England, which sadly COVID has put a limit on for now.  When it’s over I want to go back to Montreal.  But right now I’m using my summer as a teacher to do my simming, take some online classes in French and acting, and get some reading done that I often do not have time for when the school year starts.

You don’t play the typical Vulcan and write him figuring out emotions. What do you set your style of character development with when you begin writing? 

It was challenging at first, because I was not quite sure how much about my character I should plan in advance.  But you and others in Starbase 118 OPS both gave me great advice to let the character unfold naturally.  Acting classes I have taken in the past year and a half actually helped a lot, since when I was writing my first sims, rather than thinking too cerebrally, I would just ask myself questions like “How would Kudon react to this situation?”,  “What kind of things would he say?”, or “How would he talk?” and my emotional instincts basically carried me along to develop a more consistent character.  He has decided to explore emotions, but he never had role models, since growing up on Vulcan, just about everyone suppressed emotions.  So what I did at the start, and still do now, is think to myself “How would someone behave who had little guidance regulating emotions and had to figure it out on his own?”  A large number of my sims flow from how I answer that question.


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