Lower Decks

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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.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Lephi, USS Atlantis

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 Lephi playing a Ferengi female Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Atlantis.

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?

LEPHI: Thanks for sitting down with me for this interview! My real name is Daphne, and I live on Canada’s East coast. I’m a freelance writer at this point in my life since my workplace is still shuttered. I used to have my pilot license and I’ve traveled a fair bit, doing a bit of everything in life along the way.

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

There’s a couple of good podcasts and books out there that have really fleshed out the nuance of Ferengi personality, so I pull from there but of course I put my own spin on it to make her uniquely Lephi. 


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant JG Chip Foley, 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 JG Chip Foley, playing a Human male Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Constitution-B.

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

FOLEY: I’m from an inconsequential suburb in the United States. Fortunately, I was already accustomed to working from home and rarely going anywhere so the new normal is much like the old one for me.

You play an engineering officer. How does it feel to sim such a technical role?

It’s by far my favorite role. I’m a technophile by nature so it’s an easy flow of writing to fall into. I especially love all the Treknology I get to play with.


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.


Lower Decks Interview: Ens. Alieth, Thor

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: the writer behind Ensign Alieth, who is playing a Vulcan female medical officer assigned to the USS Thor. 

SHAYNE: Tell us a little bit about the writer behind the character- where in the world do you hail from?

ALIETH: Hi, Shayne! I greet you from a small town in the Spanish mountains! My name is Andrea and I’m a little more expressive than my character (laughs). In real life I’m a freelancer and I work mostly in design and illustration.

You play a medical officer- a role I’ve always found a bit tricky! What drew you to that profession?

In fact, when I applied to join the 118, I tried to assume the role of science officer. However, there was another colleague at the Academy who was applying for the same position, so I was re-assigned as a doctor. Actually, I had a lot of fun with that, since the combination of Vulcan stoicism and a doctor’s concern for her patients is such a wonderful balance to portray. 

So, once I graduated from the Academy, I was encouraged to adopt the medical career and I was happy to accept it. 

I must also admit that I’ve always loved medical shows and that the EMH and McCoy are two of my favourite characters on Star Trek, so it’s certainly a position I’ve embraced with enthusiasm.

Who doesn’t want the chance to say “I’m a doctor, not a…” from time to time?


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Junior Grade Charlena Vanlith, 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 Lieutenant Junior Grade Charlena Vanlith playing a Risian female Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Veritas.

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

VANLITH: Right well. I’m born and bred in London and have never been far away from London for more than a few months. I’m work in a school now but have had my fair share of different professions over the past couple of years. I’m dabbling more into my musician side recently playing for an RAF Voluntary Band for the past year.

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

I’d have to say my favourite part was the creation of BAXTER. In creating my backstory I gave Charlena a disabled brother for whom she built gadgets and where her desire to be an engineer came from. BAXTER was originally intended to be for her brother however, by chance and a bit of inspiration he became used in a mission and now he is a definite part of the Veritas crew. 


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Ceciri Ariadust, 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 Lieutenant Ceciri Ariadust playing a Human female Helm officer assigned to USS Veritas.

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

ARIADUST: I work customer support in the Seattle area. That being said, I am a rather huge sci-fi fan, and occasionally also a fantasy fan. 

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

Somewhat. It’s hard to really isolate influences but I do write plot ideas from what I read. I also try to come up with character motifs based on ideas from stuff I see.

You have a lot of passionate feelings and opinions when you’re watching a Star Trek series which I’m curious about what exactly do you take into account as you get into an episode? 

When I watch an episode, I generally first just start piecing it into component bits. It’s one of the curses of what I’ve seen – I am able to break it down. I also then just try to enjoy the character acting. This results, often, in me really enjoying the acting, but looking askance at the underlying plot. As for what do I take into account – I’ve built up a sort of picture of Trek from previous episodes, and what interviews I’ve read, and compare it to that. It’s a way to generate a narrative, I suppose, and I compare it to that.

A few years ago you had been involved with SB118 and then took a hiatus from the group. Before and when you came back, has the community changed and if so, what’s different you’ve seen that has improved?

It feels like the community is far more open instead of restricted to each ship nowadays. I enjoy that a lot.  It feels a lot more like a fleet nowadays.

You’ve served on several ships throughout your 118 career, what has been your favorite IC moment?

Honestly, I think my favorite was one where I got to argue with a past member of the group about who should tell the Captain, infinitely politely fighting. I’m not good with a lot of forms of levity, but I enjoy it when I see it. Speaking of other peoples IC moment, I recently read several JPs when several characters were transferred from the Veritas to the Embassy. Those sims were touching, and I enjoyed every moment of reading them.

What kind of advice would you give someone who’s thinking about joining SB118 or even to current members of the fleet?

For what it’s worth, always try to refine your craft. And make sure you allot time properly.  And lastly: have fun! That is why we are here, after all..

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

I’m not sure what aspirations I have now, but I do want to work on my writing. And I look forward to writing more for the FNS and doing research in the History team. 

Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Ceciri Ariadust!

You can read more about Lieutenant Ceciri Ariadust on the wiki.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Jona ch’Ranni, 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 Lieutenant Jona ch’Ranni playing an Andorian male Operations Officer assigned to USS Gorkon.

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

CH’RANNI: Hello! My name IRL is Josh and I’ve loved everything about Star Trek since I was a child. I work in the education industry in IT support in the midwest US. I’m married and have twin 4 year old boys – one of whom is named Jonah and is the inspiration for my character’s name.

What has been your favorite moment writing aboard the USS Gorkon?

Right now we are recovering from a mind-warping encounter with Q. I found it fun to imagine the feelings that would develop in someone exposed to such a strong personality with near unlimited power. Several crewmates got into a group therapy session with our ship’s counselor and dealt with the emotional and mental fallout. 


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Esa Kiax, USS Atlantis

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 Esa Kiax playing a joined Trill female Com/Ops Officer assigned to USS Atlantis.

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

KIAX: Hey there, I’m Matt, a 24 year old MA Music Performance student and Musical Theatre technician from London, UK. Percussionist, avid gamer and lover of all things sci-fi! I’m also big on mountaineering, climbing and cycling!

What has been your favorite moment writing aboard the USS Atlantis?

So far? There was this one mission where the crew had to venture out into the Jenatris Cloud to investigate several newly discovered Chon outpost stations, it was pretty exciting to be investigating something that’s been floating there for 13,000 years, and seeing what each different away team encountered on their trip. That, and our Captain at the time ended up getting a hybrid Chon/Bolian clone of himself, which was quite interesting to work around. Though, I’m sure there will be plenty more favourites in the future!


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