Lower Decks

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Lower Decks Interview: Ensign James Colquhoun, USS Columbia

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 James Colquhoun playing a Human male Tactical Officer assigned to the USS Columbia.

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

COLQUHOUN: Sure.  I’m a Charlotte, NC native but moved to Bloomington, IN about a decade ago for school.  I finished my undergrad recently in philosophy and started a masters program in cybersecurity.  I work in IT for Indiana University. One thing I will for Bloomington, we embrace the claim to fame of Jameway being born here.  There’s a group of people working right now to install a Captain Janeway statue in town.

Having joined in November, what has been your favorite moment writing aboard the USS Columbia?

Probably our shore leave rotation on the planet Losaria.  I think the whole crew enjoyed that, getting to create a whole world and culture as we went.  Losaria still comes up in sims as fond memories for everyone.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Jona ch’Ranni, USS Columbia

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 Jona ch’Ranni playing an Andorian male Helm/Ops Officer assigned to the USS Columbia.

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 love everything about Star Trek and have since I was a child. I work in IT in the education industry in the midwest US and I am married with twin 3 year old boys.

Having joined in October of 2395, what has been your favorite moment writing aboard the USS Columbia?

I loved our visit to the homeworld of a newly discovered alien race – the Losarians – on a recent shore leave. I was able to sim visiting a shipworks facility, a culinary institute, and a seedy bar on one of the moons. It was an open world in which to play and I loved every minute of it.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Junior Grade Ben Garcia, Embassy of Duronis II 

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 Ben Garcia playing a Human male HCO officer assigned to the Embassy of Duronis II.

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

GARCIA: Hi! I’m Wes, and I write for Ben. I post from the U.K and always get caught out with post counts and time differences! I enjoy Trek, especially those episodes that make you think … I guess that’s what got me into Trek: I have great memories of watching TNG after dinner with my mum (many, many years ago!), and I’d marvel at how the characters grappled with high ideals and moral dilemmas. I was fascinated with Picard. Great stuff!

You joined the community in February. How did you find StarBase 118 and what made you ultimately choose to stay with us?

I re-joined in February; I found StarBase 118 a few years ago – maybe four or five? I’d done table top RPG when I was a kid, and wanted to find an online group. I cannot remember how I stumbled across StarBase 118, but I’m thankful you were there among those search results! When I first joined I was at University, and for one reason and another couldn’t keep up posting, so I took a LOA … or two.

Fast forward to this February, and I’d made the decision to carve out time for things that I enjoy. That meant figuring out what I enjoyed! That’s when all those really positive memories about how friendly and organised the StarBase 118 community are came to the fore. So, I decided to get back involved. I’m grateful to the Embassy for finding a place for me to sim (thanks guys!), and really enjoy the freedom we have on the installation to sim planet side or on one of the Embassy’s ships.

This is my longest stint as an active member, and I’d put it down to two things: the community ethos of StarBase 118 and my mind set about why I sim.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Addison MacKenzie, 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 Addison MacKenzie playing a Human female medical officer assigned to the USS Veritas.

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

MACKENZIE: Thanks for the invite! My name is Matt, I’m 31 and from Cleveland, Ohio (in the United States). I’m a professional musician and love all things Trek – but I have to say I’m more a fan of the TNG and VOY eras. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I haven’t seen any of Discovery yet (I know, I know), and I never finished the final season of the Enterprise series. Rest easy, though – they’re on my list of things to get to before the summer is over.

How did you find out about StarBase 118 and what made you choose to ultimately stay with the community?

Well, I’ve been writing [for a lot of] sims/organizations since I was in high school. …I was figuring it out the other day, and I think it’s been about 18 years. Recently, I had been writing for a few sims in another fleet, but the progress was so slow (it took about a year to finish a mission), and the quality of the writing wasn’t that great. I got bored quickly and started looking for other places to write.

Google came through for me.

As a seasoned writer, I have to admit I wasn’t big on the idea of needing to go through training, but when I got in and saw the formatting was different, I totally understood why. The quality of the writers here is fantastic, and the commitment to detail on an organizational level is something to really be respectful of and admired. What Starbase 118 can offer a potential writer to develop a character (or characters) is something special. I haven’t encountered anything quite like it anywhere else.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant JG Maddi Hyden, USS Atlantis

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 Maddi Hyden playing a Human Female Tactical Officer assigned to the USS Atlantis.

GALVEN: Thank you for taking the time out of your day to do an interview with me! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

HYDEN: Thank you for giving me the honor to be interviewed. My name is Stephen I’m 21 years old and I hail from West Virginia. I’ve been writing for a little over 4 years now never expected to enjoy it as much as I have, but wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m excited for some things that will be happening soon in the meantime just biding my time and waiting.

Are there any movies, shows, and/or books you take inspiration from?

Not exactly I’ve got a lot of my inspiration from multiple Star Trek shows. Usually though I have a very creative mind so I take quite a bit of time to refine my character into what I want them to be in the end.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Chloe Waters, USS Eagle

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 Chloe Waters playing a Human female Helm Officer assigned to the USS Eagle.

GALVEN: Thank you for taking the time in doing an interview with me! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there

WATERS: ::waves:: Hello everyone. Most of you know me by my character name, or by Gar. Perhaps some of you may know me by a few other identities. The person with the stories, the crazy person, or the blind person. Whatever the case, all of those descriptions are true. In any case, I’m eighteen years old, pal, and let me tell ya aboot my proud Canadian background, eh?

Since this will definitely come up, my history with sight, and/or lack there of, is complicated. I am a cancer surviver even though, statistically, I shouldn’t be here. I was diagnosed at six months old and was in treatment for a couple months. I lost one eye to it and the other was saved, even though the doctors didn’t think I could see out of it at the time. A few years later they discovered otherwise. When I was in the fourth grade my vision started to deteriorate and I had to have surgery to get a cataract removed. What vision I had shot back up until I had to have some residual scarring removed two years later because I was starting to lose it again. Two years after that, the cataract began to grow back, and I started to lose my sight so I needed surgery to correct for that again.

My sight was restored, until I went to bed one night a few months later and woke up the next morning… with all of it gone. To this day no one understands why, or why I have since regained some of my light perception. Despite what issues being blind has caused me, it isn’t as bad as it seems. Being without sight allows me to get to know people on a more personal level, because I judge people based on who they are, rather than what they look like.

As for my relationship with Trek, I’ve been a fan since I stumbled on it ever since I was eight years old. The show struck a cord with me immediately, thanks to a certain chief engineer aboard the Enterprise. 😉 I’ll let you all figure out which one. In any case that love of Trek has lead me to joining various roleplaying groups, trying out different characters. And now I’m here.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Beelam Grog, USS Montreal

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 Beelam Grog playing a Trill female medical officer assigned to the USS Montreal.

GALVEN: I appreciate you for accepting my Interview! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself for our readers out there?

GROG: Sure thing. I live and go to college in Colorado where I am studying to become a special education teacher. In my free time I do role play for systems like Star Trek adventures, write and watch British history programs.

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

I find it to be a funny story. I found your group when I was searching google for Information about Starfleet academy. I found the wiki and upon seeing that this group was still active decided to join. I mostly stayed because I liked the people and how they valued the players as real people first.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant German Galven, USS Montreal

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 German Galven playing a Denobulan Male Chief Science officer assigned to the USS Montreal.

SHIN: Hello Lieutenant, thank you for taking the time out of your day for this interview. To start, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and your character?

GALVEN: The pleasure is all mine! Thank you for having me. My name is Dane and I write for Lieutenant German Galven. I was born in the midwest of the United States and was raised in a military family which made me learn to be outgoing and larger than life to make friends quicker since we had to move around so much. I’ve simmered down since my childhood, but I bring out that aspect in German. He’s a quirky Denobulan that is inquisitive and always curious about what’s in front of him.

How did you discover SB118 and how long have you been with the community now?

I found out about SB118 from a friend named Zech (Groznin Smith) and I’ve been with the community for almost six months now. I still have that enthusiasm I had when I first joined! Every day I learn something new and explore the possibilities that the game has so far.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant JG Groznin Smith, 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 JG Groznin Smith playing a Human/Denobulan hybrid male tactical officer assigned to the USS Gorkon.

GALVEN: Thank you for taking the time to do an interview with me. Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

SMITH: Thanks for the chance to do this interview. My names Zech, I’m 18 and from England. I’m an avid Star Trek fan and have watched almost everything. I have two more canon films and the JJverse films and then I will have watched everything in just over 2-3 years I can’t remember.

Out of all the permitted species listed on the wiki, did you take any inspiration from any film/TV show/book when you chose to play a Denobulan?  

Yes. Dr. Phlox is one of my favourite characters in Star Trek. He is really interesting as is his species (Denobulan) I wanted to explore them further and develop them more as apart from in Enterprise we don’t see them. Since then I’ve, with the help of yourself and another one of the Denobulans Pholin Duyzer, we have created the entire planet of Denobula and even gone into a little bit of history on the planet which was super fun.


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.


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