In this installment of the Lower Decks, we are take an in depth look at the character of Skyleena Blake. The Sky is a hybrid of the Brekkian and Betazoid races. When ask why she chose the unique pairing, she said “I wanted to express what it would be like to have these two “cool” advantages, yet to have two disadvantages. Because she’s part Brekkian, Sky is unable to control her telepathy, leaving her with horrible headaches because she’s capable of hearing about three quarters of a ship that’s similar to the size of the Ronin. She’s also unable to control her electrical “charge” – during her early months of service, Sky’s anger consistently drove the way her charge worked; it “powered up” whenever she got angry, and she had to calm down to stop it.”
In the realm of line officers, the ones on the bottom are usually looked at last, yet they are the ones that keep the ship alive. In this segment of Lower Decks we are going to take a look at Lieutenant (JG) Jaxon Mc Ghee, Chief Engineer for the Embassy on Duronis II, and the USS Thunder.
The senior staff of every vessel (that is to say, the player characters) in our community are almost always Starfleet Officers. So although most anyone in the fleet are officers, there are actually three options for players of UFOP: Starbase 118 characters: officers, enlisted crewmen and civilians. This article deals with enlisted crewmen.
In the realm of line officers, the ones on the bottom are usually looked at last, yet they are the ones that keep the ship alive. In this segment of Lower Decks we are going to take an in depth view of Lieutenant Junior Grade Tressa, the Chief Science Officer aboard the USS Victory, and her writer.
This month we put 1st Lieutenant Kalianna “Kali” Arashi Nicholotti in the “Lower Decks” spotlight. She’s one of the fast thinking, hard hitting Marines on the USS Resolution, who puts a great deal of thought into her sims, and that includes her character’s name.
Kali came to us after seeing the new Star Trek movie, hoping to find a PBEM RPG that would rekindled the sci-fi love she had as a kid. She said, “I read the site, the guides, and everything else, and made my way over to the forums. I finally said “what the heck” and threw out an application to see if it was still alive. Much to my surprise, and delight, I got a response the next day. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Lieutenant Daniel Peter Wood, Chief of the USS Ronin’s Security, offered some insight into the psyche of a Security Officer and the man writing the character in a recent interview for Lower Decks’ columnist, Commander Toni Turner.
“A lot of people believe Security is probably the easiest department to write,” said Lieutenant Wood, “but I
Yes, that’s right we have a full-fledged, Tommy gun toting gangster, walking the decks of the USS Independence in the form of the smooth talking Ensign Nicholas “Nickels” Luciano, who rolls a nickel over his knuckles like the traditional trademark of a 1920’s gangster.
Coming to SB118 straight out of the cargo bay of a space-faring freighter from Sigma Iotia, our resident gangster is one of many who returned to SB118 after the premier of the new Star Trek movie, but luck and happenstance gave him more incentive to return.
Commander Rhys talks with the winner of the last writing competition, Lieutenant (jg) Toni Turner of the Duronis II Embassy. Find out about his foot-in-mouth problems.
In today’s interview, we’ve tried something different. We’ve interviewed two new ensigns from the USS Independence. Ever wanted to visit Scotland through the eyes of a Betazoid? Talk to a character with bipolarism? Or wanted to meet a human Ferengi? You’re just about to. Take it away, Commander Rhys.Commander Rhys Bejain: I’m interviewing Security Officer Ensign Killian Malachi and HCO Officer Ensign Kai Rhonin both of the USS Indepenence. Ensign Malachi, Ensign Rhonin, welcome to you both.
Ensign Killian Malachi: Pleasure to be here thanks for having us.
Ensign Kai Rhonin: Thanks for inviting me, Commander.
Commander Rhys: So, tell me: how did you both become interested in Star Trek?
Ensign Malachi: My interest in Star Trek started when I lived with my grandparents on my mother’s side after my mother and father separated. They watched repeats of the original series every Saturday on CBS. After a few episodes I was hooked and I’ve been watching ever since. From the OS to Enterprise.
Ensign Rhonin: I was always a bit of a nerd at school, and when I moved to the UK (from Finland) five years ago, I caught an episode of TNG and enjoyed it. I’d heard of Trek before that, and assumed I’d like it, but never really bothered to try and find episodes or anything. I don’t own a single Trek book or video either (except a First Contact DVD I found in a garage sale), so I’m probably quite a rarity among the fleet..
Commander Rhys: Actually until a month ago, neither did I. I draw the line at pointy ears though.
Ensign Rhonin: I also have another confession. I’ve never seen a single episode of TOS. Not due to lack of interest, but due to SkyOne never showing it! I feel so ashamed…
Commander Rhys: (Laughing) So you should. Get down on your knees and pray for forgiveness, sinner! Actually, I haven’t seen many of them since they were playing in reruns in the seventies. A mate lent me series 2 last year, and I watched them. But hey, the sim is set in TNG time anyway. (Should I worry about the angry mob at the door?)
Ensign Rhonin: Remember something a colleague of mine taught me; you don’t have to outrun the angry mob at the door, you only have to outrun the Ensign. oO Of course, the chances of Walker outrunning me are slim.Oo
Rhys: If you both had to pick a favourite episode?
Ensign Malachi: Now that’s a tough one. So many series, and so many episodes to choose from. I guess it would be Enterprise: Through the mirror Darkly. Just because it was done in the alternate universe and they went all out when they filmed it. Even changed the opening title sequence.
Commander Rhys: You know, I only got into Enterprise in the last few months, and I thought that was a brilliant couple of episodes. And not just because they changed that awful opening song. Ensign Rhonin?
Rhonin: Easy. VOY: Message in a Bottle. Without a doubt the greatest episode ever. I mean, any episode where the Doctor is in a starring role is great, but Message In A Bottle is just awesome. Robert Picardo is amazing.
Commander Rhys: How did you find out about UFoP?
Ensign Rhonin: I’ve been involved in other RPG’s for a while (completely different genres), and I decided to give it a try. I thought I’d probably get bored before training was over, but it was really, really cool, so I didn’t.
Commander Rhys: We’ll get to training in a minute. (Led by the lovable and everfun Fleet Captain Anassasi. Ok, it’s a shameless plug, but she really is a fabulous lady whose contribution to the fleet is often overlooked.) Where was I? Oh, Ensign Malachi. How did you get involved?
Ensign Malachi: I am a member of another RPG. I was looking for other RPG’s to join and found the website for this one. After checking it out I decided to join.
Rhys: We’ve had a few people who’ve joined after either being in or leaving other pbem groups. Without disparaging the other group, how do the two compare?
Ensign Malachi: Well, actually I am still with them, but the training was probably the biggest difference. It wasn’t done with a group on a starship. It was more like reading a textbook then taking a few tests. Other than that they are a lot alike: talented writers, intriguing missions, and great crews.
Commander Rhys: How did you find the training process?
Ensign Malachi: The training was interesting to say the least. The imagination of the trainers and the trainees was incredible. All in all it was a good experience.
Ensign Rhonin: I actually had to do it twice, because the first time I ended up in a real hospital half way through (Indy crew will probably find this thoroughly unsurprising… I had to go in again after about two days on the ship…). But both times it was great. And I was kinda surprised at how different the second time was. I expected to just be going through the motions with the second course, but it was probably harder than the first one. Harder for Kai, not for me. Maybe “more interesting” would be a better phrase.
Commander Rhys: I always thought training was as real a sim as the simming you do on ships. Just shorter. Who were your trainers?
Killian Malachi: Ohh geez. To tell you the truth I don’t really remember. How about you Kai?
Rhonin: The first time around it was oO I hope she’s not reading, because I’m probably about to botch her name totally Oo LtCmdr KitiganZibi and LtCmdr Solan. Second time it was LtCmdr’s Moranta and Soul.
Commander Rhys: Tell me about your characters.
Rhonin: Yeah, well he’s basically the opposite of me, appearance-wise. Personality wise he pretty much *is* me ::winks:: He’s kinda rude, but not in a bad way, and tries to make everything into a joke. This doesn’t always go according to plan, because inside the cool, calm, cocky exterior is a paranoid, insecure brain (he fainted at the helm when he thought the warp core was going to breach (it was a simulation, and didn’t breach anyway), and passed out in the turbolift after getting what he considered to be a date with a girl from Security). So yeah, he’s a freak.
Ensign Malachi: I must admit there were a few times where I’ve wanted to slug our dear Ens. Rhonin.
Commander Rhys: So how does his upbringing on Ferenginar affect him? Does he quote the rules of acquisition all the time?
Rhonin: Not really, he hasn’t really had much of a chance to let his Ferengi side out of the box yet. I intend to play up more of the sneaky, stealthy, sly, sarcastic side of the Ferengi personality than the hoarding, greedy side. I mean, he wasn’t exactly heralded as the next Grand Nagus on Ferenginar..he was pretty hard-up. His instincts still tell him that most of what the Ferengi do is probably wrong, but it’s
fun so he doesn’t care too much…
Commander Rhys: One final question: Does he have the lobes?
Rhonin: Hell no! ::laughs::
Commander Rhys: You’ve got an interesting history too, Ensign Malachi. Scottish Betazed?
Ensign Malachi: Malachi was born in Glencoe, Scotland Earth to Betazed parents.
Commander Rhys: A friend of mine in real life is this tiny little china doll Chinese girl whose family moved to Glasgow when she as three. Result: tiny chinese girl with a huge Scottish personality and accent and who can well and truly drink me under the table.
Ensign Malachi: There again another part of me in the character. I am part Scottish and part Irish, I’ll be it a small part. Ensign Malachi’s father Ensign Malachi Sr. was a musician, and his mother Sarah Malachi was an artist. They spent 5 years on Earth before going back to Betazed. When his parents decided to go back to Betazed they left their son on Earth with some friends so that he could continue his education on Earth. They returned to Earth whenever they could to be with their son. After Killian graduated High School . . .
Commander Rhys: I’m sorry, I still have images of this couple going into a Scottish pub with the ability to read people’s minds, but not understanding anything because of the accent.
Killian Malachi: I still get those same imagines in my head whenever I think about it.
Commander Rhys: I’m sorry, Ensign Malachi, please do continue.
Ensign Malachi: After Killian graduated High School he returned to Betazed with his parents. It was around that time the Dominion invaded. During the occupation of Betazed Killian fought in the Resistance with his Father. On a mission for the Resistance his father disappeared,. Shortly after the dominion war was over. When the Dominion left the left Betazed in shambles as well as Killians family. His fathers disappearance was hard on his mother as well as Killian. Killian did everything he could to help her and after awhile she was doing better. At this time Killian informed his mother of his intent to join StarFleet. She was at first reluctant but eventually gave in. Killian promised he would do everything he could while in StarFleet to find his Father. So he left Betazed and head back to Earth. He was eventually accepted into the Academy. He did well in the Academy, but not as well as he had hoped. He was a B student all the way through the Academy. He momentarily contemplated leaving the Academy because of a breakup with his then girlfriend Lilly whom went off to marry his then best friend. Since then he has had trouble trusting people. He decided to see some one to help him cope with his problems. It was then through counselling that he discovered he suffered from a condition known as bi-polar disorder. Which sometimes causes him to have mood swings and bouts of depression. He was put on medication to help keep it under control, however he still has trouble trusting people. Feeling once again in control of his life he forged on with his plans, and graduated Star Fleet.
Commander Rhys: Now that’s interesting. Simming a character with bipolarism. One of my good friends suffers from that, and it’s just hell. And as a friend, I feel completely powerless to do anything about
Killian Malachi: Again another part of me in the character. It’s not easy dealing with it and alot of people still have misconceptions about it. One person even told me it was all in my head. I replied of course it is considering the condition is a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Commander Rhys: How do they treat bipolarism in the 24th century? Hopefully better than in the 21st.
Ensign Malachi: Not really sure, don’t even know if it is still a problem in the 24th century. LOL. The inspiration for my character comes from my real life experiences. I suffer from Bi-polar disorder. My father also disappeared, haven’t seen or spoken to him in over 7 years. The part about my character having a girlfriend who married his best friend is also a part of my real life. I put all this into my character to make him as real as possible. They say that you should write what you know which is what I have done with my character.
Commander Rhys: It’s odd, but we have quite a few bipolar writers in the fleet, and I’ve wondered why that is. I know that one of the side effects can be extreme creativity, and perhaps this is a way to funnel
Killian Malachi: For me I think it is an outlet for the things I can’t say and do in real life, but want to.
Commander Rhys: I always thought that the people we sim are often the people we’d like to be. I know that’s true of Rhys.
Killian Malachi: That’s probably true of Malachi as well.
Commander Rhys: Hey, this is turning into a real interview, isn’t it?
Rhonin: Yeah, it’s been fun.
Commander Rhys: Ensign Rhonin, Why did you create your character the way you did, with the whole Ferengi connection?
Ensign Rhonin: I wanted the chance to be funny (although I doubt anyone other than me and Kai considers him funny), but also serious when the time arises, and he needed a flaw to make him human. And since he’s a Helm officer, he needed an edge to him, because I quickly realised in training I’d created an albino Tom Paris, and didn’t want to be seen as an unoriginal newbie.
Commander Rhys: You know, some of the most fun simming I’ve ever done was with a Ferengi who I was just simming for pure fun and comedy. Coincidentally, he was on the Independence, though I’m not sure how many people still remember Bok. Anassassi, and maybe Idril. But there’s a lot to be said for comedy writing.
Rhonin: Good comedy writing is great. I just wish I was actually funny. I think I need some lessons from Mr. Picardo, since from what I’ve heard, most of The Doctor’s one-liners were actually thought up by him.
Don’t know how true that is, but hey…
Commander Rhys: I was judging the last writing challenge recently, and the winning entry was the only comic one, in a very dark subject. I think that perhaps that was one of the reasons it stood out. But it’s a dangerous line to toe, between being funny and going overboard and making it farce. How do you do that?
Rhonin: I probably don’t. ::shifty eyes:: In all seriousness, I try to keep the comedy to off-duty and informal situations. Very rarely will Kai give a sarcastic answer to a question or witty reply to a command by another officer while on duty (out loud anyway) because he’d never have gotten out of the Academy if he did. Most of the fun with Kai is the way he does or says things, not in what he actually does or says.
Commander Rhys: What were your initial impressions of the Independence?
Ensign Rhonin: I haven’t seen much of the crew yet, due to real life issues (that are now sorted). Kai’s service on the Indy so far has been roughly 25% holo-simulation, 25% drunk and 50% unconscious, so…yeah. But seeing what Kai can’t see, they’re a great group of SIMmers, and there are one or two characters (and hopefullu more than one or two handlers)that Kai and I will become good friends with over time, I hope.
Commander Rhys: Oh, yes, we heard about that holosim on the Kodiak. The one where you blew up the Hammond, to a certain ex-captain’s surprise, until we realised it was only in sim. (Thanks for that, Idril! 😉 )
Rhonin: And the Wallace, too. That was crazy, two ships blowing up and a full-on assault by Remans. It rocked.
Commander Rhys: What about you, Ensign Malachi?
Ensign Malachi: The crew of the Independence are a group of talented writers. They put a lot of detail into their characters and their missions. There is a lot to work with, and I am looking forward to more adventures with them.
Commander Rhys: That, they certainly are. Apart from a brief stint on USS Tiger from the mirror universe, the Indy and the Kodiak are the only ships I’ve simmed on. There really is so much talent in this fleet.
Commander Rhys: So, what’s happening on board now?
Ensign Malachi: Let’s see. Right now we are all on shore leave following a mission which has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the crew. Many of them feeling hurt and betrayed. Except for Ens. Rhonin whom seems to be having fun with it.
Rhonin: I wouldn’t say he was having fun. He’s just too busy trying to work out how a “master of deception” managed to be deceived on such a mammoth scale to be annoyed that it happened. ::winks::
Ensign Rhonin: Kai arrived during an awards ceremony, where the Captain was killed, we got attacked by mechanical spiders, Romulans attacked the ships systems with a computer virus (causing the warp-overload and Kai’s consequent passing out), the Wallace and the Hammond were blown up by said virus, Reman shock-troops assaulted our Away Team on the Starbase we were docked at..then It turned out it was all a test for our XO, and 99% of the ship now has a phobia of holodecks. So now we’re on shore leave.
Commander Rhys: Understandable. I think your counsellor’s going to be working overtime no that one. So, apart from long sessions of trauma counselling, what are your future plans for your characters?
Ensign Rhonin: While Rhonin himself may enjoy shore leave, I personally can’t wait for it to finish. Kai needs to do something! If you asked me to name one duty-related thing Kai has actually accomplished so far I’d struggle. Even Harry Kim does things *sometimes*! But yeah, after shoreleave is over, Rhonin will probably try to work on the “work” side of being a Starfleet officer, and maybe hook up with the Security chick. Although she works on DS17, not the Indy, so poor Romeo might be a bit annoyed at that. If he can even remember her name when he wakes up…
Commander Rhys: Oh, you cad. Cassanova Ronin eh? Maybe there’s a bit of Kirk in you after all. What about you, Ensign Malachi?
Ensign Malachi: Haven’t thought much about it, but at some point I would like him to come face to face with his father. Maybe find a love interest to help him get over his trust issues. I would also like to make a jump from security to the command area at some point.
Commander Rhys: One of our writers is writing an article on in-character love. If she ever gets around to finishing it.
Rhonin: oO God knows, Rhonin needs to read it.. Oo
Commander Rhys: So, finally, what advice would you give a new ensign arriving on a new ship?
Ensign Rhonin: Just have fun. Don’t be afraid to try things, even if you think other people will think they’re stupid. Chances are they will! But as long as it’s nothing highly problematic they’ll generally go along with it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either, in or out of character. That’s what everyone says, I know, but there’s a reason everyone says it.
Commander: Ensign Malachi?
Ensign Malachi: It’s tough to start out a lot of times so I would have to say look at what your crew mates are doing and find a place to jump in. Also don’t be afraid to ask what you can do.
Commander Rhys: Thanks for talking with us today, Ensigns. Now I’d better let you get back to your duties or Anassasi will be sharpening her claws on my spine.
Ensign Rhonin: Don’t worry, just as she begins to draw blood she’ll reveal it was just a holo-simulation. ::Laughs:: Thanks for putting up with us, Commander. The pleasure’s been all mine.
Ensign Malachi: Thanks for having me. It’s been fun.
Today, we talk to Ltjg Joran Tavex from the USS Wallace. If you’ve ever thought of what it’s like to sim a Trill, read on…