Odd Jobs

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Odd Jobs: Marine Captain Kiran Han, USS Juneau

In “odd jobs” we examine some less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them to inspire you to investigate potential for your own character.

Today we have the pleasure of speaking to Marine Captain Kiran Han playing a Trill Marine CO assigned to the USS Juneau.

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

HAN: I grew up in Rochester, New York but moved to the Boston, Mass area after college.

Your character is the Commanding Officer in the Marines Department, could you tell us what that posting looks like on a day-to-day basis?

It’s an interesting balancing act.  Finding where a Marine can shine without stepping on the toes, or the writing, of the security department.  I tend to push my character in a more formal, typically Military, tone.  The marine unit on the Juneau is small and designed to be blended into the other departments based on secondary skill sets.  So a lot of the writing is about that interface, providing the Captain and the departments additional options that may not normally be available.

Your current character is the new host of the same Han symbiont as your previous character.  Can you tell us what it’s like to play two different Trill tied by the same host?

It’s an interesting way to write.  I had taken a break from the game for a while, about a year and a half, give or take a month or two, so when I got approval to come back, I knew I’d be dropping some in rank, and would need to explain the absence.  I also happened to be watching the end of DS9, so the Ezri/Jadzia plot line was sitting in front of me.  I knew I was coming back to the Juneau, with a couple of characters that Delan had written with at the Embassy and the Eagle.  So getting to play that ghost of a dead friend card was, and is fun.

One of the things that it does is help force you to think about your characters and what makes them different and what the previous host brings to the table.  Delan was a scientist, so his view of the world is pretty opposite of Kiran’s.  Kiran isn’t nearly as smart as Delan was, but he has all of these memories of what it was like to be the brain in the room, so there is a little inferiority complex going on when the Blue Shirts start talking.

I think it’s also a good thing to do, one of the defining characteristics of the Trill is this lineage of hosts connected by a single symbiont.  Bringing that to the front is the same as leaning into the logic for Vulcans or honor for Klingons.  It’s been, and will be, a lot of fun to play with the psychological aspects of that transition, especially with Delan’s former friends and comrades around to bounce off of.

Do you have any memorable moments from this character you could share with us?

So I’m still getting back into things, I got back just as a mission started so I’ve only had one downtime to really do some deep character development, but so far the most memorable moment has been Kiran’s arrival, introducing himself to Oddas, Delan’s former CO on the Eagle, where Delan was the XO.  That emotional scene of Oddas finding out that Delan had died, kind of, but maybe not because the guy with all of Delan’s memories is standing right in front of her.  I’m looking forward to realigning those relationships as we go.

Are there any challenges that you face playing a Marine that might be different when writing for another duty post?

The Marines are an interesting duty station.  They are probably the most out of canon posting of the not typical departments.  We’ve got something on screen for most of the other postings, but Marines are really a creation of the fandom.  So I don’t have a lot of reference material to work with when figuring out just what a Starfleet Marine is.  So as a writer I need to do a lot of figuring out where the boundaries of the role are myself.

And lastly, if anyone was wanting to write for this duty post, what advice would you give them?

Talk with your CO and XO, and potentially the Security/Tactical Chief.  Figure out the interface between the Marines and Security.  Every ship and station that has Marines uses them slightly differently so don’t assume that because you know how Ship A uses them will be the same as how Ship B does.  Because there is such potential for overlap, you really want to lean into the collaborative nature of the game.

Also, if you can give your character some secondary skills, combat medic, some kind of engineering background, you will likely find it useful.  Not every mission can be full of combat, so having something else to fall back on during missions will help make sure you can always be in the thick of things during less combat focused missions.

Thanks for your time, Marine Captain Han!

You can read more about Marine Captain Han on the wiki.


Odd Jobs of Starfleet: Second Lieutenant Anthony Meeks, Company Commander

In “odd jobs” we examine some less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them to inspire you to investigate potential for your own character.

Today, we have the pleasure of speaking to Second Lieutenant Anthony Meeks, a Marine Human male from Starbase 118 Ops.

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

MEEKS: Ya know, that is the hardest question I think there is. ::Chuckles:: I live in the beautiful State of Oregon on the West Coast of the United States. I’m married and have three grown children and five grandchildren. I’m a United States Army veteran and a 20 year law enforcement officer. I’ve been writing with Starbase 118 on and off since 2011.

Your character is the Company Commander in the Marines Department, could you tell us what that posting looks like on a day-to-day basis?

Meeks: Anthony Meeks has a lot of me in the character. For me, it’s always easier to write about something familiar. The Starfleet Marines are based on the United States Marine Corps and the Royal Marines, but because the duty posting isn’t necessarily canon, there is a lot of artistic license for the posting. This means the Marine doesn’t have a particular set of rules to play by, which opens up a lot of avenues for the character. The Meeks character is the Company Commander for Delta Company, which is a Search and Rescue team. Because of that, Anthony has the opportunity to be a soldier, a medic, a tactician, and really anything.

Odd Jobs of Starfleet: Lieutenant Commander Ishani Kasun, Crisis Response

In “odd jobs” we examine some less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them to inspire you to investigate potential for your own character.

Today we have the pleasure of speaking to Ishani Kasun, from Starbase 118 Ops.

JANN: So your character used to be the Crisis Response Department Head, could you tell us what that posting looks like on a day-to-day basis?

KASUN: I think one thing to clarify first is that the security division on Ops is handled differently than what’s seen in the show. The department is played more along the lines of a civilian police force than a military one and is split up into different departments along the lines of what duties they handle. The duties that Crisis Response covers is not just dealing with active crises but the prevention and cleanup of said crises. So while in the field they could be organizing aid, providing field medical care, negotiating with hostages or the mentally ill. Out of the field it’s mostly prep work, practice and handling the aftermath of a past crisis. For example one of the recurring issues that Crisis had to handle over the past year and a half or so was mentally and physically healing, rehabilitating and establishing several groups of now former Orion Syndicate slaves that Ops kept rescuing.

In addition, the base’s SWAT team and bomb squad are under the Crisis Response umbrella, so members of those teams are specific to those areas of policing. There’s also the possibility that they could be pulled to help out with one of the other security departments or units, so one day they could be doing general patrol work, pulled for ship duty, or helping corrections.

What brought you to choosing that particular duty post?

It was a choice born of a mad scramble for options, rather than something I had in mind when I applied to SB118. I had originally applied and gone through my cadet cruise with Ishani as a counselor, but when it came time to be assigned to a post there weren’t any more slots open for that department on Ops. I was given the option to be posted to a different ship or to pick a different duty post, and because I had a friend on Ops that I wanted to write with (my whole reason for applying in the first place, honestly) changing her duty post was the only option.

At the time the only openings Ops had was in security, the marines or intelligence. I was rather fond of the backstory for her I had come up with so far and wanted to keep as much of it as possible, so with the help of my friend and Google I came up with three positions within each duty post where it would make sense to have a psychiatry background and offered them to Capt Taybrim as suggestions. Crisis intervention/negotiator for security, psychological profiler for intelligence and I believe the marine suggestion was a dedicated counselor for/with the marines. Obviously we ended up going with the crisis intervention/negotiator option and we hashed out what that would entail. The core idea hasn’t changed much since that hurried start, but it has expanded and solidified as I worked to develop it further as it went from a small team to an actual department in character.

If anyone was wanting to SIM this duty post, what advice would you give them?

I think one thing to keep in mind is that crisis response is a blend of the medical, counseling and security departments, so you have to be willing to be flexible and dance between the different aspects of the job. Some missions your ship is on don’t have a need for crisis management so you sim your character more along the lines of a standard security officer. Other missions your character will be in their element; your ship is dealing with hostages, a natural disaster, psychoactive drugs making the population act like zombies, or something like that where you get to use all aspects of being a crisis officer.

Still, even in missions that call for more typical security officer tasks you can still bring in aspects of the position, if only in how your character views or approaches the situation. For instance when dealing with a villan your character could start out attempting to negotiate, or your ship gets severely damaged you could help keep people calm and organized while they either repair the damage or evacuate. So to boil it down, it’s more about the mindset the character has and how that influences their reactions than their actions directly.

How have you changed as a writer from when you first joined to now?

I think most of it is that I’ve become more comfortable both with the writing in general and the role. Prior to SB118 the only formal RP (for lack of a better way of putting it) that I had ever written was forum based prose, so it was a significant adjustment to the script-esque style that simming uses. Another major difference beyond the writing style was being able to do things with other people’s characters that would be considered ‘godmodding’ in the forum RP world. Leaving tags requires a certain amount of assumption about how the other character(s) would react to what your character does and that’s just not done in the forum world, so it took me quite a while to get over the feeling of ‘this is wrong’ whenever I left tags.

As far as getting comfortable with the role, I’ve played versions of Ishani before on other sites but none where she was a crisis officer or in any kind of security role before, so there was an adjustment period where I was both settling in with this version of the character while also figuring out how best to play her within this hybrid role I had come up with on the fly. I do think that the character as she was written when I first started was written far less consistently during her first couple of missions compared to how I write her now.

Do you have any memorable moments from this character you could share with us?

I think the most memorable moment was from her second mission ever. Ishani and a fellow security officer and their pilot had to take a shuttle over to a mostly destroyed starship to rescue the survivors in the middle of a battle. The rescue went well (aside from watching one of the NPCs get pulped) but they ended up having to make a crash landing in their ship’s hanger. Ishani ended up with a nasty concussion and made a gigantic fool of herself due to her injury. However, she did end up with a date out of it, so it worked out in the end, right?

How has the character changed and adapted to the role of Chief Security Officer on Ops?

I’d like to think that the change in her character has come from the change in her role (though as I mentioned above there was some settling in the beginning). Ishani’s gone from being the person being delegated to, to the person who’s doing the delegating which is definitely a change in thinking. She can’t think as a crisis officer any more, her thought process has to include how the other departments of security handle things and a little bit of how the other duty post divisions work when making decisions about how the security division will act.

Due to the way SB118 works she’s still getting in the thick of action as a senior officer, but the crisis aspect definitely takes second place to security administration. It’s definitely expanded my options for how I can play the character in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m pushing the crisis aspect of her to the side. She’s still a crisis officer at heart but I get to have her involved in investigations or transportation disputes and it feels she has a legitimate reason to be involved rather than the ‘hey we need a security officer to do standard security things and you’re the only security officer around so you’ll do’ feeling that I had before her promotion. Not that anyone on Ops has ever made me feel that way, it’s my own mental quirk.

Thank you very much!

You can read more about LtCmdr Kasun on the wiki.

Odd Jobs of Starfleet: Captain Nugra, Task Force Security Liason

In “odd jobs” we examine some less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them to inspire you to investigate potential for your own character.

Today, I’m sitting down with Captain Nugra, Task Force Security Liason attached to the USS Gorkon.

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

NUGRA: Well, my actual name is Jonathan as many in the community already know and I presently live in Kentucky, USA. I’m not only a simmer but I moonlight as a professional freelance writer on the side.

Your position in the fleet as a Task Force Security Liaison is most unique- would you care to describe it in your own words?

The position is pretty much a liaison between all the ships within the Tyrellian Defense and Exploration Taskforce. His responsibility is to correlate and check on the security status of not only each ship but of the sector itself. That way he can present a simple and comprehensive report to Admiral Reynolds upon request.

What did Nugra need to do to become a Security Liaison?

IC wise, it’s more about his rank. Nugra is a captain and much like the real world navies, not all that hold that rank command vessels but many of them are in positions that require coordination and overseeing. In Nugra’s case, Admiral Reynolds placed him in the position so that he would be able to effectively coordinate with the six vessels in the taskforce.

What are some of the enjoyable, or challenging aspects of playing a character in this role?

Keeping him busy, LOL. As he has such a unique title, it’s my responsibility to make sure that Nugra is not only part of the storyline but able to effectively be a good simmer. The Taskforce Security Liaison is not as cut and dried as, say, a security officer or a medical officer. The way I see him is as an administrator on shoreleave and then slipped into whatever position makes sense for the mission. The last mission he was on, he took on a Security Officer-like role but can easily put into a tactical or even commanding officer role as the story dictates.

The position is very fluid but needs some proactive creativity and communication with my CO to make sure that the character is not only helpful for the story but not going over the line IC.

What words of advice would you have for anyone who’d also like to play a character in this position?

I would recommend the position for senior players like those who have been in the community for awhile. As I mentioned above, it can be a challenge to fit yourself into a story and it helps if you already have had some simming time under your belt and can understand the mechanics of our community.

If the person taking it is already a senior player, I would recommend that you make sure to talk to your CO/FO first and understand the exact IC scope that they want so that you can stay within the borders. As the position doesn’t have definitive borders, you should create them with your leadership team.

Thank you for your time, Captain Nugra!

You can read more about Capt Nugra on the wiki.

Odd Jobs of Starfleet: Commander Kelrod is a SAR Team Leader

Hello and today we have the pleasure of speaking to Commander Kelrod, the SAR team leader aboard the USS Veritas.

JANN: Your character is a SAR team leader, could you tell our readers what a day looks like for you?

KELROD: That depends on the day. When we’re not in a mission, on an away team, the day for Kelrod starts early, doing some light breakfast, stretching exercises and then reading the last reports from the ship. Then he checks the crew rotations and check with the enlisted personnel that are the base of the SAR team, programming equipment checks and performing training exercises of different kinds. We have different officers that perform specific training as their duties allow and I attend to all of them, if he’s not in sick bay. He doesn’t usually spend a shift on the bridge, unless there’s a situation that requires it, so when not training or on the bridge, he studies, analyze and work with different departments to improve the team and the equipment.

Odd Jobs of Starfleet: Sky Blake is a Starfleet Ranger

In “odd jobs” we examine some less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them to inspire you to investigate potential for your own character.

Today, the featured character is Lieutenant Commander Sky Blake a Starfleet Ranger attached to the USS Veritas.

Odd Jobs: Lt. Colonel Mitchell the Top Gun of Duronis II Embassy

In “odd jobs” we examine some less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them. Today, the featured character is Lieutenant Colonel Rode Mitchell, the Commander, Air Group (CAG) of the Duronis II Embassy.

CHOI: For those of us who aren’t familiar with your character, how did Rode Mitchell come to be CAG of Duronis II’s Embassy?

MITCHELL: Mitchell became the CAG for the Embassy through a discussion with Rear Admiral Turner, Captain Tyr Waltas, and Major Hannibal Parker, who commands the Embassy’s Marine unit. At the time, following the wedding of Admiral Turner and Captain Waltas, Mitchell resigned from Starfleet and traveled out to Duronis II to retire. But after arriving at Duronis II, and events events going on with Laudean protesters, the three senior officers approached me to take over as the CAG, since the Marine unit on the planet is large enough to have its own air/space wing. At the time, it was intended to make use of my experience as I’ve served as a fighter unit leader on multiple ships, and took some of the extra duties off Major Parker.

The Oddest Jobs in StarFleet X: Brek

from EAS

In this series, I examine some less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them. Today, the featured character is Lieutenant Junior Grade Brek, Diplomatic Officer for Starbase 118 Operations.

Although diplomatic officers are not unprecedented in the 118 fleet, they have traditionally been human or Vulcan characters – those species noted canonically for their political aptitude. Brek, a Ferengi, appears at first glance to defy the established standards of the sort of character attracted to such a post. Mark, Brek’s writer, recognizes the apparent disconnect between character and job, but he noted, “The choice might seem odd, yet in order to expand their business, the Ferengi need to interact/negotiate with countless species. They must also be aware of what is going on in every sector where they have a financial interest. If you put the commercial aspect aside, this is pretty close to what diplomats also do.”

Most interestingly, 118 Ops currently supports two diplomatic PCs – Brek, a vice-counselor, and Samal Frazier, a full ambassador; I wanted to know how this relationship worked in simming situations. Mark said, “I consider Ambassador Frazier to be a bit like a mentor to Brek. The person he looks up to and from whom he hopes to learn a few vital tricks.” These tricks may be of vital importance to Brek, as his training was not initially in diplomacy. “Brek entered the Academy as a science student, but there was no opening in that department when I arrived on SB118. Due to Brek’s sudden change of career, I view him as being a bit unsure of himself. There is always the fear that he will make a horrible blunder.” These traits make for a rounded, fully realized character in the tradition of the developed Ferengi from Trek and suggest, as for those characters, that there is no single way to be Ferengi.

A final thought from Mark upon writing for Brek: “The way I visualize Brek, his main goal was to become a Starfleet officer. Once there, a change of path was just another learning curve to go through. Knowledge, after all, is power. What he wants before all is respect and privilege, and there is certainly plenty of that in diplomacy.”

The Oddest Jobs in StarFleet IX

Image from Memory Alpha

Captain, first officer, chief of security, chief medical officer. These posts, and many more, are staples of every simming ship and installation. But what about the lesser known positions – the intelligence officers, diplomats, and nurses of the fleet? In this series, we’ll examine some of the less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them.

Fleet Captain Idril Mar, Administrative Officer, Starbase 118

If you open the UFoP: SB118 Complete Personnel Roster and scroll down, you’ll notice the two-PC installation StarBase 118 Admin. Fleet Admiral Wolf serves as its commanding officer, but 118 Admin also features Fleet Captain Idril Mar as its administrative officer. I was curious to know what the position entailed, mostly in character but also out of character, and Jenn, Fleet Captain Mar’s writer, provided me with the answers in this last installment of the first series of odd job articles.

The position of administrative officer directly correlates to Jenn’s OOC position within the group; she said that she “work[s] on letters, [and] officially am the liaison officer in charge of member appeals,” as well as “work[ing] for consensus when others have sometimes widely differing opinions.” But “In character, FltCapt. Mar is somewhat more flexible.”

The flexibility of simming without an assigned ship comes with positives and with negatives. Fleet Captain Mar “officially command[s] USS Achilles, a high-end battlecruiser,  and is Chief of Engineering Operations at Utopia Plantia. I get to hang out with pretty much whoever I want, whenever. I don’t have any simming requirements, so I sim when I feel like it.” The opportunities for simming seem to come mainly in special circumstances. “When I do sim, I’m usually in a coordinating role, assigned by upper-level admirals to hot spots, like the summer blockbuster in 2010, or on leaves, like visiting the Independence for the wedding between two of my former officers. The character building I get is my own, unaffected by anyone else that I don’t contact and ask for input.” The bottom line? “The upside to that is that I get to do what I want, the downside is that I don’t get the opportunity to interact for the better.”

The Oddest Jobs in StarFleet VIII

Image from Memory Alpha

Captain, first officer, chief of security, chief medical officer. These posts, and many more, are staples of every simming ship and installation. But what about the lesser known positions – the intelligence officers, diplomats, and nurses of the fleet? In this series, we’ll examine some of the less traditional posts and the characters and writers behind them.

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