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    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 Lt. Jarred Thoran playing a human male assigned to the Andaris Task Force. WOLF: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? THORAN: Originally from the UK, but last summer my partner and I decided to move to a tiny village in rural Germany. If i’d of known at the time how difficult it would be to get english chocolate I may have had second thoughts. I while away my days cycling, doing up the house and attempting to learn the language. Were you a Star Trek fan before joining UFOP: StarBase 118? If so, what were your favorite shows and/or movies? I was indeed. I’ve been on the periphery of the fandom for many years, having only really seen The Next Generation series and movies. Back in school a close friend of mine was a massive Star Trek fan and that is where it first caught my interest, including playing some of the games such as Birth of the Federation, Armada and Bridge Commander. Although it hasn’t been until the last few years where i’ve caught up with DS9 and TOS movies. I’d have to say, TNG season three onwards is my favourite out of everything. What duty post are you playing, and how’d you choose it? I’m currently in security. It’s a role that’s not really been explored on screen, which I think gives you a degree of flexibility and variety that you may not necessarily get with other duty posts. Thoran has an analytical mind and isn’t very keen on violence, preferring to resolve a situation through diplomacy and negotiation than phasers. What’s been your favorite part of being with the community so far? It’s really hard to choose, but if I had to pick one thing, it would have to be that is a community. I’ve only been here for six months, but have already met many wonderful people from around the world, all of whom have been incredibly welcoming and understanding. In addition to that, there is so much to do OOC. Enjoy creating graphics – there’s a taskforce for that. Aspiring journalist – there’s a taskforce for that. Interested in expanding our reach – there’s a taskforce for that. Do you take any inspiration from films, television, or books when writing your character? I mostly certainly do, whether I know it or not. I’ve always been a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan, so I think parts of that creep in. Recently i’ve been watching Voyager and some TNG to get a feel for scene setting and life on a starship. It’s not always sci-fi that inspires me though. For example, i’m a huge fan of the age of sail, with a series of books called the Bolitho novels being one of my all time favourite book series. I love them so much, i’ve even had of one Thoran’s hobbies based around them, via a holodeck adventure, which a couple of the crew have indulged in with me. Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who’s just joined? Communication is key. There are many avenues available, with Discord, the forums and the OOC lists. It feels more alive and fun when people are engaging OOC, not only will you make friends, but can also be a great way to bounce around ideas. Finally, never be afraid to ask questions. We all have times when we not sure, or we need guidance/direction and in my experience everyone here is extremely helpful and supportive. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Thanks for your time, Lt. Thoran! You can read more about Lt. Thoran on the wiki. The post Lower Decks interview: Lt. Jarred Thoran, Andaris TF appeared first on UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. View the full article
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    @Randal Shayne Part 1 ((Deck 1, Bridge, USS Blackwell.)) Zaekia: Attention to orders. ::He could feel every person beside and around him stiffen at the order. He too assumed the appropriate stance. Command change ceremonies were generally short, sweet and to the point- a natural outcome given their purpose.:: Zaekia: To Captain Zaekia, Commanding Officer, USS Blackwell. Stardate 239412.07. You are hereby requested and required to relinquish command of your vessel to Commander Whittaker as of this date. Signed, Admiral Renos. ::Though he’d been preparing for just this event, witnessing it for real was quite disconcerting. It was almost as if he were in freefall- nothing so extreme, but there was a disconnect in his brain. It wasn’t fear, nor was it any emotion he could sum up sufficiently in words. It was just...odd. That would have to do. Odd.:: Zaekia: Computer, transfer all command codes to Commander Whittaker. Voice authorization: Zaekia-Alpha-0609B. ::He could almost feel the shift, as the computer inputted the command. For an instant, the ship was in limbo, processing the change. That’s what it felt like- he realized that now. It was as if he had a leg in separate universes, each subtly reaching out to take him.:: Shayne: oO Is that what the Blackwell feels like? Oo ::A stupid question in the extreme. Though extremely advanced, the computer systems onboard Federation starships were not sentient by any means. This had not stopped the odd mainframe from developing a consciousness of sorts- indeed, computers in Starfleet had an irritating adeptability for causing problems of that nature. He’d read assorted stories of missions past, some of them confirmed, others mere ghost tales told to frighten incoming cadets. But originally? Each was inanimate and unfeeling. He’d always felt close to the ships he was aboard- perhaps too close for his own good. Maybe this was taking it a step too far.:: Computer: Transfer complete. USS Blackwell now under command of Commander Whittaker. Whittaker: I relieve you, sir. ::Even though the change had taken place under the most amicable of circumstances, there was still something sad about seeing Zaekia on the bridge- a bridge that had been his until Whittaker’s last statement. It made him hope that, whatever the reason for this transfer, Zaekia found another command in the future.:: Zaekia: I stand relieved. Congratulations Captain. ::He gave the new CO a friendly smile:: ::Zaekia had certainly been a vibrant person, and it showed even now. It lightened everything, and suddenly, Shayne didn’t feel so conflicted.:: Whittaker: Thank you. I'll take good care of the Blackwell. ::he meant every word.:: Shayne: ::To Whittaker.:: oO You speak for me as well, sir. Oo ::They’d all keep her in tip-top shape, of course- that was their job. But he wanted Zaekia to know that the commitment Whittaker was showing ran just as deep in the crew. Whatever happened, the Blackwell was in good hands. Then again, Shayne realized, Zaekia probably knew this implicitly. The Kalean had been their captain, and captains just knew things.:: Zaekia: Permission to disembark, captain? Whittaker: Permission granted. Fair winds and following seas to you and to Admiral Renos. :: he turned to the J'Naii and offered nem a respectful bow, just as he had done with Zekia moments before. :: ::Shayne almost joined him in the gesture, but held his place. He wasn’t known for making a scene in public- in the safety and privacy of his quarters, it was a different matter altogether- but that only meant that what display of respect or appreciation he made was genuine, and from the heart.:: ::Zaekia exited, and the silence was deafening. Shayne knew Whittaker would be the first to speak- but what would he say?:: Whittaker: Take your stations. ::Shayne gave a knowing smile as he inclined his head slightly, and removed himself to the mission ops station.:: Whittaker: It's very comfortable. ::a low chuckle.:: ::Shayne resisted turning, settling for a bemused grin. Whittaker, at this point, hardly seemed like a taskmaster, or an overly disciplined commander. Their new captain didn’t look or sound any older than the HCO chief- what would their new CO be like in the long run?:: Cecil: Response ::Then it was his turn.:: Whittaker: Mr. Shayne, what is our current speed and heading? ::Shayne consulted his instruments. Everything looked to be in order. He made a few subtle adjustments before considering.:: Shayne: Captain, we’re currently on course for Arndall, proceeding at Warp Six. All systems functioning normally, sir. ::His voice was totally formal- given the relative unknowns present, he thought it best. :: Whittaker: Excellent. :: to the next order of business. :: Doctor G'Renn? ::he craned his neck, looking for the vessel's newly appointed Chief Medical Officer, finding her in short order.:: It occurs to me that as I'm newly assigned, I am required to report for a physical exam. When is convenient for you? ::Shayne was impressed. No one- not one person in his experience- actually enjoyed visits to the doctor, and least of all for routine medical exam. To go into one- heck, to bring it up!- was shocking. He had nothing against Anath in any way. He was just surprised.:: G'Renn: We finished a triage readiness drill with the nursing staff earlier today, I’d like to go over the results of that first. Perhaps an hour and a half from now? ::A triage readiness drill. He wondered if that event was a direct result of their last confrontations. They’d lost several people some time ago- it had shaken the crew greatly. Even on a medical paradise like the one Shayne now helmed, nothing could make up for the practised hand of a doctor or nurse when push came to shove.:: Whittaker: :: with a smile. :: I shall see you then. As will Commander Cecil. ::He had to keep reminding himself that this was his superior officer now. Relative size was of no matter, nor was his attitude- Cecil was the first officer. That had to be respected, as did the Pelian himself. Shayne didn’t think it would be this difficult to reconcile these facts with his own impressions. :: G’Renn: I look forward to it! Whittaker: Mr. R'Ven, do the long range sensors detect any issues along our current course? ::Prudent- especially as they delved deeper, toward their destination. It seemed like Whittaker was already making good on his promise to Zaekia. Given the problems they’d encountered just a few weeks ago, merely by going forward, Shayne found the new captain’s precautionary attitude quite pleasing.:: R’Ven: ::turning his black penetrating gaze on Whittaker:: No Captain. At the moment there are no anomalies or unexplained phenomena. It would seem that it is . . ::paused thoughtfully:: . . smooth sailing. ::He was more pleased to hear that. Shayne couldn’t help but wonder why Merrick had stepped down. Certainly, the man probably missed his scientific duties, but first officer was usually a highly competitive position to fill. Maybe R’Ven simply didn’t want it, or felt unprepared, as Shayne did. Shayne: oO The opportunity was right in front of me! And I skipped out! Oo ::He knew it had been the right decision in the long run, but that didn’t take the edge off.:: TBC... Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0 Part Two ((Deck 1, Bridge, USS Blackwell.)) R’Ven: Oh, and Doctor, when you are free I may require your services as well. ::She looked to her left towards Merrick with a mix of curiosity and concern. If he had dropped the word may she would be less worried. There was just something that made her feel a bit uneasy when he used the word may. She did think that perhaps he was due for an examination. But why would he describe that as something he might need. She certainly hoped that there wasn’t anything wrong with his Borg enhancements. After his first visit to sickbay she had read up on his file as he requested.:: G'Renn: Of course, please feel free to drop by at any time. ::Turning to face the command chair:: Environmental systems and life support all running normal, same for the bio-filters. Permission to return to sickbay, captain? ::It looked like he was not the only one making certain that protocol was followed to an exacting degree for the time being.:: Whittaker: Yes of course, Doctor. The Commander and I ::he said motioning to Cecil:: will see you in a little while. ::Shayne heard the turbolift doors open and close behind him.:: R’Ven: Captain I have noted that we now have a full time intelligence officer. That is a change from times past. ::Shayne agreed- it was quite the change, though not one he disagreed with. The events of the past few missions had shown them just how risky their trek was, and would continue to be. An intelligence officer would be incredibly beneficial.:: Whittaker: Indeed. With the complex political arena of the Expanse and the Valcarians nearby, having an Intelligence officer will be a boon. R’Ven: Captain. The Blackwell is enroute planet Arndall. Have our objectives remain the same, to give medical assistance to wounded Valcarian soldiers from the front line? ::His voice was balanced, but Shayne began to wonder if R’Ven was probing for certain information. They were valid inquiries, to be sure, and he appreciated the science officer taking the time to ask them- it made everyone’s understanding of the situation more complete. Still, his suspicions remained.:: Whittaker: That is correct. Starfleet Command wants the Valcarians to see us as something other than a roadblock to their plans for the Par'tha Expanse, whatever they may be. Shayne: oO Ironic choice of words- we’ve been stopped by more roadblocks than I can count offhand. Oo Whittaker: We will also provide humanitarian aid to the Caraadians if needs be. We have no interest in taking sides in their hostilities. ::No ambiguity to be found here. If Whittaker wasn’t a strong leader, he was certainly faking it with great skill.:: R'Ven: Understood Captain. Whittaker: Mr. R'Ven, ::an idea had formed in his head and he turned the command chair to get a better look at the Rodulan scientist.:: I would like you to brief Commander Cecil on any potential issues or special considerations in regards to the crew. As the former XO, I feel that you would be uniquely skilled and I would appreciate any insight you could offer him. ::It wouldn’t have even occurred to him to make such an inference- but as he contemplated, he wondered why it hadn’t. Certainly it was a good thing to be aware of, considering Whittaker’s and Cecil’s new presence aboard. He couldn’t help but wonder if his name would come up in that conversation for any reason.:: ::A cursory examination of the status of the ship alerted him to the slightest imbalance in one of the RCS assemblies on the starboard side. By no means was this a deeply troubling problem, but it would leave a bad taste in his mouth if he left it any longer than necessary. Besides, shouldn’t he give Whittaker the impression that he was vaguely competent for as long as possible?:: Cecil: I would be most acceptable to this, indeed, indeed. ::he looked eagerly at the dark skinned man.:: R’Ven: ? ::What a combination! There seemed to be no end to the energy barely contained within the small Pelian first officer. On the other hand, R’Ven was a exhibit in control. Shayne honestly couldn’t recall if he’d seen the science officer crack a smile, or make any sort of outward display of emotion.:: Whittaker: :: with a wide smile. :: Grand! It's relatively quiet for the moment, please feel to use my ready room. Shayne: oO “My” ready room. Oo ::It was astonishing, and vaguely soothing, to note how quickly and effortlessly Whittaker was easing into his new role. It was strange- he was aware that some part of his brain found this commanding nature quite calming. He gave a silent scoff. Would he ever unravel the weirdness of his own brain?:: Cecil: Please, ::he nodded.:: Most pleased to talk with you, yes, yes. You have great deal of knowledge I wish to share in. R'Ven: ? ::As Cecil and Merrick withdrew into the ready room, Shayne stepped down from his station, and quietly made his way over to the helm. Naturally, someone was already present- one of the new members of the crew, by the looks of it. What was it again… Mandak?:: ::Gently he moved to her side, and gave a calming smile.:: Shayne: I’m sorry to bother you, ensign- I need to take the helm for a moment. Mandak: ? ::Shayne nodded appreciatively as the ensign relinquished her seat. The lieutenant commander was pleased to see that she’d taken the time to adjust the helm console to her liking. Many chiefs would find such actions annoying or undesirable- keep the console in a standard configuration, dagnabbit! But Shayne knew that piloting with unfamiliar controls was a wonderful recipe for death and destruction. Shayne: Don’t go anywhere- I’ll be just a moment. ::He quickly set about his business, not wanting to keep Mandak waiting longer than necessary. The problem was one he’d fixed a dozen times before. With quick fingers, he cut off power to the affected area, and began redirecting the energy flow manually. Essentially, an extremely boring process that only someone as sneakily geeky as Shayne could appreciate.:: ::Though it was simple, he became deeply engrossed, and did not hear Whittaker approaching from behind.:: ::Suddenly, something touched his shoulder. In hindsight, he was extremely proud of the fact that he managed not to scream. He would have never lived it down. Instead, he jumped slightly- definitely less than he’d felt like doing. His surprise was only increased when he found Whittaker staring back at him with an amiable expression.:: Shayne: oO Please tell me I haven’t done something stupid, erroneous, or insubordinate- not five minutes after meeting him! Oo Whittaker: Commander, I'd like to schedule an inspection of the Blackwell for 71 hours time. Please see to it that the department heads are notified and that they are ready. ::Oh! That’s all it was. His heart rate settled to a safe rate, and he forced a pleasant smile onto his face.:: Shayne: Aye, sir- consider it done. We’ll be ready for you, captain. Whittaker: Thank you. ::he softened the formality somewhat.:: I used to be an engineer before I switched to command- I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on warp field configurations as a conn officer at some point. ::Now Whittaker was speaking a language Shayne understood. The forced smile melted away, replaced by a blooming grin of genuine joy.:: Shayne: Aye, sir. I’d like that very much. ((OOC: Can continue, if you like. I’m happy to do so. )) ((IC)) ::Whittaker stepped away, and Shayne again directed his attention to the minor technical error before him. A moment later, it was repaired, and Shayne looked up, vaguely pleased with himself.:: Shayne: There we are. ::He stood.:: Thank you, ensign- she’s yours again. ::He gestured to the open chair.:: Mandak: ? ::As the helm officer took her place, Shayne took the opportunity to pass on the order Whittaker had given him earlier.:: Shayne: Forgive me- I’m awful with names. You’re Ensign Mandak, correct? Mandak: ? Shayne: Welcome aboard. Lieutenant Commander Shayne, chief of HCO. ::His strictly formal words were softened by a well-meant smile.:: I’m sure you caught the captain’s order just a moment ago- we have seventy one hours to make this place inspection ready. Now, things already look quite good, but since this is the first inspection under Captain Whittaker, I want to make it even better than usual. I’m going to check out whether the RCS repairs I made a moment ago are holding up- while I’m doing that, I’d like you to check out a finicky gyro stabilizer in the deflector array. ::Just like the RCS difficulties, it was hardly life-threatening, but it was the little things that were allowed to pile up that truly did harm. Granted, it was such a minor problem that the dock had not bothered with repairing it- they’d had far more crucial fixes on their plates. But it was something that might stand out to Whittaker, were he the detailed sort. Assigning Mandak was also a way of seeing how she went about her work. She was in his department- he had to get to know her.:: Mandak: ? ((OOC: Can also carry this- if you have questions, feel free to ask them. )) ((IC)) Shayne: When you’re finished, report back to me. ::He gave a friendly nod, and headed for the turbolift. He’d seen the computer confirmation- the RCS pack was secured and functioning normally. So why did he find it so difficult to let it go?:: ::The answer came to him in a rush- it was those infernal robots. They’d left him paranoid. He knew they weren’t still present. He knew it. But...he couldn’t shake the feelings. As the turbolift began its descent, he wondered how long he’d be plagued by fears of those infernal, long-gone...things. Tag/TBC… Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0
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