The Writer Behind...

“Salvek, Son of Sakkath and T’Shanik.” A male voice boomed through the corridor, from nearby. Salvek entered the first chamber up ahead, laying eyes on the Vulcan inside as the man continued. “Brother of Sacul, husband of Lair Kellyn, father of Lair Arie.”

The Master’s face came into focus as Salvek approached. He appeared to be a man of about one hundred ten with slightly graying hair, with a clean-shaven face, and the very beginnings of crow’s feet forming at the corners of his eyes.

He wore a long red robe draped over his shoulders, covering a dark orange tunic underneath. His lapel bore the Vulcan symbol in sterling silver, and geometric patterns of triangles of various shades of red descended down the front of his robe.

“First Officer of the Federation Starship USS Serendipity, registry number NCC two zero one two, under the Command of Captain Zanh Liis, and attending Starfleet Admiral Gemini Lassiter.”

The Master stopped speaking, and Salvek waited for his instruction.

“I am V’Drea. Please, be seated.”

The table between Salvek and V’Drea was empty, save for a plate of food. Salvek did as he was told, sitting down.

“You must be hungry, eat.”

“It is forbidden for a Vulcan to take food in the Temple,” Salvek reminded him.

“Yes, but you are not quite Vulcan, are you Salvek.”

Reece knew that look. After all, he'd been cleaning up after Lair for years. "Let me put it another way. Keep me posted, and I'll handle the dynamic duo of Wonder Woman and Spork if they ask what we are doing."

"As you wish sir. Lieutenant." Rada nodded to Grace and prepared to leave. Before he made it off the bridge, Tenney, who was watching the COMM, spoke up.

"Commander, picking up a lot of COMM traffic suddenly. Calls for Security to Illusions."

"That's odd. Maybe Salvek is table dancing again. Give them a call."

Tenney nodded and adjust her settings to open a channel. "Illusions, this is the bridge, please respond. Tenney to London, please respond."

Rada took the engineering station to make sure the malfunctions hadn't claimed the COMM system, but they appeared to be normal. "They are getting us Commander, they just aren't answering."

Reece bit his lip, "What the hell is going on down there? Can you give me visual Tenney?"

"Yes sir." She replied. "Security monitor on line."

Reece turned to the viewscreen, as did Grace and Dengar. What unfolded before him was a blur of red, yellow and blue jerseys engaged in a free for all unlike anything Reece had ever seen. And he had seen enough.

"Holy flurking schnit!!" Reece exclaimed.

"You got that right." Rada replied.

"Eh, it's been done." February said, sounding unimpressed. She turned towards the men to explain herself. "Deveral." Rada and Reece nodded knowingly, recalling February's previous host of that name. The rock star who loved nothing more then liquor. . . except women.

Reece considered replicating a championship belt for the last man... (or woman, he thought, as Lair Kellyn appeared to be "winning"), left standing. However, their view was cut short as a bottle hurtled through the air, past the outstretched arm of one Trick London, and directly into the security camera.

"Well." Reece said, clapping his hands together. "Mr. Dengar, continue with your pre-flight. I don't think the Captain is going to care if you take the Alchemy all the way to the Delta Quadrant now because I'd say her hands are full."

"Relanon has a long track record of working on Government projects without flaw. It is probably best we consider this an isolated incident, rather than draw the ire of the people. I’ll recommend additional safeguards be put in place, but going public with this information will not help anyone. They contribute too much to society to be brought down by one simple lapse in judgment.”

Camen laced his fingers together, and gave Ram a smile as sweet as death itself. “Relanon also has a long track record of contributing to you as well. I was reading through some of the old public contribution records and saw an anonymous donor provided you with a yacht and a vacation on Vulcan last winter. This was right before Dendre Hald awarded a new contract for planet-wide vaccine manufacturing to Relanon, with a note in the press release that the contract had the full support of Gorlan Ram and the Vedek Assembly.”

Ram stammered, unaware Jariel was coming here armed with any other information other than what the Starfleet doctors had told him.

“You don’t really think I was going to come here unarmed for a fight, did you Vedek Ram?”

Ram brushed a few crumbs off the belly of his stretched out robe, from the snack he was eating during the presentation.

“All that aside, I maintain, my fellow Vedeks, that going public is the wrong course of action at this time. If Relanon collapses, so does the vaccine industry, and that puts the safety of the public in danger.”

“Starfleet can provide any vaccine you need on twenty-four hours notice. All you have to do is ask.” Hartcort chimed in. “Of course you’ll have to give us a little more lead time for the yacht.”

“How was Vulcan, Vedek Ram? The desert must have felt wonderful compared to what the people in the Plains had last winter. Bitter cold with no electricity or heat.” Camen asked. “I have an in with the First Officer of the Serendipity whom I’m sure can find out for me who made and paid for all your travel arrangements to Vulcan, but I don’t think there is any point in going that far, is there Vedek?”

Camen walked slowly around the room, meeting the eyes of each member of the Assembly as he continued to speak. “As for going public, that is a foregone conclusion. If the Assembly does not speak out, I will. That will leave each of you with an important question. Who amongst you desire to go back to your Province and explain to your parishioners why, when you were told about this threat to the Bajoran people, you… did… nothing? Who would like to explain all this to the Kai, when the people call for his head?”

Jariel leaned over the table where the last Vedek sat, palms flat, and his face mere inches away from the white haired elderly woman.

“Do you?”

He moved to the next Vedek.

“Do you?”

Ashton Ledbetter
As he opened the door, his eyes flew open in anger and the perfectly shaped tuft of blond hair on the top of his head bobbed up and down as he spoke.

“What do you want? Are you lost? Big Ben is right over there if you’re looking to sight see.” Keiran looked past Ashton out the window towards the clock tower, but his eyes snapped back to the fetching young woman on the divan.

“Recruitin’ a new agent, Ashton?”

“Shut up! My God man, can’t this wait?”

“I understand you have a ship of your own now. You and I are going on a trip.” Keiran waved politely at the young lady on the divan, and Veoda waved back.

“How didya kill the Borg Queen this time, Ledbetter? Strangle her with her own spine again?” O’Sullivan said through gritted teeth.

“I didn’t get that far, I didn’t need to,” Ashton grinned.

“Well, you’ll have to take a rain check on this one. Get packed, we’re leavin’ in one hour for Lethus IV.”

Ashton slammed the door.

“Ledbetter!” O’Sullivan bellowed. “What would Maris say about your lack of proper manners?”

“Who’s Maris?” Veoda asked.

“Who? Maris? He was a New York Yankee back in the nineteen hundreds. As far as I know.”

“Maybe you should let him back in, I think he wasn’t done talking.”

“Oh, he was done, darling,” Ashton placed his lips back on her neck, ignoring the pounding on the door.

Veoda tried to get back in the mood but the sound of fist on wood just did not accompany Mahler very well in her mind. Ashton sensed her unease, and shuffled once again back to the front door.

“I swear the next time I travel back to 1641 I’m telling Charles to wipe your silly little country off the map,” Ledbetter cursed, his blond tuft bobbing even more. “Look, Keiran, I don’t know why you are in such a hurry but it will have to wait.”

USS Serendipity Crew Interview

2010 Edition

Commander Salvek

1. Okay, so this might be a personally motivated question but I'm curious nonetheless. Say, for some reason, you found yourself sightless for a week (I couldn't stand the thought of inflicting it on any of you for longer than that, believe me.) You can't read, write, drive, do any of the things that you would normally do for that week. What would you do to pass the time?

Salvek: It boils down to, what can you do that does not require sight? The answer, I'm well aware, is not a whole lot. I guess I would want a book on tape or something of the like, or play some star trek dvd's and visualize in my own mind what I was listening too. Of course, how do you even find the dvd you want if you can't even see the boxes? Could take all day of guessing. Other than that, I would want to play some games that don't require sight. Maybe "name that tune" or 21 questions (get it?)... something I can do with my family to interact with them.
2. The Enterprise-D crew bonded by playing poker. Is there a "tradition" for bonding you would like to see our crew adopt? (We have discussed Euchre in the past but it has yet to be written.)

Salvek: Well I'm going with the Euchre LOL Its an interesting game in that, unlike poker, you are playing as a team. Could make for some interesting teams and interesting opponents.
3. Uh oh! The cops are at the door and looking for your character. If your character ever got arrested, what would they most likely have done?

Salvek: Jariel Camen would likely be arrested for some sort of civil disobedience. I can see him chaining himself to some important building to protest government bureaucracy, like those people that are always protesting the G8 summits.

Salvek would be arrested for doing something that makes perfect sense to him, even though it is illegal, like attempting to open a temporal vortex in the neighborhood on a Tuesday night. Damn nosy neighbors...

Dabin Reece is easy: Indecent exposure (hey, back side only. He's not that bad).
4. I've often heard the question "what piece of Star Trek technology would you most want?" I'd like to know what alien ability you would most like to have, and why... and NO Saying Q-omnipotence.... that's too easy. (Examples: Betazoid telepathy, Founder shape-shifting, Vulcan mild meld, Vulcan nerve pinch, Borg hive mind, be a "living ship" like Gomtuu, exist as a hologram like The Doctor, exist with the wisdom of others inside of you as a joined Trill.)

Salvek: I'd have to go with the mind meld. Telepathy is a little too much for me... you'd hear too much that you don't want to. You could be the ultimate detective with the mind meld, sending guilty to prison and exposing frauds and liars. You could also help the ill, by being able to communicate with those who could not speak to describe what is wrong with them.
Note from the Captain: Okay, the first time I read that, I thought it said "Borg High-Five" I was unaware this was a special talent they possessed. Thank you for enlightening me. Wait... ~ZL
5. What is the most important thing you have learned in the last year?

Salvek: You really can't understand what someone else is going though if you have not walked a mile in their shoes.

6. What is the passage of prose or dialog you've written in the past year here on the Sera that you're proudest of? Why is it your favorite?

Salvek: I really enjoyed what I wrote in "My Father, His Sister." Jariel/Salvek/Reece, they all have parts of me to draw on, but Natalie Grey was completely from scratch and drawing on things I don't have a frame of reference for, and I think her and the post really came out pretty good. At some point I'm going to need to write about what happened to her.

My favorite thing I wrote was "Last Man Standing." I didn't think much of it at the time. My goal in writing that post was to settle the paintball (war game), and make TC Blane look good in doing so (hope I did good TC!) I wound up writing it as Dane because Jariel and Reece needed to be eliminated, and Salvek was already taken out in a post I wrote with Cem. That left Dane as my best choice on the winners team. Everyone really seemed to enjoy it, so it sort of became my favorite after the fact. LOL Go Directly to Jail, and the posts with Reece setting up the Adventurer's Club evening for the crew were also pure fun to write.
7. What is your earliest memory related to Star Trek?

Salvek: Easy... being with my best friend and his family watching Star Trek VI on the big screen. I had NO IDEA what was going on for most of the movie, since I did not understand who the players were. I knew of Kirk and Spock, but what is a Klingon, and why do we not like them? I also had no idea what a cloaking device was which was a pretty huge plot point. I kept picturing this Klingon ship wearing a big cape...
8. How did you first get involved in Star Trek online role-playing?

Invitation. Some people I knew on line were starting a game and asked me to join too. I asked if I could write a Romulan engineer, was told no, and Salvek was born LOL. Unfortunately I can't remember a word of anything I wrote way back then, and I don't think anyone kept any records of any of it, so it is all lost to time.
9. When you are not writing for this game (or bothering the captain with something inane), what is it that you actually do for a living?

Salvek: I am a mechanical engineer. I design emergency power, HVAC systems and, from time to time, plumbing systems. I do all of my work exclusively on a contract my company has with a phone company. They have hundreds of facilities across the state, each of which needs to be maintained. My job is to make sure the equipment stays cool, and if the power goes out, that the generator runs properly to keep your phone working. What I can't do is keep your calls or internet connection from being dropped. That's strictly the phone company's problem... so don't ask.
10. What is your dream vacation? (Both a real one and one set in the Star Trek world)

Salvek: Disney World is always at the top of the list... I've been there many times, but it never gets old, and it's the people there that make it special. I've seen so much of the countryside of Ireland and France in the last year too, and they are both stunning. If I went to those places, I might spend SOME time in the cities, but I'd love to be out in the peace and quiet of the country, so long as I can find a decent place to eat and sleep LOL.

In the Star Trek world... wow, I don't know, I think I would honestly want to visit Earth to see what we've become.
11. For those of you who write more than one character in this game: how do you get in the mindset of each character and how do you differentiate each one?

Salvek: They do a pretty good job of differentiating themselves lol. Really each post starts with one action or line I really like and then the rest just sort of fills in around it. Reece is certainly the easiest to write, but I could take any one post for any character, and write it from another's point of view with ease. I don't really do anything special to "get in the mindset" of a character. Writing is more of a "necessity is the mother of invention" type thing. I know I need to write something to move my characters or a plot along, and the rest evolves as I'm writing.
12. Who would win in the following grudge match: Star Trek Federation fleet versus Star Wars Imperial fleet?

Salvek: No need to speculate, this has already been answered:

Results were inconclusive.
13. By this time everyone here has a fair few written words under their belt. What and when was the first thing you remember writing as a writer (as in a short story, a post or even a poem)?

Salvek: I didn't really write creatively as a child. I do remember being in a math class, probably when I was a 9th or 10th grader, and writing a Star Trek based series of comic strips. I can't remember any of what I wrote except for the one where 500 Klingon ships decloak next to the Enterprise. I wonder how they got out of that...

You know come to think of it I can't recall EVER having any kind of pure creative writing assignment to do in school. That's really sad when you think about it.
14. For those of you who can remember that far back, what was the first post you wrote for an RPG? For those of you who can't, what was your earliest that you can remember?

Salvek: My memories begin when Lair Kellyn joined Salvek in engineering. Specifically the poor Vulcan slamming his head against the console when he first laid eyes upon her.
15. It's easy enough when you first start writing for a character to have a set idea in your mind of what you're going to do with them but it's often not nearly as easy to make them actually go along with it. Have you ever had a character you'd written for taking a direction you hadn't intended? If so, what happened?

Salvek: I would say my NaNoWrimo novel is the best example of that.... The main character was supposed to be a greedy, self-centered heartless bastard. Same for his wife. Then something happened to the wife, and out of the blue she grew a soul, and it spread to the husband.
16. I imagine theme parks in the future will be a lot more high-tech and that the rides will be so far advanced that they surpass any imagination possessed by one from the 21st Century. Be that as it may, if your character(s) were set loose upon one of today's theme parks, which ride do you think they would do first? Teacups? Water slide? Haunted House? Rollercoaster of DEATH? Any reason you can elaborate upon?

Salvek: Dabin Reece would be all over the log ride. It is fast, bumpy, and you end up soaking wet at the end. It is very much an encapsulation of his existence.

Ashton Ledbetter would skip the rides and make reservations at the swankiest restaurant on the property (10PM, after all the kids are gone). He would then spend the day either golfing of having a manicure and pedicure. He would also complain about how many children there are around.

Salvek, more than anyone else, would want to go on EVERY ride. It would be a matter of personal pride to construct the most efficient route through the park to enjoy every ride, taking into account all possible factors, such as: Physical distance between rides, time of day (air conditioned rides in the afternoon!), anticipated wait times, fast pass availability, and length of ride, with an allowance for re-ride factor (a number assigned to each ride, on a logarithmic scale, based upon the likelihood that Lair Arie will wish to ride the same ride more than once.)

Jariel loves plants... so look for him on the hydroponics bay tour. I don't think he'll be missing the France pavilion in Epcot either... I think Jariel would appreciate the shows more than the rides. He would love sitting in a room and watching the children around him laughing even more than he would watching the actual show.
17. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data had Spot. Worf was briefly seen with a warthog of sorts, and Tasha also had a pet cat. Besides our famous dog owned by the O'Sullivans, there are no other pets that I'm aware of. Do you think your character would murder any living thing, or have you considered giving them a pet? If the latter, what and why?

Salvek: How did that part about murder get into the middle of the pet question? LOL That depends on what you mean by murder. For fun or spite? No. None of them. Salvek would have no compunction hunting if it meant eating. Dabin and Jariel would definitely be foraging the forest for berries. LOL

If Jariel had a pet, it would certainly be a stray, whatever it was...

Salvek would have a pet that required minimum effort to care for. Like a goldfish.
Ashton Ledbetter would have one of those pets that is meant to be a status symbol, like a Persian tiger. He would take care of it until it dawned on him that it was a FREAKING TIGER! Then he would donate it to a wildlife refuge.

Dabin Reece has a pet he shares with Bru... Sparrow the cat. Sparrow will tell you that Dabin is the real pet. So will Zanh Liis.
18. From my own personal experience, characters are predominantly facets of ourselves, at least in the beginning. The longer our characters live, the more distant they become and the more they begin to form their own traits. In many ways, I guess, they're like real life children in this sense. Has there ever been a character you played that started off wonderful, but turned into a strained relationship? Such as something abhorrent developing in the character that you strongly disagreed with? If not, is there a character in your past or present that you respectfully disagree with on some matter?

Salvek: Nick Lassiter! Charlatan, womanizer... I would be swearing at him while I was writing. I had to give him a noble death because I couldn't stand it otherwise.19. You're the star: Is there a plot arc that you'd like to specifically see any/all of your/our characters involved in this year?

Salvek: Lost in time!!! Salvek and Kellyn's experiment goes horribly wrong LOL
20. Recently, Lair Kellyn was forced to rely on the seemingly least likely member of the crew to save her life, Jamie Halliday. (By the way, thanks, Jamie for that *laugh *) If your character had to rely on one other member of the crew to save their life, who would be your first and last choice and why? (To make it interesting, I'm immediately disqualifying the Captain as an answer to this question- it's my question so I can do that- and also no fair just defaulting to Ashton cause nobody wants to be saved by Ashton *laugh* ~ZL).

Salvek: Ledbetter would definitely not want to be saved by Zanh Liis... since that answer is illegal, he definitely would not want to be saved by Fleur Le Marc. Being rescued by a petite woman whose name means flower would eliminate any shred of manhood he had left.
ZL: You’ve done it now, Fleur might have to save Ashton…by knocking out an alien intruder with her rolling pin. “Invasion force? To this I say pffffffft.”
Salvek: Ashton would want to be saved by Dwan Tubman, as the gentle giant is sure to not gossip about whatever tragedy had befallen Ashton that necessitated his being rescued.

Jariel would not want to be rescued by February… the two of them are buddies and I think he would much rather she be bouncing her baby on her hip then saving his sorry ass. LOL

He would like to be saved by Vol Tryst. They are both in the line of work of helping others, and what better way to do that then by helping each other. Awwwwwwww.

ZL: Indeed, awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Salvek: Salvek would not want to be rescued by Dabin Reece. Merely because he does not want to hear about it for the rest of his life. (Which he will).

He would want to be rescued by Keiran O’Sullivan, since the man (and his wife who I can’t use as an answer) have done it many times over successfully, so logically he is the best choice to do it again.

Dabin Reece would NOT want to be saved Admiral Lassiter. He is afraid of her.

He would want to be saved by February Grace. Look, he’s been damsel in distress and hero enough times to be over the so called “gender roles” BS. When he comes to, the first thing he would want to lay his eyes on is her beautiful face.
ZL: And a bonus question just cause I feel like it, I'm the Captain, and I can do that too...

21: Through the miracle of time travel (My TARDIS is double parked) transporter or Infinite Improbability Drive (your choice) our entire crew of writers shows up unannounced on your doorstep (yep, all seven of us in one place... imagine that...) We're starving and ready for a good time. Where in your local geographical area would you take us to eat dinner, why would you choose that particular location and what would you recommend from the menu?

Salvek: I’m voting for transporter accident…

Since The Captain is taking my #1 choice, I will default to my second choice to make the answer more interesting. While that might be J. Alexander’s steakhouse, the only thing to order there is the prime rib, and its no fun to recommend the same food to everyone. SO I will suggest the Thanksgiving brunch at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The Hyatt is built close to the world headquarters of Ford Motor Company and is the go to place for movers and shakers in the auto industry.*

*At least it was until the auto makers decided cheap labor was better for the industry. The movers and shakers can now by found at La Casa del Hyatt Regency in Mexico City.

Knowing what I know of each of you, I think I would recommend the following (I’ll probably be off by a mile):

The Captain: This is easy, since I know her top picks. Fresh carved turkey, small side of mashed potatoes and gravy, a fresh made waffle, mixed green salad with LOTS of cucumbers and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Save room for the pastry table!

TC: I am thinking you like breakfast food. I’m going to recommend scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon to start. Maybe an omelet too. Of course you’ll make your way to the turkey station soon enough. Mix in a vegetable if absolutely necessary (it’s not). For dessert: Chocolate cake.

Lara: Turkey and a salad for starters… I’m thinking the salad will have a little of everything, Italian dressing. Then onto something more interesting. They usually have some sort of “chicken or fish stuffed with something” or casserole type dish. I am usually tempted to try it by change my mind due to the presence of green peppers. I think you would enjoy it. For dessert: those little pastry cups with the mousse type stuff inside and fruit on top.

Rada: The classics. Turkey, ham, and/or roast beef with stuffing and potatoes. Green beans as accompaniment. You will be game to try a few strips of bacon and/or a slice of fish as well. Salad will be layered with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, croutons and ranch dressing. It will be shaped like a pyramid. For dessert: Pumpkin pie.

Cem: you will arrive with your own fresh turkey which you will offer to the wait staff “just in case they are running low.” You will be informed that they have plenty for everyone. You will then tell them to “suit themselves.” You will take a small sample of each offering, to experience them all. You will enjoy the peel and eat shrimp especially. For dessert: Apple pie a'la mode.

Vol: You will be too excited to eat, but take a plate to be polite. It will have turkey, and a little potatoes with gravy. You will decide life is too short, and move on to the goodies. There will be several visits to the waffle station. By the third time, the woman running the waffle station will simply make it for you, and add the whipped cream and strawberries without asking. She will fall in love with you.
ZL: Hey, waffle woman’s name happens to be Fran and she’s very sweet. And yeah, she probably would fall in love with Vol. After all, she tries to make my waffles shaped like Mickey Mouse every year just cause she’s so nice and remembers that I love Disney. I actually took my Disney Traditions training classes in a conference room at this very hotel…the year I believe some of you were born *shudder*. I am ancient. ~ZL

Salvek: For dessert Vol would enjoy: Soft serve ice cream with copious amounts of sprinkles. For second dessert: anything with berries.
Captain’s note: Since he seems to think the rest of us would eat enough for a large army or seriously risk at least breaking the Biblical commandment prohibiting gluttony (except the Counselor who if anything will just want to move into the Sweet Shoppe and never leave ) I will tell you all that at said buffet Salvek’s picks would be: salmon, roast beef, turkey, and a mountain of mashed potatoes taller than Mount Fuji.

He will need help carrying it to the table.

This would be followed by another round of salmon, roast beef, turkey, and potatoes that would only be as tall as he is.

Next would come the obligatory trip to the salad bar but really only to procure cheese and a small ocean’s worth of peel and eat shrimp.

Later, he would find a way to get to the Sweet Shoppe section, where he would eat one of those tiny éclairs before realizing that he did not leave enough room for dessert.

He would promise himself not to repeat this error the following year but alas, he will.

It’s not that he eats like this all the time, mind you, this is a once a year event and it’s a good thing for the sake of his poor arteries. But I’ll admit it’s fun to watch the glee in his eyes when he sees that beautiful buffet.

Salvek’s note on Captain’s note: I usually hit the bacon and sausage trays too.

Captain’s note on the XO’s note to my note: Of course, how silly of me. How could I forget?



The Captain Interviews... (2009 Edition)

...a series of articles spotlighting our writers, in all their brilliant, quirky, and entertaining glory...

First Up:

The man responsible for the creation of "Commander Salvek", and others as well that may surprise you...


Zanh Liis: Tell us a little about the man behind the Sera's XO, Commander Salvek.

Salvek: I am a 30 year old, soon to be 31, Mechanical Engineer. I work for a company the designs heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for anyone with enough wisdom to write us a contract. My company also does architecture, civil and electrical engineering.

I met my wife on the internet in late 1996, and married her in 1999. I also got a daughter out of the deal, so clearly I got the better end of the bargain. All my wife got for marrying me was a rusty Ford Escort. Well, that and my undying eternal love.

When I'm not writing I enjoy playing with my daughter, Nintendo DS, The Office and Boston Red Sox baseball.

ZL: And for those in the audience who may not know, that wife, in real life is me. Next question: How did you first get interested in Star Trek?

S: I remember exactly how it happened actually. My best friend in grade school knew another kid, who's name was Robert I think. Every once in a while they would start talking about Star Trek. One time I asked "How do you watch that stuff?" and my best friend shot back at me with something along the lines of "How do you know its bad, you've never watched it?"

At this point the only Star Trek I'd ever seen was "The Undiscovered Country." I spent most of the movie wondering what a cloaking device was and why the Klingons weren't supposed to be able to shoot when using it. I was guessing a cloak was some sort of cape, but I could find no practical purpose for a space ship to be wearing a cape.

Anyway, I decided my best friend was right, so I gave Next Generation a chance. The first episode I saw was Conundrum, and by the time I saw Best of Both World Part 1, I had my best friend on the phone half the night asking him what happens in Part 2. The rest is history.

ZL: You've been writing Star Trek RPG for more than twelve years. How did you get your start and who was your first Trek RPG character?

S: In late 1996 when I was in college, there were two people I met online who had created one of the first e-mail based RPGs for Star Trek writing. I remember their names were Chandra and Indiana, but I don't even remember the name of the ship.

When Chandra and Indiana invited me to their game, I asked if I could have a Romulan character, which would have been Takket (my online Romulan persona), and was told no, Federation species only. So, if I could not be Romulan, I decided to go for their Vulcan cousins, and Salvek was born. Since I was in school for engineering, I started Salvek as a junior engineer on their ship. I wrote for him in that capacity and wound up in a larger game, at the same time my wife and I were meeting and becoming involved on line. Eventually she decided to join me in my writing pursuits and Lair Kellyn joined the crew. I doubt you'll find a longer running romance anywhere in on-line RPGs.

I'm not sure of all the dates but I think I'm pretty close LOL.

ZL: Close? Horseshoes and hand grenades, Commander. *laugh*. What is your favorite Trek TV Series? Character?

S: Well my two favorites are TNG and DS9. To me TNG is the series for the social philosopher and DS9 for the tragic poet. Each so different and yet so entertaining in their own way. If I had to pick a favorite I'd say DS9, since they dared to step outside the of the perfect world that is the Federation.

I always enjoyed watching the world through Data's eyes. He had a perfect innocence and purity of soul that made him more human that anyone else.

ZL: Favorite Trek series Captain and why?

S: I believe Picard is my favorite. He was efficient and dignified, never lost his cool when the world was falling apart around him, and could still toss back a glass of Aldeberan Whisky with Scotty like it was a can of soda. He never "sought Ja'maharon" as the saying goes, and only entered into relationships where he had a personal connection on a deep level with the woman.

I can probably relate to Picard better than any of the other captains. Which his not to say that I see him as a mirror of myself, simply that I feel I'm closer to him than any other. Probably because he is the most introverted of the Captains.

ZL: I know for a fact that you do it, but still after all these years of watching it happen right in front of me, I still have to ask the question on behalf of the rest of our audience.

Just how the hell is it humanly possible that the same man writes Jariel Camen, Dabin Reece, and Salvek? They're not night and day, they're night, amusement park ride, and day *laugh*
I've seen you sit down on a Saturday afternoon and post for each one, one after another. How is this accomplished?

S: They accomplish the things I desire most in life. To make my wife feel loved, make her laugh, and make her feel safe. Though those things all can mesh together as different parts of my personality overlap. You're asking me how I keep 3 characters straight when you write 30? Well I take what you do and divide by 10.

Keeping them straight is all a matter of mindset. Just like someone handing you two scripts. One where you are reading for Homer Simpson, and another for Captain Picard. If you know those men, and how they think and what the feel, you can step into their shoes with ease. I know Jariel, Reece and Salvek because they are all part of me.

ZL: If you had to go on a real life Away Mission with only one of your characters, who would you choose to go with? Reece, Salvek, or Jariel? Why?

S: Reece would drive me mad.

So it's Jariel or Salvek. If said away mission entailed some sort of life threatening danger, I'd want Salvek. He would overanalyze every move to make sure every possible thing that could go wrong is accounted for and eliminated. That's pretty much exactly what I would do.

If said away mission involved a room full of angry diplomats, I would want Jariel. My wife once said of me, "He doesn't say much, but when he does, everyone listens." That's Jariel.

When I lead meetings for my job I keep everyone focused on task and try to cut through the BS to the solution. You'd be surprised how far off track people can get if you don't reign them in.

ZL: I believe it. What is the best part about writing for Star Trek: Alchemy?

S: Being the first officer, I can crush everyone beneath me like a bug. Only the Captain escapes my wrath.

The best part is learning everyone else's characters. Mine are like a photo, everyone else is a puzzle with no picture on the box. I need to read and write with others to try and understand their people. It is a treasure hunt of sorts, that never ends.

ZL: Aboard the Sera have the policy that we not only ask, but expect our writers to be able to contribute dialogue for characters not primarily their own. This helps to bring the crew closer together and also creates amazing storylines and character development. What is the best thing that another writer has ever written for one of your characters?

S: Well I won't count anything written by my wife, since she knows my characters better than I do.

Rada Dengar did a joint post with Dabin Reece where he wrote perhaps the funniest Reece line ever. He then told me he was nervous writing for Reece. I couldn't believe it, because he did just as good, if not better, writing Reece than I ever have.

ZL: Additionally, what do you feel is the best contribution you've made to a character you don't primarily write for?

S: I really enjoyed the writing I did with Salvek interacting with Rada, Wren and Tam in sickbay. I don't usually insert myself into another characters life to such a degree, but with a great deal of mystery surrounding Tam's natural father (a Vulcan) it made perfect sense that the boy would be curious about Salvek, and Salvek him.

ZL: The pool of talent we have on the Sera is deep. What amazes you most about your fellow crew mates?

S:We've written HUNDREDS of posts and nothing ever gets repetitive. It is all so original, I never find myself saying "Oh, this is just like the post where such and such happened." Even in the Star Trek series there are many times where an episode has been "done before" on a previous Trek series.

ZL: Tell us something about some of your characters that no one knows yet.

S: Salvek is going to be recalled to Vulcan at some point, and pressured to return to the teaching of logic and complete the Kohlinar.

Reece's first host was a diplomat. Sooner or later we'll learn something about him.

Jariel is soon going to be presented with a chance to return to the good graces of the Prophets. When he speaks to them, he will realize why he can never give himself back to them.

ZL: What are your passions in life outside of Star Trek and writing?

S: My family, playing on my DS. Sometimes I do math for fun. Seriously.

ZL: What do you like to watch on TV when time allows?

S: Red Sox baseball, Tigers baseball, baseball, The Office, Ugly Betty, American Idol, Chuck, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report.

ZL: What is your favorite book/author of all time?

S: I've read America: The Book cover to cover about 20 times. I love any novel by Peter David.

ZL: Sports much? Any team in particular? (like I don't know the answer already to that one LOL)

S: Baseball huge, Red Sox. Football. Basketball playoffs if the Celtics are alive... lol

ZL: Favorite movie of all time?

S: I'd probably have to say the original Star Wars trilogy.

ZL: Favorite bands?

S: U2, Coldplay, Keane, Josh Groban, Nickleback is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

ZL: Proof positive you live in the same house as I do *laugh*. Okay, last one. This is turning out to be a question I'm asking everyone on the crew because of a great post that Vol and Rada wrote last year.

If you could choose any person, living or dead, to be trapped in a turbolift with for an hour- who would you pick and what would you talk to them about while you had them as a captive audience?

S: While I'll keep my own religious views to myself, I can honestly say I would pick Jesus Christ. Simply because there is more mystery surrounding his life than perhaps any other person who's ever lived. I believe an hour with him could provide Earth 2009 with a lot of answers it needs that could end a lot of suffering in this world.