When one looks at the title logo for this blog, one can generally see a pattern in the characters I create-at least in appearance. It’s also not hard to see that one of those characters doesn’t quite fit. The story behind that is the story of Venkoreth th’Reklaw.
When Star Trek Online was first announced, back before the day when Cryptic took over development, there was a lot of speculation as to just what the game was going to be like. I kept saying that my plan was to create an Andorian redshirt (eg. Security); redshirts, of course, were infamous in the Original Series for being killed, often before the first commercial-indeed, sometimes before the opening credits! It was to these unsung heroes that I decided I’d dedicate my character in the game to, instead of being a captain or one of those other big positions. Well, time passed, new developers came on board, and what we got was very different than what I had envisioned. I had a character in mind for the game as Cryptic revealed it, but since I was thinking of captains, I put the Andorian concept aside.
What I did instead was take advantage of one of the shining details of the game: the ability to create your bridge officers. And that was the beginnings of this character.
Of course, developers being developers, they promised the moon on any number of occasions, and one of those was that they wanted to eventually allow max level captains to “spin off” characters from their bridge crew, promote them to captains of their own ships. How they could have gotten this to work would possibly have been a coding nightmare, and in the end, it never happened. When I figured that detail out (it didn’t take as long as you’d think), I decided that, “Gee, since I can save the appearance of the character on a file, why don’t I just make a new captain based on that?” It wouldn’t allow the character to jump right into a higher tier ship right away, but I was certain I could push him to significant levels in a reasonable amount of time. The final push that convinced me to make that move was the release of Andorian starships on the C-Store; who better to command one such ship than an Andorian captain? And since I had an Andorian concept already just sitting there, well…!
The story of the character was tied to that of my primary character, Walter Frost. Venkoreth-or Koreth for short (aren’t I clever?)-was Walt’s earliest friend in the Academy; during his cadet cruise, the Klingons (who were still at war with the Federation at the start of the game’s episodic timeline) managed to blow up the ship he was on, and he was one of the lucky few to be in an escape pod before it went up. Damaged, he was still asked to serve with the newly put-in-command Lieutenant Frost. If I had gone on to write any other fiction on this beyond what I’d done prior to the game’s launch, I’d have had him get his confidence back-a definite swagger-and eventually be promoted off of Frost’s chain of command and onto a new ship-a retrofitted Andorian Kumari-class starship called the Zihl. I figured that since these archaic ships were in the game, and since the devs pointed out they were updated versions of these archaic ships, I’d run with it: the Andorian Imperial Guard kept old shipyards with the specs dormant just in case the Federation fell. But wiser heads realized, “Why don’t we just crank out these ships, since we seem to be losing ships by the dozens?” The ship makes use of higher end Andorian phasers/torpedoes, and I felt that Koreth’s command would be a sort of cavalry ship-the kind that you see that shows up “just in time” when other ships are at their direst need. Koreth himself was a tactical captain as well-yes, I’m aware that thus far, all three of my Cast List captains are tactical. I promise my next one will be a science or engineering captain.
The uniforms, I’d decided early on, would be more of a darker coloration, reflecting a more military posture for this ship and crew. I did maintain the traditional three-color set for Starfleet branches, with red showing command/tactical, gold for engineering/operations, and blue for sciences/medical. The difference was that instead of being the primary colors, I used the colors only on the trim of the outfits. I wanted a couple of “outsiders” for the main crew, too, so I used my pre-order Borg officer as one, and a Jem’Hadar from the Dominion arc as another. This helped confirm for me the “rough and ready” nature of this crew. I didn’t get exotic with the weapons on the Zihl: I saved up Dilithium and grabbed upgraded Andorian phasers (mostly cannons, but I slapped a turret in as well) to stick with the whole Andorian warship theme.
Koreth got his push, and I managed to get him to max level in the game-and while he’s not a main character of mine, he IS pretty much the same sort of guy as most of the balding, bearded guys in my blog logo, because heaven forbid I play an MMO where I don’t have a character with that sort of appearance. I even got clever with the name: go ahead and spell out the last part of his name in reverse. Sometimes I can’t help myself.