Aaron Pollyea trying to convince the guards why they should allow him to fly the USS Discovery pictured in the background.
This is part of a continuing series where we get to know the masterminds behind the RPG that goes where no RPG has ever gone before – Star Trek Adventures.
The folks at Modiphius search far and wide for qualified writers to bring the Star Trek universe alive for gamers all over the planet. I was able to run into writer Aaron Pollyea in the midst of hijacking a derelict space shuttle, which he convinced me was a necessary task based on temporal events of 2394. After I got him to stop talking about that (threatening him with the Temporal Prime Directive) he calmed down enough to give me this interview.
Michael: How did you get involved working on the Star Trek Adventures game?
Aaron: I’d been doing freelance writing for a few years and was looking to expand my horizons. When one of my friends posted on my Facebook wall about a new Star Trek game being worked on by Modiphius, I was excited. They were looking for writers. I immediately put together a small resume of sorts with some sample writing and a lot of ideas. There was some back and forth between Samuel Webb and me on what I thought I could contribute. And here we are!
Michael: What is your role at Modiphius?
Aaron: I’m a freelance writer. I’ve generally focused on writing adventures for the Living Campaign as well as standalone adventures, plus writing a lot of the more technical parts of the books, in-universe rather than rules. I’m generally the go-to guy to write starships and can spout technobabble with the best of them. I’ve done a lot of things for STA. I’m really happy to continue to expand outwards in different directions whenever I get the chance.
Michael: Nice! What is your favorite part of the Star Trek canon? Why?
Aaron: This is a really tough question. I’ve been a fan of the show for literally as long as I can remember. I grew up watching The Original Series on reruns. I think my parents have a picture of me on my first day of preschool giving a Vulcan salute. I say all of this because I don’t know if I can point to a single thing and say “This is my favorite part of canon”.
What I can say is that my favorite part is that there is canon; that each show and each series builds on the others adding to canon and making a larger picture that everyone can watch and enjoy. I love the fact that I can piece together a coherent history of the past, present, and future and extrapolate from it.
Michael: I agree. But say I asked you to try really hard. What would you pick?
Aaron: If you really pressed me though, I would try and narrow it down to any episode that adds to our knowledge of alien cultures that have been around in the Star Trek universe and are a big part of it. I love how The Next Generation added to who and what the Klingons were as a culture. I love how Deep Space Nine fleshed out the Bajorans and gave us an interesting look at spirituality in the 24th century. And I have a grin on my face when I watch Enterprise and the Andorians show up.
Michael: Outstanding perspective! Who is your favorite character in Star Trek? Why?
Aaron: Unlike the previous question, this one is easy. Spock. Hands down. I loved how he knew what the problems were, could figure out the solutions to the problems, and never ever let his emotions or other human foibles get in the way of the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.
But as I got older I realized that his emotions and feelings were just as important to Spock, he just hid them behind the logic to save face or to attempt to keep a respectful distance. Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of Spock really moves me still. I can’t watch The Wrath of Khan without shedding a tear at the end even after watching it hundreds of times.
Spock as a character embodies everything that is good about humanity all the while trying to stay apart from it. Being kind and generous, desiring knowledge and understanding of both himself and the universe around him, knowing what he had to do to save the lives of the many over his own. That logical exterior hides a warm heart, and it moves me. I have loved science and astronomy for as long as I can remember. While I can’t say for certain that Spock inspired a very young me to pursue that as a career, I can say that Spock always makes me feel better about the future of humanity and our desire to explore the stars and beyond.
Michael (shedding a tear): Man, that was beautiful. What excites you the most about Star Trek Adventures?
Aaron: I love that we can write stories that add to everyone’s enjoyment of the Star Trek universe. I also really enjoy being able to think out ideas about why things happen in certain episodes and come up with a background as to why any of this occurred in the first place and what stories can be told about that. I also have been enjoying reading stories where people weave themselves in Star Trek Adventures going in directions that I never expected. The Milky Way is a huge place and the Federation is such a small part of the whole. Think of how many stories can be told!
Michael: Okay! We’re sold. We are sticking around for more adventures. Tell us, what are we most likely going to find you busy doing if you aren’t absorbed in Star Trek Adventures?
Aaron: I have a few hobbies that I generally keep busy with. I enjoy playing board games and, having a fairly sizable collection, I haven’t played them all. I also do World War II re-enacting with my wife as Soviets, so I get to practice my Chekov impression more than most Star Trek fans.
Michael: Um. Wow.
Aaron: As for me, I am a lowly army private. My wife is a pilot in the Night Witches, an all-female bomber regiment.
Michael: Um. Wow again. And tres cool.
Aaron: They have a fascinating history that most people have never heard of. And on the off chance I have a clear night here in Michigan, you can find me with my telescope looking up at the sky and smiling from knowing that I know so little of what’s out there and that there is so much to see!
We are with you, Aaron! Star Trek Adventures spurs our imagination too. Oh, I look forward to the day when humanity does reach the stars. I know it is possible and going to happen! Keep that imagination at work on our behalf as another talented writer for Star Trek Adventures, sir.
If you want to touch base with Aaron about his work, check him out on Facebook.