Fans of The Dandies’ Star Trek improv show, Holodeck Follies will often ask about characters’ backstories. Where are they from? What do they do in their downtime? What’s their family like? Today, we’re giving you a peek into the backstory of one character – Commander Hunter, played by Chris Casselman.
A glimpse into the life of Star Trek improv character, Commander Hunter
Starfleet Academy Holoblog – An Interview with Commander Hunter
Hello readers! My name is Quellen Haut, a 2nd year cadet at The Federation’s Starfleet Academy, and I recently had a chance interview Commander Hunter of the USS Hummingbird after his commencement speech for the Academy here in San Francisco, on Earth. Below is a transcription of the chat we had.
Q: What was it like growing up on a starship? You were born in space, isn’t that correct?
Hunter: Yes, my father was a Starfleet officer when he and my mother had me, and he was serving as an LJG [editor’s note: lieutenant, junior grade] aboard the Odyssey at the time. As a Galaxy class ship, it had a large civilian compliment and there were a lot of families on board, so it wasn’t like I was home-schooled or isolated in any way – those kids turn out weeeeird. It was a big ship, so space-cabin fever wasn’t a concern, although I will say you do get a little tired of all those identical corridors. This was before the Dominion war so fortunately most of the Odyssey’s operations were fairly benign exploration and discovery missions; safe planets with pretty plants and friendly aliens, and even a few with friendly plants and pretty aliens [laughs]. There was that one time everyone was genetically transposed into coconuts, I’ll never forget that – and I’ve never been able to eat a coconut since. Needless to say all the students got an extension on their book reports that semester.
Q: Starfleet runs in your family, what was it like growing up with a captain as a father?
H: Well to be honest, he had just been given the Bondar around the time I went to the Academy; so, fortunately, I didn’t spend more than a few weeks with ‘Captain Dad’. It did mean there was a lot of pressure on me at the SFA, but it’s not like I was the only one with a lot to live up to. Anyway, before he made captain he was very strict with me, I couldn’t get away with much. Actually, that’s not quite true; it just meant I had to learn how to get away with things.
Q: Oh really, what kind of trouble could you get up to on a starship?
H: Let’s just say I know a lot more about reprogramming holodecks and food replicators than many engineers do.
Q: Currently you’re serving as first officer on the U.S.S. Hummingbird, but prior to that you were commander of a space station, Deep Space 6. What prompted that move?
H: Deep 6 was great, it really was. It was my second assignment out of the Academy; I was there a long time before becoming commander of the whole station – started from the bottom and all that. We did a lot of good work and saw a lot of strange s*** out there, oh, sorry, can I say s***? Anyway, I learned a lot about command and leadership at that post, but being on a station was starting to get to me, I needed to move around and I think I had accomplished everything I wanted to there. When the Hummingbird became available I knew I had to go for it. I don’t think I could have expected to be given a captaincy without more starship experience, so it was a natural choice, and I consider it a lateral move, not a demotion.
Q: Do you miss anything about being in command?
H: Well the quarters are smaller now [laughs]. But seriously, I get to lead away missions now, and with the missions the ’bird takes on, it means plenty of phaser fights and explosions. There’s never a dull moment. If I don’t get vaporized, I’m sure I’ll land my own ship one day, but at the moment being more hands on is where it’s at for me.
Q: What’s it like serving under the Federation’s first Klingon captain?
H: I’m not sure what you’re asking me…
Q: I mean, uh, well, she’s the first…
H: Look I don’t think you’d be asking me this if it were Kathryn Janeway or James Kirk. What’s it like..?
Q: Deep Space Six was close to Klingon territory, so you must have experience working with Klingons—
Q: Do you think maybe that makes you more suitable, you know, ah, maybe that’s why you were given the position on the Hum—
H: She’s an excellent captain and runs a fine ship. Let’s move on.
Q: Okay, great. Uh, let’s see, what’s your favourite planet and why is it Risa? [laughs nervously]
H: [laughs] Well, Risa is beautiful, I’ve been there many times, but I actually really prefer a place like Dessica II. It’s a frontier planet, actually home to some ancient Romulans ruins, but it’s sort of an independent, no Romulans there now. In fact, it’s a lot like the Earth’s Wild West, a really good time, some amazing bars there, lots of trouble to get into. I once met this piano player… actually, nevermind.
Q: Okay, let’s wrap up with our final question tonight. If you weren’t in Starfleet, what would you be doing instead?
H: Ah, that’s a good one. You know, I’ve sort of always known that I’d be joining Startfleet so I was never on any other path – although I can cook a mean pizza, the old fashioned way, but I don’t think I’d have been happy doing that. Space is definitely where I’m comfortable; I would probably have ended up an explorer, flitting around the frontier systems in a Peregrine, chasing after the Tox Uthat or some other silly legend.
There you have it, words and wisdom from the adventurous Commander Hunter of the USS Hummingbird! Stay tuned for more interviews as I can snag them for the SFA Holoblog!
Quellen Haut signing off!
Look out for more peeks into our Star Trek improv characters’ lives in the future!
Here are The Dandies, we love our Star Trek improv characters and enjoy sharing them with our audiences – onstage and off. That’s why we’ll continue to dig into our characters’ lives and opinions on the Star Trek universe in the months to come.
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