In early 2009, the Republic and Imperial factions were brought back to life at SWRPG and beyond older characters brought back, quite a few new ones were created in order to fill in the ranks and instill some life into these reborn groups. At this time, I had the idea of a mechanics character for whom I would use Katee Sackhoff. A friend of mine had previously written a Republic Navy pilot with the same actress so we agreed on writing twin sisters. I think it was the easiest time I had to come up with a character’s background as my friend’s character already had hers and save for personality, the history just needed to be slightly altered. Basically, Ranooki and her twin were raised with their brothers on the rural world of Adumar. The two women left one day aboard a stolen craft to go enlist with the Republic, because of a dare. They can’t go back to their home world without getting arrested, but Reese spitfires have little interest in doing so.
Ranooki didn’t have any ambition regarding climbing up the military ladder. She went through physical and weapon training like others, but what mattered to her was to serve in the hangars and warehouses and take care of the Navy’s ships. I have a lot of difficulties with anything related to military writing but it wasn’t the only reason why I chose to make Ranooki a “grease monkey”. It was important for me to go for a support crew type of character as well, as it was a different angle and I find it important to also shed light on such characters who help the faction in their own – and important – way. The New Republic is often depicted as a society supporting justice and equality but it even shows in how we write characters in this faction at SWRPG. Indeed, Ranooki didn’t experience misogyny not just when joining the Navy or climbing up the ranks, but the fact she was a female mechanics was well accepted. It isn’t to say she gets along with everyone – especially with her sometimes annoying and barking quirks – but issues with others don’t happen because she is a woman. There are other places in the galaxy where Ranooki could get in trouble because of her gender, but it never caused trouble for her on New Republic territory.
Ranooki is loud, easily swearing, drinking and getting into trouble but she is always spotless in her work. The fact that she made it to the rank of Lieutenant Commander at this point is a huge surprise to me. She had some prestigious assignments to different capital ships and squadrons so far and I am curious to see how her career will continue to develop. I had ups and downs in her writing and I felt like a snake biting its own tail on a few occasions; but I she stuck around and has become a lot of fun to write again, over the past couple of years.
By now she has gained a few friends and even a boyfriend – which took her a while as she mourned the disappearance of her previous one for an extremely long time, which also had to do with my difficulty as a writer to move on when a character’s mate vanishes for whatever reason. I always try to have my character deal with the disappearance in their storyline, even when their mate not being written anymore is because the other writer doesn’t have time or muse. I need to have the story to know where my character is at.
- How important do you think support staff characters, such as mechanics in the military, are and what do you think they can bring to a story?
- Which place does equality have in your fictional universe?
- Can other people’ characters help you with your own?