On February 14, 2005, the player of Lieutenant K’trani Vr’Ner, Chief Science Officer of the USS Kodiak, passed away. He had a brain tumor that he was fighting all the time he was playing. I knew him only as Ryan, knew he lived on the west coast of the United States, and that he was ill, and that he was a young man, but not much more than that. One of the odd things about simming is that you know the character much better than the person behind character. Commander Rhys knew Lieutenant Vr’Ner far better than I knew Ryan. So why, then, did the whole crew of Kodiak, and beyond, feel such a pang of grief when Ryan died? Partly we were mourning the loss of a colleague. Partly because a young man was taken before his time. But also, partly, because simming is a very personal activity. I am not Commander Rhys. But there is a lot of me in Rhys. Rhys is how I hope I’d be, and from Rhys’ interactions with Ryan, I learnt a lot about what Ryan hoped he’d be. There was real warmth in Rhys’ relationship with Vr’Ner.
K’trani Vr’Ner joined the ship on October 11, 2003. She was initially appointed to the Science department, serving as both as Science Officer and Chief Science Officer before being posted to Helm. She participated in several memorable missions including the Diktrikian mission, the mission to the Bon Amir and the mission to Merrie, Perrie and the rest. From August 2004, Ryan was in and out of hospital, and was only able to sim spasmodically. K’trani’s last sim, reproduced below, was sent on January 26, 2005, three weeks before Ryan died.
One of the remarkable things about Vr’Ner was that she was an unusual species. The majority of UFoP writers choose Terrans, Klingons, Vulcans or, occasionally, Bajorans to play. Vr’Ner’s feline Caitian stood out in the group. Had Ryan survived, I have no doubt that K’trani would now be a full Lieutenant.
The other remarkable thing about Vr’Ner was her writer’s dedication to UFoP. Despite his illness, he still found time and enthusiasm to write, let us know when he was going to be in hospital, and could be expected to return. He was remarkably candid about his illness, telling us once that he was going into hospital, and that if he didn’t survive, Seph would let us know.
Our characters face death all the time, but few of us have in real life. And few can have faced it with greater courage or dignity than Ryan. Vale, Vr’Ner. We will miss you.
Reminiscences of Vr’Ner by UFoP members
I talked to Ryan’s family. Actually, to his mother, sweet lady. She wanted to send her thanks to everyone and to thanks us to have her son to be part of our group.
She had a little sense of humor. She asked me if our group is some type of a cult, I said to her, no. She knew about it, she was just playing with me. She said, Ryan would talk about the Kodiak all the time, how the mission goes and who gets hurt or killed.
Ryan’s funeral will be held this Saturday, 02/19 and I bought flowers on all of our behalf.
You guys, have no idea how sweet Ryan. He was kind, funny, and caring. I wish you all had a chance to see or meet him in person. You would all like him. I will always remember the day Ryan, Han, and I went to Las Vegas to see the new ride “the Borg.”
Lieutenant jg Seph 849, Mission Specialist (currently on leave)
I wish to send out my most heartfelt sympathies to V’Ner’s family. He was an extraordinary person. Always had a kind word. Always had an encouraging word. When I was really down, and beginning my “bipolar” journey, V’Ner wrote to me to encourage me and let me know he was thinking of me. As sick as he was, he was able to reach out to a near-perfect stranger and let her know that there is always hope.
When you boil away the essence of UFOP, we are all just people. People who laugh, fight, struggle, hope. We sleep, eat, breath and feel. And each one of us touches each other in one way or another. I have met people here who have impacted my life to great extremes. V’Ner was one of them.
My thoughts are with him tonight.
Commander T’lara, Counsellor, Starbase 118 Ops
I remember Vr’Ner well. I trained her. She and (now) Lieutenant Reed were both in the same class. Her first sim on the Kodiak was on October 11, 2003, a sim replying to Lt Myriah Caragan. That seems so long ago. Myriah was also one of my first contacts on the Kodiak. On the date Vr’Ner first simmed, I was a new Lieutenant Commander at the time, freshly First Officer of the Kodiak, just away on a mission surgically altered to appear as a Diktrikian.
One of the best things about Vr’Ner’s simming was that she simmed an unusual character. It’s always good to see non-Humans, Klingons, Vulcans or Bajorans in our universe. It helps remind us that, in this universe, we’re all different as well. Her Caitian character was a refreshing change.
I will miss her. Rhys will miss her. And certainly the Kodiak will miss her.
Walk with the Prophets, Vr’Ner.
Commander Rhys Bejain, First Officer, USS Kodiak
Vr’Ner and Reed were roommates for a time. Vr’Ner/Ryan was always kind and did a good job at coming up with original ideas. He was always open about his illness and accepting of it, doing a good job through it all to be positive.
He will be remembered by the Kodiak.
Lieutenant Jefferson Sakorra Reed, Chief Tactical Officer, USS Kodiak
It’s hard for me to believe that he’ll be no longer between us. I’ll remember him with affection for all that he showed through Lt. Jg. Vr’Ner to us and through his will to continue with us just after the surgery. Unfortunately we’re not in 24th century. I’ll remember him and while any of us remember him, he’ll not leave us at all. I hope he’s whatever he wishes,… maybe he is between the stars.
Lieutenant jg Kalin Terpes, Chief of Security, USS Kodiak
I had the honor to have played with Ryan, Vr’ner, for quite a time. He played a Caitian female and do it so well, and with him I was starting to make something similar like a personal relationship as I liked how he simmed. If Vr’ner was something similar to Ryan, I missed the chance to know a very special person and I’ll always remember him and try to follow the attitude about life and his courage to remain with us to the end.
I’ll remember you, Ryan, and Vr’Ner will remain with me.
Lieutenant jg Kalin Terpes, Chief of Security, USS Kodiak
Lieutenant jg Vr’Ner’s last sim
Note that Lieutenant jg Seph is a Hermat, and bigendered, which makes for some odd grammar. This sim was written three weeks before Vr’Ner died.
((DS17 Assembly Hall))
::Vr’Ner and Seph sat by the window while Vr’Ner watched Seph eat hish Thalian chocolate.::
Seph: Thalian chocolate. The beans are aged for at least four hundred years. ::Gesturing with the chocolate for emphasis. This makes replicated chocolate taste like targ dung.
Vr’Ner: Huh. I haven’t tried targ dung before.
Seph: You want some? ::Offered the candy to Vr’Ner.::
Vr’Ner: ::She made a gagging look.:: No, thanks. I get more entertainment out of watching you.
:: Vr’Ner grinned. From no-where, Lieutenant Commander Rhys appeared.::
:: Vr’Ner nodded.::
Rhys: Pleased with your change of department?
Seph: ::The question of hish superior officer felt like a kick on hish head. S/he wasn’t happy about the change.:: Frankly, sir, not really. I always had been an engineer.
Rhys: Mission Specialist is one job I’ve never done. Basically, you’re providing advice and background information to Hollis, Perkins and me. You’re our library and research specialist. ::He grinned.:: Easy job.
Seph: < A secretary job. > ::S/he thought to hirself.:: Well, changing a job probably challenging.
::S/he looked at Vr’Ner and hoping she would say something. Rhys spoke to a waiter::
Rhys: Another Mikell red please. ::He turned back to Seph.:: You’ll be fine. ::He felt a presence at his back and turned to see Vr’Ner, their feline officer.:: Vr’Ner!
Vr’Ner: Hello, Commander.
Rhys: When did you get back?
Vr’Ner: Today, sir. I arrived today.
Rhys: Well, welcome. I knew you were returning, but not when. Back to full health?
Vr’Ner: That’s affirmative, Commander. ::She didn’t know if Commander Rhys is drunk or not, but it always bothered her to be around a drunk person.::
Rhys: Good. I have a feeling we’re going to need everyone’s skills next mission.
Vr’Ner: Then, I’m glad that I’m back. ::she wondered.:: What is the new mission?
Rhys: You’ll both find out. Going to be an interesting mission. ::Behind them, he saw Reed and Solok, and he had to congratulate Reed.:: Would you excuse me? I’ve got to catch up with someone. Busy FO you know.
Vr’Ner: Certainly, sir. ::turned to Seph.:: Is he drunk? ::she said softly.::
Vr’Ner: ::laughing.:: I think he is drunk.
Vr’Ner: ::She remembered something.:: Hey, guess whom I met back on Earth?
Vr’Ner: ::Feeling not welcome by Seph.:: What is wrong with you? Ever since I got back, you been dazing out.
Vr’Ner: Oh. Do tell.
OOC: For the record, Rhys wasn’t drunk. 😉