Mondays are typically a busy day in the Training Academy as they usually mark the beginning of a new training class. These fast-paced, week-long classes provide new writers with an introduction to UFoP:Starbase 118 along with a chance to get acclimated to our fleet and learn our formatting and style. In addition to training new writers, they also allow the rising officers in the fleet to gain experience in the Command Chair. In yet another installment in a series of articles on the Academy’s Trainers, we’re showcasing Lieutenant Commander Tallis Rhul, First Officer on the USS Ronin.
In getting some background on this writer and musician from the UK, he revealed that UFoP: Starbase 118 isn’t his only hobby. He also enjoys “Star Trek in pretty much all of its forms, card games, martial arts and languages,” along with a recent interest in ballroom dancing. When he isn’t doing any of that, he might be found watching football with a few of his best mates who live across the road from the dream house he rents, the rivalry between Everton and Liverpool playing out in full force between the two houses.
The show Deep Space Nine provided the inspiration for his character, a Bajoran male. In describing the appeal the race holds for him, he noted that “they’re a contemplative people whose society is so heavily based on art and religion but they’re not afraid to stick up for themselves and what they believe in,” something he found especially apparent in both the characters of Ro Lauren from ST:TNG and Kira Nerys from ST:DS9. It was ultimately the storyline of the latter that caught his attention. “After having seen Kira’s story unfold over seven years, and being totally wrapped up in the Bajorans’ relationship with the Prophets, there was really no contest when it came to making the call over which species my character would be.”
That show wasn’t his first exposure to the Star Trek Franchise, though, nor was it what initially made him a fan. He credits the movie Star Trek: Generations with igniting his interest in the Federation, although he did have minimal exposure through a few episodes prior to watching it. He admits to spending most of the movie getting confused between Deanna Troi and Beverly Crusher, prompting a series of questions to the friend that invited him. Recalling the incident he noted that “he didn’t get annoyed; after a while he just found it really funny. He couldn’t even tell me to shut up and watch the film he was laughing so much.” Since it was the film that got him “hooked on Trek”, Commander Tallis says that it remains one of his favorite movies.
Drawing from his love of Star Trek, his memories of his own training class, and his interest in helping out with OOC work in the fleet, Commander Tallis was excited to join the ranks of Trainers when he was given the opportunity. When asked why, he responded “I think it was the prospect of having the chance to be a part of other people’s first memories of the fleet that was the biggest attraction.” He has continued his work with the Trainers, recently becoming part of the Training Staff, an offer which he lists among his most rewarding moments.
He also continues to learn from the experience. One of his most valuable lessons, he says, is “that it always pays to be adaptable and accommodating. When you’re working with members of the fleet you don’t necessarily know very well, and people who are new to the group, you have to give everyone a chance to be creative. It’s difficult to manage everyone’s interests at times, but that’s certainly a rewarding challenge.”
In addition to his work as a trainer, of course, he is the First Officer on the USS Ronin, a position he took on his transfer from the USS Challenger. When asked about future plans for Tallis, he responded that the Bajoran has “just become involved in a relationship with Toni Turner after a mysterious date at a masquerade ball (the two didn’t know each other’s identity, and then found out later on).” He went on to mention that he may have some interesting twists to come: “As a writer I have a tendency to make my character’s lives difficult – Tallis has had a break recently so maybe I’ll throw something unpleasant at him! “
If Lt. Cmdr. Tallis’ story has inspired you to become one of our Academy Trainers, please head to the Training Operations Team website. There you can learn more about why you should become a trainer and what the prerequisites are, as well as find instructions for joining the team. Perhaps your most memorable class will be comparable to his which “involved the crew of the USS Centris beaming down to respond to a distress call from a compound that was run by a little-known alien race. We had some fun with that one, including a trip through a good old-fashioned spider-web filled corridor and inexplicable sounds of people being dragged around in the distance. Normally classes don’t tend to be that macabre, but this one was a reminiscent of a B-movie! I think in the end Starfleet Intelligence ended up being responsible for whatever was going on in the facility, so there was a big twist in the tale!”