In our continuing series on the Commanding Officers in our fleet, we come to the CO of the Duronis II Colony and USS Thunder. She is also the current Captain’s Council Magistrate, serves as Deputy Commandant for Cadet Training and much more.
Captain Toni Turner took time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions.
Nathan Baker: What is your earliest recollection of Star Trek?
Toni Turner: Some of my friends in High School were Star Trek fans, and they would occasionally tell funny stories about what happened during some of the TV episodes. Having parents who didn’t allow us to watch much television, I didn’t really relate to my friends’ interest in the programs. It wasn’t until the “Wrath of Khan” movie came out that I had my first glimpse of the Star Trek Universe.
NB: How did you find the Starbase 118 group?
TT: I belonged to a Paint Shop Pro Users’ group and saw a classified ad in their on-line newsletter wanting writers for a small PBEM group. Although not a fan of Star Trek, I like the idea of getting to write with others. Unfortunately, the group was made up of close knit friends and family members who didn’t really want the group to enlarge. One of the players in that group was also a member of Starbase 118 and gave me the address, recommending it highly. I applied and have never seriously looked at another group since.
NB: What department did you start off in and why?
TT: [I started] out as a Counselor (mostly because I thought it would be the easiest to play with my limited Star Trek knowledge), but within a month of joining I made the move to Chief Medical Officer. Through extensive research, and the help of a dedicated mentor, I found my footing in space.
NB: Do you have a specific plot you remember from the early days?
TT: Starting out at the Embassy, I found I liked the ongoing subplots that enter-twined with the lives of the Laudean people. They were creatively challenging and offered the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds – land and space. Any mission that stretches the muscles of imagination is appealing to me.
NB: When did you decide to make the leap to Command?
TT: It would be hard to determine exactly when I decided I wanted to command, but my best guess is when I became CMO and received my first promotion. I don’t remember a day since I joined that I haven’t done something to work toward that goal.
NB: What is the best part about being a CO?
TT: ::smiles:: The best part of being a Commanding Officer is watching my crew members grow into poised and confident writers. Some of them come to me unsure of how to express themselves and doubtful they will find their niche in the scheme of things. The transformation is incredible to witness.
NB: In your opinion, what is the most difficult aspect of being a Commanding Officer, either IC or OOC?
TT: The most challenging part of being a CO is dealing with the different personalities of the writers in OOC, especially when we have very different backgrounds.
NB: Do you try to have your character conform to a certain “command style”? For example, are you the friendly CO who will have drinks with your crew? Do you distance yourself in order to maintain respect? How would you describe it?
TT: I suppose it’s cliche to say that I don’t send my crew members over a bridge I would not attempt myself. I’m a hands-on type of leader, and find I’m just as respected in the trenches as I am with distance between us. I want my crew to feel comfortable in bringing their ideas and/or concerns to my attention. I give them prompt answers and let them know I am there to help them when they need me.
NB: Besides being a Commanding Officer, what other activities are you involved with?
TT: Currently, I’m Deputy Commandant of UFOP: Starbase 118 Academy, active member of the Publicity Team, active member of the Species Development Committee, serve as Captains Council Magistrate and Cadet Steward.
NB: What advice would you give a new writer who is just getting started with our group?
TT: I always tell them to relax, enjoy and be themselves.
NB: What about some advice for those of us who one day would like to Command a ship/base of our own?
TT: Anyone contemplating a ship of their own should first become active in helping the group grow and prosper through OOC work for the group. If you think about it, no one can become a captain if there is not a need. Helping to bring in new players and/or keeping the players we have, ensures that the need for someone to fill the center chair will be there when your time comes.
And now, the 5 questions I ask all of my interviewees:
NB: Favorite Star Trek TV Show?
TT: Um, I really don’t have a favorite. I like them all.
NB: Favorite Star Trek Movie?
TT: Without a doubt, “First Contact” would be my choice as favorite because of its historical value.
NB: Kirk or Picard?
TT: Neither… actually, according to my First Officer Commander Tallis Rhul, Sisko reflects more of my command style.
NB: Favorite Trek-nobabble?
TT: Isn’t it all Trek-nobabble? ::laughs::
NB: If you could visit any world from the Star Trek universe, which would it be and why?
TT: [The Ba’ku Planet] appeals to me because of the simplicity of it’s inhabitants.
Thanks so much to Captain Turner for her time. You can follow the continuing adventures of the Duronis II crew at their Yahoo! group by clicking HERE . Keep watching for next time when we’ll feature another one of our intrepid and talented Commanding Officers. Until then… Happy Simming!