Welcome to another edition of “Captain’s Corner!” This time around, we meet a truly unique commanding officer in our fleet. Captain Tyr Waltas is the only Ba’ku officer serving in our fleet at this time. Also, he commands the only non-canon Starship in our fleet… the Ronin Class USS Discovery-B! Recently in character, Captain Waltas was married to Commander Eden Redstone in a ceremony on his homeworld. We offer him and his wife congratulations!
A few weeks before the ceremony, Captain Waltas took some time and answered a few of my questions.
Nathan Baker: What is your earliest recollection of Star Trek?
Tyr Waltas: I watched the original series re-runs when they were played by Fox TV. I recorded them and watched them religiously until I’d seen every one, then moved on to the existing movies (I believe ST3 had just come out).
NB: How did you find the Starbase 118 group?
TW: I wish it was a wonderful, meaningful story, but to be honest, I just did a Yahoo search for “Star Trek Play By Email” and UFOP came up. I applied, and the next thing I knew I was writing my application sim about Tyr wandering the Vulcan wastelands.
NB: What department did you start off in and why?
TW: I started as Helm/Comm/Ops on the USS Constitution. I had a pretty good idea the direction I wanted Tyr to go. Having seen Star Trek: Insurrection, I imagined a Ba’ku that went against the grain, interested in technology and disgusted with the pacifistic attitude of his kin. I wrote Tyr as a rebel-someone who studied offworlder music, pilot tactics, and tactical methods. When the Son’a attacked the Ba’ku homeworld, Tyr saw his opportunity and trained as a pilot.
NB: Do you have a specific plot you remember from the early days?
TW: My second mission was Daris II, an idea hatched by my former CO. It basically focused on the premise of “I Am Legend” and such, with an entire Starfleet research facility turned into mindless zombies by a virus. Although the movie was largely a bloodbath, the mission reached an interesting conclusion where the crew were forced to confront turned members of their away teams. It was also the beginning of my character’s first relationship as Tyr risked life and limb to rescue a loved one who was infected with the virus.
NB: When did you decide to make the leap to Command?
TW: My move to command was more out of necessity than desire. My former CO had become highly displeased because several members of the crew were simming things that didn’t go along with his personal religious beliefs. He left suddenly, tried to take the crew with him and the First Officer and myself tried desperately to keep the crew together. Due to the happenings the FO was promoted to CO, and I took the First Officer position. Although I wasn’t sure I wanted command at first, I found I enjoyed helping newer simmers perfect their skills and developing Tyr’s personality (who I never really imagined in command) . Tyr was at a turning point in his life as well, so the story of being elevated to command, discovering he had a daughter, and facing life-changing events made for quite a beginning.
NB: What is the best part about being a CO?
TW: I’ve always enjoyed watching what the crew comes up with in regard to a mission. I NEVER lay down a mission point-by-point, and refuse to say “OK, now THIS happens”.. I think it robs the group of creativity. It’s fascinating what a motivated simmer will do with the plot when given full control. Being a CO, to me, means simply keeping the train on the tracks and keeping it rolling while dealing with things that interfere with the creative process. Seeing someone rise through the ranks and become trainers and Commanders is something that has always been a rewarding experience for me.
NB: In your opinion, what is the most difficult aspect of being a Commanding Officer, either IC or OOC?
TW: Keeping things going while trying not to monopolize the plot is always difficult, because it can sometimes result in a slower sim rate. People are sometimes reluctant to take the reins and run with something. It’s a difficult balance to maintain, but the rewards are worth the trouble. Another issue is of course disciplinary action, as it completely robs you of your “fun time” and having to deal with someone who may simply be out to ruin the experience for everyone. We, as COs, are still here to have fun and dealing with trouble-makers sometimes robs us of that fun.
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?
TW: Tyr is by no means a “by the book” CO. He would much rather be beaming down with the away team than sitting in the command chair twiddling his thumbs. He is very laid back and only breaks into “command mode” when it’s absolutely necessary. He is largely informal, and despises dealing with the upper echelon (in-character only, of course). He is warm, inviting, and engaging with the crew, and if he locks himself away then something is very wrong, and he’s about to do something self-destructive.
NB: Besides being a Commanding Officer, what other activities are you involved with?
TW: I’m an avid World of Warcraft player (Scarlet Crusade server!) and love to write poetry and songs. I’m a computer technician in real-life and love to listen to music of most types.
NB: What advice would you give a new writer who is just getting started with our group?
TW: Don’t be afraid to take the plot forward. This is something that new simmers always have a hard time doing for fear of being rebuked. Most COs are looking for people who will take the ball and run with it, not just write with and respond to what others put out.
NB: What about some advice for those of us who one day would like to Command a ship/base of our own?
TW: Listen to the advice of those who are already doing it, and observe how each decides to behave and develop their characters. Also, PARTICIPATE, not just in the simming of your group, but other events for UFOP as well. There are numerous guilds, organizations, and clubs, along with the forums, for you to participate in. The more you do, the more you’ll be noticed.
*And now, the 5 questions I will ask all of my interviewees:
NB: Favorite Star Trek TV Show?
TW: Not sure if you wanted a series or an episode, so I’ll give both. Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation. Episode: The Best of Both Worlds (Part I and II).
NB: Favorite Star Trek Movie?
TW: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
NB: Kirk or Picard?
TW: Kirk, hands down. Although they tried to make Picard “cooler” over the years, Kirk is the definition of a “Captain’s Captain”. He thinks for himself and is willing to bend the rules to make sure good prevails. Oh, and Kirk didn’t surrender the Enterprise on his first mission.
NB: Favorite Trek-nobabble?
TW: Anything Scotty says.
NB: If you could visit any world from the Star Trek universe, which would it be and why?
TW: The Ba’ku homeworld, because you could live forever.
I’d like to thank Captain Waltas for taking the time and give us his insights! Be sure to follow the continuing adventures of USS Discovery-B at their Yahoo! Group. Next time on the Captain’s Corner, we’ll speak with the newest CO of Starbase 118 Ops; Captain Andrus Jaxx. Until then, and as always, Happy Simming!