First of all, why the character change? What makes Diego Herrera a better captain for the Vigilant than Tallis Rhul?
After resolving a major plot arc, Tallis has reached a point in his career where his reasons for joining Starfleet in the first place have been fulfilled and he is turning his attentions to other matters, such as family. Diego, on the other hand, is definitely the type of character who I could see in a Starfleet uniform until retirement age. Those members of the fleet who’ve had a chance to write with him (he was my secondary for two years, and served on the Eagle, the Challenger-A and at the Duronis II Embassy) will know that he’s a lot more levelheaded and laid back than Tallis. He majored in both medicine and counselling at the Academy, has served in both positions in the fleet, and while one could argue he’s not seen the front lines of combat quite as often as Tallis has, he’s been in his fair share of scrapes and encountered some very interesting situations! With this chance to switch to command red, I’m very much looking forward to adding a new aspect to his character, and as I writer I certainly think that he has the right skill set to take on the responsibility of captaincy.
What drew you to comission a new ship, rather than take another ship?
A couple of reasons. The first is that I wanted something new – a brand new start for a brand new captain, because that opens doors in terms of character development and really giving a launch a feel of a fresh new start. The other reason was that I really like the idea of being there right from the very start of a ship’s first voyages into the unknown. Some of the other members of our newly assembled crew have expressed the same thing, so I’m glad that struck a chord.
In your opinion, what makes the Vigilant special?
Its location is a major factor. The Zeta Gelis cluster is right out on a limb and quite isolated from the rest of Federation territory, so we’re really on the frontier. That means it’s more difficult for Starfleet to just send out a fleet to fix up anything that happens out there! We’re also close to Romulan space (and potentially therefore Klingon attack squadrons), Zalkonian space, the Zakdorn homeworld and also unexplored territory, so that means anything goes – we could run an action-based mission followed by exploration, one end of the spectrum to the other! I also really like the idea of having a starship that can land. I’ve heard that gets me round the ‘captains shouldn’t join away teams’ stipulation!!
The fleet recently introduced a new way of staffing newly launched ships. Do you think it’s helped you with the Vigilant?
It couldn’t have helped us more! I have to say that all of the COs who have been involved in the transfer process have been amazingly helpful. It’s been great to receive so many well wishes, detailed transfer information for all of our officers so that they don’t lose any promotion progress and just general offers of help. The way that the ship was promoted has been fantastic as well – it was great that potential transferees had a chance to read about the ship on the wiki, the forums and the main SB118 site so that they could have as much information as possible about the ship before they decided whether or not to fill in the form. I have to say a big thankyou to Fleet Admiral Wolf as well, as the organisation of the launch was flawless. The MVP in my eyes was the ‘Join Vigilant’ page on the SB118 main site. It was so persuasive and exciting that when I read it I wanted to fill out the transfer form myself, even though I knew I was already on the crew!
The response to join the Vigilant has been good, and you have a fairly balanced crew in terms of experience. Did you have to turn away any potential applicants?
Unfortunately we did. I really appreciate the response from the fleet and I’d like to reassure anyone who did transfer but didn’t find a spot on the crew that we tried to be as fair as possible when creating the Vigilant roster. Obviously we had to create a balanced roster with a mixture of ranks from Ensign to Lieutenant Commander, as well as a workable mix of duty posts and a balance of origin ships. It was no easy thing to do!
You’ve set yourself a goal of 250 posts a month for the Vigilant. It’s a lofty goal! How do you expect your crew to respond to the challenge?
250 is an aspirational target but I think it’s doable. All full time SIMmers in the fleet are expected to post 3 times per week at minimum, and if the current level of enthusiasm continues then I don’t think we’ll have a problem meeting that. Obviously it’s very close to the holidays and already the 13th of the month, so we might not make 250 in December! When I commanded the Mercury for her launch in December 2011 we saw a steady climb from 175 SIMs up to a peak of 298 in March of 2012, and I’m confident that we can do something similar with the Vigilant. I’m very pleased with the fantastic crew we have and I certainly believe that they have plenty in the tank!
Do you have any goals, general or specific, for the Vigilant and her crew?
Yes. In the short term, I’m looking to get the crew gelled into a coherent unit. Looking at how enthusiastic everyone is about the start of our first mission (which will happen on Saturday, 238912.15) I think we’re well on the way to that. Everyone is currently in the process of thinking about how they will arrive on the planet, and I know there are some people who have transferred from the same crew writing joint posts, which I think is a great way for everyone to introduce their characters to the group at large. In the long term, I’m looking for us to become a vibrant ship that maintains high standards of writing! I really want us to make a mark on the Zeta Gelis region and the fleet as a whole!
The News Team would like to thank Captain Herrera for taking the time to speak with us, and we wish him and the entire crew of the Vigilant good luck and safe travels as she ventures out into the galaxy.