When the Apollo-A got mothballed over a year ago its crew was in need of a new ship and commanding officer. In the smooth transition that followed they found both. Commander Rajel, a joined Trill, took over from Rear Admiral Jaxx and the Constitution became the crew’s new home. Now, a year later we at the News Team thought it was time to seek out Jess, the writer behind newly promoted Captain Jalana Rajel and many other great characters.
First of all thank you for inviting us to your ship captain. Although the Constitution is considered a ship of age I must admit it’s been a dream all my life to actually set foot on one of these beauties.
(Jalana) It’s always a pleasure to have a visitor. The Constitution certainly is a lovely ship and much younger than I am. ::smirking:: It has been generally upgraded before we moved in, so you could say it got a facelift.
(Jess) Happy to be here. The Galaxy Class has always been the one ship that I wanted to have if I’d become CO. I’m happy that I got the chance to fulfil that dream of mine with such a beauty.
If my sources are correct, and they usually are, you became a joined Trill and a commanding officer at the same time. What was the biggest change of the two?
(Jalana) That is basically correct. I have been joined mere days before receiving the new position and ship. The biggest change, to be honest, was to be joined. While becoming a ship’s commander is a huge change, I have been in charge of the crew as Chief Medical Officer before, just in a different way. Joining though merged my life with that of six other people and I still am not quite used to it.
(Jess) What she said. I don’t know if you know the feeling that a character takes over what you want to write, and quite often she makes me halt and think if that is really what she’d do, what she could remember from past lives and which experiences she could have had. She asks way more often about details for past lives than how to be a Captain.
But then I take it they can work well together?
(Jalana) They do. I believe that part of my experiences from past lives help me with some things, like Apria the third host of the Rajel symbiont was a Starship Captain in the Trill Private Service before Trill joined the Federation – she has actually seen this happen first hand. Some of her experiences are valuable, though she has a completely different approach to leading a crew. Mostly I believe things go well, because I have a great crew I can rely upon and trust to do what’s best for the ship and crew.
(Jess): When I wrote that Jalana is being joined I did not know yet, that she would be CO that soon, it happened rather quickly. The joining fit into her story at that time, and it has been a very positive change for her. It is an interesting act to balance her experiences of former lives, without losing her own person, and without appearing to be overpowered. Her past lives are from all over the place, and in certain situations it can be useful, in others nothing she had learned before is of any help. But as she says, things work because of the support of a fantastic crew, I’m happy to be the CO of.
We uhm.. got some reports that one day one you already had a run in with Starfleet Intelligence. Many chiefs and senior officers were debriefed quite intensive. Was Starfleet feeling insecure about its newest commanding officer at the time?
(Jalana) ::Smiling:: I cannot say what Starfleet Intelligence feels about me, that you should ask them. It is true that the crew was interviewed. I see it as the logical follow up after a mission like ours. Time travel is a delicate thing.
Although your career as Captain in starfleet is young, you seem to have a nose for getting your ship in trouble. You ended up in 1914, stood face to face with a paranoid cyborg, how do you deal with all the chaos that finds you?
(Jalana) One step at a time. Taking a deep breath, thinking about what we need to do, ask my officers for their input. That’s basically it.
(Jess) Oh yes, totally zen. ::laughs:: Aside from storming the ship that ‘lost’ her first officer like a wild lioness, or not being able to keep herself on the ship when the crew landed in Earth’s past. She is very eager to be on location, right in the action. I’m not sure if it is her motivation to live life to the fullest or to get herself into trouble. But usually, after thinking and requesting input she goes with her guts. Who knows in what kind of trouble that’ll get her.
I see, well that explains the warning from your first officer and chief science officer to make sure you’d stay aboard during the interview.
(Jalana) Well I can’t always ignore these warnings, can I? ::smirking::
(Jess) Pretty sure that if you’d do it on an asteroid ready to be blown up or a remote island with a volcano, no warning could have been able to hold her back. She’d be there.
Making decisions in tough situations is of course part of the burden of command but I’m sure you have some wonderful things to look back on as well. Could you share some of those with us?
(Jalana) Of course. Seeing everyone safe after a dangerous mission is not only a relief, but a goal that I try to achieve. I love working with my crew, getting to know them and when I see them work in fields they love it’s always giving me a warm feeling. I have seen excitement in people’s eyes when they were assigned to an away team, the joy of being recognized when they are promoted, or just seeing them together like a family, sharing their lives. And outside the crew it is exciting to see what we may find out there.
(Jess) Being a CO is work and I doubt anyone would deny that. But it is also a lot of fun. To write with all these fantastic people, think of plots and stories to share, to share the laughs and the drama. I enjoy being able to reward all these great people for their creativity and devotion, be it ribbons, promotions, awards or just a fun plot they always wanted to write. Being CO is sometimes the most difficult thing, but more often the most rewarding experience of being part of this fantastic group.
A bit longer than half a year ago you’ve released your first book in real life. Although not based on science fiction I’m sure your experience at SB118 was usefull?
(Jess) It most certainly was. While I have started writing “Sra’kalor” before I have joined SB118, it has been helping me to continue and finish. It was not my first book that I ever completed, but also the first I have written completely in English. Before joining SB118 I was not sure if my English would be good enough and I doubted myself many times, taking longer breaks from continuing my story. But writing here has not only helped me to become more secure in writing and more confident in my abilities, but also has improved my English. Sure it’s still not perfect, but I keep learning thanks to some great writers I have met here. I also made great friends with people supporting me throughout the whole process and even now that I am writing on the continuation and other stories. It’s quite a self-esteem boost.
A look at your wiki profiles makes it clear you are a busy bee in our community. Besides your OOC duties in the Image Team, Graphic Contest and the Veteran Affairs group you still have time to sim for a dozen of characters, each with a different personality and story. Is there a role you haven’t played yet but look forward to sim for in the (near) future?
(Jess) There are many things I still want to try. Different species that I find interesting, stories to tell and explore. But mostly there is one thing that I keep trying to do and never pans out as I plan to. I would LOVE to play a really bad guy, a villain that does not change its mind and become the nice guy in the end. After over 20 years of Roleplay, I still struggle with that and I can’t wait to get more chances to get a go at it. One day I’ll be able to do it.
It’s time for a our final question and as always we ask for a top tip for those who recently joined and look forward to a long career in your community. What is your advice to them?
(Jess) Enjoy yourself. One thing that we all have in common is that we want to enjoy our time together, writing stories and experience adventures. Don’t be afraid to play with people you don’t know yet, you will get to know them in no time. And no matter at which stage in your career you are, we all are here for the same in reason, and we all are happy to write with the members of our ship’s family. Being part of this group is full of potential and possibilities. And oh so much fun!
Thank you very much for sharing some of your time with us and best of luck in what we hope will be a long career at Starbase 118.
(Jalana) Thank you, it was a pleasure.
(Jess) What she said. 😉