Each month, we interview a captain or first officer of the fleet to gain more insight on what it takes to command a ship and learn more about how each of these staff members found their way into these roles. Last month, we interviewed FO of the Constitution, T’Mar.
This month we’re interviewing FltCapt. Quinn Reynolds – Emma – who’s had a really stellar year since her last interview, this past September. Let’s dive in!
WOLF: FltCapt. Reynolds, congratulations on your multiple award wins in this year’s recently completed Awards Ceremony! You received both the Staff Member of the Year and the Christopher Pike Pendant, which is an incredibly prestigious haul. What does it mean to you to receive these awards?
REYNOLDS: Thank you! It’s difficult to put into words how much these awards mean to me. I’m obviously honoured to receive them, but most of all I was really touched to read the nominations from my crew and colleagues around the fleet. The group has been a part of my life for nearly a decade now, and it’s really heartening to see that the time and effort I invest has made a positive impact on the individuals that I work with on my ship, and the fleet as a whole.
You were originally the commanding officer of the Eagle many years ago, then took an LOA. Since you returned, you took command again and are now in the center chair of the Gorkon. Can you give us some insight into how the fleet, or the experience of command, has changed since your first run?
One thing that I’ve certainly noticed is how much more visual things are. We have the Image Collective, making sure that everyone has a character avatar if they want one; the wiki is beautiful and well-illustrated as well as informative; the website is sleek and easy to navigate; and that’s just to name a few examples. I find it difficult to write if I can’t conjure a picture of the scene in my head, and it’s so much easier with all this imagery and visual inspiration we now have.
I’ve also found that the command level of the group has made great strides toward being more open and approachable, to the membership as a whole and to each other. One of the strengths of our group has always been the sense of community, and I feel that’s really grown over the years.
You chose a Sovereign class as your current command and named it the Gorkon. What led you to that class, and that name?
I chose the Sovereign class because Star Trek: the Next Generation has always been my favourite of the series. At the time there had very recently been a Galaxy-class in the fleet and I wanted a class that wasn’t currently in active service, so there was only one solution: the same class as the Enterprise-E. It certainly helped that the Sovereign is such a lovely-looking ship!
The name came about because it’s been increasingly bothering me just how human-centric Starfleet can be, despite all the equality and diversity that it’s supposed to represent. We see very few starships named after non-human places, mythologies or people, and I wanted to chose a ship name that honoured something (or someone!) that wasn’t human in origin. It was a close run thing between the names Gorkon and Kumari: the former because the Undiscovered Country is my favourite of the Trek films; and the latter is the name of Commander Shran’s ship in Enterprise, who was by far my favourite guest character in that series.
Can you give the readers some insight into what it’s like commanding a ship in UFOP: SB118?
It’s all about listening, I find. Not just to what people tell you, but what their actions (such as sim quality and quantity) are saying as well. Understanding what people enjoy, and what they struggle with, is such an important part of being a captain. Once you’ve got that down, then everything else falls into place: you can create plots to engage your crew, give them roles within a mission that they’ll enjoy, and offer support as and when necessary.
The other important thing for me is to seek the advice and opinions of my fellow staff members. There’s a real wealth of experience on the Captain’s Council and if I’m ever uncertain as to the correct course of action, or I’d just like some input on an idea, I know that I can get some really thoughtful advice and opinions from the fleet’s captains, commanders and first officers.
I’d like to ask about your time on the Executive Council. You were inducted as a full member of the EC in November of last year. Has there been anything that’s surprised you about how the EC works?
I think the greatest revelation for me was how little the EC actually gets involved in the day-to-day running of the group — and I mean that in a good way! There’s often this perception that we’re constantly making plans and micromanaging the fleet behind the scenes, and in reality that’s not what’s happening at all.
The other surprise for me was how varied the thoughts and opinions can be on the council, and how each member can approach a problem at a completely different angle. It’s relatively rare that we all immediately agree on something, and I think that’s a good thing. Plans and ideas are often challenged and refined before they get anywhere near implementation.
Tell us more about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim?
Usually I use the last sim posted in a scene, and then I work backwards through everything that has come in since I last wrote to make sure that nothing gets missed out. It’s essential to me that I respect and include everyone’s contributions as much as possible, so if someone has taken the time to describe what their character is doing, then I will take the time to make sure it’s included in mine — from my character’s perspective, of course!
Once that’s done, it’s time to add my own original content. Creating an evocative image for the mind’s eye is very important to me, so when it’s appropriate, I always try to make sure that I use all five (or six, if I’m writing a telepath) senses to describe a scene.
Thanks so much for your time!