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. Most recently we interviewed FO of the Gorkon, Alucard Vess.
This month, we’re interviewing dedicated, long-time member and captain Alex, who plays the current captain of the USS Za, Keelah Rhani. Let’s get started!
WOLF: I was surprised to realize that it’s been ages since we’ve interviewed you, so I’m glad we’re getting a chance to talk! Can you give us a little about yourself, like where you hail from, and what are you up to when you’re not simming?
RHANI: It has been a while, hasn’t it? Well, let’s see… I live in the UK, where I spend most of my time either writing in the vague hope of having something suitable for publishing and acting as primary carer for my autistic son.
You’ve been a member for years now. Give us a brief overview of your resume with us, and maybe what your favorite postings were?
I first started out here when I was browsing the internet in search of some idea what this whole “PBeM” thing was all about, and found my way to an interesting looking site that combined both it and Star Trek – and I’ve been here ever since!
I originally started out on Ops with then-Ensign Della Vetri, who was my primary character for the vast majority of the time I’ve been simming. Between her and a couple of secondaries over the years, I’ve served on a variety of ships, and have had a blast on each and every one of them. So much so, in fact, that it’s hard to pick which one might be my favourite…
I’d probably put it as a tie between the USS Avandar, which I had the privilege of shepherding into service, and the Duronis II Embassy, which has a great bunch of players crewing it.
You’ve been the captain of a number of ships, but surely the Za is the most unique! What was it like, inheriting this command and this crew from the former captain?
It was certainly a bit of a surprise to be approached, and there was a fair amount of work involved in getting up to speed, but thanks to both Fleet Captain Solzano and the Za’s staff the whole process went pretty smoothly – even though I was joining the ship in the middle of a mission. The Za’s crew were very welcoming, and the experience has made me realise just how much I’d missed being a Captain 🙂
Can you give the readers some insight into what it’s like commanding a ship in UFOP: SB118?
Being CO of a ship is a great honour, and a chance to really get involved in the crafting of stories and the ongoing development of the ship and crew. That said, it is something that should not be entered into lightly – you’re basically taking on a part-time job when you take the job.
It’s worth it, though. There’s a lot of scope for it to be a very rewarding experience, whether it be welcoming new players into the community and nurturing them as writers, seeing the wide range of great ideas that your crew come up with, or bidding farewell to a member of your crew as they take the plunge and become CO’s in their own right.
Talk to us about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim?
Step one, copy everything into a separate document, making sure that I’ve got all the responses, narrative, and tags in there. If there is a specific thing I have in mind to happen, such as a plot twist or some important piece of information, I usually put that in first before filling in anything else.
Then, I kind of let the character take over. I know it sounds a bit silly, but I find it a lot easier to write something that feels right to me if I don’t actually think about it too much 🙂 I’m not sure if it really comes across to those reading the sims, but when writing them, I certainly have a different “voice” for each character I’ve written for… and that’s part of the fun!
Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who’s just joined?
Relax, and enjoy the ride. It might seem a bit daunting to simply dive into an ongoing narrative with experienced writers, but every single one of those other players started off right where you are, and I’ve never seen there be any hesitation in help, tips, or guidance being offered.
We’re all here to have fun, so enjoy it!
Thanks so much for your time!
You can read more about Capt. Rhani on the wiki.