Each month we interview a First Officer or Commanding Officer of the fleet as part of our “First Officer in Focus” and “Captain’s Corner” columns to get to know them better, and learn more about what their positions entail. Our last interview with an FO was LtCmdr. Brayden Jorey, First Officer of the Duronis II Embassy.
This month, we’re sitting down with Cmdr. Alucard Vess, a long-serving member of the fleet who’s now the First Officer of the Gorkon. Let’s get started!
WOLF: Tell us a little about the writer behind Alucard Vess. Where do you hail from, and what are you up to when you’re not simming?
VESS: I come from a small town in Indiana where I’ve lived pretty much my whole life. I work in manufacturing, and in my free time I ‘m usually reading a comic book or listening to music. And when I’m not doing that I’m cuddling with my two cats Athena and Jitterbug, or planning my next comicon costume.
You’ve had a long career with our fleet. Catch us up on what ships you’ve served on and in what duty posts you’ve played.
A few years ago I played a Brikar named Turc Brakur on the two Challengers where I was a security/tactical officer. I served under Captains T’Pen and Samal Frazier. Turc was kind of a tough guy (what do you expect from a walking boulder?) who kept to himself mostly. I still play him as an emotionally scarred PNPC.
Then after a break from simming I came back as Alucard. My first “ship” back in the fleet was the Duronis II Embassy where I played a Medical Officer, First Officer, and Helmsman. While there I got to really experiment creatively with Alucard. Believe it or not, but he wasn’t originally going to be an Augment (the genetically engineered cohorts of Khan Noonien Singh), nor a Scotsman, he just sort of evolved that way. He was originally going to just be an arrogant human doctor, much like you’d see on Grey’s Anatomy or ER.
When the Victory re-launched under Captain Nugra I moved over there and played first the helmsman and then the medical officer. Playing a helmsman on an Intrepid class ship is interesting, because since it’s not exactly a battleship its survival can depend on some fancy flying. We had some really great storylines, from Romulans to The Hunger, with a smart mouthed AI to boot.
The Gorkon came next. It’s the second Sovereign-class I’ve served on (the first was the Challenger-A) where I first played the CMO and now play the FO. It’s been a wild ride. My favorite mission with the Gorkon so far was our “Year in Hell” where we were trapped for a year in an alternate reality where the Dominion won the war. It wasn’t a very pleasant galaxy to live in and we almost didn’t make it back. But the best part is that the chapter isn’t finished yet. We have a whole new campaign area compete with a new species to explore, there’s no telling what’s around the corner.
How is the FO position similar or different from your previous posting?
It’s a bit more challenging, which adds to the fun. When you play one of the other duty posts you can always fall back on that if you get stuck. For example, an MO can patch up some wounded or an engineer can invent some damage to repair. As the FO, I don’t have a specific department that I’m in anymore. So now when there are wounded, instead of simming Alucard rolling up his sleeves and going to work, he might agonize over how he can no longer help because now the rest of the ship needs his attention.
Is there a particular aspect of your role of First Officer that motivates you in your position?
I’d have to say my interactions with other players is what motivates me most. As the First Officer Alucard interacts more with other departments which allows me to be more creative. I strive for everyone to enjoy the game as much as possible, so I often hide little easter eggs in my sims that reference pop culture and a lot of the time they are meant for one or two people who I know are particular fans. Especially if I know a writer has been having a bad day I try to leave something special for them to find.
Tell us more about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim?
My sims usually have their genesis long before any of my shipmates ever see them. My work allows me a lot of time to think, which I of course spend thinking about ideas for new sims. So by the time I return home I usually have several ideas written down.
When it comes time to turn those ideas into a sim, the first thing I do is gather everything together. This involves reading through all of the pertinent sims to the character I’m writing the sim for, be it Alucard or one of my PNPCs, and then collecting it all into a word processor in the proper order. At that time, it’s pretty messy and still includes descriptive text from other players. I then change the text colors so that each characters descriptions has a different color. That allows me to know at a glance who is doing what. Then I copy paste the whole thing into a second document and remove all of the descriptive text from copy number two leaving only dialogue. I then write answers to my tags and add my own descriptive text from my characters point of view using the first copy as a guide to what has already happened.
It’s a little involved, I know! And it didn’t just pop up overnight, it took years, (and more than one faux pas), before I found what worked for me.
Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who’s just joined?
Have fun. It’s a game that we play, so don’t take it so seriously that you don’t enjoy it. And if you feel like you’re not having fun, talk to your CO and FO about it, they can help you.
Thanks so much for your time!
You can read more about Cmdr. Alucard Vess on the wiki.