First Officers in Focus – Trellis Vondaryan, Gorkon | UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG

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First Officers in Focus – Trellis Vondaryan, Gorkon

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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.

This month, we’re interviewing the new First Officer of the USS Gorkon, LtCmdr. Trellis Vondaryan, a Vissian male.

Let’s get started!

WOLF: Tell us a little about the writer behind Vondaryan. Where do you hail from, and what are you up to when you’re not simming?

VONDARYAN: I’m Collin. Originally I’m from southern California and currently reside in the DC metro area, having spent a lot of time abroad over the last dozen years. When I’m not simming I spend a lot of time writing, actually. Some of that writing is for job applications (boo!), but the majority is for my attempts to get into TV scriptwriting. And of course I watch a lot of TV.

How’d you choose this character species, and what do you find compelling about playing a Vissian?

I originally had Trellis double-major in Intelligence and Engineering, with the intention that he’s fascinated with propulsion systems and learning about alien ships in any way possible. He’s especially interested in alternative faster-than-light (FTL) theories, much like QSD.

Vissians were introduced as a naturally curious species with extensive knowledge of engineering, so it seemed a natural fit in that aspect.

The thing I find most compelling about Vissians is basically being able to create a whole culture. There’s very little canon about the species and, surprisingly, not very many others have seemed to have played them, so I have almost a blank page to work from in writing for Trellis. Though I haven’t done it yet at some point I will be updating the Vissian wiki with all the stuff I’ve simmed.

What ships have you served on and what duty posts have you played so far in your Starfleet career?

I started off on Starbase 118 Ops as an Intelligence Officer, eventually working my way up to Chief of Intelligence. Then when the Za was launched I was offered the opportunity to serve as First Officer, which I did until it was decommissioned. With that happening I moved over to FO of the Gorkon.

That of course doesn’t take into account the plethora of PNPCs I’ve created. With them I’ve managed to sim almost every duty post except counselor and, oddly, engineer. Though, admittedly, my “Doctor” is a bit dark and has no bedside manner whatsoever.

What’s your favorite, and least favorite!, parts about playing a First Officer?

My favorite part is being involved in all of the background, behind-the-scenes work involved in making the ship work. I love being involved in planning missions and knowing what to expect for the mission and how to get everyone involved in various aspects of the mission. I also really like mentoring people. It’s great to see people bloom as writers and with their confidence.

My least favorite is all the paperwork (or digital work) involved in all of that. Emails galore!

Tell us more about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim?

I copy and paste the most recent sim someone wrote that has tags for me into a new document. Then I go to the next most recent adding more (or other) tags, and keep going back until I’ve got them all. I then re-read my last sent sim to get into character before I start writing.

I almost always start with a brief summary of what’s happened so far before going into dialogue. If at some point there was a particularly good descriptive scene somewhere I’ll refer to that to give my own POV. I usually try to give some action or description sequence for every four to six lines of dialogue, and more if something exciting or plot-related happened during the dialogue.

Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to others on how to be a successful First Officer?

Be prepared to work more than just simming. With the FO position comes a lot more OOC responsibility, often including participating in the Captain’s Council, mentoring new players, writing the monthly ship reports, and anything else that your captain may require from you. If you let it all those duties can eat up a lot of time. Developing a great sense of time management is a must.

Is there a particular aspect of your role of First Officer that motivates you in your position?

I like that it’s different from anything else in than anything else in the fleet. No matter the character background they can rise to FO or Captain. But we all have the same role once we reach the position. Keeping the ship and crew safe, obviously, yet there can be tension between FO and Captain, especially those that like going on away missions. Of course we’re all friendly OOC, so it’s just a matter of writing the drama IC.

Thanks so much for your time!

You can read more about LtCmdr. Vondaryan on the wiki.

About Tristan Wolf

FltAdml. Tristan Wolf, real name Jordan, founded UFOP: StarBase 118 – a Star Trek Play By Email RPG – in June of 1994. He previously served as the Commanding Officer for a number of simming installations, notably the first of StarBase 118 Operations. He currently lives in San Francisco with his partner and their Humane Society rescue dog named Baxter. Jordan works in politics, loves scifi (natch), fantasy, and new technologies.
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