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.
This month, we’re interviewing Commander Mei’konda, the CO of the USS Montreal, one of two new ships launched last month.
WOLF: The last time you were here on the news was June 2017 as part of our First Officer in Focus column – welcome back! How have you been since then?
MEI’KONDA: I’ve been very well. I found the role of first officer a fun one to play, especially under Rich (Captain Roshanara Rahman), who was and still is a great mentor to me.
You’ve just recently launched the USS Montreal as part of a fleet expansion due to an influx of members. How are you settling in to your new role as commanding officer? And what was it like to launch a new ship under these circumstances?
This is the first time I’ve been so involved in the launch of a new vessel, and it was pretty chaotic for the first one or two weeks because it was on short notice. But I welcomed that particular challenge, because I felt that if I could handle such a busy launch, I would be able to handle Captaincy itself. Thus far, I’m enjoying the role of commanding officer. I’ve been lucky enough to have some extremely creative writers on my crew, and I can’t wait to see where they take our stories.
What’s been the most surprising thing so far about taking the leadership role of a vessel?
I haven’t found anything particularly surprising about it – I think Rich, and the role of first officer, prepared me very well for what I’d be having to deal with when I took command.
And what’s been most challenging for you personally as you take command?
I think the most challenging part has been keeping players engaged and meeting their numbers. Out-of-character communication is very important in this regard, and the frequency with which I need to keep up with it is definitely higher than when I was a first officer. But it’s a good skill set to have to develop!
You’ve been a member for a couple years now – and you were previously a member way back in the late 1990s! – tell us a little about your observations of the fleet from these two very different periods. What feels like it’s changed, or stayed the same?
Back in the late nineties, when I was a member the first time around, the overall organization of Starbase 118 was much lighter – ships seemed to operate more or less independently, and even though I made it to Lieutenant Commander at that time, I don’t recall having many additional out-of-character responsibilities, such as serving on task forces, like Lieutenants and Lt. Commanders do now.
Simming itself hasn’t changed much – but the opportunities in the fleet to help with the organization and to learn and grow as both a person and a player have expanded significantly. Writing in SB118 has helped me in real life to learn how to handle scheduling and communication much better than I could before.
Where do you draw your passion and inspiration from when it comes to writing and contributing to the game?
For me, the appeal of Star Trek has always been that humanity will move beyond our differences today and achieve something great in the far future, and I find the idea of life aboard a Starship to be as engaging as an exciting mission can be. I enjoy helping other players develop their own stories, and making the ship itself feel like as much of a character as the crew.
Thank you so much for your time!