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 Fleet Captain Aron Kells, the CO of the USS Thor, one of two support ships from the Embassy of Duronis II. The crew of the Embassy has transitioned permanently to the Thor and embarked on a new mission.
GALVEN: Thank you for agreeing to take a moment and be interviewed! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?
KELLS: Sure! My name is Tony, which I use primarily in part because I’ve used half a dozen different characters as PCs since I first joined the fleet back in 2005. Kells is probably the character I’ve simmed for most often, which is one of the reasons I chose him for command this time (but more on that later). A fun fact about me is that I joined 118 when I was still in high school and I’ve just recently finished my PhD, so the group has seen me through my entire higher education journey.
You just recently took command of the USS Thor. With your previous command service record, has it been a smooth transition process?
Very much so. My first regular command was of the Mercury, almost exactly eight years ago, and that was a more difficult situation. The original CO retired only four months after launching the ship, and his replacement lasted less than a week before he had to take an emergency, long-term LOA. The Mercury’s XO was a real trooper and was a great help to me when I came on as CO, and I knew when I found out what a force Brian (Lt. Cmdr. Teller, the Embassy’s and now the Thor’s XO) had been in helping to keep things together, I knew that the work he and the other great staff members had started put me in a really strong place to come in and help the Embassy crew move to Thor.
With such a decorated service record. where and what kind of places do you turn to with that kind of dedication and contribution to 118?
I like Trek a lot, first, and that’s part of my persistence. It’s such a rich universe, and there are always more stories to tell. That said, I read and watch very widely, partially just as a lover of sff (science fiction & fantasy) and partially because I co-host a podcast, The Imaginaries, that looks at contemporary sff from a queer perspective. Blatant self-promotion: https://www.imaginaries.net/
Out of the number of years you’ve been with the fleet, is there a specific time that stands out the most for you that’s memorable?
I was very, very lucky in that I managed to attract a group of dedicated, devoted simmers, many of whom are still around. Of those, several went on to commands themselves, which makes me very proud. In general, though, I’d say the years that I spent commanding the power trio of Mercury-Garuda-Invicta are some of my very best memories of the fleet. I know that’s a big span, but it was all pretty good.
Before you wrote for Aron Kells, you had another character named Niccolo del Vedova. What made you decide to use Kells rather than del Vedova to command the USS Thor?
That’s a great question. I do think that I will switch to Nic del Vedova, or Del, as a CO sometime in the future — but I expect that to be more than a year hence, probably. I did consider which character to use as my CO character carefully, and I ended up choosing Kells due to a combination of familiarity (both to me and the fleet), experience (IC and OOC), and story. Del will get there!
What kind of advice would you give new and even current members of the fleet?
Surround yourself with people who are smarter and more talented than you. Seriously, part of the reason that I remember those Mercury-Garuda-Invicta years so fondly is that I was surrounded by just that caliber of folks. Rich (aka Flt. Capt. Rahman) blew me away from the start, but there are plenty of people who are still around (Mandy, aka Lt. Cmdr. Moonsong — Sarah, aka Cmdr. Saveron — and many, many others) who are just some of the most amazing people.
Thank you for your time, Fleet Captain Aron Kells!
You can read more about Fleet Captain Aron Kells on the wiki.