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Counselor Troi talks with a member of the Enterprise-D crew while in her office

Duty Post Award Winner – Corliss Fortune, USS Gorkon (The Order of the Valiant Heart)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2020 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters.

This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Lieutenant Corliss Fortune playing a Betazoid female counselor assigned to the USS Gorkon. She  won the Order of the Valiant Heart: “This award is given to those ship’s Counselor who have shown great skill in protecting the mental health of their crewmates, clearly demonstrating superior ability to care, assist, and comfort those in need. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty in assisting their crewmates with their problems, and in preventing future problems from occurring.

GALVEN: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?

FORTUNE: Heya! I’m Hailey and I’m from the grand ol’ state of Texas (we even have our own song, haha). It’s warm and sunny with plenty of allergens to knock you for a roll! I found SB118 way back in the day, but due to College I didn’t have time to check it out. A few years ago a friend of mine stopped roleplaying with me and I felt…lonely, I suppose, so I hunted down a roleplaying group, remembered this place, and decided to leap in and man, I’m glad I did!

Congratulations on being awarded the Order of the Valiant Heart! What does that mean for you and your character?

I’m so excited about it!! I mean it! I think it means that I’m doing a pretty swell job at keeping both in character and keeping things realistic. Sometimes you always get a little niggle that oh man, I’ve messed this up, but it feels good, you know? Means I should keep up the good work and get to it!

Do you take any inspiration from any of the Trek shows/books/movies or anywhere else when you begin writing for a scene?

As a kid, I went to visit my grandmother in another state. On the way there we slept at a hotel with like, two channels, and one of those held a marathon of TOS. My biggest memory is the one with the Horta and just a simple scene of Kirk talking with Spock.

I know various details from fanfics or the show, but when I don’t know something, I go detail hunting with a net and Bing, my own personal search engine, haha. 

However when it involves a session, I fall back on Psychology books and magazines and articles of all kinds, searching for a little start of what I’m needing.

In Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds presentation she says that you help the ship’s writers delve into their character psyches. Could you provide an example on what she means by that?

Sure! I think the one JP with Jo was absolutely interesting. In a pretty recent (how long has it been?) mission, Erin Reynolds (that is to say, Jo’s girlfriend) and Genkos Adea combined minds to ‘swim’ into Quinn’s mind to help her out (it’s very interesting, I greatly suggest reading through it).

Jo’s character was having a bit of an inner argument on how she felt about it.

Now, the thing is, obviously, irl we don’t have people with these powers, and thus the ‘feelings’ behind this is hard to explain. So instead, I rip it down to shreds on what a realistic envisioning of this would be.

However, you also have to take into effect how Corliss, herself, as a telepath and Betazoid, views this scenario. Plus, I tend to poke a little and ask how the writer wants to kind of see things going.

Thing is, you don’t quite know HOW things will go! You try your best! So, she pries a little, focuses on Jo’s feelings (as that’s what was the crux of things), and then gently suggests she speaks with Genkos and Erin about what occurred.

So far what’s happened is: delved into emotions, feelings, and even opened the door for more simming opportunities between Erin, herself, and Genkos at some point.

It helps evolve the story just as much as evolving the character of Jo herself, leaving the door open for her to ask more questions in the future about what may or may not happen between the three (and leaving the writer eager to bash out their own personal story alongside the main plot!)

And lastly, what advice can give new and/or veteran players when they choose to write for a unique duty post such as the counselor? 

The best quote I have ever read is “You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you.”

What I like to do, what helps keep me floating along, is when I help others and dig around in their characters and go ‘hey, have you ever considered that this little detail might be evidence of something greater?’ It’s exciting to me, and it’s perfectly okay to let it excite you as well!

Don’t let just one type of counseling session be your ONLY type. Laying on the couch is only useful for some. Some like to pace, to shout, to yell, some like to use the holosuite to go on walks or challenge you to a duel. These open the door to not only exploring their characters, but your own by seeing how YOU react to a new environment!

And uh, don’t hesitate to research! If someone comes up and says ‘hey my character’s drinking problem is becoming an issue’, but you don’t know how to address it, take to Google! Read through AA sources, pound through psychology magazines, buy an audiobook and let it take you on a journey as you make notes.

But above all: have fun with it! Instantly fixing things might be tempting, but it’s much more fun-and helps your own character with their relationships with the crew-to keep digging in and offering real solutions to problems that take more than one attempt to work (such as anger management, couples therapy, EMDR, etc.) and more than one session to get to the bottom of.

Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Corliss Fortune!

You can read more about Lieutenant Corliss Fortune on the wiki.

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