Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2019 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 Commander Jarred Thoran playing a Human male assigned to the USS Atlantis where he’s now the Commanding Officer. In the 2019 Awards Ceremony, for his work as the First Officer of the Columbia, he won the Strange Medallion the duty post award that recognizes first officers. Named after Commander Sally Strange, widely known as one of the most creative and dedicated First Officers in the fleet’s early years, this award is given to those who perform above the call of duty in the position of First Officer.
GALVEN: Thank you for agreeing to have an interview with me! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?
THORAN: It is my pleasure, thank you for having me! I’m Richard, currently a Brit residing in Germany where I am in the process of learning to fly helicopters for a living. I’ve been with the fleet for just over two and a half years, and have loved every minute of it. Outside of simming I am an avid reader, enjoy video games and am just starting to delve back into tabletop roleplaying.
Winning such a unique duty post award such as the Strange Medallion must be really exciting! Is there any kind of inspiration from anything in Star Trek or elsewhere when you write a scene?
It really was an honour to have been chosen to receive the award. The competition was very stiff as we are fortunate to have a great bunch of hard working and talented First Officers across the fleet.
With regards to inspiration, that is an interesting question. I will admit to not being as familiar with Star Trek as many others in the fleet, so I often find myself reading over Memory Alpha or the wiki trying to make sure I get the details correct. Sometimes I’ll stumble across something that will get the old grey matter firing. I’m also quite a visual person, so where possible I like to try and have an image of the surroundings to help me out. For example, I’ll refer to screen captures of Voyager, deck plans as well as search Google for anything similar to what I’m seeing in my head.
Captain Theo Whittaker commended you on being such an outstanding officer and continue to thrive as his First Officer aboard the USS Columbia. What was the process like for you going into the XO position?
I was quite taken aback when Captain Whittaker first asked me to serve as his First Officer. I had been serving on the ship’s staff for just under a year at that point, so I was already familiar with most of the responsibilities. I think the biggest surprise was becoming an observer on the Captain’s Council and seeing just how much work goes on behind the scenes.
Now that you’ve been the commanding officer aboard the USS Atlantis for a few months now, has it been everything you expected it to be and what kind of command style does Thoran utilize?
During my time as Captain Whittaker’s First Officer, I’d thought that I had a reasonable grasp on what running a ship entailed, as we worked quite closely together. I think the biggest thing was the realisation that I was now the one making the decisions and the buck stopped with me, whereas before I had been more of an advisor sharing my thoughts.
Thankfully the other commanding officers and the Executive Council have been incredible in the adjustment and I have been very fortunate to have such a supportive crew on the Atlantis.
Not long before taking command, I had planned on benching Jarred for a while, as he was having a crisis of confidence in Starfleet and his place in it. At the moment he is trying to find his feet again and finds himself questioning if his doing the right thing and making the right decisions.
With The Next Generation being my favourite Trek series, I do base some of Jarred’s style on Picard, styling him as a more diplomatically minded officer, preferring to avoid combat and violence where possible. I’m also a huge fan of the 18th/19th Age of Sail, so aspects of officers from that period seep in, including his adherence to protocol and etiquette.
He knows that a ship is only as good as its crew, so tries to give every opportunity for them to shine. He is also quite reserved around the crew, wanting to try and maintain a respectful distance from them, in order to avoid getting close to anybody.
And lastly, what kind of advice can you give players who want to step into the FO position? Are there any helpful tips?
For me, one of the key things about being a First Officer is being proactive. That ranges things such as reaching out to your Commanding Officer and letting them know you are interested in command to picking up OOC tasks around the ship, for example updating a wiki page after something has been simmed or creating a new discussion thread on the forums. Take the initiative and ask your CO how you can help out – they will certainly appreciate it!
Another important aspect of being a First Officer is helping to make sure that every player, regardless of rank or time served, feels appreciated for what they do. So if a player has written a great sim, post it in the Appreciation thread on the forums, replying to sims via the OOC group to let the player know you liked it.
Lastly I would say that you want to make sure you are actively simming and that your simming is some of the best on the ship in terms of formatting, grammar, spelling, responding to tags/sims, etc. Be an example for others on how to sim.
Thanks for your time, Commander Jarred Thoran!
You can read more about Thoran on the wiki.