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 Lieutenant Commander Toryn Raga playing an Al-Layan male Mission Specialist assigned to the USS Atlantis. He won the Lwaxana Troi Medallion: “given to a member who takes a unique role outside of the normal StarFleet positions and creates a colorful and engaging character.”
GALVEN: Thank you for agreeing to have an interview with me! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?
RAGA: Certainly! My name is Rameses, I’m a complete nerd (aren’t we all?) I’ve loved Star Trek since I saw episodes of TOS my parents showed. I’ve been with 118 for going on two years now, three maybe. I started at the tail end of 2394 I think. Yeah. October. So wow, three years almost!
Winning such a unique duty post award such as Mission Specialist must be really exciting! Is there any kind of inspiration from anything in Star Trek or elsewhere when you write a scene?
It definitely is! And challenging as Mission Specialists are basically the Renaissance Men/Women of the fleet. They have to be whatever the ship and Captain needs them to be in a given moment. Which, the challenge for me is, as Raga is an Al-Leyan they are culturally prohibited from doing jobs outside what they were raised to do. In his case, a security/tactical one.
As for inspiration, I suppose it’s a mix of fiction and real world sources. At least as far as I see it, Mission Specialists are like special forces. In a way, I think they’re similar to the Starfleet Rangers. They lead, sometimes they’re alone doing a task, sometimes they have to switch between doing multiple things/roles at once. Sort of like Roadies in a way, or supporting sorts. Aragorn, the Rangers from Babylon 5, etc.
Captain Brell said that your dedication in keeping the plot move forward is displayed in your sims everytime. Can you describe how you come up with figuring out how to get others engaged with you?
Hi praise from the big blue guy! *waves* Well, it’s easy to get lost in writing. I know many of us could go on forever writing stories. But this is also a game too. So, whenever I try and push the story along, I like to think, how would the people(characters) mine is with likely react to situations. After awhile you get to know the sort of character IC and OOC, your fellow shipmates are. So I try to have things happen that are not only fun, and perhaps a bit exciting/dramatic/insane, but that I think my crew will like. If nothing else, I’m never afraid to throw out a tag for someone, especially if they haven’t been getting a lot to do.
Not much is known about Al-Leyans and there’s a select few that write for the species. Do you and the other writers collaborate in how to expand the species?
Actually, we do. Though I have to say in earnest that a great deal of the credit for their depth goes to Kait, the writer behind Rune Jolara. She had already been simming an Al-Leyan long before I came along. And she was gracious enough to help guide me in simming for the complex and contradictory species. She was my training CO in the Academy. She shared what she’d already established for the species with me and a few of us are all collaborating to bring more depth and detail to the species. As well as a b-plot that may or may not end up spanning across three ships in the fleet. Eventually. Hah.
And lastly, what kind of advice can you give new and older members who want to expand towards other kinds of unique and exciting duty posts such as a Mission Specialist?
First off, don’t be afraid. Everything new has a learning curve. I’m still figuring things out as I go along.
Secondly, go through the archives for those characters who are Specialists and read up on how they’ve simmed their characters. With that, don’t be afraid to add your own twist on the role. I’m certain I play my Specialist differently than others have.
C: Reach out to those of us who have experience if you want. One of the great things about our community is the inclusivity and collaboration between us. Especially talk to your CO/XO and mentors. You never know what helpful tips and advice they might be able to give you!
Thanks for your time, LtCmdr. Raga!
You can read more about Toryn Raga on the wiki.