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 recently promoted Flag Officer Fleet Captain Roshanara Rahman – Rich – commanding officer of the USS Veritas. Let’s get started!
SHAYNE: Some time has passed, but it bears repeating – congratulations on your promotion to Fleet Captain! Last time we had the pleasure of talking with you, you had just launched the USS Veritas. Can you tell us more about how your ship has grown and progressed since launch?
RAHMAN: It’s hard to believe we’re warping off into our fourth year/season! When we originally designed the Shoals campaign region, we wanted to create a more intimate setting to allow us to fully explore the worlds and people within it for the next several years, and we still have places that we haven’t even seen yet! The crew has changed over the last couple of years, most notably when nearly half of them went over to help launch the USS Montreal under then-Commander Mei’konda in 2395 (2018). Since then, the crew has remained pretty much the same, and we have such a great group of talented and strong storytellers, and it’s a joy to lead them as their captain.
Veritas has been running strong since 2393. Do you have a favorite mission within that time?
During our second season, we had a mission called “Kallo Ver & The Hunt for the Lost Romulan Treasure Fleet,” which as its name implies was an adventure story in the style of Indiana Jones and video game franchises like Uncharted and Tomb Raider that have taken inspiration from that film series. The twist was that the “main character” for the mission and the narrator was not one of our own crew but instead the Valtese smuggler Kallo Ver, who’s become someone like the Quark or Harry Mudd of the Shoals. It was fun to see our usual Starfleet characters thrown into this kind of fiction style, and there was a nice contrast to the historical journal entries that were written by Evan Delano for the Romulan commander of the titular lost treasure fleet that told their own story-within-a-story.
What is one of your proudest moments as a Commanding Officer?
I love watching how the players on my ship respond to a scenario or situation that I put them in. For instance, in a mission last year called “Sentinel,” I had both my character along with the first officer and a few others in a turbolift that went crashing down the shaft. Just before she left the bridge, she gave the conn to our chief engineer, Geoffrey Teller, and he led the ship through a battle with Tholians all while doing his best to handle the weight and anxiousness of the responsibility he’d suddenly had thrust upon him.
Another such moment was during the mission called “Limbo,” where the crew were stranded on a tropical moon for six months while the rest of the universe only experienced a few hours. Because of that time spent by themselves, the relationships among the crew really developed, and we had both a romance bloom between two characters (Wil Ukinix and G’var) and a renewed bonding between all of the officers, especially in the wake of the crew shuffle after Montreal’s launch.
Still, the proudest moments as a CO now have definitely been helping guide two players, Mei’konda and Evan Delano, to reach the rank of commander and beyond. I’m forever grateful to my own command mentors, and so it’s incredibly rewarding to see my own players achieve their command goals.
With years of command now under your belt, what has been the greatest challenge, in character and out of character, with the command experience?
The greatest challenge out of character is the unpredictable nature of overseeing a group of people from all walks of life and all corners of the world. I’ve joked before with my previous CO Fleet Captain Kells (who now sims aboard Veritas as our operations officer Lia Rouiancet) that being part of the command staff feels like being part of a volunteer fire department at times. Sometimes, someone accidentally misses tags from another person, for instance, and they feel ignored or even slighted. Fortunately, I’ve only encountered a few truly unpleasant people in my nearly ten(!) years here in 118, and the vast majority are just fellow Trekkies who want to tell and share fun stories together. Part of being captain is helping everyone remember that and really setting forth the tone and expectation that we all want to be kind to one another and be proactive in reaching out to help if someone should ever make a mistake or could use a little feedback.
In-character, the greatest challenge is deciding on team assignments as there are out-of-character considerations that need to be taken into account. This also includes the captain herself. In the shows and movies, the captain is often the character front in center, but in a roleplaying game, no one wants to think of their characters as only supporting parts. Designing missions and scenes so that everyone feels like they’re in their own tailored adventure is definitely a challenge, but when you pull it off, it’s like watching all the intricate parts of a stage production come together to create one magnificent story.
What advice would you give to a new captain? An officer with ambitions of becoming a captain?
If you’re a new captain, my advice is don’t hesitate to reach out and ask your fellow captains for their thoughts on things as you start off. Even experienced captains ask others from time to time for their input on a situation they’ve encountered so that we can all learn from it. As a new captain, the greatest thing you learn is getting that balance so that you can manage all of your duties as CO, still have fun simming, and have a life outside of 118.
For those who want to be a captain someday, my advice is to really think about why you want to become a CO and make sure it aligns with what being a CO in 118 actually is. Being a CO in the fictional Starfleet is not the same as being a CO in 118. Don’t focus on the in-character “benefits” of being a captain like choosing or designing your own ship and getting the four pips. Those are all nice of course, but they’re rewards the fleet gives its COs for taking on a challenging responsibility that ultimately is more akin to being a traditional game master or theater/music director.
The role of captain in 118 is fundamentally about administration and being a manager, so real world communication and people skills are a must. It’s okay if you haven’t mastered these skills just yet. You’ll learn and hone them through your command training. Still, don’t pursue captaincy in 118 just because you want to have your character in charge as the captain during the story. Become a captain because you enjoy facilitating missions, helping other players achieve their own in-character and out-of-character goals, and watching others take the plot hooks you give them and flesh them out into stories you could never have written by yourself.
Thank you for your time, Fleet Captain Rahman!
You can read more of Fleet Captain Rahman on her wiki page here.