For the 2397 Fleetwide awards ceremony, StarBase 118 unveiled a new award aimed at recognizing the highest level of staff in our organization. The Elinor of Kanist Order of Excellence is a staff award and is named for one of StarBase 118’s most significant founding members.
This award recognizes those who have served the fleet as a staff member for at least five years, attained the rank of Rear Admiral or higher, previously been awarded the Picard Award and Staff Member of the Year Award, and continue to serve the fleet to the betterment of all members. This is the highest staff honor, celebrating longevity, dedication to the fleet, and the perseverance for wearing the Admiral’s belt. The first winner of this award is Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds.
But who was Elinor of Kanist? Her character was a Vulcan Admiral from the province of Kanist who had a medical background in cardiology. Her player was a founding member and a noted mentor for future commanding officers. She started The Reporter, a monthly group newsletter that was the precursor of the Community News articles you read today. One of the traditions contained in The Reporter was monthly plot summaries from each ship, something which has become a bedrock of StarBase 118 fleet communication. The Reporter also covered promotions and interviews which have become long standing traditions for the fleet. She commanded the USS Centris until her retirement, and her work helping to found the StarBase 118 training team is why the academy training vessel is named the USS Centris-A
Today we are joined by our founder, Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf, to learn more about Elinor of Kanist, her role in founding the game and his memories of working with her.
Taybrim: Thank you for joining us, Fleet Admiral Wolf. What is your strongest memory of Elinor of Kanist?
Wolf: Oh gosh – the bulk of us working together was over 20 years ago now, and I was a teenager, so lots of those memories are lost to the sands of time! She did return for a brief while in 2012 but didn’t get to stay for too long.
I have lots of vague memories from the early days about projects she wanted to do, like starting The Reporter (the precursor to our current Community News) or how she started innovating the training program out of nothing. She was really my partner in creating the group that you know today, outlasting the other earliest members and being the person who took the premise of the community most seriously.
Ironically, one of the strongest memories I have is a disagreement about the fact that she wanted to take a summer off and decided to bring in Brian Kelly as a sort of “pinch hitter” for her as captain of her ship. As a group, we were just beginning to formalize the process of promotion and making it clear that there were you had to work your way up through the ranks, so I remember being like, “He doesn’t know anything about us!” He ended up being one of two players who jumped into command ranks (the other being Alexander VonGrippen, of the Excalibur-G; Ciara Randor brought the StarWind – a ship she was running independently – into the group, but she had been a member up to that point already). And he wrote the UFOP Constitution! So it all worked out in the end, but this goes to show that we didn’t fall fully formed into the universe, and there were lots of disagreements about policy and process along the way!
Can you tell us how she influenced you as you were building the game?
I really consider her one of the primary founders of the group. I think she brought a sophistication, attention to detail, and that sense that there was an “adult in the room” a lot of the time.
As you can imagine, being a teenager, I had a lot of silly ideas, and often she would be the one to temper those or help polish them. She also had an organizational mind that I deeply identify with now, as an adult, in thinking through some of those kinds of structural elements of what we were doing and saying, “How do we make this last into the future?”
I think the way she took this seriously really cemented in my mind that we weren’t just doing this “for fun” but that we were building something that people enjoyed and wanted to keep coming back to.
What was one of the most impactful things she founded for the game?
Definitely the training program. I have no way of knowing whether it was the first in the simming world, but the concept of a persistent training program for new people was definitely something that was not widely used when she started it. When I joined “Star Trek SIMs,” which was the group I learned simming from on AOL, you were dropped onto a ship right away and it was the crew and captain’s responsibility to introduce you to how things work, in addition to a very long AOL email that you received with instructions. That’s challenging and tedious for everyone who’s already in the game, and I’d imagine it’s probably not particularly welcoming for people who are new to the simming world and feel uncomfortable diving into the deep end! So having a training program where new people had to go first before joining was a huge innovation that offloaded that work from the crew.
It’s kind of interesting to think about how it’s the foundation of our fleet-first mentality in a number of ways. First and foremost, new members don’t “belong” to any ship – they’re introduced to the fleet by people from many different ships in the Academy.
The way our training program works now, we train new people in the Academy, but we also utilize the Academy as a training program for our up and coming staff members to have hands on command experience.
Fleet Admiral Wolf, thank you so much for the insights into the past of StarBase 118 and one of our founding members!
Please join us next month as we talk with the first Admiral recognized for The Elinor of Kanist Order of Excellence, Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds.