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Honor of the Admiralty Winner: Fleet Captain Roshanara Rahman

Join us for a special interview in our series of interviews with winners of awards from our recent 2020 Awards Ceremony. The Honor of the Admiralty is a new staff award for 2020 and is the highest award that can be conferred upon a UFOP: Starbase 118 staff member under the rank of Rear Admiral. This award recognizes those who have served as staff members for a minimum of five years in a multitude of disciplines. From facilitating our task forces, engaging with the Captains Council, and leading with the utmost dedication, these writers volunteer their time, effort, and skill to building our game and community and have comprehensively earned the respect and loyalty of members.

This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Roshnara Rahman playing a female  Kriosian who serves as Captain of the USS Veritas. For 2020, she was the recipient of the Honor of the Admiralty, the first player to earn this prestigious award.

DeVeau: Would you be willing to share a little about yourself, the writer behind Captain Roshanara Rahman?  

Rahman:  My name is Rich. I’m from Michigan and live now in New England, USA. I got into Star Trek through TNG (tuning in just as the seventh season was wrapping up!), and I love being part of a wider international fan community here at StarBase 118.

How did you come across StarBase 118 and what led you to join the group?

I joined back in 2010, five years after Star Trek: Enterprise had gone off the air and although the new JJ Abrams-directed Star Trek movie had just come out one year earlier, I really missed the “prime timeline” and specifically the TNG/DS9/VOY-era. I’d been playing a little Star Trek Online around that time to get a little taste of stories set in that era, but I wanted something deeper, and having previously dabbled in play-by-email Trek games back in the 90s, I did a search for Star Trek simming and found my way to StarBase 118.

Would you share with us your history in the community? 

After going through the training program, I was assigned to the USS Independence-A under Captain Sidney Riley as a medical officer (Dr. Tenzin Zhou, a half-Human/half-Trill hybrid). Going through a couple of character changes, I stayed with her as we switched ships to the USS Tiger-A. In 2012, I transferred to the USS Mercury under Captain Aron Kells (Tony) and created a new character, Roshanara Rahman (a Kriosian), to fill the chief engineer position. I enjoyed writing under Tony’s command and eventually became his first officer on the USS Garuda and the USS Invicta.

When Tony stepped down from command in 2016, I took over as CO for the Invicta and then launched the USS Veritas later that year with Commander Sky Blake as my first officer. I’m still amazed that eleven years have passed since I first sent in my application. I’ve gotten the chance to write with wonderful writers and make a number of good friends that have really cemented StarBase 118 as an important part of my life.

You are quite active in the community in an OOC capacity.  Would you tell us a bit about your different activities and why you specifically chose those to get involved with?

Probably the most prominent OOC role I have in the fleet is serving as the Executive Council Magistrate. This really just means I’m responsible for setting up votes, making sure things are still moving on the council (as everyone is quite busy with their own OOC responsibilities as COs, team facilitators, website administrators, and whatnot), and that any discussion threads or other business that needs to be attended to doesn’t slip through the cracks.

Some of the other activities I’m involved with in the fleet reflect my passions. I’m a deputy commandant for the Training Team/Academy, and it’s very rewarding to support Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds (Emma), the Academy Commandant, in making sure that team is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. I love seeing names I remember from the cadet roll calls months and years later hanging out on the Discord and having their sims put up in the Appreciations forum.

The Veterans Affairs team was a group I founded with some other lieutenant commanders and lieutenants wanting to help ensure that the fleet invested as much into long-player retention and addressing issues facing these members as much as we do on our newest members. The Advanced Starship Design Bureau (ASDB) is just a fun place for those Trek nerds who love to geek out about starship specs and work on providing great lore to share with the rest of the fleet so they can use it in their sims or when launching their own ships.

The Federation News Service all stemmed originally from a sim I wrote for Rahman after she was arrested (long story) that was presented as an IC “FNS” story, and I had so much fun with it that I expanded it with a list of changing headlines. Eventually, I found other players who were interested in fleshing out these non-Starfleet stories that we don’t often get to explore in our sims directly, and it’s since grown into its own spinoff website, where we’ve featured guest stories written by other RPGs and non-118 members as well!

What has been your greatest challenge over the years?

Definitely taking on command of a ship. It’s not even so much the initial part of taking on the role but really being able to sustain it. There are just so many moving parts and many things you can’t control (when players suddenly need to take a leave of absence or how they might interact and get along with one another), so it can be daunting. Still, as I approach my fifth anniversary since becoming a CO, I really appreciate how much of a support structure we’ve created here at StarBase 118 and how much of a process it is to achieve captaincy in the fleet.

When things get tough, some people say, “It’s just a game,” and we all know that of course. None of the COs or EC members let our ranks or titles get to our head. We know we aren’t really running a miniature Starfleet here! Yet ultimately, all of us take the game and the responsibility we’ve been given as game masters seriously. We want to provide a fun, fair, and creatively-enriching experience for our players.

What do you think has been your greatest achievement?

Ultimately, it isn’t just one thing, one team, or one event. Having been here now for over a decade, I’ve seen how our group has evolved, and I’ve seen how I’ve changed as well. I’ve seen that everything that happens in the fleet is truly built on the shoulders of those that came before you. I’m proud to see the kind of “work culture” we’ve cultivated that is focused on fleetwide collaboration and avoiding some of the vices of other online communities like grandstanding or tribalism. I’m proud to see players who first joined my ship as new ensigns advance to become first officers and captains in their own right.

What goals do you hope to accomplish going forward?  

We’re currently examining our command training, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we might do to update some of our processes, especially for how our ships operate these days and what we are looking for in commanders, FOs, and captains. The Investigating Diversity & Inclusion Committee (IDIC) has also begun its work investigating the various goals we set out last year to prepare recommendations to the EC on ways we can tackle issues that face our Black players and other players of color. Finally, the fifth season of the USS Veritas and her crew’s adventures has kicked off. I’ve talked with Commander Blake along with my second officer Lt. Commander Wil Ukinix, and I don’t want to spoil anything just yet, but we have some big plans in store for later this year as we wrap up our time in the Shoals and look ahead to the next chapter for our characters!

Thanks for your time, Captain Rahman!

You can read more about Captain Roshanara Rahman on the wiki.

About Alora DeVeau

Amanda, the writer behind Alora DeVeau is a 43 year old woman who has been a fan of Star Trek for as far back as she can remember. She began her foray into roleplaying with White Wolf table top games back in 1996, and her experience with PBEMs began in 1999 with a Dragonriders of Pern game. She has written and roleplayed in a variety of scenarios including original fantasy games, Dungeons and Dragons, and Amber Diceless. She found SB118 back in 2013 while looking for a Star Trek PBEM that could withstand the test of time. It's complex world-building structure and longevity encouraged her to take the plunge, and she only wishes she could have found the group sooner. She is a happily married homeschooling mom to four children, and also a servant to three cats.
View all posts by Alora DeVeau

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