Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Staff awards from our recent 2021 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 Captain Mei’konda playing a Male Caitian Commanding Officer assigned to the USS Chin’toka. He won the Christopher Pike Pendant which is awarded to commanding officers who command their ship with honor and dedication, and help to provide a creative atmosphere which fosters outstanding simming.
DeVeau: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from, what are some things you do for fun, and anything else you’d like to share?
Mei’konda: Hello again, Alora, it’s been quite a while! My name is Aaron, and I live in the United States. I’m originally from Maine, but I’ve also lived in New Hampshire and California, and I now reside near Denver, Colorado, where several years ago I was able to purchase my first house with my Husband and our two adorable dogs.
I’m a Massage Therapist by trade, and have been for the last eighteen years. I enjoy tabletop gaming as well as writing, motorcycling, and working on my project car, a 1988 Mazda RX-7 Turbo.
How did you find Starbase 118 and what made you want to write here?
As a lifelong lover of Star Trek, the ability to join with other enthusiasts and write our own stories together appealed to me in a big way. I joined SB118 for the first time in the late nineties as a character named Jason Brandt aboard the USS Starwind, and eventually rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before retiring. I joined the fleet again in 2013 as Ensign Mei’konda, a helmsman aboard the USS Mercury under now-Commodore Aron Kells.
What made you decide to work toward being a Commanding Officer?
I believe that the idea of command appeals to many players as they first join and begin to work their way up the ranks. As I rose toward command ranks, I began to have a better understanding of the rewarding, and sometimes intensive OOC duties in managing a ship in SB118, and was convinced I could do so. Commanding a ship is delightful in many ways, including being able to lead your dream ship and run the sorts of missions you enjoy the most.
I initially took command of the USS Montreal and then transitioned to the USS Astraeus. After some time, due to eventual burnout, I elected to retire from command and go on a long term leave of absence. But in that absence, I learned to better manage my time, and certain scheduling conflicts in my life calmed down to the point that I was able to accept when the Executive Council asked me to take command of a ship once again.
You inherited the Chin’toka under some unusual circumstances that brought about some unique challenges. What were those challenges and how did you work past them?
The USS Atlantis’ crew was about to transition into life aboard the USS Chin’toka when its Captain abruptly left. As I’d recently been on leave, I relied greatly on my dedicated First Officer, Commander Serala, to bring me back up to speed both on ship leadership and on a crew that had only a few officers that I’d served with before.
The greatest challenges have probably been in learning what my crew wants and needs, and doing my best to give it to them, while overcoming my own weaknesses as a commanding officer. I feel that we’ve now got a good amount of trust amongst each other.
What is your favourite part of being Captain?
As mentioned above, I love having the opportunity to pick my dream ship, and to tell the sorts of stories that I crave. I miss the hopeful and optimistic future portrayed in 90s Star Trek that has sometimes been missing from what we have on television now, and this is my opportunity to try to keep the hope that inspired me as a child alive.
What would you tell others who look toward the Captain’s chair as a future for their character?
Captaincy in SB118 is a time and energy intensive activity, but one that’s extremely rewarding when you start getting comfortable with it. Being very aware of your own weaknesses as a simmer and a fleet administrator are critical so that you can be aware of them when they creep up on you and do your best to correct your path.
Captaincy is not just about yourself, and it’s not just about your crew. It’s a fine balancing act between seeing to the in-character and out-of-character needs of your crew, and in getting the chance to write your character at the culmination of a big part of their journey as a Starfleet Officer.
Thanks for your time, Captain Mei’konda!
You can read more about Captain Mei’konda on the wiki.