Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of 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 Commander Sky Blake who, at the time of this award, played a Brekkian/Betazoid Female First Officer assigned to the USS Veritas. She won the Chief’s Citation, an award that recognises the essential staff members whose determined work has benefitted the group In Character, and/or Out Of Character, even while their primary service was not as the Commanding Officer of a simming installation.
DeVeau: Hello Blake! Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? What sort of hobbies do you enjoy? Whatever you’d like to share!
I’m based in south-east Australia and just finished my second year studying for a Bachelor of Creative Writing online (I decided on online classes to avoid travelling two hours to campus — and then a pandemic hit!). When I’m not working on assessments, I’m usually knee-deep in editing other people’s written works or setting up playlists for gigs I DJ. I also love to travel — when permitted, as my state is currently under significant COVID restrictions — and write about those experiences. In 2019, I released a demo video game memoir as a publishing project for my Diploma of Professional Writing — I’m currently working on a real version of that.
I also like to burn money on candles, Playstation games, consoles and merchandise, and LEGO. I’ve amassed “quite the collection of junk,” as my mother would say.
Sky Blake originally started off as a ranger then became first officer. Would you mind sharing a bit about the journey toward that?
Actually she started out as XO before becoming a ranger, then became XO again some time later. Blake was Veritas’ launch XO. I stepped down and became a ranger, which was a new position I felt would be interesting to flesh out in the Shoals.
What was the hardest part about becoming a first officer? What did you enjoy most about it?
I’ve always viewed myself as a “right-hand-man” personality, so to speak. I enjoy helping others to be the best they can, whether that be through editing, advising others on tough situations, etc. I enjoyed (and still do!) providing support to my ship staff.
In terms of the hardest part about being XO? I’m not sure. It really depends on your relationship with your CO. XOs are there to support them, both with administrative duties and IC scenes. I’m very lucky I was XO to my best friend. I’m sure if I went back and re-lived a bunch of OOC moments, I might be able to point to it and say “this, this sucks and this sucks hard,” but time away from any position changes your perspective of it.
What sort of activities do you participate in out of character?
A whole bunch.
I like to go through our wiki and maintain the correct categorisation of pages, as well as update, delete, and upkeep anything that needs attention.
Sometimes I post wiki challenges on the Recent Changes page or Discord to encourage others to try out wiki editing tasks for themselves.
I also occasionally host Wiki Help Desk. During these periods, I may provide a theme members can ask questions for. I often get to present my ninja wiki searching skills. I’m proud to say a lot of pages have been “re-discovered” through these efforts.
I serve as the current fleet taskforce coordinator. This involves communicating with taskforces on a quarterly basis and compiling their active rosters so captains can be sure of who is on what team. I remind taskforces of goals set during the State of the Federation Address or throughout the year, and notify them when a team member has taken a leave of absence.
I was one of the spearheads of SOTFA for 2020 and 2021 — and possibly 2022.
I’m currently pushing species that haven’t been rated on our ILI through CC review so our player base continues to have a comprehensive understanding of what species they can or cannot play.
I also serve as the Captains Council Magistrate for 2021.
Since the awards ceremony, the USS Veritas has finished its tour and you’ve changed characters, ships, and positions. Could you share a little about that transition? What does this mean for Blake?
Blake’s retired from Starfleet! As far as my PCs go, she’s finished. She’s had a long run of 6+ years, her storyline has ended. I think bringing her to Amity would be disingenuous to the intent of her character on Veritas — I’ve always thought this way, long before we decided Veritas was coming to a definitive close, so she’s remaining in the Shoals. It was tough deciding what she’d end up doing. Since she was promoted to Commander, Rich and I toyed with a few ideas involving her taking command of a ship in the Shoals, or falling back as XO to Zhou Tai-Sheng again (which was one of the original plans a few years ago), or returning to the Rangers. The latter was the plan for a long while, but as we played out Veritas’ finale, I thought on it more, and it didn’t feel right. So Blake serves now as the Vice Chief of the Colonial Coalition Marshals Service. As of writing for this interview, Rich and I haven’t published the final Veritas sim. We’ve been waiting until the crew is settled on Amity Outpost. So there’s still one more sim left for Blake. Besides — she’s Rivi Vataix’s cousin. I can’t imagine she wouldn’t show up as a cameo at some point down the line.
Amity Outpost’s launch came during a very complicated period for me IRL (those darn university assessments strike again), and I haven’t quite settled the way I’d have liked to. I still need to decide which character I’d like to settle in with — Cmdr Tristam Core (my PC from my Vigilant/Garuda/Invicta days), or my new character Lt Kyo Seung-gi (introduced at the tail-end of Veritas). Both have pros and cons: everyone is familiar with Tristam already, but the allure of a new character at a lower rank like Seung-gi is very, very tempting.
What advice would you give to those who are looking at working their way up to possibly becoming a first Officer, or beyond?
Determine why. Why do you want to become XO? Why do you want to command? Why do you want to become a commander? Why do you want to become a captain?
I became Veritas XO because Rich and I work well as a team — I like supporting him.
I took the commander’s theory and practical test because my OOC rank aids my ability to support Captains Council, in addition to what I had already been doing for years.
I prepared myself and signed up to support with administrative work (like taskforce coordination, SOTFA, ILI reviews, etc.). While it’s great to receive the Chief’s Citation, and I’m very grateful for it, I don’t do these activities because I was after recognition or clout. I do these things because I wanted to do them. I like providing support. This is my path, this is what I want to do.
Thanks for your time, Commander Blake!
You can read more about Commander Blake on the wiki.