Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our recent 2022 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 Commodore Jalana Rajel playing a female joined trill Commanding Officer assigned to the USS Constitution-B. She won the Staff Member of the Year Award: “Awarded to Staff Members who have contributed tirelessly to the organization through many Out of Character channels while maintaining excellence in simming on their vessel.“
DeVeau: You’ve been a member of Starbase 118 for ten years. Would you tell us a bit about how you found the group and what drew you to join?
Rajel: Back then I was part of a German Star Trek RP and I wanted to do more English activities. I googled around and tried out some English RP groups that all didn’t hit the spot in the way that I liked it. I almost gave up the search when I stumbled over 118 because of a Wiki entry I found via google. I thought it was a ST Database at first because it was so extensive. When I figured out it was a roleplay I got really excited and had to try it. I believe if a game puts so much effort into their website and Wiki it’s a pretty good sign that the people participating like that kind of level of detail. I was not disappointed.
Could you list all the ways you’ve participated in SB118 in an OOC capacity?
I did not do too many things; knowing my limitations, I did not want to take on too much. So I joined the image team very early on and soon took over. I facilitated the Fleet Wide Graphics Context, judged in the writing contest, and for a while, I was part of the Starfleet Academy Trainings Team. Other than that, I limited myself to my ship, and when my rank allowed it, I joined the CC, later on, the EC.
How did you navigate the shift from standard membership to staff member, and what was the biggest challenge?
My shifting into that was quite a ride. My biggest challenge was that as a Second Officer I was not part of the passing down of knowledge between CO and FO. That kind of talk that happened between them in IMs not over the list. And once our FO got their own ship, and I scooted up, my CO left, leaving me to teach myself everything I should have learned from him. So the shift was quite difficult and is ongoing. There isn’t a time when you think you know everything now. The learning doesn’t stop and there is always something you could do better. It’s part of the process, but also the biggest challenge.
How do you juggle all the responsibilities of your ship with those of the task forces and other areas you’re involved in?
Since I only take on as much as I know I can handle, it’s not too difficult to juggle unless something else comes through the wall like the kool-aid man and throws you into chaos. Outside of 118, I am part of another RP that takes much of my time. I create for a virtual world and such. But the way these things work allows me to make my own timetables, do one while waiting for another and such. The juggle only gets more difficult if either unexpected events happen or if several pressing things come together at once. Prioritising is how I usually get through that and of course, thanks to the help of my staff and talented players, it’s doable.
Do you have anything you want to work toward in the future?
There are no grand plans when it comes to OOC stuff or Admiral Status or anything. I am happy where I am right now. So what I want to work toward is a stable ship that enjoys writing stories together, trying to keep it fun for everyone involved. I like to learn how to improve and do things more efficiently and better. And another big thing for me is to learn more about storytelling and bringing new ideas into missions and RP and assisting my crew to bring in their ideas I would never have.
What advice would you give to those who hope to become a Staff Member?
That’s difficult without sounding so very serious, but there are a few things to remember, I believe. One thing is that being a Staff Member is work. Yes, it is fun, planning missions, thinking about rewarding people and writing sims. But there is also the side of keeping things running, making sure everyone is involved, having no ideas/time/muse, but being a role model by writing regularly. And that comes to the second piece of advice, which is balance. There is always something to do, but that means you have to learn balance. It is tempting to keep going all the time because we want the best for the ship, but that can easily lead to burning you out and nobody wants that. We as Staff Members still want to have fun here, right? So you need time off, away from things. To enjoy something else, do self-care, play games, and read an enjoyable book. Whatever you do for fun. So in short: Remember that being a staff member is work and responsibility, but also remember to have fun and not work all the time.
Thanks for your time, Commodore Rajel!
You can read more about Commodore Jalana Rajel on the wiki.