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 and their out-of-character contributions and achievements.
This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Commodore Kali Nicholotti playing a female human Commanding Officer assigned to the USS Excalibur-A. She won the Christopher Pike Pendant: “Awarded to Commanding Officers who command their ship with honor and dedication, and help to provide a creative atmosphere which fosters outstanding simming.”
DeVeau: When I last interviewed you, you gave us some information about yourself and Kali. Would you mind sharing a bit more? What heroes have influenced her, yourself, and your writing? What concepts have you infused into your character?
I think Kali is what Morpheus would ultimately call my ‘residual self-image’. She’s a lot of myself, but the person I would be without the things that have impacted me negatively over the years, the fears that we all have that hold me down, and just the general worldly constraints that keep us all from reaching exactly what we want to reach. Growing up literally in the shadow of America’s space program, she’s also infused with a good amount of awe, that childlike wonder for the stars that just don’t quite go away. I’ve taken bits and pieces of my favorite characters as well, such as Ivanova from Babylon 5, and applied them liberally not just to Kali, but in ways to myself and how I lead too. And as I’ve always said, a good part of her is that she is herself. Kali may have started as a character on paper, but since then, she’s become almost her own person in a way. She’s real, and yet, just enough beyond my reach to be reality.
How has Kali changed since you first started playing her?
Like anyone, Kali has grown over the years. She’s gone from the idealistic young officer to the leader who knows (and yet still fights) the overreaching truths that plague us. She’s experienced joy and pain, and at one point had to start all over again in her life after death. Kali serves as more than just words on paper. She’s a lesson in resilience and hope, and remembering the past doesn’t mean that the future will be forever in its shadow. It’s been a journey, and I am glad to be on board this train.
What made you decide to take a bigger role in SB118 earlier on in your time here?
I have a life philosophy that follows ‘Learn, teach, and ease the suffering of those around you’. Over the years, I’ve found that the best way to do all of that is to be a leader. My take on leadership falls into the category of servant leadership, and I strive to learn what I can from everyone around me, and then I apply that to what I do, moving forward in dealing with myself, the team, or outsiders. Ultimately, this allows me to learn from people I might not otherwise learn from, teach those who want to learn what I have to teach and help others navigate the sometimes treacherous path we know as life. I approach everything I do like this, and so it just made sense to step into a similar role here and simply expand my connections and potential (hopefully helpful) influence to the fleetwide scale.
Would you share a bit about your rise to Commanding Officer?
It was… a wild ride. I was running my own business from home and married to my mentor in the fleet and together, for a time, we worked pretty hard on bringing as many improvements as possible. Part of that meant moving on up so that we could mentor and develop the ones coming behind us. The fleet, at this point, was short of command officers. Things had changed, and a need was present. I’d barely met the time in service requirements when I went from one practical to the next. Talk about stress… but I suppose the rest is history. It was far from easy, but it was well worth it.
You’ve commanded several vessels – what were some of the more unique moments during your time?
I honestly have not met a mission I didn’t like something about, but I guess some of the more unique and memorable moments include the day that then Ensign Liam Frost knocked the Apollo 11 moon mission out of the sky, the formation of the Thracian Alliance, participation in the fleetwide blockbusters, Kali’s death and subsequent rebuilding, the creation of Kali’s sentient clone, and of course, the destruction of our beloved USS Resolution.
Fleet Admiral Wolf stated, “This award is reserved for Commanding Officers who have reached the pinnacle of their role – being able to deftly manage a plot, mentor their crew, and lead a ship the StarBase 118 way.” One of the hardest things about being a CO seems to balance all of that. Would you share a bit about your style and how you managed all these aspects of leading a ship in SB118?
The answer is that I don’t have all the answers. A commanding officer without staff that they can rely on is a commanding officer set on a path of stress. Half of the ability to balance everything comes from being able to delegate tasks and count on them getting done. Yes, there are discussions and follow-ups, but knowing that I have a team on my side makes a massive difference between triaging the critical components of keeping the ship going and being able to help it grow and settle into a routine. The pinnacle of sitting in that center chair is not on me alone, but on those I serve (and serve with!)
Thanks for your time, Commodore Nicholotti!
You can read more about Commodore Kali Nicholotti on the wiki.