Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners 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 as well as how they participate within our fleet out of character.
This month, we’re interviewing the writer behind Lieutenant Alieth playing a Vulcan Female Science Officer assigned to the USS Gorkon. In 2021, she won multiple awards, including the Prantares Ribbon, the Locutus Award, and the Okuda Award.
DeVeau: Hi Alieth! Please tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? What sort of interests do you have? Whatever you’d like to share.
Alieth: Well, I say hello from a small town in a mountain in the interior of Spain (not as sunny as the postcards say but beautiful to visit) where I live with my other Vulcan half, two dogs and a handful of fish and plants. I’m a full-time freelance artist. I mainly work in illustration although I’ve also worked a lot in graphic design, 3d artist, video editing and such things. My hobbies, absolutely not Star Trek (laughs), comic books, fantasy and historical literature, painting miniatures, mountain trekking… I have a bunch of them!
Your original posting was over on the USS Thor as a Medical Officer, which is where you were stationed and won the Prantares Ribbon, an award given “to those medical officers who have moved beyond competence to display a true gift for the healing arts in space medicine.” Would you mind sharing how you displayed this while writing for Alieth?
Writing a medic is a delicate balance, since, first, not every mission can revolve around a medical puzzle and not every mission has a writer who wants their character to be injured (or is, or maybe they are… but they are simming on a totally different team!) so when there is an opportunity, make the most of it. When they arise, I think the keys are threefold: talk to your teammates because your character’s field affects other people’s characters, and agreeing with them what you want to narrate and what isn’t is critical.
Next is research (… although sometimes that research could lead to odd rabbit holes) and trying to extrapolate modern medicine to the future and avoid the temptation to use the “magic medical lights” tricks, saving the day as much as possible. And last, keep in mind that, regardless of their background, a doctor wants to care for others and help them, and that compassion must be there as much as possible, even with grumpy sassy doctors… or Vulcans.
Gladly, I have had the good fortune to write with several excellent writers of medical officers such as, for example, the previous Prantares winner, who writes Addison Mackenzie. I think they have been the ones who have set the bar high for me and set me on the fundamentals of what a medical officer should be like.
You are also quite involved with SB118 in an OOC capacity. The Publicity Team, of which you are a member, is a task force dedicated to spreading the word about SB118 through social media, word-of-mouth recommendations, real-world and internet events and advertising. What got you interested in this task force?
Part of my freelance work is advertising myself on social media, an activity that can be overwhelming and even tedious, but which is the basis for my work. With SB118 it’s the same, the publicity team is a fundamental taskforce to make us more visible to other potential writers and to keep the group alive. So putting my knowledge and my continuous fight of “how to optimise my time, so I don’t spend my life on social media” can be put to use for the group, so here I am!
On the other hand, and as a bit of history… it all started when I discovered the group had DeviantArt… but nobody knew how it worked, so I took care of it as I wanted to promote a little more the AMAZING work of the Image Team (hello my drones!)
One of the things Nicholotti mentioned when she presented the Locutus award, awarded to you this year, was your plan to incorporate Instagram as part of our Social Media platform. What inspired you to use Instagram as one of our platforms, and how have you seen it benefit our community?
It was another one of those things of discovering that we had an account, and it wasn’t being used, and because it’s linked to the promotions, I do on the DeviantArt account: image-based posts, etc. The problem with Instagram is that its management by a team is trickier, but because of my freelance work it’s something I have more internalised, and I could help with it and share the expertise and the platforms to do it. As for how it benefits the community, I am a firm believer that people’s attention is more easily attracted by images (absolutely professional deformation here) and that polished, quality content can lead to more people getting to know us.
I want to take this opportunity to give my kudos to Meidra Sirin’s writer, who has taken over the management of the Instagram account and who I’m sure is going to do an excellent job. I’m still working on DeviantArt of course… no one else understands it yet!
Another area in which you are extremely involved is the Image Collective, where you and other talented artists use your skills to offer beautiful graphics and sometimes even drawings and digital paintings to enhance our community’s experience. Would you mind sharing with us how you got into art and image manipulation?
I got into art because it’s what I love. It’s my profession! So the image team has always been the taskforce that I naturally gravitated towards. I have been fortunate in that the team is outstanding and has pushed me into the position I hold now (a shout here to my two excellent Co-Facilitators who are more creative and work harder than they are given credit for, Jo Marshall and Jalana Rajel). As for photo manipulation, that’s an interesting question, because I had done none until I joined SB118 (I’m mainly an illustrator).
For me, it has been a parallel hobby in which I have learned many techniques and put into practice others I had never used in this context and it is a source of learning and discovery, which is always a plus for me if it is a journey that can be shared with more people, with the IC.
Please share with us some projects that you have worked on or even spearheaded since joining SB118?
Let’s see, I was the one who pushed the redesign of the ship’s emblems. I’ve been very involved in the redesign of the SB118 logo and corporate identity. I resurrected the DeviantArt and Instagram accounts; I don’t know how many avatars/characters images I’ve made so far (if my files are correct, between 200 and 300), I’ve been taking beauty shots of many ships in 3d (a project that I have on hold at the moment, but I’d like to revive in November) some of which could be seen in the new site… I’m possibly forgetting some things and I have even more things I want to do…. as soon as I find the time!
The last award you received was the Xalor Clan Xifilis award, given to any simmer who overcomes any sort of disadvantage while simming. For you, English isn’t your first language, yet despite that, one nominator wrote that you add “depth and colour to any scene in which they write”. What sort of challenges does this present when simming in an English-based PBEM, and what are some ways you overcome those challenges?
I’m smarter in Spanish. Jokes aside, it mostly means that I am slower at writing, and I need to take more time than a native writer to check if the words I am using are exactly what I want and not a “false friend”. I also need to take more care when correcting spelling mistakes and re-read everything several times to check for turns of phrase that make perfect sense in my native language but make no sense in English. I usually re-translate everything at least twice, which means I need to spend extra time in each sim. I don’t consider this a handicap (there are a LOT of other outstanding non-native writers around the Fleet!), and the challenge and what I learn with each sim motivates me.
The only downside is that I can’t write as many sims a day as you do Alora, or my brain would turn into mush! (laughs)
Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Alieth!
You can read more about Lieutenant Alieth on the wiki.