Each month, we interview a captain or first officer of the fleet to gain more insight into what it takes to command a ship and learn more about how each of these staff members found their way into these roles, and what’s been happening under their command
This month, we’re interviewing the Commanding Officer of the starship USS Constitution-B, Commodore Jalana Rajel, a female Trill.
DeVeau: You’ve shared a bit about yourself in previous interviews and told us a little about yourself, but I was wondering if you’d update us on how your study of Korean is going, as well as share a bit more about what you write outside of SB118.
Rajel: Oh my studies are slow, really, my brain isn’t what it was as a teenager, so retention is difficult, but I am still on it. Still, I am at a level below kindergarten but understand more than I did a year ago when watching my dramas. In writing, I have been putting my novel writing a bit on a back burner and am enjoying a Hogwarts Potterverse Roleplay in the virtual world of Second Life. It’s a stark difference from Star Trek, but very enjoyable to play a teenager doing stupid things.
If my math is right, you’ve been CO of the Conny for about 7 years now. How does it feel to reach such a meaningful milestone? Did you ever expect your tenure to last this long?
It’s been crazy. At times, it feels like I’ve been in this position forever. On other days, it feels like I just started. Many things have changed over time in my understanding, in my knowledge, but also in my approach to being CO. Sometimes I wondered who had the stupid idea to make me CO in the first place, in which I did not expect my tenure to last any amount of time, but I can hardly imagine not being CO either. 😉 It feels good that trust is put in me. I can do this, even if my anxiety sometimes makes me wonder about it. Generally, a great feeling, though.
What are some adventures you and your crew have embarked on over the last year?
Our adventures brought us to deal with the Orion Syndicate twice. First to foil their plans to take over a Dilithium mine, which also led to our lovely ship loving a Warp Nacelle in a battle. But no need to fret. We used it like a slingshot to destroy a pirate ship. And the next adventure after that was the abduction of Jalana by the Syndicate. The whole Senior Crew went undercover on a Romulan Bird of Prey and tore the place apart to get her back. And currently, we are on our very first underwater mission visiting the wedding of the Xindi Aquatic Leader of a Colony on Daaka. That brought with it a whole set of challenges, but it is exciting. In my decades of Roleplay, I have not visited an underwater place ever, so I am making the Trill proud having some new experiences!
What are some ways you try to cultivate camaraderie among your crew, both in character and out of character?
This may be an unusual answer, but I’ll be honest. I have no idea. I actually had to ask someone because the things I do just feel like I’d do as a player as well. So this is based on the reply I got. I love to share favourite quotes or things that made me laugh, or that I really liked from sims, not only in our Quote of the Month vote but also in chat. I like to think that it gives people a little boost to know I appreciate their writing. A lot of fun ideas come from the crew in our Discord Chat or are part of a sim. We try to see if we can make them happen, and in some cases, the crew even gets involved with votes. That is how our Vulcan B’Ea happened. She is inspired by Dorothy from the Golden Girls and, of course; her face claim is Bea Arthur. I love banter, meme sharing and just fun stuff in our Discord chat. We ask our crew for input when it comes to which kinds of missions they like to do, and when it comes to building teams, mix it up so characters have a chance to work with those they might not usually get to RP with.
I like to be friends with the folks in my crew and that’s how I try to be there for them, have an open ear and try to create an atmosphere in which people can have fun, bring in their ideas and enjoy writing together. When needed and have to decline an idea, I explain why and offer possible alternatives. I also try to look at ways to make things easier for everyone and to not forget that behind these characters are people who have a Real Life that might not always play nice. Being understanding and supportive is a biggie. And as I heard in a joking manner before, I ‘threaten them with hugs’. I love my hugs, no lies there.
What are some personal arcs you’ve done with Jalana since we last interviewed you?
Personal arc? What’s that? No, just kidding. Since the last time, Jalana has been dealing with the aftermath of being kidnapped and almost being robbed of her symbiont and, with that, killed. So currently she avoids dark places, places with strangers, keeps her stomach covered and protected and such. She acts strong and as if nothing happened, but we know the truth!
Jalana also had a part in a personal plot of someone else, our Orion Shedet quit the Orion Syndicate, cutting her connection to it and Jalana stumbled into the role of being her new Matron, someone to watch out for her and take care of her. It may sound like what she already did, but since the title means a lot to Shedet, it’s something Jalana takes seriously.
How do you think you and the ship have changed and grown over the last year?
You know, when you sit in it you never notice that something has changed. Just like when you see yourself every day, you don’t notice changes, but then look at an old picture you can see it. The biggest change, of course, is that the crew changed. While most of our crew members are the same, we have a few new faces that bring in new wind and ideas.
Based on having seen how new writers sometimes struggle when they join in the middle of a mission, we are currently running an idea that I borrowed from another ship, the Gorkon. At the start of a mission and then following with every new stage of said mission, we are sharing an OOC briefing with the crew. That briefing touches upon the theme and mood we try to achieve with a mission so that our crew knows what we try to go for. It also includes details like a summary of the mission, which details our characters may know and what the players can know. And we build up on that with every stage, informing them of what we have found out so far, tasks for each department, species or environment information and so on. In our current mission, there is a part that would influence the away team in a certain way, so we included that and allowed the crew to pick that up so they could play out their character’s behaviour, which is fun to watch. So far, we have got positive feedback on that, so we’ll keep that up for future missions.
I enjoy that after all these years as CO. I still learn how I can do things better, involve the crew better and make things easier for everyone.
What are some goals you have for yourself and your crew for the next year?
One thought that has been in the air for a very long time is to do a joint shore leave or even a mission with Starbase 118 OPS since we have quite some history and friendships between us. So we are looking into hopefully making that happen at some point. Other than that, I hope that we’ll have fun and continue our adventures with all these great ideas and writers. I look forward to what will happen and what missions we’ll get into.
Thanks for your time, Commodore Rajel!
You can read more about Commodore Jalana Rajel on the wiki.