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.
This month, we’re interviewing the Commanding Officer of the starship USS Excalibur-A, Commodore Kali Nicholotti.
DeVeau: It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing you, Commodore. Would you start off by giving us some information about your character, Kali Nicholotti, and about the real you behind the scenes?
Nicholotti: Kali has not changed dramatically since her inception. She’s a good mix of myself, what I want to be, what I am, and what I am working towards, along with some dashes of my favorite heroes and heroines and abstract concepts, impacted by the asteroids of those who have left their marks along the way both in the group and out, changing outlooks for both the character and myself. I’ve learned from Kali, and through Kali, and that has become sort of how she grows.
As for me, I guess I could say I share a lot with Kali and her thought processes, and maybe even her job responsibilities. Being a Site Director in the real world has only offered me more experience in leading people and developing diverse groups such as what we have in 118, enabling me to provide more value and better reach my goals of making this a fun place to be where people want to come and write.
What are the most significant memories of your ship and her crew from the past year?
There were many, especially poignant, memories that occurred this year. Not only was I promoted to Commodore and given an amazing ceremony put on by my staff, but we also saw the destruction of the Resolution in some of the most stellar writing I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of. We’ve struggled with social constructs and dealt with emotional turmoil, interpersonal conflicts and the birth and death of relationships, with the crew rising to newer and more amazing heights I could never have imagined. These guys just don’t back down – IC, they are stalwart and don’t know how to give up, and OOC they communicate like no other. It’s allowed us to build friendships and a ship-family that amazes me more each day.
Why did you decide to become a commanding officer in SB118?
In the beginning, there was a need. I saw things I thought could be good, could be improved, could be more or better or just fun, and so I jumped in. One step after another, one improvement, event, fun aspect after another, and suddenly I find myself leading. I can’t say there is a single reason or point where this decision was made, it was just part of the journey in which I am still traveling.
What is the hardest part about being a CO?
As captain, you are the last line of defense, the place where everything stops, and the last, best hope for success. If something isn’t done, done right, or handled, it falls to your feet. And with each choice, you send messages to the universe. Now, much of those things are not life-altering or earth-shattering, but this is a leadership job and real people are involved. That makes it important to consider the ramifications of the words used, the choices made, and the steps taken. Sometimes that is far more difficult than it sounds, especially when any sort of communication barrier is present.
There are always some things that will be more difficult than others, but building the skills to tackle anything will only help in every situation.
What’s the most rewarding?
Bar none, the most rewarding part of being a CO, is being able to build people up and develop the team into something that grows well beyond the original framework or considerations you might have had in the beginning. Finding the balance between support, boundaries, and freedoms is difficult for leaders, but the reward is in the masterpieces that are generated as a result.
I cannot say enough about how much I love the masterpieces that the Excalibur crew has put together this past year, and I look forward to what they come up with next.
For those looking to become a captain in the future, what advice would you give?
90% of everything is simply showing up. If you are present, you can learn, improve, and do better. If you aren’t there, then you cannot expect much of anything. If you want to do something, anything, show up and be present – on time, on target, and on task. You’d be surprised at how far that simple act can get you.
Thanks for your time, Commodore Nicholotti!
You can read more about Commodore Nicholotti on the wiki.