Each month, we interview a captain or first officer of the fleet to gain more insight on 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 Chin’toka, Captain Mei’konda Delano, a male Caitian.
DeVeau: Hi Mei! You’ve been interviewed before, so we know a little about you already. Instead, would you give us some insight into your character for those who haven’t had the pleasure of writing with you, and him, before?
Delano: Hello everyone! I’m happy to be back. Mei’konda Delano is a Caitian man in his mid-thirties who’s been a member of Starfleet for his entire adult life. With his father thought killed during the Battle of Wolf 359 (until they were reunited many years later by a member of the Q), he was driven from an early age to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Delano: He has always been a big, big believer in the Federation’s ideals of exploration, scientific discovery, and diplomacy. Just for the fun of it, I’m playing him as the only Caitian currently serving as a Captain in Starfleet
Delano: Picard is a big inspiration for me in how I write for Mei’konda. Mei sticks very close to regulations and would come down on the ‘let this society learn through hardship and suffering’ side of the Prime Directive debate more often than not. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, well, that depends all on who’s reading!
The last time you were interviewed, you were captain of the USS Montreal. How does that compare to being captain of the USS Chin’toka?
Delano: I’ve found the exact choice in ship plays little part in the feel of a simming group (that’s all the crew, and how they interact together), though it can help set the tone for a particular mission. For example, a Prometheus class starship assigned to defend a Federation colony from an attack would probably go about it much differently than if a Nova class ship was assigned the same job, but both could result in a great story.
Delano: The main differences come both in my level of experience as well as in my crew. I like to think that with a previous command under my belt, I’ve learned to compensate for some of my prior weaknesses. I’m much better at asking for help now, for example.
The Chin’toka got off to a rocky start due to the original captain suddenly leaving. What sort of challenges did you face during that time?
Delano: I was fortunate enough to know some of the Chin’toka’s crew already from my prior commands as well as from serving on other ships before I was promoted to Commander and then Captain. It was understandably difficult for my crew to get used to such an abrupt change, but my First Officer and ship staff were essential in helping me to get to know the rest of the crew and find a writing style that works for them.
What are some of the adventures you and your crew have embarked upon over the last year?
Delano: The Chin’toka has been exploring the Par’tha Expanse, an area of space somewhere ‘below’ the galactic plane where the bulk of the Alpha and Beta quadrant races exist. The Expanse is filled with political intrigue that occasionally flares up into conflict between the aggressive Valcarian Empire (whose southern edge can be seen at the top of the map linked above) and the provinces of the Caraadian Great Houses.
Delano: Despite this, the Expanse is also one of Federation’s unknown frontiers, and the Chin’toka embarked on a series of missions, some of which have been political, some based around rescue or aid, some with a lot of action, that have been designed to explore the establishment of the first Federation Colony in the Expanse.
What is your favourite part about being a captain?
Delano: For me, the most important part of Star Trek has been its optimism for the future, the idea that Humanity (and our allies) would eventually get over our infighting and form a galactic community. Being able to try to set the tone that I most enjoy is my favorite part of being a Captain, as well as the process of designing and then leading your own ship.
What words of wisdom would you like to offer to those who are currently commanding officers, or who look forward to being one someday?
Delano: As you rise through the ranks, consider what your weaknesses are when it comes to simming. Is it sometimes difficult to post regularly? Are you unsure of how far you’re allowed to push the plot in each sim or how big of a twist you can introduce? These are the sort of questions it’s important to chat with your mentor and/or Captain about. One thing I can promise; no matter what ship you’re on, we all very much want to help you succeed.
Delano: Pay close attention to your crew’s needs as well as your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either from your staff or Starbase 118’s Captain’s Council and Executive Council – they’ve never failed to help me out when I needed it.
Delano: Get to know the rest of the fleet through some of our OOC activities, which is a requirement for promotion to Lieutenant Commander. It’s a great way to start getting your feet wet with the administration side of Captaincy, which is a big part of the job.
Delano: And finally, as Rich / Captain Roshanara Rahman told me back when he’d picked me as his own First Officer, make sure you’re continuing to tell your character’s end goal. It can be easy to think of a Captaincy as a character’s
Thanks for your time, Captain Delano!
You can read more about Mei’konda Delano on the wiki.