Each month we interview a First Officer or Commanding Officer of the fleet as part of our “First Officer in Focus” and “Captain’s Corner” columns to get to know them better, and learn more about what their positions entail.
This month, we’re interviewing the First Officer of the starship USS Excalibur-A, Commander Addison MacKenzie, a human female.
DeVeau: I’ve interviewed you a couple of times thus far, and since you’ve already answered some questions about yourself, I thought I’d dig deeper into the real you. Would you please share with us what music means to you beyond your career?
MacKenzie: There’s a great (albeit cheesy) quote that goes, “When words fail, music speaks,” and for me, that’s very much true. I think music has a way of penetrating in a way that we can’t/don’t articulate well through writing or speech. I think we all experience a connection to music in some form or another – we hear a song from when we grew up and we’re instantly transported to that time or a song that reminds us of a certain person or experience and it’s like we’re there again.
With my career, it’s just as much about the people that I get to make music with as much as it is the act of making music itself. The relationships I’ve built getting to create something with 100 different people on stage is something that only we share at that moment, and that’s a very humbling thing to think about.
Are there any aspects of yourself that you’ve infused into your character?
I definitely have to say that Addison’s wit and sass are much more me than I should probably admit. But, she’s developed quite a reputation, so I’ll consider that a compliment. …I think.
Would you talk a little bit about why you decided to work toward Commander and a leadership position in the group?
I think it was something I had my eye on very early after joining. I’d written in several other online clubs like 118 for almost 20 years before I came here, and I was really needing a new experience. When I joined here, I was actually trying out a few other writing groups, but I was really surprised at the depth of the organization and how much longevity existed here. I know how much teamwork goes into keeping the lights on, especially from the administration, and my attitude was always if I cared enough to stick around, then I’d want to make sure I pull my weight.
You have served as a medical officer for most of your time here, but your first foray as an executive officer was as acting First Officer on the USS Diligent. Would you share a little about that?
Actually, this was totally an accident! We were on the Diligent as part of a plot hook for a mission on the Veritas. Our team was headed by Evan Delano, the Veritas XO, who had to take an unexpected LOA at the beginning of our mission. Geoffrey Teller got bumped up to CO and moved me up from Acting CMO to XO out of necessity. It was a great way to be able to “test drive” the role from an IC perspective in a safe and creative environment. The ship was barely space worthy, and ended up rescuing the Veritas at the end of the mission!
What was the hardest part about adjusting to your role as First Officer?
The only thing that can be difficult to adjust to when you move into a ship leadership team is trying to find a balance between what you need and what the group you’re writing with needs. As a leader, you become responsible for making sure the game is enjoyable for everyone that you write with. You have to work much harder to create space to nourish your own creativity while also creating opportunities for everyone you write with.
What advice would you give to those who look toward this as a possible future for their character?
I think by the time you reach the point where you’re considering a promotion like this, you already have a good idea of what kind of time it takes to make sure that things run smoothly. Still, make sure that as you’re going through the process, you’re honest with yourself about your ability to balance OOC and IC obligations, and don’t be afraid to lean on your CO or other members of the fleet for advice – none of us has all the answers, but there are plenty of us who have been there!
Thanks for your time, Commander MacKenzie!
You can read more about Commander Addison MacKenzie on the wiki.