Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our recent 2022 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters as well as their out of character contributions and achievements.
This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Commander Serala playing a Romulan/Human hybrid female First Officer assigned to USS Astraeus. She won the ‘Community Champion Award’: Awarded to members who participate in – or help facilitate – simming community events by hosting, acting as contest judges, or otherwise contributing their expertise in a way that benefits the wider community.
Fairhug: Hello, Commander! You are, of course, a well-known contributor to the Fleet on several fronts, but is there anything you’d like to share with us that our members may not know about you?
Serala: Jolan’tru, and thank you. I guess the biggest news is that I recently got married to my girlfriend (now wife, of course) of 3 years, and moved to Arizona to be with her and her sons. It’s one of the greatest moments of my life so far. I just passed my five and one-half year mark with the Fleet and still can’t believe it’s been that long.
You play multiple characters on both the USS Astraeus and Denali Station, with a variety of backgrounds and duty posts (even civilians), is there a particular type of character you’d say you prefer to play, or would you simply describe yourself as an “all-rounder”?
Serala: Well, I can definitely say I don’t consider myself an “all-rounder” as you put it. I try to avoid Science like the plague, although I do have a science PNPC who is a Linguist, but for me, that one is easier since she’s a specialist in an area that I dabble in personally. Engineering is also a bit more difficult for me, but I think I’ve watched enough Star Trek to be able to wing it if I need to. My personal preference is Security and Tactical, but I am also having a blast with my secondary character, Neshala, who is an HCO that alternates between communications/operations while on the station and helm when we’re on the Eagle. I did play Dr. Karise Indobri for a time, and I had fun as a Medical Officer, but I felt it was time for a change and moved away from that one.
At the 2022 Awards Ceremony, you deservedly received the ‘Community Champion Award’ for your outstanding OOC contributions to the Fleet. Just how important to SB118’s longevity and success would you say the OOC community is?
Serala: I would say it’s extremely important. Without it, we would quickly devolve into just individual ships and crews with no real interaction outside of our own crew. But with our community – and this is one of the things I love the most about SB118 – the OOC channels, such as Discord, our forum, our wiki, and our newsletter help to bring us all together and make us one big community. And there is enough OOC stuff that literally everyone can get in and help contribute their own little piece of our community.
One of those OOC contributions is your facilitation of the monthly Fleetwide Chat. What is it about the Fleetwide Chat that you particularly enjoy?
Serala: That’s easy. I really love interacting with the players from the other crews and learning about the fantastic adventures of each of our ships and crews. There are so many great stories going out there and I just love hearing about them from first hand accounts of our players.
In their presentation speech, Captain Mei’konda Delano said that your “…methods of encouraging conversation between disparate members of the fleet…is a highly valuable service.” What are some of the challenges of coordinating this monthly event?
Serala: I think the biggest challenge at this point is merely finding a time slot that works for me, especially after my move to Arizona. I had to actually move the normal time slot back 2 hours when they fall on Sundays. However, I do occasionally struggle with topic ideas to use when the ship roll call is over. I also love the watch along events, but it seems to be a challenge to find episodes that appeal to the most players to get the largest turnout. But, somehow I manage to pull it out each week. Often, my inspiration for conversation topics comes while I am actually hosting the chat, spawned by comments made by the players when they are talking about their adventures.
Do you have any advice for other members of the fleet who are interested in taking on more OOC responsibilities, whether on their ships or Fleetwide?
Serala: First, look around and see what’s out there. There are so many areas of opportunity that there should be something for everyone. Then, talk to your CO. They are in the best position to advise you on whether you would be a good fit for any team. And listen to their feedback if they provide it. After that, talk to the team facilitator and let them know of your interest. If you have an interest in something, even if you’ve never done anything like that before, then try. You never know if it will turn out to be something you really enjoy. For example, I am a member of the Image Collective. When I first joined, my Photoshop skills were intermediate at best. But thanks to the mentoring and resources provided by the team leaders, I feel my skills have grown. I have branched out my learning resources to include videos from YouTube, but it started with our Image Collective. And the Chat Team is another great example. By nature, I am an introvert, so the idea of hosting a chat with players from around the fleet is an intimidating prospect. But since I stepped out there and did it, I have found myself becoming more and more connected to the fleet and our players. So, if you see something that interests you, reach out to your CO or the team facilitator and just give it a go!
Finally, other than the 2023 Awards Ceremony, is there anything coming up in the Fleetwide Community that you are particularly excited for and that our members should know about?
Serala: Of course!!! Our Annual Fleetwide Trivia Challenge is coming on July 16th (watch for the announcements soon to be posted)! As before, Commodore Sal Taybrim will be guest hosting the challenge and it will be a great time for players to show off their Trek knowledge to the fleet. I encourage everyone to come – and warm up your fingers, because some of our players are incredibly fast on the keyboard!
Thanks for your time, Commander Serala!
You can read more about Commander Serala on the wiki.