Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from the 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 Lt. Commander Yogan Yalu playing a male Trill Strategic Operations Officer assigned to the USS Artemis. He won the Lwaxana Troi Medallion: “Awarded to members who take on a unique and non-traditional role outside of the normal Starfleet positions, while creating a colorful and engaging character”.
DeVeau: Hello there! I do believe this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to interview you! Would you please tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? What hobbies do you have? Anything you’d like to share!
Hi there, and thanks for having me. I’ve moved around a lot and don’t really have a hometown in the traditional sense, but I currently live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. In my free time, I enjoy learning languages and exploring the beautiful corner of the world I live in. One other thing I’m excited to share is that I recently earned a master’s degree in creative writing, which was a long-held dream of mine and which my good friends here at SB118 encouraged me to pursue.
What is your favourite Star Trek series and/or movie, and why?
My first introduction to Star Trek was watching late-night reruns of Voyager in the early 2000s. I still have a lot of nostalgic love for Voyager, but I didn’t become a super Trek fan until I started watching Deep Space Nine a few years later. My all-time favorite single episode of Trek is TNG’s “Sub Rosa.” I never, ever get tired of that bonkers episode.
How did you originally get involved in Starbase 118?
I first joined SB118 in 2011, smack in the middle of the long, dark night between Enterprise and Discovery. I had never done any role-playing before, but I liked the idea of writing Star Trek stories with other people. I came and went a few times over the years before rejoining permanently in 2020, and I’ve grown especially fond of our community’s emphasis on mentorship and writing improvement since then.
Why did you decide to play a Strategic Operations Officer?
I wanted Yogan Yalu to take on greater responsibilities and challenges beyond the role of helm officer. The Borderlands seemed to me like it would be full of simmering conflicts and potential battle zones. Great world building potential! Having a dedicated officer to specialize in our unique corner of the galaxy seemed like a great way to achieve my goals for the character, and also create storytelling opportunities for others.
What is the most difficult part of this duty post, and how do you make it your own?
Strategic operations has few onscreen examples to draw from. There’s also the likelihood of overlap with other duty posts like intelligence, security, and tactical. The big challenge is to make my character relevant without elbowing in on those other duty posts. My approach to simming a strategic operations officer is to be the ship’s resident expert on the geopolitical situation in our region, and on the logistics of Starfleet and Allied conflict preparation. This gives Yogan a unique, big-picture perspective and makes him a relevant voice in the briefing room, while allowing plenty of space for the other department chiefs to do what they do best.
What advice would you give to those who wish to become a Strategic Operations Officer?
Familiarize yourself with the lore of your ship’s campaign region and the species/polities who call it home. Propose missions and shore leave subplots that allow you and your crew mates to world build. Also, work with your mentor and CO to define the role as it pertains to your ship. Taking on this duty post has been a lot of fun because I’ve had the trust and support of my ship’s command staff to be creative and bold with it.
Thanks for your time, Lt. Commander Yalu!
You can read more about Lt. Commander Yogan Yalu on the wiki.