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, and what’s been happening under their command
This month, we’re interviewing the Commanding Officer of the starship USS Constitution-B, Commodore Jalana Rajel, a Trill female.
DeVeau: You’ve told us before that you’re from Germany, which means that your native language isn’t English. How did you come to learn English, and what are some of the challenges you face when writing in a language that isn’t your native tongue?
Rajel: I started to learn English in School. Here it’s a mandatory subject from early on until the last school year, or was when I was in school. There was no way around learning it, but to be honest I was rubbish at it. I have become a lot better once I strayed from the teaching books and started to talk with actual native speakers. I have improved a lot since then. When it comes to challenges, I think most of them are in directly translating German Idioms that are not used like that in English. And despite being fluent now – to a degree that I forget German words – there are still a bunch of words that I don’t know because they don’t come up a lot, or use a sentence in German grammar structure. After about 28 years of post-school English I am still learning.
Last we heard, Jalana was still dealing with the aftermath of being kidnapped. How has she grown or changed over the last year?
She has mostly left the events behind – or let’s say she’s ignoring that it happened. But she has grown more protective of her symbiont, making sure her stomach area is not uncovered or freely accessible in small gestures. She cannot stand to be in the dark alone. But she also has grown by moving on, not letting the events take away her joy in life. It’s a typical way of ‘it does not have an effect until it does’, tricking herself like a pro.
Has anything that has happened to her affected the crew? How so?
Jalana has been keeping this from everyone, not actually talking about it much, so her own trauma does not affect the crew as much as she knows but the crew has become more protective of her. I have seen several sims in which the crew thinks back on the events, and think about how it ‘can’t happen again’. There were characters especially in the security field who blame themselves for it even happening, even though it did not happen on the ship. I think if something like the kidnapping of a crew member happened it always affects someone else as well. Something that several people are working on.
What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome this past year?
I’ve been struggling with my mental health. It’s no secret that I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety for a long time, though a new revelation was that they are part of a bigger problem with ADHD. Struggles to focus, memory issues, time blindness and some other not so fun things that come with it have forced me to try to find ways to cope with them, to manage and reorganize how I do things. I’m still in the process of that and will most likely for a while until I find a strategy that works.
What has been the most memorable part of this past year with your crew?
RP wise there is the mission to Daaka in which the crew as a whole brought a whole subculture of the Xindi Aquatic to life, on a wholly new and until then unexplored planet. It has been so much fun to see everyone’s creative ideas come together and form this magical new environment, a culture that is different from the main/canon Xindi Aquatic.
What goals and ambitions do you have for both Jalana and the Conny crew for the next year?
For Jalana I have a wish more than a goal because it depends a lot on other people. As the CO she always had the feeling to be seen as someone ‘up there’ who should let the crew have their fun which led to her not actually having many friends, most of which are not on the ship. So I want her to open up more and maybe form some friendships on the ship that go beyond her thinking that the people are just nice to her because they think they have to.
For the Conny Crew I hope that we will continue to have a lot of fun, explore unknown worlds, create stories together and make each other’s days just a little bit brighter by sharing this wonderful universe in our writing.
Thanks for your time, Commodore Rajel!
You can read more about Commodore Jalana Rajel on the wiki.