Captain’s Corner – Commodore Oddas Aria, Denali Station

Captain’s Corner – Commodore Oddas Aria, Denali Station

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 Denali Station,  Commodore Oddas Aria, a Bajoran female. 

DeVeau: Welcome back Nick!  In our last interview, you mentioned that you’re a software developer.  What got you interested in this field, and what’s some of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on?

Oddas: One of the earliest projects I worked on was also the most interesting.  Right when I got my career started, almost 30 years ago, I worked on a project for NASA that tried to predict failures of ‘manned space vehicles’ based on previous failures and ‘incomplete sensor data’, today we’d toss in language about AI or Machine Learning, but that’s essentially what it was.  I left NASA, it was an internship type program, spent a little time in the industry, went back to NASA and found myself on what was essentially version 2 of the same project.

The work I do now is also interesting, though in a different field.  I do similar things – predictive software for data management applications but for charitable software.  When you give money to charity, or manage a charity, or have anything to do with a charity chances are you are using software I (or my company) work with – and it’s interesting just how much care and engineering goes into the whole process.

We also discussed how you work with others.  What are some ways you’ve found your approach helpful as a commanding officer; for instance, how has it helped with challenging situations?

I like to think I’m a pretty laid back person who just looks for what is the best solution to a problem, regardless of other factors.  For SB118, and my posting, ‘best’ tends to be defined as most ‘fair’ and most ‘fun’.  I know I can be fairly quiet, but that’s because I tend to listen a lot before I talk and offer up with a solution.

When it comes to challenging situations I try to see all the angles and think ‘what’s fair here?’ and that lends itself naturally to ‘what’s the most fun’.  When I can’t see a path to those things, I ask some trusted people and get there, seeing it from as many angles as possible.  The result is at the end something well reasoned and explainable, so the people involved see where I am coming from and – even if they don’t agree – can understand what is happening and why.

You embarked on a rather large endeavor in the Denali Invitational.  What gave you the idea for this mission? 

This is one of the cases I wasn’t my usual methodical self.  I had a shore leave post, and it just naturally progressed that one of the crew’s normal shore leave haunts was cancelling their normal race.  Aria blurted out she was going to hold it at Denali, then Tom (our XO) asked if we’d open it to other Starfleet postings, and it snowballed from there.

You also came up with an interesting way on how to give teams ‘stats’ and use rolls to determine a winner.  Would you mind explaining the process? 

Originally I hadn’t planned any sort of system for a winner at all, just all writing and maybe some sort of voting by the crew (e.g., best writing team wins the Invitational), but in Discord someone mentioned we could do dice rolls to track rounds and winners.

I tried multiple combinations of stats and rolls, none of which seemed particularly ‘balanced’, then I realized I had someone in the family who could help me out.  My son is an avid board game player, so I told him what was happening.  He spent about an hour thinking about it and had the whole thing figured out.

A couple tweaks later, and we had the system we used, 3 basic stats, luck modifiers, special abilities, and multiple rounds.

It worked really well, and big shout out to him – Duncan Idaho.

What are some goals you have for Denali Station for the upcoming year? 

The race has brought a ton more people, and all the advantages, and crime and issues you would associate with more people.  We’ll be dealing with what it means to be a small city, surrounded with people who might not like us.

We still have to figure out what the Ring is, what it was built for and why, and where the people went, maybe we’ll see an answer to one of those questions.

What about your goals for Oddas?  Any plans in the works for her? 

Oddas is an Engineer at heart, so she likes the challenge of the Ring, but she is going to hate the bureaucracy associated with her posts, so some work/life balance struggles are going to take on new meanings for her as she figures out how to let go of some things and pick up new challenges.

Thanks for your time, Commodore Oddas!

You can read more about Commodore Oddas Aria on the wiki.

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