Award winner – Randal Shayne – USS Arrow –  (Christopher Pike Pendant)

Award winner – Randal Shayne – USS Arrow –  (Christopher Pike Pendant)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our 2023 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 Randel Shayne playing the Captain of the USS Arrow. He has won the Christopher Pike Pendant: This is awarded to officers who command their ship with honour and dedication and help to provide a creative atmosphere which fosters outstanding simming. 

Nilsen: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? What do you do in your spare time?

Shayne: Hello! Born, raised and currently living in Chicago, so my spare time is spent either incorrectly guessing the weather for the day (hour) and wearing wildly unhelpful clothing for any outdoor engagement, or reading and writing sims upon giving up looking for employment in this massive city that one would think had plenty of employment opportunities. 

I’m not bitter.

Nilsen: How do you as a captain create that space/environment which fosters outstanding simming? (Out of character)

Shayne: Well, in character, the strategy is to make everyone rather miserable. Out of character is a little trickier (for me, anyway- some of the COs in the fleet make it look effortless, and they have my everlasting jealousy respect. Truly, though, it all comes down to communication. Frequent back and forth during mentoring and just chatting on Discord lead to so many opportunities that any one of us on our own might not have realized. There’s such an investment when people watch nutty or fun or downright emotional ideas form right before their eyes. I also try to be open to plots (be they side adventures or the whole two month mission) that others suggest, and then use my characters to make them a reality. It might sound self-serving, but my cantankerous main has seen and undergone so much growth just from being a prop for other people’s stories that I can hardly believe it. Another small method is to subtly attach OOC advancement with IC actions (beyond what already exists). I have found that, despite the separation between IC and OOC, manifesting growth through characters can help us develop confidence in ourselves. 

Nilsen: Was command always on your radar? 

Shayne: It sure was! Waaaaaaaaaay the hell over there. I never thought I’d have the time or opportunity to consider it seriously, and before I knew that reaching commander was treated as a stepping stone to the captaincy, I was giving real thought to making my niche as a reliable and experienced first officer for ships in the fleet. Reaching the captaincy required a hard six in a great many things, ranging from my habits when it came to writing, to my mindset regarding IC and OOC growth. It’s quite likely that I had among the rockiest and tumultuous paths to command in the fleet’s history, but nearly five years later, my crew, and the stories we’ve been able to tell, have made it all worthwhile. 

Nilsen: What has been your biggest challenge so far? (both in and out of character)

Shayne: IC, balancing character with command. Shayne’s a neurotic, curmudgeonly, paranoid and occasionally caustic presence, and his manner is all the more acidic for his utterly dedicated but unnaturally achieved approach to his Starfleet duties. Especially in the early years, finding that balance between making Shayne a competent commander and giving my crew opportunities to shine and excel really was a struggle. Over time, he’s mellowed, and found his groove, much like the rest of Arrow.

OOC, at least one of my biggest challenges- and believe me, there have been a ton– has been loosening up. Realizing that things will go wrong, and that I also have the power to mitigate or address them has been a fascinating process. Not everything can be controlled, but what can be is best handled from a position of positive, effective realism, with Occam’s Razor as a friendly companion, and failure as a tutor. 

Nilsen: What’s next for you and the crew of the USS Arrow?

Shayne: Death. Horror. Triumph. War. Lemon squares. We’ve got it all, baby. In all seriousness, cogs are turning. Subtle, vast shifts in the tectonics of our entire region have begun to rock the status quo. And though this hasn’t quite begun yet, a homecoming five years in the making grows ever closer to its fiery conclusion. 

Tonight, 9:30/8:30 central, followed by Fraser. 

Nilsen: Final question if you will indulge me, in 2017, you won the Pilot’s Sextant; from one pilot to another,  have you ordered the Arrow to do a barrel roll yet?

Shayne: No- but we’ve just welcomed aboard a new helmsman, and I’m eager to try him out. 

Thanks for your time, Captain Shayne

You can read more about Captain Shayne on the wiki.

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