Each month we interview a First Officer of the fleet as part of our “First Officer in Focus” column to get to know them better and learn more about what their positions entail.
This month, we’re interviewing the First Officer of the starship USS Gorkon, Lt Commander Samira Neathler, a human female.
Promontory: You’ve been with SB118 for a number of years, how do you feel you have changed as a simmer over that time?
Neathler: At the beginning, I had not written a sim for over three years, I had to adjust to the writing style SB118 used, but after a while I got the hang of it. I must have done something good as I gradually moved up in rank and even got the opportunity to lead teams during missions. Which means, as a writer, you not only have to focus on your own writing, but also have to keep the story going for those around you, keep everyone involved and sometimes have to correct things or come up with a suitable solution when there’s a bit of a contradiction in the story.
How has your approach to your character evolved? Is Neathler in a different place now that you anticipated in 2018?
Neathler: Like everyone else, she was a wee ensign when she joined. Somewhat insecure as a security officer onboard a flagship.
Originally I intended to write her as a more cheerful person but unfortunately for Samira, during her first mission she ended up in a ‘dream universe’ during the Maquis war. And I’m afraid most of the personality of that mirror Samira seeped through to the real Samira.
She grew as a security/tactical officer, became assistant chief and later even chief of the department. And she also learned not to solve everything by herself but to rely on the expertise of those around her and the crew. I certainly didn’t think she’d be a First Officer one day when I joined in 2018.
Tell us about your ship, the Gorkon, why is it the best in the fleet?
Neathler: Isn’t every ship or station the best in the fleet?
I like the comradery on the Gorkon. We’re a mixed crew, young and some already older, coming from all parts of the world and we all get along nicely. If one of us is having a rough moment, there’s always someone around to give some uplifting advice, support or to throw in a pun or a comical meme that shifts things in the positive way.
What’s your approach to the role of a first officer?
Neathler: Be an example for the rest of the crew and support them in their endeavour to whatever it is they try to achieve in the fleet. Just like everyone else, write those twelve quality sims spread in a month or even more. Especially during missions where others depend on each other to move the story forward and to reach those numbers.
When someone drops out during a mission and when needed I bring another character to help with that particular team. Or when during shore leave someone is getting behind with their sim numbers and they’re not in a particular scene, I usually tag them with one of my characters and get them involved again.
Also, be there for your crew, give them advice if they have questions or concerns. Let them know that they have a listening ear on the ship.
Commanding and executive officers have more responsibility to help enhance the writing of their ‘subordinates.’ In your current role, how do you help your fellow simmers craft scenes and develop characters?
Neathler: The focus shifts away from your own character and your own character’s story to that of the other people on the ship. So when the crew contacts me to sim because they have an idea during shore leave, I’ll gladly agree and see where it leads us. And as mentioned above, step in where and when is needed.
During missions, I keep in mind the background of the other characters writing with me so that I can cater an event or situation in the plot, for a particular character but in the meantime I also have to keep the whole event interesting for the other people in the scene.
Or do the opposite to see how a certain character would react in a situation they are not familiar with so that they have to think outside the box.
What advice would you give to newer simmers who are interested in long-term participation and, perhaps, leadership in the fleet?
Neathler: Get yourself noticed. Not only on your ship, but in the fleet as a whole. If you want to write for a PNPC, just go for it, especially during shore leave. Of course, during a mission, you should inquire with the command staff, as they may already have things planned. Also talk to your ship’s staff, let them know what your interests are so they can guide you in that particular direction. Communication is the key.
We also have plenty of OOC teams, departments, contests and other activities who are always looking for volunteers to help out or participate. Or why not start something yourself, like the Book Club, that was started more recently.
But most of all, have fun writing your character’s story and help flesh out the stories of your crew members or other members in the fleet.
Thanks for your time, Commander Neathler!