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Counselor Troi talks with a member of the Enterprise-D crew while in her office

Lower Decks Interview: Meidra Sirin, USS Resolution 

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ensign Meidra Sirin playing a Vulcan/El-Aurian hybrid  female Counselor assigned to the USS Resolution. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

SIRIN: I grew up in a household where my dad was 100 percent Italian and mom was not. I saw how two different cultures coexisted without one overshadowing the other, and I think that is why I chose a hybrid for my character here. I love psychology and history, and it’s been fun creating someone with some of my traits, yet really different in other ways (I don’t get into drunken brawls with Klingons)

What has been your favorite moment writing with UFOP:StarBase 118?

Being allowed to help create a new species for our game. I worked with another writer, who is an amazing talent. We took a germ of an idea, and built on it to form an entire new world that hopefully will be put into play again someday,  It was sad for me to say goodbye to them, and hopefully others enjoyed the Da’al too.

Do you take any inspiration from movies/TV/books when writing for your character? 

I’ve seen pretty much every incarnation of Trek made, even if it was only a few episodes here and there. I think of how I’d act as a real counselor, and then try to incorporate it into my sims. I’m an avid reader, and love Douglas Adams, so also try to put a bit of the absurd into my writing. Depending on who you ask, I’ve succeeded.

What are your thoughts on what you’ve learned in the Academy as you look back compared to now?

I was terrified that I wasn’t a good writer when I was going through the Academy, until I realized that to really succeed here, you need to let go of your preconceived ideas on what makes a good writer. We are all constantly learning. My mentor has been such a great help to me, and I’ve grown more confident in my contributions.

What is your process for ideas regarding character development?

For Meidra, I thought about why a fifty year old Vulcan hybrid would be in StarFleet. It’s a bit older than the usual cadet, and I slowly built a backstory for her that explained it. I gave her enough flaws that she has a long way to go to become the person I believe she’s meant to be. So far, it’s been a long road, but she’ll get there.

And lastly, what kind of advice would you give those who would like to sim in your specific duty post?

Have fun with it, but research a bit about the role you are taking on, you can learn so much that will help you create a strong, vital member of your crew. Ask questions, everyone here is very helpful and if you’re asking a question, the odds are, someone else has wondered about it. 

Thanks for your time, Ensign Meidra Sirin!

You can read more about Ensign Meidra Sirin on the wiki


Lower Decks Interview: Tagia Jutto, USS Constitution

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ensign Tagia Jutto playing an Ariolo female HCO Officer assigned to the USS Constitution. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

JUTTO: Thanks for asking me! As you’ve said, I’m a relatively new member writing an officer on the Constitution. I really like both the creative and community aspects of Starbase 118, and even though I haven’t been around all that long I feel very comfortable here (and the Constitution writers are universally lovely and welcoming people).

I deliberately chose a lesser-known species for my character, as I find fleshing out that kind of thing really fun. 

What has been your favorite moment writing with StarBase 118?

I’ve generally enjoyed the whole thing! My group have just moved into a period of shore leave, which means there are lots of little plots going on rather than one big one, and I’m finding that really fun particularly. 


Ship Closeup – USS Narendra

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” The Narendra’s official motto pays homage to her legacy, but her Klingon allies granted the ship an unofficial motto: DabuQlu’DI’ yISuv. (When threatened, fight.)

The USS Narendra is an Ambassador-class starship and  was first launched under the command of Fleet Captain Sal Taybrim. She received her first major refit in 2371, which greatly expanded her shield and structural integrity, as well as upgrading her weapon systems to current standards. This was done anticipating the tensions with the Dominion.  

The Ambassador-class was developed at the San Francisco Fleet Yards. The U.S.S. Enterprise-C was the most famous Ambassador class starship ever commissioned by Starfleet. It was destroyed in battle in 2344 while protecting the Klingon colony on Narendra III from a Romulan attack, and all hands were presumed to be killed in action. This valorous sacrifice bought the Federation several decades of peace with the Klingon Empire.

Today we are joined by the crew of the USS Narendra to tell us more about this storied vessel. The crew range from different kinds of multicultural backgrounds such as Betazoid, Rekarian, Human, El-Aurian, Bajoran, Elaysian, Denobulan, Vulcan,  and Barzans.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Kettick, USS Juneau

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ensign Kettick playing a Remmilian male Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Juneau. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

Kettick: I’m French, grew up in a little wine village in the South-West, then moved to Bordeaux, to keep up with the theme. I now work as a safety engineer for the aerospace industry… and I guess that explains quite a lot about me and my quirks already.


Duty Post Award Winner – Jona ch’Ranni, USS Gorkon (Voyager Medallion)

Learn more about how to be a great simmer in this interview with a winner of a Duty Post award from our recent 2020 Awards Ceremony! 

Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters and this month we’re interviewing the writer behind Lieutenant Jona ch’Ranni playing an Andorian operations officer assigned to the USS Gorkon. He won the Voyager Medallion. 

GALVEN: First off, thank you for taking the time with me and answering a few questions. Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

ch’Ranni: Hello! I’m Josh and I live in the midwest US. I’m married and have energetic twin 5-year old boys. I work in the education IT field and have loved Star Trek since I was a pre-teen. Data, LaForge, and O’Brien were my idols. So, does my secular work push me to write about Ops or did my love of those characters influence me into working in an Operations-type field in real life? Or is it both?

Congratulations on winning the Voyager Medallion! The award is presented to people who have advanced the field of Operations. Could you explain how through Jona ch’Ranni you have accomplished just that?

One of the things that fascinates me about the Star Trek universe is the science and engineering behind the fiction. Star Trek is the kind of sic-fi that could be real in a few hundred years. It’s only fiction because we haven’t attained it yet. I love thinking about all the thousands of details that would go into making life aboard a starship comfortable – or even possible! It’s the behind-the-scenes work of the countless masses that make the exploration of space by our heroes a success and so I try to draw back the curtain a little bit here and there to show what kinds of things might be needed by a ship’s crew.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Jacob Horne, USS Constitution 

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Lieutenant Jacob Horne playing a Human male Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Constitution. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

HORNE: Sure!  My name is Jeff.  I live in Northern California with my girlfriend, her 11 year old daughter, and our yellow lab Snowflake.  I work for one of those electric car companies where I manage capital construction projects.  Work takes up a vast majority of my time but when I find a few minutes to myself I enjoy reading, playing music, going wine tasting, running, and I recently started fly fishing.

What has been your favorite moment writing with StarBase 118?

Tough to pick just one moment since each mission is different but if I have to pick I would say during Jalana’s trial when Jacob was called to the stand as a witness against her.  I put Jacob in a bad spot by having him wade into the gray areas of the Prime Directive.  He meant well but his actions got him and his captain into a little trouble.  It was rough for Jacob but fun to write for because I got to explore a different side of him that I had not explored before.  Not only was it good for Jacob’s development it was also good for me to learn to take more chances with Jacob.


Counselor Troi talks with a member of the Enterprise-D crew while in her office

Duty Post Award Winner – Corliss Fortune, USS Gorkon (The Order of the Valiant Heart)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2020 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters.

This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Lieutenant Corliss Fortune playing a Betazoid female counselor assigned to the USS Gorkon. She  won the Order of the Valiant Heart: “This award is given to those ship’s Counselor who have shown great skill in protecting the mental health of their crewmates, clearly demonstrating superior ability to care, assist, and comfort those in need. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty in assisting their crewmates with their problems, and in preventing future problems from occurring.

GALVEN: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?

FORTUNE: Heya! I’m Hailey and I’m from the grand ol’ state of Texas (we even have our own song, haha). It’s warm and sunny with plenty of allergens to knock you for a roll! I found SB118 way back in the day, but due to College I didn’t have time to check it out. A few years ago a friend of mine stopped roleplaying with me and I felt…lonely, I suppose, so I hunted down a roleplaying group, remembered this place, and decided to leap in and man, I’m glad I did!

Congratulations on being awarded the Order of the Valiant Heart! What does that mean for you and your character?

I’m so excited about it!! I mean it! I think it means that I’m doing a pretty swell job at keeping both in character and keeping things realistic. Sometimes you always get a little niggle that oh man, I’ve messed this up, but it feels good, you know? Means I should keep up the good work and get to it!

Do you take any inspiration from any of the Trek shows/books/movies or anywhere else when you begin writing for a scene?

As a kid, I went to visit my grandmother in another state. On the way there we slept at a hotel with like, two channels, and one of those held a marathon of TOS. My biggest memory is the one with the Horta and just a simple scene of Kirk talking with Spock.

I know various details from fanfics or the show, but when I don’t know something, I go detail hunting with a net and Bing, my own personal search engine, haha. 

However when it involves a session, I fall back on Psychology books and magazines and articles of all kinds, searching for a little start of what I’m needing.

In Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds presentation she says that you help the ship’s writers delve into their character psyches. Could you provide an example on what she means by that?

Sure! I think the one JP with Jo was absolutely interesting. In a pretty recent (how long has it been?) mission, Erin Reynolds (that is to say, Jo’s girlfriend) and Genkos Adea combined minds to ‘swim’ into Quinn’s mind to help her out (it’s very interesting, I greatly suggest reading through it).

Jo’s character was having a bit of an inner argument on how she felt about it.

Now, the thing is, obviously, irl we don’t have people with these powers, and thus the ‘feelings’ behind this is hard to explain. So instead, I rip it down to shreds on what a realistic envisioning of this would be.

However, you also have to take into effect how Corliss, herself, as a telepath and Betazoid, views this scenario. Plus, I tend to poke a little and ask how the writer wants to kind of see things going.

Thing is, you don’t quite know HOW things will go! You try your best! So, she pries a little, focuses on Jo’s feelings (as that’s what was the crux of things), and then gently suggests she speaks with Genkos and Erin about what occurred.

So far what’s happened is: delved into emotions, feelings, and even opened the door for more simming opportunities between Erin, herself, and Genkos at some point.

It helps evolve the story just as much as evolving the character of Jo herself, leaving the door open for her to ask more questions in the future about what may or may not happen between the three (and leaving the writer eager to bash out their own personal story alongside the main plot!)

And lastly, what advice can give new and/or veteran players when they choose to write for a unique duty post such as the counselor? 

The best quote I have ever read is “You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you.”

What I like to do, what helps keep me floating along, is when I help others and dig around in their characters and go ‘hey, have you ever considered that this little detail might be evidence of something greater?’ It’s exciting to me, and it’s perfectly okay to let it excite you as well!

Don’t let just one type of counseling session be your ONLY type. Laying on the couch is only useful for some. Some like to pace, to shout, to yell, some like to use the holosuite to go on walks or challenge you to a duel. These open the door to not only exploring their characters, but your own by seeing how YOU react to a new environment!

And uh, don’t hesitate to research! If someone comes up and says ‘hey my character’s drinking problem is becoming an issue’, but you don’t know how to address it, take to Google! Read through AA sources, pound through psychology magazines, buy an audiobook and let it take you on a journey as you make notes.

But above all: have fun with it! Instantly fixing things might be tempting, but it’s much more fun-and helps your own character with their relationships with the crew-to keep digging in and offering real solutions to problems that take more than one attempt to work (such as anger management, couples therapy, EMDR, etc.) and more than one session to get to the bottom of.

Thanks for your time, Lieutenant Corliss Fortune!

You can read more about Lieutenant Corliss Fortune on the wiki.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Talas Beck, StarBase 118 Ops

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ensign Talas Beck playing a Bajoran male Helm Officer assigned to StarBase 118 Ops.

Galven: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

Talas:  Happy  to be here! Umm, what to say, well I’m 25, from the UK. In the day I develop and manage apps for a charity here in England. During the evening I love to eat pizza, chill out with my partner and my cats! I also play various games, just invested in a VR headset which has been fun! I like to do a lot of writing, currently have two books on the go, a sequel to my first book and a new idea that i’m experimenting with. The books are moving quite slowly at the moment as i’ve just started the second year of my degree in Social Sciences and Politics.

What has been your favorite moment writing with UFOP:StarBase 118?

Hiding a shuttle under the nacelle of a Borg infested ship.


Captain’s Corner – Randal Shayne, USS Arrow

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.

This month, we’re interviewing the Commanding Officer of the starship USS Arrow,  Commander Randal Shayne. 

GALVEN:  Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

SHAYNE: Sure thing! My name is Quinn, and I’m a resident of Chicago, Illinois. I joined the group in 2015, and I haven’t looked back since. 

When did you become interested in Star Trek and where do you get your inspiration from in terms of books/movies/TV shows?

I was raised with Star Trek- indeed, I couldn’t get away from it. Much of the time, I watched through squinted eyes because the contents of the screen, even with 1960’s special effects, were terrifying to me. But I quickly grew to love it, and as time passed, I began looking toward it as a place of strength and a spiritual aspiration of sorts. To say that Star Trek inspires me doesn’t quite do it justice. That said, I am the product of an insatiable desire for books during my scholarly years as well.  They were my escape, and I devoured the exploits of Horatio Hornblower, and whatever Trek crew was contained within the mutilated rags of the secondhand novel I’d been able to scrounge that week, with gusto. 


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Junior Grade Kudon, USS Resolution

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Lieutenant Junior Grade Kudon playing a Vulcan male Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Resolution.

GALVEN: Thank you for accepting to do this interview with me! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself for our readers out there?

KUDON: Happy to share!  I live near the Boston area in Massachusetts.  I’m 41 and I teach high school history and economics.  I grew up and went to college and grad school around Boston and am finally starting to branch out with some travel outside New England, which sadly COVID has put a limit on for now.  When it’s over I want to go back to Montreal.  But right now I’m using my summer as a teacher to do my simming, take some online classes in French and acting, and get some reading done that I often do not have time for when the school year starts.

You don’t play the typical Vulcan and write him figuring out emotions. What do you set your style of character development with when you begin writing? 

It was challenging at first, because I was not quite sure how much about my character I should plan in advance.  But you and others in Starbase 118 OPS both gave me great advice to let the character unfold naturally.  Acting classes I have taken in the past year and a half actually helped a lot, since when I was writing my first sims, rather than thinking too cerebrally, I would just ask myself questions like “How would Kudon react to this situation?”,  “What kind of things would he say?”, or “How would he talk?” and my emotional instincts basically carried me along to develop a more consistent character.  He has decided to explore emotions, but he never had role models, since growing up on Vulcan, just about everyone suppressed emotions.  So what I did at the start, and still do now, is think to myself “How would someone behave who had little guidance regulating emotions and had to figure it out on his own?”  A large number of my sims flow from how I answer that question.


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