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Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Junior Grade Ben Garcia, Embassy of Duronis II 

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 JG Ben Garcia playing a Human male HCO officer assigned to the Embassy of Duronis II.

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

GARCIA: Hi! I’m Wes, and I write for Ben. I post from the U.K and always get caught out with post counts and time differences! I enjoy Trek, especially those episodes that make you think … I guess that’s what got me into Trek: I have great memories of watching TNG after dinner with my mum (many, many years ago!), and I’d marvel at how the characters grappled with high ideals and moral dilemmas. I was fascinated with Picard. Great stuff!

You joined the community in February. How did you find StarBase 118 and what made you ultimately choose to stay with us?

I re-joined in February; I found StarBase 118 a few years ago – maybe four or five? I’d done table top RPG when I was a kid, and wanted to find an online group. I cannot remember how I stumbled across StarBase 118, but I’m thankful you were there among those search results! When I first joined I was at University, and for one reason and another couldn’t keep up posting, so I took a LOA … or two.

Fast forward to this February, and I’d made the decision to carve out time for things that I enjoy. That meant figuring out what I enjoyed! That’s when all those really positive memories about how friendly and organised the StarBase 118 community are came to the fore. So, I decided to get back involved. I’m grateful to the Embassy for finding a place for me to sim (thanks guys!), and really enjoy the freedom we have on the installation to sim planet side or on one of the Embassy’s ships.

This is my longest stint as an active member, and I’d put it down to two things: the community ethos of StarBase 118 and my mind set about why I sim.


First Officer in Focus – Lael Rosek, USS Montreal

Each month we interview a First Officer or Commanding Officer of the fleet as part of our “First Officer in Focus” and “Captain’s Corner” columns 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 Montreal,  Lieutenant Commander Lael Rosek, a female Al-Leyan.

GALVEN: Thank you so much for accepting to do an interview with me out of your busy schedule! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

ROSEK: I’m always happy to help. I’ve been writing with the fleet on and off for 14 years and love the sense of community here. In real life, I work as an instructional aide in an elementary special education classroom and believe with all my heart that a good education can change a person’s life. I’m the mother of two amazing young boys who are the light of my life.

What ships have you served on and what duty posts have you played so far in your Starfleet career?

I’ve served on any number of ships over the years. My very first assignment with the fleet was the Independence at the time under the command of Jessa Anassasi. At that time, I was writing for a Human woman named Rebecca Hollendale, a security/tactical officer. She also served aboard the Ronin under the command of Idril Mar. A bit later on, I switched characters to a Human woman named Elina Kincade. She was an interesting character because I started writing her as an Engineer who eventually became a trained nurse. While writing for her, I served aboard the Eagle and the Challenger-A.

My most recent, and perhaps my favorite, PC, Lael, started her career as an Engineer before switching to Helm and later back to Engineering. She served aboard the Victory, the Gorkon, the Za, the Veritas, and the Montreal.

I also have a menagerie of PNPCs and secondary characters in a variety of duty posts. I’ve played in the fair majority of available duty posts over my time with the fleet.


New Flag Officer Interview: Fleet Captain Jalana Rajel, USS Consititution-B

Just recently there were some pretty big promotions within our fleet. One of those community members – who, with great determination and pride, was just promoted to Fleet Captain was the commanding officer of the USS Constitution-B: Jalana Rajel.

We’re here today to talk more with her about her time in UFOP: SB118, what experience she brought to the game, and how she rose through the ranks. Let’s dive in.

GALVEN: It’s an honor and a privilege that you accepted to do an interview with me. Before we get started, could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

Rajel: It’s a pleasure and honor to be asked to be honest. There isn’t too much to tell about me really. I’m Jessica, a month away from being 40 years old even though I feel more like I’m still 18 in many ways. I live in Germany with my boyfriend of 17 years and if I don’t write in SB118, I write on my own stories and novels, play computer games and, as of recently, dig into my studies of the Korean language. I’ve been a roleplayer since I was 9 years old and bombed my uncle’s D&D group with my annoyance and am still loving it.

Congratulations on being promoted to Fleet Captain, which must’ve been exciting for you! What do Fleet Captains do – are there more responsibilities IC and OOC wise?

Thank you very much! It really is exciting, I assumed that I’ll be at the rank of Captain forever, since I am not taking on more OOC responsibilities than I can shoulder, which isn’t too much. I don’t think that I have been doing anything differently than I have before, so I hope nobody realizes that they want the rank back. 😉

I serve on the Constitution with my secondary character, and you do an extremely job well done as captain! Can you give the readers some insight into what it’s like commanding a ship in UFOP: SB118?

Thank you, that’s very kind of you. I’m thrilled to have you on the Conny. What is it like… every CO might answer this differently, so here is my own view of it: Basically, you are having all the fun, but have to put in the work for it. I see my crew as a family and hope that they feel like that, but that doesn’t just happen. Consistent writing, putting out fires, planning behind the scene, making sure everyone is involved, has fun and feels at home is pretty much what I do, but not alone. My staff helps me tremendously and they are a fantastic bunch of people without whom I’d be lost. Another important part to me is that you want others to shine, so I try to give them opportunities to tell their stories, to have their moments and balance it with having my own fun in many ways.

You give so much of your time and are available to those when they need you the most which is quite praiseworthy! What has been the greatest challenge, in character and out of character, with the command experience?

I think the biggest challenge is to make everyone happy and to keep everyone involved at all times. I am not always successful with that. Sometimes we have missions that, while liked by the majority, have been disliked by a minority. So trying to find ways to make the minority enjoy the mission as well is a challenge. Also, even if a mission is the best mission in the world, sometimes they don’t kick off or our crew members have real life things going on that will come in the way of writing. So we, as staff, deal with the challenge to keep things interesting and engage everyone. That can be a balance act and sometimes – no matter how hard we try – we drop into the safety net, while other times we soar into the skies.

Now, I was reading your profile and saw that you joined only seven years ago. Is that right? Where do you get your much talented inspiration from?

It’s been seven years already? Oh my. It doesn’t feel that long! Indeed, it’ll be eight years in June, amazing! My inspiration comes from everywhere, to be honest. It comes from looking around with open eyes, watching people, reading books, watching TV… I don’t believe that there is anything in this world that can’t be inspiring.

Out of all the OOC activities 118 has to offer, there’s The (Image) Collective which you’re the co-facilitator of. How did you get so talented in creating graphics, and what’s the best kind of advice you can give someone who is hesitant in exploring their image skills?

I got where I am through practice. As everyone else I want to pick up a hobby and be immediately awesome at it, sadly that doesn’t work. My first image manipulations were horrendous but I was so proud of them and didn’t know how bad they are! So I’ll tell you what I did in the beginning: I watched video tutorials on YouTube, followed them for months and months. I got Photoshop and played around with all the options to figure out what is doing what, and even now – after 10+ years – I still find new tools and ways to do things, so never stop learning. We also have a tutorial section in the wiki, some video tutorials and the like so check those out too. (http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=The_(Image)_Collective:_Tutorials) Keep practicing and if you are curious what you can do better, you can ask anyone in the Image Team and they will gladly help you. We are not only here to provide images for the members, we also aim to grow and improve together by helping each other out. More than anything, enjoy yourself, don’t be afraid of mistakes, there is an undo button! 😉

And lastly, Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who’s just joined?

Have fun! Seriously, I know that especially in the beginning it can be intimidating. All these strangers to write with, stories that have been going on for such a long time, friends have been made already and then you come in as the new person and have to find your footing. We’ve all been there. But one thing that always helped me was to just jump in, join the fun, make up your stories and don’t be afraid to tag others. And most importantly if you are stuck, have no ideas, RL hits you hard… communicate with your mentor. You are never alone and we are all here to make sure you are having as much fun as we do so you as well can form these friendships, write these stories and be part of this amazing community.

Thank you for your time, Fleet Captain Jalana Rajel!

You can read more about Fleet Captain Jalana Rajel on the wiki.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Addison MacKenzie, USS Veritas

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 Addison MacKenzie playing a Human female medical officer assigned to the USS Veritas.

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

MACKENZIE: Thanks for the invite! My name is Matt, I’m 31 and from Cleveland, Ohio (in the United States). I’m a professional musician and love all things Trek – but I have to say I’m more a fan of the TNG and VOY eras. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I haven’t seen any of Discovery yet (I know, I know), and I never finished the final season of the Enterprise series. Rest easy, though – they’re on my list of things to get to before the summer is over.

How did you find out about StarBase 118 and what made you choose to ultimately stay with the community?

Well, I’ve been writing [for a lot of] sims/organizations since I was in high school. …I was figuring it out the other day, and I think it’s been about 18 years. Recently, I had been writing for a few sims in another fleet, but the progress was so slow (it took about a year to finish a mission), and the quality of the writing wasn’t that great. I got bored quickly and started looking for other places to write.

Google came through for me.

As a seasoned writer, I have to admit I wasn’t big on the idea of needing to go through training, but when I got in and saw the formatting was different, I totally understood why. The quality of the writers here is fantastic, and the commitment to detail on an organizational level is something to really be respectful of and admired. What Starbase 118 can offer a potential writer to develop a character (or characters) is something special. I haven’t encountered anything quite like it anywhere else.


Duty Post Award Winner – David Knight, USS Atlantis (The Black Cross)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2018 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 David Cross playing a Human Male Intelligence Officer assigned to the USS Atlantis. He won the Black Cross award: “Given to a member of the Intelligence community that strives to accomplish the goals of Starfleet Intelligence, while simultaneously upholding the ideals and structure of Starfleet command. This person has the cunning to gather intelligence by means of deceptive dialogue or espionage, as opposed to force drawn confessions. While matters of intelligence are often game changers, this person strives to attain those goals within the boundaries of their Commanding Officer, and the regulations of Starfleet.

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

KNIGHT:  My pleasure, I have been a fan of star trek since some of my earliest memories and enjoy reading star trek novels. I have been simming my character off and on for almost a year know aboard the Atlantis as the ships Signals intelligence Officer

Winning a duty post award that’s outside of our normal range of  selected duty posts must be a great feeling! Do you take any inspiration from films, television, or books when writing your character and his actions?

To be honest, I was quite surprised when I won the black cross, I had been doing my best at the time to portray a Federation intelligence officer and never would have guessed I would even be nominated for the award. As for inspiration, I am particularly fond of the Deep Space Nine series. Specifically, Captain Sisco and Commander Worf, though the characters were miles apart as far as story lines and personalities. They both find themselves conflicted with the morality of how important the right information can be and whether acting upon it would be morally right. Moreover they both portray Intelligence work in more realistic light as opposed the more popular 007 approach made popular by the movies.


Duty Post Award Winner – Valin Dermont, USS Atlantis (The Phoenix Award)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2018 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 Valin Dermont playing a Human male Chief Engineer assigned to the USS Atlantis. He won the Phoenix Award: “a duty post award that recognizes engineers. Named for the vessel that legendary engineer Zefram Cochrane piloted during his historic first warp flight, this award goes to those Engineering officers who continue this tradition of excellence in the field of engineering. By performing their tasks with enthusiasm, imagination and diligence, by managing to make their equipment perform above and beyond its rated capacities, the officers meriting this award further the mission of their ship by their superior know-how. In short, miracle workers.

GALVEN: Thank you so much for taking the time to do an interview with me! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

DERMONT:  I’m just a guy doing his best outside of Trek.  I am married with a daughter and spend far too many hours working.  Writing and D&D are my two biggest passions when I can find the time!

Your duty post is an engineer. Could you explain why you chose that and is there any show/movie/book that take inspiration from?

The idea of making things work just really appealed to me.  No matter what is going on….sooner of later in an episode of Star Trek something is going to need to be fixed.  I feel Dermont is a blend of Scotty, Torres, and my own inner thoughts that I would never be so coarse as to say out loud.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant JG Maddi Hyden, USS Atlantis

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 JG Maddi Hyden playing a Human Female Tactical Officer assigned to the USS Atlantis.

GALVEN: Thank you for taking the time out of your day to do an interview with me! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

HYDEN: Thank you for giving me the honor to be interviewed. My name is Stephen I’m 21 years old and I hail from West Virginia. I’ve been writing for a little over 4 years now never expected to enjoy it as much as I have, but wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m excited for some things that will be happening soon in the meantime just biding my time and waiting.

Are there any movies, shows, and/or books you take inspiration from?

Not exactly I’ve got a lot of my inspiration from multiple Star Trek shows. Usually though I have a very creative mind so I take quite a bit of time to refine my character into what I want them to be in the end.


Duty Post Award Winner – Rune Jolara, USS Columbia (The Order of the Valiant Award)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2018 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 Lt. Commander Rune Jolara playing a Al-Leyan female Intelligence Officer assigned to the USS Columbia. She won the Order of the Valiant Award: “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: Thank you so much for accepting this interview! Could you tell us more about yourself for our readers out there?

JOLARA: Thank you! I started this life in a small town on the banks of the Mississippi River in Southern Illinois. I left that town as soon as I was old enough to escape and I never looked back.

I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing in one form or the other. Even during my childhood I would sneak away and write. Writing, along with painting and drawing, has helped me through some pretty dark times in my life.

My earliest memories of Star Trek is watching TOS with one of my uncles. When TNG came out (yes, I am that old), my interest (almost obsession) in all things Trek was reignited and hasn’t really stopped. Way back in 2005, I found SB118 and jumped at the chance to join a group that combined two things I love. I ended up taking a few years off but came back in 2012 as Rune Jolara.

Out in the real world, I’m a Front End Web Developer with a job I actually love… most of the time. 🙂  I’m also (slowly, very slowly) working on a sci-fi/supernatural novel.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Chloe Waters, USS Eagle

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 Chloe Waters playing a Human female Helm Officer assigned to the USS Eagle.

GALVEN: Thank you for taking the time in doing an interview with me! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there

WATERS: ::waves:: Hello everyone. Most of you know me by my character name, or by Gar. Perhaps some of you may know me by a few other identities. The person with the stories, the crazy person, or the blind person. Whatever the case, all of those descriptions are true. In any case, I’m eighteen years old, pal, and let me tell ya aboot my proud Canadian background, eh?

Since this will definitely come up, my history with sight, and/or lack there of, is complicated. I am a cancer surviver even though, statistically, I shouldn’t be here. I was diagnosed at six months old and was in treatment for a couple months. I lost one eye to it and the other was saved, even though the doctors didn’t think I could see out of it at the time. A few years later they discovered otherwise. When I was in the fourth grade my vision started to deteriorate and I had to have surgery to get a cataract removed. What vision I had shot back up until I had to have some residual scarring removed two years later because I was starting to lose it again. Two years after that, the cataract began to grow back, and I started to lose my sight so I needed surgery to correct for that again.

My sight was restored, until I went to bed one night a few months later and woke up the next morning… with all of it gone. To this day no one understands why, or why I have since regained some of my light perception. Despite what issues being blind has caused me, it isn’t as bad as it seems. Being without sight allows me to get to know people on a more personal level, because I judge people based on who they are, rather than what they look like.

As for my relationship with Trek, I’ve been a fan since I stumbled on it ever since I was eight years old. The show struck a cord with me immediately, thanks to a certain chief engineer aboard the Enterprise. 😉 I’ll let you all figure out which one. In any case that love of Trek has lead me to joining various roleplaying groups, trying out different characters. And now I’m here.


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Beelam Grog, USS Montreal

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 Beelam Grog playing a Trill female medical officer assigned to the USS Montreal.

GALVEN: I appreciate you for accepting my Interview! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself for our readers out there?

GROG: Sure thing. I live and go to college in Colorado where I am studying to become a special education teacher. In my free time I do role play for systems like Star Trek adventures, write and watch British history programs.

How did you find out about Starbase 118 and what made you ultimately choose our community and stay with us?

I find it to be a funny story. I found your group when I was searching google for Information about Starfleet academy. I found the wiki and upon seeing that this group was still active decided to join. I mostly stayed because I liked the people and how they valued the players as real people first.


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