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First Officer in Focus – Sky Blake, USS Veritas

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 Veritas, Lt. Commander Sky Blake,  a Brekkian/Betazoid hybrid female.

GALVEN: Tell us a little about the writer behind Blake. Where do you hail from, and what are you up to when you’re not simming?

BLAKE: I live in Australia, and when I am not simming, I am studying as a cloud student for a Bachelor of Arts. I earned my Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing in 2019, where I was also able to edit and publish a fairly hefty student anthology of works, as well as put together a demo memoir I released that November.

Between writing and reading for my degree and simming, I also consume a fairly unhealthy amount of Netflix, AnimeLab, Playstation games, and iced coffee.

Tell us more about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim?

It depends on how much time I have. If I’m on a tight schedule, I’ll actively look for Blake-specific tags, throw them into a Gmail draft and focus on adding dialogue first, then examine the scene more closely for Blake’s physicality — ie. how is she presenting herself, how is she feeling, is she cold, etc — reactionary type things. After that, I go back through and do a basic edit alongside a pass with ProWritingAid and send. That usually takes me about 15 minutes to a half hour.

On a good day when I can spend up to hours working on a sim, I work properly on narration, backstory and thoughts. I can double check to see if everyone has been included in a scene and add relevant tags for those who may not be. These sims will typically be much longer than my rush jobs, have been formatted properly, edited, and may have about three times more the narration.


To Commanding and Beyond – Jalana Rajel, USS Constitution-B 

We have a very special interview this month with someone who has been a catalyst in the fleet! I have the very special honor in taking the time to talk with Commodore Jalana Rajel, a Trill female who’s been the commanding officer for the USS Constitution-B for 5 years and running.

Commodore is an exclusive rank and title captains and fleet captains can earn in UFOP: StarBase 118 once they have served as commanding officer of a vessel for five years (whether continuously during one tenure or cumulatively over multiple commands). Having completed their own “five-year mission” aboard their ships, these COs are recognized by our community as among our finest leaders in the fleet.

GALVEN: Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed by the Community News Team! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

RAJEL: Of course, thank you for having me! I am Jess, almost 41 years old from Germany and have been a member of this brilliant community for eight years. I have been roleplaying since I was innocent 8 years old and not only have I enjoyed every moment of it but I can’t imagine ever not to roleplay in some shape or form. It just inspires my writing and energizes me to share stories with other writers.

Congratulations on your promotion and your longevity being the commanding officer for 5 years! What does the rank of Commodore entail?

Thank you! I hope it doesn’t entail more paperwork. 😉 I am kidding, but I don’t believe it is much different from being a Fleet Captain. I will continue to lead my ship and to participate as part of the Captain’s Council with the best of the fleet in mind.


Join us for the fleetwide chat this coming Sunday

We invite all members of our community to join us in the Discord chat room this coming Sunday, for our regularly scheduled get-together, where we’ll talk about what’s happening around the fleet, learn more about each other, and discuss Star Trek!

The chat starts this Sunday, June 14th at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern, 6pm UTC and Monday, June 15th at 3am for Australia. Click here to see the start time in your zone, and add this event to your calendar.

This chat is open to all and casual, so feel free to come and go as you please. See you there!


It’s time to chat! Join us today for our monthly fleetwide party

Join us in the chat room for our monthly OOC chat today (Sunday, May 17th) at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern / 6pm London / 3am+1 Sydney (AUS). (See your timezone here.)

Click here to join the chat on Discord. It’s fun and easy, and only takes a minute to get set up if you’ve never signed up on before.

Our monthly chats are a place to meet other members of the fleet, catch up on current fleet events, share stories, and talk about Star Trek. Especially if you’ve never attended a chat before, we hope you’ll participate this month!


Join us for the fleetwide chat this coming Sunday

We invite all members of our community to join us in the Discord chat room this coming Sunday, for our regularly scheduled get-together, where we’ll talk about what’s happening around the fleet, learn more about each other, and discuss Star Trek!

The chat starts this Sunday, May 17th at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern, 6pm UTC and Monday, May 18th at 3am for Australia. Click here to see the start time in your zone, and add this event to your calendar.

This chat is open to all and casual, so feel free to come and go as you please. See you there!


Captain’s Corner: Fleet Captain Aron Kells, USS Thor

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 Fleet Captain Aron Kells, the CO of the USS Thor, one of two support ships from the Embassy of Duronis II. The crew of the Embassy has transitioned permanently to the Thor and embarked on a new mission.

GALVEN: Thank you for agreeing to take a moment and be interviewed! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

KELLS: Sure! My name is Tony, which I use primarily in part because I’ve used half a dozen different characters as PCs since I first joined the fleet back in 2005. Kells is probably the character I’ve simmed for most often, which is one of the reasons I chose him for command this time (but more on that later). A fun fact about me is that I joined 118 when I was still in high school and I’ve just recently finished my PhD, so the group has seen me through my entire higher education journey.

You just recently took command of the USS Thor. With your previous command service record, has it been a smooth transition process? 

Very much so. My first regular command was of the Mercury, almost exactly eight years ago, and that was a more difficult situation. The original CO retired only four months after launching the ship, and his replacement lasted less than a week before he had to take an emergency, long-term LOA. The Mercury’s XO was a real trooper and was a great help to me when I came on as CO, and I knew when I found out what a force Brian (Lt. Cmdr. Teller, the Embassy’s and now the Thor’s XO) had been in helping to keep things together, I knew that the work he and the other great staff members had started put me in a really strong place to come in and help the Embassy crew move to Thor.


Listen to a very special sim reading by the StarBase 118 Podcast Team

Enjoy a very special segment by a few members of the Starbase 118 Podcast Team, hosted by Lt Commander German Galven! Content includes a weather report by Lieutenant Lorian Lovar and a special sim read by Lt. Commander Toryn Raga and Lieutenant Ishkabella Journs:

Want to read the joint post? Check it out here: part 1, and part 2.


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

Duty Post Award Winner – Alexander Brodie, Embassy of Duronis II (The Order of the Valiant Heart)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2019 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 Alexander Brodie playing a Human male chief counselor assigned to the Embassy of Duronis II. He  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?

BRODIE: Well, I hail from the United Kingdom and stay up in Scotland currently. To be fair, I consider myself Scottish having lived here pretty much my whole adult life. Always been a fan of Star Trek from watching TOS reruns on the BBC after school.

Rear Admiral Toni Turner said in her presentation that Brodie counsels by not counseling and this is powers of observation is excellent. Could you provide us an example of what she means by that? 

I’ve always tried to have Brodie be a very alert character, sees a lot but doesn’t always act on it. He’s definitely a watcher and listener. That allows him to work with his crewmates ‘out of the office’ as it were, spending time talking to them and being there when he’s needed – or when he feels he will be.

I suppose a recent example would be the reported death of Irina Pavlova. Brodie had met Irinia briefly when he arrived at the Embassy so knew how it may affect her former crewmates. This allowed him to come at the situation as a concerned friend rather than as a medical professional. It helps to talk but sometimes people find it easier to just ‘talk about old times with a friend’ than ‘go and see ‘the shrink’.


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant Junior Grade Charlena Vanlith, 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 Lieutenant Junior Grade Charlena Vanlith playing a Risian female Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Veritas.

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

VANLITH: Right well. I’m born and bred in London and have never been far away from London for more than a few months. I’m work in a school now but have had my fair share of different professions over the past couple of years. I’m dabbling more into my musician side recently playing for an RAF Voluntary Band for the past year.

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

I’d have to say my favourite part was the creation of BAXTER. In creating my backstory I gave Charlena a disabled brother for whom she built gadgets and where her desire to be an engineer came from. BAXTER was originally intended to be for her brother however, by chance and a bit of inspiration he became used in a mission and now he is a definite part of the Veritas crew. 


It’s time to chat! Join us today for our monthly fleetwide party.

Join us in the chat room today (Saturday, April 18) for our monthly OOC chat starting at a special time: 3:30pm Pacific / 6:30pm Eastern / 11:30pm London / 8:30am+1 (Sunday, April 19) Sydney. (See your timezone here.)

Click here to join the chat on Discord. It’s fun and easy, and only takes a minute to get set up if you’ve never signed up on before.

Our monthly chats are a place to meet other members of the fleet, catch up on current fleet events, share stories, and talk about Star Trek. Especially if you’ve never attended a chat before, we hope you’ll participate this month!


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