Alexander Williams

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Lower Decks interview: The Dutch team from the USS Za

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.

A warm hello from the Netherlands as we are here to conduct another below decks interview with two new members of our community. It’s my honor to tell you that with their arrival the number of Dutchman in the fleet has tripled! Today we’ll talk with Yasmine, playing Ens. Femi Cattan from Egypt, and Patrick playing the Klingon science officer LtJG. Nak’aqi Socxo, both serve on the USS Za.

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

Cattan: first of all, thank you for this opportunity. I’m born in Sri Lanka but I’m adopted and grew up in The Netherlands. I’m 22 years old now and I’m third year student speech and language therapy. I like reading, singing, acting and of course writing.

Socxo: In contrast to Yasmine I’m born in The Netherlands. I’m 28 years old and in my exam year of Employee Human Resources. I like to write, work with technology that is new or old and help other people.

BONUS Lower Decks: Lt. Rustyy Hael, USS Constitution

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.

Today we find ourselves at Starbase 11 where the USS Constitution is enjoying some R & R before heading off on what, no doubt, will be another interesting mission. Over the past year the ship has gone through a lot of interesting situations and we can thank one man for keeping the ship in one piece: The Chief Engineer Lieutenant Rustyy Hael – in the real world known as Noelle.

FIORR: First things first, where are you from and how is life over there?
HAEL: I live in Michigan on the Indiana/Michigan Border, though I was born in Sevierville, Tennessee – Home of the Hillbilly. And life is grand. I am happily married for 3 years, work in a terrible machine shop – but I work on second shift with an amazing crew so it works itself out, race Thoroughbred race horses! And no I’m not in the derby…. 2017 ~if anyones interested *Canttouch Jack*~ 😉 And farm. Constantly busy, but love it.

A busy life indeed, which makes me wonder even more what’s your relation is to Star-Trek and why you decided to join this group? What did you hope to find and more important, DID you find that or something else you like to share?
Star Trek and I have a very healthy relationship, no marriage counselor yet needed 😉 ::chuckles.:: Honestly I joined this group to have fun and socialize. ::nod.:: The best friendships come when you have things in common. It doesn’t matter if those people come over and eat your food or if you bring them into your home through technology. They’re still real friends. I’ve met some pretty amazing people here and if I could afford to travel all over the world I wouldn’t hesitate to crash on their couches.

In the past year I’ve known you as a dedicated writer and mentor to many on the Conny. What would you say is your greatest strength as a writer and mentor?
Google is my greatest strength…O_O. I think a strength of mine for being a mentor is my perseverance. And for a writer I would say my drive, or willingness, to research anything and everything. I love having realistic, dimensional, and comparative characters and information in my sims. Like I said… “google”. But I think having that extra urge, uh, is a good thing. ::nod.:: Most of the time. I have a PNPC who works in Sickbay and lemme tell ya I could have lived my entire life just fine without seeing certain things. But even then, I get an emotion reaction, so it works out… My PNPC has a stronger stomach than I do…

Your first and most known character is Lieutenant Hael. When you made him did you have someone in mind? Does he reflect you in real life or did something or someone else inspire you to create him?
“Reckon that there be h-a-e-l there buddy ol’ pal” – Rustyy Hael.

Actually.. A loooong time ago, a really good friend and I had this master plan to be famous writers. Well she the writer, I the artist. We worked together on a book, and we both had a character that was … Kind of like an alter ego. Truth be told the original characters were Carpathians – or Vampires that aren’t crazy ::chuckles.:: But the same personality that I’ve kept. I am totally crazy, in case you weren’t warned. ::chuckles.:: Rustyy is a voice in my head, when I write for him – he is the one writing. I need to bounce something off of someone or have company on a long drive I talk to him. So he’s totally real to me…. No I do not write when the doctors let me out of my straight jacket…LOL  But he is a rather developed and only had to change him to meet Star Trek standards, but only some. 🙂

What inspires you to write so many great sims?
Oh gosh… Everything! Life, things talked about, overheard, gossiped about, As Seen On TV. If you take a few seconds to look around, the things you will see. I was in Walmart one day, I don’t usually go during the day – I go late at night – but this was a special occasion. So I go through and am in the checkout line, everything is going great. The clerk is really chatty as she’s bagging my things. Which is totally fine, I’m all for the chatty. But I couldn’t help but notice that she had a booger coming out of her nose. Whatever – just don’t pay attention to it, right? Wrong! The more this woman talked the further down this booger… bounced out of her nose. ::chuckles.:: I cannot help but stare. Halfway into her checking me out, this massive glob of snot is now swinging down to her chin and she just… ::makes sniffing noses.:: Right back up like it was nothing. ::gag:: I lost my mind!!! But! I now have this uber nasty, totally funny… clip that I’ll one day use. And having those real experiences to fall back on to use I think is was plays such a huge role in my particular sims being halfway decent…. Could be that I lack imagination so it works out. 🙂 ::sigh.::

In the past year you’ve written a lot of sims. No doubt most (if not all) of them are great to write but what is one of your best sims so far? Or which one was the most fun to write?
Oh man.. I love all of the ones I write for Rustyy. He is just so much fun, I giggle as I write -which makes people stare at me like I’m crazy… The ones when he can be the most goofy though are my absolute favorites. He’s an idiot! And it just fits everything so well. I don’t have him not address major issues or deal with real problems, but how he handles them are all him. I would say the one when he calls home.. I’m laughing right now, to just think about it… I was really able to show why he kind of is… the way he is. Why he talks and walks and banters like he does. Why he says things like ““I’d’a be as pink as a newborn piglet on a purdy spring mornin’ and as proud as a waxed mustang cruising through town.”” instead of “”I’d be pleased too and I’m honored.”” And showed the life he left to join StarFleet. Not everyone left because of bad situations but because … It was more or less something new to do. Yeah… I think that would be my choice favorite. Though I’m sure *no one* really understood a word that was said in it. 🙂 

You’ve started to climb up in the ranks and no doubt you get yourself a few goals. Where would you like to be in a few years? Have a taste of command of your own? Or maybe join one of the great OOC groups?
I do a few OOC things, I like what I do. Though I’m going to have to give up judging top sims for while… Don’t worry! I’ll find a way to come back and bother all those poor folks. 🙂 ::laughs.:: Where do I see myself.. Hmmm. Uh, I made a comment in the Conny’s forums that I wanted to rule the world. I ~think~ that’s still in the cards… Maybe. If there’s unlimited coffee I’ll be all over it…  I definitely have high hopes to go far and be an active and in depth player both IC and OOC. Yes one day I truly hope to have a command of my own. ::smirks.:: But if not, I would be equally proud to be a helpful and supportive staffer of those most deserving of commanding ships. Not everyone can command, and if I get there and find it’s not for me I will be just as happy as Starfish in water to be a writer and behind the scenes type of gal.

It was an honor to have as our guest today this month.  And I think I can speak for all of us when I say we already look forward to your next sim!

You can read more about Lt. Hael on the wiki, as well as reading the Constitution sims in our archives.

Star Trek Timelines: Q strikes again!

As a frequent gamer I found myself at a loss a few weeks ago. I was looking forward to installing some of the old Star Trek games like Armada II but it’s so old it’s no longer working on a new computer without patching your system until eternity. So instead of trying to find a way to get the game going I decided to look for something else and what did I find? A great new game called Star Trek Timelines.

Its only available for Android and Apple but so far it’s a lot of fun. What is it all about? Well as you might have guessed by the title of this article Q has decided to show up again. He has set the galaxy in chaos by mixing a lot of timelines / alternate realities into your reality and you are the only man who can fix it. That sounds pretty cliché but it turns out to be a great task.

During the game -which is totally free- you can start recruiting your own crew. In a way it’s a little like Pokémon. You earn credits by doing all kinds of missions and with the credits you can buy “card”. These cards contain either people from the Star Trek series (Original, TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise) and there are also a lot of items. The characters you come across are divided into several roles. Troi for example is a great diplomat and has some medical knowledge while Seska is a great engineer with some combat skills. By giving them items they became better and what they do and the better the skills the more successful you’ll be in a mission.

Meet Captain Rajel of the USS Constitution

When the Apollo-A got mothballed over a year ago its crew was in need of a new ship and commanding officer. In the smooth transition that followed they found both. Commander Rajel, a joined Trill, took over from Rear Admiral Jaxx and the Constitution became the crew’s new home. Now, a year later we at the News Team thought it was time to seek out Jess, the writer behind newly promoted Captain Jalana Rajel and many other great characters.

First of all thank you for inviting us to your ship captain. Although the Constitution is considered a ship of age I must admit it’s been a dream all my life to actually set foot on one of these beauties.

(Jalana) It’s always a pleasure to have a visitor. The Constitution certainly is a lovely ship and much younger than I am. ::smirking:: It has been generally upgraded before we moved in, so you could say it got a facelift.

(Jess) Happy to be here. The Galaxy Class has always been the one ship that I wanted to have if I’d become CO. I’m happy that I got the chance to fulfil that dream of mine with such a beauty.

An interview with the Captains Council Magistrate

Today we’re talking with Jon, who you may know as Captain Nugra formerly of the USS Victory, now playing the character Tribune Shiarrael aboard the USS Columbia.

With his new role on the Columbia, and his position as Captains Council Magistrate, we have lots to learn about his history in the group and what he looks forward to. Let’s get started!

FIORR: You are a member since 2003 no doubt you have seen a lot happen over the years. Could you tell us about one of your greatest moments in the fleet so far?

That is not an easy question to answer. I have seem a lot of great things in my time and I have enjoyed every moment of it. If I had to pick one, I would say the greatest moment in my time here in the fleet was when I was given the opportunity by the Executive Council to assume command of the USS Victory.

The USS Victory was the first ship that I ever served on. I had taken a hiatus in simming between 2006 to 2012 because of real life and when I returned I found that she was still around. Since then, I worked towards becoming a Captain and the day that they gave me the keys to her was the most important moment in my career.

FIORR: After 12 years of writing I can imagine at times you have to make a few moves to keep things fresh. How do you avoid simming something you already did a few years ago? In other words what keeps you inspired?

It is more like six years of simming total due to the six year hiatus, but the way that I avoid simming something I already have is by sitting down and studying my character. To me, characters are much like us, we go through life experiencing things and though some might be things we have done before, it is never the same way. I try to show that same thing with Nugra.

I always try to look at him and think, “What life experiences can he experience” or “what are the consequences of some of his life decisions?”

FIORR: In the past year you made a new character. While we all do that from time to time you came up with something special. The Romulan Shiarrael Ei-Ihhliae she is quite different from Captain Nugra. Why did you make the change?

I made the change because of where Nugra was in his life. His past has been haunting him and it was coming to the point that he was either going to collapse in on himself or snap. When my RL situation changed to the point I could no longer command the USS Victory, I took this opportunity to have Nugra step aside and recover from all the things he had been through. He needed the rest.

Shiarrael is very different from Nugra as she has been his nemesis, my friends at the Duronis II Embassy who simmed with me when I was stationed there would remember her as T’Ana, the woman who defected from the Romulan Empire. She was such a strong and fascinating character, I could not resist playing her full time.

FIORR: Besides your important role as a writer you are also the Magistrate of the Captains Council, can you tell those not in the Council what that role is all about?

The best way that I can explain it is that I am the mediator for the captains on the Council. As you may know the Captain’s Council works and discusses things that affect our world in character, like new awards, special approvals, etc.

As Magistrate, my job is to make sure that votes are counted properly, enough conversation on the subject has been made, and to make sure that things are on schedule. It is more of a guiding position where I make sure that we come to a resolution on a subject as the Captain’s Council discusses everything that comes to us in great detail.

FIORR: As an experienced captain you no doubt know how much comes with the job. Could you give us a rough estimate about how much time you need to invest in leading a group?

More than you would think. A ship goes through phases where it runs smoothly or it hits rough points. Dependent on what stage you are and how much your crew has integrated, will determine the amount of time it takes to run it. When I was in command of the USS Victory, on good weeks, I just needed three or four hours a day to keep up on the IC, OOC, and Captain’s Council items, on rough weeks (when we’re low on crewmembers or that something has happened in OOC), it could much more just to keep on top of it all.

For anyone considering a role in command, I not only applaud you, but want to warn you that there is much more than just simming when it comes to managing a ship. It can be hard at times, but I would never trade that opportunity for anything!

FIORR: It’s time for a final question. No doubt many of our writers dream of a career like yours. What you advise all the new people thinking about that kind of career?

Love your character and love what you do. The only reason that Nugra has stayed around as long as he has and I have is that I love UFOP: StarBase 118 RPG and my character. I have experience many good crews, from the original Victory under Captain Jordan Hurne, to my new, great and fearless leader Commander Brek of the USS Columbia. You need to love what you do, treat your character with respect, and love what you write!

FIORR: Thank you very much for sharing some of your time with us and best of luck in what we hope will be a long career at StarBase 118!

Interview with Commander Brek

((The black hole bar, USS Constitution-B))

::It was an unusual day for Zogi. After years as a bartender he had seen his number of captains and commanders in the bar but today was something special. The first Ferengi captain in Starfleet would pay him a visit. Not for a drink but for an interview set up by the Federation news agency.

:: When the request had come Zogi accepted right away. It was a way to make a nice profit after all but when the date came closer and closer he started to wonder what he should ask the man. He spend all night thinking about some good questions but in the end he only came up with two.::

::It wasn’t often that Brek had the opportunity to visit another ship, and, as he walked towards his destination, (a black hole, of all things) he felt curious about everything, and soon fell into a routine where he compared the prestigious Galaxy Starship with the good old Columbia.::

::Thankfully, he managed to reach Zogi’s bar before feeling too jealous about the specs of the Constitution. He sat at the bar, took in the rich décor around him, and after a sigh of contentment, he spoke up.::

Brek: I can’t possibly answer questions on an empty stomach. That would be completely unethical. ::Thinking aloud.:: What about something light and yet tasty, like a beetroot sorbet, on the house?

::Since food and drink would be paid for by the news team Zogi had prepared all kind of dishes and quickly went to his kitchen to get a few plates with all kinds of snacks. He put them on the bar and then he fired his first question::

Zogi: So, tell me captain, how does a Ferengi end up in Starfleet?

::Brek admired the dark red dessert he had been served, and at long last, he answered.::

Brek: Same as you Zogi: by following the scent of profit. Also, joining the Fleet is pretty easy. All you’ve got to do is to sacrifice some of your youth to their Great Academy. This means spending about 4 years being everyone’s minion. But, once you get promoted to the rank of Ensign, things… well they get tentatively better.

::Here Brek ate some of his sorbet, to make sure he wouldn’t have to add anything to this subject.::

Zogi: Well its not for me… to much regulations to keep up with. I’m glad i know the rules about bars. If they ask me to learn all about plasma conduits, temporal prime directives and all that I’d go nuts.. Anyway.. I contacted some of your friends and they told me you have a special lady in your life. How did you and Alice meet?

Brek: Oh Alice, she is an old lady now, and she isn’t as vivacious as she used to be. ::Grins.:: In the past, she used to go through several huge meals per day; mice usually. I met her the night she ran away from her vivarium. She was unwanted and unloved, and because Ferengi too can have a big heart, I adopted her. Many will think I am mad, but with a large spider like that in my quarters, I get zero annoying visitors. What of you, do you also keep pets?

Zogi:  Me? No way! Thats a waste of Latinum. You have to buy them food, drinks, a home, all kinds of vaccinations throughout the year. I’d go bankrupt in a week!  And no doubt Starfleet has regulations about pets too, which brings me to my next question: was it hard to adjust to all the Federation rules and regulations?

Brek: I think you already know the answer to that. The Fleet is so strict, even on a perfectly productive day, it’s capable of giving you hell. But when your life depends on their generosity, you need to adapt and to give them what they want, it’s the only way to progress. Don’t you agree?

Zogi: Thats is what a good bartender does isn’t it? But even then you must miss a few things from Ferenginar?

Brek: ::Chuckling.:: At the risk of sounding like a renegade, I miss nothing from Ferenginar. Do you? Don’t answer right away, Zogi. I bet you think you do, but deep in your wallet, you don’t. Because people like you and I, we know that genuinely entrepreneurial Ferengis don’t stay at home. We get out there, in the galaxy, to seek our own fortune. But I’m curious, what twist of fate brought you here, on a Federation vessel?

Zogi : Me? That is a long story. I wasn’t very successful on Ferenginar so I went to Earth. They were looking for a caterer on the USS Apollo-A.  A big new ship so I asked my father for a loan to get started and rented the bar. It was huge.  A few hours after i opened my doors those morons from the FCA show up. Buy me out and sent me over to the Constitution! I tried to get some legal aid from Starfleet but they didn’t intervene! They still don’t like us very much do they, or the Ferengi alliance for that matter. Don’t you agree?

Brek: ::Uncomfortable smile, for this was a question where a faux-pas could so easily be made.:: They are the way they have always been: tense. I think it’s the natural order between these two organizations. And natural orders are best left alone.

Zogi: You think it’s possible that the Alliance will join the Federation some day?

Brek: ::Another complicated question, so he ate some of his sorbet to gain time and think about his answer.:: Hmm… If it does, it would mean Ferengi have turned into Hewmons. That’s a strange concept that hurts my head. On the other hand, if you were to ask me if I think the Federation might join the Alliance one day, now, that depicts a much brighter future!

Zogi: ::laughing:: I’ll drink to that!

:: Zogi filled two glasses with Slug-o-Cola and took a big sip from his. Then he checked his notes and continued::

Zogi: You’re having a very promising career so far and many believe you could make it all the way to the top. What would you change if you make it that far?

Brek: ::Thoughtful.:: If I make it to the top… I sincerely don’t think I’ll have the stamina to get there. But if I did, I would probably want to retire right away, and live on a remote colony somewhere, without any newsfeed. Because the higher the spheres you reach, the more you realize that changing things isn’t a solution. Changing and educating minds, that’s what the galaxy need, but that would take a length of time which I don’t have. What about you, are there any things you would love to change in your career?

Zogi: Simple. Less regulations. They speak of free trade but one look at my accounts shows you they still force me to pay all kinds of taxes to get a good bottle of whisky from Earth or a barstool from Cardassia. But lets not go there… before you know it I bore you do death with numbers. Its say its time for a final question. As you know many children dream of a career in Starfleet. What you advise all the young people thinking about that kind of career?

Brek: Perseverance. That is to say, never allow yourself to be defeated, and stay focused. Fleeters are actually nice and dedicated people. Be as dedicated as they are, and you might even make a few friends. For those who don’t know, a friend is someone who don’t try to take advantage of you, and who listen to you when you have a problem, and all that, for free. Do you have any friends, Mister Zogi?

Zogi: I have regular customers, and I’m sure some of them would help me out in my hours of need. Does that make them friends? I think it does.

Brek: I see. Well, since you too have been living among Fleeters for a while, what do you feel most proud of?

Zogi: Hmmm… that is a good one. ::Now it was Zogi’s turn to fill his mouth with food to give it some more thought::  Well we had this alien presence on the ship about 9 months ago. Everyone lost their minds. Somehow my Ferengi brain protected me from it so I was asked to supervise my bar that became some sort of shelter at the time. It was scary at times with people attacking each other but we made it through.

Brek: That’s impressive. It makes me wonder, what do you like to do when you are not serving food and drink behind that bar? Do you actually have time to pursue other profitable activities?

Zogi: Well there is so much to do… some of my regulars always have new ideas. Take a monday night for example. It wasn’t a  good day for profit. Just a cup of coffee here and a few nuts there. But then these guys from earth show up with a dart board. So now we have a monday-dart-evening with a happy hour. Then there is the dabo wheel on wednesday. So in short I’m busy all the time. Its a small bar after all so everyone day i have to rearrange the furniture to prepare for all kind of events.

Brek: And you’ve never been tempted to join the Academy?

Zogi: No… plain and simple. Never gonna happen.

Brek: So, once you have made your fortune, where do you think you will go to spend your riches?

Zogi: I’ve already asked the commander for some more space but she won’t give it to me. So when i have enough money i plan to buy my own ship and hire a crew. Then i turn the ship it into one moving bar with plenty of holodecks, race tracks, casinos, bars, you name it. Traveling through the alpha quadrant and make more money they I ever dreamed possible.

Brek: It was nice meeting you, Mister Zogi. We should meet again sometime, in a more convivial environment. oO Without any prying ears. Oo.

Zogi: I look forward to it sir. And ::Zogi grabbed the man’s arm and pulled him closer:: If you need a new bartender let me know. I’m sure we can work something out.  Triple the size of this bar and you can have 20% of my profit.

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