Montague Eickleberger

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Lower Decks: Lieutenant Chythar Skyfire

:: A deep pulse of bass music opens up with a graphic of turbolift flashes over the screen before the screen lights raise up to focus in on Vulcan man seated in a chair with a pair of ceramic coffee mugs on a small table between his chair and the as of yet off screen occupied one. ::

Sopek: Hello and Greetings. My name is Sopek and it is time once more for an installment of The Lower Decks. Where we leave behind the center chair and big office and go down below to speak with the crew of the vessels and bases in Starfleet. ::He shifts slightly to meet the changing camera and waves a hand to the other chair.:: Tonight’s guest is Lieutenant, junior grade, Chythar Skyfire. Currently he is a Medical Officer on the USS Excalibur-A. Welcome Lieutenant.

:: The lieutenant stepped forward onto the screen and smiled toward the camera before heading to the unoccupied chair. As he sat down, he smiled softly. ::

Skyfire: A pleasure to meet you at last, Mr. Sopek. I’ve been a follower of The Lower Decks since my graduation from the academy last year. I believe you mentioned Argurtha in your message to me. Was it my work there that you wished to ask about?


A Moment With Cascadia Rainier

After several years of service the player behind Fleet Captain Nicholotti has decided to change directions with a brand new character. Here are a few words she had to say on the subject.

Eickleberger: Fleet Captain Nicholotti has been around for a long time, what prompted you to change characters?

Rainier: There comes a time where a story simply plays itself out. To further perpetuate the story of Kalianna Nicholotti continually felt more and more false and she became far more difficult to play than I had imagined. Yet, she had been around for so long and had been a part of so much that she needed to go out with a bang. With events transpiring that would make the transition another epic part of the story we weave on the Excalibur, it seemed like fate was telling me it was time. And so it went.

Eickleberger: What inspired you to make Cascadia?

Rainier: I wanted to play something different, and what could be different from Kali than the opposite of the well loved, popular, leader who was made through blood and fire than a little known woman from a race that was decidedly unliked and untrusted with few connections to anyone or anything. My own love for the mountains of our world led to her name.

Eickleberger: How does Cascadia differ from Kaliana?

Rainier: How doesn’t she? To be honest, I know that some things will bleed through to the character from my own personality, as they may have with Kali, but I’m hoping that I can consciously play this character differently than Kali based on the simple fact that she comes from a vastly differing background. The same base isn’t present, so it’s safe to assume the final product will be different as well.

Eickleberger: What does Cascadia share with you in terms of personality?

Rainier: I don’t know yet. I am well aware that some players plan characters out, but I’ve always been one to let them lead the way. Kali did her own thing, and while that sounds kind of strange, there was simply something that stopped me from doing things with her that she wouldn’t do. When I forced her into actions that didn’t feel right the writing suffered. When I pretty much closed my eyes and let the scene play out in my head, she came to life in ways I couldn’t have envisioned. The hope is that Cass will do the same thing.

Eickleberger: What can we expect to see from Cascadia in her command?

Rainier: At this point, her ‘big chance’ so to speak, she refuses to fail. Because of the race she belongs to and how much the Federation council doesn’t trust her, she’s never been allowed a command beyond the stations and defense ships of the Sol System. Though brilliant scientifically, having worked on the slipstream drive and other advances, she does not have experience in command of large ships outside the central system of Starfleet. At this point, she’s very ‘by the book’ and learning compromise will be one of those things that comes in time. At least I hope so.


Lower Decks: Lieutenant Brayden Jorey

:: A deep pulse of bass music opens up with a graphic of turbolift flashes over the screen before the screen lights raise up to focus in on Vulcan man seated in a chair with a pair of ceramic coffee mugs on a small table between his chair and the as of yet off screen occupied one. ::

Sopek: Hello and Greetings. My name is Sopek and it is time once more for an installment of The Lower Decks. Where we leave behind the center chair and big office and go down below to speak with the crew of the vessels and bases in Starfleet. ::He shifts slightly to meet the changing camera and waves a hand to the other chair.:: Tonight’s guest is Lieutenant Brayden Jorey. He is the Chief Tactical Officer and Chief of Security on the USS Tiger-A. Good Evening Lieutenant.


Lower Decks: Lieutenant Mei’konda

:: A deep pulse of bass music opens up with a graphic of turbolift flashes over the screen before the screen lights raise up to focus in on Vulcan man seated in a chair with a pair of ceramic coffee mugs on a small table between his chair and the as of yet off screen occupied one. ::

Sopek: Hello and Greetings. My name is Sopek and it is time for another installment of The Lower Decks. Where we leave behind the center chair and big office and go down below to speak with the crew of the vessels and bases in Starfleet. ::He shifts slightly to meet the changing camera and waves a hand to the other chair.:: Tonight’s guest is Lieutenant Mei’konda. He is the Chief of Operations on the USS Mercury. Good Evening Lieutenant.


Lower Decks: Lieutenant Alora DeVeau

:: A deep pulse of bass music opens up with a graphic of turbolift flashes over the screen before the screen lights raise up to focus in on Vulcan man seated in a chair with a pair of ceramic coffee mugs on a small table between his chair and the as of yet off screen occupied one. ::

Sopek: Hello and Greetings. My name is Sopek and it is time once more for an installment of The Lower Decks. Where we leave behind the center chair and big office and go down below to speak with the crew of the vessels and bases in Starfleet. ::He shifts slightly to meet the changing camera and waves a hand to the other chair.:: Tonight’s guest is Lieutenant, junior grade, Alora DeVeau. She serves as a science officer on the USS Mercury. Good Evening Lieutenant.


Writer’s Workshop: Twelve quotes from Authors to Remember When Starting Your First Book

In writing like in any skill it is always important to find little ways to improve. Sometimes it’s even easy to do then in big broad strokes. One of the easiest ways to do that is through the advice and help of those who have been there before. Now while there is no guarantee you can easily and readily tap into the knowledge of the worlds greatest authors there are some great places you can go to find some little shots of knowledge. As a result that is what I bring to you today. This is a neat little article that gives some insight into how to handle being a writer. From F. Scott Fitzgerald to Michael Crichton even including a few words from Issac Asimov on the subject, the article provides some good tips and hints as well as insights to remember in order to survive as a writer.

http://io9.com/twelve-quotes-from-authors-to-remember-when-starting-yo-1501668698?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow


Atlantis Rising

Atlantis has been spoken of for centuries as a place of knowledge and understanding. In the UFOP we have been lucky enough to have several ships embody those principles, one of which is the namesake for this mythological island nation. Like the Atlantis of legend which vanished from the world, the our Atlantis too sank below the waves of time. However in true form of our persistence and belief in the exploration of the unknown, and unlike it’s mythological predecessor, the USS Atlantis is rising back above the waves of time and soaring into space once more. Here is a short moment with it’s new commander Raj Blueheart.


The Lower Decks: Leo Handley-Page

::As the title graphic fades and the lights come up to show a stoic Vulcan sitting in a chair looking at the recorders. Beyond his chair the familiar small table sporting two coffee mugs and the chair of his guest.::

Sopek: Greetings to you my friends. It is time again for The Lower Decks. My guest today is the Chief Tactical & Security Officer on the USS Garuda, LtCmdr Leo Handley-Page. Good evening Commander.

Handley-Page: Good evening, old boy. Glad to be here.

Sopek: So, you’ve recently shifted to the Garuda. How can you compare it to the other ships you’ve served on?

Handley-Page: It’s certainly the biggest ship I have ever had the pleasure to serve on. We’re just heading out on our first mission. I have served with one or two of the crew before, but it’s good to meet new faces as well as familiar ones.

Sopek: I understand you have held a few positions within the ranks of the crew.

Handley-Page: I was privileged to have been First Officer when my previous ship, the USS Vigilant, was launched in 2389. I then became Strategic Operations Officer, Byzallian Liaison and Major of Marines before my recent transfer.

Sopek: What did you, in your position as the Strategic Operations Officer do?

Handley-Page: That is a good question. Basically, the role combines areas of Tactical, Security and a bit of Operations too. With such a good Chief Tactical & Security Officer on the Vigilant already in the imposing form of LtCmdr Eerie, I had taken the SOO dept in a more off-ship context, working with other departments to ensure the safety of the ship from hostile threats.

Sopek: You also led the Marine contingent on the Vigilant. What can you tell us about the Marines in your squad. What set them apart?

Handley-Page: I really enjoyed leading the marines, and I miss it very much. Being head of the marines fitted perfectly with my role of SOO. I also liked to think I was the bridge between the marines, and the ship’s security teams. My team of marines was second to none. They were fierce, determined, skilled and very brave. They were also all ladies, which is unusual but most welcome in our modern starship. Each and every one of them would be a credit to any ship in the Fleet. Knowing they have things under control allows me to take some time off, now and again.

Sopek: What about your pastimes?

Handley-Page: Well, I have quite a few. I enjoy playing with all kinds of gadgetry and mechanical curiosities. I have a large stash of them in my quarters. I am also quite fond of fencing, Parrises squares, investigating mysteries and listening to Byzallian music – mostly solid state surge and chemical metal.

Sopek: You’ve served a variety of ships and had your fair share of missions. Could you share some of your most memorable?

Handley-Page: Well, my career has been long and varied – ups and downs aplenty. I do recall some crazy antics. One mission that I recall as being especially epic was on the USS Vigilant earlier this year, during Fleet Captain Herrera’s absence on Duronis. The crew, under Acting CO Greir Reinard, flew to the underwater city of the Asavii people, and helped them evacuate their crumbling biodome and make a new life among the stars. We had to deal with giant building-eating eels and treachorous locals, especially the firebrand religious zealot of the tribe – Ozryn Bram. He was eventually defeated by his own plans when the eels he was trying to control turned on him and his temple.

Sopek: A truly fascinating mission. Being first officer and then a leader of the Marine contingent, do you aspire to command?

Handley-Page: Yes, I would dearly love to command a ship of my own one day.. but the course of one’s career takes many twists and turns, not all of them planned. Who knows.. maybe one day.. but for now I am content to do my duty and serve with the Fleet.

Sopek: ::With a slight nod.:: Did have you find that being Byzallian Liaison in the Zeta Gelis region and the Menthar Corridor affected your balance of duties?

Handley-Page: It had been relatively easy, and in some cases very useful. During a recent mission at Deep Space Six, a group of Zalkonian terrorists tried to seize the station, and our quantum slipstream drive for good measure. The gun battles to retake the station were furious, and were balanced on a knife edge. Fortunately the station had a platoon of Byzallian troops stationed there, and I was able to point them in the right direction of the battle. As for juggling it with my other duties, it fitted in nicely with being head of the marine contingent. Both Byzallians and Marines were experienced in the art of warfare, so the two roles went hand in hand. I am hoping one day that the USS Garuda may visit Byzatium. I can then give my colleagues a guided tour of the planet, assuming the war there had died down a bit.

Sopek: Is it hard being raised in such a manner?

Handley-Page: Yes, very hard indeed. I actually spent the first ten years of my life with my Mum and adoptive Dad in great comfort on Earth. However, my biological father – Mons Vor – took me, against my will, to live with him on Byzatium. From age eleven onwards, I was thrust into the dark world of intrigue and courtly battles as my father tried to unseat the government. He failed, and I escaped after seven years with him. I have never returned. I guess I was luckier than most. My father’s high rank meant that I faced very little of the everyday hardships of Byzallian life – but Mons Vor wrath was even worse at times than a continent full of *Crazies* (what we called the mutants wandering the wastelands there).

Sopek: And you chose then to enlist in the academy?

Handley-Page: Yes, I needed some place to not only hide, but to use the skills my father had instilled in me. If I just took any job on a private ship I’d probably have been hunted down and captured. Star Fleet academy was probably the safest to be at that time. I thoroughly enjoyed it and focused my energies into the areas of science and engineering. It was only after my unexpected career interlude that my focus moved more towards tactical and marines.

Sopek: Which interlude led you to that path?

Handley-Page: I was trapped in amongst a colony full of Romulan rioters. My only means of escaping was letting my phaser overload, which sadly took some of my attackers with me. I got sent for a court martial, but was exonerated. Since then I realised that I actually had more skills in fighting than in science and gadgets, so I opted to swap.

Sopek: Can you tell us more about that?

Handley-Page: We were transported down to build an encampment to help the Romulan colonists on Bilire VI in the wake of the Hobus disaster. There was a plague sweeping through the colony, and some of the locals blamed the Star Fleet officers for introducing it. Some hotheads started a riot and attacked our encampment. We were heavily outnumbered and outgunned. I drew some of them away into the jungle, but was cornered in a clearing. My action in exploding the phaser was not my preferred option, but desperate times… anyway, I am still here and battling on.

Sopek: Very efficiently from your record Commander.

Handley-Page: One tries.

Sopek: Your mother and adopted father, did you have occasion reunite with them since your return?

Handley-Page: Yes, yes I do, probably not as often as I’d like.. but at least once a year, and more often on sub-space comms. Having been parted from them for nearly eight during my teens, it made me appreciate the time I do spend with them now. After escaping Byzatium and getting back to Earth (and Star Fleet), I spent a few months with them… reluctant to even leave the family home in Oxford.

Sopek: You’ve had an opportunity to get much out of your career and have seen so many places and people. Does the exploration aspect interest you?

Handley-Page: Yes, what drew me to Star Fleet was the opportunity to explore new worlds, and push the frontiers of the known galaxy. That’s what it is all about.

Sopek: Do you ever find yourself regretting choices made?

Handley-Page: Constantly…

Sopek: Unfortunately Commander that answer also marks the end of our time together here on The Lower Decks its been a pleasure talking with you and I hope you have many more years of success before you.

Handley-Page: Thank you so much for this opportunity. It has been a pleasure.

Leo the Writer: I joined Starbase118 in November 2010, or should that be Stardate 2387.10? Either way, it was probably the best decision I have ever made.. seriously. Anyway, I guess you’re wondering what makes my SIM world tick? Writing has always been a passion of mine and my first taste of formal prose came when I started writing articles for my student union newspaper. Later in life I branched out into technical writing as a profession, but science-fiction and alternative history stories have always been my first true love (writing-wise anyway).


A Moment with Commander Reinard

After rounding up a bushel of awards at the 2013 ceremony Commander Greir Reinard is also commanding a brand new vessel in the fleet, the Horizon class USS Darwin-A. Lets see what we can learn from the following interview conducted by Newsies Reporter, and Darwin crewmember, Jansen Orrey.

Jansen: First off Congratulations on the Awards.

Greir: Thanks very much!

Jansen: So what made you choose the Horizon class as your ship?

Greir: I wanted to use a class of ship that wasn’t currently being used in the fleet. I’ve never been massively into combat oriented missions; I prefer science, exploration and poking my nose in where it doesn’t belong. The Horizon class appealed to me because it has a very distinct look and the spherical containment section is quite different to almost all other classes of ship. I thought we could have a lot of fun with it and that it would add something distinctive and unique to the fleet.

Jansen: How does it feel to be the winner of the Top Sim contest for 2013?

Greir: It’s feels pretty great! It’s the second time I’ve won the top sim competition and I couldn’t be more proud. The sim was part of one of Greir’s major plot arcs for the year, Ed and I really enjoyed writing it. There was some pretty difficult and tense moments in there and we wanted to get it just right. I’m just really pleased that so many other people in the fleet read it and enjoyed it – that’s the best reward of all as far as I’m concerned.
Jansen: Let’s talk about Grier for a moment. What makes Grier so unique of a character to write for?

Greir: One of the most unique features about him is his fielding ability, which allows him to sense all manner of energy. It’s a sense no other species has and I’ve had a lot of fun exploring it. He’s great because he has a lot of personality. Before I started writing for him I did a lot of research about the Laudeans and their home planet Til’Ahn/Duronis II. Because I had a strong backstory for him and had an opportunity shortly after starting writing for him to do some great character development with him I was able to create a much richer character than I’d ever done previously. He has certain characteristics which work in his favor in some circumstances but which can hold him back in others.

Jansen: Grier has also had a meteoric rise to this current stop on his career path based on your own hard work. Can you talk a bit about what you most enjoy about working Out Of Character within the fleet?

Greir: What I like about doing OOC work is that it’s my opportunity to give something back. I’ve had a lot more fun playing this game than many MMORPG’s which I’ve subscribed to. I’ve met a lot of really great people and made a lot of friends. I want the group to continue being as successful and I want everyone else to have as much fun here as I do – so I roll up my sleeves and help! Not only that, but helping with different groups and projects lets me meet even more people from around the fleet that I maybe don’t get to write with regularly.

Jansen: Part of that was evidence by your Rising Star award. Much of which shows your fellow members faith and trust in you as a leader. How does it feel to receive that award?

Greir: I couldn’t be happier really. It’s a real honour to receive that award.

Jansen: You also received, The Order of the Valiant Heart, The Strange Medallion, and The Locutus Award. What drives you as a writer?

Greir: I’m always looking for ways to improve as a writer. I think that there’s always more to learn whether you’ve been writing for weeks or years. Other than that it’s the characters. I really enjoy writing for my different characters, particularly Greir and I usually have some idea or concept I want to explore with them. I also love getting to know the other characters in the fleet and seeing how they’re similar or different to mine, finding out how they interact with others and deal with events eyc.

Jansen: Can you give us some outlook into the future? Both for Greir and yourself within the fleet?

Greir: I want to carry on giving it my best really. As for Greir, I have plenty of ideas and plans for him in the works. no spoilers though. You’ll have to read along to find out what’s in store for him.

Jansen: And tell us a little about your experience within our group so far.

Grier: It’s been a very positive experience. I’ve really enjoyed all the adventures and developing my writing ability. I love that i’ve got to the point where I feel able to pass on what I’ve learned in the last two years to others. I’ve developed leadership ability too but by far the best thing about this groups is the people. I’ve met so many great people and made many friends, so I couldn’t be happier.

Jansen: Thank you very much taking the time to talk with me today.

Grier: No problem. It’s great to talk to you too.


Meet Fleet Captain Diego Herrera

After being appointed Captain at Large for 2014 and Staff Member of the Year Fleet Captain Diego Herrera has certainly had an eventful 2013.Lets see what we can learn from the following interview conducted by Newsies Reporter Jansen Orrey.

Jansen: Congratulations on your award.

Diego: Thanks very much!

Jansen: It must mean a lot to be chosen as Staff Member of the Year by your peers.

Diego: Yes! I was really grateful for the award and the write up that went with it was awesome. Made my Christmas!

Jansen: What do you think it was that led them to select you?

Diego: It’s tough to answer that question without sounding like I’m boasting, but the citation that Fleet Admiral Wolf listed in the awards ceremony basically covers it. I wanted to make sure I put a good shift in this year – I love this group because you can get reward out of writing with other people but you can also get reward out of organising things for them to take part in that are valuable, fun and memorable. Writing Improvement Month’s author interviews and Fall Fest were two big things for me this year. Both took a lot of work but both were absolutely worth it. I had support from some of the major players in the community – Fleet Captains Jaxx and Nicholotti and Fleet Admiral Wolf for both events, with no small contribution from Commander Reinard for Fall Fest. Then you have the people who hosted and attended chats. It’d be easy for me to sit here and claim glory for both of those things but without the help and support I had, nothing would have been possible. The author chats back in February were one part of a much larger event as well, which had a great many contributors!

Jansen: And how about being selected as Captain at Large for 2014?

Diego: It was really cool to be offered that position! It’s great to be able to represent the captains on the Executive Committee and it’s nice to be trusted with that responsibility!

Jansen: What outlook can you give us for the coming year?

Diego: In what respect? Are we talking for the fleet, personally, or both?

Jansen: Both as well as in regard to the Executive Committee. Do you have any personal goals after such a blockbuster year?

Diego: If we’re talking in general terms then I would like to capitalise on last year. The easy goal to set is to do as much. A better goal would be to beat that. I want to keep up my participation with the fleet, SIMming and OOC, and contribute wherever I can to help us continue to be the fantastic roleplaying group we are today!

Jansen: What is it that drives you as a writer within the group?

Diego: As a writer? I would have to say my characters. I’ve had a blast writing for all of them this year and a special shout out to Tallis Rhul who passed away IC – he set the benchmark for all of the characters I write. I don’t know if it’s normal/usual to be giving shouts out to fictional characters, but I just did! I’m enjoying seeing where Diego’s path is leading him and there’s a gaggle of other characters I’m writing for who have been great fun to play as well.

Jansen: You did some amazing things this year. Can you give us some insight into what it took not only to organize but to make everything seem so seamless?

Diego: Wow. That’s a tough question. There’s just a lot of correspondence is the best answer to that, I think. Correspondence, general writing and just making sure things are running according to plan. It’s taken a lot of online time and plugging away at the keyboard but it’s definitely all been worth it. And how to make things run (or appear to run) seamlessly? Preparation. Pretty much all of the projects I’ve worked on I haven’t done so alone, so where I’ve been in a leadership role I just make sure everyone knows what the story is and we all work together. That’s really where the success of the group lies!

Jansen: Thank you so much for the insightful answers and your time here. I am sure people will find it all very illuminating.

Diego: No problem! Great talking to you!


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