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Duty Post Award Winner – Quentin Collins, USS Arrow (Cochrane Award)

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 Lt. Commander Quentin Collins, playing a Human male science officer assigned to the USS Arrow. He won the Cochrane Award which is awarded to those science officers who have contributed greatly to the advance of science in the midst of their Starfleet career, by staying knowledgeable about their field, participating in the community of science, but most importantly, by placing their knowledge at the service of their ship and its mission. 

GALVEN: First off, It’s an honor and a privilege that we could sit down together for an interview and answering a few questions. Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

COLLINS: THE HONOR IS ALL MINE. As people have surely seen by now on the Discord, I could talk forever, so this is WONDERFUL for me.  My name is Justin and I am a full-time/freelance writer from the north of Texas! I’ve been writing full time for a living for about ten years now. Mostly I focus on feature writing and criticism, mainly comics and movies BUT I’ve started to put in a number of pitches for work-for-hire comics and audio scripting. To try and “level up” as it were in my writing career.

I found the 118 toward the end of 2018, was given my first posting shortly thereafter,  and it’s been just a delight and privilege to get to hone my prose and create here with so many other wonderful writers and creatives.


Poll of the Week: Fenris Rangers

As the new series of Star Trek: Picard hits our screens and disrupts our lives, there’s a new addition to the organisations which has sprouted intrigue amongst fans.

The Fenris Rangers — an organization which sprung up after the Federation withdrawal and the Romulan collapse to help bring justice to the oppressed, and to fight the warlordism that the region could descend to without an organization to bring peace to chaos. With its own ships, beacons and well known among people operating in the zone, good people and ne’er do wells.

While many say that there is an organization within Starfleet that does a similar job, the Starfleet Rangers, any Fenris Ranger might argue that they’re often too timid to do what must be done, and too bound by the fickle political will of the Federation and restrictive rules of engagement of Starfleet. Some officers left Starfleet to join the Fenris Rangers, such as Icheb and Seven of Nine, and while it has had mixed results, it was undoubtedly a force for stability within the former Romulan Neutral Zone and bordering sectors.

For our poll this week, we’re interested to know what you would do. Would you be one of these officers who leave Starfleet? To join an organization attempting to be justice in a dark galaxy by any means necessary? Or do you feel that vigilantism, even well-intentioned, is a danger to people as justice can become vengeance?

Would you join the Fenris Rangers?

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll. Be sure to leave a comment in the thread!


Lower Decks Interview: Lieutenant JG Chip Foley, 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 JG Chip Foley, playing a Human male Engineering Officer assigned to the USS Constitution-B.

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

FOLEY: I’m from an inconsequential suburb in the United States. Fortunately, I was already accustomed to working from home and rarely going anywhere so the new normal is much like the old one for me.

You play an engineering officer. How does it feel to sim such a technical role?

It’s by far my favorite role. I’m a technophile by nature so it’s an easy flow of writing to fall into. I especially love all the Treknology I get to play with.


Poll of the Week: Best Family-Oriented Episode

Family is often at the root of why our favorite characters are the way they are. The formative years can shape who a person grows up to be and the personality they exhibit. Interactions with parents, children and siblings tell us more about a person than seeing them fire phasers or save the day. It’s no wonder that some of the best storytelling we have in the Trek-verse involves the families of the main characters. The tiny glimpses we get behind the veneer to peek at what makes them tick enliven these personas even more. Who can forget the first sight of tiny Alexander as he stands facing his towering father Worf?

Does the best family story involve the long-dead family that Picard experiences within his mind in “The Inner Light” (TNG) when under the influence of an alien probe? Perhaps it’s the first view we get of Spock’s parents in “Journey to Babel”? This episode goes a long way in making the Vulcan seem less alien and more relatable. Maybe your favorite episode is “Family” (TNG) where we get a picture of Picard with his brother on the family vineyard as he recuperates from the Borg assimilation and the visit of Worf’s adoptive parents to the Enterprise. Or it might be the Hugo-nominated episode “The Visitor” (DN9) where we find an ageing Jake Sisko recounting the struggle of losing his father and then paying the ultimate sacrifice to save him.

For our poll this week, we ask you to tell us your favorite Star Trek episode that features a family-themed storyline.

What is the best family episode in your opinion and why?

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll. Be sure to leave a comment in the thread!


Duty Post Award Winner – Romyana Casparian, StarBase 118 Ops (Phoenix Award)

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 Ensign Romyana Casparian playing a Vulcan/Human hybrid female engineering officer assigned to StarBase 118 Ops. She won the Phoenix Award: “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 accepting my invitation for you to be interviewed! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

CASPARIAN: Hello! My name is Rebecca and I write for a character called Romyana Casparian. I’m a born and bred Dutch, 35 year old, lady who currently lives and works in Germany. I’ve been with SB118 now for four months and before that I only scribbled down a few fan fiction stories to pass the time between university classes, but never any serious role playing. 

The boring cold winter evenings made me look for something I could do that didn’t require any special gear (like most sports do) or supplies (like most crafts hobbies do), and it had to be something that I could fit flexibly within the day. So writing was the perfect solution and Star Trek the perfect theme. I browsed the web for the possibilities of sharing my writing creativeness with others and found SB118. The rest is history!

Congratulations on receiving the Phoenix Award for your amazing work! Could you provide for us how you prepare yourself when preparing to write for a scene?

When I write I need everything around me to be quiet – no distractions. This way I can completely immerse myself into the story – sometimes I even close my eyes and picture the events before me –  and then write them down. In case of action scenes, for example during missions, I also like to put on some epic film music that will help set the general mood.

Fleet Captain Sal Taybrim mentioned in their presentation that the moment you stepped aboard SB118 Ops during a mission, you were able to bring your skills and quick thinking to the table. Do you take any inspiration from any of the Trek shows/books/movies or anywhere else when you begin writing for a scene?

My inspiration for trek related things in the scenes, such as the looks of the environment or the technology used, I take from the Star Trek tv series I watched as a child; TNG, DS9 and Voyager. The rest I take from everyday life or from my own Aerospace Engineering knowledge, which I then spice up a tad to make it fit seamlessly into the Star Trek universe, just like the original creators used to do.


Poll of the Week: Technology In Question

For all the connections, friendships, and political intrigue that exists in the world of Star Trek, none of it would be possible without the technology which underpins it all. Our starships thrum with power from the warp engines to propel these huge megastructures through space across the galaxy, storing food is no longer an issue as replicators using modules and digital instructions reproduce whatever is called for, tricorders of both the medical and scientific give knowledge and information on scanned items at the push of control, and universal translators allow species to converse without requiring full knowledge of the language. 

Technology has also become the central backbone of our everyday life as well, be that communicating over vast distances with people in other languages, using smartphones to replicate tricorders to give us information wherever we are in the world, 3D printing using replicator technology to print on demand what we want, or the virtualisation of our environment using virtual reality devices transporting us out of our physical space. Wherever we look, technology is improving in leaps and bounds, faster than we can anticipate, and we’re already looking at a future filled with the technology we have seen for decades on Star Trek’s futuristic scope.

For our poll this week, we invite you to look forward into the future of this technological relationship between fictional and real.

Which of these Star Trek technologies you would most like to see in your lifetime?

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll. Be sure to leave a comment in the thread!


Witty Wordsmith: Action for Plot, Reaction for Drama

Narration is what makes a sim come alive, and many of the strongest sims we read have a harmonious blend of great dialogue and great narration.  But if we pick apart the narration of our sims, what makes the difference between a functional sim and a sim that is exciting to read?  A lot depends on your balance between action and reaction in your writing.  If we break it down there are two major aspects of narration in sims: plot and drama.

Plot narration is action based.  It describes the action of the scene as well as providing details to the characters and setting.  Descriptive text is plot based, as is any scene-setting narration.  Having good plot narration helps a writer clarify what is going on in the scene to the other players.  The stronger your plot narration the more you can push the action of the scene forward allowing your character, and your teammates to be proactive.  Plot narration is the basic building block of strong narration.  If you are at a starting point with adding more narration to your sims, focus on describing your character’s actions clearly.  Add in setting details and character details as appropriate.  Then focus on making sure your character’s actions contribute to the plot and help push the narrative forward.


Poll of the Week: Opening Credits Music

The universe of Star Trek has given us some beautiful pieces of music. These iconic works of art embody the vastness of space and the wandering spirit of our favorite heroes as they traipse through the galaxy each week. The warbling tones of The Original Series reminded us of the other-worldly nature of their journey among the stars. The Next Generation brought a brassy and unforgettable tune that energized us for the story ahead. Each piece fit into an amazing tapestry of audible delight. And don’t get us started on the movies!

When Enterprise aired, however, many fans were split on the inclusion of music with lyrics – Russel Watson’s “Where My Heart Will Take Me”. For some, it is the perfect reflection of the explorer’s creed. It reminds us that the intrepid explorers are on a mission that is led by their beating hearts. It is why they are out there among the stars and why we watch their exploits with such rapt attention. For others, it’s something to be banished from memory.

For our poll this week, we invite you to imagine that the ship or installation you serve on is the setting for a Star Trek television show.

What would be the music playing over the opening credits? Let us know what music reflects the culture and ethos of your ship!

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll. Be sure to leave a comment in the thread!


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus – Serala, USS Atlantis

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 Atlantis, Lt. Commander Serala, a Half-Romulan  female. 

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

SERALA: Well, I am from the capital city of the great state of Texas. I have been an avid fan of Star Trek my entire life (which is very nearly as long as the series has existed, having been born while the original series was still being produced). When I am not simming, I work from home (currently) as a supervisor for a call center for a major automobile manufacturer handling Lemon Law claims. I also play a lot of Elder Scrolls Online. I do love to play all forms of tabletop RPGs, but I am not currently part of a group. And finally, I love doing photoshop and other graphics type work, which led me to join the Image Collective, where I have learned a lot of very valuable tips.

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

That’s a great question. I doubt I am unique in how I do things, but essentially I utilize a word processing program. In my case, I prefer Google Docs. I start a document each new mission or shore leave and pretty much keep a string of posts going. When the other writers in a scene send their posts, I add their responses, make note of any scene details they have added and rewrite everything from Serala’s perspective. Then I will add my own responses, some more details and narrative, and try to include at least three open tags for each person in a scene.


Writer’s Workshop: Coffee fuelled sensory description

Keep your descriptions fresh and infuse them with the lexicon of coffee!

The Coffee Tasters’ Wheel is a tool to help professionals and hobbyists articulate the complex flavours and aromas of coffee. There are several variations of the wheel, with World Coffee Research contributing to the latest re-designs. Have a google and pick your favourite one! For most wheels, tasters start in the middle of the wheel and work towards the outer edge, distinguishing the tones and hues of the blend as they proceed. For the enthusiasts among the fleet, the Speciality Coffee Association describe the methodology in a step-by-step guide – all you need is a cup of your favourite roast!


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