Captain’s Corner

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Captain’s Corner: Capt. Jalana Rajel

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. Last month, we interviewed FO of Duronis II Embassy, Brayden Jorey.

This month we’re interviewing Capt. Jalana Rajel – Jess – captain of the USS Constitution-B. Let’s get started!

WOLF: Capt. Rajel, I was just looking through our news archives and it looks like you have been interviewed only once outside of the podcast earlier this year! It’s time to rectify that glaring oversight. Tell us a little about yourself, the writer behind Jalana?

RAJEL: First thank you for having me. I’m not sure how much there is to tell about me. I am Jessica and I’m 37 years old, living in Berlin, Germany. I live there with my boyfriend of almost 15 years in a tiny one room apartment. My first steps in roleplaying I took when I was 8 years old, back then it was a German role playing game called ‘Das schwarze Auge’ (The Dark Eye) and Dungeons and Dragons. Around that time I also started to write, well I tried. My stories were short or never found an actual ending. I also wrote poetry which – remembering that I was 8 – was not very profound. But I kept writing and today I’m a self-published author working on my second novel.

Captain’s Corner: FltCapt. Zalea Solzano

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. Last month, we interviewed FO of the Constitution, T’Mar.

This month we’re interviewing FltCapt. Zalea Solzano – Tony – who just launched a very unique new ship, the USS Za. Let’s get started!

WOLF: FltCapt. Solzano, congratulations on your recent ship launch! How does it feel to be back in the command seat?

SOLZANO: It’s exciting, definitely! We’re doing a bunch of things with the Za that we’ve never done before. Of course, the Chariot class is a new design for the fleet, but what simming ultimately comes down to is the simmers themselves–if you have a good group of people, you might well have them flying around in a giant shoe, since it’s really the community feeling that matters. We have a couple of simming firsts for the Za, too: In recent years, the Za is the first ship launched specifically to leave Federation space as a deep-space explorer, and a lot of the Za’s new simmers have been (rightfully!) excited about that. We also launched with a relatively inexperienced crew: Of our launch group of 14, 4 were ensigns straight from the Academy and 3 others were ensigns from other ships in the fleet. It’s been enjoyable for everyone to find their feet, I think!

Before launching Za you had stepped away from command for a while. What were your motivations for stepping away from command, and what got you excited to get back into it?

During my time as a CO with SB118, I’ve mentored four officers through to the rank of commander and two to the rank of captain. That mentoring has been really fun for me, and that’s one of the biggest reasons I wanted to get back into a CO spot. Both IC and OOC, I really enjoy seeing the development of a ship’s command staff and seeing those folks rise through the ranks and, hopefully, command their own ships in turn. Then, too, it’s just fun for me to pull a ship together and watch a group of writers cohere into a community of simmers!

Captain’s Corner: FltCapt. Quinn Reynolds

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. Last month, we interviewed FO of the Constitution, T’Mar.

This month we’re interviewing FltCapt. Quinn Reynolds – Emma – who’s had a really stellar year since her last interview, this past September. Let’s dive in!

WOLF: FltCapt. Reynolds, congratulations on your multiple award wins in this year’s recently completed Awards Ceremony! You received both the Staff Member of the Year and the Christopher Pike Pendant, which is an incredibly prestigious haul. What does it mean to you to receive these awards?

REYNOLDS: Thank you! It’s difficult to put into words how much these awards mean to me. I’m obviously honoured to receive them, but most of all I was really touched to read the nominations from my crew and colleagues around the fleet. The group has been a part of my life for nearly a decade now, and it’s really heartening to see that the time and effort I invest has made a positive impact on the individuals that I work with on my ship, and the fleet as a whole.

You were originally the commanding officer of the Eagle many years ago, then took an LOA. Since you returned, you took command again and are now in the center chair of the Gorkon. Can you give us some insight into how the fleet, or the experience of command, has changed since your first run?

One thing that I’ve certainly noticed is how much more visual things are. We have the Image Collective, making sure that everyone has a character avatar if they want one; the wiki is beautiful and well-illustrated as well as informative; the website is sleek and easy to navigate; and that’s just to name a few examples. I find it difficult to write if I can’t conjure a picture of the scene in my head, and it’s so much easier with all this imagery and visual inspiration we now have.

I’ve also found that the command level of the group has made great strides toward being more open and approachable, to the membership as a whole and to each other. One of the strengths of our group has always been the sense of community, and I feel that’s really grown over the years.

You chose a Sovereign class as your current command and named it the Gorkon. What led you to that class, and that name?

I chose the Sovereign class because Star Trek: the Next Generation has always been my favourite of the series. At the time there had very recently been a Galaxy-class in the fleet and I wanted a class that wasn’t currently in active service, so there was only one solution: the same class as the Enterprise-E. It certainly helped that the Sovereign is such a lovely-looking ship!

The name came about because it’s been increasingly bothering me just how human-centric Starfleet can be, despite all the equality and diversity that it’s supposed to represent. We see very few starships named after non-human places, mythologies or people, and I wanted to chose a ship name that honoured something (or someone!) that wasn’t human in origin. It was a close run thing between the names Gorkon and Kumari: the former because the Undiscovered Country is my favourite of the Trek films; and the latter is the name of Commander Shran’s ship in Enterprise, who was by far my favourite guest character in that series.

Can you give the readers some insight into what it’s like commanding a ship in UFOP: SB118?

It’s all about listening, I find. Not just to what people tell you, but what their actions (such as sim quality and quantity) are saying as well. Understanding what people enjoy, and what they struggle with, is such an important part of being a captain. Once you’ve got that down, then everything else falls into place: you can create plots to engage your crew, give them roles within a mission that they’ll enjoy, and offer support as and when necessary.

The other important thing for me is to seek the advice and opinions of my fellow staff members. There’s a real wealth of experience on the Captain’s Council and if I’m ever uncertain as to the correct course of action, or I’d just like some input on an idea, I know that I can get some really thoughtful advice and opinions from the fleet’s captains, commanders and first officers.

I’d like to ask about your time on the Executive Council. You were inducted as a full member of the EC in November of last year. Has there been anything that’s surprised you about how the EC works?

I think the greatest revelation for me was how little the EC actually gets involved in the day-to-day running of the group — and I mean that in a good way! There’s often this perception that we’re constantly making plans and micromanaging the fleet behind the scenes, and in reality that’s not what’s happening at all.

The other surprise for me was how varied the thoughts and opinions can be on the council, and how each member can approach a problem at a completely different angle. It’s relatively rare that we all immediately agree on something, and I think that’s a good thing. Plans and ideas are often challenged and refined before they get anywhere near implementation.

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

Usually I use the last sim posted in a scene, and then I work backwards through everything that has come in since I last wrote to make sure that nothing gets missed out. It’s essential to me that I respect and include everyone’s contributions as much as possible, so if someone has taken the time to describe what their character is doing, then I will take the time to make sure it’s included in mine — from my character’s perspective, of course!

Once that’s done, it’s time to add my own original content. Creating an evocative image for the mind’s eye is very important to me, so when it’s appropriate, I always try to make sure that I use all five (or six, if I’m writing a telepath) senses to describe a scene.

Thanks so much for your time!

You can read more about FltCapt. Quinn on the wiki, and read the Gorkon sims in our archive.

On Course to Captaincy: Sal Taybrim

MARK: Hi, Jamie! It’s kind of cool for me to interview you because it was your article on metagaming that landed me here at Starbase 118. So my character and I thank you!

JAMIE: Awesome, you are most welcome! It’s great to be here, and I’m really glad to hear that!

Congrats on starting your Captaincy Exam. I was hoping we could backtrack a little to explore how you got here. You took a pretty big step as a player

Time With Toni Turner

If you’ve been in Starbase 118 for any length of time, you’ve probably at the very least have seen the name Toni Turner. More than likely, you’ve interacted with her at some point, and for many of those in SB118, they’ve had the pleasure of seeing her in a role of leadership. Today, we get to know a little more about her in one of those roles.

DeVeau: Welcome and thank you for taking some time to allow us to get to know you and your character a little better.

Turner: That’s no problem at all. I’m glad to help in any way I can.

You’ve been a part of SB118 for quite some time now, haven’t you?

Yes, ten years last September. I suppose that’s a long time, yet it doesn’t seem so. As they say, (whoever *they* are), time flies when you’re having fun. ::smiles::

In Command: Captain Quinn Reynolds

Quinn Reynolds is a name that has been around for some time. Although I have only been in the group for a couple of years, I have had the fortune to serve almost all of my ‘service’ time with her – that is, until recently. Today, we get to learn a bit more about her and her new post as Commanding Officer of the Sovereign class vessel, USS Gorkon.

DeVeau: Thank you for joining us today!

Reynolds: Thank you! I’m pleased to be here.

DeVeau: Please tell us a little bit about how you came to SB118.

Reynolds: I honestly can’t remember! I think I may have been looking for a place to roleplay in the Star Trek universe, and I vaguely recall googling “Star Trek RPG” or something similar. SB118 popped up at the top of the list, and I jumped in and applied.

DeVeau: Was Quinn your first character, or did others come before?

Insights from the Command Chair: Captain Shelther Faranster

Avatar System – I’m Kyra Ilan, coming to you from Deep Space 285.  Federation News Service has secured an interview with one of Starfleet’s Commanding Officers. Reaching that goal is the pinnacle of any officer’s career. The path to Command is competitive, yet its very solitary at the top. Ultimate responsibility rests with the brave men and women who choose to follow this path, succeed at training and are entrusted with a command position.

Today we’re speaking with Captain Shelther Faranster Commanding Officer of the USS Doyle-A.  It’s a pleasure to spend some time with one of Starfleet’s Commanding Officer’s to gain more insight into the world of command.  For a short time he commanded the USS Constitution-B, his first command prior to his current assignment. Taking command of a new ship is a highlight of every Captain’s career.

Ilan: First I’d like to say congratulations on your promotion and your new command. This is a unique opportunity to speak with a Commanding Officer so we have a few questions for you. Why change ships to the USS Doyle-A?

Faranster: After the last few months, and the trouble we’ve had on the good old USS Constitution, I am suspecting that Starfleet wanted something more modern, and not as apt to have as many shield or computer problems.

Faranster (OOC) – As I worked up the ranks, I was asked what ship I would want if I made Captain, different captains had the choice ships, and others climbing the ranks had their preferences. So, I actually thought what I would want to name my ship, before I thought of the class. I wanted to know how it would sound: Captain Faranster of the USS Doyle. I chose the name because I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan, and USS Holmes, USS Sherlock, USS Watson, just didn’t sound the same.

Ilan: Tell me a bit about why you chose a Luna-class ship?

In Command: Renos

After experiencing an unprecedented amount of growth in our fleet in the last few months, we’ve responded with a series of launches and relaunches: Commander Leo Handley-Page aboard Starbase 118, Commander Renos on the Darwin, and Fleet Captain Kali Nicholotti with the Excalibur. In this interview, James, the writer behind Renos and an experienced former CO (he previously wrote for Greir Reinard), explains much about the relaunch of the Darwin and the adventures he has planned for his crew.

Q: When you were asked to become a CO again, what made you choose to relaunch the Darwin into the Zeta Gelis region?

A: The Horizon class USS Darwin NCC 99312-A was always a ship I felt passionately about, particularly as I designed and created it based off the ship as seen in Star Trek Online (STO). It always felt like I had unfinished business with the ship and region because there were so many things I wanted to do with both. It also helped that I’ve simmed in the region for something like 2 years now, so I have a lot of familiarity with the resident species and the stories that have been told in the region which I like to build upon.

The Darwin might not be the best armed ship but the containment sphere is something else no other ship has and it presents us with a number of unique opportunities. We’ve already used the containment sphere to cleanse the atmosphere of a planet poisoned with Trilithium resin and faced with the total annihilation and extinction of all life. We also have the possibility of sheltering small ships such as shuttles inside the containment sphere, or collecting huge samples from nebulas or conducting large scale experiments within it. There is also the fact that the ship is built like a tank and can take quite a considerable pounding, making any ship to ship combat frustrating to assailants, even if it takes some clever thinking on our part to compensate for the weaker offensive capabilities.

The Zeta Gelis Region is near Romulan space, which alone gives us a lot to explore post Hobus but it’s also home to a few other interesting species:
* The Zakdorn – a strategically masterful race on the edge of Federation space
* Zalkonians – a Xenophobic, isolationist species of which a handful are hunted due to an evolutionary process that seems them transform in non-corporeal beings.
* Asavii – A reptilian, underwater dwelling species of my own creation in the early stages of exploring space and intergalactic relations.

There are still stories I wanted to explore with them and I had a shuttle race planned for our home station Deep Space 6 as well as a few other surprises. Looking to the future, once I have explored that which I had in mind in the Zeta Gelis Region it is my hope to move the Darwin into a new campaign region.

In Command: Leo Handley-Page

Starbase 118 is made up of many promising writers and rising stars. Recently, one of those has been given his first command. You may have seen Leo-Handley Page in various places at SB118, and now you’ll see him in command of Starbase 118 itself. I fortunately had the honour of getting to know him a little better.

DeVeau: First off, would you mind telling us a little bit about your character.

Handley-Page: Leo Handley-Page started out as PNPC on my first ship, the USS Independence-A. He was initially intended to be a bit of comic relief to my more serious primary character of Eyas Wulfantine. However, over the following months and then years, he changed and became my favourite character to write for. His name and avatar underwent several re-modellings over the next three years until I finally settled on his current likeness. As for his in character backstory, he is the product of a brief extramarital affair between a Terran lady and a Byzallian politician at a conference. Leo grew up with his mother and adoptive father on Earth before being kidnapped by his biological father and taken to be indoctrinated on Byzatium. Leo escaped aged 18 and return to Earth. He joined Starfleet to give himself a career and escape the revenge of his father on Byzatium. Ever since then, Leo has had a roller-coaster career including two “In Character” court martials and several departmental roles on numerous ships. His is jovial and avuncular and tries to calm his crewmates with a joke and a tale of adventures past.

In Command: Shel Faranster

A large majority of our characters are members of Starfleet. As such, our characters are often driving toward the rank of captain. Today we’ll talk to a player whose is closing on that penultimate rank: Commander Shel Faranster, CO of the USS Constitution-B.

DeVeau: Hello Commander Faranster! Thank you for joining me!

Faranster: You’re welcome, I must say I was intrigued when I got the invitation.

DeVeau: Now I always like to start these sort of interviews by getting to know a little about your background. Would you mind telling us how you got started with SB118?

Faranster: Well, I found SB118 by chance when I was looking for an old game I had once played. The site drew me in, the years of experience, the community, I just had to decide what character I wanted to play, sign up and here I am.

DeVeau: How many characters have you played?

Faranster: Oh… Well, I have Sundassa Faranster, Shelther Faranster, and a bunch of PNPCs, played an MSNPC in every mission thus far and when times call for an NPC, I throw an email out for them. The number of character, minus NPCs, comes to about 16, which includes 9 MSNPCs.

DeVeau: Who was your favourite and why?

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