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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.

In Command: Liam Frost

There are many types of characters that inhabit the world of Starbase 118, and many different positions to be held within Starfleet. For many, the ultimate goal is to advance through the ranks and become the commanding officer of one’s own star ship. It takes time, dedication, and hard work to achieve this goal. Today, we’re going to find out a little bit about the writer behind one of the characters who has stepped up and successfully slipped into the commanding chair – Commander Liam Frost.

DeVeau: So, let’s start from the beginning. How long have you been at SB118 and how did you come to find this group?

Frost: I joined the group just about three and a half years ago. The short version of how I came to be in this group is through a friend of a friend. I’ve had an interest in Creative Writing RPGs for many years. A good friend of mine (currently writing for LtCmdr Oliver Weston) heard about the group from a friend of his. We both decided to have a go at it and we’ve been here ever since.

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!

In Command: Captain Cassandra Egan Manno

I think most of us are familiar with Tony, the player behind that temporal magnet, Aron Kells. Recently, some events have taken place which took the USS Mercury out of comission and Aron Kells out of the spotlight. Not to worry, Tony isn’t going anywhere, and he’s brought on a whole new character – Captain Cassandra Egan Manno. I had the opportunity to sit down and get a little information about his new face.

A Moment with Lt Commander Ben Livingston

As the new First Officer aboard the USS Excalibur-A, Lt Commander Benjamin Livingston stands poised for a commanding role. But what brought him this far? What drives him? Learn that, and more, from the following interview by Newsies Reporter T’Mihn Ah’mihghan.

T’MIHN:: Firstly I wish to congratulate you on your promotion as Excalibur’s Executive Officer. Just in case new members missed previous interviews with you, can you share how you came across Starbase 118?

BEN: I happened upon Starbase 118 while trying to learn more about the StarTrek universe. I’d been aware of Star Trek ever since catching the final scenes of The Wrath of Khan on television as a child, but I never took the time to watch it until I was an adult. When I rediscovered the original series, I wanted to learn more about Star Trek, and I stumbled across Starbase 118 doing some google searches. I’d never encountered a simming community before, but once I learned what it was, it didn’t take much to convince me to sign up. (My thanks go out to the publicity team!)

T’MIHN: That is true. Publicity Team snagged a great writer. What inspirations do you use to breathe life into your primary, secondary and other characters that new or experienced SIMmers can
take home with them? Any particular books, or real life people?

BEN: Much of Ben Livingston comes from my own experiences. For instance, Ben’s love of tea (and unwavering drive to design the perfect mug) is something we share. His background as a design engineer at a corporation is based on my own experiences. Even so, the source of much of my writing is external. When I catch something of interest in the news, I use my writing here as a way of dissecting the issue. The same goes for personal interactions. I love the idea of writing as a sounding board – or a thought experiment – by which we can better understand our own world.

I owe a lot to books, as well. At the moment, I seem to draw on them mostly for style. I’m always interested in an author’s use of pacing, sentence structure, and voice to tell a story effectively. In writing conversation, what do authors choose to include, what do they omit, and what do they indirectly describe?

When writing for side characters, I usually use them to serve either the plot or the character development of Ben or his shipmates. The occasional exception comes when I want to write something, but it doesn’t fit for Ben.

T’MIHN: Those are excellent questions as oneself in relation to characters. Just a little bit of a sidestep into non Star Trek items. How do you juggle real life and the demands being an XO with its various in character and out of character responsibilities?

BEN: Although I’m still getting situated as XO, I think that for me, work-sim-life balance starts with my wife. She’s not a simmer or a Trek fan, but open dialogue about what it is and why I enjoy it makes this a hobby that we both respect and that I can make the time for. It probably helps that she’s an English teacher, so she spends her days trying to get teenagers to write! The other thing is making this a commitment to myself. With a hobby, it’s easy to drop it in the face of a filling schedule, but I recognize that there are people on the other side waiting for responses. That’s a big motivation.

T’MIHN: Balance at times can be difficult, but rewarding. How did you get to this point, from Ensign to XO?

BEN: Ben started as an ensign in the Science department aboard Starbase 118. A role in Science didn’t fit perfectly with the character concept I had in mind, but it turned out to provide some good conflict and room for growth. Talking to my Commanding Officer facilitated a move to Engineering, which allowed me to develop Ben as an engineer. His specialty differed from the Chief Engineer’s, which made it easier to maintain a more realistic domain of knowledge and kept us from stepping on one another’s toes.

I always tried to give a fair representation of what keeping a ship running might be like. By the time I was a Lieutenant, though, I was putting more time into exploring personal interactions and getting to know fellow officers IC than into sims about the actual engineering. I still love a good technical sim, though, and I hope to write one again before too long.

I’ve also been able to participate in some of the other activities throughout the fleet. I strongly recommend trying the writing challenge, and I’ve also enjoyed helping out with the Academy. It’s a great way to help the fleet while getting the chance to hone my writing skills and the way I interact with other writers.

T’MIHN: What makes Excalibur unique in your opinion?

BEN: The personalities aboard Excalibur are what make it stand out to me. Every character (and I mean “character”!) – primary or otherwise – has a distinct personality. And while you can often predict a character’s general response, there are always little quirks you didn’t expect, just like in real life. The writers of Excalibur are all skilled in breathing life into their characters.

The other part of Excalibur that I think is very special is that we all take time to develop our characters personal lives. Whether it’s shore leave or down time during a mission, the sims that show the personal time of characters is where I think our writing really shines. Those everyday moments can really give insight into who the character is and what makes them tick.

T’MIHN: She is a very newly commissioned ship. Is it easier or harder to command a new ship verses an older one?

BEN: As an engineer, I found old ships interesting – they’ve had the chance to acquire quirks, develop faulty subsystems, and generally need repair. However, I have found that being aboard a new ship is a wonderful opportunity to get creative. What new technology has Starfleet incorporated? How are the interfaces different? What bugs were missed during testing? Surprises still pop up, they’re just different than aboard an older ship. Both old and new have their perks – and I really enjoy being aboard Excalibur!

T’MIHN: That is most important-enjoying yourself. What goals short or long range have you for Excalibur and her crew?

BEN: In the short term, I think the most important thing is to keep putting out the high-quality sims that keep us all engaged. For myself, I’d like to get to know each of the writers (and characters) even better. For the longer term, I am developing some ideas, but the important thing is that Fleet Captain Nicholotti and I be working in the same direction and with the same expectations. So that discussion has to come first.

T’MIHN: To top it off, have you any advice for new and veteran simmers?

BEN: Something I’d like to take on as a challenge for myself – and encourage everyone to do, as well – is to step outside of the types of sims to which we are accustomed. Explore a new space. For instance, I’ve never written a sim from the perspective of minor PNPCs observing the events around them. I’ve seen this done very effectively, and I’d love to give it a try. Identifying something that we haven’t tried before can one of the most difficult parts, but I think it encourages continued growth as a writer.

T’MIHN: That is the challenge of the hobby itself, challenging each other and yourself. Thank you Ben for your interview and the advice that I’m sure new and old simmers can utilize. I know I have learned something new this day.

One-on-One With Captain Diego Herrera

First of all, why the character change? What makes Diego Herrera a better captain for the Vigilant than Tallis Rhul?

After resolving a major plot arc, Tallis has reached a point in his career where his reasons for joining Starfleet in the first place have been fulfilled and he is turning his attentions to other matters, such as family. Diego, on the other hand, is definitely the type of character who I could see in a Starfleet uniform until retirement age. Those members of the fleet who’ve had a chance to write with him (he was my secondary for two years, and served on the Eagle, the Challenger-A and at the Duronis II Embassy) will know that he’s a lot more levelheaded and laid back than Tallis. He majored in both medicine and counselling at the Academy, has served in both positions in the fleet, and while one could argue he’s not seen the front lines of combat quite as often as Tallis has, he’s been in his fair share of scrapes and encountered some very interesting situations! With this chance to switch to command red, I’m very much looking forward to adding a new aspect to his character, and as I writer I certainly think that he has the right skill set to take on the responsibility of captaincy.

The News Team Interview: Captain Andrus Jaxx

Today, I have the privilege of talking with Captain Andrus Jaxx, Facilitator of the Starbase 118 News team, and also the Captain of the USS Apollo.

The news team provides articles of Star Trek and Science News from around the globe.  Not only does the team hunt for interesting news to report from outside of our community, but also from within.

As you notice there has been plenty of news and interviews coming from the different ships. Plot summaries, changes in command, and the current events that happen around the fleet.

Thank you for taking time to meet with me Captain, could you give us a little background of your career?

Sure!  I started my career with Starbase 118 back in 2007.  It was actually an accident the way I stumbled across the site.  I had just watched Nemesis for the billionth time(slight dramatization) and I was curious about Captain Riker and the USS Titan.  So I did as anyone does these days when they want to know more and plugged “USS Titan” into my search engine.  Whist I found some information on Riker, I found some on Starbase 118’s inactive vessel carrying the same name.  I thought to myself, “Wow, this is a place where the story can continue!”  I did not consider myself a writer in any way.  As a matter of fact, I hated it.  I continued to surf the site for about 2 weeks before I decided to take the plunge.  I was so worried that I would not be good enough, that because I hated writing I would not like it, and basically any other excuse you can come up with to make failure okay in your mind.  Once I started, I hit the ground running!  Fresh out of the Academy I was assigned to the USS Challenger as a Counselor.  I think at the time it was my 3rd choice in duty post, but to get a ship that simmed as fast as I wanted…I had to make some concessions.  I spent nearly 2 years in that role before moving to Strategic Operations Officer and Second Officer.  From there I served as First Officer on the USS Resolution under FltCpt(then Commander) Toni Tuner.  From there I transferred to the USS Eagle as Strategic Operations Officer under R. Admiral Rocar Drawoh.  My next assignment came when Captain Quinn Reynolds assumed command of the Eagle.  I made the move with R. Admiral Rocar to the USS Victory as First Officer.  Upon his retirement, I assumed command of the Victory and eventually took her with me to Starbase 118 Operations as our support craft.  After nearly a year on the starbase, I transferred command to my XO at the time, Commander Kalianna Nicholotti.  As she started her Captaincy Practical, I launched the USS Apollo with a mixture of officers across the fleet, as well as some fresh graduates.

Could you please explain in a little more depth about the News Team and what are the duties?

The News Team serves a duel purpose.  First, they way a website thrives is started by their content.  As we gain popularity in the eyes of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any other search engine our content is the base that everything is built on.  We make sure that each day their is a fresh article posted to our main site.  While the topics can be reused, the content inside has to be unique and not found anywhere else on the web, and constant.

The second purpose is to educate and entertain our fleet.  Most of our posts come from internal matters.  Since the new year we have put more focus on interviews with fleet members, articles on our history, announcements, and anything else our writers deem worthy to write about.  The result is a fleet that feels like they know what is going on all around them.  Each month our readers can look at the plots being ran on every ship.  Knowing where ships like the Discovery-C, Tiger, or Avandar have been excites some people, as well as stems creativity for their own plots.

What have been the most interesting articles that you have come across?

This is a hard one!  As facilitators, Commander Aron Kells and I read over every single article before it is scheduled.  I think it is easier to go with my favorite columns.  I love the Lower Decks column.  It is fun for me to read about writers and characters that I do not serve with.  It helps me feel like we are closer, even if not on the same ship.  I also love Mondays, and the Writer’s Workshop/Officer’s Guide column.   When I started, writing was not something I was great at.  Now, I seem to do pretty well, but I am always looking on tips to be better.  I still hate writing, but anything Star Trek related is exempt!

How does one join the team and what are the requirements needed?

We have a very simple process.  If you head to the News Team wiki page, you will find a link to our Yahoo! Group page.  Just request membership, be sure to list your character name, and poof you have joined.  There is no rank requirement to join the group.  When you start, you are given the link to important information about posting and procedures and then you are off and running!

What type of composing editor is used for the News Team?

Our website is powered by WordPress.  Therefore, we use their very easy interface to post our news content.  It is a very easy process that allows our writers to seamlessly create their articles.

Is there a weekly requirement for submitting the news?

We ask that writers remain consistent.  If you join and can commit to 2 articles a month, that is what we expect.  Of course, the more articles we have, the better.  We are always looking for writers to jump in and join the team.  Right now we are scheduled about a week in advance.  We would love to get to the point where we are able to schedule a whole month and have articles on stand-by.  The more we have to pull from, the better.

If you would like to contribute to the News Team, head over to their Yahoo! Group and request membership!

The Proof is in the Captain

The hallmarks to a career in Starfleet are endless; graduation from the Academy, being able to create your own unique character and leading them down a path of your choosing, attaining rank along the way and the experience that’s coupled with it. Hallmarks such as achieving your first command staff position, or being able to sit in that center chair aboard your very own vessel, are certainly times that will never be forgotten. But what does it take to receive honors such as those? What sort of passion, creativity, gall or guts must one strive for in order to attain status like this? Newly commisioned Fleet Captain Toni Turner is going to help us understand just what it means to be a Captain.

Captain’s Corner – Andrus Jaxx

  • Character Name: Andrus Jaxx
  • Rank and Current Post: Captain, Commanding Officer StarBase 118/USS Victory
  • Real Name: Jay
  • Part of the World you’re from: North Carolina, United States

What is your earliest recollection of Star Trek?

My earliest recollection of Star Trek was TNG.  I remember it running on TV late at night, and on weekends I would stay up and watch it.  I was fascinated by that form of space travel, and could not get enough of the story.  I remember it being a solo activity, since nobody in my immediate family like Star Trek.

How did you find the Starbase 118 group?

Accidentally.  I love research and gaining knowledge, and one day after watching Star Trek: Nemesis for the 20th time…I was curious about the USS Titan, and Captain Riker.  I ran a search for the USS Titan, and stumbled on the inactive page for our USS Titan.  It had long since been decommissioned, but it got me to take a look at the group and what it was.  I took about 2 weeks looking over every aspect of the site before deciding to jump in.  I was not a big fan of writing, so I was a little nervous.

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