First Officer in Focus

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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.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus – Sky Blake, USS Veritas

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 Veritas, Lt. Commander Sky Blake,  a Brekkian/Betazoid hybrid female.

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

BLAKE: I live in Australia, and when I am not simming, I am studying as a cloud student for a Bachelor of Arts. I earned my Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing in 2019, where I was also able to edit and publish a fairly hefty student anthology of works, as well as put together a demo memoir I released that November.

Between writing and reading for my degree and simming, I also consume a fairly unhealthy amount of Netflix, AnimeLab, Playstation games, and iced coffee.

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

It depends on how much time I have. If I’m on a tight schedule, I’ll actively look for Blake-specific tags, throw them into a Gmail draft and focus on adding dialogue first, then examine the scene more closely for Blake’s physicality — ie. how is she presenting herself, how is she feeling, is she cold, etc — reactionary type things. After that, I go back through and do a basic edit alongside a pass with ProWritingAid and send. That usually takes me about 15 minutes to a half hour.

On a good day when I can spend up to hours working on a sim, I work properly on narration, backstory and thoughts. I can double check to see if everyone has been included in a scene and add relevant tags for those who may not be. These sims will typically be much longer than my rush jobs, have been formatted properly, edited, and may have about three times more the narration.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus – Geoffrey Teller, USS Thor

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 Thor, LtCmdr. Geoffrey Teller playing a human male.

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

TELLER: My real name is Brian, and my family and I hail from Bainbridge Island in the Pacific Northwest of the US. It’s about a 40 minute ferry trip across the bay to downtown Seattle.

Tell us more about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim? How do you keep the story moving and get others involved?

Generally speaking, I do my sims in a single sitting and, for the first pass, actually use just plain old Notepad. Got into the habit early in my simming because it was the easiest way to normalise and strip formatting that different mail clients liked to apply. After I’ve got all the tags laid out that I need to respond to, I try to focus on either affirmative or additive statements – agreeing with or praising what has come before (with rare exception) and then encouraging additional conversation with pointed questions or concerns.

I find that it’s easy, especially for junior officers who haven’t developed their ‘voice’ yet, to get lost in big scenes – briefings, meetings, etc. I’ll specifically look for those people clinging to the walls and try to drag them in with a question related specifically to their speciality. It’s not a perfect system, but when a shy writer suddenly begins opening up and responding, it’s a great feeling.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus – Lael Rosek, USS Montreal

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 Montreal,  Lieutenant Commander Lael Rosek, a female Al-Leyan.

GALVEN: Thank you so much for accepting to do an interview with me out of your busy schedule! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

ROSEK: I’m always happy to help. I’ve been writing with the fleet on and off for 14 years and love the sense of community here. In real life, I work as an instructional aide in an elementary special education classroom and believe with all my heart that a good education can change a person’s life. I’m the mother of two amazing young boys who are the light of my life.

What ships have you served on and what duty posts have you played so far in your Starfleet career?

I’ve served on any number of ships over the years. My very first assignment with the fleet was the Independence at the time under the command of Jessa Anassasi. At that time, I was writing for a Human woman named Rebecca Hollendale, a security/tactical officer. She also served aboard the Ronin under the command of Idril Mar. A bit later on, I switched characters to a Human woman named Elina Kincade. She was an interesting character because I started writing her as an Engineer who eventually became a trained nurse. While writing for her, I served aboard the Eagle and the Challenger-A.

My most recent, and perhaps my favorite, PC, Lael, started her career as an Engineer before switching to Helm and later back to Engineering. She served aboard the Victory, the Gorkon, the Za, the Veritas, and the Montreal.

I also have a menagerie of PNPCs and secondary characters in a variety of duty posts. I’ve played in the fair majority of available duty posts over my time with the fleet.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus – Nijil Aehkhifv, Starbase 118 Ops

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.

Nijil, a Starfleet officerThis month, we’re interviewing the First Officer of Starbase 118 Ops, Lieutenant Commander Nijil Aehkhifv, a Rekarian Male.

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

Well, my name is Noelle and I hail from Michigan, US. There’s not much to tell, I’m not nearly as interesting as my character. I work in a machine shop but have begun adventuring towards self employment. I’m a huge fan of haunted houses, working on them not going through and being scared. And have come to enjoy face painting, as all those doing the scaring need scary face paint. I’ve been doing this for nearly 8 years now and never bore of it. And when I’m not writing or face painting, I’m kept very busy with my toddler!

Amazing!  Now that you’re a first officer, are you thinking about command at all?

It is definitely on my mind, but I’m in no hurry to launch on my own. I’ve enjoyed getting to this point with SB118 and intend to enjoy it. While also learning as much as I can.


First Officers in Focus – Jocelyn Marshall, Gorkon

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 USS Gorkon, Lieutenant Commander Jo Marshall, a Human female.

Let’s get started!

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

MARSHALL: Thanks for having me! I’m Emily, forged a Royal Navy brat and swiftly moved up to Manchester in the UK – so I wouldn’t try to take over the Admiralty, I suspect. My plans for military domination successfully hampered, fast-forward and I’m working in Belgium (where the chocolate is good and beer is plentiful) as an ICT minion for a General who whistles full Madonna albums. When I’m not putting everyone in simming peril, I’m going out on my bike to get some sunshine, playing volleyball, throwing myself at video games, or strumming guitar in the garden to the consternation of my neighbours.

How is the FO position similar or different from your previous posting?

Ah, you can take the Marshall out of Ops but you can’t take the Ops out of Marshall. As the writer, it’s been interesting exploring this new realm of emotion and thought for Jo. She’s a laid back and happy soul, so to have the weight of the crew she considers her family now partially on her shoulders is sobering for this kid that came on the Gorkon as an Ensign straight from the Cadet Cruise. In Ops, she didn’t have that. Life was a breeze.

In some ways, it’s wildly different. There’s a lot more admin to do and it really opens your eyes to just how much the Captain of your ship does, and the rest of the fleet too! It’s crazy. Like the old iceberg philosophy – you see the top, but not the groundwork that goes into making it what it is. It’s also a huge privilege to be selected for the role and I’m massively grateful for the chance to do it for the Gorkon. There’s so many good writers on our ship, so it’s a real heartwarming thing for me to be able to support us in any capacity.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus: Lieutenant Commander Jarred Thoran, Columbia

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 Columbia, Lieutenant Commander Jarred Thoran, a human male. He was last interviewed in December, 2017, as part of our “Lower Decks” column of interviews.

SHAYNE: You’ve been a part of a few interviews, so avid readers of these close ups will be familiar with your basics. Nevertheless, for the benefit of those newer members of our community, could you tell us a little bit about where you hail from?

THORAN: I’m Richard. Originally from the UK, but have spent the past and a bit years in Germany where i’m now training to be a police helicopter pilot.

You’ve been here a little more than a year, and in that time you’ve become one of the strongest and most enthusiastic pillars of our community, using your many talents and unimpeachable commitment for the benefit of the fleet as a whole. Training team, staff member, graphics wizard, wiki gnome… what inspires you to take on so much responsibility?

Blimey, you’re making me blush, and that is certainly an over exaggeration, i’m definitely not a wizard or a gnome. More like a goblin that sticks his head in everywhere. Anyway, to answer your question. When I first joined the fleet I had an abundance of free time, which I wanted to put to uses other than playing video games or doing DIY and housework. I browsed the task forces and found a few I liked the look of, teams that would enable me to use real life skills/experiences to help out. Since then, the community has given me a lot of good times, fun experiences and also helped through a few dark patches, so this is my way of giving back to a community that has given me so much, and I hope that i’m helping to add to that, and to create a good experience and fun times for others.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officers in Focus – Ayiana Sevo, Gorkon

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 USS Gorkon, Lieutenant Commander Ayiana Sevo, a Joined Trill female.

Let’s get started!

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

SEVO: Hello, and thank you for interviewing me! My name is Aaron and I live in the Golden State of California, just outside of Yosemite National Park. I have various jobs, working at a restaurant and doing accounting for a business I co-own with my boss.

Outside of work or simming, I’m usually found on my computer playing video games like World of Warcraft, watching Netflix or Amazon, or doing 3D artwork.

Ayiana is Joined with the Sevo symbiont, a situation that you’ve explored in a bit of depth. What do you find are the challenges and benefits to playing a Joined Trill?

I love Trills. I think they can be incredibly complex. With multiple lives, it’s like having several characters in one! But at the same time, you have to remember those people are dead and you are trying to integrate their personalities and skills into the current host, but not let them overshine it. I think I’ve done that pretty well with Ayiana, while at the same time keeping her complex.

I believe it’s been almost two years since we’ve interviewed you, for a series of Science post interviews here and here. How have you found the transition from Science Officer to First Officer?

It’s mostly just the OOC work that’s different. Being a Department Chief doesn’t entail anything like forms or mission summaries. The First Officer position is pretty much training for those looking to go into Command, so a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. I have a new appreciation for Emma (the writer of Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds). She spends as much time doing OOC work in the group as she does writing sims!

Also, its interesting to move into the position from an IC perspective. Ayiana has always been a scientist, and never much liked being in command. She was begrudgingly placed in such situations in the past, and they didn’t always turn out alright. She has a bit of an anger problem.

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

I write and keep all my sims in Google Documents. First I make a copy of my last sim, so I have a basis to start from. Then I cut out older portions of the story. Next, I go through my email and copy/paste all the sims that involve my character after my last submission into Notepad. This clears any formatting issues that may arise between programs. I then start with the first sim and add that person’s responses and story progression, changing it to fit my character’s viewpoint. I do this for all the sims after my last submission. It takes more time, but it makes sure I don’t miss anyone. After that, I just copy/paste into Gmail.

Is there a particular aspect of your role of First Officer that motivates you in your position?

I think the opportunity to sim Ayiana out of her comfort zone. She likes science, and would much prefer to be in a lab staring at a microscope rather than in an office running the ship. She is also not diplomat material, but her first mission right now is a diplomatic mission to the Romulan Republic. Ayiana has not had good experiences with Romulans.

She punched one in the face once.

Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who’s just joined?

“Joined?” I’m assuming you mean joining the fleet and not Joined with a symbiont!

Just kidding! I think practice makes perfect. Looking back on my earlier sims, I can’t understand how I wrote so bad (at least in my eyes). Take a look at the veteran simmers around you and borrow techniques from them. Don’t be afraid to ask your mentor or captain for help or advice. Above all, it just takes practice.

Thanks so much for your time!

You can read more about LtCmdr Sevo on the wiki.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officers in Focus – Taelon, Starbase 118 Ops

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 Starbase 118 Ops, Lieutenant Commander Taelon, an El-Aurian male.

Let’s get started!

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

TAELON: I’m a 30-something web designer for the northwestern USA. My hobbies outside of simming are programming, digital art (and photoshopping) and other escapist hobbies.

El-Aurians are not a common species seen around the fleet. What is it about these long-lived people that made you want to try your hand at playing as one?

The El-Aurians are a race that has a very vague but traumatic backstory – with their planet and most of their species taken by the Borg, I thought it’d be interesting to try my hand at a ‘young’ El-Aurian, one who was born after the loss of the homeworld and the loss of the majority of their population. The canonical vagueness about their culture also left things about various ethnic groups open for invention, which has been a lot of fun.

What ships have you served on and what duty posts have you played so far in your Starfleet career?

Just Ops (and the Connie through my secondary character). I’ve primarily served as a science officer, which I’ve found is quite a free position.

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

Honestly, it’s pretty simple – I do my best to read over all the other sims relating to my scene (provided my inbox filters don’t fail me!) and then have Taelon react to circumstances in character.

Are there elements of real life that you especially enjoy incorporating into your simming?

I don’t know if I’d say I enjoy it, as such, but my character and I share a major anxiety disorder – and it’s been interesting showing my own experiences through the very different lens of a spacefaring alien while still trying to keep his experiences his own.

What has been the greatest challenge, in character and out of character, with the command experience?

I have a fair amount of OOC experience at RP admin/GMing, but in character…let’s just say there’s reason the IC promotion hasn’t happened yet! OOC it’s been fine and fun, but Taelon doesn’t have a very huge sense of self-worth, so he needs a bit of work before the promotion will make sense.

Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who’s just joined?

Join the Science department! I’m not entirely kidding – there’s often the assumption that Starfleet scientists must be devoted to ‘dull’ sciences like weather patterns or geology (which aren’t dull, dangit!), but in reality, science can be anything. Want to play a forensic ballistics expert? Science! A cybernetics mad scientist? Science! A designer of huge ass bombs? Also science!

Thanks so much for your time!

You can read more about LtCmdr Taelon on the wiki.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officers in Focus – Alexander Williams, 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 newly relaunched USS Atlantis, LtCmdr. Alexander Williams, a Human/Bajoran male.

Let’s get started!

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

WILLIAMS: My name is Roel and I have been a member of SB118 for 4 years now. Star Trek is a dying genre in The Netherlands but I grew up with it as a kid. TNG was on every saturday and I have seen all the series that followed. I work at a high school (pre-university level) as a history teacher and in my spare time I like to read and play video games. All related to history of course.

Why’d you choose a Bajoran hybrid, and what do you find compelling about Bajorans?
I’ve always been interested in religion. Since religion isn’t a big factor in Starfleet I decided to add that part by making my character half Bajoran. I am not wearing an earring but I like to write Alex thinking about the Prophets every now and then. In a way Alex is lot like me.

What ships have you served on and what duty posts have you played so far in your Starfleet career?
That is quite a list. I started on the old Apollo under the command of Captain Jaxx as a tactical officer. When it was destroyed by the Borg (maybe, just maybe, I added them to the plot) half the crew moved to the USS Constitution where I started to serve as chief tactical and security. About a year later I moved on the Excalibur but that was a short lived ship so I went back to the Conny, this time under a new captain and I changed my main character since the tactical station was already taken. I came up with a Betazoid geek, but truth be told I missed Alex. When the community launched a new ship, The USS ZA, I didn’t hesitate and moved over to roll back to Alex and become the chief tactical again. There I met my girlfriend and together we moved over to the Athena when I was invited to be its First Officer. Me and Nicole go a long way back ever since the first Apollo so it was good to have a chance to explore a new role and be with some old friends again. With the Athena crew moving over to the Atlantis I kept my role as First Officer and well… that’s how I ended op here. Quite a history in 4 years!

What’s your favorite, and least favorite!, parts about playing a First Officer?
That is tough one as I am still getting to know the part. Obviously there is a lot more responsibility. That is both good and bad. It’s fun to see you get tagged more often and it’s a great way to develop my character in its new role. Of course the task more demanding as well. I have a lot of plots to keep moving. And the job comes with a little paperwork behind the scenes. But so far it’s not as much as I feared.

Tell us more about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim?
I always take my last sim to start with. I copy past the last few tags and add a bit of narrative in front. From there I add all the sims that came after. Adding all the tags and narratives from the others. Then I started to add my own narrative and tags and most of the time i try to add a bit of new content and tags for others to work with. As a FO I decided to give a bit more room on how the plot is going to the new writers as they still find it challenging to push the plot forward and the best way to learn is to “just do it”.

Looking back on your experience so far, what would be one piece of advice you’d give to others on how to be a successful First Officer?
I think it’s too soon to say I am a successful First Officer. That’s not being modest but I am still learning the job. I think my sims are entertaining and keep people moving and that is what a good writer/officer should do. Right now for example I am in the middle of a standoff with a space station. With the captain on the planet I have to make the calls and avoid a fight. I know Alex as a tactical offer would like to push the buttons and start shooting, as a first officer he can’t. It’s fun to sim the struggle Alex goes through and by tagging others I want to keep them part of that discussion as well. Keeping people active is key to success.

Is there a particular aspect of your role of First Officer that motivates you in your position?
As I said, being first officer is a key role. The other members of the group want to interact more and that is a lot of fun. When we started our first mission a few weeks ago I was tagged from all sides. People wanting to talk to me in the briefing, calling me over to engineering, someone tagged me in my office. That is a big difference from my days a tactical officer. There is more to sim and that is what i like the most. Simming, and keep people active. Challenging them to come up with some nice unexpected tags.

Thanks so much for your time!

You can read more about LtCmdr. Williams on the wiki.


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