First Officer in Focus

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You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officers in Focus – Trellis Vondaryan, 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 new First Officer of the USS Gorkon, LtCmdr. Trellis Vondaryan, a Vissian male.

Let’s get started!

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

VONDARYAN: I’m Collin. Originally I’m from southern California and currently reside in the DC metro area, having spent a lot of time abroad over the last dozen years. When I’m not simming I spend a lot of time writing, actually. Some of that writing is for job applications (boo!), but the majority is for my attempts to get into TV scriptwriting. And of course I watch a lot of TV.

How’d you choose this character species, and what do you find compelling about playing a Vissian?

I originally had Trellis double-major in Intelligence and Engineering, with the intention that he’s fascinated with propulsion systems and learning about alien ships in any way possible. He’s especially interested in alternative faster-than-light (FTL) theories, much like QSD.

Vissians were introduced as a naturally curious species with extensive knowledge of engineering, so it seemed a natural fit in that aspect.

The thing I find most compelling about Vissians is basically being able to create a whole culture. There’s very little canon about the species and, surprisingly, not very many others have seemed to have played them, so I have almost a blank page to work from in writing for Trellis. Though I haven’t done it yet at some point I will be updating the Vissian wiki with all the stuff I’ve simmed.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officers in Focus – Mei’konda, 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 new First Officer of the USS Veritas, LtCmdr. Mei’konda, a Caitian male.

Let’s get started!

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

MEI’KONDA: My name is Aaron, and I’ve lived in a lot of different places across the USA! I grew up in Maine originally, spent some time in New Hampshire, a decade in California, and now I’ve bought my first house in Colorado.

Other than work, which for me is Massage Therapy, I enjoy playing computer and pen & paper RPGs with local friends, motorcycling, and exercise.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officers in Focus – Maxwell Traenor, Constitution

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.

Our last interview was with a commanding officer (Capt. Keelah Rhani of the USS Za), so this month we’re sitting down with LtCmdr. Maxwell Traenor, First Officer of USS Constitution-B.

We previously profiled Traenor in April of last year, and March of 2015 before that, so take a look at those for more background on this dedicated and fascinating member of our fleet.

Let’s get started!

WOLF: Glad to be interviewing you again for our Community News! How have you been since we talked about your role as training officer, last year?

TRAENOR: I’ve been awesome, thank you! I went through a very busy year in real life last year, which necessitated some changes in my SB118 profile, but I’m back to full strength and having a ton of fun, as always. And now that spring has finally sprung and the weather is getting great, there’s little to not be happy about!

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

I have been truly fortunate to work with some of the best top officers in the fleet through the ships I’ve served on, as well as the extracurricular groups I have participated in such as the Academy Training group. I started out on the Apollo under Andrus Jaxx, then got to participate in the grand relaunch of the Darwin (now Andaris Task Force) under Renos. When the Za launched, I took the opportunity to help out another new ship and serve under Zalea Solzano and Keelah Rhani. Now, I’m under the tutelage and guidance of Jalana Rajel on the Constitution. What a pedigree of knowledge and experience that I’ve gotten to draw from, and I can’t thank them all enough!

In real life, I’m an aviation meteorologist and air traffic controller, so the Science duty post was a natural fit for my analytical mind. Through the years in other groups and through PNPCs here in SB118, I’ve tried most all other duty posts on for size, but I keep finding myself drawn back to Science. My main PC, Maxwell Traenor, has been a perfect foil for me to explore how a journeyman scientist, with all the attendant stereotypes and traits, could successfully move up the ranks in the command structure of Starfleet. I couldn’t abandon the guy, he still has so many stories to tell, and First Officer is but one more chapter in that story.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus: Alucard Vess of USS 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. Our last interview with an FO was LtCmdr. Brayden Jorey, First Officer of the Duronis II Embassy.

This month, we’re sitting down with Cmdr. Alucard Vess, a long-serving member of the fleet who’s now the First Officer of the Gorkon. Let’s get started!

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

VESS: I come from a small town in Indiana where I’ve lived pretty much my whole life. I work in manufacturing, and in my free time I ‘m usually reading a comic book or listening to music. And when I’m not doing that I’m cuddling with my two cats Athena and Jitterbug, or planning my next comicon costume.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus: Brayden Jorey of Duronis II Embassy

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. Last month, we heard from FltCapt. Zalea Solzano of the Gorkon, and before that LtCmdr. Theo Whittaker of SB118 Ops.

This month, we’re sitting down with LtCmdr. Brayden Jorey, First Officer of the Duronis II Embassy. Let’s get started!

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

JOREY: My real name is Shawn and I live in Toronto, Canada. However, I’m a small town boy at heart being born and raised in a small village (less than 100 people) about 600km north of Toronto. Grew up hunting, fishing, playing hockey, drinking beer… basically a perfect example of your Canadian stereotype. In Toronto, I’m a personal trainer and life coach who spends most of his free time playing volleyball (indoor and beach 2’s), cooking good food for me and my hubby, and heading out to the bars and clubs with friends.

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

Brayden Jorey started on the USS Tiger-A as a helmsman. Over my couple years on the Tiger I made my way up to full Lieutenant. I became the Chief Helm Officer, then was the Commanding Officer of the Tiger’s Air Group, eventually adding Chief of Security and then Chief Tactical to my duties. When the Tiger-A was decommissioned I moved over to the USS Gemini as her Chief of Security, but I was only there for about a month. It was at that time that I made plans for Brayden to become an Intelligence Officer and took a month to slowly transfer over the Embassy and Thunder-A as their Chief Intelligence Officer and Second Officer.

Then came the launch of the USS Darwin-A. Jorey (and I) was brought on board the Darwin as the First Officer just prior to it’s launch. It was my first taste of really doing the behind the scenes work that has kept the fleet running smoothly for so long. Unfortunately, a short time after launch my real life situation changed and I took an LOA from the fleet. It was an email, many months later, from Captain Renos that brought me back to the fleet and to the Darwin. It was great to see something I had a hand in launching doing so well! My return was also timely because the Embassy and Thunder-A needed and First Officer and I was more than thrilled to jump at the opportunity – the rest is history.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus: Theo Whittaker of 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. Last month, we heard from FltCapt. Quinn Reynolds of the Gorkon, and before that Cmdr. T’Mar of the Constitution.

This month, we’re sitting down with LtCmdr. Theo Whittaker of StarBase 118 Ops. Let’s get started!

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

WHITTAKER: My name is Mikey, 28, and I am British, born and bred! When I’m not busy playing Theo I’m a part time bar man and waiter at a local pub/restaurant as well as being a fashion student. I’ve just finished one degree and I’m about to do it all again for an extra year doing International Fashion Business! Aside from that, you can usually find me trawling 2nd record shops for obscure 80s and 90s dance records or indulging a cosmopolitan or two!

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

I’ve served on the USS Columbia and Starbase 118 Operations. I started out as an engineer before becoming Chief Engineering of the Columbia. When that was decommissioned, I was asked to become the Executive Officer of SB118 Ops- where I have been for the past eight months!

What was it like going through the decommissioning of Columbia?

Columbia’s decommissioning was a bolt out of the blue and I hadn’t really considered that it might get decommissioning so when it actually happened, it took by me by surprise. There was a family feel with the players and the breaking up of the family was difficult to go through- in many respects it was quite painful. I was very uncertain of where I would fit in with a new ship or even if I even wanted to try another ship. Fortunately, when I was asked to be XO of Starbase 118 Ops, I realised that I had simmed with (the now) Captain Taybrim in my academy class and another Columbia alumni- Tatash- was serving there so I think it lessened the pain as it were. And I can’t deny that the idea of being XO was not appealing, because from a creative point it was: how was Theo- who is still pretty young- going to handle becoming the XO of the Beta Quadrant’s largest and most strategically important installation? How could I not answer a challenge like that?

What’s been your favorite plot you’ve been involved in?

There are so many to choose from; escorting divas across space, fending off killer tribbles, going undercover to smash a drugs ring… but I think the one that really stands out for me is a mission aboard the Columbia where I got to create a self-styled “pirate queen” who terrorised an away team on a scientific expedition. It was a brilliantly written mission from all concerned- literally everybody brought their A-game and we built up this wonderful planet and there was a real sense of peril. But for me, it was a chance to play a character who was the exact opposite of Theo- she was brash, outrageous and utterly sadistic- and at the same time, I think it was that mission where I felt 150% comfortable inhabiting Theo’s skin, as it were.

Are you thinking about command at all?

It’s something I am definitely working towards and I look forward to the day where I could possibly command a starship of my own. I already have ideas for campaign areas and mission profiles, that sort of thing. That being said, I’m not in any great hurry to leave Ops and set up shop on my ship. If it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t- well then, it doesn’t 🙂

What’s your favorite, and least favorite!, parts about playing a First Officer?

All that power! No, I’m joking lol! I love that being first officer on Ops has given the chance to world build- from the Commercial Sector on the station itself to the seedy underbelly of a neutral world that I helped to craft for a mission earlier this year. At the same time I also love being given the opportunity to help newer players; welcome them into the game and to help them integrate themselves into the crazy little family we have! It may sound cliché but I don’t actually have a least favourite aspect of being a first officer- it’s all been so rewarding and everyone has been super wonderful.

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

I like to be as descriptive as possible so that other writers can really get to know Theo’s view of the world and in turn, who he is a person. Having played him for the past sixteen months- I know he is as a person, but other players may not so it’s important for me that they can get to know him. I also like to incorporate a little humour and sass where I can, simply because that’s what I like to do in my day-to-day life. I was raised not to take myself seriously and I guess that it has translated in my simming as well. Obviously, Theo isn’t about to start a stand up comedy routine in the middle of a diplomatic situation- but the humour and sass reminds me that simming is a whole lot of fun!

I also tend to keep it in my mind that simming is fluid and that things can change at the drop of a hat. For example, I had been looking forward to spending Ops’ most recent mission bickering the VIP we were transporting- but Theo ended up being tortured by an Orion security chief because the writer of that MSNPC had IC requested somebody to volunteer themselves and it felt natural for Theo to sacrifice himself for his crewmates in that regard.

Thanks so much for your time. Looking forward to interviewing you again once you reach the rank of captain!

You can read more about LtCmdr. Whittaker on the wiki, and read the SB118 Ops sims in our archive.


You'll Always Be My Number One

First Officer in Focus: T’Mar of the USS Constitution-B

This is the first of a new interview column with first officers of the fleet, where we’ll talk about what the first officers do, get to know them better, and introduce the fleet to this unique position.

This month, we’re sitting down with LtCmdr. T’Mar of the USS Constitution-B. Let’s get started!

WOLF: I looked through our archive, and it appears the last time you were profiled on the news was in 2012! That’s a respectable record of membership – how have you kept up with simming for so long? Any wisdom you can pass on to our newer members?

T’MAR: It hasn’t always been easy with real life being the way it can be. Outside of gaming I work full-time and have been pursuing my Master’s degree. Add on to those things, normal life occurrences both good (wedding planning!) and bad (serious illnesses, deaths in the family) and it quickly can become overwhelming if you aren’t careful.

I think when you really enjoy something, though, you make the time to do it. Something I would share with others, especially new members, is to make it a point to write every other day. It helps you stay on top of your tags and not fall behind. Beyond that, it becomes routine and helps you enjoy the experience more. I also have made many friends in the community, which is invaluable! Friends keep you going and build you up when life gets crazy. It’s these friendships that actually inspired me to join, along with improving my writing skills!

So what ships have you served on, and in what duty posts have you simmed since the last time you were profiled?

When I was last interviewed, I believe I was just an Ensign Security officer on the Apollo under Jaxx. Needless to say there have been some changes since then! I stayed on the Apollo for quite some time and initially had no plans to leave until I had a ship of my own. I was promoted to Chief of Security and stayed in that role all the way to being promoted to Lieutenant Commander. After that, the then Commander Liam Frost was given the opportunity to launch the USS Gemini and asked me to be his First Officer. Of course I jumped at that opportunity and stayed in that position for about a year before I opted to step down due to my health. After that, I was put into a Mission Specialist role until the Gemini was decommissioned. While most of the Gemini crew moved over to the Apollo, I opted to be placed on the Constitution where I served as the Chief Intel Officer before once again being bumped up to First Officer… which is where I still serve now.

Among those, has there been a favorite ship, besides the one you’re currently on?

This is always a difficult question for me, because each ship has its own personality so to speak. The Apollo under Jaxx was very special because it was my first ship and I am still friends with people that I met when I was placed there. I think, though, that the Gemini was my favorite. There is something very cool about serving on a ship from its launching. I poured my heart and soul into that ship and learned so much about command while I was there. My experiences on the Gemini helped prepare me for my journey so far on the Conny and I think changing ships helped push me outside of my comfort zone. I’ve met so many new people that I never would have if I had just stayed where I was.

What’s been your favorite plot you’ve been involved in?

Oh goodness. Between time travel, rogue Klingons, terrorists, and Iconian Gateways it is so hard to choose. I think one of the most memorable for me was when the Apollo crew’s shore leave was cut short by a terrorist attack. The terrorists took the command staff hostage and we had to hatch a plan to rescue them while preventing further attacks. Of course, travelling back in time to 1914 is a close second as well.

My favorite plots are ones that really make you scratch your head. Right now on the Conny, we are in the midst of a murder mystery and it’s fun to watch everyone work towards trying to solve it like a game of Clue. It’s always amazing to see how plots develop when so many people contribute to the story. I think a mark of a good mission is when everyone really dives in and it takes on a life of its own.

Are you thinking about command at all?

Absolutely! I think like many others, I came into this game thinking I could just fly through and get my own ship within a matter of a few months. Of course, that’s not how things work and for good reason. It’s always been my long term plan, though, and after some time away from working towards a promotion, I am now back on track working towards my next promotion. I have jokingly said a few times that I am like Riker, though. I really enjoy the XO position and love working with Captain Rajel. It’s cheesy, but I’m learning as much as I can and hope to stay in this position for awhile before jumping in on running a ship. Many people don’t really understand how much happens on the back end, and being a CO means acting like a Game Master. The longer I’ve been in a ship staff role, the more I have learned about what it takes to run a ship and I want to be well prepared for that role when the time comes.

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

I was first exposed to simming in an Instant Message format, but I think I’ve worked out a general process that works for me. If the post is working off of a plot line I’ve already been writing in, I start with my last post (if it’s brand new, I skip that step). Then I fill in the post with everyone else’s information. From there, I mark things like descriptions or things that shouldn’t be in the post like conversations I wouldn’t be overhearing. Then I fill in my own descriptions and tags and remove the info that needs to be removed.

As far as my own writing style, I am a mix of business/marketing writing and poetry I think. I think my best writing comes when I watch old episodes of Star Trek though. It helps me visualize what the characters would be doing and put it into words.

And what do you do in real life?

For the past four years, I have been working in the field of Human Resources and Marketing. I really enjoy the work I do, although it can be taxing at times (I’m the one who gets to fire people). As I said earlier, I am also a grad student so I find myself writing an awful lot of literature reviews. My spare time is spent with my fiance’ and we are both musicians who love travelling and trying out new restaurants. When we started dating, my fiance’ was not into sci-fi so I have taken that as a challenge and we have binge watched Firefly and other sci-fi shows/movies, including Star Trek. We also enjoy hiking and recently purchased our first tent in hopes that we will gradually get more outdoorsy.

Thanks so much for your time. Looking forward to interviewing you again once you reach the rank of captain!

You can read more about LtCmdr. T’Mar on the wiki, and read the Constitution sims in our archive.


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