Interviews

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Duty Post Award winner – Addison MacKenzie (Prantares Ribbon)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2020 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters.

This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Lieutenant Commander Addison MacKenzie playing a Human female Chief Medical Officer assigned to the USS Thor. She  won the Prantares Ribbon: “Awarded to those Medical officers who has moved beyond competence to display a true gift for the healing arts in the context of space medicine. The officers given this award should display the ability to keep a steady hand in the often hazardous conditions in which they must practice, as well as the willingness to risk their own life to save the lives of others.

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

MACKENZIE: Sure! Born, raised, and living in Cleveland, Ohio, right on Lake Erie in the U.S. I’m a former professor, but now a full-time musician and conductor when COVID isn’t a thing. I love reading and hanging out with my orange Maine Coon, Fritado.

Captain Aron Kells specifically called out your character’s “mature, professional but wryly funny” attributes. As a CMO character personal connections are important. What advice can you give others who want to create a nuanced bedside manner?

Well, I think that’s something that’s totally dependent on the character. Addison cares deeply about the welfare of her patients, as I think all good doctors do, but she also isn’t afraid to throw shade when someone deserves it. There were a number of people on the Thor who recently had physicals that resulted in some serious sass from their CMO… I think that’s just part of who she is, though. If she were a Vulcan, for example, she’d be a lot different. Probably still funny, but the humor would be very different.


Duty Post Award winner – Ash Tristan MacKenna, Arrow (Black Cross)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2020 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters.

This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Commander Ash MacKenna playing a human female Intelligence Officer assigned to the USS Arrow. She won the Black Cross: “This award is given to a member of the Intelligence community that strives to accomplish the goals of Starfleet Intelligence, while simultaneously upholding the ideals and structure of Starfleet command. This person has the cunning to gather intelligence by means of deceptive dialogue or espionage, as opposed to force drawn confessions. While matters of intelligence are often game changers, this person strives to attain those goals within the boundaries of their Commanding Officer, and the regulations of Starfleet.

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

MACKENNA: Though I spent most of my life growing up in the shadow of America’s space program on the space coast of Florida, I currently reside in the exact center of the state of North Carolina, surrounded by woods, cattle fields, and the Uwharrie Mountains.

Captain Oddas Aria of the USS Juneau said in her presentation that you collect information from both conventional and unconventional sources. Working in a world of technology and diverse species, could you give some examples of where you obtain information?

I think the information aspect can be a tricky thing, especially depending on the mission. Of course there are set sources and things that are known OOC’ly in the mission build, but within the Trek universe there is a wealth of places to potentially get bits and pieces of intel that can be used to build stories to provide information on just about anything. There’s everything from rumors that go through civilian populations on starbases, legends from primitive races met and catalogued along the way, patterns in movements and actions not outwardly spoken in words, and of course a number of databases that provide a place for intelligence officers across starfleet to combine the mass of information they see, feel, and hear in their travels. 


Interview With Fleet Captain Roshanara Rahman

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.

This month we’re interviewing recently promoted Flag Officer Fleet Captain Roshanara Rahman – Rich – commanding officer of the USS Veritas. Let’s get started!

SHAYNE: Some time has passed, but it bears repeating – congratulations on your promotion to Fleet Captain!  Last time we had the pleasure of talking with you, you had just launched the USS Veritas. Can you tell us more about how your ship has grown and progressed since launch?

RAHMAN: It’s hard to believe we’re warping off into our fourth year/season! When we originally designed the Shoals campaign region, we wanted to create a more intimate setting to allow us to fully explore the worlds and people within it for the next several years, and we still have places that we haven’t even seen yet! The crew has changed over the last couple of years, most notably when nearly half of them went over to help launch the USS Montreal under then-Commander Mei’konda in 2395 (2018). Since then, the crew has remained pretty much the same, and we have such a great group of talented and strong storytellers, and it’s a joy to lead them as their captain.


New flag officer interview: Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds, USS Gorkon

This month, in the second of our series of interviews with staff members who recently received a flag officer promotion, we’re talking with Quinn Reynolds – our newest Vice Admiral – to learn more about what she can teach members of the fleet with her long years of experience.

FORTUNE: Thank you so much for joining us today!

REYNOLDS: Thank you! I’m delighted to be here.

A promotion to Vice Admiral is not something to sneeze at! Looking back on all these years with the fleet, what do you believe is one piece of advice you would give to a new Ensign or a Cadet thinking of joining us?

Embrace the community. I’ve always found that the most fun I’ve had with 118 are the times that I’ve been sharing active in sharing story, character development and OOC ideas with other members. Other people can spark ideas in directions you would have never imagined by yourself, and give you confidence to try things you might never have dreamed up alone.

I’d like to know more about your mission-writing ideas. What gives something that pop, that ding to it that sends you mashing on the keyboard long into the night to bring it to life?

Really, I think it’s any idea that gives me more ideas; a mission seed that instantly sets the imagination spinning off in a dozen different directions. When a proposal instantly prompts lots of ideas for scenes, plot twists and outcomes, I can be fairly sure it’s something that everyone in the crew will be able to get their teeth into and have a fun time with.


New Flag Officer Interview: Fleet Captain Jalana Rajel, USS Consititution-B

Just recently there were some pretty big promotions within our fleet. One of those community members – who, with great determination and pride, was just promoted to Fleet Captain was the commanding officer of the USS Constitution-B: Jalana Rajel.

We’re here today to talk more with her about her time in UFOP: SB118, what experience she brought to the game, and how she rose through the ranks. Let’s dive in.

GALVEN: It’s an honor and a privilege that you accepted to do an interview with me. Before we get started, could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

Rajel: It’s a pleasure and honor to be asked to be honest. There isn’t too much to tell about me really. I’m Jessica, a month away from being 40 years old even though I feel more like I’m still 18 in many ways. I live in Germany with my boyfriend of 17 years and if I don’t write in SB118, I write on my own stories and novels, play computer games and, as of recently, dig into my studies of the Korean language. I’ve been a roleplayer since I was 9 years old and bombed my uncle’s D&D group with my annoyance and am still loving it.

Congratulations on being promoted to Fleet Captain, which must’ve been exciting for you! What do Fleet Captains do – are there more responsibilities IC and OOC wise?

Thank you very much! It really is exciting, I assumed that I’ll be at the rank of Captain forever, since I am not taking on more OOC responsibilities than I can shoulder, which isn’t too much. I don’t think that I have been doing anything differently than I have before, so I hope nobody realizes that they want the rank back. 😉

I serve on the Constitution with my secondary character, and you do an extremely job well done as captain! Can you give the readers some insight into what it’s like commanding a ship in UFOP: SB118?

Thank you, that’s very kind of you. I’m thrilled to have you on the Conny. What is it like… every CO might answer this differently, so here is my own view of it: Basically, you are having all the fun, but have to put in the work for it. I see my crew as a family and hope that they feel like that, but that doesn’t just happen. Consistent writing, putting out fires, planning behind the scene, making sure everyone is involved, has fun and feels at home is pretty much what I do, but not alone. My staff helps me tremendously and they are a fantastic bunch of people without whom I’d be lost. Another important part to me is that you want others to shine, so I try to give them opportunities to tell their stories, to have their moments and balance it with having my own fun in many ways.

You give so much of your time and are available to those when they need you the most which is quite praiseworthy! What has been the greatest challenge, in character and out of character, with the command experience?

I think the biggest challenge is to make everyone happy and to keep everyone involved at all times. I am not always successful with that. Sometimes we have missions that, while liked by the majority, have been disliked by a minority. So trying to find ways to make the minority enjoy the mission as well is a challenge. Also, even if a mission is the best mission in the world, sometimes they don’t kick off or our crew members have real life things going on that will come in the way of writing. So we, as staff, deal with the challenge to keep things interesting and engage everyone. That can be a balance act and sometimes – no matter how hard we try – we drop into the safety net, while other times we soar into the skies.

Now, I was reading your profile and saw that you joined only seven years ago. Is that right? Where do you get your much talented inspiration from?

It’s been seven years already? Oh my. It doesn’t feel that long! Indeed, it’ll be eight years in June, amazing! My inspiration comes from everywhere, to be honest. It comes from looking around with open eyes, watching people, reading books, watching TV… I don’t believe that there is anything in this world that can’t be inspiring.

Out of all the OOC activities 118 has to offer, there’s The (Image) Collective which you’re the co-facilitator of. How did you get so talented in creating graphics, and what’s the best kind of advice you can give someone who is hesitant in exploring their image skills?

I got where I am through practice. As everyone else I want to pick up a hobby and be immediately awesome at it, sadly that doesn’t work. My first image manipulations were horrendous but I was so proud of them and didn’t know how bad they are! So I’ll tell you what I did in the beginning: I watched video tutorials on YouTube, followed them for months and months. I got Photoshop and played around with all the options to figure out what is doing what, and even now – after 10+ years – I still find new tools and ways to do things, so never stop learning. We also have a tutorial section in the wiki, some video tutorials and the like so check those out too. (http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=The_(Image)_Collective:_Tutorials) Keep practicing and if you are curious what you can do better, you can ask anyone in the Image Team and they will gladly help you. We are not only here to provide images for the members, we also aim to grow and improve together by helping each other out. More than anything, enjoy yourself, don’t be afraid of mistakes, there is an undo button! 😉

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

Have fun! Seriously, I know that especially in the beginning it can be intimidating. All these strangers to write with, stories that have been going on for such a long time, friends have been made already and then you come in as the new person and have to find your footing. We’ve all been there. But one thing that always helped me was to just jump in, join the fun, make up your stories and don’t be afraid to tag others. And most importantly if you are stuck, have no ideas, RL hits you hard… communicate with your mentor. You are never alone and we are all here to make sure you are having as much fun as we do so you as well can form these friendships, write these stories and be part of this amazing community.

Thank you for your time, Fleet Captain Jalana Rajel!

You can read more about Fleet Captain Jalana Rajel on the wiki.


Odd Jobs of Starfleet: Commander Kelrod is a SAR Team Leader

Hello and today we have the pleasure of speaking to Commander Kelrod, the SAR team leader aboard the USS Veritas.

JANN: Your character is a SAR team leader, could you tell our readers what a day looks like for you?

KELROD: That depends on the day. When we’re not in a mission, on an away team, the day for Kelrod starts early, doing some light breakfast, stretching exercises and then reading the last reports from the ship. Then he checks the crew rotations and check with the enlisted personnel that are the base of the SAR team, programming equipment checks and performing training exercises of different kinds. We have different officers that perform specific training as their duties allow and I attend to all of them, if he’s not in sick bay. He doesn’t usually spend a shift on the bridge, unless there’s a situation that requires it, so when not training or on the bridge, he studies, analyze and work with different departments to improve the team and the equipment.


Meet the writers of 2016’s Top Sim: T’Lea and Rune Jolara

In place of our regular monthly interview with a member of the Academy Training team, we’re instead going to be interviewing the winners of 2016 Top Sims Contest, T’Lea and Rune Jolara, whose sim titled “Defying a Direct Order” won them the coveted title of “Top Sim of 2016”!

Let’s dive in and learn more about these writers and this well-written sim.

WOLF: Hi there and congratulations on your win! I’m really excited to learn more about the story behind this sim. But first, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves as players and writers, and how long you’ve been members of our community?

T’LEA: First, let me say that I really appreciate all the support for our sim. The competition was, and always is tough. How long have I been with the community? I believe it’s been over ten years now, and I hope to be here for ten more. When I first started writing back in 1993 I was fresh out of high school, and at the time DS9 was accepting spec scripts. I wrote a few and sent them in, but nothing ever came of it, except my growing passion for writing and Star Trek. When I found this community it combined the two things that I love, and the rest is history! Since then, this group has become a second family to me. A family of writers who understand and enjoy the same passion for Trek and storytelling that I do. As a full-time caregiver to a disabled family member, you all have provided support through friendship, and no matter what ship I have been assigned to (there’s been quite a few over the years) writing with you all has provided an outlet for me in the best of times and in the worst of times. This place truly is special to me.

JOLARA: Thank you and, likewise, I want to thank everyone for their support. I originally joined in 2005 but ended up taking an extended LOA. I came back a couple more times but, again real life got in the way. I finally came back to stay in 2012. I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing in one form or the other. Even during my childhood I would sneak away and write. It’s helped me through some pretty dark times in my life. My earliest memories of Star Trek is watching TOS with my uncle. When TNG came out, my interest (almost obsession) in all things Trek was reignited and hasn’t really stopped. Like, T’Lea, this group combined two things I loved the most. As a bonus, I’ve met some pretty incredible people and made some lasting friendships… really they’re like a second family. I wouldn’t trade my time here for the world.


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::


Meet Captain Rajel of the USS Constitution

When the Apollo-A got mothballed over a year ago its crew was in need of a new ship and commanding officer. In the smooth transition that followed they found both. Commander Rajel, a joined Trill, took over from Rear Admiral Jaxx and the Constitution became the crew’s new home. Now, a year later we at the News Team thought it was time to seek out Jess, the writer behind newly promoted Captain Jalana Rajel and many other great characters.

First of all thank you for inviting us to your ship captain. Although the Constitution is considered a ship of age I must admit it’s been a dream all my life to actually set foot on one of these beauties.

(Jalana) It’s always a pleasure to have a visitor. The Constitution certainly is a lovely ship and much younger than I am. ::smirking:: It has been generally upgraded before we moved in, so you could say it got a facelift.

(Jess) Happy to be here. The Galaxy Class has always been the one ship that I wanted to have if I’d become CO. I’m happy that I got the chance to fulfil that dream of mine with such a beauty.


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