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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.


Meet FNS Editor-in-Chief: Roshanara Rahman

This is part 2 of the two-part announcement of the Federation News Service launch as a semi-independent organization providing Star Trek content. For more information, see part 1.

Today, we’re talking with Roshanara Rahman – best known as Rich around the community – the First Officer of the Invicta, wiki admin extraordinaire, and the facilitator of our Federation News Service Team!

WOLF: Rich, the recent news of the launch of FNS onto its own website is incredibly exciting for UFOP: SB118 and for the simming community as a whole. Can you point us to the new site, and talk more about how it works?

RICH: Sure! The easiest way to get to the FNS’s new home is to point your browser to http://fns.news. We’ve also moved all of our FNS articles that were previously posted to the wiki onto the new site. Having the FNS on its own site allows us to build a website just like you’d see for any other news source out there, with stories divided into various categories such as arts & culture, science, politics, and more. The only difference of course is this news organization covers the 24th century!

Besides the more polished look, one of the greatest features of the new site is the “submit a news story” link right at the top. We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for anyone to contribute to the FNS. Even if you’ve never written in a “news report” style before, the form walks you through the process, pointing out where to add your headline, the lead (that ever important first sentence to grab the reader’s attention), and the rest of your story. You can even upload your own image to go with it!


An interview with the Captains Council Magistrate

Today we’re talking with Jon, who you may know as Captain Nugra formerly of the USS Victory, now playing the character Tribune Shiarrael aboard the USS Columbia.

With his new role on the Columbia, and his position as Captains Council Magistrate, we have lots to learn about his history in the group and what he looks forward to. Let’s get started!

FIORR: You are a member since 2003 no doubt you have seen a lot happen over the years. Could you tell us about one of your greatest moments in the fleet so far?

That is not an easy question to answer. I have seem a lot of great things in my time and I have enjoyed every moment of it. If I had to pick one, I would say the greatest moment in my time here in the fleet was when I was given the opportunity by the Executive Council to assume command of the USS Victory.

The USS Victory was the first ship that I ever served on. I had taken a hiatus in simming between 2006 to 2012 because of real life and when I returned I found that she was still around. Since then, I worked towards becoming a Captain and the day that they gave me the keys to her was the most important moment in my career.

FIORR: After 12 years of writing I can imagine at times you have to make a few moves to keep things fresh. How do you avoid simming something you already did a few years ago? In other words what keeps you inspired?

It is more like six years of simming total due to the six year hiatus, but the way that I avoid simming something I already have is by sitting down and studying my character. To me, characters are much like us, we go through life experiencing things and though some might be things we have done before, it is never the same way. I try to show that same thing with Nugra.

I always try to look at him and think, “What life experiences can he experience” or “what are the consequences of some of his life decisions?”

FIORR: In the past year you made a new character. While we all do that from time to time you came up with something special. The Romulan Shiarrael Ei-Ihhliae she is quite different from Captain Nugra. Why did you make the change?

I made the change because of where Nugra was in his life. His past has been haunting him and it was coming to the point that he was either going to collapse in on himself or snap. When my RL situation changed to the point I could no longer command the USS Victory, I took this opportunity to have Nugra step aside and recover from all the things he had been through. He needed the rest.

Shiarrael is very different from Nugra as she has been his nemesis, my friends at the Duronis II Embassy who simmed with me when I was stationed there would remember her as T’Ana, the woman who defected from the Romulan Empire. She was such a strong and fascinating character, I could not resist playing her full time.

FIORR: Besides your important role as a writer you are also the Magistrate of the Captains Council, can you tell those not in the Council what that role is all about?

The best way that I can explain it is that I am the mediator for the captains on the Council. As you may know the Captain’s Council works and discusses things that affect our world in character, like new awards, special approvals, etc.

As Magistrate, my job is to make sure that votes are counted properly, enough conversation on the subject has been made, and to make sure that things are on schedule. It is more of a guiding position where I make sure that we come to a resolution on a subject as the Captain’s Council discusses everything that comes to us in great detail.

FIORR: As an experienced captain you no doubt know how much comes with the job. Could you give us a rough estimate about how much time you need to invest in leading a group?

More than you would think. A ship goes through phases where it runs smoothly or it hits rough points. Dependent on what stage you are and how much your crew has integrated, will determine the amount of time it takes to run it. When I was in command of the USS Victory, on good weeks, I just needed three or four hours a day to keep up on the IC, OOC, and Captain’s Council items, on rough weeks (when we’re low on crewmembers or that something has happened in OOC), it could much more just to keep on top of it all.

For anyone considering a role in command, I not only applaud you, but want to warn you that there is much more than just simming when it comes to managing a ship. It can be hard at times, but I would never trade that opportunity for anything!

FIORR: It’s time for a final question. No doubt many of our writers dream of a career like yours. What you advise all the new people thinking about that kind of career?

Love your character and love what you do. The only reason that Nugra has stayed around as long as he has and I have is that I love UFOP: StarBase 118 RPG and my character. I have experience many good crews, from the original Victory under Captain Jordan Hurne, to my new, great and fearless leader Commander Brek of the USS Columbia. You need to love what you do, treat your character with respect, and love what you write!

FIORR: Thank you very much for sharing some of your time with us and best of luck in what we hope will be a long career at StarBase 118!


An interview with our Promotions Coordinator: Renos

This is Part 2 of an interview with Capt. Renos. Click here to read Part 1.

Captain Renos of the USS Darwin has recently assumed the OOC position of Promotions Coordinator. We had a moment to sit down and ask him a few questions about his new position.

Jansen Orrey: So what can you tell us about the position of the Promotions Coordinator?

Renos: This position’s goal is ​to create a central resource officer for all promotions in the fleet, but primarily for staff promotions to commander, captain, and above. To that end the Promotion Coordinator works closely with​ players ranked Lieutenant Commander and above as well as their COs and mentors to help everyone ​move ​more smoothly and effectively through the promotion process. ​It’s important to us that we ensure the group is building up a strong bulwark of talented command candidates.

Jansen Orrey: How does your position help to expedite the process through the promotion chain to command?

Renos: By being an additional point of contact for aspiring candidates to go to if they have questions they can be assured that they will always have the right support to move forward. Since the promotions coordinator assesses command interest in potential candidates, keeps track of aspiring candidates and keeps an eye on the bigger picture it means those who are looking for opportunities get offered them as appropriate as they become available.

Jansen Orrey: So you help members fulfill the requirements to take them as far along the command path as they want to go by steering them toward options that suit their interests?

Renos: I can help candidates find suitable opportunities but it’ll be the candidate’s own hard work that sees them progress.

Jansen Orrey: Who is eligible to speak with the promotion coordinator?

Renos: I work primarily with candidates who have reached the rank of Lt. Commander but any player of any rank is welcome to get in touch with me.

Jansen Orrey: When should potential commander candidates contact you?

Renos: The first person they should contact is their commanding officer, to let them know they’re interested in the command track. Then any interested Lieutenants and Lieutenant Commanders can contact me any time they have questions.

Jansen Orrey: What should folks interested in promotion to commander do?

Renos: Aside from talking to their commanding officer about their interest in promotion to commander they should review the promotions guide on the wiki this details the skills we’re looking for in potential commanders as well as the responisbilities that go with the rank.

Jansen Orrey: What are you goals for the position?

Renos: The goals of the position are to keep track of all the candidates actively working towards promotion, monitor the progress of these candidates, check in with candidate’s mentors periodically to assess next steps, managing reference material and keeping it up-to-date, and coordinating with test facilitators.

Jansen Orrey: What would you like to see happen with the commander pool for the group?

Renos: I’d like to see the commander pool for the group grow and see many more officers achieving this rank.

Jansen Orrey: Why did you agree to take the position on?

Renos: It’s something I feel passionately about. Having a strong pool of Commanders is important for the group so it’s important to me. We have many talented people in the group, many who would love the chance to command their own ship one day and I want to be able to help them reach that goal.

Jansen Orrey: Why is building a pool of commanders important?

Renos: These are our leaders of tomorrow and if we have a strong group of commanders at all times then it’ll do wonders for the strength of our fleet. Having many capable commanders would provide great support for our ships and captains while at the same time giving us options when looking for the next commanding officers.

Jansen Orrey: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the position?

Renos: No, however if I could give one bit of advice to people wanting to move forward it would be to be willing to learn, keep an open mind and have a proactive attitude – ask your Commanding Officer about ways you can help. We can teach players and help them refine skills but they have to bring the right attitude.


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