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Meet Fleet Captain Diego Herrera

After being appointed Captain at Large for 2014 and Staff Member of the Year Fleet Captain Diego Herrera has certainly had an eventful 2013.Lets see what we can learn from the following interview conducted by Newsies Reporter Jansen Orrey.

Jansen: Congratulations on your award.

Diego: Thanks very much!

Jansen: It must mean a lot to be chosen as Staff Member of the Year by your peers.

Diego: Yes! I was really grateful for the award and the write up that went with it was awesome. Made my Christmas!

Jansen: What do you think it was that led them to select you?

Diego: It’s tough to answer that question without sounding like I’m boasting, but the citation that Fleet Admiral Wolf listed in the awards ceremony basically covers it. I wanted to make sure I put a good shift in this year – I love this group because you can get reward out of writing with other people but you can also get reward out of organising things for them to take part in that are valuable, fun and memorable. Writing Improvement Month’s author interviews and Fall Fest were two big things for me this year. Both took a lot of work but both were absolutely worth it. I had support from some of the major players in the community – Fleet Captains Jaxx and Nicholotti and Fleet Admiral Wolf for both events, with no small contribution from Commander Reinard for Fall Fest. Then you have the people who hosted and attended chats. It’d be easy for me to sit here and claim glory for both of those things but without the help and support I had, nothing would have been possible. The author chats back in February were one part of a much larger event as well, which had a great many contributors!

Jansen: And how about being selected as Captain at Large for 2014?

Diego: It was really cool to be offered that position! It’s great to be able to represent the captains on the Executive Committee and it’s nice to be trusted with that responsibility!

Jansen: What outlook can you give us for the coming year?

Diego: In what respect? Are we talking for the fleet, personally, or both?

Jansen: Both as well as in regard to the Executive Committee. Do you have any personal goals after such a blockbuster year?

Diego: If we’re talking in general terms then I would like to capitalise on last year. The easy goal to set is to do as much. A better goal would be to beat that. I want to keep up my participation with the fleet, SIMming and OOC, and contribute wherever I can to help us continue to be the fantastic roleplaying group we are today!

Jansen: What is it that drives you as a writer within the group?

Diego: As a writer? I would have to say my characters. I’ve had a blast writing for all of them this year and a special shout out to Tallis Rhul who passed away IC – he set the benchmark for all of the characters I write. I don’t know if it’s normal/usual to be giving shouts out to fictional characters, but I just did! I’m enjoying seeing where Diego’s path is leading him and there’s a gaggle of other characters I’m writing for who have been great fun to play as well.

Jansen: You did some amazing things this year. Can you give us some insight into what it took not only to organize but to make everything seem so seamless?

Diego: Wow. That’s a tough question. There’s just a lot of correspondence is the best answer to that, I think. Correspondence, general writing and just making sure things are running according to plan. It’s taken a lot of online time and plugging away at the keyboard but it’s definitely all been worth it. And how to make things run (or appear to run) seamlessly? Preparation. Pretty much all of the projects I’ve worked on I haven’t done so alone, so where I’ve been in a leadership role I just make sure everyone knows what the story is and we all work together. That’s really where the success of the group lies!

Jansen: Thank you so much for the insightful answers and your time here. I am sure people will find it all very illuminating.

Diego: No problem! Great talking to you!

In Command: Captain Cassandra Egan Manno

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

A Moment with Lt Commander Ben Livingston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One-on-One With Captain Diego Herrera

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

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

The News Team Interview: Captain Andrus Jaxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there a weekly requirement for submitting the news?

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

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

The Proof is in the Captain

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

Captain’s Corner – Andrus Jaxx

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

What is your earliest recollection of Star Trek?

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

How did you find the Starbase 118 group?

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

Captain’s Corner – Tyr Waltas

Welcome to another edition of “Captain’s Corner!” This time around, we meet a truly unique commanding officer in our fleet. Captain Tyr Waltas is the only Ba’ku officer serving in our fleet at this time. Also, he commands the only non-canon Starship in our fleet… the Ronin Class USS Discovery-B! Recently in character, Captain Waltas was married to Commander Eden Redstone in a ceremony on his homeworld. We  offer him and his wife congratulations!

A few weeks before the ceremony, Captain Waltas took some time and answered a few of my questions.


Nathan Baker: What is your earliest recollection of Star Trek?


Tyr Waltas: I watched the original series re-runs when they were played by Fox TV. I recorded them and watched them religiously until I’d seen every one, then moved on to the existing movies (I believe ST3 had just come out).

Captain’s Corner – Sam Perkins

It’s time for another up close look at one of the Commanding Officers that helps our group continue it’s great journey of exploration! This time, we take the turbolift to Deck 1 of the USS Constitution-B and chat with Captain Samuel Perkins. Captain Perkins was nice enough to take time and answer some of our questions.

Nathan Baker: What is your earliest recollection of Star Trek?

Sam Perkins: Watching the episode Shore leave from the original series on my late grandfather’s knee.

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