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Lower Decks interview: Ens. Geoffrey Teller, Veritas

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ens. Geoffrey Teller playing a Human engineer assigned to the Veritas.

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

TELLER: I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York but for the last several years I’ve lived in Seattle, Washington with my wife and, most recently, our wonderful 5 month old son.

Were you a Star Trek fan before joining UFOP: StarBase 118? If so, what were your favourite shows and/or movies?

Indeed I was – I’ve watched every series, including the Animated one, and read a number of the EU books. As far as favorites, it’s difficult to choose but overall it has to be The Original Series as my favorite, with TNG a close second. Best movies are Wrath of Khan and First Contact, respectively. Favorite episode actually comes from DS9 – In the Pale Moonlight. That single episode added so much depth and texture to the ST universe I think it should be on a little pedestal by itself.


Lower Decks interview: Ens. Wallace Williams, Embassy

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ens. Wallace Williams playing a Human male assigned to the Embassy.

THORAN: Can you tell us a little about yourself for the folks who may not know you?

WILLIAMS: My name is Jerry, I am from Amsterdam in the Netherlands and I turn 25 on Oct. 7th! I have seen a great part of the Netherlands when it comes to living already, but I am happy to be back in Amsterdam. I recently started my own Webshop!

Is this your first simming experience, or have you done other forms of role-playing before?

This is my first sim style RPG so this was a brand new experience for me. I didn’t expect I would start to like it so much! I am really happy to be here!


Duty Post Award Winner – Edward Spears, Constitution (Prantares Award)

We’re starting a new series here on our Community News where we talk with a winner of a Duty Post award from our recent 2018 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ens. Edward Spears playing a human male assigned to the USS Constitution-B. He won the Prantares Ribbon in this year’s ceremony.

WOLF: Winning a Duty Post ribbon as an ensign is quite an achievement – congratulations! I’d like to hear more about the writer behind the character – where in the world do you hail from?

SPEARS: I’m deeply honoured to have received this award after such a short tenure in the fleet. I am a Canadian, and have had the privilege to live in a few different parts of this country thanks to my service in the Royal Canadian Air Force. I’m currently residing in Northern Alberta, but grew up on the West Coast, and still consider that home.

Captain Rajel, in the presentation for your award, said that you’re not in the medical profession in real life. Was there an inspiration for this medical character? Perhaps a Star Trek character, a doctor from a medical drama, or maybe even a real life doctor?

I draw inspiration from many sources. I grew up watching and loving Star Trek: The Next Generation and always found Doctor Crusher to be an admirable example of a physician. I also watched M*A*S*H when I was younger, and found it powerful that they could mix humour into such serious situations. I try to apply some of that same humour when I write.


Lower Decks interview: Lt. Solaris McLaren, StarBase 118 Ops

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Lt. Solaris playing a Human/T’Kon female assigned to the Starbase 118 Ops.

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

MCLAREN: I was born in Queens, New York but ever since I was 2 i’ve lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’d never recommend it to anyone though, Vegas is a great place to visit, but a terrible place to live. In my daily life i’m a stagehand.

Your character is part Human, part Tkon, a combination we rarely see in the fleet – how’d you land on that decision and what’s it been like so far?

It sort of grew organically out of one of my last missions aboard the U.S.S. Constitution as a way to make the best of a situation I was mostly unhappy with. It’s not been any different than how it was before the decision was made. I’ve not had a chance to fully explore it in character, and I honestly don’t know if I have the desire to plan something like that out for Sol.

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

Most of my characters that I create are similar to me in some way or another. One of the traits that I usually give to them is the ability to play the trombone, which in itself is something I started doing because of Star Trek, even though it’s been nearly 14 years since I last played… Maybe I’ll pick it up again one day.

What’s been your favorite part of being with the community so far?

I normally keep to myself so, it’s not often I interact with the community at large but I do like that this is a place where I can experience a familiar form of Star Trek, rather than the most recent additions to the franchise which feel very alien to me.

What duty post are you playing, and how’d you choose it?

I’m currently playing an Intelligence Officer aboard Starbase 118. Intelligence is a fascinating profession in fiction there’s often elements of suspense and romance and action all mixed in to one exciting story. I’ve always enjoyed that form of story… James Bond, Jason Bourne, stuff like that, so it’s seemed natural to choose it for my duty post here. It also has the benefit of being something non-”normal” from what we often saw in the shows, though it was referenced fairly often in the later seasons of Deep Space 9.

Even though the outlook on intel for this community seems to be one based on slightly more realistic and boring expectations of an intelligence agency, rather than the fictional expectations of one, there have still been some missions that scratched that itch and it’s been fun playing as a character who is quite like myself in her love for spy stories, who quickly found out that it often times isn’t that.

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

Honestly, the biggest piece of advice would be: Ask questions. There are quite a few times where it probably would have saved me some frustration out of character if I had just spoken up a bit sooner.

Thanks for your time, Lt McLaren!

You can read more about Lt. McLaren on the wiki.


Lower Decks interview: Lt. Jarred Thoran, Andaris TF

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Lt. Jarred Thoran playing a human male assigned to the Andaris Task Force.

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

THORAN: Originally from the UK, but last summer my partner and I decided to move to a tiny village in rural Germany. If i’d of known at the time how difficult it would be to get english chocolate I may have had second thoughts. I while away my days cycling, doing up the house and attempting to learn the language.

Were you a Star Trek fan before joining UFOP: StarBase 118? If so, what were your favorite shows and/or movies?

I was indeed. I’ve been on the periphery of the fandom for many years, having only really seen The Next Generation series and movies. Back in school a close friend of mine was a massive Star Trek fan and that is where it first caught my interest, including playing some of the games such as Birth of the Federation, Armada and Bridge Commander. Although it hasn’t been until the last few years where i’ve caught up with DS9 and TOS movies. I’d have to say, TNG season three onwards is my favourite out of everything.

What duty post are you playing, and how’d you choose it?

I’m currently in security. It’s a role that’s not really been explored on screen, which I think gives you a degree of flexibility and variety that you may not necessarily get with other duty posts. Thoran has an analytical mind and isn’t very keen on violence, preferring to resolve a situation through diplomacy and negotiation than phasers.

What’s been your favorite part of being with the community so far?

It’s really hard to choose, but if I had to pick one thing, it would have to be that is a community. I’ve only been here for six months, but have already met many wonderful people from around the world, all of whom have been incredibly welcoming and understanding.

In addition to that, there is so much to do OOC. Enjoy creating graphics – there’s a taskforce for that. Aspiring journalist – there’s a taskforce for that. Interested in expanding our reach – there’s a taskforce for that.

Do you take any inspiration from films, television, or books when writing your character?

I mostly certainly do, whether I know it or not. I’ve always been a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan, so I think parts of that creep in. Recently i’ve been watching Voyager and some TNG to get a feel for scene setting and life on a starship.

It’s not always sci-fi that inspires me though. For example, i’m a huge fan of the age of sail, with a series of books called the Bolitho novels being one of my all time favourite book series. I love them so much, i’ve even had of one Thoran’s hobbies based around them, via a holodeck adventure, which a couple of the crew have indulged in with me.

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

Communication is key. There are many avenues available, with Discord, the forums and the OOC lists. It feels more alive and fun when people are engaging OOC, not only will you make friends, but can also be a great way to bounce around ideas.

Finally, never be afraid to ask questions. We all have times when we not sure, or we need guidance/direction and in my experience everyone here is extremely helpful and supportive. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Thanks for your time, Lt. Thoran!

You can read more about Lt. Thoran on the wiki.


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.


Lower Decks interview: Ens. Delan Han, Duronis II Embassy

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ens. Delan Han playing a joined Trill assigned to the Duronis II Embassy.

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

HAN: I grew up in Western New York, (while not from Buffalo New York, I do judge restaurants on what they consider Buffalo Wings), but currently live near Boston Mass. I’m an academic research biology, and as will be able to tell from the rest of this interview, I love parenthetical statements and commas.

Is this your first simming experience, or have you done other forms of role-playing before?

So I’ve simmed for about six or seven years back in the early 2000’s. I’m also an avid D&D (and Pathfinder, and White-Wolf) role player. I’m also an active LARPer in the New England area both playing and running large (for our area) boffer games.

What’s been your favorite part of being with the community so far?

That it is a community. I’ve seen a lot of other communities made up of creative folks devolve and have lots of struggles with ego. It is really nice and encouraging to land in a community that supports each other has an active membership base and is generally full of people that actively enjoy everyone else’s writing. Being creative is hard, being creative in front of strangers can be downright harrowing. That this is a community that makes you feel welcome makes the creative process so much easier and therefore so much more fun.


Duty Post Spotlight: Intelligence

As players in any roleplaying game we’re drawn to certain character classes and types. Some like the strong fighter-type, some like the sneaky information handler. In this feature, we highlight different players around the fleet in various positions to show how they approach their particular duty post. What drives them? What do they like most about the post? Have they discovered anything interesting in their duty? This month we turn our attention to Intelligence, with Lieutenant Commander Aitas of StarBase 118 Ops.

VONDARYAN: To start, tell us a little about the writer behind the character — what is your name and where do you hail from?

Aitas: My name is Heather, and I’m currently living in Houston, Texas with my husband and one cat. Said cat occasionally tries to send messages via discord; if they’re supposed to mean anything I haven’t yet been able to decode them.

I’ve been roleplaying for a while now, in MMOs, on forums, as well as the occasional bit of tabletop. The Starbase is my first PBEM game, so that was a bit of an adjustment at first.

What first drew you to the intelligence post?

I usually play characters related to the intelligence field in some manner or another. Spies, agents, an information broker or two. Choosing what I wanted to play wasn’t the hard part.

When I started looking into the duty post on the wiki I did reconsider a bit, unfortunately some of the information was outdated or confusing. But I’m glad I stuck with my original intent there.


Lower Decks interview: Ens. Yiggtissi, Gorkon

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ens. Yiggtissi playing a Saurian male assigned to the USS Gorkon.

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

YIGGTISSI: I live just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Were you a Star Trek fan before joining UFOP: StarBase 118? If so, what were your favorite shows and/or movies?

YIGGTISSI: I have been a Trek fan since I was about 9 years old. I am a fan of the all of the series with TOS being my fav and TNG coming in second. I love Voyager as well.


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.


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