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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.


Lower Decks Interview: Frank Hawkins, USS Athena

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.

I’m Ens. Frankie Ryan of the Constitution for the Community News team, and this month I’m interviewing the writer behind Frank Hawkins, Assistant Chief Engineer of the USS Athena. Ensign Hawkins has been a member of the Odyssey-class vessel since since 239312.07. His character double-majored in science and engineering.

Ryan: Tell us a little bit about the writer behind the character Frank Hawkins. Who are you and where in the verse do you come from?

Hawkins: Hello everyone. Thanks so much for the interview. My name’s David, and I hail from the state of Florida in the United States, although I spent a good part of my life in Texas.

Is this your first experience of simming or have you done similar forms of roleplaying before?

I’ve had no prior simming experience. I’ve had plenty of writing experience in the form of short stories, and collaborative writing. However I haven’t been part of any group this large. I’ve mostly written one-on-one with a writing partner, or a small group of no more than 3-4 people. We didn’t use any special formatting, and although I’ve written in screenplay format, SB118’s particular style was new to me.


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.


Lower Decks Interview: Lt JG Chelin Ch’Gabor, USS Constitution

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 JG Chelin Ch’Gabor playing a male Andorian Science Officer assigned to the USS Constitution-B.

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

Ch’Gabor: Hello all! I’m Ammiel, and I come from the South-East Asian country of Malaysia, living around the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. I’m currently a student studying my IGCSEs. Been here all my (short) life!

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

Yes! While I am not the most familiar with all the series, I like TNG, as that was the series that reeled me in out of the pond into the bucket of Star Trek. Malaysia doesn’t broadcast any episodes of Star Trek whatever series, so I scout the net. Haven’t fetched the time to watch Enterprise, but it looks promising. Behind TNG would have to be DS9. Yay for a series on an installation.

My favourite movie is First Contact. The Borg+Time-travelling to the past? Yes please! I felt quite saddened at all the Enterprise crewmembers getting assimilated, lol.


Captain’s Corner: Capt. 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. Last month, we interviewed CO of the Constitution, Jalana Rajel.

According to our schedule, we should be interviewing a first officer this month. But instead, I’m talking to another commanding officer – Capt. Roshanara Rahman, captain of the new vessel Veritas – who has just been appointed as the Captain at Large. Lots of ground to cover here, so let’s get started!

WOLF: Congratulations on your appointment as the Captain at Large! Can you explain this role a bit to our newer members?

RAHMAN: The Captain at Large (CAL) is the sixth member of the Executive Council (EC), appointed to serve for one year as a representative of the Captains Council (CC) on the Executive Council. Thus, the Captain at Large is tasked with ensuring the interests of those captains not already on the EC are taken into consideration during EC discussions. Like the other five members of the Executive Council, the Captain at Large participates in discussions that mostly concern out-of-character (OOC) issues such as whether to commission a new ship, create or alter bylaws, rules, and regulations, and so forth. Unlike the other five members of the Executive Council, the Captain at Large only votes to break a tie among the other EC members’ votes. For instance, if two voted yes, two voted no, and one chose to abstain from voting, then the CAL’s vote would break the tie.

A lot of the CAL’s role and the EC’s role in general comes down to discussing the administration of the fleet and how to keep things running smoothly, helping our captains succeed in commanding their ships, and making the StarBase 118 simming experience enjoyable for our members.

I’d say to those wondering what the EC does is that it focuses on the “big picture” for the community and the issues the entire fleet faces. The EC itself doesn’t micromanage the individual ships in the fleet, since after all, the majority of EC members including myself are quite busy managing our own ships! Instead, the EC discusses fleet management and community development. How can we ensure our group continues to grow and prosper as the way people spend their time online continues to evolve from when the group was first founded over twenty-two years ago? What things have we been doing well that we should double down on? What things are we doing as a fleet that aren’t working or are actually causing things to be less fun? What things should we leave behind to history as we head into 2017 and beyond?

Since all of us, from the newest ensign to the fleet admiral, are volunteers, we are very aware of how precious the time and effort of our members are, so the EC is tasked with making sure ultimately that the fleet uses that volunteer effort appropriately and that the group stays true to its purpose of being an enjoyable role-playing game for Star Trek fans first and foremost.


Captain’s Corner: Capt. Jalana Rajel

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. Last month, we interviewed FO of Duronis II Embassy, Brayden Jorey.

This month we’re interviewing Capt. Jalana Rajel – Jess – captain of the USS Constitution-B. Let’s get started!

WOLF: Capt. Rajel, I was just looking through our news archives and it looks like you have been interviewed only once outside of the podcast earlier this year! It’s time to rectify that glaring oversight. Tell us a little about yourself, the writer behind Jalana?

RAJEL: First thank you for having me. I’m not sure how much there is to tell about me. I am Jessica and I’m 37 years old, living in Berlin, Germany. I live there with my boyfriend of almost 15 years in a tiny one room apartment. My first steps in roleplaying I took when I was 8 years old, back then it was a German role playing game called ‘Das schwarze Auge’ (The Dark Eye) and Dungeons and Dragons. Around that time I also started to write, well I tried. My stories were short or never found an actual ending. I also wrote poetry which – remembering that I was 8 – was not very profound. But I kept writing and today I’m a self-published author working on my second novel.


Lower Decks interview: The Dutch team from the USS Za

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.

A warm hello from the Netherlands as we are here to conduct another below decks interview with two new members of our community. It’s my honor to tell you that with their arrival the number of Dutchman in the fleet has tripled! Today we’ll talk with Yasmine, playing Ens. Femi Cattan from Egypt, and Patrick playing the Klingon science officer LtJG. Nak’aqi Socxo, both serve on the USS Za.

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

Cattan: first of all, thank you for this opportunity. I’m born in Sri Lanka but I’m adopted and grew up in The Netherlands. I’m 22 years old now and I’m third year student speech and language therapy. I like reading, singing, acting and of course writing.

Socxo: In contrast to Yasmine I’m born in The Netherlands. I’m 28 years old and in my exam year of Employee Human Resources. I like to write, work with technology that is new or old and help other people.


Lower Decks interview: Ens. Chris Lambert, Darwin

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. Christopher Lambert playing a human male science officer assigned to the USS Darwin

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

Let me think where a middle-aged man, myself included I guess, would start from. I must confess that we have already a big problem because I do not think as confined by time and space. However, to give you a frame of reference to start with, let´s consider this exact moment. Right now, I’m in Brazil, sharing funny ideas about life, culture and science affairs with everyone who dares to listen and to read my poor English writing sims. Yeah, my first language is Portuguese.

I had formal formation on science, and currently, I work as a high school teacher and occasionally as College teacher. Generally speaking, my entire short life on this planet was directly connected with teaching and learning something. Recently, I meant the past ten years, I am maturing the idea that I could transpire, in writing, some of my unorthodox ideas, and here I am now, trying to do that in a funny way together with my companions from USS Darwin.

Well, to avoid being so vague about this writer, I´m not married, I do not have children, not any pet, and right now I do not have even a dwelling place that I could call home. I´m in a transition phase. But I was once married to a wonderful woman, I have a welcoming family and lots of nephews. Recently, I seemed to be chosen as a friend by a newborn white cat. Where this relationship will let us is already to be determined. Besides that, I use my weekends to entertain people about the secrets and potentials of human consciousness, and how to become more aware of oneself.


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.


Lower Decks interview: Ens. Ryan King, Invicta

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. Ryan King, playing a Human male assigned to the USS Invicta.

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

KING: It’s an honor to participate. Thank you.

I am originally a Californian; born and raised in Sacramento, CA. Since my final semester in college, which was about six years ago, I’ve lived in Washington, D.C. I currently work in communications for a local university and just started a Master’s program in communications. Though Star Trek is a love in my life, I can’t say it is my first love. That award goes to politics and history. So you can usually find me reading a biography or a blog on American politics first, and then catching up on my Invicta sims second. Sorry guys!

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

Most definitely. I first became interested in Star Trek through the ToS movies. I remember a very boring summer in junior high school. My grandparents had some old VHS movies lying around that they never watched. Two of those movies were my grandfather’s and they were The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home. I popped in Khan with the full expectation that I’d fall asleep or try something else fifteen minutes later. I was wrong. I was hooked immediately. I started going to the local Blockbuster and Hollywood Video and renting whatever Trek they had available.

I’m a fan of all of the series but I think I sort of grew-up on DS9 and Voyager. Though I was first exposed to Trek as a result of the Original Series movies, it was those two series that moved me from casual to Trekkie(er).


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