So You Wanna Be a Captain?

Over the last month, we’ve received quite a few inquiries about being a sim Commanding Officer (CO) in Independence Fleet. So, what are we looking for in sim COs? Before I answer, I’d like to tell the story of two:

Jimmy Rogers

Hall of Famer Jimmy Rogers joined his first sim in December 2010: the USS Liberty, which we were just relaunching. It all clicked. He ran away with the MVP award that month, and became CO of the Liberty on January 1, 2011 after only a single month of simming. Yes, you read that right: one month of simming.

The rest, as they say, is history! Rogers commanded the Liberty for 19 months, winning 2.33 Genesis awards, capturing 3 posting titles, and leading the ship to an incredible 315-post month in September 2011, which is still tied for 9th all-time. Beyond the numbers, he led amazing stories and mentored dozens of role players.

Aurther Winters

Aurther Winters began simming in 2003 after seeing an ad on a college message board. As James Sullivan, he slowly rose from Ensign to Commander on the USS Dragon in a Hall of Fame career that ended with seven monthly awards, still good for a tie at 11th place all-time. Then life happened and he drifted away from simming.

He returned to role playing on the USS Chuck Norris in 2012 as Aurther Winters. Winters picked up his 10th monthly award in August–one of only four people in IDF history to hit double digits. As with Sullivan before, Winter rose through the engineering ranks to eventually become XO of the Chuck Norris under two different Captains. He was the type of XO who just made the Captain’s job easy. Winters became CO of the Chuck Norris this month.

That’s right–James Sullivan/Aurther Winter simmed for the first time about 17 years before he became a CO, while Jimmy Rogers simmed for one month before becoming a CO. Both are in the Hall of Fame, and both are incredible Captains. Every career is different, and every route to CO is different.

Show Me the Money!

One of the most basic principles of good wring is show, don’t tell. Let the reader experience the story through thoughts, actions, feelings, dialog, etc. instead of saying what happened. The same with being a sim CO: Telling us you want to be a CO is great, but you know what’s even better? Showing us you want to be a CO! How do you do that? Like this:

  • Post! Quality & Quantity
  • Get others involved in the story
  • Recruit new players
  • Mentor younger players
  • Help solve and de-escalate disputes
  • Engage at the fleet level on Discord, Facebook, and Twitter
  • To sum it up: Lead by example!

Do you have what it takes to be a sim CO in IDF? Show us! Make the ship you’re already on great. Make your crew great. Make your Captain look great! It’s not necessarily easy, but then again command isn’t for everyone.

Admiralty’s Role in IDF

Greetings, officers!

I wanted to take a moment to address a topic that continues to come up regularly. I feel that we have failed in communicating the fleet structure, and how the Admiralty fits into all of this.

First of all, being an Admiral in IDF is just a special title for “fleet staff”. We have jobs that are important to the administration of the fleet outside of the sims, and traditionally we are named Admirals. However, we aren’t going to hop onto your sim as an admiral and start roleplaying, or commanding you around.

In IDF, COs are the “kings” or “queens” of their sims. This means they maintain the storyline, they maintain their rosters, and they decide the rules of the sim. There are a few minor exceptions, which are outlined in the Command agreement we make with each CO. But, our involvement in the management of the sim is limited to the placement of the CO.

This means, if a CO decides that they are going to run a sim about a Warship Intrepid with phaser cannons and transphasic torps, it is not the purview of the Admiralty to tell them otherwise. It is up to the individual members if they wish to remain a part of the sim.

To be clear: your recourse for a disagreement in how the sim is managed is twofold. First, you discuss with your CO. Second, if you don’t come to an agreement, and you don’t wish to RP there anymore, you may leave.

The Admiralty will be happy to mediate any such talks, but we will not use our authority to modify how the sim is run, with some very specific exceptions.

As far as the “political” structure of IDF is concerned, there really isn’t one. We don’t have a council, we don’t vote on things. The best description for the structure of IDF is a fan club/not for profit business. IDF is owned by Admiral Star and myself. There’s really not much more to it than that. We of course will ask for the opinion of our COs when making changes that will affect them, and individual CO’s may at times ask their crews for their opinion on a matter. But, at the end of the day, Charles and I have the final say in the administration of the fleet organization, and the COs have the final say in the administration of their sim (once again, some specific exceptions apply).

At the core of it all, we are striving to create a fleet structure that exists purely to support the sims. We provide certain services: central Discord server, community events, IT infrastructure, tech support, fleet awards, etc. Everything else is up to the COs and their crews.

Thank you,
Admiral Ken Gillis
Fleet Executive Officer
Chief of Technology

The Good Ole Days: Right Now

I often think back to my original time in IDF, the fleet’s classical era in the 2000s. I remember them as the good ole’ days. The same for the renaissance period of the early 2010s. In reality, I was only a member of the fleet for about two and a half years during my first stint, and then I was Chief of Fleet Operations for less than a year and a half 2010-12. They both were fleeting moments, but I recall them much differently. No pun intended.

To quote Andy Bernard from the finale episode of The Office: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

So it is with IDF: These are the good ole’ days! Over the last few months, we’ve rebuilt our community, reestablished our Star Trek lore, and even played the old Super Space Command 3000 joke again. What a time it is! We’re right in the middle of the good ole’ days and our best years are yet to come. Cherish the moments we have now to write Trek with our fellow crewmembers. The future is limited only by our own imaginations.

On that note, I would like to bid a happy retirement to Fleet Admiral James D. West. Without him, there would be no IDF: He was one of our three founders and has been instrumental in leading our rebuild this year. To me, he’s been a mentor, a rival, a friend, and much more. To everyone else, he’s one of the all-time greats, not just within IDF, but for the entire simming and online role playing community.

In that light, I accept the authority and responsibility as Independence Fleet’s Commander-in-Chief and General Executive Director. As my first official act, I hereby permanently retire the Fleet Admiral rank. No one else can ever fill West’s shoes, so no one else will ever wear his rank either. Furthermore, Fleet Admiral West will always be the most senior historical member of this club.

Farewell, Fleet Admiral!

P.S.–Yes, I do need a new signature block.

James D. West Signing Off

Click here for a pdf copy of Fleet Admiral West’s message.

My fellow colleagues and simmers:

I am sure no one thought this day would come so soon. Even I am in disbelief that it is already here. But after conferring with members of the Admiralty and others in our simming community, it is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement as Fleet Admiral/CinC of Independence Fleet, effective 0000 hours EST USA, Wednesday July 1st 2020.

It’s been an amazing journey since July 4th, 2001. I remember starting IDF with three ships and a handful of very dedicated simmers, most of which originated (like myself) from an older, defunct simming fleet. We made it work. And today it has grown into one of the premier online role playing communities on the web.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless hard work and dedication by the Admiralty and Captains, as well as the simmers themselves who really make this happen. Without the talented writers in this group, there would be no community.

After my retirement I can think of no better officer than Charles Star to lead this fleet into the future as Commander-in-Chief. I have known Charles for over 20 years. We served on an old incarnation of the USS Sunfire; he as CMO and me as XO. This friendship would lead us to where we all are now.

Admiral Star has made this fleet his life’s work. When the rest of us had real-life issues keeping us from the simming world, Charles pressed on. He was there during all the difficult times and kept pressing forward, never losing sight of the future for our fleet.

Admiral Star will make one hell of a Commander-in-Chief, and will assume command of Independence Fleet at 0001 hours EST USA, Wednesday July 1st 2020.

As for me, I will continue simming in a non-administrative capacity, as a low-key but active character on one of our great Sims. This is not a retirement from simming. It is a retirement of the Admiralty, and leaving that aspect of our community in Admiral Starts capable hands.

Again, what an amazing journey it’s been.

My best,

Fleet Admiral James D. West

A House Call from Dr. McCoy

As I often tell an old friend of mine; life and death are seldom logical, and there is nothing logical about the state of the earth right now. It seemed like a good time to reach out and check up on you all, wish you well and encourage you to stick together during these troubled times.

We are after all ahead of the game when it comes to sticking together and building communities while in reality being physically quite separate and sometimes isolated. We have a talent for using out imagination and communication skills to bridge the gaps in time and space that separate us. The world needs people like us right now.

As a trained Star Fleet doctor I could tell you all about washing your hands, and maintaining social distance but you already know the basics. So what advice should I give? I often tell my good friend that the release of emotions (something he struggles with), is what keeps us healthy– emotionally healthy, that is.

Staying emotionally healthy right now is just as important as keeping that virus at bay. We have these great imaginary worlds to lose ourselves in and express ourselves through, as well as wonderful communities of people from all walks of life to chat and share with. Reach out and make the most of it.

I’m a doctor not a fortuneteller so who knows what the future will bring, but I do know that I feel lucky to have such great communities to enjoy my time and express my creativity with.

Look after each other…

McCoy

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