Rear Admiral Emerson Gray, Community Relations Office

Tell us a little about yourself.
My real name is Leam Mark. I’m almost 30 years old (June this year) and I live in a lovely western suburb of Sydney, Australia. I’ve lived there basically my whole life, bare a year in Adelaide and a year in Lowestoft, United Kingdom. I’m a former political chief-of-staff, so administration and office work is something I enjoy a lot. I’m also a fully qualified primary school teacher, so teaching is another very big passion of mine. Currently, I work as an Intercity train guard, where my role is to open and close the doors of the train, customer service, things like that (I’m not a guard like you see at the local shopping center). Away from writing, I’m a bit of a budding sports commentator, I commentate online league races with a few online racing leagues, one of which I actually own myself (Motorsport Racing League). Besides that, there isn’t much else about me that is of interest at the moment, I’m not married, don’t have any kids (that I know of). I’m currently the Community Relations Officer, along with the Task Force 93 Executive Officer, in addition to my role as Commanding Officer of the USS Excalibur.

What is your favorite Trek series and why?
Oh, this one will cause some controversy. For me, I absolutely love TNG, it was the first series I had ever watched with my Dad, who got me totally into Star Trek, so it will always have a soft spot. I bought the entire series on DVD and spent an entire school holidays back in 2007 (when I was in Year 12) watching the whole series. That’s not to say the other series aren’t good, but TNG will always be #1 for me and yes, I’m a Picard over Kirk fan. Sorry original series fans.

Who is your favorite Trek character and why?
That is a really tough one, there are just so many iconic characters within all the series that it makes it one tough question. If I had to pick one character, it would be Will Riker. He was loyal to Picard and the Enterprise for so long, giving up his own chance at advancement to stay loyal to the team and for me, that has always been a characteristic I want to see not just in real life from people, but in the simming community.

When and where did you first start simming?
I started way back in September 2007, back in Obsidian Fleet. I started with my Chief Operations Officer character, Ensign Matthew Markinson. It was a sim run by my best mate and I gave it a few weeks to see how I liked it and from about the third day I was totally hooked. My writing was terrible back then, but it got better and within about a month, I already had applied for my own command with my first ever Commanding Officer, Commander Bradley J. Harrison and it was from that moment that I was hooked for life and haven’t looked back since.

Where did you get your “start” in Bravo Fleet?
I joined Bravo Fleet in January 2010, after I decided to leave Obsidian Fleet in full and I made my way here after looking around at other fleets. I found that the wide range and variety that was here at the time with the likes of Task Force 48, Task Force 9 (where I started) and eventually the introduction of Task Force 99, that Bravo Fleet had a lot more to offer than some other fleets, so I joined and have basically made this my home now for nearly 10 years.

What is something you absolutely love about Bravo Fleet?
There is just so much to choose from, from the great friendships that I’ve made in my time here with some amazing writers, to the amazing simulations that are on offer and seeing the amazing and dedicated work that we have going on around, evident in seeing the great nominations for Sim and Player of the Month every time around, it just makes the fleet what it is and it wouldn’t be around without the community. I know you can’t always have it as sunshine and lollipops, and there are always going to be times when you don’t agree with people, but the community is what makes this fleet what it is and that is what I love.

What is it about your role as a member of the BFA that you love?
Being Community Relations Officer at the moment, I am able to get my hands stuck into a wide range of initiatives and projects that can really make a difference to this fleet. I’m able to see what the community needs, what the community desires in the fleet and look at where it can best fit, if it can within the fleet and look at making it happen, a perfect example being the awards reform. I love that also, there is a wide scope for me to be involved in the fleet and to talk to as many people in the community as possible. That’s what I love the most. This role keeps me on my toes but also allows me to be around a lot of places and to make this fleet even greater.

If you could say anything to the community about Bravo Fleet, what is it?
Really, two things that I’d love to say. The first thing is do not be afraid to ask questions, especially to the BFA. We are approachable. We are here for the fleet. We aren’t going to bite your head off.
The second this is GET INVOLVED! There is always things going on or things that you can do to help out, even if it’s just on your simulation, but get involved. Talk to your chain of command and see where you can offer your help, your expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask and offer your time on a project or something that might come up in the future, approach your Commanding Officer, Task Force Senior Staff, BFA members and offer your services. We don’t bite. It might not be the right time, there might not be anything at that moment, but when things come up, I’m sure you’ll be made aware of it and you can jump in and make a difference.

What is one idea you would like to see happen with the fleet as a whole?
There is just so many, but I think the big thing that I would like to see is our Academy get back up and running, not just for our Commanding Officers but also our players. I know it falls within my realm in Community Relations, but it is a big thing I would love to see with the fleet into the future, so stay tuned for news on that in the coming months (spoiler!)

What can we expect to come from your purview in the fleet?
Well, with such a wide range of projects, I don’t know where to start. I guess the big thing has been the awards reform currently underway but for this year, my other main projects are getting our support groups up and running as they will feed into the big one for this year and that is the Academy reactivation. This was always my big project and the one that will take some time, so look forward to that one this year.

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