Sierra M'Hawarr, aka Admiral Sierra, is a founder of the Starfleet Legacy Alliance, and was a long time simmer in the United Space Federation (USF), and captain of the USS Potemkin. She was a major influence and guide to Seth Cotis.
United Space Federation
Sierra began simming in March 1996 shortly after getting America Online. A huge Star Trek fan, she sought out the Star Trek chat rooms and was recruited by USFScott to join his soon to launch sim, the USS Lothlorien. By chance, she just missed meeting Captain Connery, friend of the future Seth Cotis. But fate would later bring them together.
When Tnagras, the first officer of the Lothlorien launched her own sim, the USS Darmok in the fall of 1996, Sierra followed him and joined the Darmok's crew. As Sierra later recounted, " looked up to Tnagra because he was fun, fair, creative, and funny as hell. He inspired me to aim for hosting."
On June 6, 1997, Sierra was promoted to commander and became first officer of the USS Potemkin. On board the Potemkin was a brand new simmer, Seth Cotis. Sierra and Seth became friends, even though it took Seth two months to stop calling her commander, even in IMs, even after they exchanged names.
For the first two months, the Potemkin's commanding officer - Captain Putty - was AWOL with computer problems. When Putty returned, Sierra found her style clashed with his, so she willingly stepped down as XO and created Outpost Cousteau, which was unaffiliated with any sim group set on the "water world" of Vantar IV, near the fringes of Thallonian space as defined in Peter David's New Frontier Star Trek books. Many members of the Potemkin's crew joined the outpost, including Mike aka Seth Cotis, Brandon aka SLA Surak and Adam aka SLA Keldar - the people who would later found the Starfleet Legacy Alliance. However, Sierra did stay with the Potemkin and created a new character for the sim.
While Outpost Cousteau was running, the Potemkin was clamoring for Sierra to return as the host, and Seth launched a writing campaign to the USF High Command to have Sierra reinstated on the Potemkin. It was successful, and on November 6, 1997, she became the commanding officer of the Potemkin.
The Potemkin-B was lost in the battle to retake DS9. She and her new XO, Cmdr. Rob Mason, launched the Potemkin-C on November 20, 1997.
In addition to serving as the captain of the Potemkin, Sierra brought Outpost Cousteau into the USF, and launched the clubs Starfleet Academy sim. For her efforts, she rose to the rank of Fleet Captain and served on the USF's Host Council.
During her tenure aboard the Potemkin, her crew produced a record amounts of written logs, and no less than seven of her crew rose to the ranks of command within the USF, either as XO or CO: Mason, Tundr, Bjorn, Keldar, Back, Janar, Shade. People sometimes refer to mid-1997 to 2000 as "the Golden Age of the Potemkin". Her first officers on the Potemkin were Cmdr. (Dr.) Rob Mason, Cmdr. Katarina Janar, and Cmdr. Christiaan Back (aka Seth Cotis).
On November 4, 1999, just about 2 years to the date of first taking the official CO role of the Potemkin, Sierra decided to step aside and passed command Captain Chris Back (aka Seth Cotis).
Starfleet Legacy Alliance
After growing frustration with the leadership of the USF, Sierra and four other USF hosts - Cotis, Keldar, Bjorn and Gabriel Wulfe - split off on October 1, 2000, to create the Starfleet Legacy Alliance (SLA). The first sims of the SLA consisted of the ones created by or heavily influenced by Sierra - USS Potemkin, Starfleet Academy, and Outpost Cousteau.
The group had made up their minds to split from the USF long before the October 1 announcement. During the summer, Sierra and Seth Cotis talked frequently, banging out the details of how they wanted the governing body of the new club to function.
Within the SLA, Sierra was once again reunited with her former XO, Mason, and they created and launched the Nova-class USS Mercutio, which completed construction on November 10, 2000, and first saw active duty on February 10, 2001. The Mercutio was named for the character in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet; the bridge dedication read "The price of greatness is responsibility." - Sir Winston Churchill.
After a long and distinguished career, Sierra retired as an active host and SLA Council member in 2001. She remembered, "Seth kept me simming long after I no longer wanted to command; and he never stopped encouraging me. I know he was disappointed when I finally stepped down altogether about a year or so after the SLA launched, and I felt bad, too."
Sierra is no longer an active simmer, but she remains in touch with SLA members and occasionally does guest roles on sims.
Sierra Kuei'Shen M'Hawarr
Her primary character, started her simming career as Ltjg. M'Hawarr Sierra Kuei'Shen aboard the USS Darmok during the summer of 1996. Half Vulcan, half Bajoran, Sierra initially held the dual posts of Chief Tactical Officer and Counselor, for the USS Darmok. Her favorite quote during this time was "Now that I shot you, how do you feel about it?"
During her time aboard the Darmok, Sierra met and married Dr. Daryl Ryder (SD9612.13), who was later presumed dead after the battles vs. the Furies (SD9704.16). She bore him one daughter, Taryn Angelique Rhydarr (SD9704.23). Katrina Janar, Sierra's best friend, is Taryn's godmother. Dr. Ryder was later found to be alive and to have the birth identity of Taren Dar, a Bajoran operative.
Sierra first made XO in June of 1997 and was posted to the USS Potemkin under USF Putty. She became CO of the Potemkin that fall, with Commander Rob Mason as her XO. Her XO after Mason was Christiaan Back.
During the course of her leadership, the USS Potemkin-B was destroyed in one of the major battles of the Dominion War, and the USS Potemkin-C was launched. This version of the Potemkin still flies today under the command of Warp.
After retiring from the Potemkin, Sierra and her daughter, Taryn, were pulled through a spatial anomaly and Taryn aged several years during their stay on that planet. When they returned to the Federation, they found that little time had passed in our reality. Taryn eventually applied to Starfleet Academy and followed in her mother's footsteps by serving aboard the Potemkin.
Elana de Marco
After stepping down as the first officer of the Potemkin in the summer of 1996, Sierra created Elana de Marco for the Potemkin and was posted to the Security department, led by Back (Cotis) and Bjorn. Christiaan Back (Seth Cotis) dubbed this character "Fishface" because she was half-human, half-Marriner (the Marriner race is based on Kevin Costner's character in Waterworld). Bjorn dubbed the character "Ens. PlantKiller" because she managed to kill his beloved plant ("Ficy") by pouring a glass of Blue Stuff into it.
When Sierra returned to command the Potemkin, Elana remained as an NPC. Elana and Mike's (Seth's) character had a fairly tempestuous relationship before Elana transferred to Outpost Cousteau. There, Elana opened a bar/restaurant called "Finn's". Eventually, Elana and Chris Back were married in a holodeck ceremony aboard Starbase Everest (USF - Christiaan Back's first XO posting). Elana transferred to Starbase Everest to be with her husband, and opened up a restaurant there called "Finn's Too".
When Back returned to the Potemkin as XO, Elana returned with him. Much later, Elana was killed off and died in her husband's arms after an away team mission.
As Sierra later recalled, "Mike got upset when I brought up killing her off... I still to this day can't think why on earth I ever thought that was some kind of good idea, and I'm sorry I ever did it. I think that there was so much of our own unvoiced emotions tied up in those two... that was the roughest, most emotionally grinding sim I've ever done. I was immediately sorry and wanted to have her come back from the dead somehow, but Mike wouldn't let me - gah... we were both so hard-core about our canon consistency! How stubborn we both were over such silly things sometimes."
Rogue Quodlibet, half-human, half-Betazoid, was Sierra's first character, and served aboard the USS Lothlorien (USF)USS Lothlorien from March 1996 through early 1997. Rogue started as an assistant in Security and eventually became the Lothlorien's Chief of Security. Rogue later married Captain David Chid on SD9708.17 and became the USS Hermes' CMO. Rogue was later found to be working as a Starfleet Intelligence operative.
Perhaps one of Sierra's most eclectic characters, Sydney was Deltan-Tiburion, physically described as "bald, with beautifully sculpted ears". Sydney's ears would react with her emotions - and those ears became rather infamous aboard the USS Hermes, where she served as a Science officer under the command of Captain Rick Semino. Sydney eventually rose to the rank of First Lieutenant before retiring from Starfleet. Upon retirement, she accepted a teaching position with the Sumarian Sciences Academy.
Madison Javaro was a member of Starfleet's Special Operations Group ("SOG") as an operative and Tactical officer. Half human, half Betazoid, she served for several years with SOG and was known for her rebellious streak. Her last rank within SOG was Lieutenant (eventually converted to Chief Warrant Officer) before she went on to fulfill a position as XO on the USS Hermes.
Isabeau Sabine Jazena was also a member of the SOG group, although at a later date. Isabeau was a joined Trill, the first to host the Jazena symbiont.
Private Anne Riggs Benjamin served as Procurement Officer aboard the USS Fragglerock. Although the Benjamin family has a long, proud history in Starfleet, Anne was a bit of a black sheep and only went into the service because her family expected it, and ended up on the Fragglerock due to her propensity for getting into trouble. Her lifelong friend, Jean Paul 'Digger' LeBeau (one of Seth Cotis's characters), was assigned to keep an eye on her aboard the Fragglerock.
Isabeau S'bine of Jazj'ahl (a.k.a Isabeau Sabine Jazjial) was the half human, half Xenexian XO of Outpost Sarajevo, an extended alternative storyline of the USS Potemkin sim line. Sabine (or "Jaz" as she was sometimes known) worked with Captain Moire Jag'Syrtis (Janar).
Sierra believed that the way for the crew to have the most fun possible was threefold:
1. Offer feedback in a trusted, safe environment and present it in a manner to make the crew member understand that their contributions are valued and welcomed;
2. A "light hands on the reins" approach - she liked to say "Don't tell people HOW to do something; tell them WHAT needs to be done, and let them surprise you with their ingenuity.";
3. Giving simmers as much of a sense of "ownership" within the sim framework as possible, through encouragement, feedback, and most importantly, allowing and encouraging individual simmers to take control over their area of the ship.