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Maxwell Traenor

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Everything posted by Maxwell Traenor

  1. Where do I even start with this fantastic sim?? On second thought, perhaps I should have just posted the whole darned sim in here. Bloody fantastic writing!
  2. ((Black Hole Bar, Deck 9 -- USS Za)) ::Drinks in hand Trellis walked back over to the table where Kaitlyn sat waiting. In one hand he held what he hoped was a lovely new Ktarian merlot, vintage 2367 -- he’d heard good things about that year but had never tried it -- and in the other a chai tea. The different scents from the wine and tea were mixing in odd ways. The merlot was fruity, nutty and woody; the tea a bit sweet. ::He placed the tea down in front of Kaitlyn before sitting down. She had moved her piece after a prolonged analysis of the situation. He tilted his head as he looked at the chess board.:: Vondaryan: ::smirking:: Ah, I see you’re using the Roskarian gambit. ::Right. THAT was the name.:: ::Kaitlyn had actually spent pretty much the entire time Trellis had been up trying to remember how the pattern went. Given her level of experience with chess (just shy of nil), she had looked up a thing or two prior to this long awaited duel of wits.:: ::The result? Well… she had not lost horribly. Yet.:: Falcon: Ah, noticed that, huh? ::Kaitlyn took a sip of the chai, giving Trellis a grateful nod.:: Vondaryan: ::he sniffed his wine but didn’t sip it yet, letting the tannins flow free:: Of course I recognized you were heading that way a few moves ago. ::Kaitlyn smirked.:: Falcon: Heh. No surprise, there. Vondaryan: ::he lifted his own piece, putting on another level of the board:: But you didn’t seem to notice my own incorporation of the Mimolotian Tactic. ::The redhead looked carefully at his pieces, trying to analyse what he was up to… However, strategy had never really been Kaitlyn’s strong suit; she was usually one for the straight-up approach.:: Falcon: The what? Vondaryan: ::he chuckled:: The Mimolotion Tactic. Named after the famed Zakdorn tactician who invented it. Falcon: ::Moving her white bishop forward in counter.:: And that means…? Vondaryan: ::he grinned, then chuckled:: That means you’ll be losing your knight at the moment. ::Kaitlyn watched as he effortlessly swooped a piece in and relieved her of one of her knights.:: Falcon: Oh… Well, then, he should just be embarrassed to get snuck up on, like that. Right? ::Trellis had to admit, that was funny. He laughed while Kaitlyn continue to contemplate her move.:: ::She tried to put a bit of dry wit into her tone. Admittedly, she did not much care for losing, but this WAS Trellis’s thing more than hers. And she got to win in their last thing, so it was only fair.:: ::...is what she kept telling herself, at least. She took another sip of her chai, studying the board before moving a pawn up.:: Vondaryan: And now you’ve lost a rook, too. ::He moved a bishop down a level to take the rook. It left his own knight open, but that was a trap. Take it and it’d be mate in three moves. Leave it and he could use it to make mate in seven. The game was more or less over but it’d be an excellent training tool. Kaitlyn had been very patient with him in their previous exercises, so the least he could do was show the same patience.:: ::Kaitlyn squinted her eyes slightly as the rook was removed from the board:: Falcon: Why hast thou forsaken me, traitorous tower… ::While intended as a funny quip, Kaitlyn’s irritation at losing was starting to come forth.:: Vondaryan: I understand your frustration. It can be a complicated game sometimes. ::he smiled:: But you’re definitely getting better. ::Kaitlyn took a breath, and a sip of chai, before looking at Trellis with a renewed smile.:: Falcon: Hey, I can take this in stride… after griping about it for a bit. ::Smirks.:: Vondaryan: Ah, but that was the trap I had set. No way out of it, I’m afraid. A no-win scenario for you. ::Another analysis of the board… really told Kaitlyn little. She guessed it was the newly vulnerable knight. A look around its general area revealed at least one other piece covering it.:: ::She could not quite keep the slight twitch of grimace from the corner of her lip.:: Falcon: I’ve never really liked no-win scenarios. ::He pursed his lips as he listened. That was a very Kaitlyn thing to say.:: Vondaryan: So not a fan of the Kobyashi Maru, then? ::he smirked:: Falcon: ::Smirks back, giving a slight shake of her head.:: Not particularly, no. ::Chuckles.:: Haven’t met many who were. Vondaryan: ::he tilted his head:: Oh, I don’t know. It’s a good learning experience if nothing else. Want to talk about it? Falcon: Sure, why not? ::Smiles.:: I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. Vondaryan: ::he couldn’t help but chuckle. A very human phrase, that ‘mine’ and ‘yours’.:: Good, I can learn from your test. ::Kaitlyn leaned back, taking a slight break from the game as she took another sip of her chai.:: Falcon: Well, I pretty much knew what to expect of it going in. Both my parents AND both of my sisters are ‘Fleet, after all, though my older sister didn’t take the test, herself. Anyway; I was given an Intrepid for the test, so I tried to use speed and agility to my advantage. ::Using her hands to pantomime as all pilots did.:: Run straight between the Romulan Warbirds they put me against, keeping my velocity high enough for them to miss me and hit each other. ::Trellis nodded in understanding. It was a fairly good plan, tactically speaking. But, being the Kobyashi Maru of course there was more than just that.:: Vondaryan: It couldn’t have been that easy. Falcon: ::Shakes her head.:: Not really, but it was worth a shot. But I think I was able to take at least one of them with me into photonic oblivion. ::Smirks.:: Thing is; most traps depend on the target not knowing they’re there. So, I’ve always had a bit of a policy. If I see a trap… ::Kaitlyn reached out to the board, taking hold of her remaining bishop and taking out Trellis’s vulnerable knight.:: Falcon: ...I spring it. ::Smiles.:: ::Not that she had any expectations of winning, at that point. But for something like this, Kaitlyn was okay with Operation: Blaze of Glory.:: ::Trellis laughed out loud. He knew very few people who actually enjoyed getting into traps. Oddly, it was one of the things he liked about Kaitlyn. He would never willingly spring a trap. He’d try to figure out some way around, or to turn it against the trapper. But she went right ahead, her two guns blazing. Sometimes he needed that recklessness in his life. Haylie was like that, too -- a real adrenaline fiend. It was probably why he liked both women so much.:: Vondaryan: Okay, so what happened then? ::he idly picked up a pawn, pushing the game forward.:: Mate in three, by the way. Falcon: Oh, I made it barely thirty seconds past that. ::Smiles.:: That ‘one-in-a-million’ shield failure that’ll always happen in the worst-case scenario. The instructor liked my guts, but suggested I might want to try something a bit more defensive ‘next time’. ::Smiles.:: How about you? ::Kaitlyn reached for her queen, pulling it back to cover the gap left by her bishop.:: Vondaryan: Mine was on a Galaxy-class. I knew I wouldn’t be able to outgun the Warbirds, even with all the enhancements they’ve had in the last thirty years. But it’s too big to be maneuverable, so anything quick and fast was out of the question. So I tried subterfuge. Had myself disguised as a Romulan, claimed I was a hostage and somehow get them to fire upon themselves. ::He moved a rook, threatening the queen and king at the same time.:: ::While Kaitlyn had typically been the one to think up crazy plans needing a lot of luck to succeed, Trellis had always countered her with a well thought out idea with far greater chances of success. Kaitlyn might usually quip that his ideas sounded ‘less fun’, she knew he was right. It was one of the reasons she had enjoyed working with him; he kept her from getting shot at more than she might like.:: Falcon: Interesting idea. ::Smiles.:: They buy it? ::She looked over the board, seeing both her queen and king at risk. Tracking back from his rook, Kaitlyn spotted his other knight in position to eliminate her queen should she take it out.:: ::So, which piece would she trade?:: ::While an unbalanced swap, Kaitlyn wanted to at least take a piece with hers. She slid her queen over, taking the rook.:: Vondaryan: Of course they didn’t believe me. ::he chuckled:: They were holograms, of course, and programmed not to. But I thought it might be interesting to see their reaction. ::he frowned:: I did manage to save the hostage ship, but lost my own in the process. I’m not sure it was worth it, in the end… ::He tilted his head, thinking about the situation. Would it really have been better to save the hostages and not engage the Romulans? Would it have been better to let the hostages die and somehow destroy the Romulans? There really wasn’t a good answer to that question. Which, he supposed, was the point.:: ::He smiled at the board, moving his other bishop to place the King in check. Two more moves.:: Falcon: Well… The way my father put it; it’s not just what you do in the Kobiyashi Maru test. It’s why you do it. How you justify your actions, for good or for ill. Hell, I’ve even heard of folks who decided the whole thing was a trap, and refused to respond to the distress call at all. I’m not sure there’s really a ‘wrong’ answer. Vondaryan: ::he nodded:: Yes, I suppose. Part of me wanted to take it again just to see a different outcome. Haylie thought I would be a glutton for punishment if I did, though. Besides, I had plenty of other finals to study for. Falcon: ::Chuckles.:: Didn’t we all? ::With a small, thoughtful, sigh, Kaitlyn looked over the mess before her. Her queen could move to block the bishop, but not in a way that would meaningfully protect her king… So, she grabbed an as-of-yet unmoved pawn and moved him two spaces up instead.:: Vondaryan: ::he tilted his head at the board:: Interesting. Desperate, but interesting. Still, it won’t keep you from losing in two moves. ::he moved his remaining rook, blocking off all retreat for the King next move.:: ::Desperate moves… For some reason, that was catching in her head…:: ::No… She knew exactly why. It was hardly her first time doing something desperate. Granted, this was just a game of chess, but…:: ::Some of the edge fell from Kaitlyn’s smirk as she reached out to the board again. She could see the inevitable loss. While she knew she could always just go and tip her king, it felt… wrong to go and rob Trellis of his victory. He had worked for it, after all.:: ::Given her level of skill, she did not think Trellis had needed to work particularly hard for the win, but it was the principle of the thing.:: ::With a soft sigh she grabbed her queen, pulling it back to stand next to the king. While it would be unable to protect the king from all angles, it was still something.:: ::With Kaitlyn’s queen right where he wanted it, he moved his own queen to position. With the King in check Kaitlyn would be forced to move it in the only space available, leaving the opposite queen for the taking and the king mated.:: Vondaryan: Check. ::Kaitlyn saw. And heard. Though some of her mind was not fully there. When she looked up at Trellis, part of her saw him a few months back… That uncertainty in his eyes, and the shudder at what he saw.:: Falcon: Trellis… Are… Were… ::Pauses a moment, trying to unjumble her words.:: Were you afraid of me? ::They had never discussed what had happened back on the Marauder…:: ::Trellis let out a long, deep sigh. It was a question he suspected might have been coming at some point. It was a perfectly normal question and he’d had plenty of time to think about the answer. Not that he really needed to think about it, per se. It was more about phrasing, than anything.:: Vondaryan: At that particular moment, for that small fraction of time, a little. ::he sighed again:: But it wasn’t being afraid OF you, rather being afraid FOR you. ::He wasn’t sure if that would make complete sense to her. Honestly, he wasn’t sure it made sense to him.:: ::To Trellis’s first sentence, Kaitlyn had given a soft sigh and a nod of understanding. Honestly, she did not blame anyone for it; the sight had been… But to his second sentence, she looked back at him with a look of slight confusion.:: Falcon: ‘For’ me? Vondaryan: I think I was worried about what could cause my friend to act in such a matter. I knew you would never do that sort of thing without good reason. You’re not a cold-blooded, heartless, killer ::he smirked, almost forcing a chuckle to lighten the mood:: despite your facade. It would take a lot to push you past a breaking point. Which must have been hard on you. I wasn’t sure you’d be able to get back to being right. Falcon: Truth be told, what happened there was a surprise to me as well. ::Sighs.:: It was something that happened a long time ago, something I thought I was well passed. ::She leaned back in her seat, taking another sip of her chai.:: Honestly, I think the only reason it came back up was because of… Because of someone we ran into on that ship. ::He nodded in understanding. He knew she’d had troubles with the Syndicate before. He was just sorry to see the outcome in such a… violent… manner.:: Vondaryan: ::he frowned:: I’m sorry I brought it up. Falcon: No, it’s okay to bring up. I’ve had a lot of time to process it, and I’m pretty much back to where I was before. ::She set her hands onto the table, trying to show that she really was calm about it all.:: If you’d like to know more about it, what happened and all, you can ask. ::Small smile.:: Vondaryan: ::he gave a small smile:: That I’m glad to hear. In case I haven’t said it, I’m glad you’re on my side. ::he blinked:: And that you’re my friend. ::To that, Kaitlyn gave a smile much closer to her typical.:: Falcon: Right back at you. ::Soft chuckle.:: You’re the best friend I’ve got. ::Not just on Za, either. At that point, Kaitlyn was not sure how many friends she had left outside the family circle.:: ::She finally reached back to the board and slid her king to the only remaining spot he could move.:: ::Trellis nodded. While he was tempted to actually leave the match as it was, not completed, he wasn’t sure that would be fair to Kaitlyn. She had tried rather hard this match, after all, and she deserved closure on this.:: ::So, with a bit of a heavy hand he moved his queen to its final position threatening the king.:: Vondaryan: That’s game over. ::he sipped his merlot, enjoying the flavors as they reached his senses:: ::Kaitlyn reached over to her king, setting him onto his side. For some she might have pouted, but for Trellis she could be graceful in defeat.:: Falcon: Congratulations. ::Smiles.:: I hope I was, at least, interesting to watch. ::He chuckled. Without meaning to she could be quite funny.:: Vondaryan: I had fun, thank you. ::he finished his merlot and came away with a smirk:: A game of Velocity? ::Kaitlyn smiled. Simple target shooting was Kaitlyn’s strong point, as chess was Trellis’s. Velocity combined shooting with strategy; best of both worlds.:: Falcon: ::Finishing her chai.:: Sounds perfect to me. -- Lt Commander Kaitlyn Falcon Chief Helm Officer U.S.S. Za; NCC-65385 F237507RF0 & Lieutenant Commander Trellis Vondaryan First Officer USS Za O239208TV0
  3. ((Alora’s Quarters; U.S.S. Za )) ::It had been a long day.:: ::Alora had hit the ground running and hadn’t stopped until the situation was over. After that, she still hadn’t stopped for quite some time until things had settled down somewhat and Sickbay wasn’t quite so hectic. While not a doctor, she had first aid training and had remained unharmed, so put her able body to use for minor injuries. All hands on deck, so to speak. The day had waned into night and even those hours passed, so by the time she actually made it to the quarters she’d been assigned, the first time she’d actually seen them, night was technically morning. Despite that, Alora found herself with a little too much energy to go to bed, even after changing and preparing to do so. After lying down and tossing and turning for a bit, she’d finally arisen, gotten some chamomile tea, and settled in the provided armchair.:: ::Around her, all her things cluttered the floor, still packed in boxes, each one carefully labeled with its contents. One item, however, had been too awkward a shape to be packed and had been carried in its own personal case - her Vulcan harp. It brought to mind the one who had given her.:: ::Saveron.:: ::Someone had mentioned him on the ship and it was then Alora realised that he was stationed there. Normally, she would have taken time to get to know most of the senior staff in writing before arriving, but her transfer had been so quick, she’d only been able to peruse the information of a few of them. She hadn’t even gotten to his name on the list.:: ::Taking a sip of her tea before setting it down on a side table, Alora then picked up her triPADD. A moment of effort allowed her to connect to the ship’s network and she plugged in his name. There he was. His profile was there, the USS Za’s Chief Medical Officer, his stern features and striking eyes staring up at her.:: ::She had loved those eyes.:: ::Space was enormous. Not even a quarter of the galaxy had been explored and who knew how much was still out there to discover. In all the hundred thousand light years of distance, between all the stars and planets, nebulas and anomalies, somehow, she had been assigned to the same ship once more. Only now, things were different.:: ::Now she was going to have to face them after they were no longer together. Now she was going to have to find a way to work with a man who had broken her heart. Oh she could do it. She had to do it. There was no choice in the matter. Starfleet wouldn’t take their past as an excuse to transfer her elsewhere, and truly, what did that say about her, if she ran away from someone she used to care about?:: ::Someone she still cared about.:: ::Someone she still loved.:: ::Except he didn’t love her. Alora rose and crossed over to the harp. Laying it flat on the ground, she opened the case and peered down at the beautiful instrument crafted from replicated wood that seemed to be of walnut. Dark cherry formed the inlaid designs, curling in an abstract fashion upon it. Carefully constructed, it was Alora’s most prized possession along with her cat, Sachiko, even after everything. A single finger stretched out, tracing the pattern of one of those curls.:: ~~~~Flashback~~~~ ((Alora’s Quarters, USS Invicta)) ::Saveron stopped outside Alora’s quarters, pausing briefly before keying the door chime.:: DeVeau: Come in! ::While her voice couldn’t be heard outside, it was the signal for the computer to open the doors and allow the person on the other end into her quarters. The Vulcan stepped inside, long robes swirling about his feet as he entered, and Alora’s face lit up with a smile. She had perched herself on the couch and was enjoying a book, but she certainly didn’t mind putting it aside for this particular visitor.:: Saveron: Sochya, Alora. ::He offered her the ta’al, the traditional Vulcan salute.:: DeVeau: Hello, Sav. ::She offered the ta’al, finding the greeting formal, but then, Vulcan’s were a pretty formal people. Saveron: I wish to speak with you, if your time is not otherwise occupied. DeVeau: Always. ::The lanky doctor helped himself to a seat on the couch and perched on the edge stiffly, never quite at home with sitting on something other than the floor.:: ::Now, she knew Vulcans were a generally reserved people, but something about the whole set up wasn’t quite right. Even for Sav, things were a bit more...distant than usual. Alora set her book on the table and turned her body toward the Vulcan.:: DeVeau: Is something wrong? ::The Vulcan considered the question.:: Saveron: I anticipate that you would say that there is. ::He said at last.:: I have received notification of another transfer. DeVeau: Another transfer? ::That wasn’t highly unusual. Starfleet posted those who had specific skills, knowledge, and ability where they were most needed. Evidently, Saveron was needed somewhere else more than he was needed on the Invicta - which meant he would be leaving.:: Saveron: A second Romulan situation. ::Perhaps his success at the first was his undoing.:: DeVeau: I see. ::Even though she knew such things happened, and it wasn’t odd, that didn’t mean Alora had to like it.:: Saveron: I do not know how long my presence will be required, which is one of the reasons that I wished to speak with you. ::Alora nodded. She didn’t want Sav to transfer, but really, neither of them had much say in it. Well, he had more. He could refuse the transfer. The refusal might not be accepted, but he could try. However, that wasn’t the sort of thing the Vulcan would do.:: DeVeau: But we can keep in touch like we did last time. It’s not ideal, but I’m glad there we have that sort of technology. We could even do holographic calls from time to time if you’d like. Saveron: That is correct. ::He agreed.:: However, as you note, the situation is not ideal. ::It was something that had been weighing on his mind, amongst other things.:: DeVeau: No, it’s not. ::Alora thought about saying more, but something stopped her and she waited for him to continue instead.:: Saveron: I anticipate that this may be the pattern for the foreseeable future. I do not know when I will return to the Corridor, nor for how long. ::Indeed, even if he would be able to return. His meditations on the subject had not been calming.:: Such a situation will be less than agreeable for both of us. Thus, whilst I will always be your friend, I consider it preferable to finalise our closer relationship. DeVeau: I disagree. I would much rather continue our relationship. We’re not the only ones who would have ever had to deal with distance. ::Or was there something more than just that?:: Saveron: That is correct, however I do not consider a long-distance relationship to be preferable. ::And he hadn’t considered that she would disagree with his preference.:: DeVeau: It’s not like it’s never been done before. Even some married couples have to do it at points sometimes. ::The Vulcan laced his long fingers together, a thoughtful gesture.:: Saveron: Alora, whilst courtship is uncommon in Vulcan culture due to the practice of bonding in childhood, if one member of a courting pair no longer considers the pairing preferable, the courtship ends and the pair return to their previous friendship. ::He tried to explain.:: Nothing I have read has indicated to me that there is a requirement to continue in Terran culture. ::And he was endeavouring to end the relationship as gently as possible.:: ::For a moment Alora remained quiet, her green eyes studying the stoic face of the Vulcan.:: DeVeau: And it’s simply because of the distance that you don’t find it preferable? Saveron: There are other factors that I have taken into consideration. ::He allowed.:: DeVeau: Then what else? Saveron: It has become apparent that there are considerable differences between our expectations for a relationship. DeVeau: Oh? Saveron: I am aware that you have certain… reservations regarding relationships, stemming from your previous experiences. I suggested previously that you seek Counselling on the subject, but you declined to do so. I do not believe that our relationship can progress without your resolving these issues. ::As he had done. Multiple sessions with two different Counsellors had been required - along with the intervention of a mischievous Q - before he had finally been able to resolve the issues surrounding T’Rel. But he had, and only then had he moved on.:: DeVeau: Actually, I’ve spoken to Raissa about it. ::Her frown deepened, drawing lines across her brow.:: DeVeau: Are you talking about the desire to wait for physical intimacy? Saveron: Negative. ::He replied.:: Such is common in my own culture. ::Though he knew it was less common in hers.:: DeVeau: Then I’m not sure I understand. ::Alora didn’t like where this was headed one bit and she shifted. There was truth in that statement, she didn’t understand, she wanted to understand but was also afraid that understanding would lead to a result she didn’t desire. Unfortunately, it was aimed in that direction no matter what, and she didn’t think there was any way to stop it.:: DeVeau: What, exactly, is troubling you? ::The Vulcan had held it preferable that she would simply accept his statement of preference regarding the ending of their relationship. It would, after all, be illogical to attempt to persuade someone to continue a relationship they no long desired. But Terrans were often quite illogical; sometimes their leaps of intuition and faith achieved great things, things the steady progress of logic could not. And sometimes they made things difficult.:: Saveron: It has become apparent that you have an expectation of the manner in which the relationship would progress. At the same time, you have expressed a preference that I should take the initiative in the relationship. This puts me in the difficult situation of living up to your expectations; were I not a telepath it would be impossible. ::Saveron was a Vulcan, and therefore he was quite adept and hiding his feelings, even when they touched telepathically. Lately, they’d both been so busy, they hadn’t had much time together, but even when they were, she hadn’t suspected anything was wrong. Obviously, something was.:: DeVeau: I’m sorry, I never intended to make you uncomfortable. Saveron: Never the less, I find the situation disagreeable. I respect your right to your preferences, but I cannot live them. ::Part of a relationship was talking, communicating. Lately, it seemed he’d been harbouring feelings that he hadn’t shared with her, and that definitely wasn’t healthy in a relationship. Alora might not be as experienced as he, but even she knew that. DeVeau: So instead of discussing things with me and try to work them out, you’d rather just break things off? Why? ::The Vulcan rose to his feet.:: Saveron: Because you are still looking for Prince Charming, and we have already established that he is not me. I trust that you will find him one day. Live long and prosper, Alora. ::He turned and, robes swirling about his feet, walked out.:: ~~~~End Flashback~~~~ ::He must have received transfer orders after that and been placed on the Za. If Alora had paid closer attention to the senior staff list, she wouldn’t have been taken by surprise. Still, surprise or no, they were now fellow officers on the same ship. She would respect him, work politely with him, and always fulfill her duty. While she did so, she would never let him know how much her heart hurt, never reveal the pain he’d caused her, the stabbing that sliced through her every time she thought of him and the way he’d left.:: ::Alora inhaled and closed the case once more, shutting the instrument off from the world once again. Rising, she returned to her tea and clutched the cup in her hands, the heat warming her skin. He’d never know. He’d moved on, and all he would see was that she had too.:: ::Even if she hadn’t.:: ******** Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau Science Officer USS Za M239008AD0 With Guest Star Appearance by Commander Saveron Chief Medical Officer USS Za
  4. Polling closes at 11:59pm Pacific on Sunday, March 5. This is a run-off poll, where our general membership (that's you!) chooses which sim, from Set 1 of 2017 (Rounds 1-6), should proceed to the final round of the contest for a chance to be selected as the Top Sim of 2017! These sims below were chosen by a panel of judges (one from each ship) from the sims submitted in Rounds 1-6 of the contest. TO START, please read these sims: Round 1: Jalana Rajel & David Cody, "New Friends & Ghosts of the Past" Round 2: Dalor & Manyx, "A Taste of fear" Round 3: Jack Gard & Akeelah D'Sena, "This Isn't Forever" Round 4: Toni Turner, "The Getaway" Round 5: Tyr Waltas, "Cold Soul" Round 6: Jalana Rajel & Sal Taybrim, "Captain to Captain" NEXT, using the poll above, vote for the sim you like the most. It should be the sim that's the best written, with strong characterization, and evocative or descriptive scene-setting. DON'T vote for a sim just because you serve on the same crew as the person who wrote it. Any crew that "stuffs the ballot" (by having everyone on the crew vote for the same sim to ensure that it wins this poll) will be eliminated from the contest and shamed by the rest of the community as terrible, terrible cheaters. That would be awful. Good luck to the nominees!
  5. Winners for Set 1, 2017: Round 1: Jalana Rajel & David Cody, "New Friends & Ghosts of the Past" Round 2: Dalor & Manyx, "A Taste of fear" Round 3: Jack Gard & Akeelah D'Sena, "This Isn't Forever" Round 4: Toni Turner, "The Getaway" Round 5: Tyr Waltas, "Cold Soul" Round 6: Jalana Rajel & Sal Taybrim, "Captain to Captain" Set 1 Winner: Jalana Rajel & Sal Taybrim, "Captain to Captain" Winners for Set 2, 2017: Round 7: Jalana Rajel, "Buying Time" Round 8: Drs Richardson and Grey, "Of Mice and Men" Round 9: Arturo Maxwell, "Things to do now I'm home: Part One" Round 10: King Mwinuroja, "We Didn't Do It" Round 11: Kamela Allison-Parker and T'Lea, "The Gloves are OFF!" Round 12: Saveron, "Zen and the art of Tribble Hybridisation" Round 13: Choi Ji-hu, "Interruption" Set 2 Winner: Kamela Allison-Parker and T'Lea, "The Gloves are OFF!" Winners for Set 3, 2017: Round 14: TBA October 2017 Round 15: TBA October 2017 Round 16: TBA October 2017 Round 17: TBA October 2017 Round 18: TBA October 2017 Round 19: TBA October 2017 Round 20: TBA October 2017 Winners for Set 4, 2017: Round 21: TBA November 2017 Round 22: TBA November 2017 Round 23: TBA November 2017 Round 24: TBA November 2017 Round 25: TBA November 2017 Round 26: TBA November 2017
  6. HOW VOTING WORKS There are two types of voting in this contest: member voting and judges voting. After each Round of submissions, all the sims from that Round are voted-on by a panel of judges. The winning sim from each Round of judges voting then proceeds to a Run-Off Set. Run-Off Sets are open to all members for voting. The winning sim from each Run-Off Set proceeds to the final round. The final vote for Top Sim of 2017 is open to all members for voting. For a sim to win the final vote for Top Sim of 2017, at least 20% of the voters for that sim must be from a ship other than the ship it originated from. HOW THE JUDGES PANEL WORKS The judges panel is comprised of one member from each ship. Judges are free to resign from the panel at any time or be switched-out but are expected to judge for a full "Set" (see the Contest Calendar). At the end of each Set, Captains will be encouraged to review their ship's judge. A judge's "term" lasts for three Sets, after which they must be switched with a new judge from the crew. After a judge's term is over, and a new judge has been selected and served for at least one term, the previous judge is again eligible to begin a new term. Judges can be of any rank, as long as they are able to demonstrate a basic grasp of good simming skills. Each ship's Captain appoints the judge from their ship, but they are free to use whatever method they deem appropriate to select that judge. They can select themselves as the judge. Judges use a ranked voting method called Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). For more information about IRV, see the Wikipedia page. When voting, judges are not permitted to vote in the top slot the sim from their crew. This ensures that judges are not favoring their own crew's sims. They can still choose their ship's sim in the second slot or lower.
  7. Welcome to Top Sims Contest of 2017! All announcements for the entire 2017 Contest will be posted in this thread. The Top Sims Contest allows members of our fleet to be recognized by their peers for superior writing ability. This contest allows only sims that have been used in a current plot to be considered. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES You can submit ANY sim -- from your ship, or another ship. You can submit your own sims if you wish. All sims are welcome, including staff (Captain, First Officer, etc.) sims. The sim must be written with good spelling, good grammar, and be in the correct format. Poorly structured sims will be disqualified. When a sim is submitted, it must have been created within the current submission period, or the previously lapsed submission period. Put another way: do not sims which are any older than a month. Submitted sims may not have any open dialogue tags. (i.e.: [respond here]) All dialogue in the sim must be filled in. (Just find the responding author's sim and fill in the blanks.) Sims must not include any "canon" characters. (i.e.- no characters who have appeared onscreen.) Please find a balance between nominating too many, or too few sims. Don't submit every good sim -- instead, post every great sim! Encourage your fellow crew-mates to submit at least a few sims a year. If you want your crew-mates to win more, you have to nominate the best sims, and encourage others to write higher quality sims! HOW TO SUBMIT A SIM First: Click the "Start New Topic" button. The format of the topic title should be as follows: "Character - Sim Title" For example: "LtJG Tristan Wolf - Everywhere you go, there you are" Note: Please do not clutter the topic title with an endless list of NPC or PNPC names or "JP" designations. Instead, simply include the primary character's rank and name. If it's a joint post, just include both rank and names -- no need to include the "JP" in there. Second: Choose from the "Topic Prefix" box the correct round number. (To check what round we're currently in, see the contest calendar below.) Third: Copy into the message box the complete sim. You don't need to worry about column width. Check to make sure that the sim is readable. You can click the "Edit" button to fix any issues, but don't delay -- you'll be barred from editing the post after 60 minutes. COMMENTING ON A SIM Everyone is welcome to comment on submitted sims. If you're going to provide constructive criticism, you are required to employ the "hamburger" criticism method: first, mention something you like; second, something you didn't like; third, something else you liked. If you just want to provide praise, no hamburger method required! Commenters who are rude, unfair, or overzealous in their commenting will be barred from future comments in the contest forum, and will have their actions brought to the attention of their CO. CONTEST CALENDAR Set 1, 2017 Contest Round 1, 2017 submissions: Monday, October 31 to Sunday, November 13 Round 2, 2017 submissions: Monday, November 14 to Sunday, November 27 Round 3, 2017 submissions: Monday, November 28 to Sunday, December 11 Round 4, 2017 submissions: Monday, December 12 to Sunday, December 25 Round 5, 2017 submissions: Monday, December 26 to Sunday, January 8 Round 6, 2017 submissions: Monday, January 9 to Sunday, January 22 Run-off Round 1: Monday, February 6 to Sunday, March 5 Set 2, 2017 Contest Round 7, 2017 submissions: Monday, January 23 to Sunday, February 5 Round 8, 2017 submissions: Monday, February 6 to Sunday, February 19 Round 9, 2017 submissions: Monday, February 20 to Sunday, March 5 Round 10, 2017 submissions: Monday, March 6 to Sunday, March 19 Round 11, 2017 submissions: Monday, March 20 to Sunday, April 2 Round 12, 2017 submissions: Monday, April 3 to Sunday, April 16 Round 13, 2017 submissions: Monday, April 17 to Sunday, April 30 Run-off Round 2: Monday, May 15 to Sunday, June 11 Set 3, 2017 Contest Round 14, 2017 submissions: Monday, May 1 to Sunday, May 14 Round 15, 2017 submissions: Monday, May 15 to Sunday, May 28 Round 16, 2017 submissions: Monday, May 29 to Sunday, June 11 Round 17, 2017 submissions: Monday, June 12 to Sunday, June 25 Round 18, 2017 submissions: Monday, June 26 to Sunday, July 9 Round 19, 2017 submissions: Monday, July 10 to Sunday, July 23 Round 20, 2017 submissions: Monday, July 24 to Sunday, August 6 Run-off Round 3: Monday, August 21 to Sunday, October 23 Set 4, 2017 Contest Round 21, 2017 submission: Monday, August 7 to Sunday, August 20 Round 22, 2017 submission: Monday, August 21 to Sunday, September 3 Round 23, 2017 submission: Monday, September 4 to Sunday, September 17 Round 24, 2017 submission: Monday, September 18 to Sunday, October 1 Round 25, 2017 submission: Monday, October 2 to Sunday, October 15 Round 26, 2017 submission: Monday, October 16 to Sunday, October 29 Run-off Round 4: Monday, October 30 to Sunday, November 26 FINAL RUN-OFF OF 2017: Monday, November 27 to Sunday, December 24 - this run-off selects the Top Sim of 2017. Set 1, 2018 Contest Round 1, 2018 submissions: Monday, October 30 to Sunday, November 12 Round 2, 2018 submissions: Monday, November 13 to Sunday, November 26 Round 3, 2018 submissions: Monday, November 27 to Sunday, December 10 Round 4, 2018 submissions: Monday, December 11 to Sunday, December 24 Round 5, 2018 submissions: Monday, December 25 to Sunday, January 7 Round 6, 2018 submissions: Monday, January 8 to Sunday, January 21 Run-off Round 1: Monday, February 5 to Sunday, March 4
  8. Yes, congratulations to @T'Lea and @Rune Jolara! You faced some stiff competition, but your masterful sim resonated with many in the fleet, and is truly worthy of the title of Top Sim of 2016. I hope you enjoy your badge!
  9. Yeah, one could have fun with that...
  10. This is it, the final round of voting for 2016's Top Sim! The winner of this vote will be considered the Top Sim of 2016 -- one of the most highly coveted writing awards in our community. Voting closes automatically at 23:59 Pacific Time on Sunday, December 25, 2016. Please read all four sims before choosing the one you like the best in the poll above: Set 1 winner: Merrick R'Ven, "Past Goodbyes" Set 2 winner: Doctor Saveron, "There, but for the vagaries of chance, go I" Set 3 winner: Capt Tyr Waltas, "Showdown" Set 4 winner: LtCmdrs T'Lea & Rune Jolara, "Defying a Direct Order" These sims were submitted by members of the community. A panel of judges, consisting of one judge from each ship, voted on the best sim from each round. The sims they selected from each round were then voted-on by members of the fleet. You can see those votes here: Run-off round 1 Run-off round 2 Run-off round 3 Run-off round 4 The 2016 Hall of Fame archive contains all the sims submitted in 2016. Pinned sims are the winners from each round. FAIRNESS AND VOTING For a vote to win the final round, at least 10% of its votes must come from a ship other than the one the sim was created on. Your vote in this poll is public so that we can ensure that one ship's crew is not "stuffing the ballot box." If we find that any one crew is trying to force someone from their crew to be the winner, that sim will be disqualified and the ship will be ineligible to participate in the contest for all of 2017. Similarly, if anyone is found coercing members of their crew to vote for them, or a sim on their ship, that sim will be disqualified -- before, or after the vote. That does not mean that you can't vote for a sim that was originally simmed on your vessel. You just shouldn't vote for a sim from your ship simply because it's by your crew-mate. Instead, choose the sim that you believe is the best written, most engaging, and embodies the principles of good simming that this community values.
  11. LtCmdrs T'Lea & Rune Jolara, "Defying a Direct Order" wins this run-off round! Congratulations -- this sim will head to the final run-off round of the year!
  12. ((Arboretum, Deck 9, USS Za)) :: With his belly filled by all the oriental snacks Alex lied down like a well fed Roman of the ancient times. As he laid on his side he looked at Femi again. She seemed happy. Alex assumed she was probably looking for new friends out here too. He wanted to know more about her and thought of several ways to bring up “home” but he didn't want to get to young woman homesick. Even though she signed up for this assignment leaving home, and earth on top of that, it was a big step for someone her age:: ::Femi sighed happily. She was glad that they choose to meet up at the Arboretum. The peace surrounding them was nice and Femi felt calm. She looked at Alex who laid on one side. The basket with food was almost empty. Femi made herself comfortable too and laid next to him on her back with her head turned towards her. Her ponytail was in the way so she freed her hair from the strap. Her brown curls fall on her back and shoulders:: oO nothing beats a fresh breeze through your hair Oo Williams: So, here we are.. In the middle of nowhere, about to discover new life and new civilizations. Who knows.. we might find something like the old Egyptian culture out here… It reminds me about one of my first missions. We found this gateway to a planet that was in a pre-warp state. Best view of our history I’ll ever get. Cattan: :: Femi was surprised and intrigued at the same time:: wow that must've been an amazing experience. Only imagine, Earth was once like that. Williams: It felt like home even though it was far away. Camping in the moonlight, hunting for deer in the morning… Believe it or not… it was the best mission I ever had. Cattan: I believe you it sounds… romantic. ::smiles:: camping outside joined by the moonlight watching the stars. ::her eyes were dreamy as if she was living in that moment.:: but I don't think I would join you on the deer hunting. :: Alex tried to bring back the memories, knowing the full story about the tense situation in the mine and losing his friend Marcus wasn't “romantic” at all. It was relaxing at night at the small camp but once trouble found them it was one disaster after another:: Williams: What do you hope to find out here? Cattan: ::she was quiet for a moment thinking about the right answer since there were many reasons:: I think… learning more about our current and new species and of course the medical treatments used in different cultures. ::she looks at Alex:: And you? :: That question was easy to answer as it was something that had come up with his bar talk with Baxter a few days earlier:: Williams: A fresh start most of all. Exploring. Living the life on the frontier sounded like a good and welcome challenge for me. Cattan: ::nods:: it does sound challenging. oO what could he mean with a fresh start. Did something bad happen to him in the past? Oo ::They laid next to each other listening to the chirping birds and it was quiet for a while. Femi did have some “burning” questions but she'd tried to resist herself from asking. But after a while her curiosity won:: Cattan: Alex, ::she turned to her side so she could face him. The space between them was minimised but for Femi it didn't feel strange :: I've been wondering about one thing. ::beat:: Where on earth were you born? Williams: hehe.. haven't read my file yet? ::Femi starts to grin. He just played her own joke against her:: I’m from Straatsburg, North West of the European continent. Nice place, but nothing special. Spend a lot of time with my father hiking in the Ardennes and Black Forest and by the time I got to go to high school we moved to Hawaï. My folks still live there. Cattan: It must be wonderful to be outside in a forest, together with your dad....Never been to those parts of Earth.. oh but I’ve heard from Hawaii before. :: she was careful with asking people about their home. It brings a lot of emotions and memories with it:: Do you miss your home place and family Williams: I miss the hiking with my dad at times… ::Femi nodded. She could understand that he would miss doing such activities together with his dad:: but beyond that no, not really. I’ve been on my own for almost ten years now. You? ::Alex said it before thinking about it, and quickly added something to comfort her assuming she was feeling a little homesick:: Williams: … Leaving Earth your age is a huge step after all… :: Femi got the feeling that he was thinking about those questions too for a while. She wanted to get to know him better and she felt comfortable enough with him to exchange some personal information:: Cattan: ::it was like he was trying to comfort her. She didn't mind talking about home:: it was a huge step as you know. And of course, I miss my family but I'm not homesick…. yet. ::She gave him a comforting smile because she knew he was being considerate:: I enjoy being here, with this crew, it's all I ever wanted. ::she paused for a moment and looked for a second into Alex’s brown eyes.:: But I was ready to leave my home and family behind despite the consequences…. Williams: I sense there is a story behind that answer…. but only if you want too. Cattan: I don't mind telling you...but it's kind of a long story. And I don't know if it's that interesting ::She smiled at him:: Williams: All in good time. ::She smiled gently. He was interested but not pushy at all and she liked that. He had manners, something a lot Egyptian men round her age were lacking:: Cattan: ::her right side began to ache. She pushed herself up and stretched for a moment:: Let's make it easier...is there something specific you'd like to know about me, my background? ::she picks up a flower:: You're allowed to ask anything Williams: uhm… ::The question caught Alex off guard. He looked up towards her assuming she made some sort of bad joke but she seemed dead serious. He thought of something he should or could ask but nothing came to mind:: Williams: ::he couldn’t do anything else than give her a somewhat sad look as it kinda killed the mood:: It's not an interrogation Femi… ::Femi was surprised by his answer. She didn’t mean to make him feel uncomfortable with her question. She just wanted to give him an appropriate answer. Somehow the mood changed and Femi felt some sadness overwhelming her:: ::Alex could see the disappointment in her eyes. And then he started to wonder what this was all about. :: Williams: oO Is she looking for something more than a friend? She has done everything I could think off to please me and really wants to open up somehow. A bit too direct maybe for a first “date” if you could call it that to begin with. Oo :: Alex turned his eyes away from her for a moment and looked at the playing children again thinking of a way to get them on the same page somehow:: ::Femi saw Alex drift off for a moment. He didn’t respond at all and he had even averted his eyes from her. There was something on his mind but she didn’t know what it could possibly be. Was it because she wasn’t that tactful?:: oO I should really think first before speaking Oo Williams: oO Should I just ask her? If she says no I make a fool of myself. And what do I tell her if… Oo ::The more he thought about it the more complex it became. As far as Alex was concerned he wasn't really “on the market”. Until a two months ago he’d been dating with Sun. It wasn't a formal relationship and come to think of it they hadn't spoken since his transfer or the holodeck accident on the Constitution:: oO Guess that ship has sailed. Oo Cattan: Sorry, let me try that again….I didn’t mean to make it sound like an interrogation. :: she looks at him and ask quietly but kind:: Is there something on your mind? ::she looks a little bit worried at him:: ::Cattan laid down on her side again with her head towards Alex. As she came to his level Alex caught her eyes. As he looked at them he looked for something. A blink, a sign, anything that could give him more to go with. But he couldn't really tell if “it” - whatever it was- was there or not. As he kept staring he felt as if he knew Femi for a long time. It felt comfortable yet totally awkward. :: oO Ugh.. what is this! Oo ::Femi noticed Alex staring into her eyes for a long time. She didn't mind that, but he looked troubled and she didn't like to see that. The sparkle she saw earlier in his eyes was missing:: Williams: No need… My mind is playing tricks on me… I feel like I know you for a long time. Is that weird? ::Femi was quiet for a moment. She did respect him a lot and she did have a great time when she was with him. Yesterday on the ceremony he was the first one to come up to her and they had a wonderful time. She liked his humor, they shared some same interests. There was just something about him that made her happy and smile :: Cattan: I don’t think that’s strange. I noticed, that when I’m with you I feel at ease. You have a great sense of humor... even though you think you don’t and you’re really kind hearted ::she smiles at him:: ::With the warm compliments out there Alex felt the need to give her some parts of his thoughts:: Williams: It's just that. oO Damn! How can I explain this without hurting her feelings, assuming she has any feelings for me Oo I was sort of in a relationship when I left the Connybe and … oO And what? Oo ::Alex now wished he hadn't started but this time his heart had spoken before his mind. He never dreamed of speaking about his feelings like that, especially not as he brought it up first. But with the start out there he had no chance to run all the scenarios in his mind to make sure it was said the right way:: ::Femi saw that this kind of conversations were hard for him. She thought it was very courageous to tell her about his feelings and doubts. She gave him a warm smile and hoped that he would understand that she didn’t mind him telling this. She wanted to give him some time to speak up what's on his mind:: Williams:... and. Sorry I’m not very good at this. ::He took a deep breath. He was about to embarrass Femi or make a total fool of himself. If either was true it could ruin a starting friendship but with the die cast, there was no turning back now:: Well I get this feeling you might see me as more than a friend… and If that’s so I’m not sure if I’m open for it at this point. I mean… it’s going a bit fast with the transfer just behind us and all... Cattan: It’s oké Alex. ::she gently places her hand on his arm:: There’s no need to apologize. I think you’re very brave to muster up the courage to talk about this. :: she takes her hand from his arm. Now it was her time to answer his question. She wasn't even sure herself.:: How should I say this, I’m not good at this either ::she laughs:: Right now I don’t see you as more than a friend….yet, I think. ::she fell silent for a moment:: oO Gosh! this is difficult. I don't want to give him the wrong idea Oo Cattan: I have to admit that there is something about you that makes me want to know more about you. Not just your background, I could read your file if I wanted to know more about that ::she was trying to lift the air with a joke:: ::She was quiet for awhile. She wanted to tell him that she was willing to wait for him to make up his mind but she was in no position since she didn’t know yet if she was “into him” like that. But something about her was not content with saying to “just stay friends”:: Cattan: This might sound weird, and I’m a little bit ashamed, well you had your share too ::she grinned but felt embarrassed at the same time:: I wouldn’t mind giving us a try but I do think that is best for you to take some time, think things over…. just don’t take too long ::she gives him a playful wink:: ::With the truth out there for both of them Alex felt relieved. She wasn't hurt, far as he could see, and being honest with her turned out to be rewarding in its own way. As he thought back of the past five minutes he came up with a simple yet encouraging idea:: Williams: You did mention you like to try that spaghettio? How about next week? ::Not waiting for her reply Alex tried some of his humoristic skills again:: You have seen me in my pajamas it's only fair you get to see my cooking skills. Cattan: ::thinking:: mmm let’s see. Only if you’re going to wear those same bordeaux pajamas again.::she laughs:: next week is fine by me. Williams: Ha! Don't get your hopes up on those pajamas. I’m confident my cooking is enough to please you. Cattan: Let’s see if you can beat this :: With his mouth half open to say something she picked up one of the remaining snacks and put it in his mouth. Femi laughed out loud when she saw his surprised face:: sorry couldn’t help it! ::Alex tried to speak but with his mouth full he couldn't. His first thought was to push her over and kiss her but it didn't feel right yet. And with the food still in his mouth it would have been a weird kiss anyway. So instead he picked one of the pink hydrangea flowers that was in his reach and handed it over to her:: Williams: mom always told me to bring flowers to a date… Cattan: ::she smiled and smelled the pink flower she got handed:: And suddenly this is a date….::she smirked at him:: Williams: Well unless you do this with all the pirates you meet at a bar I’m calling this a date ::He stuck out his tongue which was really immature, but somehow it felt right:: Cattan: ::she laughs:: You should be thankful to be on a date with a Egyptian Goddess. To be in my presence…. to even get a chance as a mere Pirate Captain… :: she stick out her tongue as well:: Williams: A Goddess and a Pirate walk into a bar… ::They laughed and laid down on their backs and looked at the beautiful atmosphere of the Arboretum. Femi was happy and relieved and so was Alex:: Williams: oO Taking that transfer turned out perfectly Oo ::As he lied down and looked at the scene he started to feel something he didn't expect. It was more than happiness. It wasn't the trees or the fresh air. It was her. She was making him feel this relaxed. He felt appreciated again, and it had been a long time since anyone gave him that feeling. He knew that people valued him as a good officer but she was accepting him as a person:: Williams: I could get used to this you know? Cattan: Please do… ::it slipped out before she knew it. But it was the truth. Something gave her the feeling that he’s worth waiting for. She thought back at the conversation she had with her sister. The difference in age and rank didn't bother her anymore. It wasn't even noticeable in the way they're interacting with each other:: ::It was getting late. The artificial light started to dim and the birds had fallen silent. For Femi and Alex it was time to head back even though they didn’t want to leave at all. They stood up and folded the blanket together. As the pieces of cloth were brought together they looked into each other's eyes again but neither one had to courage to take the next step. The basket was empty, their stomachs full, and their hearts and mind wondering what would happen next. Cattan: Thank you for this wonderful day. You did your job well as “food tester” ::she grinned when she looked at her empty basket:: Your turn to impress me…. same time, next week? Williams: You sure know how to set the bar… but don't celebrate your victory just yet. Cattan: oO There’s that twinkle in his eyes again. It suits him much better Oo ::Femi just couldn’t resist it. She leans forward to give him a kiss on his cheek. His beard was softer than she expected. She spoke softly into his ear:: You’re a wonderful person Alex ::Alex could feel his cheek turn red as her soft lips gently moved away from him. They could hear the children giggling in the distance as they headed out with a smile on their faces:: ================================ With great pleasure written as: Ensign Femi Cattan Nurse Officer USS Za Z239308FC0 & Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Williams Chief Tactical/Security Officer USS Za News Team member Writer ID:A239006AW0
  13. Winners for Set 1, 2015: Round 1: Alora DeVeau & Lobo, "Unlikely Fellows" Round 2: Renos & Traenor, "Point of View/Pain of View." Round 3: Didrik Stennes, "A different calling” Round 4: Akeelah D'Sena & Tabitha Gard, "Sleepover" Round 5: Merrick R'Ven, "Past Goodbyes" Round 6: Safine Tan, "The Room Where I Died" Winners for Set 2, 2015: Round 7: Captain Shelther Faranster, "Lost Context" Round 8: Cpt Jalana Rajel, "Fear the Reaper" Round 9: Dr Tarna & Iria, "The pain of rejection" Round 10: Lt Commander Falcon/Rhino the hamster, "The New Smell" Round 11: Doctor Saveron, "There, but for the vagaries of chance, go I" Round 12: 302nd Tactical Fighter Wing, "New Assignment" Round 13: LtCdr Sinda Essen & LtJG Solaris McLaren, "New Experiences" Winners for Set 3, 2015: Round 14: Ens Paul Scudder & Ens Savan, "Submitting to the Current of the Godavari" Round 15: Capt Jalana Rajel, "Familiarity" Round 16: Lt Mirra Ezo & Lt Antero Flynn, "Big Trouble in Little Risa" Round 17: P3 Damien Bagwell III & Lt Mirra Ezo, "Fighting fire with...foam?" Round 18: Lt John Valdivia, "Unexpected visit" Round 19: LtCmdr Kaitlyn Falcon & Yillara Khante, "Time to Play" Round 20: Capt Tyr Waltas, "Showdown" Winners for Set 4, 2015: Round 21: Councillor Dempok, "Ashes and Bone" Round 22: LtCmdrs T'Lea & Rune Jolara, "Defying a Direct Order" Round 23: LtCmdr Kelly, "Man Overboard" Round 24: Lazlo, "Lost Luggage" Round 25: Lt Mirra Ezo, "Big dang heroes sir" Round 26: LtCmdr Sabrina Holly & Cmdr David Cody, "Cooking Lessons & Kitchen Curveballs"
  14. Polling closes at 11:59pm Pacific on Sunday, November 27th. This is a run-off poll, where our general membership (that's you!) chooses which sim, from Set 4 of 2016 (Rounds 21-26), should proceed to the final round of the contest for a chance to be selected as the Top Sim of 2016! These sims below were chosen by a panel of judges (one from each ship) from the sims submitted in Rounds 21-26 of the contest. TO START, please read these sims: Round 21: Councillor Dempok, "Ashes and Bone" Round 22: LtCmdrs T'Lea & Rune Jolara, "Defying a Direct Order" Round 23: LtCmdr Kelly, "Man Overboard" Round 24: Lazlo, "Lost Luggage" Round 25: Lt Mirra Ezo, "Big dang heroes sir" Round 26: LtCmdr Sabrina Holly & Cmdr David Cody, "Cooking Lessons & Kitchen Curveballs" NEXT, using the poll above, vote for the sim you like the most. It should be the sim that's the best written, with strong characterization, and evocative or descriptive scene-setting. DON'T vote for a sim just because you serve on the same crew as the person who wrote it. Any crew that "stuffs the ballot" (by having everyone on the crew vote for the same sim to ensure that it wins this poll) will be eliminated from the contest and shamed by the rest of the community as terrible, terrible cheaters. That would be awful. Good luck to the nominees!
  15. Tyr Waltas, "Showdown" wins this run-off round! Congratulations -- this sim will head to the final run-off round of the year!
  16. Though my current character is male like his writer, and most of my main PCs through the years have been male, I am also comfortable writing as a female character. In almost all cases, the human condition is exactly the same regardless of gender, and prose comes out exactly the same whether the character is male or female. The only time it becomes an obvious chore is when a writer tries to lean too heavily on archetypes or stereotypes, and an unfamiliarity can become a little more obvious when these are over-utilized. Thanks to the inspiration and guidance of a writer I heavily respect, I had a chance in the recent past to write for a non-gender species, and that honestly was a much heavier challenge than writing for a gender opposite of my own as a writer. It forced me to realize my own pitfalls as a writer into falling into gender roles, and I think it will definitely help me moving forward in writing for the opposite gender or non-binary genders.
  17. My earliest memories of Trek were syndicated reruns of TOS on Friday nights, when my kid brother and I were able to stay up late. We were merciless! We mocked the episodes, tore them to shreds like our own version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Stupid kids! But it must have left a lasting impact on me, for when TNG came out, I was a religious follower. And the rest, as they say, is history
  18. Droids! Robotics is an exploding field in our current reality, be it industry, personal care, entertainment, or arguably even our transportation. I've always found it slightly odd that robotics has been almost conspicuously absent from the Trek universe, aside from the odd android or Exocomp. Why aren't there more robots!?
  19. Happy Birthday, James! I hope you had a chance to enjoy it! :D

  20. Somebody had to say it, we were all thinking it...
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