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Randal Shayne

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Posts posted by Randal Shayne

  1. Poll of the Week: Should Starfleet Abandon the Holodeck?

    (Special thanks to co-facilitator Anath G’Renn for this great poll idea!)

    There are two absolute rules of Star Trek. One: if you don’t have a name, but you are holding a phaser, chances are you’re going to die. And two: holodecks are dangerous.

    Frankly, holodecks are technological wonders, able to produce infinite shapes, landscapes, settings and characters for the enjoyment of the user. But it would be really nice if they, you know… actually worked.

    More often than not, whenever a holodeck has been featured, something has gone horribly wrong. Generally, this will include the unintentional deactivation of safety protocols- a design flaw that opens up participants to deadly and extreme risk, depending on the program being run. The wacky adventures shown in DS9’s “Our Man Bashir”, and TNG's “A Fistful of Datas” are excellent examples of this phenomenon, among others. Indeed, the frequency with which these difficulties occur is alarming.

    Besides the ubiquitous instances of error stemming solely from mechanical malfunction, we are also forced to consider the effect a fully operable holodeck has on individuals. In the TNG episode “Hollow Pursuits”, the audience is subjected to a taste of the repressed Reginald Barclay’s fantasy life, and the detrimental effects holographic technology can have on an individual. Reg is completely addicted to his holographic world, displaying a pattern of behavior similar to victims of other destructive dependencies. And, of course, who can forget James Moriarty’s famous acquisition of sentience due to a simple command the computer took way too literally?

    The point is, the holodeck, while a fantastic opportunity, is also incredibly risky. The Enterprise-D, Deep Space 9, and Voyager have each experienced more than their share of difficulties, and this is but a tiny portion of Federation assets equipped with these devices. This poll of the week asks you to consider the future of the holodeck. Should Starfleet abandon the technology? Should major corrections be made? Or are you of the opinion that no changes are needed? Give us your vote, and explain away in the comments section below!

  2. It’s been my experience that Star Trek: Enterprise does not get the love it deserves. Certainly there were some problems, but it often raised intriguing moral and philosophical dilemmas for the viewer to digest- something every Star Trek should have. Indeed, while many opportunities were missed, some were seized brilliantly. Specifically, the fourth season featured some extremely intriguing episodes on a variety of issues. One of these issues was racial bigotry. While this is not a new approach for Star Trek, a particular argument within the episode “Home” strikes me as disturbingly relevant, even if it is quite disagreeable. Before becoming truly obnoxious, a bar patron confronts Reed, Mayweather and Phlox, shortly after the Enterprise returns from its mission in the Expanse. The loudmouth, obviously a hurt individual, questions the rationale of Starfleet’s mission. Was it a good idea to go galavanting about the galaxy, and to not only announce the existence of humanity, but to offer the coordinates for the home planet of the human species?

    The Xindi attack on Earth, naturally, played a part in increasing xenophobia within the population, but while the argument may be biased, the man’s point of view is at least comprehensible. 

    This week’s poll asks you to consider how you would approach the earliest organized Starfleet operations. Would you put forward a trusting hand, as Enterprise did, and risk having it swatted away, or worse, bringing about a tragedy, all the while hoping for the best? Or do you agree more with the bar patron’s perspective? Would you be more reserved with your expansion, judiciously choosing when and with whom to make contact, as the Vulcans advised? Give us your vote here, and let us know your thoughts and perspectives in the comments section below!

  3. For more than fifty years, Star Trek has been showing us that words are more powerful than the strongest phaser or mightiest army. How many episodes have been resolved through an eloquent, heartfelt speech to the right individual, inspiring a ceasefire or encouraging a change in mentality? It’s a staple of our beloved franchise, and part of why Star Trek is so unique. However, there have been instances in which words have literally been used to destroy or fatally incapacitate an enemy- specifically, a computerized enemy. In particular, The Original Series had a habit of encouraging machines to destroy themselves using nothing but words- out of 79 episodes, a whopping 5 have been concluded in this manner, or in something similar.

    This week’s poll asks you for your favorite episode in which Kirk and company destroyed a computer, or caused said computer to commit suicide, using nothing but speech, arguments, or visual stimuli. Was Nomad, from “The Changeling”, your favorite victim, who met his end when Kirk pointed out that the murderous probe’s actions proved it was just the sort of imperfect being it itself sought to eliminate? Or were you more swayed by the M5’s realization that it had killed hundreds of innocent people, in “The Ultimate Computer?” Perhaps the more light-hearted, comedic approach of “I. Mudd” was more to your taste? Never again would the crew of the Enterprise act so silly. Or did you prefer something else, an occasion not mentioned here? Give us your vote and let us know what you chose in the comments section below!

  4. Ah, Section 31. That shady organization whose nearly invisible agents of chaos(?) roam the shadows, seeking out and eliminating threats to the Federation in decidedly non-Starfleet ways. Officially, they don’t exist, but they are the self-proclaimed guardians of the Federation and its way of life, carrying out missions and repulsing threats too urgent to leave in the otherwise capable hands of Starfleet. Authorized by the original Starfleet Charter, Section 31’s first chronological appearance was during the fourth season of Enterprise. An operative named Harris ordered Lieutenant Malcolm Reed to sabotage Enterprise’s efforts to locate the captured Doctor Phlox. Reed, himself formerly associated with the clandestine agency, found himself in an impossible position, torn between loyalties. Harris later explained that his actions were in the best interest of Earth- by delaying Phlox’s retrieval from his captors, the Klingon Empire was stabilized, which he considered in the best interests of the fledgling Starfleet. Two centuries later, Section 31 was responsible for infecting the Founders with a morphogenic virus that, over time, began to kill them. This action was taken in the light of the Federation’s growing casualties, and the fact that an outcome favorable to the Alpha Quadrant Alliance looked less and less likely. Used as leverage, this action on the part of Section 31 did at least contribute to the Dominion withdrawal.

    While they have been shown to care about the greater good, Section 31’s rogue nature makes them accountable to no one, and their tactics are often bloody, deceitful, and irrespective of innocent life. Assassination, torture, interrogation, treason, and even genocide are perfectly acceptable in their eyes, so long as it works in the favor of the Federation.

    This week’s poll asks you to describe your opinion of Section 31. Are they a necessary component of the Federation’s security, resolving threats before anyone else knows they even exist? Are their actions more positive then negative? Or are they a stain on the Federation, a blight to be discouraged and avoided? In essence, would you support them and their efforts? Give us your vote, and tell us in the comments section below!

  5. I have to wonder if this has happened to anyone else. You kick back, ready to review some old Star Trek episode, and press play. The story builds, and you’re getting into things occuring on the screen, when…

    “No”, you think to yourself. “Did I just see that?” You rewind for a few seconds, and squint as the same images flash by. At just the right moment, you pause it. There, suddenly, in a random episode of Trek, is a celebrity (oftentimes in heavy makeup), hidden in plain sight.

    It’s not surprising that Star Trek is susceptible to cameos- in such a large, expansive universe, there’s always room for another alien creature, or background crewmember. Its popularity makes it appealing as well; some of the most famous people in the world grew up as massive fans of the franchise. It can be easy to forget just how ubiquitous Star Trek fans are.

    Not only are these cameos generally unexpected, they can often bring a whole new level of enjoyment to a given episode. One might remember “Descent, Part I”, from Next Generation’s sixth season. The opening contains perhaps the most famous cameo in Trek history; namely, that of Professor Stephen Hawking. He portrays a holographic recreation of himself, playing a game of poker with Data, along with similarly rendered simulations of Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton. Indeed, Hawking is the only individual in the entirety of Star Trek to ever play himself. Other popular appearances include Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the Pendari Champion in the Voyager episode “Tsunkatse,” and King (then Prince) Abdullah bin-al Hussein, who portrayed an unnamed crewmember in the Voyager episode “Investigations.”

    This week’s poll asks you to think back to your favorite cameo in any Star Trek series. Let us know which one you enjoyed the most, and tell us why in the comments below!

  6. There seems to be no escaping “Star Trek: Discovery.”

    It’s almost impossible to avoid discussion regarding the show on the Internet. For a program  within a universe as large and popular as Star Trek’s, this is not surprising. And, just as with every other addition to the universe of our beloved franchise, “Discovery” seems to be a flashpoint for debates and arguments, ranging from its quality, to its premise, right down to its acceptability as canon. It is no secret that Kurtzman (among others) has created a darker tone, and this distinction from other series’, along with differences in visuals and events that are difficult to explain away or ignore, has created a divide between fans.

    With its first season concluded, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on “Discovery”, and see what the SB118 community thought of it. So...what do you think? Do you enjoy it? Would you agree that it is a quality program, and/or a worthy continuation of the franchise? Or are you not quite so enthused, for whatever reason? Give us your vote, and if you’re feeling generous, let us know the reasoning behind your opinion!

  7. Let’s face it; the universe of Star Trek is enormous. Hundreds of hours of television create a vast tapestry of lore spanning several hundred years, not to mention a few different galaxies. Even for a seasoned Trekker, absorbing and assimilating this enormous amount of information is daunting, at best. There seem to be two predominant schools of thought on this. While it is a somewhat maddening task, many avid fans have taken it upon themselves to study Star Trek tirelessly, in all of its detail. As such, canon (defined as “a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine”) is often very important to these individuals, and tampering with canon in any way can elicit a negative reaction from them. However, there are plenty of diehard fans that are able to fully enjoy Star Trek without exhaustive and painstaking research. 

    There are certainly benefits to both approaches. As I was considering Star Trek: Discovery some time ago (a topic that will certainly be featured more prominently in future polls) I began to wonder toward which mentality this fleet leant towards. 

    This Poll of the Week asks you to consider your relationship with Star Trek’s canon. Is it important to you, beyond setting the scene for simming? Do you become annoyed when canon is violated? Or are you more interested in the individual stories, and willing to excuse minor continuity and canon errors in the pursuit of a good narrative? Do you have a different take on canon that isn’t mentioned here? Give us your vote, and discuss in the comments section below! 


    These are the episodes that have sent a cold shiver down our spines, or made us look over our shoulder with dread. Okay, maybe not quite so dramatic, but you get the picture. Over its run, Star Trek has featured every sort of tone. It’s diversity in this regard is unmatched by any other television show out there. Humor, mystery, political commentary, wonder, reflection...the list goes on. However, Star Trek has mostly refrained from making scary episodes. Now, there have been plenty that were frightening because of their similarities to the world of today, or due to their plausibility in some undesirable aspect. But they are rarely creepy, rarely based around terror. Note the word “rarely”. 

    While they may not be plentiful, these types of episodes often leave their marks. As someone who has experienced acute sleep deprivation, “Night Terrors”- an often-mocked Next Generation episode- has always left me somewhat uncomfortable. Others have found “Schisms” to be chill-inducing. In this one, members of the crew are whisked away in their sleep to be experimented on in horrible ways. Things are no longer a joke when the viewer learns that Riker’s arm has been amputated and reattached- though he has no memory of it. Still others, such as the more cerebral “Frame of Mind” strikes unease in many. Riker is again at the center of the story, but this time, it is the unnerving breakdown of his sanity that provides the fear. 

    In appreciation of our next spooky holiday, this Poll of the Week asks you what episode from any series frightened you the most. Did the calculated brutality found in “Empok Nor” strike a fearful cord? Or were you more affected by the vast scale of the Federation’s takeover in “Conspiracy?” Cast your vote, and let us know your reasoning in the comments section below! 

  9. Starfleet officers are prepared for their roles in every way possible. Endless classes, lectures, and hands-on learning opportunities form the education of the cadet. Rigorous technical instruction allow a prospective officer to function, work, and maintain the equipment they will encounter. History, astronomy, history, basic first aid...the sheer amount of knowledge is overwhelming.

    However, in addition to all of these courses, each cadet is also required to pass a self-defense course. The career path a cadet wishes to take will affect how much training they receive in this regard. As one might imagine, individuals such as science officers are provided the basic skills necessary to cope with bodily attack, while those pursuing a security role are, naturally, required to master far more intensive techniques for all situations.

    We all know that Starfleet officers embrace life, and do not injure without cause, or when peace might prevail. However, ten different officers might have ten different ways of approaching the question of self-defense. Some might prefer to attack and disable, while others might choose to focus almost exclusively on defending against blows. Personality, position, and mindset all play a part in one’s attitude.

    This week’s poll asks you to think about your character, and to consider their approach to self defense. Are they generally more aggressive, seeking to give as good as they get, and not hesitating to injure assailants? Or do they prefer more peaceful forms like aikido and judo- disciplines focused on disarming and disabling an opponent without injuring him or her? Or perhaps they experience some sort of middle ground - a midway between offensive and defensive techniques that suit any situation.

    Give us your vote and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below the poll!

  10. (( USS Blackwell, Deck 2, Conference Room 1 ))

    ::The conference room steadily filled with officers as the scheduled time for the meetings crept closer.  So many changes had taken place on Blackwell in the recent past, and the new makeup of her senior staff featured a true mix of familiar and new faces.::

    ::Some of them, like Shayne, Rhyn, and R'Ven, Didrik had known for some time.  He wondered how Shayne was coping with the recent reassignment of Isabel Pond, with whom he'd had a significant relationship and even shared living space, and thought it might be wise to look in after him when the time was mutually right.  The thought of Pond, Logan, and Brell, having relocated for new adventures under the latter's command aboard the USS Atlantis, made Didrik a mix of happy and sad.  He was pleased that the Bolian CO was moving forward in his career and having new adventures on a ship of his own, but he was dismayed at how he himself had left things; Didrik had put off a proper apology for too long, and now he missed his chance.::

    ::The room reached near capacity, and Didrik presumed the meeting ought to begin any moment now.  Once the Captain seemed satisfied that anyone who would be in attendance had arrived, he claim the room's attention and began.::

    Zaekia: Alright. Thank you all for attending. I appreciate we’ve all just been through quite the ordeal but we need answers. We need to know this vessel is fit for purpose and won’t let us down again like it has here today.

    ::Didrik didn't know much about Kalean cultural practices, but if Zaekia were human, Didrik might have ascribed an accusatory tone to the captain's words, as if the real culprit was not the ship, but rather one of them in the room.  ‘Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?  Who me?  Yes, you.  Couldn’t be.  Then, who?’  It was equally likely, however, that Didrik was just projecting his own thoughts onto Zaekia's words.  He did his best to suspend his own judgment until everyone in the room had had his or her say.::

    R’Ven: Yes Captain. To that end I have had each of the department chiefs compile reports of the current state of their department and how it applies to the current state of the ship.

    Zaekia: Engineering, let’s start with you. How bad is the damage and how long will it take us to complete repairs?

    ::Didrik was not a skilled engineer; in fact, he had always scored below average in engineering aptitude, but today, he was very interested to hear what Blackwell's engineers had to say about the near-breach of the ship's warp core.  A core breach is a death sentence for anyone unlucky enough to be within a few kilometers of one, and the story of how Blackwell had come mere seconds to utter destruction, only to miraculously recover, was a story Didrik was eager to hear.::
    Yesna: The damage is not as bad as first thought engines can be back up within the next couple of hours and the deflector will take around five hours to get it back up and running, but when we do return to a space dock I would recommend a full replacement. The power systems will need a few tweaks and bypass as we fix the dish. We could do all this with the help of the Consortium within 12 hours and we can be underway again.
    Zaekia: I know but we need their help, Admiral.

    ::Didrik recognized the non-sequitur immediately.  It wasn't just the out-of-place bit of conversation, it was the captain's whole demeanor, as if he were having a conversation with someone half verbally, half telepathically, lost the ability to distinguish the two.  He saw the same thing happening between Dr. G'Renn and Counselor Sindrana down in Sickbay, and Didrik it seemed Zaekia and Renos were now entangled in a similar thing.::

    Zaekia: ::Clearing his throat and turning slightly deeper blue about the cheeks:: Sorry. Alright, let’s move on. I think we have a pretty good sense of where the ship is at right now and what sort of repairs timeline we’re looking at. Thank you Ensign Yesna. How are things going with regards to the investigation into what happened?
    Shayne: Sirs, so far, the results of the investigation regarding the difficulties at the helm are...less than conclusive. We’ve looked at mechanical fault of all kinds. We’ve even... We’ve even considered pilot error. So far, nothing has turned up. But I’ve got a team on it- they’re going to look until they find the problem.

    ::As an ex-helm officer himself, Didrik knew that there existed a special bond among those Starfleet officers lucky enough to pilot its vessels across the galaxy.  To outsiders, it may seem that starship pilots were cliquish, or uninterested with the workings of the rest of the vessel, but Didrik knew this wasn't true.  It's just that most Starfleet pilots considered themselves so unbelievably lucky in a way that non pilots just couldn't understand.  It wasn't just flying the ship, it was the privilege of sitting at the head of the bridge and the honor of knowing that no matter where in the universe a ship might go, it is you, the pilot, who gets to take her there.  Because of this, Didrik knew that even Shayne's mention of investigating 'pilot error' was delivered reluctantly, and with all the seriousness of a heart attack.::

    Thoran: My finding so far concur with Commander Shayne. We have run security sweeps over the main systems and have yet to find anything.
    R’Ven: Captain, I would like to ask a few question to make the situation a little more clear?

    Zaekia: Of course, by all means.
    R’Ven: Thank You. ::Turning his attention to those assembled he posed his first questions:: Commander Shayne, Lieutenant Thoran and Ensign Yesna, your accounts are thorough. Thank you. ::without pause Merrick turned to Yesna:: However to add one additional point. Ensign, I had also asked you to look into any sort of unauthorized access to our systems. Were you able to find anything?
    Yesna: Yes Sir, There was a strange command-line subroutine in the navigational array, that seemed to be trying to take control of the helm. That was till the dish exploded.
    R’Ven: And were you able to determine the source?
    Yesna: Not yet but it was transferred to our systems within the last month.
    R’Ven: Thank you Ensign I appreciate your efforts in this regard.

    ::Didrik had only met a handful of Ash'lie in his lifetime, and he found each one as puzzling as the last.  When humans were only just beginning to discover agriculture as an alternative to hunting and gathering, the Ash’lie were experiencing a Golden Age of artistic achievement.  Millennia beyond humans in nearly every measurable way, it begged the question, why would an Ash’lie choose to spend his time with such ‘primitive’ alien species?::
    R’Ven: Commander Shayne, Lietenant Thoran. There was an event that happened on the Atlantis. Is it possible that these events could have been connected?
    Shayne: ::Murmuring in horror:: Oh, my god.

    ::A few at the conference table overheard Shayne’s hushed interjection, but no one called attention to it.::

    Shayne: When you were chasing that robot on the Atlantis, it was on Deck 6- auxiliary control, correct?
    Thoran: Correct.
    Shayne: You said something about it perhaps trying to transmit its data to whoever had designed it. What if you were half right? What if it was transmitting something, but not to its creator? Do you get what I’m saying?
    ::For his own part, Didrik didn’t get what Shayne was saying.  He had never even stepped foot aboard Atlantis, and wasn’t familiar with the events that transpired during the time she and Blackwell had been assigned to work together.  Piecing his questions together, however, had Didrik just as worried as others around the table looked.  Rogue transmissions from out-of-control robots didn’t sound like something that would just resolve itself.::
    Thoran: Rather than transmit the stolen data to its creator, it had instead released some form of signal? ::His brows furrowed in puzzlement.:: Would we or the Atlantis not have detected that?
    Zaekia: Good question.
    Tu'Peq: Captain, Commander, if I may?
    Zaekia: Go ahead Mr Tu’Peq, what’s on your mind?

    Tu'Peq: The Blackwell and Atlantis has always been in relatively close proximity to each other, on galactic scales. All space-faring vessels vent waste energy into space, in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics. In addition to waste energy from propulsion, waste energy from the power grid is also vented through the same system.  If the robot had access to auxiliary control it could have masked its transmissions in the Atlantis's waste energy. It wouldn't be able to travel far but, knowing Starfleet transmission protocols, the Blackwell's power grid would have acted as a magnet for this robot's...virus.

    ::Phrases like galactic scale, thermodynamics, and waste energy didn’t exactly fill Didrik with a comfort that nothing was wrong.  The science officer’s explanation was reasoned, logical, and if it was true, scary.  It was the equivalent of the classic human sneeze-handshake method of disease transmission, and if computer viruses were now communicable through space via a starship’s energy field, it wasn’t just Blackwell, or Starfleet, or even the Alpha Quadrant, that would pay the price.::
    Rhyn: Response
    Zaekia:  That’s something we’ll examine moving forward. Thank you for your insight. I think this has been a very productive discussion. I’d like to move on now and get an update from medical.
    ::If medical was going now, Didrik was certain he’d be next.  He finished his glass of water and activated his PADD, using a stylus from his pocket to take notes.  He listened carefully to Dr. G’Renn as she informed the rest of the senior crew.::
    G’Renn: We have already treated a majority of the injuries caused by the damage to the main deflector. At least two dozen injuries of varying degrees of severity. There were a few serious injuries requiring surgical intervention, while most of the injured have already been cleared to return to duty. Thankfully, there were no fatalities.
    Stennes:  oO Thankfully.  It could have been so much worse. Oo
    G’Renn: There is, also a situation that appears to be developing in regards to the telepaths aboard the ship. I believe that Counselor Stennes has assembled a report on the matter.

    ::Didrik didn’t expect to be given the floor so quickly, and there were a few seconds of awkward silence as he finished scrawling a note on his PADD.::

    Stennes:  A worrying number of telepathic crewmembers have reported abnormal experiences related to their telepathy.  Episodes vary in duration and intensity, and are somewhat eldritch in nature and highly distracting.  ::referencing his PADD::  Some have reported hearing voices, re-living memories, and hallucinating.  Somewhat more troubling is what appears to be a breakdown in the ability to control one’s telepathic abilities.  We’ve had reports of crewmembers ‘overhearing’ each other telepathically and... having difficulty distinguishing between verbal and telepathic communication.
    ::Didrik spoke the last words gingerly, because it appeared their captain had just had such an episode only moments before.  He didn’t want Zaekia thinking he was singling him out.::
    Ilsam: Response(s)
    Zaekia: I have to say that does explain a few things and before you ask, yes I’ll be visiting sickbay directly after this meeting. For now, I’d like to hear a bit more about the details - how do the symptoms develop? How is it transmitted? What is your plan for dealing with it and how can we help?
    G’Renn: So far the vector of transmission is unknown, and I have so far been less than successful in locating a physiological cause. I wouldn’t want to rule anything out before we study the affliction in greater detail.
    Ilsam: Response(s)
    Stennes:  There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that the breakdown in telepathic control, which I spoke about a moment ago, can be exacerbated in moments of extreme stress.  During the ship-wide emergency, several of those afflicted experienced significant difficulty in focus while carrying out their duties.
    ::Didrik didn’t want to ‘rat out’ G’Renn and Sindrana for their telepathic tête-à-têtes in Sickbay and in the convalescent ward, and hoped Zaekia wouldn’t ask to whom in particular Didrik was referring.  However, where G’Renn came from a place of wanting to withhold judgment until more could be learned about this mystery, Didrik felt his gut was telling him what he needed to know.::
    Zaekia: We’ll ensure you have the resources you need. Here’s the plan - R’Ven, I want you to join Dr G’Renn and Mr Stennes and help them study and understand this virus. We need to eradicate this before anyone has a complete mental breakdown or suffers permanent brain damage. I’ll help in whatever way I can to that end as well. 
    R’Ven: Agreed sir. I will do everything in my power.
    ::Outwardly, Didrik maintained a professionally neutral expression.  Inside, he was worried.  Could any of them be trusted to fulfill their duties if push came to shove?  Didrik was unaware of the progress R’Ven had made in recovering from his partial assimilation, G’Renn was having telepathic troubles, and Didrik was--::
    Stennes:  oO Nope, we’re not thinking about that now, Didrik.
    ::He pushed the thought out of his mind and resolved to find a solution to the crisis with the help of his colleagues’ expertise and professionalism.::
    Zaekia: Mr Shayne, head down to engineering with Ms Yesna and Mr Thoran - I want this ship up to spec asap but more than that I want you to investigate this lead we’ve uncovered. If there’s a virus or something infecting our systems I want it purged asap. I understand there was a civilian aboard who pitched in during the crisis as well?
    Yesna: Yes Sir, A Ms Farnsworth I would like her to help if possible sir?
    Zaekia: Well we need all hands on this so get her support as well.
    Shayne: Response
    Renos: I’ll be heading down to the Burellion capital city of Chloretta to meet with Negrid, an individual we identified at the Consortium HQ as wanting our attention. He has something he’s desperate to tell us, and I believe it related to the Consortium. This could be the big break we’ve been looking for. I’ll be taking Pandorn, Sarjak and Aquilina with me. I don’t want to spook him by approaching with unfamiliar faces.
    Pandorn: Yes, Admiral. We should be as low profile as we can be though.
    Sarjak: Response
    Renos: We’re going to be stuck here for a number of hours while Starfleet and Consortium engineering teams work their magic. We might as well make the best of a bad situation and turn this to our advantage in any way possible. We still have an opportunity to explore, get to know the people of House Larokon, the people of Burellion and how they see themselves. What we learn here today might shape the way we approach diplomatic situations and build a better relationship with the people here in the future. That’s why I would like Mr Wilmer, Rhyn, Illsam and Tu’Peq to head to Chloretta. The cultural museum is said to be the finest in the region.
    ::Didrik admitted silently that the other team’s assignment sounded a lot more fun his own.  Sure, isolating the cause of, subsequently curing, a heretofore unknown malady that affects an ability his people didn’t even possess was fine work if one could get it, but a day trip to a museum sounded... well, cooler.::
    Wilmer: Aye Admiral. I’m sure the team and I can dig up all kinds of interesting facts.
    Zaekia: Please be aware that teams travelling to Burellion outside of HQ property must go by shuttle. Burellion has strict transport regulations and are not in possession or transporter technology. They don’t trust it so you could say it has been effectively banned.
    ::Didrik pondered Zaekia’s admonition against transporter use within Burellion territory.  He wondered if their distrust of the technology, which was based upon converting matter into energy and reconstituting it elsewhere, might have something in common with Tu’Peq’s theory about robotic viruses traveling in waste energy.  Didrik scribbled the idea down in his PADD and would bring it up later.::
    Zaekia: I really want to personally thank you all for your hard work. These are incredibly high pressure situations and as much as we train and we drill for it, nothing can truly, fully prepare you for the reality of it.
    Renos: You’ve all performed exceptionally and when you get right down to it, it's because of you and the work of the collective crew that we’re here at all. 
    Zaekia: I’d like to recognise Ensigns Tu’Peq and Yesna in particular, for their exceptional work and dedication. You are both hereby promoted to the rank of Ensign and granted the relevant rights and privileges that go with it. Congratulations.
    Yesna: Thank you Sir
    Tu’Peq:  Response
    Pandorn: ::smiling:: Congratulations, you two. Good job.
    Thoran: Congratulations to you both. Very much deserved. 
    R’Ven: Congratulations Lieutenants Tu’Peq and Yesna. I have had the distinction of working with you both and this is definitely well deserved. 
    Shayne/Anyone: Responses
    Zaekia: With Commander Rhyn arriving to take up the post of Chief Tactical Officer, Mr Thoran will be able to concentrate specifically on security as the department’s permanent chief.
    Rhyn:  Response
    Thoran: Thank you Mr Pandorn. Perhaps you would care to give me a heads up?
    Pandorn: I'll be glad to tell you after this is over. ::grins::
    R’Ven/Shayne/Anyone: Responses
    Zaekia: Thank you everyone. Dismissed.
    Renos: Thank you captain. Those in my team - grab your away kits and meet me in the shuttlebay.
    ::Didrik liked Zaekia’s style; it was clever to save the mirth of promotions and crew reassignments to the end, when everyone was already pumped up and ready to take on their respective assignments.  It seemed to raise the excitement in the room as the officers filed out of the room; everyone strode into the corridor with as if purpose personified.::
    (( USS Blackwell, Deck 2, Corridor outside conference rooms ))
    ::Didrik timed his movement down the corridor, passing some and allowing others right of way, until he, G’Renn and R’Ven had convened.::
    G’Renn: Commander R’Ven, Commander Stennes. While it is practical for temporarily housing those affected, I am afraid that the Convalescent Wards are not very practical as a research area. We could use the Duty Doctor’s Lab in Sickbay, bringing a few patients expressing symptoms at different levels with us as we investigate. 
    R’Ven: That does seem reasonable. ::Craning his head, Merrick turned to stare at Stennes:: What do you think commander?
    ::Didrik battled with what he was thinking versus what he ought to be saying, and at first, it was a toss-up to see which would arrive on his lips first.  By a hair, the more reasonable of the two emerged victorious, and Didrik answered calmly.::
    Stennes:  I was thinking of the Medical Labs on Deck 23, but your suggestion is better, Doctor.  It makes more sense to work out of Sickbay directly.
    ::Didrik tried to make his sigh of relief as small and unnoticeable as possible.  He wondered why was being polite and congenial suddenly so difficult.  Actually, he pretended to wonder; he knew the answer, but denial was kindly keeping it from him until he was ready for it.::
    G’Renn: Commander ::Turning to look at R’Ven:: It would also be neglectful on my part if I did not mention that the symptoms have begun to affect me as well.
    R’Ven: I have been told that different individuals have been presenting the illness in different ways. How is your presenting.
    G’Renn: Response
    R’Ven: I understand. I thank you for sharing. We will do everything we can to help you. Have you found that it is impacting your ability to work?
    G’Renn:  Response
    Stennes:  My observation of Dr. G’Renn indicated that despite a momentary disorientation during her... episode... she maintained control over her judgment and her faculties throughout.  In my opinion, she is fit for duty.
    ::Didrik was even more flummoxed.  Why did that come so easily to him, when just a moment ago, he was in knots about which room on the ship to use?  Maybe the irritability and erratic behavior were just momentary blips on his emotional radar and nothing more.  He certainly hoped so.::
    R’Ven: ::turning to face Zaekia:: Greetings Captain. I have been discussing with Doctor G’Renn and Counselor Zaekia the effect that this virus has had on Doctor’s G’Renn. ::slight tilt of the head:: You are telepathic. Have you noticed any adverse effects?
    Stennes:  oO Well, that’s one way to bring it up. Oo
    Zaekia: Response
    ::If the captain were having problems with controlling his telepathy, the entire ship could be in jeopardy.  It gave him an idea.::
    Stennes:  We have collected a great deal of data from our current patients.  It may take some time to isolate the cause, but I wonder if we could identify some chemical or biological or physiological changes that accompany one of these telepathic episodes.
    Zaekia/R’Ven/G’Renn:  responses
    Stennes: If we knew what happens in the body when an episode begins, we might be able to predict when one is coming.  Then–with all due respect, of course, Captain–the medical computer could monitor whoever is in command, and should that person suffer an episode, it could transfer command codes automatically to the highest ranking officer who is not afflicted.  It’s not a cure, but at least it is a backup plan to keep the ship safe.
    Zaekia/R’Ven/G’Renn:  responses
    Lt Cmdr Didrik Stennes
    USS Blackwell NCC-58999
    Andaris Task Force
  11. They’re one of the most recognizable species in Star Trek, and one of the most misunderstood. Breaking away from the peaceful, enlightened philosophy that began to sweep through Vulcan a thousand years ago, they founded a new world, upon which an empire would be forged. From here, these violent imperialists stretched forth their hands, and developed into a galactic civilization. Despite their commonly shown brutality, xenophobia, and mysterious, overwhelming power, the Romulan people are one of the most diverse, complicated, and iconic parts of the Star Trek universe. 

    It is this diversity that has allowed so many unforgettable Romulan characters to take the stage. Who could forget the unnamed Romulan commander who lead the attacks against Earth Outposts 2, 3, 4, and 8 along the Neutral Zone, and then against the Enterprise herself, in the classic Original Series episode Balance of Terror? What of the sinister Commander Tomalak, the sly rival of Captain Picard, played by the famed Andreas Katsulas? And certainly, the treasonous, principled Admiral Alidar Jarok, who sacrificed all that he had on a futile mission in the pursuit of peace,  must be mentioned in such an illustrious list. 

    This week’s Poll of the Week asks you to name your favorite Romulan, and to explain why you chose him/her. Did you find the strong female commander Toreth appealing? Or were you more a fan of Sela, the skilled manipulator of entire civilizations, and one of the biggest surprises of The Next Generation? Give us your vote, and let us know why you chose it in the comments section below! 


    Everyone has their own opinion of JJTrek. I’ve watched the movies, and I am far from impressed. However, in their own way, these new iterations of the franchise we know and love bring up topics for discussion. After watching Star Trek Into Darkness, and a certain parody YouTube video, I began to consider the merits of the revolutionary technology introduced in the movie; transwarp beaming. 

    These devices can be used to hurl individuals and objects hundreds, even thousands of times farther than a regular transporter would be capable of. Essentially, the transwarp transporter allowed instantaneous travel between destinations lightyears away from the start point. 

    With such an incredible advantage, however, presents a rather unpleasant logistical dilemma. Put simply, it is this; would we need starships any longer? They have been the means by which the Federation has explored the galaxy, sought peace, and defended against the innumerable alien threats lurking in deep space. With transwarp beaming, journeys that would take days at warp could be achieved in the blink of an eye, without the complications that a starship brings to the equation. Indeed, we have seen defense platforms and drones used by various species and organizations in Star Trek- it stands to reason that the Federation could use these technologies as well. With a hypothetical transwarp beaming device, the question is, how much of our standard operation should we keep? 

    This week’s poll asks you to tell us what your feelings are on this. Do you embrace transwarp beaming as the new, better way to traverse the galaxy? Or do you prefer the standard method of starships and starbases? Perhaps a combination of the two? Or neither? Let us know in the comments section below! 


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  13. They’re as iconic as the ships and stations they reside on. While they were hardly as necessary as engines or a command deck, they still served a vital purpose. With the stress that comes with being an officer (the endless work, the responsibilities, the constant threat of assimilation or vaporization) it becomes essential for the crew to have a place where they can sit down, have a drink, and unwind.

    Ten-Forward. Quark’s Bar. The mess halls aboard Enterprise and Voyager. Each of them had their own style, and a list of stories a mile long. Who could forget Worf’s delivery of Molly in Ten-Forward, or the time Guinan threatened to show a crew on the brink of mutiny Setting #2? How about the time Sisko punched (!) Q in a manly display of fisticuffs, or the stories exuded ad nauseam by Morn in Quark's? What about Tom Paris’ and Neelix’s duel in the Voyager mess, or the Doctor’s commando tactics when he attempted to flank a holographic Kazon? This is just the briefest account of the adventures that occurred behind the doors of these illustrious establishments.

    This week’s poll asks you to think back, and choose the canon eatery/bar you liked the most. Did you enjoy the dignified yet loose air of Ten Forward, or the adventurous, brazen feeling of Quarks? Or did you perhaps prefer the more conventional atmosphere of Enterprise or Voyager’s hallowed (mess) halls? Or did you have another in mind? I know I haven’t mentioned all of them. In any case, cast your vote, and let us know your reasoning in the comments section!

  14. For better or for worse, humanity has entered the Age of Automation. Computers and machines, once visible only in imaginations and in television studios (as props) now form a nigh inescapable bond around us. Devices that are orders of magnitude more powerful than the Apollo spacecrafts, the pinnicle of technology a mere fifty years ago, now fit comfortably in our hands. In some ways, these enormous advances have benefitted us greatly. In other ways, most of us would agree that there have been drawbacks. Face-to-face conversation is now at a premium. 

    Star Trek showed us a world filled with incredible technologies, too numerous to account for entirely. We all know of the warp drive, and the transporter, and on the whole, these things brought great hope and prosperity to the Federation. But there were little joys that seemed to be lost as the years past. Cooking is a rarity in the Federation- replicator units have removed the need for it.  Keiko O'Brien's reaction to Miles' statement that his mother cooked with live animals proves this. The use of pen and paper seems to have been lost as well. Save for a few select instances, everything from scientific reports to fictional stories have been transcribed upon PADDs, the mechanical devices so commonly seen in a character's hand. I can't speak for the rest of you, but I take pride and joy in cleaning the house. That seems to be absent in the world of Star Trek, at least onboard ships. 

    Certainly these things are often seen as hassles. Who wants to cook after ten hours at work? Who would pine for additional paperwork? And cleaning the house? Forget it! But I feel that if we lost these things to automation, we might begin to feel their absense keenly.

    What do you think? Do you agree, or would you be glad to be rid of these irritations? Or do you have other tasks that fit into a similar vein? Post your vote here and let us know in the comment's section below!


    When one speaks to me, it becomes painfully obvious that I am not a big gamer. However, I also know that many people within SB118 are serious about their digital pursuits. World of Warcraft seems to be the preferred game by far. Another one that seems to be spreading is the relatively new Star Trek Timelines. Though I don’t play myself, the basic idea has been explained to me.

    Essentially, players attempt to resolve missions by utilizing the skills of their crew. These crewmembers are all recognizable from canon, but differing political allegiances and the centuries between two characters in one of the television shows would not apply here. Kirk could be teamed up with the Borg Queen as easily as with Spock or McCoy.

    That got me thinking. Each character has a set value in the game, but what if no such point value existed? What if you could choose a character from the game, or any character from any of the six television shows, to join your current crew?

    A big question, I know. So many possibilities- any of Starfleet’s most famous names as a part of your manifest. Imagine seeing Montgomery Scott repairing a power coupling in a Jeffries tube, or Will Riker on the bridge, his collar again adorned with three pips.

    What famous character would you want with you on your voyages? Give your vote, and then explain in the comments section below!

  16. It’s not easy being the captain. Managing the safety of one’s ship, and seeing to the success of important missions without fail is a most trying task. Each decision carries the potential for disaster, and a captain on the fringes of known space must rely on his or her experience and training. However, Star Trek has shown us multiple instances where venerated Starfleet captains have made questionable choices and command decisions.

    On most occasions, these unusual choices take place in the shadow of desperate circumstances, where lives, planets, even entire civilizations hang in the balance. Examples include Ben Sisko’s three man conspiracy to rid the Romulan Empire of one of its senators, in order to bring them into the war, and Jonathan Archer’s blatant piracy of a warp coil from an innocent and uninvolved vessel. One of the most famous, and controversial decisions ever made in Star Trek, however, is Kathryn Janeway’s alliance with the Borg. In an attempt to make it past Borg space unharmed, Janeway proposes a temporary ceasefire with the Borg, who are locked in a brutal and failing war against interdimensional beings known as Species 8472. Janeway offers the desperate Collective a way to defeat their seemingly invincible enemy, despite being fully aware of the consequences that would ensue from supporting the Borg. Many have criticized this course of action harshly, and most Trek fans seem to be in agreement, but there are two sides to every coin.

    This week’s poll asks you to place yourself in Janeway’s situation. Do you agree with her decision? Given the same circumstances, would you do the same thing? Why or why not? Give us your vote, and explain your reasoning in the comments section below!

  17. In nearly 250 years of operation, Starfleet has changed its uniform code a great many times. In some eras, the look was utilitarian, and supported operations in the harsh expanse of space. This is seen in Enterprise’s NASA- inspired jump suits, and the fleet’s current outfit, introduced in First Contact. Other times, elegance and refinement was the preferred approach. Such examples include the mandarin collars of Season Three Next Generation, and the dignified (though sweltering) double breasted blood red jackets and black pants, seen in five of the six original Star Trek movies. And who could forget the look that started it all- the red, gold, and blue tunics and black pant ensemble from The Original Series? In that time period, each starship and instillation had its own distinctive uniform assignment patch- a reminder of the long past days when the chevron we know today did not apply universally.

    It seems that everyone has a favorite uniform from the franchise. Each carries such a legacy, and all of them have something to offer the discerning tailor in all of us- well, almost (I’m looking at you, Motion Picture one-piece pajamas). This week’s poll asks you to name your preferred uniform, and why you prefer it. Are you looking for dignity, or classic style, or functionality? Or something else? Leave your answers in the comments below!


  18. Star Trek's six television series, and 10 (all right, 13) movies have shown various Starfleet vessels exploring the unknowns of space. Hundreds of alien worlds have been visited, countless regions mapped, and endless foes faced. Through it all, there seems to be one critical place, without which none of these feats would be possible. I'm talking about the bridge, the command center for an entire starship. It is only fitting that such an important part of the ship should get so much screen time, and because of this, the many bridges we've seen have become iconic.

    It is said that one can tell the era a ship belongs to just by glancing at her bridge. The many configurations and formats that have been shown on various vessels each have their own style, their own design. No two classes of ship have precisely the same layout. The bridge of the Defiant class is smaller, and obviously built with combat in mind. Alternatively, the bridge of the Galaxy class couldn't be more different, with it's expansive girth and wood (wood!) features.

    This week's poll asks you to give your opinion on your favorite bridge layout. Did the submarine aesthetic of the NX class grab your attention, with it's efficient and trimmed look? Or are you a fan of the classic Constitution class design, the original in blending colorful style with functionality? Make your vote, and tell us about it in the comments section! 



  19. The Borg probe proceeds onwards, unaware that you have laid a trap for it. As it crosses your weapon's crosshairs, you give the order. Your ship decloaks, unleashes a fusillade of fire, and renders the cybernetic horrors inert. 

    Now imagine the tables are turned. Your vessel is in desperate straights. The pirates are closing fast, and you’ve already suffered damage. Even with your superior weapons, the fight would be theirs in a matter of moments. Instead, you activate your handy-dandy cloak, and try not to smile as you imagine the confused looks on the faces of your pursuers. 

    Or perhaps a more subtle application is required. Sneaking behind enemy lines is made far easier when the enemy has no idea you are there. With the proper care and patience, war-ending intelligence could be gathered, simply by staring through a viewscreen.
    We’ve all seen instances where cloaking devices have been used to great effect. However, countless dangerous situations encountered by Starfleet crews throughout the ages might have been mitigated, or completely avoided, if the Federation had continued to pursue cloaking technology. Instead, the Federation signed the Treaty of Algeron in 2311, effectively promising the Romulans that cloaking technology would not be implemented on any Starfleet vessel. 

    Cloaking technology certainly has it’s advantages, and their use would solve a great many problems faced by Starfleet. However, would it have been in the Federation’s best interest to employ cloaking devices on ships? In the wrong hands, it could wreak devastating havoc. Additionally, the moral implications of its use are less than clear. This week’s poll asks you for your input on this difficult subject. Would you approve of the Federation using cloaking technology (of its own), or would you eschew it, preferring more traditional methods? Submit your vote here, and explain it in the comments section, if you have the inclination. 

  20. Hello, hello!

    If I understand you question correctly, I believe the answer is as follows; in the toolbar above the text, you will see blocks of different functions, including Bold, Underline, and Insert Link. To the direct right of the Insert Link button is a function whose icon is a closed quotation mark. If you click this, a small, confined line will appear in your text box, much liked what you might see when trying to write in a PowerPoint. Now, if you copy and paste the quotation into this box, and then post it, along with anything you want to say about the quote in the regular text section below it, the quote will appear, well, quoted! 

    Now it should be said that, because you're quoting from an outside source, the quote won't immediately include the person from whom the quote is from, nor the date, so if you're wanting to attribute the quote to someone (which you should :) ) you should include some indication of who wrote it in the regular box. 

    I do hope this helped. If it didn't, don't be afraid to ask again- I or someone will be delighted to help.

    And can I just say that is one of the best profile pics I've ever seen?! :D Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave. 

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