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  1. The Prime Directive, whatever your opinion on it, is a fascinating rule to consider, and has undoubtedly caused more disagreement and discussion than most anything else in the Trek Universe. There seem to be episodes that would support both sides of the argument. One that is often referred to is Enterprise's "Dear Doctor". In it, the crew stumbles on a world with two species, who seem to live with one another in some sort of harmony. The Valakians, the dominant species, is facing extinction due to a rapidly spreading mutation, whereas the Menk, the second species, remain unaffected. As time goes on, the crew finds that the Valakians marginalize the Menk, and that despite the peace they share, the Valakians clearly see the Menk is inferior. Phlox eventually finds a cure to the Valakian's illness, but feels it is unethical to administer it. Phlox believes that the Menk are on the verge of an awakening, and a huge surge in development. If the Valakians were allowed to become extinct naturally, that surge would be an important step in their history- a step that would not be taken with the Valakians still alive and able to maintain their dominance. In the end, Archer orders Phlox to provide the Valakians with enough medication to ease the symptoms for approximately a decade, instead of the cure. In this way, a solution might yet be found, but it would not be as a direct result of Enterprise's visit. At the end, Archer considers a "primary directive" that might deal with this problem for future starship captains. NOW! With that lovely bit of exposition out of the way, this week's poll is simply as follows: What would you have done in that situation? Would you have provided the Valakians with the cure itself? Perhaps you would have abstained, much in the way Archer managed to do? Or would you feel more compelled to assist the Menk, either by refusing to hand over the cure, or other means? Maybe there's something that hasn't been considered- if so, please let us know in the comment's section below!
  2. Starfleet has a wide range of vessel classes at their disposal. There are large, top-of-the-line ships like Galaxy-class and Sovereign-class vessels. The Intrepid-class is a lighter long-range explorer. When going into battle a Prometheus-class or Defiant-class ship would be a welcome addition to any fleet. If you are on a scientific mission to investigate some strange phenomena you’d want to bring a Horizon-class, and an Olympic-class flying hospital is the go-to ship for a medical emergency. The Starfleet ship class lineup can adapt to a wide range of situations, but it won’t stay the same forever. Technology is always improving both for the Federation and other states. What was the newest technology available a decade before could already be surpassed by new technology. As the current ship classes go the way of the Miranda-class or Constitution-class new ship classes will need to take their place. If Starfleet came to you and put you in charge of designing the newest addition to Starfleet’s vessel classes what kind of ship would you bring back to them? Perhaps you think there’s a shortage of ships built to defend the Federation. Others could favor smaller ships as opposed to building larger and larger explorers that outclass the current flagships. If given the chance to design a new class of starship, what kind of ship would you design?
  3. No one can deny that the Klingons have come a long way from their original form. Back in the 1960s, the Klingons were used as an allegory for Communist Russia. The foes that Kirk, Spock, and the crew of the Enterprise faced were treacherous, violent dictators, unafraid of taking advantage of any opportunity, and content to live in a society nearly as oppressed as the ones they so ruthlessly conquered. Women were not considered equals- indeed, they were forbidden from a seat on the High Council, leading a Great House, or ascending to the Chancellorship, save for certain extenuating circumstances. Honor was a small consideration, and trust in short supply throughout. In the years- indeed, the centuries- between the 2260s and the 2390s, Klingon society has changed drastically. Women in particular are now considered as adept as men, and permitted to hold any station, office, or position available to a male. Honor has now become a societal imperative, reversing centuries of previous conduct. The totalitarian, “Big Brother”- esque nature of the Empire has give way to a freer, though somewhat more chaotic, oligarchy. Along with this change, the relationship between the Empire and the Federation has moved from a constant state of hostility to a rapidly and wildly fluctuating political climate. Alliances have been broken and forged in mere moments, spurned by events that neither side could contain or survive alone. From the Organian Peace Treaty to both Khitomer Accords, the Federation has, in the last century, struggled with, and benefitted from,a complicated and tenuous peace, only notably broken for a brief spat during the earlier half of the Dominion War. While most in the Federation would rather embrace the Empire as an ally than an enemy, still plainly aware of the Klingon’s military might, some might question the Federation’s policy in this regard. Despite its many social advances throughout the decades, the Klingon Empire still exercises a variety of behaviors antithetical to Federation values, most notable of which is the continued annexation and subsequent oppression of worlds which the Empire feels would be beneficial to its continued existence. Entire planets are stripped bare, and are deemed “protectorates”. Members of these unfortunate worlds are turned into second class citizens of the Empire. Even so, the Federation seeks every opportunity to associate and diplomatically interact with this expanding threat to civilization. This week’s poll question is, undoubtedly, somewhat contentious, and meant to be so; essentially, should the Federation continue to associate with the Empire? Is it still a good idea? Or is it folly and inappropriate, given the Empire’s long history of abuses against sentient life? Perhaps you’re of a different mind? Give us your vote, and let us know in the comments section below!
  4. Every series of Star Trek has taken the same basic premise and put its own unique spin on it. The show follows a crew of Starfleet officers as they carry out Starfleet’s mission of exploration, scientific discovery, and defense of the United Federation of Planets. There is a captain, a first officer, a senior staff made up of the senior officers of each department, and oftentimes a ship named Enterprise. Each new entry into the Star Trek franchise usually tries to do something new from the same starting point. Deep Space Nine placed its crew on a space station out on the frontier as opposed to the Federation flagship. Voyager cut the ship off from all support and left it to fend for itself. Enterprise gave us a look at the earliest days of Starfleet. Despite these changes there is still a great deal of similarity in the basic structure between shows. Every series is unique and tells its own stories, but they all branch off from the same general starting point. However, there’s nothing to say that every Star Trek series has to follow the usual Starfleet crew on their adventures. There are several alternative perspectives that a new series could explore, both inside and outside the United Federation of Planets. If a new Star Trek series decided to depart from the familiar setting of a Starfleet ship or starbase what would you be most excited to see?
  5. Fighting is, unfortunately, something of a constant in the Star Trek universe, as as such, different cultures and races approach the matter with unique viewpoints. Many, such as the Romulans, use classic techniques of subterfuge, confusion and shadowplay. Others, like the Klingons, prefer more upfront combat. In each instance, the weapon generally matches the strategy. And in many cases, a phaser or disruptor just won’t do. Either for personal honor and glory, or for purely tactical reasons (energy dampening fields), many fighting forces across the galaxy utilize melee weapons to defend themselves, and, often, to attack others. These weapons are as varied and unique as the aliens that wield them. This Poll of the Week seeks to know what your favorite melee weapon is. Does the classic double handed Klingon bat’leth earn your vote, or are more a fan of the Jem’hadar’s kar’takin polearm? Perhaps you prefer something not mentioned here? Give us your vote, and let us know in the comments section below!
  6. Imagine if you knew the secret of how to travel through time. Only you have the information and the know-how to travel anywhere through time. You could take a tour of ancient Rome in the morning, have lunch with a long-dead historical figure, and get back to your own time five minutes before you left. What would you do with this technology? Fiction is full of examples of time travel. Entire stories revolve around time travel, or at least serves as a plot point. So many of these stories seem to tell us all about the dangers of time travel and how we shouldn’t try to change the past. There are so many unknowns about time travel, including if it is even possible. If the decision were in your hands what would you do? Would it be worth the risk of using at all, and if so who would you trust with the technology? If you possessed time travel, how would you use it?
  7. Are you a science fiction writer looking to add some new object to your fictional universe? Maybe a culture in your story needs some kind of unique dish that is mentioned in the story to help flesh out that world. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to create a long list of names for objects in a story that are completely alien and that are at least somewhat decipherable. This leads to a common theme in many science fiction franchises with an alien species that gets explored in great detail. Eventually you’re likely to see something along the lines of [Species Name here] [Human Noun here]. Star Trek has created a long list of original names for things in the many alien cultures that exist in its universe. In fact, Star Trek boasts one of the most comprehensive languages featured in fiction, Klingon. Still, it is quite easy to see examples of this simple formula all over the Star Trek universe. Romulan ale, Saurian brandy, and Bolian soufflé all being examples in terms of foods and drinks. There’s also the difficult-to-acquire Tholian silk, Cardassian pinochle, and all kinds of variants on Earth diseases such as Ankaran flu or Rigelian fever. This week’s poll asks you what you think of this common naming convention. Is it just a simple trick used by writers that is understandable, or does it break your immersion? Coming up with an entire alien lexicon is a worldbuilding task that not every writer or author will find to be worth the cost. What do you think of the [Species] [Noun] trend for naming things in science fiction?
  8. It is this poll-posers opinion that one of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation was Season 3’s “Deja Q”. I’m confident that I’m not entirely alone in this statement, as it has frequently been lauded for its humour, intriguing storyline, and light atmosphere (for the most part). A quick refresher of the episode’s plot is in order. Essentially, Q, everyone’s favorite trickster/ superior being/ troublesome irritant, flashes onto the bridge of the Enterprise- D amid a planetary crisis. Q explains that he has been banished to this most unholy of places, and has lost his powers- something the crew simply refuses to believe, and rightly so. Throughout the episode, the audience is left to wonder if Q is simply playing another sick game, as has been his pattern up to this point. It’s eventually revealed that he’s been entirely truthful about his condition, and it is only at the end of the episode that his powers are restored and the crisis averted. However, for this poll’s purpose, I’m more interested in Q’s behavior during the meat of the events shown on screen. As time passes, even the weary crew begin to wonder if he’s being sincere, and Q’s (admittedly arrogant and unhelpful) attempts to aid in the Enterprise’s struggle nevertheless have an air of sincerity about them. His half-hearted desire to join the crew, as he is now mortal, raises an intriguing question. Starfleet is all about diversity, but what if an alien entity as utterly different and powerful like a member of the Q Continuum wanted to join the crew of your ship? He or she has convinced you of their sincerity in the matter- they truly want to be a member of your vessel. How do you you respond? Do you send them packing? Adopt them into the fold? Something in between? Give us your vote, and explain away in the comments section below!
  9. The Borg Collective is a terrifying force in the Star Trek universe. The thought of facing the Borg can even strike fear in the heart of seasoned Starfleet officers. They do not negotiate, they do not worry about diplomacy, and they have no respect for the rights of the individual or other civilizations. They exist to assimilate new drones and resources in order to further expand their Collective. Everything they do is meant to bring them closer to perfection, including the forced assimilation of others into their hive mind. However, what if this was no longer the case? How would you feel if the Borg stopped assimilating people without their consent? As crazy as it sounds there are some people who might see the benefits of joining the Collective as outweighing the cost of entry. Borg drones are in a sense immortal, have access to knowledge from across the galaxy, and find a sense of purpose in the hive. They only ask that you surrender your individuality in order to be a part of the Collective. Perhaps there are some willing to take them up on that offer. The Borg Collective may have many problem, but assimilating others is what has gotten them the universal hostility they currently face. If they approached the Federation having sworn off assimilation of the unwilling, would you be more receptive? The Klingon Empire is one of the Federation’s closest friends on the galactic stage and they certainly have their own problems as well. Is this reformed Borg Collective a possible ally or do good fences make good neighbors? Would you be open to working with the Borg Collective if they stopped assimilating through force?
  10. Star Trek paints a vivid, expansive picture of a better future. It’s expansive nature and astonishing history are part of what makes it so much fun to write within. Our characters all enjoy the rich tapestry that hundreds, if not thousands of writers, have woven painstakingly over every episode. There’s also the appeal of making one’s own contribution to the lore, in a small but important way. But what if, instead of simply a hobby or a fun diversion, the world of Star Trek could become a little more concrete? What if one day, out of the blue, you were offered an opportunity to attend Starfleet Academy, and graduate as an ensign aboard a starship? We all know the dangers our characters are exposed to on a daily basis- no one could fault you from turning it down. That said, to enter a world like Star Trek is the dream of many. Would you jump at the chance, accepting the risk that comes with such a decision? Or would you turn it down, preferring to remain as you are on Earth? Give us your vote, and let us know in the comments section below!
  11. Among Starfleet’s many uniform styles over the years we all have our favorites. There are so many versions to choose from! Ranging from the original uniforms of Kirk’s Enterprise to the winner of our poll on Starfleet uniforms, the First Contact style, Starfleet has gone through more than their fair share of uniforms. With each new series we see new uniforms for our heroes as well as for the major powers Starfleet often encounters. They may not have as many variants as Starfleet uniforms but Star Trek has quite the collection of alien uniforms. If you had to pick a favorite out of the alien uniforms of Starfleet, which would it be? The Klingons have gone through multiple uniform changes over the years. The Romulans have also changed their uniform designs as well. Perhaps you like the color-coded uniforms with multiple variants of the Bajoran Provisional Government. Are the checkerboard Romulan uniforms the best in your eyes? What is your favorite style of non-Starfleet uniform?
  12. No one can deny that Starfleet’s mission is incredibly dangerous. While it might be fulfilling, exploring uncharted systems and defending the Federation against her countless enemies is a risky business any way you cut it. As a result, Starfleet personnel are trained in rigorous fashion, spending years mastering the skills necessary to hack it in the brutal expanse of deep space. The stress of this burden is considerable. On top of this, many career officers have families, and it was eventually accepted that prolonged separation from loved ones had a generally negative effect on moral and performance, especially among humans. In order to combat this mental hardship, counselors have been assigned to most starships. However, this alone has not been deemed sufficient. Onboard most ships, officers’ families- generally civilian- are permitted to live permanently, after the officer has served for six months or more on that vessel. While living with one’s family has undeniably positive benefits, the dangers to their welfare are terrifying to consider. At any moment, the ship could fall under attack, or be exposed to a deadly plague, or find itself in the wake of a supernova, or fall prey to any one of a billion disastrous outcomes possible. This becomes especially troubling when one remembers that children are among those in harm’s way. How do you stand on Starfleet’s familial policies? Do you feel allowing civilians aboard ships does more good than harm? Or are you against such precidence? Perhaps you’re more moderate on this issue? Give us your vote, and let us know in the comments section below!
  13. The pips our characters display on their collars represent more than simply a rank and a position. They’re the embodiment of the blood, sweat and tears spent in the pursuit of such a distinction. It’s no secret that Starfleet’s vigorous four year curriculum is a challenge only the most devoted rise to and pass beyond. Indeed, even gaining admission into Starfleet Academy is considered an honor unto itself. But while each cadet faces similar challenges from an academic, physical, and emotional standpoint, and despite the regimented rigidity found and expected on campus, each newly commissioned ensign leaves with a different opinion of their journey, and individual memories about their experience. Some had the times of their lives, while others consider it a miserable period through and through. This poll asks you about your character’s impression of their time at Starfleet Academy. Did they enjoy it, relishing every minute of instruction, study and campus life? Or were they far less enthused, chafing under the discipline and lofty expectations? Perhaps they were more in the middle- finding both positive and negative aspects in abundance. Give us your vote, and explain in the comment's section below!
  14. Star Trek has a long history of trial episodes. From the memorable “Court Martial”, in which Kirk is accused of criminal negligence regarding the death of a member of his crew, to “Rules of Engagement”, in which Worf must defend his actions during a heated battle aboard the Defiant, every Star Trek series has had its own quality moments of courtroom television. While we have seen many different types of law, from the Federations’ process of jurisprudence (what we are most familiar with today) to the brutal, predetermined show trials of Cardassia, each of these cases utilize a lawyer, or the equivalent of one. Approximately one year ago, a Poll of the Week was run, asking your opinions about the best trial episodes. This Poll of the Week asks for your favorite lawyer, or favorite individual forced to play the part of one. Is it Samuel T. Cogley, the obsessive crackpot that defended Kirk, or Areel Shaw, the prosecution in that case? Perhaps your pick came from a non-Federation world, like Chang, who prosecuted Kirk and McCoy in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, or Kovat, who’s actor elevated the character’s thankless role into an amazing reflection on the dangers of assuming guilt, in the Deep Space 9 episode “Tribunal”. Or perhaps it’s someone not mentioned at all. Give us your vote, and explain away in the comments section!
  15. In Star Trek the various crews are often challenged by various enemies from across the galaxy. However, these antagonists are rarely seen beyond a single episode once our heroes defeat them. Sometimes we barely know anything about their personalities beyond what we can guess based on their actions. Their primary purpose is to provide conflict for our heroes to overcome in that episode or movie. While these foes of the week work well we sometimes get to meet a villain again and again over multiple stories. They could only show up in a few episodes scattered through the series or be one of the central antagonists for the entire series, but we really get to know them and learn about their personality and their background. Sometimes this information can put their actions into context and help us understand why they do the evil things that they do. The Vorta encountered during the Dominion War aren't completely loyal to the Founders by choice. They have been genetically engineered to view the Founders as gods. While he's certainly no hero, Khan is similarly dealing with the extreme ambition that his augmentation has left him with. This by no means forgives them of any wrongdoing but it might make us see these villains in a slightly better light. This week's poll asks you which villain you feel the least sorry for. Who do you feel has the least going for them in your eyes? Which Star Trek villain do you find the least sympathetic?
  16. Books. You can’t escape them, and in this poll-poser’s opinion, that’s a fantastic state of affairs! That said, it can be surprising to realize just how prevalent books seem to be in the universe of Star Trek. Picard obviously took great pride and joy in his substantial collection of literature, and we have witnessed a variety of other characters reading classic novels, Shakespearean works, and other leisure texts. Fiction, in some form or fashion, is an indelible part of our lives, and the same goes for the characters we write for. This week’s poll asks you to share your character’s favorite genre of story or book. Is your character more drawn to action and adventure, or maybe they’re more fond of romantic or dramatic works? Perhaps they share an appreciation for tales or legends from their own cultural heritage. Or do they not enjoy any sort of fiction whatsoever? Give us your vote, and if you’re feeling brave, let us know the specific story or book, and explain what significance it has for your character in the comments section below!
  17. Whether attending a formal banquet or having a quick bite to eat before a duty shift, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to food. One common issue with food in the 24th century seems to be the inferior taste some people feel replicated food has. At first glance it would seem that there wouldn’t be any noticeable difference between the two. This doesn’t stop some people from replacing replicated meals with dishes made from authentic ingredients whenever they can. On the other hand others couldn’t even tell the difference between two dishes, one fresh and one replicated. A topic of even more debate seems to be synthehol. While it is supposed to mimic the taste of alcohol without any of the downsides, others find its taste unpleasant. The question of real or replicated often comes down to a simple matter of taste. Either the difference makes the extra effort worth it or the convenience of a replicator wins out over any potential difference in quality. Where does your character stand on this issue? Can they even tell the difference or would they prefer the real stuff every time? Does your character prefer food and drinks made fresh or replicated?
  18. 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!
  19. Missions are great fun and give characters a chance to show how they work under pressure. Whatever the objectives of the mission opportunities often arise to display a character’s expertise in their field. This could be combat with a hostile species, examining a new form of life, or treating an injured colleague just to name a few tasks that might be part of a mission. Besides letting a character show off their skills these moments can also give insight into their personality. Character is communicated through these moments made on duty. However, the way a character chooses to spend their time off the clock can prove just as enlightening when it comes to their personality. The activities they prefer give us hints as to what kind of person they are. Do they prefer quiet, solitary activities or are they more at home around their peers? What is the best way for them to unwind? Where is your character most likely to be found during shore leave?
  20. 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!
  21. Starfleet General Order One, more commonly known as the Prime Directive is a very important part of Star Trek. It is the ultimate rule every Starfleet officer is sworn to protect at any cost. Never interfere with the internal affairs and development of alien civilizations. The directive has been at the heart of several episodes across the different series. From the very start dilemmas relating to cultural interference have plagued Starfleet, yet no single answer seems to be the obvious choice. Arguments could be made against all the answers to the question of how Starfleet should interact with other worlds and their internal matters. The Prime Directive makes sense in theory. The potential consequences of shaping the events of another culture are so vast and unknowable that there is no way to make an informed decision. An action that may seem like it will do nothing but help could have horrible consequences that didn’t even seem possible. Does a potential wrong justify leaving an actual wrong unsolved, however? The rough journey so many civilizations must make to take their place in the galactic community could be made so much easier if a more knowledgeable and experienced species acted as guides. Others might argue that simply being able to do something does not justify the actions. Who is an outsider to make decisions for another civilization? What are your personal thoughts on the Prime Directive?
  22. Alternate dimensions and parallel universes are common sights in Star Trek. They pose fascinating what-if questions that change the course of the universe we know and love in new and interesting ways. What if Starfleet was an evil armada enforcing the will of a corrupt and xenophobic empire? What if the Borg had not been stopped by the Enterprise-D after the Battle of Wolf 359? The answers to these questions set the stage for possible realities that greatly vary from the “prime” universe of Star Trek we are used to. A few of these universes have been explored over multiple films or episodes, but many are seen once and mostly forgotten. They all present interesting scenarios, but some might find certain possibilities more interesting than others. The story of a ship of the Terran Empire or a lone ship stranded in occupied territory could give us new and interesting plots that a Starfleet ship normally couldn’t use. Which alternate reality would you like to see further explored?
  23. 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!
  24. 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!
  25. The new year is often a time for reflection on past events and committing to doing things better next year. It is a time often defined by change, which leads to this week’s topic. One of the biggest changes in a Starfleet officer’s career is the move from directing a single department on the ship to the position of first officer. When an officer is first working in a department of their choice, the required skill set predominantly focuses on the functions of that department. The ideal skill sets for a chief engineer and a chief science officer are quite different. Yet, members of all these departments might one day be promoted to first officer and suddenly find themselves helping the captain supervise and operate an entire ship as opposed to one department. There are so many characters in Star Trek who are very good at their jobs, but how might they react when they need to get used to supervising the entire crew? Doctor Bashir might feel a bit out of his element if asked to go from healing the sick and injured to handling disputes between departments or overseeing a special engineering project for the captain. How smoothly would Scotty make the jump from the engine room to being on the bridge full time? Which character outside of a command role would make the best transition to first officer?
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