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UFOP: StarBase 118 RPG


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Report this Feb. 22 2012, 8:20 am


Interview with Mike Resnick

By Areille Teagan


Rated Number One on the list of most awarded SF authors Mike Resnick is writer and publisher with over 40 years of experience. What made me big fan of Mike’s writing is his humor, which is often even in his most serious writings. Yes, my puny attempt to do the same is inspired by the works of this great author and immensely funny and dear person always open and friendly with fans. Mike Resnick will be Guest of Honor of “Chicon7”, 2012 Worldcon in Chicago.

Teagan: How did you start writing, what inspired you to write your first book?

Resnick: I’ve always been a writer. I sold my first article at 15, my first short story at 17. Writing my first novel was just a natural progression and I knew from the checks I got for articles and short stories that if I wanted to make a living as a writer I’d have to write novels. 

Teagan: What is first for you, character or the outline of the story? How personal is your writing?

Resnick: Usually the theme that I want to address comes first. After that, it’s a toss-up between character and plot. My short stories are much more personal than my novels.

Teagan: How do you bridge the gap between realistically possible and pure sci fi when you write?

Resnick: I always lean on the side of telling a human story. “Science fiction” is just a marketing term. I may use all of time and space when telling my stories, but -none- of them depend on the science.

Teagan: How do you deal with writers’ block? What do you use to get ‘reinspired’?

Resnick: Never had it. I think it visits writers who haven’t done their preparation, who sit down and stare at a blank screen or page and wait for inspiration.

Teagan: Because of its connection with Ron L. Hubbard (founder of Church of Scientology), “Writers of the Future” contest is often watched with mistrust and by many avoided with fear. What can you tell us about your experience as judge and how would you present it to new and aspiring writers?

Resnick: I’ve judged it twice now, and in the 8 or 10 days I’ve spent out there the word “Scientology” has literally never been mentioned. There’s no question that the contest has turned out some excellent writers: among the winners are Kevin J. Anderson, Tobias S. Buckell, Eric Flint, Patrick Rothfuss, and others of that quality. You can’t argue with their results, which I think are fully comparable to Clarion’s. I have collaborated with two of the 2010 winners, Laurie Tom and Brad Torgersen, and I guarantee you’ll be hearing more from both.

Teagan: If you could have a dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Resnick: Theodore Roosevelt, who was the most accomplished American in history. Writer, politician, soldier, cowboy, ornithologist, taxidermist, hunter, historian, you name it.

Teagan: What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Resnick: Published writers sit down and write. Those who will be publisher rarely or never spend an inordinate amount of time talking about writing.

Teagan: Anything you want to add?

Resnick: Just that I wouldn’t trade jobs with anyone. Royalty statements, maybe, but not jobs.

Thank you Mr. Resnick for your words of wisdom, it was great honor.
Thanks also go to questions contributors and Commander Miles Unum of Embassy Duronis II/Thunder for help with Interview preparations.

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Report this Feb. 24 2012, 6:56 am


Embassy Plot Summay


The crew of the Duronis II Embassy, are currently on shore leave after completing a mission surrounding the Laudean prime minister election. The new prime minister, Vail Daysa, has pledged his support of and intentions for the Federation to remain on Duronis II. One candidate, Erlina Treva, the governor of the Devi Province dropped out of the race, directing her supporters to vote for Daysa. The former prime minister, Ahishma Chandra, underestimated her competitors and the people of Duronis II. It seemed that her decisions over the last few years had caught up with Chandra.

Still under investigation are the mysterious acts of terrorism directed toward the planet, the candidates, and the Embassy. The loss of Laudean starships, bombings, and physical attacks may or may not be connected. The most recent attack against Starfleet personnel in the Hangar Bay of the Embassy led to the capture of one of the attackers. This was the second person detained for attacks against the Federation. Interrogations have revealed a possible connection to the other aggressive acts, but as of now, the person or persons behind these acts is unknown.

Humanitarian projects continue to progress, assisting the Laudean/Romulan hybrid children who had been abandoned by their Laudean mothers. Setting up shelters on the Embassy grounds for these children has been and will continue to be a focus for many officers at the Embassy. An illness among one group of rescued children is being examined by both medical and science officers to determine its origin.

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Report this Feb. 26 2012, 5:15 am


Plot Summary for the USS Drake

The departure of the space elevator system from orbit around Azhero-Sudensk effectively concluded the USS Drake NCC-1987 current mission. The crew of the Drake was able to escape before the Ring left orbit and was last tracked heading off into deep space.

The departure of the Ring has caused extensive damage on the surface of the planet , however the colony was surprising well prepared for a disaster of this magnitude and should recover without any undue loss of life.

The major commercial focus for the colony has quite literally disappeared overnight and it is doubtful that the incumbent government will stay in power for long now that their main power base is gone. An added complication is that the AI system that was controlling the Ring has now taken up residence in the planets magnetic field.

The Drake is now on route to Earth for some repairs and minor upgrades. The crew has an opportunity for some shore leave and to hold an award and promotion ceremony. The crew has suffered some losses and unexpected changes. Nurse Harris was killed by an infection from a fungus bio weapon while trying to save others and Ensign Kells has now become LtCmdr Kells. This is due to a future version of himself being pulled back in time due to a transporter malfunction.

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Report this Feb. 27 2012, 8:01 am


The Gremlin – Inarr “Steve” Rogg d’Squamos

By Nathan Baker


Character Name: Inarr “Steve” Rogg d’Squamos
Ship and Current Post: USS Discovery, Assistant Chief Engineer
Real Name: Cliff Richards III
Part of the World you’re from: Florida, USA

-First, give a little background about your character. About a paragraph about who they are so the readers have a little background. (I’ll use some of this in the opening of the interview)

Inarr Rogg is a Dachlyd, a reptiloid somewhat resembling an upright Terran iguana. The offspring of  Glykon Rogg and Inga Ramya, Inarr was hatched and raised aboard a merchant freighter. Inarr was accepted to the StarFleet Academy and began further studies in xenobiology. However, culture clash and adapting to Starfleet life caused the young Dachlyd to drop xenobiology in favor of engineering – a much easier course of study for Inarr to pursue while assimilating. Inarr is proud to be the Academy’s first Dachlyd graduate and hopes, by example, to lead other Dachlyds into Starfleet.

-How long have you been Simming with UFOP: SB118?

Since 2009.

-Do you remember how you found our group?

One of my friends introduced me. He was rejoining SB118 after a long absence and convinced me to try my hand at simming.

-What made you want to have your character be an Engineer?

The scant information available on the Dachlyd race indicated that their merchant freighters relied heavily on technology for transactions. For a race to be asocial, yet successful traders? I figured that Dachlyds in space had to be exceptionally skilled with their cargo drones, communications gear, and of course, experts in maintenance of same. So Rogg can work well crammed into a Jeffries tube, though the idea of socializing with fellow officers is daunting.

-What’s the most fun aspect about being an Engineer?

Hands down, omnipresence. Aboard a spaceship, an Engineer has the right to be anywhere, even outside the vessel, provided they are clever enough to think of something that needs fixing.

-What’s the most difficult part?

I am not a hardcore Trekkie, so I end up reading Memory Alpha a lot so my character does not come off as a moron. Although I guess even more difficult than that is putting up with simmers who rely on explosions to advance their plot – always something exploding or malfunctioning explosively without hinting at a reason. Being an Engineer can be so much more than putting out fires.

-Do you have a most memorable moment about your time as an Engineer?

I was late for reporting to duty on SB-118. I had to circumvent computer encryption, evade Black Tower security, scramble through a mile of Jeffries tubes, and bend a couple regulations just to locate my CO. And right before I managed to report to her, the security detail outside her office shoots me to protect the Klingon ambassador. Good times.

-Your character is a Dachlyd. How did you decide that’s the species you wanted your character to be?

I initially wanted to be a Gorn officer, but at the time SB-118 already had several Gorn. So that was not quite as groundbreaking as I was hoping for. I also wanted a lot of latitude in developing my character, which suggested using a species uncommon in Starfleet. By reading down the Intelligent Lifeform Index I found the Dachlyd. By further searching the internet I decided that there was just enough information about the Dachlyd to make them an interesting species to develop further, and Inarr Rogg would be my mouthpiece.

-Has that decision enhanced your writing?

Not so much as I would like. I was hoping for more interaction with Medical officers, being mistaken for a Gorn, curiosity from crewmates, maybe even outright racism. Turns out the Fleet is a pretty accepting, easy-going bunch. More recently I have gotten a bit more aggressive in pushing my “Dachlyd agenda” if you will. Bottom line – if there is something different about your character, you might have to force the other simmers to recognize it rather expecting circumstances or other writers to bring your uniqueness to light.

-What piece of advice would you give to any fresh faces just getting started with our group?

Always ask questions, do not be afraid to push the plot, and never be too proud to apologize for your mistakes. The internet is impersonal and your crew might be on different continents, but with a little understanding and cooperation everyone and anyone can write a good story.

*And now, the 5 questions I will ask all of my interviewees*

-Favorite Star Trek TV Show?

The Original Series.

-Favorite Star Trek Movie?

IV: The Voyage Home. I admit it is weak cinematically, but I remember seeing it with my dad.

-Kirk or Picard?

Kirk. Picard was the better officer, but Kirk is the man I would want to hang out with and who I would trust to lead the away team or face certain death. Lead from the front.

-What is your Favorite Trek Technobabble?

Plasma. In The Next Generation plasma comes up pretty often, where in real life it is usually, simply “fire”. In TNG plasma is an ethereal, almost magical substance.

-If you could visit any world from the Star Trek universe, which would it be and why?

The planet from “Shore Leave”, for the obvious reason.

Read more about Lieutenant Inarr Rogg d’Squamos on his wiki article!


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Report this Feb. 29 2012, 9:13 am


Avoiding Dialog Snags in Your Writing

By Kalianna Nicholotti


Because Starbase 118 is a group comprised of many people throughout the world, it is natural to assume that there is plenty of conversation between the characters we write for. This dialogue actually makes up a lot of the writing we do, which is why it can be so important to learn how to write dialogue realistically and respectfully. Most players know that it isn’t good to back another player into a corner by writing dialogue a certain way, but those same players might not know just how to approach dialogue to avoid such, while providing an interesting addition to the overall plot.  

That’s why it’s always nice to have some standby tips that you can employ in order to make the very best of any writing opportunity, whether it is dialogue, descriptives, mission posts, or character building. From the basics, such as an explanation of just what role dialogue plays in writing, to the speech patterns that your characters might have, these Dialogue Writing Tips from Daily Writing Tips cover everything that you need to take your sims to the next level.

Writing with other members of our crews is an important part of the Starbase 118 Simming experience. We wouldn’t have as much fun if we couldn’t interact with the characters around us, so it is important to learn how to improve your dialogue writing skills. In the end, it will only make the game that much deeper and more enjoyable for all.

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Report this Mar. 02 2012, 7:43 am

Strange Species: Jaty Orman, part Orion

By Aron Kells


Most rosters in the StarBase 118 fleet are filled with members of well-known and allied species – humans, Vulcans, Betazoids, Klingons, Trills. But what about the lesser-known species, and the writers who create characters from those races? In this series, I explore fleet officers from unusual species and the writers behind them.

from Starbase 118 Ops, Katy Orman, 1/4 Orion

How and why did you decide to sim Katy as part Orion?

Partly it’s my nigh-obsessive desire to be different.  I knew from the beginning that Katy was going to be mostly human, but the idea of a mixed-race heritage was really sparking my imagination.  So I decided to make her 1/4 alien.  1/4 seemed just right; not so alien that it informs everything she does, not so watered-down that it’s meaningless.
Why Orion?  Again, I suppose I was looking for a middle ground.  Not one of the primary races–I like the idea of going over the same issues from new perspectives, but it’s not what I was looking to do; I wanted to go over less-common issues.  And not something so obscure that we know very little about it and I’d basically be making everything up as I went along.  I think I ended up with Orion specifically because the idea of turning the oversexualised Orion female stereotype on its ear was appealing to me.
And really, it’s partly just because I like green skin.  What can I say?  I’m shallow like that.

What canon or non-canon material did you draw upon to create Katy’s background?
I draw heavily from Memory Alpha and Memory Beta as much as I can, and anywhere else I can find scraps of information.  I don’t care if it’s originally from Enterprise, from the old cartoon series, or some novel somewhere; I’ll use it.

What unusual or interesting species-based quirks or traits does Katy display?
She’s green.  Not *very* green, mind you, on your average day.  I like describing her further greenening (that’s a word I just made up) as she blushes, or gets active or warm; anything that increases capillary circulation.
She also has the pheromones, but she takes daily suppressants to keep those down, so I don’t usually bring them into the story.  Every once in awhile I’ll have something come up that makes them important, just for fun.  She’ll occasionally drop into an Orion language when she doesn’t want to be understood, and she swears to the Thousand Gods sometimes.

Why wouldn’t Katy’s character work if she was a human, a Vulcan, etc?
Truthfully, I think Katy could work as a pure Human.  She just wouldn’t be quite as rich in background.  Her Orion quirks have allowed me to explore various aspects of conflict with her more fully – inclusion vs. ostracism, extroversion vs. introversion, sexuality vs. shame.  It has made her more unique and thusly, more fun.  Which seems to me to be the point. 


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Report this Mar. 03 2012, 3:41 am


USS Avandar Plot Summary

With only a few minor incidents (including a series of holodeck glitches resulting in some mild injuries – and one not so mild) the USS Avandar made the trip through the artificial anomaly discovered on the crew’s first mission, ending up once more on the far side of Romulan space – this time on purpose.

With no wasted time, the crew got to work doing the job Starfleet sent them out there to do and began their efforts to map and study this new and mysterious area of space. In very short order, amongst the more mundane data gathered, they discovered an unidentified radio transmission coming from a nearby dead world. Whilst it proved impossible to gauge how old the transmission was, it seemed to be a beacon of some kind, and closer investigation of the planet showed the remains of a long-extinct civilisation.

That, sadly, is where things stopped being routine. With no warning, and little more chance of avoiding it, something overloaded the Avandar’s systems, disrupting it’s systems and sending it on a catastrophic course downward toward the planet’s surface…

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Report this Mar. 04 2012, 4:34 am


USS Discovery Plot Summary

The month of December found Discovery recovering from being pulled into a Dyson Sphere and an attack on a Borg sphere. Discovery crushed the sphere and its one remaining survivor requested asylum.

Shortly after the battle Captain Waltas was dealing with the USS Melbourne whose Captain, Eriksen, had cracked under the pressure of being trapped inside the sphere for the last year and a half. While on the Melbourne Eriksen first tried to convince Waltas to merge the crew of the Melbourne with the crew on Discovery, with Eriksen taking command of course. Upon hearing Eriksen’s reasoning Waltas was even more enraged by the tactics Eriksen had resorted to, bullying the weaker ships for supplies, he flatly refused to go along with Eriksens plans. Waltas then ordered Eriksen to be confined to quarters. After refusing to being removed from command Eriksen took the away team hostage until Discovery was handed over to him.

After establishing contact, Eriksen ordered Mitchell to hand over Discovery, Mitchell refused the madman’s orders and Eriksen proceeded to opened fire on Discovery. In a controlled response Discovery crippled Melbourne’s weapons and beamed a second away team over.

Meanwhile Captain McCall led an away team to the Yorktown, a Constitution class with a third-generation crew. As information is gathered, the chance for escape from the sphere grows. Captain Waltas is forming a coalition of ships to attempt to pool their resources and escape.

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Report this Mar. 05 2012, 7:55 am


Our Characters: Striving for Reality

By Kalianna Nicholotti


Every great story’s success rests ultimately on the shoulders of the characters involved. Without interesting characters, the story can be boring, if not downright bad. Since all of Starbase 118 writing relies on the characters we each create and add to the mix, knowing how to create the most compelling and interesting characters possible can make all the difference in the world. We all want to bring our characters to life, but sometimes that is a very difficult prospect. Still, with the right direction, any character can take a step from the world of fiction to a realm in our minds that exists somewhere between ourselves and the fictional world we write in.  

We all work hard at making our contributions to the plot worthwhile and positive additions to the plot. Yet sometimes, a weak plot or difficulties writing (let’s face it, we aren’t professional authors) can take a toll on an entire ship. Why? Well, if readers lose interest in your characters, they might just put the book (or in our case, sim) down. Since that can cause lots of problems in a group where we have to rely on others to read what we have simmed, keeping everyone coming back for more is a must.

Having a resource on hand to help you find just what your character needs can be helpful, even if you don’t think you need it. There is always room to improve, so make it a point to head on over to Daily Writing Tips to check out their article on Creating Compelling Characters. Even the most seasoned writers will walk away with something, giving every member the chance to get one step closer to that meta-reality our characters strive for.

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Report this Mar. 07 2012, 8:38 am


USS Mercury Plot Summary


The crew of the newly commissioned USS Mercury NCC-99812 received orders to leave spacedock shortly after being made aware of their reassignment. Their destination: Cardassia Prime, specifically a meeting with the Detapa Consul to formally accept an invite to explore the Menthar Corridor, a region of space that lies between Breen, Tholian and Cardassian territory. With a long-term scientific mission looming large and the transfer to a science vessel, some of the ship’s more military-minded personnel began to wonder about the need for their presence aboard ship, until a second staff meeting was held to inform them of Starfleet Intelligence’s plan to use the Mercury’s enhanced sensor array to gather any data possible on what they see as a politically turbulent people. 

With the meeting on Cardassia Prime now drawing to a close, more questions seem to have been raised than answered. Why haven’t the Cardassians explored an area of space that lies so close to their territory? How will the elements in the Cardassian government who are opposed to collaborating with the Federation react to their continued presence?

To make matters even more interesting, an independent Cardassian observer has been assigned to the Mercury in an attempt to assuage the doubts of those who still do not trust the Federation. Gul Kerena Vetak, who was responsible for guiding Lieutenant Commander Hannibal Parker around Cardassian Central Command, has already rubbed him up the wrong way, and the two are a recipe for a potentially explosive outcome…

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Report this Mar. 09 2012, 6:45 am


USS Tiger-A Plot


After the unveiling of the new USS Tiger-A, its crew participated in a team building exercise in the holodeck. The mission centered around King Arthur and Camelot with each crew member assuming one of the characters from the historical account. LtCmdr Darius Clack was King Arthur while Captain Sidney Riley was Guinevere. The remainder of the crew made up the various members of Arthur’s Knights. The mission began with the goal of trying to locate Arthur’s sword Excalibur.  

Halfway through the mission, Guinevere was thrown from her horse and had to be escorted out of the holodeck by several other crew members. Darius Clack continued the training mission with the remaining members of the crew despite the departure of the others. Captain Riley and others upon returning discovered a strange space like slug that threatened Eratis and the DS 17 station itself. The entire crew was recalled as a result of the disturbing events that unfolded suddenly.

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Report this Mar. 10 2012, 3:52 am


Captain's Corner: Andrus Jaxx

By Nathan Baker

Character Name: Andrus Jaxx

Rank and Current Post: Captain, Commanding Officer StarBase 118/USS Victory

Real Name: Jay

Part of the World you’re from: North Carolina, United States

What is your earliest recollection of Star Trek?

My earliest recollection of Star Trek was TNG. I remember it running on TV late at night, and on weekends I would stay up and watch it. I was fascinated by that form of space travel, and could not get enough of the story. I remember it being a solo activity, since nobody in my immediate family like Star Trek.

How did you find the Starbase 118 group?

Accidentally. I love research and gaining knowledge, and one day after watching Star Trek: Nemesis for the 20th time…I was curious about the USS Titan, and Captain Riker. I ran a search for the USS Titan, and stumbled on the inactive page for our USS Titan. It had long since been decommissioned, but it got me to take a look at the group and what it was. I took about 2 weeks looking over every aspect of the site before deciding to jump in. I was not a big fan of writing, so I was a little nervous.

What department did you start off in and why?

Counselor, because it was the only position open on the ship that was the best fit for me. I wanted a ship that had a high sim rate, and at the time the Challenger had the highest. Counselor was actually my third choice, but I accepted the position so that I could be on the same ship as my Academy mentor. I spent over a year in that position before moving to Strategic Operations.

Do you have a specific plot you remember from the early days?

Jaxx’s early days were brutal. Jaxx was on Betazed during the Dominion Occupation, after that he was assigned to the Challenger which was always knee deep in combat heavy missions. One memory was the mission “A Cadet’s Vengeance.” The crew of the Challenger, minus the CO and the XO, were attending the graduation for Cadet Daiken Nau from StarFleet Academy. During the commencement speech, the Scarlet Brotherhood launched an attack on the parade grounds. The crew was tasked with hunting them down and restoring order.

Soon after this mission, the Challenger was dispatched back to DS24 in orbit over Shinraka. Shinraka was a developing world that was seeking entrance into the Federation. A group of terrorists with the goal of preventing their admission, attacked the University, and killed many innocent people. The crew beamed down to the surface to try and defend and protect the people as much as they could.

Both missions were very bloody, and saw too many casualties on both sides.

When did you decide to make the leap to Command?

Command was a goal from the beginning. It became more of a reality when I was promoted as Second Officer of the Challenger/Challenger-A. After that, it was more of a focus than it was in the beginning. I accepted the position of First Officer aboard the USS Resolution under Commander Turner, then transferred to the Eagle. When the Eagle split I again stepped into the role of First Officer on the Victory, eventually assuming command after Rear Admiral Rocar Drawoh retired.

What is the best part about being a CO?

Distance from the bridge to the ready room…just kidding. The best part is the crew that serves under your command. Without a core of great officers, there is no ship. By far the most rewarding part is leading a group of exceptional writers and officers.

In your opinion, what is the most difficult aspect of being a Commanding Officer, either IC or OOC?

As far as IC…it is the IC actions have IC consequences rule. Officers are not free to do as they wish, and IC I like to keep that alive. Doing something wrong IC, will carry IC consequences…demotion, time in the brig, reassignment to another department. It is a rough balance, because you have to be clear that there is a difference between IC and OOC. I have seen great people and creative writers, write for a horrible character that has problems with everything and everyone.

As far as OOC…it is the different people. We all come from different places, backgrounds, and schools of thought. Not all opinions are shared and at times there can be some OOC friction. The key for a CO is to keep it away from IC interactions. Some people have difficulty separating the two, and if they feel attacked OOC…they try to retaliate IC. As CO, you have to monitor that when it arises. If need be, as CO, I can squash anything IC. It is the one place I can say “shut up” and they listen. If they don’t security can escort them away. OOC, you have to be diplomatic and careful not to pick sides, unless there is clearly someone in the wrong. I try to search for common bonds within the crew and try to get everyone to play nice together. Luckily, these issues seem to be in the past and to date we have had very little friction on the Victory.

Do you try to have your character conform to a certain “command style”? For example, are you the friendly CO who will have drinks with your crew? Do you distance yourself in order to maintain respect? How would you describe it?

Firm but fair. Jaxx is a character that keeps a poker face on at all times. He is careful who he lets in, and does not share his feelings very easily. It is not uncommon for him to refer to officers by their first name…even on the bridge. He is cocky, and a smart a**. Jaxx carries a commanding presence anywhere he is, and as such has a great working relationship with all of his officers. At the same time, when it comes to his personal life, he is more private. He does not have many friends he would confide in, and outside of his relationship and children on the way…he keeps to himself. He can be seen attending dinners, and get togethers, but he is usually the first one to leave. He respects his crew, and demands the same in return.

Besides being a Commanding Officer, what other activities are you involved with?

I have served on the Publicity Team, Readers Guild, and Species Development Committee. Currently, I am a member of the Training Team, and News Team.

What advice would you give a new writer who is just getting started with our group?

Stick with it. Most cadets think that the Academy is pretty rough. You only have one week to get through an entire class, and at the same time….the class is half the size of a real ship. My advice is to use your mentor, XO, and CO…if you have questions, ask. If you have ideas, share them. Your mentor is a great sounding board. Chances are they have been around for a bit, and have worked with the CO for awhile. The CO trusts them to get the new officer into the mix, so new officers should utilize this tool. No matter what, don’t give up. We have 8 ships/bases and I am a CO that will find you a place that makes you happy, even if it is not with us.

What about some advice for those of us who one day would like to Command a ship/base of our own?

Get involved. There are many groups and guilds in the fleet, and they all need members. Look beyond your own ship, and see where you can reach out an help others.

And now, the 5 questions I will ask all of my interviewees:

Favorite Star Trek TV Show?: Star Trek: TNG

Favorite Star Trek Movie?: Star Trek: Generations

Kirk or Picard?: Picard

Favorite Trek-nobabble?: Stabilize the antimatter polygraph scan with the tactical holoconsole!

If you could visit any world from the Star Trek universe, which would it be and why?: Risa. I want to see what all of the excitement is about.

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Report this Mar. 11 2012, 4:33 am


Ten Million Dollar XPrize Contest Kicks Off


Want an extra ten million dollars in your pocket? Well, it’s up for grabs – and all you have to do is design a working tricorder.

The newest X-Prize contest has officially kicked off. While it was announced back in June of last year, and the final details won’t be available until September of this year, entrants are now able to officially register and participate in the tech race to develop a piece of technology that could change the face of modern medicine today.

It won’t be easy, and the requirements will be stiff, but the Chairman and the CEO of the X-Prize foundation still state that they will be happy to lose this ten million dollars.

Among other things, in order to win the contest and claim ten million cool ones, a functional machine must be presented that:

-       is capable of measuring key health metrics

-       weighs less than five pounds

-       is able to diagnose 15 to-be-determined diseases

-       can be used at home by the common person

Is it possible?

There was a time when people said it wasn’t possible to fly, but today, jets and various types of aircraft fill our skies. There was a time when people said man couldn’t travel to space. Just a few short steps later in the grand timeline of mankind, man not only went into space, but walked on the surface of the most inhospitable surface to ever be felt by humans. Designing and then building a tricorder, or a similar machine, is not only possible, but highly probable.

For the first time in history, man has the technologies to match his thoughts. We can send data on streams of light, live and work in a station positioned miles above the Earth, make a phone call from the middle of the ocean, transport thousands of people in steel tubes that fly through the air, and chat in real-time with people who live on the other side of the world. And more advances come daily. We already use a variety of non-invasive and even wireless scanning and diagnostic equipment throughout the medical world; combining them all might be the only real hurdle involved.

Still, only time will tell, but I’ll bet that ten million won’t be sitting around for too long.

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Report this Mar. 12 2012, 6:22 am


Presidential Hopeful Promises the Moon

By Kalianna Nicholotti


What would you do if you could, quite realistically, take a trip to the moon? If the US Presidential contender, Republican Newt Gingrich gets his way, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.

According to the GOP potential nominee, during a speech given in a city quite close to the ‘Space’ action – Cocoa – if he is elected, America will have a working moon base and new engines that would easily get us to Mars by the year 2020.

That’s only eight years away.

He claims that the space program only needs a kick in the rear to get it restarted, but is that all that America’s space program really needs? With China boosting it’s space program to the point where a Chinese station is planned for the same year, and the entirety of the American Space Transportation System officially decommissioned, it might be hard to think that such a goal would even be close to something we could accomplish.

At the same time, America once said the same thing about the giant rock that seems attached to our planet via an invisible string. Only in their day it wasn’t a man named Gingrich – but a man named Kennedy instead.

Will the bold plans of one GOP hopeful put the US back on track towards an awe inspiring, and an international path into space? Or have the American days of space glory fallen by the wayside in time for another space power to rise?

If true to his word, an America under Gingrich may begin to see much more Trek tech as the magic year approaches. With the Tricorder Xprise contest in full swing and touch screens already being developed to read DNA and other human electronic signals, how far off is the world that we all write in and create in everyday here on Starbase 118?

How long will it be before we can really touch the stars?

The Star Trek adventure continues at



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Report this Mar. 14 2012, 6:29 am


Getting the Best Out of Your Sims – Part 1

By Evanna Blackwood


Lieutenant JG Evanna Blackwood recently created some very nice pointers for simming. As we are always looking for ways to improve our writing and simming abilities, finding a concise resource such as what she had put together is always helpful. Her series comes in five parts, each covering a different aspect of simming within the Starbase 118 fleet. Read on to learn some things that you might not have realized already.

Sometimes you might get stuck, and find it difficult to think what to write or how to move on with your character. Fortunately StarBase 118 has a lot of resources to help such as the wiki and writing related news articles. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

1) Point of View

This is possibly the most important thing to remember. Our sims are about our own characters and how they interact with the plot. Getting to know the characters is half of the fun so be bold and show us who they are. Remember as well it is third person (he/she/it) and past tense (walked/did/felt), not the present tense (walks/does/feels).

Sometimes when people have tags to answer they just hit reply and simply add their bit speech on top of what has already been written. A better approach when doing this to go over the sim before writing your part and take out anything that is not relevant to your character. This takes out clutter and makes room for your character, it also cuts down on repetition and makes the sim easier to follow. Your character may overhear a conversation between other officers, but is not directly involved with it. Remove it if it isn’t needed and just make reference to it by writing something like. :: Craig worked at his duty station while the helmsman talked to the engineer about a few technical concerns he had. ::

Here is an example sim from Ensign Junnie that has tagged Ensign (Lee) Craig. He has hit reply. Marked inside square brackets are suggestions for changes to be made before Craig goes on to answer his tags:

((Messhall, Deck 4))

[Whenever your character changes location use the above to show where they are. Each ship has deck layouts on their wiki page, with graphical maps. Use these to determine your exact location or in some cases find new locations to mess about in.]

:: Junnie and Yensen ate their lunch in silence, exchanging cold looks across the table from time to time. Most other officers coming into the Mess seemed to pick up on the tension between the pair and chose seating away from them as if to avoid “trouble”. Junnie stabbed another potato viciously as accusing eyes glared at Yensen. She wished looks could kill right now, and imagined him spontaneously combusting under a particularly nasty look. ::

Junnie: You make me sick… you know that?

Yensen: Don’t start. I can’t be bothered with it.

Junnie: :itter laugh:: HAH! Why am I not surprised? You can never be bothered with anything.

:: Junnie saw Yensen rub his brow, he looked wearied and somewhat sad. ::

oO Heh! He’ll crack like an egg any time now. Serves him right. I’ll have my victory over him yet. Oo

[Delete the above. Craig wasn't there so it's not relevant to be in his sim.][Change the following action. This is where Craig makes his entrance, make it from his point of view.]

:: Right before another scathing remark could be fired off she spotted Ensign Craig saunter past. He grabbed something from the replicator and she shot him a warning glare. oO Don’t you dare come over here mister! Oo. He either didn’t notice or didn’t care because he sat down next to Jensen. ::


Yensen: Hello Lee


Yensen: Sorry, I haven’t had a chance to run it.


Yensen: Yeah I know. I want to. It sounds really fun. ::Glancing at Junnie:: I’ve… just not had the time.

:: She had just stuffed another big mouthful of food into her mouth, but did not let that stop her from speaking. ::

[If you left this action as it was it would read strange. Craig is a male but this action is from a female point of view. It would be better to reword it as an observation from your characters point of view, perhaps about how gross it was to see her talking with a mouthful and crumbs spewing out. Otherwise it would be better to take it out altogether. ]

Junnie: Don’t look at me! It’s not my problem. oO Look at them… chatting away as if I don’t even exist. Oo

[Delete Junie's thought bubble, if you aren't telepathic you don't know she is thinking this. If you are you might not necessarily pick up on it, and if you did you might want to display your reaction to it rather than simply keeping it there. ]


[This is where you take over. Don't just answer tags, take a shot in the drivers seat. Do you want to have a confrontation with Junnie and ask her what her attitude problem is all about? Maybe you want to ignore her and carry on your chat with Yensen. Start a food fight? Get up and leave to go do something else? It's your imagination, take us for a journey.]


Ensign Junnie
USS Plankton

[Remember to sign off with your own character, and check the subject line, changing the title something fitting to your character. ]

The Star Trek adventure continues at


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