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Witty Wordsmith: Why Setting a Scene Is So Important

We all know that dialogue is important. Dialogue is how we interact with other character and it is a critical part of our simming style. We write dialogue and leave tags for other characters to interact with.

But what about the parts of a post that are not dialogue? The action and description in a post is as important as the dialogue, but sometimes we forget it or leave it out entirely. Learning how to add good description in your posts is a vital part of becoming a stronger writer. Today we’re going to look at the scene set – the description at the very start of a post that sets up the rest of the action.


R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy

Today, we take a short break from posting our usual community news to memorialize Leonard Nimoy, who passed away today at the age of 83.

As Spock, his humanity touched our hearts and our minds equally. He will be missed.

New York Times: “Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83


USS Thunder returns from classified mission to chaos on Duronis

DURONIS II — After completing a classified mission, the USS Thunder returned from parts unknown to face a planet in crisis in the wake of the disappearance and reappearance of Laudean Prime Minister Vail Daysa.

The classified mission was a continuation of the Thunder’s earlier mission to retrieve Lt. Cmdr. T’Lea, who had been sold from the pirate haven The Zone to Cardassian interests for the sole purpose of obtaining Iconian artifacts that the Cardassians planned to use to restructure time so that the Cardassian Union would have become the major power in the Alpha Quadrant. Armed with that information, Fleet Captain Toni Turner quickly formed a rescue mission to the planet Vetka, a planet fractured over a millennia ago but its fragments still retaining atmosphere. With the Thunder riding shotgun with Lt. Cmdr. Hannibal Parker in command, Fleet Captain Turner, Ambassador Della Vetri, Colonel Tyr Waltas and Lt. Cmdr. Rossh set out to retrieve or destroy the Iconian artifacts and to rescue their stolen officer.

Leaving the Thunder behind, the rescue team in disguise made their way through the asteroid field to the planet Vetka. Meanwhile, the Thunder made her way through the asteroid field, hopping from asteroid to asteroid, using the interference from the asteroids and stealth to get in close to Vetka, where Lt. Cmdr. Parker believed a Cardassian ship may have been waiting. His instincts were proven right as the Thunder closed to within point blank range of a Galor class cruiser seemingly undetected. Settling in under an asteroid, the Thunder awaited word from the rescue team while keeping the Galor under observation.

The rescue team procured the services of a native pirate to take them to the location of the Fire Heart, the former core of the planet and the probable location of the Iconian artifacts and T’Lea. After some difficulties, including an attack by very real dragons and the death of the pirate captain, the rescue team set down and made contact with the Cardassians. A tense standoff evolved into a firefight, and then the Galor opened up on the site.

In space, the Thunder opened fire on the Galor after it had fired upon the away team, severely crippling the Cardassian ship. The Thunder crew then scrambled to locate the away team.

On the surface, triumph turned to tragedy as the implants in T’Llea activated, with her severely injuring Fleet Captain Turner and Colonel Waltas, who also injured the hijacked commander. Ambassador Vetri ended up shooting T’Lea in the head, stopping the attack but also gravely injuring her. They were soon all beamed back up to the Thunder, which vacated the area.

On Duronis II, an insurgent attack on the Press Building injured Federation attache Lyldra and Lt. Cmdr. Irina Pavlova. Lt. Cmdr. Jorey undertook the dangerous mission of locating Gaev, the Laudean gangster responsible for the kidnapping of Prime Minister Vail Daysa. Finding him near the Dockyards, the Chief Of Intelligence queried the gangster and made a deal to assist each other. The deal was overheard by the rescue team headed by Pavlova. With Jorey now retrieved, the rescue team returned to the Embassy, where they continued to monitor the situation.

Repeated attempts to contact the Embassy and the USS Thunder had been met with silence until a terse communication from Lt. Cmdr. Kamela Allison aboard the Thunder.

“The Thunder has been involved in operations vital to the security of the Federation, and the situation on Duronis II is being monitored,” she said.


Submit your nominations for the Featured Bio Contest today

Have you come across a great character biography on the wiki? Been working on your own bio for a while now and want to show it off to the fleet? Then head on over to the Featured Bio Contest’s forum and submit a nomination! All that’s required is that the bio be of an active, player character such as Kael Thomas of the USS Columbia, who is this month’s Featured Bio.

You can see a list of previous winners and featured nominees at the contest’s wiki site as well as an overview of the judging criteria the Featured Bio Contest Team uses to vote for a winner.

The nomination round closes Sunday, March 1, so don’t delay! Submit your nomination today!


New Academy Graduates

Please welcome our newest Academy graduates to the UFOP: StarBase 118 fleet: Dorian Grand and Lael Rosek!


USS Columbia going in blind by testing innovative sensors

USS COLUMBIA — Captain Ben Livingston of the USS Columbia has put his crew to the test by asking them to find the proverbial “needle in a haystack.”

“There will be any number of obstacles in our path; I’ve called in some favors. But somewhere in that field will be one of these,” said Captain Livingston, as he held up an antique steel sewing needle.

The crew of Columbia had enjoyed a well-deserved shore leave on Pernipia Gamma IV before continuing onward to StarBase 118. While for most people the leave meant light flirting or exploring the station’s commercial sector, Lt. Cmdr. Silveira took advantage of those few days off to visit his Andorian family.

Once everyone was back aboard the Nebula class starship, a senior staff meeting revealed the details of their next mission: the Columbia’s old sensor pod had been reinstalled, only this time it had been upgraded with specialized sensors. These sensors used a brand new technology that forced the crew to rethink the way they worked.

This though was nothing compared to what their captain had in store, as among the various challenges set for them, they would also need to pinpoint the location of a sewing needle.

As the crew familiarized itself with their new sensors, it wasn’t long before Ensign Beyett and Lt. Cmdr. Silveira found the first object that had been concealed in their area of operation.

Meanwhile, in some corridors below decks, a conduit ruptured and started to spray gases. Along with this, proving that the tests were well under way, a squad of four Mark VI Anti-Personnel Training Drones started to roam the ship.


Hostile intelligence discovered within Genesis Cloud

MENTHAR CORRIDOR — While surveying the largest protomatter cloud ever discovered, the USS Garuda found itself fending off a botanical infestation controlled by a hostile intelligence within the cloud.

“One minute, I’m working on a diagnostic, and then the next, I see ten engineers struggling to break free of the vines coming out of the machinery,” said Petty Officer Angeline Loupaz, an engineer aboard the Garuda.

The sudden infestation appeared overnight. The Garuda had been ordered to investigate the Genesis Cloud, which had been discovered by the Qilin Project. Initial sensor readings were off the scale of any previously found protomatter deposits.

The survey would also be a diplomatic mission that hoped to rebuild trust and understanding between the Federation and the Community, a species native to the Menthar Corridor comprised of a collective consciousness that uses plant-like forms to communicate. Representatives of the Community came aboard the Garuda to witness standard Starfleet scientific procedures and evaluate the crew.

By all accounts, the survey itself was a success as an engineering team headed by Garuda’s chief engineer Lt. Cmdr. Tristam Core and operations chief Lt. Cmdr. Mei’konda constructed a specialized shuttle dubbed the Robert Ballard to explore the volatile protomatter cloud and collect samples.

“We had to be very careful,” explained Lt. JG Danielle Vistain, a shuttlebay ops engineer. “Protomatter is highly unstable. Even the slightest disturbances from a ship or shuttle’s systems can cause it to ignite. Rather than strip an existing shuttle bare, we decided it’d be easier to use spare parts to build an entirely new craft.”

Expertly piloted by Lt. Kaitlyn Falcon, the shuttle returned safely with the valuable data, and alpha shift retired for the night.

Yet things slowly grew amiss in the early hours of the morning. As drastically growing plants began spreading across the ship, the Garuda’s chief science officer Lt. Alora DeVeau went missing.

“I knew something was wrong when she left her office a mess,” said Lt. JG Alif Lepore, a quantum biologist. “This was an important mission, what with the Community reps and the Diplomatic Corps watching so closely. Lt. DeVeau is always meticulous about her work.”

Additional reports of other missing crew members came in, including that of one unfortunate crewman who had been dressed as Santa Claus for a department Christmas party. The children would have to wait a little bit longer for their presents as the crew soon found themselves battling a shipwide plant infestation. From small houseplants to the large trees of the ship’s arboretum, it seemed all plant life aboard the Garuda was being affected somehow by the protomatter, growing exponentially in size.

Worse, it was apparent that the plant life exhibited hostile behaviors as crew members struggled against slithering vines attempting to capture them.

Finally, DeVeau reappeared, her body having been taken over by an alien influence. Holding hostages in the arboretum, she announced to the Garuda’s commanding officer Captain Cassandra Egan Manno that she was speaking on behalf of the Kindred, an intelligence that resided within the Genesis Cloud. Its intent was to capture the crew and use their bodies to escape the protomatter cloud.

However, Egan Manno had a plan. The shuttlecraft Ballard was secretly piloted by remote back into the center of the cloud. Then, during Egan Manno’s direct meeting with DeVeau in the arboretum, the captain revealed the shuttle would ignite the entire cloud if the Kindred did not comply. The Kindred were defiant, and the captain gave the order, destroying the cloud and bringing the crisis to an end.

As the Garuda’s crew began cleaning up the mess, the mission left many reflecting on the chaos.

“We lost a lot during this mission. I’ve only been here a short time, but I can tell this mission has left a mark on ship and crew,” said Ensign Ryan King, a security officer. “I myself am suffering from premature hair loss—though the nurse assures me it’s only temporary. I’m willing to make my sacrifices to continue the Federation’s mission though—and as long as my hair grows back. The nurse tells me it will with the gel…”

Others weren’t sure how they were going to explain this to their friends and families.

“I know no one back home’s going to believe me,” said Loupaz. “I hate plants.”


Lights, Camera, Action!

This week’s poll of the Week will be focusing on the big screen versions of our favorite franchise, but from a completely different perspective: Behind the scenes!

Which director, do you think, brought the best qualities of Star Trek to the big screen? Was it Robert Wise, who pioneered the first of the Star Trek movie franchise with the 1979 film Star Trek The Motion Picture? Or how about Nicholas Meyer who directed the iconic 1982 film The Wrath of Khan as well as the 1991 film The Undiscovered Country? Or maybe you fancy Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy who directed both the 1984 and 1986 films The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home? Or Maybe even James Kirk himself, William Shatner, who directed the 1989 film, The Final Frontier?

Head down to the polls and let us know who you think did the greatest job of bringing Star Trek to life on the big screen, and please, we here at poll of the week are always interested to know why!


Closeup on Starbase 118

As I approach the massive installation known as Starbase 118, home base for the fleet in which I serve, I look out the transparent aluminum window of the transport ship I am aboard as the computer announces its approach and then begins to dictate the starbase’s defensive and offensive capabilities.

Impressive, I think to myself. I stand listening as the station looms larger with each passing second as the transport ship approaches. I am not in uniform as this is not an official Starfleet visit to the station. The transport ship slows to a crawl as it awaits docking instructions upon its approach. After a few moments, the transport ship adjusts its vector approach and picks up speed and I stand there, with my thumbs in my jean pockets and my carry-on bag slung over my left shoulder, smiling knowing I am about to board a station that has become a part of Starfleet lore over the last two decades.

Now under the command of Commander Leo Handley-Page, someone whom I have had the privilege of serving with in the past in different roles, the starbase has taken on a brand new feel. For that, I am sure as for each of the previous commanding officers of the station, also came along with a unique style of command.

Knowing some of the history of Starbase 118 Ops, but not all by a long-shot, I eagerly await the transport to complete its final docking maneuvers. I then hear the moorings clamp in place and the announcement describing disembarking instructions coming over the speakers, followed by the final message, “Welcome to Starbase 118″.

Moments later, I find myself in the bustling concourse area of the starbase. Here, people of all walks of life, from Starfleet officers, to civilians of all shapes, sizes and species come together to shop, dine, drink and party. It is designed to resemble a commercial sector of any city on any Federation member planet with holographic areas that would cleverly disguise the fact that this part was actually on a space station and not on a planet surface somewhere else in the galaxy. I enter one particular area of the concourse, and look up the the holographic blue sky with skyscrapers extending as far as the eye could see.


Hostages freed as USS Constitution saves Deep Space 285 from destruction

AVALON SECTOR — What began as seemingly another attack by the Maquis Reborn has proven to be a more complicated plot of subterfuge as the USS Constitution defended Deep Space 285 from an asteroid attack and freed several hostages.

“The investigation is ongoing,” said Starfleet Public Affairs officer Commander A.J. Ciaravolo in San Francisco, “but it appears this was the work of an isolated extremist.”

When the USS Constitution arrived back at Deep Space 285, the crew was expecting a relatively quiet shore leave. Several new crew members also were assigned to the ship. Shore leave proceeded normally with members of the crew exploring and enjoying the entertainment facilities of the station. However when Lt. Cmdr. James was rushed to emergency surgery, several members of the crew for various reasons ended up in the station’s sickbay.

They were suddenly and violently taken hostage by agents, led by a vicious Moropa named Kav-Nhoo of the Maquis Reborn. The terrorists were able to lock out Deep Space 285 from sickbay and seal themselves in with the members of the crew. However, their initial demands were unknown.

Word slowly started to trickle to DS285’s commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. Glim Kyyrampa that something was amiss in sickbay. She contacted the docked Constitution, which was under the command of Lt. Cmdr. Siris, one of the new arrivals aboard the ship. It was quickly determined who was in sickbay and that they were dealing with a hostage situation.

Several hours of tense negotiations ensued, with the remaining Constitution crew doing everything in their power to assist the captured officers.

As the situation in sickbay played out, it was proving difficult to make any progress with the hostage takers as the station’s efforts to free the prisoners had produced no results. Eventually, Kav-Nhoo’s accomplices overrode the station’s command codes, which left the station in no position to defend itself. To make matters even worse, Kav-Nhoo pulled his first big surprise by somehow summoning dozens of asteroids from a faraway region of space and sent them hurtling towards the defenseless station.

Siris, thinking quickly, ordered the Constitution to separate into two parts, sending the stardrive section of the ship, under his command, towards the origin of the asteroids to destroy as many as possible. The saucer section, under the command of Lt. Faranfey, would remain behind to help destroy the asteroids and assist if at all possible with the evacuation of Deep Space 285. The ship’s fighter wings were mobilized to assist the saucer section.

With the station sitting defenseless, the Constitution and the remaining crew aboard admirably did their best to defend the station. In the chaos of the evacuation and the attack, the hostage takers managed to beam out of sickbay and meet at their rendezvous point. As they escaped off the station, Kav-Nhoo revealed his next big surprise—he wasn’t Kav-Nhoo at all but rather an older Terran male named Ruchard.

The Constitution crew members who were still in sickbay were hemmed in by toxic gases, locked doors, and booby-trapped corridors, forcing them to take the unorthodox method of fleeing through the Jefferies tubes. While Ensign Bishop protested under medical grounds, the team moved the unconscious James through the tubes.

Luckily for the officers, Ensign Feraoun and Lt. JG McCleran managed to lock transporters onto the group and beam them directly to the Constitution’s sickbay, located in the saucer section of the ship. Siris merged the two sections of the ship back together and returned to DS285.


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Today’s Stardate

239202.28 - stardates are the way in which the current date is formatted within a sim. Read more about stardates.

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