Anath G'Renn

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Poll of the Week: Safety Protocols Disengaged

Insurance for Starfleet ships would be a nightmare. The ships are constantly investigating dangerous anomalies and getting into fights. But that’s not even the most dangerous thing that a Starfleet ship does – there’s a less obvious danger hidden in plain sight on most Starfleet ships: A piece of technology that is so ridiculously prone to failure or malfunction that it is one of the best-known Star Trek cliches. The holodeck.

It would seem that every time an episode centers on the holodeck, something has to go wrong with it. This could be as simple as the doors locking and the safety protocols turning off. However, that is only the start of what could go wrong with the holodeck. It could even, with a little outside interference, take on a mind of its own and actively try to hunt you down and kill you. We can only assume that the engineers responsible for the holodeck safety protocols are the same engineers responsible for the tendency of bridge consoles to explode. There are a lot of problems that could be pointed to in the holodeck’s safeguards.

This week’s poll asks which holodeck malfunction you think was the worst.

Click here to head to the forums and vote. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the thread.


Poll of the Week: Shortcut of the Week

The most important aspect of the overall story of Voyager was the distance of their journey back home to the Alpha Quadrant. Shortening the distance that the ship had to travel, or even returning to Earth immediately was a frequent plot device in Voyager episodes. It seems like at least once a season there is the potential of some shortcut getting the crew back home only to not work out or only take them part of the way. On one occasion this desire to find an alternate way home got the ship stuck in a trap they thought was a wormhole.

It’s understandable that there were occasional episodes centered around this idea. Sometimes it was a good idea to shave time off of the trip like in the episode “Night,” where the ship had to get clear of an empty void of space thousands of light years across or in the finale “Endgame.” However, it will appear in a story from time to time where it isn’t related to the primary plot. Sometimes the plot device of a shortcut to Earth was just used to raise the stakes of an episode and was never mentioned again.

This week, we want to know which Voyager shortcut you felt was the least necessary for the episode.

Head to the forums now to register your vote in the poll. Then us more in the thread below!


Poll of the Week: Medical Officer by Day, Secret Agent by Night

The holodeck is one of the most versatile pieces of technology at Starfleet’s disposal. When you use the holodeck, there is a nearly limitless amount of resources at your disposal. Any item in the database from a wine glass to a shuttlecraft can be recreated by the computer. Characters with artificial personalities can be added in to either create a particular atmosphere or act out a story. The walls and floor with the yellow grid on them can become any number of vistas or locations from across the galaxy with the push of a button. Everything is controlled by the ship’s computer, adapting the program as it goes along to provide whatever the user is looking for.

Holodecks are primarily an outlet for crew recreation, but they have many other uses as well. Aspects of the Delta Flyer were originally designed and simulated using the holodeck. Authors can make a living by writing holonovels. In some cases we’ve even seen holodecks used in group therapy sessions or to covertly test someone’s loyalty to the Federation. In this week’s poll, we want to know what your character most frequently does when they use the holodeck. Do they save the world from evil villains and take part in historical battles, or are they more likely to utilize the holodeck when they’re trying to simulate a project or need to do some training exercises?

What does your character use the holodeck for most? Head to the forums to cast your vote and be sure to comment with your thoughts!


Poll of the Week: Cloaking Device Sold Separately

The Romulans, Cardassians, Klingons, and Ferengi all have very distinct styles of ship design. However, most ships share the same essential elements: There is almost always a bridge, some form of energy and projectile weapons, both warp and sublight engines, and basic living spaces for the ship’s crew.

Beyond unique design styles, most factions also have their own special technologies that are seen as trademarks of their fleets. Both the Romulans and Klingons equipped their ships with their own versions of cloaking devices. The Breen were feared for their unique energy dampening weapon that turned the Second Battle of Chin’toka into a decisive defeat for the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans. There were also non-standard features that were unique to certain classes of ship. The USS Prometheus had a revolutionary new multi-vector assault mode that could turn one ship into three built on older saucer separation technology.

If you were designing a starship, you would have to include all of the standard features in the design. But no ship has room for all of the optional extra technologies that are seen on starships across the galaxy. A ship that was transwarp-capable, cloaked, multi-vector assault mode equipped, and armed with special weapons would likely never hold together. Ships like the USS Defiant show that an over-specialized ship stuffed with advanced technology was an engineering nightmare to keep running.

If you were designing a starship, which non-standard feature would be at the top of your list?

Click here to head to the forums now and register your vote in the poll. Be sure to comment below in the thread and let us know what you think!


Poll of the Week: It’s Been a Long Road…

Of all the famous Starfleet captains, there are few who have made as many controversial decisions as Captain Jonathan Archer of the NX-01. Archer’s Enterprise was the first warp five starship built by Humans. It was Earth’s first deep space explorer, and Starfleet itself was still a fairly new and inexperienced organization. Captain Archer did not have any of the benefits that future Starfleet captains enjoyed. He had access to less data, was a member of Starfleet when the organization was relatively weak, and didn’t have the experience of previous Starfleet captains to call on as he was the first to go out into the unexplored reaches of space. Archer would eventually serve as a role model for his successors, teaching them both what to do and what not to do.

Mistakes, even major mistakes, have happened with every captain. Some have even acted in a criminal manner. Some of Captain Archer’s decisions do make some sense given the lack of precedent and his limited experience. However, there are some decisions that seem to indicate a simple lack of good command skills. The use of an airlock to torture a prisoner is just one example. We’d like to know what you think of the command decisions of one of Starfleet’s earliest captains.

What do you think is the worst thing that Captain Archer did?

Click here to head to the forums and register your vote in the poll. And be sure to leave a comment below the poll!


Poll of the Week: À la carte

If you are looking for something to eat on a ship with replicators there is no shortage of options. Starfleet replicators have a massive library of recipes from across the Federation and beyond. It doesn’t matter what a Starfleet officer could want. Whether as simple as a piece of toast for breakfast or catering a dinner party for members of a dozen alien species, the replicator can provide. Simply push a button and ask for whatever dish is desired. And if on the off chance there is a food not already in the database the replicator pattern can be created and uploaded to the database.

However, everyone has their own preferences for food. Everyone has foods that they prefer not to eat if they can at all avoid it. It is unlikely that many people could go through the entire replicator database and not find some foods that they would dislike.

This week’s poll asks you what dishes would not be found on your character’s table. What types of food can your character not stand?

Click here to head to the forums and register your vote in the poll now. Be sure to comment when you’re done!


Poll of the Week: Reunification

In the distant past, Romulans and Vulcans were one. Romulans did not exist for centuries of Vulcan history. Only during the Age of Surak did the Romulans begin as their own people. They refused to adopt Surak’s philosophies about logic and emotion. These Vulcans who “marched beneath the raptor’s wings” left the planet on a long odyssey. Eventually, these wayward Vulcans would find their way to Romulus and form the Romulan Star Empire.

For the longest time Vulcan and Romulus remained separate. They went on divergent paths of history and developed their own unique cultures. The Vulcans joined the Federation and continued to follow the logical path of Surak’s teachings. Meanwhile, the Romulans became an expansionist military power built on extreme paranoia and mistrust. Despite their common roots the two civilizations didn’t seem to have much in common. This hasn’t kept people on both sides from desiring a unification between the Vulcans and Romulans.

What form would this reunification take? For most Vulcans, the idea was to have peaceful diplomatic discussions with the Romulans. The Romulan Star Empire saw the goal of reunification as the conquest of Vulcan. Reunification remains a dream for many Romulans and Vulcans despite the barriers to unification. What do you think about the prospects of a reunion for the two powers?

Could Vulcan-Romulan Reunification work? Click here to head to the forums now and vote for your choice.


Poll of the Week: Pre-warp nostalgia

In Star Trek, the characters often reference art from their respective cultures. This could be as simple as a passing reference to a novel or something as complex as playing out scenes from a play on the holodeck. Data was a fan of Sherlock Holmes. Worf was known for being well-versed in all things related to Klingon culture. Multiple members of the Enterprise-D senior staff played parts in classic plays from Earth during their downtime. Star Trek is full of references to classical music, Shakespeare, and literature. However, one aspect of culture seen much less frequently is the modern-day literature, art, and music of the Federation.

Whether it be Worf’s Klingon opera or Data and Picard playing out a scene from Henry V, most of the culture from the Federation that we see is historical and not current. With art from Earth it makes sense for producers to reference well-known classics like Shakespeare. But even when dealing with alien art we always seem to see art from that world’s distant past. While a few episodes do give us glimpses into the bestselling holonovels and popular culture of the 24th century, it seems that most people are content to stick with the classics from centuries ago.

What do you think about the lack of modern culture in the Star Trek universe? Is it just a trick to limit production costs or a major missed opportunity for worldbuilding? Head to the forums to cast your vote and let us know what you think!


Poll of the Week: Ready for Command

Captains and first officers all start somewhere – most of the time at the rank of Ensign! With time and experience officers climb up the ranks, and may one day find themselves sitting in the center chair.

There are captains who have come from every Starfleet background imaginable. Captain Picard was originally the flight controller aboard his first command, the Stargazer. Before serving on the Enterprise Captain Kirk worked on a phaser crew. Captain Janeway was a science officer during her early Starfleet career.

This week’s poll asks for your opinion on which duty post you think would best prepare a person for a command role. Is there a specific duty post that provides unique experience that would be useful to a member of the command department? Maybe experience with multiple departments is better and makes for a more well-rounded skill set? Do you think that no department holds the advantage?

Click here to head to the forums and register your vote now. Make sure to leave a comment once you’ve voted!


Poll of the Week: Kobayashi Maru scenario

The Kobayashi Maru Scenario is the most notorious test at Starfleet Academy. This test is the famous no-win scenario that tests the character of a Starfleet officer as much as it tests the technical skills of command – not to mention that no matter what course of action you take, the outcome is always the same. Only one Starfleet officer ever beat the Kobayashi Maru, and it’s only because he cheated.

While the exact elements of the simulation have changed from era to era the basic setup remains the same. The version that we are most familiar with strands the civilian freighter Kobayashi Maru in the Klingon Neutral Zone after striking a mine. Once the cadet’s ship enters the Neutral Zone multiple Klingon battle cruisers converge on them and attack. It’s considered impossible to both survive the attack still intact and save the crew of the Kobayashi Maru. In a possible variant in the 24th century, a Ferengi transport and an ambush by Romulan warbirds are used in place of an attack by the Klingons.

It is obvious that there is no “right” answer when it comes to facing the infamous scenario. That’s why it is considered unwinnable, and what makes it an excellent tool for teaching command-track cadets. How the cadet chooses to proceed is more important than finding a path to a complete victory.

This week, we’d like to know what you think is the best answer to the no-win scenario, if there is one. While you might not be able to win, do you see a strategy that is superior to the others?

Click here to head to the forums now and register your entry in the poll. And be sure to comment in the thread on what you think is the best approach to the Kobayashi Maru scenario!


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