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Ninteen Years of Roleplay

On or about June 15, 1994, an adventure would begin that no one could have ever foreseen would still be around 19 years later. Thereabouts the group known as the UFOP SIMming club was born. At the time the group was very different than it is today. Perhaps the only similarities were that the adventures took place in the post-TNG era of Star Trek (which had just ended its run) and that Fleet Admiral Wolf was in charge. As for Star Trek, Deep Space Nine was in its infancy, Star Trek: Generations had not yet been released, Voyager was on the drawing board and no one had ever heard of J.J. Abrams. Meanwhile, the UFOP SIMming club (Starbase 118 had not yet entered the picture) was based live AOL chat rooms. Play by Email would not become the group standard for a few more years.

Amazingly, our community has grown and persisted. Since formation the group has had 75 players serving as commanding officers aboard 67 different simming sites. Fleet Admiral Wolf commanded the very first ship, the USS Phoenix-B, a Nebula Class starship. Over time the group would enlarge as additional ships and commanding officers would enter the fray. About a year after the group’s formation, the original Starbase 118 began operations also under the command of Wolf. The following year, another mainstay of the group would begin: the UFOP Reporter. The Reporter acted as the group’s official newsletter under the editorship of Elinor of Kanist. Over the next 15 years, there would be a total of 44 issues. As time would progress, the use of the group’s website and eventual adoption of WordPress would make the Reporter obsolete as news would be published on a continuous basis.

Evolution would continue within the group. About ten years after the group’s formation, an official constitution would be ratified which became critical as the group became more difficult to manage without an official set of rules. The group’s website would move a few times using a variety of free webservers until finally settling in using the domain name. Soon the UPDS would follow, which made keeping track of ship rosters more manageable. A sense of community would also develop over the forums, which have now been around for more than a decade.

Part of the reason for the group’s longevity has been its cadre of talented writers that have created a wide variety of adventures in an alternate Star Trek universe all on its own. Today, and for many years the group has used a play by email format via Yahoo! Groups. Because of this format, many of the sims written from more than a decade ago still live on the Internet.

In general, most of the simming sites within the group have been starships, but there have been several non-starship settings as well. Besides the currently operating Starbase 118 Operations and the Duronis II Embassy, the group has had a presence at Deep Space 72 and the Daris Colony. Perhaps the most unique site that the group ever managed was the USS Panther, which was a captured Romulan Warbird that fought for Starfleet during one of the group’s early blockbusters known as the Yolanda Wars.

Next year will be the group’s twentieth anniversary, an amazing achievement in a world where longevity is far from the norm. To paraphrase the President of the Federation from Star Trek IV, thanks to the dedication of Fleet Admiral Wolf and all of the players who participate in the group, “We are forever.”

An Amazing 25 Years of Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Number One,” “Engage,” “Resistance is Futile,” “Make it so,” and “Tea, Earl Grey, hot.” It is hard to believe that it has been 25 years since Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered. The journey began with Encounter at Farpoint, not one of the franchise’s greatest, but one that showed off the incredibly advanced Enterprise-D, perhaps this incarnation’s best villain in Q, and of course the holodeck. It was a daring experiment, could you do Star Trek without Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (save for a random cameo in the pilot)? After seven years later, more than double the number of original series episodes, and an Emmy nomination for best drama TV series it was a definitive yes!

The Kodiak Legacy Endures

In March of 1999, the Federation starship Kodiak was launched under the command of Nav-kodiak-a.jpgCaptain Jasen Rendary and his first officer Commander Lang Vedoc. Later the ship would be best known as Vice Admiral Hollis Calley’s ship. The venerable Bajoran admiral would become the only player to have served aboard all of the various incarnations of the Kodiak as well as her successor ship, the Ursa Major. He would command all but the original Galaxy class ship. After all of these years, the mark of the Kodiak is still deeply imprinted in the fleet. Every single commanding officer currently serving in the Starbase 118 fleet traces his or her lineage back to the Kodiak under the command of Admiral Hollis.

The Curiosity of Black Tower

Intelligence has been a part of Star Trek lore for years. Section 31, the Obsidian Order, and the Tal Shiar have been integral to the story lines of TNG and DS9. Today, most ships/bases in the Starbase 118 fleet have an intelligence officer. But what you might not know is that long ago intelligence existed as its own simming group. This is the tale of Black Tower, a group that was not a starship and not quite a base. Roughly ten years ago Black Tower began operations under the command of Lieutenant Colonel K’sena of Kyrl.

This was a group unlike any other that had previously been under the command of Starbase 118. When Black Tower was first introduced, to join a player must have been in the fleet for no less than six months. They would then have to submit a new application, creating a new secondary character. As part of this application, which ensured that every player joining Black Tower was truly elite, the applicant had to write two assessments. The first was an undercover mission impersonating a Tal Shiar officer aboard a Romulan Warbird. While collecting information for SFI, the applicant uncovered a plot that would destroy an unsuspecting Federation fleet. The second was more open-ended designed to explore the writer’s creativity. They simply had to expound upon their tricorder suddenly picking up energy fluxes that their ship did not pick up during a planetary scan.

Congratulations on Ten Years, USS Victory

On May 24, 2002 the first sim was submitted in the history of the USS Victory. The ship would launch a few days later under the command of Commander Jordan Hurne as a split from the Kodiak-A. That was ten years ago. Voyager had just finished its run and Enterprise was airing new episodes. There were no such things as smartphones and social networking was in its infancy. The Victory would see much change over her run. She served as both an independent ship as well as a support vehicle for Starbase 118 Operations. Five different commanding officers would take her captain’s chair. The Victory would also spawn several splits of her own including the Columbia under Captain Mal Avatar and the Aurora under Captain Megan Parker. The ship would also later be the first command of Captain Andrus Jaxx.

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