Randal Shayne

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Poll of the Week: Which Position Carries the Most Risk?

Let’s face it: Space travel is a risky business. Swimming through a void specifically designed to kill any organic life as we understand it is no mean feat, and that’s not even mentioning the various dangers that the political climate can bring to bear. If the vacuum doesn’t boil your character’s blood, the Romulan disruptors pointed at them will. If the hostile natives don’t run a spear through their body, the flesh-consuming bacteria they picked up will finish the job quick enough.

No matter what position and department they fill on a ship or a station, there is always immense risk. But while some of that risk is universal, others are more specialized. A security officer is the first line of defense against enemy incursions. A doctor runs the greatest risk of infection by plagues, due to their exposure to them. Engineers constantly effect repairs in dangerous and less than ideal circumstances. Counselors deal with potentially violent or disturbed patients.

This poll asks you which duty post/department carries the most risk overall. Head to the forums to vote now!


Poll of the Week: Which civilization had the best emblem?

Emblems, flags and symbols are ubiquitous in the universe of “Star Trek.” Civilizations across the galaxy, be they powerful empires or miniscule entities, are easily identified by their particular sigil of identity. These designs are generally eye-catching, descriptive and easily discerned from one another.

The Federation’s has undergone several changes over the shows and movies, but all have maintained the peaceful colors, olive branches and starfield that exude an air of serenity and cooperation. The brazen, barren trefoil design of the Klingon Empire strikes perhaps the opposite note, effectively displaying their imperial approach and aggressive stance to their allies and enemies alike. The Romulans employ a wide-winged raptor, announcing their commitment to their roots and a desire to dominate. The list goes on and on, and for the eagle-eyed viewer, it can provide a seemingly endless source of interest and world-building potential.

This week’s poll asks you to tell us what your favorite civilization emblem is. Consider aesthetics, effectiveness and uniqueness in your answer, then vote in the poll and be sure to comment on your favorite!


Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Reema Poq, Starbase 118

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

Today, we’re sitting down with Ensign Reema Poq, a Trill medical officer aboard Starbase 118.

SHAYNE: Tell us a little about yourself- where in the world do you hail from?

POQ: Short answer: SoCal. Long answer: I was born in Montreal, QC. When I was 10 my family moved to the States, where I swapped primary and secondary language. Then I moved to San Francisco for college, and now I live in LA.

Trills are an especially interesting species to play, and a popular choice in the fleet. Is there a reason you chose that race in particular?

When I first found out about SB118, I was directed to the Discord, and the lobby happened to be talking about how more trill were needed. I prefer to build my characters by randomization usually, and the needs of the team were randomizer enough, so I picked Trill, and here Poq is.

Is this your first PBEM/roleplaying game, or do you have more experience in that realm?

Hahaaa not even slightly. I started RPing on forums in 2000- then livejournal, then gaia, more forums, anyone else remember those terrible myspace-era make-your-own-website servers? Angelsomething? Yeah. So it’s been about 18 years for me, and I’ve covered everything from original fiction to horses (yep you heard me, I was 11 what do you want) to fandoms including Star Trek. And that’s just online text rp! I also play TTRPGs like D&D, and I do long and short form improvisation on stage. If a version of RPing exists, I’ve probably tried it. Except LARPing. …LARPing is next.

Your wiki page for Poq indicates that Poq is in her first joined life- why did you chose this characteristic for them?

Whenever I start creating an original character, I ask myself what’s different from the norm about them, and how can it feed my story. Like I said I’ve been doing it a long time, so I don’t tend to think big trauma anymore, and instead the everyday little things that differentiate us. Internal conflict is important to me as a writer and an actor, so I thought- what kind of arc could I give her immediately to worth through as well as the usual trials and tribulations of being a Trill officer? Since joining is such a huge thing on Trill, and receiving the past life memories the sold ‘benefit’ of joining, I thought it’d be fun for her to have to struggle with getting what she wants (joining) without getting what she expected out of it (past life knowledge/experience), and Reema having to come to terms with it. Eventually I hope that Reema will be excited and proud to be Poq’s first lifetime, but she’s certainly not there yet!

Do you have any thoughts on what you’d like to aim for in terms of development and growth for Poq? Any goals in mind, or are you looking to go more with the flow?

Oops did I answer this too early? That’s just one of her things though! She also spent all her time in academia, and now has to deal with (a version of) the real world. Having her deal with socializing in a less structured environment, especially in one that has so many divergent personalities, species and situations, and being forced to expand her horizons should be really fun, so– I’m happy to see what she gets handed and to see how we can learn from there. The joy of RPing for me is not planning more than a vague direction and seeing what happens. I plan on Reema growing, but the direction in which she grows is up to SB118 and its wonderful denizens.

Where do you see yourself in a few years- would you like to move into a command role in time?

We’ll see how much free time I have in a few years… but tbh I always want power 😉 Nah, meaning, RPing is a very important hobby for me and I want to spread it to others. It helps with writing skills and communication skills as well as empathy, and it builds such magical relationships, I’d love to assist the community. And if that means taking a command role? I’m there.

Do you have a favorite episode or movie of Star Trek?

Favorite episode? I can’t even pick a favorite series. Hmm…. Maybe “The Ship” from DS9. It has two fantastic one-time characters, great moments for many of the main cast, Miles especially. I definitely feel like the script was written with Munez intended to be early 20s while the actor seemed more like 30s, but the actor did such a terrific job I’m eh about it. “A Year In Hell” deserved way more time than it got, and would kill it in today’s serialized tv system, rather than the episodic programs we had before. Oh, and “City on the Edge of Forever” is a classic.

Thank you very much, Ensign Poq!

You can read more about Ensign Poq on the Wiki.


Poll of the Week: Most Challenging Position to Sim?

No matter what ship you write on, what position your character fulfills, or what department they’re attached to, he, she or ner has an important role in the smooth operation of the vessel. We’d not get far without helmsmen or engineers, exploration would be a drag without our scientists and specialists, and the crew would certainly falter without the skills of the medical and counseling staff.

The shared usefulness of these departments, however, is where their similarities end. Each has a different expectation, a different goal, and different challenges when it comes to simming for them. Finding a way to engage an engineer in the plot without having something break can often be something of a struggle. Coming up with a way to keep a counselor relevant in a given story is another often-cited problem. A medical officer needs some degree of understanding when it comes to the art of healing- not exactly an easy prospect when a writer’s only aid is a knowledge of biology, and a few loose threads shown in canon. The same might be said for a science officer. The rest have their own obstacles.

With these limitations in mind (and others that you’ve encountered in simming for a duty post) which department is the most difficult to sim for? Give us your vote, and let us know your reasons in the comments section below!


Poll of the Week: What Would You Character Do After Starfleet?

Many cadets enter Starfleet Academy with high hopes, boundless aspirations, and a plan to excel in their field wherever possible. The vast majority are successful, but very few seem to give consideration to what happens after their time in Starfleet, after their career has reached its peak.

It’s well into the 25th century (or even the 26th). Your character is a captain, or perhaps even an admiral, and for whatever reason, they have decided to finally retire from the active fleet. They are still in relatively good health, and despite technological advancements and the usual political and social machinations that have always presented threats the the United Federation of Planets, our great civilization has enjoyed an unprecedented period of relative peace and calm. Without the weight of those pips, they are free to do what they will in a galaxy seething with opportunity.

How would they spend that time? Would they focus on family, settling down to be among loved ones in waning years? Would they explore on their own, seeing parts of the galaxy they hadn’t been to during their tenure in the fleet? Maybe they’d consult for Starfleet, or teach at the Academy. Or perhaps they’d enter the private sector- leaving Starfleet might not be the end of a career.

This week’s poll asks you what your character would do after their Starfleet career. Head to the forums and vote now. Be sure to drop your thoughts in the forum thread below the poll!


Poll of the Week: Help out the FNS

The Federation News Service is a spinoff of our game, wherein a team of writers help bring the rest of the Federation – mostly what happens outside of Starfleet – to life through news stories.

With an influx of new members lately, the team has been pumping out new stories like crazy, from feature articles to editorials and more! But now we want to know what kind of stories you like reading best so we can calibrate what we’re publishing.

This Poll of the Week asks what you’d like to read more of: Current events across the quadrant? Editorials and opinions on matters affecting the galaxy? Perhaps you prefer in depth cultural analysis, or reports on the actions and stances of other galactic civilizations? Or maybe even a completely different angle?

Head to the forums now to input your vote, and leave a comment if the choice you were looking for isn’t listed. We’re interested in hearing your opinion!


Poll of the Week: Most Aesthetically Pleasing Ship by Species?

There’s something quintessentially beautiful about Federation starships. Their curves, symmetricality and proud bearing provide a sense of awe. With the exception of a few, special cases (looks furtively at the Yeager class) most of these vessels carry on a long lineage of amazing designs. With that said, Starfleet isn’t the only organization that knows how to sculpt a shapely ship. The Klingons, and their bold, imperious designs have struck fear into the hearts of enemies for centuries. Romulan warbirds dwarf their competition with sweeping wings and imposing, almost beak-like hulls. Even the Borg offer something to the obsessively compulsive- who doesn’t enjoy perfectly geometric shapes?

This week’s poll asks you which galactic civilization has the most pleasing ship aesthetic. Do you enjoy the horseshoe shaped crafts of the Ferengi? Or do the jagged, asymmetrical combat barges of the Breen catch your eye?

Head to the forums now to register your vote in the poll, and be sure to leave a comment in the thread.


Poll of the Week: Best Friendship Started From Adversity?

Embracing others, despite cultural differences, is a key aspect of Star Trek’s message and enduring legacy. Though Gene Roddenberry was loathe to include any sort of strife, negativity, or conflict among crew members in his scripts, there have nonetheless been some superior character relationships that blossom from early dislike.

In The Original Series, Spock and McCoy quickly despised one another’s perspectives and mentality, but over time, despite (or because of) the many arguments between them, mutual admiration and respect starts to underpin their association. Julian Bashir and Miles O’Brien are good examples of this phenomenon as well. The grizzled, business-like chief found Bashir’s outgoing and excitable nature almost intolerable, but sharing in danger and serving together for a period of time sees them grow into acquaintances, than friends, then inseparable brothers.

Which friendship started through adversity did you find most enjoyable and compelling? Head to the forums now to register your vote in the poll and be sure to leave a comment in the thread!


Poll of the Week: Security Officer You’d Want The Most?

The worst has finally happened – the alternate future seen in The Next Generation episode “Parallels” has come to pass. The Federation is no more, the Borg are swarming the Alpha Quadrant, and the only thing holding them at bay is Riker’s uncontrollable beard. Amidst this madness, you are determined to survive at any cost. But you can’t do it alone!

In this desperate hour, you need a security officer by your side that you can trust, someone who has served Starfleet faithfully. The list is long and varied, and you may use any canon security officer from any time period. With that in mind, who would you pick? The disciplined yet somewhat trigger happy Malcolm Reed? Worf, who’s hand to hand skills might be extremely useful? Maybe a Changeling might be your style – Odo would be a formidable ally. Or perhaps you’d prefer a random redshirt from The Original Series? Hey, if they’re focused on him, they’re not focused on you!

This week’s poll asks you which security officer you’d want at your side the most in an apocalypse. Head to the forums now to register your vote in the poll, and let us know your rational in the thread.


Poll of the Week: Why Did Your Character Join Starfleet?

In an organization as diverse, multifaceted and accepting as Starfleet, there’s bound to be a variety of different reasons to make the commitment to the fleet. For some, it’s the mission itself. More noble goals than Starfleet’s are difficult to come by, and their pursuit contributes to the expansion, continuation and improvement of an astonishing interstellar civilization. Other characters might have joined out of a sense of familial obligation. The fleet has been around in some form or fashion for centuries, and a tradition of service exists in many families, sometimes reaching back three, four or even five generations. Some might feel a desire or a need to protect the Federation, especially considering the many conflicts and dangers that exist in the not so empty depths of space.

Other, less personal reasons might have been an impetus as well. Serving aboard a starship is an excellent way to get the feel for a society, and appreciate its positive and negative aspects. This is especially true with newly discovered species, or those that wish to be the first of their kind in a Starfleet uniform.

The reasons are, naturally, varied, and can say a great deal about a character before we even get to know them. So what was your characters’ impetus to join Starfleet? Was it a desire to contribute to the Federation and be a part of something bigger? Was it to protect and defend? Explore? Something not mentioned here?

Click here to head to the forums and register your vote in this poll of the week. Be sure to leave a comment in the thread below the poll!


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