Randal Shayne

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Poll of the Week: Best of Quark?

If there was a single recurring character that (at least upon first glance) seemed to embody the very antithesis of Star Trek’s sweeping vision, it would be Quark. The scheming, capitalistic, sexist Ferengi is truly despicable from the very beginning of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and shamelessly displays his materialistic mindset at every turn. Even so, over the course of seven seasons, Quark managed to work his way into the hearts of viewers. His development throughout the series is undeniable and one of the many treats audiences were able to enjoy. What was once a mostly shelved idea for a villainous species was given life through Quark and his fellow Ferengi characters. His popularity is best exemplified by the numerous episodes that had Quark as a focus. Though some of them were truly malignant (looking at you, “Profit and Lace”) the vast majority were effective, meaningful, and often hilarious.

This week’s poll asks which Quark moment or episode you found most enjoyable.

Head to the forums now to register your vote in the poll, and be sure to let us know below the poll what you think!


Poll of the Week: Most Controversial Series (Besides Discovery)?

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that Star Trek: Discovery has been enormously polarizing, both for critics and the dedicated fanbase. The controversy stems from almost every part of Discovery itself; the appearance, the story, the characters, and much more.

For all the debate it creates, Discovery is hardly the first Star Trek series to stimulate some level of discord. The Original Series was the first of its kind, both in story style and in presentation. The racial equality, ethical musing and divisive political perspectives presented made it a bold and, in some cases, threatening television show. The Animated Series generally featured decent stories, but the animation itself was a turnoff for some of the audience. The Next Generation was greeted with disgust and apprehension from many old school fans, who couldn’t believe that it would match the original. Deep Space Nine’s grungier, darker tone bucked the utopian staple that Star Trek so firmly clutched. Voyager and Enterprise are both loved and hated by various fans, mostly for the content and direction of their stories.

So which series did you think was the most controversial?

Click here to head to the forums to vote on this poll, and be sure to leave your comments below the poll.


Poll of the Week: Best Movie Soundtrack?

The best soundtracks in films are those that match and enhance the ambiance and themes presented on the screen. In this regard, Star Trek composers have had a particularly difficult job: how do you compress wonder, mystery, and beauty into small auditory snippets?

Fortunately for us fans, it seems that each movie in the Star Trek franchise has been graced with a phenomenal musical accompaniment! Whether it’s the introspective, grand and powerful themes from The Motion Picture, or the pulsating, action-filled tunes from the nuTrek movies, there’s something for everyone.

This week’s poll asks you to name your favorite movie soundtrack. Head to the forums now to register your vote, and let us know what you chose in the comments section below!


Poll of the Week: Best Wedding?

Whether you’re throwing rice at the bride and groom or beating them over the head with Ma’Stakas, weddings are generally happy occasions, and symbolize a sacred union between two people. From the first (aborted) marriage of Robert Tomlinson and Angela Martine aboard the Enterprise NCC-1701, to the long-awaited conjugation of Deanna Troi and William Riker, Star Trek has a long tradition of showing such ceremonies on the screen. Each has taken a different tone, different visual style and, of course, different participants.

This poll asks you which of the many marriage ceremonies shown on screen was your favorite. Did you enjoy the Japanese-styled ceremony of Miles O’Brien and Keiko Ishikawa? Or were the somber, aggressive overtones of Worf and Jadzia Dax’s wedding more to your taste? Perhaps the less than romantic civil union imposed upon Quark by the widow Grilka struck the right tone.

Click here to vote now on the forums and explain your choice in the thread below the poll!


Poll of the Week: Most Interesting Parent/Child Relationship?

It’s rather surprising to realize just how many relationships in Star Trek are principally parent/child based. In most cases, these connections between beloved characters has yielded fantastic character building episodes, while often posing intriguing philosophical questions. Since the first episode to feature an example of this trend, TOS’ “Journey to Babel”, in which Spock must confront the burden of command and the needs of his family, a long standing tradition has been maintained. Whether the relationship exists for a short time (such as in the TNG episode  “The Offspring”) or for the length of an entire series (Benjamin and Jake Sisko), they almost always manage to add heart to a show that can sometimes feel clinical and dry.

This week’s poll asks you which parent/child relationship in Star Trek you found most interesting. Give us your vote by clicking here to head to the forums. Be sure to comment below the poll!


Poll of the Week: What was your favorite TOS actor appearance?

There are an enormous number of inter-series cameos in Star Trek, and more often than not, they’re delightful treats, designed to connect and further flesh out a universe so massive it might otherwise become tangled and unfollowable.

Quark and William Riker have enjoyed a number of these appearances, but for this particular poll, we’ll be focusing on those moments where characters from The Original Series were featured in later shows. Dr. Leonard McCoy’s tour of the Enterprise-D is the first of these shown in the pilot episode for TNG, later followed by Ambassador Spock and his attempts to reunite the Romulan people with their Vulcan brothers in “Unification Parts I and II.” The discovery of Montgomery Scott’s shuttle on the Jenolan Dyson Sphere was the focus of the TNG episode “Relics.” Sarek (featured in the aforementioned episode, shortly after appearing as a titular character in the previous season of TNG) helped to connect the old to the new, and to pass on a well-known legacy. Finally, in one of the most popular episodes of Voyager, Hikaru Sulu and Janice Rand, shown in a memory as the captain of the Excelsior, provide excellent background information into Tuvok’s past, while adding some much need variety to the show’s stories.

So which of these appearances was your favorite? Did we catch all the top appearances, or did we miss one?

Head to the forums now to register your vote in the poll. Be sure to add a comment after you vote!


Poll of the Week: Best Shore Leave Episode?

For all the work they do exploring and saving the Federation from endless threats, it seems our beloved crews don’t get anywhere near enough shore leave. But when it is shown, the results is excellent television.

With the first episode to fit this bill – aptly titled “Shore Leave” – a precedent was set. “Shore Leave” itself is often lauded by fans as a fun romp, and a standout of TOS’ first season. “Captain’s Holiday” features uptight and work-addicted Jean-Luc Picard become embroiled in a time-bending adventure on Risa. “Family” from TNG’s fourth season, follows the events of “The Best of Both Worlds”, and gives the audience a rare and cherished glimpse of characters dealing with the consequences of previous events. Incidentally, this is the only episode in all of Star Trek canon that does not include a scene on the bridge. Enterprise follows this trend twice – once with the episode entitled “Two Days and Two Nights” in its first season, and another entitled “Home”, which features Enterprise crew members dealing with the personal issues following the conclusion of the Xindi conflict.

While there are other episodes that mention or feature shore leave, these are those predicated around it. With that in mind, which shore leave episode is your favorite?

Head to the forums now to register your vote. Be sure to drop a comment in the thread below the poll!


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.


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