Randal Shayne

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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!


First Officer in Focus: Lieutenant Commander Jarred Thoran, Columbia

Each month we interview a First Officer or Commanding Officer of the fleet as part of our “First Officer in Focus” and “Captain’s Corner” columns to get to know them better, and learn more about what their positions entail.

This month, we’re interviewing the First Officer of the starship Columbia, Lieutenant Commander Jarred Thoran, a human male. He was last interviewed in December, 2017, as part of our “Lower Decks” column of interviews.

SHAYNE: You’ve been a part of a few interviews, so avid readers of these close ups will be familiar with your basics. Nevertheless, for the benefit of those newer members of our community, could you tell us a little bit about where you hail from?

THORAN: I’m Richard. Originally from the UK, but have spent the past and a bit years in Germany where i’m now training to be a police helicopter pilot.

You’ve been here a little more than a year, and in that time you’ve become one of the strongest and most enthusiastic pillars of our community, using your many talents and unimpeachable commitment for the benefit of the fleet as a whole. Training team, staff member, graphics wizard, wiki gnome… what inspires you to take on so much responsibility?

Blimey, you’re making me blush, and that is certainly an over exaggeration, i’m definitely not a wizard or a gnome. More like a goblin that sticks his head in everywhere. Anyway, to answer your question. When I first joined the fleet I had an abundance of free time, which I wanted to put to uses other than playing video games or doing DIY and housework. I browsed the task forces and found a few I liked the look of, teams that would enable me to use real life skills/experiences to help out. Since then, the community has given me a lot of good times, fun experiences and also helped through a few dark patches, so this is my way of giving back to a community that has given me so much, and I hope that i’m helping to add to that, and to create a good experience and fun times for others.


Poll of the Week: First Contact Fears?

Starfleet officers are saddled with an immense amount of responsibility. It seems like each day is just another chance to be vaporized, tortured, spaced, sucked into a black hole, or anything else in the pantheon of untimely demises. And yet, the beloved organization of exploration and defense grows its ranks and carries on a legacy of honor and optimism: boldly going where no one has gone before.

These risks are accepted by all aboard, but there seems to be one duty description more hazardous and unpredictable than any other, and that’s the specialists who handle first contact with new species.

A variety of Star Trek episodes show us what happens when first contact goes horribly wrong. In “Tin Man” an entire Starfleet landing team was massacred due to a cultural misunderstanding. The risks and dangers of first contact, and the numerous ways it can be performed poorly, inspired Starfleet to insist on creating General Order 1, otherwise known as the Prime Directive. While this mitigated certain issues, the fact that someone would still need to speak for the entire Federation in truly precarious situations remained. That’s probably why Starfleet captains are vetted on the basis of their ability to diplomatically and tactfully introduce an entirely new race to the people of the United Federation of Planets, among other things.

So this week’s poll asks: Do you believe your character would be comfortable handling first contact situations on a regular basis? Would they relish the importance and the strain? Would they collapse under pressure? Perhaps something in between?

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll. Then let us know your thoughts in the comments below the poll!


Poll of the Week: Best supporting character?

They can’t all be from Starfleet! Certainly, our beloved crews are the main focus of virtually every episode of Star Trek, in some form or another. However, while interpersonal relationships and conflict are featured, it is generally an outside force or character that sets the tone of the episode, and the events that occur. Star Trek has a bad, though not entirely unearned, reputation for “one-off” characters- created simply to hammer home a message or make an otherwise improbable story believable.

And then there are the regulars – characters that show up from time to time and have, in many cases, become as beloved by fans as the bridge staff themselves (sometimes even more so). How many times did Marc Alaimo’s brilliantly complex Gul Dukat entertain and intrigue us with his relatively villainous ways? Who could forget the insidious, dangerous Weyoun, demure and alternatively vicious in the blink of an eye? And of course, there is the almighty Q to consider, the only antagonist to try the patience of three separate starship crews on screen. Really, though- what other fabulous being could earn such a distinction?

Which was your favorite supporting character in Star Trek? Was it the brusque but likable General Martok? Or did Garek the simple tailor strike your fancy? Perhaps someone not listed is your choice!

Click here to vote on our poll of the week, and if we missed someone in the poll, let us know your favorite in the thread below the poll!


Lower Decks Interview with Ensign Emilia Krugol

The “Lower Decks” interview series is meant to highlight the newer members of our community. Named after the infamous episode of The Next Generation, this segment helps the fleet learn more about the new blood we bring into our community. Today’s interview is with Ensign Emilia Krugol, a joint security/tactical officer aboard the starship Gorkon.

SHAYNE: Thank you for sitting down with me today! Why don’t we start off with a little about the mind behind Krugol. Where in the world do you hail from?

KRUGOL: Thank you so much for having me! I’m currently a student living in the suburban outskirts of Melbourne Australia. I’m studying in my eleventh year of schooling, and I’m about a year and a half away from graduating and going to university. Outside of schooling, I’m an on and off artist and an ameteur dressmaker, that specialises in costume making.

Both security and tactical positions are highly sought after amongst new recruits especially, for a variety of different reasons. What drew you to the role?

When I did my training, I was stuck between the sciences or security, since I’m quite a fan of both roles, it was quite a difficult decision to make. But eventually, I settled for security. I wanted explore how someone as a security officer dealt with being responsible for the welfare of an entire away team, or even an entire ship. I wanted to investigate how conflict and the fate of her fellow crewmates could affect a demure and gentle character like Krugol. I also just really love writing about elaborate fight scenes.


Poll of the Week: What type of ship would your character command?

There’s no shortage of starship classes within the fleet – it seems that almost every mission has the perfect vehicle to achieve it! Operations that necessitate tactical ability can look to the nimble firepower of the Defiant class. Long forays into the depths of uncharted space are ideal for the massive explorers of the Federation like the Galaxy and Odyssey classes. Science and medical ships abound like the Olympic class medical cruiser, or the Nova class planetary surveyor.

Given the opportunity to choose, which type of starship would your character command? Are they more of a fighter, befitting a posting to a combat-oriented vessel, would they thrive as the CO of a deep space explorer, or would they more enjoy a medical ship or even a starbase?

Head to the forums now to register your vote. Be sure to add your comments below the poll to let us know what you think!


Poll of the Week: Faith and Your Character

Faith has always been a delicate question, one that Star Trek often enjoys examining. It’s no secret that Gene Roddenberry, creator of the idea for Star Trek, found religions to be undesirable, and this fact reflected quite clearly in many of the episodes produced under his tenure. That said, there have been a variety of installments that discuss the topic of faith in a balanced matter. Deep Space 9’s Kira Nerys proudly proclaims a spiritual relationship, and there have been other characters, both in Starfleet and elsewhere, that live similarly.

On a starship or starbase, teeming with hundreds or thousands of people, cultural differences are unavoidably abundant, and part of what makes Starfleet such an incredible organization. That said, from a writer’s perspective, the storytelling and character development possibilities that stem from imbuing one’s character with religious leanings are boundless. On the other hand, a lack of religion can be just as influential for a character, helping to shape their worldview and their priorities.

Does your character follow a set religion or faith? Give us your vote, and if you’re feeling generous, offer a bit of explanation in the comments section!


Poll of the Week: No Place Like Home!

The United Federation of Planets, most people will agree, is a vision of utopia unparalleled in its progressive stances on the different denominations that compose it, and in its wealth of resources, knowledge and altruistic endeavors. In the two and half centuries since its founding, the Federation has included 150 member worlds and thousands of outlying colonies within its ranks. Likewise, it has also encountered a multitude of other species- specifically, other governments and cultures. The Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, the Cardassian Union, the Ferengi Alliance, the Breen Confederacy, and the Tholian Assembly compose the rest of the Alpha Quadrant principle powers.

As we’ve seen, each one has a distinctive outlook on the universe, and a unique culture to match. The Klingons (especially the more militaristic branch) can be exceptionally brutal, violent and beholden to a strictly maintained code of honor. The Romulans have a similarly militaristic view, this one tinged with the more disreputable side of combat (assassinations, political machinations, etc.) but they also seem to have a deep appreciation for both art and scientific endeavors, setting them apart from their longtime enemy, the Klingons. The Ferengi are well known as the entrepreneurs and merchants of the quadrant, living in a society where money is more than a means to a goal- it is the goal. The Breen are a deeply secretive race, with conflicting reports about everything from their home planet to the reason for their all-encompassing uniforms. They became a household name during the Dominion War, when they sided with the Founders against the Federation/Klingon/Romulan alliance, and nearly shattered the Alpha Quadrant once and for all. The Tholians are even more reclusive, and they take it to a xenophobic degree. These crystalline arthropods exist in temperatures that rival Y-Class Demon Worlds in there extremity. Lastly, and perhaps the most intricate blend of the aforementioned, the Cardassian Union has struggled to find a balance between enlightened artistic and spiritual quests and militaristic domination, creating a world of intriguing but often damaging contradictions, where the citizens are both the enemy and the strength of the civilization.

If you had a choice, which would you be a full citizen of? Give us your vote on the forum, and let us know your thoughts in the poll thread!


Poll of the Week: Captain You’d LEAST Like to Serve Under?

Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer – these names are familiar to even the most casual observer, and synonymous with Starfleet as a whole. Whether they were there to witness (or have a hand in!) the birth of the Federation itself, or contributed to its success hundreds of years later, each officer has left an indelible and valuable mark on the captains of tomorrow.

While the historical archives might praise these pioneers justly, it becomes apparent just how many differences existed in their personal styles of command. James Kirk, arguably the most famous captain in Federation history, was well known for his bold yet studious personality. Under his skilled leadership, the original Constitution class Enterprise completed its five year mission of exploration – an achievement not many of his fellow starship captains had lived to boast about. However, he also had a reputation for stretching, bending, and even flat-out breaking regulations and rules when it suited him. This rebellious nature, though beneficial in a variety of instances, chafed on many, and could lead to injuries, and even deaths in some cases.

Likewise, Benjamin Sisko, widely regarded as one of the most important captains during the Dominion War, bears great praise from historians for his actions. A patriot and a defender of what he cherished most, Sisko did not allow any to interfere with his station or his Federation unopposed. This could, on occasion, lead him into what might be considered excessive, or even ruthless behavior. One need only examine his actions when it came to eliminating the Maquis threat in the Cardassian Neutral Zone for proof of this particular personality trait.

With their traits and flaws in mind, which famous captain would you LEAST like to serve under? Give us your vote, and let us know in the comments section below the poll on the forums!


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