Randal Shayne

Author Archives

Lower Decks interview: Ensign Colleen Bancroft, USS Gorkon

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.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ensign Colleen Bancroft, playing a human Security/Tactical officer assigned to the USS Gorkon.

Shayne: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?

Bancroft: In real life, I am an artist across various mediums, recently married, and currently focusing on my massive backlog of personal projects while writing for both the Gorkon and other stuff! I live in Colorado, US, but am originally from Kentucky via Indiana.


Poll of the Week: On Tap

They’re as iconic as the ships and stations they reside on. While they were hardly as necessary as engines or a command deck, they still served a vital purpose. With the stress that comes with being an officer (the endless work, the responsibilities, the constant threat of assimilation or vaporization) it becomes essential for the crew to have a place where they can sit down, have a drink, and unwind.

Ten-Forward. Quark’s Bar. The mess halls aboard Enterprise and Voyager. Each of them had their own style, and a list of stories a mile long. Who could forget Worf’s delivery of Molly in Ten-Forward, or the time Guinan threatened to show a crew on the brink of mutiny Setting #2? How about the time Sisko punched (!) Q in a manly display of fisticuffs, or the stories exuded ad nauseam by Morn in Quarks? What about Tom Paris’ and Neelix’s duel in the Voyager mess, or the Doctor’s commando tactics when he attempted to flank a holographic Kazon? This is just the briefest account of the adventures that occurred behind the doors of these illustrious establishments.

This week’s poll asks you to think back, and choose the canon eatery/bar you liked the most. Did you enjoy the dignified yet loose air of Ten Forward, or the adventurous, brazen feeling of Quarks? Or did you perhaps prefer the more conventional feel of Enterprise or Voyager’s hallowed (mess) halls? Or did you have another in mind? I know I haven’t remembered all of them!

Head to the forums and cast your vote for your favorite Star Trek lounge – let us know your reasoning by posting a reply, too!


Poll of the Week: The Age of Automation

For better or for worse, humanity has entered the Age of Automation. Computers and machines, once visible only in imaginations and in television studios (as props) now form a nigh inescapable bond around us. Devices that are orders of magnitude more powerful than the Apollo spacecrafts, the pinnacle of technology a mere fifty years ago, now fit comfortably in our hands. In some ways, these enormous advances have benefitted us greatly. In other ways, most of us would agree that there have been drawbacks. Face-to-face conversation is now at a premium.

Star Trek showed us a world filled with incredible technologies, too numerous to account for entirely. We all know of the warp drive, and the transporter, and on the whole, these things brought great hope and prosperity to the Federation. But there were little joys that seemed to be lost as the years past. Cooking is a rarity in the Federation- replicator units have removed the need for it.  Keiko O’Brien’s reaction to Miles’ statement that his mother cooked with live animals proves this. The use of pen and paper seems to have been lost as well. Save for a few select instances, everything from scientific reports to fictional stories have been transcribed upon PADDs, the mechanical devices so commonly seen in a character’s hand. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I take pride and joy in cleaning the house. That seems to be absent in the world of Star Trek, at least onboard ships.

Certainly these things are often seen as hassles. Who wants to cook after ten hours at work? Who would pine for additional paperwork? And cleaning the house? Forget it! But I feel that if we lost these things to automation, we might begin to feel their absense keenly.

What do you think? Do you agree, or would you be glad to be rid of these irritations? Or do you have other tasks that fit into a similar vein? Join us on the forums to vote now!


Poll of the Week: Who Would You Draft?

Here’s the thing: It’s obvious I’m not a big gamer. But many other people in our community are really serious about their digital pursuits. World of Warcraft seems to be the preferred game by far, with Star Trek Timelines a close second.

After having someone explain the basic idea behind Timelines to me, I’ve come to understand that players attempt to resolve missions by utilizing the skills of their crew. These crewmembers are all recognizable from canon, but differing political allegiances, and the centuries between two characters in one of the television shows, would not apply here. Kirk could be teamed up with the Borg queen as easily as with Spock or McCoy.

That got me thinking. Each character has a set value in the game, but what if no such point value existed? What if you could choose a character from the game, or any character from any of the six television shows, to join your current crew?

A big question, I know! So many possibilities – any of Starfleet’s most famous names as a part of your manifest. Imagine seeing Montgomery Scott repairing a power coupling in a Jeffries tube, or Will Riker on the bridge, his collar again adorned with three pips.

What famous character would you want with you on your voyages? Give your vote, and then explain in the comments section!


Poll of the Week: An Alliance with the Borg?!

It’s not easy being the captain. Managing the safety of one’s ship, and seeing to the success of important missions without fail is a most trying task. Each decision carries the potential for disaster, and a captain on the fringes of known space must rely on his or her experience and training. However, Star Trek has shown us multiple instances where venerated Starfleet captains have made questionable choices and command decisions.

On most occasions, these unusual choices take place in the shadow of desperate circumstances, where lives, planets, even entire civilizations hang in the balance. Examples include Ben Sisko’s three man conspiracy to rid the Romulan Empire of one of its senators, in order to bring them into the war, and Jonathan Archer’s blatant piracy of a warp coil from an innocent and uninvolved vessel. One of the most famous, and controversial decisions ever made in Star Trek, however, is Kathryn Janeway’s alliance with the Borg. In an attempt to make it past Borg space unharmed, Janeway proposes a temporary ceasefire with the Borg, who are locked in a brutal and failing war against interdimensional beings known as Species 8472. Janeway offers the desperate Collective help to defeat their seemingly invincible enemy, despite being fully aware of the consequences that would ensue from supporting the Borg. Many have criticized this course of action harshly, and most Trek fans seem to be in agreement, but there are two sides to every coin.

This week’s poll asks you to place yourself in Janeway’s situation. Do you agree with her decision? Given the same circumstances, would you do the same thing? Why or why not?

Give us your vote, and explain your reasoning on the forums!


Poll of the Week: A Passion for Fashion

In nearly 250 years of operation, Starfleet has changed its uniform code a great many times.

In some eras, the look was utilitarian, and supported operations in the harsh expanse of space. This is seen in Enterprise’s NASA-inspired jump suits, and the fleet’s current outfit, introduced in First Contact. Other times, elegance and refinement was the preferred approach. Such examples include the mandarin collars of The Next Generation‘s season three, and the dignified (though sweltering) double-breasted, blood-red jackets and black pants, seen in five of the six original Star Trek movies. And who could forget the look that started it all: the red, gold, and blue tunics and black pant ensemble from The Original Series? In that time period, each starship and instillation had its own distinctive uniform assignment patch – a reminder of the long-past days when the Starfleet chevron we know today did not apply universally.

It seems that everyone has a favorite uniform from the franchise. Each carries such a legacy, and all of them have something to offer the discerning tailor in all of us – well, almost (I’m looking at you, Motion Picture one-piece pajamas!).

This week’s poll asks you to name your preferred uniform, and why you prefer it. Are you looking for dignity, or classic style, or functionality? Or something else? Leave your answers there, and explain them in the comments section!


Poll of the Week: Bridging the Gap

Star Trek’s six television series, and 10 (all right, 13) movies have shown various Starfleet vessels exploring the unknowns of space. Hundreds of alien worlds have been visited, countless regions mapped, and endless foes faced. Through it all, there seems to be one critical place, without which none of these feats would be possible. I’m talking about the bridge, the command center for an entire starship. It is only fitting that such an important part of the ship should get so much screen time, and because of this, the many bridges we’ve seen have become iconic.

It is said that one can tell the era a ship belongs to just by glancing at her bridge. The many configurations and formats that have been shown on various vessels each have their own style, their own design. No two classes of ship have precisely the same layout. The bridge of the Defiant class is smaller, and obviously built with combat in mind. Alternatively, the bridge of the Galaxy class couldn’t be more different, with it’s expansive girth and wood (wood!) features.

This week’s poll asks you to give your opinion on your favorite bridge layout. Did the submarine aesthetic of the NX class grab your attention, with it’s efficient and trimmed look? Or are you a fan of the classic Constitution class design, the original in blending colorful style with functionality?

Head on over to the forums, and put in your vote here!


Poll of the Week: Cloaked Intentions

The Borg probe proceeds onwards, unaware that you have laid a trap for it. As it crosses your weapon’s crosshairs, you give the order. Your ship decloaks, unleashes a fusillade of fire, and renders the cybernetic horrors inert.

Now imagine the tables are turned. Your vessel is in desperate straights. The pirates are closing fast, and you’ve already suffered damage. Even with your superior weapons, the fight would be theirs in a matter of moments. Instead, you activate your handy-dandy cloak, and try not to smile as you imagine the confused looks on the faces of your pursuers.

Or perhaps a more subtle application is required. Sneaking behind enemy lines is made far easier when the enemy has no idea you are there. With the proper care and patience, war-ending intelligence could be gathered, simply by staring through a viewscreen.

We’ve all seen instances where cloaking devices have been used to great effect. However, countless dangerous situations encountered by Starfleet crews throughout the ages might have been mitigated, or completely avoided, if the Federation had continued to pursue cloaking technology. Instead, the Federation signed the Treaty of Algeron in 2311, effectively promising the Romulans that cloaking technology would not be implemented on any Starfleet vessel.

Cloaking technology certainly has it’s advantages, and their use would solve a great many problems faced by Starfleet. However, would it have been in the Federation’s best interest to employ cloaking devices on ships? In the wrong hands, it could wreak devastating havoc. Additionally, the moral implications of its use are less than clear.

This week’s poll asks you for your input on this difficult subject. Would you approve of the Federation using cloaking technology (of its own), or would you eschew it, preferring more traditional methods? Submit your vote here, and explain it in the comments section, if you have the inclination.


Poll of the Week: Holo’d Halls

It has become one of the most universally recognized staples of Star Trek, not to mention the solution to – and cause of – many problems faced by the crews of the Enterprise-D, Voyager, and Deep Space 9. I am, of course, referring to the holodeck!

Despite what seems like the incredibly dangers of this device, it seems that a magic room that can accommodate any wish within the blink of an eye is too good of an offer to pass up.

From the holographic decoys used by Voyager to escape the Kazon, to the creation of a whole new form of medical instrument (namely the Doctor), to the inadvertent rise of a sentient Professor Moriarty, holodeck technology has provided fantastic material. This week’s poll asks you to choose which usage of holographic technology stood out to you the most!

Join us on the forums to mark your favorite, or tell us which ones we missed. Click here.


Poll of the Week: A Selection of Shuttlecrafts

There’s no denying that transporters are nifty bits of machinery. They can transmit a person or thing hundreds of miles, to arrive safely (usually) at a given destination. However, it seems like these transporters can be easily beaten. Ion storms, power surges, combat shields and dozens of other factors have been known to render them inoperable. When they inevitably go wrong, there’s only one way to travel: Yes, I’m talking about shuttlecraft.

Say what you will about them, they’re handy to have aboard in a pinch, and can be used for so many different tasks. Need to be towed out of a nucleonic particle nebula? Or how about rescuing stranded crew on a Class-L planet? Over the years, different designs have come forth, each with their own spirit and legacies. This Poll of the Week asks you to think back, and choose your favorite small Starfleet crafts. Was the relatively primitive shuttlepod from Enterprise a winner in your mind, or do you prefer the beefy functionality of a runabout?

Head on over to the forums and give us your take!


Page 8 of 9First...789