Randal Shayne

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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!


Poll of the Week: Not-so-normal tactics

Starfleet’s primary mission has always been to explore uncharted worlds and civilizations. Over time, however, it became obvious that the Federation was faced with a great number of threats. When phasers and torpedoes don’t work, Starfleet crews must find unconventional strategies in order to defend themselves and the Federation as a whole. Adversity breeds innovation, and flexibility has been shown to be more of an asset than firepower. Throughout six series, numerous examples of this theme have been enjoyed. From the technologically sophisticated tactics of Voyager’s outboard holographic imagers, to the simplicity of latching onto a chunk of the opponent’s hull and pulling, as seen in Enterprise, there has been no shortage of brilliant maneuvers and awe-inspiring creativity.

This week’s poll asks you to give your favorite examples of unconventional tactics in starship combat. Did the artificial solar flare in “Shadows and Symbols” capture your imagination? Or did you find the extensively modified deflector dish of “The Best of Both Worlds” more to your liking?


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