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Featured Founder: Elinor of Kanist

For the 2397 Fleetwide awards ceremony, StarBase 118 unveiled a new award aimed at recognizing the highest level of staff in our organization. The Elinor of Kanist Order of Excellence is a staff award and is named for one of StarBase 118’s most significant founding members. 

This award recognizes those who have served the fleet as a staff member for at least five years, attained the rank of Rear Admiral or higher, previously been awarded the Picard Award and Staff Member of the Year Award, and continue to serve the fleet to the betterment of all members. This is the highest staff honor, celebrating longevity, dedication to the fleet, and the perseverance for wearing the Admiral’s belt. The first winner of this award is Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds.

But who was Elinor of Kanist? Her character was a Vulcan Admiral from the province of Kanist who had a medical background in cardiology. Her player was a founding member and a noted mentor for future commanding officers. She started The Reporter, a monthly group newsletter that was the precursor of the Community News articles you read today. One of the traditions contained in The Reporter was monthly plot summaries from each ship, something which has become a bedrock of StarBase 118 fleet communication. The Reporter also covered promotions and interviews which have become long standing traditions for the fleet. She commanded the USS Centris until her retirement, and her work helping to found the StarBase 118 training team is why the academy training vessel is named the USS Centris-A

Today we are joined by our founder, Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf, to learn more about Elinor of Kanist, her role in founding the game and his memories of working with her.

Taybrim: Thank you for joining us, Fleet Admiral Wolf. What is your strongest memory of Elinor of Kanist?

Wolf: Oh gosh – the bulk of us working together was over 20 years ago now, and I was a teenager, so lots of those memories are lost to the sands of time! She did return for a brief while in 2012 but didn’t get to stay for too long.

I have lots of vague memories from the early days about projects she wanted to do, like starting The Reporter (the precursor to our current Community News) or how she started innovating the training program out of nothing. She was really my partner in creating the group that you know today, outlasting the other earliest members and being the person who took the premise of the community most seriously.

Ironically, one of the strongest memories I have is a disagreement about the fact that she wanted to take a summer off and decided to bring in Brian Kelly as a sort of “pinch hitter” for her as captain of her ship. As a group, we were just beginning to formalize the process of promotion and making it clear that there were you had to work your way up through the ranks, so I remember being like, “He doesn’t know anything about us!” He ended up being one of two players who jumped into command ranks (the other being Alexander VonGrippen, of the Excalibur-G; Ciara Randor brought the StarWind – a ship she was running independently – into the group, but she had been a member up to that point already). And he wrote the UFOP Constitution! So it all worked out in the end, but this goes to show that we didn’t fall fully formed into the universe, and there were lots of disagreements about policy and process along the way!

Poll of the Week: Most Memorable Phrase

Words have power. As a community of writers, we can agree on that.

Behind the special effects or fancy visuals, Star Trek is about people and how they communicate. The franchise has brought us many memorable phrases over the past fifty years. Some are so memorable that they have lodged themselves into the collective culture and will forever be linked with Star Trek.

The command “Make it so!” from Captain Jean-Luc Picard was a call to action for his crew. This signature line was said with such finality that it made you want to jump to fulfil the order. You knew that if you suggested a plan and the good captain uttered those three words, then it was up to you to carry it out.

Spock and his Vulcan brethren had the calm farewell/blessing “Live long and prosper.” Its simple statement – a wish for health and prosperity – did not in itself imply nor evoke strong emotions in the speaker or hearer. Yet the wish for peace has touched many fans’ hearts.

Leonard McCoy, with his rascally wit and sharp tongue, was fond of griping “I’m a doctor, not a (brick-layer, moon-shuttle conductor, physicist)!” Always with the emotional comeback, McCoy was the voice of exasperation that we all wish we could be but rarely have the opportunity to fill.

The chilling statement by the Borg that “resistance is futile” wasn’t exactly a threat so much as their pure statement of fact. You knew when you saw the cube-shaped ship on the screen that the next thing you’d hear on the comm channel were those three words.

In your opinion, what is the most memorable phrase from Star Trek? (BONUS: Let us know if you use variations of these phrases in everyday life!)

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll on which you would choose, or let us know your own! Be sure to leave a comment in the thread!

Animated image of a Star Trek crew

Lower Decks interview: Ensign Maria Alvarez, USS Arrow

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 Maria Alvarez playing a Human female Operations officer assigned to the USS Arrow.

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

Alvarez: First off, thank you for reaching out!  It’s a pleasure to give back to this community however I’m able.

I live in Colorado, where I work in tech.  I really feel writing here has been a way to explore and express a creative side I don’t always get to flex at my job, and I’ve been really enjoying that aspect of it.  I have loads of other hobbies, including games, hiking, and music.

What duty post are you playing, and how did you choose it?

So Maria is an operations officer, and that duty post is a combination of what I, the writer, feel comfortable writing, and what I have pictured in my head as the sort of job she’d gravitate towards.

Operations is sort of a curious duty posting, perhaps the most generalist and nebulous space-job aside from ‘mission specialist’.  The best two examples in canon are Data and O’Brien, and the second one is really in engineering.  The cool thing is that it lets me define a very unique role for Maria, and explore a side of trek we haven’t seen much on screen.

From the start, I wanted to write someone that approaches problems differently than the average officer.  So, instead of being a crack engineer (which is already a little too close to what I do in real life), I decided to make Maria a little lax when paying attention to those pesky details and more interested in the big picture of how stuff works together.  This led me to giving her an interest in logistics and supply.  Next I decided if she were an unconventional officer, she’s probably getting in trouble a lot, so she’ll need to get really good at law and interpreting it in a different way than usual so she can get herself out of trouble.  I continued in this way, trying to build out a sensible, if disconnected tapestry of skill sets that fit her personality.  From there, I realized operations was by far the most sensible choice with the flexibility it offered, and fortunately there was a slot on the Arrow to fill this niche.

Honestly, now that I’ve gotten into the operations role, it’s hard to imagine playing another posting where there’s more rules, but that might just be my taste in writing.  I know some writers struggle with too much freedom, and that’s not a bad thing – just different.  I’ve really enjoyed writing a sort of midfielder who’s good at a lot of things, but great at very few.  Someone who gets to be the eyes and ears of the ship.  She’s eventually going to grow into the role that simply greases the whole ship along, and kind of have her work slip into the background a little (when it isn’t preposterous shenanigans).  Of course there will be rerouting power, amplifying sensors, so on and so forth, but honestly I take joy in some of the little things in the trek universe, and I feel this posting lets me explore that.

Poll of the Week: New Year’s Resolutions

So, we’re now two weeks into the new year, be that 2021 for the writers, or 2398 for our characters. We’ve shrugged off the festive coma, started working out to get rid our beer bellies, eaten the last of the Christmas chocolates, and polished off the last of the port.

Now is the absolute perfect time to look at some good old fashioned New Year’s resolutions (and not the New Year Resolution, which is to do with one of our ship’s current missions); what are your Starbase 118-related resolutions and goals?

Perhaps you’d like to get yourself a shiny new pip for your character, or make a Department Chief position (even if that comes with a buttload of extra PADDwork)? If you really like paperwork, perchance you’d like to embrace it and become a member of our beloved staff? Maybe you have a personal storyline that you’d be looking to expand upon, draw to a close or open up for the first time? What about relationships? You could forge new friendships, reopen old rivalries or maybe you want to make that special love connection?

Or is it possible you’ve got a more out of character goal? Maybe you’d like to join a taskforce (or even facilitate one) and ensure that our community continues to grow and grow! Might you just want to continue to learn and develop as a writer (I know this is arguably my most consistent goal); do you have action steps you want to take or do you just learn by doing and reading other’s work?

This week, we want to know…

What are your Starbase 118 related resolutions and goals for 2021?

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll on which you would choose, or let us know your own! Be sure to leave a comment in the thread!

Poll of the Week: You’re the Captain now! Crisis in the Eta Sector

As part of a new series in the Poll of the Week, we’re bringing you into the centre chair. When presented with a situation, how would you react? What would you do?

Your ship, the Steamrunner class USS Âu Cơ, is on a routine diplomatic visit to the world of Ferinoat IV, in the Theta Sector. Newly allied to the Federation, this world is known for its raw material shipments for what cannot be replicated, and there is a diplomatic push to get it as a full trading partner of the Federation. It is also a paradise world, with half of it’s 1.4* Earth sphere given to extreme low impact business and eco-friendly tourism.

Upon arriving, the ship is hailed by the Chief Executive Officer of Ferinoat, Arcturan Nadarion, with an urgent request for aid against a paramilitary movement committing actions of insurrection and terrorism, the Independence For Kel-Mora Republics. An officially proscribed organization since 2367, the organization had a political wing gathering power, unhappy with the allotment of resources and power given to non-favoured component republics.

Investigations by the Chief Tactical Officer reveal that the reason is an upcoming plebiscite that there is some doubt is entirely free – from either side, and the ship is contacted by one of the IFKR members, disguising themselves as an animated fox-girl. They claim that the Chief Executive’s party has been subverting their contractual rights to free expression, free movement, and the right of the licensed press to print the truth.

Two days later, your senior staff assemble to pool the information gathered, revealing the following:

  • The Ferinoat system produces 45% of all raw tarsonium, a material used in starship construction.
  • Reports have been filed by Federation and Starfleet Intelligence supporting both claims.
  • The contract granting the Ferinoat IV Colony, KSLC rights to incorporate by the Satikail Corporate Nations, also guarantees those rights, but also states that the planetary corporation must allow for severability and spinning off.
  • While there have been few deaths so far, it is the opinion of your tactical officer and counsellor that this will soon end, as there are clear signs of escalation on both sides. However, throwing your support behind either side would likely end the conflict without any more escalation.

However, the time for debate ended abruptly with the arrival of a Satikail Battlecruiser. While they permit you to stay in orbit, you are warned in no uncertain terms not to interfere. After a trial back on Staikail Secundus (in absentia, which is legal under their laws), they intend to send down a management team and corporate security assets and perform mass arrests of anyone on either side.

What do you do?

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll on which plan you would choose, or let us know your own! Be sure to leave a comment in the thread!

Counselor Troi talks with a member of the Enterprise-D crew while in her office

Lower Decks Interview: Meidra Sirin, USS Resolution 

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 Meidra Sirin playing a Vulcan/El-Aurian hybrid  female Counselor assigned to the USS Resolution. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

SIRIN: I grew up in a household where my dad was 100 percent Italian and mom was not. I saw how two different cultures coexisted without one overshadowing the other, and I think that is why I chose a hybrid for my character here. I love psychology and history, and it’s been fun creating someone with some of my traits, yet really different in other ways (I don’t get into drunken brawls with Klingons)

What has been your favorite moment writing with UFOP:StarBase 118?

Being allowed to help create a new species for our game. I worked with another writer, who is an amazing talent. We took a germ of an idea, and built on it to form an entire new world that hopefully will be put into play again someday,  It was sad for me to say goodbye to them, and hopefully others enjoyed the Da’al too.

Do you take any inspiration from movies/TV/books when writing for your character? 

I’ve seen pretty much every incarnation of Trek made, even if it was only a few episodes here and there. I think of how I’d act as a real counselor, and then try to incorporate it into my sims. I’m an avid reader, and love Douglas Adams, so also try to put a bit of the absurd into my writing. Depending on who you ask, I’ve succeeded.

What are your thoughts on what you’ve learned in the Academy as you look back compared to now?

I was terrified that I wasn’t a good writer when I was going through the Academy, until I realized that to really succeed here, you need to let go of your preconceived ideas on what makes a good writer. We are all constantly learning. My mentor has been such a great help to me, and I’ve grown more confident in my contributions.

What is your process for ideas regarding character development?

For Meidra, I thought about why a fifty year old Vulcan hybrid would be in StarFleet. It’s a bit older than the usual cadet, and I slowly built a backstory for her that explained it. I gave her enough flaws that she has a long way to go to become the person I believe she’s meant to be. So far, it’s been a long road, but she’ll get there.

And lastly, what kind of advice would you give those who would like to sim in your specific duty post?

Have fun with it, but research a bit about the role you are taking on, you can learn so much that will help you create a strong, vital member of your crew. Ask questions, everyone here is very helpful and if you’re asking a question, the odds are, someone else has wondered about it. 

Thanks for your time, Ensign Meidra Sirin!

You can read more about Ensign Meidra Sirin on the wiki

Witty Wordsmith: In Character Conflict

Conflict is the bedrock of drama in storytelling.  It is often the most exciting and memorable part about a story.  In a roleplaying game like StarBase 118 it is easy to approach a main mission conflict where your character and your fellow crew mates are pitted against an adversary or problem.  This is the classic us versus other set up; even if the other is not bad nor evil (a common theme in Star Trek stories) the crew is unified against the same problem.

But how do you handle it when your character has a conflict with another character?  Even if you are on the same team, character can have conflicting viewpoints on how to solve the problem.  As simmers become experienced and mature as writers they may also explore more personal conflicts that reflect the complex relationships we see in real life.  But if you are new to roleplaying these conflicts can feel frustrating and overwhelming.  Here are some tips to practice writing in character conflict so it turns into healthy and enjoyable story drama rather than a frustrating out of character situation.

Poll of the Week: Nothing Says Sharp Like a Dress Code

Like all military organisations, wearing a uniform shows who you represent, develops a sense of commonality, solidarity and equality. It makes the person wearing it instantly recognisable, stand out in a crowd, distinguish themselves for the service they provide, and has an impact on others, especially those within the Star Trek universe. The same uniform is worn by everyone from the Captain down to the Crewman, the only differences being the pips on the collar and the colour to denote the department.

There are some cultural influences on Starfleet uniforms we’ve seen over the years, including the addition of Worf’s baldric, Nog’s headdress, and Kira’s Bajoran earrings. Either symbolic of their family or their religion, and culturally appropriate for them. We’ll not talk about Troi and her casual attire…

Colours and uniforms have changed through the run of Star Trek, showing the changes in style and function throughout the years, and how Starfleet adjusted for them. While we were used to seeing the department colour taking up the dominant part of the uniform, during the Dominion War, this left Command Officers at risk, so it was reduced to just the collar, the rest of the uniform black and grey. 

Each of the series of Star Trek has introduced the viewer to a new uniform, in one way or another. Looking back through the racks and wardrobes of the costume department, some are favourites, and some can be confined to the charity bin of history.

This week, we want to know…

Which Starfleet uniform era was your favourite and why?

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll on which plan you would choose, or let us know your own! Be sure to leave a comment in the thread!

Lower Decks Interview: Tagia Jutto, USS Constitution

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 Tagia Jutto playing an Ariolo female HCO Officer assigned to the USS Constitution. 

GALVEN: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Could you tell us a little about yourself for our readers out there?

JUTTO: Thanks for asking me! As you’ve said, I’m a relatively new member writing an officer on the Constitution. I really like both the creative and community aspects of Starbase 118, and even though I haven’t been around all that long I feel very comfortable here (and the Constitution writers are universally lovely and welcoming people).

I deliberately chose a lesser-known species for my character, as I find fleshing out that kind of thing really fun. 

What has been your favorite moment writing with StarBase 118?

I’ve generally enjoyed the whole thing! My group have just moved into a period of shore leave, which means there are lots of little plots going on rather than one big one, and I’m finding that really fun particularly. 

Poll of the Week: Best Character of the Series – ENT

While Kirk and company started off the “wagon train to the stars”, it was the prequel series of Enterprise that gave us a glimpse at the birth of the Federation that we have come to know and love. The intrepid crew of the NX-01 would need the explorer’s spirit and nerves of steel to venture into the unknown. Who would be counted worthy of participating in this trek?

Captain Jonathan Archer was a kind man and epitomized what it meant to be human. He was ready to reach out a helping hand – sometimes to a fault. His father before him worked on the warp engine design that would carry the Enterprise on her mission of discovery, so he was no stranger to what it would take for mankind to take its place among the stars.

T’Pol was the Vulcan observer and represented the ever-watchful stare of the Vulcans. Because of her different views and manner, she sometimes found herself at odds with the rest of the crew. Eventually, they seemed to settle into an understanding which brought us many storylines that helped us see the Vulcans as brothers and not just as rivals holding humans back.

Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker III. The engineer with all the know-how and a southern drawl too. He was likeable, quick-witted, and made a great mother.

Doctor Phlox introduced us to a new species in the Star Trek universe – the Denobulans. Phlox was also somewhat of an outsider. He did not always understand or agree with the decisions the captain and crew made but his gregarious personality stood in stark contrast to that of T’Pol. He was always viewed as a valuable member of the crew and seemed to have a never-ending supply of wise words.

Then we have crew members such as Hoshi Sato, Malcolm Reed, and Travis Mayweather. And who can forget other regulars like the Andorian Captain Shran or Vulcan Ambassador Soval?

Who is your favourite character from the Enterprise series?

Click here to head to the forums now and vote in this week’s poll on which plan you would choose, or let us know your own! Be sure to leave a comment in the thread!

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