Community News

Lower Decks Interview: Ensign Beelam Grog, USS Montreal

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 Beelam Grog playing a Trill female medical officer assigned to the USS Montreal.

GALVEN: I appreciate you for accepting my Interview! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself for our readers out there?

GROG: Sure thing. I live and go to college in Colorado where I am studying to become a special education teacher. In my free time I do role play for systems like Star Trek adventures, write and watch British history programs.

How did you find out about Starbase 118 and what made you ultimately choose our community and stay with us?

I find it to be a funny story. I found your group when I was searching google for Information about Starfleet academy. I found the wiki and upon seeing that this group was still active decided to join. I mostly stayed because I liked the people and how they valued the players as real people first.


Applications and Academy Graduates for March 2019

Every month, the Academy staff works to compile the statistics about our recruiting and training for the fleet’s informational purposes. Let’s take a look at how we did as a fleet in March.

This first graph depicts the number of applications that we have received each month this year. After a surge of new applications in February, March was a bit lighter with only seven new applications. This ties January as the lowest number so far this year.

The following chart shows how our new members found us, according to their application:

This final graph shows how many people graduated from the Academy during the month of March. The fleet saw only four graduates this month, three of whom applied during the month of February. There were four people who applied during the month of March, but who’s training did not conclude until after the start of April.


These new recruits are the lifeblood of our community. Without them, it becomes difficult to keep our ships fully crewed and even more difficult to grow the fleet. If you’d like to help us recruit more members and grow our fleet, you can join the Publicity Team using this form.


Poll of the Week: Shortcut of the Week

The most important aspect of the overall story of Voyager was the distance of their journey back home to the Alpha Quadrant. Shortening the distance that the ship had to travel, or even returning to Earth immediately was a frequent plot device in Voyager episodes. It seems like at least once a season there is the potential of some shortcut getting the crew back home only to not work out or only take them part of the way. On one occasion this desire to find an alternate way home got the ship stuck in a trap they thought was a wormhole.

It’s understandable that there were occasional episodes centered around this idea. Sometimes it was a good idea to shave time off of the trip like in the episode “Night,” where the ship had to get clear of an empty void of space thousands of light years across or in the finale “Endgame.” However, it will appear in a story from time to time where it isn’t related to the primary plot. Sometimes the plot device of a shortcut to Earth was just used to raise the stakes of an episode and was never mentioned again.

This week, we want to know which Voyager shortcut you felt was the least necessary for the episode.

Head to the forums now to register your vote in the poll. Then us more in the thread below!


New Academy Graduates

Please welcome our newest Academy graduates to the UFOP: StarBase 118 fleet: Ambrosia Haley and Keira Callahan!


March 2019 Post Counts

It’s been a great month for the UFOP: Starbase 118 fleet, as sim rates throughout have increased almost across the board for a total post count of 1,980. The average per ship sim count is 198, a definite uptick from February. This month, the USS Gorkon left everyone in the dust, with a record 378 sims written, the most since the ship was launched. The Montreal is the closest competitor, with a very respectable 303 sims. Following the pack leaders, Ops clocked 209 sims for the month of March, and the USS Veritas came in with 208.

Check out some of the highlights of this past month’s simming through our Appreciations forum, where you and your fellow members can nominate sims, great quotes, and other memorable moments for the rest of the fleet to enjoy!


Duty Post Award winner – Arturo Maxwell, StarBase 118 Ops (Sisko Tactical Cross)

Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of Duty Post awards from our recent 2018 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters.

This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Lieutenant Arturo Maxwell, better known as ‘Max,’ who is playing a Human tactical officer assigned to StarBase 118 Ops. He won the Sisko Tactical Cross: “Awarded to those tactical officers who have shown cunning and bravery in battle. Master strategists, and experts in targeting and shield power distribution, these officers have done the impossible to save their ship and the lives of its crew.

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

Maxwell: Hey, well, I’m Iain and I live in Warrington, Cheshire in the UK.

What made you choose to create a tactical officer? Did anything in particular draw you to this duty post?

Oddly my first choice was a Marine character, but I went into Tactical as it was something I was unfamiliar with writing. I guess that was the main drive behind it really, as I was so used to “military fiction”.

What sort of real life knowledge or experiences do you draw from when writing Maxwell?

Max is essentially me, but in space. He’s a bit – a lot – of a dork, and tends to respond to stress by making a joke or lightening the mood. But then there are also little bits of some of my friends ins his character as well. Mostly me, though!


Our 2020 fundraising campaign begins with $165 in donations!

Last month we let you know that we finished our 2019 donations drive with more money than we needed! (We’re banking that lil bit extra in case we come in short in a future year, or for if we need emergency funds if we need it for the website.)

This month, we started the 2020 donation drive strong with $165 in donations from Jo Marshall, Samira Neathler, Ferier Kian, and Joan Basilone – as well as a few anonymous donors. Many many thanks to all these folks their generosity in helping us to get started for the next year, and ensuring that our community continues to fully fund all of its resources.

You can join these donors in donating securely via our website. It only takes a few moments, and we never see any of your credit card information.

It costs over $1,450 a year to keep our website, wiki, and forums. All of that is funded entirely by our members. We appreciate everyone who pitches it to help in this way!


Constitution-B crew sharpens Argo skills en route to resupply op

GAMMA ORIONIS – Cutting short their badly needed shore leave, the USS Constitution (NCC-9012-B) was tasked with an emergency resupply operation which required the crew to re-familiarize themselves with the operation of the Argo ground transport vehicle.


Witty Wordsmith: He said, she said

Captain Kerk got up from his seat and headed out to the bridge. Kerk looked at the viewscreen where the ship was in orbit around planet Sigma Iotis. Kerk smiled, looking at the lush Class M landscape below. Kerk was hoping that it would be the perfect spot for shore leave.  “Let’s prepare an away team!” Kerk said.

The paragraph above shows a common issue that all writers struggle with, and that’s stagnancy in sentence structure. Many writers worry that their writing will boil down to a narrative of “My character said this, my character did that. My character went there and then my character did this other thing.” One of the reasons that this issue is a common struggle is because it is a fully functional way of writing, especially when you are focused on only one character’s point of view like we commonly do in our simming.

Because this is such a useful and functional form both for actions and dialogues, we can’t just get rid of it. No one wants to read paragraph after paragraph of needlessly complicated prose when the same thing could be said by writing “Captain Kerk was the first one to beam down.” So how can we keep the majority of writing straightforward while not feeling like every sentence is just a laundry list of things a character did, felt or said?

  1. Think about what is around the character. What is the setting they are in? Who is around them and what are they doing? Adding in some description not only helps add variety to your writing, but it helps create a clearer picture of the whole scene for your readers. In the above example you might focus on the setting of the planet Kerk has just arrived on: “Sunlight spilled through thick palm fronds on a white sand beach making Captain Kerk glad that he was the first person to beam down and experience this.”
  2. Focus on reasons why characters do actions, not just the actions. In the example above, if you put a reason why Kerk would be the first to beam down you might write “It was the job of a commanding officer to take lead, that’s why Captain Kerk always beamed down first.” This still describes the action, but gives us a little more insight into Kerk’s mindset.
  3. Picture the character in action and describe that action. This technique helps bring the scene action to life in a very descriptive way. Again, with the above example this might look like “Running ahead with a bouncing excited step, the rest of the senior staff held back to let Captain Kerk beam down first.” This is particularly good for scenes where characters are engaged in combat or a similar sort of dramatic action.
  4. Bring a ‘tight focus’ into the character and describe how they physically feel in a way that relates to the action or setting. Examples of this are feeling heat rise in the character’s cheeks from embarrassment or describing difficulty breathing from a alien poison. This puts the character front and center under a microscope, letting the audience know their inner workings before describing their actions. Working with the above example, you might get: “His heart was beating faster and faster, brimming with excitement – it had been too long since their last shore leave and Captain Kerk was absolutely itching to beam down first”
  5. Don’t sweat it. After all is said and done, straightforward statements are fast easy ways to cover ‘down time’ or explain simple things that don’t really matter to the meat of the story. Beaming down to a planet might be a big deal for a character – or it might be something totally boring for that character and writing “Kerk beamed down first.” is an easy way to move into action that Kerk and his writer are really invested in.

Hopefully this will help you consider new ways to describe scenes and actions, while also reminding everyone that sometimes just writing things out in a straightforward way to move the plot forward is the best way to go.


USS Atlantis returns to Deep Space 26 after ordeal with the Consortium

PAR’THA EXPANSE — The USS Atlantis has returned to Deep Space 26 after a hostile encounter with a reported rogue Consortium operative.


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