Memory Book/Tekra

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Real Life information

I am a programmer/designer for a computer company. I'm at least a nerd^3, maybe more. (But then, we're writing Star Trek Fan Fiction here. That goes without saying.)

How you came to UFOP: SB118

I didn't find the group; my friend did, joining as Valeris on the Centris. She entertained me with stories of what was happening, and the moment I had regular internet access, I applied as well. She created her Jolon character (under which she would one day make captain), I created a robot (L-7) and his roboticist (Hamlet of Dane); initially I hadn't intended to play as Hamlet at all, but after a bit of confusion with my application, I decided it would be fun to bring him along. He's named after my email address at the time, which was named after a cute girl I knew who had an email of Ophelia. (Incidentally, did not work: we never dated.)


I should warn in advance -- I don't know the timeline that all these things happened in. I know the various trains of plot that occurred, but very little as to which ones happened before or after the others. Expect frequent "meanwhiles" that aren't particularly 'meanwhile'.

I spent a couple months on SB118 (Now known as SB118-Ops). Jolon and I had agreed at the start that our characters would hate each other for no good reason, and they did. Hamlet was always on the verge of being a criminal without doing anything *technically* wrong, he and Wolf had the occasional game of cat and mouse, Jolon and he bumped heads, and Skyfire kept an eye on all of them. Other characters of note included Sandolphan Aquiss, who took over for Skyfire; and Magaera (once Admiral Tyve, I believe).

It was also there that Jolon initially created a throwaway NPC, Lt Tekra. I don't recall quite why, at the time, but I asked to 'borrow' him and, well, he became a secondary character and the name that became my identity in the fleet. I wasn't the only Tekra; when we all scattered off to go our individual ways, we each created a Tekra on any ship we went to, in some minor role. I multiplied NPCs, myself, and the only consistent thing about me was Tekra, and thus I became known as such.

L-7 eventually ran off to join the USS Freedom-A, with Pelletier, Valeris, Strange, Marlin, Marko, and a Time Lord whose name I've forgotten. It was, perhaps, the most surreal time in the fleet; the "weird is our job" mentality certainly summarized the Freedom. After some time there, he transferred to the USS Ranger under Kelly, where he finally achieved sentience. In the meantime, Hamlet married, adopted Magaera, and warped off into the distance.

Throughout the majority of this, I held no rank. Hamlet was a civilian, and didn't have much love for StarFleet -- basically creating L-7 as an attempt to show them up. L-7 was a robot, and non-sentient, and held no rank. UFOP really didn't know how to handle this (and as far as I can tell, still doesn't; I wove a unique path through UFOP). At some point I declared L-7 able to hold rank; he made it to Lt Cmdr pretty quickly after that.)

Somewhere along here, Ciara Randor was made Captain of SB118 -- I'm not sure where in the chronology, but before Hamlet got married -- but after a little bit, arranged to have her own, independent ship ally with UFOP instead of captaining two separate vessels in separate groups. The StarWind joined UFOP, she moved there, and after a bit I started posting there, with L-7, where I became first officer (and later a Captain). She and I also started Faerin, which ran for about 8 years as the Official UFOP Fantasy SIM.

Shaun Marlin had, by this point, left the Freedom and become a Captain (and, of course, later an Admiral), and Skyfire from SB118 had become a Captain, and at some point Marlin and I decided to have some fun, and we showed up unannounced on SkyFire's ship with two insane ambassadors. I'm not sure exactly what he thought of our intrusion, but when we were done I added Lt Kren Tekra to the ship as ship's counselor, and the ship went on for a while as one of the best in the fleet. In the meantime, Hamlet had returned to SB118, alone and more bitter than ever. He never spoke a word to anyone about what happened to his previous wife.

Through most of this I didn't care about rank. My main character was a civilian and proud to be one, the Tekras began and ended their lives as Lieutenants (excepting Petty Officer Jubis Tekra, who didn't do as well as his siblings), and Lambda-Seven had only a brief span when he was allowed to be promoted. I made it to Commander, and held there, not particularly interested in Command (I had Faerin to run, after all), and neither particularly interested in rank. I'd seen many a time that an ensign could easily out-sim a Captain, and that the quality of a player had little to do with the rank they had. (In fact, SB118-ops had had a string of fairly unimpressive captains then; which was largely, I think, due to the presence of Wolf -- who wants to try to lead with the boss man watching over their shoulder? A captain was just redundant, and most of them didn't last all that long.) I was even already on the Captain's council, thanks to Faerin, and a number of crisises that I either butted into or helped advise with, depending on who you talk to. We may never know for sure. ;)

Then one day on the Obertha, the captain sent my character along with another character and a Lt Cmdr of some sort -- maybe even a full Commander. At some point in the mission, the commander ordered us to attack a Federation outpost, render them all unconscious, all to -- I forget the purpose of it, but it wasn't all that big. When there proved to be lives at stake, Kren refused; preferring mutiny to treason. Naturally this did not go down well -- including the commander in question writing a post where he had me shooting at him, which escalated to an OOC shouting war in which he questioned my contradicting his post, when I was "just" a lieutenant, and he was a Lt Cmdr! Or maybe it was a full Cmdr! HOW DARE I?!

The next week or so, I got my promotion to Captain. If memory serves, instead of writing the test as it stood, I rewrote the entire test for commander and captains, and the test as rewriten was used following -- one focusing less on Star Trek trivia and more on UFOP PBeM situations. I still don't care about rank -- I never had -- but if having it was the only way I'd be listened to, I got it.

To me, UFOP had a couple of things that made it unique. One was a high level of Captain's Autonomy: within a certain level of reason, each Captain was the monarch of their own ship. There were, of course, things that were fleetwide -- training, the website, the Reporter, captaincy promotions -- but as much as possible was left to each captain.

At some point, a couple of us got together and realized that -- well a couple things.

  1. The fleet was getting big, and the captain's list was getting unweildy. Making decisions that involved dozens of people whom it did not affect was tricky work, and there was no organization to it at all.
  2. A couple people were doing most of the meta-work. Not to slight the people who weren't doing it -- but there was a lot of work going on behind the scenes, and the people who were trying to work needed some recognition.
  3. A number of the problems the fleet were having were simply due to internal politics; the Captain X didn't like the Captain Y, and they butted heads a lot.

There was a bit more to it than that, but what we decided to do was split the fleet up. Half the fleet here under Admiral Randor; half the fleet there under Admiral Marlin, me as a sort of go-between, Admiral Wolf in charge of the whole shebang (as usual). It didn't work out as well as we'd hoped, in large parts to bad communication and presentation of the idea to the ships, but it did begin the idea of the Executive Command, and also opened up the Captain's List to XOs, and a couple of other changes.

The failure of it also nearly completely destroyed our love of the game; I stepped down from the EC, turned down a promotion, and began the process of losing interest. Thankfully for the group, Admiral Kelly (a lawyer in real life) came forward around then and suggested a radical change to the way the group had been working; the Constitution. There's a lot to be said about that -- it changed the nature of the group, it codified policies and practices that we'd been following for years but argued about each time they came up, and generally gave the blueprint for managing the group. There were a few initial bubbles with it, some points that needed refinement, one ship that didn't care to follow it, but they worked out in the end. In a way, while unarguably a good thing for the group, the presence of the Constitution was the start of my leaving: it reframed the debate from "what's the best thing to do" and "what does the Constitution say we should do?" -- and that's not nearly as much fun for me. When the simming project I was working on came to an end (I'll proudly state that I probably have more failed sim projects in UFOP than anyone but Wolf himself), I left the group as a Star Trek SIMmer, and as time passed without incident I resigned from the UFOP council, abandoning them to their by-laws and policies.

Years later, former Admiral Randor invited me to join a group she'd joined since, and while that group didn't work out, it whetted my appetite for simming enough that I sought out UFOP and joined again as an Ensign... and am back to my troublemaking ways, sewing chaos on the Independence.

  • What have been your greatest challenges in this group?

Trying to get people to 'get' the idea that their importance to the group didn't have to be solely tied to the rank of their character; it's always been an uphill struggle against those who *need* reality and fantasy to collide on this point. I'm an ensign now; does that mean I no longer know what it's like to be in command?

Not to mention, sowing chaos throughout the fleet. It's my firmly held belief that the number one cause of burn out in captains is having control over the plot. The fun of this game is not knowing what will happen next; if the Captain controls the plot, then pretty soon the Captain will burn themselves out for lack of surprise and unexpected plot twists.

  • What have been your greatest achievements in this group?

The formation of the EC. The creation of a Fantasy SIM group that lasted for seven or eight years. The making of a number of friends who continue to this day.

  • What do you hope to ultimately accomplish?

To have fun, make friends, and write Star Trek. Everything else is icing.

  • Where do you see this group in five years?

I expect Wolf will renew ownership on, and I doubt yahoogroups will be going down any time soon, even if Yahoo is purchased.

  • How do you think this group has contributed to Star Trek's legacy? How has the group contributed to the internet community?

Aside from the perpetual old joke that the writers were monitoring and stealing from our posts, I don't know if it has or hasn't. We've had hundreds of people pass through UFOP, though, and odds are pretty good that if you find a random Star Trek group out there, it'll have split off of UFOP at some point. Some even plagerize the manuals and constitution.