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Revision as of 10:44, 15 September 2010

Reporter Issue #42

  • Issue Number: 42
  • Issue Date: 238002.22
  • Editor: FltAdml. Tristan Wolf

Contents

  • F.T.A.D.
  • Featured Article
  • Missions
  • Promotions
  • Perspectives
  • Horrorscopes
  • New Frontiers
  • Reader's Corner
  • Fleet Activities
  • End Notes


From the Admiral's Desk

Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf

Hello again, fellow members.

::Puts on Editor cap.:: Yes, what you're seeing is actually real: We've finally put together the next Reporter, and it is really online. We've taken a different direction with this month's Reporter, as you will notice below. The focus for this month, instead of a specific ship, will be Relationships - in honor of Valentine's day. There are a lot of great articles on how love works into the Star Trek Universe, and of course, SIMming.

You'll find that the format of the Reporter will be changing again in the next issue. We've decided to split the monthly ship reports into their own seperate newsletter, called "Tactical Data Reports" (TDRs). The second TDR (the first having been sent out this past November) will be released near the beginning of May, and will continue to come out every month after that. The Reporter, on the other hand, will be released every other month, around the 15th.

While we haven't completely set in stone the new format of the Reporter, it looks like we'll be trying to take a more "magazine" feel to it all, by giving you more feature type articles whenever we can. Fleet Captain Adler Wong-Aquiss has stepped up to try her hand at editing the next issue, and hopefully many more after that.

In other news, I'll now put my Admiral hat ::switches:: and talk about some Fleet stuff: First, thankfully, we have completed a move to a new server. We are, in fact, still with the same provider, but we now have more resources at our disposal. A better Site Control Panel, more bandwidth, and more hard drive space will allow us to continue to grow. Unfortunately, it will probably be at least another week or two before we can get the website back in full working order. ::Cringe::

Second, I hope you all received the "State of the Federation" address last month, and found it informative. The Constitution requires that the EC send out one of those every year, and we are happy to oblige. It's nice to have an overall summary of where we're going, and where we've been.

Third, I am happy to again announce to the general membership that Rear Admiral Marlin has returned from his forever-long leave of absence. He has been welcomed back to the administration arm of the group, and is currently easing his way back into things. He has already been of much help in writing the CON "QuikGuide" - a shortened, condensed version of the Constitution for new members.

Fourth, and finally, I wanted to make mention of how well the Captains and Executive Councils are moving along lately. We're dealing with a number of issues, the most notable of which is a revision of Bylaw 2 - regarding the promotion of officers to Commander and above. That process has undergone some changes since the Bylaw was put into effect, and we are hammering out a suitable change to the it, to ensure it is both accurate and all-encompasing.

I hope you all enjoy this issue. I know it has been a pleasure to gather and read articles from some of the best writers in the fleet.

Oh, and before I forget: Please remember to vote in the Top SIMs Contest AND to find and submit some of the best SIMs of your fellow members for the next round!! Just head to the Top SIMs Page for more info.

Yours,

FltAdml. Tristan Wolf

UFOP: StarBase 118 CinC


Featured Article

Love is in the Particle-Scrubbed Air

Written by: Rear Admiral Hollis Caley

Birds and Bees

“I never been fond of fast relationships in real life, and I am the same way IC.”

“I got involved in a relationship (in the game) early on. I’ll never do that again.”

“I am almost as picky about IC relationships, as I am about real life relationships.”

Relationships in character can be a great source for character development and interesting situation. After all, nothing is as purely social and emotional as a relationship. Still, as the above quotes suggest, relationships can be as tricky IC. Each of the quotes come from experienced simmers from two different groups I belong to.

What follows is a short primer on ‘Love’ in the hope of helping YOU sim relationships well and avoid common pitfalls.

No Nasty Stuff!

First thing to remember is that UFOP is a PG-13 site. That means: no swearing, no hyper-realistic violence, and of course, no sex! Keep the intimate, steamy details inside the bedroom and end a scene before you get that far. If you are worried a sim does too much, email the ship’s command staff. I’ve written up several graphic examples of what you should NOT sim, but our pesky editor gave the thumbs down, so we will break with three suggestive asterisk instead:

* * *

Take it Slow, Baby

The great thing about relationships is that they allow a character to explore life. Couples meet, get to know each other, develop affection, commit to each other, and if so inclined: reproduce (*ahem*). Then comes moving into a new place, watching off-spring mature, growing apart, and divorce. Or maybe you stay together and die of old age.

Either way, this should not all happen in the first week of simming, or even in the first month. The best IC relationships take time. Rare is love at first sight. Plan on the relationship taking several months to get to the first kiss. Sim meeting the family for the first time. Talk about commitment. Assume the first intimate contact will be after a couple missions. In the end you will have a more realistic and mature IC relationship. Or if you leap in with both feet and sim your character waking up and going, “OH my what did I just DO!” then comes the process of slowly over the course of months figuring out the pitfalls of sudden romance.

Hmmmm . . . time for another triple asterisk.

* * *

Family (OOC) Planning

It is best to have a discussion with the writer of the other character before things go to far. Negative emotions do not always begin or end with the characters. If you are angry with someone in character, it is not uncommon to feel some animosity toward them out of character, and visa-versa. If one player is looking to sim a family, and the other just wants to sim a date, maybe they shouldn’t sim a second outing. I don’t advocate planning out every step OOC, but knowing what your partner in simming is thinking can never hurt.

Joined at the Hip

Relationships can be a real detriment to beginning simmers. At a point where players need to be interacting with the plot, and getting to know all the players on a ship, they are locked in a room with their significant other. Sometimes they will even go so far as to ignore other simmers entirely, even when directly simmed to. Waiting till after a promotion or two ensures that you have a good base to start a relationship from. This is not unlike waiting till after high school or college before getting serious in real life.

Nor is it uncommon for simmers to become co-dependent, especially if one simmer is more developed than the other. The weak simmer depends on the ideas and skills of the other and never matures in their writing. At the same time, the strong simmer expends extra effort supporting this ‘partner’ eventually becoming embittered and vindictive. As you can see this is not a good situation. Pick your partner carefully, and don't be afraid to end the relationship if you feel that it's not going in the direction you had planned.

High and Dry

He doesn’t call. She doesn’t write. WHERE ARE YOU?!

This is a game and people are bound to leave it sooner or later. What do you do when the person you have been simming a relationship vanishes? Your options are limited and are basically: to sim them out of the story (death or dismemberment), or sim for them. As the character isn’t yours, you need to talk to the captain about what is best for the story.

The other possibility is that your IC significant other may move off ship your ship through transfer or promotion. Do you break up or attempt a "long distance relationship"? Following the other simmer could inhibit promotion and character growth. Make your decision based on what you hope to do with your "simming career" and how you think it will work out after the move. And, of course, be sure to communicate with your "partner writer"!

Inflatable Dolls

Sometimes the best relationship is the one closest at hand: Fly solo and create an NPC! Some may say it is a bit sterile, but you can avoid every problem addressed above by doing so. An NPC will do exactly what you want, say what you want, and allow a great range of flexibility. You can sim intense emotions like jealousy or love/hate without affecting anyone else adversely. An NPC is also a great choice for short-term relationships, or early in ones career.

He’s dead Jim!

Perhaps you have decided to kill off your NPC partner. Or maybe a real life partner has left UFOP, and the captain has decided to give them a Viking Farewell on a burning shuttle craft. Either way, your character has just been widowed. It is time to dress in black and sim grief. It takes a long time for powerful feelings to fade, usually years. You should not be getting involved in another relationship right away, and when you do, memories of that person will still be there. I suggest simming strong grief for a mission, and then scaling the emotion back over the course of the next couple missions. Once again sim at a measured pace.

Um . . what is that?

Recently on the OOC boards in the "Aliens" forum, there was a brief discussion on Xenobiology. Specifically, it was about interspecies reproduction. Problems of anatomy aside, it is highly unlikely DNA from species separated by hundreds of light years, and millions of years of evolution would be compatible. Even very closely related species like the donkey and horse produce a sterile offspring: the mule. Still, Star Trek is a universe of miraculous technology. It is likely ways could be found to artificially mingle DNA. When simming a pregnancy, be sure to take in to account the need for artificial assistance between species, and potential damage to the mother. These are wonderful plot developments, and add some much needed character development. Consider how your character would feel if he or she came to the realization that even with modern science, something has gone wrong with your child - or the child's mother?

Boldly Go Where No Person Has Gone Before?

Even in The Original Series we saw that possibilities varied for future relationships: Spock was half Vulcan, Chocrane was discovered alive and in the arms of an energy being, and Kirk had seemed to fall in love with every alien who saw him shirtless. Don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities of relationship. Most relationships I see are between comfortably humanoid, gender-differentiated species. Star Trek is in part about pushing the envelope, and expanding horizons! Relationship’s have the same potential for exploration as the Final Frontier.

Baby male African Elephants can weigh 120kg or more at birth.


Mission Reports

Intel/Black Tower

Submitted by: Lt. Col. K'sena Kyrl

Intel Site

Starfleet Intelligence Command has assigned Black Tower the task of locating a Romulan vessel that has been recently launched in Federation space. The ship, a project of the Tal Shiar, has holographic capabilities which can easily mask itself as any vessel it wishes. Black Tower has been ordered to destroy the vessel immediately upon finding it. Lt. Col. Kyrl has ordered for Maj. Toullis to take the USS Tiger to search for the Romulan vessel while another team is dispatched to contruction site of the vessel to investigate more of its background.


USS Independence

Submitted by: Captain Jessa Anassasi

Independence Site

Stardates 237912-238001

Within the heart of communication of a ‘first contact’ situation with an unknown being with unknown motives, the halved crew of the Independence delved into a deep mystery (the other half on Trill, in search of Iconian connections and Lt. Mene’s joining with the Brex symbiont). Later, they would find out that this space-faring creature called it’s self Serpent, or rather Serpentai for plural; their connection to one another, in the sense of many minds equaling one, is similar to the Borg. However, their curiosity in other cultures was initiated when ‘contact’ was made with LtCmd Kare’en sometime ago. Since then, their interests drove them out of their seclusion to other civilizations. A Cairn colony was destroyed from such attempts, and it was later found out that this was the case due to the creature’s immense telepathic components. It was revealed by Ltjg Zaahn to be "Sebation Telepathic Energy"; a rare telepathic energy, one that wedged its power somehow into the Lieutenant Commander’s Canar.

After realizing this, Engineering (Ltjg Horne and Ensign Mar, with the help of the Science department) conceived means in initiating contact with the being, using the Betazoid telepathic energies of Ltjg Devar. Contact was successful, and the information was cast to the Serpentai. They learned of the situation, much to their ignorance of facts, and felt remorse. Before the connection was fully complete, it was severed by an ill-fated Devar, who died momentarily and felt the inability to screen, driving her mad afterwards. The ship, feeling the strains of contact, was paying the price.

It was Kare’en that finally made a successful connection with the means of the Canar, saving many lives on Trill and cultures around. It was stated the Serpentai had past connections with the Iconians, and that they had "went away" when communication was attempted. A guardian of sorts entered the body of Ltjg Kirov; the shuttle was destroyed by the Captain’s command, but as penance for the Serpentai’s past inflictions, it granted the life of Kirov once more.

Afterwards, the crew engaged in healthy shore leave. Most remained back on the Independence as it docked at Midway for repairs; some even enjoying the liberties of the holodeck. An incident between Mar and Ltjg Wilde dampened some of the moods. All in all, though, the time of relaxation was needed for all who stayed and who had went.

Currently, the Independence is conducting a search with the Kodiak, in the Badlands for a lost Bajoran artifact called the Seer of Worlds. This False Orb was created by an ancient civilization. It has the ability to show the user any current event in the universe, yet only shows the user what he/she "needs" to see. (i.e.- A general using the device might attempt to spy on his enemy only to see his wife in bed with a trusted advisor.) Currently, the Kodiak has been swallowed by an Ion Storm while the Independence has been swept off course by the same storm. Meanwhile, an away team, comprised of officers from both vessels, has made contact with a sect of Bajoran monks in search of information about the Seer of Worlds.


"There's coffee in that nebula!" -- Janeway (The Cloud)


USS Isannah

Submitted by: Commander Christopher Hutton

The ISANNAH is currently on a mission to explore subspace tears in the Vellin sector along the Indrii VIII Highway. Despite the dangers of tears in the sector, a Cardassian group continues to operate in the sector. The crew of the ISANNAH hope to not only discover the nature of the subspace tears but find out why the Cardassians are so adamant about remaining in the area. FO Lcmd. Ssa-Ruuk is leading an undercover team of officers into an investigation of a local Cardassian sect called the Morning Star. Commander Hutton and the ISANNAH have just encountered a mysterious cloaked vessel whose engine exhaust appears to be connected to the subspace tears. The vessel also appears to have incredibly high speed warp capability. The USS SANTA MARIA, commanded by Hutton's father Admiral John Hutton, has just rendezvoused with the ISANNAH to aid in their mission.


USS Kodiak

Submitted by: Rear Admiral Hollis Caley

Kodiak Site

The Dauntless Class Kodiak was decomissioned after the battle against the T'lithians. On 238001.01 a new Kodiak, Norway Class, was comissioned. Its first mission is to make its way to Bajor to attend the opening of the Vedek Assembly.

On the way at the request of the Bajoran governement the Kodiak is stopping at the Badlands to search for 3 Cardassian Hauler ships that vanished 51 years ago. The ships were filled with Loot from them occuppied Bajor. The USS Independence has joined the Kodiak in this search. See the Independence summary for more information.


USS Nemesis-B

Submitted by: Commander Nathan Quinn

Nemesis Site

=/\= First Officers log, Stardate 52102.2

What an adventure. It first started at StarBase 118 where we missed our transport to El Arian Prime, where the Captain, Nicholas, Nathanial, Emery and I planned on taking a much needed vacation while the Alder gave birth to her daughter. After the mix up with the transporter we decided to meet back up with Nemesis at Deep Space Nine. Our trip was uneventful for the first three days, when suddenly Romulans attacked us. They wanted The Captain, or to be more specific they wanted the Captain’s unborn child.

We were outmatched and outgunned. But to my surprise a Cardassian vessel came to our rescue. Both Romulan and Cardassian vessels were destroyed in the battle and our shuttle was no longer flyable. I’m not sure how the next part happened but Nicholas and I managed to bring the damaged shuttle down on one of Bajor’s moons, everyone survived. With no way to send a rescue beacon, all we could do was wait. But after crash-landing on the moon more problems arise. The Captain went into pre-mature labor. We had no choice but to deliver Mila on the moon. The delivery was, to say the least, interesting. When all was said and done we have a beautiful baby girl. We had a few ups and downs with her health but eventually she stabilized and all was well. Five days had passed and still no signs of a rescue, we began to worry. Our supplies were running out.

Just then Emery and Nathanial came in and told us of some ships they had seen. I went out to see and to my horror they were Romulans war birds. This was going to be our fate; we would all die on this moon. But we were not going to give up that easily, we came up with a plan and executed it perfectly, but there were still more coming. We braced for our final bow when suddenly help came. The Defiant and her crew arrived just in time to save the day. The Romulans were defeated and we were rescued. We arrived back at Deep Space Nine and Dr. Bashir repaired all of our injures.

The Captain has taken her maternity leave and I am in command of the Nemesis. We are currently on shore leave at Deep Space Nine awaiting our next mission.

Commander Quinn

First Officer

USS Nemesis B =/\=


USS Paladin

Submitted by: Captain Rachel Daninburg

Paladin Site

PALADIN is several days out on a classified mission. Captain Daninburg is, as part of that mission, reactivated in SID and is on mission. Mike Weller is acting Captain.


StarBase 118 Operations

Submitted by: Fleet Captain Xan Hebron

Currently the Base is operating on two fronts. The first one is under Commander Nekkar. He is out chasing after the group of marines who attacked the base. His orders are to eradicate them regardless.

Hebron has taken another group to Feringinar to attempt to open negotiations about their new cloaking devise. Unkown to him, there is more involved in it. The Andorians want it along with the Romulans and Gorns. It is going to be a fun ride dealing with many of the TOS aliens.


The USS Chicago, commanded by Capt. Yohan Bach, is the only ship in UFOP history to be named after a real city.


USS Titan

Submitted by: Commander Theo Draigon

Titan Site

The Titan is currently still 123 years into an alternate future. Admiral Kelly has been abducted by time-pirates and LTCommander Draigon has taken command of the Titan. He has decided to continue to Earth and complete the mission Kelly started. They were to extract information from Star Fleet Command Head Quarters to try and locate the exact time that the timeline changed. Another team has been sent to Titan Base, a secret Star Fleet facility devoted to researching time anomolies to try and find a way to return to their time. The Titan is now docked at the abandoned Hope station on the outer rim of Earth's solar system. A team has been sent over to the station to restore power and get the repair facitlities back on line for much needed repairs on the Titan. The arachnid race that is the super power of this time, the Lokilani have found the Titan and are currently sending ships to the area to pin piont it's exact location.


USS Victory

Submitted by: Captain Jordan Hurne

Victory Site

The Victory is on station at a terrorist space station. It is negotiating the freedom of a number of Federation prisoners. The terrorist leader is the brother of the Victory Chief of Security, Dan Story. As well as the space station, a training and prison complex on the planet near by have also been discovered.

There are three away missions on going at this time:

Mission 1: To secure the release of the prisoners.

Mission 2: To lay charges on the planetary prison.

Mission 3: Under cover on the space station to gather Intel and provide backup (if needed) for mission 1.


Promotions

Congratulations to these fine officers who have earned the respect of their fellow crewmates, and captains in the past few months:

INTEL/BLACK TOWER

  • Jovan Odea to Lieutenant JG
  • Torin Srouh to Lieutenant JG
  • Freya Andersen to Lieutenant JG
  • Ryan Larinson to Lt Commander

USS INDEPENDENCE

  • Alana Devar to Lieutenant
  • Idril Mar to Lieutenant JG

USS NEMESIS-B

  • James McKenzie to Lieutenant JG
  • Rigtharious Storm to Lieutenant JG
  • Andrew Stirling to Lieutenant
  • Shade Nyssa-Dragon to Lieutenant
  • Ron to Lieutenant
  • Sadek Moghan to Lt Commander
  • Adler Wong-Aquiss to Fleet Captain

USS PALADIN

  • Jefferson Nariah to Lieutenant
  • Eskyys to Lieutenant
  • Dan Ringo to Lieutenant
  • Jennifer Greene to Lieutenant
  • Varaan to Lieutenant
  • Torin Jamar to Lieutenant

StarBase 118 Ops

  • Xan Hebron to Fleet Captain



USA TV's first prime-time male-male liplock occured in May 2000, on Dawson's Creek.


Perspectives

Alternative Sexualities in Star Trek

Written by: Lieutenant Akino Janaar

Over its thirty-year existence, one of the main strengths of the Star Trek franchise has been its ability to balance futuristic storylines and technology with important issues of the present. From the moment the world saw James Kirk’s crew including a Russian, an Asian American and an African American woman, it was clear that Star Trek was not going to be another “it came from outer space” type of show; it was going to be a vehicle for change, a window to what the world would be like without prejudice.

In Gene Roddenberry’s Utopian Society not only did members of different ethnic races interact freely and comfortably but also members of different species lived and worked together in harmony. The Star Trek universe was one were racial differences were embraced and celebrated, where together these alien races had developed amazing technology and set out as peaceful explorers and where humanity had evolved to a point where they are no longer driven by greed and the accumulation of wealth. These are all positive goals for us as a society; the only one problem with the Star Trek vision of the future is that everyone appears to be heterosexual. For a franchise that has attacked social issues from racism to genetic engineering with such gusto, the omission of alternative sexualities seems to be exceptionally out of character.

One of the main themes of The Original Series was racial tolerance; this was a particularly potent message in during the 1960s when the Civil Rights movement was at its peak. Two of the most enduring images from Kirk’s time in the big chair was the first interracial on-screen kiss between Kirk and Uhura and the intense hatred between two men who’s only difference was in their monochrome skin colour.

While racial tolerance may have not been an extremely popular concept for some in the 60s, the television audience was not ready to deal with homosexuality in any depth beyond perhaps, Kirk briefly inhabiting Janice Rand’s body and the brief possibility of Kirk-Rand having sex with another female.

The TOS movies came and went without much controversy, although as in the case of Star Trek IV it once again became a platform for an important social issue of the day: in that case it was saving whales.

It was then passed to the Next Generation crew to carry on the tradition of tackling the tough issues. Unfortunately, when it came to dealing with alternative sexualities they failed to attack the issue with such determination as had seen in Star Trek from its conception. In it’s seven year run, Next Gen failed to deal with alternative sexualities in any great detail. The episode “The Host”, in which we are introduced to the joined race of Trills, Dr Crusher is seen falling madly in love with a Trill male who subsequently dies and the symbiont is passed onto a female host.

Although the Trill is willing to carry on their relationship as if nothing had changed, indicating for the first time the inherent bisexuality of joined Trills, Beverly is unwilling to continue the relationship saying:

"Maybe in the future our ability to love won't be so limited."

This is a fair sentiment, but it is a somewhat disturbing thought that in the 24th century people would be claiming that, when Star Trek is supposed to be presenting a future where such things have changed and the boundaries and prejudices that plague present day society don’t exist. One can’t expect too much however, from a character seen in Insurrection talking with Troi about how the metaphasic particles are causing their “boobs to firm up”.

The other main episode in which alternative sexualities are dealt with is “The Outcast” in which the Enterprise crew encounters a single gender race called the J’naii. Within this race there are a number of individuals who feel they identify with one gender (as opposed to a neutral gender). Such individuals are forced to hide their feelings which the society views as distasteful, immoral and a disease.

While a reasonably effective metaphor for homosexual and bisexual people in today’s society, there are a number of problems with this episode. It claims that the single gender evolved from two genders, thus those who identify as male or female were an evolutionary throwback and more primitive than those who identify themselves as the single gender. Furthermore, the episode ends with the “female” J’naii giving in to the witch-hunt against her, being medically treated as if her gender role was a mental illness and at the end is seen happier because now she has been “cured”. This doesn’t seem to fit in with how the franchise tackles other issues and in the long run did little but perpetuate the myth that those who are different from the majority are insane.

Neither Deep Space Nine nor Voyager were particularly shy about their use of gay and bisexual characters. The virtually annual visits to the Mirror Universe by Sisko’s crew threw up bisexual and homosexual versions of virtually every main DS9 character. This could have been the long overdue introduction of alternative sexualities in an interesting way, exploring the issue with well-known characters without actually making any main character gay or bisexual.

However, in reality these episodes continued negative stereotypes of alternative sexualities. The characters, well at least those portrayed as bisexual or homosexual in the alternate universe, are the manipulative, brutal, mercenary, hedonistic villains. Most notable is the obviously bisexual and overtly sexual Intendant Kira who, while in command of Terok Nor, surrounds herself with a harem of men and women and later on seems to have engaged in a relationship with the alternate Ezri Dax. The mirror universe version of Ezri is a manipulative, duplicitous character who betrays Quark and Rom for her own profit. The first suggestion of a male homosexual in Star Trek is when the alternate Garak, a man who had been seen previously wanting to randomly kill terrans, offers sexual favours to Worf.

The “good guys” within the Mirror Universe show no signs of same sex relationships, suggesting that alternative sexualities are an evil or at least a negative trait.

Throughout it’s run, Voyager, also included gay/bisexual characters. Again, all of the main characters were heterosexual, all of who engaged in relationships with members of the opposite sex. In the third season episode, Warlord, Tieran, a tyrannous warlord who murders a number of people including a Voyager crewman, inhabited Kes’ body. While under Tieran’s control Kes is seen to actively flirt with a male and female character, yet again an alternative sexuality is used to portray a ruthless, immoral character.

The following season saw the introduction of former Borg drone Seven of Nine. Once more the rumour mill went into overdrive, in this case it seemed to be focused on one thing: would Seven be a lesbian? These proved to be untrue and the hopes for a gay/bisexual main character were dashed once more.

Seven did participate in one of the most homosexually charged scenes in Voyager, between herself and the Borg Queen, in the shows finale Endgame, with the Queen telling her:

“You’ve always been my favourite, Seven.”

The sexual tension between the two female characters was unmistakable, but it was more of the same from Star Trek: a negative character, a villain, displaying non-heterosexual behaviour and they don’t come much more villainous than the Borg Queen.

Perhaps the only positive non-heterosexual character was Deep Space Nine’s Jadzia Dax. As a joined Trill, with the memories and experiences of both males and females, it was logical to conclude Dax would be bisexual and in the episode “Rejoined” we witnessed Dax reunited with her previous host’s wife. Unlike any previous foray into alternative sexualities this was not a nefarious couple and it wasn’t about a same sex relationship; it was a story about two people who were completely in love but were unable to be together because it went against their social norms.

It was the perfect metaphor for non-heterosexual relationship and for a brief, shining moment it seemed as if Star Trek had finally decided to tackle alternative sexualities the way it had so many other social issues in the past. The moment, however, was extremely brief. Other than some very mild flirting with Vanessa William’s character on Risa, this side of Jadzia was never explored again and the character eventually found happiness in a heterosexual, mixed race marriage.

When Jadzia died at the end of the sixth season and the rumours started flying that a new Dax host would appear in the final season, the thought of a male host was an interesting prospect. The idea of a male character still harbouring the feelings for Jadzia’s husband, Worf, presented another ideal way to introduce a gay/bisexual storyline with a main character. Alas, the powers that be again decided to play it safe and explored the same issues with a female host.

By the time Enterprise, the franchise’s fifth incarnation, first aired in September of 2001 gay and bisexual characters on television shows were becoming commonplace. The years since the start of Next Generation and the start of Enterprise had presented audiences with the first onscreen homosexual kiss between teenagers, the first television show with a homosexual lead and literally hundreds of gay and bisexual characters.

In fact, on turn of the millennium television it became “the done thing” to have a gay or bisexual character on your show. It seemed that Enterprise came along at the perfect time for the first main character with an alternative sexuality. It was quickly apparent, however, that this was not only a heterosexuals-only show but was also leaning heavily towards the patriarchal dominance of the franchise that had only just began to be broken down.

With the alternative sexualities embargo on the shows, it fell to the Star Trek fiction writers to include gay and bisexual characters and they did with some enthusiasm. A number of Star Trek novels have included openly homosexual relationships dealt with in a responsible and respectful manner, the way one would expect an issue to be dealt with in Star Trek.

It is difficult to ascertain just why the powers that be in Star Trek are so against exploring alternative sexualities onscreen. Of course it would be an issue unpopular with some viewers but as an entity Star Trek has never minded controversy in the past, the historic first interracial kiss on US television prompted outrage. Why would a franchise that not only dealt with incendiary issues but actively pushed the boundaries of audience and societies acceptance shy away from an issue now? Has the post-Roddenberry Star Trek forgotten about the trailblazing vehicle for social equality it had once been?

With Executive Producer, Rick Berman, appearing as adamantly against the inclusion of gay or bisexual characters within the franchise and a large section of its fan-base demanding and hoping for such an inclusion, the absence of alternative sexualities in Star Trek will undoubtedly be a hotly debated issue until gay and bisexual characters take their rightful place in the Star Trek Universe. After all, I doubt in the future Starfleet would use “don’t ask, don’t tell”... do you?


Horrorscopes

For the Month of February

Written by: All-Seeing, All-Knowing Adler Wong-Aquiss

Aries (Mar. 21- April 20)

A good time to reflect. Beware of Orion raiders and anonymous subspace messages. Double-check the transporter coordinates!

Taurus (Apr. 21- may 21)

Your leadership skills will save you after the Gong of Good Fortune is struck, but don't give in to temptations of Wrigley's. Forgive old grudges.

Gemini (May 22-June 21)

A quick trip to Sickbay will fix you right up, unless you're angry at a Leo! A very close friend offers financial advice today -- set your phaser to stun.

Cancer (June 22-July 22)

A loved one is about to go on a long trip. Warp engines could use a double-check. Safeguard your retinal scan.

Leo (July 23-Aug 22)

Telepathic contact with a mind far superior to your own may have key to life's greatest mystery. Beware the number 5. An old promise is remembered.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 23)

Important business comes near the end of the day. Keep away from holodecks until all debts are paid. A family matter will be settled.

Libra (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)

That strange buzzing in your head needs more than a doctor. Embrace mutations. A lost item will be found in the least likely place.

Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 22)

A very good night tonight for romance; take a loved one out to a dinner and skydive on the holodeck. Stay away from Ferengi.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 21)

A supernova will play havoc with communicators. Good day to boost your energy level. Try jogging, tennis, or maybe even targ-wrestling.

Capricorn (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)

Invite an old friend in for tea, even if he is omnipotent. I mean, honestly, Jean-Luc, would it kill you to give me a smile?

Aquarius (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)

The replicator will never work right if you don't fix it properly, so what a great excuse to go out! Get that scar removed and make a fresh start.

Pisces (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)

Negative energy will result in a disastrous exchange with an Andorian - don't stare at tentacles. A lover has secrets.


"The Provisional Government is going to fall, and when govern-ments fall, people like me are the first ones shot." -- Quark (Emissary)


New Frontiers

This area features the discoveries of the SB 118 Fleet. To see your discoveries published write the Reporter.


Species Profile: Serpentai

Written by: Lieutenant Commander Kare'en

Name: Serpentai (sing.: Serpens) AKA White Snakes

Homeworld: Unknown; space-dwelling species

Richter Scale Classification: RS (uncertain because of limited contact)

General Description: The Serpentai are a group of space-dwelling entities composed largely of an energy matrix with a few trace elements. In appearance, they look like translucent white snakes with frills just behind the head. Average size is 750-1000m long.

Physiology: The Serpentai are composed of a highly organized energy matrix, with certain organic molecules in suspension (as it were), believed to help organize the matrix as a whole and to allow energy transfer within the individual organism (on the analogy of biological processes). This energy pattern has certain striking similarities to the energy used among Hallian empaths/telepaths, as well as the Canar crystals the Hallians use to enhance their telepathic abilities. It is this connection that led to the detection of the Serpentai species.

Being largely energy-based lifeforms, the Serpentai “feed” on EM radiation (often by “basking” in the light of a particular star). Some studies have suggested that certain bands of the EM spectrum are more attractive to the Serpentai palate than others, but this has not been confirmed. It is uncertain whether Serpentai have sex distinction or not.

Special Characteristics: An individual Serpens is able to generate a low-level subspace field. When enough Serpentai get together, they are able to combine their individual fields to make a subspace bubble and thus move at warp speeds. These groups (usually of 15-30 individuals, called “knots”) can achieve speeds of approximately warp 7, and to the outside observer seem to be moving with an undulating or rippling form of motion.

Society: The Serpentai seem to be connected by a telepathic link; it is uncertain whether the link extends only to the “knot” that an individual is a member of, or to the species as a whole. The result is the creation of a truly collective mind (unlike the hive mind of, say, the Borg). Still, the Serpentai have difficulties making the distinctions between the community and the individual that most humanoid species find natural. Beyond this basic information, little is known about the social structures of the species.


Reader's Corner

Features Reviews of Science Fiction in any Media. Have a review? Write the Reporter.

Two brief articles have been submitted for this issue's Reader's Corner: a book review and a teaser/synopsis. Don't forget that you can find both these titles at UFOP's Amazon.com Shopping Area!

Imzadi II: Triangle

Reviewed by: Sable Li

Purchase

Imzadi II: Triangle, by Peter David

Published by Pocket Books, copyright 1998/1999.

$6.50-US

$8.99-Can.

I had originally read the first Imzadi book by Peter David (which, consequentially, involved the first meeting and passionate flair between Deanna Troi and William Riker on Betazed). I was unaware that they had a second book, including Worf in a torrid love triangle, until I saw it on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. I was fascinated, and I do love a good, feisty story, so I decided: "What the heck," and bought it.

The story takes place right after the movie Star Trek: Generations and before Worf’s relationship with Jadzia Dax in DS9 (as he describes it). Basically, the story focuses on Worf’s wayward relationship with Deanna, and he decides to take it further in a marriage proposal. Ultimately, he wants a solid mother figure in Alexander’s life, and Deanna agrees much to Riker’s silent disapproval. While Picard and Riker are on Earth, facing the implements of their actions that resulted in the destruction of the Enterprise, Worf and Deanna spread their ‘joy’ in the good news to their respective families.

First, they visit Worf’s adoptive human parents in Russia...

...Then, it’s off to Betazed to visit Lwaxanna Troi. By far, this is some of the best comic relief in watching the exchange between the aristocratic Lwaxanna and a fearsome, cynical Worf. I laughed especially when she tried to teach him the values and philosophies of Betazoids. Worf did not find much solace on Betazed, however.

The story weaves and interchanges between this and another plot involving Sela and Thomas Riker, William’s ‘twin’ as a result of a freak transporting accident while he was still a Lieutenant.

That’s all I can say without giving away too much; you basically know how it ends, but it’s worth a read if you care to see Betazed in the eyes of Worf, and his plans on having Deanna know the Klingon, warrior way of life. Pick it up and judge for yourselves. Includes an extra featurette: Starfleet Year One, Chapter 3.


The Battle of Betazed

Reviewed by: Sable Li

Purchase

The Battle of Betazed, by Charlotte Douglas and Susan Kearney

Published by Pocket Books, copyright 2002.

$6.99-US

$9.99-Can.

I always wondered what had become of Betazed, and since it wasn’t really mentioned I decided to pick up this book and see it, at least from a literary standpoint anyway. In this book, the authors describe the timeline being ‘approximately two months after the DS9 episode, "Tears of the Prophets," and a few months before the movie, Insurrection.

The Dominion has invaded and on the verge of conquering the Federation planet, Betazed. They are ravishing the planet, along with its people, in their quest for power. Cardassia, of course, is helping in the pillage and is constructing a base in its orbit. There are few Betazoids willing to take the initiative to fight back; as most are venturing in the hills and rainforests to evade the terror. However, it would only be but a matter of time before the whole planet falls asunder under the Dominion’s deviant rule.

The news travels fast to Starfleet, who vows to protect the people of Betazed. A Betazoid by the name of Sark Enaren risks his life to tell them pieces of vital information... he actually escapes through the barriers and presents the Fleet with this knowledge. However, as cruel fate would have it... well...

There is a plan, though, involving a hysterical and frightened Deanna Troi. This plan involves a Betazoid criminal, by the name of Hent Tevren, a psychological mess but a holder of key information how to wield the telepathic energy for the means of killing... It was used in the ancient days on Betazed, but with centuries of calming and peaceful notions, the Betazoid people became impervious to such malevolent notions. Will this ‘last hope’ in a criminal help Deanna undercover in their plan? Will they awaken such a forceful nature in a such a peaceful race?

Read and find out!


Fleet Activities

Two different areas have chimed in for this month to comment on activities within our fleet that are beyond normal SIMming.

UFOP OOC Chats

Written by: Lieutenant JG Danny Wilde

The online UFOP Chat facility can be used by members to talk and have a general chat, or to sort out SIM issues quickly and efficiently. You can use it to meet up with members or your ship, or to meet people from another ship in a friendly and safe environment.

So far, there are three major scheduled chat events: 'ChitChat' is scheduled for Wednesdays, 'AmeriChat' for Saturdays, and the ever popular 'EuroChat' on Sundays. Two chats are moderated by willing and responsible members, while the third is still needing an available moderator (or moderator team). However, the chat panel is always available for chats at any time, so you and friends can meet up to talk whenever you're free. Exact times for major timezones are listed on the chat panel.

In the scheduled chats, topics of conversation can lead from whats happening on your ship mission wise, how you're character is doing, and getting to learn a bit more about the characters. On the other hand, chat users are encouraged to talk about current issues in Real Life, or about whats going on in their personal life, or just let off some steam with friends.

The Moderating team for the Chats in the UFOP are always on hand for questions, and to help the members using the chat. They're always willing to help to provide a pleasant chatting enviroment. Fleet Captain Adler Wong-Aquiss moderates EuroChat, and I, Danny Wilde, moderate the ChitChat. We currently still need a moderator for the AmeriChat, so if you're available, and you're a Lieutenant, contact Fleet Admiral Wolf.

We hope to see you there soon!

The Science Exchange Forum

Written by: Lietenant JG James Mckenzie

Hello! On behalf of all the members of the Science Exchange Forum (SEF), I would like to invite you to come peruse our forum on the Message Boards. There is no need to join the boards to be part of the group, just click on the link above.

To be a member of SEF doesn't require any huge commitment, or even that you are a science officer. We spend our time discussing the field of science both In and Out Of Character, writing articles to teach other SIMmers about the best post to be a part of. We also have a few projects in the works, but are looking for more people to fill out our team and give more input!

Once again, we invite you to come check it out and see what you can contribute!

"If you prick me, do I not... leak?" -- Data (The Naked Now)


End Notes

Interested in Helping?

UFOP is a fairly busy group, with plenty going on behind the surface. We have plenty of opportunities to get involved, regardless of your rank. If you think you have the time or motivation to lend a hand, just head to our "Help Wanted" forum on the boards. It's quick and easy to peruse the "listings"!


UFOP Message Boards

As mentioned numerous times above, UFOP has a very active message board area. There are forums on Star Trek (The Shows, The Movies, Ships, and Treknology), UFOP (Academy - for recent graduates, Politics - of the RPG kind, Future Plans, and UFOP Ships), In Character Interactions (StarBase 118 Lounge, Ship Logs, and Character Logs), as well as some general chatting areas (Politics - of the real world kind, and "Another Universe" - for topics on Star Wars, Middle Earth, etc.). If you haven't been to the boards lately, you're definitely missing out!

You can find the boards at: http://www.starbase118.net/forums.


Fantasy Branch

There's a great deal of variety amongst the ships of UFOP, but the FSS Charybdis is quite different from the rest of them. It stands apart from all the others. How so you ask?


It's made out of wood.

UFOP has had an extended alliance with "Faerin" a fantasy SIM organization. It takes place on a nearly desolate world, with unpredicatable magic and strange creatures. If you enjoy Fantasy as well as StarTrek, sail over to their website at http://www.faerin.com/.


Comments?

Please write and tell us what you like or don't like about the The Reporter. We would also appreciate suggestions regarding what you would like to see in this newsletter -- you can submit ideas on the message board, in the "UFOP Reporter" forum.

Please note that submissions are welcome from all UFOP members of any rank.


Contacts

UFOP Executive Council: ufop-ec@yahoogroups.com

  • Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf: t.wolf@starbase118.net

UFOP Reporter: ufop-reporter@starbase118.net

As always, remember: the UFOP website can be found at: http://www.starbase118.net/.