July 2002

- Opening
- June Stats and Awards
- The Real Dick and Big
- Writing Tip of the Month
- Interview: Lt. Cmdr. Hagan
- News Briefs
- Closing


The fleet had an excellent month in June. By many measures, it’s our best month ever! To learn about how strong IndFleet is right now and about currently planned growth, read on!


IDF saw 755 posts during June, our second best monthly total ever (January 2002, 758). We also had four ships break the 100 post barrier (USS Excalibur, USS Washington, USS Patriot, and USS George W. Bush). There has never been a month with more than two ships over the 100 post mark in the past, so this is quite an accomplishment. Not only was there a lot of posting going on, but the storylines were all top notch as well. All in all, it was an excellent month, perhaps the best month IDF has seen to date. This made choosing the awards very difficult. However, we were able to sort out a few winners...

- Best Post:

Ens. Zingela, ASO, USS Washington, Post #1355. Although Ens. Zingela was new to the Washington and to simming, that didn't stop him from using his superior writing abilities. His post #1355 defines good posting. He is concise, uses a lot of characters, and moves the plot along very well. A great post and something everyone should look at.

- Funniest Post:

Lt. Reggie "Big" Johnson, CE, USS Washington, Post #1302. Lt. Johnson wins his 5th IDF Funniest Post award and his 6th award overall, making him the most decorated person in IDF history. Post #1302 was another example of Johnson's timely comic relief from missions. He always puts a smile on the faces of his readers.

- Most Posts:

Lt. Ingoldo, CSO, USS Excalibur, 28 posts. Lt. Ingoldo is quickly becoming one of the more valuable members of the fleet. After already winning IDF's Most Posts and MVP awards, Ingoldo takes home his second Most Posts award. In fact, 28 ties the previous IDF record of 28. Ingoldo was the most prolific poster for June.

- MVP:

Lt. Cmdr. Julie Absecon, CMO, USS George W. Bush. Julie Absecon continued her excellent simming from last month when she won the Most Improved award. She posted 19 times during the month and really assumed a leadership position on the ship, helping newer members. Her posting was top notch and she was a real asset to her ship, a true MVP.

- Rookie of the Month:

Lt. McGregor Blaine, CEO, USS Excalibur. As a rookie, Lt. Blaine was able to pump out 20 posts. His posts were well written and actually helped other crew members improve their writing style. Blaine is a great addition to the already strong crew of the Excalibur. He should be force for a long time on his ship. Look out for this new simmer.

- Most Improved:

Lt. Paula Fredricks, CMO, USS Excalibur. After posting only minimally last month, Dr. Fredricks posted a whopping 28 times! This is good enough to tie the previous IDF record. If it weren't for fellow crewmember, Ingoldo, Fredricks would have been looking at a Most Posts award as well. Fredricks has established herself as a premier simmer on her ship.

- Recruitment:

Cmdr. Alayne Tolbin, XO, USS Excalibur. Cmdr. Tolbyn continued her excellent work as the Excalibur's XO last month. She was able to recruit two new people to her ship. After already winning the MVP award for March, she's quickly inking herself in as one of the fleet's best all around players. She can do it all from excellent posting to teaching to recruiting.

Two interesting facts:

The USS Excalibur becomes only the second ship to win 4 IDF awards in one month (USS Washington, March 2002).

The USS Washington becomes only the second ship to win both Best Post and Funniest Post in the same month (USS George W.Bush, December 2001).


Who are the two funniest people in IDF? Without a doubt, it would have to be Lt. Cmdr. Reggie "Big" Johnson of the USS Washington and Lt. Cmdr. Dick Phelps of the USS George W. Bush. Between the two of them, they've taken home nine, yes nine, of the twelve Funniest Post awards from IDF. Big Johnson has won five (July 2001, August 2001, November 2001, March 2002, and June 2002) and Dick Phelps has won four (October 2001, December 2001, January 2002, and May 2002).

Their comic relief from missions and humorous character development posts have been enjoyed by their fellow shipmates since IDF's launch. Both Johnson and Phelps are charter members of IDF. The duo started out as Lieutenants on their respected ships on July 4th, 2001. Johnson has been on the Washington, under VAdm. Robert Seldon, ever since. Phelps started out on the USS Avalon under then VAdm. Charles Star. Phelps transferred to the USS George W. Bush when Star launched the new ship in Decemver 2001. Johnson and Phelps were both recently promoted to Lieutenant Commander on July 4th, 2002. They held their ranks of Lieutenant for exactly one year. Though neither is known for being very prolific, their posts are timely and always good. Let's take a look as their award winning funny posts:

From Big Johnson:

July 2001:

August 2001:

November 2001:

March 2002:

June 2002:

From Dick Phelps:

October 2001:

December 2001:

Jaunuary 2002:

May 2002:

These 9 are only a glimpse of the many funny and well written posts by both Big Johnson and Dick Phelps. Go back through the archives of the Washington, George W. Bush, and Avalon to look at some of their other work. While serious missions and dramatic posts are encouraged, there will will always be a place for the type of humor that Big and Dick bring to the table.


I know what you’re thinking: what, am I a dork or something? My spelling is fine! Mostly, that’s true, but it’s also the easiest thing to miss even if you are a dedicated post re-reader like myself. Remember, even if you have a spell checker on your computer, some funny things can slip through. Here’s a sample sentence.

* * *

Won day, when I was walking threw the forest, I saw sum strange whether. Without warning, it started to reign. Wouldn’t you no it? I was whet when I arrived!

* * *

Unfortunately, the spell checkers aren’t wired to our brains and it usually doesn’t know what we’re trying to say. The best thing to do, the thing that catches the most errors is simply re-reading your post. Honestly you’d be surprised at how effective it can be.

Another thing I wanted to address is this: what if you don’t have a spellchecker? I know, it sounds odd, but it’s not unheard of to have a spellchecker that isn’t associated with a dictionary or is nonfunctional for a milieu of other reasons. But don’t worry! There is something you can do! Read it backwards! “What?” you’re thinking, “Isn’t my life difficult enough?” Let me explain.

Your brain is wired to look for patterns and continuity, especially if it’s something you’ve written yourself. When you are reading something you’ve written, your brain is already familiar with it and tends to skip over things like spelling errors. When we read something we’ve written, it’s kind of like your brain is saying “yeah yeah, I know how this is supposed to go” and it gets lazy about looking at details.

What is the point of writing all this? Simply put, if you don’t have access to a spellchecker, read it backwards. It breaks up all that continuity you worked so hard to attain and forces your brain to re-evaluate each word as if it were reading it for the first time. You’d be surprised at how many spelling errors you’ll catch.

Tune in next month when we talk about... something else!


* * *

Russ plays Capt. James “Rook” Mirtoh, the USS Washington’s executive officer. His writing tip column appears monthly in that vessel’s newsletter, the Washingtonian. This article is re-printed with permission.


Interviewer: Today we're joined by Sorcha Hagan, second officer on the USS Goliad. Thanks for taking the time for speaking with us today, Lt. Cmdr. Hagan!

Hagan: Your welcome. Hi all y’all!

Interviewer: Can you tell us a little about your experience, so far, with the fleet?

Hagan: Well it all started with my friend Joey. He was in this fleet for awhile. He introduce me to the fleet and I sign on as assistant security officer on the Washington. I started as a ensign and in no time I became a lt. My brother who is the captain of the Goliad and he let join. I became second officer and I’ve enjoyed every minute of being in the fleet.

Interviewer: How has that worked out, SIMing with your brother and, in fact, having him be your CO?

Hagan: Pretty good actually. We work together and discuss what needs to be done on the ship.

Interviewer: Have there ever been any disagreements?

Hagan: Yes. A lot of times we disagree about things, we both have different viewpoints on things so we always disagree.

Interviewer: How do you resolve these disagreements? Is it whoever posts first?

Hagan: No we just talk about it and figure it out.

Interviewer: What has been your most memorable -- or one of them, anyway -- moments so far in the fleet?

Hagan: Well the one mission on the Washington where we in a alternate universe and Wiggy was a flesh eating dog.

Interviewer: Why don't you tell us a little about Wiggy, the Goliad's mascot?

Hagan: Wiggy is based off my real life dog Oswego. He’s a stray dog I picked up from the streets and he’s half lab and half collie and is now seven years old. He’s an ensign and is a mascot and everyone on board loves him.

Interviewer: Well, I believe that the Goliad is the only ship with a mascot and I'm sure that creates a lot of situations for mischief! Where do you see the Goliad and the fleet going in the coming 2-3 months?

Hagan: I hope we do more first contact missions. But frankly with our crew I never know what our mission is going to be because the crew always comes up with something inventive with the mission.

Interviewer: How do you think the fleet can best grow and be strengthened?

Hagan: If the crews of the ships stay together and work as a team the fleet would be strengthened. Plus if there is more recruitment the fleet would grow. More people joining the simm would help strengthen and make the simm grow.

Interviewer: So, you feel that IndFleet is currently going in the right direction and only needs to keep doing what we're already doing to excel even more?

Hagan: Yes.

Interviewer: Alright, it appears that the time allotted for our interview has expired. Again, let me thank you for joining us to share your thoughts on the fleet!

Hagan: Well I’m glad to have done the interview it was fun and I hope everyone enjoys it.


The USS Washington and USS Horatio Nelson (both DRF ships) are currently engaged in an exciting joint mission, the fleet’s first in some time. The mission started today in a post written jointly by the Washington’s CO, VAdm Seldon, and the Nelson’s captain, James Britanicus. The Washington’s Lt. Cmdr. Meriod provided ideas for the new mission as well.

The Defense Response Force plans to launch a new ship within the next month. Adm Star reports that Deep Space Exploration currently has plans for two new ships, with a CO already confirmed for one of them. Look for more news on this as it is released. Anyone interested in a command is invited to use the Fleet’s “Apply for Command Form” on the fleet website to communicate their interest to the admiralty.


Thanks to all of our members who put in so much energy each day of the month to make this fleet what it is: one of the premier Star Trek PBeM Organizations on the globe. Congratulations to everyone who has been recognized and also to all our unsung heros! All of your contributions are what make this fleet great and I’m proud to be a part of it with you all!

VAdm Robert Seldon
CO: USS Washington, NCC-11988
Dir: Defense Response Force
Chief of Fleet Operations