November 2002

INDEPENDENCE FLEET NEWSLETTER

NOVEMBER 2002

Table of Contents...

- News and Happenings
- Seldon’s Retirement Letter
- October Award Winners
- The Genesis Award
- Mission Features
- Special Guest: Capt. Jasson Asuka
- Capt. Mirtoh’s Writing Tip
- Fantasy Football Standings
- Closing

NEWS AND HAPPENINGS

- VAdm. Robert Seldon, one of the three founders of the fleet, officially retired from simming on November 4th. Captain Dick Sprague replaces Seldon as CO of the W. Seldon’s resignation letter to the USS Washington is included below.

- I failed to mention this in the last newsletter... Zachari Vrona, CO of Starbase 10, was promoted to Captain on October 1st. The starbase is a thriving and fun place to sim thanks the work of Vrona and his staff.

- I also failed to mention this in the last newsletter... Jasson Asuka, XO of the USS George W. Bush, was promoted to Captain and became Fleet Captain for the DSE on October 1st. Capt. James “Rook” Mirtoh’s role is reduced to Fleet Captain of the DRF.

- Comm. Steve McCloud takes over as Director of Deep Space Exploration. Adm. Charles Star stepped down from that role following Seldon’s retirement. Star is remaining as Commander-in-Chief for the Fleet.

- The USS Patriot has transferred to the Defense Response Force. Comm. Felicity Dragonetti takes over as Director of the Defense Response Force following Seldon’s retirement.

- Independence Fleet saw its 10,000th post earlier this month! It is unknown which post exactly it was, but more information about this will be included in the next newsletter!

- After another recount, Captain Vrona realized that he made an error in Starbase 10's September post count. Mira Rodale, the starbase’s most prolific poster, should have been credited with 35 posts during the month. The new total ties her with Lt. Cmdr. Ingoldo, of the USS Excalibur, for the most in the fleet during September. This is the first ever tie for an IDF award. And yes, Captain Vrona _is_ from Florida.

SELDON’S RETIREMENT LETTER

Fellow Crew,

I’ve gone through several drafts of this message. None so far has seemed fitting for the occasion so I will simply be quite direct and to the point with this version, hoping that it will accomplish the task. However, I’m nearly sure this is not the best way to proceed – forgive me for it.

Suffice it to say that my real-life circumstances have changed over the past few months. Far more importantly, though, so have my priorities in several areas altered. These changes have been accompanied with the evolution of the Washington and her crew, of Independence Fleet, and of our SIMing community. As a result of these changes, it is my decision to resign from the Washington and retire from active SIMing.

This probably seems quite sudden to you. In earlier drafts of this message, I tried to cushion the announcement with historic terms but everything simply got bogged down in vain attempts at profundity. I do apologize for springing this on you so quickly, if it seems so. I assure you that my decision has not been a hasty or a fickle one, as it may seem from this message. I am convinced that, given the convergence of events, this is the right decision at this time.

My passion for SIMing has gone away and it would be unfair of me to just go through the motions for the comfort of remaining in the thick of things. If I have been a good SIMer, a good Captain, or a good Admiral it is only because I have wanted very badly to be so. And that desire is gone now. The good thing to do now is to recognize the changes and react appropriately to them. I’ve many, many other interests that I’d now like to pursue with the additional time and resources that I’ll have available and such has played an even greater role in my decision.

My final day of service on the Washington will be Monday, November 4th. At that time, Capt. Dick Sprague, who is played by Alan, the same very talented fellow who is the driving force behind all of Independence Fleet as Adm. Charles Star, will assume command of the ship. Alan, as Star, commanded the Washington for a period this summer while I was on vacation and now, as then, I would like to impress upon you my utmost confidence in his abilities and talents. I am completely satisfied with being succeeded in command of this ship by him.

In the time before my retirement becomes effective, I will get my SIMing affairs in order, insofar as such things are important. Please bring to my attention any matters that need my tending in these final days of my service here. Of course, if you would like to contact me in any capacity at all on any matter whatsoever I invite you to do so, either through the mailing list or privately, as you feel appropriate.

Again, I apologize for the manner in which I’ve presented this to you and wish that I could have more time to end things on the Washington fittingly but that is not to be the case. I want to thank all of you for being a part of this ship, of which I am incredibly proud, and I fervently hope that this will not negatively impact your SIMing or perception of it, or of anything connected with it. Of course, I will continue to be reachable by e-mail and will still be on AIM quite a lot. I look forward to continued interactions with many of you outside of the SIMing environment.

Thank you all for your contributions to the Washington. You have my greatest thanks and assurances that my service on the Washington has changed me in many good ways. For that I am even more appreciative even beyond the pure enjoyment that this has been to me.

... Jacob

OCTOBER AWARD WINNERS

Best Story Post: Lt. Cmdr. Reggie “Big” Johnson, CE, USS Washington, Post #1872

Best Character Post: Lt. Scott McCoy, MS, USS Excalibur, Post #1175

Funniest Post: Capt. James “Rook” Mirtoh, XO, USS Washington, Post #1906

Most Posts: Lt. Dusty Redroi, COO, USS Excalibur, 59 posts

MVP: Lt. McGregor Blaine, CEO, USS Excalibur

Rookie of the Month: 1st Lt. Savai N'gellin, MCO, Starbase 10

Most Improved: Lt. J.G. Chameleon Circuit, AE, USS Washington

Recruitment: Lt. McGregor Blaine, CEO, USS Excalibur

More information about both the September and October Award winners _will_ be included in the December issue of the Independence Fleet Newsletter. For a complete record IDF awards and statistics, go to this webpage:

http://www.angelfire.com/trek/independencefleet/awards/awards.html

THE GENESIS AWARD

For the month of October, only four posts were nominated. I suppose that's an increase of approximately 33%, so I won't complain. Despite the lateness of the voting, the actual process took less than a day. Luckily, I've hit a roadblock in my NaNoWriMo novel, so I had more then enough time on my paws to sit in front of the computer all day, responding as quickly as possible to my E-mail!

Anyway, I would like to thank 1st Lt. Savai N'gellin of Starbase 10 and Lt. Kateri Cougar Walking of the USS Excalibur for their invaluable help. Without you, there would be no Genesis Award this month. Also, I want to thank Lieutenant Daryn Jameson-Markanjel of the USS Pioneer, and he'll know what I'm talking about. :)

The second month proved to be harder to vote for than the first, but luckily Savai and Kateri did most of the work for me. The winner of the 2nd Genesis Award is the Horatio Nelson's Post #332 (it's misnumbered on the post), written by Ens. J'Dem. He has had plenty of experience as a simmer, and uses it to his advantage in a post that, although it is borrowed heavily from the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Work Force", it puts a very different spin on it. With so much mind control happening in the fleet, I'm surprised that cadets still want to join us! The post, by the way, can be found at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/horationelson/message/629

As for a runner up, the post that got the almost-as-coveted spot was the Excalibur's #986, written by Commodore Steven McCloud. A humourous first contact situation with a race of hairless people called the Shavers, and living on the planet BurmaShave? Sounds like something that could have happened in the Original Series! And thus, this post is given runner-up status for its excellence. The post can be found at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uss-excalibur/message/1243

This is not to say that the rest of you didn't do a good job. You did, and I look forward to giving the award to one of you someday. You keep posting, and we'll keep reading them over!

All for now, see you all next month.

Lt. Zingela
Asst. Science Officer
USS Washington NCC-11988

MISSION FEATURES

USS Excalibur, Submitted by Comm. Steve McCloud:

About 100 years ago, Commodore Matt Decker and Captain James T. Kirk battled the ultimate Doomsday Machine. A machine capable of destroying entire solar systems. When the battle was over, Matt Decker and his entire crew were lost along with his ship, the USS Constellation. Captain Kirk was able to stop the machine by rigging the badly damaged Constellation to explode as he piloted the ship into the machine. With the machine stopped and powerless, the Star Fleet Corp of Engineers studied it for twenty years. What they found inside was beyond any technology any scientist or engineer in Star Fleet could figure out. So after twenty years of study they had it towed to Star Fleet Impound Yard # 121. Now 80 years later someone has stolen it from the Impound Yard and with the chance that who ever took it could restart it, Commodore Steven McCloud and the crew of the USS Excalibur is sent to find it. Will history repeat itself? Read the Excalibur's posts and find out.

USS George W. Bush, submitted by Adm. Charles Star:

The crew of the George W. Bush is being given a ceremony on Earth for their recent acts of heroism in space when it all begins... As Admiral Star shakes Federation President Horatio Goodspeed’s hand and accepts an award, a phaser blast kills the President! One of the conspirators, Johnson, is captured and falsely accuses Star of being in on the conspiracy. The other conspirators get away, with Assistant Engineer Mercutio Roulette, whom they believe is Johnson (Johnson and the other conspirators never actually met before the assassination). It’s up to the crew of the GWB to get to the bottom of it before the conspirators strike again!

USS Goliad, submitted by Capt. Victor Davidson:

The Goliad is on an expedition to the Remora Nebula and our Stellar Cartography section has been using up a lot of power. Our Chief Engineer got injured doing all the power transfers needed for SC and reported to sickbay to get it fixed. Meanwhile, Lt Cmdr (p) O'Leary has gone to inform our fighter squadron that there will be no flights outside while the nebula is being mapped. And then everything goes dark. Evidence of sabotage has been found, but who and why and what else can go wrong? Looking forward to seeing the answers to these question in the next few weeks.

USS Horatio Nelson, submitted by Capt. James Britanicus:

The Horatio Nelson is currently at Starbase 9, ordered to transport a War Criminal to sector 001 for trial. During transport between Star Base 9 and the HN, he disappeared and was replaced by a naked, and bound, Wark (the Bartender from SB 9). We are currently attempting to relocate and resure ther Prisoner.

USS Washington, submitted by Capt. Dick Sprague:

Contact with a mining colony on the naturally uninhabited class-M planet, Tyamba III, has recently been lost. The Washington has been ordered to proceed to the planet, assess the situation, and take necessary action. Theft from the colony, its close proximity to unethical space traders, and rumors of fraud in Tyamba’s leadership make the situation even more unpredictable. Just before contact with Tyamba III was lost, the commander of mining operations reported that he and he crew were experiencing strange hallucinations. There’s no telling what the W will find when she arrives.

SPECIAL GUEST: CAPT. JASSON ASUKA

Jasson Asuka has simmed with the USS George W. Bush since January. He stared out as an Ensign in the engineering department. He has since risen to become not only the GWB’s XO, but also Fleet Captain for the DSE. During that time, Mr. Asuka has won three fleet awards. His service record ranks up there with the best the fleet has to offer. Below is a little about Asuka’s favorite Star Trek episode and following that is some information about Asuka himself...

***

My Favorite Episode of Trek...

I guess I'll just have to choose the one that really is arguably the best "The Best of Both Worlds."

So What's it About?

I think most everyone knows but the Borg make a concentrated attack with one cube and the Enterprise is somehow involved (been awhile since I’ve seen it) they destroy all Star Fleet can muster on a moments notice at Wolf 359 (I hope that’s right) and the whole fleet is destroyed...the Enterprise pursues the Borg after they had been forced to withdraw previous to Wolf 359 and some how the Borg manage to capture Picard and assimilate him, really making most of the Enterprises defense/offense capabilities fully known to the Borg. But with the intuitiveness of Commander Shelby (what a bitch) and Commander Riker they manage to destroy the Borg cube and reclaim Picard... I think they made the Borg go to sleep I think... sorry its been awhile.

So Why's it so Good?

I just liked it, I liked the rivalry between Riker and Shelby when they keep on Riker about his own command (I’ve had some similar discussions) and then how Picard is Borg is nifty as well...I don’t know I like to see the Federation with its back against the wall and then prevailing...maybe I would like some of the DS9 if I’ve ever seen more than one episode.

***

Our interviewer is currently on strike. Due to union laws, we cannot legally conduct an interview for this newsletter. Instead, we had to settle for the next best thing...

- Real name?

Joshua Lee

- Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Northwest Arkansas for the majority of my life, but I've also lived in Loveland, CO and Branson, MO (My current location).

- What do you do (work/school, etc)?

I am currently a high school senior and work at Schlotzsky's Deli as the night supervisor... I also spend time SIMing and on the Academic Team.

- How'd you get involved with IDF?

Does anyone know that nasty Klingon of a Captain, the one on the Minerva? Well he got me mixed up in all this.

- Where did you get your character name from?

I decided to have a half Japanese character and that's why I chose Asuka, but the intentional spelling of Jasson with an extra s is just to personalize it.

- How similar/dissimilar are you to your character?

Well in the over all character qualities I think I share a lot with Jasson Asuka. I'm not half Japanese. I’m actually 1/4 Irish 1/4 Danish and the rest German or English not sure... so pretty much I'm white. And the bad habits of Asuka are pretty similar to my own, except he seems to get involved with it a bit more.

- Which Star Trek characters do you most like? And did you model any of your SIM persona's traits on any canon characters?

I have spent the most time watching TNG and on there my fav character would have to be Riker or Picard... kinda of a hard call... but I didn't base Asuka on either.

- What has been your favorite mission during your SIMing career?

I don't know for sure... I liked the one where crew of the Bush went back to the old American West, that was fun.

- What types of missions do you enjoy and would you like to see more/less of in the future?

I like exploration missions where the whole crew has an opportunity to decide what exactly happens... only problem there is people taking the initiative... but I like things where the imagination has room to flow without really having to suspend one's disbelief.

- What other sorts of hobbies/activities do you enjoy?

I read, play on the Academic Team, some video games (don’t have a lot of time), most of my time is spent working or at school.

- What do you want to be doing 10 years from now?

Hopefully teaching Western Civ at some university... that's what I want to do... who knows I may end up a garbage man.

- Who's going to win the Super Bowl this year?

The Bears? Hell if I know.

CAPT. MIRTOH’S WRITING TIP

Hi Folks!

Once again it’s time for the Writing Tip of the Month! This month, we’ll take a look at using NPCs in your posts.

I don’t have to tell you that the Washington sees several NPC (non-playing characters) from time to time during missions. NPCs generally run the gamut of types and races, occupation and world-views, and include some notable characters such as Vincetti Robosi, BOB, Gul Cuxana, Rhollandra (I am sure some of you remember her fondly), etc. In fact, the only thing these characters have in common is that they aren’t ‘owned’ by anyone.

Sometimes players are reluctant to use NPCs extensively because they fear that whoever ‘introduced’ the NPC will become agitated that their ‘pseudo character’ was changed. Generally, however, NPCs are in the plotline merely as a vehicle to adding information into the story or to help develop their own characters. Essentially, NPCs are the ‘property’ of all. Let me give you an example:

Let’s take at Petty Officer Shiela Pendragon. I (or Sunfeather) invented her (I can’t remember which), but each of us, as well as Doctor Gage from time to time use her to help develop Rook’’s character. Neither of us have all rights to her as an NPC, and she can be used by whomever is inclined for any number of instances.

When using an NPC, however, there are some things to be aware of:

1) NPCs, while not anyone’s ‘property’ should be consistent. Bringing NPCs into a story line is usually done for a specific purpose, which should not deviate in any significant way unless there is a good reason. Gul Cuxana is a good example. The Cardassian captain of the Ancyra was invented as an unknown factor in our mission. The possibilities with him as an NPC have only been loosely established, but once they solidify, should probably not deviate too much. Having an NPC deviate wildly can lead to a never ending plot line that takes so many twists and turns that it becomes nearly impossible to end it.

2) Get into the NPC: Since you already do it with your own character, getting in to the head of an NPC shouldn’t be too difficult. What are their motivations, desires and goals? Is the action you are describing consistent with what’s already been established for the character or is there a good reason for it not being consistent? Example: Vincetti Robosi is suddenly discovered to be working for the Cardassians. This isn’t really in line with what we know about Vincetti –– he’s self centered, greedy, extremely intelligent, a megalomaniac, etc. However, if it can be shown that Vincetti is only working for the Cardassians as a means to an end that IS in line with what we know about his character, then it’s ok.

3) NPCs, while not the ‘property’ of anyone, are used by certain characters more than others. A perfect example of this kind of NPC is BOB. Bob was originally introduced by Commander Logan as the errant AI from Dicont PiColor. While everyone can use BOB, there are certain little quirks that Commander Logan would like to preserve about BOB –– namely, his need to speak in an ominous voice that is represented by ALL CAPS. (Right: “HELLO, HANK, WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FUDGE?”; Wrong: “Hank, getting your finger caught in the replicator is not behavior fitting a Commander on a Starship.”)

4) Don’t use an NPC if the same thing can be accomplished by a PC. This is an important tip because it gives other crew members openings into the current storyline, and a chance to further develop their character. As an example, I shouldn’t have Shiela Pendragon manning the tactical station because Meriod and Mitchell are on ‘break’ or something. Writing Meriod or Mitchell in as working at tactical will give them an opening to further the storyline. In essence, it takes away writing opportunity from others. Writing Gul Cuxana into the storyline was necessary, as no crew member could do it.

I hope this writing tip has helped you understand a few things about NPCs. Obviously, I could have gone on for quite some time with more details, but this information should suffice for now. Perhaps next month we’ll continue along the same vein.

Thanks for tuning in,
Russ

Aka Captain James “Rook” Mirtoh
Executive Officer
USS Washington NCC-11988

This article first appeared in the September issue of the “Washingtonian.”

FANTASY FOOTBALL STANDINGS

Through 10 weeks of NFL action...

1. Fruitland Firecrackers – 89,214
2. Bleeding CarolinaBlue – 82,995
3. Houston Heroes – 79,963
4. Summerfield Satists – 76,692
5. Bath Tubs – 76,331
6. North Carolina Wolverines – 72,897
7. Salisbury Imperials – 69,812
8. Lucky Stars – 69,031
9. Hagerstown Howitzers – 61,466
10. williamston bulldogs – 51,513
11. Harrisonburg Plungers – 50,106
12. Cheektowaga Flamingoes – 47,917
13. Danzig hohenzoellers – 43,024
14. Baltimore Patriots – 19,087
15. K.L Troopers – 18,327

CLOSING

We’ve been through quite a few changes this month, but the beat goes on. I look forward to simming with you guys for a long time to come. It’s a lot of fun and I’m not ready to call it quits quite yet.

Admiral Charles Star
Commander in Chief, Independence Fleet
Commanding Officer, USS George W. Bush


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