September 2002



Before we get to the fleet news and such, I’d just like to take some time to remember what happened a little over a year ago. I remember I was heading over to our daily chapel service at Roanoke Bible College when someone told me of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I didn’t believe him – there was no way it could be true. I was wrong, it was real – very real.

It’s a year later now and our business is yet unfinished. My prayers still go out to the family and friends of the victims. I wish our military forces the best of luck in removing the evil men from power. I hope to be joining that fight sometime within the next couple of years. All of us won’t be actively fighting the terrorists and those who aid them, but we all can support our nation and its leadership in ridding the world of certain evil men.

While justice needs be served to maintain the order of things, we must still be compassionate and understanding of those who hold different views. We don’t have to agree with their beliefs, but we do have to respect and _uphold_ their right to have those beliefs. It’s for this reason that I’ve always been proud to be an American. Don’t be the first person to stand up for your own rights, be the first person to stand up for your neighbor’s rights.


Incase you don’t know yet, this is not your regular newsletter editor. VAdm. Seldon’s schedule is very busy right now and he doesn’t have as much time as he used to. In light of that, I’ve taken over the duties of the newsletter indefinitely. I’d like to thank Jacob (Seldon’s real name) for all the hard work he’s put into the newsletter over the past year. The fleet email newsletter was actually his idea. We were discussing ways to improve the fleet last August in a Burger King when he mentioned the concept to me. I thought it was a great idea and we passed the thought along to then Adm. West. He agreed and gave us the go ahead. Jacob then sent out the first newsletter on September 2, 2001. Before tonight, we’ve sent out 13 different issues; Jacob was the editor for 11 of them. As far as we know, Independence Fleet is the first Star Trek role play by email fleet to publish a regular newsletter by email. Thanks for your ingenuity and all the hard work, Jacob. I know I’ve appreciated it and I’m sure many others have as well.

Alan (aka Adm. Star)


- News Briefs
- Two New Commodores
- July Awards Addendum
- August Award Winners
- Capt. Mirtoh’s Writing Tip
- Mission Features
- Special Guest: Lt. J.G. Zingela
- Book of the Month
- Movie of the Month
- Closing


- Captain Steve “Mac” McCloud, CO of the USS Excalibur was promoted to Commodore on September 1st and Captain Felicity “Slash” Dragonetti, CO of the USS Patriot, was promoted to Commodore on the 7th. McCloud and Dragonetti are only the 2nd and 3rd persons in the fleet, respectively, to hold the rank of Commodore. Congrats to both of them!

- The Defense Response Force launched its newest ship, the USS Legend NCC-65535, on September 4th. She is commanded by Captain Damien Hawkins, formerly of the USS Liberty. The Legend is off to a great start!

- Both the USS Liberty and the USS Excalibur have surpassed the fleet’s ship single-month posting record. The previous record of 201 posts (USS Washington, July 2002) was broken with 234 posts from the Excalibur and 237 from the USS Liberty. Excellent storylines from both ships propelled them to their record posting.

- The USS George W. Bush and the USS Liberty are set to begin a joint mission tomorrow. This will be the first ever joint mission for both ships (although the old Liberty participated in two joint missions during her 8 month run in IDF). The mission is rumored to begin at a 24th century Elvis convention.

- Lt. Cmdr. K'lara McNamara and Cmdr. Samuel Randall are expecting a baby – yes in real life. As far as we know, they haven’t decided upon a name yet. Congratulations!

- The pinball machine at my old college is now broken. Yes, this is the one that I have the record on. It’s a sad day.


In commemoration of their promotions, I asked both McCloud and Dragonetti to write a little bit for us...

Hi, I'm Commodore Steven McCloud of the Excalibur. Admiral Star has asked me to write a bit about how I got involved with simming and what it's meant to me since I started. Well here goes. I was at work, and a friend of mine there, who knew I liked Star Trek ( we talked about it all the time), told me about talking to this guy on-line who was looking for people to join a group he was putting together to write about Star Trek. She knew of my desire to write a novel someday and said it would be fun. We would both be joining the same ship, she as Chief Science Officer, why didn't I go for Chief Engineer?

Well that guy was Capt. Thomas Dupont and the ship was the USS Patriot. We joined, and really got into the role. Then as I got more accustomed to playing, my friend and I decided to ask about starting our own ship. I talked to Captain Dupont and Admiral Star and before I knew it, I was Captain of the Excalibur. After putting together a crew of mostly older Trekkers, and setting a few records along the way, simming has become a daily part of my life. I awake everyday, check and read the posts of my crew, go to work and think of how the story will continue. After work, I read more posts and add one of my own. I find that being a part of this group has significantly added to my writing ability, helped me become more expressive in the way I speak and write, helped me become more assertive in real life, and brought me closer to realizing my dream of writing a Star Trek novel someday. One of my crew said that it has helped him through some rough spots in his life that he is currently facing. It makes those things easier to deal with, a release if you will.

Above all else, I have had a good time and met people from all over our country and a few from other countries. And I hope, I have made a few new friends along the way. Thank you all for the privilege of playing with such a fine group of people.

Commodore Steven McCloud


Well, first of all I must say that I am truly honored to be given this promotion and like Mac has said so many times, and it is so very true, I couldn't do it without my crew. So I owe this to each and every one of my crew.

And now to my story:

It all started on a dark night (It seriously was). I was sitting on my computer (like I usually am) when a good friend of mine from school instant messaged me. (Keep in mind this was about 2.5 years ago). This friend, Greg aka Captain Krol of the USS Minerva. He asked me if I wanted to join a Star Trek RPG by E-Mail. I said um sure that sounds really cool, but one problem... I have never ever ever ever EVER in my life seen an episode of Star Trek. He responded with oh well, you will learn. And so started my adventure. I joined, the old Sunfire, commanded by James West. Star was XO, and Seldon 2nd officer. My character was Ens. Be'Karlsa, Weapons Specialist. I watched them post for awhile, trying to catch onto the whole Trekkiness of it all, but it was all over my head. I didn’t understand a thing anyone was talking about. I must admit I was probably the worst crew member on there. I never posted. Never did anything, you know the kind of person Captains get mad at for not posting... Well, I was that person. One day, I got up enough courage and tried

Obviously it did some good, cause I got a response to my post, so I started to think, hey this isn't so bad. I posted a little more and got my courage up and whatdaya know. Soon I was Lt. JG. Well, it was about this time when the announcement came out that we were dividing and forming a new fleet. Independence Fleet. I was just starting to get comfy with all the characters and understand a little bit of what was going on when, I found out I would go to the Washington with Seldon.

Well after Seldon getting onto me a little bit for not posting, I finally started posting when I found out Greg was getting his own ship called the Potomac. And I was to be XO on it. I thought, "Great just when I get to know everyone again, I get moved around again" so I became XO of the Potomac, and stayed on there for awhile. We blew up the Potomac and created the Minerva. I still remain on there as XO.

Well, I have a lot of free time. So, I was like hmmmm, let's make some new characters. I did just that, I created Cmdr. Harley Greer onboard the GWB and Felicity Dragonetti on board the Defiance. I soon found out though, that the Patriot needed a Captain, and I thought that I might possibly be able to handle it so I applied for it and got it. My latest character is Jess Grevor onboard the USS Legend.

I love SIMming. It is just too much fun. I look forward to it constantly, and I hope my story helps to inspire those that are having a hard time with it, because believe you me, I know how you feel, I have been there before, but once you get started, its like Pringles, you just can't stop...

So, yes, my secret has finally came out. And to this day it remains true, I have never ever EVER EVER EVER seen an episode of Star Trek, read a Star Trek book, or had anything to do with Star Trek. I owe everything I know to the SIM and to Greg.

Thank you to everyone who has helped answer my questions about Trek, Admiral Star, Admiral Seldon, Captain Krol (Good friend Greg), Commander Asuka (Good friend Josh) and anyone else I might have asked for some help with. And most importantly thanks to my crew.

~ Commodore Felicity Dragonetti, Commander Be'Karlsa, Commander Harley Greer, and Lt. Cmdr. Jess Grevor.


Two awards for July were accidently left out of the August newsletter...

Best Post: Ens. Jennie Lyman, CMO of the USS Patriot, for Post #621. Jennie Lyman was new to simming in July, but that didn’t stop her from having a huge impact on the Patriot. She immediately put her writing ability to use and wrote several excellent posts. Post #621 is just one example of her great work. In the post, the medical department of the Patriot makes a startling discovery. The dialogue is well written and the new information is surprising. A model post.

Funniest Post: Lt. Cmdr. Harley Greer, HP of the USS George W. Bush, for Post #530. Harley Greer has been a mainstay on the GWB almost since the ship’s launch. Her leadership has been invaluable and she has been nominated for numerous awards. Post #530 finally won her one. In the post, an outlaw attempts to hang Miss Greer (the crew was previously accidently sent back in time to the old American west). The post is quite humorous.


For the month of August, the new award of “Best Character Post” was introduced. This award is given for a single post on the primary basis of character development. The “Best Post” award has been renamed “Best Story Post.” It will continue to be judged primarily on the criteria of plot advancement. All three single post awards (Best Story Post, Best Character Post, and Funniest Post) will also still be judged on entertainment, originality, and style.

Best Story Post: Lt. Entera Danae, CE of the USS Minerva, for Post #217. Captain Krol has mentioned on numerous occasions of how much Danae has improved her posting and leadership on the Minerva. This post is just one example of Danae’s excellent writing. It features good action from multiple locations and advances the story very well. An excellent read.

Best Character Post: Lt. Evan Drake and Ens. J’Dem, of the USS Horatio Nelson, for Post #287. This is the first ever joint post to win a fleet award. It is also the first post to win in the “Best Character” category. Both authors were able to weave some deep character development into the post, which incidently has spun off a new story line. All in all, some great writing and creativity.

Funniest Post: Lt. Cmdr. Reggie “Big” Johnson, CE of the USS Washington, for Post #1626. What is there to say? Big Johnson has won yet another “Funniest Post” award, bringing his total to 6! In the post, Johnson uses an entertaining movie allusion and also introduces us to the Johnson home in Mississippi for the very first time. A very, very funny post.

Most Posts: Cmdr. Damien Hawkins, 2O of the USS Liberty, for 62 posts. 62 posts, a plethora of posts! Hawkins was able to top the old fleet record by an amazing 25 posts. Through his high volume of posts and good writing, Hawkins helped propel the Liberty to a sensation first month back in the fleet, leading all ships in posting for August.

Most Valuable Player: Cmdr. Damien Hawkins, 2O of the USS Liberty. Hawkins did it all – he broke the fleet record for most posts, got new people involved with joint posts, wrote mission summaries, and even helped with the Liberty’s website. He also is a very capable writer in his own right. Hawkins has since been given a command in the DRF. He will be missed on the Liberty.

Rookie of the Month: Lt. J.G. Mira Rodale, CCO of Starbase 10. Rodale was a rookie who truly turned in an MVP-type performance during August. In her first month of action, she was able to send 25 posts. Her writing ability was evident from post #1. She uses a good mix of characters and isn’t afraid to introduce a major plot twist. A model simmer.

Most Improved: Lt. Dusty Redroi, COO of the USS Excalibur. Redroi improved during August about as much in one month as has ever been seen before. His monthly posting total increased from 14 to 41 from July to August. Not only does he post a lot, but his whit and humor can be easily observed in his writing. Redroi has earned the respect of his shipmates.

Recruitment: Cmdr. Noelani Conyers, DE of the USS Liberty. This veteran simmer put her skills to use and was able to recruit a new person to the Liberty, Mr. Eastwood. Both Conyers and Eastwood have contributed much to the Liberty with their posting. Conyers shows all that recruiting new people is a very important and rewarding part of the simming experience.


Well, let me be the first to say that the Washington is a fortunate ship with an incredible crew for me to have to submit a writing tip like this!

With the flurry of posting going on lately, we have had several incidents when two players will accidentally cross-post: that is, they both send posts to Topica without having read the other's because it hasn't hit the message board yet. Sometimes we get lucky and the posts do not conflict, but at other times, one of them has to be voided or re-written in order to accommodate the storyline. It sounds like no big deal except the one of the two people has to either have their post voided entirely, or has to spend the time to re-work it.

In any case, it's clear that cross posting should be avoided whenever possible for a myriad of reasons, so here are some simple precautions you can take to avoid it.

1. Try creating your post in a word processor of some kind. I have MS Word on mine and let me tell you it is great. It automatically points out spelling and grammar errors so that I can correct them as I am writing instead of after, when the continuity of the post confuses spelling issues. The reason this helps with cross posting is that you can leave your finished product in Word (or whatever program you are using) while you use your browser to check the Topica message board. I suspect that a lot of the cross posting occurs because one of the people is using their browser (on Topica) to create the post and incoming messages may not show up unless you refresh the screen.

2. After you've written your post in Word (or whatever), it's time to check the message board. If you rely on email to see incoming posts, you have to realize that there is definitely a lag between the time a message is posted and when it hits your inbox, again for a myriad of reasons (slow servers on your end or theirs, technical problems at Topica, etc). For these reasons and more, it's a good idea to go to the Topica website and check the actual message board for posts before sending yours.

3. Once you've determined that you didn’t miss anything, it's time to post. Once again, I urge you to post through the message board and not through email. Remember that when using email to post or receive posts, you have to take into account the lag time. To post through Topica, you click on the post button, and the copy all of your text from your word processor into the post window. It should already be spell checked and ready to go before you hit post.

By following these simple instructions, I guarantee your number of cross posts per month will decrease dramatically, as will the confusion and general chaos that comes along with it! Hope everyone enjoyed this month's writing tip! Tune in next month when we talk about another subject that I haven't even begun to think about. Have a nice week!

Aka Captain James Mirtoh

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


USS Excalibur, submitted by Commodore Steve McCloud:

The Crew of the Excalibur are enjoying shore leave on Risa, when Q pops in the set them to one of his tests. He sends the ship to a strange Nebula where they encounter a colony that was setup by the Preservers. Little does the crew know, there is an evil heading to destroy the Q Continuum. Q is really out to enlist the aid of the Excalibur and her crew to deal with an evil that even the all powerful Q, can't face alone.

USS Horatio Nelson, submitted by Captain James Britanicus:

The USS Horatio Nelson is currently on a mission to Omicron 3 to rescue the USS Catfish. The Catfish is a scientific vessel who suffered the loss of all male members of their crew while orbiting a Red Giant. The male members of their crew are locked deep in REM sleep and some are slipping into a coma. The crew of the HN are put to task to solve this dilemma in a hurry as the male crewmen on the HN are starting to succumb to the same affliction.

USS Legend, submitted by Captain Damien Hawkins:

The Legend’s first mission was to travel to Fortain V in the Jactuar System in order to stop a trade of Federation Spy Secrets to the Klingons. The discs were stolen by an anti-Federation/Klingon alliance terrorist group, who plans on using the discs to sow distrust in Klingon/Federation alliance. Admiral Seldon has had a guest appearance on the Legend, and so far the crew has put a lot of time and energy into the mission.

USS Minerva, submitted by Captain Krol:

The Minerva is currently undergoing tactical wargame simulations. Commander Be'Karlsa and a team of her choosing beamed over to the gutted Akira-class starship, U.S.S. Kriemhild, where they are effecting repairs for a 48 hour period. After that time is past, the Minerva and Kriemhild will engage in a mock battle, and the crew on the outgunned and out-manned Kriemhild will have to survive on their ingenuity alone...

USS Patriot, submitted by Commodore Dragonetti:

Currently the Patriot is on a shore leave for a couple days after getting in a mess with the Romulans and the Borg. The time is well deserved and there is even a party planned to celebrate Commodore Dragonetti's promotion.


We’re glad to have with us this month, Lieutenant J.G. Zingela, Assistant Science Officer aboard the USS Washington, played by Joseph. Zingela won the “Best Post” award for June 2002 and has been nominated for numerous other fleet awards. Zingela is well-known for his for his superior writing ability and original ideas on the W. Before the interview, we asked Joseph to tell us a little bit about his favorite episode of Star Trek...

My Favorite Episode of Trek...

Oh boy, my favourite episode? There are so many good ones that stick in my head. The Trouble With Tribbles, Far Beyond The Stars, Night, Timeless . . . even The Inner Light had some good scenes. When it comes to good shows, I love episodes which are heavily scientific, time travel related, or silly. Ones with a good message (Far Beyond The Stars, for example) are high on my ist as well. Although I'd love to list every episode and talk about them all, I'll narrow it down to one. Hard as it is, I'll choose Voyager's "Course: Oblivion".

So What's it About?

Tom Paris and B'elanna Torres have married, and Voyager has been speeding towards the Alpha Quadrant, using a new, faster engine. Everyone is looking forward to finally arriving home. However, what no one realized was that while they were using the engine, they were slowly destroying themselves and the ship. They traced the molecular de-stabilization back to a planet they had encountered months before, and then came to the startling realization that they weren't the real crew, but a duplicate made from a type of matter found on the planet. After a hard decision, they decided to try and make it back to either that planet or one with similar conditions, with the hopes that they can reverse the molecular de-stabilization. When the real Voyager found the remains of the ship and crew (now a puddle of matter in space), they entered the encounter into the log as "all hands lost".

So Why's it so Good?

I liked the episode because it was one of the few Voyager episodes that really upset me and almost made me cry. The notion that the alternate crew was unable to save themselves was hard for me to handle, emotionally. They were another crew, just trying to get back home, and in the end, their journey ended in failure. The tragedy was made even worse when it's revealed at the very end that they were a lot closer to home than the original Voyager was, and if they had lived just a moment or two longer, maybe the real Voyager would have been able to help, or at least benefit from their disaster.

The special effects in the episode were especially eerie, the ship twisted and melted from the use of the engines. Not since early in the second season has the ship looked more like a nightmare than a bright starship.

And now for the interview...

Interviewer: Good morning, Lt. Zingela, and thanks for joining us.

Zingela: It's great to be here.

Interviewer: Zingela, if you could describe your simming experience thus far in only one sentence, how would you do that?

Zingela: Well, first I'd write out a few sentences, and then I'd narrow it down to one. *Wink.* Seriously, though, I'd probably say “Friendly and fun.”

Interviewer: Cool. When did you start simming?

Zingela: I started in May 2002, if I recall correctly.

Interviewer: So your entire simming career has been on the W?

Zingela: Yes. I can't see myself anywhere else. I have done some role playing in TBL Weekly Chats, but I don't count that, nor do I count anything I've done on The Icy Boards.

Interviewer: What exactly are those?

Zingela: The TBL Weekly Chat is a Saturday gathering of fans of the 1995 animated film Balto. They last for hours. The Icy Boards is a message board for visitors to The Ice Cave, a fan site for Balto (and Pokemon, but I don't pay much attention to that part of the site).

Interviewer: I take it you like Balto?

Zingela: Yes. It is third to my liking of The Lion King and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

Interviewer: How does your interest in animation compare to Star Trek?

Zingela: I watch Star Trek for the storyline, which often goes beyond each episode. The Dominion War, for example. With animation, I watch it because the visuals are more beautiful than most things one can film. There are no limits to what you can animate. Also, most of the animation I watch has to do with animals.

Interviewer: An excellent point. Back to Star Trek and simming, how did you come to be involved with the Washington?

Zingela: I got an E-mail from Jacob, aka Admiral Seldon. A few months later, I checked my E-mail and found it. After reading it over, I requested more information, and then I decided I'd join.

Interviewer: And it has worked out for the best. I'm sure you've been through many interesting missions with Seldon and the rest of the crew, but which one was your favorite?

Zingela: I'd say it's still too soon to have an all-time favourite, but I'm quite fond of the mission we went on where we were sucked through a wormhole and ended up in the Delta Quadrant.

Interviewer: What happened there?

Zingela: We had to deal with the Kazon in order to find the wormhole again, since it was constantly changing position. We also dealt with a man named Amos, who was my favourite character from the mission. In the end, we managed to make it back through the wormhole before it collapsed.

Interviewer: Sounds exciting. You've been recognized on several occasions for your writing ability and interesting plot twists. I've read several of your posts and I must agree. Is there a secret to your success?

Zingela: Edit, edit, edit (as my mom always says on The Icy Boards). Also, practice. I've been writing for years, and I can see a steady improvement in my writing.

Interviewer: Ah. A lot of people say that they are afraid to introduce new developments to the story. What do you say to that?

Zingela: I say, so am I. You never know when you're going to mess up or not. But my philosophy is, if you don't do it, then who will? The first time you do it, sure you'll feel like you're messing things up. But after that, it gets easier. So my best advice is, make that first attempt.

Interviewer: And how has that worked out for you, introducing new plot developments and all?

Zingela: It keeps me from getting pushed into the background, that's for sure! Also, it makes me feel like I have a little more control over things, instead of being just a passenger. I like reading missions, but I save that for when I visit other ships' web sites.

Interviewer: And judging from the reactions of your crewmates, they seem pleased with your contributions to the story. How has Zingela developed as a character in the story?

Zingela: Zingela was basically going to be a humanoid version of my on-line persona, CW, but I decided I was cheating a little too much, so I came up with the Chitarian race. I also wanted him to be more of an artist than I am, and less of a writer. Lately, though, he's been more of a scientist than I am. His being similar to Earth's tigers is a bonus, since I can do some stuff with him that most other people can't do with their characters.

Interviewer: Similar to Earth's tigers?

Zingela: There's a biological quirk I added so that he can go down on all fours, making him almost indistinguishable from a tiger. As it is, he looks like a humanoid tiger (for an accurate image of that, just type "tiger furry" in a search engine, but ignore anything with the word "yiff" on it. Trust me on that).

Interviewer: lol, thanks. It sounds like you have developed quite a bit on the W. Aside from simming, what do you do with your free time?

Zingela: Aside from simming? I write in my LiveJournal, chat on AIM (username: CWTyger), moderate The Icy Boards (along with three other moderators, and two Supreme Forum Administrators). I also read, work for the Revelstoke News (temporarily, though), work on my web page, and visit other ships to see how they're doing. Lately, I've been going to the Excalibur's site, because I like reading about Lt. Cougar Walking's companion, Serrin.

Interviewer: Interesting. What is that job at Revelstoke you referred to?

Zingela: The Revelstoke News? It's a local newspaper. Basically, I write news stories out of the press releases we receive, and right now, I have a couple articles I'm working on.

Interviewer: Interesting. Do you enjoy it?

Zingela: Sometimes. When I have to type up letters to the editor that have barely been spell checked, it gets kind of tedious.

Interviewer: lol, I bet. Can I ask how old you are?

Zingela: Yes, you can.

Interviewer: What is your current age (in years)?

Zingela: Sorry, couldn't resist. 19.

Interviewer: So you've got your whole life ahead of you. What are your plans?

Zingela: Well, I want a career as a writer and/or a journalist. I also want to work with computers as a hobby. Designing web pages for people is also a goal of mine. Basically, I want to do anything except become another worker in a 50-story office building.

Interviewer: Yes, very understandable. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. Just don't forget us at IDF once you do make it as a famous writer and journalist. :-)

Zingela: I'm not planning on leaving IDF.

Interviewer: That's good to hear. I'm afraid we're out of time now. Lt. Zingela, is there anything you want to leave with our readers today?

Zingela: Yes. I can't believe you haven't given Lt. Cougar Walking an award for anything! Come on, people! Anyway, good luck to everyone, and hakuna matata!

Interviewer: lol, thank you. Have a good day.

Zingela: You're welcome. You too. It's been a pleasure.


Armageddon, by Leon Uris (1983, Dell Publishing)

The book is set in the 1940's primarily focusing on the Military Government of the U.S. during WWII and the immediate period afterwards including the escalation of the Cold War beginning within Berlin... Within the book, Americans baffle the Europeans as kind conquerors and ones that did not rape the women and simply shoot the war criminals. Instead, an Army Major, with deep resentment for all Germans, is put in charge of a German County and performs the task before him almost miraculously. The first several chapters/350 pages covers the build up towards the crisis in Berlin. I’ll let the rest be read but I guarantee you will love this book if you enjoy a good drama or a historical fiction or the whole Clancy/Cussler genre. The book is blunt and not for the weak of heart as it talks about and portrays scenes from adultery to forceful rape, but it does not offend the reader by going into to much detail just enough for one to understand what horrors truly happened. The book has several romances chronicled within just like Uris' others such as the Exodus or the Haj. I think this pretty much sums it up and if you have the time I would recommend the book... peace

The Book of the Month was selected, and the article written, by Commander Jasson Asuka, XO of the USS George W. Bush.


The Mask of Zorro (1998), 136 minutes, PG-13

This months movie pick of the month is Amblin Entertainment's "The Mask of Zorro", staring Antonio Banderas and Sir Anthony Hopkins. This is the fifth version of Johnston McCulley's story of the 19th century Robin Hood. The movie begins in California, during the time of the Mexican Revolution. Don Raphael has control of the province, until a revolt starts, due to the heroic efforts of Don Del La Vega, who is the mask avenger Zorro. However, his secret is revealed and Raphael imprisons him, kills his wife and steals his child.

Twenty years after the Mexican Revolution, where a lawless Dons have decided to manipulate the people of California to their own ends, Zorro has disappeared. Alejandro Murietta and his brother are outlaws, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, and when Don Raphael's Military Assistant Captain Love shoots and kills Alejandro's brother, he swears vengeance against Love. Unknown to Alejandro, an old man, De La Vega who escaped from capture, is watching him, and decides to deter him from his life of revenge, and become a fighter for the people. He spends time and energy trying to help Alejandro become Zorro and rid the world of the Don's and Raphael forever. His student learns quickly, but falls even quicker for Ellena (Catherine Zeta Jones), Raphael's stolen daughter. She quickly becomes the focus of Alejandro, so De La Vega decides to put him to the test, and allow Alejandro to enter the life of a Spanish Noble men. Alejandro then, quickly befriends Raphael, who respects the Noble Men's foppish ideals, and he reveals a plan to retake California by buying it from Santa Anna, the leader of Mexico. Raphael plans to pay off the debt by using a gold mine in California, belonging to Santa Anna himself. This plan seems perfect, due to the fact the miners are forgotten children and political prisoners who have no idea of Raphael's true ambition.

When, De La Vega confronts Raphael about the mine in front of Elena, he reveals to her that he in fact is her father rather than Raphael. From then on, events cascade into an action packed climax battle scene that leaves viewers on the end of their seats. All in all, the Mask of Zorro is one of the finest adaptations to the original story. It's action packed sequences remind viewers of the old 1920 swashbuckling films that captured their eyes so many years ago. This is definitely a must see at your local video store, and if you have not seen it, now would be a great time to immense yourself into the wonderful, imaginative, and exciting world of Zorro.

The Movie of the Month was selected, and the article written, by Captain Damien Hawkins, CO of the USS Legend.


Well, that’s another newsletter. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any suggestions, corrections, or anything else, please email me at I’d love to hear from you and get some input. Also, good luck to everyone else who is starting school and all for the fall. Until next time...

Admiral Charles Star
Commander in Chief, Independence Fleet
Director of Deep Space Exploration
Commanding Officer, USS George W. Bush