March 2003

March 2003 IDF Newsletter

- Opening
- News Briefs
- Feb Awards
- Mission Features
- Interview
- Closing


Greetings from Independence Fleet! By now I'm sure many of you are keeping a close eye to news, watching the events unfold before you in the middle east. 24-hour news, the internet, and other media sources have made this a public war -- something unprecedented in history. We truly are witnessing history happen in front of our very eyes.

Thankfully, the evil regime under Saddam Hussein will soon come to an end in Iraq. Coalition forces continue to march forward, meeting little resistance. Cities and towns are welcoming the troops, tearing down pictures of Saddam, and even cheering for Bush! Many of the Iraq soldiers are surrendering without a fight, choosing not to defend a tyrant. While it's not certain that the war will continue with this ease, we can be thankful to God and brilliant leadership for its masterful start.

War is never a pretty thing, but in many situations it is the only alternative. Independence Fleet supports the troops fighting for freedom. We offer condolences to the friends and families of those who have lost loved ones. It is for a noble cause. Soon the Iraqi people will be free and Saddam's ability to wage war will be gone. The world will be a better place because of their sacrifice.

Now... back to IDF. VAdm. Seldon (Jacob) has prepared the newsletter this month and he has again, as always, done an excellent job. I'm still enjoying Independence Fleet as much as ever. It goes without saying, but if you have any suggestions or ideas for the fleet, feel free to contact us. We're constantly looking for ways to improve IDF. Enjoy the newsletter!

Adm. Charles Star (Alan)
Commander in Chief
Independence Fleet


- 19 March was the USS Excalibur’s one year anniversary. By nearly any measure, the Excalibur has proven herself to be one of IDF’s strongest ships over the past year.

- On 1 March of this month the Fleet’s newest sim, Starbase 15, launched under the command of Cmdr. Victoria Concord. SB15 is the 26th sim commissioned by Independence Fleet. Be sure to see the Base’s extended mission feature in this issue for more information on this new and exciting group.

- The Fleet is planning to open an Academy sim. It will be both for new members and those looking to improve and help others improve their writing skills. The Academy will include both in-story and out-of-story instruction and mutual help. The group may start sometime within the next month. A commandant has not yet been announced.

- Capt Brittanicus of the Horatio Nelson has rescinded his resignation and has happily decided to remain in command of said ship for the foreseeable future.


- Most Posts goes to Lt. Cmdr. Kiara Rodale of the USS Conqueror. She posted 46 times throughout the short month of February.

- Best Story Post goes to the CMO of the USS Excalibur, Lt. Cmdr. Paula Fredricks, for her #2110. This is her second Best Story Post Award.

- Best Character Post goes to Lt. Cmdr. Lewis Concorde of the USS Patriot for his #1147.

- Funniest Post is awarded to Lt. J.G. Nniol T'Kon of the Horatio Nelson, a ship on which, as Capt. Britannicus informs us, “we don't hardly ever write purposely funny posts,” for Post #644.

- The Recruitment Award goes to Cmdr. Entera Danae of the Minerva. She recruited three new people to her ship, two of whom had never simmed before.

- Our Rookie of the Month is Lt. Dvael T'Krasha Pouncequick of the USS Conqueror. She is wholly new to simming but jumped right into things, posting 26 times during the month. Despite inexperience, her posts were well-written and sophisticated, moving the storyline along and developing her character.

- Most Improved goes to Lt. (jg) Nate Scroggins of the USS Goliad. He improved both his posting quantity and quality during the month, becoming more consistent in both.

- The Fleet’s Most Valuable Player for the month is Cmdr. Entera Danae, the Minerva’s executive officer. She served as acting-CO from the middle of the month onwards, started a successful mission, and recruited three new people to the.

- The second ever Outstanding Simmer Award goes to Cmdr. Ingoldo of the USS Excalibur. He kept the storyline going on the ship with his 27 posts despite reduced writing by other members of the crew. His posts came consistently throughout the month and contributed many new ideas to the storyline.

-- The Admiralty would like to thank Capt. Jasson Asuka of the USS George W. Bush for assisting with this month’s award selections.


- USS Horatio Nelson, submitted by Capt. James Brittanicus:

First for the last half of the Month of February we were caught in a bizarre twist of first contact, Romulan intrique, Section 51 (author looks over shoulder) and the time cops. It would seem that someone for unknown reasons used the planet Bope for the purpose of Biological testing. The Romulans sent a probe and the Feds sent a team in to clean up. Turns out it was a timeline issue and that was rectified after the Horatio Nelson blew up several times.

Next we moved on to a joint mission with the USS George W. Bush. The Horatio Nelson was patrolling the neutral zone between the Romulan Star Empire and the United Federation Of Planets when we decided to detour to investigate the birth of a micro wormhole several light years from Bajor. We sent in a probe and the sucker grabbed us. The ship lost all power and when we came around we saw that we were on a planet interacting with Bajorans that were relocated several hundred years before. For some kind of lab rat purpose.

- USS Sunfire, submitted by Capt. Audra Murchadh:

Only months following the arrival of the 2404 Sunfire crew in the year 2380, being ordered to remain in the 24th century to "protect the timeline," the Sunfire crew are confronted by unseen damage caused by their temporal jump. After the discovery of a series of startling, disturbing, and mysterious logs from a conquered future Federation--and the subsequent discovery of the Seraphin-Q's responsibility for the temporal displacement of the logs--the Sunfire agrees, with Admiral Star's approval, to help the Federation timeship "fix" the timeline.

Supposedly, when the Sunfire had made the inadvertent temporal jump, a temporal rift had been opened in the space time continuum. The Seraphim-Q--dispatched as a 'guardian' of sorts to the Sunfire, to prevent the 2404 native crew members from contaminating the timeline--sealed the rift. However, the rift seal improperly and as a result a hostile faction called the Bisra, of a race the Federation knows very little of, used the rift to conquer the Federation in November 2380.

A plan is designed for the rift to be reopened, and then resealed from 'both sides' by the Sunfire and Seraphim-Q. Unknown to both ships, the rift was not only a temporal phenomena, but had somehow converged with an uncharted wormhole, previously in the area. While the rift was in the process of sealing, a Bisra ship appeared--the first ship which was supposed to cross into Federation space, and scout the Humans as a possible replacement for their dying military forces in a large, lengthy civil war. Seeing the wormhole/rift suffering imminent destruction, which would destroy their ship and a method of travel to our galaxy, the Bisra counteracted the Sunfire's deflector beam causing the ship to become trapped in the rift's event horizon.

All contact with the universe beyond the event horizon was lost, and the Sunfire survived though what might be mere luck. An experimental singularity drive--an add-on to the warp core created to produce the necessary sealing beam--had caused a protective bubble to form around the ship, saving the ship from the forces of the event horizon that would have ripped her to single atoms in less than a microsecond. But this is only the beginning of the Sunfire's problems.

It is soon discovered that the Sunfire harbors a murderer and saboteur, or a group of them, obviously aiming to cause the destruction of the Sunfire. And if the singularity drive should fail, not only would the Sunfire be destroyed, but the universe as well...

- Starbase 15, submitted by Cmdr. Victoria Concord:

During all the hype and stress of starting a new station in a new expansion territory, there is thankfully one reprieve. Three people of an unknown alien background - two of the most beautiful women amongst any race, and a man equally attractive - open a health spa, which becomes an overnight sensation, literally! The mud baths, the massages, the meditation classes, the make-overs, the relaxation equipment from many civilizations... Clearly these three know their craft very well. Each client receives individual attention, and always feels well rested and re-energized before leaving.

It's now a few days later, and a disturbing trend is emerging amongst the crew. Growing numbers of late arrivals to work and people simply not showing at all. Of those who do, even the best of officers can't seem to keep their mind on their job, instead favoring an almost obsessive need to work unceasingly on some project or hobby. Some play instruments, composing new music, or give performances, composing new routines, or write new manuscripts. All with incredible skill. Others craft works of art as if having decades of experience behind their hands. A few even begin making breakthroughs in the technological and medical fields. All claim they had inspiration strike them, and after a couple trials they've finally hit upon *this* which is going to be their masterpiece once finished! But it's becoming clear to the unaffected medical staff that many of these people may not last long enough to finish their works, as they are beginning to age rapidly. It seems they are literally burning themselves out, and if the cause can't be found soon and stopped, they will work themselves into death by old age...

- USS Washington, submitted by VAdm Seldon:

In a humorous mission, the Washington brought back a villain first encountered by the crew of the Sunfire before the formation of Independence Fleet, Lord Krackerjax, a renegade Klingon. Styling himself as the “master of the totality of all space, time, matter, and energy,” Krackerjax has plans to conquer the universe. He has little chance of doing so but he does have a fleet capable of causing a lot of trouble if not opposed quickly. The crew of the Washington, which is joined by Adm West and VAdm Seldon in guest roles, must attempt to contact Starfleet to alert them to the danger.

Ultimately defeated, Krackerjax is found to be clinically insane and undergoes rehabilitation. The mission’s last post peers two years into the future when a fully normalized Krackerjax is accepted to Starfleet Academy--another triumph of the Federation’s idealism.


Interviewer: Today we are joined by Cmdr. Logan of the USS Patriot. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to speak with us today, Commander.

Cmdr. Logan: No problem, I aim to please.

Interviewer: How long have you been involved in Independence Fleet and how did you come to join?

Cmdr. Logan: I came in in November of 2001 as a computer specialist for the USS Washington. I was later transferred to Ops and served there until December of last year. That's when Whit (Adm Dragonetti) asked me to fill in for her on the Patriot while she went on vacation. I decided to stay on the Patriot after Whit came back and have been there since.

Interviewer: You also have characters on other ships, do you not? What do you think about characters moving from one ship to another?

Cmdr. Logan: Yes I do. Victor Davidson started his career on the USS Goliad and has been aboard since its launch. It's too bad he is fated to meet his doom in the near future. But that is for a later time. I find that the crew of a ship is a very dynamic thing, always changing. Some people click together better than others. I would say as long as everyone is still having fun, if the need arises, changing ship might actually be a good thing. I've made several new friends on the Patriot that I would have never contacted otherwise. And isn't that what it’s all about?

Interviewer: What qualities do you think make a person a superior simmer in terms of his or her contributions to a ship?

Cmdr. Logan: tough one there: Caring. If you care about what is going on and what you are adding to the storyline, then you will always have good posts. I think sometimes people go into posting with a haphazard attitude and whereas they may write an excellent post in and of itself, it doesn't fit into the situation and just confuses everyone else. Not saying that no one cares about the ship they are on, however I think the degree to which they care varies and it shows up in the posts.

Interviewer: In posting, how much should a member emphasize his or her character and how much should they concentrate on the mutual storyline, do you think? Or does the balance vary from time to time and/or ship to ship?

Cmdr. Logan: I think a person should involve his character as much as is believably possible. I've had posts that are all me and I've had post that don't even mention my character at all. I think you should always find a place for your own character to be a part of your post, but it doesn't have to be the biggest part. It's a situational thing; the key is to make it believable. If your character is an Astrometrics Officer, he isn't going to have a big role in a battle against the Breen. That should keep you from posting if you have something interesting in your mind as to how the battle should go. By the way, I am not politically correct.

Interviewer: What do you think about private storylines or subplots which involve chiefly or exclusively the member's character alone?

Cmdr. Logan: I'm for them, but if they get to be too long, I think people become disinterested in them. I've been in the situation where a subplot was so long and drawn out that other people were complaining about it. It's good CD to have subplots and private storylines, so long as you don't bore your audience with it.

Interviewer: Do you think that subplots can be beneficial to the ship as a whole (and not just the author)? And, if so, are they usually so?

Cmdr. Logan: They can be beneficial if they aren't isolated to the one character. Ens Joe Smith exploring his inner psyche might help to understand his character somewhat, but Ens Varis working out a personal conflict by going to her crewmates for advice helps establish inter-crew relationships and will keep everyone interested. My experience tells me subplots involving multiple characters tend to benefit the ship as a whole, even if it is only two or three characters involved. The idea is that everyone is a part of a team that has to work together on everything, no matter what.

Interviewer: What is your favorite in-story part of simming?

Cmdr. Logan: The way anything can happen. I can remember a mission where the Washington was transporting some cargo to a planet. We were attacked by a telepathic assassin, flooded with particles that give people telepathy, and when we thought everything was over, someone hires a thief to steal our cargo. Before we knew it, it was a battle between the telepathic assassin, the master thief and the Washington's CO. I had a lot of fun with that one.

Interviewer: At what point do you think story flexibility can become detrimental, if it ever can?

Cmdr. Logan: I think story flexibility is what makes the sim great. The only time its detrimental, is when elements get added that make no sense to the previous storyline. I prime example is when Cmdr Logan is on the Bridge, in his Quarters, on Holodeck 3, in Ten Forward and On the Planet's surface all at the same time. Flexibility is good, confusion is not.

Interviewer: Beyond just simming more, what do you think a crewmember can do to improve his or her posting ability?

Cmdr. Logan: Talking to other people on your ship is very helpful. I've gotten so many neat ideas from talking to other people and using my imagination. Also I think using word processors before sending a post is extremely helpful. I write every post I send out on Microsoft Word and then cut and paste it to the compose window of my e-mail. I find it cuts down on spelling and grammatical errors.

Interviewer: If you had to choose between having a good writer or a good storyteller join your ship, which would you choose and why?

Cmdr. Logan: A good storyteller. I have simmed with people who were great writers, but they tended to botch the storyline up and throw everybody for a loop. A good storyteller will keep thing flowing well while adding interesting plot twist that doesn't totally destroy the previously laid out story. Interviewer: Well, sadly, this appears to be all the time allotted for this interview. Again, we appreciate your accessibility.

Cmdr. Logan: I try


First, let me apologize for the tardiness of this issue of the newsletter. Several of you have asked about it’s delay and I am sorry for not having it out closer to the 15th of the month.

I would like to, once again, thank Cmdr. Logan for giving us his time for the interview this month. I would also like you all to know how much Capt. Asuka of the George W. Bush assisted the admiralty in participating in the award selections for the month. And, as always, thanks to all of you who enjoy being a part of Independence fleet and your respective ships. The fleet is right around (if not already past) her 15,000th post, so I can only conclude that there are a good deal of people who are enjoying this thing we’ve got going.

Also, let me thank Alan for his excellent opening statement which he contributed to this issue. I am certain that many of us are praying fervently for Coalition forces in Iraq and for the quick liberation of that oppressed nation.

Finally, I’ll add in just one comment of my own to close. As some of you may know, I’m a Marylander. But, in regards to the removal of Iraqi dictator and thug Saddam Hussein, I think it is my Virginian neighbors who deliver a most appropriate sentiment in their state motto, which is in their state seal and emblazoned on the flag of that great commonwealth: sic semper tyrannis--thus always to tyrants.

VAdm Robert J. Seldon
Chief of Fleet Development