So You Say You Want A Resolution? -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Jan06

So You Say You Want A Resolution? -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

2013 was a bit of a roller coaster for me, and for many others too, I imagine. The good news is that it’s over; the bad news is that another one has begun, and it’s up to us to make the best of it. So you say you want a resolution? Most of us make resolutions, little promises to ourselves that could make our lives better in the new year. Usually we break them within hours, but I figure that since Star Trek is a part of my daily life, it’ll be easier to stick to them if I keep them in the same vein. Here are the 10 I’m going for… Live Long And Prosper: We all know the Vulcan saying, and some of us say it as a matter of course anyway. It’s a good thing to wish upon others, and the correct response of Peace and Long Life is good too. While I say it quite a bit, I haven’t exactly been following my own advice. I need a bit more peace in my life (which I’m hoping goes on a whole lot longer) and I’m going to do my best to prosper. My landlord will be pleased to hear that too. Something Sisko: I’m a huge fan of Captain Sisko; In fact, he’s my favourite captain, despite my fondness for Kirk and Picard. He’s a family man who balanced being a good parent with his job, and faced both challenges head-on. This past year, I’ve spent too much time focusing on the wrong things, and it’s time I got that balance back. It’s time to engage the Sisko in me and get things right. Embrace Change: The Star Trek universe is one that’s gone through a lot of changes over the years, from flat-headed Klingons to ridge-headed Klingons to pierced-headed Klingons. The characters have changed, the ships have changed, everything’s changed. I’m old-fashioned and don’t embrace change very easily… but maybe it’s time I did. You can like the old and still embrace the new too. It’s time for some open-mindedness. Hey, I even like Voyager more than I used to, so that’s a good thing. Avoid Red Shirts: Yes, it’s one of the biggest clichés in Star Trek, and has become synonymous with being cannon-fodder. Even Chekov’s reaction to being told to put on a red shirt in the last film shows the reputation of it. This past year, I made the mistake of wearing a red shirt several times. I didn’t bother to see if my problems were worse when I wore it; at the time I just thought it looked good. I’m...

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A Visit From St. ar Trek -by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Dec04

A Visit From St. ar Trek -by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

(With special thanks to Clement Clark Moore) ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Star Trek Not a lifeform was stirring, not even Sarek; The latinum was kept in the cargo bay with care, Just in case some Ferengis soon would be there; The Doctor was nestled all snug in sickbay, With visions of Tom Paris getting in his way; With Seven in her alcove, and Data with his cat, Had powered down his positronic net as he sat, When near the engine room there arose such a clatter, Worf sprang from his bed, thinking of anti-matter. Away to the holodeck Worf flew like a flash, Prised open the doors and readied his sash. A holographic planet all covered with snow Gave the lustre of space to the darkness below, When, what to his wondering eyes should appear But a much older Enterprise, with a Scots engineer, With a brash young Captain, so lively, carefree, He knew in a moment it must be Kirk, James T. More rapid than shuttlecraft, Kirk‘s officers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; “Now, M’Ress! Now, Chapel! Now, Uhura and Scott! On, Chekov, on Sulu! On, Bones and Spock! To the top of the bridge! to the transporter rooms quick! Now raise the shields! Bones, check no-one’s sick! The final frontier, that’s where we shall fly.” When met with an obstacle, they’d warp through the sky; So out to the stars before them they flew, With the ship full of hope, and Starfleet’s finest crew. . And then, in a twinkling, Worf heard down the deck The sound of loud footsteps, and then turned his neck As he drew in his head, and was turning around, Down the passageway there came Picard with a bound. He was clothed in dress uniform, from head to his feet, And Number One was with him with beard so complete; A sack of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a Klingon readying to attack. His eyes—how they twinkled! His bald head was shining! His cheeks were like roses, he had perfect timing! Riker’s smiling mouth was drawn up like a bow And with a quick wink he asked “So, shall we go?”; Ten Forward was full to the brim with brave crew, Like Janeway and Sisko and yes, Archer too; Neelix‘s broad face and a little round tummy, Odo with Kira as Quark counted his money. There was Malcolm and Tripp, a right jolly old pair, Harry Kim laughed when he saw them, and then Q was there; A wink of his eye and his fingers...

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Reg Barclay: Money in the Bank -by Rick Austin
Nov26

Reg Barclay: Money in the Bank -by Rick Austin

Anybody who knows me knows that I root for the underdog. I like the dark horse in the running. I cheer for the little guy. Give me a lost cause and I’ll back it completely. It could be because I’m English by birth, and I was always told that the reason why the English support the losing side is because it’s usually them. That may be true, especially in football, but it’s also one of the reasons why I always got behind the character of Reginald Barclay. Played to perfection by Dwight Schultz, Reg became a fabulous recurring character in The Next Generation and Voyager. He wasn’t like the others around him. While everyone on board the Enterprise always seemed so perfect, he was anything but. He wasn’t good-looking, cool under pressure or always ready to face any challenge; instead, he was average, nervous at the best of times, and would back down from most confrontations. He stood out because he was normal. Okay, so maybe normal is a bit of a stretch. He was smarter than the average Starfleet officer, and as I’ve said before Starfleet seems to be populated with nerds (albeit cool nerds). He could think his way around corners in ways that made Geordi look almost clueless, and could have probably given Wesley Crusher a run in terms of putting his high IQ to practical use. The problem though was that he lacked confidence in himself. He was afraid to speak out at staff meetings, stammered when giving presentations to the Starfleet top brass, and failed in most social situations. He was us, or at least a majority of us. Sarah Higley, an English Professor, created Reg Barclay in the episode Hollow Pursuits. He was a satire of Trekkies, playing up the public perception of them being intelligent and good-natured, but sometimes suffering from being socially awkward and obsessed with fictional characters. The episode focused on Reg, a normal crewmember who struggled to fit in with the rest of the crew. Because of this, he created versions of them on the holodeck who were less-than-perfect in order to bolster his self-esteem. He escaped from reality and retreated into a fantasy world that was easier for him. I don’t know about whoever’s out there reading this, but I can relate to that. Life can be difficult at times, and sometimes having to interact with certain people can tie us up in knots. There are people I don’t get on with, and because of that I’ve found a variety of places to escape to over the years. Star Trek is one of them, so Sarah Higley wasn’t...

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Planes of Time, Part 5 – by Anna-Lena Bäuschlein
Nov24

Planes of Time, Part 5 – by Anna-Lena Bäuschlein

Chapter 5: Tianes and chaos The transporter platform he materialized on seemed to be the only place in the room that was not covered in junk. On second look, however, the admiral rephrased his prior thought and crossed out the “seemed”. It was the only place not covered in junk. And with a look through the open door he noticed that it was most likely the only one in the whole station. The engineer at the control panel gave him a short look and a nod. Then he turned around and shouted through the door: “T? There’s someone from TI here for you!” There was a loud rumbling noise in the background, followed by something that sounded like a curse. Then a voice shouted back. “I’m stuck, bring him here!” The engineer gestured toward the door. “If you please, Sir,” he said. “And try not to stumble over anything.” Motioning for the man to lead the way, the admiral stepped down from the transporter pad and followed him through the station. While he had to watch his feet closely to not trip over anything, especially the wires that were hanging down everywhere, the engineer easily found his way through the chaos without problems. The man led him through a hallway to what seemed to be the other end of the outpost. They entered a room whose ceiling consisted purely of cables hanging down, and a few crooked cross-ties in between. On a clean piece of floor there was a puddle of water. In the middle of the room the engineer stopped and looked up. “Hey T? Where are you?” he shouted. “Where do you think?” the reply came back out of the chaos a little to the left. “Up here trying to fix the roof. But you made me drop my welding stuff, so I got to come down anyway.” While listening, the admiral noted a movement in the cable-forest at where the voice seemed to come from. Then there was a cracking or tearing noise and a loud curse, followed by a person hanging face-down in the cables. His hair was just long enough to be visibly attracted by gravity and his face was carved with the ridges typical for a Denobulan. With another curse he grabbed something a little higher up and within a second’s time had pulled himself out of his uncomfortable position and jumped down to the others. “Have you seen my welding tool?” he asked the other engineer. “Nope.” the other one replied. “But I guess it’s somewhere there.” Following the engineers gesture, the admiral noticed that the puddle in the middle of the...

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Reaching for the Stars…But Will We Ever Get There? -by Gail Gerard
Nov24

Reaching for the Stars…But Will We Ever Get There? -by Gail Gerard

The great thing about Star Trek is that it has inspired so many people to reach for the stars, to wonder what exactly is out there, to see whether or not aliens (whether they be Vulcans or little green men from Venus) actually exist. It makes you have hope for the future, hope that one day we’ll stop fighting each other and start working together for a brighter tomorrow. A tomorrow without hate, anger, greed, envy, and the problems that having too much money, or not enough, always brings. It makes you want to believe that even a juvenile delinquent from the middle of nowhere in Iowa will one day overcome those obstacles, and become the captain of the greatest starship of them all. But I have to admit, some days it’s hard for me to believe in that dream. I look at the state of public schools in America and wonder, what are we all striving for? It seems like the only way to get ahead is if you are fortunate enough to attend a private or charter school. It seems like that if you’re in public school, you’re just (as Pink Floyd said) another brick in the wall, another factory worker they’re churning out because public school kids aren’t fit for much else than that in the eyes of the government, and perhaps even the world. My son attends a public school because we have no choice. The charter schools in our area have waiting lists hundreds of kids long, and they draw only a handful of new names per school year by lottery. So the chances of getting in are slim at best. There are no private schools in our town. The nearest one is a good thirty minutes or more away. It would mean an two hour commute for me (the one who’d be doing the driving, since I’m the one who gets to stay at home) every day, plus the added expense of yearly tuition and at least twice yearly (if not more) purchases of uniforms for my son, who is growing like a weed. Add in supplies which must be purchased at the beginning of the year and then replenished as the year progresses, and you’ve got a significant expense that puts private school right out of our budget. So we’re limping along in public school, doing the best that we can. Yet the public school is failing not only my son, but thousands of other kids across the United States. Teachers don’t teach because they love to teach anymore. They teach what the state tells them to teach in a routine of...

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34 – 6 – 22 – 8 – 7 – Ga ? -by Rick Austin
Nov16

34 – 6 – 22 – 8 – 7 – Ga ? -by Rick Austin

You may be asking yourself what this article is about. It’s okay, you can ask yourself that question periodically. It’s code, and it’s what spies use. Being a spy is a dangerous profession, even in the Star Trek universe. Julian Bashir may have entertained fun fantasies of being James Bond on the Deep Space Nine holosuite, and found the concept of Garak being a spy for the Obsidian Order quite fascinating, but over time we learned the truth: there’s nothing glamorous or romantic about the reality of it. We never saw Garak flying through space in an Aston Martin DB-18945D. As viewers, we gradually saw the truth about Garak. Underneath his playful tailor exterior were lies upon lies, and even he seemed confused by many of them. That’s okay, because he was creative enough to always come up with new ones. He was an information-gatherer, a man who had countless cover stories and could never have a normal life. No matter how friendly he seemed at times, he was almost always alone and he never got to sail off in a dinghy at the end with Ziyal (no doubt muttering, “Oh, Garak!” as the screen faded to black). As Garak knew only too well, a large part of the spy game is lying. In the original series episode the Enterprise Incident, Kirk led the crew of the Enterprise on a covert mission into the Neutral Zone. Was he mad?! That’s what Spock said! Their real goal was for them to infiltrate a Romulan ship, for Spock to tell the Romulan Commander a pack of lies (whilst she makes goo-goo eyes at him), and to have Kirk steal a cloaking device. They succeeded in their spy mission, and their actions could be passed off as a smooth bit of one-upmanship against an enemy force. Also, Kirk and Spock would return in The Man With The Golden Paradise Syndrome. Well, sort of… We saw a Klingon spy in the Next Generation episode The Drumhead, and he was more Maxwell Smart than Illya Kuryakin. We saw Romulan spies from the Tal Shiar operate in several Next Generation and Deep Space Nine episodes too, although since the Romulans always seem to be sneaky by nature, their spy community seems even sneakier. It seems like there are spies everywhere and on every side. Tuvok was a Starfleet spy within the Maquis. Tom Paris became a spy against the Kazon. Well, if the same tactic keeps working for Captain Janeway, then so be it. Spies aren’t necessarily evil, they just do the job that they’re told to do, regardless of whatever side they’re on. It’s...

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Planes of Time – Part 4 By Anna Lena Bäuschlein
Nov12

Planes of Time – Part 4 By Anna Lena Bäuschlein

Chapter Four: Cheye Shana and the flux of time “I knew you’d come.” The admiral could hear her voice before he could actually see her. “I just wished you had come at a less inconvenient time.” Turning around, he saw Commander Cheye Shana emerging from the bathroom, wearing only a huge towel. Most likely she had just showered, because her hair looked a little fuzzy and was standing out in every direction possible. Only the gravity that pulled it down a little kept it from looking as if she had just touched a power outlet. “Mind if I dress myself while we’re having the conversation you came for?” she asked. The man smiled. “I just wanted to suggest that myself,” he said, while Shana had already vanished behind the closet door. “You said you knew I was coming?” the admiral asked. “Yeah,” she replied from behind the closet door that made her voice sound a little muffled. “Well, not exactly you, but one of your kind. To be honest I expected Kesinsky or Schroeder.” The man chuckled at her words, especially the way she was saying them. “I told them not to mess with my affairs, so you’ll not have to deal with them anymore,” he said. “That is, if you accept.” She hesitated for a moment. “If I accept what?” “We have a post for you,” the admiral started, but didn’t manage to explain it further, as in this moment she slammed the closet door shut. For the first time the admiral could observe the other officer closely. If she were human he would have thought her to be a Latina, but he knew that she clearly wasn’t. Still, the fierce sparkle in her eyes told him that she was as spirited as she looked. Instead of the towel she was now wearing a long-sleeved red dress and black boots. Her hair was now neatly bound back, and didn’t look as fuzzy anymore. “Nice dress,” he said, ignoring her statement. “Thank you,” the commander replied coldly. “Reminds me of the good old times. One of the advantages of working on a civilian ship.” “I’m perfectly aware of your abilities,” the admiral put in with a soft smile. “And I can assure you that they’re not the reason I’d like to have you on that ship. At least, not solely.” Cheye looked a little more placably now. “What then?” she asked still eying him suspiciously. “And what ship?” “It’s a new ship,” the admiral replied. “And a small one. That’s why I’d like to have you there. You have more experience in your field of expertise than most others...

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Signs of the Times: My Shout-out to “Loud as a Whisper” -by Renée Roberts
Nov10

Signs of the Times: My Shout-out to “Loud as a Whisper” -by Renée Roberts

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how Star Trek portrays characters with long-term physical and perceptual challenges. I’ve decided to pick some of the episodes I remember best, and just talk about my thoughts and feelings on them. I’m not really disabled myself, so I’d especially love feedback from any of you who are, or who know someone who is disabled. The first episode that came to mind was „Loud as a Whisper“ from “The Next Generation”. Before getting into my thoughts on that story, here’s a bit of background information on the guest star Howie Seago, gleaned from Memory Alpha and Wikipedia. Howie Seago is an American actor and director who was born deaf. Besides Star Trek, he has appeared in, and directed, numerous TV shows and theatrical productions. He is a central figure of the American Deaf Community, as well as a respected author and teacher. In 1988 he petitioned the producers of Star Trek to create an episode about deaf people, in part to dispel common myths about them. Thus the episode “Loud as a Whisper” and the character “Riva” were written specifically for him. I believe this is what sets this episode apart from all other Trek episodes that deal with disabilities. Not only is the guest star actually deaf; he was also the driving force behind the episode’s creation, with great influence on how it was written and directed. This makes both the story and the character very realistic and believable. I noticed this first in Riva’s incredibly expressive face, then in the lovely, flowing rhythm of his Sign Language. Yet in the episode, his primary means of communication is, of course, his telepathically attuned Chorus, each member of which represents a fundamental element of his psyche. This unique mode of expression would make for a fascinating study in and of itself, but that would exceed the scope of this discussion. The important thing for me is how Riva relates to his Chorus, and how he sees himself. His meeting with Geordi is a good example. Riva (speaking through his Chorus): What is that you’re wearing? Geordi: A visor. It interprets the electromagnetic spectrum, and then carries the readings to my brain. Riva: And without it, can you see? Geordi: Without it I’m as blind as a stump. Riva: Then your visor serves the same function as my Chorus, which interprets my thoughts and translates them into sound? Geordi: Yes. Riva: And you don’t resent it? Geordi: The visor, or being blind? Riva: Either. Geordi: No, since they’re both part of me, and I really like who I am, there’s no reason for...

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Big Screen vs. Small Screen, a Trekkie Perspective by Meredith Jones
Nov03

Big Screen vs. Small Screen, a Trekkie Perspective by Meredith Jones

One of my local cinema distribution agencies has the motto “It’s always better on the big screen”. This got me to wondering… is it really true? Who doesn’t enjoy feeling the surround sound from thirty speakers reverberating right through ones body, jiggling up the mandatory fruity-flavoured slushy drink and bucketful of highly salted popcorn already taking up plenty of space inside? What can rival the visually stunning 3-D effects experienced through nerdy spectacles, and ones eyes dancing around their sockets, struggling to follow all the action from the enormous movie screen? And where is a better place to hear the people sitting behind you as they chat to their friends on their mobiles, despite the less-than-subtly placed “switch off your mobile phone” advert at the start of the movie? Of course the big screen experience has all this to offer, and can’t be rivalled… or can it? I believe it most certainly can be; let me explain my own brand of Vulcan logic. When it comes to the Big Screen, it is sad to say that some of the Star Trek movies did leave a rather disappointing aftertaste in my mouth, and if left only to the realm of the Hollywood movie, I do believe that the courageous crew of the USS Enterprise may have given up their quest to seek out new life and new civilisations after V-Ger threw the proverbial spanner into the warp core of the franchise. All I can say is well done for persevering through the good times and bad, and giving us your latest offering “Into Darkness”, which in my opinion was well worth the wait, and an even bigger well done to the fans for never giving up hope. I have had my fair share of cinema experiences, and despite coming home raving to one and all about the sheer awesomeness of the film I have just seen, the enjoyment of the experience fades far too quickly. It becomes very much “out of sight, out of mind”. This is where the small screen comes into its own. I refer of course to the box of moving pictures in your home, be it a little old black and white television set or a state-of-the-art 72inch plasma screen. My love of Star Trek came entirely from the television series. Starting at the very beginning with The Original Series; I had my mind prised open and all the possibilities of the universe, space travel, alien worlds and adventure poured in, my brain soaking it up like a gaping black hole. As I followed the stories of the steadfast captains and their courageous crew members as...

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Return to Sivao – Part 7 by Gail Gerard
Nov03

Return to Sivao – Part 7 by Gail Gerard

This story has been given a rating of PG-13 (US) and 12A (UK) Chapter 7 Dreamfinder walked back to her quarters, her heart breaking into a thousand tiny little shards of glass that seemed to penetrate every fiber of her being. Although he’d admitted he missed her and still cared for her, Data didn’t want her. Not like that. Not the way she wanted him. Well! Dreamfinder blinked back tears of hurt and frustration as she entered her quarters to find Silver and Dance curled up in a nest made from blankets and sofa cushions on the floor. She smiled at them and passed by silently, headed for the bedroom. Once in bed, she curled up into a tight ball and let her tears flow, her body wracked with silent sobs. Somehow, she’d have to pull herself together to get through the diplomatic conference, and then, she knew, she’d flee back to Sivao to finish raising her kits. It was just unfortunate for her that Sivaoans typically had very, very good memories, and the pain she felt from tonight’s revelation would continue to sting for an absurdly long amount of time. “Data…what’s wrong with you? I’ve never known you to be this distracted.” Geordi LaForge said, getting his friend’s attention by touching his arm. Data blinked slowly and sighed. “I am sorry, Geordi. But earlier this evening I had to, in human parlance, break someone’s heart. And I did not like it. I never like it when I am forced to hurt someone’s feelings,” the android admitted, a note of sadness in his voice. “Who, Data?” Geordi pressed, curious. “The Sivaoan diplomat, Dreamfinder. Several years ago, when she first came on board the Enterprise, she and I had…some intimate moments. I had no idea that all this time, she still carried strong feelings for me.” Geordi’s eyes went wide as he took in the statement. “Whoa. You and that cute little……? Data! I didn’t think you had it in you,” Geordi joked, punching his best friend in the arm. Data didn’t smile, but continued to look sober. “This is no laughing matter, Geordi. She has told me that she wants to become my mate, but I informed her that while it is not expressly forbidden by Starfleet for us to marry, I was not ready to enter into such an agreement. Not with her, not with anyone.” Data frowned, crossing his arms so that one wrist lay atop the other on the bar. Guinan looked over from where she was tending to a customer a few feet away, and raised an eyebrow as if to say “Make it right, Data.”...

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