Return to Sivao – Part 6 By Gail Gerard
Nov03

Return to Sivao – Part 6 By Gail Gerard

This story has been given a rating of PG-13 (US) and 12A (UK) Chapter 6 Several years passed before Data’s and Dreamfinder’s paths crossed again. By this time he was a full commander, and the second officer of the Enterprise. Dreamfinder had taken Star’s place as Sivaoan ambassador, and had kits of her own. Once again, she was summoned to a conference and the Enterprise was her escort. “Dreamfinder…it is good to see you again. I hope you have been well,” Data said, clasping her forepaws firmly in his own hands, a slight smile crossing his face. Dreamfinder nuzzled him affectionately. “Very well, in fact. Data, these are my kits—Silvertoes and Dancer In Darkness. Silver, Dance, this is my friend Data.” She explained, introducing two half-grown kits who resembled her just a bit. Dancer in Darkness tilted her head, studying Data. “He’s not human, mother,” she said, and Data nodded. “No, I am not. I am an android,” he told her honestly, and that seemed to satisfy her curiosity for the moment. “Data, after you show us to our quarters, perhaps you and I could…get together for a drink. I mean I know you don’t…can’t…drink, but I’d like to see you. If…you have time that is,” Dreamfinder said, as they walked out of the transporter room and down the corridor towards the turbolift. Data nodded. “That would be acceptable. I want to…as humans say…catch up with you. I will see you later, Dreamfinder. And it was nice to meet your kits Silvertoes and Dancer in Darkness.” He told her as he left her in front of her quarters. Later that evening, Data came to collect Dreamfinder. “Now you two behave. No touching anything…not the food replicator, not anything breakable. NOTHING. Do you understand? If I find out you’ve touched a single thing, you’re going to wish you’d stayed home.” She warned the kits as she turned to go. “Are you sure they will be alright by themselves?” Data queried, offering his arm to the pretty Sivaoan. She shook her head and chuckled lightly. “They’ll be fine. I’m not worried about them. I just want to focus on you, Data. I’ve missed you…a lot. I know I haven’t written, like I said I would the last time we were…together. I’m sorry. I should really write more often.” She lamented, resting her head on his shoulder. Data patted her arm. “Do not worry. I am not offended. I have often wondered how you have been doing and…missed…you, myself.” He reassured her. They entered his quarters and Spot, though now old and not quite as spritely as she had been in her younger...

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Return to Sivao – Part 5 by Gail Gerard
Nov03

Return to Sivao – Part 5 by Gail Gerard

This story has been given a rating of PG-13 (US) and 12A (UK) Return to Sivao chapter 5 Dreamfinder snuggled into Data’s hard, cold shoulder. She didn’t mind that he wasn’t flesh and blood…she was attracted to his intelligence, not his handsome good looks. She’d always been attracted to smart males, she realized as she began to purr. Data frowned momentarily, analyzing the sensation he felt from the thrumming that came from the region of her throat. “Dreamfinder, I have just realized something. I know nothing of how Sivaoans…mate.” he told her and she looked up, her tail curling in confusion for a second. “Oh that’s right…you don’t know how we um…well…to be honest I guess I don’t know much myself. Only what Yelloweyes, that’s my mother, has told me. She told me ways to attract a mate, pleasing things to do and say, and certain ways to stand so a male knows I’m available for mating. I guess she thought that was all I needed to know.” Dreamfinder’s tail drooped and suddenly all the good feelings she had been experiencing had gone. Data stroked the top of her head, where the fur was slightly longer than anywhere else except her tail. That seemed to calm the upset Sivaoan, and she closed her eyes and leaned into his shoulder again. “We will figure it out together, Dreamfinder. Do not worry,” he reassured her as he continued to stroke her longer head fur and think about the problem. After awhile, he touched her chin and she looked up. “Dreamfinder, among your people, do they press lips together? It is something the humans do…it is called ‘kissing’,” Data asked, wanting very much to kiss her but not wanting to push her too far, too quickly. Dreamfinder shook her head. “I think I’ve seen the humans do it, but I’ve never done it myself. Sivaoans don’t typically press lips. We…groom each other, but it’s kind of hard to groom you since you don’t’ have any fur except on your head. And we do this…” she explained, rubbing her cheek against his shoulder and neck, her purr thrumming louder than ever. Data blinked and then caught her chin in his hand. He paused for a moment as he looked into her eyes and she stared back, totally unafraid. Before he could lose his nerve, he closed his eyes and kissed her gently. Dreamfinder blinked and then closed her eyes instinctively as she relaxed into the kiss. She liked the feeling of Data’s lips on hers, pressing and exploring and curious. As she kissed back, she tentatively slipped her tongue into his mouth, wanting to...

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DID JJ SPOIL THE STAR TREK GAME? By Rick Austin
Oct30

DID JJ SPOIL THE STAR TREK GAME? By Rick Austin

I love Star Trek. Anyone who knows me knows that. In the giant warehouse of pop-culture that serves as my brain, there’s a huge filing cabinet that has STAR TREK emblazoned on the side. I love the original show, wobbly sets and all, and as a kid I read a photobook of The Trouble With Tribbles countless times. The Next Generation got me through some wild teenage years. Deep Space Nine was the dark side of Star Trek, and it helped me survive some dark times. Voyager… that was okay but not great. Enterprise wasn’t even okay. When JJ Abrams rebooted the franchise with a splash at the movies a few years ago, it was hard not to love it. Fans loved it, critics loved it, I loved it. There was a problem with JJ’s vision though, and it was the rewriting of the timeline. Suddenly none of the series were deemed to have existed, except Enterprise. I know, it made me gag too. But it’s okay, I’ve gone through reboots of comics, TV shows and other movies, and they can’t replace the old stories in my heart. Another problem that I later realised was timing. I’ve pointed out to others (who didn’t quite get it at the time, or else didn’t listen) that Star Trek Into Darkness has taken too long to get made. A four year gap between movies is a hell of a chunk of time. In the movie business, timing is everything. The Marvel movies are proof of this. There’s no way Iron Man 3 would have easily cruised past the $1 billion box office mark if it hadn’t followed The Avengers so closely. I’m convinced that if a new Incredible Hulk film were released today it would easily surpass the $260 million the last one made, simply because the fans want more Marvel. The fans wanted more Star Trek, and yet it took four years to cash in on that. I’ve gone on record of saying that if JJ and the gang continue to adapt the original series at this speed, it’ll take 316 years to make all the movies, and by then I don’t think Chris Pine will have quite the same shine as he does now. The problem is that they can’t spin it off directly into a TV show either, because the actors are now all stars and the cost would be insane. Would they even lower themselves to doing a TV show? Would they all be able to make time in their busy schedules? I doubt it. If they did, and a nice budget was put on the show, it...

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Return to Sivao – Part 4 By Gail Gerard
Oct29

Return to Sivao – Part 4 By Gail Gerard

This story has been given a rating of PG-13 (US) and 12A (UK) Chapter Four  Dreamfinder’s little chat with Guinan had helped her confidence some, so that when she arrived at Data’s quarters that night for dinner, she felt a good deal more confident than she had earlier in the day. The door chimed softly and Data murmured, “Enter.” As he did so, the door slid open noiselessly and Dreamfinder walked in, carefully taking in her surroundings. She sniffed the air, her lips curling with the deliciousness of it. Something smelled very, very good, and very much like home. “I programmed the replicator for several Sivaoan delicacies. I hope you enjoy them.” Data said, showing her the way to his table. She sat down and smiled, a dish of grabfoot stew in front of her, studded with tail-kinkers for spice. “I…didn’t know if you used utensils.” Data said, producing a linen napkin, along with a fork and spoon, seemingly out of nowhere. Dreamfinder shook her head. “Well…I do. Sometimes…but only in the presence of humans. Among ourselves, in our own camps, we normally just eat with our hands, or drink straight from the bowl.” she explained and lapped gently at the steaming liquid with her tiny pink tongue. It may have been replicated and not made fresh, but she thought it was absolutely delicious, and the familiarity of the stew calmed her quivering insides a bit. Before she knew it, she’d lapped up every single bite of the stew, and it warmed her belly with a pleasant sensation. “Data…I…I know we’ve gotten to know each other better over these last few days and I…I was wondering…I mean, that is…I have something I…” she stuttered and Data moved a little closer to her, taking one of her hands in both of his own. “Do not be afraid to tell me, Dreamfinder. You may speak to me about anything, anything you wish.” he told her, his circuits fluttering. He liked her…a lot. “Data…you told me you’ve studied my culture, right? Then you must surely know about our ritual Walk to adulthood.” Dreamfinder said, finding her voice. Data nodded and she continued. “Well shortly after a female takes her Walk, she becomes…that is…she has her first cycle of mating. I…that is…shortly before I came on this trip with Star, I took my Walk and so have come upon my first cycle of mating. When a female is in her cycle, there is no telling who she will be attracted to, who she will want to take as a mate.” There. She’d gotten out part of what she was going to say and she...

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Return to Sivao – Part 3 By Gail Gerard
Oct28

Return to Sivao – Part 3 By Gail Gerard

This story has been given a rating of PG-13 (US) and 12A (UK) Chapter Three  The three days of the conference, Dreamfinder was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. She wanted to be around Data, but she wasn’t sure how to act which only made her more nervous. Finally, as the Enterprise left Betazed’s orbit and began the several days’ journey to return the diplomats to Sivao, she got up the courage to tell him what was on her mind. “Would you care to join me in my quarters this evening for dinner, Dreamfinder? I realize that, as an android, I do not eat but you, as a flesh and blood being, do.” he said to her as they ran into each other in a turbolift. Dreamfinder’s face brightened and she smiled. “Of course…I’ll…I’ll be there.” she stammered, twisting her tail in her hands. Data watched her actions curiously. “That will be acceptable. I will see you tonight then.” he replied and stepped off onto the bridge to take his station at the helm. Dreamfinder continued onwards, heading for Ten Forward. She’d heard of the proprietress, a Listener named Guinan and she felt in desperate need of advice. “So…you’re the Sivaoan diplomat, huh?” Guinan said by way of introduction. Dreamfinder shook her head. “Well no, not exactly. I’m…I’m Dreamfinder, Star’s assistant. You are Guinan, the Listener, yes?” she asked, her whiskers trembling as she continued to twist her tail-tip in her hands. Guinan smiled softly and placed a small crystalline tumbler of aubergine colored liquid in front of the young Sivaoan. “That’s me…and here. Drink this before you twist that tail of yours right off. You’re as nervous…” and here she chuckled, “as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.” Guinan’s broad face lit up with amusement at her analogy. Dreamfinder blinked, confused at the metaphor, but she drank anyway. The liquid was slightly warm and had a yeasty, grape-like taste to it which warmed her right through. “What is this?” she asked, taking another sip of the warming liquid. It was, to her tastes at least, quite delicious. “Pandorian purp fruit juice. Got it last time we were in the area. It’s a favorite of mine, actually. So…what’s your trouble, little cat? Mouse got your tongue?” she asked, wiping down the bar a bit with a damp cloth. Dreamfinder blinked again, confused. These humans could be so mysterious, hiding their intentions behind words that were meant to confuse you. “Mouse…um? No. But I do have a problem. See…in my camp, when a juvenile takes his or her Walk to...

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Why I love Star Trek – The Life of a Nerd By Anna Lena Bäuschlein
Oct27

Why I love Star Trek – The Life of a Nerd By Anna Lena Bäuschlein

A while ago I was asked to write something about why I love STAR TREK. The email also said “It’s easy to write.”, so I thought it can’t be that hard… but I was wrong. On first thought it looked just like a 5th grade essay question, “My favorite holiday experience” or something along those lines, and I have to say I never liked those, because it was always the same. After each and every holiday, and sometimes also after each and every weekend, the same stories, over and over, again and again. Only this time it wasn’t that easy. I thought about the matter for nearly two weeks and couldn’t come up with a plausible explanation. I read what some of the others wrote about the matter and found a lot of reasons why one simply had to love STAR TREK, but not why I actually did. I also found that many can explain their love for it by the role it played in their life, but my 17 ½ year residence on this planet is too short a time for it to have played much of a role. And I found that to answer the “Why?” I also had to think about “Do I actually love STAR TREK? And if so, since when?” I soon found that these are all rather philosophical questions. Love is a hard thing to define, especially for someone who never had a boyfriend (or girlfriend…). So to answer those questions first, I think the historical approach isn’t the worst idea. And I’ll start in 2009. Some of you might think now that I’m one of those “new” Trekkies. Heavens, no! Of course I like the new movies for what they are, an alternate version, but I’ve known and liked STAR TREK before, and… Well, maybe then I should start with the “before”. And for that we need a little background information: I’m the youngest of three children, and my next oldest brother Julian is 8 years older than me. In my family I’m the only one who would call herself a Trekkie, although with Julian (oh yes, the parallels…), I can talk about TREK, at least a little. My parents divorced when I was seven, and back then my oldest brother also moved away from home. As my mum is a nurse and working in shifts, Juli and I were often alone at home in the evenings, and that’s where it all started: Although I actually wasn’t allowed to stay up that long, he would often let me sit with him and watch TV. I don’t remember much of what was on...

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What Trek Mate Means To Me By Gail Gerard
Oct27

What Trek Mate Means To Me By Gail Gerard

When I was asked to write this article about what Trek Mate means to me, I found it difficult. Not because I didn’t want to do it but because I wasn’t sure how to write what I wanted to write. I mean, how do you put into words your feelings for something as ephemeral as a podcast? I don’t know….it’s really hard to find the right words, to be honest. So, like Maria in *The Sound of Music* says “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” About two years ago now, my in-laws asked my husband what to get me for Christmas and he told them I’d been wanting an MP3 player to replace the one I’d gotten a few years before with some money left to me by my grandmother. My son had gotten a hold of it and messed with some of the settings on it so I’d hidden it somewhere in the house in an attempt to keep it out of his hands. Over two years later and I STILL hadn’t found the damn thing so I figured it was time to replace it. For Christmas that year, I received a wee pink IPod Shuffle and shortly afterwards installed That Bastard Application (otherwise known as ITunes). I was looking for free stuff to download and the first thing I thought of were podcasts. The Disney podcast I had been listening to before I lost my MP3 player had gone toe- up and I decided to go looking for something new. Since I’m a fan of Star Trek, I thought, “Oh what the hell? Surely SOMEBODY must be making a Trek podcast out there…right?”. One of the first ones that popped up when I typed Star Trek into the search bar was Trek Mate. I hit ‘download’ and let ITunes do its thing. Later on that day, I actually got around to listening to it and ended up laughing my ass off. The episode (don’t ask me which number, I’d have to go look it up) had three British guys playing some kind of drinking game with Memory Alpha which I thought was just about the funniest, geekiest thing I’d ever heard. And I loved it…the whole concept of three guys, just sitting around shooting the shit about a show t hat is probably one of the most admired shows on TV like they were in somebody’s basement just hanging out was really cool. A few weeks later, I got the courage (I’m really quite shy) to send them an email and when they read it on air, I was totally geeked....

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Star Trek: The Animated Series Episode 14 – The Slaver Weapon By Gail Gerard
Oct26

Star Trek: The Animated Series Episode 14 – The Slaver Weapon By Gail Gerard

Here we are again, freaks and friends, odds and ends, cats and kittens. Time for another episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series. This week we’re taking a look at episode 14, “The Slaver Weapon”, in which we’ll be introduced to yet another villain-of-the-week, the cat-like Kzinti. Given that the episodes for the animated series are hit or miss (mostly miss), I’m predicting this one will be a total dud. However, according to the opening credits, this episode was written by veteran Trek writer Larry Niven, adapted from an original story of his called “The Soft Weapon”. So maybe there is hope for this one after all. I’m crossing my fingers, y’all. Space — a great big black thing with lots of little white things and maybe some roundish things that might be planets, or maybe not. We start off with Spock recording a log entry for a change. It seems that one of the Enterprise’s shuttlecraft (Copernicus by name) is out all by its lonesome, headed for Starbase 25 with a V.I.C. (that’s Very Important Cargo to you and me, kids). Spock describes it as a “slaver stasis box” discovered on a planet called Kzin (home of the Kzinti, I presume). My first thought is if it belongs to the Kzinti, why not just let them freaking have it? We may have found it on their planet but that doesn’t make it property of Starfleet. When we take a look inside the Copernicus, we see it is manned by Spock, Sulu and Uhura (better than three unnamed crewmen I suppose). According to Spock, stasis boxes are wonderful things — because time stands absolutely still inside the box itself (which I assumed that’s what what stasis meant… something standing or being held still). Spock is holding what appears to be a small recording device (it looks like a hand held voice recorder if you ask me) and waving it around a nondescript yellowish brown box. It could be a box from ANYWHERE, really. For all we know, Uhura picked it up at the intergalactic UPS store. Uhura pipes up that she’s studied the history of the Kzinti Slaver empire but there’re some gaps in the record. She says they were masters of all the ‘intelligent’ beings in the galaxy at one point (does that mean that Vulcans were once slaves? Hmm… interesting thought there…), until somebody led a revolt. Apparently it was a case of “If he gets up, we’ll all get up! It’ll be anarchy!” And there went the neighborhood. Stasis boxes are the only source of information they have now on the ancient Kzinti Slavers. Spock tells...

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Return to Sivao – Part 2 by Gail Gerard
Oct25

Return to Sivao – Part 2 by Gail Gerard

This story has been given a rating of PG-13 (US) and 12A (UK) Chapter Two  Later that evening, at the reception hosted in Ten Forward in honor of the Sivaoan guests, things seemed to be in full swing. Non-alcoholic beverages (out of deference to the Sivaoan’s distate for anything alcoholic) flowed like water, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. In a quiet corner, Dreamfinder and Data were talking and getting to know each other better. “You are so very different from everyone I’ve ever met, Mr. Data. With most people, I can read them… by their posture, the look of their eyes, even their scents. But you… I cannot read. It’s like you are a mystery to me, and I love mysteries. When I was younger, I got into a lot of trouble for sticking my tail where it didn’t belong,” she explained, her tail curling happily. “Sticking your tail where it didn’t belong? That sounds rather like a human expression about sticking your nose in where it isn’t wanted. Hmm,” Data responded, puzzling this out. Dreamfinder’s tail snaked up and curled around his wrist. He stared at it for a moment. “Oh don’t worry, Mr. Data. We only do this to people we like. It’s a… gesture of friendship you might say. Instead of holding hands, as humans do, we link tails. Or in your case, tails and hands,” she smiled, raising her glass to him, almost as if in a toast. “I see. With humans, holding hands is a symbolic gesture of affection. I am pleased to think that you consider me your friend, Dreamfinder. You are most interesting and I find your culture most intriguing,” he replied, stroking the white tip of her tail. He dropped his hand suddenly, as if embarrassed, a moment later when the captain strode up. “Ah… Dreamfinder. Are you having a good time? I trust Mr. Data isn’t talking your ears off,” he joked and Dreamfinder’s ears swiveled back in surprise. She reached up to touch one curiously and the captain stifled a laugh. “I just meant that I hope he wasn’t boring you with a long conversation, that’s all. Talking one’s ears off is a human expression,” Captain Picard explained, and her ears swiveled back to their normal front-facing position. “Oh. Oh I see. Yes… I mean no. He isn’t boring me, Captain Picard. In fact, we both find each other… quite intriguing. I am intrigued by the fact that I cannot ‘read’ him as I do others, and he is quite interested in my culture. We are finding out quite a bit about each other, as a...

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Planes of time – Part 3 By Anna Lena Bäuschlein
Oct25

Planes of time – Part 3 By Anna Lena Bäuschlein

Chapter Three: : Elis Lesa and secrets  The room was bigger on the inside than it seemed from the outside. Well, actually, as the room was holographic, it was the other way around; the room seemed bigger than it actually was. But either way, for it’s inhabitant, it didn’t really matter. The Bajoran didn’t use it in the way most others would, at least not anymore. Of course at first she had tried out each and every preset program, and also programmed a little herself, but after some time she had got bored with that, and found another occupation. She had created a rather simple program that only contained a color, which she would modify according to her mood, and which made the room seem rather endless. Then she had switched off the gravity so she could just lie floating wherever she wanted. And in this environment she lay, not knowing how long she had been there, or how long she would stay. She had lost all sense of time. In fact she didn’t even know why she was there, at least not exactly. But she did know that she wasn’t a prisoner, or at least she didn’t feel like one, not completely. She could go everywhere she wanted to, at least virtually. She had access to all common databanks, and even some uncommon ones. No, she really wasn’t a prisoner, even though she couldn’t leave the room, not really at least. She only felt a little lonely, now and then. The problem with that was only that every time she felt really alone, someone tended to turn up to ask her stupid questions. Then she didn’t feel lonely anymore; instead she wished that person would get lost, even more than she had wished to have someone to talk to before. This time however, she really didn’t feel like having company. The color of her room was switched to a soothing blue that was a little bit of a contrast to the rather happy, but still epic music that seemed to float through the room, just like she did. It was several consecutive pieces in a marching rhythm, each belonging to one of her favorite 20th or 21st century movies. She had gone to some effort to splice many tracks together into several infinite loops. The clips were of happy, sad, floating or other kinds of music that somehow belonged together, or just sounded good one after the other. This one she was especially proud of, because she had managed to take the recurring overall themes and create soft transitions between the different parts. And although there was a...

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