New Ship


So, this afternoon I actually logged into Star Trek Online for the first time in maybe a year. Picked up a new ship and revamped an old one.

On the left is USS KAGA (III) / NCC-38123 – the third Starfleet vessel to bear the name. A Shi’Kahr-class light cruiser. As usual the registry reflects the country dialing code for Japan (81), the year of creation (23) and this one is prefixed with a 3 to denote that she is the third of the Kaga lineage to be defined in addition to the Constitution-class USS KAGA / NCC-1658, the Shangri-la-class USS KAGA (II) / NCC-1781, and the Parliament-class USS KAGA (IV) / NCC-78120.

On the right is USS PHENOMENON / NCV-6301231 – a Chronos-class Temporal Dreadnought. There is a story behind this one.

A couple months ago two Rocketpunk friends, Aaron M. and Derek A. approached me about joining their newly started STARFLEET INTERNATIONAL chapter. Those of you that know me realize what a risk they were taking. However, Derek and Aaron are two of the best guys I’ve met in fandom. Most of us here had a relationship outside of fandom before we grouped together. I have not added many friends made through our associations with organized fandom. There are exceptions. Some of you reading this are those exemplary exceptions. However, because it was Aaron and Derek, I said sure. And I was appointed as 2nd Officer.

Then, quite tragically, Aaron suddenly passed away New Years Eve.

Aaron was a great guy, and the second friend I’ve lost at such a young age. He believed in an accepting fandom. He hunted ghosts, and had a YouTube channel documenting it. He will be missed.

PHENOMENON is a pretty Rocketpunk idea, and I think that’s why Derek A. and Aaron M. recruited me. She’s a Temporal Dreadnought, essentially a larger version of the timeship from the VOYAGER episode, “Relativity”. The reason this 29th century design was chosen was that the lore allows every crewmember to play anywhere in the Trek timeline, or even beyond it. And they can shift eras at will. It’s a brilliant detail that encourages the crew to make their own stories rather than conform to the captain or senior staff’s ideas.

Long story short, Derek A, and I discussed what to do. The success of PHENOMENON was very important Aaron – like us he’d been burned by organized fandom before, and this time it was supposed to be different. So, Derek and I resolved to do that. Blessed with Derek’s deep and long-term connections with California fandom, we were blessed to have some support with juice and a knowledge of how to navigate the bureaucracy of the world’s largest organized Trek fan club.

Yadda yadda yadda.

I am now the commanding officer of PHENOMENON, a correspondence chapter of SFI based here in Japan. I’m also about to take command of the 16th Fleet (Region 16), encompassing Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Micronesia, and Guam. This is a big deal it means that I will be a voting member of SFI’s Admiralty Board and will have broad discretion in managing the area. That means we can Rocketpunk it to a large extent; we can create a part of organized fandom that provides the resources and social network, without having to play the game by someone else’s arbitrary vision of what fandom “should be.” We can set the rules. We can set it up so that the system works for us rather than constricting us. The new rule is that management is here to recognize and support the ways you want to participate. No uniform regs. No gatekeeping. Hopefully just fun, accepting, diverse interests coming together to support the member.

I know most of us have bad experiences in groups like SFI. So this isn’t going to be a Rocketpunk thing, per se. But I’m going to be running Region 16 like I run Rocketpunk. I’m just adding lines to my participation database down at the bottom. That’s it. Rocketpunk won’t be PHENOMENON, but all Rocketpunk’s are invited. PHENOMENON has its own crew that won’t be Rocketpunk, but they are invited. Both are going to be constructed as identically as possible to make it easy to do both. Indeed if you aren’t interested in running a chapter, there will be literally no difference between the two.

Worst case scenario we walk away. Best case scenario, we make organized fandom a bit closer to the way it should be.

Anyway that’s what’s happening.

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