Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ep 10 – Making a Joint Post (3hr 10m)

Kai is back!  Just for this episode then he’s off being a poobum again.  We thought we’d do something uber special and record us writing an actual JP together.  You get to watch us make typos (mostly Kai) in real time.  Discuss the joys of JPs and berate each other in a friendly way.  The final version of the JP is included below the youtube for your reading pleasure!

Warning:  Swearing – Kai swears a fuck tonne!

Our characters: Lieutenant JG Nicole Windsor and Sytar Jackson

We recommend you view this in full screen and crank up the quality up as high as you can (the cog icon) so you can read what we’re doing as we go.

 

The Finished Joint Post:

Runabouts had been in service for a relatively long period of time with Starfleet and were now a common sight travelling through the space lanes of the Federation, transporting minor cargo or personnel to different destinations. Their lack of a high warp speed or multiple, high powered weapons systems made them a bit of a risk when travelling in potential hot zones, but this particular Runabout, the USS Trent, faced no such problems as she was travelling through the Cor Caroli system in the heart of Federation space. Her cargo consisted of two humans, a Bolian and a rather intriguing human/Vulcan hybrid. Her destination; Starbase Five-Sixty-Five near the Alpha Centauri system.

At the helm of the Runabout, sat in the relative dark and alone in the early hours of the morning with only the ships controls to light the room, Lieutenant Nicole Windsor watched the LCARS display and monitored the ships speed and course. She had drawn the short straw of the early shift, but it presented her with a chance to contemplate the future that awaited her.

Rubbing her eyes and letting out an exhaustive yawn, the Starfleet Lieutenant hoped that her relief would show up so she could get some down time. She pulled the hair tie from her wrist and ran her hands through her brown, shoulder length hair, pulling it together at the back and tying it into a ponytail.

Further back in the runabout Sytar Jackson glared at the Bolian. The idiot had attempted to flirt with her, once verbally and the second time resulted in him sporting a sprained wrist.  She left him alone with the medkit and joined their pilot at the front of the ship.  “Men,” she said to Nicole, as if that was reason enough.  And it was.

Windsor crained her neck to look towards the person who had entered the crafts cockpit and gave a slight smile in acknowledgement before turning back to look out of the forward window. “What’s he done now?” The petite woman queried as she lifted her feet and placed them upon the console, leaning back and getting comfortable. She was happy to have the company.

“What has he not?” Sytar muttered.  “However, I am happy to report he will no longer pose a problem.  At least not for the duration of our journey.”

“Jesus, you killed him?” Nicole questioned, looking across at the woman who had joined her. Bobeck had pissed her off a few times too during the journey but she hadn’t resorted to such measures.

“Nothing so dire, he is merely incapacitated,” Sytar assured her.  “How long until we reach our destination?” she asked, not sure yet if she were looking forward to the next phase of her life.

Windsor smirked at the thought of Bobeck rolling around in the back, writhing in agony at whatever punishment Sytar had dished out. Planting her feet firmly on the decking once more, she tapped the controls and let out a sigh, “Seven hours and forty-three minutes.”

The half-Vulcan closed her eyes and exhaled slowly.  On the one hand that was a long time to be cooped up with a sullen Bolian, a rather attractive human male and the pilot she was now conversing with.  But on the other… that was arriving at the unknown.  Her first foray into a real life outside of Starfleet.  Even though she would be working among many Starfleet officers on a Starfleet ship.  The irony was not lost on her and perhaps that was why the former Commodore Geiger had arranged a Lounge on the USS Scorpio for her to manage.  His sense of humour was rather wicked.

“Perhaps this was not the best idea,” she said almost to herself.

“Excuse me?” Windsor raised an eyebrow as she turned in her chair to focus on her travel companion, “what wasn’t the best idea?”

Sytar studied the human woman as she considered her answer.  “Putting my faith in a man,” she replied.

“A schoolgirl error, as we say on Earth,” Windsor grinned.

“Not that kind of a man,” Sytar told her.  “This one is helping me start a new life.  As a Lounge Manager of all things.”

“We’re not all that bad,” a voice came from behind them. The pair looked over their shoulders to the human male accompanying them on their voyage. He stood motionless, gazing at the women, a phaser leveled at their heads.  “Some of us are worse.”

“You have GOT to be shitting me…”

“I shit you not,” he said.

Sytar raised an eyebrow but said nothing.  Humans, she thought to herself.

The diminutive human female  folded her arms across her small breasts. “What the hell are you playing at?”

“I can assure you madam, this is no game,” he said with a slight bow of his head.  “I have a new heading for you.”

The Flight Controller listened to the man’s instructions and considered her course of action; would she do as he requested or would she refuse? “What speed would you like?” She asked sarcastically.

“Fastest possible speed,” he said.  “Thank you for your cooperation.  I didn’t want to make a mess.”

Nicole exchanged looks with Sytar and turned back to the conn. She placed her hands gently on the console top and increased the ship’s speed. “You do know that the Helios is waiting at Starbase Five-Sixty-Five and if we don’t show up, they will come looking.”

“And the Scorpio is awaiting Ms Jackson,” he added.

Sytar arched a slender brow.  “Do I know you?” she asked.

“No, but I know you,” he said with an enigmatic smile.  “Heard of you at least.  Your reputation precedes you.”

“If I’m in this because you screwed him and didn’t call, I’ll kill you,” Nicole frowned, looking across at her fellow hostage.

“I can assure you I have never met this man before, Lieutenant.  Let alone screwed him.”

The man chuckled.  “No, now that would be something I would brag about.  You are a hero of mine, Ms Jackson.  Stealing a starship and aiding in the deaths of so many people.  Truly a work of art.”

“You did what?” Windsor exclaimed, a WTF expression filling her beautiful face. What the hell was going on? “You did kill Bobeck didn’t you?”

Sytar’s face was pale.  It had been an episode in her life that she wanted to delete from her past.  “I was acting under orders,” she said through gritted teeth.  “I did not kill anyone.”

“Be that as it may,” he said with a glint in his eye, “Every person on Starbase 50 was eradicated and you stood idly by.”

“Woah, hang on a minute!” Windsor ordered loudly as he threw her arms in the air to stop them. “You killed the entire population of a Starbase? What the fuck have I got myself into?”

“I just said–” Sytar said but cut herself off, not wanting to waste the energy in correcting her.

“You know, you should join me,” he told her, ignoring the pilot for the moment.  “We could use someone with your obvious skill.”

Nicole pushed herself up, out of the chair, her hands on the arm rests either side of her and stood in front of the man in protest. “So, what now?”

“Well, I could always kill you,” he said flippantly.

“I’ll sit back down and shut up then…” the human frowned, returning to her seat quickly.

“Good girl,” he told her.

Sytar glanced at the Lieutenant trying to catch her gaze, but the woman steadfastly ignored her.  with an internal sigh, she focused on her attention on the man with the weapon.  “What is your cause?” she asked.  At the questioning look he gave her she continued, “That you wish me to join?”

“I work for a group seeking to return a once glorious empire back to its rightful place on the galactic stage. The Federation has exploited the peace, they’ve made territorial gains at the expense of those who suffered greatly at the hands of the Dominion,” he declared, going all idealistic on their asses.

Her eyebrow raised at his words.  Her time reluctantly spent with Starfleet Intelligence meant she had knowledge of recent terrorist groups and one stood out in particular.  “The Order of 12,” she breathed.

“The who and the what now?” Nicole interjected, reminding the two that she was still there.

“The Order of 12,” the man responded, his focus turning to the pilot. “the Federation has taken Cardassian systems, has taken Cardassian worlds and not returned them. They have taken control of territory they have no business being in…”

“You are right,” Sytar told him.  “The Federation and Starfleet have taken advantage of the currently vulnerable Cardassians.  I do not, however, understand your involvement.  What can you possibly hope to achieve with one runabout?”

“We’re not as vulnerable as you may think…” the man smirked, the thought of the missions taking place across Cardassian and Federation space amusing him. “We are working to provide our Cardassian colleagues with intelligence and manpower from inside the enemy camp. With this lone Runabout, we can rescue seven stranded operatives and return them to a safe haven. That is what I hope to achieve.”

Sytar nodded.  “And how can I help?”

“You already have…” he threw his head back towards the aft compartment, a silent gesture at their missing companion. “Bobeck is just one of the seven. As for your role, do you think you could assist in rescuing some of my comrades from the confines of their cells?”

She rolled her eyes in a very un-vulcanlike manner before rising to her feet.  “I stole the same starship twice.  The energy barriers of a brig will not pose a problem.”

He grasped the headrest of one of the aft chairs and turned it, slowly lowering himself into the comfortable seat. “The barriers to the brig will be the least of our worries. Penetrating the defences of a Federation Penal Colony, now that’s a challenge…”

“That is not a challenge,” she told him haughtily.  She gestured to the seat beside him and asked, “May I?”

The man nodded, but kept his phaser trained on her, his attention no longer focused on the pilot

Sytar sat and raised an eyebrow.  “Guards are fallible and easy to evade.  You just need to apply the right pressure–” she said as her hand darted quickly forward and grasped the pressure point near his collar bone and shoulder.  The nerve pinch she administered was rough and painful and the man struggled briefly before succumbing to its effects.

Sytar grabbed the phaser, adjusted the setting down to stun before looking across at the pilot.

“I was beginning to wonder when you would try that…” Nicole had produced a phaser from beneath the conn whilst Sytar had expertly drawn the man’s attention away and now waved it in his direction. “So, shall I kill Bobeck or do you want that privilege?”

The half-Vulcan arched her brow.  “Sometimes I wonder about Starfleet Officers,” she said.

Before Nicole could retort the door behind them swished open and said Bolian jumped in.  “Hah!” he yelled.

“Oh how I have been waiting to do this…” the pilot grinned as he aimed her weapon at the irritating Bolian. He’d hit on these women for the last time, at least for the rest of this journey. With a single press of a button, she fired a single phaser blast at the blue dude’s chest.

As he collapsed into a heap on the cold deck, Nicole turned to Sytar, her grin still very much in place. “Shooting him… felt strangely satisfying!”

“It always does.”

 

Sytar Jackson
Lounge Manager
USS Scorpio

&

Lieutenant JG Nicole Windsor
Assistant Flight Controller
USS Helios

Sites mentioned:  Apostrophes (again), Helios Expedition, USS Scorpio

Another Joint Post

Kai still busy and I got the sads, so I skipped recording this week.  Promise there will be a podcast next week!  I won’t leave you empty handed though, here’s another joint post.

 

The background: The Commanding Officers of Task Force 47 are arriving at Kepler Station to meet the new Task Force Commanding Officer (a right bitch), but the night before the meeting, they secretly meet to drink and play poker.  This is the opening post that Kai and myself wrote back in 2010.

 

Note: Neither of these characters are around anymore.  Kai killed off Commodore Garen Tal (a Bajoran) and my character (then) Commodore Gregory Blake disappeared into the future with his first wife.

 

 ◊  ◊  ◊

 

The Patriot had made it through her engagement wit  the Romulans at Mauo relatively unscathed. Commander Yanar had excelled with repairing the ships systems and was proving to be a useful acquisition, even if his presence still caused concern among the crew.

Now that the Nebula Class Starship had arrived at Kepler Station, Commodore Tal was being escorted to the Station Commander’s ready room.

“Here you go Commodore. Commodore Blake should be expecting you.” The escort, a young male Petty Officer, nodded in respect to the senior ranked man and bid farewell, leaving Tal to ring the door chime for entrance.

“Come in,” Gregory called out as he exited his en suite bathroom. The faint smell of freesias clung to him as he met Commodore Garen Tal. He answered the strange look on the Bajoran’s face with, “I grow flowers in my bathroom. Take a seat.”

“I’ve heard of people growing flowers… but never in their bathroom.” Tal smiled as he took the offered chair, the smell being quite pleasant once his Bajoran nose had got used to it.

Gregory dropped down into the chair, taking care not to even look at his desk, lest it remind him of the awful activities from the night before. Instead he stared straight at Tal and asked, “What happened with the Romulans?”

“Where do I begin?” Tal sighed, watching his Human counterpart take his seat. “Turns out it was all one big Tal Shiar operation to try and activate the Iconian Gateway we discovered.” He got comfortable and continued. “We held our own and in the end, we blew the gate. We weren’t prepared to let it fall in to Romulan hands despite the chance that we could have used it.”

“If all else fails, blow it up,” Gregory agreed. “What did they have to throw at you?”

“One Valdore class Warbird luckily enough. Thankfully we had our Fighters aboard or it would have been a different story.” He shuffled a little, the smell of the flowers still getting to his sensitive nostrils. “The Gateway was easier to deal with than I expected actually. The explosion from the Romulan reactor destabilized the shields and once they were down, a couple of strategically place tri-cobalt devices did the trick, although I’m sure I’ll have to explain all this to Bassenthwaite. Where is she anyway, I half expected her here to demand an explanation.”

Gregory grunted at the mention of the woman. He couldn’t help but glance at the wall to the right of Tal. “Off harassing my crew and plotting evil,” he said. “She’ll corner you when she wants something.”

“How exciting.” The Bajoran feigned a look of delight before his face dropped again. He hadn’t met the woman before but had heard so many different tales about her. It was one thing he was not looking forward to.

“Do you play poker?” Gregory asked.

“I’ve dabbled in the past…” Tal began before looking at Blake suspiciously. “Why do you ask?”

“Come with me,” said Gregory as he stood up and led the way out of the ready room, through the operations centre and into the turbolift. “Deck one,” he instructed the computer.

Tal dutifully followed the Commander of Kepler Station out of the Ready Room and to a turbo lift. As the lift traveled, the pair stood in silence. They hardly knew each other so to expect them to chat about everything and anything was unrealistic.

A few moments later the turbolift doors opened and deposited the pair of very senior officers onto the Treehouse Lounge. The Lounge occupied a good portion of deck one and overlooked decks two and three, which were open to the arboretum below.

“Do the Prophets deceive me?” Tal let out a quiet gasp as he stepped forward a few steps, taking in the sights of the arboretum. “Starfleet Stations never cease to amaze me.” He smiled, turning back to Blake. “So, I hope there’s more than just me and you for this poker game?”

“Every CO that’s managed to get his arse here in time for Bassenthwaite’s meeting tomorrow,” Gregory told him. He glanced at the chronometer over the main bar and added, “We’re early. Game is in the back room. It’s a private function.”

Wow. Tal hadn’t been in the region that long and had been a member of Task Force 47 for even less time but he was already going to get to meet the CO’s of the Task Force. “Private functions are best. More chance for greater winnings.” Tal rubbed his hands together with glee, walking over and following Blake.

The back room turned out to be rather decadent, with leather side chairs, a faux fireplace, wood paneling and lush carpets. There was a small bar off to one side which was manned by a Cardassian and a young Asian girl who was chattering away to him. Gregory nodded his head to the pair before asking Tal, “What’s your poison?”

Looking around with constant surprise at what this Commodore had to offer, he shrugged. “Continue to surprise me Commodore…” he said quietly as he wandered around curiously examining the lounge. “I like surprises…”

 

 ◊  ◊  ◊

 

Right, let’s analyse… Unlike the previous JP, this one has a great introduction.  Lays out the setting and the characters very clearly.  Considering this was originally posted in a forum and not using Nova, it makes this information crucial.

Unfortunately there are one or two instances of a new reader going, huh?  And that was my fault.  Specifically, why Blake wouldn’t look at his desk.  Instead of leaving it hanging and attempting to be mysterious like I did, I should have briefly explained in the narrative why he shuddered to look directly at the piece of furniture – previous mission he’d reluctantly fornicated on it with the evil Admiral.  Also an explanation for the flower growing could have helped.

The conversation Tal and Blake have regarding Tal’s ship’s previous mission was a good way to give an info dump.  I feel the question / answering approach kept it informative without being too boring.

Blake was a character I mostly used to get people to open up and move them to where they needed to be.  Think of him as manipulative for other people’s own good.  In this instance he helped with the summary of Tal’s previous mission, then he moved things along to the beginning of the CO event.  Kai was excellent at setting the scene, both at the beginning of the post and with the Treehouse Lounge.  Through Tal he was able to show how unique and spectacular that Lounge / arboretum is.  Alternatively, you can always link to the information or, even better, include a pic…

Flowers2_small

See what I did there? 😛

 

Conclusion: Great set up and introduction, good location descriptions but some enlightenment required.

 

What are your thoughts on this JP?  Did it do its job?  Did it make you want to read more?

A Joint Post

Because Kai is still snowed under and because no one wanted to record with me, I decided to forego the podcast this week and try something else.  Below is a JP that Kai and I wrote back in August.

 

The background: Deep Space 10 (Kai’s sim) plays host to some of the commanding officers of Task Force 47 and one or two from Task Force 72.  This very important meeting is to share intelligence about an insidious new terrorist organisation referred to as the Order of the 12.  The JP takes place during a refreshment break, giving our two characters an opportunity to meet and chat.

hunter              betty

^^ Click for bios ^^
(both open in new window)

 

Note: Kai is a dick and made my character out to be an old lady.  Worry not, I set him straight on that matter 😛

 

 ◊  ◊  ◊

 

Having dismissed Commander Dalma back to her duties, and after giving Talarn some time to prepare himself, Hunter had decided to spend the remaining time of the interval mingling with his guests. So far, he hadn’t been a very good host. Standing in a corner flanked by two executive officers didn’t make him seem very approachable, but business was business and he had things that needed to be done.

Walking slowly round the table, he looked at the officers who were in deep discussions; most the Admirals had paired off and the other commanding officers were talking with the people they had brought from their ships. Except an old lady. Captain Adler was alone and Hunter decided to rectify that. With a fresh glass of ice cold water in his hand, he wandered up behind her, “Enjoying the time out, Captain?”

“Yes. I was in dire need of one of these,” Bettina said before sipping her coffee and savouring the flavour. “Almost as good as the cup I had this morning,” she told him, a sparkle in her eye.

“I’m glad we could cater for you,” Hunter told her, offering out a little raise of his glass in a respectful salute to the experienced woman. He knew little of her, but he felt like there was something about her that needed investigating.

Bettina smiled politely. “Thank you for your hospitality. My ship is almost crewed and stocked, and I intend for us to leave tomorrow,” she said.

“So soon?” Hunter queried, “you can’t like my hospitality that much.”

“The sooner we leave, the sooner we can get through the corridor and into unexplored space,” she replied. “That is what my ship was built for.”

“I envy you, Captain. Such a mission is what Starfleet was created for,” Hunter smiled, standing by the window and staring out at the stars, every so often a ship or shuttle coming in to view as the station continued to rotate on its axis. “Not that I mind commanding this station, but I did love my time on the Venture.”

She watched him wistfully stare at the view outside his station. “I’ve done my time on a starbase,” she told him. “It was more than enough to let me know I didn’t like being in one place. But I already knew that. I just had to bide my time before I could claim my ship and get back out there.”

“I suspect that when my tour is over here, I shall feel the same way as you do,” the station commander smiled. “Sure we have support ships attached to the base, but its not the same as permanently being out there, among the space lanes.

“I understand you have family aboard,” she said, changing the topic.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” he replied, she seemed to know a fair bit about him. He hadn’t advertised the fact that Emily was still on the station or that she had links to him. His daughter had yet to turn up with her grandparents – delayed by the important traffic to the station. “It’s complicated,” he mused.

Bettina nodded. Her children were grown by the time she joined Starfleet. The death of her daughter and her immediate family had been what prompted Bettina to sign up. Now all the only family she had left was one granddaughter and the girl’s mother and her own complicated relationship with her children’s father. “I am intimately familiar with complicated, Captain,” she assured him.

“Tell me, Captain,” Hunter gestured to a pair of chairs and walked over, sitting down, “do you think there is a place for family… for romance… in the life of a Starfleet Captain?”

“Commander Mar has a family and seems content,” Bettina said. After considering the question she added more, “As for the second part of your question, that depends. Personally I don’t screw the crew.”

Hunter liked her bluntness. She was refreshingly honest and not afraid to speak her mind. “Nor do I, but I am finding someone to share my time with to be increasingly difficult. Everyone needs someone to go home to at the end of a long shift or someone to shoot the shit with, even CO’s.”

Bettina threw her head back and laughed. She patted Hunter’s hand and smiled. “Why do you think they invented holograms, civilians and COs outside of your chain of command?”

Hunter laughed a little at the mention of holograms, “I don’t think it would be the same with a hologram somehow… and civvies never seem to understand just how difficult our lives can be.” She did have a point about other CO’s though. Was that the key to happiness? To date someone of the same position. “Don’t think I could do long distance with another CO…”

She flapped her hand at him. “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Sometimes you want someone to come home to, sometimes you just want a quick shag and for them to leave. Personally, I’ve done all of the above,” she admitted.

If he had been drinking, Hunter would have surely spat the liquid out. She really wasn’t afraid to tell it how it was. She would be a force to be reckoned with out there in the unknown and that made him feel a little bit more comfortable. “Well, we’ll see how things pan out. I guess if there’s ever a chance of meeting someone, it would be at a place like this,” he smiled.

Bettina nodded, then asked, “Anyone here from Task Force 72 take your fancy then?”

“No,” the male responded. There wasn’t anyone in the room that did. Had she not been his superior, Walsh might have done, but no. “Besides, this is too important a meeting for me to be making eyes at people,” he concluded.

“Then I won’t tell you I’ve been making eyes at a few people,” she told him.

“Oh really?” he queried, relaxing a little bit more. He didn’t mind discussing her interests. “Who might they be?”

Bettina searched the room with her eyes until she found the one man who had made a lasting impression on her. She nodded once in his direction. “I think he will be too hard to break and while it would be fun, it’s not something I could accomplish by tomorrow.”

Nodding slowly, Hunter was surprised at her choice but that was down to her. Different people had different preferences. “Right,” he pushed himself up out of the chair, “I thank you for the chat Captain, but I should get prepared for this final session. Please, help yourself to any refreshments and food during the briefing.” He bowed a little out of respect and bid farewell.

“It was a pleasure,” she said. Then as an afterthought, she said slyly, “If you want some company afterwards, I’ll be in your arboretum. No strings.”

“I’ll…” he paused as he turned back to look at her, “I’ll think about it…” he smirked, before walking around the table once more and returning to his space at the end of the table. Staring back down the table at Adler, a curious smile upon his face, he pondered just how intriguing she was…

 

 ◊  ◊  ◊

 

I wonder if we should discuss the JP… It’s a pretty good filler JP.  Doesn’t do anything to move the plot along but it does offer some insight into the two characters and their personalities and in Nathan’s case, his feeling of loneliness.  It also shows interesting interplay between the two.  I’m not sure if it is obvious in this JP, but Nathan is Bettina’s superior in terms of the Task Force’s totem poll.  While Bettina divulges she has more life experience, Kai is able show that his character is willing to listen to a subordinate/colleague when they provide help.

This JP happened during a special event and I tend to play up during these 😛  Let’s face it, even though this is a formal gathering the COs are interacting with colleagues, those who know what the burden of command feels like.  They don’t have to put on their CO faces for the benefit of their minions.  So I take that and run with it.  It helps if your character’s personality is built that way though 😛

As a standalone, this JP is slightly lacking.  Mostly at the beginning.  It does not show the reader (who may be unfamiliar with the particular characters, that sim or even Star Trek simming) what is going on.  The introduction could be better.  You might say, but it’s a JP in the middle of a mission, it doesn’t have to be.  But look at it from a newbies perspective.  What if this JP is their first exposure to both the sim and Trek simming?  This can be easily countered by including a bit more information in the opening sentences, ie full name and rank, perhaps even a mention of the location.  Since this JP was made on a Nova site, some of this can be forgiven.

 

Conclusion: fun, frivolous JP with some revealing of character.

 

What do you think?  Share, discuss or just point out typos, spelling and other grammatical errors in the comments section 🙂

Ep 9 – Posting and Post Creation (1hr 13m)

Today my usual simming partner in crime (not Kai) joined me (Sarah) in a discussion on posting and post creation.  Unfortunately Doofus McDooferson had only an internal mic and the sound quality* for his audio is quite shite.  My voice is its usual perfectness 😛

Topics discussed include:

  • Shawn’s illustrious simming career (only the best sims for Shawn)
  • What a post should contain, or what makes a post good
  • Golden rules of posting
  • How to encourage people to write more in a joint post
  • Pet peeves when joint posting
  • Proofread!!!!?!!!!111

Site’s mentioned: The Oatmeal’s Guide to Apostrophe’s and Misspelling; TF47’s Player Guide (includes golden rules of posting, post creation, etc)

Want to provide feedback, ask questions or demand Shawn buy an external mic?  Then please leave us a comment 🙂

* Listen at your own peril.  We take no responsibility for the pain to your ears.

 Original youtube version available for your viewing (warts and all) pleasure!