The Portland Pulse
May 5, 2392
Note: This issue of the Portland Pulse is dedicated to the memory of Grace Lee Whitney, an actress known to fans of Star Trek as Yeoman Janice Rand. Sadly, Ms. Whitney passed away a few days ago at the age of 85.
USS Asphodel enters negotiations
The Asphodel has been reported to be escorting Starfleet Admiral Edward Henrickson to Rator III for talks.
According to the report from the Starfleet Diplomatic Corps, Admiral Henrickson has been in talks with Ambassador Denala, the senior Adjunct to Senator Pelnak of the Romulan senate, regarding a possible treaty to open sections of the Neutral Zone for both Starfleet and civilian activities.
Now, the Admiral has been reported to have beamed aboard the Asphodel to be escorted to Rator III, where he and the ship's Commanding Officer, the newly minted Captain Oliver Lancaster, will be a part of the Federation envoy to the talks.
USS Nightingale - The guiding light for those in need
For thousands of years, people of the medical profession have been the backbone of society.
They have been the people who have picked us up when we have been at our worse and fixed us up to enable us to keep going. They have been the shoulders we have cried on when we have found no one else to turn to. Most of all, they have been the people who loved, protected and cared for those we love when it has been beyond our capacity.
The people of the medical profession have always given everything their 100% and the Nightingale strives to continue the work of all those who came before her and her crew.
The year is 2392, the Nightingale is under the captaincy of one Commander Pola Ni Dhuinn who has been tasked to take the ship and her crew to the rescue of those in need; to keep the light lit for those who need guidance and a safe haven.
New Pon Farr Treatment Proposed
Researchers at the Jupiter Station Holographic Research Institute have proposed a new treatment for the little known Vulcan condition of Pon Farr, a condition in which Vulcans must mate or die.
“This is a very difficult subject to research,” said Commander Reginald Barclay, the head researcher at Jupiter Station. “Vulcans are notoriously private about their mating rituals, and gathering empirical evidence is practically impossible. However, we believe that within the next few years, theoretically, we could develop a holographic mate advanced enough to simulate the mating process.”
Pon Farr is estimated to affect over a billion Vulcans a year. While it is a routine situation on Vulcan, Vulcans who succumb to Pon Farr far away from their homeworld can face extreme difficulty in finding a suitable mate to resolve their Pon Farr. While the typical smutty holosuite program is a good enough substitute for many people, it is not complex enough to simulate the mind meld component of the Vulcan mating process.
While a holographic solution has the potential to save lives, not to mention much embarrassment, there are some drawbacks. “Of course, there are dozens of ethical questions involved in creating a hologram realistic enough maintain the illusion, and those will have to be worked out ” explained Barclay, “I don’t expect anyone to be foolish enough to try it without fully understanding the ethical implications.”
Chief Morale Officer’s Report
Acting Ensign Ko-ko
We are finally finished mission three! We just have one more JP which is being worked on by the command staff, and then we can finally close that thread! It’s been a heck of a journey, and it feels good to put such a long mission behind us and start anew.
Last month, in spite of losing a few players to personal issues, we had 43 posts, a solid number. But raw posts only tell half the story. We’ve also advanced the story and wrapped up a long-running mission, and I can see already that we have a lot of posts in progress in the workshop. And, this is all in spite of a busy month for the command staff, as we’ve got a new website host and brand new forum and are still settling in.
The command staff will be recruiting again soon to replace the crew members we have lost over the past couple monts. Meanwhile, lets try to beat those 43 posts this month! And, as always, if you don’t know what to post about, give the command staff a shout!
Better Know A Player – Tyrlai Zade
For this installment of our series “better know a player,” I interviewed Dave, who plays Lt. Cmdr. Tyrlai Zade, the Chief Diplomatic Officer and Second Officer of the USS Portland.
Q: Tell us a little about the player behind Tyrlai.
My name is Dave, I have a degree in English and in Computer Science. So when I make up words or use non-traditional sentence structure, it’s okay because I am a professional. I work as an application admin for a string of Hospitals in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Before that I was a IT incident manager for a company called Manpower for a response team situated in Milwaukee, London and Singapore. Writing has always been my passion and always been something I was good at and writing groups like this help keep the skills from degrading too quickly. In my spare time I play the odd computer game online with friends (Marvel Heroes and 7 Days to Die, atm) and enjoy arguing politics on Facebook. Though I watched no end of Television growing up I find I now watch almost none. When I do watch I find Im more interested in the structure of the show and how they set up scenes and manage the characters than the actual plot—especially with procedurals.
I have always been interested in all things Science and History, especially astronomy and astrophysics and lesser taught aspects of History. I speak English and Mandarin
Q: How did you get into Star Trek?
Star Trek (TOS) aired in the Milwaukee market right after school when I was a kid. I would run home to watch it and then go play after. My favorite episodes were when ships got destroyed. Ultimate Computer, Doomsday Machine, etc.) Star Trek and Lost in Space were the two shows in syndication of the Sci Fi variety. I loved Star Trek, I hated Lost in Space. Even as I kid I figured out that just doing the opposite of what Dr Smith said would get you out of trouble ten minutes into the show. TNG was shaky to start but was so much better, and DS-9 is still my favorite. I liked them all, even Enterprise. I also like Dr Who, Battlestar Galactica, Space 1999 for the kitchy 70’s style and general scientific absurdity and Stargate.
Q: And how about simming? You’ve been at this for a while; tell us a little about your journey throughout the simming universe and how you ended up here.
I started simming with ASR which was short for Alt.Starfleet.rpg which was a bulletin board setup back in the olden days. It had adapted to mailing lists and Yahoo Groups by the time I joined but you would still see the bulletin board structure in their style. My first character was an engineering officer (Martel Inquez) with a penchant for accidentally causing warp field accidents and space time anomalies. The major difference with ASR is you were free and encouraged to write everyone else’s character as well as your own. Your scenes would center on your character but if you needed the Captain to issue an order or a science officer to rattle off some technobabble you used other PCs as often as possible.
My second character was a walking set of tropes and borderline mary-sueness named Tyrlai Zade, she was the chief councilor as opposed to a diplomatic officer but I found it was easier to fit a character on a ship if they had multiple possible specialties. Tyrlai can be diplomat, psychologist or security which was a very ASR thing to do and very much not an Obsidian thing to do at all. Ive been XO, CO, 2O, Navigator, Councilor, Engineer, Security Officer and Communications officer as well as Aes Sedai, Seanchan, Dragonrider and Entertainer.
Q: In that time, you’ve been in a few different fleets. How do you think Obsidian Fleet’s structure stacks up compared to the rest?
Ultimately, they are all a bit different. But the structure itself is also very similar. It’s a writing group and a shared narrative where you are in control of a character that contributes to a shared plotline. All of the fleets I have been in have had rules and a slightly different approach to handling the disputes that turn up from time to time and all of those systems ultimately break and lead to giant splits where a number of people take their sims to a place that will be freer and better than the old place they were before and then generally go through the same struggle as before in a slightly different way.
The only daunting thing for me with Obsidian was its strict adherence to not posting other PCs actions. I stepped on all sorts of toes my first try on the USS Marshal, I was just not at all used to that style and it took a while to learn the rules so to speak. It’s harder to move the plot in Obsidian fleet, but much easier to do joint posts because its often required for any sort of interaction.
Q: I know you’ve previously participated in simms that uses an open roleplaying format where everyone is allowed and encouraged to write for each others’ characters. I’ve always found this intriguing and have wanted to try it sometime; what do you think are some of the key differences between that and how we run things in Obsidian Fleet?
Ever style has its strengths and weaknesses. Obsidians method encourages participation and joint posting for the simple reason that you need to jp to have more than one pc in a scene. It also leads to a proliferation of npc’s as they offer the character a way to disseminate exposition in order to move the plot forward. So character interaction and players interaction with each other is greatly enhanced, but the plot moves a lot slower.
Seeing your character come to life in the writing of others can actually be a lot of fun, even if sometimes the voice might be a bit off or the character might approach a problem in a way you would not have chosen. The strength of the open roleplay method is that you do learn your fellow writers character better as the best way to avoid conflicts is to make sure you use them correctly as shown in their bio and in previous writing. On my current open rp ship people will comment on each post, you get actual feedback from your fellow writers, which is a nice difference. The weakness is a single poorly written character can derail the plot and even the best writers can make a mistake at some point that will need to be addressed.
Q: What is your favourite part about simming?
The immersion in the world of choice is really it. Creating a fresh spin on established characters or a new persona entirely and getting to play in the giant sandbox that is a show like Star Trek’s continuity. Seeing a group of writers get together and create something new and interesting. Seeing how they craft scenes and bring their characters to life with a genuine love of the material and the process.
Q: You have been playing Tyrlai as a character for quite a while. How many different simms has she been on? And of all of those, what was her most unique adventure?
Tyrlai started as the CNS (chief Councilor) of the USS Soranus, transferred to the USS Excalibur and then to the USS Kirov. I took a break from simming for an extended period and when I finally did return with Tyrlai she was the Chief Diplomat of the USS Marshall where I bungled and blurred the lines of what you are allowed to do with other peoples characters, but got awards for it nevertheless. I switched to councilor of the USS Ares where I fought Klingons which really raised the ire of a sociopath security officer. (The officer himself was fine, the player was a sociopath) The Ares was dysfunctional and a number of the core members of Portland were ushered off by the machinations of that single individual. In short he kind of created the Portland. We bonded together after each in turn being the target of attacks from this one player. When Alenis transitioned from her XO role on Ares to her own ship, Tyrlai followed, as did Tim and Jason in different roles from their Ares selves.
Id pick two as her most unique, on the USS Soranus (a medical ship) the crew contract a virus that makes them behave in a manner opposite of their normal selves. Tyrlai was suddenly a demure, obedient, deferring, socially awkward shy girl wearing glasses and a cardigan.
And currently on the Portland shes been pretty much free to cause trouble and flit from plot point to plot point almost with complete autonomy, which can be a lot of fun and has helped me get used to the different style here in Obsidian.
Q: She is a rather interesting character. I like to think of Tyrlai as an instigator of action.
That was the initial character concept. It was based on a line by LeVar Burton when he was directing a DS-9 episode and referred to Terry Farrell/Dax as “Action Barbie”. In short, what if a placid introspective character like a Councilor or Diplomat was actually a risk-taking, action junkie. A Vulcan who had just discovered emotion was my first idea, making the character female also fit in well (she was male for perhaps an hour and a half in 200-whatever when I was writing the bio). She needed to be brash, short-sighted, angry at the world and generally wild and unfettered and then I had to figure out how that kind of person could manage to get through Starfleet Academy. Thus she became a joined Trill, an unusually old and placid symbiont at that. Joined by desperation when his ship is all but destroyed and his current host killed.
The joined Tyrlai retains the angry, brash, short sighted and wild parts and mixes that with the knowledge and experience of an Eight hundred year old symbiont. After several lifetimes in diplomacy and politics the Symbiont is secretly thrilled with the pairing even though the symbiosis commission is wringing their hands at what she might do to their precious Zade.
Q: What about Tyrlai’s other hosts? You’ve played other hosts of the Zade symbiont before, tell us a little about them and how they differ from Tyrlai.
Cedria Zade is the first Starfleet officer in Zade’s lifetime. She serves on the Kirk era USS Hood as the Navigator. She was a mathematician and a gymnast before she was chosen for joining. Her immediate predecessor was a drug addled musician named Padrec who’s overuse of exotic toxins almost killed the symbiont. Cedria is quiet, capable and thoroughly scared of life. She doesn’t like beaming down and thinks that strange new life generally means monsters.
Oahu Zade is a half human host from the 29th century. An ensign aboard a timeship, she was also a desperate last minute replacement. But this time she was just meant to be joined long enough to usher Zade back to the pools on Trill for his transition into the next stage of symbiont life. Once joined Oahu Zade flatly refuses to go and joins Starfleet as a time agent on the Welles class USS Aion. Secretly something has gone wrong with the joining and Oahu perceives Zade as a walking talking hallucination that only she can see. He appears as a stuffy old man in the Trill equivalent of Victorian era garb.
In various flashbacks Ive also played over a half dozen others and have a few lists of all of the symbiont’s hosts cobbled together over time.
Q: Do you have any plans for Tyrlai in the future? Sneaky capers, fun pranks, or romantic interests?
A romantic interest is coming, another player has volunteered and will surely suffer for it. Sneaky capers are just a given along with wild escapades and dubious choices. Her parents may make an appearance which can lead to nothing good whatsoever. Ive played her as light and entertaining so far, shes going to get a little darker but generally speaking she doesn’t break and she generally fails to learn life lessons.
Q: Of course, the interview wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Thosk and Novia Yenn. Are we going to be seeing more of these two in the future, particularly Novia now that we have a teacher again?
Thosk was a patient of Tyrlai’s on the USS Soranus who had twice weekly sessions in which he complained about everything and generally grated on Tyrlai’s patience endlessly. It was so fun that I made him her administrative assistant and have altered the dynamic a bit. He’s the put upon one now and his criticisms are generally aimed at just Tyrlai now, but he’s also generally right about those criticisms. He’s very lonely and rules and regulations are his only friends. He want’s to be an admiral.
Novia Yenn is a little genius. Shes eleven, shes wicked smart and desperately wants someone to pay her a little attention. I can’t say more than that, but if you’ve suffered through all of these answers and gotten this far, you can probably figure it out by just looking at Tyrlai’s bio.
Q: Last question – we just have to know – what is your favourite Star Trek series, movie and captain?
Deep Space 9, Star Trek VI and VIII and all of them. Picard and Sisko especially.
“There are four lights.”
“Paradise has never seemed so well armed.”
“I don’t like threats, I don’t like bullies and I don’t like you.”
“This must be why aliens are always landing in cornfields.”
“Death. Destruction. Disease. Horror. That is what war is about.”
Quotes of the Month
"As nice as your Birds of Prey are," she said, lowering her voice, "this is where I belong."
- Gul Alenis
“We just lost our Captain, our mentor and friend. We need to show our respects and make sure the Captain didn't die for no reason.”
- Timothy Rouse
"Ellen please mark the time of death. I'm sorry everyone. There's nothing more I can do."
- Brad Silverton
"Commander, I know what your people think about us Cardassians. And, truth be told, we deserve that reputation. But let it be known that not all of us are proud of everything we did during the occupation. I know that there is no way I can set things right and make up for what we did to Bajor -- what I did to Bajor. But, if I can in some small way do some good in this universe, perhaps I can at least retain some shred of humanity."
- Gul Jatok
“Oh Ko-ko, what are we going to do with you.”
- Timothy Rouse
"And now, we bid our friend and captain farewell, and wish her smooth sailing on her final journey."
- Timothy Rouse
“or maybe this light could just shut off and leave me alone and I can transfer to the Nightingale and meet some nice guy who doesn’t want to talk about his damn feelings so much, and have a bunch of kids that I never ever put any pressure on to do anything… that would be nice. Could I have that?” She blinked back the tears furiously, she was afraid if she let them go they wouldn’t ever stop. “…and that would be nice.” She insistently reminded the universe. Then with less insistence and more pleading, “why can’t I have that?”
… “Because I’m Tyrlai frelling Zade.”
- Tyrlai Zade
"Yes, and I've studied his service record. A good officer, but it appears he's let himself be swayed by bad influences such as Lieutenants Beauvoir and Zade. A pity really, let's hope it's not gone too far."
- Admiral Cresswell
"Really, Doctor Silverton, you would miss out on a chance at true love in favour of some seminar on Bolian therapy?"
- Maria Hill
"We have to go back," she said, looking Tim in the eye. "Back to the Portland."
- Vedek Alenis