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Everything had changed. A doorway has opened.
The ships are legendary: Enterprise...Yorktown...Lexington...Constellation...Farragut...
The names are heroic: Pike...Kirk...Decker...Tracey...Garrovik...
A doorway has opened that cannot be closed. What were once legends are again only metal and conduit. Who were once heroes are again only mortals.
A new path has begun. The time to become legends again, to become heroes again, is now.
A new beginning has arrived. Join us.
This is an outline for a new ASR-offshoot PBeM group, called "STAR FLEET: Origins." "Origins" will be a writing group specifically designed to explore the alternate timeline opened up in the latest Star Trek movie by J.J. Abrams. That movie will serve as the main inspiration for "Origins." As an alternate timeline, "Origins" will not have a direct impact on the stories, plotlines or technologies developed in and for Star Fleet: PRIME.
The setting of "Origins" will be around 2260, just after the events of Star Trek (that movie took place in 2258), around 160 years BEFORE the current Star Fleet: PRIME timeline.
This setting is important, as it will affect everything about the club: the technologies available, the storylines open to development, the writing style, etc.
The Federation and the Geopolitical Situation
The Federation of 2260 is a much different than the Federation of 2421. This is a smaller Federation, much more closely centered around the core systems of Earth, Andor and Tellar. It is a Federation where Vulcan has been destroyed and the Vulcan race nearly eradicated, its 10,000 survivors now endangered species on a colony planet. It is a Federation of far fewer resources with which to respond to threats.
And it is a Federation of exploration and discovery. Unlike the galaxy of 2421, there are still large parts of the galaxy still unexplored. Though the Klingons and the Romulans are known quantities, little is known about the Gorn, the Tholians, and the Cardassians. The Dalriada, the Borg, the Dominion - they have yet to be discovered. Though these facts may change- the landscape we once knew has been altered.
The Klingons are aggressive, and they do not like us. We're in their way. And they don't miss an opportunity to remind us of this. Of course, they still have to rebuild their fleet after Nero's decimation of it in 2258.
The memories of the Federation-Romulan War are far closer to the surface, the scars far more recent. However, despite Nero's timeline-altering appearance, the Romulans have closed their borders and have kept to themselves for many years. Will they stay that way? We USED to know...but not any more. Is this a golden opportunity, or a precursor to war? And if it is war they want, then with whom? The Klingons are vulnerable as well...
The Federation is still young, still growing. By 2421, Starfleet patrolled a huge expanse, requiring hundreds, even thousands, of ships just to protect and aid its member worlds. However, in 2260, the Federation was a nascent one- growing, searching out new races and species to become members in friendship and mutual benefit. It was less a military organization than a diplomatic or scientific group...though Nero's incursions have given voice to the more "hawkish" elements of Starfleet in recent years...
This was the era of the great CONSTITUTION-class cruiser- generally referred to simply as a "starship" in deference to its role as a "star-jumper," moving from system to system in peaceful exploration. It was the most modern ship of its time, and reflected the priorities of early Starfleet: she was equipped with expansive science and medical labs, with staffs to match. Its crew compliment of 1100 souls was nearly triple that of any other ship.
These ships also carried powerful- for their time- weapons and defensive systems: phasers, photon torpedoes, shields, even a point defense system. They were more than capable of defending themselves and others if need be. But despite these impressive tactical systems, the CONSTITUTION-class starships were not built around their weapons; they were ships of peaceful exploration, its crews more scientists and diplomats than soldiers.
However, these magnificent ships were not cheap, and given the far more limited resources available to Starfleet, there were far fewer of these capital ships than one might expect. From 2258-2266, only 12 of these massive ships were constructed. Very often, they were literally "the only ship in the quadrant."
Technologically, though at the cutting edge of technology in 2260, these ships are far inferior to those of 2421. There are no pulse phasers, phaser cannons, quantum flux torpedoes, multiphasic shields, transwarp drive, d-warp drive systems, or holodecks. Warp 8 was considered emergency speed only; impulse drive was a simple ion-thrust drive, not the modern gravity planing drives of the Star Fleet: PRIME universe. Combat of that era was usually more "up close and personal," given the reduced ranges and capabilities of the weapons as compared with today's.
The Starship Captain
The Captain of one of these starships enjoyed a freedom of command most modern officers do not. As they were typically the "man on the spot" so to speak, the Captain had a wide breadth of discretion as to the course of action he could take to settle a dispute, tempt a planet to join the Federation, etc. Starfleet Command- and by extension, the Federation- had little choice but to accept the Captain's decisions on the spot given the scarecity of other resources available. He was, by definition, the Voice of the Federation wherever he went.
However, the Captain DID have a guiding hand- the Genmeral Orders, the most important of which was General Order #1, or the "Prime Directive." The Captain was expected to consider these General Orders inviolate, and operate within their boundaries.
The reality, however, was that it was not unusual for the Captains to bend, even outright break these regulations if some greater purpose was served; Starfleet accepted the treatment of these rules as guidelines tacitly for the most part, so long as that greater purpose was served. If it backfired, however, the Captain could find himself cooling his heels in a general court martial. There was certainly a risk associated with breaking regulations if one failed.
General Order #1, however, was considered inviolate in reality as well as in theory. That order was not to be broken, regardless of the circumstances.
Those facts bring with it a pressure to succeed, to get results, and therefore a Captain also had a wide breadth of discretion with regards to his shipboard chain of command. Officers who performed well and showed ability could be promoted quickly; those who did not could find themselves cast aside just as quickly.
Lastly, all of this freedom, this pressure to succeed, combined with the scarcity in their number (there were only 12 at any given time), created an 'esprit de corps' aongst these officers; they were almost a fraternity all their own. They worked together, they played together when they could, addressed each other by their first names in a departure from strict military decorum, and while they may not have all liked each other, they all respected one another for the job with which they were tasked- the bond of common interest.
Truly, it was a time unlike any other in Starfleet. It was the Age of Sail in space; it was Horatio Hornblower with warp drive.
"Origins" will be set up to mirror current STAR FLEET practices: a "fleet commander" (Commander, ORIGINS or "COMORIGINS") overseeing the individual starship "units". There will be no level of administration between the "fleet commander" and the units themselves; not only is this not necessary at this early stage of Origin's development, it also helps reflect the "freedom" of the Starship Captain of this era: with no fleet bounaries to worry about or specific established villains to focus on or stay away from, storyline development is considerably more open and freer than in Star Fleet: PRIME.
This freedom, while greater, is not completely without boundaries: exploration missions and missions of "local flavor" (answer a local distress call, answering a petition of a local govenrment, etc.) are encouraged, with confrontations between Federation and Klingon or Romulan forces less frequent- this should not be a problem, since so much less of the galaxy has been explored or "spoken for." "To seek out new life and new civilizations" will be the motto of Origins.
However, remember that the Federation was somewhat like the "Old West" in 2260, and that means that, while the Romulans and Klingons might affectively be "further away" if not in reality, that does not mean skrimishes won't happen. Exploring the past enmity between Federation and Klingon cultures, after so many years of friendship and relative peace, is an intriguing posibility
And remember: everything is new- Nero has wiped the slate clean. That makes the possibilities nearly endless.
In keeping with the spirit of the era, each unit would be one of the CONSTITUTION-class starships, with the exception (for copyright reasons) of the ENTERPRISE. This gives us an operational ceiling of 11 units- plenty of room for future expansion if it is warranted.
The end goal of this would be to develop and maintain the off-the-cuff, renegade "flavor" of the era and allow this to come through in the writing.
This will be a PBeM group, just as Star Fleet: PRIME is. Posts will be submitted to a central post archive on Yahoo (we can use Prime's if it is desired for advertising reasons- we can always tag the posts [ORIGINS] to differentiate them from "normal" PRIME posts) as well as a unit archive. Unit archives will be open for public viewing, the posts capped at PG-13. Again, all this mirrors typical PBeM practice.
The group would also need to maintain a web presence separate from Star Fleet: PRIME, since units, technologies and universe backgrounds would be markedly different. This site will consist of a sudomain of its own (<<http://origins.alt-starfleet-rpg.org>>) with a portal page pointing towards various parts of the STAR FLEET Wiki. The wiki, in turn, will have a separate "hub" of "Origins"-related documents, all categorized with the tag "STAR FLEET: ORIGINS" for ease of searching. The "Origins" wiki will also have its own distinct header menu- again, for ease of searching.
Training for new players in "Origins" will be a form of on-the-job training: the new player will be under the direction of our special Training Officer (played by Mary McNeely) for his/her first few posts to his/her unit. The Training Officer is there to give suggestions and direction as to the proper formatting and style of STAR FLEET posts. Once the Training Officer feels as though the new player has grasped the basics of this, direction shifts to things such as dropping hooks and picking them up. This process should take anywhere between 3-5 game posts from the new player. Once the new player has those ideas down, the Training Officer informs the Captain and steps back, leaving the player to his/her own devices under the Captain's supervision- like all other writers.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Can a player command a unit in both Star Fleet: PRIME and Star Fleet: ORIGINS?
- Simply, no. There are reasons why players are NOT allowed to command more than one unit in STAR FLEET:
- Because of the time demands commanding a unit makes on the CO;
- Because if a player were to command more than one unit, he would have more than one seat at the bi-annual Round Table, giving that player a stronger "voice" than the rest of the CO's.
- Simply, no. There are reasons why players are NOT allowed to command more than one unit in STAR FLEET:
- Can a player hold characters in both Star Fleet: PRIME and Star Fleet: ORIGINS?
- Yes, of course. That is at each individual player's discretion. While we suggest that a player not have more than three characters in all of STAR FLEET, as long as a player shows he/she is able to handle the load, he/she is welcome to write in whichever unverse they prefer, or both at the same time.
Thre are only really 2 things Star Fleet: ORIGINS requires of its players:
- a willingness to be ACTIVE. We abide by a slightly different posting policy than PRIME, as we prefer more frequent-but-shorter posts in order to maintain proper momentum and interest. Therefore, before joining, we ask that all potential players make sure they can post somewhere in the weekly area. Understand that these posts can be shorter- a page or so, even a couple of paragraphs is perfectly acceptable- than what is common in Star Fleet: PRIME.
- a willingness to remain IN CONTACT. In Star Fleet: Prime, it is considered "common courtesy" to inform one's CO of a impending absence of more than a couple of days; it is also considered proper to respond to any mails sent to you by a player or "superior officer" within 48-72 hours. In ORIGINS, these "common courtesies" will be followed as well for everyone's benefit.
The goal here is to blend the idealism and the "frontier" mentality of The Original Series with the gritty, industrial, more militaristic feel of the latest Star Trek movie. That's the idea, anyway.
We also want to work hard to keep a higher level of activity than we've seen in Star Fleet: PRIME in recent years- thus the policy of "shorter-but-more-frequent posting."
Welcome to a new beginning.