Saturday, October 19, 2013

OOC: "7 Ways To Bring Star Trek Into 21st Century"

This addresses things addressed years ago on Arcadia (when we used a ship named Arcadia as our central basis).

Article: http://1701news.com/node/328/7-ways-bring-star-trek-21st-century.html

In the original "Star Trek," it was the chaos of small sounds we believed to be emanating from everywhere on the bridge. For "Star Trek: The Next Generation," it was the background rumble we would hear that would remind us that drama was unfolding onboard a large starship.

Realism is part of the reason we've all fallen in love with Star Trek over the decades. And if there are efforts underway to bring Star Trek back, then what has become much more sophisticated audiences are going to demand even more realism than ever before.

Star Trek can't lose sight of that if it wants a successful return to television. So these are our suggestions to the next developer of a Star Trek television series to hopefully make sure it's done right:

The captain does much more than bark orders
We know the current bridge configuration, where the captain is the center of attention, just sitting in his chair. But he sits there as if he's about to watch a movie on the big screen in front of him.

Sure, Capt. Kirk always had little buttons to press, and he could swing around to interact with the members of his crew. Capt. Picard, however, sat down like the curtain was about to rise. The same for Capt. Janeway, and even later, for Capt. Archer. What exactly are they supposed to do once they sit and give commands? Watch the stars go by, like my screensaver from 2002? It might be more interesting watching the three-dimensional pipes being created.

The captain is not just the command person. The captain is also the chief of the ship. His or her station on the bridge should be a working station, so that once an orderis given, the captain can then do other work.

TNG tried to show the captain working more by giving Picard a ready room. But then that just makes his seat on the bridge more tantamount to a throne for show as if he were a royal, then actually being something functional.

Speaking of thrones ...
More than one episode has had a red alert or a communication interrupt our crew. Many times they are sleeping, or they are reading a book, or schlepping around on the holodeck. But why did Capt. Sisko never get an emergency alert about a Dominion attack while he was on the can?

I'm sure the Romulans never use toilets, but we know humans do. And it would not hurt to show one once in a while. I don't mean we need to see anyone using it, or even flushing it -- but just like the noises on the bridge, or the rumble of the starship engines in the background, a toilet reminds us that this crew is relatable to us.

The bridge should be moved to a less-vulnerable part of the ship
It's amazing that in all the battles a ship of exploration has, that no one has successfully targeted the bridge. I mean, they go for the engines, the shields, the transporters -- but yet, there is this big target at the very top-center of the saucer that's screaming "shoot at me! shoot at me!"

Targeting the bridge means that you then make the rest of your battle much easier, especially since there's no one giving commands, and all the key mechanisms (like shields and defense) are also controlled in that one spot.

TNG once again tried to address this by giving us a battle bridge, which is actually hidden inside the backbone of the ship -- that is, until the saucer section was separated. And then, it's just as exposed as the old bridge. And the funny thing? They only used the battle bridge when the saucer section was detached.

"Battlestar Galactica" (the new one) had this one right: put your control center deep inside the ship, so that if there is an attack, you will be the last to get destroyed, as it should be.

Yes, the chess is three-dimensional, but so is space
We are so used to being on a planet, that we think if we are in the same area as another ship, we have to stop and get out of their way. But space is infinite in all directions, not just like a flat surface, and it must be treated that way.

Sure, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" took advantage of this three-dimensional landscape, but then we would get later adventures where it seemed writers totally forgot themselves. If you put up a blockade, say in the TNG episode "Redemption, Part 2," know that unless that tachyon field is huge ... it wouldn't take much for a ship that can go faster than light to get around it by going underneath it, or above it.

Landing parties shouldn't land without appropriate protection
Yes, the red shirts are infamous for being killed in Kirk's landing parties of the original series, but exploration of any kind can be dangerous. Just ask any of the European explorers who made landings in the Americas -- they would be crazy to not have protection following them around ... in full armor.

Not only did the away teams go down with crappy protection, but then they had to walk everywhere. No one thought about putting some wheels on the ground until "Star Trek: Nemesis," and even then it was nothing more than a dune buggy. At least "Lost In Space" had the family bus they could drive around everywhere.

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations ... works for aliens, too
When we think of Klingons, all we think about are warriors. When we think of Romulans, all we think of are scheming politicians or military leaders. But there has to be more to all of these species than that. Someone has to cook. Someone has to clean. Someone has to develop technology.

With the major races, we have seen touches of that, like with "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Star Trek: Enterprise" when it comes to the Klingons, but we need to stop painting other alien species with broad strokes. Not every Klingon is looking to start a blood feud. Not every Andorian has an issue with "pink skins." Not every Ferengi is going to try and make a profit off us. Not every Borg wants to assimilate ... wait, scratch that one.

The richness of these different alien species comes from the diversity that we see. Not every human is alike, and the same can be said about Cardassians, Kazon, Vulcans and even the Gorn.

Don't let technology solve problems
The biggest concern with early TNG episodes was the fact that Wil Wheaton's Wesley Crusher was always the one saving the day -- with technology. Not just his intellect, but his intellect when it comes to technology.

Basically, the message there is that if I'm ever in trouble, I need to turn to my iPhone. That might help me find when the next train is going to arrive in a strange city, but when the Breen are trying to shut down all the electrical systems in my car? I think I might need some of my own ingenuity with a dash of Picard diplomacy to get out of that.

There has been far too often that I've watched the spinoffs of Star Trek, and feel it's more a boasting of advanced technology than advanced thinking. Sure, technology is great, and it's taken great minds to create it -- but it should only be a tool to a solution, not the solution itself. And that's what Star Trek has to get back to.

Source: 1701News
About the Author: Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for 1701News, Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus, and a co-founder of 1701News. He lives in Tampa, Fla.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

OOC post (#4967)

The following paragraph from this article sums up everything I've tried to put forth in Arcadia.  I've reiterated this again & again.
"Somewhere along the way with the new Trek films, someone fixed on the idea that Star Trek is an action franchise.  It’s not.  It never was.  It’s a science-fiction franchise.  Star Trek hasn’t lasted fifty years because of action scenes.  It lasted fifty years because it created a universe of wonder and intrigue.  It mixed fun pulpy elements with fascinating ideas and flights of fancy.  The stuff that will last is the intellectual and emotional architecture of the universe and its characters."
That’s what Arcadia is about.  The bolded statements highlight Arcadia's core premise, which, regardless of how it splits from Star Trek's main/canon continuity, echoes the heart of Star Trek.  Hopefully this helps to clear any misunderstanding about Arcadia’s conceptual elements.

OOC: DS9 wallpaper

OOC: Saw this and for an instant, it took me back.  Ahhhhh (sigh)... better times...
(source: via DeCandido.net)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Maggie

"This is borrrrrrring..."
"Pay attention."  Maggie's watcher, her overseer, lightly cuffed her on the back of the neck.
She liked doing that, a little too much, Maggie thought – irritating, to put it mildly.  Maggie wanted to turn her into a Dantari gutter worm then drop her into a black hole.  The watcher wouldn't appreciate it, but that didn't soothe the urge.  Increased it, rather...
But then, that was the point of this exercise – part of Q Prime's decree: to teach the younger Q respect for lesser lifeforms.  They all had to learn it, he declared.  At least they had the benefit of watchers, he said; he had learn the hard way...  She suspected this was Q's way of getting revenge, for being forced to "shape up".
"There," the watcher said.  "Did you see?"
Maggie thought, If I turn her into a dung beetle, would it be disrespectful to the beetle?  She sighed.  "Yes."
The watcher fixed her with steely dark eyes.  "Don't lie."
Maggie didn't – not exactly.  She saw... something.  She just wasn't sure, yet, what she saw, or was supposed to see.
The watcher scrutinized her, her intense gaze drilling through the young Q.  Rumor had it this particular watcher used to be Vulcan: stern, uncompassionate... hard as nails, cold as ice.  "What did you see?"
They stood in one of the humans' flying boxes: containers called starships.  'Standing' was still new to Maggie, a strange way to occupy space and time, with physical appendages.  None of the Q needed to stand, or use these things called 'legs'.  These organic beings who used them for bipedal locomotion... They were so limited.  So primitive.
And yet the Continuum took great interest in such things.  They didn't act interested.  In fact, they tried to act uninterested, as if it didn't really matter to them.  But the harder they tried, the more clear it became: Bipedal beings, especially the ones called humans, intrigued them.  Thus, Q often took human form, as Maggie did, and was forced to do.  This container, this vessel in which they stood, she and her watcher (who, again, was rumored to have once been Vulcan... = bipedal!, shockingly), contained humans, primarily.
Answering the watcher's question, Maggie said, in a tone that made it clear as she could that she was bored (and wanted to be somewhere else), "The bomb exploded, and he's dead."
"And?"
And what?, Maggie wanted to answer, but held her tongue and replayed the scene.  There, the watcher had said; did you see?  Maggie looped time, in that moment, continuously, repeating as much as needed, in order to discern the watcher's "there", unsure what she was meant to find.  Such abundant energy flowed, so many possibilities and probabilities, following paths, like rivers in motion.  Organics, humanoids, with their pitiful, pathetic, limited senses, could not begin to comprehend.
Maggie gave up and tried not to shrug.  "He could've died.  It could've killed the captain instead... or it could've failed."
"Follow it," the watcher said.  "Remember why we're here."
Maggie obeyed.
The engineer's death saddened his friends; most acutely the ship's first officer.  They didn't realize that his energy simply transferred into another medium.  At the same time, alternate realities sprang into motion.
While Maggie endured this inane exercise, a tiny, subtle voice, like a distant whisper from a deep well far across the cosmos, filtered through the recesses of her awareness... an indeterminate voice, issuing words in a lyrical, sing-song tone:
Shiver, sliver, toil.  I quiver, shiver...
When you're spilling blood, it's bound to get messy.
Oh, sliver, shiver... I think I like you...
I like Q.
I, like Q.
Maggie watched the watcher.  The watcher seemed oblivious and unaware – but then, she was only a watcher, not Q.  Watchers had no true power over Q; only the authority Q, the prime Q, that Q, granted them – as watchers, guides, teachers, instructors.
So Maggie didn't ask if the watcher heard.  Obviously she didn't.  And the tiny far-off whisper... something in it told her that this was not meant to be shared with lesser beings.  Only Q.
Only her.  Maggie.
"Your attention's wandering," the watcher said.  "Focus."
Can I please turn her into a bug and squash her, Maggie thought.
"You would miss the point of the exercise," the watcher said, that dark-eyed gaze still upon her.  "And I would have failed to teach you.  So, no, you may not turn me into a bug."
Aw, Q, Maggie thought, you didn't give her the ability to read our minds...!
But, of course, Q had done just that.  At least she could read Maggie's mind, this one.
"I don't understand 'the point of the exercise'," Maggie said, mocking her watcher by duplicating her voice in a derisive tone.  "Maybe if you'd just get to it and stop wasting time..."
"Wasting time," the watcher said.  "What is 'wasting time' for a supposedly omnipotent being, who can live for all of time and never die?"
"I just mean—"
"You're impatient," the watcher said.  In that statement, she lost just a bit of her own patience.  Only a trifle, but Maggie picked it up, the sudden edge in her demeanor.  "That's exactly why we're having this exercise.  Now as I said before: Look, and tell me what you see."
"Alternate realities... universes... timelines... whatever you want to call them," Maggie said.
"Except there are no such things," the watcher said.  "Correct?  Then how is it that you detect them?  What, exactly, do you see?  Are you certain of what you see?"
"Well, what am I supposed to see?"  Maggie was getting irritated now.
"The form and method of sight, which you use to see – which all beings use to see, whether they use the eyes of an organic being, or the eyes of Q – determines what you see.  That is what you are meant to see... to learn, and understand.  It isn't only what you see, but how you see it."
"Were you Vulcan?" Maggie asked, finally fed up with not knowing the truth behind the rumor.  "Before you became a watcher."
"What makes you believe I am not Vulcan now?"
"Because you're... a watcher."  Maggie looked her up and down, gesturing.  "It should be obvious."
"And what did I just tell you, about seeing?"
About to retort, Maggie jerked in abrupt shock when the watcher grabbed her face and turned it to the scene on this 'starship' they inhabited.  "Look," the watcher commanded.
It was then that Maggie saw: Not herself... yet herself... another form of herself, her yet not her... hidden from the view of the bipedals inside this vessel, but not from her, not from Maggie herself; nor the watcher.
"What are you doing here?" Maggie said to her other self, surprised to see that she had been split in time.  Q, in different times.
The other Maggie gave her a look that spoke volumes, yet said not a single word.  This Maggie looked identical, but was older, much much older, in her 'eyes' (though Q lacked eyes in the organic sense, since they lacked organs altogether), in her countenance, in the way she looked at Maggie – looked at herself.  This Maggie was wiser.  Mature.  Responsible.  And had a purpose.
Maggie witnessed what she herself was doing: Taking one of those threads, those alternate outcomes that supposedly could not exist (for there was only one universe, one timeline, since the advent of Chronos), and looping it, just as Maggie saw the possibility of doing earlier; she took it and connected it, and the death of the human laying at their feet became a non-event.  It did not happen.  And yet, his body, this human, remained, mortally wounded and lifeless.
His name (humans loved names) was Charles Tucker III – nicknamed 'Trip'.
TBC....