I really like this Rogue Trader picture

(via Lexicanum)
I dig the Age of Sail/pirate vibe with their outfits. The old fashioned (treasure?) map is a nice touch too.


Finished: Star Trek Vanguard: Harbinger (spoilers)

(via Memory Alpha)
It was pretty good, but felt more like a pilot episode than a novel. What I mean is, the book mostly established multiple plot threads for the rest of series and didn't really resolve anything except for the destruction of the Bombay by the Tholians.

Can we just talk about for a second? A pre-refit, TOS era (Harbinger is set just after the events of Where No Man Has Gone Before) Miranda-class took on six Tholian heavy cruisers and destroyed four of them out before being destroyed herself. Damn, son! No wonder the Reliant kicked the Enterprise's ass in Wrath of Khan!
What a pre-refit Miranda might have looked like.
(via Memory Beta)

Anyways, back to the book. The premise for the Vanguard series is pretty cool: The USS Constellation (you might have heard of it) discovers something called a meta-genome in a sample of mold that they were transporting back from a planet called Ravanar in the Tarsus Reach, a far off sector of space outside Federation territory. Yup, outside Feddie territory and right between the Klingon Empire and Tholian Assembly. What could possibly go wrong? The meta-genome proves to be important because it contains a lot of information; too much, in fact, to be anything but artificial. So, Starfleet fast-tracks the construction of Vanguard, a watch-tower class starbase in Tarsus Reach. They also assign three starships to the base: the already mentioned Bombay, the Constitution-class Endeavor, and the Archer-class Sagittarius. The Archer is a small scout ship that was created specifically for the series and has appeared outside of it as well.

Like I said, there are multiple plot threads established in Harbinger. One is that a member of the Federation diplomatic staff on Vanguard, Anna Sandesjo, is actually a Klingon spy and the lover of the station's intelligence officer, T'Prynn. There's another plot thread with the latter. T'Prynn had a very dramatic experience during Pon Farr. Her mate was a physically abusive dickhole of a Vulcan named Sten, who she killed during kal-if-fee (remember that fight between Spock and Kirk in Amok Time?) and well, it did not end well for her. Sten forced his katra into her mind and it can't be removed with it destroying hers in the process. So, she faces a daily mental battle with his katra assaulting her mind until she submits. There's also a secret relationship ongoing between Commodore Diego Reyes, the commander of Vanguard and his JAG officer, Captain Rana Desai.

Then there's Cervantes Quinn and Tim Pennington. Not in a romantic relationship, but their lives are connected throughout the novel. Quinn a smuggler/man for hire working for an Orion crime boss based out of Vanguard. Pennington is a reporting working for the Federation News Service. Quinn is responsible for the destruction of the Bombay when he accidentally destroys the sensor screen (while trying to steal it) that a team of Starfleet engineers and scientists were using to hide their top secret project on Ravanar. The Bombay was sent to rush a new sensor screen to the planet. Pennington's girlfriend was a bridge officer on the Bombay. Their separate threads connect throughout the novel until the very end when they become entangled. Presumably, because I don't know if Pennington and Quinn are even in the rest of the series. Honestly, it took a while for me to warm up to Quinn and Pennington branches of the plot and even then, I didn't like them much. Pennington brought the Federation close to the brink of war with the Tholians with his expose on the latter's destruction of the Bombay because he wanted to bring justice for Oriana, his girlfriend. Quinn just didn't wow me. He mostly just slunk around, got drunk, got beat up, and then got even more drunk.

The ending and the introduction of the Sheddai, which apparently is some sort of ancient advanced alien species was intriguing, but nothing new. It piqued my interest nonetheless.

Overall, I liked Harbinger regardless of its faults. Every book is going to have them. I like the way David Mack handled Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise in the story. They were there and helped move the plot along without overshadowing the book's cast of characters.

Rating 8/10. Recommended.


The Decker-class was one ugly FASA ship

From the front, it looks fine. From the top and the side, it looks whoever at FASA designed it was really hitting the bottle. Here's the description from Memory Beta:
The Decker-class was a Federation class X destroyer starship in Starfleet service in the 23rd century, becoming active on reference stardate 2/7502.
The Decker-class vessels crewed 200 officers and crew, with room for up to 10 passengers and about 100 Starfleet Marines. Additionally, the Decker could carry 10,000 metric tons of cargo, rated at 200 SCU (standard cargo units). The vessels weighed 140,603 metric tons, measured 288 meters in length, 120 meters in width and 52 meters in height. The Decker had four standard (6 person) personnel transporters, four 12-person escape transporter stages and four cargo transporters, two for large scale cargo and two for small scale cargo. The control computer of the Decker vessels was of the M-6A type.
The Decker had warp engines of the FTWC-2 type, rated, in original cochrane unit scales, to cruise at warp factor 12 and max out at warp factor 14. The Decker impulse engines were of the FIF-2 type. The Decker weapons had five FH-11 phaser banks, with forward port, forward starboard and aft firing arcs. The vessels had three FP-4 photon torpedo launchers with forward port starboard and aft firing arcs and was defended by FSM model deflector shields.
The commissioning of the prototype USS Matthew Decker marked a new use of advancements in technology and ship-mounted weaponry that were originally fielded in Starfleet's Excelsior-class, but in a lighter, more maneuverable destroyer vessel designed for patrol, escort and deep space combat. The class ran into initial delays as advanced technology required redesign to fit into the compact spaceframe. Most of these problems were solved by the introduction of Daystrom Duotronics' M-6A/M-9A computers, integrating synoptic duotronics with artificial intelligence. The Marine contingents frequently refer to these vessels as "Damn Fine Deckers" because of their quality as a fighting ship.
The destroyer class was named for Matthew Decker, namesake of the first ship of the class, as well as other members of his family who had given their lives in Fleet service. Other ships in the class are also named after Starfleet officers that had given their life or otherwise sacrificed in the line of duty. By 2364, of the 40 Decker vessels that had been constructed, 20 remained in active service, with an additional two used by Star Fleet Training Command as training vessels, and the rest listed as missing, scrapped or destroyed.
They may have been a "damn fine" ships, but they're never going to win any beauty contests.


I am dead and this Hijinks Ensue Star Trek comic is my killer

Credit: Hijinks Ensue.
For those who might not be up to date on internet memes (they do tend to come and go like lightning), the punchline is based on the Doge meme, seen below.

(via Wikipedia)
Yeah, the internet is pretty stupid. Anyways, Darmok is one of the best episodes of Star Trek ever. I love the idea of an entire alien species whose language is based on metaphors that are themselves based on historical events. It was nice seeing the Federation encounter a situation where the much vaunted universal translator was about as useful as a preacher in a whore house.


Kate Mulgrew NOT, in fact, a believer in geocentrism

So a small controversy erupted over the fact that Kate Mulgrew did a voice-over narration for a movie called The Principle, which promotes the thoroughly disproven idea that everything in the solar system revolves around the Earth. Yes, there are people who still think that. Fortunately, Mulgrew is not one of them. She posted a message on her Facebook fanpage about it on April 8th:

"I understand there has been some controversy about my participation in a documentary called THE PRINCIPLE. Let me assure everyone that I completely agree with the eminent physicist Lawrence Krauss, who was himself misrepresented in the film, and who has written a succinct rebuttal in SLATE. I am not a geocentrist, nor am I in any way a proponent of geocentrism. More importantly, I do not subscribe to anything Robert Sungenis has written regarding science and history and, had I known of his involvement, would most certainly have avoided this documentary. I was a voice for hire, and a misinformed one, at that. I apologize for any confusion that my voice on this trailer may have caused. Kate Mulgrew"
I'm glad she spoke out because Robert Sungenis is a terrible excuse for a human being and I shudder to think that there are people who do associate with him. The guy is a Holocaust denier who actually claims that no one has proven that the Holocaust even happened, so just ignore the death camps, I guess. He also thinks Jews are plotting to "put Satan in control of the world" and that Israel assassinated John F. Kennedy, amongst other things. This guy is so extreme, the Catholic Church made him remove the world "Catholic" from a website he runs.

I still can't believe that people like that still exist.


Lasgun out of a Nerf Longstrike = awesome

Credit: Frost-Claw-Studios.
This beauty was made out of a Nerf Longstrike by Frost-Claw-Studios. Amazing. They apparently take commissions too, so imagine having one of these puppies hanging on a wall in your game room or man cave, or defending the Imperium against heretics and dirty, dirty Xenos!

h/t The Khan Rides to War.

How did Starfleet not know that warp drive was damaging space?

Or did they?
One of the Hekaran scientists presenting the damaging caused by warp drive.
(via Memory Alpha)
In the TNG episode "Forces of Nature", two alien scientists reveal that warp drive is damaging spacetime, with the area the episode takes place in being badly affected. This is demonstrated quite drastically after one of the scientists blows up her ship via warp core breach just to prove their point. After this, the Federation imposed a "speed limit" of warp five to mitigate damage.

Subspace rift caused by a warp core breach.
(via Memory Alpha)
What strikes me is that Starfleet or the Federation's scientists didn't know that warp drive could damage spacetime. Not once while they were developing newer, faster engines did anyone stumble upon evidence or even a notion that warp had such a negative effect?

(via Memory Alpha)
Or maybe they did and Starfleet buried it until a solution could be found. Maybe The Great Experiment (transwarp drive) was meant to be that solution and it's failure put them back at square one. The Intrepid-class's unusual warp nacelles may have been another attempt at fixing the problem. According to Memory Alpha, the unpublished tech manual for the first season of Star Trek: Voyager and the third edition of the Star Trek Encyclopedia both suggest that the Intrepid's "variable geometry pylons" eliminated the problem. The problem with that is that the Intrepids are the only ships in Starfleet service with VGPs - all the ships built after them (the Akira, Steamrunner, etc) all have conventional setups.

It's worth noting that in the non-canon Treklit, Starfleet appears to be actively fixing the problem by moving away from warp drive and towards quantum slipstream, but that's for another post.
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