12.30.2015

Video: The original intro to Star Trek's 2nd pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before"


Enterprise Log: James Kirk, Commanding

We are leaving that vast cloud of stars and planets which we call our galaxy. Behind us, Earth, Mars, Venus, even our Sun, are specks of dust. The question: What is out there in the black void beyond.
I confess that I have never seen the beginning of "Where No Man Has Gone Before". I've seen almost the entire episode (look, I'm more of a TOS movie and TNG fan, okay?), so I noticed several interesting bits:

1. The Enterprise being a law enforcement/patrol ship that's sent out of the galaxy to see what's out there. I like the idea of it being repurposed for the task, rather than being built specifically for extra-galactic exploration because it gives the impression that the Federation or Earth or whoever doesn't is wary of building a brand new ship for a mission that might not pan out.

2. Spock having human ancestry rather than being half-human. I actually like that more than him being half and half because it's a better explanation for why he was never as coldly logical as other Vulcans and moments of emotion, as well as explain why he lacks human features. B'lanna from Voyager, for example, is half-human and half-Klingon and it shows as her forehead ridges aren't as prominent. With Spock, you'd think that his ears wouldn't be as pointed as a full-blooded Vulcan and his eyebrows would look more like a human's if he was only half-Vulcan.

3. The transporter being called a materializer. I thought it was dumb the first time I heard Scotty say it, but the name's growing on me. Transporter is still a better name, but materializer has the charm of sounding old school scifi.

4. The corridor set looks cool, especially with that ladder. They should have kept the ladders. That part of the set has a nice nautical feel, which fits with ship-based scifi.

(h/t File 770)

12.26.2015

Just go ahead and disregard that post about the movie theater

Because it turns out that that their website was just plain wrong. They had an ad in yesterday's paper for movies they're showing and so I finally got to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I'll do a post about that today or tomorrow and fair warning, there's going to be some rather colorful language in regards to a certain thing that happened and if you've seen the movie, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Don't spoil it in the comments for this post, though. I don't want to ruin it for anybody who hasn't seen The Force Awakens.

12.24.2015

Treklit is my crack

And I can never get enough. Right off the heels of finishing Star Trek Vanguard: Summon the Thunder, I've moved on to book three of the series, Reap the Whirlwind.

How is it so far? Not bad. 49 pages in and  I can already tell that the Klingons are going to have a bigger role than they did in the previous two books, which I have exactly zero problems with. I'm hyped to see the USS Sagittarius (the ship on the cover) as the focus of the novel because I love the Archer-class scout ships. David Mack has a casting list on his website and his choice of Sir Ben Kingsley as Captain Adelard Nassir really helps with the visualization. Speaking of David Mack and casting, there's a nice reference to Kevin Smith's movie Clerks in chapter 2, which features two ensigns from the USS Lovell who are both named after the two main actors from Clerks. I didn't catch it until one of them said Dante Hicks' famous line from the movie "I wasn't even supposed to be here today." Great movie, by the way.

Reap the Whirlwind revolves around the Jinoteur System which in Summon the Thunder, was identified as the source of a mysterious carrier wave that caused havoc with Vanguard's computer systems (as told in a short story, Early Distant Warning) and its relation to both the Meta-Genome and the mysterious Shedai. It's early, but I think this one is going to be another great read.

12.23.2015

My local movie theater has failed me so badly

I was set and ready to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the beginning of the week and well, that plan went up in smoke, not unlike Vader's skin in Revenge of the Sith. I waited until Monday in order to avoid crowds and that appears to have been a big, big mistake. Why? Because the local theater is only showing TFA in the evenings and at night this week, opting to show Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (obvious Oscar bait, if you ask me) during the day instead. You see, folks, my town doesn't have one of those big chain theaters anymore and instead has one of those small indie jobs run by people who apparently think that people want to see Jason Lee and three CGI talking chipmunks instead of a SW movie during the day.

But oh, it gets even dumber. The theater closes down on Christmas Eve and doesn't reopen until like Jan. 6th or 16th, at which point it's only showing actual-honest-to-god operas for who knows how long. Apparently that's an actual business plan? Not show movies and divert all those customers to the theater in one of the nearby cities? Seems legit.

It's a problem because I don't drive and while my town isn't the crime capital of America, walking home at night is not something I'd like to do. Despite this pain in the rear, I'll finally get to see The Force Awakens this Friday.

12.19.2015

Finished: Star Trek Vanguard: Summon the Thunder [SPOILERS]

It was pretty good. It had a bit more action in it than I remember Harbinger having, which wasn't a slouch itself. Quinn and Pennington weren't as annoying as they were in the first book, mostly because the latter didn't spend the entire book whining about his dead girlfriend. That's not to say that Harbinger was in any way an inferior book. David Mack had the difficult task of setting the stage, establishing characters, etc. for the rest of the series (with help from Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, no doubt) while staging within a certain page length, so it stands to reason that he couldn't add as much action and space battles as Ward and Dilmore did in Summon the Thunder.

12.15.2015

Some thoughts on that star galleon post

I was thinking about that post this morning and realized that there's a small flaw in the scenario for wargamers: the treasure. While the loot would be a good reward for treasure hunters in a role-playing scenario, it probably wouldn't be in wargaming. It would be a drop in the bucket for all but the most impoverished of star nations. Of course, there are simple fixes for this:

1. Hybridize it. Start out with a wargame with the players trying to secure the wreck so that they can send a boarding party over to begin exploring, which would be the RPG side of the game. This would either work as a solo game or you could have the losing players control whatever nasty things are inside the galleon.

2. Add another objective. This is pretty simple and I can't believe that I didn't think of it when I was writing that post. Tell all the players that the star galleon's has an intact datacore that contains the potential locations of other wrecked galleons and long lost storage depots. However, the datacore has to be physically collected and returned to your ship in order for the information to be retrieved. Any damage it takes while being removed and transported will cause loss of data and some of the locations of the other wrecks and depots. It's very old, so any excessive jostling or banging around will cause damage. In other words, whoever is carrying the thing has to move slower than they normally would.

Another thought I had is the type of ships that would battle it out in a wargame. I would bar any large ships like carriers, dreadnoughts, battleships, etc. because it just wouldn't make any sense to scramble the big guns for a single wreck. Instead, I would allow only smaller ships like destroyers and frigates. Maybe some cruisers, but only a very small number. Fighters would be okay, I suppose, unless they require a carrier, then no. The idea would be that each star nation would like to get their hands on the content of the star galleon, but they're not going to send in an entire battle fleet for it.

12.14.2015

Inspiration: Wreck of the old star galleon

I saw an article the other day on NPR about the discovery of the wreck of a galleon from the legendary Spanish treasure fleet and my initial reaction was "wow, this would be good inspiration for a fantasy RPG" and indeed it would be. Buuuuuuut then I started to think about it tonight and realized that hey, this would work for scifi too. Here's the scenario I've come up with:
An ancient star galleon from a fallen space empire has been discovered in some remote reach of space. All that's known about the galleon is that it was once part of the aforementioned empire's treasure fleet, hauling fortune from its far-flung reaches and sometimes high technology. The contents and defenses of the galleon are unknown, but the potential for incredible riches and technology make its exploration well worth any dangers.
This could work for a wargame setting as well. In that situation, you'd have several star navies rushing ships to secure the galleon and its contents. Its worth noting that the technology in both scenarios are still very advanced even though the empire that created it has long since expired. Speaking of which, while that empire has gone the way of so many real world analogues, the star nation that spawned it still does, which adds another element to the scenarios: They themselves would love, love, love to get their hands on their former riches and technology in order to restore themselves to their former glory.

Thoughts?

The trailer for Star Trek: Beyond is...well, it's a...uh...it's something



I was going to write something snarky here, but I can't. I just can't. If that trailer is any indication, Star Trek: Beyond is going to be a hot pile of shit like Into Darkness. Can't say that I'm surprised. After all, Justin Lin is the same guy who directed four of the Fast & Furious movies and that trailer shows that he went at Beyond just like one of those movies. I make no secret about my dislike of the reboot and this only increases those feelings. This isn't Star Trek, plain and simple. This is Paramount trying to squeeze as much money out of the franchise as they can by reducing Trek to nothing more than an action movie franchise.

I don’t think Beyond will be Battlefield: Earth bad, but it’ll definitely trek beyond Final Frontier.

12.01.2015

Oh, pretty ship

Credit: Peter Elson.
Stolen shamelessly from the blog of BARKING ALIEN. I am without shame, people! In any case, I swiped it because it's an awfully cool looking starship for the most part. The knock against I have against it is that antenna/mast. It's just odd and is that a gun mounted at the top? You just know some asshole gunner on an enemy ship is going to aim for that thing just to be a jerk. All the other gunners are aiming for the main body of that ship and there's Johnny Jackass trying to shot the antennas off. What a jerk, am I right?

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