In case you’re wondering, no, Samanth Andrea Turnbull didn’t use a drop of red matter to sidestep into the Kelvin Universe. She’s still alive and well and attached to Task Force 93. But I (the writer behind the writer, as it were), thought I’d take a moment to do an interview with Cap’n Cindy (aka Amanda Rose/Commander Cynthia Jackson/choose your favorite nom de plume), the commander and creator of the USS Legacy, the Kelvin sim in the newly created Task Force 64.
The Kelvin Universe, aka the Star Trek ‘reboot’, holds a special place in my heart, being the first movie my grandfather ever took me to. Granted, it was a couple of weeks after it came out, and it was the earliest showing in the middle of the week, but my grandfather still took me, and we had Greek food afterwards.
You’d love my grandfather. He’s a combination of Sisko, Chokatay and O’Brien, with Hillel the Elder mixed in. And my grandfather would have punched Q in the nose too.
But I digress.
So I like—no, scratch that, I love NuTrek. And just like Gal Gadot, I’d bite my lower lip in the presence of Chris Pine. And like the Cockrell twins, I’d find it hard to concentrate if I were in bed with Chris Pine.
Now I’m seriously digressing.
So let’s get back on track with a few questions for the Captain and creator of the USS Legacy, Commander Cynthia Jackson.
Q: One of the more unusual points of the Legacy is that the ship itself is constructed from the salvaged remains of other ships. What was the inspiration behind that idea?
A: When I created this sim four years back with a different crew, Star Trek Beyond had not yet been created. The Kelvin timeline was so much more militaristic and violent than the original series, which Roddenberry created. In my opinion, Roddenberry created Star Trek as a vision or hope for what the future should, could, or would become. Since most of NuTrek, so to speak, involved death and destruction, not to mention really dark sets, I wanted to do something that would bring reasons to hope to what could otherwise be a depressing or violent genre. Remembering the scene where Kirk arrives amongst the ruins of the Fleet, it seemed like this would be a way to give back hope to that universe. Bringing what was destroyed and making it into something new and inspirational.
Q: Since you brought up Star Trek: Beyond, how would you characterize that movie, and what elements, if any, will you be incorporating in the Kelvin Universe that the Legacy is in?
A: Star Trek Beyond, in my mind, was probably the truest to TOS and TNG in bringing in social commentary and philosophical food for thought. In Beyond’s case, is the cost for immortality worth it, if it takes away other’s lives? Legacy does start two years before Star Trek Beyond. However, we do have everything else that is shown from the Abrams movies. So, we have transwarp transporters available, for example.
Q: Ah, the transwarp transporter. Will that be available on the Legacy, or will it be stored away in a warehouse somewhere, where it’s being studied by “top men?”
A: I really hate it when people nerf a genre just because things are uncomfortable. I do not recall ever seeing it being used from a ship in the NuTrek verse. We saw it being used from fixed points, like when Scotty and Kirk were stranded on a planet and used it to beam to the Enterprise or when Khan used a fixed signal to take him back. It must take an enormous amount of energy and with the less advanced other technologies, my thought is that it is not available on the ship but is available at Starbases and other like areas.
Q: Sorry, no Nerfing meant, I promise! But it does seem that a lot of times, you’ll see a technology introduced in Star Trek, maybe see it discussed in a subsequent episode, and then never see it again. Are there any technologies, civilizations, etc., that have been given the once over, never seen again treatment that you’d like to see explored?
A. I was not speaking to you, dear questioner, nerfing a genre. I was speaking of other GMs or COs that take things out because it seems too powerful of a plot device. I think there are ways to control it without removing it, making it classified, or studied by “top men.” I think that’s especially true when viewers have witnessed it used in at least two movies.
As to the new question, yes, there are many things that I plan on bringing in that have only been seen once or have not been explored in detail into this game. For people who have seen my other creations in BF, I have introduced a Halanan on the sim Traveller, which only appeared in one episode of DS9. Similarly, Tygarians have only been seen and spoken one line in all of DS9. I have created their entire culture through a Tygarian science officer named Amelix Milumad on the Kitsune. Without giving too much away, I have eventual plans (say in mission 3 or 4) to bring back Tholians and I regularly troll Memory Alpha and go through my collection of TOS to find once or rarely used Star Trek creations, dust them off, and bring them into the light again.
Q: So what is the first mission that the Legacy will be going on, after the crew reports on board?
A: The first mission will combine elements of the Kelvin universe (militaristic in nature) with some of the suspense of the original series and establish the crew’s manifest. It will not be a mission of discovery, but of military necessity. Outposts near the Klingon neutral zone stop reporting in. Legacy is sent to investigate. It will find that the outposts have been decimated. Where things go from there, we shall see. *evil grin*
Q: One of my favorite ‘tongue-in-cheek’ theories on why Klingons look so different with each new series and/or movie is that each series/movies represent an “anti-time” incident (like we see in the TNG finale), and Klingons are particularly susceptible to being changed by these anti-time events. So what do Klingons look like in the Legacy’s Universe?
A: You had to ask that question, didn’t you? *gasp* I’ve never specified it and now I’m going on record. We know that Klingons look different in TOS from TNG and from Discovery. the only thing that we have from Trials and Tribble-ations is Worf’s line that “we do not discuss it with outsiders.” Personally, I do not consider Enterprise canon but we have both ridged and non-ridged Klingons there. We have a brief scene in the Abramsverse where when Kirk is chasing Khan that we see ridged Klingons. While originally I would have considered TNG the only correct Klingons because of the technical difficulties and budgetary constraints of the 60s, Trials and Tribble-ations makes it impossible to do that. Consequently, it is my belief from combining Worf’s statements that the non-ridged Klingons either were a lower caste of Klingons and were wiped out eventually or they’re just another “race” of Klingons. In any case, at this moment, only ridged Klingons are likely to be seen in Legacy but I reserve judgment at this time for others.
Q: Okay, okay, quickly changing the question! The thing about the Abramsverse is that it is both similar to and different from the original TOS universe. For example, in the TOS universe, Khan is discovered at least eight years (if not more) after he’s discovered in the Kelvin Universe. So are there any TOS episodes you might like to eventually visit and put a “Kelvin twist” on them, so to speak?
A: You mean that Khan is discovered eight years earlier in the Kelvin universe, right? 🙂 But, yes, I use the Kelvin universe specifically to twist TOS stories. The first mission has a lot of that and twists at least two TOS episodes.
Q: Eight years forward, eight years backward, it’s all relative in the Q-Continuum. And no, that’s not a segue into a discussion about Q! But there is a race that was rebooted in its appearance in the Abramsverse that has caused more ruckus than I’ve seen for any other species. And that’s the Caitians! When Trek reboot producer and co-writer Damon Lindelof confirms that the twins in James Kirk’s bed are Caitians, that would seem to end the argument. But that only seemed to get the voices of opposition louder. So let me put you on the spot here. Would you allow a Caitian player character or nonplayer character on the Legacy and, if so, what would the Caitian look like? Or would that be something to be hashed out between you and the writer if and when the subject came up?
A: Of course I would allow a Caitian. Heck, I play M’Mira, a Caitian, on Faltan Station. The trickier question is what they look like. They seem to vary a lot in the various genres, even more than the Klingons. They were first introduced in TAS and only as a female. We saw little else of them until the movies and then they were male and much more thick furred. I personally have issues with the two in Kirk’s bed being called Caitians because until the Kelvin universe, all Caitians had one thing in common besides a tail and that was fur. Perhaps those Caitians in Kirk’s bed somehow are half-Caitian or have some sort of disease that made them lose their fur but without explanation, the fact they had tails and were female were not enough evidence to make them Caitians to me. After all, even Startrek.com says, “The felinoid Caitians and the warlike Kzinti share common roots in the deep past — as do Vulcans and Romulans…. Natives of Cait tend to be small and sinewy; the females are as delicately dainty as the Siamese or Abyssinian cats of old Earth.” I saw nothing resembling those things in the twins that Kirk was in bed with.
Q: So I’ve been hearing about something called ‘tickertape.’ What exactly is that?
A: The Ticker Tape is something that I created along with some other crew members on a sim probably about ten years ago. One of the things that I have always encouraged my players to do is get immersed in the genre that we are simming in. In most Trek sims that I have seen, there is a formula for how things are done. Captain sets mission, people do their duties as the officers, things happen, and then rinse and repeat. But, what do we all remember from Trek? We don’t remember Trek characters duties. We remember who they are and why they became who they were. We remember the respect and tension between Bones and Spock and Kirk. We remember Troi having relationships with Riker and then Worf and then marrying Riker. The Ticker Tape encourages all the side plots that characters/players can make for themselves without a Captain directing traffic, so to speak. The Ticker Tape was modeled after the old stock market ticker tapes where stock information was just printed out and coming in a stream. It was unfiltered information. Well, in our universe, the Ticker Tape is similar but it might be more apt to consider it like an anonymous bulletin board where crew members can blow off steam, create rumors about other characters or spread gossip. Every once in awhile one of these rumors or gossip can be used as fodder for a new mission. In my experience, it has resulted in a great deal of hilarity as characters might look at others with a side eye or give other reactions based on personal life rather than just what’s going on in the main screen of duty life.
Q: And only two things travel faster than light: warp engines and shipboard gossip. I can see how the tickertape would help “flesh out” a storyline, but do you think it has ever actually steered the main course of a mission?
A: I know that is has influenced a great deal of subplot and has affected missions due to character interactions. Has it steered the main course of a mission to date? I do not believe so but I could be wrong. I may have to double check this now that you have brought it up.
Q: Any other interesting plot and subplot devices up your sleeve?
A: Of course. Legacy, for example is going to have a Public Relations officer so said person will probably be interviewing crew members for information to go back to Earth or Federation feeds. That could play against crew and Captain in many ways. Other devices will come up. But as much as I direct traffic on Legacy, I always hope that player characters will help me direct it, as well. Sometimes I read their writing and say, “I wonder….” All of a sudden, a new plot or subplot comes out. There has been more than one occasion where I also have let a character direct the story’s action and I’m surprised when a plot turns in a completely different direction than I would have had it. But that’s all part of the fun!
Q: Let me ask you a more trivial question. As I mentioned above, Chris Pine is my favorite actor from the Trek reboot. And not just for his drool inducing qualities. From everything I’ve read, he seems like a really nice person. So who would you consider your favorite actor from the Trek reboot movies?
A: That’s easy. Karl Urban. He is the heart and soul of everything that Bones was in TOS. He nailed DeForrest Kelley’s portrayal of McCoy and it was a very smooth transition from TOS to the Kelvin universe.
Q: Final question for the interview. What would you like a writer who want to join the Legacy to know about your ship.
A: What would I want them to know? I am a very active CO. I try to keep everyone involved and make sure that plot is moving. If I’m not writing at least once a day on Legacy, I know I’m failing the ship. I have a duty to every writer on any sim that I run to make sure that they are involved and are enjoying themselves. If someone is not participating or does not find that they are having fun, then what is the point of writing and telling the tales? After all, could we all not just write a book or story on our own if we did not want the personal interaction? Writing on a sim should be fun and it is most fun, in my opinion, when everyone is actively creating and participating in those stories, plots and subplots.
Well, dear reader, I hope you enjoyed that interview as much as I did. Task Force 64 represents a new era in Bravo Fleet and, as you can see, the Legacy embodies the excitement and innovation that Task Force 64 represents. Just the sim and task force for the writer who wants to stretch their creative wings!