The voyages of the Starship Fortyish.

Recent updates from a couple of Facebook friends brought back some memories yesterday, which prompted a bit of deep-diving into my files (both the paper and the computer kind). Brace yourselves….

Longtime friends and followers of my online shenanigans will recall that back in “the day,” I was a volunteer staff member with the Star Trek Club on America Online. In my role there, I hosted real-time trivia games on the weekends, and also oversaw a couple of the club’s different message boards. For a while, I also helped with fashioning content, and even acted as one of the editors for a fanzine/parody newspaper kinda thing we called the UFP Today.

Yeah, I was a geek. Still am. Not a nerd, though. Nerds can do math. Move on? Yes, I think so.

Within the club were various cliques and other groups, one of which was a collection of “older” gents and ladies who called themselves “the crew of the U.S.S. Fortyish.” I started hanging out with them when several members of the group came to Kansas City in 2000 for a Star Trek convention being held here, in order to meet each other face-to-face for the first time, eat, drink, be merry, and so on. Though I wasn’t yet 40 when I met them at that con, they gave me a special membership status among the crew (or adopted me as a mascot…whatever). It was a fun group of folks to hang out with, and the attitude is perhaps best described by the “technical schematic” created of the Fortyish itself, as designed by founding group member and a greatly missed friend, the late Bruce Thompson:

Click to enlarge

After that first con, plans were made to repeat the “Away Team” excursion the following year, and in the spring of 2001 the Fortyish crew returned to Kansas City. Now a bonafide member of the crew (though still not due to age), my “persona” was that of “Net,” a shortening of my America Online handle, which had begun as “NetRunr,” then morphed to “NetTrekker” (and by which I’m still referred by a few hardcore AOLers), before finally settling on “STFC Net,” owing to the AOL mandate for staff members to have uniform prefixes for their user names. With the con fast approaching, I decided to have a bit of pre-con fun, and wrote up some silly mischief which I distributed to the group:


—–

Hey gang,

One of my buddies inside the DTI offices slid me this series of transcripts under the table one night. Figured you guys might like a heads up:

Net

—–

From: DTI Agent Dulmer
To: Commander, Department of Temporal Investigations
CC: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: Potential for Unauthorized Temporal Incursion

Intelligence reports reveal a group of Starfleet officers currently assigned to the U.S.S. Fortyish is in preparations to conduct a covert temporal displacement. At present, it is unclear whether or not Starfleet Command has sanctioned this activity, and it has definitely not been cleared by this office.

Further review of our files reveal several of the officers involved in these preparations participated in a similar incident that occurred 372.8 standard Earth days ago. Though that previous incursion resulted in no serious pollution of the timeline, we cannot hope for similar fortune to be visited on us again.

It is my strong recommendation a covert reconnaissance team be deployed to the destination of this group’s planned temporal displacement. Said team would be primarily responsible for observing the group and reporting their actions back to this office. However, if the need arises, this team would need to be prepared to intercede with the intention of preventing any contamination of the timeline.

Reports indicate the destination of the incursion to be 21st century Earth, in the Midwestern region of the United States. As this period precedes First Contact on Earth by several decades, our reconnaissance team will require human appearance. See attached memo for suggested items to be included with the team’s equipment.

Signed,
Dulmer

—–

From: Commander, DTI
To: DTI Agent Dulmer
CC: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: Unauthorized Temporal Incursion and Observation of Same

Request reviewed and approved. Since you and Agent Lucsly have the most experience with reconnaissance missions to 20th and 21st century Earth, it’s you two who get the job. Go ahead and prepare according to your recommendations, and I don’t have to tell you to be careful on this assignment. You got lucky last time, but luck has a bad habit of running out right when it can kick you hardest in the aft shields. Try to stay out of trouble this time, okay?

Signed,
C-DTI

—–

From: DTI Agent Lucsly
To: DTI Agent Dulmer

Subj: Thanks, buddy.

Earth again? I still haven’t gotten the stench of that place out of my nose from the last time we were there.

Oh well. What do we know about this group of Starfleeters? They can’t possibly be as bad as Kirk, right?

Lucsly

—–

From: DTI Agent Dulmer
To: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: RE: Thanks, buddy.

The reports say they’re mostly harmless. Apparently they’re going there for some kind of festival. Drinking, carousing, you know: the sort vile behavior that characterized the period.

Should be fun.

Dulmer

—–

From: DTI Agent Lucsly
To: DTI Agent Dulmer

Subj: RE: RE: Thanks, buddy.

Great, just great. Sometimes I think you make this stuff up just to get yourself invited to parties.

I did some checking and it looks like one of our former agents, code-named “Net,” is among this group. From the looks of things he does freelance work for these people, trading his knowledge of temporal investigative procedures for passage on their ship. We need to keep an eye on him, just in case.

By the way, have you checked the technical schematics for their ship? Those fins on the warp nacelles kick ass.

Lucsly

—–

From: DTI Agent Dulmer
To: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: RE: RE: RE: Thanks, buddy.

Don’t worry about Net. He’s a jackball, more interested in chasing women and drinking than causing any serious harm to the timeline. I already had a background check run on him. He likes to hang out at an establishment called “Bazookas,” which Intelligence seems to think is a meeting place for other exiled temporal agents. We’re checking on that, but it might require you and me to survey it for ourselves. Given that development, be sure to bring along plenty of currency appropriate for the time period and region we’ll be visiting. I understand lower denominations in large quantities will be required.

Dulmer

—–

From: DTI Agent Lucsly
To: DTI Agent Dulmer

Subj: RE: RE: RE: RE: Thanks, buddy.

I did some more checking about this supposed meeting place. What’s a “lap dance?”

Lucsly

—–

From: DTI Agent Dulmer
To: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Thanks, buddy.

I have the linguistics banks chewing on that one now. I should have something in an hour or so.

Something else has come up. It appears that this group was involved in the corruption of a newly discovered lifeform that is not indigenous to Earth. During their temporal incursion last year, they kidnapped several of these strange organisms and brought them to Earth. The organisms have a limited shape-changing ability that was seized by the group for their own twisted purposes. I’d go into more detail here, but it’s really just sick to even talk about. From everything we’ve been able to determine, none of the lifeforms were left behind, but it’s possible that members of the group may see fit to bring more of them along this time. We’ll have to be especially careful to avoid contact with the organisms to reduce the chance of infection.

Dulmer

—–

From: DTI Agent Lucsly
To: DTI Agent Dulmer

Subj: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Thanks, buddy.

Did you know that the inhabitants of the region we’ll be visiting have rather strange predilections? They drink mass quantities of cheaply distilled alcoholic products. Further, they burn animal flesh and paint it with a bizarre concoction of spices and herbs before eating it. Also, they observe an odd ritual where humans operating primitive ground-transport vehicles move about in a circular motion for hours on end. Some of those acting as spectators also try to imitate the humans they observe during their daily movements between their domicile and their places of employment, often with disastrous results.

What, exactly, are the redeeming virtues of this period again?

Lucsly

—–

From: DTI Agent Dulmer
To: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: Feel Free to Change the Subject Header On Occasion

Well, our mission will require us to sample local cuisine, so there appears to be no way to avoid the cheap alcohol or the burned animal flesh. I think we’ll be able to bypass the odd ritual, though.

As for redeeming virtues, that reminds me: the linguistics banks came back with a definition for “lap dance.” Apparently it’s also some kind of ritualistic ceremony, and records indicate that certain members of the group we’ll be observing have been known to practice the art form. This will require detailed observations to be certain, of course. I’ve had the computer flag the personnel files of those members we’ll need to keep an eye on, but I’ve gotta be honest: I just don’t see this guy Bruce as being very proficient at it. I think the computer screwed up.

Dulmer

—–

From: DTI Agent Lucsly
To: DTI Agent Dulmer

Subj: RE: Feel Free to Change the Subject Header on Occasion

Well, I’m packed and ready to go. When do we leave? By the way, I’ve checked with Research and they’ve got our costumes ready for us. You have an appointment at 1300 tomorrow to have various body parts pierced and painted. We should have no problems blending in this time. Don’t thank me. After all, what are friends for?

Lucsly

—–

From: DTI Agent Dulmer
To: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: Bite me.

—–

Not content to leave well enough alone, once the con was over and everyone had made their return home, I sent out a follow-up series of missives:

<lj-cut text=”Even more long, drawn-out, non-sensical Trekkie ramblings behind the cut.”
—–

My bud in Temporal Investigations forwarded me this string of correspondence. Looks like we got away with another one…..

— Net

—–

From: DTI Agent Dulmer
To: Commander, Department of Temporal Investigations
CC: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: Post-Temporal Violation Reconnaissance Report, Stardate 54563.8

All members of the U.S.S. Fortyish that participated in the temporal incursion to 21st century Earth during the past have returned to their proper place in the timeline. Though interactions with the indigenous populations were unavoidable, it appears that no significant violations of the timeline were affected. It is my belief that this incident will have no lasting repercussions.

Dulmer

—–

From: Commander, Department of Temporal Investigations
To: DTI Agent Dulmer
CC: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: RE: Post-Temporal Violation Reconnaissance Report, Stardate 54563.8

Hmm, that’s interesting. Your report doesn’t seem to be as complete as others I’ve received. For example:

A. One member of the contingent left a Klingon bat’leth in the possession of that idiot renegade agent of ours. The metallurgy of such a weapon would undoubtedly cause a commotion if it were discovered by scientists of the period. How many elements were on the periodic table during that time? Well, it looks like they get to add a couple more. Guess we’ll just file that under, “Oops,” right? And on a related note, why isn’t that moron Net dead yet?

B. The first officer of all people apparently left a strange piece of scientific equipment behind. Though the device is of unknown origin, its primary purpose seems to be the twisting, rending, and just general torturing of those primitive shape-changing alien life forms this group seems to have a fetish for. The technology of the item’s internal components alone could have computer technology experts foaming at the mouths if they ever got their hands on it. It took us weeks to clean up that Chronowerx mess from 1996. This could be just as bad.

Based on the above reports, I find it odd that you wouldn’t consider these incidents to have significant effects on the timeline. Thoughts?

C-DTI

—–

From: DTI Agent Lucsly
To: Commander, Department of Temporal Investigations
CC: DTI Agent Dulmer

Subj: RE: RE: Post-Temporal Violation Reconnaissance Report, Stardate 54563.8

Oh. Well, then, you see….um, it’s rather complicated, actually. Let me organize my notes and get back to you.

Dulmer

—–

From: DTI Agent Lucsly
To: DTI Agent Dulmer

Subj: RE: RE: RE: Post-Temporal Violation Reconnaissance Report, Stardate 54563.8

Smooth, real smooth. Now what are we gonna do?

Lucsly

—–

From: DTI Agent Dulmer
To: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: RE: RE: RE: RE: Post-Temporal Violation Reconnaissance Report, Stardate 54563.8

Shut up. Let me think.

Dulmer

—–

From: DTI Agent Dulmer
To: Commander, Department of Temporal Investigations
CC: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: Addendum: Post-Temporal Violation Reconnaissance Report, Stardate 54563.8

The incidents cited in the other reports you received are correct in that certain items were left behind by members of the USS Fortyish contingent. Said incidents occurred by individuals who had separated from the main group for reasons unknown. However, it must be stressed that at no time did the articles in question come into contact with any indigenous personnel. It is our strong belief that any possible contamination resulting from this incident has been contained.

Dulmer

—–

From: DTI Agent Lucsly
To: DTI Agent Dulmer

Subj: RE: Addendum: Post-Temporal Violation Reconnaissance Report, Stardate 54563.8

Pretty sweet dancing there, dude. Think he bought it?

Lucsly

—–

From: Commander, Department of Temporal Investigations
To: DTI Agent Dulmer
CC: DTI Agent Lucsly

Subj: RE: Addendum: Post-Temporal Violation Reconnaissance Report, Stardate 54563.8

Other reports I’ve received about the incidents in question indicate that the strange item left behind by the first officer did indeed come into contact with local humans. The humans, however, apparently had absolutely no idea what it was they were dealing with. According to preliminary surveillance reports, theories bandied about included:

– An inert 20th century chemically fueled nuclear weapon.
– A “bong,” apparently used to aid in the ingestion of various illicit stimulants.
– A marital aid.

Further, it seems that DTI Agent Net managed to redeem himself in some small manner by seizing the device before it could be taken for further study by local inhabitants. He is currently making arrangements to have it transported to the Fortyish. Also, is seeing to the return of the bat’leth to its proper owner on Bajor as well. Looks like he’s not such a bonehead after all.

Now, as for you two: Care to comment on all the time you apparently spent in “Bazooka’s?”

C-DTI

—–

From: DTI Agent Lucsly
To: DTI Agent Dulmer

Subj: RE: RE: Addendum: Post-Temporal Violation Reconnaissance Report, Stardate 54563.8

Uh oh.

Lucsly

—–

See, this is the kinda shit I used to do before the kids came along. I did something similar for the following year’s con, but I think I’ve overstayed my welcome with this blog entry, so we’ll save that stuff for another day.

As for the intrepid crew of the Fortyish, they were a good bunch of folks to hang around with. I still have my “Away Team” T-shirts made for the cons in 2001 and 2002, which were offered in the standard TOS color schemes as well as basic black for temporal investigations officers like myself (Hey, I just realized I had the Chris Pine/nuTrek uniform shirt scheme down years before that flick came out. HAH!). Seeing that graphic of the ship can almost always get a grin out of me. Of course, most of the crew may have been transferred to the U.S.S. Fiftyish by this point, leaving poor little me all alone on the ship. But, they left me the keys to the Green Stuff, so it’s all good.

One thought on “The voyages of the Starship Fortyish.

Lay it on me.

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