For a while now, I’ve been contemplating a way to present some modeling with a backstory. The idea is that it’s Stardate 2104.7 or whatever, and Starfleet Corps of Engineers is publishing its findings for all Starfleet personnel, to keep them up-to-date on technical matters. These briefings wouldn’t be for engineering personnel. They get technical journals with rigorous treatments of the same material. These briefings are for everyone else, whose duties require at least an awareness of technical matters handled by the engineers. The material would resemble what’s in the various Star Trek technical manuals, in the tradition begun by Franz Joseph. It would be a concrete and somewhat detailed version of my speculations about treknology to back up my models and help create a consistent universe for them. Every fan probably can readily think of examples of things in the Star Trek universe he really likes and things he really dislikes. For instance, I absolutely detest a third nacelle, starting with Franz Joseph’s dreadnought and right up through the “All Good Things” Enterprise.* Yet I absolutely love Masao Okazaki’s Cabbage-class Romulan ship, which has of course three nacelles. This creates a quandary. I’d like my Star Trek world to allow what I like and forbid what I don’t, and if the Cabbage-class is possible but the AGT E isn’t, I’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

starfleet tech brief 1

I’m planning to call the publication Starfleet Tech Brief, and it will follow the style of periodical literature from the US armed services in the ’40s and ’50s. An example of this sort of periodical is Impact magazine. The USAAF put this publication out during WWII to keep its personnel abreast of developments in aerial warfare. True to its name, the magazine had a terse, punchy style, with good photographs to illustrate stories about camouflage, formation assembly, bomb damage assessment, interdiction tactics, radar, nightfighter tactics, and many other topics of interest to airmen. It was restricted, so civilians weren’t allowed to see it, yet it would have been intelligible to the layman. It never went into anything like the kind of detail that experts would expect in a briefing.

So as a start, I’m working on the header. Naturally, the way I envision it, it’s going to have a retro look. Here are the first several examples of fonts and possible layouts.

starfleet tech brief 4Starfleet Tech Briefs header

starfleet tech brief 2

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Starfleet Tech Briefs header 2

Streamline font

Air Conditioner

*Roddenberry’s Rules for Starship Design only allow nacelles in pairs, as if they set up opposite poles of the warp field. This makes an odd nacelle superfluous, or even dangerous. One imagines that even if a three-nacelled ship did manage to travel faster than light, it wouldn’t be all in one direction.