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Here’s something I think is more like what I wanted in my header. I switched the script font from the word “Starfleet” to the words “tech brief” and inserted a cool Corps of Engineers logo from Star Trek Minutiae. I like the logo because it does not have the Enterprise arrowhead. I don’t know when, probably during the original run of TNG, it started bugging me that ALL of Starfleet was using Enterprise‘s emblem. So a new Constellation wouldn’t have the pretzel-shaped logo that Commodore Decker had on his tunic, nor would the crew of a new Exeter wear the totem pole emblem we saw in “The Omega Glory.” Not that it’s as serious a problem as Starfleet having psychopaths like Tracy in command of starships.

Starfleet Tech Briefs header 3

The header above is missing some stuff, like the distribution information that was in some others. (EDIT: I also added a second version with a grittier feel that I like.) There should also be a masthead going down the side below the Corps of Engineers emblem. The masthead would give the stardate and the starbase where the publication originates, list the commander of SCE, list the editorial staff and contributors, basically what’s in a real masthead. I also wanted to add a tiny silhouette of a starship with a streamline following it, swooshing up through the word “Starfleet,” but when I tried it, it looked to busy. Maybe it could be an underline across the page under the header. 

So the idea for Starfleet Tech Brief is this: I have my own ideas about how stuff works in the Star Trek universe, and love building models of Star Trek ships and photographing them (though I need to improve on my photography and post-production to give the photos sufficient realism). This is a 23rd century publication, so it’s not a paper magazine: it’s transmitted by subspace radio, and Starfleet personnel get to interact with it, the way you can post comments on blog entries. It will be a blog, and allow comments, but never will it break the fourth wall. All dates will be stardates: except for historical references prior to stardates, nowhere will it have Gregorian dates. I’d like to have comments and even posts from other fans, but the idea is that all posts and comments are coming from Starfleet personnel. This means comments will have to be moderated, and there will have to be some way to list the contributor’s name, rank, and assignment in Starfleet. As yet I’m not 100% sure how to effect this in the blog format. Posts will not necessarily be in chronological order, but the stardate when we jump into the Star Trek is during the TOS era. At some point, events will diverge from the events of TOS, likely early on.

References will be made to USS Enterprise, Capt. James T. Kirk commanding. It will also come out that there is a series of adventure stories in the current media that is popular with youngsters, and it presents the exaggerated and somewhat fictionalized exploits of this starship and her captain and crew. Kirk’s a good sport, and doesn’t mind the good-natured ribbing he gets from other Starfleet officers about his fame as a semi-fictional character. Turns out his real-life exploits are fully as impressive as the stories the kids hear. He really was the youngest officer ever to make captain in Starfleet, and he really does have all those decorations listed in “Court Martial.” You know, Palm Leaf of Axanar Peace Mission, Grankite Order of Tactics, Class of Excellence, Prantares Ribbon of Commendation, Classes First and Second Awards of Valor, Medal of Honor, Silver Palm with Cluster, Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry, Karagite Order of Heroism… He just doesn’t often have occasion to make a big double fist with interlocked fingers and hit people over the back of the neck.

Of course, someone more likely to be mentioned is Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott. There will be lots of stuff he’d like to read more about in his technical journals, and it will relate to events that transpire in his world: a saucer separation followed by an emergency landing, with attention to the effects of reentry on the hull’s thermal coating and landing procedures. Subspace technology and how it relates to warp travel, subspace radio, phasers, artificial gravity, deflectors, shields, tractor beams, inertial damping, structural integrity fields, confinement force fields, and the transporter. Variations on faster than light travel, both those understood by Starfleet engineers and those not yet comprehended. A comparison between phasers and disruptors. The effect of a disruptor blast on the hull of a starship fired upon by Klingons, and how it leads to rethinking the practice of applying the thermal coating over the polarized dispersive plating with allotropic zirconium telluride emissive coating (AZTEC). What is known and theorized about the Romulans’ plasma weapon and cloaking device, and their exchange of military technology with the Klingons. Partial intelligence on Romulan and Klingon ships, and ships of other races, like the Gorn, Tholians, Orions, Ferengi, and Cardassians. Vulcan ring ships, and speculation on technologies the Vulcans do not share with the rest of the Federation. The capture of a Klingon D-7 with a jettisoned warp core. The study of said D-7 and how it contributes to greater understanding of warp theory and new warp nacelles on USS Endeavour prior to the full suite of modifications seen on Enterprise in ST:TMP. New ships in Starfleet, with attention to improvements in the Constitution class on the new NCC-1710  Kongo, and the launch of the new class ship NCC-1830(?) Miranda. That’s enough for starters…

Starfleet Tech Brief?

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

starfleet tech brief 5

starfleet tech brief 3

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.


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