G & T Show 39 – Star Trek Online’s Storytelling
G & T Show 39 – Star Trek Online’s Storytelling is now available for downloading. Check it out here. This week, Nick and Teri and are back with another jammed pack episode featuring a discussion of the new Star Trek Online Friday the 13th Event (Hearts and Minds), a STLV Update, an all-new Ask Dayton, and so much more. Soriedem (Mike) joins them once again and later, DionSol drops in to help close out the show. Let’s get to it.
Nick notices that Mike doesn’t seem very Klingon this morning. Mike replies that he’s been feeling rather Romulan lately. Nick and Teri had an opportunity to talk this week about the show, and Teri had even taken a note on a couple of items. Before getting to the discussion of Star Trek Online’s storytelling, Nick thanks everyone who sent him private messages. He shares with us that he will be having surgery, but will try to schedule it for a Monday. Teri tells him to schedule it for whenever he needs to and we’ll cover him as he has done for her. Nick is concerned that Marv (Fullback) in the chat room is stalking him.
Teri mentions that last week they had announced that they had reached a milestone. Nick thanks Mike, who says that he did nothing! Teri shares that our website has reached the 1 million hit mark for the year; a feat that took us all of last year to achieve has been already been surpassed in just over four months. We thank our listeners for tuning in and downloading our show. We extend our gratitude to the authors who have helped make the G & T Show so successful by posting links, talking about us, coming on for interviews and visits, and participating in the craziness that is the G & T Show. We are grateful.
Teri mentions that she has created some postcards for the show for STLV that describes the show as “an irreverent podcast that discusses all forms of Star Trek Writing.” She goes on to say that we may not be as irreverent as Howard Stern’s show, but we’ve had our moments, especially with the help of Dayton Ward. Nick thanks Xander for the use of his studio, and support. We will be doing a G & T Show, Tribbles in Ecstasy cross over in the future. Mike is dreading that episode and thinks that he will be going on vacation that week – as soon as he can get the paper work filed.
Moving along, Nick mentions that he has started reading a phenomenal new book. Teri asks if it’s the Sky’s The Limit by Geoff Trowbridge, Scott Pearson, Marco Palmieri, and Michael Schuster. He’s currently reading A Stitch In Time by Andrew J Robinson (Garak). He had to get it for his Kindle since the paperback version was a couple hundred bucks because it’s so out of print. Teri would like to find one to have him autograph it. (Amazon has a few third-party paperbacks available – new and used). With it, Nick has started his official Star Trek Deeps Space Nine Relaunch Novel Read-Through, since he found a website that offered the order in which to read them. A Stitch in Time was the first book in that series. Teri says that since Andrew J Robinson not only created the character of Garek, but also portrayed him in Deep Space Nine, which should offer some unique insights into the character of Garek. He says that he’s also downloaded Star Trek Deep Space Nine Twist of Faith by S.D. Perry, David Weddle, Jeffrey Lang, and Keith R. A. DeCandido. It’s an omnibus that includes Avatar Parts 1 and 2, Abyss, Demons of Air and Darkness, and the novella Horn and Ivory. However, what’s different about this book is that some of these books belong to different series, including Gateways. Nick shares that the Gateway books were the first books he had read when he got back into Star Trek back in 2005, but doesn’t remember them all that clearly.
Nick goes on to tell us that Kindle offers the ability to create collections. He already has a collection called read that he adds everything that he’s finished reading into and another just for Star Trek Vanguard. However, he’s created a new collection just for the Star Trek Deep Space Nine novels. Teri is glad that Nick had brought up the books, because Havraha has been reading and tweeting James Swallow’s Star Trek Cast No Shadow. Teri tells us a little about Valeris in the book and one of Hav’s tweets. Hav identified with James Swallow’s approach to take a lesser-known secondary character and build them up. Since Hav prefers Enterprise books, Teri was pleased that he was not only reading, but had also crossed over into other Star Trek books, and hoped that he was representative of the community as a whole.
Also, there are many Star Trek books that don’t focus on the primary characters from the television shows, such as Sonya Gomez who’s featured prominently in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers ebooks. Nick shares that the SCE series was ahead of their time, since they were originally published as ebook-only, years before ebooks became popular. Shelby and Dr. Selar are some of the characters in the New Frontiers novels that were seen briefly in the shows or movies. Teri adds that authors have also created original characters, such as Dr. Ree in the Titan series.
Nick mentions that Teri had helped him understand Star Trek Online’s Duty Officer System to him on Friday. He’s now an addict of the doff system. They talk about some of the species created for Titan that would be perfect fits for the Doff system. DataLogan in the chat room didn’t realize that Nick had become a Star Trek reader so recently. Before Nick responds to it, he asks Mike how many forum members the show had. To everyone’s surprise, another milestone was reached with the announcement that we had already more than 2000 registered users. Teri wishes that they would talk a little more, but Mike points out that there has been some activity lately with the Tribble Squirrel Contest.
In response to DataLogan’s question, Nick explains that he had been deployed over to Iraq when he started reading his first Star Trek novel. He shares a humorous story about his Navy Lieutenant (who had once studied acting under Avery Brooks) responsed to Nick’s question about trying to find more Star Trek novels on the Internet. Through Star Trek.com’s message boards, Nick began communicating with David Mack and others, which developed into the friendship they share. He goes on to say that by the time he got back home; he owned every Star Trek series on DVD including The Animated series because of the novels. The Gateways novels featured characters from all of the different series and he wanted to know who these people were. Through the Gateways novel, Nick discovered that he could not stand the author of Star Trek New Earth, Diane Carey. He doesn’t connect with her writing. Teri says there are so many authors with a variety of styles; it’s about discovering the style that fits you best. Nick goes on to share his experiences with one of Marco Palmieri’s short stories that he really enjoyed and hoped that he would write more. He got Sky’s the Limit delivered to him this week, and features short stories from authors that have not yet written a full length novel yet. Teri explains that short stories are character studies that give a deeper insight into a character’s life. She prefers those emotional insights more than something strictly action oriented and offers her choice of Undiscovered Country over Star Trek 2009.
Nick shares a discussion that occurred on Twitter. He had coined a phrase that Dayton has since adopted as his battle cry. Teri had seen it. Nick explains that it evolved from ThomastheCat’s defense of JHeinig’s new mission (which he created during his spare time) for Star Trek Online called Hearts and Minds, who felt like he was being punished by the reviews the mission has been receiving. Nick explained that taking criticism is a part of being an artist and a risk they take for putting their work out there for people to see. You’re never going to appeal to everyone, which is why writers should write for themselves not to please other people. Teri adored the mission, because it was short. Since it was only available for one day, she made sure to complete it on all twelve of her characters before it was removed from the game.
People were complaining that it was too short and only available for a limited time. She doesn’t want people to make it personal when critiquing other people’s work. Nick explains that’s the reason why he ignores the STO forums, because valid concerns get lost in the trolling. They talk about the reaction people are having about it. She is glad to see the ban hammer being used. She goes on to say that people have the right to hate a mission, but they don’t have the right to treat its creator disrespectfully. Nick says that their anger is misdirected; they are lashing out because they are unhappy with several new aspects of the game.
Nick explains his decision to leave the game for a short time back in December. Recently someone had told him not to bother buying a lifetime subscription for Star Trek Online, because it’s not worth it anymore. Teri says that she had gotten value out of her lifetime subscription. She agrees that there isn’t much difference between the subscription and the Free to Play model as it’s outlined in the F2P matrix. Mike agrees that most players are better served buying something ala carte rather than subscribing to the game. Teri wishes that we were allowed to purchase things ala carte rather than being forced to unlock boxes with a master key that can only be obtained with real money.
They talk about the newest currency introduced with the Ferengi lock boxes, lobi crystals, and how it’s the only way to get some of the items that Teri wishes she could just flat out purchase. She mentions the new holo-novel doffs, the costume options, and some of the other more notable items introduced with the new lobi crystal store that makes them unattainable for many players because they can’t be earned ingame, they have to be purchased. She requests a method that would enable her to craft the costumes she wants. Al Rivera had told her that it’s not a new currency, but rather more like the craftable options introduced in the holiday box from the recent winter event.
Mike says that Gold Pressed Latinum (GPL) should be focus of the store rather than introducing lobi crystals. Teri talked about the thread on the STO forums that discussed ideas for a GPL store, and was surprised to see those items appear in the lobi crystal store. She was offended by the fact that Cryptic expected her to spend $200 for a costume that she would gladly buy for $5 to $10 on the cstore. Nick says that he’s already spending enough money on doffs. She says that she’s not going to spend anything else on the lock boxes. She says that Perfect World wasn’t going to let them use GPL because those of us that had been playing the game all along had accumulated so much of it already that they wouldn’t be able to make any money from it. She’s not angry about it. She hopes that people will stop being angry and will just put their wallets away.
Mike wonders what show they’ve been watching. Teri believes people misunderstand CBS’s involvement. CBS is only supportive of a company that is able to make money from their IP. They make sure that canon isn’t being abused, but when it’s comes to non-canon things that make them money, they are ignored. Consumers are no longer the product, with the exception of Facebook. She goes on to say that CBS is looking at this very closely, and if it’s generating profit for them, they’ll stand back and let it continue. They’re job, after all, is to make money. In Star Trek books, entire planets get destroyed on regular basis and intergalactic travel is possible. CBS doesn’t care as long as it makes them money, because at the end of the day, they decide what is and what isn’t canon. If they decided to make a new show, very little of STO would make an appearance in it. Mike offers the exception of the Enterprise F as being one. Teri says that it’s possible, but doesn’t have to be.
She goes on to say that it may be a while before we see a new Star Trek series, because SciFi is too expensive to make compared to other forms of entertainment. Star Trek Online is the only Star Trek we’re getting right now, and most of it is coming from the Foundry. She brings up KirkFat’s new mission, The Needs of the Few. She says that’s it’s a non-combat mission with a great story in the fine Star Trek tradition of bringing up controversial topics and ideas. All studios including CBS are afraid of controversy, because it doesn’t make money.
After Nick resolved some technical issues, he brings up another point of controversy pertaining to Creation Entertainment. Where’s Ronny Cox? Teri is saddened that he still hasn’t been added, which takes us to the Star Trek Las Vegas Update. Brian Thompson played Admiral Valdore in Enterprise, Inglatu and Toman’torax in DS9, Second Officer Klag in TNG, and a Klingon Helm’s man in Star Trek: Generations, but he’s also been in X-Files and Kindred: The Embraced. He will be appearing on Saturday Mike appreciated his role as Klag, and Teri had named one of her fic characters after him. Altexist dropped by the chat room with a question that we had thoroughly discussed earlier. Returning to the topic, they discussed Klag’s interaction with Riker in TNG’s A Matter of Honor. Captain’s Chairs and Gold are sold out, the Preferred Weekend and Preferred Daily only have a few left, and General Admission is now on sale. Teri says that the convention is going to be packed and a lot of fun.
Nick shares that he had been planning to get the Imzadi photo, but have since changed his mind. He is now looking forward to the Ferengi Feast with Armin Shimerman, Max Grodenchik and Aron Eisenberg. Nick loves the Nog. They talk about some of the other photo ops that are available, including one with Shatner and Bakula together for $300. Mike is interested in the KLINGON SPECIAL with JG Hertzler and Robert O’Reilly for $60. Teri recommends the Enterprise Duo with Connor Trineer and Dominic Keating for $70. Nick had difficulty with the title of the TNG BFFs with LeVar Burton and Colm Meany. He thought the Engineers was a more suitable title. Teri disagreed with the choice of titles for TNG Beauty & the Beast with Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis. She thought that one would have made a better fit for TNG BFFs. Nick says that last year he didn’t get any individual photos, but is looking forward to getting Andrew Robinson’s and Aron Eisenberg’s photos. They talk about the characters of Nog and Jake Sisko and how (not only the actors, but the characters themselves) grew up right before our eyes. Nick talks about an article on Star Trek.com with an interview with Creation Entertainment’s Co-founder and co-CEO, Adam Mali about their plans for STLV.
They move on to this week’s Ask Dayton #24 – Move Over Dr. Phil. Nick mentions that Dayton Ward only tunes in to our show to listen to this portion of the show. So, we’re going to be moving this segment to the end. This week’s question is a multipart question that asks Dayton for advice on marriage, family, friends, and President Gerald Ford. Teri said that this week’s entry should generate some discussion about naming the Enterprise, rather than the relationship advice. Teri says that the current USS Enterprise is on her final mission, and will be decommissioned once she gets back, which will leave us without an Enterprise. There’s a petition to name CVN-80 the USS Enterprise. Mike suggested the Enterprise A. Nick shares with us that one of the most famous carriers from World War II was the Enterprise. Nick shares some history of these two ships named Enterprise. Teri and Nick agreed that there should always be an Enterprise. Nick adds the Intreprid to it. She then mentions the North Carolina as one that shouldn’t be renamed. She then, points to the Queen Mary and the Queen Mary 2 reuses the same name. The Queen Mary is a museum in Long Beach. Teri hopes that people will sign the petition.
They began to imagine Dayton as a school age child writing to President Ford to have the first space shuttle named the Enterprise. Mike wondered if some of Dayton’s ideas for Vanguard began way back then. Nick says that Dayton had visions of being Chesty Puller at that point. Teri didn’t know who he was. Nick tells us who Chesty Puller was. Teri thought he was referring to something else entirely. Nick thanks Dayton for the Ask Dayton. Mike suggests sending him a fruit basket. Nick says we should send it to his wife. Teri recommends an edible arrangement with fruit arranged like flowers.
Teri moves us along to the main topic of this week’s show, STO story telling. It was something Nick wanted to discuss, but he had forgotten his notes at work. After some helpful reminders, Nick remembers what he wanted to talk about. He shares his intention to run the recent 2800 featured episodes on Vickie, Winfield, and DavMak. Mike and Teri offer to join him when he’s ready to tackle them. Nick talks about the wonderful job Cryptic_Kestrel did with the entire series, and how much he liked the way it was all connected. He elaborated on that by saying that the story flowed from one episode to the next that made him feel as if he were watching an episode.
Nick wonders if that is part of the backlash that has been going on in STO concerning the Friday 13th event, and how it seems to be a standalone episode in a much broader story arc. He compares it to the DS9 episode Profit and Lace. He believes that people were expecting storytelling to return to the game. He goes on to share that even playing with his doffs and the stories they tell. He shares that he’s got back stories for all of his bridge officers. Teri says that a lot of people that she knows have back stories for their captains and boffs, and has noticed that the trend doesn’t end with Star Trek, but across a variety of MMOs, including World Of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and EVE.
He takes a moment to share that he’s been under an incredible amount of stress lately because of recent real life events taking place. It has given him an opportunity to get involved with several new groups, including a writer’s group The Frederick’s Writers’ Salon that he will be attending later in the day. He tells us about Meetup, which allows users to create a meet up group and people with like interests can join and participate. He’s also involved in the Frederick’s SciFi and Fantasy Comics Meet up. He also mentions a few of the other meet up groups that he found notable. He tells us about the Sunday Writers’ Workshop, their writing prompts, and the rules they follow for critiquing people’s work. With all of that, he shares that he’s using this as means to get him writing his Star Trek Fan Fic novel. He reminds us of the sage advice that Dayton Ward and James Swallow shared with us in their interviews. He has submitted his first bit of fan fiction for critique. The story takes place post-Destiny, but features his characters from Star Trek Online.
Mike speaks up and says that he has back stories for his characters and bridge officers. However, he has shown his true geekiness when he revealed that through Gates of Sto’vo’kor they have done episodes revolving around the Doff missions. Nick and Teri both found that very cool. Nick says that the doff missions are a form of storytelling, because in addition to the chain missions, there are missions that involve nearly every member of your crew, including your bartender and chef. It reminds Mike of the Cannibal Tribble episode Gates of Sto’vo’kor did a short while back. That episode came straight out of the doff missions. He finds that they’re great setups or prompts for stories. Nick sends the counselors on his ship a message to do their own scheduling. He then tells us about a doctor that failed to treat a minor stomach problem because the patient got agitated. Guess who is getting transferred off his ship, that’s right, the patient. Teri shares that if Barclay was on her ship, he would have been transferred off as soon as she received the counselor’s report about his inappropriate use of the Holodeck. Mike adds, also his refusal to get on the Transporter pad. Sampo in the chat room said that he had a bartender fail to pour him a drink. Nick and Mike both said the samething happened to them recently as well. Teri doesn’t need a bartender, since she’s got her own private stash behind her desk.
When Bob (RJCfoxtrot) from All Things Trek dropped by the chat room, Nick said that their show is better when he listens it completely drunk. They all said hello to Bob. They banter back and forth for a moment, before Nick shares with us the day he’s had. He slept through the first five minutes of the show. Nick asks CaptPFDennis if he and Anthony were flying into Albuquerque before the STLV. Nick suggests that it would provide us a great opportunity to interview him about his fan fiction writing within the Foundry and in other forms. Teri thinks they’re going to have to fly Mike in early as well. Nick adds Cush as well, because you always need one person tied up in the trunk. He recommends that we place a group photo of everyone driving up to STLV standing in front of the crater at the top of our website. They expand on that, by proposing the G & T Road Show, where we record bits of our journey to Vegas and post them en route. Nick thinks that by the end of August, our website will be a show. Bob wonders how many times we’ll be hearing them sing the Wheels on the Bus. Nick says that he’s been learning the words to Gilbert and Sullivan’s A British Tar among other drinking songs seen throughout TNG. Mike mentions that he’s been practicing a few Klingon drinking songs as well.
Nick shares that there will be an all new Impressions of Sound this week. Tune in Wednesday evening at 9pm PST. This week’s theme will be based on his life lately. Teri reiterates the topics discussed this week to determine if there was anything they had missed. She reminds everyone that the final Vanguard book, Storming Heaven, is out. She says it’s amazing. It made her cry. She thanks David Mack. Nick adds Marco Palmieri and says that if he can, he’s going to get an interview with him at Shore leave. Nick describes Marco’s imprint on Star Trek Literature. Bob in the chat room asked, when does a Foundry mission start being a mission, and not a fan fiction. It spurs some thought, and Nick suggests possibly discussing it for a future show. They decide to flush it out for next week. They not only will be discussing Foundry, but will be looking other fan productions, including Star Trek Phase II. They ask CaptPFDennis to join them on the air next week. Teri wants to bring Bob in, but in, but Nick says no to Bob, who can’t make it next week anyway. Concerning next week’s show, Mike imagines a half dozen clowns climbing into a VW.
Next tells us that next week should be interesting, since he’ll be going back to Connecticut to visit his parents for the first time in several years. He will be still be part of next week’s show. Mike and Teri tease Nick and Paul about the size of the states east of the Mississippi. The county Teri lives in is larger than Connecticut. Nick says that at least it’s not Delaware. Dionsol came on the air. He was en route to a service call in Southern California. Dion is able to communicate with video from his car. He embraces technology and plays as an Engineer in Star Trek Online. Nick asks if he makes Foundry missions. Dion says that he doesn’t have the patience to do it. He says that he’s got to be in the mood for good stories, otherwise he’s just interested in shooting stuff up. They talk about next week’s show idea, which prompts Dion to say that he’s a supporter of the Foundry community and hopes that Cryptic will authorize authors to create missions for Cryptic. They respond that it would be messing with people livelihood and it would require them to give up control, which they are not apt to do anytime soon since CBS controls the ultimate content of the game. However, CBS also keeps an eye on things that we do, such as the Tribble Squirrel contest and the audio drama contest. Teri explains that authors have to be careful about reading anything that they didn’t write to avoid disputes if with fan fiction authors who may have written something similar. They wouldn’t want to risk their personal and professional reputation by accidently using someone else’s idea in one of their stories. Teri says that fan fiction authors don’t grasp the total freedom they have to write their stories. She’s thrilled to not be an official author because she likes having the freedom to do as she wants in her stories.
Winding down this week’s show, Teri mentions her massively article with the interview with Daniel Stahl. She has to trim 500 words from it, since he said a lot of stuff. It just wasn’t enough for two columns. They remind everyone to send in their Ask Dayton questions to [email protected]. Nick says that he gets questions coming in to [email protected]. Nick reminds everyone about the Tribble Squirrel contest we are doing with Tribbles in Ecstasy. Post your entries on our forums.
He tells everyone to start working on their scripts for the audio fiction contest. Dion didn’t have all the details about it, so Teri tells us that the G & T Show’s Audio Drama Contest will run from Memorial Day (last weekend of May) to Labor Day (first weekend of September). Entries must be submitted in MP3 format, must be no longer than 5 minutes in length, and must involve the words “Kobayashi Maru”. It can take place in any universe at any time, and should feature original characters. Mike adds that groups are ok. Nick thinks it would be more fun as a group. Teri has decided to remove herself from the contest. However, the G & T Show decided to do one on their own, but will not be eligible for the contest. Nick makes an executive decision and bans Mike from entering any more G & T Show contests. He’s fine with that, but tells them not to prevent him from participating. All entries must be submitted through the G & T Show forums. No entries will be accepted until Memorial Day, so keep an eye out for the contest thread which will be posted before the contest officially begins.
Dion shares that he just drove by Vasquez Rocks. Returning to the pre-Vegas excurions, Nick says that if everyone does come, that they get an RV and livestream it the entire time they’re driving. Mike suggests Dion setting us up. Before concluding this week’s episode, Nick gets serious for a moment and building off what Dayton had to say, he thanks everyone, especially Teri.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.