Tag Archives: star trek

"Star Trek: Restoration" Episode 5 — Gift of the Ferengi

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our fifth “Star Trek” session, which we played at Drew S.’s place in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 9 March 2015:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

About four decades after the Enterprise E fought the Borg and Remans [Nemesis], among others, the United Federation of Planets (U.F.P.) and other interstellar states are slowly recoveringfrom wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s " Star Trek: Restoration" space opera scenario, using D20 Prime Directive, FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures, Bulldogs, and Mindjammer 2e, plus house rulesObsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-male half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • Chief Ravi Chandler" [Brian W.]-male Altairian human, non-commissioned officer and transporter expert assigned to aid Lt. Kyerak’s mission
  • “Froot” [Rich C.G.]-male Ferengi (short, large-eared extraterrestrial) merchant and negotiator, DaiMon and owner of the trade vessel Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Kimbal Tegan” [Beruk A.]-male Trill (long-lived symbiont), operations specialist aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Tau” [Drew S.]-male Ferengi, medic aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Absent:

  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H.]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F.]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C.]-male Jem’Hadar (Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer

Previously, in “Star Trek: Restoration,” the U.S.S. Rotha uncovered an Undine infiltrator during a diplomatic mission and faced off against Romulan and Klingon ships in the Neutral Zone. Some junior officers then accepted a covert mission to investigate offworld interference in a former member of the United Federation of Planets.

“Stardate 95248.047 (15 April 2418):” At Alpha Tauri III in the Aldebaran system, the away team joined Ferengi traders and defeated a Romulan spy in the science station of Nar Instel. The crew also found a rogue Federation scientist in the militaristic state of Irdrant.

A landing party beams down to the sprawling agricultural community of Folkhar. Most of the Starfleet lieutenants stay behind in orbit on the Love’s Latinum Lost to watch prisoners Dr. Sarlic Pramantha and Illiana Drah’el.

Tau offers Ravi a tip, but the human transporter chief declines the Ferengi medic’s gold-pressed latinum. DaiMon Froot leads the way into a dusty town, while Kimbal covertly scans for anomalous subspace transmissions. Lt. Kyerak notices that most of the inhabitants are human.

A blue-skinned Andorian rancher riding a horse draws the newcomers’ attention. Lissan th’Zerath isn’t interested in Kyerak, Froot, or Tau’s overtures, but she directs them to a general store.

Populous Folkhar has regressed technologically even more than other Aldebaranian nations, with draft animals, labor-intensive farming, and relatively few power tools. The explorers walk by a wainwright’s shop, where a Klingon and his son warily watch them while repairing carts.

The "Ancient West"

Frontier town

The infiltrators follow Lissan’s directions to Tellarite Bol Kerv Shaloo. Froot happily negotiates with the porcine provisioner, who collects items from the colony’s past as an interstellar crossroads. The Ferengi captain trades an inoperative comm badge for a Klingon sash, which he adds to his crown and fancy cane.

Kimbal and Tau conceal tricorders as they look for transmissions that would violate Starfleet’s noninterference Prime Directive. Shaloo mentions that he recently traded fine tools to the Klingons, even though they don’t need them.

Back at the wainwright, Tau learns that young Kolad is eager to please customers and his father, Kurgh, son of Kulam. Kyerak and Kimball talk to the gruff widower, who years to be in contact with other Klingons.

Their conversation is cut short when Froot pulls a Tribble from under his robes, getting the outlanders thrown out. The group then walks to the mayor’s office. Maria Conchitez says that her people are tired of fighting with Irdrant and seems disgusted when Froot drops some jewelry with circuitry.

As the Starfleet personnel and their Ferengi companions leave Conchitez, Ravi notices a man hanging around her office. Darius Littlefeather says little and returns to his farm. The away team heads to the ranch of Lissan th’Zerath, whom Froot found to be suspicious.

The Andorian catches the interlopers snooping around her barn, and Froot knocks her out and ties her up. Tau makes sure that Lissan is OK, but Ravi and Trill Kimbal find no subspace radio. The party rushes back into town.

They run into Littlefeather, whom Kyerak puts to sleep after conducting a mind meld to see if the mayor is responsible for the unauthorized radio. The half-Vulcan learns that Darius is in love with Maria, but little else.

Froot wants to return to Bol Kerv Shaloo’s shop, but the others determine that the Klingons are their most likely suspects. Kimball and Tau corner Kolad, while Kyerak and Ravi question tense Kurgh.

The lonely mechanic eventually admits that he has cobbled together a subspace transmitter. The Starfleet officers are relieved when Kurgh says that he hasn’t heard back from the Klingon Empire, but he adds that he has received a mysterious response, which Kimbal records.

Kimbal and Ravi tell Kurgh that his radio could draw attention from Irdrant. He shuts it down, and they take key components. Kyerak and Froot talk with Mayor Conchitez, who asks them to help open trade between Folkhar and Irdrant.

Froot notes that they are wanted by the authorities in industrial Irdrant. Kyerak later contacts Huang Peipei, director of the Nar Instel science station, to mediate and help reunite the colonists of Alpha Tauri III.

The team beams back up to the Love’s Latinum Lost and makes a rendezvous with the U.S.S. Rotha at Deep Space K-7. Lt. Kyerak reports to Capt. Andelina Nobatu, who is pleased that his team was able to defeat Tal Shi’ar agent Stuvek, arrest Dr. Pramantha, and convince Kurgh to cease subspace transmissions with limited bloodshed or violation of the Prime Directive.

Ambassador-class refit

Refitted starship

Loyal Kyerak tries to defend Cmdr. Nasami Wahid’s harsh orders to “eliminate” any offworld interference, but Capt. Nobatu reprimands her Trill first officer. Froot is skeptical that Starfleet can live up to its lofty ideals and recommends covertly reaching out to its former colonists in the Aldebaran system.

Chief Chandler requests reassignment from away missions because he doesn’t like having primitive slugthrowers drawn on him. Kimbal supervises the remaining refits to the Ferengi vessel promised for its assistance.

Tau says farewell to the Federation citizens as they return to their ship, but Capt. Nobatu invites the Love’s Latinum Lost to come along into deep space as the Rotha explores the source of the unidentified signals detected by Kurgh….

I hope that everyone enjoyed the conclusion of this story arc! Remember that your characters have attained Level 4, and we can upload them to Obsidian Portal.

In the meantime, I look forward to our next sessions for Dexter’s D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls,” Jason’s “Channel 37,” and my “Vanished Lands!” Remember to check the Google and Yahoo message boards for our discussions of upcoming games. Live long and prosper….

"Star Trek: Restoration" Episode 4 — Tracking transmissions

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our fourth “Star Trek” session, which we played at Brian W.’s home in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 23 February 2015:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Almost four decades after the Enterprise-E fought the Borg and Remans [Nemesis], among others, the United Federation of Planets (U.F.P.) and other interstellar states are slowly recovering from wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s " Star Trek: Restoration" space opera scenario, using D20 Prime Directive, FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures, Bulldogs, and Mindjammer 2e, plus house rulesObsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-male half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • Chief Ravi Chandler" [Brian W.]-male Altairian human, non-commissioned officer and transporter expert assigned to aid Lt. Kyerak’s mission
  • “Froot” [Rich C.G.]-male Ferengi (short, large-eared extraterrestrial) merchant and negotiator, DaiMon and owner of the trade vessel Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Kimbal Tegan” [Beruk A.]-male Trill (long-lived symbiont), operations specialist aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Absent:

  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H.]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F.]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C.]-male Jem’Hadar (Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer
  • “Tau” [Drew S.]-male Ferengi, medic aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Previously, in “Star Trek: Restoration,” the U.S.S. Rotha uncovered an Undine infiltrator during a diplomatic mission and faced off against Romulan and Klingon ships in the Neutral Zone. Some junior officers then accepted a covert mission to investigate offworld interference in a former member of the United Federation of Planets.

“Stardate 95248.042 (11 April 2418):” At Alpha Tauri III in the Aldebaran system, the away team visited the science station of Nar Instel under the pretense of being Ferengi traders. It found a Romulan spy who planned to train unwitting students in the ruthless methods and beliefs of the Tal Shiar.

The explorers still have to find the remaining two sources of subspace transmissions in the former U.F.P. colony, which has regressed to a pre-warp level of technology. They had tracked the signals to the industrial city of Irdrant and the agricultural community of Folkhar.

Lt. Kyerak decides that the landing party should visit Irdrant next. Chief Ravi Chandler notes that his upbringing in the militaristic Altair system should be helpful in dealing with this nation-state of Aldebaran.

DaiMon Froot notes that the team will have to teleport from theLove’s Latinum Lost because defense forces would spot a landing starship. Kimbal Tegan scans the city and narrows the transmission site to a single neighborhood.

Industrial colony

Irdrant

Kyerak wants to negotiate with local authorities to find whoever is sending the subspace signals in violation of Starfleet’s non-interference Prime Directive, as he did in Nar Instel. Froot argues in favor of backup false identities as police officers.

Ravi changes out of his uniform, and Kimbal tunes into local radio stations. The other crew members from the U.S.S. Rotha stay with the Love’s Latinum Lost as the foursome beams down to an alley on the surface.

Vulcan Kyerak and human Ravi head toward “Nel’s Diner,” while Ferengi Froot and Trill Kimbal walk around the block and spot a military security post before entering the eatery.

Kyerak observes that most of the diner’s patrons are human, except for Illiana Drah’el, a Cardassian administrative assistant. Muscular Ravi impresses Bajoran waitress Kala Voshen and other women.

Froot watches as a well-dressed human executive arrives from the radio station across the street. Both Illiana and Kala defer to Sarlic Pramantha. Ravi listens to Sarlic confidently predict Irdrant’s inevitable victory over Folkhar.

Entrepreneur Froot offers some jewelry to Illiana, who asks for a gold and platinum earring. Half-human Kyerak doesn’t trust the Cardassian either, and he and wary Kimbal pose as potential advertisers to Pramantha, who agrees to meet the next day.

The four offworlders get rooms at the Sentinel Hotel. Kimbal examines local radio waves and finds that Irdrant’s armed forces are secretly sending messages encoded within commercial and propaganda broadcasts.

Kyerak uses a tricorder to search for Cardassian signals but finds that the subspace emissions match U.F.P. frequencies instead. Froot gives Ravi an item that Illiana touched, but her DNA isn’t in Starfleet’s records.

Froot beams up to the Love’s Latinum Lost to replicate the jewelry that the secretary requested and to plant a bug in it. Ravi confirms that the subspace transmitter must be hidden in Irdrant Tower, the same skyscraper that hosts the radio station.

Kyerak visits a library to research recent history and people who might be offworlders interfering with the former colony. Kimbal and Froot are skeptical that the Starfleet personnel will be able to uphold the Prime Directive between their mission and native Aldebaranian politics.

The next morning, the team visits Nel’s Diner for breakfast. Froot gives Illiana the earring she requested. Kyerak pretends to be clumsy and bumps into the secretary to briefly scan her telepathically.

The lieutenant learns that she plans to dismantle the jewelry for parts, presumably for the subspace transmitter. Kala avoids the Cardassian, even as the Bajoran waitress tries to flirt with Ravi.

The four explorers leave their weapons and ultra-tech tools at their hotel rooms before going to Irdrant Tower. They are patted down by strict Betazed officer Sgt. Anker Theophilus before taking an elevator to the radio station.

Illiana gives the visitors a brief tour, and Ravi sees no sign of the secret transmitter. Kimbal and Froot make a sponsorship pitch to Pramantha, who seems receptive. He invites them to dinner to close the deal. On the way out of the office, Kyerak asks Illiana to join them.

Pramantha sends a car to pick up the party. Kimbal finds that cabbie Maurice Thibaud is happy to share his opinions on numerous topics. He says that Sarlic is connected to many powerful people in Irdrant.

Lt. Kyerak, Mr. Chandler, Capt. Froot, and Mr. Tegan meet Mr. Pramantha and Ms. Drah’el at an old-fashioned steakhouse. Sarlic introduces them to Maj. Juanita Madeira, a human officer who is curious about the supposed investors.

Froot engages the major in conversation, while Kimbal finds that Illiana is fiercely loyal to Pramantha. Ravi notices that the wait staff is hovering suspiciously around their table, and Kyerak realizes that the Irdrantians mean to capture or kill them.

The impetuous Vulcan draws his phaser and stuns Pramanatha. Kimbal tries to warn Maj. Madeira, who admits that she gave the order for security forces to move in. Froot stealthily grabs Illiana’s purse to prevent her from finding the advanced bug in her jewelry.

Strong Ravi flips over a heavy table as the waiters open fire with slug throwers. Kyerak stuns Illiana, and Kimbal grabs unconscious Sarlic. The Trill tries to explain to Maj. Madeira that the radio executive is the threat to Irdrant, not him.

Froot scrambles over to Kimbal. As more troops arrive, Ravi initiates an emergency beam out to the Love’s Latinum Lost. Sarlic and Illiana are put in separate cabins as a makeshift brig, and Ravi takes blood samples.

When the prisoners come to, Lt. Kyerak and DaiMon Froot lead the interrogation. Kimbal moves the ship to a higher orbit to avoid detection by Irdrant, and Ravi and Tau find that Sarlic has antibodies consistent with interstellar travel.

Illiana says that Sarlic “is a great man who will lead Irdrant to dominance” of Alpha Tauri III. The media manipulator admits that he was a Federation sociologist assigned to covertly observe the colonists.

Sarlic also confesses that he was helping the military and sending out subspace signals in the hope of finding like-minded people willing to break the Prime Directive. He claims to be unaware of the Romulan spy in Nar Instel.

Froot is sympathetic to the need to reclaim systems before the Klingons, Romulans, or Cardassians, who are also recovering from disasters, can do so. Kyerak is unmoved and intends to turn over the rogue scientist to Starfleet Command.

Kimbal and Ravi beam down to Sarlic’s office to destroy histransmitter and any trace of advanced technology. They manage to avoid local security forces, and Kyerak begins planning to visit Folkhar, the origin point of the third and final set of subspace signals. To be continued….

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for playing Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek TV series and movies. He lived long and prospered, and he will be missed.

I look forward to continuing our adventures, but in the meantime, we have Dexter’s D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls,” Jason E.R.’s FAEChannel 37,” and my own “Vanished Lands” campaigns to play!

"Star Trek: Restoration" Episode 3 — Offworld intruders

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our third “Star Trek” session, which we played online on Monday, 16 February 2015:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Almost four decades after the Enterprise “E” fought the Borg and Remans Nemesis], among others, the United Federation of Planets (U.F.P.) and other interstellar states are slowly recovering from wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s " Star Trek: Restoration" space opera scenario, using D20 Prime Directive, FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures, Bulldogs, and Mindjammer 2e, plus house rules, Obsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-male half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • “Kimbal Tegan” [Beruk A.]-male Trill (long-lived symbiont), operations specialist aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Tau” [Drew S.]-male Ferengi, medic aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Absent:

  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H.]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F.]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C.]-male Jem’Hadar (Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer
  • “Froot” [Rich C.G.]-male Ferengi (short, large-eared extraterrestrial) merchant and negotiator, DaiMon and owner of the trade vessel Love’s Latinum Lost

Previously, in “Star Trek: Restoration,” the U.S.S. Rotha uncovered an Undine infiltrator during a diplomatic mission and faced off against Romulan and Klingon ships in the Neutral Zone.

“Stardate 95248.04 (9 April 2418):” After stopping at Starbase 24, some junior officers accepted a mission to investigate a onetime Federation colony. They joined the crew of the Love’s Latinum Lost, a Ferengi trade vessel.

Lt. Kyerak and Kimbal Tegan conduct research on the Aldebaran colony. Alpha Tauri III is the third out of four planets orbiting an orange giant and a red dwarf and is the only Class M (inhabitable) one in that solar system.

Alpha Tauri III is slightly larger than Earth, with a 1.2 Gs of gravity, a 27-hour day, and six small moons. Its 1 million sentient natives joined the United Federation of Planets in 2216, and thanks in part to the New Aberdeen Shipyards, its mostly human population grew to 7 billion over the next century.

However, in 2372 (about 50 Terran years ago), Starfleet was forced to abandon the colony as part of the settlement ending the Cardassian War. It has apparently regressed to a pre-warp level of technology, and interstellar trade has been sporadic and indirect.

DaiMon Froot sets a course for Aldebaran, bypassing Deep Space K-7 because of the covert nature of Lt. Kyerak’s mission. Tao, a Ferengi medic, introduces himself to the passengers.

Lt. Jarrick Jameson and Lt. Orzzek Kalifa express misgivings about the fact that Lt. Kyerak had accepted the mission to “terminate any offworld interference” in Aldebaran from Cmdr. Nasami Wahid, the Trill first officer of the Rotha.

Although Starfleet’s Prime Directive prohibits direct contact with pre-warp societies, Lt. Mari Killu and Lt. Boran’ Gorir are more concerned about threats to Aldebaran’s civilian population and potential U.F.P. membership.

Kimbal puts the Love’s Latinum Lost in a standard orbit around Alpha Tauri III and sees the remnants of orbital platforms. The Trill pilot also scans for subspace signals and finds three transmission sites: a science station at Nar Instel, the industrial city of Irdrant, and the agricultural community of Folkhar.

Alpha Tauri III

Aldebaran colony

Kyerak checks radio telecommunications and verifies that the colony has fragmented into rival nation-states. The half-Vulcan officer recommends visiting Nar Instel first.

Tau’s biological scans find nearly 6 billion inhabitants, most of whom are human. The decline in global population may be the result of emigration offworld, the decline in technology, epidemics, or wars, theorizes the Ferengi doctor.

Froot says that Aldebaran was once known for its ores (used in starship construction), native life forms, and whiskey. It was also once a venue for medical conferences. He suggests that the away team offer goods and non-critical scientific data in return for local products and information.

The Love’s Latinum Lost lands near Nar Instel. Kimbal hacks into local computer networks and identifies staffers to talk to. Kyerak changes into civilian garb, and Tao offers to handle trade negotiations as their cover story.

Federation science colony

Science station

Kimbal wanders around the science station until he finds a canteen. He meets “Two-Three” and “Three-Two,” two Binar engineers. They are not interested in carousing, but Kimbal uses their literal-mindedness to obtain a network schematic.

Meanwhile, Kyerak goes to the headquarters of the academy and introduces himself as a researcher to a pretty receptionist. He hears an argument and watches Yusuf Darwhish, a human climatologist, storm out of the director’s office.

Tau gets directions to the bursar and offers to trade exotic foodstuffs with a Vulcan scientist who initially dismisses him. However, Stuvek expresses interest in advanced tools, so he accepts Tau’s offer and arranges to meet again later.

Kyerak meets Huang Peipei, director of Nar Instel. He mentions Johann Strom, onetime head of the New Aberdeen Shipyards, and the physicist says that she would like her people to eventually reunite with other Aldebaranians and the Federation. Flirtatious Kyerak says that he can help.

Sly Kimbal eventually excuses himself from conversation with the Binars and sends Kyerak a signal to meet. Curious Tau follows Stuvek into a biology laboratory. He is horrified to see cruel animal testing and notices a decapod acting suspiciously.

The Ferengi ducks into the room and talks with the native Tauran. Gopal Thivar admits that he is trying to sabotage the tests and that he can telepathically tell that Stuvek is hiding something bad.

A three-headed, floating Aldebaranian serpent attacks Tau and Gopal, and they run down the hall. However, Stuvek corners them and says that it’s too bad that they will be the “victims of a lab accident.”

When the duo tries to run around Stuvek, he pulls out a Romulan disruptor and slowly disintegrates the unlucky decapod! Tau slides past Stuvek and makes a desperate dash for the door.

Kyerak and Kimball, who had been trying to reach Tau, burst into the hallway. Kyerak stuns the Romulan, and Kimbal misses the serpent. Tau keeps running until he finds local security forces outside.

The police take Stuvek into custody, and Kyerak privately tells Huang that he hopes to remove external disruptions so that she can help her world advance politically. Kimball takes the disruptor’s power cell, and Tau explains how he and Gopal had uncovered inhumane research.

Kyerak interrogates the supposed Vulcan, as Huang and guards watch. Stuvek admits that his true name is Vorlag. The spy boldly admits that he planned to train colonial doctors in the mind-set and methods of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan intelligence service.

Vorlag’s initial mission was to evaluate the system for conquest, but he says he felt free to pursue his own experiments. The Romulan then bites down on a poisoned capsule, and Tau is unable to save him without a modern medical bay.

Kimbal checks Vorlag’s quarters and finds a subspace transmitter. The landing party returns to the ship, ready to search for whoever is sending subspace signals from Irdrant and Folkhar. To be continued….

While we missed much of the group, I hope that those of you who were able to participate enjoyed our latest episode! I look forward to continuing our adventures, but we’ll also have to see when we’ll have time between Dexter’s D&D5e “Lands of Lost Souls,” Jason’s FAE Channel 37,” and my own D20/FATEVanished Lands” scenarios. Live long and prosper….

Belated 2014 Star Trek convention report

I had a good time at this past summer's Creation Star Trek Convention in Boston, even though the actors I was most interested in meeting — Deep Space Nine's Avery Brooks, Quantum Leap and Enterprise's Scott Bakula, and Into Darkness and Being Human's Karl Urban — all canceled at the last minute.

Other cancellations included Voyager's Kate Mulgrew and Into Darkness' Bruce Greenwood. Still, the show was entertaining enough for any longtime Star Trek fan, and I wasn't expecting this year's event to live up to last year's reunion of most of the Next Generation cast with moderator William Shatner (whom Janice and I just saw at the Rhode Island Comic Con).

Most of the guest stars this time around were from the casts of Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise. Last year, I went with fellow blogger Ken G., who this year attended on Saturday, June 21, but I was busy with Free RPG Day. As usual, there were many excellent cosplayers.

Star Trek cosplay

Capt. Tzu Tien Lung and Adm. Montgomery Scott

Fortunately, I had gotten a discount ticket for this year's event, and I still got to meet Deep Space Nine's Nana Visitor (Maj. Kira Nerys) and Terry Farrell (Lt.Cmdr. Jadzia Dax). Much of the cast of Voyager was also present, and Max Grodenchik and Aron Eisnberg did a hilarious standup routine as Ferengis Rom and Nog, respectively.

Star Trek 2014 photo op

Nana, Gene, and Terry

As with most genre entertainment conventions lately, there was a big crowd and numerous cosplayers. In fact, last year's Super MegaFest got so crowded that it was often a challenge to move around the Sheraton in Framingham, Mass. Fellow blogger Ken G. and I did get to meet Manu Bennet from Spartacus and Arrow, Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie, among others.

Even though Waltham's annual steampunk festival was canceled this spring because of finances and construction downtown, we haven't lacked for other shows, such as the funny Monty Python reunion concert that was simulcast in U.S. theaters. Creation will be taking a year off and returning with a major Star Trek confab in Las Vegas to celebrate the franchise's 50th anniversary in 2016.

This year's Star Trek convention was inspirational, since I've been running occasional "episodes" of my "Star Trek: Restoration" space opera scenario.

We'll see what genre entertainment events I get to next year, and I've found it easier lately to follow the news online from huge events such as the San Diego Comic Con rather than deal with traveling to them.

Rhode Island Comic Con report, Part 1 — Trekking in the rain

This past weekend, Janice and I drove down to Providence for the Rhode Island Comic Con (RICC). Despite the ever-growing crowds, we enjoyed the latest genre entertainment convention.

In addition to seasonal arts and crafts festivals, I usually try to get to some of the local events featuring TV and movies, comic books, and games each year. Because of family-related travel, I ended up skipping this year's Boston Comic Con, the huge New York Comic Con, and the upcoming Super MegaFest, as well as various Renaissance festivals.

Popularity brings problems

I'll write more about other recent cons soon, but back to Providence. Janice and I tried to get to the convention center early, and we had to wait outside for two hours in various lines before we finally got on the right one for our wristbands and admission. As with last year's Boston Comic Con, it might have been easier to get in without advance tickets.

At least it was raining only lightly rather than snowing as in Massachusetts, and the cold I've been fighting was manageable. I felt particularly bad for the underdressed cosplayers shivering farther back in line. Extra layers or overcoats never hurt, at least until we get inside (Janice and I ran ours back to my car once we got in).

All of the events I've attended in the past few years have struggled with growing attendance. While I'm glad to see a new, more diverse generation of fans sharing some of my interests, organizers and venues have yet to catch up. Vendors can't sell things if people can't get to their tables or booths, and fans excited to meet artists or actors come away with negative feelings about communal experiences.

According to people I talked with, the Rhode Island Convention Center can hold up to about 10,000 people at a time, and the RICC had to turn people away by Saturday afternoon after 20,000 showed up. If a total of 17,000 people attended last year, it was a mistake to plan for 50,000 over the course of this weekend. Understandably, many people were very unhappy, but I hope that everyone can learn better logistics for the sake of safety and fun.

What should organizers do? I recommend planning for more frequent events, finding larger venues if possible, and making the events more specific — just pop-culture celebrities or graphic artists, for example. If nearly every state in the U.S. has a Renaissance festival or two, some of the pressure could be relieved with more numerous, local shows.

On the show floor

Once we got into the RICC, it was crowded but worthwhile. There were many celebrity guests, including the original Star Trek's William Shatner, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig. I had seen these actors before, but it was Janice's first time to see them in person.

We also got to chat with John Rhys-Davies and Karen Allen from the Indiana Jones movies, former Doctor Who Colin Baker, and The Flash's John Wesley Shipp. All were very gracious and took the time to speak with each autograph seeker.

At last year's RICC, I got to hang out with both Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon — Gil Gerard and Sam Jones! This year, Farscape's Gigi Edgley complimented Janice's and my "positive energy," and "Whedonverse" (and Agents of SHIELD) alumnus J. August Richards was much more pleasant than his tortured characters. I'm friends with Jacqui B., who runs his and others' Web sites.

We browsed the vendor area and walked through Artist's Alley, which included luminaries such as Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, and Bob Eggleton. I bought sketchbooks from Michael Dooney and Chrissie Zullo. As collectible card games and video games have displaced tabletop role-playing games, anime seems to be more popular among many younger consumers and cosplayers than traditional superhero comics.

After a quick lunch at Charley's Grilled Subs, Janice and I attended Vic Mignogna's panel on "Star Trek Continues," fan-made movies set right after the original TV series with professional-grade production values and actors. Janice and I then watched his latest episode, "Fairest of Them All," which returned to the popular alternate universe of "Mirror, Mirror."

The acting was solid, with Mignogna as Capt. James T. Kirk, Mythbusters' Grant Imahara as Lt. Hikaru Sulu, and Chris Doohan a dead ringer for his late father James as chief engineer Scotty. Asia De Marcos is also a strong reflection (sorry, couldn't help it) of BarBara Luna as Marlena Moreau, the "captain's woman." Michael Dorn provided the computer voice for the alternate universe's Enterprise.

For any fan of classic Trek, this is more true to Gene Roddenberry's idealistic space opera than many of its subsequent spin-offs and certainly more so than J.J. Abrams' reboot. We missed Shatner's panel, but we did catch a brief one with Nichols and Koenig in which they reminisced as the franchise approaches its 50th anniversary.

Janice and I sat through part of the costume contest — my favorites included characters from Invader Zim and Marvel's Modok — but we eventually left to eat. Not surprisingly, most of the restaurants in the adjacent Providence Place Mall were full, so we ended up grabbing dinner at Panera before checking into the comfortable Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown. We had better luck than actress Eliza Dushku, who was robbed, but all's well that ends well….

I'll post soon about our second day at the con!