My Favorite Trek: Heather Meadows

Not only is this the latest edition of My Favorite Trek, but it’s also announcement time: Commodore Heather Meadows hereby joins us today as our new Director of Media. Her main responsibilities will be My Favorite Trek interviews and other blog & media content. She has a long and distinguished simming career, frequently filling roles similar to this, that goes back two decades now. Without any further ado, let’s meet Commodore Heather Meadows…

Name: Heather Meadows
Rank: Commodore
Sim: N/A
Position: Director of Media
Other Characters: Lieutenant Tosh Tarkin of the USS Eminence

Favorite Star Trek episode? It is incredibly difficult to narrow Star Trek down to one favorite episode. However, I will go with “Measure of a Man” from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s second season.
Why? The writer of this episode is Melinda Snodgrass, an accomplished science fiction author, but has a background in law. She earned her Juris Doctor from University of Mexico School of Law. Snodgrass’ knowledge of law applied to the science fiction setting of Gene Rodenberry’s 24th century brings about a thorough discussion of morality, ethics, and what constitutes sentient life.
Favorite Star Trek series? Alas, a continuation of a predicament that places a fan in a tug-of-war within a wonderful franchise. Star Trek: The Next Generation has the best cast, but my personal favorite is Star Trek: Voyager.
Why? When measuring each series and comparing/contrasting them, Star Trek: Voyager edges out the others for me on a personal level because the premise was good, the pilot was interesting, and the first season was solid. Where other series needed time to grow and develop (surpassing Voyager even), Voyager as a series did not need to go through the same growing pains.
Favorite Star Trek film? This would be Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home for me.
Why? This is probably one of the more divisive films because of the plot and humor. I, however, greatly enjoy both the plot and the infusion of humor throughout the movie. The 1980s was a quirky time and having Kirk and the crew travel back to this period of time in Earth’s history worked out well because the actors were contemporary during the time. This made for sharper writing than having them sent back to say the 1880s. Environmental conversation is also something that is very important to me, and that is essentially at the core of this film.
Favorite Star Trek Captain? Most people have the ongoing battle of Kirk or Picard, but mine is actually a struggle between Picard or Janeway. Any given day, it could go either way for me, but I will go with Captain Kathryn Janeway. She adjusted to the situation that she found herself in, and part of that adjustment meant being more than just the Captain – Janeway had to become softer and more integrated with her crew, especially because there’s a huge difference between a Galaxy class starship and an Intrepid class.

  • What year did you start simming? I started simming in 2002 which does indeed feel like a million years ago because things were different back then.
  • What sim was it? It was Dowding Station, a space station sim and it was not part of a fleet. I actually spent about eight or nine years, strictly on the independent scene before setting foot in a fleet.
  • What keeps you simming today? I actually don’t write (simming) as much these days, but I do keep involved with the simming community. I stay involved because I like being a mentor and helping new COs (Game Managers) find their confidence and get into their groove.
  • Favorite non-simming hobby? I actually am a bit Neelix myself. I enjoy cooking and baking (hate the cleaning) and experimenting with recipes.
  • Favorite non-Trek series? That would probably be Buffy the Vampire Slayer because it’s a relatively timeless piece that has embedded itself into pop culture, and it is a series that any writer, director, or producer could learn a lot from.
  • Favorite non-Trek film? North by Northwest because I love James Bond, and though this is not a ‘Bond Film’ it still has the feel of one, and it is a well written film. It certainly is rightfully a classic.
  • Favorite book (fiction or non)? I’m going to give a quick shoutout to Nightshade, a Star Trek novel by Laurell K. Hamilton because Star Trek books do not get enough attention. However, because I am a literary geek, Frankenstein by Marry Shelly is my favorite book.
  • Favorite video game? I really don’t do gamming aside from auto racing games and such. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the Uncharted series and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order.
  • Favorite musician or band? The Cranberries (Yes, the band known for “Linger” and “Zombie”) as I loved the Singer (she passed away a few years ago) and the band had a lot of gems of songs that weren’t hits or singles.
  • Favorite superhero? Nightcrawler from the X-Men.
  • If you could have any super power, what would it be? I would take telepathy though it would literally be a headache. The ability to know what people are truly thinking is alluring as you’d get them in their truest form.
  • Favorite sport? I’m an auto racing and motorsports person. Be that Formula 1, IndyCar, or NASCAR.
  • Favorite team? Team Penske
  • Favorite food? Pretty much all of it though I am fond of Tacos, Pide, and Malai Kofta.
  • Coke or Pepsi? I reject your binary cola thinking and insert my own. Royal Crown (RC Cola). However, I am less of a ‘cola’ person and more of a: Moxie, Dr. Pepper, birch beer, root beer, sarsaparilla, and cream soda person.
  • Lennon or McCartney? Let’s just say I am not a Beatles person.
  • Jordan or LeBron? Basketball – Nope.
  • Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Trek because it was less action and more philosophical.

Rank the Trek TV shows from best to worst. VOY / TNG / DSN / ENT / TOS / PIC / DSC
Rank the Trek movies from best to worst. TVH / FC / TUC / TWOK / I / G / TSFS / N / TFF / ID / B / TMP / ST (2009)
Was this too many questions? Not at all. It was a nice opportunity for people to get dome insight into me from a Trek perspective. I welcome any questions they may have.

Let’s all give Commodore Meadows a warm welcome!

USS Chuck Norris: 10 Years

Ten years ago today, our very own USS Chuck Norris launched. That makes it the longest continuously running IDF sim in its current form: Despite two URLs and two Novas, it’s still Defiant class and NCC-4005. And as far as I know, no other ship in Star Trek simming has anything like the USS Chuck Norris facts!

Through four Captains (Dick Sprague, Shane Youngblood, Grover vonMcCormick & Aurther Winters), dozens of crewmembers, and many zany adventures, the Chuck has seen it all. Beyond the story, it’s also been quite the historical sim. It sponsored the 2012 Simulation Cup (aka Tournament of Simulations), the only game ever to do so. It later won its own award at the 2014 competition, the last IDF sim to win until the 2020 tournament.

Let’s also not forget perhaps the Chuck Norris’s biggest contribution: When IDF’s old website went offline in early 2019, the Chuck kept simming over email to keep our legacy alive. Without that effort, there would be no Independence Fleet today. Like so many other fleets, IDF would already belong to the ages.

But we are here today. So let’s all write a post in honor of the USS Chuck Norris!

USS Chuck NorrisNCC-4005
Format: Prose & ScriptEra: TNG/DSN/VOY
Type: OpenClass: Defiant
CO: Captain Aurther WintersJoin!

Hall of Fame Amendment IV

The fourth amendment to the Independence Fleet Hall of Fame here hereby approved after a vote of 10 ballots for, 0 against, and 2 abstentions. The main change is reducing the maximum number of annual inductions from the standard process from five to three, and from the Veterans Committee from three to two. It also clarifies that future amendments can’t be voted on during May, June, or July so as to not interfere with the election process. These changes were primary driven by feedback from the voters this past year.

I don’t anticipate this resulting in any major changes practically, but it should help us focus our efforts moving forward. Speaking of forward, I’m already looking toward inducting a new group of outstanding individuals next year on our 21st anniversary to join the current 33 inductees.

You can see more about the Hall of Fame here or read the updated HoF Charter here.

Happy Halloween!

It’s worth no money and its creator is indifferent, but the participants find it invaluable.

  1. My name was changed at the 11th hour.
  2. I’m not a Titan.
  3. I immediately traveled through three in three.
  4. The first here was not actually the original.
  5. I’m a person, not a place.
  6. No, you don’t get a clue.
  7. My initial class was Bedford.
  8. I’m famous from Lower Decks.
  9. I’m the only one of my generation.
  10. A reference to my joining.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

October News Updates

Three quick news items for everyone:

  • Rear Admiral Bolak has resigned his position as IDF’s Director of Media due to time constraints. His last official day will be October 31st. I would like to personally thank Bolak for all of his hard work and the many contributions he has made to the fleet, especially the My Favorite Trek and Captain’s Chair interviews.
  • This year’s Simming Fall Festival will happen on November 13th. It will be hosted by our friends over at 5th Fleet. As always, we look forward to supporting 5th Fleet and engaging with the rest of the simming community at FallFest.
  • As everyone knows, we celebrated our 20th Anniversary earlier this year. What you might not know is that several other fleets also marked significant anniversary milestones in 2021. You can read more about a few of them over on the Ongoing Worlds Blog. Speaking of milestones, yesterday was the 11-year anniversary of the launch of the award-winning USS Sunfire-D.

20th Anniversary Message & Almanac

It’s finally here: The 20th anniversary of the founding of this great club. Who knew back on July 4, 2001 that this group, launched with humble beginnings on Angelfire and YahooGroups, would not only still be around today, but standing among the titans of simming?

Independence Fleet has seen good times, bad times, and everything in between. Throughout it all, we’ve endured to create some of the best Star Trek role playing the Internet has ever witnessed. With that in mind, we have an important message from a very special guest:

In honor of this historic and momentous occasion, we hereby publish the Independence Fleet 20th Anniversary Almanac. It’s 20 pages of history, games, perspectives from the fleet, and more:

Whether you’ve been a member for one day or all 20 years, this legacy belongs to you! On behalf of the entire IDF Admiralty, we hope you thoroughly enjoy today’s message, almanac, and everything this fleet offers.

Let’s continue to tell our story…

EDIT (July 14, 2021): Anniversary Almanac Answers

2021 Hall of Fame Inductees

It is my great privilege to formally induct the newest members of the Independence Fleet Hall of Fame. For those who attended our 20th Anniversary Webcast yesterday, you got a sneak peak at the class of 2021. Induction into our Hall of Fame is the highest honor within this fleet. The criteria, requirements, and process can be found in the Hall of Fame Charter (pdf).

The following individuals are hereby inducted into the Independence Fleet Hall of Fame:

Inducted by Election:

Admiral Joseph “Stealth” Carroll

of the USS Washington

One of the most colorful characters in fleet history, Joseph “Stealth” Carroll has done it all. He joined the USS Washington during the fleet’s first month, then rose through the ranks and earned his first command on the USS Liberty, winning a posting title in his first month. He also served in numerous Admiralty roles up through 2020, most notably Fleet Inspector General. A contributor at every level, Carroll’s loyalty is unmatched.

Captain Wesley Chase

of the USS Avalon

A longtime Captain during IDF’s late renaissance period, Wesley Chase led many original adventures on his two commands, the USS Avalon and USS Archimedes, including during a three month stint as Commanding Officer of both. He knew how to push the boundaries while staying true to the best ideals of both Trek and simming. Chase tallied two posting titles and 2.33 Genesis awards.

Vice Admiral Caroline Marion

no sim selection

A member of the Admiralty through much of IDF’s history, from the late early years up through 2020, Caroline Marion is best known as the genius behind the fleet logos developed circa 2004-06. Building on earlier fleet emblems, the graphics received rave reviews from players and were highly influential on subsequent club artwork. Indeed, the theme and feel from Marion’s work remains today.

Fleet Admiral James D. West

of the USS Sunfire

One of the club’s three founders and instrumental throughout its history, James D. West has left an incalculable mark. He coined the Independence Fleet name, created the first bell & wings logo, and served as the first, third & sixth fleet Commanding Officer. He additionally created four sims and returned in 2020 when the fleet was teetering on collapse. Without West’s many contributions, we wouldn’t be celebrating today.

Fleet Admiral AJ Wheeler

no sim selection

The third and final individual to achieve the Fleet Admiral rank, AJ Wheeler was also the longest serving fleet Commanding Officer, a position held for more than nine years. While the fleet saw many ups and downs during Wheeler’s tenure, it was noted for its extreme growth and many contributions to the greater simming universe, including hosting and sponsoring major community events.

Inducted by the Veterans Committee:

Commander George Ruiken

of the USS Sunfire

A champion simmer from IDF’s late early period, George Ruiken was a go-to player who know how to push the plot forward and make it entertaining for all. He quickly rose through the ranks to Commander, and is still in the top 20 all-time with 6 total awards, including 2 MVPs and 2 Funniest Posts. Ruiken’s posts were always imaginative and provided many opportunities for others to get involved.


Congratulations to all six of our 2021 inductees! Well done, and thank you for providing an example for us still role playing to follow. You will forever be remembered for your extraordinary contributions to Independence Fleet. There are now 33 total members of this most exclusive club.

In a stunning coincidence, the three sims represented this year are the USS Sunfire (x2), USS Avalon, and USS Washington–identical to our original fleet line-up on July 4th, 2001.

Speaking of that, stay tuned for more news regarding our 20th anniversary today…

Awards… For Monthly Awards!

Wow, what a 20th Anniversary Webcast! It was so awesome that I think we have a new tradition here in this fleet. Our very own Admiral Ken Gillis hosted the event, where he introduced the Hall of Fame class of 2021 and awarded prizes to three people from among our monthly award winners. If you missed it, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see the Hall of Fame inductees. However, I can give a quick recap of the prize drawing.

First, here are the prizes:

Next, the names of the monthly award winners were added to the big wheel. Players received a spot on the wheel for each award they won dating back to March 2020 (award fractions were rounded up):

The three winners were…

Captain Aurther Winters of the USS Chuck Norris

Lieutenant J’goss Yass G’odoss, also of the USS Chuck Norris

and Chief Petty Officer Remal Kajun of the USS Sunfire

Congratulations to all three! And thank you again to Ken for hosting and putting this on. Bravo!

Please stay tuned for more anniversary news tomorrow…

EDIT: Due to our current embargo on shipping goods to Canada, Aurther Winters will instead be getting a Tim Hortons gift card as a consolation. Also, Remal Kajun has offered to donate his prize. As such, we drew two more winners: Lieutenant Dean House of the USS Sunfire & Lt. Cmdr. T’Ponga Shemara of the USS Montana. Enjoy the prizes!

SciWorld 2021

Join us this Saturday, June 12th, at 11:30 AM EDT (-4) / 4:30 pm BST (+1) for the 2021 SciWorld Online Convention. Chair Aurther Winters, Fleet XO Ken Gillis, and many others have put in a lot of hours to make this an extra special event this year. After the 11:30 opening ceremony, we have seven hours of provocative discussions, interactive trivia games, and live role playing planned.

Since we’re this year’s host, you get a sneak peak at the official opening ceremony video:

This will be the 19th SciWorld, and the third hosted by IDF. The first SciWorld was held all the way back in 1999. And just to see how far we’ve come over the years, here’s the opening video from the first modern SciWorld, which we hosted in 2011:

See you this Saturday at SciWorld XIX!

USS Sunfire & USS Liberty Sim Swap

We know this is crazy, but basically the crews are trading ships: USS Sunfire CO Captain Sandy “Ghost” Shannon & crew and USS Liberty CO Captain Rhenora Kaylen & crew are permanently swapping ships.

Wait, what?

Over the last week, each crewmember added their character to the other sim. Then today, the two Captains published joint genesis posts on each sim: Here’s the Sunfire’s & here’s the Liberty’s. Crewmembers are free to participate on both sims for the remainder of the missions, which will be wrapped up before the end of the month. At that time, legacy Liberty members will have their characters deactivated as they continue on the Sunfire, and legacy Sunfire members will have their characters deactivated as they continue on the Liberty.

Why do this?

Both sims have tremendous histories here at IDF. In fact, IDF was born out of the original Sunfire, and it was one of our three launch sims back in July 2001. Shortly thereafter, the Liberty was our first expansion sim on August 1, 2001. The current registry numbers hark back to those early days. When we relaunched both sims last year, circumstances led to the Liberty crew largely consisting of players from the last incarnation of the Sunfire. They’re simply going home now. And fortunately, the crew of the Sunfire are good enough sports to play along.

How will these joint missions turn out?

I have no idea, but they’re sure to be wild as we’ve never attempted anything like this before!

With that said, as of today, Captain Rhenora Kaylen is now the Commanding Officer of the USS Sunfire, and Captain Sandy “Ghost” Shannon is now the Commanding Officer of the USS Liberty. Congratulations, Captains! May you continue to lead your sims to new heights!