As I ended the previous post, I entered college still with the idea running in my head of the Raptor and her crew.
College was a wonderful time for me, and I was focused on…ah, who am I kidding. I can’t even finish that statement with a straight face. I got involved at the Catholic Student Center on campus. I was involved in ROTC. I joined a fraternity. I began playing my first MMOs (Final Fantasy XI and City of Heroes). And, I continued to refine my ideas of my OWN Star Trek series.
It would have to be animated, I decided. You can do anything with animation, to include incredible new aliens that would cost prohibitive to create, either with makeup or CGI.
I began refining the story of my crew, right down to where they sat on the bridge (side note: Rafale‘s bridge layout, having the helm and tactical console integrated, was because of my thoughts at this stage. On the Raptor, tactical sat at the front of the bridge right next to the helmsman, so that they could better coordinate their attacks and maneuvers.)
The captain was my character, Captain Steven Scott, a man who had willingly been partially assimilated in order to enhance his abilities. His right hand was a Romulan woman named Sevlaan. Tactical was a Caitian named Sayre.
As I continued forward and continued making plans, I realized a few things.
1) I like too many “S” names. I wonder why that is… (My name is Steve, btw)
2) Raptor was a lone warship in a Starfleet of explorers.
3) I was becoming more involved in my faith, and realized that, while a conflict-heavy setting would be inevitable for me, I wanted a more hope-filled story.
Designs changed again, and I fell in love with the sleek look and feel of the Prometheus class ship as well as the Dauntless NX-01-A from Voyager. I hit the drawing board again, designing what would become the Gabriel: an escort-type ship that resembled a Prometheus with only the two lower nacelles. She was slightly smaller, but packed much of the same punch.
My crew transferred over, with a few changes. I came up with a villain – the Shay’d (damn S names) – who would be more feared than the Borg for the sheer reason that, while similar in methods (“assimilation” of sorts), they’d be worse because the Borg were emotionless, robotic. What they did was programmed.
The Shay’d were capable of mercy. And refused to show it.
I needed a new setting. Most of the Milky Way had been explored. The Delta Quadrant, while still virgin (Voyager didn’t do much damage) would involve species that were already canon. I wanted something new.
Then, it hit me. Why not leave?
My setting would be Andromeda, and a contested region of space that had been all but overrun by the Shay’d. The last few races of an alliance (the Vinrali “Dragon”) were struggling to survive. Starfleet would find a way there, hoping to explore, and be caught in the crossfire of a raging battle. They would quickly try to remain neutral, contacting both sides for a cease-fire and temporary safe passage until they could figure out how to get back home. One side would laugh and (their universal translators assimilating quicker) say no, firing on the Starfleet ships and destroying a few. The other side would require a bit of “me Tarzan, you Jane” to come to an agreement, and Starfleet would join the Vinrali in repelling the Shay’d and, eventually, becoming allies with them to help protect the Vinrali and their allies and end the Shay’d threat.
Gabriel, I felt, was too masculine a name for a ship which would be, as all are, female. Gabriel was kept as the class name (both in-universe and out) and the first ship – my ship – would be renamed USS Archangel, NX-96014.
Sound a little familiar? This is the backstory, essentially, of how my characters Wirstowx and Jessica St. Peter arrived in the Milky Way.
A few character names changed here and there. A few alien races changed here and there. But ever since my freshman year (about ten years ago, now), my series has been Archangel. I have almost an entire 7 “seasons” worth of material planned, between being on paper or just running around on repeat in my head.
This, friends, is what I consider my first “official” fan-series. I realize Rafale – Star Trek Online might have been a little confusing at times, as far as back story that references Archangel, but I promise at one point I will have Archangel down on paper. Though I don’t intend to animate it anymore, I do still want it to be illustrated; I’m leaning more towards a comic/graphic novel format now.
I’m out of college and about 6 years into my tour of duty as an Air Force Officer. I’ve gotten married, and now have two kids. I run marathons. I’ve deployed 3 times, with a fourth only a month away now.
And yet, in all this busy time, I still find the time to play a new MMO that has consumed a lot of my time for the past 3 years. Why?
Because it’s Star Trek.
And because, without this game and a certain novel series about werewolves and emo-teen girls and sparkly vampires, I would have never found Ad Astra.
And Rafale – Star Trek Online would have never existed, nor would the inspiration to continue to fight to get Archangel on paper.