Public Affairs Office Personnel Profiles:
Sam Archer   |   Tessa Kensington   |   Cassie Queen

Sunday, October 13

Captain Jean-Luc Picard


Did you know, our commanding officer, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, has served in Starfleet for nearly 40 years. He graduated from Starfleet Academy in 2327, and has commanded three starships, fought in the early days of the Cardassian War, survived a fight with a Nausicaan (that resulted in him gaining an artificial heart), and developed the “Picard Maneuver” in the battle that saw the destruction of the USS Stargazer.

Captain Picard is one of the most respected captains in Starfleet, and we are honored to have him as our commanding officer, here aboard the USS Enterprise-D.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Friday, October 11

Shuttle Names Revealed


Last month, Commander Riker announced a contest in which our crew would have the opportunity to rename three of our Type-6 shuttles. Over 300 possible names were submitted, and today, I get to announce the winners.

The three shuttles to be renamed are the Curie, Jackson and Yeager.

The three winning names, as chosen by the Enterprise senior staff are:

Probert
Voyager
Discovery

“Probert” will be the new name for shuttlecraft Curie. The name, “Probert”, pays homage to Andrew Probert, the designer of the Galaxy-class starship, and, by default, the designer of the USS Enterprise-D. This winning name was submitted by engineer, Lieutenant Diana Giddings.

“Voyager” will be the new name for shuttlecraft Jackson. This name is taken from the two 20th Century Earth NASA space probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, both of which were launched in the year 1977. This winning name was submitted by our own page fan, Glenn Riffe.

“Discovery” will be the new name for shuttlecraft Yeager. This name is taken from the old Earth NASA Space Shuttle, Discovery, which was first launched in 1984. This winning name was submitted by a number of different people.

And, as a bonus, the senior staff had a fourth favorite name that they didn’t want to pass on, so our Pullman-class transport, Angelina, will be renamed, “Aurora”. This name comes from the Ancient Earth Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora.

All four auxiliary vessels will have these new names painted onto their hulls this weekend. They will be the new official names of these vehicles moving forward.

You can see all of our shuttle listed on our Auxiliary Vessels page.

Thank you to everyone who submitted names.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Tuesday, October 8

To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before

"Space... The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It's continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before."

I don't know about you, but this quote -- by our intrepid Captain Jean-Luc Picard, sends chills down my spine. It's our mission statement, our reason for being out here.

I joined Starfleet to pursue those goals, to follow that mission, and to explore the unending universe beyond Earth orbit. I am out here because my wonder and curiosity cannot be satisfied looking up at the stars. I need to be among them. I need to see what my Creator made.

And like all those who have gone before me, I am in in awe of the beauty I see around me. I am in awe of the millions of little specks of light, around which millions of planets orbit. Every star holds a story, and I am humbled to be the storyteller sharing those stories with you.

Thank you for being a part of our USS Enterprise Public Affairs page. Our adventures, are your adventures, and I am deeply honored that you have chosen to join us.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Monday, October 7

Destination: Neutral Zone

Earlier today, we received new orders. The Enterprise has been temporarily reassigned to operations along the Romulan Neutral Zone. We are filling in for another starship that has been pulled out of the area for system upgrades. This reassignment will require a trip of about 50 light years, lasting roughly 12 days. At present, we have already begun crossing the Federation, and should arrive at our destination sometime on October 19.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Thursday, October 3

Awaiting Orders

We have completed transfer of the 47 Darwin Research Station scientists, their equipment, as well as the genetically-enhanced children, and remain parked near Deep Space 1 awaiting orders. It looks like we may be here for another day or two.

In addition to our cargo transfer, we have also uploaded all of the survey data we were gathering before our Gagarin IV mission. All of that sensor data is now stored within the DS1 computer, and will be analyzed and distributed to the appropriate recipients. Copies will likely be sent to Earth in an upcoming commship run.

The fact that we’ve uploaded all of our gathered data suggests that our previous survey mission could be at an end, and we may, instead, be waiting for orders for a new mission in the region. What that mission will be, though, remains unknown.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Tuesday, October 1

Borders In Space


Space is vast and empty. In most cases, there are dozens of light years between neighboring star systems, and nothing of note within those light years. So, how does a stellar empire, like the Cardassian Union, or the United Federation of Planets, control all that space?

They don’t.

Space is a never-ending void of nothing -- no resources to claim, no value to protect. What matters most, are the planets and the spacial phenomena that punctuate that void. So, when an empire expands, it claims new planets, in new star systems, and then defends those planets and star systems with bases, ships, mines, probes, etc. As a result, controlled space consists of only the star systems and spacial phenomena, while all the area in between remains empty – unclaimed, unprotected, and unimportant.

When you see a stellar map, there are no interstellar borders. You cannot delineate a two-dimensional line through three-dimensional space, and have it mean something. You cannot violate borders in deep space, because there are no “borders” in deep space. Instead, claimed space looks a lot like the image in this post.

Empires protect their star systems. To cross into an enemy star system, is to invade their space. So the “borders” of an empire are actually just the collective outer edges of each controlled star system. The space in-between those star systems is lawless and empty. Sure, it might contain a well-traveled trade route between systems, but it doesn’t belong to anyone, and it cannot be realistically defended.

In addition, since data cannot be transmitted faster than warp 1, there would be no point in borders through deep space, because ships could cross those borders faster than the warning signal could reach the nearest defended base.

It is also worth noting that ships cannot be tracked at warp. So even if an enemy did choose to attack a star system, there would be no way to know they were coming until they dropped out of warp near the target star system. This is why star systems are defended by fleets. Within the Federation, those defensive fleets consist of ships from the Federation Port Guard.

As a result of all these limitations, interstellar wars are not fought across borders. Wars take on more of a “planet-hopping” format, as invasion forces struggle to conquer neighboring star systems one at a time. In addition, since ships cannot be tracked at warp, and communication cannot occur between ships at warp, long-distance fleet operations become a logistical nightmare. Space itself, therefore, becomes a natural border, because the physical limitations of that space (and traveling through it), make coordinated long-distance wars far too dangerous and impractical to pursue.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Monday, September 30

Offloading The Darwin 47

The Enterprise has arrived at Deep Space 1, and we have begun offloading our 47 prisoners from Darwin Research Station, as well as their illegal genetic engineering equipment. The prisoners will be held in confined quarters aboard the station until a transport vessel can arrive to take them (and their equipment) back to Earth. After that, they will stand trial for their crimes in a Federation court. The law will determine their fate.

As of right now, I have not been informed of any new orders for the Enterprise. It is possible that we might resume our earlier mapping mission, but we could also be sent somewhere else. We will likely know within a day to two. For now, we will continue offloading our cargo.

Unlike our last visit to DS1, we do not have leave. We are here on business. Individual visits, with stated intentions, are, however, possible, if cleared with Commander Riker.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Saturday, September 28

Beauty From Below


I was looking through some of the photos taken earlier this week, and came across this one. It’s a beautiful view we don’t see very often – a ventral view (from underneath). Proof that the Enterprise is a stunning ship, from any angle.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Thursday, September 26

The Darwin 47: Apprehended

Good news! Our Marines have apprehended the remaining three fugitive scientists from Darwin Research Station. They escaped into the tunnels below the facility, and were captured down in the canyon. Two of the individuals were apprehended at a choke point coming out of the caves and tunnels, while the third – a woman – was taken into custody after she fell 55 feet onto a ledge. The Marines repelled down the cliff to her location, and she was pulled from the ledge in a coordinated shuttle rescue.

All 47 personnel from Darwin Research Station are now in custody aboard the Enterprise. In addition, the last pieces of evidence and machinery related to the genetic experiments have been brought aboard the Enterprise, and we are scheduled to depart within a few hours.

A number of individuals from our crew have been transferred to Darwin Station, to await the arrival of another Starfleet ship that will resume control of the station, and prepare it for other uses. A platoon of 30 Marines have been reassigned to the station as well, and will remain on Gagarin IV when we leave.

Our mission to Gagarin IV was a success. We have obtained what we were ordered to acquire, and now we are headed back to Deep Space 1 to offload everything for transport to Earth. It is my hope that the Federation justice system deals swiftly with our prisoners, and that we do not have to play a part in any future arrests of this nature.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Tuesday, September 24

Fugitives, Marines and Genetically-Engineered Children

It has been two days now since we arrived at Gagarin IV, with arrest orders for the 47 personnel stationed at Darwin Research Station. Seven of those individuals escaped the initial Marine raid; four of them were captured today in the tunnels beneath the station. Three individuals remain unaccounted for, and may have made their way down into the deep canyon near the facility. Our Marines continue to track those three fugitives, and are likely to catch them sometime tomorrow.

The most troublesome arrested personnel are being held in both the Security and Marine brigs on deck 8, while all others are being held, under guard, in secure quarters elsewhere on that deck (since the brigs aren’t large enough to hold 47 people).

The genetically-enhanced children have been evaluated by our counseling staff, and are doing well. They are, however, understandably shaken, and are being cared for by our medical staff. Since we do not know the full extent of their abilities, they too are under guard – for their protection, and that of our crew.

Away teams from the Enterprise are currently down in the Darwin Station facilities, cataloging evidence, machinery, and personal items for transport up to the Enterprise. These items are being stored in secure locations throughout the ship, until they can be offloaded at DS1 for transport back to Earth. A platoon of Marines is ensuring that the station facilities remain secure, while others continue tracking down the three individuals still on the run.

Marine Captain Dolim has requested that a contingent of Marines be left behind on the station, when we leave – along with the already assigned ship personnel – to ensure the security of the station and personnel until another ship can arrive. Captain Picard has approved his request.

So far, this entire operation has gone smoothly, with our Marines doing a fine job securing the station, and tracking down the remaining fugitives. I’m glad there haven’t been any unexpected challenges, however, I do feel uneasy playing police to an entire station of scientists – scientists who chose to experiment with human genetics, in secret, and contrary to one of the Federation’s most important laws. They will have their day in court, and for that I am grateful. Still, the sooner we get them off our ship, the better.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Sunday, September 22

Darwin Research Station


A little over a month ago, Starfleet Command received some deeply disturbing information. A scientist working at Darwin Research Station, a Federation research center on Gagarin IV, managed to smuggle out evidence – aboard the Starfleet ship, USS Lantree -- that the facility had been conducting illegal genetic engineering on Human subjects. In fact, these experiments had been taking place, in secret, for the past 13 years.

Genetic engineering is illegal throughout the Federation, and has been so since the founding of the Federation in 2161. It has been illegal on Earth since the end of World War III and the Eugenics Wars. This ban exists to remove all possibility that someone creates another “enhanced” individual like Khan Noonian Singh, or his fellow Augments, and it restricts parents from genetically engineering their children in order to give them an advantage in normal society.

No planet within the Federation is permitted to experiment with genetic engineering on sentient individuals. The ban does allow limited medical treatment considerations, and it does allow selective breeding of certain animals, but the law is 100% clear in all cases of eugenics. It is illegal, and will not be tolerated by the Federation.

Unfortunately, it appears as though Dr. Sandra Kingsley, the lead researcher at Darwin Research Station, has been knowingly ignoring this law. Gagarin IV is on the outer edges of the Federation, and, until now, was registered as an ecological research facility. The 35-year-old Dr. Kingsley has, apparently, presided over the genetic engineering of a few dozen children on Gagarin IV. The Enterprise was assigned – via our Priority One order – to investigate, and ultimately apprehend Dr. Kingsley and her staff for prosecution.

With those orders, the Enterprise arrived at Gagarin IV earlier today, a Marine raid on the facility did confirm the existence of Human genetically-engineered children, and we are currently rounding up and executing arrest warrants for all 47 personnel working at Darwin Research Station. The arrested personnel will be transported to Deep Space 1, where they, and all evidence, documents, and illegal equipment will be transferred to a ship bound for Earth. They will then be tried for their crimes under Federation law. The children held under experimentation at Darwin Research Station will be treated at local hospitals on Earth.

Science personnel from the Enterprise will likely remain on Gagarin IV until other Federation vessels can arrive to clean up the research station, and appropriate it for other uses.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Friday, September 20

A Priority One Mission

Well, folks, I am going to have to pause my photo tour of the Enterprise's lounges, because we have a new mission from Starfleet Command. In fact, this is a mission of extreme importance, and one that has been rated "Priority One". These new orders arrived by commship this morning, having been routed through Deep Space 1, and sent from Earth about two weeks ago.

It is rare for any ship to receive a "Priority One" mission this far outside Federation space, but, we now have one, and it takes priority over all other operations.

I have read the mission orders, and they are, indeed, very serious. I am, however, under orders not to share details at this time (command-level need-to-know only). I can say, though, that, right now, the Enterprise is at high warp, bound for our ordered destination. When we arrive, and our mission commences, I'll be able to share more. For now, let's just hope this goes smoothly. Starfleet Command has put a lot of trust in the Enterprise to execute these orders.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Thursday, September 19

USS Enterprise-D: Main Shuttlebay Pilot Lounges


The Main Shuttlebay of the Enterprise is a massive facility that extends the height of two decks. In the middle of the bay is the command pillar, and on the upper level of this pillar are the shuttle operations control center, the shuttle pilot and fighter squadron ward rooms, and two officer lounges -- the Shuttle Pilot Lounge, and the Fighter Pilot Lounge. Both lounges are mirror versions of each other, one on the port side of the pillar, and the other on the starboard side.

Both lounges contain a (non-alcoholic) beverage bar, tables and chairs, soft benches, and large windows that look down onto the Main Shuttlebay flight deck below.

The images shown here are of the Fighter Pilot's Lounge.


This image (above) shows the Fighter Pilot's Lounge from the opposite side of the room. Here, you can see the beverage bar, and a little of the shuttlebay beyond the far windows.

A lounge attendant is usually on duty during all crew shifts.


Of course, the most impressive part of these officer lounges would be the panoramic views of the Main Shuttlebay below. Notice the Type-6 shuttle on the far right? While sipping a beverage, someone could sit at one of these tables, and watch the daily flight operations taking place around them. They would see shuttles taxi into maintenance areas, observe other shuttles glide past on launch maneuvers, and watch as pilots, engineers, and cargo specialists mingle about on the expansive flight deck.

Both of these lounges are meant to be relaxing places to sit and unwind. Music, usually tuned to one of the ships radio stations, can be heard playing softly in the background, while flight operations announcements keep personnel updated on the activities taking place below.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Wednesday, September 18

USS Enterprise-D: Deck 10 Saucer Rim Lounges


Aboard the Enterprise, Deck 10 is primarily dedicated to civilian and entertainment-themed locations. One of these locations is the outermost corridor that encircles the deck, known as the Promenade, or Deck 10 Mall. While most people are familiar with Ten Forward located there, Ten Forward isn't the only lounge on the Promenade. In fact, there are dozens of smaller lounges that rim the deck, each one featuring expansive windows that look out into space, and plenty of tables and chairs for relaxation.

These lounges are open to all crew, personnel or civilians to use at any time.

Since all of these lounges are located along the Promenade, many of them have been converted into small stores, shops, and retail locations. Enterprising civilians (with retail permits) use these spaces to sell everything from hand-made jewelry, to books, hats, clothing, souvenirs, even freshly-made candy, chocolates and baked goods.


This photo (above) shows the window side of the lounges. Since this is the rim of deck 10, the windows you see here, create a continuous line all the way around the deck. When used as a lounge, the diagonal spaces on the far walls are usually open to the adjacent lounge. When these lounges are in use as small shops, modular windows can be installed between rooms for greater privacy. Some of these lounges, when converted into shops, feature interior doors that lead directly into the adjacent lounge

Solid-object (non-food) replication units are provided in every lounge or shop.


This photo shows a standard lounge from the opposite side of the room. The two large screens can be programmed for data display, menus, shop inventory, planetary environments, videos, etc. Furniture can be custom-selected (when available) to match the needs of each individual room.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Tuesday, September 17

USS Enterprise-D: Public Affairs Lounge


Aboard the Enterprise, deck 2 is in use by the ship's Public Affairs Office. Our offices, quarters, and other support rooms are present on this deck, however, the crown jewel of deck 2 is the Public Affairs Lounge. Its lavish, well-shined woodwork, comfortable chairs, and lighted tables create a peaceful ambiance that makes this one of the Enterprise's most beautiful rooms.

This is a one-of-a-kind lounge. There is no other lounge of this design aboard the Enterprise.

The Public Affairs Lounge is located to the aft of deck 2, so the big expansive windows you see in the photo, show a rear view of the Enterprise. This is a similar view to the one you can see in Ten Forward, eight decks down, although, Ten Forward is a saucer rim lounge, while our PAO lounge is located on top of the saucer (within the full deck below the Bridge).

Our Public Affairs Office has full control of this lounge, and we use it for briefings, meetings, and special events. Since this lounge is not open to the rest of the crew, it also serves as a quiet place where my staff and I hang out, read, enjoy lunch, or watch the stars while off-duty.


This photo shows the inner wall of the Public Affairs Lounge. Here, you'll see two doors that lead out into the main corridor (one on either end of the lounge), and three large wall screens that can be programmed for data display, sync-up with the Bridge view screen, or used to show movies.

Since deck 2 is at the top of the Enterprise saucer, the windows extend up into the ceiling and also serve as skylights. Lighting is usually kept low -- as seen in these photos, to provide a peaceful environment that makes strong use of the extensive views outside the ship.

The two replication units, seen in this photo, are non-food replicators, and provide solid-printed objects as needed by our office. Standard beverage dispensers are available, though, and food can be brought into the lounge from the Food Kitchen access points available on this deck.

Our PAO offices and quarters are located on the other side of the corridor, outside this lounge.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Sunday, September 15

A Pirate Mystery

The Enterprise has returned to its scheduled mapping and survey mission. There wasn't much that we could do at the debris site, so we left a buoy to memorialize the incident, and resumed our exploratory mission. Perhaps, someday, a ship with a crew who knew those who were lost, will come across our buoy, and can properly process the site.

For now, we did what we could. We responded to a distress call, but we arrived too late. Two ships were lost, and we have no idea who was aboard either vessel. The debris holds no definitive clues, and we don't know who to report the incident to. In space, not everything is tied up in a neat little bow. Some mysteries, with always remain mysteries.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Saturday, September 14

A Pirate Encounter

Well, that was interesting. We just destroyed a pirate ship.

About thirty minutes ago, we picked up a distress call from an unidentified, non-Federation science vessel. The call was broadcast in multiple languages, including Federation English, and claimed that their vessel was under attack by a heavily-armed starship. The message didn’t name any species we recognized, but was, most definitely, a plea for assistance.

The Enterprise immediately stopped our system survey scans, and went into response mode. We jumped to warp 9 for a few seconds, and arrived at the source of the call about 2 billion kilometers away. Because communication cannot travel faster than warp 1, however, the distress call we received had been sent about an hour and half before we received it.

When we dropped out of warp, the distressed vessel was already in poor shape, having been through a serious fight. The armed vessel appeared to be damaged as well, and was cutting open the distressed vessel with some sort of laser. We likely startled them, because they immediately shut down their laser, and fired upon the Enterprise. Our response hails went unanswered, so Lieutenant Commander Mallaidh (the Beta Shift commander) returned fire, damaging the pirate vessel even further. The hostile ship then turned, fired upon the science vessel, destroyed it, and then attempted to escape. Another phaser volley from the Enterprise intended to disable their engines, but the blast must have been too much for the pirate vessel, and it too exploded.

Now, for the last twenty minutes, the Enterprise has been scanning the debris of both vessels. We haven’t found any sign of survivors, nor anything among the debris that the attacking vessel may have been trying to obtain. Both crews are dead, and we know nothing else about the incident.

Deep space is full of unexpected moments like these. It also goes to show just how lawless the unclaimed space outside the Federation can be. Who were those scientists in distress, and what was the pirate vessel, tearing them apart with a laser, looking for?

Sadly, we may never know.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Friday, September 13

USS Enterprise-D Marines

If you have the time, please take a moment and stop by our associated Enterprise Company Marine Facebook page. Their page is maintained by Sergeant Andy Markus, and features news and updates from the Starfleet Marines stationed aboard the Enterprise.

Those 100 Starfleet Marines are the fighting force assigned to defend the Enterprise. They are called upon when combat situations arise, and are tasked with securing away team landing zones on dangerous and hostile planets.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Thursday, September 12

Starfleet Ship Time

Here's a little bit of trivia for you: Earth is separated into nearly 40 time zones. Since Earth hosts the headquarters of Starfleet, the passage of time aboard Starfleet ships, space stations, and starbases matches the passage of time on Earth.

Many people think that Starfleet ships follow the same time zone as is used in San Francisco, California -- where Starfleet HQ is located, but this isn't actually true. Back in the late 2130s -- over 200 years ago -- there was a conflict between the newly-formed Starfleet on the west coast of the United States, and the United Earth capital in New York City, on the east coast of the United States, over which timezone should apply to Earth starships in space. Time aboard a starship isn't bound by planetary rotations, but it is still a valid management concept nonetheless.

After much debate, Starfleet and the United Earth government finally agreed to define time aboard Starfleet ships in accordance with the CDT time zone located within the middle of the country. As a result, for the past 225+ years, all Starfleet ships operate on the Central USA CDT timezone (i.e., the same time zone in use within Chicago, USA).

Twenty-five years later, the new Federation Council, at the petitioning of Captain Jonathan Archer -- the former captain of the Enterprise NX-01, signer of the Federation Charter, and my own direct ancestor -- passed legislation to adopt Starfleet time (USA CDT) as the new Federation standard. It was quickly signed into law by Thomas Vanderbilt, the first Federation President, and from that point onward, all time aboard Federation starships has followed Earth CDT time.

Other Federation member planets do still maintain ship chronology that matches their own planetary rotations, however, when dealing with the Federation, all ship time is in Earth CDT.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Monday, September 9

To Seek Out New Life, And New Civilizations

The Enterprise has moved on from the Omega Segitta star system, and is now conducting scans of a binary star system nearby. None of the planets in this system are habitable.

Most people seem to think that the universe is full of home worlds for thousands of unique species. But, the truth is, less than 0.1% of the planets the Federation has come across over the last two centuries can support life. Over 99% of all planets in the known galaxy (and likely the entire universe) appear to be uninhabited, and have toxic atmospheres.

Interestingly enough, most sentient species the Federation has discovered, are humanoid, and live on some type of class-M planet (i.e., temperate, tropical, desert, or arctic environments). There are a few exceptions, sure, but only a handful at best. If I were a betting man, I'd say it almost seems like the universe was designed for oxygen-breathing humanoid species.

In fact, there are even some scientists who theorize that all of the sentient species we do come across, were once ancient Humans who chose to leave Earth -- via a gateway similar to the mythical "Iconian Gateway" -- thousands of years ago. Any genetic differences in their DNA were, as they theorize, changed by the God who designed the universe, and chose to separate them from the Humanity they chose to give up.

However these species came to be where we find them, it sure does make our mandate to "seek out new life and new civilizations" all the more exciting. If less than 0.1% of all planets in the galaxy can support life (almost all of these being Class-M), then the goal of our mandate becomes very much like a search for lost treasure. Therefore, if you think about it, as Starfleet personnel, we aren't just deep space explorers, we're treasure hunters as well -- treasure hunters looking for surprisingly similar sentient life, in a galaxy where such life is extremely rare.

I don't know about you, but that certainly puts a whole new perspective on what we do, and why we are out here doing it!

-Lieutenant Sam Archer