I love search engine referrer strings.

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A thing that some folks know but not everyone does: generally speaking, when you go to a search engine, type something in, get some results, and click on one of those results, whoever runs that website can parse their web server logs to see what you were searching for that led you there. This is handy if you are a like search-engine-optimizing duder, or if you are like me and just easily entertained.

So, for example, someone just got here by searching for the phrase “how many riker centric episodes are there?”

Larp Trek is now apparently the top hit for that phrase (or rather that unquoted string of words). I find that quietly delightful. Though to be fair, I find a lot of things quietly delightful.

The answer, of course, is “not enough”, and in the future maybe such queries will land on this post rather than just the (auto-generated by WordPress) Riker character page and so helpfully provide actual content to the wayward searcher.

Other things people have gotten here by searching for include, for just a sampler:

– larp trek (well done!)
– larptrek (also jolly good!)
– larping (I apologize for almost certainly letting you down!)
– star trek webcomic larp (good enough!)
– larp treck (ahem!)
– geordiriker (slash fic?)
– how to stop hitting yourself (this just got a bit dark)
– 17 idiomatic expressions (this just got a little Buzzfeed)
– big book anal (this just got a lot Riker)
– counselor troi in her underwear (oh come on)
– dog fugue womens (I don’t even)
– i love brent spiners nose (don’t we all)
– is picard the superego (subject of future newspost)
– picard zip your bag (uh)
– riker erotica (but you repeat yourself)

And so on. Every day is an adventure.

Picard's fondness for detective holonovels is well known; Deanna, on the other hand, has mostly kept her all-night holo-adventures in the 70s disco club scene to herself.

#47 – Lookin’ for orbs in all the wrong places

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I realize the actual Quark-centric episodes we got out of Deep Space Nine weren’t really a good selling point for this notion, but I’d have loved to see an actual show built out around Quark’s bar. Armin Shimerman is amaaaaazing, the character has a ton of promise, and a series about an ostensibly ruthless, morally-conflicted businessman-slash-criminal trying to keep his head above water and his eyes on the prize in a nasty corner of space would just kill me, especially if you give his supporting cast some more depth and oomph that we usually got from e.g. Rom and Leeta.

On the flip side fo that, someone’s made a billion jokes about Quark’s-as-Cheers already, right? At least the crowd shouting “Morn!” and Rom saying “how’s the world treatin’ yeah, Mister Mornerson?” Right? Part of me wants to go one at length here but I’m pretty sure I’m late to this party.

In any case, Picard’s opera selection here is a joke, obviously, since from personal experience I can vouch that the only music you put on a game is (a) Holst’s “The Planets”, (b) the pre-Jackson Lord of the Rings work of Ralph Bakshi, or (c) Rammstein.

The worst part is that Riker is going to turn around and use these lines on women in Ten Forward.

#46 – Stop the kid before he says something about “watersports”

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You can’t even explain to Wes why what he’s saying is problematic without things getting even more awkward. Off-screen: Bev’s head actually, literally exploding.

But hey, so, you know what totally didn’t exist until Deep Space Nine? The noble runabout! It showed up in the pilot of DS9, obviously, and then a runabout did make a brief appearance later that same year in season 6 of Next Generation.

And so this is my official headcanon: Geordi made it up.

He was bored at some point in let’s say season two, he was doodling on a PADD, and this thing is what he came up with. He pulled out the old sketches when setting up this game for the crew and polished things up a bit. (But how could Geordi make it up for DS9 if it showed up in season 6 of TNG? Remember the golden rule of Larp Trek handwaving: if it hasn’t happened yet by most of the way through season three, it hasn’t happened. Anything that contradicts this is a coincidence or something Q did. Carry on.)

And, really, if on Voyager they let Tom Paris not just design but build a Yellowstone class ship while stranded alone tens of thousands of lightyears from home in the Delta quadrant, I think Geordi is pretty justified in throwing the whole of imaginary Starfleet’s shipyard workflow at this problem.

Also, I see little thumbnails of the strips when I’m writing up these posts, and let me tell you, with the “color for in-character content, grey for out-of-character bullshitting” scheme I’ve been using lately, it’s pretty clear at a glance that these guys aren’t doing a great job of staying in the game at the moment.

Buster Bluth, Temporal Agent

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Thought for the day: Star Trek: Enterprise gets a bit better when you intentionally mistake Matt Winston’s Temporal Agent Daniels character for Tony Hale’s Buster Bluth from Arrested Development.

buster bluth time cop

Okay? Okay. I kept hoping that Daniels would show up in the next episode of Enterprise with a hook for a hand and explain it away as an injury sustained on a Time Ship when e.g. the plasma conduits exploded due to a loose seal.

(Maybe “Buster Bluth” was sent back in time to make sure the Bluth family didn’t disrupt the timeline? The question of who his real father is becomes all the more complicated. And throw’s Buster’s behavior into question. Somebody get Tommy Westphall on the phone!)

Miles experimented with Andorian transporters one time in college but he didn't like how it made him feel.

#45 – Next, we shoot at the replicators until they can make rainbows.

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Seriously, this scene from the pilot. Miles just kicks the damn thing. That’s the actual thing that happens: the transporter is confusing, so he kicks it, and then it works.

Which, look, I am willing to go out on a limb and support the idea that the station is in disarray and the equipment is all in not great shape thanks to the Cardassian evac, so maybe there was a loose connector under there? A feed off an EPS conduit, whatever the hell those things are? So maybe a rough shock and a millimeter of resulting nudging put into place a cord or a plug or a chip or something that needed reseating. I will go there; I will wave that hand for you, show.

But it’s still cartoonish. It’s like, “okay, we’re doing a little set piece about a heist here, lots of moving parts and multiple players, what we need is…slapstick? Yeah, let’s do some slapstick.”

It’s a bit weird, tonally, is all.

Also, I’m really making an assumption with that aboot joke, that Canadian regional dialectal quirks in English would (a) still exist as such four centuries in the future and (b) would survive exposure to the magical goddam Universal Translator and (c) that people would still meaningfully recognize it when they’ve been exposed to a whole quadrant full of weird alien linguistic phenomenon. And also, yes, (d) it’s really more like “a boat” in any case but shut up.

But maybe O’Brien, as a (however gently) lilting Irishman, is more aware than the average human of accents and perceptions thereof. Maybe in the future, being Irish has gone back to being one of the crappier class determiners in Future Western society? Hmm.

Also I have no earthly idea whether O’Brien had ever been to Canada by season three of Next Generation. That’s called artistic license. I am an artist. I was done working on the strip when that issue occurred to me, so I blew it off.

With art.

If somebody wants to investigate Torontogate and report back, that’d be keen. Maybe there’s a memory-alpha.ca?

When Troi eventually takes the Kobayashi Maru test, she will solve the problem by turning out to have been in charge of the Klingons the whole time.

#44 – She Quarks Hard For The Money

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Here’s the big ol’ volleyball-game-winning spike that Troi bumped and set in the last two strips, starting with that apparent non-sequitur redirect to Quark’s place. Damn indeed; daaaaaaaamn, girl.

Never forget: this is a woman who has access to, and actively maintains, extensive psychological profiles for all of these people.

So, yes: it’s kind of an odd thing, trying to write a twist into the story of this made-up game scenario when the game mostly pretty tightly tracks the event of the actual show, because if you remember your DS9 pilot well enough then of course the duffel bag is Odo, and of course letting the Cardassians have a good run at the table and then having Kira throw them out is a calculated gambit to get Odo aboard the Cardassian ship. The scene plays straight-faced in the show and you’re all like oh man, Quark must be pissed at Kira for shutting his bar down, and then bazamm! it was all a clever reverse heist, go team. I guess this is mostly a proper twist for folks who haven’t watched the pilot recently or ever.

But it seemed worth a little bit of work in the setup here to have Deanna basically orchestrate the whole thing single-handedly (with a wink and a nod to Wes, who I’m going to assume she passed a note to on the sly — we can never see their hands, what’s that about, etc) while Data just stays reliably in character and Picard and Riker grump around cluelessly. They’re all new to this game, but some of ‘em are definitely picking it up faster than others. Troi’s been fairly quiet so far, but it turns out that’s because she was watching, scheming, waiting for her moment.

The small figure of Troi in the distance, staring at the camera as we step-zoom in: SOON.

You know something's up when Riker's too distracted to make even a token inappropriate sexual advance at a swarm of fictional casino girls.

#43 – The Hamburglar is actually Ferengi, was saying “Dabo Dabo!” all along

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man what is even going on in this game i don’t even–

Apropos of nothing, I’ve been watching Enterprise the last couple months, a few episodes a week with my wife, as a sort of grudging capstone to our having gone through TNG and DS9 and Voyager in the last two or three years. And it’s weird because on the one hand the show has problems (even setting aside the theme song which, oy, that is a discussion for another day), but on the other hand it’s definitely doing a better job in season three than it was at the start, which is heartening, but on the the tertiary hand I have heard consistently that it goes downhill again, and obviously it did get canned which isn’t a great sign.

But it’s weird watching it and feeling partly like I want to root for it just because it’s Star Trek. If you changed the show to Unfamiliar Future-Earth Space Exploration Franchise, I don’t think I’d have given it the time of day after the first few episodes because, you know, blarg. It was a pretty rocky start. I have a few other strained franchise loyalties in my life — Resident Evil has tested my good will a lot, for example, and man was RE6 a frustrating disappointment — but mostly I tend to focus my media consumption more on Actually Liking A Thing than on Sticking With A Thing Because I Should.

There’s something kind of scrappy and charming about Bakula and co. that keeps me from getting properly bitter. At least for now. But I honestly can’t tell if that’s a worthy charm on the show’s part or just weird loyalty on mine, or some mix of the two.

I was making a pretty significant effort by the end of Voyager, too; I actually went into the series recently with a pretty bad attitude based on limited watching when it was originally airing, and I found to my surprise and delight that, hey, I actually like what they’re doing here, sort of a return to the Weekly Random Adventures feel of TOS in some ways after the somewhat more diplomatic TNG and the long-arc drama of DS9. But by the end, they’d sort of burnt out that positive feeling with the terrible lack of story continuity or character development. Like a Battlestar Galactica without any real sense of danger. Squandered promise. I’m kind of afraid that’s going to be the same deal as Enterprise finishes up.

"Perhaps Sisko should just pluck his EYES out, is that it, Geordi?  Saw off his own limbs and flail the stumps at passersby?  Would you like him to perhaps resign his commission and take up work as a greeting card author, Geordi?  Is that the sort of game you're running here?"

#42 – LET’S FIGHT THEM for any given value of “them”

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My, but I’m having a busy non-Larp Trek morning! So this is a bit later going up than I’d like, and I have no miniature essay on the nature of TNG or DS9 or roleplay at the moment. Please choose a probing question about the fundamental nature of one of these vis-a-vis ludic theory or maybe television writing practices or whatever and discuss amongst yourselves!

Also, seriously, look at this awesome Riker drawing that John Leavitt made. He’s keen! I mean, you’re all keen. But he’s keen on this specific thing in particular.

John Leavitt takes on Riker

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Look at this fine fella!

john-leavitt-riker

It’s an original drawing from one of all our favorite Riker panels, by my internet friend and fellow creative person John Leavitt, who, among his many other fine attributes, responds to non-sequitur demands to “draw a Riker” by saying “yes” and then following through.

Right now, if there were going to be a t-shirt, I think it would have this on it and the words “Question. I have a beard.” written in.