Announcer (A): We are here today with four up-and-coming web personalities, writers (or so they claim) of stories that parodize the Star Trek universe. Nothing seems to be safe from their pens...or keyboards, as the case may be. Questions have been compiled by a vast staff of researchers, questions which probe to the very essense of Star Traks and why it appears to appeal to the readers - who tend to have no taste anyway - who link into these sites.
The four writers are Alan Decker, creator of Star Traks and writer of the original series, as well as Waystation; Anthony Butler, spinner of tales in The Vexed Generation; Maija Meneks, who takes us to the Delta quadrant with BorgSpace; and Brad Dusen with his ship of Banshee misfits.
A: What is Star Traks?
Alan Decker (AD): Excellent question! I'm glad you asked. Star Traks is a comedy series set in the Star Trek universe. That's the short answer. More specifically, Star Traks chronicles the voyages of the Starship Secondprize, a ship crewed by Starfleet rejects and untried crewmen. Luckily, their missions are as strange as they are.
A: And what about those spin-offs? How did
they ever begin?
AD: Let me go first. The first spin-off was really Waystation; although, I didn't plan it that way. Originally, I wanted to do a Star Traks story focusing on some of the minor characters, sort of like the Lower Decks episode of TNG. Well, I wrote a page or two and realized that while this story might be interesting, it wouldn't solve the problem, which was that I had too many people running around on the Secondprize. After that, the Waystation idea came together pretty quickly, and I wrote what I guess could be called its pilot, which was Star Traks V. I'll let Anthony tell you how he got involved.
Anthony Butler (AB): I want my turn!
AD: Didn't you catch that segue?
AB: No. I was trying to adjust my chair.
AB: Oh, right. Well, Alan and I met Summer of 1995 while working in Inventory at Salisbury State University. Yes, there is such a department at a university called Inventory, much like the fictional Starfleet Inventory department. If you ever wanted to know where that idea came from, there you have it. Anyway, on long boring walks across campus in which we had to tag and identify Starfleet...uh, I mean University property, Alan told me about Star Traks. I was so interested in the idea I read a few stories, then set out to write my own series. We bounced back plot lines about each other's stories on all those long boring workdays, and it sure made the dull grind of that painstaking hellish job all the more...but I'm rambling.
Maija Meneks (MM): Yes you are.
AB: Anyway, so I wrote. I, like Brad and Alan, based many of my characters on friends. Some of them complain I haven't portrayed them fairly, or that I don't give them enough storylines, or what have you. Some actually enjoy it. Some wish I would stop referring to them as Lieutenant or Commander in real life. Go figure. I was up into Year Two before I thought any real number of people would ever see the stories. I was having trouble even getting my friends to read them. But Alan's site was up and doing well, and I decided to try it. And boy am I glad. Posting those stories each week makes me feel like I had a reason to write them. And getting feedback from readers, even the filth-ridden hatemail...
AB: Whoops. Nevermind about that. Anyway, those letters and comments and site visits make my dreary and sick life feel like it's worth living. It gives me a cause to roll out of bed each morn...
A: Moving on...And you two? You've been awful
quiet...Maija...how did BorgSpace begin?
MM: Maija thinks you don't want to know. She thinks you'd just look at her oddly, just like all the other people do.
A: Uhum...yes...well, the readers would like
MM: Okay. It all begins when Maija was at work and very bored, so she began randomly surfing the web. She came to this wonderful site called Star Traks. Maija read and read and read. She must have read too much, because a week later she had this odd dream telling her about this idea called "BorgSpace" and how the first several stories would go. So, rather than fight the inner voices, Maija gave in and wrote.
A: *Looking at Maija oddly,
especially with the use of the third person* Why are you
refering to yourself by name?
MM: If Maija told you, she have to kill you. Or at least write you into a story where you would be horribly assimiated by her characters and sent to a lingering death.
A: Well, let's continue, shall we? Brad, could
you enlighten us about Banshee?
Brad Dusen (BD): Banshee started more as just a single story that I wrote after reading Star Traks, Waystation and the Vexed Generation. I sent it to Alan, along with a series proposal and got feedback from him and Anthony (this was before Maija and I first met). I wrote a second pilot, which was the one I put on my site, as well as a few unpublished stories that were rewritten. The final element to my series, the addition of Section Thirty-One, when I figured that Banshee could stand to have a different premise, which has worked out nicely.
A: Now that the prelinaries are out of the
way, I've a few specific questions from Star Traks readers. First is to
How come there are discrepancies between Traks and what's on Trek? Picard
was never an admiral!
AD: Thanks to continual meddling by the powers that be, the Star Trek universe has changed a bit from when I initially wrote these stories. Who knew when I started writing these in the Fall of 1992 that they'd be on a web page six years later. Hell, in the Fall of 1992, I didn't even know what a web page was. In any case, I'm not psychic, so discrepancies exist. Just pretend that Picard had a short stint as an admiral between Generations and First Contact, and you'll spare yourself a headache. Thanks.
A: Alan, I've not asked you yet, but why did
you start writing this in the first place?
AD: Hmm...That's a tough one. The planets must have been aligned just so, and...Okay. Here's the truth. I love Trek; I love comedy. I decided to put them together, but I didn't want to do a parody. Instead, pulling personality traits from the people in my life and exaggerating them to the extreme, I created my own characters.
A: What do you consider to be your
AD: Star Trek, obviously. Also, Red Dwarf and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy really shaped how Star Traks evolved. I really admire the writing of Peter David. He is the true master of Trek writing, and he's got a great sense of humor. Finally, the Trek novel How Much for Just the Planet?, the author of which I can't remember right off-hand, provided an early blueprint for Traks. If you haven't seen or read any of the things on this list, go out and find them right now! Okay, maybe that was a bit pushy. Just check them out; you won't regret it.
A: And you others, do you have any specific
inflences, other than the original Star Traks?
*muttering and mumbling...finally one person speaks out first*
MM: Ditto what Alan said, other than the Trek novel. Oh yes, through in a little Terry Pratchett too. Maija knows he is fantasy...but if you want to read /wonderful/ parodies, he is definitely the writer to go find...hard to keep a straight face at times.
AB: I, like Alan, am a rabid Peter David fan. I also like short stories and poetry. I think I see a lot of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (which I strongly recommend) in Traks, although Catch-22 is a lot darker. Don Dellilo's White Noise was also a great book that may have inspired me a bit.
BD: Obviously my friends are perhaps the biggest influence, since they are the people whom my characters are based on. I was even nice enough to give them credit in the dedication plaque graphic on my site (what can I say? I'm a nice guy).
A: What's this I hear about a television
AB: *Looking at Alan* You never said anything about television? What gives? And how much do I get out of this deal?
AD: Hey, hey, hey...that was my question! I'm the head honcho here! Anyway, about the television deal...not a thing. I don't have one. However, if any of you Hollywood types like Traks, I'm ready to go. Just send me some e-mail.
A: Alan, seriously, what do you want out of
AD: World peace. That, and my own series. I know Paramount would never let me besmirch the name of Trek by putting Star Traks on the air (although they let Homeboys in Outer Space occur), but I believe that the concept can work whether Trek is involved or not. Other than that, I just enjoy getting feedback on my work and, most of all, making people laugh. If you snicker at even one line in a Traks story, I've done my job. Also, I thrive on feedback. Write me at email@example.com!
MM *raises a hand* Maija would really, really like a huge box of Honey-Nut Cherrios, you know, like the ones at Costco. Her previous box only lasted a month and a half.
BD: Since we are making requests, I'd like world peace and an end to starvation. That, and a few million dollars. Of course we can't always get what we want.
AB: Me too! Me too! I want a fluffy teddy bear just like Alan's! And I also want....well, I don't know what I want. All the good ideas have already been taken.
A: *giving a certain trio of
'writers' the evil eye* Sooo, can I do anything to help...with
AD: How kind of you to ask! Just send $100 to... Just kidding. The only thing I'm looking for (besides a TV or movie deal and feedback) is an animation of an Excelsior-class starship doing a fly-by or something. If anyone knows where I can get one, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A: Here...I've a question for Maija.
*shuffling cards* I've a reader who
wants to know how you do all that technobabble.
MM: Maija has a technobabble program on her computer that randomly spits out Trekish phrases. No, while that would be a nifty, if useless program, Maija does something completely different. She makes a lot of it up. Some of it is borrowed from TV Trek...and there is even a little bit of *gasp* real science mixed in there too, although she dares you to find it. A virtual gold star if you do. However, the great majority is, well, babble.
A: Tell us this, Anthony: How many
pets DOES Counselor Peterman have?
AB: Well, let's see. There's Charlie, of course, Fritz the kitten, Jonesy the llama, Ozzie the osprey, Skip the jackal, Carnie the puma, little Squirt the baby chimp...those two adorable pomeranians Boomer and Starbuck...how many does that make?
A: Uh, nine.
AB: Okay, those we keep in the back room. Now the rest are in the kennel in the arboretum...those are the really messy ones...
A: Forget I asked.
AB: Done and done.
A: Brad, a technical question for you. One
reader would like to know "Why is it that, when I try loading the Banshee
webpage, it sometimes comes up as an error message or, when it does come
up, have missing images?"
BD: Because the server that my webpage is located is extremely busy, it has a hard time coping with too many hits. As a result, some pages are only partially loaded (or not loaded at all) to relieve stress on the server. If the page doesn't load, hit Reload/Refresh and it should come up (though not always the first time). For missing images, go to the torn image icon and click-hold/right click to get a contexual menu and select "Open Image." Once again, this might take a few tries, but it should load everything. I hope that these problems won't last much longer, but if they do I will most likely end up moving the page.
A: Let us move on. Alan, are those Bugle Boy
AD: Why yes they are. Thank you for noticing.
AB: *inturrupting* Did you know that under my clothes I'm completely....
A: *AHEM* Well, folks, that is all we've time for today. If you've solved the mystery of the Star Traks allure, all the more power to you...I know I still don't have a clue. *waves distractedly at the four to stop making faces at the camera and trying to give him bunny ears* Join us next week when we hear from experts about the secret of missing socks and breeding coathangers.
The Star Traks F.A.Q. was last updated 3/3/99.
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