What Is Canon?
Canon. The biggest Trek argument next to Trekkie/Trekker is What is Canon? Are books, like the Destiny trilogy or Typhon Pact series, canon? Are video games, like STO and Elite Force, canon? What about the RPG core books like FASA, Lost Unicorn, or Decipher? Or even the Kelvin Universe films?
Most importantly, what does Bravo Fleet consider to be Canon? Truthfully, Canon is a very broad term. We as a Fleet have done our best to define the basis of our canon through By-Law #1.3.
Upon that, there are levels which are frequently and easily accessed and modified, and others that are a bit more tricky and restricted. This handy guide to Bravo Fleet Canon aims to help you understand our structure, and more importantly, help you interact and expand it, even if you are in 99 (fret not, you are still exempt!).
Player / Sim Level
Each sim exists in its own universe and is free to interpret how it sees the Star Trek Universe using any method it sees fit. Not every bit of it becomes Fleet Canon automatically. Should a player or CO want to submit something new to Fleet Canon (whether it is an original creation, or something that happened within the sim itself), there are two levels that any player and sim have instant access to use and create by submitting a proposal to the appropriate Task Force Commanding Officer:
Technology. How many times have we seen Scotty, Spock, Data, LaForge and others create a gizmo or device to save the Enterprise from certain doom? Bravo Fleet provides a base level for technology and gives its writers room to create what is necessary to make it through those rough patches. Need a gravity wave generator to find a cloaked ship or an isometric disintegrator to take out an army of drones? No problem. Bravo Fleet holds very little criteria for what can or can’t be used, namely to keep technology within the “realm and look” of Star Trek, and has a very, very short list of banned technology to keep gameplay balanced.
Species, Planets and Spatial Anomalies. Star Trek’s mantra has always been to explore strange new worlds and to seek out new life and new civilizations. Exploration is the core of Star Trek, and it continues to be the core of simming. Throughout your simming career, you will undoubtedly get stuck in a spatial anomaly, chart a new system, or even make first contact with an alien species. With every new find, Bravo Fleet grows, and you are welcome to submit your findings for entry into the Fleet.
Task Force Level
With an organization as vast as Bravo Fleet (and one with such an extensive history), our challenge has been to explain what has happened since the last time Picard, Sisko and Janeway set sail among the stars. In character, ten years have passed since Star Trek: Nemesis. Each of our mainline Task Forces have been charged with updating the activity in their respective quadrant. This brings us to:
Major Powers. These entities are defined as the major organizations, such as the Klingon Empire, Cardassian Union, Dominion, and the Borg Collective. Does this mean that you as a player/CO are forbidden to touch these? No. Encountering agents of these organizations is a commonality, and we encourage you to do so. Sometimes you have to band together with a hostile force to overcome the odds (Voyager/Borg against Species 8472, or LaForge stranded with the Centurion on the stormy planet in the Neutral Zone), or sometimes you encounter a rogue ship with a cutthroat captain that just has to be stopped. What you can’t do is plunge the Klingon Empire into a Civil War, or destroy Cardassia, or unleash the Caeliar on the Borg. Often times, for powers such as the Tzenkethi or Tholians, there isn’t much developed for the species themselves, or how their government is structured, etc. This gives the player/CO flexibility in utilizing these powers, as well as flexibility in helping create official errata for the rest of the fleet, and future simms, to reference.
This is where the Actions of Major Powers comes into play. At the Task Force level, the Task Force Commanding Officer, in conjunction with the membership of the Task Force, and the Bravo Fleet Admiralty, prepare the next step for each of the major powers. Current examples include adopting the Hobus Supernova into Fleet Canon, or banding together several Alpha Quadrant powers into the Alrakis Pact (our version of the Typhon Pact). With the TFCO setting the stage for the environment and playing field, our membership is free to interact with the major powers in these settings. Often times, the TFSS will be in constant communication with the membership and planning, plotting, and preparing for the next phase of each of these actions. Year upon year, these decisions are compounded into a history for each of the major powers, and the fleet as a whole, leading to…
The Timeline. Without the official Bravo Fleet Sim Year, all of these actions would be practically impossible to set up. The timeline currently advances 1 year in character for every two years out of character. This means that the only fixed date comes on January 1st of even numbered years. The Bravo Fleet Admiralty, working together will plot out the changes in each of our major powers along the fleet timeline. This flexibility allows our sims to exist at any point throughout the in character year as they write along in each of their unique paces. The timeline also exists in readable form to allow anyone a quick reference to the last notable action for the major powers, or anything prior to that.
The final item at the fleet level is the one and only United Federation of Planets. This includes anything and everything regarding its member species, worlds, Starfleet and its ships and bases. Does this mean that, as a player/CO, I can’t do anything with this? No, but there are some guidelines to follow. For example, you can’t go blow up the Andorian homeworld, but you can certainly respond to a distress call there and resolve a situation without BFA interference.
We’re always looking to expand Starfleet’s departments, add new classes into the fleet, and even invite new member worlds. And we can’t do that without people like you.
So How Can I Add To Canon?
First, you need to understand your lawfully given ability, set forth in By-Law #3.1 – Adoption of Matters into Bravo Fleet Canon: simply ask. A proposal will be required, and its length varies by the nature of the request. Adding a new species may not require much information, but creating a lingering splinter cell of the Tal’Shiar might take a bit more to explain.
Secondly, get involved with your Task Force. If your simm will constantly be interacting with the Klingons, maybe there are ways to influence the Sovereignty of Kahless situation there. Or, if the Devore Imperium is looking to create an alliance or treaty with the Federation, get to your TFCO as soon as possible.
Thirdly, we’re always looking to expound upon our existing articles. The article on Vulcan (the planet) currently looks a little sparse on our infobase. If you’ve got a knack for collating and presenting information, then the Infobase Team could really use your help.
But I’m in 64 or 99. Why should I care?
Many hold fast to the fact that both 64 and 99 are exempt from canon as a whole. And, this is true. Why should a sim set in 2156 have to adhere to certain events happening a century later, or a sim set in the year 2409 to not take a different look at Federation/Klingon relations since the end of The Next Generation? Simms in Task Forces 64 and 99 are free to do as they will.
But there are ways that simms in these Task Forces can still contribute to canon and the infobase without having to be affected by it. First, systems are already in place within the Infobase to separate the events and certain items with simple markers and categories that are easy to apply. These instantly denote anything that exists outside Bravo Fleet Canon, and still allow you as a player/CO to share your simm’s findings.
Second, even if a simm is still several years/centuries ahead or behind the mainstream Task Forces, they can still submit technology, species, planets, and spatial anomalies to become part of official Bravo Fleet Canon. This is as simple as sending the appropriate TFCO a proposal, and the TFCO can take it to the appropriate persons to make it happen.
Where do I go from here?
- Join the Canon Workgroup;
- Join the Infobase Team (see Shannon);
- Join the Specifications Committee;
- Start some Research and Development;
- Send your TFCO a proposal; or
- Talk to your TFCO and see where you can help out.
We look forward to seeing what you can add to our rich tapestry.