PE Log #001: The New Beginning

So it’s been a while since I posted. While I have nothing new along model lines to post, I do have some thoughts I need to put down.

Prologue

When I started the Renegade story (circa 2007-08), I originally wanted it to be a story for my dad as he was a big Star Trek fan. I wanted it to be a story he would appreciate and be proud of. So I dreamed up the crew of the Renegade and set it 30 years after Nemesis with the Terran Empire and the Borg as the villains. The idea was that the crew of the Renegade were falsely accused (of some crime) and they would be on the run to clear the names. They would run into the Borg along the way and would lose some friends and family. Eventually they would find the culprit: their mirror counterparts on the ISS Renegade. Their counterparts would have made an alliance with the Borg and tried to destroy the Renegade (there was no back story on why they made this alliance; also I wasn’t very well versed in Trek lore at the time so it wasn’t until later I figured the Borg would have probably just assimilate the Terrans). They would fail and the crew would be cleared of wrongdoing. I wrote the first chapter and came up with titles of the other chapters, planning every step of their journey.

Then it never happened.

I don’t know what happened, but I guess I never felt invested in it. Around this time I was already heavily invested in the writing stages of my original IP “Eve of Darkness”. It was set on a future apocalyptic Earth were creatures called the Shadows (I hadn’t watched B5 yet, so no influence there) had devastated the human population and destroyed much of the surface. Humanity had split into two major camps (with pockets here and there) and fought a losing battle against the Shadows. It was sort of a mix between Final Fantasy, sci-fi films, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and some other settings. I envisioned it as individual stories of characters (with some intersecting paths) who were each trying to accomplish a goal, whether be it saving a loved one, reaching a destination, or discovering the purpose of the war; all the while they were fighting off the Shadows who seemed to have an endless supply of bodies. I wanted to incorporate an afterlife sort of element to it, as well as bring in the various religions of the world and incorporate their mythos (views) as being all correct on some level of how existence is.

Some time after I graduated high school in ’09 (so fine), it sort of dropped off my radar and collected dust. Attempts were made to get it restarted but I felt that nothing I did would have mattered. Over the years I have written down notes on characters and story elements that I hope to one day use. Reading it now is cringe worthy because of how inexperienced I was (and am), not to mention on the references to movies and/or shows (there was a reference in there somewhere about the Shadows being worse than the xenomorphs from the Alien franchise).

The birth of the new Renegade

Circa 2010. I was browsing Deviantart when I came upon this image of this little ship who took names and kicked ass. One who has an enduring legacy to this day. It would spawn multiple successors and be ever entwined with the Kzinti, Tzenkethi, and the (in)famous Sun Bomb. This was the starship Polaris, created by David Metlesits. I fell in love with this little ship immediately. It was small, had a well-knit crew, and survived odds normally the famous starship Enterprise could handle. It inspired me and began to get into 3D modeling. The first creation? The Renegade.

This wasn’t the same ship, however.

After looking back at my previous story, I decided to reboot the whole thing. I decided to go back to a time that was simpler and filled with adventure, the early 23rd century. She got a new crew, a new design (the old one was based on a Lego build I made, which eventually was used for a 24th century successor to the Renegade name), and a new purpose. Unlike Starfleet, she was designed for security and protecting the worlds of the Federation while Starfleet went out and explored the galaxy. Her new captain, Elli Varamir, would prove a militaristic and strong figure who upheld the values of the Federation. However, I wanted to give the crew a new enemy, one who had to be completely new and would terrify. Thus born was the Machina, a race of robots who were bent on destruction of all life. They were led by General Ra’as, a badass and tyrannical machine. The problem with their creation was how to introduce them and not step on canon’s toes (a new philosophy that I created as a creative way to write the story and make it more interesting to the reader).

Thus, enter the Galaxy Planet. A world of unknown origin that could move through space by the entity controlling it, the Galaxy Being (sometimes I not great at creating names, so I’ve been calling them this since then until I think of something better). While en route to some destination, the crew would encounter this rouge planet and investigate it. A short series of events later and the crew would discover they were in another galaxy (sure, Voyager technically got lost first, but I had a good reason to do it). They would encounter the Machina, as well as various other races of that galaxy.

At this time (oh shit here we go again…) I also wanted to make this into a full CGI movie and began working on designs and set plans. Problem? Need money to get a better PC for modeling and animation. Solution? Get money, somehow. And then that’s when this happened…

I joined the U.S. Military

I joined the California National Guard as a 42F – Human Resources Specialist – (this was later merged with 42A sometime before AIT and that became my MOS). Why? No idea. As with a previous decision I made, I sort of did it on whim because I wasn’t very good of thinking about my future or what I wanted to do, as well as I never learned to speak up when I should have.

So…

Year one: Arrived at unit. No sleep. Tend to have anxiety the day before, something that continued to plague me my entire time at the unit. My first Senior NCO was a shitbag. Don’t know why. Didn’t ask. Never assigned myself or the other enlisted in our section to do the jobs we trained for. Ended up being that guy who was sent to other sections to help do their jobs (they weren’t incompetent, just needed help). It wasn’t bad. I got paid and learned how to do some of the other MOS’s, so whatever.

Year two: New NCO. This guy…well. I got shafted. Was happy assigning the other soldiers to do their job. Me? Ended up doing the same stuff with occasional work in my MOS. Didn’t really listened when I did bring it up. I took every opportunity to find assignments that kept me away from that section. A short Counter-Drug trial mission and about a month of miscellaneous work later. When we received our new company captain, things were looking a bit better. Got called in to his office because he heard I wouldn’t have a problem with helping out (get paid and free MREs, so no problem there). Ended up working the entire summer doing inventory and helping our unit get better organized (the previous Supply sergeant was really bad and that’s nicely putting it). Best time I had at that unit. There are a few stories there, but they are better shared over a beer.

Year three: One of the few NCO’s I actually respected and was happy to work under took over as the section sergeant. He actually trained us how to do our job correctly. He didn’t divvy us out to other sections like some sort of handyman tool. If someone needed us, he would make sure we had accomplished our tasks in our own section first. Also, pretty relaxed in the section environment, which took me by surprise because I thought it would be a lot more strict with that. Learned a lot from him, things I use today.

Then it ended. Could of re-upped to finish out my remaining five years, but I decided it wasn’t going to happen. I have never been a physically fit type and the PT tests results showed it. I knew if I didn’t pass the last one before my ETS date it wasn’t going to happen. So I ended up jobless.

Honestly, I don’t think it would have been right for me anyways. I joined on a whim and was never fully invested into it. It’s a bad thing to say, but it’s true. I never talked about my time there before because I was never really proud of it. I never deployed. Never saw combat. Never dedicated myself fully to it.

So…

The past few years

Got a new job shortly after at a bowling alley. Met some good friends there.

As well as someone extraordinarily special to me, something that’s better left unsaid…

The rebirth of Renegade

I chose to return to the Renegade during this time again. This time I chose to look at it differently. Trek had been always been about promoting a better future where humanity had set aside it differences and worked together to better the future. It taught us that sometimes we need to push ourselves forward and learn from the mistakes of our past. To get rid of suffering, war, and poverty so all can have an opportunity to better themselves. Most importantly, it took the issues of the real world and showed them in a manner to be handled better as well as a look at what happened if we don’t.

With that, the entire story changed.

It started with conception of the prequel series, ST: Guard. An obvious connection to my time in the military, I wanted to show the men and women of the Federation who worked behind the scenes to run the Federations worlds and protect them while Starfleet was out exploring the stars. This was the beginning of the 23rd century, some short time before the Constitution-class launched Their ships wouldn’t be massive or made for long five-year missions. They would primarily be composed of smaller groups of ships, either ships from the home navies of each world or new ships entirely. Their crews weren’t full timer members. They weren’t soldiers, scientists, or diplomats. They were ordinary citizens. They had homes, jobs, and families outside of Starfleet, but served when they could as a patriotic duty to their world. The environment was more relaxed.

It wasn’t uneventful.

I needed a story, some sort of plot that served as the basis for the future Renegade story. I knew I wanted to reflect some issues of the real world. Since I had decided to return to a simpler time, I knew what goals I had to accomplish:

      1. Humanity was still in its infancy on the galactic board. It had to learn its role in the universe.
      2. This is about 200 years after World War 3. A lot of problems that led up to that war (racism, greed, poverty, xenophobia, etc) would take a long time to finally be rooted out. But as is with human nature, not all human nature can be easily conquered. There would be echoes of that nature that would persist through the years and humanity would need to conquer it if they were to become better.
      3. Which brings us to the main plot: Echo, an aptly named organization that would serve as the antagonists in the Guard story. Without revealing any spoilers, they are instrumental to the story and what it means to overcome the mistakes of our past.
      4. To intentionally bring forth an issue I have had with the franchise in treatment of a certain class of people, one that should have been handled differently in the so-called utopia of Trek.
      5. Removal of some elements of Trek that were the product of their time (i.e. skirts for woman and that stupid glow around them).

The Guard originally started out as the Black Guard, a group of hired mercenaries, thugs, etc., that were called upon to protect the Federation and destroy external threats. This was eventually abandoned as I thought the idea itself was stupid and not what Trek was about. Some time after, Renegades came out with a similar premise and confirm that the idea was indeed a stupid one.

While there are a few more things here, I don’t want to say anything that would spoil the story.

So, that leaves us here

I’ve decided I wanted to restart my old idea of creating a sort of personal company/studio website. It would house all my original IPs, which includes my Eve of Darkness story (which at some point I need to reboot and make better). I’m also think of housing all my fan work on there as well. I want to start working towards creating something that I hope would inspire entertain people. I’ve recently discovered some new tricks in the areas of CGI modeling and animation, as well as some new story ideas, so expect more on that in a future blog.

Closing Thoughts

So the base foundation is laid down for what I want to do. Maybe, just maybe, this is exactly what I need.

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