Host/Producer: Levi Gogerla
Editing/Music/Audio: Clint Hoekstra
Videography: Kitrina Brodhecker
Captions: TJ Sokoluk
by Levi Gogerla
Edmonton Starship Commander Preps Crew for Maiden Voyage
“They used to say that if Man was meant to fly, he’d have wings. But he did fly. He discovered he had to.” James T Kirk, 1968 (Return to Tomorrow)
Predating any other science fiction fan club Starfleet International has been ever interested in sharing star trek fandom with the world. Still, more importantly, their goal has been to engage in their communities and give something back. In 1973, John Bradbury and a group of Texas-based Star Trek fans decided to proclaim their love of all things Trek by forming their own fan club, the USS Enterprise. Under Bradbury’s leadership, the little club did many of the same things modern STARFLEET chapters do: Fundraisers, costuming, parties, newsletters, and fan publications. Most importantly, though, the Enterprise had ambition beyond just being a tiny group of friends. The Enterprise wanted to grow and see other fans. The Community has grown from their humble roots to an international organization– 46 years of fandom, 5500 members, and with over 233 starships across the world engaging in forums, dating, Cosplay, Klingon Opera, Blood Wine, Tribbles, Trivia, and more.
“I’ve been a fan of star trek since I was a child. It’s really been a lifelong passion,” Commander Jeromy Estell of the USS Cerberus says, “Star Fleet international, in my opinion, is the premier fan group for Star Trek.”
Cmd. Estell’s ship, the USS Cerberus – Embarks on its mission of fandom from the city of Champions. Along with her sister ships in Calgary and Medicine Hat, their continuing mission is to boldly go where no fan club (Including the 501st legion – the approximate Star Wars equivalent) has ever gone before.
The USS Cerberus has a total crew count of 16 members, at the time of writing, well above the Star Fleet international bylaws, which require 10 Starfleet members in good standing.
Embarking on their shakedown cruise of 9-12 months the USS Cerberus is preparing for their maiden voyage. Their tricorders are calibrated, and phasers are set to fun as Commander Estell leads his crew members to all levels of fandom.
“We are still actively recruiting crew members,” Estell says. “We have two levels of interaction within our ship; Reserve members, and Regular members. A reserve member chooses to be as active or as inactive with the ship as they want. They have every opportunity to take part in our community events with no expectations toward responsibility of ship administration. Reserve members have every opportunity to take a turbo lift to the bridge if they so choose. Regular members are crew who want to see the ship succeed operationally and become a commissioned chapter of STARFLEET International. Regular members focus on live-action roleplaying, story building, cosplay and costuming. All taking their fandom to that next level.”
The one requirement to join the USS Cerberus or neighbouring starships is membership to STI or Starfleet International which costs $5.00 American. Anyone who becomes a member of Starfleet International is granted access to even more lore, fandom and the perks of an international community. Partner website discounts, travel discounts, dating services are all included with membership.
The Starfleet Academy, an online database accessible to members of Starfleet International, serves as the jumping on point for lore-heavy Trek fans. The Academy is where one’s Starfleet ‘career’ begins. From general physics to starship design, every course can be found within their main computer with hundreds of courses all universes centric.
All of these courses available will give you the ability to learn about anything you ever dreamed of in the Star Trek Universe.
“Every course is a true labour of love,” Estell says. “The Institute of Alien studies, let’s start there for example, if you want to learn about the Andorians – their species, culture, system …. Pretty much every species that’s been involved in Star Trek is there in huge detail.”
If one hopes to hold a leadership role, you can look into those and work towards them. Still, you don’t have to be a commissioned officer to participate in the everyday activity and community of the USS Cerberus.
Each crew member will bring unique talent to the ship. Cmd. Estell welcomes those talents with the hope that their passion and interest can be shared with the rest of the crew.
“I’m fully immersed in the role-playing and cosplaying aspect of fandom; I wear my uniform happily – anyone can engage in any amount of cosplay interest. “ Estell says. “There’s no stigma, everyone is welcome, and more importantly, we believe in the Vulcan Kol-Ut-Shan: Infinite diversity, infinite combinations.”
Estell is adamant in being accountable to his crew, and as such, follows bylaw to try to help ensure the safety, wellbeing, and respect for all those engaging in fandom on a deeper level within the Cerberus. Family and one’s professional commitments are always the priority.
Cmd. Estell emphasizes The Cerberus and Star Trek International is there for people to enjoy, explore fandom and take a break from reality.
“Friendship, that’s what I think many of us are truly looking for, and I think there is kinship in being a Star Trek fan. We know that there are millions of us out there, but how do we connect with one another? How do we foster that friendship? That is why Cerberus exists.” Estell says.
Bonus on aliens:
“Going back to the Vulcan Kol-Ut-Shan: infinite diversity, infinite combinations – that’s where Star Trek really brings fans together. Exploring the connection between the Andorians, Romulans, Vulcans, Telurites, every species that has ever been thought of within the Star Trek universe brings together that science fiction awe that is no different than the current exploration of Mars. And further within our own star system there are many fans, myself included, who are absolutely fascinated by space travel and if there really is sentient life outside of our solar system.”
“I want every one of my crew members to be healthy and feel as healthy as they can and as safe as they can. If that includes personal choices of engaging in a vaccine, I absolutely support that. You know Covid 19 immediately brings to my attention the episode of Star Trek Voyager where the macrovirus was floating around the ship [The macrovirus was first encountered by the USS Voyager in the Delta Quadrant in 2373. The ship received a distress call from a Garan mining facility that was experiencing a viral outbreak. The Doctor, incapable of being infected, transported to the surface where he observed that the virus had entered a new phase in its evolution.] – If I was to make an allusion at this point and time, it would probably be that.”
On a Star Trek Uniform:
“I have a small home sewing business and the majority of the sewing patterns available for star trek uniforms. Cost is dependent on the type of cloth, the grade of the uniform that a person would want. From an everyday uniform that you can be rough and tumble with or a uniform that’s worn only on special occasions.”