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Letting Vulcan Crash on Your Couch

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

19th June 2017

D'kyr

You've been friends with a lot of different affiliations for as long as you can remember. You grew up with Federation, Klingon and Romulan, playing hard and getting into all kinds of youthful mischief. But you started to drift away from them once Borg showed up, and made everything really confusing. As you went through school, you made friends with Bajoran, Cardassian, and Ferengi, but never quite fit in. It didn't help that you had a complicated, "frenemy" relationship with Dominion either. But you made it through high school, and headed off to university on what felt like the other side of the galaxy.

At DQU, you had a hard time fitting in. You'd only known affiliations of a certain power level, but your new friends (Kazon, Hirogen and Vidiian) were smart, knowledgeable, and quite well-off. You had a hard time keeping up, even though your old acquaintances Federation and Borg adapted pretty well. It was a pretty dark time for you, honestly; giving up felt more and more inevitable. But that's when you met Starfleet. Starfleet was an old affiliation when you met, but helped you bridge the gap between how you grew up, and how things were at DQU. Starfleet was as smart as the DQU students, but had sensibilities and temperament similar to what you'd always known.

After you graduated, Starfleet stuck with you as you got a new job in the Virtual space. You were there for Starfleet when they had a crisis of confidence, and you gave them a new lease on life. It was then that you first heard about Starfleet's own "frenemy," Vulcan. At first it was just a casual mention, a name that came up in one of Starfleet's stories. You never pushed when they came up, but you felt like there was a lot of history between Starfleet and Vulcan. From the few details you did pick up, you felt like Starfleet and Vulcan were a lot alike; they could have been intimately close, if they were too stubborn to admit their feelings each other.

However, you're getting your own chance to meet Vulcan. After hearing talk about Vulcan coming to visit for almost seven years, they're finally here... and they're crashing on your couch. Starfleet is staying with you too; his apartment just finished up with some renovations. But this is going to be your first chance to interact with Vulcan, to get to know Vulcan for yourself. You're not quite sure what to except, so you take Starfleet down to the local watering hole for drinks and you ask some questions.


"Starfleet," you ask. "You don't really talk about Vulcan too much." Starfleet takes a long drink from his beer. You continue, "And when you do, it's vague. What's the deal?"

"Why are you asking now?" Starfleet asks me.

"Seriously?" you ask, raising my eyebrow; Starfleet rolls his eyes and downs the rest of his beer.

"Okay, okay," he says, signaling the bartender for another beer. "Stupid question. I get it, you don't want to deal with Vulcan blind. It's just that... she isn't really my favorite subject." The bartender sets a fresh beer in front of Starfleet, and he takes another long drink. "So what do you want to know?"

Kolinahr

"Well," you say, drawing out the word. "How did you meet?"

Starfleet sighs. "We were neighbors, when we were kids. I'd set off a bunch of fireworks in my backyard, and then she just showed up." Starfleet looks wistful as he continues. "It's funny, because neither of us had figured out how to be an affiliation yet. We just hung around with other Non-Aligned kids."

You nod, "Yeah, we've all been there."

"But anyway, she told me she liked my fireworks, and instantly we were friends. As we became affiliations, we found out we had a lot in common, both being from the 22nd-Century part of town."

You finish your beer, and signal for another. "But something happened?"

Starfleet looks at you contemplatively, saying "Not right away. It was subtle, and it took awhile, but yeah, something changed. Vulcan came from an old family of very strong, very smart people; she was cool about it, but her parents were pretty awful. Of course, my family was kind of a mess back then, so I can't blame them. When Vulcan first showed up in my yard, she was eager to help me. She brought toys, and books, and taught me a lot about the world." Starfleet closed his eyes, rubbing his forehead as if it pained him to think of his childhood. "She really inspired me to fix things, with my family. I worked hard to bridge gaps, and get everyone on the same page.

You aren't sure how you expected the story to go, but this wasn't it. "That all sounds pretty good, actually."

Starfleet nodded. "It was," he said. "But I think her family started to really put pressure on her, and she started to believe some of their rhetoric." He changed his voice, to a formal, stuffy sounding imitation. "'Starfleet is moving too fast. They need to slow down and stop trying to do things differently that we did.'" He takes a drink, and continues, "But it wasn't until her family started actively trying to stop us that things fell apart between her and I."

"Her family did what?" you ask.

"It's... I'd really rather not talk about it now, you know? It won't come up for the few days she's here." You make a mental note to ask about that later.

"Okay, okay," you relent. We sit in silence for a few moments, nursing our beers. "But she's smart?"

"Oh man," Starfleet says. "She's as smart as some of those guys we went to university with, but a lot more down to earth about it." He smiles, "She always had a book with her, and she'd stash them everywhere. She had books in both of her parents' cars, and even carried them in a basket on her bike. She even lent me books, and they ended up in my car, too."

"Cool," you say. "That must have been useful." Starfleet nods, then falls silent. "Does she have any other friends?"

"Not as many as you might think," Starfleet says. "She's got this ex, Romulan?"

"Wow, really? I grew up with him!" you say.

Starfleet snickers. "Well, sorry about that. He's kind of a jerk these days. Romulan was always fighting with Vulcan, trying to get her to do things she shouldn't be doing. When they broke up, he moved to Italy or something. Last I heard, he was obsessed with trying to get back together with her."

"Ouch," you sympathize. "Romulan was always a long-term thinker. I'll bet he's not done with her. Anyone else?"

Delvok

"Hmmm," Starfleet says. "She used to go to summer camp, Camp Kolinhar, and would talk about Federation." You're surprised to hear the name of another old friend, but didn't comment on it. "Vulcan always talked about how Federation was compatible with her, but only at the summer camp. Outside of Kolinahr, they just didn't get along."

"That's weird," you say. "Thanks for telling me about her."

"Sure," Starfleet says. "I'm going to hit the head, then let's get out of here."

You flag down the bartender while Starfleet heads to use the washroom. While your tab is being closed out, you think over everything you know about Vulcan. It isn't much, and it's all second-hand, which makes you very interested in getting to know her as an affiliation. Your instincts tell you that Starfleet and Vulcan would be great together, if only it was in the cards. Maybe that's something you can explore over the next week, while she's in town. It's something to think about, as you and Starfleet hop into a Lyft and head out for the rest of your night.


The Pre-Warp Pack, featuring eighteen (18) cards that preview the Vulcan affiliation, will be released this Friday, June 23rd. The cards will be legal one week later, on Friday, June 30th.


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