Star Trek simming club Independence Fleet will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Sunday. In addition to inducting the newest members of its Hall of Fame, the fleet hosted a Star Trek and science fiction trivia day challenge earlier this year in April and also hosted a special webcast event for current members.
One officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because she is not authorized to speak to the media, said that Independence Fleet leadership is going to publish a 20-page almanac covering the fleet’s 20-year history and analyzing the current & future of role playing. In addition, a famous Star Trek legend has recorded a special congratulatory message, according to those familiar with the matter.
Independence Fleet currently has 10 games: eight set during the Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager era, one set during Star Trek: Picard, and another in The Original Series film timeline.
Independence Fleet is also well known for its mix of traditional and open role playing, and for its use of both prose and script formats. Open role playing is different from traditional role playing in that players are free to write and make decisions for the other player characters. While extremely uncommon in online role playing today, four of Independence Fleet’s games are designated as open role playing according to the group’s website.
The script style of role playing is now rare within the greater simming community, and has been for at least a decade. However, five Independence Fleet sims incorporate the script format into their games in some way. There is even a script syntax named after Independence Fleet: Independence Fleet Script (also known as Sunfire Script) developed during the early 2000’s as a combination of older chat role playing syntax, popular on America Online, and regular fan fiction prose.
Independence Fleet was founded on July 4th, 2001 by James D. West, Charles Star, and Robert Seldon with three games, the USS Sunfire, USS Avalon, and USS Washington. Despite simple and crude beginnings on the Angelfire and YahooGroups platforms, the club grew to be known within the role playing community for its creativity and high quality. The fleet has been extremely active within the community since early last year, having hosted the 2020 Simming Fall Festival and the 2021 SciWorld Online Convention. In addition, Independence Fleet also had four sims place in the last Tournament of Simulations.
Independence Fleet’s three founders all got their start back in 2000 on Utopia Fleet’s original USS Sunfire, which was in the fleet’s Deep Space Exploration Division. Utopia Fleet itself was founded in 1999 after a split from Bravo Fleet. At the time, Bravo Fleet was easily the largest and most influential simming club on the Internet. However, the fresh Utopia Fleet quickly grew to rival Bravo Fleet. While Utopia Fleet went defunct a few years later, its legacy lives on through Independence Fleet. Bravo Fleet itself was founded in late 1997 after a split from Tango Fleet. Besides Utopia Fleet, other prominent splits from Bravo Fleet during that era include Obsidian Fleet, Deep Space 14, and several variations of Alpha Fleet.
Simming and online role playing continues today in several clubs, Including Independence Fleet.