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To Trek Unchained And To Boldly Go

I sit here, listening to various musical artists render their respective takes upon the song, Unchained Melody, even as I simultaneously ponder the words of the introductory speech for Star Trek - notably, the portion about 'to boldly go where no man has gone before.'

There are no end of things that I could write about, but Fate is fickle, and so are my personal tastes. Which probably explains why I sit here, on a Sunday afternoon, thinking about play by mail gaming.

I am but a speck of dust. The magazine, Suspense & Decision, is but a few specks of dust clumped together. Together, we have both crashed into a harsh landscape of (What else?) more dust - the dust that is the entirety of play by mail.

A mountain, a moon, an entire universe of dust.

Would it really have mattered all that much, had we crashed elsewhere on this landscape of dust particles, each one a portion, each one a memory, each one a fraction what the fun that PBM gaming has brought to mankind down through the years?

How many episodes of the old Star Trek television series did Captain James Tiberius Kirk and crew encounter trouble? How many times did the ship and crew face danger? How many Red Shirts paid the ultimate price for a greater purpose?


That's what it feels like, sometimes.

But, only sometimes.

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

The Enterpise explored NEW worlds. It sought out NEW life, NEW civilizations.

In the context of PBM gaming, generally, and in the context of PBM magazines, specifically, what does it mean - what should it mean - to boldly go where no one has gone before?

Regardless of how Suspense & Decision got in the current mess that it finds itself in, should we allow ourselves to remain stranded?

Perhaps all of our crew (our readership) have died from our previous crashes. Do we take a body count and call it a day? Or, like Kirk, should we reach for the stars, anew?

There will always exist threats to our continued existence. Problems will always beset up in alien-like ways. We are not - we are never - promised tomorrow.

But then again, neither was PBM gaming. The tomorrow was never promised to it. Though we may reach for it, time and time and time again, none of us truly hold title to it.

Tomorrow is an illusion. By the time that it arrives, it has morphed into something else. It is a continuous, never-ending transition.

And so it is that our magazine is going through transition.

Now, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, opinions may vary. Indeed, they likely will. It is what it is, though.

Perhaps if I spent a fraction of the time working on the magazine as I spend ruminating about it, it might all be moot.

But just as James T. Kirk had his share of Klingons and Romulans and Gorns to deal with, so, too, do I have my own share of problems and situations and errors to deal with.

Kirk said that how we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life.

He also asserted that a little suffering is good for the soul.

In fairness, though, some may feel that the magazine crashing doesn't qualify as suffering. They may choose to view it as a blessing in disguise.

How do I intend to succeed where, before, I failed, where Suspense & Decision magazine is concerned? Honestly, I have no idea. At the moment, I'm just trying to figure out how to get us all beamed back aboard (those that survived and are still interested, anyway), and the magazine underway, once more.

Verily, none of us truly knows what awaits us out there - several issues ahead. Might we fail again? Oh, sure. Definitely. Positively!

What if there is nothing else left to be said about play by mail gaming? What if interest in either the magazine or the hobby never pick up? What if nobody bothers to participate, to come aboard, to join us on our journey?

Then I suspect that we will have this ship all to ourselves.

I can think of much worse fates.

Issue #13 is coming straight at you at warp speed, even if you can't see it, yet!

I fully intend to trek unchained. Together, we shall boldly go - from issue to issue to issue.

James T. Kirk said, "Risk! Risk is our business. That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her."

Even the Enterprise had to go in for repairs.

Very soon, we will be full speed ahead, once again.


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