Saturday, 31 March 2018

Centaur Commissioning Party

By CAPT Colin Barrow
Well, it’s been a busy time for all of us on Space Station Centaur. We had our Commissioning Party in January at the Toby Carvery in Coventry where we had a record turnout of eighteen on the Friday night, and on the Saturday, twenty-two crew members turned up for a walk around the Transport Museum followed by a meal at the Harvester.
The weekend started by picking up Rebecca Lockley up from the train station. She was a little nervous, not having met any of us, then we arrived at the Toby Carvery for a spot of lunch and to meet up with the rest of the crew as they arrived. At the evening meal, Anni presented the award and promotion certificates to the crew and then Erika and I presented Anni with an award, too. We met a lot of new faces in the chapter and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
The next day comprised of breakfast and going to the Transport Museum where we met up with some more of the crew (some from C21)so now we were up to around twenty-two crew members going around the museum. We finished off with a lunch at the harvester, we then said our farewells and we took Rebecca back to the train station.

Saturday, 24 March 2018


With all the chaos and stress going on in our lives, we all have moments when we get worked up over things—often silly, little things. This makes for sleepless nights and poor decision making. None of us are alone in this. The hectic pace and demands of modern life means that many feel stressed and over-worked, that there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. It makes us unhappy, impatient and frustrated.
This is where meditation can help—something new that I am trying—because meditation helps us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of meditation.
However, we are often so busy that we feel there is no time to stop, even for a moment’s meditation, but meditation actually gives you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused. A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation can help you to overcome your stress and find some inner peace and balance—and if you are still pushed for time, start with bedtime meditation.
At the end of a long day, I snuggle into bed and make myself comfortable. Usually, that’s lying on my back without crossing my legs. That’s simply so that blood flow into my feet isn’t stemmed and I don’t end up with a dead leg.
Having settled down physically, it is now time to rest the mind by becoming aware of my breathing. I focus on its rhythm: the gentle in and out of air as I inhale and exhale. By doing this, it clears all other thoughts from the mind. Negative thoughts and distractions will temporarily disappear because you cannot concentrate on more than one thing at a time. To begin with, you will find that your mind will wander back into other thoughts. If so, just pull it back and return to focusing on your breathing. Similarly, don’t worry if you fall asleep in the middle of it. That is a good sign as it means that your mind is still enough to find sleep. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I follow the same routine again, often resulting in me getting back to sleep quickly, which is always welcome.
As time progresses, you may want to expand on your meditation techniques, but bedtime meditation is a good place to start.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Lots of Good Times with FCD

CDR Erika Stroem

It is very quickly nearing the OOTA reunion party, which I, as many others are looking forward to immensely. Not only do we meet up with our FCD framily*, we will also be reflecting on the wonderful memories we have had at past events.
My first FCD event was at the Space Centre in Leicester in 2015. I opted to go for the two days and my partner, Joe (who was not really into sci-fi), came with me. I had only been to one other convention before, which was the FedCon Germany in May of 2014, but FCD was my first UK event, so I did not know what to expect. Nevertheless, I could not have found a better convention to go to. The people were so friendly and welcoming. It also seemed like whatever issues you had in life, it was accepted and you were neither frowned nor judged upon. Everyone was so fantastic and before I knew it, I was immediately considered a friend.
I was dressed up as a Nox character from Stargate and won 2nd place in the cosplay competition. Joe, on the other hand, was not amused when someone mistook him in his Steam Punk outfit as a Morris Dancer, but what made it worse was my fits of hysterical laughter when he told me.
There was a party on the Saturday night, complete with buffet, and everyone had a photo taken with Garret Wang, who played Ens. Harry Kim in Star Trek Voyager. This was followed by a disco and fun was had by all.
On the Sunday, I went by myself as Joe was still sore about being compared to a Morris Dancer, plus it was not really his thing and it gave him the perfect excuse not to go. I could not wait to get there for a second session and even though I have a mental problem which prevents me going to strange places (especially on my own), I felt so safe to do so. I had yet again another fantastic day and had a very unusual photo taken with Garrett and also bid in an auction to win lots of sci-fi goodies.
I was so sad when the day ended, I really did not want to go home. I wanted to stay with all the wonderful friends I had made and what was even worse, I knew I had to wait a whole year to see most of them again, until the next FCD.
But one of the biggest examples of how close I got with FCD was when my partner Joe passed away. David Limburg, one of organisers, actually came to my house to give me support and encouraged me to get myself to the next FCD event which was less than a week after the funeral. I am so pleased I went as I could not have wished for more support. I even found myself crying in the arms of one of the guest stars, Rainbow Sun Francks who, (with a small group of others) I had dinner with and he is now a very good friend.
I have been to four FCD events in the past and as long as FCD will be doing their events, I will always be there.
*And, Framily is not an accidental spelling mistake. It's what FCD call their friends who have become like family.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Mission Report: Planet MCM

by CRMN Emma Filtness

Though a somewhat stressful journey due to the planet's overburdened transport system, a fun expedition nonetheless. The planet's core, as displayed by the pictures, is a mixture of cultures and is incredibly busy. Unfortunately personal space is not always a factor. I managed to meet and observe a whole bunch of new species, including a new type of animal called Pokemon. They come in all shapes and sizes and are almost worshipped as gods. I think I have fallen in love with them. Though I was only there a day, I had a great overview of the planet and would highly recommend a visit, though it is only open to visitors a few days a year.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Honour is Mine

by Erika Stroem

Watching the-magnificent Klingon, in awe
Raising his Bat’leth and drinking blood wine
The antagonist is poised to slay his prey
But if he dies, he’ll shout "THE HONOUR IS MINE!"

The logical Vulcan glides past the Klingon
Who has no desire to die today
So he does not acknowledge this warrior
Just raises his eyebrow and moves away.

Three star ship captains and Data …
Pass by him, with weapons galore
They will NOT be intimidated
To start another Klingon war.

A Kai and her Vedek assembly
Feel safe as they walk on and pray.
There’d be no honour to slay them …
So he lets them go on their way.

Now the Klingon is coming towards me
Says "Qapla" as he hits his chest,
"Would you drink a blood wine with me?
As I could really do with a rest."

Thank goodness I’m at a convention,
A place where we all can reshape;
A wonderful voyage into fantasy;
A place where I go … to escape.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Operations Log: Mission London Anime & Gaming Con.

By Emma Dilemma Filtness

My Co-pilot and I successful made it to the London system when we were hijacked by freedom fighters, who pulled us into a search for a deadly weapon by disguising ourselves as the 'enemy' faction. Despite facing stiff resistance, we managed to find the weapon in a relatively short amount of time and parted ways with the freedom fighters led by a character named Cassian.
We then met up our contact at the convention location. Despite its relatively small size the convention was very busy, with varied attractions ranging from artists to anime showings. I managed to locate several rare and unique items, photographic evidence of which can be found below. We also played some games and came into contact with an energetic group of people known as cosplayers, I know a lot of you are familiar with them. I hope one day to be as good as those I encountered.
Report End.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Captain's Log

Another three months have gone by already, and although I haven't been able to be with the crew as much as I would have liked during that time, I have seen many great things going on.
The last quarter has been very difficult for me one filled with personal loss and a work situation (not of my own making) requiring me to arrange, attend and minute no less than nine AGMs, all that on top of what is usually very busy quarter anyway. Fortunately, I have an absolutely fantastic First Officer, Second Officer and crew. Having mentioned my dilemma, the Command Team put me on leave, which gave me the breathing space I needed to get my head around everything and sort things out, while dipping in and out of the crew pages from time to time.
One of the nicest things that I noticed, though, was that Centaur continued quite happily without me. The functioning of Centaur can be likened to a bicycle wheel (an analogy I understand well). At the centre of the wheel is the hub, which consists of the fabric of the group: that would be the website, blog and Facebook pages—the means by which we communicate. Without those things, there would be no communications.
Then there are the spokes. Now, if you know about bicycle wheels, you’ll know that each spoke can be adjusted. If all of the spokes are properly set, the wheel runs free and true. It doesn’t catch on the brakes or wobble, and gives for a smooth easy ride. If one or two of those spokes are badly adjusted, because the others on either side of it are correctly set, they support the ‘poorly’ spoke ensuring the wheel still runs free and true. If, however, lots of spokes are badly set, the wheel becomes warped. When you spin it, it judders between the forks, catches on the brakes, mud guards and chain, and generally becomes a dangerous mess. The bike fails.
On Centaur, each crew member is one of those spokes. There are no big spokes or little spokes. Each and everyone of us has an equally important part to play in the smooth running of the wheel. Like the wheel, when one of us has to step aside for a bit, the rest of the spokes can take that little bit of extra strain and the group continues to run. At least that’s how it should be. Sadly, in other groups, that’s the point where everything falls asunder and the group stops functioning BUT not so on Centaur.
I have been absolutely thrilled to see things continuing to happen without me. Sure, the Command Team have attracted my attention to things where necessary, but everything has continued to function like a well oiled machine. Amongst other things, we’ve seen Khash start his podcast project, Erika set up the cadet page and Holly expand her department with three Junior Editors to ensure that we will always have a Centaurian each quarter. So what more can I say but thank you, guys. You are truly a wonderful bunch of people, and I feel privileged to command Centaur for you.