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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Starships of the Third Fleet?
A. The Starships of the Third Fleet is a Star Trek©-based science fiction writing "club."

Q. Who belongs to the Starships of the Third Fleet?
A. Individuals who enjoy writing and who enjoy Star Trek.

Q. Where is the Starships of the Third Fleet based?
A. Since virtually all activity within the Group occurs on the Internet, it does not have a physical location.

Q. When was the Starships of the Third Fleet started?
A. SS3F officially came into being on January 1, 1989. In January 2000 we made the move to the Internet.

Q. How does the Starships of the Third Fleet work?
A. Members of the Group create characters from their own imaginations. These characters fill positions aboard USS PHOENIX (NCC-2315). The Captain of the PHOENIX publishes a "mission prologue" which outlines, in broad terms, what the ship’s mission will be. Members develop a plot and story line, using their characters and the other characters aboard the ship, and complete the mission. Mission submissions are posted on the web site and the cycle begins again.

Q. When do the stories written by the Starships of the Third Fleet happen?
A. In the year 2315 (Earth Date). That is after the last mission of USS ENTERPRISE (NCC-1701) under Captain James T. Kirk and before Jean-Luc Picard enters Starfleet Academy.

Q. Why was the Starships of the Third Fleet created?
A. Because we like to write.

Q. Can I join?
A. It is possible, although members of the Group do not want it to become so large as to be unwieldy. If you want to apply for membership, there are several steps you must follow:

  1. Contact Captain T.E.Lawrence, the ship’s captain, via e-mail at ss3f@cox.net with your request. This request must contain the following information: Your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, age, and a sample of your writing.
  2. The Starships of the Third Fleet does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, or mental of physical handicap. Sexual harassment of one member by another is not tolerated. The minimum age limit is 18.
  3. Membership is free.

Q. If I join, will my name and address be made available to anyone else?
A. No. All personal information is subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, and may only be used by members of the Starships of the Third Fleet. You personal information WILL NOT be provided to anyone outside the Group.



Q. What kind of ship is USS PHOENIX (NCC-2315)?
A. USS PHOENIX is an EXCELSIOR-class (upgraded) Heavy Cruiser.

Q. In which Fleet does USS PHOENIX operate?
A. Third Fleet

Q. In which Quadrant does Third Fleet operate?
A. The Third Quadrant.

Q. Where is that?
A. The Federation Treaty Zone is divided into quadrants, each of which covers approximately one-fourth of the spherical territory within. Each quadrant is numbered. Third Quadrant is the same general area of space where USS ENTERPRISE (NCC-1701) operated.

Q. Where is USS PHOENIX homeported?
A. At Starbase Flying Cloud, a Type-79 Clipper Ship-class starbase, orbiting the planet Enya, the fourth planet in the Sabrena’s "i" star system. Third Fleet Academy is also located on Enya.

Q. What exactly is a "homeport?"
A. A homeport is where a ship is primarily assigned and where it receives its primary support. A ship will normally return to its homeport when it undergoes repairs or upgrades, or stands down (a period of time for crew rest and relaxation). Since a ship often returns to its homeport, many crewmembers bring their family members to live there.

Q. What is the primary mission of USS PHOENIX?
A. As with all Starfleet starships, USS PHOENIX is designed to provide not only offensive and defensive capabilities, but also exploration and scientific research. However, USS PHOENIX is a departure from the normal EXCELSIOR-class (upgraded) Heavy Cruiser. Instead of having extensive scientific laboratories, it is designed to act as a Fleet Action Coordination (FAC) vessel; that is, to be the command post for a Battle Fleet or Battle Group engaged in offensive or defense actions.

Q. How is a FAC vessel different from a regular starship?
A. A FAC vessel has a Fleet Action Coordination Center (FACC) designed to provide Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) services for a Battle Group or Fleet. When activated, an Admiral in charge of the Battle Group comes aboard along with his/her staff to man the FACC. The FAC vessel then becomes the flagship for the Battle Group or Fleet. In addition, a FAC vessel has a SMIDGEN (Ship’s Modular Intelligence Data Gathering and Evaluation Network), which is a large, state-of-the-art intelligence center designed to obtain and evaluate information gathered in several different ways. The 3rd Special Operations Group (King Cobras), composed of Starfleet Marines flying reconnaissance craft, attack fighters, and assault craft is also attached to the PHOENIX.

Q. Does that mean that no scientific missions are undertaken by the PHOENIX?
A. No, just that the PHOENIX is more a warship than an exploration vessel. Scientific research and exploration missions can still be assigned and, although she not quite as capable as other starships to do scientific research and exploration, can still do a creditable job in those areas.

Q. Why is USS PHOENIX designed to be a warship? Isn’t there peace in the Federation?
A. Even though the level of tension throughout the Federation is lower than it has been in a long time, the Romulans, the Klingons, the Jizzarques, the Orions, and other civilizations, which may not be completely friendly to the United Federation of Planets, still exist. It is always possible that something may happen. If it does, Starfleet must be ready to react accordingly. Remember the old cliché: the best defense is a good offense.

Q. Does the PHOENIX have shuttlecraft?
A. Yes. Four types of shuttlecraft are on board: long-range, short-range, aquatic, and medical. Here are their names:

  • 2315/1 Pegasus (long range)
  • 2315/2 Minotaur (long range)
  • 2315/3 Unicorn (short range)
  • 2315/4 Centaur (short range)
  • 2315/5 Maelstrom (aquatic)
  • 2316/6 Nightingale (medical)



Q. How is the USS PHOENIX organized?
A. Crewmembers aboard USS PHOENIX (NCC-2315) fill specific positions within certain departments. A listing of all departments along with a brief description of that department’s responsibilities, all positions aboard the ship, and a short job description for each position follows.


The Command Department is composed of individuals charged with the primary responsibility of overall guidance of the ship and its personnel; compliance with regulations and directives promulgated by higher authority, and with interpreting those regulations and directives as they apply to current and future ship operations and missions; shipboard administration; and other special assignments which cannot be appropriately assigned to other departments.

Commanding Officer (Captain)
Senior officer aboard the ship with ultimate responsibility for all actions and activities of the ship and crew.

First Officer (Commander)
Second-in-command. Acts as the Commanding Officer during her absence. Organizationally, all Department Heads (Operations Officer, Chief Engineering Officer, etc.) report to the First Officer. Stands Officer-of-the-Deck watches on the Bridge.


The Operations Department is charged with navigation and steering of the ship, interior and exterior communications, detection and interpretation of unknown signals, and the operation and maintenance of all assigned shuttlecraft.

Operations Officer (Lieutenant Commander)
Department Head. Responsible for all activities and personnel of Operations Department. Eligible to stand Officer-of-the-Deck watches on the Bridge.

Chief Intelligence Officer (Lieutenant Commander)
Responsible for acquiring, interpreting, and disseminating intelligence information for use by the Commanding Officer, First Officer, Department Heads, and other individuals and organizational entities on a need-to-know basis. Eligible to stand Officer-of-the-Deck watches on the Bridge.

Chief Navigator (Lieutenant)
Senior Navigator. Responsible for all navigators assigned to the ship.

Chief Helmsman (Lieutenant)
Senior Helmsman. Responsible for all helmsmen assigned to the ship.

Chief Communications Officer (Lieutenant)
Senior communicator. Responsible for all external communications and for all communicators assigned to the ship.

Bridge Sensor Officer (Lieutenant (junior grade))
Mans the Operations Console on the Bridge. Interprets sensor readings, assists in weapons targeting, navigation, and acts as the Operations Officer’s primary representative during flight operations.

Shuttle Operations Officer (Lieutenant)
Provides shuttlecraft storage and maintenance activities, and directs shuttle launching and landing evolutions.


Science Department personnel research, catalogue, and investigate scientific phenomena in four broad areas: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, and Space Sciences.

Science Officer (Lieutenant Commander)
Senior science officer aboard the ship. Responsible for all personnel and activities in the Science Department. Eligible to stand Officer-of-the-Deck watches on the Bridge.

Life Sciences Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for evaluating, categorizing, and investigating all new life forms; and for maintaining computer records dealing with all known life forms. Areas of concern include agronomy, biochemistry, biology, botany, ecology, horticulture, ichthyology, ornithology, zoology, and other pertinent sciences.

Physical Sciences Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for investigating planetary surfaces. Areas of concern include surface cartography, chemical analysis, climatology, geology, oceanography, paleontology, metrology, seismology, and other pertinent sciences.

Social Sciences Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for investigating and categorizing the interactions of social groups, either viable or extinct. Areas of concern include anthropology, archeology, ethnoscience, geography, history, legal, political science, sociology, and other pertinent sciences.

Space Sciences Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for discovering, evaluating, categorizing, and investigating interstellar phenomena. Areas of concern include astronomy, stellar cartography, particle physics, nuclear physics, plasma physics, pulsar physics, thermodynamic physics, gravitational anomalies, and other pertinent sciences.


Responsibilities of the Engineering Department include both the proper operation and the maintenance of impulse and warp drive propulsion, life-support systems, transporter systems, ship defensive/offensive weapons systems, deflector systems, cloaking penetration system, tractor beam units, and auxiliary systems.

Chief Engineer (Lieutenant Commander)
Senior engineer aboard the ship. Responsible for all activities and personnel of Engineering Department. Eligible to stand Officer-of-the-Deck watches on the Bridge.

Engineering Systems Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair, and calibration of the warp drive, the impulse drive system, and thrusters.

Transporter Systems Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair, and calibration of all transporter units aboard the ship, whether personnel, medical, or cargo.

Operational Systems Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair, and calibration of life-support, environmental, tractor beam, sensor, and auxiliary systems aboard the ship.

Weapons Systems Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for the maintenance, repair, and calibration of phasers, photon torpedoes, and photon torpedo launchers.

Closed-systems Recovery Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for the maintenance, repair, and calibration of waste management, sanitation, and recycling/recovery systems; refurbishing of ship’s spaces (including modifications to compartments and staterooms); janitorial services; and fabricators.


Medical Department personnel ensure the continued well-being of crewmembers by providing preventive services, consultations, and physical examinations; invasive and non-invasive services to injured personnel; and other medical assistance, which may be required during ship operations.

Chief Medical Officer (Lieutenant Commander)
Senior medical officer aboard the ship. Responsible for all personnel and activities of the Medical Department.

Senior Physician (Lieutenant)
Responsible for the activities of all physicians in the Medical Department.

Ship’s Psychologist (Lieutenant)
Responsible for the mental health of the ship’s crew.

ALPHA Watch Physician (Lieutenant (junior grade))
Responsible for the activities of all medical personnel on ALPHA Watch.

BETA Watch Physician (Lieutenant (junior grade))
Responsible for the activities of all medical personnel on BETA Watch.

GAMMA Watch Physician (Lieutenant (junior grade))
Responsible for the activities of all medical personnel on GAMMA Watch.

Senior Nurse (Lieutenant (junior grade))
Responsible for the activities of all nursing personnel in the Medical Department.

Senior Medical Technician (Ensign)
Responsible for the activities of all medical technicians in the Medical Department, including emergency-response personnel.


Security Department personnel provide internal security services for the ship, landing party and VIP protection, maintain the ship’s personal weapons, and train shipboard personnel in the appropriate use of personal weapons.

Chief Security Officer (Lieutenant Commander)
Responsible for the security of the ship, its personnel, and all visitors or passengers.

Security Team ALPHA Leader (Lieutenant (junior grade))
Responsible for the activities of all security personnel assigned to Alpha Shift.

Security Team BETA Leader (Lieutenant (junior grade))
Responsible for the activities of all security personnel assigned to Beta Shift.

Security Team GAMMA Leader (Lieutenant (junior grade))
Responsible for the activities of all security personnel assigned to Gamma Shift.


This department maintains emergency spare parts and consumables, food services, and recreational opportunities for the ship and crew.

Logistics Officer (Lieutenant Commander)
Responsible for all activities and personnel assigned to the Logistics Department.

Stores Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for the storage, maintenance inventory and delivery of all critical spares and emergency consumables aboard the ship.

Food Officer (Lieutenant)
Responsible for preparation of specialty foods required by non-humanoid crew members or VIPs, sustenance for landing parties, and maintenance and programming of food replicators.

Recreation Officer (Lieutenant)
Provide personal services to personnel aboard the ship, including barbers, beauticians, and lounge service personnel.

Q. The character portraits on the web site have different colored collars on their turtleneck sweaters. What do the colors mean?
A. The color of the turtleneck indicates the department to which the character belongs. The colors, and their corresponding departments, are:

  • Command: White
  • Operations: Grey
  • Science: Blue
  • Engineering: Gold
  • Medical: Green
  • Security: Red
  • Logistics: Teal


Q. How long do missions last?
A. Approximately three months. The first month, the mission prologue (which sets the stage for the mission) is published. The second and third month, members submit their completed missions to Captain T.E.Lawrence. Captain Lawrence forwards the individual’s contribution to the First Officer for his review (the review looks only at maintaining continuity and to ensure that the writer’s terminology is correct), and the "Mission Booklet" (a compilation of all submissions) is published on the Group’s web site under the heading of "Ship’s Log."

Q. Are there any restrictions on how a person writes his or her mission?
A. There are no restrictions, per se, but there are guidelines. Here are some examples: In real life, people use curse words–that is a fact. In a mission, an occasional "dirty word" is acceptable. However, the constant use of curse words indicates a poor vocabulary Four-letter words may be used, but only when it is appropriate. A reasonable person will recognize that there are several words that are absolutely inappropriate for a mission–if one of those "magic words" is used; the writer will have to delete or change it. Should there be any reluctance on the author’s part to comply, that story will not be published.

Sex is a fact of life; without it, none of us would be here today. If sex is appropriate to the story or the development of a character, it is allowed. However, explicit descriptions of gratuitous sex are prohibited. Leaving details to the reader’s imagination is usually more effective than telling all. The level of missions should be higher than the gutter. The Captain has the responsibility and the authority to require an author to make changes in a story if the envelope is pushed too far.

Collaboration with another crewmember in a mission is fun and a definite challenge and is heartily recommended. One writer can also dovetail his/her mission with someone else’s. In other words: Person A writes a story which includes Person B’s character. Person B uses the same scene in his/her story. Person B shouldn’t simply repeat the scene word for word in his or her story, but should write the same scene from Person B’s character’s viewpoint. Few people like to read the same words over and over again.

Q. How long can a mission submission be?
A. Because the mission submissions are posted electronically, there is no hard-and-fast maximum limit. Common sense should dictate that a 100,000-word submission is going too far. As far as a minimum is concerned, the story should be more than 1,000 words, otherwise its difficult, if not impossible, to create anything interesting in such few words.

Q. How do the submissions get onto the web site?
A. Send them as an e-mail attachment (in Word format) to Captain T.E.Lawrence. She will take care of posting them to the web site.

Q. Are their families aboard the PHOENIX?
A. No. Starfleet has not authorized crew families aboard starships in our timeline.