New, But Still Blue

Article by Polson

Howdy! So here it is, the latest issue. We've shaken up the mix a little bit, adding Bria's story (which I love and left me wanting more and wondering about Eagle's mental health), the "letter to the editor" section I've named "whadyathink?" and a look at specific Teams around the changing face of OTF. We're looking at revamping the Rank-o-matic and adding a report from the E.C. with each issue. If you have any suggestions about what should be added to the Blue Report please let us know!

I realized that I should probably write some sort of editorial here, seeing how it is the editor's spot. So here it is: have patience.

No, I haven't lost my marbles, it's just Fats said something to me earlier while helping me with HTML (they don't require HTML skills from the BR editor - isn't that FAB?) and he reminded me of something else. I was actually looking around OTF the other day (you know how I like to wander) thinking about the recent changes made and I thought to myself, "Hey...it looks the same."[ed. note: The Fleet Admiral read a draft of this and pointed out that it's taken two months to get everything looking like nothing has changed. That server change was no small matter.] And then I kind of got all indignant thinking, "Well wait a minute, they disbanded all the departments in anticipation of this big merging of the chat rooms and changing of the system and yet nothing's going on. How dare they upset my world without bothering to actually upset it!" Of course after reminding myself that the internet does not revolve around me, I also got to thinking, "Wow...that's a huge task. Iain must be swamped, especially since instead of working on the new face of OTF he's been busy trying to make my email work."

I guess my point is, they bit off a lot with the changes and a lot of them are things that get built and then displayed. Like "we're going to build a house over there" doesn't mean they drop a completed house on the lawn and say "there you go!" Somebody has to build it and then Ty comes out and yells, "Driver, move that bus!!!" And you won't really see everything until you get living in it and then you find out that the front door doesn't close all the way and the floorboards creak and the toilet runs day and night. And while you're fixing those problems, more problems crop up. And then one day you realize you've been in that house for two years and the floorboards still creak but you're so used to it that you don't even notice anymore. Then Iain comes over and says "Hey I know, let's rip up this hardwood and lay down computer monitors so that it looks like the Matrix!" Then you kick him out and get a guard dog.

Okay back to my point; change takes time and patience. If you want it to go a little faster I see two options for you. A: take a chill pill. B: pick up a hammer and start nailing.

Bring back the Box!

Polson
Blue Report Editor


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Promotions

To CL5

  • Richard Smith (ST) - Richard has worked consistently hard over the past year, especially within trivia, routinely submitting questions, leading various trivia events and for his management of the Pheonix trivia team. He has shown excellent dedication to the Outpost, its rules and principles so therefore we honour him with a CL5 promotion. Congratulations Richard.
  • To CL4:

  • Lizzy23 (ST)
  • Techno Soldier (ST)
  • To CL3:

  • Blueknightrk (ST)
  • delta36 (SW)
  • Master Solan (SW)
  • Dr. Marbles (ST)
  • Lily (SW)

  • [See Full Article]

    Breaking News:

    Article by Hobbie

    Iain finally got himself fired. More on this in our next release.

    Meanwhile, we are replacing our three genre team updates with this single article, bringing you the latest news from the higher levels as if you were there. Well, I should say lower levels now, since the EC relocated to our new secret base in the OTF basement (Hal said it was okay to tell you about it, as long as I didn't reveal that the password for entering is "jointhedarkside!!1!", so all is good).

    As Polson pointed out, the promised changes haven't appeared yet. This is due in part, as she mentioned, to the extent of work required to prepare them, as well as to events beyond everyone's control. Indeed, I have been told by a reliable source, who wishes to remain anonymous, that Iain has been having to deal with a number of server-related technical issues recently. He hasn't denied those claims, and is rumored to have a 30,000+ words detailed explanation of those. If any of you is interested, and has about five years' worth of free time, feel free to contact him directly about it.

    That said, things are being done, and results should be seen very soon. The idea of releasing all the new stuff at once has been put aside in favor of a more progressive timetable. The first installment of which will be the dismantling of the departments and its replacement with a team-based structure. This has led to a lot of confusion about which teams would get to stay, which would be taken out, if there would be new teams, and so on.

    The answer to that can be expressed by what I think the whole idea behind the transition is: more flexibility, less red tape and equal opportunities. Basically, any current team leader as well as anyone else with an idea for a team is welcome to email Hal and Iain about their proposal, and will be able to give it a try. However, there is another edge to that sword, and any team not delivering the goods will not be allowed to stagnate for years as has been, and in some cases is still, the case now.

    Finally, the EC thanks its newest retirement home member, Osiris, for the dedication he has shown over the years. Replacing him will be Mezoti and, for my part, I am very pleased by this appointment. Not only will her duties include shooting Hobbie, she will also provide the EC with a new arguing couple to liven things up. It's been a while since we had one of those.

    There is no Box to bring back!

    Hobbie
    Blue Report EC Insider


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    Team Trivia: An Inside Look

    Article by Polson

    As part of the Blue Report's new format we're including a look at the teams that are currently up and running in the wake of the departmental assimilation. If you've got a team and you want folks to know what it's all about, then drop us a line at the Blue Report and we'll send someone over right away to check it out. And by right away I mean eventually.

    So for this issue I hunted down Majin and asked him a few questions about the Trivia Team. He tried his best to be funny so if you see him make sure you give him some sympathy laughs.

    1. Trivia has been one of the longest standing teams. Why do you think that is?
    I think it's important to have events in OTF that are fun and that everyone (or just about everyone) can take part in. I mean, listening to trivia contests on the radio is fun, and it if you don't know something that's being asked, you learn something new! That's what I feel trivia is: a fun, educational event for all ages! *hold out arm* But you must be this tall to ride the ride.

    2. What's your dream trivia event?
    Well, I want the world to become a place where the sun is always shining and the air smells like warm root beer and the towels are oh so fluffy; where the shriners and the lepers play their ukuleles all day long and anyone on the street will gladly shave your back for a nickel! *sighs* Oh, my dream trivia event? Whoops... Well, I'd personally like an event based around Marvel Comics/Spider-Man, but realistically, I'd like a really active Trivia where new people were winning (but the usual winners would still be there) and everything was just happy and funny. Stuff like that. So, pretty much, it's a like almost every event, but multiplied by 10.

    3. What is the secret to winning silly points?
    It's a secret. Duh.

    4. What or who do you think has been the greatest contribution(s) to the trivia division in the past year?
    Our single greatest contribution is teamwork. And intelligence. Our two greatest contributions are teamwork and intelligence. And variety. Our three- *stops self before this gets too silly*

    5. Is it true that Soka doesn't do anything but merely gloms off your talent and takes all the credit?
    No. It's the other way around. Soka does all the work. I take the credit.

    6. What are your hopes for the future of trivia in light of the recent changes around OTF?
    Three words: Live nude girls. Okay, seriously, we do have plans in store for Trivia. I don't want to go into all of it because we're still not 100% sure on what we're doing, and the meeting hasn't taken place yet, but I'll let you in on one of the changes we hope to bring: more topics. Be on the look-out for the changes soon-ish.

    7. Here is your own special place to tell everyone to join Trivia, and tell them how awesome and fun your team is. Go!
    *takes deep breath* Join Trivia. We bake awesome cookies, pies, and cake. And you get to work with some of the friendliest people in OTF (not me, I'm not friendly. I'm often compared to Doctor Doom). And you get to put your knowledge (whatever your specialty is) to great use.

    8. Any other comments?
    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. And eat your vegetables!

    Will do. I especially enjoy asparagus cooked in butter and garlic. Thanks Majin!

    Let 'er rip,

    Polson
    Blue Report Editor


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    Whaddyathink?

    Article by Polson

    Every issue we'll throw out a topic that you guys can write back in on. This is your chance to make a well rounded statement supporting your views on whatever thing I pick (Muwahahaha! Who has the power now Dmitri?). Send all your letters (500 words or less) to Blue Report to have them considered for the next issue.

    Disclaimer: Keep in mind we reserve the right to edit your letters for length, and we won't include letters that are inapporpriate or deemed to be filled with, well, crap to put it bluntly. I.E. "I believe this because of these reasons... " v.s "Only idots do that so we should do this instead..." you get the idea. Use some common sense, we want this to be a productive place to voice your well thought out opinions on OTF and its functions. And we also reserve the right not to add your letter to the following issue, especially if we get a wack of them we can ony include so many, or merely quote sections of the letters we receive. If you feel you've been overlooked several times in a row or you feel we somehow changed the meaning of your letter by editing it for length, please email me.

    On to the topic: OTF has had the Prime Directives kicking around for as long as it's been up and running. Over the years there has been some but little change, which is viewed positively and negatively by various members. So tell me: Whaddyathink about the PDs?

    Let 'er rip,

    Polson
    Blue Report Editor


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    Into The Blue: Beginnings

    Article by Bria

    ... in which Eagle returns triumphant, Mezoti sings to Iain, and a small kitten is introduced.

    *****

    On a small farm in the middle of a lot of fields on a small planet at the edge of the universe lived a man. His name was Eric, and he was, conveniently, a farmer. He owned four cows and 200 acres of land, more because no one else had bothered laying claim to them than because he was particularly rich.

    He lived on his own now, because he didn't really like anyone else to interfere in his life. He worked during the day and slept during the night, and occasionally he went on a holiday, usually camping out in field #37 for a few nights with Rufus the dog.

    His life was very fulfilling and very boring, at least for anyone with absolutely no interest in crop rotation and cow milking, which was most of the galaxy's population. He farmed, played with Rufus, and looked forward to his few days of camping. That, really, was about it. Nothing exciting ever happened.

    Just as well, then, that this story is not about him.

    ***

    A man strode down the corridors of Outpost Ten Forward, whistling cheerfully. His name was Eagle, and while this story isn't exactly about him either, he certainly plays more of a part.

    He was dressed in jeans that had seen better days and a lot of oil, and a hoodie with a pocket at the front. There was a bulge in the pocket, which moved. Occasionally, a small tail or a pair of ears peeked out. They belonged to Brin the kitten.

    Eagle was also swinging a small case in one hand and carrying a datacard with the other. He gave off the air of a man on a mission, or rather, of one who had been on a mission and returned, triumphant beyond belief.

    ***

    "I said a change, would do you good," Mezoti sang, swinging her legs.

    Iain narrowly avoided being kicked as he swivelled his chair to reach onto the shelf beside his desk. "Hey! Be careful!"

    "Whoops, sorry," she said, stilling her legs until he turned back to his screen. It was covered in inverted letters that ran from right to left. She still didn't know how Iain managed to read them, even though he didn't really read in the same way that others did. Something about absorbing code and being One with the Server.

    She turned her attention back to the vidscreen on the wall, where her favourite Firefly episode was playing. Iain had asked her to mute it, and she had, because she knew all the words anyway.

    "Hey, Mezzy?" Iain asked after a while.

    "Hmm?"

    "Did Hobbie really deal with the box like he said he would?"

    "No," she said. "He stuck a thermal into it and blew it into a million pieces. That doesn't really count as "retiring" it, does it."

    Iain laughed. "It's effective, anyway. Maybe we should implement that policy with retiring OTF members, stop them coming back and kicking up a fuss."

    Mezoti rolled her eyes, but decided to leave that one well alone. "Why d'you want to know about the box, anyway?"

    "Because," Iain said. "Someone complained that it's gone."

    "Of course it's gone," Mezoti said reasonably. "When Hobbie blows something up, it stays blown up!"

    Iain grinned. "Thank you, Mezzy, that's exactly what I'll tell them."

    Mezoti laughed. "She'll like that."

    "How do you know it's "she"?" Iain asked.

    "Because I seriously doubt that any one of the guys would want the box back."

    "Fair point." Iain turned back to his mortal-confusing screen and typed away at breakneck speed – if, indeed, the term "breakneck" could be applied to typing. Really, he figured, it shouldn't be, because there was no way that typing at any speed could ever break anyone's neck. He frowned, paused, and resumed typing at a very fast pace. To hell with the fancy language, anyway.

    There was a knock on the door, or rather, the doorframe. The door was already open. Mezoti looked up. Eagle stood there, expectant, with raised eyebrows. His hoodie moved.

    "Brin!!" Mezoti exclaimed, hopping off the desk to retrieve the kitten.

    "Hello, Mezoti," Eagle said loudly. "Nice to see you too."

    She only looked slightly chastened. "Hi."

    "Hey Eagle," Iain said from behind her.

    Eagle waved at him. "'lo Iain! Hey, have you guys seen Hobbie around?"

    "Cantina," Mezoti said automatically.

    "I checked," Eagle said. "He's not there."

    "Docking bay," Iain said.

    Eagle shook his head. "I just came from there."

    "Oh," Iain said. "So, is that your –"

    "Yes," Eagle said. "I need to find Hobbie."

    Mezoti looked from Eagle to Iain and back again. "Your what?"

    "Kitten," Eagle said quickly.

    She didn't look like she quite believed him, but decided to concentrate on said kitten instead of pursuing the issue.

    "I haven't seen Hobbie," Iain said. "Just ask around."

    "Right." Eagle tried to take Brin back off Mezoti, but she evaded him. He took a few steps away, and Brin struggled free by herself and ran after him. He bent his knees slightly and she climbed back into the front pocket. Giving Mezoti an almost-full-hearted triumphant look, which she returned with a glare that was almost convincing, he wandered off to find Hobbie.

    *****

    Comments, suggestions, and general abuse can be dumped here! Feedback is appreciated.
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    OTF Blues: Iain's Incredibly Long Never Ending Emails

    Article by Polson

    Featuring Bria and Hobbie. I am pretty sure that some of us have had this exact conversation before. I actually got an email today from Iain that blew my mind apart and then put it back together again just to blow it apart once more. Anyone on a mailing list with Iain knows exactly what this cartoon is all about! In fact I got three emails like this from him in a day in regards to my mailing list trouble. The man knows his way around a keyboard.

    [Enlarge comic in a new window.]


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    The REAL story behind Star Wars... part XVIII

    Article by Queen of the Universe

    70. EXT. TATOOINE - MOS EISLEY BROS - STREET - ALLEYWAY - USED SPEEDER LOT- NEAR THE BUS STOP - JUST PAST MACDONALDS

    Ma-jin and Osiris are standing in a sleazy used-speeder lot, talking with a tall, grotesque, insect-like used-speeder dealer who will (at random momets) turn into a Jawa... no, seriously, which is why some of you seeing this might go 'huh' about the first description. Strange exotic bodies and spindly-legged beasts (OMG that's clock spider! Google it!) pass by as the insect/Jawa metamorph concludes the sale by giving Osiris some chocolate coins.

    OSIRIS
    He says it's the best he can do. Since the Windows Speeder-XP came out, they're just not in demand. I hope they don't all melt in my pocket, I knew I should have packed my mini-fridge.

    MA-JIN
    It will be enough. Do you have a big choccy Euro? No, not the silver ones, gimme a proper choccy coloured one.

    Ma-jin and Osiris leave the speeder lot and walk down the dusty alleyway past a small robot herding a bunch of anteater-like creatures which, for wont of an argument, may very well be anteaters... dyed blue... or wearing tin hats, who knows? Osiris turns and gives one last forlorn look at his faithful speeder as he rounds a corner, aw, bless. Cheer up, Emo kid, you'll get another date one day. A darkly clad creature moves out of the shadows as they pass and watches them as they disappear down another alley, so, not suspicious at all. Honestly, if you're going to be shady, or a spy, dont wear black. How about a nice green velvet coat? Or a lovely straw hat?

    MA-JIN
    If the ship's as fast as he's boasting, we ought to do well to get some travel sickness pills. Or one of those bracelet things. Is there a pharmacy near here?

    71. INT. DOCKING BAY 94 - DAY-OH.

    JJ the Hutt and a half-dozen grisly alien pirates and purple creatures stand in the middle of the... hold it right there, sweet Lord of the Rings, we are so not doing the enhanced version. Get thee gone, CGI Hutt. Old school, FTW!

    *coughs* and now back to our schedualed broadcast.

    72. EXT. DOCKING PORT ENTRY - ALLEYWAY- AFTERNOON-OH.

    KypDBacca waits restlessly at the entrance to Docking Bay 94, small white wires trail into his fur, the sound of Hanson's Mmm-bop can just be heard from some hidden iPod. Majin, Osiris, and the robots- suddenly not in a hidey-hole- make their way up the street with complete conspicuousness. KypDBacca jabbers (a different Hutt) and signals for them to hurry with a pair of air-traffic control batons. The darkly clad not-at-all-sinister creature has followed them from the speeder lot- if I had to describe him here i'd say a guy in sunglasses has just done a faceplant into a papier mache trumpet. He stops in a nearby doorway and speaks into a small transmitter, also neatly smacking himself in the nose (no, seriously, he does. Go check!). I think he says wiggy-wig-wig, I could be wrong.

    73. INT. MOS EISLEY BROS SPACEPORT - (SITTING ON THE) DOCKING BAY 94

    KypDBacca leads the group into a giant dirt pit (Dirt pit? Giant? My space port this is!) that is Docking Bay 94, though surely then it should be docking pit 94? Resting in the middle of the huge hole is a large, round- like a circle in a sprial, like a wheel within a wheel- beat-up, pieced-together hunk of junk that could only loosely be called a starship, or Spaceball One.

    OSIRIS
    What a piece of junk. Is that a shopping cart on the top?

    The tall figure of Hobbie Solo comes down the boarding ramp, not walking mind you, he likes to slide.

    HOBBIE
    She'll make point five beyond the speed of light *pauses, squints, nods to himself* yeah, that was what it said in the manual. Erm, she may not look like much more than a flying pan (hah! pun, do you see what he did there?) but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've added some special modifications myself. Why, if you'll look here *points the the hull* behold, flame stickers!

    Osiris scratches his head, dislodging a baby anteater. It's obvious he isn't sure about all this. KypDBacca grapevines up the ramp and urges the others to follow with a wave of a baton and a friendly head-lock.

    HOBBIE
    We're a little rushed, I only have five minutes left on the docking meter. So if you'll hurry aboard we'll get out of here before we get clamped.

    The group rushes up the gang plank, passing a grinning Hobbie Solo.

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