Although most visitors to this site will be interested in simply reading the stories and enjoying the "Star Trek: Athena" experience, there are undoubtedly some people out there who feel that they have an idea or even a story that would fit right in here. Instead of running out and creating your own site-unless you have done so already-I am perfectly willing to accept story ideas or even entire stories that you might want to write featuring the Athena characters. However, there are some guidelines that you should follow if you are interested in submitting an idea, and unfortunately, most of them deal with "don'ts".

The important thing to remember is that "Star Trek: Athena" is a science-fiction action-adventure series. It is not a parody, nor is it a series to explore relationships between the characters. Although relationships are part and parcel of life on a starship, they should not be emphasized and certainly should not be the key element of the plot. "Hard science" science-fiction type stories are the best ones for this site.

The following things are ones that should be avoided:

1. No foul language or sexually-explicit scenes and no excessive description of violence or its consequences. If such passages are present in a story that is otherwise suitable, they will be edited out. In short, if a scene cannot possibly appear on one of the television series, then it should not be present in "Star Trek: Athena."

2. Remember that the ship always works. Never attempt to advance the plot or resolve a plot problem with a convenient breakdown of some critical ship system. One exception would be if the story was about a ship breakdown of some type.

3. You cannot transport through shields, period.

4. There is no such thing as hybrids. You cannot take a Vulcan and a human and produce a viable, living being. That has less probability of being possible than warp drive. Remember that humans and all races not from Earth have zero genetic compatibility. The basic structure of their DNA, their chromosome structure and the rest simply do not match those of Earth. If a hybrid appears in a story, the character will be replaced by someone of a single genetic heritage.

5. Another of the impossible things are space battles at warp. Faster than light is very, very fast, and evasive manoeuvres are very, very effective. Of course, that allows invasion fleets to penetrate well into the space they are invading, but their objective is usually some planet or other installation. That would be where the battle occurs.

6. Keep the focus on the main characters. They are the ones that the series is about and they are the ones who resolve the problem and get the job done. A guest character who outperforms the senior officers and dominates the story is not one that will be considered for the site.

7. Changes in the main characters are reserved for the creater of the site. The "Crew List" page lists secondary characters that may appear in your story or idea, and you can develop them in ways that do not contradict information established about them in previous stories. I am more open to major changes in secondary characters (especially those that do not have their own "Crew List" page), but you should notify me with the idea first. Afterall, the secondary character you plan to kill off could be an important part of a story to come. I am usually three or four stories ahead of the most recent one posted. You can also create new secondary characters, but such characters will be added to the "Crew List" page and can appear in subsequent stories. Additional crewmembers of the Athena should be human. The story "The Covenant of Doom" established there were just two non-humans on board the ship. In addition, new alien races or any character from outside the Athena can be created, and again they can be used in subsequent stories if possible.

8. Try to avoid using technobabble to overcome a problem, unless that particular piece of technobabble has been established in a canon episode of "Star Trek". I will check the "Star Trek Encyclopedia" to make sure that the bit of technobabble you use is canonical.

9. Do not feature prominently the characters from any of the television series, since they are trademark properties of Paramount Pictures and using them could cause legal problems for the site. Also, do not use characters from other fan fiction sites (especially from original-character sites like "Renegade" or "Infinity" or "Missouri") without the permission of the site creaters. I will check!

10. It is desirable but not necessary to keep the story in the teaser-five act format of the television series.

The list is not really that arduous and following it would make the story you write or the idea you submit fit the series well. It is likely that stories will be edited to fit the writing style shown here, deleting slang terms, converting any Imperial measurement to metric, removing foul language and also removing terms that are derogatory or insensitive. However, the writer of the story will receive credit as being the author at the start of each of the acts and the teaser. There is, of course, no financial compensation for submitting an idea-Paramount would never allow that-as this is just for fun and the thrill of contributing to what I hope is an interesting "Star Trek" fan fiction site.

If after this, you still believe you have a good story idea or a story you want to submit, you can send it either as an e-mail or as an e-mail attachment. However, if you choose the latter route, submit your story or idea in plain text only. Anything else will be converted to plain text before being opened-and if that is not possible, the file will be deleted. This is to protect me from viruses, and I am sure that you can understand that. I will handle the editing and formating of the story to create the version that would appear on the website. Of course, it is equally possible that I will reject the story, but if you provide a valid e-mail address with your story idea, I will tell you why, if you want to try again. I might also use a good idea as the B-plot in another story (with credit given), especially if it would not be long enough for an entire story. I will do my best to respond to all individuals who send story ideas and other suggestions, as although there might be some readers, not many are likely to respond with ideas. Anybody who wants to write "Star Trek" stories likely already has their own site. Nevertheless, you never know.

If for whatever reason you have something you cannot send by e-mail, I can still be reached by old-fashioned snail mail. Just e-mail me a request and I will return a mailing address. However, because the mailing address is not mine, I cannot post it in general.

Thank you for taking the time to read this page. I hope I have not discouraged you. If you disagree with something that I say, feel free to e-mail me with any comments or opinions. I will take them seriously.

-Steven Oostrom
White Tornado Publishing
August 1998

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