Futility's End is a Star Trek alternate future group, set approximately twenty years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. The group is set in the aftermath of a dramatic and cataclysmic twenty-year war with the Borg, meaning a rapid shift in setting from the idyllic Federation of The Next Generation, to a more hardened and desperate organization, forced to ally with old enemies to survive, and now facing economic and geopolitical problems from inside that are just as destructive as any exterior attacks.
A major theme of FE is the continuing struggle to maintain a balance between state security and individual freedoms; a storyline that allows for a great deal of commentary on real world events very much in the nature of what made Star Trek such a hit in the politically charged 60s and 70s.
Futility's End began as Bravo Fleet's first affiliate, and the group credits Justin Pagano and James Zetes as its original creators. Originally, the concept involved a war with the Borg in which the Federation and her allies lost, and the few survivors from the Federation and Klingon Empire grouped together as 'outlaws' of a type, always on the run. Though the idea showed promise, Bravo Fleet was unable to support such a group at that time, being only a few years old itself, and the idea was temporarily dropped.
Bravo Fleet creator Mike Bremer is credited on the relevant BF page as modernizing the FE idea when the group restarted in 2001. Whilst the name and post Borg-invasion idea remained, very little else did. Following the modernization, a detailed history of the war was written up, in which Federation alliances were shown with the Klingon and Romulan Empires (who both became Federation members), the Breen, Ferengi and the Dominion.
The story saw the Federation pushed back to the Sol system, losing contact with its member worlds one by one, including inner systems such as Vulcan and Andor. The War culminated in a space battle involving thousands of vessels with the Federation winning the day, but having only a handful of vessels left fit for anything but scrap.
The group enjoyed a degree of success following this re-imagining. Successful Bravo Fleet sims such as the USS Pegasus-B saw natural sister sims develop, such as the Pegasus-C, and there were future versions of canon ships such as the Enterprise-F and Voyager-A. Despite this, commitments torn between Bravo Fleet and Futility's End saw the group leadership begin to flounder, and a full time group leader was brought in: Alex Chad.
Chad's appointment saw the beginnings of a number of changes to Bremer's vision of the group, but in a less radical fashion than the previous re-imagining. One criticized storypoint under Bremer's leadership had been the revelation that the Vulcans, a logical mainstay of Star Trek, had suddenly lost control of their emotions during the stress of war, and were now experimenting with feelings such as love and hate. Rather than simply change the story, this "third phase" of FE saw the idea developed and explained as a minority of Vulcans experimenting with emotion, and another group following the teachings of Surak. The tension built up on the planet over this would eventually become a major story point for FE, with a Vulcan invasion of the Human colony on Alpha Centauri.
Such development was typical of the changes in the group under Cash. Rather than change aspects of the story that were disliked, the elements were accepted as canon and then developed to a logical point. Where many writers of Trek aliens had objected to the unilateral alliances the Federation had made in the "second phase", the group now began to introduce ideas of separatism and dissent, as well as xenophobia amongst the native inhabitants of the Sol system.
Where earlier version had installed a large number of canon characters in prominent positions (Picard, Janeway, Paris, Kim, Tuvok, Bashir, Dax and even Scott and Spock all featured), the third phase saw assassinations, acts of terrorism and retirements that allowed for original characters to be brought in.
The use of wiki software to create an Infobase also helped strengthen the idea of an encompassing story for the entire group; an aspect that was notably absent in larger groups such as Bravo Fleet where sim independence was held as a higher priority.
Politics now became a prominent part of Futility's End as well. The low resources available to the Federation and the small size of the Starfleet gave birth to the idea that certain characters would be opposed to the Roddenberry doctrine of simple exploration, and would be more concerned with fortification and dealing with internal strife. This type of view was given a figurehead in the new Vice-President of the Federation, Edward Jellico and the harsher view quickly became known as the "Jellico Doctrine".
Key to Futility's End today is the idea that Starfleet is no longer an exploratory organization first and foremost, but a provider and defender for the citizens of the Federation. In simple terms, the group takes the universe of The Next Generation and combines it with the harshness of reality. The Utopia of Earth is lost to an overcrowded and polluted planet, friends such as the Vulcans are now foes to be wary of, and enemies such as the Romulans are now much closer than most people would prefer. The toll put on the average citizen is heavy, and the security presence is unavoidable.
Starfleet officers (and as such, players) are split into those who believe in the ideals of the Federation as it used to be, and those who find them to be impractical, and irrelevant. Neither position is portrayed as wrong in the group, but the conflict between them adds an edge that is absent from onscreen Trek.
For a relatively small group, FE has seen a number of sims in its three phases. Here are details on some of the more notable ones.
- USS Pegasus-C - A 'sequel' of sorts to the flagship of Bravo Fleet, run by Mike Bremer. For a time the Pegasus-C was the flagship simm of FE, and the impacts of its (often controversial) missions can still be seen prominently in the group today despite the simm having been inactive for a number of years now.
- USS Enterprise-F - Though Bravo Fleet does not allow simming on vessels such as the Enterprise-E for obvious reasons, the alternate future setting of FE allowed for a continuation of the line. The Enterprise-F sim is the only founding member sim of FE to still be active, and is currently the group's largest sim.
- Starfleet Command - Unique to the whole of Bravo Fleet, Starfleet Command is the only simm to be set on Earth, based in San Francisco. The office-bound sim takes a considerably different path to the majority of Star Trek sims by being written in and following similar stories to those featured in shows such as The West Wing. Typical storylines include easily-analogied themes such as the introduction of firearms control to San Francisco, and stories that expand upon original Trek ideas, such as the Atlantis Project.
- Futility's End Homepage (No longer functioning)
- FE Community Forums - plays host to some members sims as well as general discussion (No longer functioning)
- FE Inforbase - extensive wiki-based database covering all aspects of the group, largely from an in-character perspective (No longer functioning)