The Independence Group was a Star Trek sim club that existed on America Online in 1996. The Independence Group merged into the United Simulation Group (USG) in December of 1996; the USG in turn merged into Trek Online in January 1997.
The Independence Group was the name given to the USS Independence and it's spin off sim, the USS Freedom. The crew of the Independence, which met on Saturdays, endeavored to sim on Sunday night as well. However, requiring people to sim two nights in a row proved untenable and the Sunday sim ultimately spun off, briefly as a starbase sim before transforming into the USS Freedom.
The Independence Group contained a number of members who had been associated with the forum protest that gave rise to the United Simulation Group (USG) and also served in the USG; however among its crew were also individuals who had broken with the USG over policy disagreements. In November 1996, Pat and the head of the USG, Chip Rollins, agreed for the Independence Group to merge into the USG. After Pat left America Online, the merger was completed on December 1, 1996, by Pat's first officer, Kris 'Scott' Perry, who had assumed command of the group. The merger proved unpopular with those who had previous disagreements with the USG and triggered a period of turmoil that lasted for nearly a year following the merger.
During its existence the Independence Group possessed little formal structure; the captain of the Independence and what became the Freedom were the same, and both sims shared the same crew, except for those who could only attend one night as opposed to the other. Scott, the first officer and later captain of the Independence and Freedom, trained all recruits, putting them through a simming academy.