The Wars of Trek Online were a series of interrelated disputes that involved the Trek Online sim club during 1996 and 1997.
Unsatisfied with the services offered by the Spacefleet Online and the NAGF simming forums on America Online (AOL), a group of simmers, during the summer of 1996, petitioned AOL to establish a new simming forum. To increase their chance of success, the protest leaders, in August 1996, instructed Chip Rollins, one of the protesters, to start a sim club, the UFP/SF.
In late August, AOL rejected the protester's demands. The protest subsequently began to collapse and its principle leader, Uridien, left AOL. Despite the setback, Tim B. (Tim), one of the protesters, stepped forward and attempted to continue negotiations with AOL, but was rebuffed by AOL. Chip similarly pressed ahead with the UFP/SF, which, by October, fielded three Star Trek chat sims.
With the forum idea rejected by AOL, Tim hoped to secure a leadership role within the UFP/SF as its vice president. When the vice presidency instead went to Chas Hammer, Tim, upset, attempted to disrupt Chas' USS Vindicator sim on five separate occasions during September and October. Separately, on November 8, 1996, Tim disrupted Chip's USS Generation sim when, with Chip absent, Tim attempted to claim he was in command for the evening.
Following these disruptions, Tim was suspended from the Vindicator and Generation sims. A separate organization friendly with both Tim and the UFP/SF, the Independence Group, volunteered to take Tim in as a member. The UFP/SF agreed that, if Tim was able graduate from the Independence Group's simming academy and sim peacefully within the Independence Group, Tim could return to the Vindicator and Generation.
Tim was joined in the Independence Group by Uridien, who had since returned to AOL. Together, they worked with the Independence Group to revive the idea for a new simming forum.
On November 29, 1996, Chip rebranded the UFP/SF as the United Simulation Group (USG). On December 1, the Independence Group merged into the USG.
The merger upset Uridien and Tim. First, it brought both back into a club headed by Chip and Chas. Uridien and Tim believed Tim had been unfairly punished by the UFP/SF, and that Chip and Chas had betrayed the forum protest by abandoning the idea for a new forum after AOL had rejected the concept. Second, they questioned the validity of the merger. The Independence Group had been founded by Pat Lynch; prior to the Independence Group merging into the USG, Pat had left AOL, and his first officer, Kris 'Scott' Perry assumed command of the group. Uridien and Tim believed Scott had usurped Pat's position and had no authority to merge the Independence Group into the USG.
When Pat returned to AOL in mid-December, Uridien, using the screen name Forum Ally, e-mailed Pat, pledging to help Pat retake control of the Independence Group and establish a simming forum. Uridien, as Forum Ally, similarly contacted Chip, Chas, and Scott, attempting to intimate and spread discord among the trio.
The merger of the Independence Group into the USG did not proceed smoothly. The personalities of Chip, Chas, and Scott did not mesh, and all three clashed over mundane details, such as sending out weekly ship logs, and larger issues, such as how to organize the club. Scott, fretting over Forum Ally, pushed for the establishment of new rules and disciplinary systems within the club. Chas argued for uniform procedures that would be followed by all sim hosts. Chip, frustrated, openly called for the club to disband and its sims to join other clubs.
On January 19, 1997, in what would be known in Trek Online history as the Battle of Stonewall, tensions between Chip, Chas, and Scott came to a head. Chip resigned as President of the USG, leaving Chas in command.
Already running the Trek Online sim club on Prodigy, Chas did not want to manage two clubs at once, and promptly merged the USG into Trek Online. The merger also allowed the sims of the USG to tap into the rules, guidebooks, command structure, and communication systems of Trek Online - all areas Chas felt had been lacking in the USG.
In hopes of maintaining peace, Chas named Scott as his Vice President. However, matters quickly deteriorated. Scott opposed the adoption of Trek Online's rules and regulations among the AOL sims. Instead, he pushed for the sims of AOL to develop a republican government, with a weak central executive, where the sim hosts together would determine policy. He also called for stronger rules governing the disciplining of club members.
Fighting - known as the Trek Online Civil War - erupted between Chas and Scott as the two fought in private and public. Frustrated, Chas resigned the presidency of the club on AOL on January 31, 1997, leaving Scott in charge. Among his first acts as President, Scott issued every member of the club five demerits, which could be removed with hard work, service, and a demonstration of loyalty. Trek Online quickly revolted; even members of Scott's ship, the USS Independence, left Scott's banner and clamored for Chas to return.
On February 1, Scott stepped aside and Chas once again became president. Scott offered to resign, but Chas allowed him to remain in command of the Independence and keep his rank of Vice Admiral. Scott, however, lost his position as vice president.
Winter of discordEdit
Prior to the Trek Online Civil War, Pat Lynch asked Chip if he could return to command the USS Independence; Chip refused, deeming that Pat had abandoned the sim and that Scott was the host. With this, Pat left the USG to peruse his simming career elsewhere.
Despite this, Uridien continued to use his Forum Ally name, contacting Chas, Scott, and assorted club members in hopes of exploiting fractures within the club and spreading rumors. Forum Ally attempted to cut a deal with Chas, offering to serve as a first officer if Chas kicked Scott out of the club; Chas refused. Chas responded by writing a comprehensive history of the struggle with Forum Ally, which rallied Trek Online to Chas' banner. Chas, however, did not e-mailed the history to the crew of the USS Indelphi. The Indelphi was a new sim and Chas worried the history would scare the sim away from Trek Online. Ceasing on this, Forum Ally attended the March 30, 1997, sim of the Indelphi and attempted to persuade them to join his cause. Chas and Scott rushed to the sim, and an impromptu trial was held, with the crew of the Indelphi serving as the jury. They found Uridien guilty of being Forum Ally. Uridien confessed, deleted the Forum Ally screen name, and pledged to leave Trek Online alone.
Tim pressed ahead on his own front, contacting members of Trek Online throughout February in an attempt to convince them to quit the club. Unable to make headway, Tim shifted tactics. On March 9, 1997, Tim commanded a team of raiders that successfully disrupted the final sim of the USS Freedom. Weeks later, on April 3, Tim and his team raided the USS Vindicator; however, the sim moved to a new chat room and resumed simming after a disruption of only a few minutes.
Federation Fan and Sim ClubEdit
On April 20, 1997, Uridien joined the crew of the USS Indelphi. Two weeks later, LeaderFed, President of the newly founded Federation Fan and Sim Club (FFSC) attended the Indelphi sim as a guest of Trek Online. During the middle of the sim, LeaderFed announced to the chat room that he was going to takeover Trek Online. Tim and Uridien immediately flocked to the banner of the FFSC.
Over the next several weeks, LeaderFed employed a strategy he hoped would force Chas to resign and merge Trek Online into the FFSC. Spies were planted within Trek Online to gather intelligence and send viruses to high ranking club officials. The USS Indelphi sim was raided and disrupted on May 25. The USS Endeavor sim was raided and disrupted on May 28. Using the screen name ForumsAlly, LeaderFed contacted members of Trek Online.
Chas rallied Trek Online by e-mailing a detailed history of the conflict to all club members; he also made public overtures of peace to the members of the FFSC. Privately, high ranking members of the FFSC, frustrated with the fighting, contacted Chas and provided valuable insight. Chas in turn let some of the information he had gained leak, convincing LeaderFed that Trek Online had mounted an elaborate counterintelligence campaign within the FFSC.
On May 31, the two clubs signed a peace treaty, ending the conflict.
The peace treaty caused turmoil within the FFSC. Raiders who had been employed by LeaderFed to attack Trek Online turned and attacked the FFSC. Senior officials within the FFSC, unhappy with LeaderFed, revolted and briefly toppled him as President.
During the turmoil in the FFSC, the relationship between Tim, Uridien, and Trek Online thawed. In early June, Tim let it be known that he wished to redeem himself; he began to cooperate with Chas and Scott, providing valuable intelligence on the situation in the FFSC during the summer of 1997. Uridien had a separate falling out with LeaderFed and emerged as the leading opposition to LeaderFed, which Trek Online supported. The detente between Uridien and Trek Online was aided by the trial of Mike Cook, the sim host of the Indelphi. On June 19, Mike claimed Uridien had stolen his AOL password; when this claim was proved to be false, Mike was court marshaled by Trek Online on June 23, demoted from rear admiral to captain, suspended from the club for two weeks, and forced to apologize to Uridien.
On August 1, Tim provided evidence that LeaderFed had distributed a pirated copy of Photoshop. This resulted in LeaderFed being suspended from America Online. Uridien was elected by the FFSC to replace LeaderFed as its new president.
Throughout the period of fighting, Scott - who was a volunteer programmer for AOL - continued work on a forum, going as far as creating a draft forum in his AOL sandbox, and experimenting with an independent GUI BBS. These efforts, however, did not bear fruit. The sandbox forum was for demonstration purposes only. While a functional beta version of the GUI BBS was established and tested by several members of Trek Online, programming challenges made it unsuitable for widespread use.
Separate from the protest movement, the NAGF began providing sim clubs enhanced services; through this program Trek Online gained its own forum in 1998.
The events of 1996 and 1997 convinced Chas of the need for sim clubs to ban together to promote peace and collectively deal with troublemakers. As a result, in June 1997, he helped establish the Simming League.
Federation Fan and Sim ClubEdit
Under Uridien, the Federation Fan and Sim Club rebuilt and simmed peacefully. In 1999, Uridien retired from simming and closed the FFSC. Throughout his presidency of the FFSC, Uridien maintained a peaceful relationship with Trek Online.
Tim experienced a period of peace. In 1998, he returned as a member of Trek Online, joining the Viper Flight sim and briefly serving as its first officer. Tim, however, reverted to his old ways, clashing with commanding officers and disrupting the sim. He was ultimately banned from both Trek Online and the Simming League.
Despite the wars, Trek Online grew through the entire period, from approximately 30 during the Civil War period of January 1997, to nearly 100 members by the elimination of the threat from LeaderFed in September 1997. Indeed, the wars helped to inspire a sense of community and resolve within the club.
Scott retired from simming in July 1997, but remained active within the club for several years running a Star Trek chat trivia session.
Chip continued in Trek Online, serving as Chas' primary adviser and confident. He remained in commanding the USS Generation until his retirement from the club and Star Trek simming in May 1998. Chip remained active in the Alliance Simulation Group (ASG) as a Babylon 5 simmer, and eventually ran the ASG's Babylon 5 division in 2000 and 2001.
Aside from a brief, failed retirement in early 2000, Chas served as the president of Trek Online until November 2001. Having learned that a full disclosure of history can be a valuable tool in simming, Chas published the first edition of his memoirs in the fall of 1997.