Sep 30, 2013

Posted in Chapter Updates

Spotlight on USS Velocity

Spotlight on USS Velocity

by COMM Ros Haywood
Staff Writer, Subspace Communicator Online

 USS Velocity is a shakedown meeting chapter based in Orange County, California, comprising 15 officers and 65 crewmembers.  The members of this Nova class starship engage in cosplay (where they all wear costumes) and have fun whilst at the same time attending conventions and raising money for charitable causes.

Commanding Officer Captain Philip Morgenthaler gave his insights on those all-important issues which every shakedown chapter CO faces, such as the name of the ship, its focus, mothership support and shakedown challenges.  He also provided some useful tips for anyone thinking of starting up a ship of their own.

SCO asked him about the very first thing people concentrate on, and something they often find very difficult: the name of the chapter.  ‘Velocity’ – meaning speed – refers to the ship’s fictional backstory.  The ship has had its warp core replaced with a Romulan artificial singularity; however, Romulus is destroyed in the 2009 movie, Star Trek.  The crew now finds itself trapped with an unfinished core, surrounded by angry Romulans, a black hole, and Klingons taking their opportunity to invade.

Next came the crew – without whom the ship would not exist. Captain Morgenthaler recommends that you think long and hard about what you want your team to focus on. The members of USS Velocity enjoy all the Star Trek series, but have decided to concentrate on the post-Nemesis era to bring a special type of unity to their cosplay and to encourage teamwork.  One of the most important things for them is to have clear standards on costuming, giving them definite goals.

Friends from another sci-fi club joined together to show their love for Trek.  Word-of-mouth brought more members, and Captain Morgenthaler also had many words of praise for online networking site, which concentrates on bringing together people who are dedicated to improving themselves and their communities.  Support from mothership USS Golden Gate has been mostly hands-off, allowing the shakedown crew to stand on their own feet while at the same time knowing that there is help nearby if they need it.

Commander Chris Dickens, the inaugural XO, has proved to be a tower of strength.  He created the charter and meetup page, and dealt with all ‘paperwork’ associated with entry to SFI.  He and CO Captain Morgenthaler present a close-knit team, having worked together on several projects in the past, including the Comic Book Coalition.

Every shakedown chapter faces challenges exclusive to them, and they don’t all appear in a neat, tidy parcel, but materialize throughout the shakedown process.  Captain Morganthaler feels that the most useful tips for any prospective ship are: a) communication; b) be organized, but be flexible; and c) more communication!

Visit Velocity‘s website at

Commodore Ros Haywood is the Chief Communications Officer of the correspondence chapter USS Wessex, and a staff writer for the Subspace Communicator Online.