140 Gallon Tank – 2022

By the time 2022 started, the tank was close to the configuration that it would keep. In January I did give up on the first moss wall that I had tried to get going, which had become more of an algae wall.

I consulted with a local expert on plants here in Calgary, and he got me set up with a metal mesh that attached with suction cups and a small amount of moss to get started. I didn’t think it would be enough to get a good wall going but decided to give it a shot. The moss is glued to the mesh with super glue.

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Tropical Fish Price Survey

Last weekend (Jan 21st) I did a survey of Tropical Fish prices at the various locations in Calgary, as well as some of the local online vendors.
I made a “Shopping List” of 17 fish that I have purchased in the past or might purchase at some point, then I went around and checked which locations had the fish and how much they were. For Petland and PetSmart, I went to the 130th St SE location. I listed two prices for Petland, the first is the regular non-PetClub price, the second is the PetClub membership price if you buy three or more of the listed fish.

One thing that really stood out is how different the selection is at each location. Also, price isn’t the only factor to look at when buying fish, there is often a significant difference in size for the same species of fish from the various locations. If you have the time, it is definitely worth going to as many locations as you can before purchasing.

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New Tropical Fish Reference Page

I have added a new page to this site called “Calgary Tropical Fish and Aquarium Resources.

It is a guide to the resources in and around Calgary for Tropical Fish and Aquarium enthusiasts. My hope is that it will be useful to people that are new to the hobby as well as those that have been in it for longer that might want a handy place to look things up. Enjoy!

140 gallon aquarium – After initial set up 2021

Here is what the 140 gallon aquarium looked like after the initial set up. There are several things that can be seen here that would eventually change. On the left is a plexiglass three compartment box, which I’ll discuss below. You can also see that the intake for the FX5 canister filter has a mesh bag over the end to prevent shrimp from being sucked into the filter. I quickly discovered that the mesh was too fine and clogged up quickly. It got replaced by a sponge tube fastened with a couple of zip ties. That would also get replaced a little later with a better setup.

There is also a pre-filter sponge over the intake for the AquaClear 100, also to prevent shrimp from being pulled into that filter.

There is a single heater on the back near the outflow from the FX5, then a mesh square held on with suction cups with some moss attached to it in the center on the back of the tank. A change between the first and second picture is the addition of a mesh net over the moss wall. The plastic squares were just big enough that some fish, in particular a rummynose tetra, would try and swim through the squares and get stuck. I actually had one die because it got stuck and I didn’t notice right away.

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Setting up the 140 Gallon Aquarium – May 2021

Back in May of 2021 I decided that I wanted to upgrade from my existing 35 gallon aquarium to something a little bigger. I was thinking of something in the 90 gallon range. I was really happy with the way the 35 gallon had turned out but really wanted to be able to have bigger schools of fish, and a few more types of fish.

I started looking on Kijiji and this 140 gallon tank popped up for $250.00, complete with an FX5 filter, which is around $500 on it’s own. It also came with all the other basics including heater, light, and many other parts. After some quick measurements, we determined it could fit along the wall where the current aquarium was, but we would need to move the TV to be mounted above the aquarium. I contacted the person selling it within 20 minutes of the ad going up and said I would take it. It turned out to be from a business that had sent all their employees home to work because of the pandemic, and there was no one around in the office anymore to enjoy the fish or look after the tank. They were kind enough to help us move it from their office and into our garage.

The interesting thing about the tank is that a lot of the volume comes from its height, it’s taller than usual for a tank with that length and width, which I thought was interesting. It does mean that I can barely reach the bottom when I need to do any work such as putting in plants or other decorations.

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Mission to Horatius

Mission to HoratiusMission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This novel was the first original novel based on the Star Trek TV series and was originally published in 1968. The Enterprise is sent to the NGC 400 solar system where they open up sealed orders sending them to the Horatius system to investigate who sent a distress signal and what the emergency is. There are three planets in the system, each colonized at different times by settlers from Earth, each of whom had been unhappy with the social or political order of Earth. They are all at different levels of technology, from Stone Age, to mid-20th century to early Federation. There is also a subplot about the Enterprise crew starting to suffer from a space malady called “cafard”. This is a listlessness and boredom that can occur if a crew has been out in space for too long without shore leave.
This is an interesting book in the way it views some of the technology and capabilities of the Enterprise compared to later novels and shows. There is an emphasis on the fact that the Enterprise is running low on supplies including medical and engineering resources as well as recreational material. For example, Uhura breaks some strings on her five-string guitar and is unable to replace them because she has run out of spares.
The travel times are also much longer than those encountered in most later novels, although they are like some of the other early novels and the FASA Star Trek roleplaying game, where travel is generally measured in months rather than hours or days.
Another point is how the sensors on the Enterprise seem to be more limited in what they can detect from orbit. Kirk also seems to be more aggressive towards the people that they encounter on the planets, and there could be some interesting debates about whether some of the actions taken would violate General Order Number One, despite Kirk quoting it to members of the crew on several occasions. As a sidenote, it never gets referred to as the “Prime Directive” in the novel.
The story itself is relatively entertaining although the people/civilizations encountered are quite stereotypical.

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Alien – Inferno’s Fall

Alien - Inferno's FallAlien – Inferno’s Fall by Philippa Ballantine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an entertaining read. It was a little better than the average Alien story. There was still a corporate lackey trying to look out for himself at the cost of others, but that didn’t dominate the story. And, of course, lots of people die.
However, there are several interesting characters, not everyone is a complete stereotype and there are some hints at what might be going on in the background.
I have read all the recent Alien novels but I still feel like I may have missed one somewhere along the way since there seems to be gap between this one and the last one that I read.

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Articles of the Federation

Star Trek: Articles of the FederationStar Trek: Articles of the Federation by Keith R.A. DeCandido
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Articles of the Federation
BOOK REVIEW: This novel is a little unusual as it isn’t based on a Starship and it covers a year of time in the first year of Federation President Bacco’s term in office. It takes place shortly after the movie Nemesis and is firmly entrenched in the literary universe’s timeline, which has largely been negated by recent T.V. shows, particularly Picard.
NOTE ON REVIEW: The rest of this review is looking at the novel in the light of how it can be adapted for the Star Trek Adventures Roleplaying Game from Modiphius and I’ve structured it in their Mission Brief format. The style of the novel doesn’t really lend itself to being adapted as an adventure, but there are a couple events that could be used. They occur in the background in the novel, but could be the focus for a ship and crew. I’ve picked one of these events to do as a Mission Brief.
Following the surprise resignation of Federation President Min Zife after the disastrous Tezwa affair, Nan Bacco of Cestus III has won a hotly contested election to become the new chief executive of over one hundred fifty planetary civilizations and their colonies. But no sooner does she take office than the Romulan Star Empire falls into chaos. With tensions already high, a Reman refugee ship is sighted approaching a Federation outpost, its intentions unknown.
As the first year of the Bacco Administration unfolds, the Federation Council is slow to work with its new president, and not always supportive of her policies or her appointments to key council positions; a successful first contact suddenly becomes a diplomatic disaster; and the sins of President Zife prove difficult to lay to rest…as one celebrated Starfleet officer’s career reaches a turning point…
“Outpost 22 along the Romulan Neutral Zone has picked up a ship heading straight for it from the Miridian system in Romulan space. You are being sent to the Outpost to assist in determining what it’s intentions are and provide any support that the Outpost may require”.

Sensors read the ship as a Shirekral-class vessel. This vessel type hasn’t been in operation since the late twenty-third century and earlier. This vessel is still using an ion drive. This type of vessel was common during the Earth Romulan wars of the twenty-second century, but all the ones that were still in active service in the late twenty-third century had their ion drives replace wih the singularity drives that they still use. A successful difficulty 5 long range sensor roll for general lifesign readings will indicate that the ship is full of Remans. Additional information spends will reveal there are no other lifesigns, including Romulans. They are heading straight for Outpost 22 at warp three-point-one-two. This is faster than those ships are supposed to be able to go. A failed roll will mean waiting a week to try again, with the difficulty being reduced by 1.
Outpost 22 is the closest Federation station to the Miridian system and is otherwise basically in the middle of nowhere, making it unlikely that Outpost 22 is not their intended destination.
The Remans have never operated in the Miridian system, it is a system that was taken by the Romulans approximately fifteen years ago, and has an indigenous life-form that has provided the slave labor that, in other parts of the empire, has traditionally been performed by the Remans. Since Shinzon’s coup, the Miridians have also risen up, and with their infrastructure in tatters, the Romulans have been unable to quell the uprising. There have been reports that the Miridians creating a kind of underground rail-road, supplying ships and methods of getting out of Romulan space.
At it’s current speed, it will take the ship eight weeks to reach Federation Space and six weeks to be within Communications range.
All Remans residing in Romulan space currently live under the protection of the Klingon Empire. This means that if the Remans are refugees and they request that the Federation grant them asylum, granting it would be a breach of the treaty the Federation has with the Klingons. They could approach the Federation Ambassador to Qo’noS, Alexander Rozhenko and ask him to check with the Klingon High Council to see if they will be willing to let the Federation take some of the Remans off their hands. This would seem to be quite unlikely though. They will need to convince the Ambassador to even make the effort.
Attempts to communicate with the Reman ship go unanswered. Additional sensor readings can show that the communication systems are only operating at a low power level, possibly being used for internal communications only.
As background information, The Remans are not slaves now, so if their only reason for claiming asylum is persecution by Romulans, it would not be enough to grant them asylum. The Romulan Star Empire is not considered an enemy nation at this time, and barely exists as a political entity right now.
One possible solution, particularly in light of reports of violence against Remans seeming to escalate (see minor beats), would be to propose that the Remans get their own world, rather than just a section on Romulus. The Klingons recently expanded into Sector 798-C, the Kavrot Sector, a few years ago and shared some of their sensor data with the Federation, particularly the areas they scanned but didn’t explore or didn’t thing were worth their while. A suitable planet could be found in that sector. Between them, the Klingons and Remans have enough ships to transport all the Remans currently living in Ehri’fvil to a new world
The Shirekral-class vessel reaches Outpost 22 and identifies itself as the Reman Free Vessel Vkruk and its captain requests asylum in the Federation for himself and his crew, which includes twenty-nine Remans of both sexes. Some research will reveal that Vkruk was the name of Shinzon’s viceroy.
The Reman’s leader, who is called Jianuk, is requesting asylum from other Remans. Jianuk was one of Shinzon’s soldiers, They fought together during the war. The twenty-nine Remans on the Vkruk were all loyal to Shinzon – emphasis on were. They claim to have been persecuted by their fellow Remans because they condemned Shinzon’s actions. They wish to live out their lives in the Federation.
The stance of the Klingon’s is that they are not Reman refugees. They are Klingon proteges. Under the terms of the Khitomer Accords, the Federation is obliged to turn them over to the empire at the Klingons request. The Klingons are sending the Defense Force vessel, the I.K.S Ditagh to Outpost 22. It will arrive in four days, at that time they expect that all twenty-nine Remans will be turned over to Captain Vikagh, who will remand them to Klingon custody.
Some research can reveal a loop hole in this argument. The Kihtomer Accords state that if the empire requests that Klingon nations requesting asylum must be turned over to the empire, they will be.
However, Klingon nationals means Klingons who are citizens of the empire, as well as the various subject species. It can be argued that this does not apply to the Remans as they are not citizens and they are not jeghpu’wI’, they are just under the Klingons protection. T will be difficult to convince the Klingons that this is anything more than a semantic difficulty. They consider such a literal-minded interpretation to be cowardly.
The Klingons will agree to the notion of providing the Remans with their own homeworld. They have chosen Klorgat IV to be the new homeworld. However, this is contingent upon the Federation delivering all twenty-nine Remans to the Ditagh when it arrives.
Basically, the unspoken reason the Klingons won’t negotiate is because being protectors of the Remans is something that they take seriously for one reason: It gets the Romulans really mad.
Additional investigation on Jianuk can reveal that there is no basis to his claims. It seems that Shinzon’s inner circle are revered among Remans, not reviled.
If the players are not questioning Jianuk’s motivation at this point, Commander Bowles of Outpost 22 can provide an opposing voice. They were allied with Shinzon, who’s first act was to attack the Federation. She feels that every time they ask them why they’re doing this, their answers are rehearsed, and they’re the blandest reasons – freedom, liberty, and to avoid persecution from their fellow Remans. She feels they have something planned..
Commander Bowles, or suspicious PC’s are correct. The Vkruk makes a suicide run at Outpost 22 before the Ditagh arrives. If the players suspicions have been aroused, steps could have been taken to minimize the damage done. The outposts shields can be kept up at full strength, they can stay at yellow alert and at battle stations, and the outer portions of the outpost could be evacuated for the duration of the Vkruk’s stay. The players ship can take similar precautions. If they are monitoring the state of the Vkruk, they can detect a warp buildup in it and will be able to fire on it at least once before it hits the outpost.

Violence between Klingon vessels protecting Remus and Romulan military vessels has been escalating over the last two months. The settling of the Remans in the Erie’fvil colony has not gone smoothly, with dozens of Remans being attacking in their homes by supposedly unidentified attackers. Ehrie’fvil is the name of the continent on Romulus where the Remans had relocated. Remus itself was barely habitable, used only for mining dilithium and manufacturing heavy weapons. The Remans could service the Romulans there but not command their own destiny, as Remus could never be self-sufficient.
There was a cave-in in one of the dilithium mines on Remus, killing at least a hundred Remans. This report comes from Ambassador Rozhenko. He was meeting with Chancellor Martok when the news came to the Great all (assuming he was convinced to meet with Martok).
There was an explosion on one of the farms in Ehrie’fvil. No one was killed but there was extensive damage.
There was also a report of a Reman couple being found brutally murdered.

The mission can end with the attack on the Outpost, and with a plan to relocate other Reman’s, although that portion could take place “off screen’ without the players direct involvement.
This novel takes place at a very specific time in the timeline of the literary timeline, but the basic idea of a group claiming to be refugees but really planning to attack the Federation could be adapted for different time periods, perhaps using a group of Klingons or some other race.

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STA Mission Report 24 – Rebirth – Part 3

Adventure Source: GURPS Space Adventures

Meetup Link: https://www.meetup.com/star-trek-gaming/events/285023232/

Game Date: May29 2021

Session Post: No session post

Teaser: Acheron Hyperdynamics was a small but innovative starship company looking for a big break. They got it when they landed their first major contract — their advanced M-66 modular warp drive was the winning design in a contest sponsored by the Federation for the new Argo class deep space colonization cruiser.

The prototype warp drive was sent to the Starfleet proving grounds for installation in the Argo. But it never arrived: someone staged a massive warehouse robbery at a starport storage facility. All 56 drive modules — enough to power a multi-million ton vessel — vanished.

Active Characters:

  • Cmd. O’Nnyah (Raven)
  • Lt. Cmd. Reittan Andreas (Jon)
  • Lt Cmd. Taemin Rahn (Garrett)
  • Lt. Jr. Wolfgang Ratzel (Terry)
  • Dok – Acting Chief Engineer (Kelly)

Important NPCs:

  • a
  • b

Notable Information: dd

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