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©02 The Media Desk & the USS RAVEN

         Much screaming.
            Loudly. And with great inflection and good vocal range.
     What is it? A root canal with dull instruments and weak anesthetic and a dentist with shaky hands?
            No. Not exactly.

     The Desk just got an assignment for the RAVEN newsletter, and it's already past the deadline.

     Now don't take this wrong. The Desk actually enjoys writing stuff. It does it for pleasure as well as part of its day job. It writes apologetics and political commentary with equal inspiration. It looks at judging scandals at the Olympics with the same eye it comments on the state of radio entertainment on the East Coast. It does assignments for the homeless shelter just as it does procedures for sending a fax on the state network. And when assigned a topic for the RAVEN newsletter. It does it as well.
     And this piece is to be an answer to that assignment by one of the 'Yes Ma'am' type people associated with 'the Ship.'
     And shortly, it will get around to it.

     But first it will answer a question a guy at work asked awhile back: "Why?"
     He wanted to know why the Desk does RAVEN stuff when it has three jobs and personal things spinning wildly out of control and kid things happening and Governor Ruthie firing everybody and all the rest... Why?

     Well. For one, the Desk is a Trekkie (as opposed to the Politically Correct 'Trekker'). It is old enough to remember watching the Original Series on a black and white TV and saying 'WOW'. Even as cheesy as they look now, when viewed on a wide screen stereo set, it still leaves an impression. The grade school attending Desk saw that vision of the future during the 'Duck and Cover Drill' Cold War days and thought there may be hope for us after all. Evidently that was EXACTLY the message Mr. Roddenberry was sending. And it worked. The RAVEN sort of puts legs under that vision and is doing a small bit to get us there, even if none of the RAVEN crew works for JPL developing an anti-matter engine, they are doing their bit in their way. And that's good enough.
     Another thing. Even though some of the RAVEN people are a bit hard to take now and again, it likes them. Sometimes the Desk gets teeth-gnashing mad at them, and it is sure they get a little fed up with it too. Everybody still works together toward the same goal. Whether long term or short term, Dover Days or the Relay for Life, or even just a bake sale to raise money to re-charter or something, they work together, again, in their own way, for that goal. Be it helping others, or themselves, or at times, both. And that's good enough.
     Some of the RAVEN crew are way into sci-fi. They spend money for uniforms and know every crewman on every show to ever leave orbit. They talk in hushed tones about ' SPACE: 1999' and can recite entire blocks of dialogue from the show while the Desk barely remembers when it was on and has no idea what it was actually about (although it does remember the space ship was cool). They don't spend hours writing in-depth fan fiction based on the RAVEN membership. We accept each other and play off each other's strengths. And that's good enough.
     The Desk isn't out to save the three toed toad, it won't walk fifty miles backward in the rain to raise money for some good cause, it doesn't want to go door to door collecting for anything or anybody, and it's not even sure it wants to spend a morning selling brownies to unwary passersby in the mall. But if you want to, that's OK, and if nothing else is going on, it might help out. A few of the RAVEN crew are into every charitable cause that comes down the pike. But they don't hold a gun on you until you write a check to the Mad Mother's March or whatever it is this week if you don't want to. And that's good enough.
     The RAVEN sometimes attends Cons (conventions) en masse and in uniform. No, the Desk is not kidding. They wear uniforms and kinda walk around in step and look important. Well, the Desk attended a Con to see what it was like. It didn't wear a uniform, in fact, it wore one of its old Sports Desk flannel shirts. It didn't stand in line to meet a star of a cancelled sci-fi show, but it did get her autograph. Did some fans dress up as stormtroopers and walk around with blasters behind Darth Vader? Yes. Were there Klingons there? Yes. Did the Desk actually spot a Dr. Who impersonator complete with scarf and Brillo Pad hairdo? Yes. Will it ever spend good money to do all this again? Maybe. The RAVEN crew accepts that and though they invite it to every Con on the calendar, they don't get real upset that it doesn't go. And that's good enough.
     Yeah, well, the Captain and some of the Big Brass got a little upset when the Desk showed up at a meeting with a bottle of Old Who Hit John and some cheap cigars, but they explained why they had heartburn, and the Desk agreed, and will abide by it, to a point. It is a 'family' outfit, and we must keep the violence and insanity to a minimum at official RAVEN type functions. Well, OK. But the next time the Desk is taking down a campsite in the middle of a tropical storm, yes it is going to have its coffee mug full of Stumpwater and they'll just have to live with it. The Captain knows this, and he'll tolerate it. And that's good enough.
     Also, the Desk doesn't like dull people. And whatever else most of the RAVEN crew are, they certainly aren't dull. Some of them are 'fancy crazy' and run around in public with actual porcelain marionettes. Others are really into 'living the Dream' and are up to their armpits in Trek stuff and get their uniform shirt dry-cleaned so the colors won't fade. One is suspected of being a vegetarian, another might be a Republican. None of them are as professionally weird as the Desk; they are not dull. And while some of them appear to be about half scared of the Desk's form of madness, they don't seem to mind too much. And that's good enough.
     And although the RAVEN's Web page gives the Desk a headache, at least they are trying. To hear some of them put it, the Media Desk site is almost as dull as an old newspaper. But they think the Desk is trying. In either case, the two presences on the Web compliment each other and are putting their word out, again, in their own way. And it seems to be working. And that's good enough.
     The Desk has written the fictional history of the local RAVEN's alter ego in the Star Trek universe, and has had a blast doing it. It has taken the main movers and shakers of the group, and several of the other members, and even itself and turned them into actual, and to some degree believable, Star Trek characters. They save the universe, and blow up the bad guys, and repair a starship with little more than 'stone knives and bearskins', and look good doing it, while staying more or less true to that Ideal we spoke of earlier. We can be more than we are, better than we are. 'Higher, Faster, Stronger'... oh, that's the Olympics. Either way. And that's good enough.

     Now... about that assignment from the Ship's Counselor.
     What does the RAVEN mean to the Desk? What does it get out of it? How do the Desk and the RAVEN work to the betterment of each other and the community at large?
     It'll have to think about it and get back to her.

Peace, and long life.

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