The Federation Fan and Sim Club (FFSC) was a small Star Trek sim club that existed on America Online (AOL) during 1997 and 1998. Despite its short and violent history it left a mark on simming as one of the first simming republics and playing a vital role in the founding of the Simming League.
The FFSC took shape during the spring of 1997. A group of simmers who were fed up with the military structure that dominated most clubs of the era decided to create a new club governed by a council of senior members. This made the FFSC one of the first simming republics. The members soon elected Will Bridges, who took the name LeaderFed, as President. Unfortunately for them, LeaderFed proved to be a militaristic tyrant.
War with Trek Online
LeaderFed was introduced to Trek Online (TOL) through SamScottB, a high ranking member of the FFSC and a cadet in TOL. On May 4, 1997, LeaderFed attended the USS Indelphi sim in TOL. During the course of the sim, Chas Hammer - President of TOL - and LeaderFed IMed each other, and Chas politely refused LeaderFed's offer to merge with the FFSC. Offended by Chas' refusal, LeaderFed blurted out in the middle of the sim that he would take over TOL.
By a twist of fate, Chas and the second highest ranking member of TOL, Kris 'Scott' Perry, had fought earlier that day. In that adversarial frame of mind, Scott thought LeaderFed's statement meant Chas had secretly sold out TOL. The sim came to a halt as Scott condemned Chas and LeaderFed in public and began to harass LeaderFed in IMs.
To make matters worse, Uridien - a man who had attacked TOL in the past, but was being allowed to sim on the Indelphi as part of an effort to redeem himself - contacted LeaderFed and told him a number of stories and lies about his treatment at the hands of TOL. Given the situation, LeaderFed was ready to believe Uridien, and became convinced that TOL had to be wiped out of existence. Uridien joined the FFSC and was given a seat on its council.
Even though TOL was about three times the size of the FFSC (55 members to 20), LeaderFed was convinced the FFSC could destroy TOL. The FFSC began to infiltrate trusted members into TOL. Their job was to spy on the club, spread rumors to create internal dissent, and buddy up to the captains and admirals. The FFSC also recruited barbarian elements - hackers, troublemakers and the like - to attack and disrupt TOL's sims. The FFSC hoped that constantly disrupting TOLs sims, using the spies to convince people in the midst of the chaos to leave the club, and eliminating TOLs senior staff by having the spies befriend them and send them viruses masked as ordinary files would generate enough havoc to cause TOL to collapse, or at the very least create a climate that would make it easy for the spies to take over TOL and merge it into the FFSC.
However, none of it worked. Dan, who was a member of TOL but also a friend of Uridien, joined the FFSC but became disillusioned after a few days and informed TOL about the war plans. Chas also learned that because LeaderFed was planting spies in TOL, he naturally assumed TOL was doing the same in the FFSC, and so had instituted elaborate security measures in the FFSC - including plans to interrogate all FFSC members and launching a fake coup in the FFSC to see who supported the 'rebels'. In conservation's with LeaderFed, Chas hinted that he was planting spies in the FFSC and let slip some of the information he learned from Dan. As a result, LeaderFed cracked down on his club members even more. Chas also made several public appeals to the members of the FFSC, which made some realize TOL was not a threat. Both of these actions caused several FFSC members to secretly come to TOL's aid and provide further information.
One set of information provided to TOL included the names of all of the spies in TOL. As a joke and way of subtly telling LeaderFed that TOL was on to him and wasn't too worried, all of the spies were assigned to the same sim in TOL - the USS Independence - instead of being spread out across the club as LeaderFed had hoped. The Independence had the added benefit of being Kris 'Scott' Perry's sim. Scott had become a community leader on AOL and was able to have the accounts of some of the troublemakers from the FFSC suspended or terminated. By this time Scott and Chas had made up and Scott worked closely with Chas to identify and contact members of the FFSC who were loyal to TOL's cause.
Nevertheless, LeaderFed continued his military build up and struck. Despite preparations in TOL, on May 25, the FFSC attacked and disrupted the USS Indelphi sim. On May 28, the USS Endeavor was raided and similarly disrupted. Chas fought back in his own way. He e-mailed everyone in TOL and explained the history of Uridien and the conflict with the FFSC. Not only did this quell any rumors, but it united the club, and TOL members began to take matters into their own hands. They started to IM, E-mail, and generally harass LeaderFed and members of the FFSC and told them to stop the childish fighting.
In subsequent conservation's with LeaderFed, Chas used the backlash from TOL members and the fact that all of his spies had been found out to convince LeaderFed that TOL was ready to fight back and could destroy the FFSC. Although Chas had no plans to do so and hoped that the FFSC would just go away, LeaderFed believed TOL would soon attack. He backed down, and on June 1, 1997, TOL and the FFSC signed a peace treaty.
The war with Trek Online left the FFSC divided into three camps - simmers who were fed up with all of the nonsense and just wanted to sim, a bureaucracy of spies and secret police who were loyal to LeaderFed, and barbarian types who were brought into fight TOL and who now, with the peace treaty, had nothing to do.
In mid June, the barbarians - who LeaderFed termed the Maquis - decided to attack LeaderFed instead. The FFSC was plunged into a short, but devastating civil war. LeaderFed was ruthless. He sidestepped the FFSC council and courts and purged the Maquis and anyone who he thought supported them.
On July 2, LeaderFed declared victory against the Maquis, but by now he had alienated the founding members of the FFSC with his actions. On July 7, DataBev, Turalyon3, DAN SILVA3 left the FFSC to start up a new club. A week later, however, they changed course, returned to the FFSC and launched a coup to try to topple LeaderFed from power. However, LeaderFed, with the aid of his intelligence and security bureaucracy, managed to hang on, and argued that a trial was needed before he could be removed from power. The leaders of the coup relented and several trials were attempted, but all of them were disrupted by one faction or another - it has even been suggested that those who attacked the trials were doing so on the orders of LeaderFed in order to prevent the trials from moving forward.
By the end of July, the situation in the FFSC had spun out of control. A rogue member of the FFSC launched new attacks on TOL, and LeaderFed twice threatened war against TOL. On July 29, Chas gave orders to his senior officers to work with friendly elements in the FFSC to eliminate LeaderFed.
Trek Online worked with dissidents in the FFSC - who by this time included Uridien - to get rid of LeaderFed. During the summer, Uridien's attitude against TOL changed after Chas demoted an admiral in TOL for filing false charges against Uridien.
On August 1, an operative forwarded Chas an E-mail that LeaderFed had sent to members of the FFSC. The E-mail contained a pirated copy of Photoshop, and Chas immediately sent it to Kris 'Scott' Perry, who worked for AOL. LeaderFed had his account terminated.
The elimination of LeaderFed left the FFSC free to focus on simming. During August, Uridien stepped into the power vacuume and increasingly stabilized the club. At the end of the month, elections were held and he was elected president of the FFSC.
The wars had tempered Uridien. In March 1997, he was bent on destroying in TOL, but by August he was determined to rebuild a sim club. Several senior members of the FFSC left the club when Uridien was elected, and for most of the fall the club had to fight off the lingering elements of the Maquis and LeaderFed's security apparatuses. However, by 1998 peace finally settled over the FFSC, and the club simmed uneventfully for most of the year until it finally fizzled out.
The Simming League
During the summer of 1997, both TOL and the FFSC became involved in a movement with several other clubs on America Online to establish an United Nations of simming, and indeed, the other clubs involved in the effort helped mediate the peace treaty between TOL and the FFSC.
Trek Online proposed a plan to create a Simming League that was designed to maintain peace and security, present an united front against aggressors, and provide a forum where sim groups could exchange tips and ideas. The FFSC instead proposed the Federation of United Clubs, which had the unfortunate abbreviation FUC - which Chas joked stood for FU Chas. It was intended to be a defense pact, a NATO of simming, pure and simple. LeaderFed threatened renewed war against TOL if the club didn't join the FUC, but backed off when the other clubs involved told LeaderFed to behave himself. Trek Online's Simming League model was adopted, but it failed to attract the involvement of any major club of the era because they were afraid of ending up in the middle of a renewed TOL - FFSC war.
The League quickly fizzled, but TOL successfully revived it several months later and, given all that had happened with the FFSC, provided it with a strengthened focus on matters of peace between sim clubs and punishing major troublemakers.
The FFSC had a lasting impact on simming in two important ways.
First, its struggle against TOL helped shape the Simming League as an organization devoted to preventing and resolving conflicts between clubs. It also was one of the main reasons the first attempt at forming the Simming League failed.
Second, it interacted with TOL during a key moment in the development of that club. TOL was rapidly growing and looking for a way to expand beyond the rule of one person (Chas). After Uridien became President of the FFSC, Chas helped Uridien stabilize the club and both talked frequently about how to run a club. These conservation's helped shape Chas' thinking about simming government. While Uridien scaled back the republican aspects of the FFSC, Chas saw how they could be strengths if the pitfalls exposed in the FFSC were avoided. After a few months, Chas and TOL committed to holding presidential elections, drafting a constitution, forming an Assembly of club members, and becoming a simming republic. Parts of the FFSC constitution were even incorporated into the TOL constitution, and TOL established several important checks that prevented the rise of a tyrant in its club.
Trek Online went on to become one of the first big clubs to establish a republican system of government, and it was arguably one of the most successful republics of its time. It actively spread the republican system and worked with numerous other clubs to develop their own constitutions, charters, and government structures.