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Thoughts on the Death of DS9 Horizons

January 23, 2002

For a long time, a project called Deep Space Nine Horizons has been prominent in Trek fandom. Their goal: to convince Paramount to reunite the DS9 cast for a movie or miniseries. Their method: a huge online petition which might, over time, get enough signatures to strengthen the project's case.

Did I sign? You bet I did. I love Voyager, but Deep Space Nine was the series that did the most to push Trek's boundaries. Even more than TNG, it established a mythos teeming with worlds, races, and characters unique in televised SF. So I was saddened to hear that the DS9 Horizons project had shut down. But then I read the farewell message on their web page -- and that changed everything.

To show you what I mean, here are a few segments of the message. I've left the spelling intact, and added translations for your convenience.

A little over Thirty Years ago, when the classic Star Trek was in critical danger of being canceled by NBC, something happened that changed fandom forever...Bjo Trimble, and people like her, worked together utilizing the only tools at there disposal, letters mostly, to show the Powers that Be at the time, that they would not go quietly into the night, that they would not stand by and watch something they all loved be taken from them. They succeded in salvaging the show for another year, and getting a third season produced. (...) Something, a spark, had ignited. Something we all hoped would never die. I fear, though, today, it has.

Translation: We were going to start by comparing ourselves to Abe Lincoln and you to John Wilkes Booth, but we decided it was too subtle.

Thirty Years after the Original Star Trek was canceled, one of its descendants, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a series aclaimed by the critics and fans alike, dubbed 'The Best Star Trek Series' by many, from TV Guide, to the majority of the Star Trek fans themselves, met the same fate after 7 years: Canceled.

Translation: "Canceled" is of course a huge oversimplification, but it'll nicely define the good guys and the bad guys for you. And notice our lack of evidence for that "majority of the Star Trek fans" bit? Pretty clever, eh?

Despite that, some fans trudged on, and pushed forward. An optimistic 18 year old named Stacy Powell, known to her friends as 'Captain Beverly', started a petition in early November, 1999, with the goal to see more Star Trek: Deep Space Nine produced. Like those before us; like Bjo Trimble, we utilized the tools of the day, the Internet, to wage our private little war.

Translation: Remember the Excelsior Campaign? Their big mistake was actually demonstrating their support by showing up in person at organized rallies. You're way more likely to make an impression if you can round up a really big list of names which may or may not be real.

In the beginning, the signature rates on the petition they used where monumental, over 150 a day. But as with many things, it began to slow, dropping easily down to less than 100 a day, and then less than 50. Over the next few months, the flame of Doug Wilson's un-tamed hope began to flicker. However, he was determined not to give in. Forging alliances with projects that shared his goals, and having multimedia projects on the drawing board was a first step. It was also a step that lead into darkness.

Translation: After a while, most people who were going to sign already had. Our solution? More publicity aimed at that same group of people, and big, cool-sounding projects. We didn't actually do the projects, but we fail to see what difference that makes.

And so, for the past 8 months, the Campaign has sat, un-updated, un-heard of, un-cared for, waiting for the day when something would change, waiting for the day when the Fans would once again embrace it, waiting for the day when those who called themselves Trekkies, would live up to there description, would live up to there history. Sadly, that day has never come.

Translation: So, when the other plans didn't work, we decided to sit on our @$$es and wait until the Trek community suddenly showed up in droves to support us. Why should we have had to do anything to get your attention? Didn't you read the clause in your Trekkie contract that said "The undersigned agrees to emphatically support anyone with Bjo Trimble aspirations, and is slacking off unforgivably if he/she does not"? And by the way, the mountain was a bastard for not coming to Mohammed.

So, today, January 15, 2002, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Horizons, a Campaign named so optimistically, forged by two un-relenting youths, is dead.

Translation: After a while we got sick of waiting for you punks and called it quits. This is also known as "relenting," which is why we call ourselves "unrelenting youths."

While the dream lives on, this particular segement of the Deep Space Nine saga, is gone forever. No longer will we offer a petition to sign, e-mail's to send, or a hopeful view. Because today, that hopeful view has finally been crushed.

Translation: "The dream lives on" doesn't count as a hopeful view. And while we won't be offering the petition anymore, it's still there, so go sign it. There's a link after the article.

Another notch in Paramount's belt, another step in the wrong direction, another sin against The Great Bird of the Galaxy.

Translation: After all, we all know Gene Roddenberry was a huge fan of DS9. And Paramount hated the show; what did they ever do for it, besides producing it for seven years and erecting the world's largest standing sets for it?

Someone once said, 'All thats required for Evil to take over is for Good Men to do Nothing.'

Translation: Evil isn't a term we use lightly, but the absence of DS9 is obviously the greatest evil in human history. People who didn't sign our petition are a close second.

I never understand that until today, when good men, like the owner of LcarsCom.net, MaximumDefiant.com, even myself, have lost all hope.

Translation: Interestingly, we're not making the connection between the quote and the fact that we Good Men have been sitting around doing nothing for eight months, waiting for you to do our work for us.

We have all, every one of us, everyone who considers himself or herself a fan, been stomped on today. Not by Paramount and its un-changable opinions, not by a few crucial players like Doug, Sean, and James not doing anything, but by the fans not believing.

Translation: Too bad we didn't know Paramount was "unchangeable" from the start -- it would have saved a lot of work. We know it now because, despite all the "effort" we put in, they never came and offered to make more DS9 for us.

I didn't kill Horizons.

Translation: It was my decision to end the project, but it was your fault I made that decision, since I don't have free will. When a hitman kills someone, you don't blame the gun, right?

People like Sean at LCARSCom.net and James at MaximumDefiant.com didn't kill it either. Those who didn't believe, those who didn't have faith, those people are responsible. And their lack of faith and hope stole ours away, as well. We are all going to have to live with that.

Translation: You -- yes, you -- are responsible for our failure. Because you didn't publicize us and round up, say, a hundred signatures each, we lost our wide-eyed innocence and faith in human nature. It's your fault we gave up, and you deserve to spend the rest of your life wracked with guilt for it.

For the last time,
Thank you,
- Doug Wilson, Campaign Manager and Director of International Affairs, DS9: Horizons

Translation: See? I wasn't doing nothing. I was coming up with a nice, long title for myself.


DS9 Horizons is apparently back now, under different management. I wish them the best; may the new bosses be less arrogant than the old.

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