Thursday, August 20, 2009

I could have been sleeping

I fell asleep on the couch at 7 but I got kicked off at 8. I could have been sleeping ever since then, but instead this ate my evening. You see, I posted a random comment on this post with the partial text of a Starfleet explanatory pamphlet. Turns out, it wouldn't leave me alone. Here is the full version. Sorry, I don't think this counts as educational. But on the other hand, I bet you didn't know that Maria Vasquez had a really tough tour of duty back in 2209-2213.


Don't panic! It can happen to anyone. Marriage customs vary enormously, even considering only humanoid pairings; non-humanoid and polyamorous arrangements can be even more complex. However, we do require that any Starfleet personnel who have been accidentally married undergo a xeno-cultural awareness seminar within six months of the marriage, regardless of whether they choose to stay married. The seminar and accompanying workbook may be completed as a distance learning course if you assigned to an extended mission.

1) If your new spouse is a fellow member of Starfleet and/or a coworker aboard your ship, go to 2. If your new spouse is a guest of the ship and/or a resident of a planet you were visiting, go to 3.

2) If your new spouse is in your chain of command, go to 4. If your new spouse is not in your chain of command, congratulations! You may remain married with no additional action on your part, although we encourage you to register the marriage with Personnel. If you do not wish to be married after all, you may simply get a divorce under Federation Code 14-10-129.5; forms are available at no charge from the main computer and may be submitted via normal communication channels.

3) If your new spouse is a non-Starfleet citizen of the Federation or a neutral world, go to 5. If your new spouse is a member of an enemy planet/race/political group/etc., go to 6. If you met your new spouse during a First Contact situation as defined by Federation Code 11-156-7(e), STOP READING THIS FORM! Report the situation to your commanding officer IMMEDIATELY.

This is very important: TRY NOT TO LOOK AT OR HAVE SEX WITH ANYTHING. (Unless you feel that your life is in imminent danger under Federation Code 11-156-532, in which case the diplomatic restrictions on bodily contact under Federation Code 11-156-1 are no longer binding.) TRY NOT TO VIOLATE THE PRIME DIRECTIVE. (This isn't waived by imminent danger, actually, you may remember that before you embarked, we made you swear to die rather than violate the Prime Directive.)

Failure to report a conception that occurred during a First Contact situation may be cause for a formal reprimand pursuant to Federation v. Vasquez, 354 F.Supp.52d 555 (2210)(cert. denied).

4) You must file an Affidavit with Personnel regarding Federation Code 14-10-550, which prohibits "legal contracts, oaths, or other binding commitments coerced from a subordinate by a superior officer," which has included "marriages or life-bondings performed outside the normal territorial jurisdiction of the Federation High Council" since Vasquez v. Archer, 355 F.Supp.52d 110 (2211)(cert. denied). The affidavit must indicate whether a) you were coerced into the marriage either by the other partner(s) or by a third party (e.g. a priest or leader of an unfamiliar culture), b) you were aware that you were being married at the time of the ceremony, and c) whether you wish to remain married or void the marriage. It is unlawful to retaliate against an indivudual reporting coercion by a superior officer, under Federation Code 12-2-2(a). If you wish to remain married you may apply for an exemption under Federation Code 14-10-550(b). Affidavit and exemption forms are available at no charge from the main computer and may be submitted via normal communication channels.

5) It is vital to determine whether your new spouse has previous marital commitments; before your ship departs the planet, have your new spouse complete Form VVVa, available in most Federation languages at no charge from the main computer. This form includes questions about existing spouses, line and/or group marriage obligations, lines of succession, parental rights, etc. These questions are invaluable in determing how to allocate your pension benefits and any child support or spousal maintenance while you are on active duty, as well as determining which procedure to follow should you wish to obtain a divorce. Most Federation worlds recognize divorces performed under Federation Code 14-10-129.5 (see #2 above); for a complete list see Starfleet Legal Education Pamphlet 291 (SO YOU NEED TO DIVORCE THIS ALIEN CHICK (OR DUDE) LIKE, IMMEDIATELY, OKAY?). Watch out especially for planets on which all assets of both partners become communal automatically upon consumation of the marriage (e.g. Betelgeuse V) and planets on which one spouse automatically becomes the property of the other (e.g. Orion II, Goringen, etc.).

6) The Federation does not recognize marriages across enemy lines under Federation Code 14-10-130, and does not enforce child support obligations across enemy lines either, pursuant to Vasquez v. Chkrnzkl, in re: the interests of CEV, 2 F.Supp.53d 270 (2213)(cert. denied). However, be aware that should the Federation conclude a peace treaty with the enemy group to which your new spouse belongs, either you or your spouse may file a child support enforcement action at that time under Federation Code 14-10-150 as applied in in re: the interests of CEV, 2 F.Supp.270 at 298. If you are currently being held prisoner by your new spouse's people (including nominal captivity in which you are held in comfort but are simply unable to leave), go to 7. If you (or your ship) are currently holding your new spouse captive, go to 8. If you are no longer in contact with your new spouse, keep detailed records of your time together in your personal log; we recommend that you add any relevant information to your Medical Record.

7) How the hell did you get ahold of this pamphlet anyway? If you're thinking of escape, don't you have bigger things to be worrying about? (By the way, if you're in Romulan space, you might try emergency subspace frequencey 251 alpha, we've got some listening ears scattered around, especially near the borders; you never know.) And if you'd prefer to stay with your new spouse, honestly Starfleet best practices aren't super relevant to you anymore. (But be aware you may be prosecuted for treason in your absence under Federation Code 1-10-300.)

8) Try not to get pregnant or kidnapped by your new spouse during an escape attempt. IF YOU RELEASE YOUR NEW SPOUSE YOU WILL BE PROSECUTED FOR TREASON UNDER FEDERATION CODE 1-10-300! DON'T DO IT! Nobody cares if it was all a misunderstanding or they are really a good person underneath or whatever. You are automatically excused from security, interrogation, medical, and communications duties that have anything to do with your new spouse. No one is going to enforce the marriage (see #6). Take a nice hot bath and stay out of the way.


  1. Dude. Awesome. I want to print this out and give it to all the fans I know.

  2. Thanks! Feel free to redistribute as you like (with credit)! :)

    It occurred to me that minus some of the ST-specific references this could easily be adapted to just about any scifi setting. The Stargate crew could certainly use a guide like this. And I recall Mal on Firefly got accidentally married once, and that show only lasted 13 episodes.