Mission Report: GammaCon 4-5/8/19

Canberra- Australian Capital Territory 3-4/8/19

On a chilly August weekend, four of the five officers of the USS Animus: Captain Ross Manuel (CO), Commander Jasmin Manuel (XO/CMO) (and her growing symbiont), Lieutenant Commander Peter Hough (2IC/COO) and Petty Officer 3rd Class Alex Sullivan-Banks (CE) attended, arguably the largest event within their area of responsibility; GammaCon at the Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPiC) which celebrated its seventh year of operation.

Located between Sydney and Melbourne resides Canberra, Australia’s ‘bush capital’, is a sprawling planned city first inaugurated in 1913 as a truce between the two largest cities in Australia who couldn’t agree to which city could be Australia’s Capital, despite Federating as a Commonwealth some thirteen years earlier. Canberra hosts all Federal agencies, as well as the Australian War Memorial, National Museum of Australia, National Film and Sound Archive, Museum of Australian Democracy (located within the old halls of government), the National Library, Questacon (the National Science and Technology Centre) and the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (which was responsible for receiving the Apollo 11 broadcasts).

GammaCon was located within the three building precinct of the Conference Centre, while the CO and XO had attended the event in the past, this would be the first time that we had a physical presence. Set up next to the 501st Legion’s Southern Cross Garrison (Black Tower Squad) and a selection of Daleks, we unveiled our updated backdrop wall (now with Perspex LCARS screens) and our prototype command chair.

Officers of the USS Animus and USS Tydirium

On Saturday, the Animus was joined by the CO and 2IC of our sister-ship the Sydney-based USS Tydirium, Vice Admiral Greg Mortenson and Captain Prue Hill, as well as the 2IC of the Shuttle Firehawk Lieutenant JG Matthew Billingsby. Suffice to say, we were thankful for the extra hands as we were off our feet the entire day with Trek fans of all ages stopping by to get their photo taken in the chair, including a number of people who had been following us on social media for several months.

With little opportunities to leave the booth due to the influx of inquiries, Captain Manuel sent out the crew in two person survey teams to check out the event and secure proper provisions. Considering the size of the venue, there was plenty of space for vendors, and unlike some of the larger events in Sydney or Melbourne, GammaCon was primarily occupied by smaller independent artists and creators instead of large corporations.

On Sunday, with the Tydirium crew recalled back to their own sector, it was a much more calm day, which considering the hectic nature of the day before, allowed for a much needed break in the routine, but also allowed for much more in-depth activities, with the XO and 2IC engaging in a D&D campaign for the latter half of the day while the CO and PO Banks manned the table. It should be noted that through the entire weekend, that Petty Officer Banks worked his tail off promoting both the Animus and Tydirium to visitors with such enthusiasm that he was often the first person to interact with anyone coming to the table before moving to assist with the command chair, or to even take photos. This act alone endeared this young junior officer to both the senior officers of both the Animus and Tydirum.

With our attendance at the event next year already secured, it only leaves the question of, what happens next?