Whether you lived through the seventies or not, there is a great chance you’ll remember one of the greatest TV comedies of all time, M.A.S.H. Who couldn’t laugh as Pierce, Radar, Klinger, Frank, Margret and the rest of the cast fired their zingers at one another, all with perfect timing, something so few shows can deliver today.
One person in the 22nd Fleet in particular found a unique inspiration while watching the show. “The idea for the Sherman Potter started out as a joke, actually,” says TheDoctor. “I was watching MASH one night and thought, hey, what if we put this concept into Star Trek?”
When TheDoctor pitched the idea to several writers in the Messier 4 community, they took her joke all too seriously. “Everybody thought it was actually a solid idea,” she told the Tribune. The Messier 4 star cluster, exploring the Star Trek universe beyond the confines of the Milky Way, seemed to be the perfect place for her idea. It was a perfect place for frontier medicine, ripe with new alien species, and an abundant need for medical professionals who also have as wild personalities as their writers.
The USS Sherman Potter, named after the illustrious Colonel who commanded the 4077th M.A.S.H., soon launched to great success. Unlike other sims, which will vary their mission types from episode to episode, The Potter is sticking to its mandate: medicine. Each of the ten players has selected a doctor or a nurse (or in one case, a lowly corpsman) for their primary characters, with the other typical positions, such as engineering and security, filled with NPCs.
Hilarity has ensued in multiple ways, but not in the ways you may think. In one instance, doctors had to scramble to knock out a bunch of giant lizards who developed immunity to medicine. Others have had awkward “meeting one another” posts that would have rivaled M.A.S.H.’s best character moments.
But, just as the show dealt with very serious moments, so does the Potter. Currently, the Potter discovered an alien ship adrift with most of the aliens on board either dead or unconscious. As the crew of the Potter began to render assistance, the aliens woke up and began attacking the Starfleet crew. It’s currently the fight of their lives as the Potter crew works to keep the aliens at bay, and uninjured, while the engineering staff devises a way to communicate with the aliens.
The Sherman Potter is not TheDoctor’s first sim, and it is certainly not her first successful one. For more than a decade, she has run several successful games, from the USS Black Hawk in the defunct AQSG to the USS Harbinger in Obsidian Fleet. Success is not easy, even for TheDoctor. “The best advice is to make sure you have the time to devote to a sim. There is a lot more to being a GM than just telling people what to do and expecting them to do it.” She also advises that selecting a solid XO/2XO is paramount, not to mention how invaluable it is to encourage the crew to come up with mission ideas.
There is much in store for the Sherman Potter, including facing an outbreak of a deadly virus (a thought concocted before the current global health crisis), and witnessing the birth of a new cosmozoan.
The Sherman Potter, active only since February 2020, was recently recognized by 22nd Fleet with its monthly Sim of Valor award. “With COVID shutting everything down, I was feeling bored and depressed with nothing to do every day,” TheDoctor shared. “I felt like a failure at my sim because I just wasn’t feeling it. Lately, it’s gotten better and I’m putting more effort into it, so the fact that someone felt my sim was doing well enough for this reward makes me feel much better about how I’m doing as a GM.”
TheDoctor had one more thing to say in regards to the recognition. “To my crew, thanks for sticking with me through my slow tags during the shutdown. This award belongs to all of us, really. You guys are the best!”