Callisto’s Newsletter for the 1st quarter


Welcome to the first edition of HMS Callisto’s Newsletter. This is what I hope will be an ongoing project that will grow and improve with time and have input from many of our Crew. First of all let us know what you would like to see in future editions of the newsletter. Its your newsletter, so I welcome your ideas and suggestions.

It will cover many topics in the months to come, New members, training, meetings, cons, book reviews, art and written contributions from whomever is inspired to write, cartoons if anyone has the talent and desire to do them. I know we have a fine crew with many talents. Here is the chance to share them with the rest of your crewmates.

Lt. Rose Underhill
Communications Officer


Date: March 29, 2015
To: All Officers, Enlisted and Supernumerary Crew of the HMS Callisto

Welcome to the first issue of our newsletter. With luck it will just be the first of many. I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to our Communications Officer, Lt. Rose Underhill, for taking on this job.

The Callie is just entering her second year sailing the stars of the Talbot cluster and her first year has been absolutely stellar (pun absolutely intended). In the time since her commissioning on Feb 28, 2015 we have almost doubled in crew size, going from an initial crew of 16 to a crew of 30 today, and that’s after 5 losing 5 crew members to our “sister ship” the GNS Madrigal (aka. the Maddie) when she commissioned in late November 2015.

And it’s a crew I’m very proud of. It may be greatly distributed – in addition to the Vancouver Metro Region we have members throughout Vancouver Island, in the BC Okanagan, as far north as Alaska, as far south as southern Idaho and even a few from Alberta (which is technically under the auspices of Basilisk (8th) Fleet, but us Canucks, we like to stick together!) but most of our members have been active in one way or another, participating in ship events whenever it was possible for them to do so, even when it meant doing something on their own in support of the TRMN and the Callie. We have gathered together in person for meals and to attend conventions. We have read books, gone bowling, raised food to charity, and worked on our exams. We’ve kibitzed on Facebook, over IM and via our All Hands Google Groups mailing list. And as a result our crew and the crew of the Maddie have been able to create strong ties of the “familial” friendship that is so often found among the members of the TRMN.

The Callie even has a few crew members who have stepped up to the challenge and take on larger roles and responsibilities within the TRMN as a whole and I’d like to acknowledge them here:

Surgeon Lieutenant (JG) Mark Gledhill (FMF), of the RMN, started as a Chief Steward and the Callie’s Bosun. After that, he first stepped up to take on the role of Warrant Officers’ School Instructor at the Isaih MacKenzie Naval Academy (IMNA), then joined BuTrain as a Special Needs Specialist for the Remote Testing Institute and would eventually be promoted to the position of BuTrain Director of Accessibility. Having been promoted up into officer country he also stepped down as Callie’s Bosun and became her Chief Medical Officer.

Senior Master Chief Power Mate William Underhill (FMF), of the GSN, started as Power Mate 3rd Class and the Callie’s Training Chief. After that, he stepped up to take on the role of Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Enlisted Training Center at the IMNA and would eventually be promoted to the position of BuTrain Command SMCPO.

Chief Corpsman Jari James (FMF), of the RMN, joined the Callie as a Spacer 3/c in June 2015. Despite being the only member of the TRMN in her area, she took it upon herself to arrange for a fan table at a major local convention which she managed entirely on her own in addition to volunteering in various capacities for the convention. By November 2015 she had become the Staff Yeoman for Promotion Boards reporting to the Senior Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy.

I recognize that not everyone can go all out and get as involved as these three, but I do encourage the entire crew to try to be as involved as they can – you get out of the TRMN what you put into it, and even just writing the first few enlisted exams will allow me to promote you to higher ranks which is something I, for one, enjoy being able to do.

All in all, it’s been a great first year, and I expect the next to be just as great for the Callie, the Maddie, the rest of the Talbot Fleet and all of the TRMN.

For Grayson, the Keys, the Sword, and1 the Tester

Capt. (GSN) Jenni Merrifield, ME
Commanding Officer
HMS Callisto (BC-722)


Our Ships held its first official Meeting of the year on Jan. 3rdm at the home of Robert Demkiw’s “household” in Victoria. They were most gracious hosts and we certainly appreciated their hospitality. Our gathering was enhanced by the attendance of a number of the Madrigal’s cheerful crew and an abundance of frankly delicious food that was prepared by members of both crews. Hats of to the cook who produced the cheesecakes, they were especially yummy.

Here are the minutes of that Meeting

03 January 2016

Present: Captain Jenni Merrifield
Lieutenant (SG) Rose Underhill
Senior Master Chief Power Mate William Underhill
Spacer 1st Class Jessica Ewing
Spacer 3rd Class Justin-Georges (Aloysius) S Coulombe

Secretary: Commander Conder

Visitors: HMS Madrigal
Captain Robert Demkiw – CO
Commander Eric Robert Edward Johnson – XO:
Bosun: Chief Petty Officer Ryan Despins

11 January 2016

The meeting was called to order at 1425 hours. There was no old business.

Present Business:

Lt Underhill proposed a newsletter for the Callisto’s web page and Facebook page to be released quarterly to help keep members up-to-date on what is happening with regards to ship events, promotions, etc. Capt Merrifield suggested setting up a separate e-mail address for submissions so that Lt Underhill’s real-life e-mail won’t get inundated with ship’s business.

Chief Underhill advised that this should probably be considered the prevue of the Communications Department. At this time Callisto doesn’t have a specific communications officer. Spacer Coulombe volunteered to take on the necessary billet. Discussion followed on how best to go about acquiring content for the newsletter. Capt Demkiw requested Chief Underhill approach the High Admiral with regards to GSN announcements.


Chief Underhill reported that while there is progress within the ranks, there is definitely still space for improvement. The Chief went on to explain the requirements for the new award that has been created: Manticorian Combat Action medal. This is in addition to the Space Warfare pin which all members receive upon completion of the first two exams, plus a specialist exam. The Combat Action medal is awarded for the completion of 40 exams, with a cluster added for each additional 35 exams thereafter.

Chief Underhill is continuing with his efforts to set up one “training night” per month on Skype to assist members who are experiencing difficulties with exams. Discussion covered what could and could not be done during training nights; specifically not “leading” individuals to the answers, but rather assisting them with suggestions on where they might look for them. The XO mentioned that there are still issues on the exams regarding answers that must come specifically from the novels. She pointed out that a lot of people only have hard copies, and lack the finances to procure soft copies for purposes of the exams. At this time there is no way in which members with e-files of the various books can “loan” those copies to members who are taking exams. Furthermore, some questions also refer to “SITS” situations. Again, many members don’t play the board games. The XO requested those members present who are attached to the Academy to consider broaching these issues with senior staff.
Further to the exams; it was noted that Grayson specialty exams have 5 levels, vice the 4 for RMN. Some trades are not cross-fleet applicable, so members should be made aware that they should take care to only apply for their fleet specific exams until they have acquired the necessary standards for their rank and trade.


The XO reminded everyone that there are parades and the possibility of mall/bookstore appearances within their areas. However, the need for more uniformed personnel is imperative to promote TRMN properly. While most members participating in a parade are acceptable in “Con minimum” (i.e. TRMN t-shirts, black slacks, black shoes or ankle boots, and ship’s ball cap), there needs to be more than one individual in actual uniform.
The XO also mentioned she would be investigating spaces for the Oak Bay Tea Party and Esquimalt’s Buccaneer Days parades the first two Saturdays in June.
There was no new business.

Capt Merrifield called for adjournment. Spacer Ewing seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 1500 hours.

Sign by Dated:

Jenni Merrifield
HMS Callisto


Callisto’s crew is doing really well so far in the copious number of books that have been read and reported for the challenge. Well done! In addition to last months 13,366 pages, the crew has added over 45,000 additional pages in March. Bravo.

If you’ve been reading and haven’t reported your books yet and need a copy of the form for submission, I’d be happy to send you one just email me at comm [at] hmscallisto [dot] org. We’d love to add your books to our total.

If you have read a book that you were especially impressed with or enjoyed immensely, please tell the crew about it by writing a book review, it doesn’t have to be short or long, write what you want to tell us about the book. People are always on the lookout for another good story or interesting information.


Here is our first review sent by our XO

by Cary A. Conder

Over the years I’ve been struggling to find books that catch and hold my interest. Many novels in recent years, particularly adult works, seem to be based on either the “hack and slash/loads of graphic sex” theme, vampires, or geography that just doesn’t work no matter whether it’s supposed to be an alien planet, or worse, a future or parallel world. Consequently I’ve taken to perusing the Young Adult fiction section of the book stores in search of some light reading.

Several years ago I stumbled on a book by Tamora Pierce; Alanna, First Adventure. ( The story had sufficient substance and plot to hold my attention, and made for pleasant reading given Alan(na)’s experiences as s/he struggles through the difficulties of being a page. Tamora Pierce also builds into this series of books a healthy dose of Medieval military knowledge which tend to hold the adult reader. The entire series is very well crafted and worth reading. While I might quibble at her “piece-meal” dumping a variety of our cultures into her stories without more than a minor nod towards modifying them for her universe, it would appear that she might have an underlying intent to educate our children (and adults) about our real-world cultural diversities.

For those of you who are looking for something with a bit more “meat” to her work, I highly recommend her Bekka Cooper novels. ( These books are based on the old “Bow Street Runners” of London, England (, and she does an exceptional job of bringing together the fantasy and real world. Her character development is extremely well done and will hold the interest of male and female readers alike. And these are actually a precursor to the Alanna stories, but can be read as stand alone.
Parents: please be advised that Tamora does include some sex in her books, so I would recommend that these are not suitable for young people under age 14. While the sex isn’t graphic, it’s sufficient that it could impinge upon the story for younger readers and break their focus on the plot itself.

Tamora has crafted several series of books, all of them based in the same world, but in different hemispheres and different times. Some of them are quite gritty: i.e. The Circle of Magic ( and its follow-on series, The Circle Opens ( While she doesn’t dwell on the violence, she doesn’t pull her punches, either. She is quite frank about the world being a nasty place, while demonstrating to young people that making their decisions, right or wrong, can severely affect how your life progresses. There are several stand-alone, but connected books, that part of this universe (The Will of the Empress, Melting Stones, and Battle Magic). While I enjoyed some more than others, each is quite well crafted. More important, rather like Gene Roddenberry with Star Trek, Tamora touches on timely cultural and political issues, as well as employing historical references to build her worlds. I highly recommend these books.


We had the pleasure of welcoming two fine new crewmembers this quarter:
Commander Ian Howe of the RMN, transferred to Callie from HMSS Greenwich.
Private Al-Noor Alladin, RMMC, who is an excellent addition to our Marines unit.

Callisto’s crew have been working hard on exams and putting in the time working busily at the posts and earned promotions this quarter. Once more Bravo Zulu to each of them.

Private (RMA) Aloysius Berchmans promoted to Private 1/C (E-2)
Spacer 1/C Kyle Polkinghorne promoted to Petty Officer 3/C (E-4)
Spacer 3/C Denis Brisson, promoted to Spacer 2/C (E-2)
Spacer 3/C Brenda Fortin promoted to Spacer 2/C (E-2)
Lt. (sg) Robert Alan Day completed brevet requirements and is now permanent in his rank
Appointment to Operations Officer, Commander Ian Howe


While there are numerous conventions we have the possibility of attending every year, two that are of particular interest to Callie’s crew are VCon in Vancouver and this year Orycon in Portland Oregon. Orycon’s guest of Honor this year is David Weber.
VCon will be held September 30 – October 2, 2016 at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, Surrey, BC.
We are expecting a good contingent of TRMN members. We will need volunteers to man the table and there will be a sign up sheet available a little later in the year so you can choose times that will work for you. I encourage everyone to do at least a shift. It helps with recruiting and it’s a good way to spend time with members you do not see often for conversations and questions. The Con itself will need volunteers in many areas, and I encourage people to help make the Con as well.
Here is the URL for the website for further information on tickets and booking the hotel as well as a list of guests who will be gracing the Con.

Like VCon, there will be a TRMN presence at Orycon, if you would like to volunteer to help them, I am sure they’d be happy to have your help as will the Con itself. The site has information on activities, registration and hotel availability information.

Both Con’s will have additional information available as the date of the events draws closer. Good idea to check and see what panels are of interest and what meetings you might wish to attend.


In Victoria, Callisto crew are planning on taking part in two parades this Spring, the Buccaneer Days Parade in Esquimalt on May the 14th and the Oak Bay Tea Party Parade on June the 4th. This is a good chance for us to increase awareness of our group and have a good time doing it. Uniforms are welcome, but con minimum is certainly acceptable. Perhaps we will be able to get together for lunch or a very late brunch post parade. Something worth investigating.


Last, but definitely not least, on April 23 from 1 to 4 pm, the Callisto and the Madrigal are having a joint lunch at Boston Pizza New West. I am looking forward getting together with the crew for an excellent afternoon of conversation and a tall tale or two.
Hope to see you there. { address 1045 Columbia St, New Westminster, British Columbia V3M 1C4