Braille Monitor                                     January 2017

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Dots from Space!
A Mysterious Quest Begins

by Amy Mason and Anna Kresmer

From the Editor: At the 2015 National Convention a new activity was introduced: the NFB Quest. It was designed to be a fun game that would challenge Federationists to learn more about the organization and help break the ice between members who had never met in person before. It made the players active participants rather than passive observers of articles and speeches. Monitor readers who did not have the opportunity to attend the 2016 Convention don’t have to feel left out, however, since the Monitor will be running a serialized version of the NFB Quest from this year. Here is how Amy Mason, access technology specialist, and Anna Kresmer, archivist for the tenBroek Library, introduce it:

Dots from Space! was the second annual NFB Quest. The quests are built to encourage both newcomers and Federation veterans to experience our national convention in a whole new way. They incorporate puzzle-solving, trivia, social challenges, and travel to many of the beloved events and locations that are integral parts of the national convention.

Lisamaria Martinez, co-winner of the inaugural “NFB Diamond Quest” in 2015 said that the coolest part of playing “was that it got people up and moving, talking to each other, and learning really neat things in order to move on to the next round. I found myself visiting the Presidential Suite for the first time in seventeen national conventions. My husband talked to many blind people to ask them questions about trivia or to ask them to read something in Braille for him. We had a blast!”

For its second iteration, the game wizards hoped to see the convention quest participants boldly go where no Federationists had gone before. This meant creating a bigger game with new challenges that would appeal to more players while weaving in a greater opportunity for collaboration. As part of this expanded game universe, we introduced the Dots from Space, a friendly and curious alien race. The story of these intrepid explorers allowed us to present the Federation philosophy in a refreshing new way while highlighting some forgotten gems from our history.

In order to share some of the fun with members who were not able to participate in the game, the Braille Monitor will present the storyline of Dots from Space! as a series of articles over the next several months. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it, and we welcome you to participate in next year’s NFB Quest!

To read more of Lisamaria’s blog post on winning the first NFB Quest with her husband Joe Bakker, visit <>.

Here is the first episode:


It is the year 2525. The Earth lies abandoned and still. A spacecraft, lured by the silent monuments of Washington, DC, looks for a landing spot on the edges of the Chesapeake Bay. The terrain is rough and uneven, with the remains of empty buildings partially submerged in the frigid water. The large, flat roof of one building in particular seems to provide a good spot, and the ship touches down.

Later, inside the scout ship known as the Particle, the officers prepare to investigate the planet’s surface. Captain Dottie orders a survey of the surrounding terrain, and the ship’s computer instantly produces a 3D model of the immediate environs. Intrigued, the science officer rolls forward and flattens himself over the model like a giant ball of silly putty. Reforming into a ball, he exclaims, “Fascinating.”

“What is it, doctor?,” asks the captain.

“Most interesting, captain. It appears that the majority of the structure is still intact. I would recommend that we begin our investigations with the very building upon which we have landed.”

The captain considers for a moment before saying, “Very good. Let us proceed.”

The crew begins to prepare to disembark from the ship by running additional scans of the interior of the building, checking the atmospheric conditions, and readying their gear. Suddenly, one of the spherical aliens conducting one last scan cries out, “Captain! We’ve found something!”

The captain sighs gustily, “Yes, ensign? What is it now?”

“A game!”

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