Author Topic: Star Trek: Magellan  (Read 5527 times)

Offline starhawk

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Star Trek: Magellan
« on: October 01, 2011, 07:08:33 PM »
Hello, all. It's good to be back.

A long time ago (but not in a galaxy far, far away :D ) I came up with an unusual concept for a starship: what if a few kids got together and decided to "play Starfleet", ie build their own ship and go exploring in the Great Beyond... how would they fare?

Per usual, my talents ran far more towards coming up with ship designs rather than a detailed story background. The ship(s) of this story will be posted in the appropriate forum, unless I'm allowed to post 'em here. Either way, it's gonna be a while; I have lots of 11x17" paper drawings and nothing that scans that size. Suffice to say that the protagonists' ship is the only thing with a name right now; it is called Magellan.

What I do have is a primitive, fairly vague outline of what I want the story to be. That is attached. Please help me develop the story into something, ya know, useful... I'm looking for constructive critique, not "THIS SUX!!!!11!1!one"

Have at me.
:p

Offline TNC

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2011, 01:33:37 PM »
THIS IS TEH SUXXOR!!1!!  :P

I'm just kidding.  Anywho... While I'm not that keen on a story revolving around a bunch of kids, the idea of a civilian ship as the "hero ship" is interesting enough. 

I only have to peices of advice at the moment.
1st:  About the radiation contamination aboard the ship when they first find it.  I would think that by the time of the Earth-Romulan war they would probably have fusion reactors.  The NX-01 had a matter-antimatter reactor and it was built before the Earth-Romulan war so I think it would be safe to put one on this ship.  (Any ship in the Earth-Romulan war would probably have to have warp drive, the question is whether or not you could power a warp drive with a fusion reactor, I have no idea what the Phoenix had for it's power source.)
2nd: I'm not too keen on the way Starfleet Ship #1 reacts to the Magellan after encountering the new aliens.  It doesn't really seem very Starfleet-y (I don't care that it's not a word).
“Battle is not a simulation. It’s blood and screams and funerals.” – Capt. Georgiou – Star Trek: Discovery – “The Vulcan Hello”

Offline starhawk

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2011, 02:08:23 PM »
Regarding #1: it's old enough so that it could have a fission reactor. Either way, the kids wouldn't necessarily know the difference, although I'll consider trying to find a different excuse. Perhaps the Romulans blew it full of nukes...? BTW, my personal canon (not that it matters) holds that ST:ENT was a historical fiction holonovel -- Captain Archer wasn't a real person, the ship never actually existed, etc., etc. It's just meant for entertainment purposes. (This actually makes ENT: TATV a little more palatable, at least for me.) I really don't care much for the "HEY YO IDJIT ITS ON TEH SCREAN IT MUST BE TRUE LOL" crowd.

Regarding #2: that's on purpose. Starfleet is not perfect; look at many Admirals (like the one in TNG: The Drumhead), and most of the TOS Commodores, lol. It's sadly quite easy to have a Starfleet Captain be significantly out of line and the crew too bored (or conditioned by the "just following orders" bit) to resist following along. I actually wanted to show Starfleet in a different light, because quite honestly I'm tired of them being all "HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAY!!!" and actually succeeding at it. To be fair, I'm not sure I really accomplished that goal, but I got pretty close, I think :P
:p

Offline TNC

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2011, 03:10:05 PM »
More on point #2: I guess my problem with the situation was that it felt a bit forced.  Then again this is just a plot summary and I was a bit distracted when reading that part.  I image that the situation would come through better in the actual episode.  Although IIRC Starfleet Ship #2 has a shooting match with Ship #1.  I think it might be better if Ship Captain 2 talks down Ship Captain 1 rather than the two ships shooting at each other.

Some random related comments: I don't mind Starfleet being portrayed in a different light, as long as it is done well.  (And "Drumhead" is one of my favorite TNG episodes.  Just throwing that out there...)  Also it bugs me that 90% or so of Starfleet admirals/commodores/high ups are portrayed as incompetent or completely insane to make the crew look better.  I find it to be a Trek cliche and tend to avoid it in my own fan-fics.  Not saying you're doing that, just throwing that tid-bit out there.

As for point #1, I was offering suggestions because of the question mark in the plot summary, it really doesn't matter what the radiation source is.  As for "crowds", I'm of the "To each his own" opinion.  Personally I like all 5 series and 11 movies (some more than others) and accept them as canon and don't hold it against anyone for what they think (as long as they're not dicks about it and then I'm just annoyed at them for being dicks not for what shows they like or don't like).
“Battle is not a simulation. It’s blood and screams and funerals.” – Capt. Georgiou – Star Trek: Discovery – “The Vulcan Hello”

Offline starhawk

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2011, 08:37:20 PM »
I agree that the situation is forced in that particular part of the story... I just can't think of a less predictable way to accomplish what needs to happen at that point.

You're also right that the "talk 'em down" method is more "Starfleety", but at the same time, it's hard to talk a gun (or a phaser, for that matter) out of shooting. Wasn't there an episode of TNG where some dork in a Nebula-class tried to go to war with the Cardassians...? He got his ship disabled with the business end of a phaser strip... that's sorta what I'm going for here. One shot hits the deflector grid (or "power grid" or whatever) and disables the shipwide power so that all the captain can do is sit there and spew obscenities until he can get a tow to the court-martial.
:p

Offline TNC

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2011, 09:36:20 PM »
^Actually the TNG episode you're thinking of ("The Wounded") ended with Chief O'Brien talking down the captain of the Nebula-class ship (who was O'Brien's former C.O.).
“Battle is not a simulation. It’s blood and screams and funerals.” – Capt. Georgiou – Star Trek: Discovery – “The Vulcan Hello”

Offline starhawk

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2011, 11:51:25 AM »
...well, I'm pretty sure that I've seen at least one scene *somewhere* where the Ent-D disables another Federation vessel...
:p

Offline The Unbound

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2011, 10:48:39 AM »
The only thing that really springs to my mind that involved the E-D shooting at another Starfleet ship is "Unnatural Selection", where the infected USS Lantree is blown up (though very solemnly). There was a Nebula-class ship that was disabled with a phaser blast in VOY:Message in a Bottle (at least I think it was just disabled), but that was by the Prometheus. And then there's the eponymous Equinox and the Lakota in "Homefront". But I don't think that particular scene you're describing ever happened.

Trying to be constructive, I think, firstly, that there needs to be some sense of the Federation captain overstepping his bounds to justify not just the protagonist children, but their responsible parental figures, going full-on renegade over - essentially - having the stolen property they've been caught red-handed with confiscated. It sounds to me, though I've perhaps not given it enough thought, like someone shooting at the cops because they want to take away your soapbox car. Maybe have that particular captain (and ship) show up before in the story acting over-zealous and unfair (berating the family for sloppy records, confiscating the contents of the liquor cabinet for not having tax stamps, that sort of thing. Perhaps). Similarly, it might be a neater and less contrived solution to the face-off over the alien planet to have a first officer and/or some other crew pop up and question the captain on his actions, now that he's putting his foot in genuine diplomatic issues, rather than the old cavalry-to-the-rescue cliché.

Second, I'm a bit dubious about the resolution to the criminal charges thing. I think you could make a credible argument that no laws were broken (if we ignore the whole firing on a Starfleet ship incident), if the Magellan really was the property of the junkyard. Everything after that can be written off as acting in the defence of one's property (it takes a bit of generosity, I admit. Probably also a layman's view of the law...). All this gymnastics would justify replacing the pardon granted by the Federation Council (big complicated public thing. In many parts of the world, even a violation of the parliament's constitutional rights, since the legislative branch shouldn't involve itself in single issues. Matters of law should fall under the courts, and pardons, if they must exist, should be the purview of the executive branch (and the Federation does have a president)) and replaces it with the simpler case where there aren't any charges to raise. I rather doubt that the Federation Council would do an end-run around its own rules in front of a newly discovered potential member. It doesn't paint a picture of a state that's particularly bothered with the rule of law. On the other hand, I don't think a people who'd just discovered how vast galactic society really is would make it a condition on diplomatic relations with something as vast and powerful as the Federation that five children who stole a ship get away scott free just because they happened to do a good deed with it. They don't really know anything about the Federation. We might know that it's soft and wimpy enough that you can get away with that, but they don't. For all they know, the Federation (or just that one ship) might have lost their patience and conquered them for being insolent. Apart from that, it does seem a bit unlikely, staking the diplomatic and commercial future of your homeworld on five children, even if you're certain you can get away with it in the short term. I would believe that they would offer the children asylum if it came to it. And I can see how the actions of the first Starfleet ship doesn't give this people a great first impression of the official part of the Federation, which might influence their decision on whether or not to join as a member.

And one last thing, which isn't really particularly important, I've developed the theory that the Enterprise (and possibly the Phoenix) run on antimatter catalyzed fusion (something along the lines of this). It lets you have something more powerful and possibly less bulky than pure fusion, and have antimatter involved in propulsion (or power generation, at least) while still being quite a bit cruder than the warp cores of the 23. and 24. centuries.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2011, 04:51:15 PM by The Unbound »
Steady on.

Offline TNC

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2011, 11:12:55 AM »
^I think you mean Defiant vs. Lakota in "Homefront".  The Equinox and Voyager duked it out in the VOY two parter (titled "Equinox" interestingly enough) because the Equinox's captain was slaughtering aliens to boost his ship's speed and kidnapped the Doctor and 7of9 (IIRC).  There were also a couple of times in VOY where Ever-Ensign Harry Kim stole a shuttle in an alternate reality/alternate timeline and was intercepted by and fired upon by a Starfleet ship (A Nebula IIRC in the first instance and the Galaxy-class (IIRC) Challenger captained by LaForge).

As a side note regarding Antimatter enriched fusion, I'm fairly certain that the (long dead) fan-fic series ST: Renaissance the Enterprise-G used a fancy new main power source that needed less antimatter to operate (IIRC they only needed to use antimatter to start it up) so some of their antimatter reserves were put in the impulse fusion reactors to boost impulse speeds (or something like that).  Probably not all that important, but I felt like sharing...
“Battle is not a simulation. It’s blood and screams and funerals.” – Capt. Georgiou – Star Trek: Discovery – “The Vulcan Hello”

Offline The Unbound

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2011, 01:08:21 PM »
(ahem)  Eponymous
« Last Edit: October 15, 2011, 04:51:39 PM by The Unbound »
Steady on.

Offline TNC

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2011, 04:50:20 PM »
Ah, you weren't saying the Equinox and Lakota were fighting now, my apologies.  Your links are broken BTW.
“Battle is not a simulation. It’s blood and screams and funerals.” – Capt. Georgiou – Star Trek: Discovery – “The Vulcan Hello”

Offline The Unbound

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2011, 04:53:05 PM »
Bother. I can't seem to keep my markup syntaxes straight. It's fixed now.
Steady on.

Offline starhawk

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 01:49:09 PM »
Haven't forgotten about or abandoned this... it's just that I tend to have a lot of things that I work on at any given time, so they take turns ;)

Right now I'm about to indulge in my other passion: computers. More specifically, I'm about to go paint a case. Maybe (!) when I'm done I'll let this stuff have a turn, but no guarantees. I've got lots of rivets to drill and a good bit of time at the ol' rattle can first. I'll probably just draw away the rest of the day...
:p

Offline JHauck

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 05:28:27 PM »
It just doesn't seem "Starfleet" to go sticking one's nose into a shipyard/surplus yard to this extent without the Captain being under the influence of a Bluegill from TNG's "Conspiracy", or being a replaced crew-member that's really a Founder that's evaded a series of blood-screenings. It was just an accidental First Contact, that shouldn't make anyone a Fugitive. A Starfleet Captain can't just go barging in without proof. Innocent until proven guilt still applies in the Federation, correct? Besides, the owner can just explain away the ship the kids are building as a personal transport, a souped-up worbee/scrap-truck. Or, simply explain that, due to the events of the Dominion War, they've been building early warning systems & perimeter defenses or ~both~. In the event things get really really bad, they'd like to be able to get out of dodge quickly with enough personal effects to be able to be self-sufficient somewhere else.        

---------------------------------------------------------------


I'd re-write the concept as an NX-Class starship left in an alien surplus yard as Earth / The Sol System is taking a pounding from {Race To Be Decided Later}.

Starfleet Headquarters is sending out an all-purpose Class 1 distress signal to turn away arriving leisure-craft, cruiseships, freighters, et al.

The kids are all that's left on the surplus yard's habitat module as their parents, friends, etc. are all too busy being the kids' last/only line of defense (Starfleet is aware of their situation but they're en-route).

The kids have been prepared by the Adults since the Cardassian-Federation Conflict to pilot the ship as this is the ~only~ ship in the yard with cheap-enough / easily hand-machined parts. They've used it their entire lives to get around (ferry clients to/from the nearest starbase, tow scrap, train themselves on self-defence/target practice like using a BB Gun to shoot bottles off a fence, etc.)

It becomes clear they're on their own (for the time being,) and the ship has a few surprises built-in, that the Corps of Engineers would have arrested their parents for. For falsifying records and mis-allocating Starfleet property. So, the kids launch the NX-Class Magellan, attempt to kick some butt in order to keep themselves alive and hopefully save their home in the process. They don't necessarily succeed. After all, they're kids. But they raise a few eyebrows upon contact with the nearest available Starfleet Captain.  

They're introduced to the Chaan'taar girl on a layover during the Prime Directive / First Contact hearings as she's considered something of a Dissident on her homeworld as the populace on her world have since learned about the Dominion, Klingons, etc. and they're supremely angry at the developers of warp technology. They don't want to invite The Borg, etc. to their doorstep. They want to close their borders despite the arrangement their government has made to ally themselves with the Alpha Quadrant Alliance.  

Perhaps this can be a "Chapter 2"?
 



  
  

  
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 06:09:26 PM by JHauck »

Offline starhawk

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2011, 11:46:12 PM »
JHauck, I hope you won't get terribly upset, but there are a couple issues with what you are asking... not the least of which is that I really really REALLY don't like ST:ENT, for basically the same reason as the new Abramsverse movie -- yeah, it's a rollicking great ride, but it doesn't fit the universe correctly. My chosen method of explaining ENT is that it's a holoseries in the primary continuum, that Riker consulted because, well, basically he liked it and he thought it would help.

Also, I do actually really want to paint Starfleet as less-than-perfect, because it is. Humanity itself is less than perfect. So (demonstrably) are the other races -- sorry to nearly contradict myself here, but there was an episode of ENT with lying Vulcans in it... etc. So there will actually be the occasional "bad apple" who makes it all the way to Captain rank. That's what happens in  the story.

BTW, again, no offense, but I find your suggested plot a bit generic. It sounds like Starship Troopers, only more cliche'd. Sorry, no thanks.

All of that said, I may work on this tomorrow some.
:p

Offline JHauck

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2011, 09:14:18 PM »
I could see your "Bad Apple" idea working-out, ~but~, it also offers you the opportunity to write additional chapters. Additional chapters that offer you the opportunity to create a "good cop/accomplice" to your "bad cop", whom eventually suffers an attack of conscience / crisis of faith. Said crisis/conscience compels the "good cop/accomplice" to come clean about their role in the story, and somewhat redeem themselves in the process of going after the "Bad Apple" with help from the Starfleet Cavalry. Resulting in the good-cop/accomplice winding-up in prison ~with~ the true villain.
 
     

Offline starhawk

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Re: Star Trek: Magellan
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2011, 07:54:38 PM »
Here's the revised outline. Had some ideas of my own pop up that made their way into the revision -- not the least of which being "This design really doesn't look like a rebuilt antique!" which was actually quite reasonable -- the ship was drawn as a "we put this together from scrap-junk" vessel, not a "we rebuilt an antique" vessel.

I decided that this merited an opportunity to throw some additional drama (and a big explosion) in there, and I do believe that the plot benefited as a result.

Let me know what ya'll think.
:p