16 June 2009

short fiction (II)

One supports the other. The clones grow in their pond, keeping the crew alive until the mission's completion, and the tubules transfer the sum total of their memories, ensuring each successive generation benefits from the life experiences of those that came before. Unable to improve the speed of their travel, but desiring a crew that would function for the length of the journey, humanity, as before, found a way to get what it wanted. Unsurprisingly, they failed to consider the cost. Not simply what a seemingly endless journey might do to a group, but to a mind.

The human brain is not built to go on forever; when the body dies, the mind goes quickly. If the spirit endures, translates itself someplace different, then could moving the mind from one body to another trap the soul? Does a soul ache for freedom, does it despise bondage? Philosophers and people of faith may ask these questions, but do men of science?

07 June 2009

star trekkin' (part IV)

As promised/forewarned, the text that follows is the opening (pre-title sequence) of the way I'd like to see Star Trek 2 (not II, which was already made) unfold. If anybody that reads this likes it, and knows J.J. Abrams, let him know that I have an entire story to pitch to him, and that I'm over 25% of the way done with my first draft. Or you can just enjoy it, or mock me for writing glorified fan fiction. Whatever.

Now, to the script for Star Trek 2...



FADE IN:



INT - KLINGON BATTLECRUISER - NIGHT

A corridor inside of a Klingon battlecruiser (IKS GR'OTH -
under the command of Captain Koloth). The tunnel is
comfortless, severe, without any decoration besides the tri
pointed emblem of the Klingon Empire. A fine mist hangs over
the deck; it plays with the harsh red lights that shine
overhead. An ALERT KLAXON BLARES.

Rapid CLANG-CLANGS sound from offscreen. Turning the corner
into this corridor are CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK, SPOCK and
DOCTOR LEONARD "BONES" MCCOY. PHASERS in hand and sweaty.
Spock carries a large PACK across his back; GREEN BLOOD drips
from a large cut on his jaw. McCoy pulls a TOOL from the
POUCH on his BELT.

MCCOY
Dammit, Spock, hold still and let
me patch you up!

SPOCK
Doctor, it is not logical for us to
delay while -

MCCOY
Look, you've already lost enough
blood for one day.

Both Spock and McCoy look at the Vulcan's side. ANGLE ON a
large, ugly BLOODSTAIN underneath his left arm. BACK TO SCENE

MCCOY (CONT'D)
Either we stop for a moment, or Jim
and I'll have to take turns
carrying you back to the shuttle.

Spock turns his head to face Kirk, who interrupts his vigil
looking down the hall to NOD casually. Spock turns back to
McCoy.

SPOCK
Very well, Doctor, but I do not
have to remind you that time -

BURSTS of bright, crimson KLINGON DISRUPTOR FIRE interrupt
their conversation - CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! - leaving smoking
holes in the wall.

KIRK
Is anyone hit?

SPOCK
The package is undamaged.

MCCOY
So are we.
(beat)
Barely.
(beat)
Cover me, Jim!

KIRK
Won't be able to give you more than
a few seconds.

Kirk advances down the hallway, hugging the wall, phaser at
the ready. From over his shoulder, we can see five KLINGON
SOLDIERS, dressed in heavy, ornate, leather battle armor
almost as impressive as the BONE RIDGES on their foreheads.
The one in the lead - first officer KORAX, the biggest and
nastiest of them all - holds a huge, shining BAT'LETH, the
two-handed, bladed weapon of choice for the elite Klingon
warrior. His men carry vicious-looking DISRUPTOR RIFLES.
Their steps CLANG much more ominously than those of Kirk and
his men.

The Klingons don't yet see Kirk. He FLIPS his phaser over to
STUN and FIRES a burst in their direction. Most of his shots
miss, but one finds its target. It BOUNCES off Korax's armor,
burning a small hole in the ceiling.

The Klingons follow the phaser blast up, and then its trail
back down. Their eyes focus on Kirk simultaneously.

KIRK
Son of a bitch!

MCCOY
What is it, Jim?

The Klingons take off at a dead run.

KIRK
Run!

Kirk zips off and comes upon Spock and McCoy just as the
doctor finishes closing the wound on Spock's face.

KIRK
How far to the shuttle, Spock?

SPOCK
Two hundred meters.

MCCOY
Exactly?

SPOCK
Yes.

KIRK
Can you lead?

SPOCK
Yes.

With Spock in the front, McCoy in the middle, and Kirk
bringing up the rear, the Starfleeters rush down the corridor
just ahead of the Klingons. They exchange disruptor and
phaser FIRE.

They wind up in

INT - KLINGON BATTLECRUISER SHUTTLE BAY - SAME

And go from a hyper-claustrophobic space to a cavernous one.
Three KLINGON SHUTTLES - each one resembling an ill-tempered,
armored animal - are closest to the men. Further down, we can
make out the classic STARFLEET SHUTTLE, nearly at the edge of
the shuttlebay. A gigantic door blocks them from the
nothingness around the ship.

Kirk and Spock look up; ANGLE ON the CONTROL TOWER built into
the far wall of the shuttle bay. It can only be reached by a
small open-air TURBOLIFT. BACK TO SCENE.

Kirk slaps a CONTROL PANEL, which causes a BLAST DOOR to SLAM
down in the Klingons' faces.

SPOCK
Captain, Doctor, if you will make
your way to the shuttle, I will
open the bay doors.

MCCOY
Like hell you will. Just twisting
the wrong way'll pop those
emergency seals open.
(beat)
I'll go.

SPOCK
Doctor, you were not trained on the
Klingon -

MCCOY
I can push buttons, dammit!
Besides, if you're the hotshot
pilot you're supposed to be, you
can come pick me up before you go.

Spock and McCoy look back at Kirk, a moment of almost
childish respite over the BOOMING the Klingons make on the
other side of the door.

KIRK
I think we should listen to our
doctor, Spock.

SPOCK
Very well.

KIRK
Bones, I'll cover you when they get
through.

MCCOY
How do you know they'll do that?

Kirk gives McCoy a, "Seriously?" look that the doctor
grudgingly accepts. OVERHEAD: Spock and McCoy rush off,
leaving Kirk by himself amidst the Klingon shuttles. BACK TO
SCENE.

Kirk runs and presses his back to one of the Klingon
shuttles. He peeks just above it to watch the blast door,
which HEATS and turns a burning red as the Klingons use their
disruptors to cut through it.

As Spock runs to the shuttle, we ANGLE ON the control tower
once again, where a KLINGON OFFICER has suddenly appeared! He
hits a few switches on his CONTROL CONSOLE. ANGLE ON the
AUTOMATIC DISRUPTOR TURRET positioned above the control
tower. BACK TO SCENE.

Before Spock can reach the shuttle, the turret FIRES,
BLASTING the Federation shuttle to pieces right before his
eyes. Spock has no time to process this; the turret starts to
fire on him immediately after. He ducks behind another
shuttle and immediately starts to fiddle with the CONTROL PAD
on its outer hull.

At the same time the shuttle EXPLODES, so do the blast doors
sealing off the shuttle bay. Korax and his men stride in
before any of the smoke has begun to clear.

McCoy throws himself into the turbolift cradle and punches a
button on the CONTROL PAD without even looking.
The cradle starts upwards. ANGLE ON the pad; all of the text
and symbols are in Klingon. BACK TO SCENE.

A few BOLTS of disruptor fire fly over McCoy's head before he
ducks down against the cradle's base.

MCCOY
They're shooting, Jim!

He hears his answer as Kirk pops out from behind cover and
NAILS a Klingon in the head with a stun bolt. As he drops to
the deck, the Klingons' return fire scorches the hull of the
shuttle that sits between them and Kirk.

Spock, meanwhile, has opened the door on his Klingon shuttle.

INT - KLINGON SHUTTLE - SAME

There are even harsher angles inside the little craft than
there were on the outside. There is no padding anywhere, and
with the exception of more nationalistic SYMBOLS, no
decoration.

Spock sits down in a hard, metal chair in the cockpit. He
looks down at its controls; varying shades and symbols of red
shine back up at him. His movements as he activates the
shuttle are more tentative than we've ever seen; does he
actually not trust his command of the Klingon language?

Phaser and disruptor fire FLASH in the window.

INT - KLINGON BATTLECRUISER SHUTTLE BAY - SAME

The cradle's taken McCoy up to the top of the control tower.
He FIRES his phaser at the Klingon officer a moment before
the cradle comes to a halt.

McCoy's luck seems to be just as bad as Kirk's; his BLAST
bounces off the Klingon's armor. Barely feet away, the
Klingon takes a swing at McCoy and knocks the phaser from his
hand, dropping it to the deck below. Another punch sends
McCoy sprawling against the back of the cradle.

Kirk lays out another Klingon with a stun BLAST, but Korax's
men are too close to Kirk now for him to aim carefully. The
barrel of his phaser FLIPS; he's set on the red KILL mode,
now.

The Klingon hits McCoy so hard that his uniform tunic TEARS.
McCoy falls to the bottom of the cage, inadvertently ducking
under a punch. The Klingon overextends himself, and McCoy
seizes his opportunity.
He SNAPS the Klingon's head back with a two-handed strikes as
he stands, a blow he follows up with a quick series of
punches right below the Klingon's brow ridge. This stuns the
Klingon long enough for McCoy to extract a SPRAY HYPO from
his pouch and press it against the Klingon's neck. With a
WOOSH, the powerful sedative contained in it puts the Klingon
out instantly.

McCoy walks, triumphantly, to the control console; his
shoulders slump when he realizes that it's all in Klingon. He
pulls out his COMMUNICATOR, and flips it open.

INT - KLINGON SHUTTLE - SAME

Spock's COMMUNICATOR CHIRPS. He opens it.

INT - KLINGON BATTLECRUISER SHUTTLE BAY - SAME

MCCOY
How do you work this damned thing?

SPOCK (O.S.)
You have realized that a control
console in a Klingon ship is
labeled in Klingon?
(beat)
Doctor McCoy -

Kirk SHOOTS the last two Klingon soldiers through their
armor, dropping them. He turns around to see Korax leap at
him from the shadows, bat'leth swinging. Kirk's barely able
to duck the attack in time.

SPOCK (CONT'D O.S.)
- you really must understand -

MCCOY (O.S.)
I learned their anatomy, Spock!

Korax's attack SLICES a civious line in the hull of the
shuttle behind Kirk. Korax swings his bat'leth around in a
backhand swing, but Kirk manages to interrupt it and SMASH
the Klingon in the face with the BARREL of his phaser. Korax
steps away, a nasty BURN smoking.

INT - KLINGON SHUTTLE - SAME

SPOCK
...then the third toggle on the top
row.

MCCOY (O.S.)
And that'll open the bay doors?

SPOCK
No, that activates the disruptor
turret controls.

MCCOY (O.S.)
Spock -

SPOCK
You must use it to save the
Captain, Doctor.

INT - KLINGON BATTLECRUISER SHUTTLE BAY - SAME

McCoy looks in Kirk's direction; Korax's BATTLECRY is audible
even across the shuttle bay. A small CONTROL STICK emerges
from the console. McCoy grabs it and swings the turret in the
direction of Kirk and Korax.

The ROAR of the disruptor turret splits the air again, and
tears through the space between the human and the Klingon.
Korax's eyes WIDEN in realization, then he runs. McCoy
stitches the deck with BLAST after BLAST, but Korax manages
to escape.

Kirk looks up at McCoy and exhales. McCoy points toward
Spock, who simply nods.

MCCOY
Now, how the hell do we get out of
here?

CUT TO:



EXT - KLINGON BATTLECRUISER - SAME

The classic design, with the bridge, the neck, and the large
secondary hull all on a line. ANGLE ON the SHUTTLE BAY DOORS
at the rear of the ship; they've slid open, and a KLINGON
SHUTTLE has slipped through them.

CUT TO:



INT - KLINGON SHUTTLE - SAME

Kirk sits at the pilot's controls; Spock on a bench as McCoy
tends more thoroughly to their wounds. A light on the control
panel FLASHES ominously in time with an ALERT SIREN.

MCCOY
I think they're coming about, Jim.

KIRK
Not quickly enough.

Kirk sets his COMMUNICATOR down next to the flashing light

CUT TO:



EXT - KLINGON SHUTTLE - SAME

The Gr'oth has nearly finished its turn; the TORPEDO LAUNCHER
underneath its bridge heats up. The shuttle looks so very
small.

As if willed into being, the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, flagship of
the Federation fleet and Kirk's command, drops out of WARP
expertly between the Gr'oth and the shuttle. The Klingon
battlecruiser looks almost stunned for a moment, then opens
FIRE on the Enterprise.

CUT TO:



INT - ENTERPRISE BRIDGE - SAME

SULU and CHEKOV in front of the empty CAPTAIN'S CHAIR, UHURA
at her station.

UHURA
I'm opening a channel.
(beat)
Captain?

CUT TO:

INT - KLINGON SHUTTLE - SAME

KIRK
It's us, Uhura.

SULU (O.S.)
Do you have the package, Captain?

ANGLE ON the pack Spock carried; it sits in the chair next to
Kirk.

KIRK
Yes, we do.

CUT TO:



EXT - ENTERPRISE - SAME

The captured Klingon shuttle enters the Enterprise's SHUTTLE
BAY as PHASERS and PHOTON TORPEDOES EXPLODE around them. The
instant the shuttle bay doors close, the Enterprise goes to
WARP, leaving the Klingons behind.

ROLL CREDITS

03 June 2009

star trekkin' (part III)

In what should be the final entry in my series of Star Trek-related postings, I'm going, as I threatened to do not very long ago, to "pitch" what I think would be a fantastic idea for Star Trek 2 (not II - they already made II. They've not yet made 2, but they will). Thanks for bearing with me.

The movie needs to be about (again, I've said this before) the "formation" of the Big Three: James Tiberius Kirk, Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy, Spock. By formation, of course, I mean the forging of the friendship that will get them through thick, thin, and everything else in between. Bones provides the emotion, the heart and the passion, Spock the cool detachment, reasoning, and, yes, logic ("the beginning of wisdom, not the end"). What Kirk manages to do is take the input of his two closest friends and distill these separate ingredients into something uniquely himself, and that's really what makes him the incredible leader he is. In the movie, something needs to have happened that's the catalyst for this development, that can only be overcome by these three men putting their heads together, and, by the end, the bright, shining triumvirate of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy has emerged. That's our... arc.

Now, in order for this to work, they need to face a great villain. Kirk, specifically, needs to face a great villain, because, as much fun as Nero was, and what a great idea he was, he wasn't Kirk's villain in the way that Khan Noonian Singh was, or even General Chang. If anything, Nero was Spock's villain, which is fine, but a Spock villain has to be so driven by emotion that the only way to counter him is with the immutable Vulcan logic that he really can't be anybody else's adversary. This foe they face has to be someone who's so much better than Kirk that he has to rely on his friends, he has to develop that ability where he becomes the (wait for it... wait for it...) Best of Both Worlds.

But, I think this could stand to be a halfway decent setup for the third movie, which, I think, should feature the biggest, baddest and best space battle in Star Trek history. In order for that to happen, I think it's prudent to shred continuity a little further (but, really, after collapsing Vulcan into a synthetic singularity, how much further can you go?) and reignite the Klingon/Romulan alliance against the Federation. That'd be one goddamn good fight, don't you think (particularly after J.J. & Co. showed what they could do with two ships going up against each other)? We've had the Romulans in the first movie, so in order to make this work, we'll need Klingons in the second.

I have just the Klingon villain. Captain Koloth, master of the IKS Gr'oth, and played to absolute perfection by William Campbell in the original series episode "The Trouble With Tribbles." Why Koloth? As he was in TOS, he was debonair, calculating, charming, deceitful and very, very evil. In other words, everything a good Kirk villain needs to be. Like Khan, only with a desire to bring down the entire Federation, and not simply the captain of the Enterprise. Koloth should be perfect, particularly if he can be "tweaked" a bit to fit in with our new counter-Trek universe, or whatever we're calling it.

With a storytelling goal, and now a villain, I think there needs to be a threat. As uninterested as I am in continuing the cycle of "madman hellbent on galactic destruction with his [weapon name here]," I have what I think is a pretty decent idea: The Sword of Kahless. Of course, it's not a real sword (though it might be if this film were set in the Buffy/Angel-verse, but that's another idea for another time), but something akin to a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

Stick with me, here. Say that, long ago, during one of the bigger civil wars that rocked the Klingon Empire, someone decided that, well, they needed to develop the Klingon version of the Final Solution. So, in the spirit of Kahless, who killed not only his enemies on the battlefield, but wiped out their entire bloodlines so as to excise the potential for any further dishonor to the Klingon species, the Sword was developed, a weapon designed to wipe out as many, or as few, as s/he who possesses it desires (I haven't figured out the specifics of it). Whether or not it was used, it has since been broken apart and scattered across the galaxy, in the hopes that no one ever uncovers it and attempts, once again, to do the unthinkable.

Because quest movies are fun, I thought the Sword as a device could be split into three parts: the Hilt, the Blade, and the Scabbard. So, the Federation and the Klingons (and maybe even the Romulans) have to run around to try to gather all the pieces so as to assemble it/possess one piece that can be protected or destroyed to prevent it from ever getting used. Whether the overarching goal is to use it to cement power in the Klingon Empire or to wipe out enemies external, doesn't really matter. Genocide is genocide, and it's not good, ever (see what I just did there, UN Security Council?).

I know I said this was going to be my final entry, but I'm going to do one more, where I post the first few pages of my first (probably only, too) draft of the script I'd like to see.

Hey, maybe I've found a new theme for the blog: sequels and films I'd like to see made, complete with my own proposals and script excerpts.