Seven’s Secret Santa by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Dec29

Seven’s Secret Santa by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

  Seven of Nine stared at her regeneration alcove with suspicion. Under normal circumstances, and if she were a normal human being – if such a thing existed – then it would have been called a bed, and her regeneration cycle would have been called sleep. Yet while she may have begun life as a human being, and technically still was one, her time as a cyberneticly enhanced drone amongst the Borg Collective meant that she was different. As such, sleep wasn’t sleep and her bed was a vertical platform resting against a wall of computer systems. Still, to her it was normal. What was resting on the floor of her regeneration alcove, however, wasn’t. She studied it at a distance for a moment, scanning it with eyes which were more highly advanced than natural evolution would have allowed. It seemed, Seven thought, innocuous enough but its presence was unexpected and, as such, unwelcome. This was her private place on board the USS Voyager, and as such it was a violation. Having determined that the item appeared harmless, she picked it up and turned it at several angles, attempting to understand its purpose. After a minute of this, she quickly tapped her communicator badge and said, “Seven of Nine to Captain Janeway. I suggest that you go to red alert. Voyager is being invaded…”   The holographic doctor, a representation of a male human being whom everyone simply called the Doctor, busied himself in Sickbay arranging hypo-sprays as he hummed a tune from one of the operas he enjoyed. He was so preoccupied that he didn’t notice Seven as she entered the room. She had come to appreciate his company, and had thought on occasion that it may have been due to their similarities in being removed from humanity despite their appearances. His constantly-evolving programming made him an intelligent companion to converse with, and she had found him to be of great assistance over the years she had known him. She studied him as he went about his task, and she noted that the Doctor’s voice was far from unpleasant – regardless of the opinions that certain other crewmembers expressed. Seven wondered about the best way to signal the Doctor’s attention, understanding that it might be impolite to disturb him mid-song. Regardless, she coughed loudly in a feigned attempt at politeness which she had been attempting to master. Almost instantly his humming ceased and he turned to her in surprise. “Oh, Seven, I didn’t see you come in. Is anything wrong?” he asked with genuine concern. “I wished to engage you in conversation,” Seven replied, her tone of voice...

Read More
10 things that may be too Star Trek-y for Star Trek Beyond  -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Sep30

10 things that may be too Star Trek-y for Star Trek Beyond -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

The next Star Trek film has already had its fair share of ups and downs, from a game of musical chairs for directors to the hot topic of whether this is going to be the last film in the series. When Simon Pegg took on the role of co-writer it seemed like things were going on the right track, even if the new film has been given the silly title of Star Trek Beyond and there’s been talks of constant rewrites. Then he said something more worrying – not counting when he lashed out at disappointed fans over Star Trek Into Darkness or those wanting spoilers: He said that the previous working script was considered too Star Trek-y for Paramount. Given that it’s a Star Trek film, you’d expect it to be incredibly Star Trek-y, especially since it’s being released in time for the 50th anniversary of the franchise. He’s also added that the film needs to capture the sort of audience that The Avengers did, and that the idea is to make it a Western or a heist movie only set in the Star Trek framework. There’s some truth to that, but what factors could have been too Star Trek-y? And more than that, is it a bad idea to throw them away? Here are ten of the key components of Star Trek they may have meant…   Allegory: At it’s best, Star Trek has always been about trying to make us think. While working on the original series, Nichelle Nichols apparently told Gene Roddenberry what it was he was doing: “You’re telling morality plays!”, to which he grinned and replied, “Yes, but don’t tell anyone.” Like the best science fiction, Star Trek has done more than show exploration, intergalactic wars and personal relationships; It’s told stories about prejudice, arrogance, the harsh realities of war, politics, oppression, class wars… and so much more. It took issues which affect us all and made us think about them. It’s one of the aspects that’s been somewhat lost in recent years, but putting it in again wouldn’t hurt.   Klingons: Not just Klingons, but Romulans, Cardassians, Andorians and even the Ferengi. These are well-established alien races within Star Trek. There was a brief appearance of rebooted Klingons (or Blingons as some have chosen to call them) in Star Trek Into Darkness and rumour has it that they may return. Then again, some rumours claim that they’ll be introducing an altogether new race of aliens to menace our heroes. Is that necessarily a good thing? Introducing new races in the films has never been overly successful (yes, that includes the Son’a from...

Read More
A Fistful of Mirrors -by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Mar16

A Fistful of Mirrors -by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

This, Q thought, should be fun. He looked around the room, admiring its functional simplicity. The long conference table, the high-backed padded chairs, the large monitor screen on the main wall, even the potted plant in the corner seemed to cry out that it was the model of Starfleet design efficiency. It lacked a little flair, but that was to be expected from human beings. Human beings, he knew, seemed to have a problem enjoying themselves. Starfleet ones in particular. Still, even with that particular piece of knowledge being shoved in his face on a regular basis, he couldn’t just abandon his attempts to bring out the best in them. He considered his history with them, his early dealings with them and how he’d judged them for being a lesser, irresponsible species. They had proven him wrong, of course; if anything, they’d proven themselves a bit too responsible, too uptight. Since then he’d tried getting them to loosen up, but they didn’t seem to want anything to do with that or him. They seemed quite content to simply muddle about, flying about the universe in their little starships, righting wrongs and experiencing allegorical moments that were supposed to be deep and meaningful in some philosophical way. Where was the fun? he wondered. Where’s the entertainment? Of course, he realised, technically he hadn’t judged them when he first met them. That was ridiculous. Like all the Q he could bend and fold time and space however he chose. The universe was like a piece of paper, and he could make whatever origami figures he wanted to out of it – just as long as he unfolded it again once he was done, and didn’t tear it. That was one of the joys of being a Q. They might not have been omnipresent and omnipotent, but they weren’t that far off, and for Q that was the next-best thing. Unfortunately it also became complicated, even confusing him at times. Hopping through all of space and time was easy. Experiencing it from the Q perspective of everything being the present, that was hard. Technically he’d met Picard and his Enterprise crew and judged them, judging their right to explore the universe… but then he’d spent some time with Riker’s ancestor on Earth years before that, in the linear scheme of things. Which had come first? In fact, he’d interacted with humans on their world countless times before judging humanity, but didn’t that mean that by being in Earth’s past he had altered its destiny towards the stars in some way? Maybe, Q thought, they owe a part of their future to me?...

Read More
Leonard Nimoy: Each according to his gifts -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Mar06

Leonard Nimoy: Each according to his gifts -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

  He was Spock. That’s what many know, and that was one of the many thoughts that people had when they heard of the death of Leonard Nimoy. By his own admission Spock was a part of him, and in turn he brought life to the alien that he played. Without his intervention the half-human, half Vulcan science officer would have been very different. The Vulcan salute, so often accompanied with the statement “Live long and prosper”, never would have graced our screens. He was Spock. As Spock once pointed out, all living things perform according to their gifts. Leonard Nimoy performed according to his own gifts and was a director too, being responsible for bringing two Star Trek films to the big screen – one of which, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, is still considered the movie in the series with the most heart and warmth. It’s also the one which gave him a platform to address environmental issues that concerned him. Then he directed Three Men And A Baby, a comedy which became the biggest box office hit of 1987, as well as a variety of TV shows. But he was Spock. Even though he starred in many shows, plays and movies, one character in particular was iconic and would always stay with him. Yet Nimoy was also a writer. And a singer. And a photographer. And a poet. And… Summing up Leonard Nimoy by the achievements in his career is one way of looking at things, because he did so much. Another would be to talk about his life as a husband, father and grandfather. Or the things he did, like being dubbed “the conscience of Star Trek” for taking on the cause of pay equality for Nichelle Nichols and urging that his fellow Star Trek co-stars be hired for voice-over work on the animated series. Or… Again, none of that says enough about him and who he was. But it does go some way towards pointing out the wonderful quality of human being that he was. The statements and condolences from family, friends and others have been numerous. Co-stars and astronauts, politicians, presidents and fans, the influence of his life and work on so many is impossible to ignore. Like others, I’ve found my own conversations with friends steering in the direction of the sad fact that Leonard Nimoy is no longer with us, a fact that’s so hard to believe that it seems almost illogical. Quotes from both Nimoy, Spock and Star Trek in general have been going through my head since I heard the news. He isn’t really dead as long as...

Read More
The Self-Sustaining Star Trek  -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Jan17

The Self-Sustaining Star Trek -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

First JJ Abrams stepped down as director of the next Star Trek film, then Roberto Orci left. I don’t know if Orci’s departure was a decision made on friendly terms, but from his statements online, and the announcement that he isn’t writing the script either, it doesn’t look like it. I appreciate what he’s helped to bring to the films, just as I did with JJ Abrams, although I’m still not sure if the Bad Robot team has helped Star Trek or hurt it. In typical Orci fashion, his bluntness and defence of Bad Robot have rubbed many fans the wrong way. As he rightly pointed out, he makes films and we don’t. I can’t disagree with him on that. But the implication he made was: what right do the fans have to bad-mouth our efforts? There’s a simple answer: we ARE fans. Not only that, but we’re the ones buying the tickets to see those movies that he’s making… or not making, in this case. The fans are paying for it, and they deserve something good. Star Trek as a franchise may be owned by Paramount/Viacom, but its soul belongs to the fans. As Enterprise‘s sad history proved, you can’t just slap the name Star Trek on something and expect the fans to instantly buy it. No. The fans deserve quality, and on a regular basis too. They need Star Trek to be a self-sustaining source of excellent entertainment, not just for a couple of movies that come out every three or four years… but far beyond that, and on a more regular basis. One of the biggest issues is that there’s been a lack of vision lately. That may sound ridiculous, since those guys from Bad Robot did come up with a bold new future for Star Trek, and their two films did make money. But one of the biggest lessons in storytelling is that there’s a huge difference between concept and long-term execution. The Bad Robot concept was to reboot Star Trek and make it more like Star Wars, which meant jettisoning much of the slower, story-driven philosophical aspects of the earlier shows and films, and pumping up the action. It’s a concept – and one that’s worked pretty well – but is it one that can sustain itself in the long term? Probably not, which may explain why the new film’s plot was rumoured to be more “classic” Star Trek. Rewriting forty years of canon to reboot everything wasn’t a great long-term plan, although it was a good concept, and one that was arguably necessary. When Bad Robot came into the game the Star Trek...

Read More
Day of Peace, Day of Stars -by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Dec17

Day of Peace, Day of Stars -by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

“What is… this?” The Klingon stared at the object in his hand, turning it over and studying it intently. “It looks like a bomb. A bright, shining bomb,” he added, before jogging his memory of Earth culture. He raised a thick dark eyebrow and asked, “Is it a grenade?” Spock raised an eyebrow, clearly taken by surprise. “I had no idea that you were versed in archaic weapons of Earth’s past, Captain.” “Klingons have learned that we must understand weaponry beyond those of our own people,” Captain Mek’tor said thoughtfully as he pondered the object in his hand. “Just as a blade will rust if uncared for, so too will a warrior’s mind become dull if the thinking is limited.” “A willingness to learn is the mark of any progressive society,” Spock agreed diplomatically, although the Klingon outlook of applying it to military understanding was distasteful to him. “However,” he corrected the visiting captain, “the object you hold is not a weapon. It is purely ornamental.” Mek’tor gazed at it, frowning. “Ornamental?” he asked with uncertainty. Captain Kirk had been watching the scene from the top level of the cargo bay with some amusement, and cast his mind back to the events that had led to this point. Due to the Organian Peace Treaty, tensions between the Klingons and the United Federation of Planets had been defused for a while – albeit under ominous circumstances. The peace that had been enforced on them by the non-corporeal Organians had bristled those in command of both sides, and the idea of a third force interfering had unnerved Kirk at the time too. Spock had pointed out to him that only a fool would find war preferable to peace, although Bones had put his homespun wisdom on it by saying that it was like a parent spanking two fighting children and sending them to their rooms without supper. The analogy had sat better with Kirk than Spock’s words. He didn’t relish the prospect of war, but also didn’t appreciate the Organians stepping in and telling him what to do. It wasn’t just him either – the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets suddenly seemed to have one less course of action open to them, something that took away their free will… even if it was self-destructive. On the other hand, it had given the diplomatic corps a field day in trying to come up with new ways to implement the peace treaty and to try and foster better relations between the recent enemies. Some had been sensible, some had been laughable, but this one – in the mind of James...

Read More
Fashionably Late in the 24th Century -by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Oct20

Fashionably Late in the 24th Century -by Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

Star Trek has offered us some of the coolest things in sci-fi television and movies. It’s given us transporters and technobabble, great action stories and tales of intrigue, adventure and comedy. It’s shown a positive view of the future, where people can learn to look beyond their prejudices and work for the betterment of humankind. It’s been inspiring while still entertaining us. But there’s an area where it really hasn’t excelled at all, and we all know the truth here: The fashion of the future stinks. Okay, that’s not entirely true; those Starfleet uniforms usually look pretty good and quite smart. Except for those in the original pilot episode, where every crewmember seemed to be wearing an oversized sweater. Or the early Next Generation bodysuits and tunics, which were deemed so uncomfortable that the actors hated wearing them. Something can be said about the short trousers and even shorter skirts in the original series too, although those really do work once you learn to accept them. Oh, and Wesley’s early uniforms. From his grey bodysuit to his rainbow uniform, there wasn’t much to like about them. There wasn’t much people liked about the ensign wearing them either, but he did improve over time, as did his uniform. In general, however, it seemed the clothes everybody wore were hideous. From off-duty officers in weird pyjamas to aliens who appeared to be wearing your grandmother’s curtains, the fashions didn’t do much for them. Sure, the Klingons seemed to have some nice clothes at times if you’re big on leather armour, but some of the early sashes actually appeared to have tassels. It isn’t the only bling they’ve worn either, with all the facial jewellery they now seem to have in the movies. By the way, how did Nero changing the timeline in the first new film give them back their forehead ridges and inspire them to get on the piercing bandwagon anyway? I must have missed that part. But I’m digressing from the point: it seems like in the future the human race will start wearing oddly patterned, brightly coloured wool-knit adult babygrows. But that’s science fiction for you. The people behind these stories have to make things look different from what we know, so plates are now in odd shapes, bottles don’t look like bottles, vehicles look like concept cars, and hairstyles have to be more elaborate. Unfortunately, that means that the clothes have to follow suit, but there are very few casual wear outfits we’d really want to wear that are on offer. There’s one that I really liked though, and it’s in one of the best episodes of...

Read More
The Life of Riley  -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Sep14

The Life of Riley -By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

Personal log: Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley, Stardate 2820.5 Well, it looks like I’m in hot water again. No surprises there. I swear, sometimes I think that if I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have any at all. At Starfleet Academy we were taught about how Einstein figured out a better way to balance the laws of the electromagnetic field with the laws of classical mechanics. Most of it’s still a puzzle to me, I was never very good at the theoretical sciences and history. But if there’s one law I wish Einstein had figured out, it would have been Murphy’s Law. That’s the one that seems to be the real constant in my life. I’ve even taken to calling it Riley’s Law. I’ve been bounced around a few times since I’ve been on board. I thought that getting posted to the Enterprise would be the opportunity of a lifetime, and it has been. New life, new civilizations, those are all in a day’s work for us. But for Mrs. Riley’s boy Kevin it’s just been one problem after another. It wouldn’t make for good reading at Starfleet, I can tell you that. I just wish I had someone to talk to about it… “Red alert! All hands on deck! Red alert! All hands on deck!” Kevin Riley’s eyes slowly opened and he tried to focus. The alarm blared on until he leaned across the bed and slapped his hand down on it, cancelling the noise. He stared at the clock with annoyance and regretted the day that he had bought it. Like the Enterprise’s engines, he had acted on impulse when he had bought it from Harry Mudd. While some of the crew had been keeping an eye on the women that Mudd had brought with him after their ship had exploded, Riley’s bad luck had held true, and he had been one of the less fortunate men on board who had been detailed to keep an eye on Mudd himself. He had found the trader to be charming, charismatic and flamboyant. Riley had taken a liking to the man, although his mother had always warned him to be wary of any rogue who possessed the gift of the Blarney. One evening, however, Harry Mudd had produced an item from the folds of his jacket and had presented it to Riley. Riley had been dubious about accepting a gift from Mudd. Bribery of a Starfleet officer was still a punishable offence, and the officer involved was sure to receive a court-martial if it was discovered. “You misunderstand me, brave fellow,” Mudd had told him. “This is no bribe,...

Read More
Fan Film Review: Star Wreck – In The Pirkinning   By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Aug11

Fan Film Review: Star Wreck – In The Pirkinning By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

  In the reaches of deep space, a fleet of starships led by Captain Pirk are preparing to enter a strange dimensional rift called the maggot hole. Is it good? Bad? Who knows? But that’s where the story starts, and it’s quite an odd one. After this brief intro, the film flashes back to where the previous Star Wreck apparently ended, with dim-witted Captain Pirk and his crew stranded on Earth in our time period. Plingon Commander Dwarf is a hotdog vendor, the android Commander Info is nowhere to be found and Pirk is having little success in picking up women in fast food burger bars. Despite warnings of violating the First Directive and tampering with the timeline, Pirk figures that he can create a new destiny for Earth that will bring him power, fame and fortune. They just need a new ship to do it. The Vulgars tried to make first contact with Earth, but instead wound up hitting the party scene, and their ship got sold to the Russians. Seizing this opportunity, Pirk and his crew decide to take it by force and turn it into their new S.S. Kickstart. After a few years it’s ready, and soon Pirk sets out on a course of global conquest to become Emperor. It’s an easy enough job taking over, but the people of Earth don’t appreciate his leadership. Another problem is that even though a new spacefleet is assembled, none of their ships can get past twist factor 2 to explore and conquer new worlds. So when they find the maggot hole in space it seems like their prayers have been answered. Pirk makes plans to invade… only to find a parallel reality where their new enemies from a alternate Earth occupy a large space station called Babel 13. The scene is set for an epic battle between two sci-fi realities, where the inept Pirk must match wits with his long-winded counterpart Johnny K. Sherrypie. Will Babel 13’s drunk security officer Mikhael Garybrandy stay sober for long enough to do anything significant? Will Commander Dwarf ever solve the mystery of why his tactical station is the only place on the bridge that doesn’t have a chair? Will Pirk ever be able to bed a woman successfully? Parodies are always walking a fine line, and taking on both Star Trek and Babylon 5 is a tough job to do. When you add the fan-film aspect, and that this was apparently made by five guys in two rooms, it can become a worrying sign. Yet incredibly it works, and works well. Not every joke is going to get you laughing, the...

Read More
10 Books that would have made “A Piece Of The Action” worse… 	By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick
Jul28

10 Books that would have made “A Piece Of The Action” worse… By Rick Austin @EvolvedRick

Sigma Iotia II was one mixed-up planet. In the original series episode A Piece of the Action, Captain Kirk and the USS Enterprise had to do damage control on this world because the clumsy crew of the ship Horizon left some items on the planet, including leaving behind some books. One book was called Chicago Mobs of the Twenties, and the inhabitants of this world – viewing it as some sort of holy relic – have modelled their entire culture on it. Before you know it, Kirk, Spock and McCoy find themselves involved in drive-by shootings, Tommy guns, mob hits, molls and gun-running schemes. Kirk also gets to invent the card game of Fizzbin and Spock gets to complain about Kirk’s driving and poor gear-shifting. It’s a comedy episode that doesn’t take itself too seriously. But what if those crazy Iotians had used some of the other books instead? 1) Lord of the Rings: Sigma Iotia II gets renamed as Middle Earth, the South Side is the Shire, and everybody uses rings for currency. Unfortunately for the crew of the Enterprise, a rivalry has erupted between Jojo Frodo and Bela Sauronxmyx, and both sides have raised their armies in dispute. But when the locals believe that Spock is Legolas because of his ears, it inspires Kirk to take on the role of Aragorn and try to get both sides to work things out. On the downside, the locals also assume that McCoy is Gollum, and things get worse from there… 2) Images of The Beatles: In a world populated with mop-top hairstyles and occasional long moustaches, two factions have come to power – Sergeant Oxmyx’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Get Back Jojos. One wants to give peace a chance, but the other wants a revolution. It’s just a day in the life for Kirk, and Spock is more than willing to help! 3) The Encyclopedia of Professional Wrestling: Jojo “The Animal” Krako is ushering in an era of attitude to Sigma Iotia II, but “Hollywood” Bela Oxmyx isn’t about to tap out just yet. The only way to avoid things getting too hardcore is for the Federation to intervene. Enter the Enterprise Authority, a faction represented by Killer Kirk, Stone Cold Mister Spock and The Real McCoy. Shields up! 4) Superman – The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel: Does anybody remember Monty Python’s Bicycle Repairman sketch? That was set in this world. Everyone is dressed as the last son of Krypton, with the Iotian’s main cities being Metropolis, Smallville and Kandor. Will Mister Oxmyxzptlk succeed in taking over the world? Will it be Lexo Luthero?...

Read More
Page 1 of 712345...Last »