Star Trek project

Old work

This is a personal project that I worked on in 2006 or so. I particularly like the TOS era and episodes, so that's the time period I decided to go for. TOS was supposed to continue with Phase II, but that eventually turned into the motion picture featuring our friend V'ger with greetings from the machine planet.

Like so much other fan material, my stories follow the adventures an original starship, though Enterprise might make vague guest appearances. It's an easy way to isolate the material and avoid conflicts. I can also let loose and design some new characters and gadgets. Maybe that's what really pulling me in. I enjoy drawing armour, guns and warships, but I think TOS and Star Trek is better when the episodes are sort of stand-alone (some slower paced) and explore a variety of conflicts (in the abstract sense).

I rebooted this project when I saw the quite nice hammerhead ship design piece made for the (fizzled) "Final Frontier" cartoon. In 2006 I had seen a TOS episode where Daystrom and Kirk try to calm down M5, a rampaging computer. It got me thinking about how a ship or fleet built by such a computer would look, so I came up with a rectangular hammerhead design of my own, I guess almost in parallel with the other guys. I think their design (with the dish set in the split front) is better than my doodle, but I didn't like most of their characters (some-guy-captain & spunky-girl) or the... what to call it... simplified-dynamic-figure cartoon style?

It's 2018 writing this, so my old art naturally needed some cleaning up, but I also kept a lot of the old material because I enjoy respecting and launching off older source material. I barely touched the ship designs, but my human figure drawing has gotten better so I reworked (re-posed) those. I tried to keep the human figures sort of realistic in proportion and posture (maybe my style is has some european adult-cartoon roots?). Also, it's tempting to go nuts with aliens designs when, well, drawing aliens, but humanoid figures translate better into live-action and feel a bit more Star Trek.

Some old filenames suggest that I had set my stories around 2269, right at the end of TOS. They revolved around M3, a rogue Daystrom robot, and its crew. The crew concepts were a little strange, including original alien designs like unicorn women and anglerfishmen, but some strange mixed in with the familiar can make things memorable.

Added a ship sheet and some text in 2022.

Star Trek characters

Redraw of some character designs from 2006, plus a few new ones. I want many of them to be unexpected, unconventional. The captain is a cripple with a robot body (except it's actually a robot and the crew doesn't know). The doctor is a buff teethy anglerfishman. The security officer is an old (ancient) little man, etc. Also, I think alien designs seem more natural (and less like one-offs) when there are multiple background characters representing the various races, so there should be some exotic redshirts etc too. I added a DIS alien cyborg as I thought that design was strong... Unfortunately the character wasn't used much.

I did some deliberate variations of suit design to liven things up. Starfleet should have armour-padded suits for security forces.

Star Trek uniform

Padded suit. We don't see the daily lives of the crew between missions but it would probably get tedious to wear a less comfortable suit like this over many months, and it'd only protect against more primitive attacks and exploding consoles anyways. Klingons don't mind armour though. I've often wondered how advanced the fed suits are. They're probably more than just cloth (Edit: I've since elaborated on this thought on another suit drawing).

Star Trek redshirt

This is an old redshirt design which I made a bit more presentable. UFO moonbase wig?

Star Trek ships

This be some of my old ship designs, modified over the years. And I guess clam/flip-phones were still a thing when I drew this.

The main story ship might be the hammerhead (MXX-03 Multitronics Experimental Explorer), or a Dakini class long-range cruiser. The Constitution class (possibly only 12 around in TOS) is being phased out due to changing needs and many were perhaps lost. I went ahead and added a Discovery type ship after seeing the new stuff late 2018. It's based on the Phase II ship I believe. I'm glad that they didn't go for a greebly ENT type of design, though the spinny bit is wonky. Would've worked well enough as a static design me thinks.

Nacelle configuration might indicate warp speed... maybe. Apparently there's a field going between the nacelles (rear) so they need a bit of line of sight between. Longer nacelles, more field. Nacelles are spaced away from the body & saucer because of some kind of radiation. At the front we see the red Bussard collector domes, which need LoS to the front. On my Centaur the wide nacelle spacing (and the smaller prods) might suggest it has the capability to tow smaller ships within its warp bubble. Useful when evacuating. Could have extra shields.

I also added a few ships to this in 2022 and thought a bit about ship count. My vision for pre-TOS is that basically nothing of major/massive importance happened as it diminishes the 5-year exploration thing. Maybe some skirmishes and treaties. It works better as history. If there were big galactic events, humans were probably just onlookers.

But prequel writers are all like: Year 2205 - THE PHARTENING: 80% of ALL humanoid life explodes in farts due to the Z'Gel parasite. No one in the future (including the next episode) ever mentions it again. Year 2206 - The most important human ever does amazing very important thing but becomes awful character that barely appears and is finally written out of the show and never mentioned again. Year 2207 - THE SUNDERING: Half of all planets explode due to the (clumsily foreshadowed) phasic conflux conspiracy which erodes planetary particles. The great barrier around the milkyway is built by Spock to prevent more blowage so there's the answer to that, cool it was Spock a character we know. Year 2208 - We reconsidered the fart thing after fan backlash and pretend like it never happened with an obnoxious lampshade remark. But the NECROGHOSTS show up and it turns out they're the Progenitors, now out to kill the whole universe and all life they seeded. They are stopped when all sentient life is linked in a Vulcan prayer and becomes bonded and thus repel the Progenitors. Half of all stars in the universe did disappear but this has no lasting effect, nor does the mind bonding, other than it explains how aliens can understand each other (retroactively) yeah we forgot about the universal translator thing.

Star Trek ships, Bird of Prey, Klingon, Romulan, Tellarite, Andorian, Tholian, concept fan art.

Portraits and alien ships borrowing from each other. A Romulcan or whatever. Maybe a Vulcan/Romulan progenitor or just another offshoot. Ice freckles! A timeline for this TOS-like universe and some historical ships.

I like the idea that in First Contact, Zefram saw Enterprise in space, and it was at this point the timeline changed, explaining why ENT has the Akira wannabe greeblewaffle and ENT&DIS tech & feel is so different (starfleet tech was also left behind in the past at various points). The first Enterprise according to Motion Picture was likely a Vulcan-ish ring ship* rather than something like the Akira. It looks more like how we might imagine an early interstellar ship. At any rate I'll probably ignore ENT&DIS and just continue from the TOS timeline or one similar (same "map" but new game). I might actually not include the Constitution class, or the classic Enterprise combadge, just to be clear about it.

* The Motion Picture historical Enterprise XCV-330 uses ring nacelles(?) instead of tube nacelles, so it's operating on a different principle (cyclotron acceleration - you better believe it) but perhaps Vulcans & their tech were harder to get results out of than the Andorian and Tellarite friendos. So basically in my prelude story the Vulcans wanted the humans to build ships like them, but nerfed because humans can't be trusted. Then humans get to taste the Tellarite & Andorian nacelle sausages. Sorry Vulcans, we're doing hot nacelle stuff now! Seeya! Vulcans: Ok but are we still friends? But it's not like we /want/ to be friends or anything!!!

I tweaked the Tellarite design here into something a bit more demon-dwarfy because dwarfs are cool and Tellarites are not. They're one of the UFP founders and kinda important. The Tellarite ship from ENT violated some nacelle rules and was a kind of boring Calamari blob anyways, so I changed it into a mushroom because... Dwarf Fortress. It needs to be similar to the Constitution shape since the Tellarites likely influenced its design. I also drew a TOS Andorian ship.

The cables were used on several of the ENT Klingon ships like the D5 and Raptor, but disappeared by the time of the D7... maybe due to better structural integrity fields. But I kept them as they're make the ships seem like war chariots and they also smooth the body-neck transition.

I think the decent reason why the Feds don't use cloaks is that 99.9% of the time in TOS they are doing mundane stuff which we never see. A waste of resources, unlike for the more warlike Klingons and Romulans. Also don't need three samey factions on-screen (unseen, heh). Fans are very focused on ship battles and combat specs, but a federation person might be more excited about scanning the weird toads on planet Khryll-5 or getting slightly improved bio filters, higher efficiency replicators (larger rations), or an extra holodeck suite.

The Inquiry class is from PIC, but was originally a game concept iirc. The concept art is okay but the PIC model implementation was sloppy and muddy. I tried to make a TOS version but it looks too anachronistic with paint jobs and squished body so, ~meh, I should erase it.

I'm thinking that the humans moved away from the Vulcanoid cyclrotron ring ship tech to tube nacelles after being outmatched by the Romulans mid-war, then moving to a Daedelus type ship which is closer to the modern day ships in shape. Still, there's a century until that, not sure how/if to fill. My dates approximate the official timeline. But if I want the TOS era to be one of a second, expanded exploration then I can't wait (from 2160) until 2260.

I could throw in some catastrophe to rein things in. I'm not keen on catastrophes and big events (I wouldn't do a "burn" thing)... but I suppose something... let's say a swarm of space-wildlife preservation drones escorting some space jellies is passing through the home sectors (or entire alpha quadrant) and everyone has to turtle up for decades as the mysterious advanced drones are single minded and aggressive, easily disabling any roaming ships (similar to the Whale Probe). Perhaps some ship had tried to shoot a space jelly and the drones were like Nope - Big nopes for all of you ants.

Some of these disabled ships were doomed, whilst others perhaps limped to nearby worlds under improvised "sail" power. Some colonies (having been severed from the UFP) might've gone rogue, though FTL communications is probably possible. Maybe the UFP and Klingons were just about to start a brawl (Klingons noticing the weakened UFP after the Romulan conflict) and the whole show just got cancelled, their impotent fleets adrift to... form a weird community in space? Remain mysteriously lost forever? Become a haunted graveyard? Then there would be alien visitors trapped on Earth for decades leading to... things, like half-Vulcans. Extra material for the TOS era story playground.

World governments presumably focused on post-war restoration, internal affairs and planetside infrastructure tech for the duration. Any new ships designed and built had to be kept berthed and were probably old by the time the swarm had passed and spacey activities could resume. I like pushing the idea of there being much more advanced things out there that they just have to stay out of the way of. One needs to address the reality that not all aliens would be at the same tech level. It's probable that the active factions will self-balance (spying/sharing) but only if the gap is small enough. I named the drones after Dra'Azon - a powerful guardian entity in Consider Phlebas.

Star Trek escape capsules and life boats

Here I'm thinking about survival systems. First, it seems reasonable that a ship with transporters would just beam people who get sucked into space right back automatically. The tractor beam could also be used. More primitive solutions like net casters might work too.

But if these fail (power loss, damage), I think the uniforms and combat suits should work as space suits. When vacuum is detected they squeeze up and a helmet is somehow provided.

The fabric has to be comfortable (loose, breathing, light etc) for daily work, so I imagine them using some advanced layered materials which can change property when electrically pulsed. When exposed, surviving for some 10 seconds should not be a problem as long as the redshirt doesn't hold their breath rupturing their lungs (chest pressure from the suit might protect here somewhat).

A suit probably can't carry much oxygen but perhaps a miniature "generator" or recycler could be hinted at. It's the future after all. Possibly the suit doesn't need to be airtight around the body, just the helmet area. Not sure what happens with farts :o

An unexpected complication could be getting a rapid spin from ejection, which would make it very hard to fiddle with a helmet or survival gear, and the spin might send too much blood to the head or pull on the limbs (you'd probably accelerate like a ballerina pulling the arms in). That's why the suit would likely need mini jets or a drive, just enough to stop spin and maybe even drift back.

The helmet bit is tricky... Basically I was thinking that if the character has to fiddle a bit with the emergency helmet, panicking in space, then it will seem more authentic and dramatic than e.g. an automatic system which somehow deploys from the collar. I really want to avoid "materializing helmet" and "personal force field", and I also want the suit to be sort of slim, so no bulky mechanism. Not sure how to do it, but perhaps a gold helmet could be blown as a bubble from a cartridge. A hole is cut (built-in mini laser or natural fissure), then the bubble fits right over a collar which auto-seals. This seems like it could be like a 10 second process done before or after ejection, but possibly the bubble forms better in space. I like the idea of a hardened bubble helmet as it's quite pulp-scifi. Cadets would practice "violent ejection" in zero-G 0.25 atmospheres. Maybe competing for best time, some 6.92 seconds average for the star pupil.

But there are two problems: A. You can't hold the bubble before it hardens and once the hole is cut (delay?) the inside gas pressure will propel the bubble away (has to be shot towards the body). B. You might see poorly with vacuum eyeballs.

Another more elegant idea that was suggested to me, is having the collar shoot up a plastic bag tube around the head and then it's sealed at the top. The air pressure inside could then expand it to a sort of bubble (maybe wrinkly though). It would be reasonably compact when not in use (i.e. most of the time), and could also be deployed when unconscious from an explosion. Perhaps there are many suit variants.

Lighter suits could come with a pocket/pouch containing some sort of plastic bag with an embedded oxygen device. Put it over the head and it seals around the neck. Could help in the case of gas leaks/attacks too, maybe even shuttle crashes on hostile worlds.

As for the lifeboats, I thought having some launch out the saucer sides might be cool. The escape pods only have a weak impulse drive, whilst the lifeboats have simple warp engines. They're less premium than the shuttles, instead spending resource points on survival gear. Rations and maybe even "cryo pills" which can put people into a sort of hibernation where they use less resources during extended journeys. The buggy shuttle is based on some design from Prodigy. I wanted to make it modular so the shuttle is an attachment and the undercarriage can be left behind. Not sure why such a design would be used... maybe it saves fuel as hovering around is likely expensive.

Space stations and exploration.

Space station variants and exploration stuff. The Doomsday Machine has some organic elements to it so I think... maybe curling it up could be interesting. I gave the telescope some long arms to suggest reach, but it probably uses distortion fields of some sort.

A mature Federation would probably be so far ahead in combined research & numbers that xenophobic single-species factions are more like DPRK. That's why a Federation exploration vessel easily matches their best warships, and it works with the show's original vision: exploration-cooperation-adventure, not war. The ships aren't really cool enough for pew-pew anyways. I'm tempted to make the Constitution type ships the general Federation ships by the time of TOS, suggesting that they are designed as a joint venture by the members and carry mixed crews (though likely balanced differently depending on region / home dock).

Large starships should be faster than smaller stuff like shuttles as I think starships are the main course. Perhaps large engines are needed to spproach warp 5 or 6. Unmanned things could approach that, maybe because they don't need to worry about radiation and such, and the drives could be one-way disposables. I'd limit shuttles to 3, max 4 because otherwise they'd be too useful, supplanting starships.


Pilot episode

I don't much like to sit through origin stories, especially not in superhero movies. I'm thinking of how I used to find random comics in my Grandma's attic (a long time ago). They were pretty much standalone adventures back then, but often the background story trickled in. So, for a pilot I like to see something more like a vertical slice, featuring the main components/characters/settings. Also, there's some sort of writing trick... to write the first chapter last?

Episode 2

The B-plot focuses on the Doctor, who, despite his good looks, has trouble getting some of the sick crew to show up. In the end he solves it by employing(deploying?) an Orion nurse...*

*Technically Starfleet crew are vaccinated against their influence though.

Mid-season episode

I found this incomplete synopsis jotted down and I'm not sure if it can be wrestled into shape. Probably not by me. There's no B-plot. Also, I'm just calling the character by their role as names are still up in the air.

The ship's Doctor (buff anglerfishman) and Second (Gorn lizard) are fighting in a strange arena with an interactive, chessboard-like floor covered by symbols. Doctor parries a seemingly deadly blow, commenting that that trick won't work twice. How did they end up here?

~Time rewind!

The ship's Doctor (buff anglerfishman) and Second (Gorn lizard) are fighting with very heavy, double-headed hammer/mace staffs, panting, sweating. Movements are slow but calculated (Gorns are not that fast). Doctor lands a strike and proclaims "Nachuc!", eyeing a scorekeeper (Nurse) who is moving strange metal ornaments on a wooden board, suggesting that this is a form of alien ritual combat or popular sport. The combatants wear funky armour, black versus white, corresponding to the layout of the score board. However, a casual observer can't tell from the strange scoreboard who is winning.

Oof! - Second groans, resuming a battle stance, clearly a little beat.
Not bad for a doctor - Second grins. 
Well, I'm a quick study.
Not quick enough! - Second pulls an impressive move. Doctor is hit in the chest.
  A graceful follow up hit takes Doctor down.
Double Nachuc! - Second gloats. Don't feel bad, I ---
  But wait, Doctor has trouble getting back up, falling to a knee,
  clinging to the battle stick for support.
Nurse! - The scorekeeper rushes in.
The hit wasn't that bad. Something is wrong.

Supporting Doctor, they lumber out of the gym. In the corridor several crewmen are seen, some looking a bit worn. Nurse picks up this clue immediately, starting to make inquires.

Cut to later, medibay, full of sick people. Nurse explains to Captain that there's a virus that somehow got past the filers, and the whole crew is infected. They picked it up somewhere (not relevant?). It's a rare strain, thought extinct. They will need help, brain help! There are a few experts, but only one nearby. However, this expert has a troubled history with the Federation, to say the least (unethical brains research). With no other options, they set a course.

The crew, save the Captain, are all very weak upon arriving at the destination, a no-name, supposedly pre-warp planet (population: Millions) with a small moon. They are captured by an interceptor and wake up imprisoned. Hmm. It seems the crew gave up the ship very easily. Captain certainly thinks so.

Captain and Second is brought to Expert, who explains that the crew has been cured, continuing to explain that they will now have to participate in The Games, which seem quite deadly. Captain protests. Expert counters that she's a participant too. In fact, she is well in the top 200 and expects to beat Yab Locrant next match, making it that a top 100... and that comes with special rewards. Top 100 means relocation to district one. Expert nods to a nice, glistering city seen at a distance outside the window, silver shuttles moving leisurely between ivory towers and lazy hanging gardens. Second seems to think that the games are a pretty cool idea. Expert agrees and thinks Captain will change mind on the matter. Captain ponders this, suspiciously, and finally agrees. Great! It's settled then! People sure are behaving strangely here. The crew too.

While Expert is clever, she does not appear to be suspicious about Captain's form. Captain is actually an advanced floating robot, but as robots are not possible in this era, everyone assumes Captain is a human brain in a cybernetic enclosure... and Captain does little to discourage this view... for its own reasons.

As such, Captain is not affected by the mind control exercised by a massive lump of brain matter in the orbit (inside the small moon), built from all the previous top 100 victors. Expert made the first steps in constructing this brain, but eventually fell victim to it. Due to the orbit of the moon around the planet, Captain is able to wrestle moments of clarity out of the crew. During these moments, they investigate the history of this planet, empty ivory city, the office of Expert. They reason out what happened here, and eventually manage to construct a mind-shield. The battle at the beginning is also resolved with no casualties, in the nick of time.

Looking for the Expert, it's too late, she was assimilated into the mass of brains (having won her last match). Maybe, in a way, this is what she wanted, they speculate.

But what to do about the big brain? Is it right to attack such a creature? Maybe it claims to be new, reformed, complete, out of chrysalis (would you blame a baby?), and simply leaves before anyone has anything to say on the matter.

The people of the planet are free. But what will they do now? What a mess!

Season finale

Star Trek Xi

M3 finally finds the machine planet or sister unit M3. Twist: sort-of-good-guy Borg. I'm reminded of the Federation as described by Quark and Garak over a glass of rootbeer. The Xi are much more forceful, ignoring the prime directive and the wishes of others. They sometimes even destroy races who fail to be "nice", in order to protect other local lifeforms. But so does the Federation I guess.

Scattered thoughts

One subject that's difficult to tackle is that of antagonists. Can an alien race be irredeemable? One might argue that aliens could be all sorts of weird and hardwired... but in practice we see most Trek aliens as slightly odd humans and stories do carry a moral message. If aliens are portrayed as monolithic that's can feel like blatant stereotyping. But it's also uninteresting to overhumanize and give every alien the full human moral range.

Did we ever see a big evil/antagonistic but voluntary alliance in Star Trek (not counting the mirror universe)? I wonder what one would look like. I'm thinking something like, the Romulans, Cardassians, Klingon and Ferengi just get chummy and decide the Federation needs to go (it's insidious). But it would be out of character for those to ally. The allied aliens would probably need to all share ideals and traits which are big Federation no-nos (e.g. caste/slavery system, cannibalism, bio weapons, nuking/enslaving primitive worlds or otherwise violating the prime directive). But they're probably not highly xenophobic if comfortably allied. It's possible that they're all happy (inherently) and just appear evil from our perspective, but if they're expansionist and come into conflict with the Federation then it seems more likely that the populations brought under their heel are suffering (the reverse might be true if the Feds expand into their space, forcefully disrupting their culture even if with good intentions).

Some aliens might be so xenophobic they only ever put other aliens to work in the mines, so this type of antagonist would not be very diverse in regards to their fleet and ship crew. Alone they could not challenge the Federation but would be limited to colony harassment and sneaky terrorism (unless they have perhaps broken the prime directive and enslaved a lot of worlds to use for fleet production, i.e. tapping resources the Federation won't due to its moral code). The Dominion is larger but employs unnatural manipulation & control so its members are not really coherent like those of the Federation. I suppose it's possible to have a Federation-like alliance where the members are all kinda nice, but there's a Big Misunderstanding causing conflict with the Federation. Some planets blew up resulting in blood lasting centuries. Technically the two sides could've been neutral or even friends, but it's too late due to escalation and propaganda. Maybe too close to home and painful to watch as an omniscient viewer though, just seeing them dig that hole.

I've also been thinking of Episodic vs Sequential formats. TOS had an episodic format with no big seasonal plot. We did see some of the relationships evolve, but that was it. A viewer could jump in at any time really. Game of Thrones was sequential so you'd feel like you missed something if you joined mid season. Modern Doctor Who and Trek are more like strange confused hybrids. Too many writers working in parallel and with their own ideas, resulting in lack of coherence. The push for constant "epic" season endings often results in even stronger anti-climaxes as ultimately they can't upset the next season much. Also, sometimes I think about Dayna from Blake's 7. She was introduced quite strongly in S3E1 as this super competent kickass amazon technowizard iron lady, but it's never followed up on and she's sort of just regular crew. It made me so sad.

For me the formula would be to go episodic, then trickle in lore and ongoing events more as background noise, and let characters flesh out over time.

On Warp Speed and Exploration

Previously I have expressed some concern that giving the Federation 100 years to explore between the Romulan war and TOS could be problematic, resulting in too much exploration... but is it really so? How many star systems could be explored in that time? Supposedly 18% of the galaxy had been explored. That seems like a lot. To make an estimate of my own I must first know how fast ships are.

There are multiple Warp Factor tables. The TNG+ one sort of maps a TOS 1-21 scale into a 1-10 scale. Actually, in TOS 10 was the writer's limit, but it wasn't always followed. A normal cruising speed during early exploration might've been 100x the speed of light (Warp 4~5), which really isn't all that fast... 100 ly explored per travel year. If I assume 100 ships hyper-efficiently visits a new star every 5 ly, for 100 years, that's... (100*100*100)/5 = 200 000 stars. There are well over 100 billion stars in the galaxy. However, "exploration" likely includes telescope studies and unmanned probes. TOS mentions there only being 12 starships like the Enterprise. Practically ships would operate within a smaller radius and make many revisits and return trips. Judging by some Star Trek map research a lot of the action takes place within a few hundred ly. There are 260 000 stars within 250 ly. At 250x the speed of light (Warp 6'ish) a 250 ly trip would take a year then another back. While the Enterprise was on a 5 year mission, 250 ly seems a bit distant for placing early encounters like Romulans, Klingons, Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites. Those would probably be within months or weeks of travel time to Earth, with Vulcan being the closest. 15-50 ly seems about right given the TOS speed of Warp 6. Though this might cause strategical issues later with speeds upwards 8000x that of light for TNG Warp 9.99 (25 ly in 27hrs compared to 1-2 months at TOS speeds).


A redesign of the ship in "Enterprise". However, '06 was after show... and I remember doing it when the show began (2001? That doesn't seem right either). Time-wobble!