Rewriting the Classics: STAR TREK ENTERPRISE

Been a while since I whipped out this avatar…

On the anniversary of the premiere of the original STAR TREK series, it seems only fitting to pay homage to the ground-breaking science fiction series that set the standard for all things space-based science fiction, moving forward. It’s been a rocky road, to say the least, and as time moves forward and we say goodbye to more and more STAR TREK alum out there as they pass on into eternity, as well as having to watch our favorite franchise continue to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune at the hands of Bad Reboot and Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout, we must not forget that we truly are STAR TREK fans. Yes, we can do better than the creatives that have made the worst of the worst, including STD. So, let’s set the stage for one continuing saga that we will call STAR TREK.

First, let’s set the rules for canon before we throw them out the window and rewrite them logically. If you’re new to STAR TREK, here’s the chronological timeline of all of the STAR TREK series that have been created, paired with their original real world air period.

STAR TREK ENTERPRISE – 2151 to 2155 (aired 2001 to 2005)
STAR TREK DISCOVERY – 2256 to Unknown (aired 2017 to present)
STAR TREK – 2266 through 2293 (air 1966 to 1969, with movies from 1978 through 1991)
STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION – 2364 to 2376 (aired 1987 to 1994 with movies from that same year through 2002).
STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE – 2369 to 2375 (aired 1993 to 1999)
STAR TREK VOYAGER – 2371 through 2377 (1995 to 2001)

In this first part of “Rewriting the Classics,” I will be tackling my take on how STAR TREK ENTERPRISE woulda-shoulda-coulda (but obviously didn’t). How things can work to make sense and avoid a lot of issues that the series had in the first place. In retrospect, this revision will fit with canon.

The first thing I will be addressing is the technology. We know from Trek history that the tech of the 22nd century was supposed to be primitive to say the least. Cryogenic pods for long-term space travel in the early Starfleet years, weaponry with nuclear warheads, infantile subspace communications technology, and *possibly* the existence of transporters. That means we’re throwing out viewscreens, photonic torpedoes, phase cannons, a good transporter system, and ultra long-range subspace communications. We are also tossing out the warp 5 engine (for now, at least). The phase pistols are gone as well.

I’ll be replacing the above with the following: artificial gravity (experimental). Atomic missiles and plasma torpedoes. Intense particle laser canons. Extremely limited subspace communication arrays. A cargo transporter system. A warp engine capable of warp 3. Cryogenic pods for ultra long range missions.

I will be keeping the original design of the NX-01 (I actually liked it). Polarized hull plating. The overall aesthetic of the sets (submarine-like) will also be kept for visualization purposes.

Okay, so we have a basic idea of what I’ll be keeping for the show, so let’s go over the specifics of our hero ship.

Our Hero Ship, NX-01 Enterprise. ©️2001 Paramount Pictures Television. Used without permission.

Name: Enterprise
Registry: NX-01, part of Project: NX
Top Speed at Launch: Warp 3.5 (3.7 for only an hour before stress damage occurs)
Propulsion: Generation II Archer-Class Warp Drive. Generation IV Ultra Long-Range Impulse Reactor (doubles as ship’s power plant, experimental designed by Doctor Charles Tucker of the Cochrane Institute and Edison Electric Power Company)
Crew Complement: 35
Decks: 8 (as originally designed)
Offensive: 7 particle laser cannons (3 dorsal forward, port, starboard, 2 ventral-forward, 2 ventral port-starboard), 2 projectile weapons platforms (forward. Complement is limited to 20 plasma torpedoes, 4 atomic missiles)
Defensive: Magnetically polarized hull plating
Craft Support: Advanced grappling pulley system
Support Craft: 4 impulse-powered shuttle pods
Craft Utilities: 30 cryogenic sleeper pods for long-range travel. 1 cargo transporter
Year of Launch: 2151

And now, we have our crew (which you’ll see will be relatively unchanged from establishment, save for some small details).

CO: Captain Jonathan Archer (archetype unchanged)
XO/ENG: Commander Charles Tucker III
SC/COMS: Ensign Hoshi Sato
TAC/SEC: Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
NAV: Ensign Travis Mayweather
MED: Dr. Phlox (Interspecies Medical Exchange)
Observer: Subcommander T’Pol

And now, let’s get into some background of the universe.

In the mid-21st century, humanity is slowly recovering from the worst world war in history. From the build-up of tensions both politically and in society starting with the 2001 terror attacks on the United States to the uprising of the popular culture coups of western societies, everything came to a head when China was the first to attack Japan and the United States. As military engagements rose and the rise of socialism gave way to decades of famine and disease worldwide, it was India and Pakistan who began what was known as the Five Years of Nuclear Hell. That spilled over to what is commonly referred to as the Great Atomic Horror which ended World War III with the Treaty of Sydney in 2049.

Imagine the Great Atomic Horror of WWIII looking like this scene from Terminator: Rise of the Machines. Used without permission.

In 2063, a small group of survivors helped to engineer the first faster-than-light propulsion engine. This small camp in Bozeman, Montana consisted of mainly struggling survivors of the Atomic Horror, a cult lead by a fanatical leader who sought to relocate and rebuild on Mars (to get away from an Earth that had been judged), and a retired military commander who just wanted to get the hell off of the planet. That commander would be Lilly Sloan and her partner, former Professor Zefram Cochrane. Cochrane developed the engine with the cult, but it was Sloan who was chosen as the test pilot.

History records a small coups within the Bozeman camp arose which forced a change of plans. On a fateful night in April of 2063, Cochrane found himself piloting the Phoenix, taking humanity’s first steps to becoming a warp civilization, and meeting the Vulcans at the camp upon his return, ushering in a new era for humanity.

What history won’t recall were that the events of STAR TREK FIRST CONTACT happened, exactly as it did. FC took place post-coups and Cochrane/Sloan had taken over the Phoenix Project as the Starship Enterprise defended 2063 Earth against the Borg attack 300 years into the future.

Humanity’s first faster than light ship: The Phoenix. ©️1996 Paramount Pictures. Used without permission.

The year is 2151. Today, Earth is a paradise compared to what it once was, as a result of First Contact. Earth and Vulcan are at odds with one another, but only to the point that they’re shouting at each other across the table (or rather what we know of Vulcans to be “shouting”). Since First Contact, Earth civilization has returned better than ever. The United Earth government, officially taken power in 2100, had helped to rebuild the planet and heal the world of their differences. Religious sects have set aside their differences as contact with a couple of other alien species since First Contact forced Earth to take a good, long look at itself.

Symbol of the United Earth

The United Earth Space Probe Agency was founded in 2120 and was responsible for taking over Earth’s space program. It wasn’t as popular as STAR TREK would make it seem. UESPA was very low-key, only having just a handful of sleeper ships (some recycled DY-100 class experimental vessels from the 20th century) and just two warp 2 ships for long range exploration.

Civilizations from Earth wouldn’t begin colonizing the stars for a very long time. By the time the 2150s rolled around, Earth had only expanded as far as Titan. No interstellar colonies existed, though several colony ships from privateers had, indeed, launched into space (warp 1.5, sleeper ships). Earth wouldn’t begin mining the solar system until the 2110s, and as a result, several mining corporations and mining guilds had popped up over the years. One in particular is the Hinomaru Corporation, based out of Tokyo. Hinomaru, founded in 2115, launched the Pioneer, the first freighter equipped with an advanced, privately-built warp 2 engine. The Pioneer would be the first to leave the solar system and head out to Proxima Centauri, just roughly 4 light-years away. They would be the first to encounter a race called the Nausiccans, who would harass and pirate the Pioneer on a regular basis.

“Like all humans, you talk and you talk. But you have no GRANBA!” – Angry Nausiccan STAR TREK TNG “Tapestry”

When news of the Nausiccans reached the United Earth government, Hinomaru Corporation insisted that freighters be allowed to carry weapons to defend themselves. The UE denied them, saying that civilians should not have access to destructive firepower.

Secretly, however, the UE was concerned with several factors that the Vulcans had briefed them on. While they still withheld progress from Earth, the Vulcans (as a scare tactic) would advise the UE of the politics of the region. At first, the UE scoffed at the news as it didn’t concern Earth. However, when the Vulcans reported encountering a debris field that was once one of the aforementioned colony ships carrying thousands to a new world, the UE expressed their concerns to the Vulcans – who did nothing to follow-up on the matter.

Instead of relying on the Vulcans to protect them, the UE formed a research committee, in secret, to launch an investigation of their own. The UESPA simply didn’t have the resources to combat hostile alien forces their ships may encounter. Thus, a militarization initiative was undertaken and in 2130, the UE drew up the first Earth Defense Force Charter. The EDF would be responsible for militarization of UESPA and a creation of a new type of ship that would not only be used for exploration, but for military operations as well.

The problem: the plan would require Vulcan support, which the Vulcans rejected. It would also put a considerable strain on planetary resources, something the United Colonies would also reject as it was sloppily planned.

Enter: 2133 and the ratification of the Starfleet Charter. Voted on, in secret, and approved, Starfleet would begin to develop new ships, new weaponry, and new engines using realistic and reliable resources. Starfleet drew in support from the Cochrane Institute, Hinomaru Corporation (the leading sponsor of the freighter guilds), several top universities worldwide, and the best part: no reliance on the Vulcans!

The founders of Project NX were Doctor Henry Archer from RPI in Albany, New York and Doctor Charles Tucker from Edison Electric. Together, they developed the Warp Four Engine and launched the Nimitz, NX-1 (you’d recognize it as the same class as the Franklin from STAR TREK BEYOND). The Nimitz was designed and purposed to be a patrol ship that would protect the outer solar system. The research and experimentation performed on that class of ship would be the lead-in for a huge initiative that would usher in a new era in space exploration for humanity.

This newest class of ship would be the answer to a growing piracy problem, as Hinomaru Corporation began to take losses with more of their long-range freighters reporting back intense issues with the Nausiccans. These new ships would also replace the old sleeper ships by introducing a revolutionary exploratory vehicle to launch humanity into the stars.

Earth’s first “Warp 4” Starship – a patrol boat capable of warp 3.2 max at launch

Their significance in the next step of human evolution would be reflected in the names of these ships, as they would all adapt the names of the fleet of NASA’s space shuttles, starting with Enterprise.

The timeline: launch of these ships would begin in the 2160s, starting with Enterprise. Testing of all of the major systems would begin in the early 2150s, and when all was said and done, they would finally fulfill their purpose by going on extended missions into deep space half-way through the 2160s.

However, as the Vulcans had warned in their briefings to the United Earth Senate, things in the interstellar community would remain as unpredictable as a tornado causing damage in the Great Plains.

In 2151, Vulcan Ambassador T’Nok was murdered by an unknown assassin, and the Earth Embassy on Vulcan (the first interstellar Earth outpost) had been decimated in a terror attack.

While on experimental maneuvers in the asteroid belt, testing out the new particle laser cannon systems, Enterprise, under the command of Captain Jonathan Archer, had been recalled to Earth to escort Ambassador Sovol and his assistant, Subcommander T’Pol, back to Vulcan. The purpose: to go to Vulcan and investigate the destruction of the UE Embassy.

Why not send the Vulcans home on a Vulcan ship?

Just like in STAR TREK ENTERPRISE, Earth wanted to show the Vulcans that humanity was ready for the challenges ahead. While the Vulcans kept them back, protecting them from what was out there, the United Earth knew that the only way humanity would ever be ready would be to actually go out and show the interstellar community that not only was there a new player in town, but they were ready to take on the challenges of whatever was out there.

And now we enter Season 1 of STAR TREK ENTERPRISE.

S1.1: The Embassy
In our pilot episode, we are introduced to our crew. Captain Archer and Commander Tucker, two very close friends who have invested all of their lives into Project NX and Enterprise. Lt. Malcolm Reed, descended from a line of proud Royal Military officers from the UK, and one of the top hand-to-hand combat experts on the planet with expert-level Kung-Fu, Karate and Tae Kwon Do skills to back up his rating. Ensign Travis Mayweather, whose father commands the Horizon, an Earth freighter operating under the Hinomaru flag. Ensign Hoshi Sato, a university graduate from Tokyo University whose expertise includes interstellar phenomenon, subspace mechanics and a knack for decoding languages. Finally among the crew we have Doctor Phlox, and he’s there just the same as he was originally (without the Klingon patient, of course – in fact there won’t be any Klingons for quite a while in this series).

Sovol is aboard and being taken back to Vulcan. Sovol is an outcast of sorts among his fellow diplomats. He is actually a champion of humanity and is their voice in the Vulcan High Command. He gets into constant arguments with T’Pol, his advisor, who firmly stands against Sovol’s approach to humanity. She supports Vulcan’s position of holding them back from entering the interstellar community, as she seems the humans as problematic at best and dangerous at worst.

The arrival to Vulcan is not ceremonious or with pomp and circumstance. Instead, it’s met with scorn and disgust among the High Command. Sovol fights with Administrator V’Las to allow Archer access to the bomb site. T’Pol stands with V’Las’s opinion that Archer be blocked, but logically finds no reason to actually follow through with their prejudices. Reluctantly, V’Las allows Sovol and Archer’s team access to the crime scene.

During the course of the investigation, we get a glimpse of several elements that we are familiar with, but it’s not directly expressed. We see bloodied human and Vulcan corpses in the debris, as well as a video feed of a Vulcan who explodes with fiery green plasma which vaporizes everything around it. Phlox’s autopsy of the remains of several other Vulcans reveal cellular detonators that, if anyone is familiar with the bombing of Chancellor K’mpec’s chambers in STAR TREK TNG’s “Reunion” would know that the weapon used in the bombing of the Embassy was ROMULAN in origin. Of course, our heroes won’t know that but the fans will, instantly.

Several other elements of the attack raise suspicions. For instance, how, exactly, was one individual able to cause so much damage? A detonation of such a device would not cause so much destruction unless it was perfectly timed and perfectly placed. In this case, next to a hidden EPS conduit that, if violently destroyed, would take the entire building with it (which it did). These conduits were only shown in plans of the Embassy.

The Vulcan was identified as T’Lorn, a criminal among Vulcans who operated mostly out of Rigel X (a place where you’ll find all of the “scum and villainy” in the galaxy – a place where one “must be cautious” when going there).

Of course, Archer leaps at the opportunity to go. Sovol protests, but V’Las is surprisingly supportive of Archer’s display of initiative. As a result, the Administrator sends T’Pol to oversee and observe the human operation. V’Las orders Sovol to remain behind – in spite of his distain for the Ambassador, military operations are no place for a member of the honored Diplomatic Corps. And so, the NX-01 travels to Rigel X.

The events here play out similarly to how they did in the original “Broken Bow.” Replace the Suliban with the Orions, and with Archer getting shot, T’Pol takes command of Enterprise.

Back aboard the ship, T’Pol gets into an argument with Trip, just as she did in “Broken Bow.” Except, the twist here is that T’Pol doesn’t claim that Archer’s mission is a failure – on the contrary, during their first contact with the Orion Syndicate, T’Pol becomes more invested as she finds out that several Vulcans are part of the much larger operation to directly attack Earth’s interests. The Syndicate’s purpose: by the destruction of Earth, the Vulcans will lose all credibility and power in the region and the enforcers of the laws that have been suffocating the Syndicate would allow them to dominate again.

On this trip, they take back a prisoner: an Orion girl by the name of Kyonee. Kyonee doesn’t say much except that her master, Grusleth, who is also the leader of the sect responsible for the attack on the Earth Embassy, was on the run following the bombing. However, with the capture of Kyonee, it’s Enterprise that should be running from Grusleth.

The encounter with Grusleth’s ship is Archer’s first test (having recovered from his injuries thanks to Phlox’s expert care). Archer fails at diplomacy and a fire fight ensues. The battle seems evenly matched with Grusleth holding the upper hand, but vitally, his interceptor is equal in strength and firepower to Enterprise. Surprisingly, while Grusleth holds experience in interstellar combat under his belt, it’s Reed who outthinks him, giving a quip about being a 3-Dan Go Champion and being able to plan six steps ahead of Grusleth. In the end, thanks to Reed’s forward thinking, Enterprise wins the battle. Grusleth’s ship is disabled and before Reed could fire a kill shot, Archer takes another stab at diplomacy.

United with Archer, T’Pol issues a warning to Grusleth that, if scripted and performed properly, would be moving and inspiring to fans: There’s a new player in town – Humanity. Vulcan stands with them and should anyone mess with Humanity, there would be hell to pay – by Humanity, itself!

Archer returns Kyonee to Grusleth and the Orions limp away.

In Archer’s ready room, the Captain, T’Pol and Trip watch the image of Admiral Forrest on a tri-screen monitor (for some prop fan service porn) tell Enterprise that it’s time their mission begins after a job well done. Trip is impressed that T’Pol went to bat for humanity on this mission, and she quips that it was “the logical thing to do.” Trip suggests exiting as XO so he could focus on engineering, especially after the battle with Grusleth (who we will be seeing again).

Archer makes T’Pol first officer.

During the meeting, Hoshi comes in. During the course of the episode, we see that she is very frail when it comes to space travel. She wasn’t expecting to be in active service but to just lend her skills to Starfleet in training up and coming recruits in basic science skills needed to serve. She expresses that her first love is for communications and language and asks the group for advice.

(To add just a little “wokeness”), it’s T’Pol who insists that Hoshi take charge of what she loves to do and use those skills to serve the ship (since she’s clearly not going anywhere). Hoshi decides to stick to communications, and Archer approves. T’Pol volunteers to double as science officer and Archer approves of that as well.

And now, we have the crew set up exactly where they were in canon.

In the next part, I’ll explore another major part of the story and the next step in the evolution of my version of STAR TREK ENTERPRISE.

Stay tuned!

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