Project: Potemkin: ‘Doctor’s Orders’ and ‘Delivery’

If you believe that variety is the spice of life, then you’re really going to enjoy a pair of five-minute vignettes produced by the folks at Project: Potemkin, “Doctor’s Orders” and “Delivery.”

The first episode begins with Doctor Maura Drake (Renda Carr) entering the Bridge, where she encounters Chief Helm Officer Michael Delaney (Doug Harper) and Chief Communications Officer Sharon Mtume (Stephanie Burke).

“Ah, our new helm officer, if I’m not mistaken,” the chief medical officer says.

“Yes, Doctor,” Delaney replies. “’Mike’ to my shipmates, Ma’am.”

The officer stands and extends his hand for a handshake with the physician, but she doesn’t take him up on his offer.

“Don’t you ‘Ma’am’ me,” she replies. “I am a doctor. You may refer to me as ‘Doctor,’ or if you feel you must, ‘Doctor Drake.’”

“Yes, Doctor,” he responds.

“Why aren’t you in Sickbay?” she asks.

“Because I’m not sick?” Delaney replies warily.

“’Not sick,’” the doctor says. “And what has that got to do with regulations? You have been on this starship for four days, and you have not reported for your physical, Commander.”

“I was pressed into service immediately,” the helm officer states. “Perhaps you were unaware of the void that was causing ships to disappear in this sector.”

“Regulations clearly state that a crew member may not assume their duties without first being certified medically fit by the chief medical officer,” Drake responds. “Commander Delaney, report to Sickbay now.”

“Doctor, I have the Conn,” Delaney says.

“Commander Delaney, I am relieving you of the Conn pursuant to Regulation 121, Section B.”

The officer then leaves his post and walks toward the doctor at the back of the Bridge while Lieutenant Mtume takes the center seat.

Spoiler Alert #1: If you’d rather watch the fan film’s ending yourself, skip down to the link at the end of this article. If not, just continue reading.

After noticing that Delaney is rather robust, Drake notes: “Well, well. I see it’s a diet for you.”

“I’m from Xartheb,” he responds.

“I’m from Xartheb what?”she asks.

“I’m from Xartheb, Doctor,” he replies.

“No, you dolt,” she growls. “What does Xartheb have to do with dieting?”

“Xartheb is an M Class planet,” Mtume explains. “It’s a heavy gravity planet which supports a human colony that has adapted to the gravity over the past two centuries.”

“Ah, so you’re within your weight limit,” the physician states. “You see my medical kit? Do bicep curls with it on our way to Sickbay.”

With that, Delaney picks up the doctor’s medical kit, and the pair enters the turbolift.

Once inside, the helm officer states: “You’d do well on my planet, Doctor. You’re very direct.”

“Thank you, Commander,” Drake responds.

“Too bad you’re so damn scrawny,” he says as he continues exercising with the medical kit. End of Spoiler Alert #1.

And now for something almost completely different.

The second vignette begins with the U.S.S. Potemkin in orbit around Harper IV to investigate the fate of a Federation colony established on that planet four months earlier. Contact with the colony was lost three weeks ago.

Security Chief Charles Richards has beamed down to the world with a landing party of five to check out the situation, but contact with them has been lost as well.

When Mtume (Stephanie Burke) tries to hail anyone on the planet, she instead receives a bizarre signal that even the universal translator has a problem making sense of.

Captain Alic Gregory (Jeffrey Green) asks whom he’s speaking with, and the voice replies “I am.”

“Yes, you are,” he responds while completely baffled. “Are you a member of the Harper colony?”

“Confused,” the alien states.

Mtume tells the captain that the speech pattern indicates the mysterious creature is from a primitive species.

“Perhaps the colonists encountered a new life form that previous probes failed to detect,” she adds.

Gregory then states that the Federation was unaware of another species living on that planet and offers to “remove our people.”

The mysterious voice replies with two words: “gone” and “hollow.”

Spoiler Alert #2: If you’d rather watch the fan film’s ending yourself, skip down to the link at the end of this article. If not, just continue reading.

The captain then turns to his communications officer for assistance.

“What do you mean, hollow?” she asks. “What do you need?”

“More,” the alien replies.

“More what?” Mtume asks.

“Food,” the creature responds.

Gregory and Mtume slowly realize that the colonists and security officers have been eaten by whatever creature or creatures live on that world. End of Spoiler Alert #2.

Along with putting on my usual Clint Eastwood hat, maybe I should add one from Rod Serling.

The Good: I have to admit that I was at first baffled and then somewhat scared by the alien voice in “Delivery.” It would have been easy to produce something that would have been over the top or even done awkwardly (I’m reminded of an attempt to give voice to a bird-like alien whose clicking and clucking made me cringe.), but the Potemkin crew got it just right. Well done!

I also liked the second vignette since it had a Twilight Zone feel to it. The eerie mystery and its bizarre resolution caught me by surprise, and I enjoy that when watching independent productions.

The Bad: At first, I wasn’t wild about the uniforms the crew members wear since my favorites are the red jackets from Star Trek II though VI (and the PP stories take place after The Undiscovered Country), but the Potemkin clothing’s simple style and subdued colors have grown on me.

The Ugly: I’m curious as to what character development Doctor Drake will undergo. Most physicians in Star Trek have had a very sympathetic bedside manner, but this one will take some getting used to, which I’m sure was one of the reasons they took a different route with her.

If you want to learn more about Project: Potemkin, point your Web browser here. And if you want to watch “Doctor’s Orders” and “Delivery,” click on one of the links below:

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