March 3rd, 2015
The Project: Potemkin series of independent productions boldly explores what some folks call Star Trek‘s “Lost Generation” between the end of the original series and the start of The Next Generation.
Set just after Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the 31-minute episode entitled “The Void” begins with the Potemkin investigating the disappearance of three Federation ships during the previous month in Sector 217-R.
When scans of the area come back negative, Science Officer Patricia Allen (Blaire Erskine) states that “Whatever happened to them happened quickly. No wreckage, no debris field.”
“No distress signals, no emergency beacons,” adds Lieutenant Commander Polim n’Ahman (Eric R. Moore).
“No answers,” Captain Alec Grigory (Jeff Green) concludes before turning to Allen and telling her that she “picked a hell of a time to sign aboard the Potemkin.”
But before long, Allen tells Grigory that what’s happening is “almost unbelievable. Part of this area of space is missing.”
“The space-time fabric of this sector is collapsing in upon itself,” she adds, stating that every few hours, part of the sector simply disappears.
At that point, n’Ahman reports that the ship’s sensors detect a Klingon Battle Cruiser dropping out of warp and entering the region, and within moments, Allen detects an “odd reading” that indicates an energy spike forming around the vessel.
The captain’s efforts to warn the ship out of the area come too late for the Battle Cruiser, which is quickly surrounded by a sphere of blue energy and vanishes without a trace moments later.
Captain Grigory then orders his crew to get the Potemkin out of the area, but Allen warns that any attempt by the starship to go at warp speed will draw the anomaly to the vessel. As a result, the ship attempts to move away at sublight velocity.
However, even that cautious move doesn’t protect the Potemkin from the anomaly, as another energy surge begins to surround the vessel since it had arrived using warp speed.
The captain orders a change in course, and the starship barely manages to outrun the phenomenon.
But just a few moments later, three more Klingon vessels arrive, and Commander Kumaonna (also played by Blaire Erskine) accuses the “puny Earthers” of “running away after destroying one of our vessels without provocation.”
Just then, a blue energy sphere surrounds one of her ships and makes it vanish, so the Klingon commander accuses the Potemkin of destroying the vessel.
However, Klingon Science Officer Korg (Trey Cole) confirms Grigory’s description of the danger they face. The captain then says that “perhaps we can work together” before the surly Klingon cuts off the transmission.
“Or perhaps not,” Grigory says.
Allen then tells the captain she has a “possible solution” to the dilemma and asks if Grigory knows what a “pothole” is.
The Rinorian lieutenant commander answers that “it’s an old term. It’s a hole in the road.”
“And do you know how to fix a pothole?” Allen responds.
“Fill it full of something and then pave over it?” the Russian captain replies. “And how do you propose to patch this pothole in space?”
“We pump it full of energy,” she says, suggesting that a probe be sent at warp speed to a predetermined location. “Once the void begins to form around it, we fire all weapons into the anomaly before it collapses.”
But Grigory asks what good firing into the phenomenon would do since it had already “swallowed” several space vessels.
“The ships didn’t explode, Captain,” the science officer replies. “They simply ceased to be. There was no release of energy.”
First Officer n’Ahman then proposes that instead of a probe, a hazard buoy be used since it’s heavily shielded and can be equipped with a warp field generator from one of the ship’s shuttles.
Even though the plan is likely to be viewed as an aggressive act by the Klingons, it might be the only way to stop the anomaly from expanding and destroying inhabited worlds.
Spoiler Alert: 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.
When the buoy reaches the right spot, the ship begins firing phasers at it, then photon torpedoes as well.
Just when it appears that the plan won’t be successful, the Klingon ships begin firing on the buoy.
Still, even that’s not enough energy to get rid of the void, so Commander Kumaonna orders the other Battle Cruiser to ram the buoy, and the impact finally produces enough energy to close the anomaly.
Once the danger is past, the Klingon leader tells Grigory that “I’ve lost two good ships today, two good crews.”
“They died with great honor,” the captain responds.
“She sent those ships into the void fully manned?” Allen asks. “What kind of monster–?”
“Lieutenant,” Grigory says firmly to cut Allen off. “We honor your dead, Commander.”
With that, the remaining Battle Cruiser jumps to warp speed and leaves the area.
The Starfleet captain then orders full scans of the sector to “make sure our bandage doesn’t come off.”
He also tells Allen to meet him in his ready room. When both arrive there, he states: “Less than half an hour ago, you interrupted me when I was in communication with Commander Kumaonna. I will not tolerate that sort of disrespect on my Bridge again.”
The science officer apologizes and states that she “just couldn’t believe she sent her second ship into the void on a self-destruct mission.”
“I was considering the same maneuver,” Grigory says. “No matter what was causing this void, it had to be ended here and now in this sector. If that meant sacrificing Potemkin, I would have done it in a heartbeat.”
Allen then asks why the Klingons made the sacrifice themselves, and the captain replies that the commander “was probably afraid I wouldn’t have the courage” to do it himself.
As she turns to leave, the science officer tells Grigory: “Selfish or not, I’m glad you didn’t have to prove her wrong.”
“So am I,” the captain replies as she leaves the room, “so am I.”
With my Clint Eastwood hat (including a Rinorian horn) firmly in place, it’s time to start reviewing.
The Good: I’ve always considered this part of Trek history to be woefully underexplored, so it’s great to see a new series filling in the gaps between captains Kirk and Picard. Also, the “movie Enterprise” design is my favorite starship configuration, so that adds to my enjoyment.
The crew uniforms are also cool, apparently a cross between the Classic Trek outfits and the uniforms in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (but without TMP’s pajama booties, thank goodness).
The Bad: Life in Trek would be so much easier without the Klingons, but then it wouldn’t be so much fun. With that in mind, I hope we get to see Commander Kumaonna again sometime in the “future.”
The Ugly: My only quibble is with the background of the Bridge. It certainly is impressive, but I think it extends a bit too high for officers seated there to see the monitors without standing up. And some shots have to back away to take in the entire backdrop while diminishing our view of the characters there. Still, that wasn’t a big distraction, just a minor bump in the road.
If you want to learn more about Project: Potemkin, point your Web browser here.