For this week’s Fan Film Friday, let’s look at two “colorful” episodes of the long-running Star Trek: Unity series of independent productions, one of which focuses on people with red noses and another that deals with aliens who have blue skin.
“Cosmic Relief” begins where the previous episode ended as the U.S.S. Odyssey-A arrives at Earth’s spacedock for a full repair and refit after what Captain Lewis (Luke Sutton), a starship captain raised by the Time Lords of Doctor Who, calls “the Rapture incident.”
While enjoying some down time, Lewis takes new crew member Eleanor (Emma Long) into the station, and her response is enthusiastic: “I’m on a different … ! I’m in space! On a space station!”
Before he leaves to file his report on what happened to the Odyssey, Lewis gives his friend access to a computer terminal that will play the captain’s tutorial, which he made after becoming bored while explaining things every new crew member and friend needs to know.
Eleanor watches the file for some time but decides to try and access other files. She guesses the captain’s password, and then gains access to his “spacebook” account and posts: “Having lots of hot and sweaty Pon Farr with Jimb’a” (Adam Best, whose character has a background as a diplomat and negotiator).
Spoiler Alert #1: If you’d rather watch the fan film’s ending yourself, skip down to the end of my review; or if not, just continue reading.
Just then, the captain returns and finds her accessing information on Red Nose Day, which is part of the Comic Relief project. Lewis explains that the effort “is “important because it raises money through comedy, and those funds go to planets that aren’t as lucky as us.”
“They don’t have all the technology and all the medicines,” he continues. “They need help. They need friends, and that’s what the Federation is all about.”
After placing a red nose on himself and Eleanor, Lewis decides to check his “spacebook” page and finds a message from Jimb’a politely declining his “offer of Pon Farr” because “I really don’t swing that way.” He then puts on a red nose even though he’s not entirely sure what it’s for. End of Spoiler Alert #1.
The next episode is “The Ice of Andor,” the first fan film produced under the new series title of The Further Adventures of Star Trek: Unity.
With the Odyssey ready for departure, the captain beams aboard and sees Eleanor wearing a black outfit that’s not regulation, which causes him to say that “I like casual on this ship.”
When they reach the bridge, Lewis asks Jimb’a about their first mission, which is to investigate why the horse-like Zabathu cattle (computer-generated animals) on the planet Andoria have been vanishing over the past few months.
The starship soon arrives at the planet, and the captain beams down to a snow-covered part of the world to investigate the situation. He soon finds a herd of Zabathu and angers one of them by getting too close.
After a chase back across the ice, the creature triggers a device buried in the snow and is beamed away.
Intrigued, Lewis discovers the device is a transporter tag and uses his sonic screwdriver to activate it so he’s beamed where the Zabathu went.
He then finds himself in a subterranean Andorian city he describes as “a feat of glacial engineering.”
The captain is then surprised to see an Andorian named Gareb (Alex Langrish) fire a phaser at the animal. “You didn’t have to kill it,” Lewis says.
To explain his actions, Gareb leads the Doctor to a chamber where his bondmate Talla (Stephanie Parsons) lies in poor health.
The Andorian states that the only way to keep her alive is by giving her the milk secreted in small amounts by the animals because “it’s either them or her” since he can’t afford to take her to a medical facility.
Spoiler Alert #2: If you’d rather watch the fan film’s ending yourself, skip down to the end of my review; or if not, just continue reading.
The Andorian shows the captain a glass containing the secretion, and Lewis takes a healthy drink of the white fluid before asking “Got milk?” Gareb is stunned by the Doctor’s action and asks why the “pink skin” did that.
Lewis proposes a different solution to Gareb’s problem. After getting permission from the planet’s government, the captain beams down equipment the “blue skins” can use in creating “the first Andorian dairy.” That way, the Zabathu won’t become extinct, and the extra supply of their “milk” will keep Talla healthy until she can receive proper medical care.
The Doctor has more good news about Talla, who is the last of her clan. His tricorder scans indicate that she’s pregnant, so her race will go on.
“Is that what you do, Lewis?” Gareb asks. “Drop into people’s lives and sort them out?”
“No,” the captain responds. “I travel. I help people sort themselves out.” End of Spoiler Alert #2.
I don’t know if Clint Eastwood ever had a red nose and blue skin, but I hope my review is as “colorful” as that would be.
The Good: Unity continues to improve with every new episode. I also think it’s a good idea to follow a very serious story like “Rapture” with a light-hearted tale like “Cosmic Relief” so we can catch our breath before returning to adventure in “The Ice of Andor.”
The Bad: The series also continues to improve technically, though I still noticed a few green “halos” that pop up when you shoot against a “green screen.” However, those moments are becoming fewer with each installment.
The Ugly: It’s a shame that people need the kind of help that Comic Relief provides. If you’d like to make a contribution or learn more about that effort in the U.K., go to this Website.
If you want to watch “Cosmic Relief” online, just point your Web browser here. For “The Ice of Andor,” check out this site. And if you’d like to enjoy other works featuring Star Trek: Unity, check out this Website.