Now that we’ve entered the holiday shopping season, Fan Film Friday happily presents a two-for-the-price-of-one bargain as we take in both “The Castaway” and “Airlock 3,” vignettes made by the producers of The Further Adventures of Star Trek: Unity.
“The Castaway” begins with the Galaxy Class U.S.S. Odyssey responding to a faint distress signal from a planet surrounded with communication-jamming metrion isotopes.
In an effort to locate the source of the beacon, Captain Lewis (Luke Sutton), Jimb’a (Adam Best) and Eleanor (Emma Long) each beam down to a different part of the planet.
Before long, Lewis finds the runabout that had crashed on the surface years ago. But the news isn’t all bad, since the captain finds only four bodies of what is usually a five-person crew, so one officer is probably still alive.
After asking that the wreckage and crew be beamed to the Odyssey, Lewis searches the area for the “castaway” despite a warning from Jimb’a that Starfleet’s Prime Directive states “we should not interfere with the affairs of undeveloped worlds.”
Before long, the captain finds a group of odd-looking computer-generated creatures. As he observes their activities, Lewis hears someone come up behind him. He draws his phaser and turns to face another human with a phaser, Aaron Drake (Liam Wellis), science officer of the starship Republic.
Drake states that he’d given up hope of being rescued and had become part of the “clan” of beings he found after the crash.
When the lieutenant introduces Lewis to the group, he states that he’s “Lewis of my old life. Like I explained to you all, the people who walk the sky. We should have a feast to celebrate his arrival.”
The captain tells Drake he’s been breaking the Prime Directive by exposing a race that hasn’t even developed electricity to Starfleet’s advanced technology.
“I was the only person to survive that crash,” Drake responds. “What did you expect me to do, hide? Live the rest of my life in some wreck?”
Lewis states that Drake could have lived among the aliens without exposing them to “our technology and our knowledge.”
“I did, to begin with,” the lieutenant says. “Then one day, a rival tribe attacked us. We were getting slaughtered.”
“So you used your phaser,” Lewis adds.
“Before I knew it, we’d killed most of them,” Drake says.
“Come on, you can’t stay here anymore,” the captain states. “We have to take you back to the Odyssey.”
“Can I just go get most of my stuff,” the lieutenant asks, “say some goodbyes?”
Lewis agrees, but Drake doesn’t go far before he turns around and fires at the captain. That action quickly escalates into a firefight between the two officers.
“Captain, I’m sorry. I don’t want to go,” the lieutenant states.”You can’t make me.”
With his next shot, Drake knocks the phaser out of the captain’s hand.
“Just go now,” the lieutenant says. “Beam back up to your ship and never come back.”
Spoiler Alert #1: If you’d rather watch the fan film’s ending yourself, skip down to the link at the end of the column, or if not, just continue reading.
As Lewis steps out from behind a tree, he carefully puts his right foot under a branch on the ground, then kicks it at the surprised Drake. As the lieutenant falls backward, the captain takes his phaser and uses it to subdue the castaway.
“I don’t know if you can understand me,” the captain tells a leader of the clan, “but I have to take him back to the people who walk in the sky now, where he belongs.”
Back on the Odyssey, Jimb’a tells the captain that the castaway is in guest quarters and under guard.
“I feel a bit too ‘Starfleety’ today,” Lewis states. Drake “made a home for himself, and we ripped it apart,” the captain says before telling his friend that he won’t press charges against the lieutenant.
“You did your duty, Lewis,” Jimb’a says. “Sometimes, that’s all you can do.” End of Spoiler Alert #1.
The second fan film is entitled “Airlock 3” and is made as part of the Children in Need fund-raising effort in England.
Almost six minutes long, the story begins with Lewis and Eleanor spying aboard the secret Trenock Nor Cardassian research station until they’re discovered and chased into Airlock 3.
They learn that their shuttle is no longer there, so they’ll have to wait for Jimb’a to bring the Odyssey close enough to beam them out.
Suddenly, the power goes out in their airlock, and a mysterious voice tells them: “I have been imprisoned here for so long.”
The voice is from a creature made of energy that feeds off negative emotions from others and is delighted at the thought that the power of a Time Lord (Lewis) could feed it forever.
Spoiler Alert #2: If you’d rather watch the ending yourself, go down to the link at the end of my review; or if not, continue reading
The captain deduces that they’re facing a Beta 12A entity, a being of pure energy like the one Captain James Kirk fought (in the Classic Trek episode “Day of the Dove”) and defeated by overwhelming it with positive emotions, especially laughter.
Lewis uses his sonic screwdriver to increase the power of their laughter, and the creature flees the station just as Jimb’a and the Odyssey arrive and beam the captain and Eleanor out of danger. End of Spoiler Alert #2.
Since we’re looking at two fan films this week, I’ve put on two Clint Eastwood hats to do double duty in my review.
The Good: I really enjoyed “The Castaway” because it deals with an interesting question: What do you do if you’re stranded on a primitive planet and no help arrives from Starfleet? Do you live a solitary existence so you don’t interfere with the beings on that world? Or do you “go native” and join the “clan” that’s willing to take you in?
But let’s look at this from a different perspective: What if you’re forced to use your phaser? Once that’s done, would you use your phaser to take over not just your primitive group but the whole planet?
There are no easy answers in this vignette on the Prime Directive, and I like it when I’m left with something to mull over after it’s done.
The Bad: I realize that “Airlock 3” is an homage to “Day of the Dove,” but I would have liked it more if Lewis and Eleanor had come up with a different resolution on their own. Perhaps the captain could have used his sonic screwdriver to determine the creature’s wavelength and attacked it with a wave on a jamming frequency until it explodes or something along those lines.
The Ugly: Getting up before the sun rises to go shopping after having eaten a big Thanksgiving feast. Now that’s UGLY!