When the folks at Squishy Studios produced the final three episodes of Voyage Trekkers‘ first season, they decided to go out with a bang—several bangs, actually.
Under writer/director Nathan Blackwell, the 10-vignette series has followed the misadventures of the charismatic but impulsive Captain Sunstrike (Adam Rini), the unfazed first officer, Commander Powell (Logan Blackwell), and the exasperated Doctor Rena (Gabrielle Van Buren).
The eighth episode finds Sunstrike about to go where many captains (and their boots) have gone before, but as he prepares to “make an entry with his captain’s log” with Princess Alanna (Michelle Burchfield) in her quarters, he receives a message on his communicator.
The call is from Doctor Rena, who tells Sunstrike that a ship of alien origin is headed their way. The captain replies that the crew should hail the vessel while he is involved in very important business with the princess.
But even before the captain can join the princess in bed, he receives another message, this time from Commander Powell: “Sorry to bother you, but the alien ship is now powering up its weapons systems.”
“Well,” Sunstrike responds impatiently, “fire weapons.”
“Sir,” Powell says, “it’s a pretty big ship.”
“Then fire all weapons,” the captain replies before severing the connection with the commander and gets into the bed where the princess awaits.
Meanwhile, a window behind the bed shows discharges and energy beams from the alien ship in battle with Sunstrike’s Galactic Union vessel.
Just as the captain pounces on the princess, he receives yet another call on his communicator.
“What!?” the now-annoyed Sunstrike asks.
“Captain, where are you?” Rena asks frantically. “Decks 19 through 21 are flooded with radiation!”
“Well then, seal off Decks 19 through 21!” the captain exclaims before trying to join the princess in her bed.
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.
Sunstrike doesn’t even come close to Alanna before Commander Powell calls him with the dire message that aliens are boarding their vessel.
Proving Powell’s point, a Cassigar barbarian (Noah Klinge) appears in the princess’s quarters, aims a weapon at the couple and growls, “And now, you die!”
But before the alien can get off a shot, Sunstrike pulls out a hidden weapon and blasts the intruder.
“That was so hot,” the princess states, and this time the captain won’t be denied—even when we see in the window a screaming Commander Powell tumbling through open space. End of Spoiler Alert #1.
“Fabulous Technology” is at the center of the ninth vignette, which finds Sunstrike, Rena and Powell attempting to break through a huge door to free the ambassador trapped inside.
Sunstrike attempts to use his ray gun to blast through the door. Unfortunately, he only succeeds in making the entryway “slightly warm.”
Rena then suggests that “we have to bypass the commands on an access panel by rerouting the security protocols.”
The captain then tells her to do so, but Rena responds that she doesn’t know how and said it because “it sounded plausible.”
Powell is then ordered to complete the task, and he opens an access panel full of wires of different shapes and colors.
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.
However, when the commander attempts to sever a wire, the energy backlash shocks him. He falls to the floor unconscious, and the doctor says Powell is in critical condition.
When Rena attempts to summon help with her communicator, a female voice states that the contract to utilize the device has now expired, and the user must purchase a new activation code.
Sunstrike tells her to buy the code, but when the doctor does that, the communicator still refuses to work. So much for “fabulous technology.” End of Spoiler Alert #2.
But the creators of Voyage Trekkers saved their best episode for last. Entitled “Many Ways to Eden,” the story features Sunstrike, Rena and Powell “enjoying” a diplomatic dinner intended to welcome King Opusari (James Hoenscheldt) and his blue-skinned people into the Galactic Union.
“We have traveled throughout the galaxy, and I think it’s safe to say that this is the most beautiful planet we’ve ever visited,” Sunstrike says.
“Captain, you and I should go Bordak hunting,” the king states. “It is the traditional way that our people bond two tribes together who mean to have peaceful relations.”
“That would be excellent,” Sunstrike replies. “What’s a Bordak?”
“They’re the indigenous people who we stole this planet from,” the king says matter-of-factly.
Caught off guard by Opusari’s remark, the captain returns to diplomatic mode. “There is so much that our people have to offer each other.”
“Let’s be honest,” the king says regarding his planet joining the Galactic Union. “You and I both know it’s only because of our abundant quadlithium mines.” The captain grudgingly admits that the substance is “one of the most important elements for building our communicators.”
“But the Galactic Union has very strict rules about who they let in, and according to my paperwork, you’ve met all of them,” he states, “so I say: ‘Welcome aboard.'”
At that point, a Uegrel slave (Jared Washburn) places more food on the table, and Rena says “Thank you.”
That draws a caustic comment from Princess Tialon (Jenna Leigh Scarborough), who snarls that talking to their slaves “is forbidden in our world.”
When the Uegrel withdraws from the table, he pulls out something to give to one of the guests. The small piece of paper reads: “HELP ME! I seek asylum!”
At this point, I’d normally post a Spoiler Alert, but this episode has a cool and unique twist: It lets the viewer pick from several directions the plot can go. Should the slave give the message to Sunstrike or Rena? How would each of them respond?
I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that the alternate endings involve marriage, execution and regurgitation (insert your own joke here).
So what would Clint Eastwood think of the final three episodes? Let’s find out.
The Good: Voyage Trekkers has been a hoot to watch from the very start. It’s refreshing to see a comedic independent production that doesn’t rely on an over-the-top William Shatner imitation to try to get laughs. Instead, we’ve seen sci-fi cliches cleverly lampooned with a starship crew that, for a change, is not the best in the fleet.
The Bad: I don’t think we’ve ever seen the Galactic Union starship under Sunstrike’s command. In fact, I don’t think we even know its name! Still, the plots have been so interesting that I never thought about it until just now. I suspect that this is a good response to having a limited budget to work with.
The Ugly: It would really be ugly if we never got any more tales of Voyage Trekkers, but I hear the prospects for more fun are good in that regard. VT has set a high standard of quality for other groups to reach when making funny fan films; heck, in making independent productions in general.
If you’d like to see “Phoning It In,” point your Web browser here. You can also watch “Fabulous Technology” by going to this Website, and “Many Paths to Eden” can be viewed here. If you’d like to learn more about Squishy Studios, which produces Voyage Trekkers, and even see some outtakes, go here.