“Star Trek: Alderamin” or “How A Text Message About Karl Became A Story Idea”

A friend and I were chatting last night about how Star Trek: Discovery is to the Star Trek Universe what Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight” is to Adam West’s “Light Knight”. Both the same character, same city, vastly different and equally enjoyable. I went on about my personal theory about the spore drive, cloaking technology, the Klingon treaty, and the Kobayashi Maru.

Friend: “Star Fleet never had cloaking tech in Karl’s day but the Romulans did.”

Me: “Who’s Karl?”

Friend: “Stupid spell check and I was tired. Kirk.”

And then that is when, after a bunch of back and forth, a new Star Trek franchise was drafted.

Let’s call it “Star Trek: Alderamin”.

Captain Karl is a captain of the cargo ship USS Alderamin, delivering equipment and supplies throughout the far reaches of the outer rim of the Alpha Quadrant. She is escorted by a early model Defiant Class starship, USS Cepheus for protection. This is set maybe twenty, thirty years after “All Good Things” and this is Cepheus’s last tour before being decommissioned and the captain retires.

One of the signature food stuffs that the Alderamin carries is cheese. Sure, you can replicate a block of cheese, but a slice of the good stuff reminds you of home.

He’s a career cargo captain. Loves his job. Loves his family. All around great guy.

He has a small bridge crew and a dedicated engineering team. Three characters stand out for me right now.

The first officer is a Kelpien. I think much of the crew will have herd like qualities. Either I will find them in-universe or I will make them up. He is okay with his position because he knows how to manage herds and flocks. He will be important, later. His name is Tabar.

The chief engineer is a race I would have to appropriate from Star Wars – it will be a cross between a Gamorean and a Ugnaught (the guys that work in Bespin. They tore down C3P0 for parts). His name will be “Ace” Fener.

The navigator is an undetermined race of people that has a unique physiology – they feel the effects of inebriation from dairy products. They have four stomachs that ferments it like a vat. And I think somewhere in the story it becomes apparent that he has a substance abuse problem.

Now, the famous cheese is grown from a specialised culture of yeast – which is a form of life (something that Starfleet protects, right?). And the warden of that yeast – the steward of the cheese – is a mycologist and that mycologist is the Captain’s wife, Mercy Hamilton.

He has two kids – a boy and a girl. The girl is a frail thing – she was infected with ‘Barclay’s Protomorphosis Syndrome’. While she was cured, some lingering effects remained, one of which is a preternatural sense of danger like Picard had. Call it a ‘spidey sense’. And, as such, she ends up forming a kind of kinship with Tabar, my Kelpien. He becomes her mentor and guides her. Because she does not want to be a captain of a supply vessel – in her view, it’s little better than driving truck in ‘Ancient America’. She wants to join Starfleet. Her name is Olivia.

The boy is the scientist type. Precocious. He works mostly with his mom and wants to be a biologist when he grows up. He wants to deal with life on the larger scale. He talks to the yeast when no one is around and that is his imaginary friend. He kind of gazes into it and imagines that the yeast creates the rough outline of a face and talks back to him and it gives him comfort. His name is Wilbur but his family calls him “Toot”.

At some point the ship comes under attack from smugglers from the outer rim. They want to reconfigure the vats, destroy the yeast culture, and use it to make alcohol to be sold to the colonies. So, they get the prefix code for the nearly decommissioned USS Cepheus, disable it, and board the USS Alderamin.

There’s a pitched battle but it’s useless. The crew aren’t trained in combat. But Tabar is ready. He is always ready for an attack and has a plan for nearly anything – as a prey type creature would be – its how they survived. And when the attack happens, he and Olivia hatch a plan to use the transporter to go over to the Cepheus and regain control of the bridge and save the Alderamin.

Only, they are ambushed by the smugglers and have to fight their way to a secondary transporter – the cargo transporter that is not guarded because it is not configured to transport organics. “Toot” hotwires it so it can, Tabar guards the door while Olivia transports first, but as the transport is complete, she sees Tabar get shot. The smugglers are former miners and they illegally modified a digging tool – it’s a solid phase weapon. It doesn’t stun, it fires a bolt of energy. And it goes straight through Tabar’s chest.

As a consequence of the ‘Barclay’s Protomorphosis Syndrome’, our Olivia has developed a hyper ability to multitask in the face of danger (something that Tabar knew and was training her on, without her knowing). So, with the help of the computer, she is able to regain control of the Cepheus, destroy the smugglers ship (not killing any of them, though), and save the Alderamin.

When it is all said and done, and everything is sorted out, it turns out that Tabar was never in danger – his heart is located in a different spot and that shot merely went through muscle and tissue – not so much as touching his spine. He will fully recover.

The mother wants to carry on with the mission and transport food and equipment. She makes sure that the yeast will survive. The father wants to retire. And there are no more openings in Starfleet. So, Olivia is transferred to the Cepheus to the Operations department to begin her training for Starfleet. When the ship is decommissioned in a year, she will transfer to Earth to begin her training.

That, friends and neighbours, is a Star Trek Story. And I think I want to write it.