Long ago, in a Enterprise forum not so far away, BBS member RobertScorpio
started a thread called 'My Enterprise', asking fellow forum members how they would have done the prequel series had they been in charge. In it were discussed such weighty matters as adherence to continuity, relative levels of technology, and the vital importance of having a hot chick in a tight outfit to get fourteen year old lads watching.
Now whilst I'd enjoyed Enterprise, I'd always been frustrated by it's adherence to the established Trek formula. For a series about humanities first deep space mission, everything seemed terribly familiar. Now obviously a lot of this was because those elements worked, but there also seemed to be a distinct lack of imagination. 'Hey guys, instead of saying "Shields at 30%", they say "Hull plating at 30%"! That'll make all the difference!'
So I put forward a few suggestions onto the My Enterprise thread, and they were reasonably well received. Well enough that I decided to write a fanfic based upon them. What was meant as a short story went on somewhat longer than intended, but I persevered thanks to the support of the readers (I'm not so naive as to think that all who read it enjoyed it, those who didn't like it wouldn't have stuck with it. But those who did took the time and trouble to say so, for which I am most grateful). Having never attempted anything like this before, I made mistakes. Fortunately most of the criticism I received was constructive, allowing me to fix or mitigate at least some of my errors.
'Starship Enterprise (Alternate Version): Broken Bow' was an attempt to do the equivalent of a full length pilot episode. This can be considered the first 'regular' episode. You don't need to have read the original to read this. Hopefully it will work as a stand alone story. Some characters from the broadcast Enterprise are present, but won't be quite as you remember them. There are a few new characters too. The 'hot chick in a tight outfit to get fourteen year old lads watching' turned out to be rather popular in some quarters, despite being completely over the top. Or perhaps, because
she was so over the top. If it helps, consider this a 're-imagining' of the show.
I hope this is as much fun for you to read as it is for me to write. Though considerably less hard work.
Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.
It had been a still afternoon, but as evening fell a faint breeze began to blow across the plain. The shrubs and small bushes flexed slightly, a wave of motion across the landscape. The sentinel took this opportunity to alter his own position. Most of the predatory birds were skilled at spotting movement. Staying stationary when all around was still, moving only when when the plants swayed, that was the way to stay safe. Of course, the rest of the pack did not do this. They scurried around, hunting for bugs, seeking warm places in the sun. A litter of cubs played, mock fighting, learning the skills that could one day mean the difference between life and death. It was the duty of the sentinels to keep them safe.
He stood erect on his back legs upon a boulder, an ideal position from which to keep watch. An exposed position though, hence his caution. It was a risky task, many who became sentinels would perish quickly. Those that survived and protected the pack would usually get their pick of the females. The sentinel was one of a long line who'd taken that role, though had not yet passed along his genetic legacy. This did not bother him, as such. For all their sophisticated pack structure, his species had only the most basic sentience, and no sapience to speak of. Yet, on some level, there was an awareness that something needed to be done.
Motion caught his eye, moving opposite the breeze. It came from the edge of the pack's territory, where the plain met the forest. Clearly it was no threat, there were other sentinels in that area who would give warning long before he would see anything over there, and they remained silent. He turned his attention back to the skies.
Presently a commotion amongst the pack triggered his curiosity. After another check that the sky was clear of birds he looked round. A hunting party, returning from the forest, a fresh kill carried between the teeth of the largest of them. Several females, and a number of cubs, scampered around excitedly. The large hunter dropped his kill right in front of one of the females. The sentinel felt a sudden rush of anger. This hunter was his nearest rival for dominance in the pack, and a kill such as this would count heavily in his favour. If the female were to accept it...
Movement. From above, almost directly overhead. The sentinel looked upward. It was unlike any bird he'd ever seen before, no head, no wings. Was it even a bird? No matter, it was in the sky, and heading for the plain, fast. He gave the warning cry. "Chup-chirree-chirree! Chup-chirree-chirree!"
In seconds the other sentinels echoed the call, ensuring all would hear. "Chup-chirree-chirree! Chup-chirree-chirree!" They gave it on the run, darting frantically to burrow entrances and the safety of underground. As the sentinel made his own rush to safety he noticed that the fresh kill was left forgotten on the ground. In some simple, primitive way, this caused him satisfaction.
Initially he remained near the entrance, to observe this strange interloper, but a loud roar and rush of wind forced him back into the darker depths. Then came a sudden thump. The ground shook. Dust and dried earth fell from the roof of the burrow. He sneezed. Then, silence.
The others seemed to be looking to him for leadership. A satisfactory state of affairs, but one with it's own burdens. Cautiously he edged to the entrance. There was something out there, something...different, unrecognisable, unknown.
It was, perhaps, as large as the boulder on which he had so recently stood. It's surface shone in the early evening light. Six long legs, like those of the bugs that crunched delightfully when bitten, supported it, though it didn't seem to want to move. Something shaped vaguely like a flower spun at the top, before suddenly halting. It pointed at a bright spot in the sky, where the stars were just beginning to show, although he had not noticed this particular one before.
From another hole the hunter cautiously lifted his head. For a moment their eyes met. And somehow the sentinel knew, just knew, that their rivalry would be decided here and now. Before the hunter could move the sentinel darted forward, brushing his flanks against the nearest leg. He took care not to pass underneath the thing though. The ground there was blackened, and smelled like that place near the mountains where the water steamed and bubbled, and sometimes leapt high into the air. It made his eyes sting.
He pulled back, but not too far. Other members of the pack were emerging and watching with interest. The hunter was drawing closer. Determined to prove his dominance, the sentinel swarmed up the nearest leg. Directly in front of him now was a black circle that glistened with reflected light. And within that circle....
Another creature! Of the same species as himself, but he did not recognise him so he could not be part of the pack. Instinctively he bared his teeth in a threat display. So did the new comer. He tried staring the stranger down, but the stranger did the exact same thing, and was just as persistent. Angered, the sentinel darted forward to deliver a quick bite. Again, the stranger matched his actions precisely, their noses clashing. The sentinel drew back in pain, somewhat mollified to see his opponent do the same.
No matter. The new comer seemed trapped within the strange object. The sentinel chose to ignore him, heading for the highest point. Casually he marked his territory. This would be a good spot from which to keep watch. Satisfied that all was well, he whistled out the all clear.
Beneath him his urine dribbled down the flanks of the object, over the insignia of the United Earth Space Probe Agency, and the words:
UES Enterprise DSC-06
'To Boldly Go...'
There was another observer present, watching from concealment, one who had recognized the probe, who had understood it's significance. There would be visitors soon. Clicking softly to itself, the hidden observer lifted a weapon and set off deeper into the forest. Preparations needed to be made...