The opening shot is a Star Trek staple, a Starfleet vessel orbiting around that episode’s alien planet du jour, with the Captain’s voice-over providing a short recap. This show’s commander, John Garrovick, mentions the reception of a high priority distress call from federation colony planet Atlantis VI. A subsequent cursory evaluation reveals no imminent threat and he readies to transport down.
The next sequence begins immediately at planetside.
Dramatically speaking , the preceding sequence fails to follow the previously-established situation logically. Why tease the audience with the possibility of a huge space battle (Code Factor One as an analogue for an alien invasion is mentioned and explained 3 times on pages 9 and 10), if you step on the brakes immediately after and have Garrovick and a small landing party beaming down as though all were well?
More appropriate, in my opinion, is to start back from commercial on Exeter’s bridge, all personnel at alert stations with the red alert klaxon still blaring. Intercut with viewing screen shots as the starship approaches the Atlantis star system at full warp speed.
Now would be a prime opportunity for Commander Harris as the Spock/science officer stand-in to be Miss Exposition and fill the audience in as to what is coming up:
(1) What is Atlantis VI, anyway? You would think Garrovick would want to be prepared for the very serious situation ahead of him, but it is only on page 22 that someone finally gives him a bit of background on the planet. It’s supposedly a water planet, does that mean there is absolutely NO surface land mass? (Earth has about 29% land mass, does Atlantis have 0%, and if so is that scientifically possible?). Also, I would assume Starfleet would do massive biological surveys on Atlantis before allowing a private company to set up for business. I’m pretty sure Starfleet would not want civilians to be annihilated by a horde of facehuggers and chestbursters...that’s a different movie universe
... Of course, doing so greatly complicates how the Amphibians manage to remain a surprise when they encounter the miners and Garrovick...
(2) Just what company is exploiting and mining Atlantis VI for ‘’scurvium’’, is it Starfleet-related, privately-owned...? It’s mentioned the mining installation has been established for 12 years. So is it the ONE offshore platform, where most of the action takes place, or are there many of them? Only one in 12 years to mine what is supposedly a deeply vital natural resource for the Federation seems odd, so it might be better to explain the company has been there only a year or less.
(3) I really dislike the name ‘’scurvium’’, by the way, but this element should also be explained more fully. Page 12 describes it as particle-form found in bodies of water, or found far beneath a planet’s crust...So, does that mean all alien worlds have Scurvium in their water, or only some planets such as Atlantis VI? Dramatically, it would mean more if only Atlantis VI contained this element in its oceans, making the planet valuable enough for Starfleet to immediately intervene, instead of simply sending a lesser intervention team, such as merchant marines or even just research vessels. However , by making the planet so valuable makes it hard to explain why the planet didn’t already have a locally-based army...
Now armed with this information as explained by Harris, it would make tactical sense for Garrovick to have a discussion with Starfleet Commodore Jennings back on Earth, get his feedback, and surely ask for reinforcements (one starship against a possible alien invasion fleet? Come ON!). He should at least have B’fuselek send a coded message. Then when within the Atlantis star system, he should have Harris and the helm officer futilely scanning for enemy ships, and B’fuselek immediately contacting the mining installation administration for a status report.