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Old August 8 2011, 02:07 AM   #1516
Bixby
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The ATLANTIS INVADERS

Getting back to the never-produced The ATLANTIS INVADERS, the third-planned episode for the STARSHIP EXETER series...

A short synopsis for the released 3rd Draft is as follows: On the aquatic planet Atlantis VI, some frightened offshore workers meet at night but are brutalized and kidnapped by stronger native beings. One of the workers is spared, subsequently organizing many others to force the unwilling administrators to plead Starfleet for help. The nearest available starship, the Exeter, is dispatched to help.

Shortly, Captain Garrovick and a landing party materialize on Atlantis VI and are brought to meet its administrators, including Brian Callahan, a former acquaintance of Garrovick’s. Callahan and the nameless director admit to being coerced into calling Starfleet for help, but recant as best they can. Unconvinced, Garrovick and crew question the lone survivor of the latest attack but find out very little.

Perturbed by the Starfleet officers’ continued presence on the mining installation, Deputy Callahan bribes the workers into silence, while the Director and his aides are confronted by their silent partner, an Orion pirate.

Later that night, Commander Cutty and his 2 security officers stumble upon 3 of the Atlantean natives as they tried to infiltrate the installation. After a short struggle, the leader is stunned unconscious while the other 2 escape with one of the security men as a captive.

Back at a storage facility, Garrovick attempts to communicate with the amphibian by using a universal translator. They are interrupted when three more burst in with energy whips and dispatch all the Starfleet officers save Garrovick. Yet another amphibian, the female Tri’tillya uses another weapon to subdue the Captain into unconsciousness.

Garrovick awakens a prisoner, alongside his missing security officer and all the other miners. Garrovick overcomes his amphibian guards then frees his fellow officer. They decide to seek help and must dive into a pool of water to escape imprisonment. They emerge into another area and are again confronted by a squad of amphibians, who eventually overwhelm them. Tragically, the security officer sacrifices his life in grand Redshirt fashion to protect his commander.

Back on the surface, Commander Harris attempts to convince the Director to cooperate in locating her Captain but he refuses, even hinders all her efforts.

A prisoner again, Garrovick faces the leader of the amphibian race, Argolas. Each accuses the other of unprovoked aggression against their kind. Argolas then accuses the miners and their technology of soiling the water that is their home and source of life. Faced with this allegation, Garrovick pledges to broker a peaceful resolution. Unwilling to believe the otherworlder, Argolas’ military leader, Drident, quashes Garrovick’s plan and he is again returned to prison.

Above the suface inside a shuttlecraft, Cutty discovers the location of the underwater city. Inside the Exeter, Harris is forbidden to interfere by Commodore Jennings back at Starfleet headquarters and to pull out of orbit.

In the amphibian city, Garrovick is again shackled, but is soon covertly released by Tri’tillya. They move about a deserted city to reach the throne room, witnessing all amphibian warriors speeding to the surface. With the help of an underwater beast, Garrovick and Tri’tillya also return to the surface.

On Exeter, after discovering evidence of the colony administrator’s dubious activities that directly contravene Starfleet regulations, Harris orders a strike team to beam back on Atlantis VI and rescue the Captain.

At the installation, chaos is everywhere as amphibians and miners clash violently. The Exeter strike team appear just in time to witness a large cargo ship blasting off into the sky. Garrovick attempts to placate the two clashing sides, but is spurned by Drident who fights him hand-to-hand. Soon defeated and disgraced, an enraged Drident stabs his king out of humiliation.

Garrovick quickly returns aboard Exeter and it launches after the already escaping first ship. Quickly dispatching 2 Orion pirate ship reinforcements, the Exeter pursues the Woden class ship into an asteroid field where it accidently destroys itself.

With the conflict over, Garrovick bids farewell to the Tri’tillya, who must now lead her people as her father did.

Last edited by Bixby; August 8 2011 at 02:28 AM.
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Old August 8 2011, 02:18 AM   #1517
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The ATLANTIS INVADERS

And that above was the general synopsis. After writing all of that I have a few observations to make:

(1) The script is clearly too long: at 60 pages on paper with multiple fight sequences, it is obvious some cutting is necessary to help it fit into a 50 to 53 minute running time (nowadays with 3 minute-long commercial breaks it would have to be even shorter, but I am assuming EXETER studio would wish to remain faithful to 1965 network standards)

(2) Going from that, I would think it necessary to combine the characters of the Director and Brian Callahan into a single character, from a standpoint of having less guest starring actors to juggle, and less FX-heavy sequences to clutter up the ending. Callahan seems to have been created only to follow the Trek tradition of having a main character’s childhood or academy acquaintance as part of the opposing side. But unlike Gary Mitchell, Finnegan or many other of Jim Kirk’s classmates and teachers, Brian Callahan’s personality (other than being a smooth-talker) remains very elusive and undefined.
The Director seems to have been intended to be a more ruthless Nilz Baris, but his motivations are obscure other than greed, but it is never explained why he couldn’t become more rich selling to the Federation rather than the Orions.

(3) As I’ve mentioned before, the ‘love’ subplot between John Garrovick and Tri’tillya feels unnecessary to the story (you will notice I did not mention it in the synopsis). It is also completely devoid of conflict: just why is Tri’tillya so attracted to Garrovick rather than a member of her own people? She basically betrays her people to rescue Garrovick, disobeying a direct command issued by her own father, and never does she feel anguish at doing so. And again, her personality seems very murky, apart from being beautiful and feeling sexual desire towards the Captain.
Her character could be replaced by a male member of her race, whose only goal is to save his people and that character would fit as well.

(4) In fact, many of the characters’ motivations are left unclear. I will enumerate them as we go more in detail...
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Old August 8 2011, 04:28 AM   #1518
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Why would an amphibian have any romantic feelings towards a mammal in the first place?
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Old August 8 2011, 04:48 AM   #1519
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Did you ever see "The Little Mermaid?"
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Old August 8 2011, 07:17 AM   #1520
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

I don't think mermaids are on the same scale...
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Old August 8 2011, 09:31 AM   #1521
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
I don't think mermaids are on the same scale...
Aww, don't be so shellfish. She was on shore leave.
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Old August 8 2011, 03:54 PM   #1522
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

"I don't think a nun would feel that way about a hill."
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Old August 9 2011, 04:40 PM   #1523
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The ATLANTIS INVADERS

PAGES 1 to 9 (Pre-credits sequence)

On planet Atlantis VI, 3 apprehensive offshore miners meet at night, and are attacked by 3 amphibian natives. After a very short battle the latter abscond with 2 of the miners. Cut to indoors, where frightened and angry workers coerce their uncooperative mining installation administrators into summoning Starfleet for help. Cut to the starship Exeter bridge for an extended sequence where crew members discuss the Captain’s slimmer waistline and B’Fuselek’s eating habits, before answering a distress call to Atlantis VI.

At first glance, it is necessary to apply the scissors to this sequence as 8 and 1/4 script pages, with action and dialogue estimated between 10 and 15 minutes of footage, is much too long for what is usually a 4 minute sequence. Before we do that, some observations:

(1) As previously mentioned, should all minor characters be white anglo-saxon types? Yes, the original series often forgot themselves with a majority of american-sounding names, but a bit of ethnic diversity for this series couldn’t hurt.

(2) Jenkins and the 2 other miners discussing their fellow workers’ disappearance, and the lack of investigation by the powers that be. It’s puzzling no one considers bad weather, clumsiness, suicide, alcohol or even a shark-like predator as possible reasons some men have vanished from an offshore installation. It’s mentioned later in the script this wasn’t a daily occurrence, more like every two weeks or so.

(3) 3 amphibians surprise the 3 workers, appear to overpower them easily then go back into the water with only two of the workers. As a director I’d have a hard time staging this: why only take 2 of the 3 men with them as the amphibians flee, especially if they are stronger. I would reduce the number to 2 amphibians.

(4) These kidnappings as such make little sense: in DEVIL IN THE DARK, the Horta used its natural abilities to kill many workers, leaving gruesome evidence for the survivors to see. In the ATLANTIS INVADERS, all the kidnap victims are merely taken prisoner. So why was Starfleet summoned? Doesn’t the colony have a local military force trained to deal with potential dangers or invasion threats? It would seem pretty foolish out in deep space to depend on rescue that could take days to arrive and not have any soldiers or weapons that would provide at least SOME form of protection.

(5) The colony DIRECTOR acts very foolishly for a man of his position. He is forcefully convinced to contact Starfleet, not realizing a starship would investigate. They arrive and he blurts out that nothing is going on, then when confronted by Starfleet personnel he claims nothing is wrong, all is under control, no breach of procedure exists, that they must leave. It’s almost as if the character of Jerry Lundergaard from FARGO had crossed over into the Star Trek universe. He even dies in a moronic way, almost of his own doing.

(6) Jenkins the only eyewitness claims that because the amphibians were humanoid that they must be alien, thus an invasion force. Not a very efficient one since they only manage to snatch one or two people on a bi-weekly basis. I am assuming since The TRESSARIAN INTERSECTION had the Gorns and post- THE THOLIAN WEB Tholians, that that episode and The ATLANTIS INVADERS occur sometime during the latter half of Star Trek’s third season or the fourth (Star Trek: Phase II). Therefore it would have been interesting to have these characters enumerating some of the suspected hostile alien races (Klingons, Romulans, etc).

Honestly, I would remove the above sequences entirely from the script and begin the episode immediately on the Exeter’s bridge. The reasons are two-fold: satisfying your main actors, and cost-cutting.

This episode is clearly meant to center on Jimm Johnson as John Garrovick, but in this third draft with all the action and additional characters, there is barely anything for Commander Harris and B’fuselek to do. I would expand on the bridge sequence for the whole segment, and end it with B’fuselek receiving Atlantis VI’s Priority One distress call, with Cutty explaining out loud that Priority One means a hostile invasion. The Red Alert klaxon sounds as Garrovick addresses the crew, building dramatic tension and music which fades right into the opening theme.

The previous minutes if featuring the crew, would address many plot points that come up later:

(1) Taking a page from the movies: ‘’Show, don’t tell!’’, instead of Cutty going on and on about Garrovick looking more fit, and that many crewmembers follow his lead, show it visually by having him standing all buff doing his duties, with the female ensigns obviously showing interest (of course Harris would be bemused by this), while the male crew members display envy and annoyance. Since Garrovick isn’t as narcissistic as Kirk, he would of course be oblivious to all the females’ glances and dismiss his leaner outlook as more of a medical necessity. From this you can build up to his unexpected romance with Tri’tillya.

(2) Garrovick and B’fuselek’s fish discussion is interesting, if a bit overdone (catfish, Red Snapper Fish, Salmon Fish, Scrod Fish...). It could be a really great opportunity to demonstrate just how alien B’fuselek is compared to his human crewmates (before I go on, I must admit to quitting on ENTERPRISE the TV show within a third of the first season, so am unfamiliar on all exploration of the Andorian race within that show). While Spock is the rigid know-it-all from high school, B’Fuselek seems more like the creepy bug-collecting geek type. Add to that the fact that as explained in the first two STARSHIP EXETER episodes, that Andorians live underground, so why not have an Andorian’s diet consist of roots, bugs and squishy larvae? Just as North Americans consume a lot of beef and pork products, while the hindus worship the cow, Jews tend to eat kosher or Asians having dog, turtle or shark as part of their menu.

(3) It would also be a good opportunity to explore the tension between Commander Harris and Cutty that comes to a near-mutiny later in the episode. Without a previously-established undercurrent of envy, jealousy, or simple dislike, Cutty just comes across as a hot-headed misogynist when he forgets all military protocol and openly defies a superior officer. It also doesn’t help his cause as all of his concern is for the missing Garrovick, but he displays none for his own security officer, Freeborn, who later dies tragically.

Harris’ stoicism and Vulcan-like demeanor could just be a shell designed to protect her as she attempts to climb the ladder towards her first command, still an old boys club in what should be a more open-minded 23rd century (as suggested by Janice Lester in TURNABOUT INTRUDER).

Last edited by Bixby; August 9 2011 at 05:05 PM.
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Old August 10 2011, 03:18 AM   #1524
Captain Robert April
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

For the teaser, I'd chop it off at "We need Starfleet!" Duh! Duh! DUHHHH!! Roll opening.

This story seems to have the germ of good concept, namely an interstellar Halliburton gone bad, but it needs some more tweaking in the area of why this mining operation is so important that Starfleet needs to investigate and what the director of this operation is trying to cover up, and why. And, of course, why the amphibian natives are doing what they're doing. Think Avatar on a smaller scale, without having to have someone going native. It doesn't have to turn into "Dances With Frogs".

The mining operation needs its own security force, and, in this case, it needs to be somewhat inadequate for the challenge before it. They'd also serve as a very obvious obstacle to keep Garrovick from getting to the bottom of the mess.
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Old August 12 2011, 03:41 AM   #1525
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
Expo67 wrote: View Post
That's all well and good. However, showing snippets to the fans is only going to increase their frustration and impatience ten-fold. And that won't help the situation at all.

I mean, it's rather uncooth, tormenting fans like that. Especially when this final act has been way overdue for some time, and all inquiring fans have gotten is very little to no response at all. Or if they have, all they have gotten is rude answers.

That's almost like poking and prodding a wasps nest. Or worse, like a feline tormenting a mouse(ala Tom and Jerry).

I say quit teasing the fans with snippets and just release it in time for the 45th Anniversary.
Oh, I know who you are now.

It'll be released when it's done, and there is nothing you, I or anyone else (bar the editor) can do or say to change that. So I suggest you go get a cup of coffee and relax in whatever safe harbor you call home while we all wait.
OH SNAP!! You may have a future as a detective! For the record, that ain't home for him any more...the eviction notice was served the other day....for all the reasons you might (or might not) imagine... and others are pending if folks don't mind their Ps & Qs...

I know this is from old posts, but I just started coming in here to keep watch on the AJAX thread.
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Old August 12 2011, 04:23 AM   #1526
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Potemkin_Prod wrote: View Post

Expo67 wrote: View Post
Entertaining and thought-provoking? Maybe to those of such juvenille, sophomoric, and liberal mentalities. But to those of a more staunch, conservative nature, not in the slightest bit.
You know, you're really speaking from ignorance. You have no idea about my political sensibilities, and you've no idea about the series you're trashing. You're also reflecting BADLY on your associates who are trying to get their own fan film series (using the Exeter sets) off the ground..
AGREED!!!

For the record, HE IS NOT associated in ANY WAY with AJAX. Just a fellow who no longer finds "Safe Harbor" on our other little board...we have little patience for trolls...(or sabatours either...)

Potemkin_Prod wrote: View Post
You've come into this thread and demanded we return to the original subject, and now you're denigrating folks with different tastes than your own. Personally, I think that's uncalled for and unfair.
ALSO AGREED!!
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Old August 12 2011, 05:14 AM   #1527
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Ok....enough dredging up the past...I just needed to clear that up...

So...any new snippets that we might see? Any more forward progress? After all, THIS is the film that drew me into the whole Trek fan film thing to begin with!!!

...also, how does one get promoted to a rank that allows one to post images??
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Old August 12 2011, 08:02 AM   #1528
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

I heard there was discussion about The Atlantis Invaders over here, so I'm popping in to address that. As has been pointed out, the script Bixby is reviewing was thrown out when I joined the project.

Here's what my notes say about the project:

In late 2003 I stumbled across the fanfilm "Starship Exeter: The Savage Empire" produced by Jimm and Josh Johnson. Crude and clumsy as it was, I had to admire the effort put into it, and in poking around a bit more I found the Exeter website and discovered that they planned to make additional episodes. Then, I found the two draft scripts on the site...

I'm going to admit here I wasn't impressed by the scripts. There were two. "The Mighty Galvanaut" was a clumsy, awkward affair with no real point and attempts at humor that fell flat. "The Atlantis Invaders" was a more traditional action adventure story, but it had too many plot threads, too many characters, too many sets, and too many scenes. However, I liked "The Savage Empire" enough to want to pitch in for fun, and I thought that offering to help rewrite one of the scripts was the way to go.

A writing sample and some exploratory scenes convinced the brothers Johnson to let me have a go at rewriting one of the scripts, and as the plot for "The Mighty Galvanaut" was annexed to "Star Trek: New Voyages", that left "Atlantis".

It didn't take long for me to realize that cleaning up the existing script was an effort in futility. As with many stories conceived by people who don't do a lot of writing, it was a tangle of plot threads, half developed ideas, and ham fisted attempts at thematics.

I became convinced that trying to fix the story as-was would be more work than doing it from scratch and would yield only a so-so result.

So, I tossed the existing script aside and wrote an entirely new one from scratch, including only those characters and plot events that stuck in my mind as interesting or useful. I kept the basic scenario, a few of the guest characters, that the Captain would have a romance, the story about the plastic treasure chest, and that the finale would feature a dramatic space chase. I didn't keep anything else. I felt my job was to make a solid, fast paced, tightly written action adventure story around these elements, and that was it.

I also changed names and added miners named Patel, Rodriguez, Watanabe, etc. to make the future less lily-white.

The original plan was that the scenes that take place on the titular Starship Exeter would be shot during the production of the new Exeter episode titled "The Tressaurian Intersection." The rest would be shot months later in a different location. After my first draft, I decided to put my primary focus on getting the story structure figured out and the shipboard scenes "locked" so that they could be shot as planned. I intended to go back to the other scenes and do a lot of reworking and adjusting in the intervening months.

The shoot for "Tressaurian" didn't go as planned, and in order to get that episode in the can, the crew had to forego any shooting of "Atlantis".

Around this time I started a new job and had to put the entire Exeter thing on the back burner, intending to revisit it later. However, the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that my script wasn't one that should be shot. "Tressaurian" had been a tough shoot, and it was a "bottle" show (shot almost entirely on the newly built ship sets). Atlantis had scenes on the ship with the crew, interior and exterior sets for the mining colony, numerous miners and aliens, which meant more costumes and makeup. It was big, and I was convinced that there was too much story to cram into a 50 minute film. And this AFTER I'd pared back the scale of the script considerably from what had preceded my attempts.

Here's one little moment from my script:

GARROVICK (CONT'D)
You set this to maximum power. I had
it set for stun.

TR'TALIA
(slight smile)
"Stun" is not a persuasive threat.

The script has never been released or posted to a website, and while I've toyed with putting it out there, I've to date decided against it.

Hope that clarifies matters.
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Old August 12 2011, 08:16 PM   #1529
T'Bonz
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

JimTheBuilder wrote: View Post
OH SNAP!! You may have a future as a detective! For the record, that ain't home for him any more...the eviction notice was served the other day....for all the reasons you might (or might not) imagine... and others are pending if folks don't mind their Ps & Qs...

I know this is from old posts, but I just started coming in here to keep watch on the AJAX thread.
I understand that you're new here (and welcome) but dredging up old posts from someone banned to attack that poster is really not acceptable.

The guy is gone, any trouble he caused here is history, and trouble he caused elsewhere as you reference is not our business and let's get back to discussing various fan productions.

Thanks.
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Old August 12 2011, 10:54 PM   #1530
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

OH, SNAP!

Sorry, couldn't resist..
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