USS Tantalus: TOS Creepypasta

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Emperor Norton, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    I have been working on a Star Trek horror story of sorts since Halloween. It involves the USS Tantalus (NCC-1831): a Constitution class starship launched in the late 2260s under the command of Captain Robert Lavender, which disappears under mysterious circumstances. The Tantalus would have been secretly testing phase technology for Starfleet. It's true fate would have been that it attracted the attention of the Redjac entities, and the ship exists in the phase between our dimension and theirs. However, the Redjac entities were not simply attracted to the ship because of it's phase experiments. Though the crew were on the surface all upstanding officers, the reality of the ship would have been anything but, with intrigue and behind the scenes horror just beneath the surface long before the Redjac entities got to them. Instigated by the Redjac entities, the ship slowly sank into madness and murder. And it now exists as a ghost ship, desiccated but traveling through space under the power of evil possession, where the souls of the crew are tortured in their own personal hells throughout the centuries, unaware that they are long dead. And this ship travels through space, seeking other souls to capture and torture.

    I have been working on it in the form of my wikia. I started the wikia purely to catalog the TOS universe as I saw it. It is a personal project purely for myself and my own amusement. Not everything on that is related to the Tantalus and I treat that project as a separate thing, though based upon the other information I have set up. So far, I have some missions and a great deal of information on characters. I am constantly revising and updating things. The crew is basically a noir plot: on the surface, everyone is a perfect 23rd century officer, but beneath the surface they have problems. And they have a penchant for bringing their own problems into the plots, or of just running into scary things.

    If anyone has a thought or opinion, please feel free to share it. I do ask for constructive criticism, as other projects I have mentioned here have occasionally been met by non-constructive criticism.

    http://classicstartrekuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/USS_Tantalus_(NCC-1831)
     
  2. Galen4

    Galen4 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    A well thought out piece. I think the idea of a Starfleet "Flying Dutchman" is creepy and fun, and combines the elements of horror and science fiction in an effective way.

    But would stories be about other ships' encounters with this "ghost vessel", or attempts by the Tantalus' crew to somehow free themselves form their eternal captivity?

    While the crew may not have been the most upstanding people, it seems they've had their share of successful missions and maybe even heroic adventures. So the question becomes: do they deserve redemption?

    Also, a 24th century story could connect the Pegasus experiments to Tantalus, perhaps?

    A nice touch on the Wiki page, using old period actors for most the crew photos, by the way.

    Peace and long life. :hugegrin:
     
  3. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Thank you.

    For the moment, my focus is on the ongoing story of the Tantalus up to the point of it's final damnation. From there, I do not know. At the moment, I am attempting to keep horror element stories to a perhaps 1 in 3 ratio to more normal plots. However, even those normal plots have an element of horror and subversion, as I did with the god computer planet. On that world, the ends for the designated redshirts are grisly, and in the end the ship's interference only serves to explode into horror after the ship has gone off on it's merry way, uninterested in the consequences of what they had done. I also try to add the flaws of the characters (and they are often horrible flaws) into the stories as I am able. It is an element of a subtext beneath the 1960s TV smile facade, and I am trying to pull that off. The Tantalus is "Blue Velvet", and I am really interested in that perfect facade hiding deep horror just beneath if you care to look.

    I am trying to make it so that the characters are so flawed or engage in some horrible act such that they feel like they deserve damnation. Or at least, it is an understandable story element that punishment is inevitable. The characters who have not done terrible things themselves are all depressed people with a lot of weight. And in damnation fashion, self inflicted pain is also punished by it's own version of a personal hell. The more easily likable characters are the people like that: Thomas Fox and Wally Chang never hurt anyone but themselves, but their burdens have also hurt people around them. Fox is distant because of his emotional damage, and Chang is self hating and throws himself into being whatever the 23rd construct of a person is supposed to be. Colt Hardin is a lovable rogue on the surface, but the subtext is that his aloofness is selfish and it hurts people and he does not care because he has fun. Once I write Jon Sanford, he will be this space hippie who served on the border before transfer, where regulations are relaxed and he is a slovenly bohemian. So he has the sin of sloth. Everyone has some type of sin, whether they have hurt others or whether they are languishing in themselves. And their fate is the retribution that is visited upon them in terms of plot conventions. There is also going to be something in 2270, where some school children come on board and something horrible happens to them which Captain Lavender and the crew just cover up, and the Redjac entities start to come as the imaginary friend of these children who leads them to start doing really horrific acts. "Happy Jack" will be the name, and that is when things really get into the downhill spiral of messed up and freaky. And he'll eventually make himself known as having possessed someone in the crew, and eventually mutilating his body into this garish, horrible, monstrous human possession. Children are always creepy. Not all the 430(ish) crew is bad besides that. But everyone else is along for the ride into hell. And even I do not know if the Redjac entities have been intervening since day one to manipulate things bit by bit. This entry I did for when it was the USS Scimitar suggests that. But I do not know.

    In terms of how the damnation operates, I will say ghosts as a concept are complicated, so my conception is equally so. The ship itself does not have a functioning ghost crew, so much as it drifts without any earthly explanation under the malevolent essence of the Redjac entities. Each person exists in a personal hell befitting of whatever sin or issue they had, personally tailored to torture them. They do not really know they are dead and function on a limited level of understanding. At the same time, there is a part of the ghostly being (in whatever scientific means that would be described. "Psychic essence"?) that seeks to malevolently force others into damnation aboard the ship with a rictus grin of evil.

    I do not know where the redemption would be. In the long term, I started with the idea that some 24th century ship would eventually free them. But for the moment, I am only focused on finishing the ship itself. So they could wander space for eternity without a happy ending.

    Potentially. But I would operate more under the assumption that this was just another failed experiment that was a footnote to the Pegasus.

    Thank you. It is a placeholder until such time as I feel up to photoshopping something. It also helps to create a character if you can look at them and settle on how they look. I usually start by settling on a name for a character, which takes a while to feel right, then writing a brief idea of them, then finding an image that embodies the character, and then adding more based on what that image elicits in my imagination.

    Live long and prosper.
     
  4. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    I must also mention a few quick things. It's hard to get into proper detail the way I am writing missions are relatively brief blurbs. So that leaves out some detail I could have. However, for the moment, that is the way I am doing it. I may spin these off into stories depending on my mood as things develop. Also, I have an idea in my head called "Charlie's Day", which will be like "The Naked Time" episode, in that it demonstrates the characters. This smart kid wins a science fair with his prize egg and gets to spend the day with different people and wander the halls, and from the innocent perspective of a child it shows all sorts of things going on that he doesn't understand but the audience can understand. Men leaving M'Shara's quarters with a smile throughout the day, Dr. Ruttler seeming odd earlier in the day and then crying later, etc.
     
  5. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    @Galen4
    I was thinking, maybe I could put a Pressman ancestor on the Tantalus. It could be as one of the lesser officers. Or perhaps I could do something like have Starfleet put him on the ship as a dedicated first officer, replacing Thomas Fox. My conception of the story is also as covering that transitional period from TOS to TMP. That is the reason the Tantalus is slightly different from the Enterprise, why it has TAS elements, and so forth. So maybe it could be something like they force this guy onto the ship, and he's just a jerk, and maybe he gets killed off and swept under the rug. That would also work with another idea I have while making this stuff, which is that it's like network interference and retooling. That is why Billy Lavender gets added in year two. So that could be a thought for a Pressman being added in year three. And each time, the universe just will not allow it.
     
  6. Galen4

    Galen4 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    All good thoughts. There is also the idea of saying the phasing cloak technology is alien in origin. Perhaps the race Starfleet "borrows" if from is, or was, in some way associated with the Redjac entities. This could serve to explain how Starfleet had phasing cloak tech a good century earlier than they should have.

    Maybe the whole thing is a set up to allow the Redjac access to our universe? After all, they have to have more motivation then a love of sadism. Perhaps they don't succeed and instead become trapped with the Tantalus crew, making them all prisoners.

    And the disappearance of Tantalus would explain why this tech was lost and not replicated again until the 24th century. The memory of this incident could even have been trotted out a century later when the Treaty of Algeron was being drafted, as further motivation.

    You have some good stuff to play with here. Have fun. I'll be sure to check it out what you've done with completed stories.
     
  7. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    I am presently revising the USS Sutherland, which is the sister ship to the USS Tantalus. It is the goodie two shoes older brother where everyone is so perfect and sickly sweet and smug and self righteous, and has all the accomplishments and the Tantalus has to save them from a jam based on their over optimism, only to never get any credit. It began as a parody of season one TNG. I love TNG, but I also accept that it can be parodied and subverted.

    I have to revise the writing. And I may revise the characters to make them more distinct while reflective of early TNG maudlinism. I'm thinking of making it a repository for anything that sucked in Trekdom. The immediate thing that comes to mind is to bring in some elements from "Valiant". That DS9 episode was written for you to view the characters as self righteous smug idiots, so it's good for this.

    My thinking is that each starship is basically a culture in itself, so it can exist however one should want it to. It does not need to be like everyone else in Starfleet. That is already an element, since I have the captain enforcing really strict "everyone get along perfect or else" regulations. However, I can take it and run with it further. For example, I was thinking of adding a designated second officer who has no other job but being second officer. I already have the ship as having a separate, dedicated first officer. I figure I can make it someone who borrows from Karen Farris of the Valiant and the worst, most badly written elements of Janeway.

    http://classicstartrekuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/USS_Sutherland_(NCC-1718)

    I don't know if I want the Redjac entities to be trapped with the rest of the crew. To my thinking, the Redjac entities feed on fear and evil as a source of nourishment. The Tantalus, as far as humans are concerned, is just about evil. But to the Redjac, it is what fulfills them. And it is like a fishing lure, which is cast out into the sea of space, and then reeled back into the hell dimension from which they came.

    I don't have too much of an issue with the technology, as it clearly failed to work. This is an era of failed experiments, such as the transwarp. However, it could be something of an alien origin.

    And thank you.
     
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  8. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    I see a problem in my approach. I've been looking at this as everything going relatively normally, if with flawed or bad people in the crew and a tinge of darkness, until things hit in year three and things go to hell (literally). I think what I need to do is make this more of an arc, dropping hints at what is coming which everyone is not aware of or which they don't understand, which culminate in that end to the arc. I have to consider that. DS9 did not just have the Dominion pop up. They set it up slowly but surely, until the mechanizations were realized.

    I have to think of ways to do that in my story. Perhaps Captain Lavender keeps having nightmares he can't shake, which hint at the future. And maybe that can play into his drug addiction. I have to think. Suggestions?
     
  9. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    So I've started keeping a notebook of random ideas that pop up. I'm moving back to character development. I've decided to make Thomas Fox a robotics expert as part of his scientific field. He was lonely, so he made little robot friends for himself in lieu of a dog or fish. So he has this little ball robot pet named Servo that's a swiss army knife of things. I've also decided that Lavender would have had a fiancee at the academy who died in a shuttle crash which he survived, and was unable to pull her out of the burning wreckage. I have to think of other things for the rest of the characters too but ideas come when they come.

    I've also been thinking about excising the Xander story. It feels lazy to me, it doesn't do anything interesting enough outside the epilogue to the ending, and I can't get it to work and it sucks out creativity when I look at it. I enjoy creativity and I can feel a vibe when something is creative, and that story is a bore.
     
  10. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    If I did not say it before, I am planning to treat each year like a season of the show, including retooling and network interference per season. Hence adding Billy Lavender in year two, and Christopher Pressman in year three. It is the hand of god intervening in the universe. And each time, the universe will not allow it, meaning bad fates for the new characters.