TNG season 1 drafts from Creating TNG by Mark Altman & Ed Gross

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Lance, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I mentioned in another thread recently that I am in possession of a book titled 'Creating The Next Generation', by well known Trek fan scholars Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross. It contains several synopses of early versions of TNG season one scripts, examines the changes made in subsequent drafts right up the broadcast version, and in a fascinating study in how several of the stories were destroyed by excessive rewrites, but others were saved from a fate worse than Gagh.

    In this thread, I propose to provide my own summaries of these early drafts, to demonstrate (for those who do not know the history) how TNG progressed from early conception to what we are familiar with.


    First up is "Encounter At Farpoint".

    The book contains a couple of different versions of this 'pilot episode'.

    The first is an Outline which is dated December 5, 1986, and credited only to Dorothy Fontana (who was the co-writer on the finished version). It is the earliest document of TNG in story form.

    (Bare in mind this was only an outline, it never reached script form in exactly this description.)

    Titled 'Meeting At Farpoint', the story opens with the Enterprise (1701-D) arriving at Farpoint station. Farpoint is described as a "staging station", the kind of place where ships might refuel, come under minor maintenance for jobs not requiring a full starbase, resupply, exchange of crews and so on.

    The Enterprise is here to partake in an exchange of crews. Of particular note here is that the Enterprise is not described as a new-build: rather, the ship is already an established vessel with some unseen history. Already aboard are Captain Julien Picard, Security Officer Mascha Hernadez, Leiutenant Deanna Troi and Leiutenant(j.g) LaForge. Enterprise is about to lose it's First Officer, Kyle Summers, who is going off to become a Captain on his own ship. Also present in orbit of Farpoint is the USS Starseeker, from which the Enterprise is going to take on Summers' replacement, Lieutenant Commander Will Ryker. Also being transfered aboard Enterprise at this time are Lieutenant Commander Data, Dr. Beverly Crusher, and Crusher's 15 year old daughter Leslie.

    As the exchange takes place via shuttle, the new crew members discuss their assignment to Enterprise. They've all been taken from various ships and met here at Farpoint, so while some of them already know each other (Ryker, Data), the others don't. There is some spoken suspicion of 'the Android', but Ryker defends Data, declaring him one of the best officers he's served with.

    Aboard Enterprise, the crew have a meeting and begin to create a cameraderie. They are about to depart, when an unidentified vessel arrives at Farpoint. The intentions of the ship are immediately established as hostile, with them sending a communique to both Starfleet ships: "Surrender, transfer all personnel to the planet surface, or die".

    The enemy vessel is some kind of massive gun platform. The Starseeker takes immediate action, engaging the hostile ship in combat, and is promptly blown out of space. Picard watches this with distress, then orders the crew to comply with the enemy request. Ryker naturally objects, having just watched his former assignment and many of his friends get destroyed before his very eyes, but Picard wisely notes that he intends to play a waiting game, and see if the enemy have got a weakness to exploit. Ryker remains unconvinced, but bows to his new captain's decision.

    The crew are soon press-ganged into servitude on the planet. The enemy, described as simian-like humanoids, are named the Annoi. Their goal is to gather Balmine, a mineral found on the surface of this planet. The crew are forced into labor, mining the mineral, then transporting the ore to the gun platform. The Enterprise remains in orbit, but is under Annoi control.

    The Annoi, it is discovered, have got a caste system. The Enterprise crew attempt to use this as a way of driving divisions between the servants and their masters. Meanwhile, Troi says that she can sense something sad. Ryker dismisses this as being a general feeling of the Enterprise crew and their plight, but Deanna is insistent it's something bigger. He suggests to Picard that he and Mascha could take a team onto the gun platform and disable it, an idea which Picard says he is willing to approve only if every angle is covered.

    Leslie Crusher, who has been put into service aboard the gun platform as a kind of conduit between the command center and the receiving end of the ore, has memorised the lay-out of the gun platform. Using this knowledge, Ryker and his team board the gun platform via a shuttle transporting Balmine ore. Once there, Data observes that despite all the ore that has been transported already, there is little evidence of it aboard the platform. He declares it implausible for so much of it to be exausted so quickly...

    The crew attempt to find the engine room of the vessel, intending to destroy power. But they can't find it, because the gun platform hasn't got engines. Deanna has a break-down, sensing pain. She quickly establishes, through telepathy, that the gun platform is a sentient being. The base of the platform is a massive being that has been taking prisoner by the Annoi, the gun platform bolted onto it and it being forced to provide weapons and power for them in exchange for sustinence (the Balmine ore). But the creature is most certainly being exploited against it's will. Before the crew can learn more, they are captured by Annoi and imprisoned.

    Inside the cell, Troi re-establishes telepathic contact with the creature. The being says it despises all the destruction it has been forced to do for the Annoi. Ryker asks Deanna to inform the creature that if it can land on the planet, this would effectively neuter the weapons and give them an advantage over the Annoi. The creature does this, and in the impact the cell is broken open. The creature now refuses to move, leaving the Annoi helpless and harmless. The Annoi are taken into custody to face trial later, the creature is freed to go on it's way, and the Enterprise is again under the control of Starfleet.


    My take:This outline clearly shows the seeds of what we eventually got in "Encounter At Farpoint". The basic premise, of a creature enslaved against it's will, is intact. The story differs however in many details, not least that the Enterprise is not a new vessel but already a firmly established one, and also in that Farpoint station (on the planet) is not a second creature. The story was written for a standard hour-long timeslot, and lacks the Q subplot, added by Gene Roddenberry in later drafts to bolster the story up to two-hours in length. It also comes across as much more 'action orientated', very much in the style of a TOS episode (an intriging philosophical concept is hidden in an action-adventure format). Several of the characters are recognisable, but have slightly different origins. Wesley is a girl named Leslie, and Worf is absent entirely. In some ways the outline feels a little rougher around the edges, but in other ways it has a certain pace to it that is lacking in the broadcast version. It may have made for an exciting hour-opener in places. Subsequent drafts certainly emphasised the philosophical concepts over the pure action. The destruction of the Starseeker shows a story which isn't afraid to start with a bang. :D


    The actual First Draft Script, dated Feb 17, 1987, and also credited solely to Dorothy Fontana, is in essence closer to the finished broadcast version in a lot of ways (but still written for an hour-long slot and missing the Q/trial for humanity subplot). We are in this version introduced to the Enterprise via Ryker, who is our audience identification figure. He's waiting at Farpoint for the ship to arrive, where he (and several other crew) notice odd things happening. The intendent of the station, Elzever, is evasive when asked questions about these things.

    When the Enterprise eventually arrives and the crew are united, Captain Picard tells Ryker that their assignment is to try and convince the natives to perhaps enter a deal with the Federation, to build more of these remarkable bases. Farpoint was constructed in record time, and it is believed that a deal with the Annae, the natives of the planet, would be beneficial. To this end Picard, Ryker and Troi beam down to meet with Elzever again, who is initially very welcoming, but again becomes evasive when pressed for details on the station. Eventually he becomes agitated to the point where he dismisses the crew: "If Starfleet do not want to do business, perhaps I will go to the Ferengi Alliance".

    The basic plot points in this version then pretty much follow those in the finished two-hour version, including the Admiral McCoy cameo, and the reveal at the end that Farpoint is the subjucated creature. Only the details differ: While Wesley is now male, he has no memory of Picard bringing the body of Jack Crusher back, what he does know he heard from his mom. Jack was Picard's superior on the Stargazer, not an officer under Picard's command, and Picard blames himself for the man's death (having, as first officer, let Crusher beam down to a planet and lead an away team himself). Tasha Yar is still refered to as Mascha Hernadez, and much focus is given to establishing a strong working relationship between Ryker, Mascha and Data (although in this version Ryker explicitly hasn't met Data before this). And of course, Q remains entirely absent, and Farpoint is therefore not being used as a means of 'testing' humanity. :p


    My take: Neither of the early drafts are substantively better or worse than the finished version, but are certainly different. ;) I am not sure if the addition of the eventual Q subplot adds to or subtracts from Fontana's story, but I do like how this script treatment introduces us to the world of the new Star Trek directly through the character of Commander Ryker, and also how in both versions the Enterprise-D itself has already got an established history before the Farpoint mission (the broadcast version implies strongly this is a new vessel).


    NEXT: "The Naked Now".
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  2. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    Re: TNG season one: the early drafts.

    This is intriguing stuff. Please keep it coming but be sure to include the author's attribution in each article in case they get separated or quoted individually.
     
  3. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Cheers. :techman: I intend to write my own fresh summaries based only loosely on the synopsies provided in the book, and have tried not to quote Altman/Gross directly in my above summary. But I've added the attribution to the thread title (as I am clearly sourcing from their original text), and will also make sure they get mentioned in each summary. :)

    EDIT: Is there a way that I can make my altered thread title migrate to the overall thread? It's still coming up on the main page under it's old title. :confused:
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  4. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TNG season one: the early drafts.

    Great thread! Thanks!
     
  5. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    Test title change.

    OK, thread title edited per Lance request.
     
  6. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks Mutai Sho-Rin. :techman:


    Next episode summary follows:


    (Original source: "Creating The Next Generation" by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, Boxtree Publishing 1994, ISBN 0-7522-0843-8.)

    2. "The Naked Now"

    ORIGINAL DRAFT: Dorothy Fontana. BROADCAST EPISODE: J. Michael Bingham (a pseudonum used by Fontana in protest after Gene Roddenberry rewrote her script).


    Plot Summary: The Enterprise is racing to a distressed science vessel, USS Tsilkovsky . They receive an audio transmission from a female crewmember in obvious distress. She begs for help, saying she's locked herself in the transporter room, apparently frightened of something coming to get her. As Picard tries to calm her down and find out what the trouble is, the bridge crew are witness in real-time to the increasing sound of phasers in the background, audibly set to kill. Abruptly the channel goes dead, only to be replaced with another voice, this time male, saying the Enterprise should stay away "unless you've been sent on the wings of angels". Declaring that all sinners will repent or go to hell, this voice then declares they're *all* going to hell, and the sound of an emergency hatch being blown is heard. The Enterprise crew are naturally very disturbed by all of this.

    On arrival, an away team boards the Tsilkovsky. They beam-in onto the bridge, where they discover the mutilated bodies of three crew-members who evidently exploded into chunks when the hatch got blown, what's left of their bodies is described by the book as being 'splattered all over the consoles'. Nice. :( An inspection of ship's systems shows that other areas of the Tsilkovsky have had their internal temperatures set to 40 below zero, resulting in the people in those sections being frozen to death.

    As in the broadcast version, Geordi finds a crewmember showering with their clothes on. Upon arrival back on Enterprise, Geordi ignores going to the bridge and instead goes to see Wesley. Wes has come up with a way to "soup up" the ship's engines. LaForge encourages him, but is suddenly hit with a bout of remorse. He pats Wesley's cheek and leaves.

    Data advises departing before the nearby star, which the Tsilkovsky had been studying, explodes. Picard ponders aloud where Geordi has gone, and orders the ship to move further away, but they can't leave until they have finished their investigation of the Tsilkovsky. Geordi is eventually located in the obs lounge in a state of some anxiety, expressing regret about his blindness. Tasha asks if she can help. Geordi misunderstands and takes a swipe at her when she approaches him. She responds in self-defence, rendering Geordi unconscious very easily. She carries him to sickbay, where Dr. Crusher can't find anything wrong.

    Riker locates his memory of the 'person showering with clothes on' in the ship's databank, to the original Enterprise, including everything about the virus and a cure. Picard attempts to contact Crusher with this information, and finds her response puzzling. He decides to go see her in person. Tasha seeks Deanna's advice on how she might 'soften' her image. Troi is alarmed to sense feelings of 'uncertainty and helplessness'. Tasha seems to have regressed to an almost adolescent state, like Tasha has the mind of her teenage self, conflicted in her own mind between how she feels inside, and the hard exterior she feels compelled to project. Troi reassures her, but contact is made.

    In sickbay, Picard finds Beverly in a state of shock. She blurts out abruptly how she hates being the widow of a respected Starfleet officer killed in the line of duty, and how no man will approach her out of fear of disrespecting his memory. She uses the phrase 'sacred gound' in relation to herself, and wishes men wouldn't see her this way. She tells him she needs a man. Picard changes the subject, asking Beverly to concentrate on the task at hand, and giving her the virus cure that Riker found. The doctor gets to work. Picard leaves sickbay, but no sooner do the doors shut and Beverly breaks down at her desk crying.

    Meanwhile, Wesley has taken over engineering. He holds the ship to ransom, and declares he's going to "make the engines sit up and do tricks". While Riker and the chief engineer work to regain control of the ship, Data tracks down Tasha in her cabin. She's dressed casually, attractively. She tells him this is how she wishes men could see her, and that the tough exterior shell is a coping mechanism she developed in her early, troubled life. Data discusses these concepts with her, and as we peel back the layers of Tasha's hard life on Turkana IV, she attempts to be intimate with the android. Data respectfully refuses, saying he is not equipped to help her with these emotional human needs, although "I wish that I could". She understands, and Data politely excuses himself from the room.

    Deanna has fallen to the virus too, and Riker finds her in her office, curled up on the floor in a fetal position, screaming in agony. As he tries to comfort her, she reveals the pain of having the conflicting emotions of so many people on the ship all running through her head at once. It seems the mental conditioning that usually allows her to deal with this has been erroded by the virus, leaving her to go quickly insane. She bitterly declares she hates "never being alone in my own mind". Riker takes her to sickbay, where Crusher, barely holding onto her own mental capacity, is working to decipher the cure. The virus is a different strain to that on Kirk's Enterprise, so McCoy's cure doesn't work.

    Data returns to the bridge, now manned only by only Picard and a few ensigns, as the height of Wesley's meddling with the engines and the imminant collapse of the star begins to hit critical point. It is clear that the virus has affected Data too. He decides that he's Pinnochio, the little wooden boy who will never be human. He asks Picard, "If I am good, will you make me a real human boy?".
    In sickbay, as Beverly works frantically to decipher the virus, Riker has been hit with it too. He confesses to Deanna that he loves her, but he can't ever love her. He wants to grab her and kiss her, but he must not, he must keep a professional distance. He then wonders aloud if this is the fate in store for him... a lonely life of command, distanced from the comforts of love, of friendship. What will he become? Is that sacrifice really worth it, for the sake of command?

    On the bridge Picard is facing his own inner demons, as the star begins to crumble. A ship of many people, all his responsibility. And children, the families on board, might all die because of a bad decision. Jack Crusher died because of a bad decision. What should a captain do? He looks to Data for support, but finds the 'Pinnochio' harmlessly sitting atop the horseshoe, swinging his legs from side to side. The engineer finally reports that they've gained access to the room, but that Wesley's "tricks" with the engine have misalligned the dilithium crystals. In fourteen minutes the Enterprise will be struck by the imploding star. Picard makes his way to engineering, with Data cheerfully skipping along behind him.

    Beverly discovers the cure, and begins to administer it. In engineering, Picard confronts Wesley, who is angry at being subdued. Wes rolls his eyes and finally says that all they need to do is short circuit the normal restart procedures. This plan goes into action, and with the crew cured, the Enterprise escapes just in time to see the Tsilkovsky burn. Picard declares that they will hold a memorial service for those on the Tsilkovsky, who lost their lives in the course of their duties.


    How It Differs From The Broadcast Version: The episode is significantly different. While the plot beats are very similar, the draft version has got a MUCH harder edge to it. In the broadcast version, instead of the initial Tsilkovsky message featuring a desperate crewman driven to suicide/homicide, the episode instead opens with a Tsilkovsky crewmember asking if the Enterprise has got any "Pretty Boys", before implying that the escape hatch going was an accident of a major league party going on over there. The Tsilkovsky shows signs of a wild party, rather than signs of pitched battle as in the early draft. This draft also shows crew being stripped of their confidence, or saying things they would never say otherwise; the broadcast version simply has them all getting all hot and horny with each other. It isn't so much the text of the story which is different, as it is the emphasis on the characters. Rather than simply bedding Data, instead we see something of Tasha's brutal upbringing and her fear of being feminine because she had to 'toughen up' at a very young age. Another area where the broadcast version actually loses good material is with the characters of Troi and Riker. In the broadcast episode Riker is almost untouched by the virus, only getting it late in the piece before being cured, whereas in the early draft he is much more affected by the virus, worrying that he's on the path towards a lonely life like many starship captains before him, and wondering if that's what he really *wants*. In the broadcast version, Deanna Troi simply expresses the need to love Riker, whereas in the early draft we were invited to wonder what it must be like to hear thousands of other people's thoughts in your head all the time (a disturbing concept), and see her go quickly mad without the massive mental conditioning necessary she usually uses to deal with that. Oh, and Data and Tasha don't even have sex, in fact Data's response is that he's patently not fully-functional. ;)


    My Take: "The Naked Now" as written by D.C. Fontana does exactly what the original TOS episode did: take down the facades of these characters, and allow us to see their 'inner demons', thus giving the audience at home the opportunity to get to know them all much better. The broadcast version, rewritten extensively by Gene Roddenberry, barely manages this; instead using the Polywater Virus as an excuse to make all the characters act drunk and horny... and that's just about it. :shifty: All in all, the Fontana draft is a mature adult drama; the Roddenberry draft (which is what got filmed) is an eighties sex comedy in space. I like the 'fun factor' of the broadcast version, but I *much* prefer the darker tone of Fontana's version. A missed opportunity.


    NEXT: "Code Of Honor"
     
  7. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't think it's THAT different. Not enough that I'd want to take my name off it anyway. The extra depth with Beverley & Riker would have been nice to see. I think the tractor-beam-repeller thing works better in the broadcast version as does the less violent demise of the Tsilkovsky crew.
     
  8. Mark 2000

    Mark 2000 Captain Captain

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    My take on both of these: The original Meeting at Farpoint is pretty weak. Picard is surrendering in the very first episode? Hard to admire the guy if he's going to fail that quickly. Considering the E-D is a character itself it's sad to not spend time getting to know her as well since she's abandoned in the first half. The ship/alien crashing itself doesn't make sense. What was stopping it from doing this before? How were the bad guys controlling it?

    As for the Naked now I like that it's less of a comedy. The religious zealots at the beginning make more sense that the party animals we get. Way creepier. Fabulously so. What rubs me really wrong are the way the two of the three female characters. In the show we got at least they're just unapologetic horny. In this version we have Crusher whining that she can't get a date. Then we have Tasha worrying about not being "feminine" enough. Why would she ever give a crap? In both of these we have women worrying about what men think of them.

    BTW, I really appreciate you posting these. Keep them coming if you have more.
     
  9. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yay, you created this thread! Excited to see the differences.

    "Meeting At Farpoint"

    Oh man, yeop, that reads 100% like a TOS episode. Glad they changed it.
    However I have to admit that this early draft does sound more exciting than what we got, we seem to learn more about the Annoi than we saw of the Bandi.
    I'm glad they changed it so that the Enterprise was newly commissioned, it started off the series with this fresh, new, mint-flavoured feeling.
    "Suspicions about the Android" eh? At the same time this could have opened up story possibilities, yet I'm also glad they changed that to be in tune with the Federation's general lack of prejudice. Also I don't know how much of Data's character was laid down yet, but being suspicious of Data, is like being suspicious of a litter of kittens :lol:

    But....he did surrender in the finished product as well... Towards Q rather than the Bandi/Annoi but surrender nonetheless. I think it was meant to show the character's patience and responsibility towards his crew. Lives of the crew and civilians > "honor" To me it is smarter to live to fight another day, especially if you can prevent unnecessary deaths that way.

    The Naked Now:

    Okay I wonder if they change the bit in the beginning because it could be understood as the woman being raped and killed, because that's what it sounded like to me.
    As to the rest of the episode: Man, Roddenberry took a giant shit on what sounds like a great second episode.
    The Naked Now never made sense since it showed characters we had just met and thus hadn't got to know yet acting out of character.
    This however? This actually delves into the back stories and motivations of the crew. This is a great, deeper introduction to the new cast. I wish that version had been filmed!
    Also note that Deanna has an office here in the second episode. In the series we got we didn't get to see her office until, what, the third season, the fourth?
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ History's Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    I'm pretty happy with how most of season one turned out. Though I do wonder if there were better ideas in "Code of Honor" and "Angel One" that didn't make it to the screen.
     
  11. Mark 2000

    Mark 2000 Captain Captain

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    And it hurt him as it was with viewers at the time. Read through any fan parodies at the time and they focus a lot on Picard surrendering in every show. But at least it wasn't as bad as in the original outline. Picard doesn't lose the ship entirely. That would completely undermine the character to the point of no return.
     
  12. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :D The outline works from the assumption that Data was the work of unknown aliens (rather than a human scientist), so there's a predisposed suspicion not of his own motivations, but more of his unclear origins, and whether that murky background means he might have some sort of trojan programming deep down inside of him that could compromise them all. That Ryker (spelling intentional, that was his name in the early drafts) has served with Data for many years already and vouches for him completely is supposed to underline that the two of them have a kind of Kirk/Spock thing going on: a deep friendship and trust.

    I can't disagree about the women, actually. Although I find the addition of character to Troi intriguing and haunting, I also think it comes across badly, in that it's basically saying "Women have to maintain control, if they don't have that they become shrieking harpies". It's not the best kind of message, all three of the main female characters are still defined poorly even in Fontana's draft. I do think Tasha/Mascha comes across best though, it's interesting to see the layers of the character peeled back (without just turning her into a 'slut' like the broadcast version seems to). Quite a few of the early episodes had this seeming interest in developing Mascha as a character. All of this, interestingly, preceeds the addition of Worf to the format...

    Cheers. :techman: More coming up soon.

    "Code Of Honor" is... interesting. ;) It's not too different, but on the other hand (like "The Naked Now") it has got some crucial differences in emphasis, and like the above two outlines it's much more action-orientated in draft format. I'll post that one up this evening. :)
     
  13. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    (Original source: "Creating The Next Generation" by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, Boxtree Publishing 1994, ISBN 0-7522-0843-8.)

    3. "CODE OF HONOR"

    WRITERS: Kathryn Powers; Michael Baron. Original Draft Outline, March 6, 1987.


    Plot Summary: The outline begins with extensive notes about the planet Tellis. The inhabitants, we are told, are a reptillian race, and are 'a people of great contrast. Because of the geological instability of their islands, death has always been an imminent factor in their lives. To insure [sic] survival, the Tellisians became a fruitful race, which led to dense populations inhabiting very limited landscape. These factors combined to form a culture which needed a way to resolve death, to live peacefully together, [and] to ultimately expand into space'. The warrior class, the Kadim, 'undertakes a life of rigid training to perfection and understands that his way always leads to death. Knowing this, he leads each moment to it's fullest, savoring the perfection of a single raindrop as much as victory in battle.'

    As the narrative itself begins, we find the Enterprise, alongside many other ships including one from Tellis, orbiting a 'shore leave planet'. On the surface, Mascha Hernadez (later Tasha Yar) is representing Starfleet in an exhibition of combat training, her 'opponent' being the 16yo son of the planet's Prefect. Captain Picard is introduced to Lutan, the captain of the Tellisian vessel, who as the demonstration proceeds is evidently shown to be quite taken by Mascha.

    Winning the bout, Mascha leaves to change out of the combat gear, but is ambushed by two Tellisian crewmembers in her dressing room. She fights back, but is unable to break free and a few moments later the Prefect's son is the only witness to Mascha's kidnapping by transporter beam. He races back out to inform Picard.

    Back aboard the Enterprise, the captain attempts communication with the fleeing Tellisian ship, to no effect. While Enterprise maintains pursuit, the captain canvases his options. A computer check reveals that Lutan was one of the Tellisian militaries most ambitious officers; and is now a lord with entitlements. It also reveals that Lutan's grandfather had once had a run in with the USS Enterprise under James T. Kirk, whereupon Kirk had beaten them in combat. Data notes that the Tellisian's strict code of honor would demand a tete a tete to save face, and that perhaps Mascha has been kidnapped as an attempt for one generation of the family to regain their honor, for the defeat of a previous generation by another Starfleet ship named Enterprise. Picard isn't certain; perhaps this is all just a co-incidence and Mascha has simply been kidnapped for reasons still unknown. After the meeting, Deanna comforts the anxious captain; having sensed that he is feeling immense grief over Mascha's kidnapping in light of her traumatic childhood. Picard wishes he'd been kidnapped instead of her.

    The Enterprise pursues the ship all the way to Tellis. Once there, Lutan finds Mascha a hard case to deal with; he tries to remain hospitable to her, but finds that he's had to double security around his castle because she keeps breaking out of her cell. He attempts to reach an agreement with her, but she steadfastedly refuses, and demands to be given contact with the Enterprise. Lutan tries to tell her that her kidnapping is simply equalising the honor taken away by James T. Kirk, but she does not accept this.

    Ryker, Data, Troi and LaForge beam down to the planet and meet with Yarena, Lutan's wife. For her part she informs them that now that honor has been regained, Mascha will be returned to them. There will be a ceremony this evening with a banquet, where Lutan will hand Mascha back to the Enterprise crew. Ryker informs the captain that it appears Data's theory was correct.

    During the ceremony, Lutan declares that the "old debt" between his family and the Federation has been settled. But far from handling Mascha back, instead he offers Ryker ever larger amounts of wealth. It becomes clear that he does not intend to return Mascha, but rather wants to buy her for himself. Ryker flies off the deep end at this, demanding Mascha's immediate return, and saying that anything less will be interpreted by the Enterprise as an act of War. Lutan says this is an act of love, not war. During this entire exchange it is clear that both Mascha and Yarena had no realisation this was coming, and are equally angry. Ryker attempts to contact the ship, but communications have been severed. The away team is taken prisoner. Aboard the ship, Picard is alarmed that not only has their communication channel ceased, but the island itself seems to have vanished from their sensors. They have no way of locating the away team.

    Yarena is disappointed, and pleads of Lutan to not dishonor her in this way. Lutan dismisses her. In captivity, the away team tries to come up with an escape plan. They befriend a Tellisian in the cell named Hinun, who has been arrested and sentenced to death because he discovered a plot by Lutan to poison Yarena's uncle, a Tellisian nobleman. He decides to help the Enterprise crew, seeing them as a way to make his own escape, and informs them that the land on Tellis is owned by the women, so Yarena's marriage is the only way Lutan retains control of the land. Should she meet a demise, then the lands go to him, just so long as it is not by his own hands that she died.

    Lutan attempts to be romantic with Mascha, and she has no qualms in showing him her rejection with a swift couple of kicks. Seeing that he is clearly not going to be able to persuade her, he instead resorts to blackmail: if Mascha doesn't submit to him, then her friends from the Enterprise will die. Mascha is conflicted, but horrified, and knows that he means it. Reluctantly, she allows him to start making love to her. But before he can do anything Yarena enters; furiously she demands her right to ritual combat against Mascha.

    In the cell, Geordi's VISOR has discovered a structual weakness in one of the metal bars. Data uses his extraordinary strength on this weak point to wrestle the cell open, and the away team and Hinun escape. A firefight ensues between the away team and the Tellisian guards, but the natives prove no match for Ryker's team. Hinun suggests getting Yarena's uncle to testify for them, as the Tellisian lords are more likely to respect an elder man's word over Lutan's, and Ryker sends Troi and Data off with him to collect the uncle. Meanwhile, Ryker and Geordi work to find Mascha They locate her room, dispatch the guards, and free her. Mascha is delighted to see them, but quickly regains professional composure and tells them there is a force-field blocking communications with the Enterprise. But on the way to the control center they meet Yarena. Mascha declares her innocence, and says she honestly isn't interested in Lutan, but Yarena is not convinced and demands justice. The crew submit.

    The ceremony has begun. Lutan is suspicious of the missing Troi, Data and Hinun, correctly surmising they have gone to collect Yarena's uncle. He then details a plan to kill Yarena's uncle, and after Mascha beats Yarena in single combat, he intends to kill Mascha and the Enterprise crew as well. He's using Mascha as a pawn to rid himself of his wife. The other lords are outraged that Lutan would create war with the Federation. He dismisses them with claims that he has already made allies with enemies of the United Federation of Planets, who will come to their aid should war commence.

    Aboard Enterprise, Picard has enlisted Wesley to find a way to alter the ship's phasers to fire through the planet's cloak. He is hesitant to do this, but the clock is ticking and this radio silence can not go on for much longer before he will be forced to make a decision, one way or another.

    Mascha is preparing for combat. Ryker asks her to throw the match. He says that if Yarena wins the fight, this might satisfy her honor, which may settle things. Mascha says she would be happy to, but she can not -- this is a ritual fight to the death. Ryker says he knows Mascha would willingly sacrifice her life in the line of duty, but is that he hopes this 'event' isn't the place where it happens. He suggests alternatively that she fight as well as she can, and try to keep the fight going for as long as possible, in the hope that Troi, Data and Hinun will return with Yarena's uncle.

    During the battle, which is said in the book to be 'fought more with art and precision than strength', Mascha eventually gets the upper hand and is in a position to deliver the knock-out blow; but remembering her orders from Ryker she hesitates. Lutan shouts that if she does not kill Yarena, then Ryker and Geordi will die. Ryker counters this by telling the people of Tellis that Mascha has fought honorably, and that Lutan is a thief and a murderer. With coincidental timing this is the moment where Data, Troi, Hunin and Yarena's uncle arrive to corroborate the story, and Lutan's credibility is shattered. He is placed under arrest. Speaking to Yarena and her uncle, Ryker offers friendship between the Federation and their people.


    How It Differs From The Broadcast Version: Firstly, and most obviously, the Tellisians are a reptillian race, not humanoid Africans. This makes a crucial difference, because it means the racism that is percieved by many viewers in the broadcast version is not as pronounced. Also, there is an added part to the concept of honor, namely the ripple-effect of a current generation attempting to save face for the dishonor of their ancestor, and on the whole the planet is clearly based more on Feudal Japan than on deepest Africa. Apart from all this, the script is also marginally more action-packed. There are numerous moments where the outline describes Mascha 'kicking ass' on Tellis, and there is an exciting ship-to-ship pursuit sequence. Unlike the broadcast version where the Starfleet crew feel compelled to listen to Lutan's stupid demands because he holds a vaccine that the Federation desperately needs, here the battle for Mascha's return is much more localised and internalised to Lutan's own quest for power, with the Starfleet crew only interested in the return of their chief of security.


    My Take: The above draft outline of "Code Of Honor" doesn't (overtly) carry the same racist overtones as the broadcast version (even though they are still there by inference -- I do think the premise is still inherently racist in some ways, albeit about a completely different racial group than the broadcast version). I wonder if even the broadcast version may have been better if certain decisions in casting hadn't been made? It also reads like a very expensive episode to shoot, so I can understand the need for rewrites to make it cheaper and easier to manage. So I'm half-half. I'd have liked to have seen the above filmed instead of what we got, but I suspect it was rewritten for good reasons (to make it cheaper to produce, an understandable concern); and the casting of black actors without some kind of alien prosthetic was obviously an error of judgement on the part of somebody (and not understandable at all). I must admit that the namedropping of Kirk and the original Enterprise for the second episode in a row does nothing for me, merely leading me to ponder why they were leaning so heavily on the TOS connection when by all accounts they wanted TNG to stand on it's own? :confused:
    SIDE NOTE: Co-writer Kathryn Powers later went on to write the DS9 episode "Past Prologue" (which introduced Elim Garak).


    NEXT: "THE LAST OUTPOST"
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  14. Mark 2000

    Mark 2000 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Oh, please, no thank you.
     
  15. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Location:
    The Bay Area

    Picard capitulating in the pilot and several episodes afterward was a disservice to the character, who was already facing comparisons to Kirk. I had a hard time getting into Picard in the first season. I didn’t start to really like the character until the second season. As an 11 year old, I was much more into Commander Re-Kirk, um Riker, than Picard when TNG first aired.

    It would’ve been more interesting if they’d revealed something complicated about the relationship of Beverly and Jack Crusher. Like Crusher admits she was relieved Jack died because she was about to leave him anyway, that their marriage was already on the outs. Or that she felt guilty because the last time her and Jack spoke they argued. Something other than … “oh I need a man and I’m a widow no man will ever touch again!”

    As for Macha/Tasha, you could pitch that entirely different so it wasn't about her desire for a man.

    I could see Macha instead seeking Troi out to ask her not how to be more accepted by everyone in general rather than becoming more “feminine.” In other words, how can she be more likable and personable. That deep down she just wants to be excepted because all her life she’s had to keep people at an arms distance (and with good reason). That she craves intimacy — and that doesn’t have to be sexual — with another human being. A deep friendship with anyone on the ship, someone that she can just be herself and not the ship’s Chief of Security. You know, actually use her backstory to actually inform her character.

    Of course, you’d have to really rewrite the scene with Data so she’s not coming on to him or drop it entirely. Although, it might have been interesting to have had Macha try to start a friendship with an android who may or may not be able to feel friendship.

    Troi doesn’t seem to become a shrieking harpie, from what's presented here, but someone in real pain, who can’t control the flood of thoughts/feelings from the crew. And she seems bitter about it. She longs for a moment where she can be alone to herself, which for a telepath/empath must never really happen. Here Troi is Tam Elbram, longing for solitude and pissed about not having it.

    As an aside, these are great! Thanks for sharing these. Looking forward to more.


    Agreed. I don’t need a rape-by-consent scene with a character whose backstory includes growing up in a rape culture. That would be beyond the pale.
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Maurice, the ATARI CX5200 Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    Ummm, what?
     
  17. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Man, looks like Code of Honor could have been an halfway decent episode. I voiced before that I found "Code of Honor" to be a ghastly echo of the tropes found in old Colonial Adventure literature; The natives with their violent, ritualistic culture who think they are superior to the (naturally calm, rational) stand ins for Europeans etc.
    You are right that there is still a bit of racism present here, but less obvious. How much cooler would have Reptilians looked anyway? TNG was so understaffed with anything but near-humans in the alien department.
    I wonder if those snake masks from "Lonely Among Us" were originally created with this episode in ind and, if so, why they were not used (i.e. was there a practical reason or did just somehow want his "sexy" catfight between Tasha and Yarina?)

    Also the plot is simply better here, there's quite a bit more action and suspense. It could have been good (relatively in comparison to the rest of Season 1)

    I don't really care for them mentioning Kirk here either. This wasn't even a sequel/remake of a TOS episode and yet still he was there first? Did he also discover Haven, fight of the first invasion of those slug parasites and had "dealings" with Angel One(looking forward to that episode btw)? People, let the new crew stand on their own legs.
    In that vain, replace "Ryker" with "Kirk" (and a few of the other names as well) and you have the outline of an average TOS episode (though I also thought that about the broadcast version) why were they still writing 60s stories in the 80s?
     
  18. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    It is very weird that they fell into this trap of name-dropping Kirk and the original Enterprise in only the first two episodes (and of course, had the Admiral McCoy cameo in the pilot episode, making it three-for-three). It does tend to give the impression of this new Enterprise not so much "going where no one has gone before", but instead "going where Captain Kirk has already been" (even if the TV viewing audience hasn't). :D

    I think removing the Kirk connection from "Code Of Honor" was probably one of the more sensible changes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  19. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    I like the principle of some forgotten and never-before-mentioned adventure of the Original Series crew coming back to haunt the new guys, but yeah, three Original Series name-drops in a row would be a bit much. I wonder if changing the reference to Pike or April (or Sulu!) would have served better.

    The original draft does sound better to me, although I don't know if that isn't just because I can imagine the story being done well and can compare that to the flops the actually aired thing had. But I do think the story seems to have more ... well, internally grown-up characterizations.
     
  20. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    Agreed that this version sounds better. And agreed that the third TOS namedrop in a row for a series that wanted to "stand on its own" would have been too much. Rather than it be a vendetta against the ship "Enterprise", they could have just changed Kirk to A.N.Other Captain and had Lutan wanting to regain his honour from the Federation as a whole.