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Star Trek, rejected episodes

Origionally posted to the old forum by ChrisGeorge

Hi, long time gamer and trekker, first post on the Modiphius forums.

Something I am going to explore, at least until I am hit with great inspiration, is turning some of the pitches that were rejected for TOS, TNG, etc. into episodic one off type games for our gaming group. I think it will help capture my preferred “vibe” for Star Trek thanks to the fact the basic outline of the games are already written in a sense.

Here are some of the ones I am mostintrigued by:

  • Ronald D. Moore pitched a story about an alien that lived in the fabric of space and had been “born” around the same time as the Big Bang. It would have revealed that, in the early time of the universe, these lifeforms were numerous, but because they lived within the fabric of space itself, as the universe expanded, they had become separated, with no means to communicate. This particular alien, as such, had been alone for literally billions of years, and so reached out to the Enterprise to alleviate its loneliness. It originally tried to communicate with the crew via intense hallucinations taken from their mind, in an effort to keep the Enterprise in its region of space. Eventually, Troi found a way to communicate with the alien, and the Enterprise crew agreed to inform Starfleet to leave a science station nearby to study the alien and communicate with it.

  • “Errors of Judgement” was a narrative devised by Ronald D. Moore. In this story, the Enterprise initiated contact with a species of aliens that were extremely curious about the Federation. Dissatisfied with the first few attempts to provide them with information about the organization, the aliens, who were capable of limited telepathic communication, wanted to enter telepathic contact with crewmembers from the Enterprise. What resulted was the Enterprise crew reliving “the biggest mistake of their lives.” Moore suggested the plot to Michael Piller in a memo (dated 16 January 1990). That document included a bracketed paragraph, where Moore remarked, “There can easily be some sort of jeopardy in which we must reach some kind of understanding with these aliens in order to resolve a crisis, save an outpost, stop a war, etc.” The memo went on to say, “The point of doing this show is not to say that our people are running around with these big problems over their heads. The point is to see what made them the people they are today. Picard & Co. have dealt with their regrets and can live with them… indeed their pain only made them stronger in the end. But I think we could make a really interesting show out of learning what drives those people and what private demons they’ve learned to deal with.”

  • “Genius is Pain” was written by Tracy Tormé. "I was on another one of my quests to create a new character for the show, so I had an idea: who would be a really interesting alien on Star Trek? And I got the idea of John Cleese. So I created an episode called ‘Genius Is Pain’ and it was about a race of aliens who are mathematical geniuses – they spend the first twenty or thirty years of their lives devoted to mathematics, and they’re off-the-chart geniuses, they can do things that engineers can’t do, the whole race. But once they turn thirty, they have a philosophy of life that all life should be devoted to bohemian pursuits, so if you invite them to your house and they feel like spray-painting a four-letter word on the wall of your nursery, they’re going to do it, because to suppress it would be against their nature.

  • Ronald D. Moore devised a story which had Q losing his mind. “I pitched a memo about a Q show,” he recalled. “The universe suddenly fractured, and there were all these bizarre things happening.” Moore elaborated, “It was a totally nutso beginning – Picard is suddenly walking down a New York street dressed in his uniform but carrying a brief-case and wearing a fedora. He passes Riker who is pounding on the side of a building with a loaf of bread – that’s Riker’s job, to pound the side of a building with a loaf of bread. And a Klingon driving a taxi cab drives by and a knight in shining armor is the cop, all this insane stuff.” In fact, Moore imagined multiple armor-clad knights walking around on the New York street. “All our characters are there and they are doing things that make zero sense,” he continued, "and then the camera pans by an alley and there lying by a trash can is Q who is dressed like a homeless guy and he is mumbling to himself ‘I used to be a super-being’. It’s all about us trying to figure out that none of this is the way things are supposed to be and that nutty guy who is saying he used to be a super-being is actually right.

  • The story that eventually became “Captain’s Holiday” started out as a mostly unrelated script by Ira Steven Behr and Ronald D. Moore, where the Enterprise stops for shore leave at the pleasure planet Risa, and Picard finds a sideshow attraction which shows the customer their greatest fear. In Picard’s case, this fear manifests as a vision of a possible future in which he is an admiral with an unfulfilling desk job, with Riker now the captain of the Enterprise. Though the script got quite far into the writing process, Gene Roddenberry ultimately ordered that it be dropped, as a person having fears and doubts about the future didn’t fit his vision of 24th century Humanity.

  • Theodore Sturgeon’s story (first titled “The Root of Evil”), originally submitted for the second season, dealt with the population of a Federation colony getting addicted to a sophisticated machine stimulating the brain’s pleasure center, which rewarded the workers with “hours of joy” in exchange for the work hours. Sturgeon’s story was highly cerebral, and lacked any action-adventure, yet Robert Justman pushed for developing it further. In the next rewrite, now adding more jeopardy, Spock becomes addicted to the machine too.

  • The original story by Spinrad was about a primitive race called the Jugali, inexplicably employing technology well beyond their capacities because of interference by Byrne, a Federation sociologist, who only wanted to do good, but it eventually resulted in terrible consequences. However, Producer Gene L. ■■■■ rewrote the episode to become a comedy. The rewritten story involved a Federation health food nut taking over a planet, so flagrantly breaking the Prime Directive that Kirk can’t ignore him. He has set himself up as a god, refuses to depart from the planet when asked to and has so tightly woven himself into the planet’s society that Kirk is unable to force him to leave without completely disrupting the society himself.

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Paging @Modiphius-SteveH, we have a manifestation of the “Scunthorpe problem” (last paragraph).

I have no idea what the solution is :slight_smile:


James Gunn did the final treatment of “The Root of Evil” though he called it “The Joy Machine.”