Hi all - this is something I wrote out about a year and a half ago, just imagining how a limited series could revisit the Next Generation and give the show a better finale than Nemesis proved to be. I never really fleshed out the episodes, but I welcome your thoughts...
Let us set the scene: It is the close of the 24th Century, the year is 2392. It has been five years since the apparent sacrifice of Ambassador Spock to contain the supernova that consumed Romulus, and thirteen years since the death of Praetor Shinzon. It has been 21 years since Q sent Jean-Luc Picard shifting between past, present, and future in the last of the Continuum’s tests of humanity.
The Alpha Quadrant has changed dramatically. The Dominion War, which ended with the genocide of the Cardassian people by their Jem-Hadar and Breen “allies” also left the Klingon Empire financially broke, militarily exhausted, and its people struggling with what their traditions taught of them. The Klingons have, for time immemorial, been a culture concerned with honor, but how they have expressed this concern has not been consistent. In the 23rd and 24th centuries, honor has been seen through combat: victory is honor, however achieved, and lip service paid to tradition. In no small part guided by a book authored by a Klingon who lived his life outside the Empire, who wrote, “the true battle of an honorable warrior is not without, it is within,” the Empire is experiencing a significant cultural shift. And as when things change, there is resistance: a conservative faction which is scheming for one final strike to destroy the Romulans and unite the Klingon Empire behind a renewed military industrial complex.
And with this shift occurring in the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, which was poised to become the dominant superpower in the Alpha Quadrant, has had their political and military leadership wiped out by the supernova that consumed their home-system. The Star Empire has been gripped in civil war over succession, and with what remains of the Romulan fleet caught up in the fighting, subjugated worlds have overthrown their military governors and declared independence. Federation relief efforts in the former Star Empire have had limited success, and Starfleet’s resources in the region are stretched thin. But with Spock’s apparent sacrifice to contain the nova, his message of reunification between the Romulans and the Vulcans has reached new popularity, allowing the various factions of the RSE to agree to negotiations with the Federation, under the direction of the premier diplomatic team the Federation can offer.
As we begin our show, the Federation’s diplomatic mission to Romulus is attacked. And so the Federation’s premier team, Ambassador Jean-Luc Picard and his Number One, Ambassador Deanna Troi, find themselves relocating the final stages of negotiations to Starfleet’s flagship: the U.S.S. Enterprise-E.
This is the setting of our The Next Generation reunion: a galaxy on a precipice of chaos, or peace. But by our penultimate episode we will have wrapped up most of our plot lines relating to the Romulans and the Klingons. Our final episode will be one of nostalgic joy and we will end on a very upbeat note. Let’s talk now a little bit about our cast of characters and what they’ve been up to for the last several years.
After overseeing the reconstruction of the Enterprise following the Shinzon incident, Jean-Luc Picard, who never in a million years thought he would leave the captain’s chair, accepted a promotion to the Federation’s Diplomatic Corps, traveling across areas ravaged by the Dominion War, no longer putting out brush fires, but now doing lengthy, in-depth negotiations to end wars and conflicts. It was only a few years before he was able to convince Deanna Troi to join him as his chief councilor. But Picard has a secret: Irumodic Syndrome, the neurological disease teased in All Good Things, has presented itself, and it is all Picard can do to manage and hide the effects. But he is failing. For Jean-Luc Picard, his story arc will be his greatest challenge: it will not be negotiating peace between the Romulans and the Federation, it will be acknowledging that his body is failing him, and trusting in his friends and former officers to negotiate the final points of the treaty without him.
William T. Riker, who had put his ambitions on hold for so long to serve as Picard’s executive officer, found that ambition afresh as captain of the Titan, and after five years in the center seat, accepted promotion to flag rank. His rise through the admiralty has been almost nothing short of meteoric, and he now, as a full Admiral, serves as one of four Deputy Starfleet Commanders, responsible for Mission Operations. But in many ways Riker has forgotten the man he used to be: his marriage to his Imzadi is on the rocks, and he is overseeing an android troop program of which, it can only be said, the late Mr. Data would not have approved. For Riker, his arc will be remembering who he used to be, and once again setting his career aside in order to serve those he loves.
Geordi LaForge, haunted by his failure to save his best friend Data, and following some additional formal education, has become the Federation’s leading expert in cybernetics; he’s also a well-known public figure (he’s basically become the 24th Century’s version of Bill Nye or Neil De Grasse Tyson) with a new forged reputation as a lady’s man, although an ember still burns for Dr. Brahms. Dr. LaForge, now a senior fellow with the Daystrom Institute, has actually achieved his goal of creating a positronic neural network greater than what was present in Data … but he has been holding back on presenting this information to Starfleet because he has recently learned that Admiral Riker, who oversees this program, has been putting plans in motion to create an army of android soldiers. Riker, it must be said, can’t exactly be blamed for this: the galaxy is dangerous, and Starfleet lost millions of personnel during the Dominion War. But LaForge cannot understand how the man who struggled with this very question at Data’s trial on Starbase 173 has had such a change of heart – they are no longer Geordi and Will to each other. For LaForge, his arc will be helping Riker remember the man he used to be.
Following his term as Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire, Worf returned to Starfleet, and served as executive officer of the Enterprise for five years, first under Jean-Luc Picard, and then under Picard’s unnamed replacement. Worf has only recently accepted command of the Enterprise, but he’s been a starship captain for the better part of a decade (Enterprise is his second command). He is a fully seasoned starship commander excited by his new mission: a five year deep space exploration and diplomatic mission beyond the Romulan Empire’s farthest border, into the Beta Quadrant. Worf’s arc has two prongs: first, we will see how his attitude has changed towards the Romulans. He is no longer the Klingon who would refuse a medical procedure that would aid an injured Romulan. And finally he will forgive Toral for the sins of his father, Duras.
Dr. Beverly Crusher, after a stint as commander of Starfleet Medical, never commanded a starship; but in the aftermath of the destruction of Romulus, as Rear Admiral Crusher, MD, she commanded a fleet of Federation relief ships and Starfleet hospital ships, and assorted protection forces from the Federation’s member worlds. She’s retired now from Starfleet, serving as Picard’s personal physician, and the only one who knows his secret. Beverly Crusher has never been one to lightly say no to Picard and here she must walk a delicate road: she must lead Picard to realize that he must step aside or risk throwing away everything he has worked for.
Deanna Troi has never wanted to be the center of a crowd, never the leader. She’s always sought positions where she could use her skills and her education to help the fulfillment of a mission larger than herself. There’s an element of fear and worry she must overcome when she has to step into Picard’s shoes (and only part of this is a worry that she might become her late mother). Her arc will be assuming the mantle of greatness and leadership she has always been worthy of. And as her husband reconnects with his better self and resigns from Starfleet, she will find the happiness and satisfaction in both her personal and professional lives that she has always deserved.
We have one last friend we have not spoken of yet, in any great detail. Data sacrificed himself to destroy Shinzon’s weapon, and LaForge’s attempt to map his neural net onto the prototype B-4 failed; Data’s memories and self were almost lost, except for LaForge’s quick thinking in incorporating Data into the Enterprise’s main computer banks, one side effect being that the computer now speaks in Data’s voice. Is Data actually still alive? Even LaForge isn’t quite sure, and this is a question that haunts him, did he doom his friend to some sort of eternal torture? The reality is that Data is *mostly* there, but has become somewhat abstract in his contemplation. On occasion, with those he served with, his old personality will manifest.
But where we have our heroes, we must always have our villain. High Council member Ktovang is a leading contender for the chancellorship of the Klingon Empire, vacated by the recent death of Chancellor Martok; whispers are that the general was assassinated (this is true, and Ktovang is responsible). Ktovang is an old-school Klingon, honor comes through combat and the best death is one through combat. He is assembling a network of allies to launch a military strike against the remains of the Romulan fleet with a dual goal: to eliminate forever the threat of the Romulans, and to unite his people again under the banner of war. Ktovang’s lieutenant is another member of the High Council: Toral, son of Duras, whose life Worf has spared twice. Toral is a man torn between a desire for revenge against Worf, and a growing recognition that the actions of his family have not been by any measure honorable.
As for the Enterprise herself, she is over twenty years old: the Sovereign Class is no longer the newest or most technologically advanced in the Starfleet. But she has recently undergone a stern-to-bow refit and boasts all of the technology needed for a deep space exploration mission: state of the art scanners and sensors, decks of science labs, a brand new warp drive, and well defended to boot. Most noticeably, though, is the new bridge module -- which features a familiar wooden horseshoe design.
And finally, we must have a crew for our Starship Enterprise, and one that is diverse and exiting enough to meet the standards of any Star Trek series.
Our executive officer is one Commander Sariel Rager, an African-American woman who served as a helm officer aboard the Enterprise-D; she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and she’s a stern – if compassionate – administrator. When we previously saw her, she was steering the Enterprise through warp space and navigating the rapidly closing doors of a Dyson Sphere. But she saw ground combat in the Dominion War, and more than one tense situation since. She’s been Worf’s XO since he took command of Enterprise, and she was on Riker’s senior staff aboard the Titan.
Commander Sorval, the PhD, ship’s chief science officer and scientific mission commander, a Vulcan who has served with the Vulcan Science Academy for over a century and recently accepted a lateral transfer to Starfleet in order to oversee the Enterprise’s exploration mission. Worf commands the ship, but Sorval commands the mission, which is sure to place them in conflict; Sorval is not organized into the Enterprise’s chain of command.
Our chief of security is a young Andorian officer, Lieutenant Shrav, who is, yes, very competent in his role, but is best described as full of piss-and-vinegar, and is a mirror for Worf – he’s very much an Andorian version of Worf circa early TNG, prompting our favorite Klingon to remark to Picard, “I have a new appreciation for the patience you showed me as a younger officer.” “You mean the one who got upset when I told him to command the saucer section in a combat separation, or the one who was prepared to blast Q’s face off the viewer at Farpoint?” “…Yes.”
Lieutenant (j.g.) S’Mlarr is our bridge officer – she is a Caitian capable of crewing any of the bridge stations. This is her first deep space assignment.
Finally, we round out our crew with some familiar faces: Chief Engineer Lt. Commander Nog, who continues the tradition of the first member of a race to serve aboard the Federation flagship; Alyssa Ogawa, our chief medical officer; and finally, our young operations manager: Lieutenant (j.g.) Molly O’Brien has literally known Worf her entire life and in quiet moments, is sometimes known to call him “Uncle Worf,” an endearment he pretends to hate (but secretly enjoys).
And as we revisit the 24th Century, it would not be inappropriate to revisit some of our other friends from Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Some decisions are beyond this pay grade: did Ben Sisko ever leave the Prophets? I can’t answer that, but I’d like to say yes: he and Kassidy are happily married, living in the home he built on Bajor – she still runs deep space freighter missions, and he’s a chef at a human cuisine restaurant near their home. With Bajor’s admission to the Federation, and the Bajoran Militia’s incorporation into Starfleet, Kira Nerys is now a Starfleet flag officer overseeing operations in that sector; there are Starfleet officers of Cardassian descent who report to her. Quark still runs his bar. Julian Bashir serves in the Romulan zone, his new frontier, still looking for adventure. Miles O’Brien is long since retired, an occasional lecturer at Starfleet Academy; Keiko keeps a small garden. Their son is pursuing a degree in botany. Jake Sisko is a well-known author and freelance reporter for the Federation News Service; he’ll be covering the Romulan negotiations (he married a Bajoran woman and they have several children). Is Wesley a Starfleet officer, or an evolved human? Maybe we don’t answer this last question. Guinan shows up somewhere, providing advice; maybe she does this at Quark’s (maybe she’s just at the bar critiquing how he bungles a Manhattan). We don’t see Martok again: he’s dead shortly before our story begins, murdered most foul.
Kathryn Janeway reports to Riker – she’s responsible for overseeing Starfleet’s exploration missions. Chakotay’s off being an asshole somewhere. Tom Paris teaches 20th century history somewhere; Torres teaches engineering at the Academy. Harry Kim works at Starfleet’s Starship Design Bureau.
By our final episode, we will have wrapped up all or most of our open plot points. The final episode will be full of joy and sorrow as our friends prepare to part, together one final time. We will close on the bridge of the Enterprise, our original TNG crew joined by our new crew. Worf defers the command chair to Picard, for one last engage, and as Picard takes the seat and leans forward, we cut back to the final scene of Encounter at Farpoint, the camera panning in on our main cast, so much younger, as Picard asks Riker, “Something wrong, Number One?” “Just hoping this isn’t the usual way our missions will go.” And Picard shakes his head as the camera continues to zoom in on him. “Oh, no, I’m sure most of them will be much more interesting” and then we cut back to the present for Picard’s lean forward, his two fingered wrist-snap and “Engage” as we cut to:
“Space, the final frontier,” Worf will narrate as our beautiful Enterprise moves gracefully past stars and planets, her engines thrumming in preparation for the jump to warp, “These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Her mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where none have gone before.”
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That's a very interesting and well-thought-out idea. A bit heavy on the nostalgia for my taste, but still cool. The workaround to include Data by having him be the voice of the computer is very clever!
-------------------- “Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” — Isaac Asimov Star Trek Minutiae | Memory Alpha
Registered: Nov 2000
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