Here they are, tales I think of as “Not Quite from STAR TREK: VOYAGER.” Over the first two seasons of the show, I met with the producers more times than I care to recall, carefully laying out the following episode premises. Some of these may sound familiar. You may even have seen an episode or two that were similar.
But not written by me.
(Of course, some were written by others before me, but being inspired by s-f classics isn’t a crime, is it? Mmm, maybe it is.)
With no further ado, here are 17 Unsold (But Maybe Brilliant?) Ideas:
- Childhood’s End: Ship goes through cloud that enhances everyone’s mental powers; story of “Hey, what’s going on?” to realization they have powers to attempt to use them to get home, with powers fading before they can be used, and everyone learning about themselves, especially Janeway, who finds what’s most important to her, and the half-Vulcan who has to acknowledge her Vulcan half.
- Ghost Story: Alien energy beings who look like ghosts, appear as creatures from everyone’s past. They’re trying to liberate the energy on the ship by killing the physical bodies, but it isn’t worried. Janeway has to convince them that they shouldn’t meddle and try to improve us.
- Mother: Landing party goes down because of life readings and then can’t find any, but Kim gets lost inside a strange formation that turns out to be a mother that’s lost her child. She makes him her child instead, and he starts to like it. In the meantime, there’s danger to ship, and it’s got to leave; have to find Kim first.
- Janeway is captured by aliens and held in solitary confinement, where she would never survive except for the companionship of an unseen prisoner in another cell. Finally, she escapes, but when she goes to free her friend, there’s no one there. She finds out it was one-half of her brain talking to the other, courtesy of the ship’s doctor–or of the aliens themselves as part of an experiment.
- Kim becomes addicted to the holodeck, because it recreates the family he misses so much. The same thing is happening to other crew members, interfering with their ability to function. Janeway finds that it’s part of an alien life form’s misguided efforts to “help” them, and has to teach it that independence is what they really need. (Or: This is a subplot in something else.)
- Gateway: Planet or space station built by unknown race, very old, has within it ships capable of getting our people home if they can figure out how to use them. Also wants to be a home for something, and Kim falls for it, not wanting to leave. Or, summons a sentry. Or, is like a maze, with our people going through it to control room and proving themselves not worthy, but a threat, so they have to disarm the ticking bomb they’ve just begun. The Sentry is last member of its race, in deepsleep, etc. Very powerful. They have to prove they aren’t really a threat, do it by demonstrating ability to sacrifice for each other. Double proof: Sacrificing yourself for someone you don’t even like! Rest of series: Who were those beings, where are they, will they come back?
- Dimension Bender: People on ship find things have changed from what they were — equipment and its placement doesn’t feel right, neither do relationships. It’s driving them crazy. Slowly, they realize this isn’t their true reality, they’ve been shifted into it (realize because changes aren’t the same for everyone, records don’t match, etc.), and they have to find the cause and change things back. Cause: Alien race that protects itself by shifting reality; has to be communicated with because it doesn’t even know what it’s doing; or it does know, but has to be convinced humans won’t harm it.
- Blood Feud: Kim gets involved with a group of aliens for whom the vendetta is the end-all and be-all of life. They admire him so much, they want to give him their highest honor: A “beautiful,” agonizing, tortuous death. The people on the ship have to figure out what’s going on, and then stop it. (Kim has accidentally killed someone who was threatening them, etc. And these guys are very, very deadly.)
- Hive: Chakotay and Paris answer a distress call, and find strange aliens also answering it. The aliens are like insects, with a hive mind that says anyone who isn’t them is an enemy to be killed or enslaved if useful to the hive’s needs. Chakotay and Paris have to find a way to communicate past that barrier; it involves Chakotay opening up to the ancient spirits and getting right into the insect-aliens’ communal soul–before the Voyager is destroyed. (Insect that appears human but really isn’t; just protective coloration?)
- The Anti-Matter Matter: The ship desperately needs dilithium crystals but finds them only on a planet composed of anti-matter. To touch it is to explode–and the dilithium will explode too. They have to work out a way to overcome the problem before it’s too late–possibly through the use of the doctor hologram. Added urgency: One of the crew is trapped there in a kind of transporter bubble; they have to find a way to get him back without blowing up everything–the way soldiers had to save buddies who had stepped into booby traps during ‘Nam.
- A member of an alien race that worships death chooses Kim as his “guide” into the next steps of evolution–which means that he keeps setting things up so Kim, who doesn’t know what’s going on, has to kill him. Every time he dies, he comes back to life stronger and more dangerous to others than before. Kim doesn’t want to kill anyone, but finally realizes he has to get him to the ultimate–and at last harmless (or powerful and glorious)–evolutionary step.
- The crew finds itself in a strange parody of Voyager, finally learn it’s the weird mental view of the universe of an alien life form they have picked up–or maybe it’s Neelix. They’re trapped in it and have to get out before its rules and regulations destroy them.
- To Voyager, with Love: A party lands on a planet which contains one living organism. It’s simple and one-celled because it has never had any stimulation, until now. The organism evolves rapidly, is able to read the thoughts of the crew, and desperately wants the crew’s company. Now that it’s intelligent and self-aware, it doesn’t want to be alone any longer. It manifests itself as a perfect person to love B’Elana or Janeway, trying to convince them to stay, then gets more violent and uses its super-powers to keep the ship in place. Finally, it understands that the true meaning of love is letting go. (Makes grass that says “I love you,” that kind of thing.)
- The Greatest Wish: The ship gets what it wants, and finds a way home. Unfortunately, it also finds that it’s being stalked by a killer race, and if it goes home, it’ll lead the killers to the Federation. What to do? Details: The ship encounters a space-faring race of “healers,” who are genetically perfect. Unfortunately, they don’t heal the imperfect creatures they find, instead they exterminate them. They will wipe out the ship unless it escapes. A wormhole is found, but the enemy is right behind them. They end up trapping them in the wormhole and having to go on. Alternate: The “healers” are going to wipe out that weird plague-ravaged race, and Janeway has to stop them…or does she?
- The ship is “invaded” by a microscopic lifeform that replaces human cells with duplicates that are really the lifeform. People are turning into colonies of the lifeform, and while they’re healthier and maybe even happier, they are no longer human. Janeway and the doctor have to find a “cure” after making the moral decision that even though the people may be becoming better, they aren’t themselves anymore, and that’s the same as death. Alternate: People eventually turn into hideous lumps of protoplasm, but within those lumps they are living wonderful, eternal microscopic lives.
- In the Land of the Blind: The ship encounters a space-faring race that is connected by ESP, and which has as its mission the forced evolution of the galaxy. That is, it gets rid of “inferior” races. This race cannot believe humans are sentient, because they aren’t psychically linked. The people on the ship have to prove otherwise. They do so by demonstrating the bonding and empathetic behavior of love. Or by Chakotay opening up his mind.
- Three Godfathers: Taking alien baby back to its people, featuring Chakotay and Paris because Paris is best pilot. Learn to understand each other better, Indian mysticism, ghosts, all that. (Baby religious leader like High Lama? Baby android? Baby as beard for real reason?)
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