Saturday, December 13, 2014

Roddenberry's Discarded Star Trek Pilot Part 2 (3?)

I was just going to forget the whole Star Trek script thing, when I realized I was out of ideas.

If you didn't get what I posted with Part 1, here it is.  Quick precis: I met with someone (who wants to be called Hells_Housemaid) that had sent me material in the past.  She showed me a script she claims she took from Majel Barrett's trash.  I took a few pictures to transcribe and put here, but lost some (thanks Google!).  She's just sent me a note asking me to post what I have.  HH is short on cash and really wants someone to buy it from her soon.

So, what happens in the script?  I was a little surprised at the plot; it's almost exactly like Where No Man Has Gone Before.  The Enterprise encounters an ion cloud.  Two members of the crew (a man and a woman) manifest psychic powers.  The man, a long-time friend of Kirk's and the ship's chief surgeon, goes bad.  Eventually the woman kills him with her powers and dies.

The only real difference in the story is the beginning.  The episode starts with Kirk walking aboard the Enterprise for the first time.  Commodore Barron officially gives him the ship.  He meets Spock and Scotty.  McCoy is transferred in at the end of the episode after Mitchell dies.

The biggest surprise for me was how funny the script was.  The Enterprise is a new vessel in this version.  Getting it started and out into space comes fraught with problems the crew has to sort out.  Much of the humor comes from Scotty and Spock trying to solve the problems as they keep cropping up.

After some negotiation, HH let me take four pictures of the document plus one for the cover page.  I eventually decided to take shots of the most interesting parts.  Namely, the problems with getting the Enterprise out into space and some of the places where Roddenberry was prescient about our technology.

iPads, teleconferencing, and even digital cameras are in this draft.  Much of it was cut for the final version "Where No Man Has Gone Before."  My guess is the studio execs thought Roddenberry's vision of the future a bit too strange and he cut it back.

From about four pages in after being briefed on his mission and taking official control of the Enterprise:

              INT. BRIDGE

               SULU, UHURA, SPOCK are at their duty stations.  KIRK enters
               through the TURBOLIFT and sits on his seat.

                         Secure all quarters.

                             (into her earpiece)
                         All decks, secure stations.  All
                         decks, secure stations.

                         Release magnetic moorings.

                             (pressing buttons)
                         Moorings away.

               Kirk presses a button on the arm of his chair (right side)
               and holds it down.

                         Mr. Scott, are you ready to try out
                         these new engines?

                         Aye, sir!  Ready and willing.

               Kirk releases the button.

                         Mr. Sulu, ahead time warp factor 1.

                         Warp 1, sir.

               Suddenly, the viewscreen goes dark.  The words "ERROR 1132"

Turns out there's some kind of software malfunction.  They get it fixed and are underway.  Five pages later we get the first appearance of Yeoman Rand:

               INT. BRIDGE 

               YEOMAN RAND (pretty, blonde, demure) hands him an ELECTRONIC

               The elctronic [sic] clipboard is a small, flat computer capable of
               holding dozens of pages of important information.  In
               addition, it can perform simple calculations like a
               calculator, be written on with a pen, has a small light (for
               when the Enterprise's main lighting is down), and can take
               pictures like a camera.

                         Fuel consumption reports for your
                         signature, sir.

               Kirk signs and hands the clipboard back.

                             (hands back)
                         Thank you, yeoman.

                The Yeoman turns a dial on the side to flip to a new page.

                         Departmental transfers.

               Signs and hands it back, but she's turning the page again.

                                   YEOMAN (CONT'D)
                         Just a moment.  You need to sign
                         off on all the promotions.

               Kirk takes the clipboard and flips through several pages
               himself and stops.  He finds several pictures of the Yeoman
               posing seductively.

                                   YEOMAN (CONT'D)
                             (snatching the clipboard
                         Uh... Sorry.  Just testing out the

Kirk calls them "self pictures."  He and Mitchell talk about how he's not allowed to be near her.  Then he gets a call from the Commodore:

INT. PICTUREPHONE ROOM The CONFERENCE ROOM is built with three television sets in the middle of the talbe [sic] positioned in a triangle so everyone can see. These televisions are picturephones and everyone in the room can see and talk to anyone on the other end of the call. The sets are currently showing static. KIRK, SCOTTY, MITCHELL, and SPOCK assemble. Scotty turns a dial and the static slowly clears to reveal COMMODORE BARRON sitting at a room in Starfleet HQ. SCOTTY Can you hear us, Commodore? COMMODORE Hello? KIRK We can hear you, sir. COMMODORE Hello? Can you hear me? KIRK AND MITCHELL We can hear you! COMMODORE I can see you, but I can't hear you. Can you see me? SCOTTY Is your volume down too low, sir? There's a knob at the bottom of the screen! COMMODORE (to someone offscreen) Why isn't this thing working? Did you put this together wrong? MITCHELL This is why technology will never replace humans. . Eventually, there Commodore gives them an assignment to scan a nearby ion cloud.  It changes course and envelops them.  Nothing seems to happen, but fights break out on the ship:

INT. HOLODECK ROOM Three CREWMEN are sitting on chairs, wearing special goggles with earphones, and gloves, staring off into space, seeing things only they can see. The HOLODECK is a fake environment used by the crew for relaxation during the long, space voyages. By wearing special glasses, gloves and earphones, the users can pretend to be in any environment programmed into the Enterprise's computer. The ship's chief surgeon often orders the rest of the crew to periods of "holo time." Two strong ENSIGNS are fighting in the corner. Kirk jumps between them. KIRK Break it up right now, or I'm going to throw you both in the brig! Both ensigns stand up straight. KIRK (CONT'D) Now what's going on? ENSIGN 1 He started it, sir! ENSIGN 2 It was an accident! KIRK What did he do? ENSIGN 1 He erased all my data tapes and filled them with pictures of kittens! . From there, the script is pretty much exactly as the second pilot.

I have to say, ignoring all the technological prescience, Roddenberry's biggest accomplishment here seems to have been in creating an origin story.  If given free rein, would he have invented the multi-episode story arc decades before Babylon 5 did it?

I guess we'll never know.

And if anyone wants the email address of Hells_Housemaid to make her an offer, let me know.

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