Kirk is missing, presumed dead. U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-A is retired. Spock has left Starfleet to be an ambassador. The old guard are gone or divided up. For the first time in twenty-eight years, the old crew of the Enterprise are gone. Hikaru Sulu and the Excelsior are the legacy of the old generation; John Harriman and the new Enterprise-B have a tarnished reputation that needs redemption. The Khitomer Accords have been signed. Azetbur is the Chancellor of the High Council after her father was assassinated. Who will step up to deal with what comes next? What happens from here?
Star Trek: The Interim Years is the story of what happened after the momentous events in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; the discoveries and evolution in attitudes and technology which took place between the era of Captain James T. Kirk and Cadet Jean Luc Picard. Amongst a renewal in exploration, discovery, diplomacy and colonisation, Starfleet is active on the final frontier on levels unseen since the Federation-Klingon War. The Tholians, the Breen, the Cardassians, the Ferasans and the Romulans: all are being studied or researched for contact and diplomacy. The cold wars of the last fifty years are not to be repeated. Twenty years after Khitomer, these are the voyages of Captain Nathaniel Hawkins of the Miranda class starship U.S.S. Sheffield. Whilst the famous explorer vessels and deep space cruisers like the Excelsior and Constellation class are well-known to the general officers and crews of Starfleet by the Next Generation, cultural and social sciences specialists like Commander Deanna Troi will know that explorers do a superficial study over a large area; the second-tier, mission-dedicated starships like Sheffield did the more detailed work.
Star Trek: The Interim Years is more than a story about one crew and one starship; this is about the transition between Kirk and Picard. It is a story to be told from many viewpoints throughout the history. Welcome to the Interim Years section of the Star Trek Universe. From Excelsior and Enterprise-B to the story about Praxis, the outbreak of plasma plague at Oby V with the medical ship Solace and Leonard McCoy, ships of the Tabula Rasa campaign like Explorer, Potemkin, Apollo and Hirayama as well as experiences away from Starfleet like the Merchantman and Six Pillars of Romulus. From talking about the first peace initiatives in the mid-2280s with the Hood, the preparatory observations of the Emden and Courageous. Studying the mysteries of deep space with Frontier and the dangers over the hill with the Nimrod. Merchantman and Frontier look at the Federation from ground level; seeing in the lightest of days there are still shadows. I want to look at the dilithium miners, the second generation colonists, the science vessel crew in deep space, the small science vessel on a planet following up the glamorous explorer vessels, the cargo crew resupplying the distant colonies, the forgotten colonies whose purpose has now expired, the team of engineers and scientists on the Venturi homeworld trying to save their world and many more scenarios beyond these. This is where the values of Gene are put to the real test; it's one thing to have visions and values, it's another to test those values, see the alternatives and still understand why these values are worth fighting for. Why Gene's vision is a good one. Each story has a different feel and viewpoint. This is my ST: Interim Years from the start: a comprensive story universe from many angles with consistency and realism. I want to build upon the fifty year Star Trek legacy. To see what the vision of Gene Roddenberry means for the crews of Starfleet, the Federation citizens, colonists and those nations outside the Federation. In the modern age it's about reviewing the values of Star Trek and ensuring that each story, each element lives up to those values. I want to show the 'evolved sensibilities' that Picard spoke of in TNG: 'The Neutral Zone' and ST: First Contact; Star Trek is about US becoming BETTER. I don't just want the Prime Directive for non-warp cultures, I want to show how the Federation doesn't do regime-change; we don't expect everyone else to be like us. We LISTEN and LEARN from other cultures, we RESPECT differences. This is about journeying across the universe into new, uncharted places and not spoiling them. We work WITH the environment and peoples, we observe and we preserve.
The irony is that the 'monster marooon' uniform era (2277 - 2355) has perhaps the poorest portrayal in movies and television for actual exploration. The Grissom in Star Trek III was the only starship in 5 movies to be shown exploring planets. Reliant in Star Trek II was seeking a lack of life for Genesis, so perhaps you could argue that was a science mission. Beyond that, Saratoga was patroling the Neutral Zone, Excelsior was after gaseous anomalies. Shepard in Star Trek IV was carrying medical samples. The Yorktown we don't know. Even the plots of Star Treks II, III, V and VI were more concerned with fightig he Bird of Prey or the superhuman Khan than actual exploration. You could make the case that these movies actually aren't Star Trek in the truest sense(!) Interplay Games Starfleet Academy and Star Trek: New Worlds were the best examples of Star Trek in the 'monster maroon' era; actual exploration and discovery in true Star Trek style. The Tabula Rasa campaign actually gives a period 2288 - 2291 where the Federation was engaged in exploration and colony building, not just chasing off the Romulans. There was a mystery to solve and this really shows that the spirit of discovery hasn't been lost because of the naval-inspired uniforms. Most of the novels, books, fan fiction and games were shaped by the Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock with Starfleet looking more militaristic. David Marcus' comments about Starfleet being the 'military' meant that this era is incorrectly thought to consist more of Cold War posturing with the Klingons and Romulans than Roddenberrian exploration and values. The Interim Years seeks to redress this misperception. The Wrath of Khan-era movies actually gave us some of the best known and common science vessels of the Star Trek Universe: the Oberth class science vessel. We also got the Miranda class light cruiser and the Constellation class Star Cruiser, two more vessels for either deep space exploration or follow-up studies. The Second Contact that Star Trek: Lower Decks speaks of. I want to see people in maroon uniforms and jumpsuits beaing down to planets with tricorders, not phaser rifles. I want to see gnuine exploration of the unknown. Cateloguing and examining new finds. No 'Planet Nazi' or 'Planet Gangsters' but genuine new civilisations detailed in a way that works. Not every starship is a first rate explorer like the Enterprise, Hood or Excelsior. All ships make their own contribution, building up the whole picture. Every cog in the machine is vital.
The mission of the Sheffield is to study the Klingon Empire - and the worlds bordering it - in detail; culturally, social scientifically, diplomatically, militarily and astro-politically; to see how the Empire has changed in nearly twenty years and whether the catastrophic collapse Spock predicted on Stardate 9521 shows any signs of happening. On a superficial level, the last 19 years have not quite gone the way Starfleet intended it to; the optimistic start of 2293 soon floundered as the realism of the situation sank in. Some of the Klingon Houses rebelled against the "unilateral declaration of surrender that the the traitor Azetbur signed at Khitomer". The Klingon home world of Qo'noS needs rebuilding after Praxis, but Houses with territories further out have been unaffected by the explosion and are unhappy that their resources are being taken away to rebuild Qo'noS. The war of 2256 - 57 still plays heavily on the Federation and the pseudo-militaristic attitudes of Starfleet are taking time to remove. Admiral Hikaru Sulu, the previous Starfleet Commander-in-Chief, made great progress in reviewing Starfleet and directing it back to the great mission to seek out life and explore, discover and learn from the universe and the life that resides therein. His successor, Irina Khmelnova, will follow this up and set the course of Starfleet to explore the final frontier.
Applying Gene Roddenberry's vision, with inspiration from movies such as Arrival (2016), Avatar (2009) and television series such as David Attenborough's series Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II (2017),Will Smith's National Geographic series One Strange Rock (2018), Leonardo DiCaprio's Before the Flood (2016), Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017), Steve Backshall's Expedition (2019) and CBS Paramount's Star Trek: Discovery (2017), this is a re-imagining of Star Trek focussing on exploration, diplomacy, discovery and hope that sometimes has become lost in the Star Trek movies through the pressure for a summer blockbuster action movie. Equally games, both tabletop and computer, have to match up to the values of Star Trek; if the solution to the game is to shoot and destroy, rather than to explore, think, talk diplomatically and negotiate then it is NOT Star Trek. We're here to discover and learn, not to kill or destroy. This is about remembering what made Star Trek different to the other science fiction movies and TV series: hope, optimism, exploration and discovery, looking, listening and learning, negotiating and NOT shooting weapons, defensive and NEVER offensive; explorers, scientists, diplomats and the coastguard first and soldiers last, when there are NO alternatives left.
There are four generations from Kirk to Picard: Hikaru Sulu followed on from James T. Kirk, learning from the lessons of the 2260s and 70s, John Harriman was the young Kirk contemporary from the 2280s who commanded the Enterprise-B before the nineties legacy of Demora Sulu and Nathaniel Hawkins. Next will come the generation of Jean-Luc Picard and finally the young Will Riker in the 2350s. Each generation learns from the last and passes on the lessons from 'Cowboy Diplomacy' and quick-draw phasers of the Nicholas Meyer, Leonard Nimoy and Harve Bennett movies up to the opening events of Gene Roddenberry's Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint and the diplomacy of Captain Picard.
Star Trek: The Interim Years uses the latest developments from Star Trek: Discovery; the richness and diversity of the Klingon Empire and its people, the re-imagined other races of the Federation. Seeking out new life is very different to how it's been portrayed in previous Star Trek series and movies: Life is a rarity in the universe, complex life is even more rare and intelligent life - well that's the rarest find of all. All life is sacred. All Starfleet personnel are passionate about their field of expertise, whether it is artistic, scientific, engineering, medical and protecting its people. Every member of Starfleet is a tool in the toolbox of trying to solve the mysteries and puzzles of the universe. Taking into account great books like Deep Life: The hunt for the hidden biology of Earth, Mars and Beyond by Tullis C. Onstott, Goldilocks and the Water Bears: The search for life in the universe by Louisa Preston and Spaceman by Mike Massimino help shape the Star Trek universe and how it will really be. Not always as it's always been shown.
An average ship with an average crew...
In 1966, Star Trek had a diverse, human, crew with an 'outsider', Spock who'd talk about humanity from an independent view. Rick Berman brough the 'outsider' model to TNG with two crewmembers: the Klingon Worf and android, Data. DS9 had Quark, Jadzia, Kira and Odo, making it a much more representative cast. By Voyager we have Tuvok, Neelix and Kes (for three seasons) then Seven of Nine. Enterprise (pre-Federation) was back to a Vulcan, with recurring aliens. I want TIY to reflect the modern diverse world we live in. You wanlk down the street in Leeds, Sheffield or any other city and you'll see white, black, asian, Eastern European, straight, gay, bi and even trans. Modern UK (and other countries) is a culturally diverse place. We need to move on with relating to the person on Star Trek who's the same ethnicity or nationality as the viewer. Now it needs to be that the viewer relates to being the HUMAN, regrdless of race, colour, creed or nationality. To some degree, we'll also identify with the aliens. Each different in ther own looks, cultures and beliefs. And no more cultural stereotyping of alien species either. I want to feel the United Federation of Planets vibe from an INTERNATIONAL, MULTISPECIES perspective. Even Hawkins, the white, male captain isn't from Earth. He sees a holistic view of the Federation and tires of hearing about Earth all the time, like a stuck record. Here's to the new chapter in Star Trek!
Inspired by the courage and insights of the astronauts and cosmonauts of NASA, ESA, Russian Space Programme, Chinese Space Programme, Japanese Space Programme and the myriad of space probes and missions sent out into space; Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Soyuz, Skylab, Mir, Mariner, Viking, Pioneer, Voyager, Lunokhod (to Moon), Venera (to Venus), Galileo (probe to Jupiter – 1995 – 2003 including Shoemaker-Levy collision 1994), Juno (to Jupiter), Space Shuttles, Cassini-Huygens (to Saturn), Dawn (to Vesta and Ceres), Chang'e (Chinese Moon probes), Hubble space telescope, Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous – Shoemaker: NEAR Shoemaker (to near-Earth asteroid 433 Eros), Stardust (to comets 81P/Wild (sample collect), 5535 Annefrank, Tempel 1), Mars Exploration Rovers, Rosetta and Philae lander (to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko), Hayabusa (to near-Earth asteroid named 25143 Itokawa), New Horizons (to Pluto), Dawn (to the asteroid belt; the protoplanet Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres), Hayabusa2 (to near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu) have all given information on the wonders of space that were unknown before the age of Star Trek. For the style of writing I want us all to remember Star Trek is not just a soap opera about the characters of a space ship but it is about SPACE and the WONDERS that are out there. One Strange Rock by National Geographic is my touchstone for this wonder. Star Trek is NOT "Hornblower in space"; that analogy is purely to inspire Summer blockbuster movies. Star Trek is about James Cook and the Endeavour, Adventure and Resolution, about Charles Darwin on the Beagle, Robert Falcon Scott on the Discovery, Ernest Shackleton on the Nimrod, the astronauts and cosmonauts who have gone up in rockets, shuttles and space stations and the exploits of people like David Livingston, Henry Morton Stanley, Richard Francis Burton, Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Robert Ballard, David Mearns and Steve Backshall. This is about the HUMAN ADVENTURE EXPLORING SPACE and OURSELVES, what it means to be HUMAN. Not melodrama or space soap opera.
Starship voyages of discovery in the 23rd and 24th Centuries is not like a voyage to the Moon, a space shuttle mission or even time in the International Space Station. This is back to an earlier era of exploration like Christopher Columbus, James Cook, David Livingstone, Henry Morton Stanley, Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Sir John Franklin; this is the age of boldly going where no one has gone before; beyond the supply lines, beyond the real-time communication limits and any hope of help. You're on your own. If your starship is crippled, you'll literally be years away from help. The starship needs to be self-sufficient in every respect. The pressures, both mental and physical, of voyages lasting five years or more are greater than even the longest duration on the ISS. As with those early voyages of discovery, journeys across the continents or to the poles, there are losses. Every year, starships and personnel are lost in the line of duty. Often the circumstances are unknown; a starship goes silent and only after a probe or other starship gets in range can the fate of the lost ship can be investigated. This is a time of renewed exploration, discovery and learning. The achievements and losses are just as great; the risks are worth it. THIS is what it means to be STARFLEET. This is about the PEOPLE and their COURAGE and CURIOSITY that helps to expand our knowledge and make new friends. What needs to be conveyed in Star Trek is REMOTENESS and VASTNESS of space. These starships are not around the corner from starbases like a petrol station, they are MONTHS or even YEARS away from the main infrastructure of the Federation. You may not even see any colonies or signs of other life for MONTHS. Communications relay-laying is a continuous process along with stellar cartography and planetary reviews. Communications are rarely real-time and the only colonies out on the FRONTIER are small homesteads or mines that have been set up. Small populations and no advanced recreational facilities for crews to enjoy; that's all the propaganda for colonialism and the best entertainment is either enjoying the raw, untamed planet and its occupants, or on the starship you came on. The holodeck is a creation of the late-24th Century and many decades away; even then it's entertainment for a small number of the crew and not entirely a match for REALLY escaping the starship and EXPLORING. LONLINESS and ISOLATION are very real factors out on the final frontier, this is one of the reasons that selection at Starfleet Academy is so rigorous and uncompromising. Starfleet life makes a person very INSTITUTIONALISED; the same daily routine, same activities on the starship at the same time: even the same clothing in the form of the Starfleet uniform. You don't need to think for yourself a lot of the time - especially lower down the ranks. Star Trek Beyond dealt with this with reference to the TV series but it'll be a very real factor. You need the right temperament; you have to get on well with the same people around you day-in, day-out for years. Claustrophobia is also very real on a starship that is small compared to the vastness of outdoors on any planet. Like the Royal Navy, this is why you need SUPPORT SHIPS like the Royal Fleet Auxiliary backing you up and keeping your ships functional. Starfleet will be the same with repair ships, tankers and freighters sent ahead with the explorers to keep them fighting fit and running well. STAR TREK: THE INTERIM YEARS is about conveying the REALISM of what DEEP SPACE EXPLORATION is like; the BOREDOM, the PRESSURES and the EXHILARATION of DISCOVERY. Doing PERSONAL PROJECTS both partly to stave off boredom and keep you occupied but also to create insight into your overall MISSION. The little picture building up to the BIG PICTURE and the multiple LEVELS of operation on the starship.
Building on the established lore of Star Trek, with contemporary organisations such as the British Antarctic Survey, US Coastguard, NASA, ESA, Russian Space Agency, UN Ambassadors and the Royal Navy's HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise (2002 - ), HMS Protector (2011 - ) and Endurance (1967 - 1991, 1992 - 2008) amongst the models for the future Starfleet. The nature of the Federation and the other races will be re-examined as the Sheffield continues Star Trek's 50+ year mission "to boldly go..."