FAQs

HMS_Bounty_leaves_Vulcan

Once upon a time there were two science fiction fan blogs: Star Trek: Sentinel and Space 2049.  One proved popular for it’s aggregated news, the other was more popular for it’s developing fan-script for a possible remake of Space: 1999, and its push to see that show remade today.

Both blogs attracted the odd question from readers over the years, and now that both have been merged into one site (this one), those questions have been answered here, on the FAQ page.

To shake things up a little, and make these FAQs a little different to most you read, I had a friend interview me for the answers, and it’s all transcribed below for your amusement and information.

Michael
Thanks for asking me to do this, but you could have dressed for the occasion?

Jay
What’s wrong with track pants and UGG boots?

Michael
Just the fact I didn’t think to do it.

Jay
Feel free to go home and get changed.

Michael
I’ll suffer in silence.

Jay
I’m happy to wait, but your choice.

Michael
(Laughs) I’ll deal.  Okay. Welcome to your frequently asked questions page.

Jay
Why, thank you.

Michael
First one.  What font are you using for your Star Trek posts?  It looks really familiar.

Jay
The font?  Um… it’s called Montalban.  I’m only guessing here, but I’m thinking it was probably named for the awesome Ricardo Montalban who played Khan in the TOS episode ‘Space Seed,’ and played that character again in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  I need my notes here, hold on… the artist who created the font is known as Pixel Saga, real name Neale Davidson.  Neale offers the font for free, but you can donate to him if you’d like.  I’ll make sure I provide the link in the write up (its here – all you need to do is click the ‘donate to author’ box under the download option for the font).  I’ll stick up a link to his website too (here).  I recommend readers visit the site.  He’s a talented guy.

Star Trek II TWOK

Michael
Why did you use the Ambassador Class starship design for the ship in your Star Trek: Sentinel story?

Jay
Um, there are a few reasons.  Some of them I talk about in the Star Trek section of the site, so I won’t repeat them here, but the ultimate reason was because the Ambassador Class is my favourite Trek ship design.

I love every version of the Enterprise, though the E is my least favourite, and I’m a fan of the Voyager, Defiant, Shenzhou and Discovery designs, but the C stands head and shoulders above the rest to me.  It looks like it’s built to explore space and defend the Federation.  To me, that ship says “I get shit done.”

Ambassador Class Starship

I guess the other reason is, as I was plotting the story out it made sense to me that Starfleet would recommission older, sturdier models of starships – especially for patrol and protection efforts, after all of the wars and craziness they’d been through with the Dominion War, the Borg, the now and again temperamental Klingons, and the collapse of the Romulan Star Empire.  It made sense the Federation and Starfleet would conserve resources and use designs they knew worked, and just pack those old designs with up to date hardware on board.

Because my fan-novel takes into account the Star Trek: Voyager relaunch novels by Kirsten Beyer, the damage done to the Federation by the Borg is more extensive than anything we ever saw on TV or in the movies.  I couldn’t imagine the head of Starfleet thinking, after all of that… “let’s waste time and resources designing a pretty new starship,” when there were literally dozens of viable options from the past that could be used to build new ships, with the only changes needing to be to the interiors and tech.

Michael
Why did you bring the MACO (Military Assault Command Operations) back?  Don’t you think that goes against what Star Trek stands for?

Jay
That’s a really good question.  Hmmm.  Look, I definitely thought about fan reaction to that more militaristic unit coming back and being on board the Sentinel… um… and I knew there might be some backlash, but it made sense to me.

A line from Star Trek: Insurrection kept playing in my head.  It’s Ru’afo who says it: “Look in the mirror, Admiral.  The Federation is old.  In the past 24-months, they’ve been challenged by every major power in the quadrant: the Borg, the Cardassians, the Dominion.  They all smell the scent of death on the Federation.

I love that line.  Not because I think the Federation should die.  As a fan, that would make me really (censored) angry, but because it’s juicy – and it’s delivered perfectly by F. Murray Abraham.

Michael
Two questions from me.  How did you remember all that, and what do you mean by it’s “juicy?”

Jay
That movie is my favourite Next Gen film.  Most prefer Star Trek: First Contact, which is awesome and has the best Marina Sirtis scene ever in it, but Star Trek: Insurrection resonates more deeply with me.  If I love a movie, I’ll watch it a few times, and I’ll accidentally learn a good chunk of the dialogue.  That line always stuck with me.

You’ve known me for years, and you know I used to act professionally.  I don’t know if it’s the same for other actors, but for some of us lines just stick.  I would have killed to have been given a line like that – and I was always playing bad guys so someone should have written me a line like that.  No one did.

Um, the juicy thing?  Well.  Um.  Look… that line?  There’s a whole movie or TV series in that line.  Ru’afo is right.  The Federation has had the shit kicked out of it, and it doesn’t stop after Star Trek: Insurrection.  It keeps going.  Shinzon goes them, then a few years later Romulus explodes which would have destabalised the entire quadrant.

That’s rough stuff.  How would the member worlds of the Federation respond to that?  How would Starfleet officers respond to that?  All I could think, as I was coming up with the idea for the book, was that’d you’d protect what you and what you believed in.  You protect what you love.  I could never ever imagine Kirk or Sisko or Picard or Janeway or Archer letting the Federation fall because it was too worried about getting its hands dirty.  They’d do it in the right way, and they’d try to be real damn ethical about it, but those guys would fight.

The observation Ru’afo made must have occurred to others in the Federation – officers who didn’t want to violate what the Federation was, or what Starfleet was, but at the same time didn’t want to lose either.  Also, in my mind, the MACO are more Star Trek than Section 31.  Um… so… you know, so… to protect the Federation and maintain Starfleet, I thought why wouldn’t they bring the MACO back?  Make them separate to Starfleet, but able to serve on Starfleet vessels, and have them ready to defend the worlds of the Federation.

By the way, that Section 31 thing, that wasn’t a pot shot at Star Trek: Discovery.  I love that show, and Section 31 was in DS9 and the J.J. Abrams movies, so I’m not having a dig or anything.

Look, if me bringing the MACO back upsets people or annoys them, I get it, but you protect what you love.  I stand by that.  I don’t think it screws with Gene’s (Roddenberry) vision.  Gene served.  He went to war to protect what he loved.  I honestly believe he’d get it.

Ru'afo

Michael
That got you fired up, didn’t it?  (J nods.  Okay then… next question.  Why are you focusing on Saavik in your Star Trek novel?

Jay
The way they ended her arc in the original series movies sucks.  She’s dumped on Vulcan because we learn way after the fact that’s she’s supposedly pregnant with Spock’s child.  And all that is left.  They just dump that.  They dump that and then they put out into fandom that it was so she could be with Sarek and Amanda who would take care of her and the child.

They introduce this vital, exciting character in the second movie, they change actors on us in the third film, but still keep the character interesting and compelling, and then nothing.

If any character deserves follow-up it’s Saavik.

Michael
The cover of your fan fiction novel has Robin Curtis’s Saavik on it.  Didn’t you like the original Saavik?

Jay
I loved the original Saavik.  Kirstie Alley was brilliant in that role.  But so was Robin.  I chose Robin for two reasons, one logical, and one purely emotional.

The logical reason was because she was the last actor to play the character.

The emotional reason is because fans have picked her performance apart and been a bit cruel about it, which sucks.  She did an excellent job.  Yeah, her take was different to Kirsties, but it was just as good and to me, Robin deserves more love and a shitload more respect.

Michael
Why Space: 1999?  I don’t even know if anyone saw it?

I have to add to that Jay.  What’s so special about that old show?  I remember it, but only because there was a really hot chick who used to shape-shift into a cat or something?

Jay
Um… (laughs).  Um… I guess it’s an unusual choice hey?

I loved the show as a kid.  I was five when it came out in Australia, I think?  Something like that.  However young I was, it stuck with me.  When I came across the VHS tapes while I was at Uni, I loved it all over again.  I can’t remember if that’s because it was the 90s and the moon gets blasted out of Earth orbit in 1999 in the show?  But I do remember loving the characters – Helena, John, Sandra, Victor.  I loved them and I loved the kind of esoteric nature of the show.  It was tackling big questions like the meaning of life and that really appealed to me.  When the show eventually came out on DVD in Australia in the early 2000s, I bought them and watched them again and still loved everything about the show.  The design… not the costumes… though I guess bits of the costume, just not the flares.  Some of the stories were good.  The characters were great.  The Eagle space ship was freaking beautiful!  I saw and still do see, a lot of potential in the series.

Now, in the last year of the twenty-teens, I still see that same potential.  Of course, the moon is still up there, and all of the research I’ve done shows that if the moon ever left Earth orbit it would be catastrophic – so parts of the show just can’t and won’t work, but I think it can still be remade without tampering with much.

Those big questions are always relevant and I think we could explore some of what’s happening on Earth now in a really meaningful way through the microcosm of life on Moonbase Alpha.

Does that answer both questions?

Michael
It does.

Space 1999 Season 2 Poster

Michael
What’s with your spelling?  Why “s’s” instead of “z’s” in some words?

Jay
(Laughs) That’s got to be from an American?  I love the United States, and I really love Americans in general.  I’ve spent a bit of time in the States over the years.  The only thing I really didn’t like was the spelling.

In Australia, and most English speaking countries, we don’t write “organisation” as “organization.”  We use an “s.”  So, me using an “s” is just about what I was taught in school.  It’s not meant as an afront to Americans or anything like that.

So, they’re all the questions, aren’t they?

Michael
They are.

Jay
If we get some more, are you up for another Q&A?

Michael
Wouldn’t miss it.

Jay
Thanks.

Michael
Thank you.