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Tales of the Seventh Fleet

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Interview With Gene Hendricks From “Tales of the Seventh Fleet”: http://www.fanfilmfollies.com/fanfilminterviews/interview-with-gene-hendricks-from-tales-of-the-seventh-fleet (21 Jul 2006)

Episodes

Return to Doomsday

Episode 1 — 17min 46sec — 25 April 2004
33 years after the destruction of the USS Constellation the legendary Captain James T. Kirk stops a planet devouring machine and places a warning buoy near the inactive machine. The USS Justice, on routine patrol, discovers the USS Enterprise's buoy has been destroyed and that the most powerful weapon in the universe is once again fully functional!

Watch on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/4404832

Our Review

Rating: 2.5. The writing is fair. The ideas are quite good, but not very well executed. The outline of the episode was clearly very good. The acting is weaker than the writing. However, the costumes are good. The green screens are used pretty well, but the bridge is made to look too large for the size of the crew. Also, I noticed that they had one person (Edward Tunnis III) playing two parts. That was distracting. I was wondering, in fact, if they were twins or what was up with that. Reminded me of kids making zero budget Trek in their basements. It’s mildly entertaining, decently directed and edited. It makes no point. It’s level of disbelief, aside from the general production weaknesses, are not greater than in regular Star Trek. I liked their use of the Doomsday machine much better, than in almost any other fan Trek I’ve seen, and the Doomsday Machine seems to be a Fan Trek favorite. These folk understand the idea of an imaginary universe having rules and limits, and they comply fully with them on all parameters.

Our Synopsis

Opening has a ship with a single nacelle and a Unity type space station. Then we see something that looks a lot like a transistor from the 1950s but with a cap on one side.

The title, “Return to Doomsday.” New Captain to the USS Justice gives us a voice over. He is joining a ship with a crew that has served together for a long time under a prior captain.

Starfleet members appear older than typical Starfleet personal. TOS Movie era.. There is a woman who appears to be one of Harry Mudd’s androids. She is overweight, and called ‘Enigma’. They receive information and notice the Doomsday machine is ‘moving.’

Opening Credits Roll, music is not Standard Trek, but I like it:

USS Justice

Edward C. Tunis, III
Daniel A. Swift
Eugene R. Hendricks
Michael Stein
Michelle Lee Hendricks
Richard Frost
and Trisha A. Tunis as Enigma (presumably the android)

One crew member (science officer?) reports the heading of the Doomsday machine, the android reports subspace interference. Captain wants to ask Starfleet Control for instructions. The science officer (I know he’s the science officer from his function and from watching the rest of this series) objects that it took two Constitution Class Starships to stop it before. The android reports that Starfleet Command is sending another starship to help them stop it. For now, they are to follow and observe the device. It will take six days for the other starship to get there. They launch a “Class 5 probe.” Science officer reports it will be 15 minutes until optimum sensor range.

A crewman complains he has to fix the food machine for desserts. The woman he speaks to
(who I take to be the ship’s doctor) kids with him about bedside manner.

The ship travels through space. Enigma reports increasing subspace interference will result in a loss of communications with Starfleet Command in 4.5 minutes. The science officer reports the device is headed for the Klingon Neutral Zone and will cross it in approx. 47 hours. Another officer has no problem with that. Captain asks if it will pass any inhabited systems, and the science officer says, with a concerned tone, “negative.” Captain asks if it’s functional, science officer says it’s hard to tell, the hull is made of solid “Tr..” whatever, he doesn’t say Neutronium, which is what the original Doomsday machine was made of. Captain calls a meeting of the senior staff and gives the navigator the com.

Interestingly, the ship is shown passing through space, looking pretty dark. That’s more realistic than the standard way used in Trek. Nice.

At the meeting, the senior officers throw out and shoot down ideas of how to stop it. Enigma points out it is not endangering any inhabited systems and headed out of Federation Territory. The Captain is concerned that the Klingons will hold them responsible for what it does once it enters Klingon space. They agree they have to stop it first. Since the Starfleet assist vessel will take longer to reach them than the Doomsday machine will take to leave, they can’t wait for it. However, this is not mentioned in the dialogue.

Two officers chat in the hall. It’s hard to make out what they are saying. Something about ‘chief engineer.’ And that the captain wants him to fix problems ahead of the confrontation.

Enigma announces that subspace interference is now too great for long range communications. Captain asks helm for range to target, “220 gigameters” (My note: kilo 1000, mega 1 million, giga 1 billion, so that’s 220 million kilometers. Light travels 300,000 Km/sec... roughly 12 light minutes. Earth is 8 light minutes from the sun.) They discuss photon torpedoes and phaser. The captain says he has 14 minutes to lock phaser onto target. They are, it would appear, traveling at sublight speed, but barely.

A moment in sick bay in which an engineer is being fixed up. Somebody else in the engineering group is Identified by the doctor as having prevented a warp core explosion on another ship.

Phaser cause no damage to the outside of the Doomsday Machine. The machine, however, turns and changes heading. Captain asks about damage, Enigma reports minimal damage. They are in torpedo range, and fire their torpedoes. First shot does little but get a response. The ship shakes ,the helmsman is out cold The captain tries again with maximum warheads. Science officer reports, “No effect.” There is something which shakes the ship again and the colors get funny.

We now see the Engineer. He is asked if he’s rigged the warp core for detonation. He agrees to ‘take care of it.’ Captain and Commander Stein have been injured, and the Doctor has been called to care for them. Science officer is now in command of the Justice. Enigma, the android, notes that the chief engineer is next in the chain of command, but the Science officer comments he is more familiar with the vessel. Enigma threatens to lock out all command functions if he doesn’t surrender command to the Engineer, so the Science officer complies. When the chief engineer appears, he refuses to surrender control to the Science officer, and takes command.

The Doctor isn’t getting proper power and is not happy to find out the engineer is at the bridge. Captain, delirious, demands they explode the ship inside the Doomsday Machine. Engineer explains that, due to malfunctions in their warp core, they don’t have enough power to knock it out even if they do explode the ship inside the machine.

They decide they could get that much power by causing a solar flare with a spread of photon torpedoes. They discuss how to do that. They move in toward the sun past the safety zone, past the hull tolerance limits. The Doomsday Machine follows them. They fire at the sun, resulting in a huge solar flare half the height of the sun, but impossibly fast. There is an explosion. The ship shakes. The science officer identifies it as an EM pulse which knocks out all power. The engineer gives the Science officer the helm, and says he tell him when to ‘hit the engage.’. Then the Engineer removes some panels and works on the electronics of the command systems. They argue about his orders, but he then says, “hit it” (the engage) and the officer does. A few lights go on, and a moment passes before the ship’s engines kick in and the ship moves out faster than the em pulse.

Engineer makes the closing log, noting that they got all ship systems, including enigma, on line, and that the captain finally called him by name.

Credits:

Edward C. Tunis, III as The Captain
Daniel A. Swift as Commander Carl Stoeffles
Eugene R. Hendricks as Lt. Cmdr. Robert Lupia
Michael Stein as Commander David Stein
Michelle Lee Hendricks as Doctor Valerie Lupia
Trisha A. Tunis as Enigma
Richard Frost as Lieutenant Donald Woods
James Miller as Engineering Crewman
Edward C. Tunis, III as Officer 1
Domma Whitlark as Officer 2

Upgrade

Episode 2 — 30min 33sec — 30 May 2005
The USS Justice is under going refit, but a saboteur is on the loose! A mysterious disease has been released and has already claimed one important person's life. The crew is in serious danger. Can the Captain, Commander Stoeffles and Dr. Lupia find a cure in time to save the Justice and Starbase 24 from infection?

Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/4367645

Our Review

Rating: 3.0 A big improvement over the prior episode in acting and in writing, but not in concept. The story moved along much better. The use of sets and backgrounds is also marginally better. It is significantly more entertaining. The directing is better, and it has the feel of being better edited. There may be a point to the story once the issues left open at the end of the story are closed, and the issues discussed of genetic engineering skirt a point, but I don’t see a point social, political or scientific at this time, so I am not assuming that will emerge in my evaluation..

Our Synopsis

Opening credits but without the Ids about who plays what character:
Edward C. Tunis, III as The Captain
Daniel A. Swift as Commander Carl Stoeffles
Eugene R. Hendricks as Lt. Cmdr. Robert Lupia
Michael Stein as Commander David Stein
Michelle Lee Hendricks as Doctor Valerie Lupia
Trisha A. Tunis as Enigma
Guest Starring
TJ Longo
Matthew J. Grieco
Thomas Hendricks
Special Guest Star David M. Fricke as Admiral Voss

We see a Unity type starbase above a grey toned, mottled world. “Starbase 24" Ships, large and small, dock. The USS Justice is in a doc. Somebody is moving around stuff in the dark which looks like a 15 or 17 gallon Rubbermaid. The Dr. Using a hand scanner over a patient as the lights flip on and off. She presses his chest, then, as a beat turns to a drone, covers his head with a sheet. The white-haired captain is speaking, but we don’t hear him, we hear bagpipes. The small crew stands at attention.

The scene changes. A senior officer is ordering the USS Justice Science officer, Stoeffles, to take over some research by “Dr. Hopper”where he left off, and he is resisting. Dr. Hopper was the teacher and friend and shared his work with Stoeffles. He had an assistant, La Bouvier, but the assistant is still suspect. So, LaBouvier cannot be in charge. “The warp core breach has left a blemish on his reputation which is hard to ignore.” says the senior officer. The Stoeffles objects that LaBouvier was cleared of all responsibility and won’t like it that he is not promoted. The Sr. Officer says, “I don’t care if LaBouvier likes it or not, I’ll take care of him.”

We next see him communicating with Bouvier, who sarcastically says, “I’m sure Dr. Hopper would have wanted it that way...” and signs off, pissed. A woman is reading a book in the room. “They took it away from me,” he complains. He believes that Stoeffles is behind it, and has used his problem with the warp corp to get it. He says if Stoeffles says anything he’ll bust him in the mouth.

He is upset. Hoffler died of a mutated pneumonia virus which had invaded almost all of his cells. The wife is the doctor.

LaBouvier confronts Stoeffles, but the conversation is not what he expects. Stoeffles not only denies wanting the project, he was going to resign from Starfleet, and now he’s been blocked from that. He explains that he tried to get them to give it to LaBouvier.

Meanwhile the wife/Dr. Is going over Hopper’s files. She tells the captain that she wants to quarantine the ship and Starbase. He tells her to notify the starbase medical officer. They talk about the possible source of the virus, and she goes off the do more research.

Back with LaBouvier and Stoeffles, it becomes clear that Stoeffles is the stickler for protocol (he has already complained that the rest of the staff is late) about safety protocols when the experiment is conducted. LaBouvier denies that such regulations exist, but caves when Stoeffles shows them to him. LaBouvier starts to work, but collapses on the floor.

Dr. Sets aside the rule of treating he friend/husband and examines him due to her expertise in infectious diseases. She asks the computer for a list of viruses which cause humans to collapse suddenly, but it’s over 500. She now limits things to viruses that would have been exposed to Dr. Hopper. The symptoms of Dr. Hopper and DeBouvier are 60% consistent with a natural Alpha Centauri virus and 80% with a weaponized version. She orders the computer to run more tests and schedules an emergency meeting with the captain.

In the meeting, she expresses the opinion that they have been hit with a weaponized virus. She says the weaponized version spreads more easily than the natural, but it still can’t be airborne. It requires touch or ingestion.

The realize the weapon has to be placed in Engineering. A scan shows the entire Engineering section is infected, but particularly the panel that LaBouvier was working on when he collapsed.

Examined by the Dr., A crew member insisted he was fine, that he was immune from the virus. The Captain questioned how he could be immune to a bioweapon. Dr. Acknowledged that the crew member was evasive. The computer, meanwhile tells Stoeffles that the infested computer panel was manufactured on a Planet called Dagron 4. It is not connected with the Alpha Centauri Virus. There were four crew members on the delivery ship, all Starfleet. Stoeffles asks for names, and is interested in the answer.

Next we see the Dr. And Stoeffles reporting to the Captain about the bioweapon. The Dr. Is suspicious of the crew member, but the captain seems sure that the immunity is immaterial. Stoeffles has located a crew member on the deliver ship with a gripe against Hopper. The captain wants him brought in for questioning. The man is William Bosha, but the Dr. Says that he was friends with ‘Robert’ and would never do anything like that. She acknowledges she’s never met the man.

The Jr. Engineer checks on LaBouvier, but won’t let the Dr. take his blood to discover the source of his immunity. He says he has a phobia, he’s afraid of himself.

The questioned crew member seems to like ‘Rob’ and wants to talk to him, admits to delivering illegal weapons but not to the virus. He’s a navigator and has nothing to do with cargo. Captain suggests he could be telling the truth, and the panel was contaminated on the ship.

The Captain wanted the immune crew member to give a blood sample, and talks to him alone when he finds out the crew member refused. In private, he acknowledges the crew member was genetically engineered. They discuss the dangers of having his genetic records on file, and the Captain assures him the records will be destroyed after the crew members have been saved. The crew member agrees to the blood sample.

The captain explains to the Admiral why he has quarantined Star Base 24.

La Bouvier has become critical, and Stoeffles and the Dr. Discuss either giving him some of the genetically engineers crew member’s antibodies or trying to remove the viruses with the transporter. Dr. Likes the transporter idea. But before they can do anything, LaBouvier has cardiac arrest. The Dr. Can’t get the heart started again. But the transporter procedure worked, on Lt. Commander Litia, The captain orders Stoeffles to hand his findings to the new security chief. They both acknowledge the problem could be one of the crew.

The refit is complete on time, and the ship is ready to test the refit. The USS Justice leaves space dock.

A Touch of Home

Episode 3 — 24min 20sec — 23 September 2006
The time has come in the Effrosian Captain's life that he must reach a frozen planet to perform a sacred ritual. Unbeknownst to the crew the planet is more than just a ball of ice in Klingon Space!

Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/4366623

Our Review

Episode 3, A Touch of Home. Rating: a strong 3.0 or weak 3.5. The story is consistent and moves along. I like it that this is not supposed to be the leading ship in the fleet, and the officers and workers are not as super competent as on the Enterprise. In both Episodes 2 and 3 they also only accomplish part of their task. The acting is sticky. It’s not that they aren’t into their parts, they just all seem too awkward too much of the time. The CGI is obvious green screen. However, the rudimentary ship CGI and green screens do the job. The show is more entertaining and better directed than the prior two, showing growth. It is also well edited. I’m not clear that it makes any points, aside from just those it takes to drive the story.

Our Synopsis

Captain’s log. Lt. Preston says all leads are dead ends. Saboteur may not be a crew member. All members of his species must preform a reaffirmation ceremony.

Science officer has found appropriate planets, but they are too far away, or in Romulan space. The closest they can get to is 4 days away and in Klingon space.

My copy goes dark around 1:35-1:42. Captain seems to order the ship into Klingon Space and goes to his quarters. A panel in Klingon appears on a screen with a schematic of the USS Justice.
Credits roll
“A Touch of Home”
Guest Starring
T J Longo
Matthew J. Grieco
Special Guest Stars
Stephen M. Bounocore
Joseph Bloch

As credits are rolling the Doctor is offering a new treatment to a crew member who says he “has his own remedies.” The Captain enters. He tells them to be seated. He comments that they know his culture considers his religion very private, but he has to perform a very special ceremony on a special planet, so they are changing course to the planet T’Debt.

An officer objects that that is a Klingon world.

The captain acknowledges this but explains it’s the only one they can reach which is not in Romulan space.

A second officer, Mr. Stein, acknowledges that the Kittimer Accord is in effect, but that won’t stop groups which split from the Klingon government from attacking them.

The Captain agrees, and puts Stein in command during his absence.

Enigma objects. Chain of command give Stoeffles Command.

Stoeffles asks about getting their orders to leave their patrol space, and the Captain has gone through proper channels and gotten the leave of the Klingon government to enter their space.

The two other officers object, with Stein saying that that puts the ship in serious danger.

Captain reminds them the Klingons are now Federation allies. Any questions?

The Doctor wants to know about the ceremony he will be performing, and the other officer wants to know how it involves Stoeffles, but the Captain demurs, saying it is a private matter.

Stein takes command, and a bridge crew member reports strange censor readings from the planet.
Mr. Ways is asked to confirm, but he says censors must be off, there is nothing there now. They gather around Mr. Ways. Ways suggests it was a sensor ghost. He says he’ll contact engineering and have them run a full system diagnostic.

Stein wants the captain informed that they have entered standard orbit. The bridge crew member who spotted the anomaly objects that the captain should be informed, but Commander Stein says that it’s an equipment malfunction, and the captain doesn’t need to be troubled with that.

In the Captain’s quarters, Stoeffles looks troubled, and wants to know what this is all about. Captain explains he needs somebody close to him to perform the ritual, and so he chose his first officer. The captain Is almost a head shorter than Stoeffles. He informs Stein he’s beaming down.

The commander in charge of beaming them out suggests he keep his emergency locator so they can beam him out at any time just in case. The Captain, amused, asks, “Do you expect us to be attacked, commander?” Stoeffles says it’s a good idea.

Captain agrees, and expands that to ordering him to keep a transporter locked on them at all times, then waits to be beamed out, until they are.

The terrain is mountainous barren, and snow-covered. They materialize in a cave which pleases the captain, but Stoeffles says the cave is part of a larger cave system, and it’s minus 12 degrees Celsius in there. (25 degrees F.). Captain thinks nothing of it.

After 3 hours, several ships decloak to starboard, just as Stein is getting antsy about not hearing from the Captain. The ships fire on them, as the captain says “evasive, on screen.” (Nothing about raising shields?). The ships do not look like standard Klingon Birds of Prey.

The USS Justice is hit, shakes, and the navigator reports ‘shield down to 33 per cent, sir.” When Stein says, “report” the man at the science station says impatiently, ‘SIX unknown ships have decloaked and opened fire.” Stein asks, “ Are those ships capable of warp.” The substitute science officer says, “No, Sir.” Stein orders the navigator to ‘Take us out of the System.” The Navigator objects, “Sir, the Captain.” Stein says, “Now.” Navigator, “Yes, Sir.”

The USS Justice turns and goes to warp. The enemy ships cloak themselves again. Below, the Captain has completed his ceremony, and is packing up. Stoeffles suggests that , next time, the pick someplace warmer. Captain wants to complete packing and get out of there. When Stoeffles tries to call the USS Justice, he gets no answer. They agree to look for better shelter while they ‘puzzle it out.’

Back on the USS Justice, the ships, are identified as not Klingon or Romulan but which were using a Klingons cloaking device. Engineer suggests that they could identify their energy signature. Commander says to do it. Wood, the navigator, is claimed by the Engineer to help out. The Doctor reports most injuries were just from being knocked around during the battle. Engineers identifies the ships as Orion ships, consistent with reports of pirate attacks in this sector. The Navigator looks over the cloaking signature, and notes it’s not identical to Klingon signatures, just made to look like them. But the anomalous readings when they entered the system, which were from the location the Captain beamed down to, matched their signature. They return to the planet.

Scene switches to the Captain and Mr. Stoeffles. Stoeffles is freezing, although the cold doesn’t seem to bother the Captain. They have wondered inside an energy field and are now looking at a door to a sizable base. Captain wants to know if Stoeffles can open it. Stoeffles, freezing, says the thinks so.

Back on the ship, they have returned, and are now able to detect cloaked ships within 25km. They spot two, target them, and prepare to fire. The USS Justice fires as the ships decloak, destroying two and damaging two more. The small ships flee. The commander demands the wreckage be beamed into Cargo Bay 2 for examination. Then he orders that they locate the Captain and Mr. Stoeffles and beam them aboard. But they can’t detect them, they have entered the cloaked complex.

Below, the Captain and Mr. Stoeffles enter the complex, unaware that they are getting further from possible rescue. They scan the complex for life forms, finding several hundred Orions and six Romulans. They speculate about what the Romulans are doing, and decide they probably want to disrupt Klingon-Federation trade. They head for the control center.

On the ship, the Engineer and his staff scan the debris, but the Engineer is already sure that it’s Klingon. He insists the Klingons entered into a treaty just to lure the Federation into a false sense of security. However, scans show the signature matches recent Romulan technology, not Klingon technology.

The Captain and Mr. Stoeffles approach the center of the complex, hiding behind boxes to stay out of sight when Orions pass. They reach some tech stations, but hear people approaching. Stoeffles works to gather data while the Captain investigates those approaching.

On the USS Justice, they scan for fuel emissions, since the Orion ships aren’t as fuel efficient as Romulans ships would be. They locate and attack four more ships.

Below, Stoeffles is captured by the Orions. But the Orion who grabs his recorder tells his fellow to give it to their own captain, not the Romulans. The other Orion still brings it to the Romulan, who realizes it will be Commander Stoeffles, and addresses him by name. He wants to know why he and the USS Justice are there. For no apparent reason, Stoeffles says they were making snow angles, and is beaten. But the Captain comes out of hiding with a phaser, and knocks the unsuspecting Orions out, while the Romulan demands they drop shields, and beams up. The Orion who is not knocked out calls him a coward.

On the USS Justice, they note a shadow fleeing and that the shield is down and they can get a lock on the Captain and Commander Stoeffles. The Commander orders they shoot at the fleeing Romulans first, and the Romulans decloak, but continue to flee toward Romulan space.

The Captain and Stoeffles are surrounded by Orions, but are beamed out just in time.

The Engineer wants to know how the ceremony went. The Captain responds, it was like “A Touch of Home.”

The Engineer traps Stoeffles and asks what happened. Stoeffles says, “After four years of knowing him, all I found out was his name is Sneg.” The Engineer responds, “Sneg?”

The Captain returns to his command chair, and it is surrendered to him. He notes that they are sending reports to the Klingon embassador and their Federation commanders. He is confident their involvement will cause the Romulans to rethink their involvement in Klingon Space.

However, even as the USS Justice pulls away, a Romulan ship decloaks.

Credits roll.

Justice Holiday Greeting 2006

00min 48sec — 21 December 2006
Short Christmas vignette from the Seventh Fleet team.

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBJd4ihVO0E

Current Production Notes

They have released a trailer for a fourth episode, Street Fighter, so there's more to look forward to. (That was written in early 2009. No progress to report in late 2011)

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