Enemy: Starfleet!

Star Trek: Phase II

This is an episode of a fan-made series whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.

Stardate 7232.5: A landing party from the Enterprise examines volatile mineral deposits, but suddenly comes under attack from a fleet of Peshan raiders. Kirk’s nephew unwisely puts himself in the line of fire on the surface as the under-armed Peshan ships launch futile strafing runs on the Enterprise in orbit. The landing party captures a Peshan on the planet and retuns to the Enterprise during a brief lull in the hostilities. The captured Peshan accuses Captain Kirk and Starfleet of trying to wipe out his people. Another Constitution class ship appears, heavily modified, and begins brutally picking off Peshan ships: the long-lost U.S.S. Eagle, now commanded by the pirate captain Alersa. The Enterprise and the Eagle battle it out until more ships arrive, built by Alersa’s people and based on reverse-engineered Starfleet technology from the Eagle. Kirk denies Starfleet’s involvement, but realizes he’ll have to risk the Enterprise and everyone aboard so he can clear Starfleet’s name and destroy Alersa’s pirate fleet.

Watch Itteleplay by Dave Galanter & Patty Wright
story by Dave Galanter & Gregory Brodeur
directed by Ben Tolpin / additional shots directed by Vic Mignogna
music by Fred Steiner

Cast: James Cawley (Captain Kirk), Brandon Stacy (Mr. Spock), John Kelley (Dr. McCoy), Barbara Luna (Alersa), Paul R. Sieber (Kyril), Charles Root (Scott), J.T. Tepnapa (Sulu), Jonathan Zungre (Chekov), Kim Stinger (Uhura), Bobby Quinn Rice (Peter), Jay Storey (Kyle), Ron Boyd (DeSalle), Meghan King Johnson (Rand), Patrick Bell (Xon), Jeff Mailhotte (Sentell), Charles Miller II (Dickerson), Ron M. Gates (Ross), Deniz Cordell (Bernstein), Vic Mignogna (Thuran), Cynthia Lin (Communications Officer), James Avalos (Science Officer), Ronn Smith (Andock), Brian Holloway (Conoris), Tal Baron (Voral), Matt Bucy (Meskan Security Guard), Howard Miller (Meskan Security Guard), Michael Stern (Peshan #1), John Olsen (Peshan #2)

Notes: Ben Tolpin, who portrayed Spock in Blood & Fire, gave up the science station chair for the director’s chair at short notice when Kevin Rubio, director of the fan-favorite Star Wars spoof Troops, dropped out as this episode’s director. Vic Mignogna, director of the upcoming episode Kitumba, directed some pickup shots made necessary by James Cawley’s ill health at the time of the original shoot.

Review: This might just be the best Phase II episode to date. The “classic cast members play aged versions of their characters” gags long behind them, Phase II has been cranking out some classic Star Trek. The two-part Blood & Fire was overtly topical, but Enemy: Starfleet! is simply a rollicking good action-adventure.

Star Trek: Phase II - Enemy: Starfleet!Ben Tolpin, who played Spock in Blood & Fire, leaves the pointed ears behind to direct this story – it seems to be a good career move for anyone who’s portrayed Spock. The episode’s opener is a location-shot marvel that would do any of the Trek series to date proud, while the remainder of the show – taking place entirely within the standing sets of the Enterprise (including some sets redressed to represent the cannibalzed U.S.S. Eagle – is tightly edited, giving it the pace of a real TV episode. With a running time of almost exactly an hour, the story isn’t crowded or rushed, but it seldom seems to flag either. The closest it gets to genuinely slow scenes are necessary character and exposition scenes – even if there’s a bit of a gear shift in the pace, the story is better with them than without them.

There’s a somewhat surprising focus on Kirk’s nephew Peter, introduced in Blood & Fire and still licking the wounds he suffered in that story. His inclusion doesn’t feel forced, though his hair can’t possibly be within Starfleet regulations. Kudos also go to guest star Paul Sieber, a regular on the Starship Farragut fan series, who presents the anguished face of the Peshans, while Barbara Luna chews the scenery and spits it out as pirate queen Alersa. The character is written over-the-top and played that way too, and she does a fine job of not letting anyone forget for a moment that she’s an extremely dangerous force to be reckoned with.

The effects are top-notch, combining the work of the DAVE School and animator Darren Dochterman. The Eagle, with its butt-ugly-but-bad-ass alien refits, is the star of the show; getting less screen time are the ships of Alersa’s fleet, though they do have an interesting look that’s not a million miles away from the Enterprise from 2009’s big-screen reworking of Kirk-era Trek – an interesting coincidence. Naturally, all of these new or heavily reworked ships are something that the original series couldn’t afford to do. One of the best FX sequences in the whole show happens near the end of the story, in a nifty (and surprising) callback (or is that forward?) to Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

There are several new faces on the Enterprise as well; Brandon Stacy, who was a stand-in for Zachary Quinto during production of 2009’s Star Trek, takes over as Phase II’s latest Spock and steps into the ears effortlessly. Jonathan Zungre effectively channels young Walter Koenig as the new Chekov, while it’s easy to blink and miss the fact that Bobby Rice’s former Star Trek: Hidden Frontier co-star J.P. Tepnapa has taken over Sulu’s seat on the bridge.

Without any overt “message” or overpoweringly-big-name stunt casting, Enemy: Starfleet! has nothing but sheer entertainment value to recommend it – and it has that in spades.