Over the past several weeks, I’ve put together the cast for my hypothetical Star Trek reboot, a show set at Starfleet Academy. We would follow the adventures of four cadets as they enter the Academy and start training for their careers in Starfleet. They would make friends and enemies and go on adventures that delve into the heart of the Federation (but more on that next week).
For now, though, let’s talk about where our cadets would hang out. I have three thoughts on that.
The Academy Grounds
This one is the most obvious. If they’re all cadets, they’re going to have to stick around the Academy. We would see their dorm rooms. We’d see them in the classroom and simulators. There would be the staid library that contains much of what Starfleet has discovered about the universe. There would be the engineering and science labs where experiments are carried out by researchers who are assisted by cadets. There would be the commissary, where the cadets gather for meals.
And of course, there would be the beautiful Academy grounds, the ones that had been maintained by the wise Boothby (although whether or not the infamous gardener is still with us is kind of an open question, so far as I’m concerned).
But a Star Trek show that only sticks to the Academy grounds would be a bit boring. That’s why there would have to be plenty of field trips.
The Field Exercises
As our cadets train, they would have to engage in field exercises. Some of these could be carried out at the Academy in holodecks, but I think it would be a lot more interesting if the cadets get out and see parts of the Federation as part of their training. Maybe they spend some time learning low-g maneuvers on the moon. Maybe they go to Vulcan to learn mental discipline techniques.
What might be fun (although it’s kind of been done) would be a multi-episode arc involved scrapped starships. The cadets are divided into teams and each team is given a broken-down starship. They’re given a month to get it up and running. Then they have to travel to a certain place, maybe engage in some simulated combat along the way. Only they get ambushed by the Federation’s enemies and the chase becomes real.
Even if we didn’t do something like that, eventually the cadets would go out on field assignments. They would be sent to various starships, starbases, or research facilities to gain practical, hands-on experience. While this could be seen as a bad thing since it would split up the cast, it could also work really well to further the larger story arcs of the show (again, more on that next week).
The Off-Campus Hangout
But the one thing that the show would need would be an off-campus hangout for the cadets and instructors alike. Two of the four shows had something like this (i.e. Ten Forward and Quark’s), and it would only make sense that the cadets would want a place where they could escape the rigors of the Academy, even if just for a little while.
And I know just the place. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall bar just a kilometer or two from the Academy, one that was started by a very familiar face.
We know that at the end of DS9, Chief O’Brien was transferred to the Academy to be an instructor. And while I think he would have made an awesome professor, I also think that he would have maybe shaken things up by opening a bar near the campus. Called simply “O’Brien’s,” the bar has but one rule: the rank insignias come off when you walk through the door. It doesn’t matter if you’re the greenest cadet or the crustiest admiral. It’s not a Starfleet post, and if you can’t abide by the rules, the Chief will escort you out.
O’Brien’s has become something of an institution for the Academy. You aren’t considered settled in until you’ve had a drink at the bar. It’s a place to play darts, maybe dabble in dabo or tongo, and swap stories with all sorts of different folks.
Now sadly, the Chief is rarely at the bar anymore. Sometimes he shows up to check on things, but he’s still very busy, traveling the Federation and doing…well, who knows what. But he’s left the bar in very good hands, which brings me to the one non-Starfleet regular that I’d want to include in the show.
See, O’Brien’s is managed by a very feisty bartender. She’s never been in Starfleet, but the patrons have learned not to mess with her, simply because of her varied experiences at an early age. I mean, how many people can boast that they were delivered by a Klingon warrior? How many folks grew up on the front lines of a warzone?
Only one: O’Brien’s manager and bartender, Molly O’Brien.
Molly would likely be in her late 20s at this point, the object of many a crush held by cadet and officer alike. But while she’ll flirt with people, she doesn’t get involved with Starfleet types, although she will occasionally make an exception for the right person. She’s also a clearinghouse of information, someone who collects rumors and innuendos. If you want to know what’s happening in Starfleet, the Federation, or out on the frontier, you could either go to Starfleet Intelligence or Molly, and she’ll probably have better information.
I can envision our heroes going over to O’Brien’s on a regular basis to get advice from Molly or simply to hang out and decompress after their classes and field exercises.
So there we go. Some of the settings. Next week, we’ll wrap up the series by talking about potential story arcs for the show. As always, please feel free to comment, especially if I’ve missed anything, and please, let your friends know about the series, especially if you’ve been enjoying it!