Star Trek: Section 31

There was some discussion on Reddit regarding what the next Star Trek television series should be and so I gave it a bit of thought…

Section 31 is the secret agency in Star Trek that I have really enjoyed both watching in several episodes, as well as reading about in a few novels. I think a television show showing the Federation from their perspective could revitalize Star Trek and bring new people to the Trek Universe.

While I don’t think it is the kind of Star Trek that Roddenberry, the creator, would have liked to see, I think it is the goal of Star Trek is to both be a mirror of the world we live in and show us the potential for our future.

I don’t want to go all Stargate: Universe with this show idea, and make it all dark and gritty, with a focus on character interactions over exploring the universe that is made available, and so it is with that in mind that I lay out my idea… I hope you enjoy it, and if you don’t feel free to pick it apart.

Premise

Seven Section 31 agents aboard the latest ship, not bound by any accords with any other species, work hard to keep the Federation safe from its enemies, while forcing its citizens to remain ignorant and living in their perceived utopia.

Starting Story

It is ten years after the return of the starship Voyager. The Federation is backed into a deal with the Romulans and Klingons that they will share the technology brought back on the ship. Section 31 immediately steals access to the technology and now, of course, wants to delay the dissemination of the information as long as possible.

They also want to cripple, corrupt, and replace information so it is less useful to everyone, including Starfleet. Section 31 wants full control over the new technologies and the advantages that they provide.

The first prototype ship off of the line, the Artemis is given to Captain Leon Gabriel, a long time veteran field agent. His job is to ignore the boundaries drawn on maps, and do what needs to be done to keep the Federation ahead of its competitors, while keeping Starfleet unaware, all the while managing the strong personalities of his small, highly skilled crew.

Characters

Captain
Captain Leon Gabriel

  • Snide sense of humour
  • Loves puzzles
  • Usually the first to figure out the solution to any situation
  • Not good at making friends or maintaining personal relationships
  • Divorced from his wife of twelve years upon joining Section 31

Commander
Commander Emmanuelle Evans

  • First officer
  • Expert in Romulan Psychology
  • Quiet, confident, but also passionate
  • Almost Romulan like in nature
  • Won’t sleep with the Captain, though uses his physical interest for her as a tool

Chief Medical Officer
Commander Richard Thompson

  • Expert in Diagnostic Medicine
  • Smart but reserved, friendly, seemingly simple but also guarded
  • Closest “friend” to the Captain as he shares his love of puzzles

Head of Science
Lt. Commander U’la

  • Expert in Astrometrics
  • Bolian
  • Only non-human in the crew
  • One of only three in Section 31
  • Not trusted by the others but doesn’t care
  • Calm, easy going, happy, difficult to intimidate or to stress

Chief Tactical Officer
Lt. Commander Shawn Zain

  • Expert in Covert Assassinations
  • Oldest member of the crew
  • You feel like the first thing he thinks of when he enters a room is how he can kill everyone
  • Believes that being on the ship is a limitation to his goals and career
  • Doesn’t trust anyone, even his fellow crew mates
  • Not the best at fly by wire tactical situations, but given pre-planning, always comes out on top

Chief Engineer
Ensign Marissa Leigh

  • Expert in Trans Warp Theory
  • Youthful, Idealistic, Super Intelligent
  • Ensign Level but given Chief Engineer Duties
  • Only other woman on board but can’t “relate” to Commander Evans
  • One of the last members of Red Squad before it was disbanded
  • Believed by Starfleet to be dead

Conn (Pilot)
Lt. Commander William Drahaus

  • Slick, young, fast, over confident, cocky, but also funny which makes him more endearing than if he didn’t have a sense of humour
  • Disagrees with the stealthy nature of Section 31
  • Late twenties, and has been in Section 31 for ten years
  • Pulled from the civilian world, and has a bit of a complex about not being a born and bred Starfleet “employee”, despite being given the rank of Lt. Commander
  • Has a seven year old son that is currently with his mother. They both believe he still works on a transport ship on contract with Starfleet

Issues

Personal Motivation
– Why do they do what they do?

Personal Relationships
– What are their relationships like with friends and family?

Careers
– How do they manage staff turnover?
– How are they ranked and promoted?
– What happens when they have to interact with the Federation?

Technology
– Without the “limitations” of the Federation, what kind of technology do they have access to?
– What kind of production/acquisition of new technology do they have? (I would assume they have limited production opportunities)

Dystopia/Utopia
– What events have they helped mold from previous shows?
– How do they deal with their counterparts in other alien races?
– How do they view Federation citizens as a whole?
– Do they ever help one bad guy to reduce the threat of another?

Potentially Accessible Technologies

There are things we have seen both the Federation and other races use that have been considered “illegal”. I would assume Section 31 wouldn’t limit themselves by agreements with outsiders.

  • Cloak/Phase
  • Isolytic Subspace Mines
  • Warp Interdictor Mines
  • Tricobalt Torpedoes
  • Transphasic Torpedoes
  • Gravimetric Torpedoes
  • Transwarp
  • Isokinetic Cannon

First Season Goals

The first season should consist of the Captain being given his ship and collecting his crew. They should all be uninterested in getting to know each other at first, as most Section 31 agents work alone, and very few work in teams larger than three.

We should see how Section 31 agents get their missions, and the first mission should be relating to something internal towards protecting Starfleet from itself.

Early on in the series, we should have an episode or two dedicated to showing how Section 31 has played a major role in previous Star Trek missions and television shows as this will both tie in continuity and be great fan service, especially if well written. Maybe something related to covering up the fact that they were the ones giving the orders to work on the Cloak/Phase technology.

Of course, as the crew gets to know each other and work together on tasks, so will the viewers get to know the crew.

The biggest selling point of the first season is to increase interest outside the core Star Trek fan base without completely destroying the fan base already built. Of course a series like this will polarize the Trek community, but there are opportunities for great story telling.

Also, season long story arcs should be set in place that aren’t always the primary plot point in the episode, but are carried through as secondary plot points through most of the season. This will bring a nice sense of continuity and provide something that people engaged in the continuing story can come back and see, but not such a strong focus that if you missed an episode or two that you are always out of sync with the show and can’t enjoy an episode by itself. Deep Space Nine has the best example of this in Trek thus far, but I think something more akin to what Babylon 5 did for its first four seasons is a better way of doing things.

The ultimate enemy of the series should be Starfleet and the Tal Shiar with the Klingon Imperial Intelligence making an appearance or two.

The pay off for non-Trek fans is to have a science fiction series that is approachable by opening up opportunities for episodes centered around spying, espionage, medical drama, and political drama. With such strong personalities, there are also opportunities for character moments that people enjoy.

The advanced technology, themes of utopia vs dystopia, government control and oversight are all great potential hooks for attracting viewers.

Sidenote: My spell checker is going crazy underlining what feels like every tenth word…

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