Enterprise-B in the Nexus

Plotting Along – “That Star Trek Movie” (Part 4)

So… where were we?

Ah, that’s right.  The Enterprise-B has just reappeared.

I’d imagine the first conversation between Kirk and Picard to be 90% exposition, since by this point the audience is most likely confused as hell.  Basically, we have Kirk tell Picard the same things Picard told Kirk in the original Generations.  To summarize for anyone who for some reason is reading this before seeing the movie (shame on you,) the Nexus is a universe unto itself that responds entirely to the desires of everyone inside.  Anything you want to happen will happen.  Time has no meaning, allowing one to be effectively immortal so long as they’re inside.  So basically, heaven.

Kirk and Picard
“You know Jean-Luc, I really would have expected heaven to let you get your hair back.”  “You think that’s bad?  In three movies the writers are going to retconn it so that I was born this way.”

Now, while it seems that this is great at first, the fact is that with the Nexus responding to your every whim it very quickly becomes boring as hell.  Nothing you do matters as there’s no permanence to any of your actions.

Kirk explains that he and the Enterprise-B have been trapped here for over seventy years.  At first, he explains, they were all trapped in worlds created for each of them by the Nexus.  Over time, however, he and the rest of the alumni from the original Enterprise realized what was going on (since, let’s face it, this kind of thing happened at least once a year on the five year mission) and were able to escape back to reality.  Over time they learned how to snap the rest of the crew out of the illusion as well, like they just recently did with the crew of the Enterprise-D.  Unfortunately, they’d woken too late.  While they’d all been lost in their own worlds, several crew members (Harriman included) fell too deep into the Nexus’s influence and are completely catatonic.  The Enterprise-B herself was also almost a lost cause.  The ship had been taking damage from the Nexus, which over time corrodes all matter trapped inside of it (not established in the film, but it sets up a good ticking clock.)  They repaired what they could, but the main engines are shot, and without them there’s no way they can escape the Nexus’s pull.  And so the Enterprise-B and her crew have been wandering the ribbon, doing their best to rescue the crews of any other ships that get trapped and hoping that they might be able to find one intact enough to allow them to escape.

At this point, Picard and his crew retire for one of their trademark conferences, with both Guinan and Soran invited to provide their input.  The story that Kirk told them is difficult to swallow, at best.  Data in particular points out that history says that while the Enterprise-B was heavily damaged by the energy ribbon she encountered on her first voyage, she nonetheless returned to port and re-entered service.  Soran, however, interjects that Kirk’s story could still be correct, as the Nexus’s strange relationship with time could allow the B to emerge at the same point in time as she first entered.  Guinan, while hesitant, concurs that it’s possible while warning that her sense of the universe, which has proved a vital plot convenience many times on the show, doesn’t work particularly well here.

The two crews both look over the data the two Enterprise‘s have gathered on the Nexus, which unfortunately seems contradictory at best.  Physics, it would seem, doesn’t exactly behave as a constant here.  Data in particular is growing increasingly frustrated, as his new emotions are making it impossible for him to achieve the efficiency he’s accustomed to, and he’s beginning to fear that this drop in performance may cost the lives of everyone on board the Enterprise.  This leads to him reaching out to Spock, as he now feels that repressing his unwanted emotions may be the only way to continue on.  Spock listens, but then tells Data that learning the Vulcan way is not something he can just teach him.  Furthermore, he argues, it is not Data’s way.  He has become closer to being human than he ever has been in the past.  To stop now would be to deny all his struggles up to this point.

Meanwhile, Kirk and Picard have a similar talk regarding the death of Rene.  With the Nexus illusion broken, Picard is slipping back into despair.  Kirk, having lost his own family, provides some comfort to Picard with his own perspective – that his crew and friends are a family as well.

Soran is the one who ultimately comes up with the plan for escape.  The Enterprise-D, being less damaged, might be able to push both ships free.

Anyone who remembers me defining him as “evil-Guinan” can probably see where this is going.

The mysterious woman Soran has been seeing reappears.  Soran tells her that his plan has been set in motion, and that nothing will keep them apart now.  They’re interrupted by Guinan, who recognizes the woman: Soran’s dead wife.

This time, unfortunately, it’s too late.

The Enterprise puts the plan into motion, and all hell breaks loose.  The Enterprise-B is snapped in half, while the D’s warp nacelles both explode.  The shields fail, and everyone on board starts falling back into their Nexus fantasies.  Kirk and Picard find each other first, and with some effort make their way back to the stricken Enterprise-D.  The situation looks dire until the B hails them, offering support.

Kirk, at first, is ready to accept their assistance.  Picard, however, remembers seeing the B destroyed.  After relaying this to Kirk, along with what he knows of the Enterprise-B’s history, the ship vanishes as Kirk realizes the truth.  There was only ever one person from the Enterprise-B trapped in the Nexus: Kirk himself.  A flashback reveals that the hull breach suffered during the escape from the Nexus caused him to be swept out into space and into the Nexus.  For the past 70 years he’s been living out his own Nexus fantasy: back in command of the Enterprise, his crew at his side, carrying out an endless mission.

Unfortunately, the Enterprise-D is close to death.  Working together, the two captains come up with a plan to separate the saucer from the drive section.  The crew in the secondary hull is evacuated to the saucer via the transporters and the shields are brought back up, allowing most of the crew to reawaken, including Soran.

Soran, desperate and crazed, makes his way to the battle bridge and aborts the separation sequence.  Picard attempts to override, but the damage to the Enterprise prevents them from doing so from the bridge.  Someone will need to go down to the Battle Bridge to release the override.  Picard prepares to go – but is stopped by Kirk, who repeats his earlier line to Harriman.

The fist fight on the bridge ensues.  Just on a different bridge this time.

The saddest cage match ever.
Thankfully, this version probably wouldn’t have the saddest cage match ever here.

In the end, Soran is vaporized, and Kirk is mortally wounded.  With warnings going off about the imminent warp core breach, Kirk initiates the saucer separation sequence and watches as the Enterprise-D saucer departs, sending one last farewell message to Picard and company before the warp core detonates, flinging the saucer section free and clear of the ribbon.

…And straight into a planet.

Which means we still get this little gem!
Which means we still get this little gem!

The Enterprise crashes, and the remainder of the movie plays out more or less the same.  The only difference is that we get to see a scene of Data retrieving the emotion chip from his quarters and having it plugged into his head, having decided that emotions, while not everything he imagined, are still worth having.

So, that’s my version.  It’s not entirely as streamlined as I’d like, but I feel makes better use of the concept of the Nexus and a team-up between the two captains.  Voyager fans may also may notice some elements are rather familiar.  Specifically, elements may remind you of the season 5 episode “Bliss.”

Yep, that one.

Bliss, to me, is a perfect example of the Nexus concept taken further than it was in the original script.  In fact it’s so close I almost wonder if the idea of it being the Nexus was ever brought up.  The similarities are quite deliberate – it seems only fair to highlight the fact that the writers for Star Trek did eventually manage to get a good story out of the concept.

This concept, I feel, provides many more action set pieces for the film and a far more meaningful ticking clock.  We’ve seen enough of the crew of the Enterprise-D to automatically care if they end up eaten by the Nexus – which pretty much makes them an improvement over the planet of faceless people by default.  We get to see a fight between Kirk and Picard which isn’t centered around eggs.  And the Enterprise-D gets destroyed in a much more fantastic way than when it just got blown up by yet another bird of prey.  Would it work on the big screen?  I think so.  It probably would have ended up longer than Generations and with so much going on there could be potential pacing issues if it were expanded into a full script, but I think those issues are manageable.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it!  Not sure what film will be up next for Plotting Along, but I’m definitely going to go with a film not starting with “Star.”