Chapter 1: “Berman’s New Scheme”
Written by Jason Reichstetter
SEVEN YEARS AGO...
It was a fine day on the Paramount lot. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and the Paramount studio tour was going full throttle. Tourists from all around the globe joined hand in hand to revel in the marvel of Paramount’s lot. In one tour group however, two people noticed something suspicious. The two are Mike Lit and Fonda Dixon, two tourists from North Dakota.
Lit: Hey, Fonda, isn’t it a beautiful day?
Tour Guide: ...and over here is the Cheers building, where the hit TV show is filmed...
Lit: I’m glad we decided to come out to California. It’s so beautiful... (pause)
Dixon: Mike, what’s wrong?
Lit: (Hollering to the tour guide) Hey! Guide! I think we may need to call off the tour! Storm’s coming in!
(The tour guide looks over in the direction Mike Lit is looking. Indeed, a black storm cloud is looming over one of the production offices. The tour guide waves him off)
Tour Guide: Oh, don’t mind that. That’s the Star Trek production offices. Let’s keep moving, nobody likes hanging around here for too long...
(The tour guide moves along, but, a hideous scream can be heard emanating from the top floor. Mike Lit and Fonda Peters turn around with horrified expressions on their faces)
Lit: What the hell was that?
Dixon: I don’t know. I’m scared. I want to get out of here.
In Rick Berman’s office, a story meeting is taking place. Gathered in the office is Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, Michael Piller, Jeri Taylor, Ira Behr and Ron Moore. Ira Behr is sweating profusely and Ron Moore is shaking. Brannon Braga and Jeri Taylor are sitting there looking at the two as Rick Berman is downing shot after shot of vodka.
Berman: Mr. Behr. It appears we have a serious problem. You are not respecting my authorit-ah.
Behr: Wh-wh-what do you mean, sir?
Berman: I have lost my confidence in you, Mr. Behr. I ask you to carry out one simple task, and you can’t do even that.
Behr: (Visibly starts shaking) Seriously, sir, I have no idea what you’re talking about!
Berman: INFIDEL! (Berman swipes his arm hard and knocks a bunch of junk off of his desk) I informed you, six months ago of a nefarious plot to destroy Star Trek. Brannon Braga, Jeri Taylor, Michael Piller and myself were supposed to be creating a second spinoff series of The Next Generation, Voyager, to split the fan base of Star Trek. My projections showed that half the fans would like Deep Space Nine, and half would like Voyager. The fans would have started bickering amongst themselves, and eventually everybody would have hated Star Trek. You were supposed to, while Brannon and myself created Voyager, run Deep Space Nine episodes that were lame.
Behr: Oh, yeah. That. I forgot about that.
Berman: (Eyes turn red) It has come to my attention, Mr. Behr, that you have been attempting to put... put... oh, I can’t remember the words...
Piller: Continuity and character development?
Berman: Yes! That’s it! Exactly!
Braga: Um, what is continuity? And what’s this character development junk everybody’s talking about?
Berman: (Looking through some papers) I specifically ordered an episode to be created where Major Kira and Quark, through a transporter accident, get their minds switched into the other’s bodies.
Braga: Wow. That’s high-concept...
Berman: Hilarity would have ensued while Quark tried making a profit off of the Major’s body on the Promenade, and Major Kira, in Quark’s body, tried shaving off his earlobes.
Behr: But, that’s lame!
Berman: THAT WAS MY INTENTION! Instead, what do I see? There’s an episode coming up where they get a ship called... the Defiant?!?
Braga: What kind of stupid name is Defiant? I would have called it the Demolishoner.
(Everybody looks at Braga. Ira Behr gets up and bitch slaps him in the face. Behr then walks back to his chair and sits down.)
Berman: And what the hell is this Jem’Hadar race? What the hell is so scary about a race of genetically engineered superhumans that have a drug addiction? Take Voyager’s pilot, for example. We have Klingons with afros wearing brown and orange clothes.
(Behr and Moore shudder)
Braga: Scary stuff.
Berman: I guess the question is, Mr. Behr, where do your loyalties lie? With me, or with your stupid Deep Space Nine show?
Behr: Deep Space Nine.
Berman: Drat. Get out of my sight.
(Behr and Moore get up and head for the door)
Berman: People, our time is growing short. WE MUST DESTROY STAR TREK!
Taylor: Well, I think Voyager is a good start.
Berman: Excellent. Star Trek’s days are numbered.
SEVEN YEARS LATER...
In the same office, seven years later, the office is occupied by Berman and Braga, who are a little older, a little balder, and a little more rotund. Also in the office is Scott Bakula, Jolene Blalock and John Billingsley.
Bakula: Now, you’re sure I will have the final say in the creative process.
Berman: Oh, yes. Yes.
Bakula: Good. I’m taking an awful risk here, Berman. There’s been a lot of talk around town that you’re a complete tool.
Berman: Enterprise will be very good, Scott.
Bakula: NEVER, EVER CALL ME SCOTT!
Berman: Whatever you say, Mr. Bakula. Are you in?
Bakula: All right, you bastard. I’m in. (Bakula signs the contract) I’m stealing this pen. (Bakula takes Berman’s pen and sticks it in his pockets. Bakula, Blalock and Billingsley walk out the door)
Braga: That Jolene Blalock is pretty hot.
Berman: Yes she is, Mr. Braga. Our ratings will go through the roof when we stick her in her outfit.
Braga: What do you think Mr. Bakula will say when he finds out the first six Enterprise episodes are really a diversion, covering up how awful the rest of the series will be?
Berman: We’ll find out soon enough. But, no matter. I already have a backup plan. Star Trek: Voyager was successful in a way. The fans are divided, and now it’s just a matter of time before Star Trek is no more.
(The two start laughing maniacally)
TO BE CONTINUED...
Berman and Braga are confronted by Scott Bakula! Braga tries getting Jolene Blalock and Jeri Ryan to do a lesbian scene! And a former Star Trek cast member tries halting the Enterprise production!