8 Aug 2011, 8:39am
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MEME: I SURRENDER!

Here’s how it works:

1. Comment to this post with “I surrender!” and I’ll assign you the basis of some TV show idea. (post-apocalyptic scifi-fi drama, fantasy, noir gumshoe pulp, criminal procedure…IN SPACE, historical drama WITH WEREWOLVES, etc.).
2. Create a cast of characters, including the actors who’d play them.
3. Add in any actor photos, character bios, and show synopsis that you want.
4. Post to your own journal.

PROMPT: from hradzka: Private space travel, mad scientists, semi-plausible with one major skiffy twist.
TITLE: Trampoline Station
TYPE: Near-space Near-future SF w/ Big Mysterious Object (and many smaller ones)
SETTING: Earth. Trampoline Station. Gold Mine Station
OPENING CREDITS SONG: What? No idea.
STARRING: That Audience Stand-in Character in HELLBOY

Self-made billionaire Montezume (Monte) Richards has been acting strangely for the past year. He’s been building something pretty big in his remote S. California compound, and he’s hired all sorts of odd people. Engineers, builders, theoretical physicists, pilots… folks are beginning to notice, especially folks in the government. Monte has always been a little odd–squandering his money of a private space flight, for instance–but what’s he building out there in the desert?

Tommy Cable is one of these new hires, a test pilot who walked away from a fantastic job two years ago. Monte loves pilots and holds him close. The government want Tommy to be their man inside the compound.

What Monte wants is more pilots for his fleet of private space ships to build a space station in a specific region of space. Why that region of space? And what happened to his first prototype space craft, which seemed to vanish for three days during its maiden flight?

More behind the cut:

Lead: Thomas Cable. (Rupert Evans)

Tommy Cable was a military test pilot, one of the best in the world–fearless, intelligent, and supremely self-confident. He moved to the private sector, making a fortune testing new flight designs.

Then, one morning, he woke up in bed beside his fiance and discovered that she had died in the night without any warning. A virus had attacked her heart while she slept, and Tommy was shattered. He walked away from his job and Monte found him repairing prop planes and giving lessons to proctologists outside Spokane.

Did Tommy want to fly a new kind of jet? A private space ship? That’s a job he’ll take.

Tommy is a mystery, even to himself. When the woman he loved died, he didn’t lose his way so much as realize he had never had a way of his own.

He has an easy smile but is reserved by nature. He’s not a big guy, not scary, not apparently brilliant, but he is tough, fast, and decisive. People routinely underestimate him. He also has an easy charm with women, and while he’s never unkind to them, he’s unable to feel a particular attachment, either.

Monte Richards: (Cleavant Derricks) Started off as a moderately successful R&B singer turned wildly successful producer, his real wealth came from real estate investments he made when New York City was in a terrible depression.

His wealth was so great he couldn’t decide what to do with it all–until he realized he could do anything he wanted. What he wanted more than anything was to be James T. Kirk, so he began building his own private space craft.

Which vanished on its first flight, only to reappear three days later, fully fueled and, surprisingly, enhanced with technology he didn’t recognize. Monte had a team reverse engineer a super-efficient solar panel, and now he’s become even richer.

His ship vanished into a wormhole and ended up at a sort of automated repair station built by an advance alien civilization. Monte’s plan is to fly the components of a private space station into space and park it beside the wormhole. He plans to call it Trampoline Station, because it will spring humanity out into deep space, and the repair station has been christened Gold Mine Station, because my god, the technology there.

And Monte has no intention of sharing it with any government anywhere in the world. It was his ship that discovered it, so Gold Mine Station belongs to him.

Shanks and Park. Conner Trinneer & B.D. Wong They were the original co-pilots of the original prototype plane. They’re both anxious to get back into space, and pleased to help Monte along.

Only thing is: in the year since they returned to Earth, they seem… different.

Martina Florez Roxann Dawson Project manager for Trampoline Station and station manager once it’s up and running. She’s tough, honest and fair-minded, and completely loyal to Monte.

Arlene Bolivia: Marianne Jean-Baptiste The head of security for Trampoline Station, with a surprisingly large security team for such a small (initially) station. Where Martina is loyal to Monte, Arlene is loyal to Martina. Arlene is also something of a functional sociopath; she will do whatever her job requires without a spec of guilt.

Phil Boston: James B. Myers*. Profane, continually harried and unsatisfied, Phil’s job is to put the station together and keep it running, a special challenge with the smattering of alien tech that’s being used to hold it together. He protects his engineers from management, always, ever, while at the same time constantly riding them himself. He can go from “What are you doing with that? That connection is never going to hold, god dammit!” to “Oh, everything is going well, sir. This is a great team and we’re going to hold everything together just fine.

* Jim is, of course, an actor in the Twenty Palaces trailer. I could have “cast” this whole post with actors from there, but I might have left someone out and that wouldn’t be cool. Still, I’ve known Jim since high school, so he’s getting a choice character role.

Prof. Sam Goldman. Judd Hirsch A brilliant and esteemed physics professor who is onsite mainly because his students are the best young minds from around the world. There are a number of scientific questions to be answered, chief among them “How do you track the location of a wormhole so we can keep Trampoline Station close to it?”

Story ideas.

Pilot: Tommy arrives at the remote site, ready to train on his new ship. Characters are introduced but no one will tell him what’s really going on, not at first. While he’s in town, he’s approached by an FBI agent (let’s cast Robert Forster.) and a team who are interested in getting Tommy to be their inside man.

After much mystery, the episode ends with placidly smiling Shanks and Park going out to the hotel where the FBI is encamped, a huge gunfight breaks out, and both pilots walk away w/out a scratch, still smiling.

Tommy Get Your Gun During his first trip to Gold Mine Station, Tommy sees one of the red shirts set off a robotic gun. It begins to hunt them through the station.

Unwelcome Visitors. The Chinese government figures out what Monte is up to and launches a ship toward the wormhole. Someone at the station fires on it, as expected, and a full-blown international incident develops.

The Black Box: One of the advanced gadgets derived from the alien tech begins to have unwelcome side effects. Worse, it’s already being sold on Earth.

Catching the Express: While exploring Gold Mine Station, the team sees an alien ship pull in for refueling and repairs. Is it crewed? Can they sneak on board? Is this first contact?

The Butcher’s Bill: First season finale, Monte discovers that the Gold Mine Station has been keeping a tally of everything they’ve taken, and the bill is coming due. But what can a low-tech culture like Earth use to pay their debt?

(Man, I can’t believe how long it took me to get around to finishing that. A month!)

 
  • The prequel to Child of Fire: see here for more details

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  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

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