Ask Dayton 44 – To Boldly Go and Die Hard
Dear Dayton: Die Hard is one of the best movies ever and Star Trek is one of the best universes ever. If you were to write a novel based on Die Hard in the Star Trek universe what would it be called and what would be its major plot?
Well, it’s like this: I’d set it on the Enterprise-D, with the ship completely evacuated while it’s docked at a starbase, and I’d even power the whole thing down. Then, I’d send Picard back to pick up something he’d forgotten, and find out that a group of bad guys had snuck aboard his ship and were trying to steal shit. Then, I’d have Picard go all Willis on the bad guys.
And, I’d call the whole thing “Starship Mine.”
Wait. They already did that on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation?
Ah, Die Hard. Endlessly imitated and never surpassed—even by its own sequels—the original Die Hard remains one of the best and most-influential action movies of all time. The basic blueprint of “a lone hero in the wrong place at the wrong time when all hell breaks loose” is practically its own genre these days, and largely thanks to this flick. It still ranks as one of my all-time favorite movies, and also holds the distinction of being my very favorite Christmas film.
Shut up. Hell yes, it counts.
Anyway, most people don’t even know that Die Hard was based on a 1970s novel, Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, and that at one point a version of the script which eventually became this movie was almost a sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cinematic masterpiece, Commando.
You heard me: cinematic masterpiece. That’s right, I said it.
As for a Star Trek take on Die Hard, we already have the aforementioned “Starship Mine” which comes closest to the formula, but we can probably name a whole bunch of other episodes from the various series that take at least some inspiration from the movie. Were I to consider my own version of such a story, I’d likely take a page from one of its numerous imitators, and craft a tale in the vein of the best Steven Seagal film, Under Siege.
(Yes, I know saying something like “the best Steven Seagal film” is a lot like discussing “the least-annoying bitchy mom on Toddlers & Tiaras,” but work with me, here.)
So, how would it go? Just for grins, we set it at the end of the original Enterprise’s five-year mission. The ship has returned to Earth and is sitting in spacedock. Most of the crew is gone on shore leave before returning to work on the early stages of preparing the ship for refit, or heading off to other assignments. A skeleton crew is aboard, and for reasons as yet unknown a group of bad guys gets aboard. Maybe they want some of the important stuff on the ship, like the photon torpedoes or phaser banks, or some other piece of classified or restricted Starfleet technology, like the antimatter from the warp engines. Imagine a rogue group of nutballs setting off an antimatter bomb in a major city or taking out a colony on some remote planet. Can you say “Day so totally fucking ruined?”
(Note: Check out the old Star Trek novel Crisis on Centaurus by Brad Ferguson for a plot similar to that last bit.)
Or, maybe they want the whole ship, either for their own long-term use or even just to crash it into a starbase or some other fiendish thing. Pretty scary, when you think about it.
Anyway, Kirk’s aboard for some reason. Maybe he’s just been promoted and he’s doing an inspection before the refit, and is caught on board when the bad guys strike. Maybe he’s conducting a tour for his new boss, Admiral Nogura, and the two of them are trapped and forced to team up and deal with the situation. But, you know what happens when you cross James T. Mother-Fuckin’ Kirk, right? Yep, it’s serious outwit and out-double fist punch time for the would-be scoundrels.
Hey, that could almost work, but I don’t think it’s a whole novel by itself. We’d need some subplots for the other characters, for sure. You know, plausible reasons as for why they’re not around…at least, not at the start. Kidnapped by bad guys and forced to help them? Could be. Maybe a couple of them could be helping to resolve the crisis from some other location, like Scotty as our guy on the ground. Nobody knows that ship as well as he does, so he could be talking Kirk through a situation when it comes time to jury-rig some crazy engineering voodoo magic. “Fuckin’ voo-doo magic, mahhhhn!”
We’d also need a really good lead bad guy; not these pansies who’ve been the villains in the last couple of Trek flicks. Fuck it. I’m just going to write him as though Alan Rickman were playing him on screen. And we need at least one douche nozzle authority figure to gum up the process while everybody else is getting on with being the hero or the bad guys. Maybe Captain Styles from Star Trek III, or Ambassador Fox from the original series episode “A Taste of Armageddon.”
And maybe one of the bad guy’s crew is a green alien chick. You know, just because. I think Kirk would dig that, don’t you? For those quiet character moments and totally gratuitous shower scenes before she goes to do evil shit, right?
So, what do we call this ridiculous slice of schlocky pulp-fiction cheesy goodness? Easy.
To Boldly Go and Die Hard: Yippee-ki-yay-ing where no mother fucker has yippee-ki-yayed before.
Welcome to the party, pals.
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He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.
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