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"Each of us, at some point in our lives, will face a challenge that will force us to confront the very essence of ho we are. How we meet those challenges is what defines us."
— Captain Gaius Reyf
A popular Star Trek fan film set in 2378, being released primarily as a series of Webisodes on YouTube. A leading Starfleet scientist suddenly goes off the deep end, faking his own death to go into hiding. Then, five years later, he returns, meaner and more dangerous than ever. The newly commissioned USS F Scott Fitzgerald scrambles to decipher his plan, only to learn that he's constructed his own fully-equipped starship, a female android who's almost perfect, and even has an Elaborate Underground Base.Setting out to track the scientist down, Captain Gaius Reyf learns that the culprit is none other than his oldest friend, Dr. Braiyon Garr, who's amassed fourteen of the most advanced machines developed by The Federation, and with them could tear space apart. Reyf follows Garr through an elaborate Jigsaw Plot, discovering in the process that his old friend is willing to go to any length—including using human lives as pawns—to accomplish his goal.Believing that to be his only problem, Reyf discovers early on that the reappearance of his old friend is stirring up some uncomfortable emotions concerning their history, guilt and remorse that threaten the success of the mission in ways his relative inexperience never could. When they finally meet face to face, Garr offers Reyf a Deal with the Devil to travel into his own past, and Set Right What Once Was Wrong.Considered one of the best works of Star Trekfanon currently in production, the film is notable for its accurate CGI replicas of the classic TNG and VOY shooting sets, as well as the creative use of kitbashed versions of the Enterprise-D and the USS Voyager. The film introduces a new crew of enterprising young men, heavily implied to be an Expy of the TNG crew (up to and including Captain Reyf's Bald of Awesome, a trait shared by Jean-Luc Picard).For the sequel, see Star Trek Retribution.
"As You Know, two of my officers were recently involved in a collision between Garr's ship and one of our shuttlecraft."
One fan even dubbed it "TNG revived after 16 years!"
Aborted Arc: It was strongly hinted several times that the gold refit Constitution-class model in both Reyf's ready room and in Garr's office would play some part in the story.
Word of God says that the original Scene 38 would've established it as an Academy training ship, which was the first upon which Garr and Reyf trained after they arrived at the Academy. Finding a holosimulation of its bridge would have reminded Reyf that Garr had once described it as "a perfect memory," endless possibilities open and that nothing could compare to that. That in itself would have tied in with Reyf's conversation with Counselor Troi in Scene 20.
Action Girl: Lieutenant Kendra Erickson. There's a reason when she beams down to investigate Garr's lab, she's the one with the biggest phaser.
An Aesop: Word of God says that this is deliberate, and that there are some that are blatant and some that are subtle. The ones we know about:
Reading is good for your brain.
"Even a civilization such as ours, which is founded on an enlightened philosophy, must appreciate the role those darker parts of ourselves played in the founding of that civilization."
Teamwork is good. Every time the crew fractures, they get nowhere in their efforts, but when they work together, they make progress.
"In life, we are not always afforded the luxury of being fully prepared for the obstacles we face. Confronting the unknown is how we grow."
"Each of us, at some point in our lives, will face a challenge that will force us to confront the very essence of who we are. How we meet those challenges is what defines us."
Technology is no substitute for real people.
There's no shame in asking for help when you need it.
A good leader invests in the personal well-being of the crew under his command. An occasional pat on the back is encouraged.
Every decision has consequences. The choices we make in life can sometimes have repercussions that last a lifetime.
The Central Theme of the movie seems to be about the importance of friendship. Sometimes all it takes to change a person's life is to know someone cares. Garr did this for Reyf years before the movie takes place; Reyf does it for Garr near the end of the movie.
Friends shouldn't turn their backs on each other over something small and unimportant.
Every decision you make could be an important one, so treat them all as if they could change your life.
Aside Glance: In Scene 38, as Reyf examines the holoprogram Garr left, he points out the various antique design elements, one of which is "liquid crystal displays." He says it just as he points almost directly at the camera.
Asteroid Thicket: Fans everywhere have pointed out that the asteroid belt of Sector 001 isn't nearly that dense. Partially subverted though when Reyf says "He's entering the densest part of the debris field."
Author Avatar: Braiyon Garr, when he's playing nice. This is why he alone of the entire cast has glasses—a trait shared by the producer he's modeled after, implied in-story to be just one more manner in which he's different from a typical resident of the 24th century.
Badass: Garr rams a Fitzgerald shuttlecraft because he knows Reyf will rescue his officers rather than pursue him, and return to fight another day.
Captain Gaius Reyf, facing down the ISS Voyager while hovering over a black hole: "This is Captain Gaius Reyf, of the Federation starship F. Scott Fitzgerald. We know what you're doing; we demand that you stand down and surrender your vessel immediately."
Berserk Button: Don't tell Garr that his efforts into something are wasted.
Big Damn Heroes: Painfully subverted with the USS Fairgrieve. Reyf and company arrive on scene too late to help.
Big "NO!": Two of them: one at the end of "Garr's Nightmare," and another one while Reyf confronts him on the bridge of the ISS Voyager.
Blooper: Despite the fairly high production values, Specter has a few of these:
In the prologue, "commander" Reyf is seen wearing captain's pips. Also, in several shots, the auxiliary navigation panel in Garr's cockpit is unlit.
Arguably, in the prologue the use of the term "shuttlecraft" to describe the ship Garr is flying around in could count, since continuity establishes that that type of ship is properly referred to as a "runabout."
In the wide pan of Dr. Chellik's office, he's clearly looking to his left at the computer terminal. But when we cut to the closeup, he's looking down at the padd he's holding.
In the crew briefing scene, pay attention to the black glass tabletop in the opening shot. Notice Reyf has no reflection; this is a result of how the shot was made, with Reyf, the set, and the warp stars all being separate pieces of footage which were then composited together.
Also pay careful attention to the keypads to either side of the wall monitor Reyf is standing next to. From shot to shot, they change size and position.
A similar blooper occurred in several TNG episodes, when the prop keypads on the set kept disappearing, and had to be replaced and repositioned for some shots. This resulted in the keypads being in one position for wide shots, and another position for closeups.
In the same scene, note that several times the warp stars seem to switch directions, sometimes going in their proper direction, while in others they seem to be moving perpendicular to the ship. This is the result of the scene originally having different shots in those places, only to have those shots switched out and the warp stars never adjusted accordingly.
In a blooper that largely went unnoticed, the "alert bars" at the back of the Fitzgerald bridge set were accidentally swapped (port for starboard and vice versa).
The bridge of the Daystrom is actually the bridge of the Enterprise-B.
Note that the aft MSD is of an Ambassador-class starship, hinting that the ship is a refit of that class. A similar gag was used in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, when a monitor on the bridge showed the Enterprise in its pre-refit configuration rather than the revised design from Star Trek The Motion Picture.
The control interfaces on the computer core are actually from the Star Trek Online game. The same computer interface will be seen later in Garr's lab, implied to be a custom operating system designed by him.
Creator Cameo: During the "facial recognition search" scene, all of the photos the computer searches through (except the last one) are actually real-life photos of the executive producer.
Dan Browned: The graphics for this movie are famously full of interesting details, some of which are plot-relevant and some of which aren't. The single greatest example takes place during the first crew briefing: when Reyf calls up Garr's bio on the monitor, the last line of text actually gives away the film's ending.
Also during the prologue. The appearance of the ISS Voyager is foreshadowed by an image on the monitor of the computer core behind Garr. You have to look closely but it's there.
Darker and Edgier: Most of the movie was rewritten when fans felt that it was turning into too much of a TNG-like offering. The result? Braiyon slaps an elderly scientist just to prove the point that he's alive.
Dedication: Every cut of the movie from the start has begun with a "For Kristie" title card.
Demoted to Extra: Deanna Troi, oddly enough, given that she was a cameo guest star.
Deus ex Machina: How Garr got back to the ISS Voyager is never explained in actual words, but the implied explanation is that it has something to do with the female android since none of the transporters on the Fitzgerald get used.
Early Installment Weirdness. Compared to its sequels, Specter has a very different style of storytelling, writing, voice acting, and editing. This is because it was originally intended to be a one-off story that was self-contained, and it was only after it became a hit with fans that the sequel was planned and written.
Despite its popularity, this film is often also referred to as an Old Shame by its producer, who has since stated that any scenes in the second sequel that take place during the events of this film will be handled carefully and would be equal in writing quality to the second and third films.
The End... Or Is It?: "Well now, I'll tell you something, Data; on a night five years ago, very much like this, I watched as his shuttlecraft was vaporized by a warp core collapse. He survived that, somehow. And I wouldn't be surprised if, somehow, he survived this as well. Call it a hunch, call it a gut feeling, call it whatever you wish. But I don't think we've seen the last of Braiyon Garr."
Garr's comes in the prologue when he threatens the starship pursuing him.
Reyf's comes when he's shown to be in shock after he sees Garr on the viewscreen.
Even Evil Has Standards: Braiyon Garr specifically makes sure that everyone gets off the Alcawell Station "alive and well." The only time anyone's hurt is by accident. except for the occupants of the shuttle he rams.
Evil Laugh: Garr has a rather creepy one, to say the least..
Evil Plan: An unusual one that has We Can Rule Together as one of the main points instead of a settlement. Garr's entire plan is revealed to be one of these near the end when Reyf catches up to him. Garr reveals that that has been his intention all along, in order to get Reyf to join him. It's implied that he's deliberately kept Reyf guessing for so long to keep him out of the way until the right moment.
The Film of the Book: A curious inversion: Specter doesn't have an official novelization (yet), but its length and elaborate storyline gives many fans cause to wonder if this isn't essentially a novel presented in movie format.
Word of God says that it both is and isn't. Although each scene was written like a scene in a novel, the overall storyline wasn't initially planned to develop the same intricacies and level of detail as a novel. Although, the creator has explicitly said he isn't sorry that it worked out that way, and said likening it to this trope is a novel concept.
Foreshadowing: Basically, everything in Specter foreshadows something coming later.
The opening quote from Charles Caleb Colton, which isn't explained until the very last scene.
"The human race has evolved beyond the need for such outdated concepts as heroism and villainy. People of Frankenstein's obvious insanity are practically unheard of in this day and age. And you don't exactly see people setting up secret labs trying to play God the way he did."
"Time, Gaius. I'll be seeing you."
For the Evulz: Garr calling in red alert after Reyf comments that the ISS Voyager doesn't seem ominous enough. Horror ensues.
Hand Wave: In one scene, Reyf and Data discuss how Garr has seemingly pulled off one impossible feat after another. More accurately, Reyf says it, Data agrees, then Reyf gets a call and it's never mentioned again.
It's the Journey That Counts: Played straight, because even though the Fitzgerald crew were ultimately shown to have failed to stop Garr from going back in time, the present was still largely unaffected, and the crew are shown to have grown closer together and more mature as a result.
Just in Time: During the final Chase Scene, Garr seems to have perfectly anticipated everything Reyf and friends will do, until Erickson remembers the magneton warhead that she and Ronston had designed earlier. They barely get it armed and ready in time to use it...and even then they're still too late.
Left the Background Music On: It's not made clear until Scene 42 (when Garr makes a song selection on a console), but the three "20th century pop song" sequences in the movie fall into this category. In all cases, when Garr is aboard the ISS Voyager, whatever music we're hearing is what he's actually listening to. In Scene 29, it goes from diegetic aboard the ship, to non-diegetic on the station, and back again when Garr is back on his bridge.
Garr (Good): The Voyager theme (used mostly to represent Reyf's good memories of him), first heard when Garr's name appears in the opening credits. It's heard a total of six more times through the movie: the "V'Ger Flyover" sequence, in Garr's office as Reyf reminisces (arguably its most emotional use), when Reyf recounts the full story to Prentice before beaming to the ISS Voyager, a brief reprisal after Reyf board the ISS Voyager and notices how ordinary it looks, and a final time as Garr sees his ship from the guest quarters of the Fitzgerald.
Garr (Evil): The Borg theme from Star Trek: First Contact. Ultimately heard three times: as the away team investigates his hidden laboratory, when Prentice and Garrett are investigating the ISS Voyager, and again as the Fitzgerald approaches the USS Fairgrieve.
Kristie: The theme from Titanic is repurposed as Kristie's theme, heard only twice: once when the Facial Recognition Software turns up a match, and again when the android visits Garr in his guest quarters.
Memento MacGuffin: The ever-present photo of Reyf and Garr, which serves a dual purpose through the film. It appears a total of four times:
The first time is right after Chellik calls. This is the first evidence that Reyf and Garr knew each other.
The second time is in Garr's office when Reyf visits. It was deliberately not shown at any point before now since the first appearance, so that people wouldn't realize (at first) that it had been altered (from the TWOK uniforms to TNG cadet uniforms). Even though it gets a closeup during Reyf's walkthrough, it's treated as if the altered version that's there is exactly what's supposed to be there.
The third time is in Reyf's quarters after the temporal shock wave hits. It's very small, on a computer screen that the camera pans quickly past. This time, not only are the uniforms different, but so is the background (changed from Starfleet Academy as seen in TNG's "The First Duty" to the city seen in the background at the end of the Wolf 359 flashback).
The fourth and final time is in Reyf's ready room, when his wall paintaing has been replaced by a large version of the "third" version of the photo. The fact that the characters notice that it's askew—but not that the photo has been changed from the panorama of Bajor that we'd been seeing the entire time—is an indicator that the timeline has been changed.
First, when Garr wises up and realizes that in trying to reclaim his innocence in the past, he's sacrificed any chance of redemption in the present. Reyf is able to convince him that he can be redeemed, and thus convinces him to stand down.
Then later, after Reyf orders the magneton warhead deployed and it destroys Voyager (we think), he's devastated when he realizes his oldest friend has just been Killed Off for Real—this time by his own hand.
The first one that Garr makes in his lab, that draws the Fitzgerald to the location. This is revealed at the end to have been a mistake on Garr's part, he underestimated how powerful the energy release would be.
The one that Garr makes in space, that ultimately destroys the starship Fairgrieveand devours the entire Beta Reticuli star system with it.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Averted with Admiral Thornton, who actually seems to want to help Reyf in his mission rather than impede him, as most Starfleet admirals tend to want to do.
Oh, Crap: Commander Prentice's reaction when the ship's power goes out moments before a massive explosion.
"Merv, I need warp power in two minutes or we're going to get washed away!"
Also Reyf, when he realizes exactly what he's up against. "All this time, I was expecting a faceoff at Reichenbach Falls, but instead...oh my God."
Omniscient Database: The "facial recognition search" towards the end of the movie is a textbook example.
The Only One: Combined with The Chosen One in the persona of Captain Reyf. As the person who knows Dr. Garr the best, it naturally falls to him to intervene and stop Garr from carrying out his Evil Plan. He soon realizes that that works both ways, and Garr can use everything he knows about Reyf against him, and to much greater effect.
Rule of Three: There are three "20th century song" montage sequences. And three lead characters on the Fitzgerald (Reyf, Prentice, and Erickson). And three scenes of technobabble. And three nacelles on the USS Fitzgerald itself.
Running Gag: Count how many times you hear the number "47" pop up in this movie.
The "coffee cup" gag. It first shows up during the "V'Ger Flyover" sequence, when the shuttle flies past the dark mess hall. Then the light catches the metal off the cup and the camera zooms in on it. The same thing happens again when Reyf visits Garr's old office. The implication both times is that Garr had been there recently.
Data's rambling. Which Reyf also interrupts 'every time with some form of "Thank you, Mr. Data."
The entire sequence (with musical accompaniment no less) of Reyf looking around Garr's old office.
Scene 38, with Reyf looking around Studio 33.
Schedule Slip. Specter was being released as it was being produced, and during some of the longer stopdowns, fans were known to ask if any more were forthcoming.
Set Right What Once Went Wrong: An interesting use of the trope because when we start out, nothing is really "wrong." What Garr tempts Reyf with is the possibility of saving his father from a premature death at the hands of the Borg.
Significant Anagram: "Dennis Gard Robb" is an anagram of "Brandon Bridges," executive producer and the voice of Dr. Braiyon Garr. Dennis Gard Robb receives credit as the voice of Gaius Reyf and as a 3D prop designer.
"John Leo Ivor" is also an anagram for the man who helped craft the original story, who declined to be credited by full name.
Star Trek Shake. Surprising given this is a CGI film, but on multiple occasions the ships "shake" (by means of wildly moving the cameras back and forth on stationary sets), and the actors fall and stumble exactly as they would if the sets were really moving.
Parodied during the Wolf 359 flashback sequence. Most of the crew simply swerve when the Goodson gets hit by the blast wave, but the tactical officer on screen left is knocked clear off his feet.
Stock Footage: Subverted in that the producer went out of his way to avoid re-using anything from one scene to the next if he could avoid it.
Swirly Energy Thingy. The vortex that swallows the Beta Reticuli system and the black hole near the end of the film.
Techno Babble: It's simply impossible to be in a Star Trek production without loads and loads of this. Specter involves a technical mystery (two, actually, Garr's mysterious Doomsday Device, and the brain of the female android).
Technology Porn: The entire "V'Ger Flyover" sequence is a textbook example.
Reyf: "Ensign Kal, has there been any word from the survey team Starfleet dispatched?" Kal: "No, sir. They are now 28 hours overdue. Should I contact Starfleet for an update?" Reyf: "I don't think that will be necessary."
Prentice: "Can you tell what kind of shape their records are in?" Data: "It would appear they are largely intact. I am detecting less than four point seven percent degradation in the memory circuits." Prentice: "Finally, some good news." (moments later) Erickson: "Commander, I'm getting some strange readings from the Fairgrieve." Prentice: "I knew it was too good to last."
Theme Music Power-Up: When Reyf finally figures out Garr's plan, for the first time since the launch sequence, we get a piece of upbeat music.
This Cannot Be!: Upon being told of the pillaging and destruction of the Alcawell Station, Reyf utters a single word: "Inconceivable!"
Title Theme Drop: The Voyager theme is repurposed in the title sequence as Garr's theme (his good side, at least), and can be heard numerous times throughout the movie.
Traveling at the Speed of Plot: We're not exactly sure where the Fitzgerald is when Reyf decides to visit Earth. But we can assume it's someplace decently close to Deep Space Nine, since the Beta Reticuli system is said to have been only two hours away from there at the ship's maximum speed. Canon tells us that it takes a while to get from Deep Space Nine to Earth, and yet the Fitzgerald seems to just show up there with little or no time having passed.
Two Lines, No Waiting: For most of the film, there are three storylines going; Reyf trying to figure out what Garr is doing; the crew trying to figure out what Reyf isn't telling them; and Garr's sinister plan.
Also, original plans mentioned the ISS Voyager to face off against a Borg ship like the Borg fortress from the TNG episode "Descent."
They also reference a Sovereign-class USS F. Scott Fitzgerald
What Happened to the Mouse?: Averted; many thought that Chellik's mention of a survey team coming to help the Fitzgerald the next day would wind up being a plot hole.
Invoked later: the Fairgrieve sensor records that our heroes risked their lives to retrieve don't seem to have made any identifiable contribution whatsoever.
What the Hell, Hero?: Reyf's crew is aware of their captain's emotional impairment given the mission, but they support him anyway because others had faith in him first, and he knows the villain better than anyone else. They talk amongst themselves about the captain needing to deal with his emotions, and Reyf finally wises up and starts seeing Garr as the threat he truly is rather than the friend he used to be near the end.
Whole Plot Reference: Believe it or not, the basic premise of this movie is taken from an unused concept for Star Trek: Insurrection, which was to have had Picard chasing down an old Academy classmate who had become obsessed with finding the Fountain of Youth.
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few—or the one."
Also beautifully references Frankenstein. Kristie (Victor Frankenstein) abandoning Garr left him emotionally disfigured, turning him into a monster (or so he believed); he, in turn, became Victor Frankenstein himself by creating the almost-human replica, whose ungainly metal limb separates her from being truly human.
Widescreen Shot: All the recreated shots of Stock Footage from the TV series falls into this heading. Most of them are the original shots, blocked much as they originally had been for 4:3, but with the sides expanded for the 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
Word of God: The aforementioned thread at Scifi-Meshes.com
Xanatos Gambit: Garr rams the shuttlecraft that had been scanning his ship. In addition to erasing the shuttle's sensor logs—thus averting a "two meter exhaust port" situation—this also damages the shuttle enough that the lives of its occupants are suddenly in mortal danger. Rather than pursuing Garr, which is implied to be a futile maneuver anyway, Reyf decides to turn back to rescue his two officers. As Garr knew he would all along.
You Look Familiar: Captain Mantell (from the prologue) and Dr. Edward Chellik are played by the exact same character model, just with different uniforms, to the point that some people initially thought Chellik was Mantell. See also, the helm officer from the prologue and Lt. Kendra Erickson.
This is also why the Fitzgerald Ops officer is redshirted. He was played by the exact same character model as the ship's first officer, only with different hair and eye coloring.