TV Show Idea
Concept: TV show based on Course Books IP, set during the Kamian Succession Wars and taking place aboard a decrepit patrol ship on the nether end of the war.
C.B.S. Antikythera is a thirty-year-old derelict, being re-comissioned as a scout ship/patrol vessel (note: they later determine that the ship was never formally commissioned, so there's a running joke anytime someone says it got "re-commissioned"). The ship is also a super-protoype for a new class of destroyer that never went into production. So, while the ship may be 30 years old, most of its systems contain technology that hasn't yet been implemented, or is built into the latest line of starships.
Antikythera's complete backstory: the ship was brought, half finished, to the region to undergo a series of highly controlled tests during its final fitting-out. The ship was then forced to participate in a battle long before it was ready. The prototype was so heavily damaged, the project was abandoned. The ship saw a very limited service-life as a patrol vessel (patched up just enough to serve in this capacity) and was finally abandoned for thirty years.
Rather than being powered by a standard, safe, highly dependable Nugen Reactor, Antikythera is helpfully powered by an insane experimental matter/antimatter reactor. In theory, the reactor should be more efficient, since it relies on something called "Direct energy conversion" to supply the ship's electrical needs, while also producing a lot of high-energy plasma that can be used to run the engines. In addition, the warp coils in the ship's Python Reactor were designed to run on this plasma (instead of electricity), so the reactor cannot be replaced.
The backup is an even more dangerous nuclear reactor, chosen for its small size and high energy output: an output apparently achieved by operating the device at a state of barely-controlled overload, generally only a few degrees below total meltdown.
These two factors are the main reason the design was scrapped: while they give the ship a huge power-to-size ratio and make some systems ultra-efficient, it's also ludicrously dangerous, and the safety systems are even more terrifying.
One of the key power requirements in FTL is the warp coils that surround the Python Reactor and are used both in the creation of Python particles as well as projecting the energy mantle. Warp coils are "energized" with an electric current, converted into the various space-warping fields that give them their name. Antikythera uses an experimental variant with replaces the electricity with plasma, which carries more electricity than super-conductors can.
The hero of the story, whom I shall call "Lance Stardock", for lack of a better name, is a disgraced Admiral Commodore, given this assignment to humiliate him. His career is in shambles, but he's an eternal optimist and really, really, really good at his job. Everyone will be calling him "Captain", but he still technically holds the rank of Admiral Commodore (which also makes him the highest officer for thousands of light-years).
The exact nature of his disgrace is not originally known, but widely speculated. Some say he was responsible for the slaughter at the Battle of Danielle; others think he was operating a brothel using admirals' wives (somehow). In reality, he made a minor, off-handed comment to someone much higher than him, and this is his punishment. This is a running joke throughout the series, as various crew-members speculate as to the exact cause of Stardock's fall from grace.
Stardock is always chipper and bright. This owed partially to his incredible depth of knowledge and skill, which often has him ten steps ahead of everyone else. He's confident to a fault, but no stranger to mistakes. When the situation calls for it, he can be brutal, and is extremely cool under pressure.
Our Jason (Kaden Calibri, until I think of a better name) has almost the same backstory. In this case he is Stardock's best friend since academy days, who followed him to this posting because he doesn't care even a little about his military career. While not exactly a passionate, fun-loving guy, he does think being second-in-command of a remote scout ship is more fun than whatever else he could be doing. He is a full commander, but not a disciplinarian, and often shirks responsibilities (for example: he was responsible for background checks on the crew which would have revealed their pilot couldn't fly a kite).
Kaden a prince, though he "doesn't talk about it much". It may be implied that his kingdom is either under threat or has been conquered.
The chief engineer is young, idealistic, passionate man, who cares about others around him. He's constantly quoting safety regulations and is extremely proud that he's never had an accident or an injury due to negligence. He breaks down in tears the first time he sees Antikythera's engine room, which was not even designed up to the safety standards of thirty years ago. The captain is constantly ordering him to do bizarre and risky things that often involve deliberately bypassing or circumventing safety features. Our chief engineer lives in constant fear, because he actually KNOWS all the ways these things can go wrong. Left with no options, he is seen exploring various religions throughout the series.
Cindy analogue. In this continuity, she is one of the most decorated pilots in the region, and also one of the most censured. She holds the unique distinction of having done something that earned both a prestigious commendation and a court-martial. For every decoration, she has at least two or three 'bad conduct' reports on her record. The phrase "Loose cannon" barely begins to describe her.
She is under-qualified, insubordinate, and overly cocky. Captain Stardock originally lets her take the position because she is also "the only pilot in the region who's qualified to operate this type of ship". It is later determined that she is not, in fact, qualified, but she's allowed to keep the job because Stardock is extremely short on positions to give.
Her name is Courtney Winifred, but everyone calls her "Fred" for short.
Ensign Alexander Crocodile. He's a quiet, fairly unassuming guy who tends to get pushed around and overlooked a lot. The sort that life has dealt a bad hand. He serves aboard one of the capitol ships but was visiting the station on leave. Actually he was trying to have a real vacation, but was shuffled on to the wrong transport. He's willing to take the reassignment as he's often picked on by the larger crew of the C.B.S. Lexington. He never officially transfers, just goes AWOL and joins Stardock's crew. The fact that no one notices for some time is testament to how little he mattered. Navigators are typically addressed as "Gator" for short, a fact which Alex finds very upsetting as even people he had considered friends tended to use the nickname even off-duty, to the point where everyone just assumed it was his name. This is made doubly more annoying as his name is actually "Crocodile".
Arms Master Ivan Vincin (loosely based on DC Ivan) is a demolitions expert and master armsman (gunner). He also has a risque, devil-may-care, safety-last attitude. He's basically the "hold my beer and watch this" kind of guy. This is all despite having a job that involves handling weapons of mass destruction.
Ivan spends much of his time on the bridge writing elaborate macros to do his job for him, and is notorious for circumventing safety protocols. He is very often at odds with the chief engineer over this.
Ivan and Courtney are closer than they like to let on. They've known each other since early childhood and lived in the same house for five years of adolescence. Courtney's mother was in a "committed three-way" with Ivan's mother and father, and moved into the house when the younger generation were about ten, though the relationship was older than that. Ivan and Courtney did not discover this until they were in their late teens, and it was a major factor in their decision to attend the academy. They're heterosexual life-partners, any hint of romance having long ago evaporated in the face of shared traumas. (When asked, Ivan might call Courtney his stepsister.)
Spaceships, being in space, often encounter strange and unusual phenomena and other occurrences that well-tuned sensors cannot make heads or tails of. That's why they have a command-level officer with a science background trained to step in and know what is what. Instead, Antikythera has a filing clerk, who, due to a typo on a form, was assigned as the ship's science officer, despite having only a ninth-grade education. Said officer does its job by reading the space version of "Wikipedia" and is constantly terrified because he/she has no clue of anything beyond it.
Saik Mendalla is a Kamian P.O.W., kept on the Antikythera because they were short-staffed and turning him in would mean a lot of paperwork. Instead, Captain Stardock drew up fake paperwork and has him registered as a crewmen under the name "Hue Mann". He serves as the ship's cook and unofficial morale officer. While allegations of spying are common, Saik/Hue has zero interest in being handed back over to the Kamians, and frankly wouldn't mind being shipped off to a P.O.W. camp, even though he thinks he has a better life aboard ship.
In his homeland, Saik was the last child of an extremely poor family, making him visible, but effectively one of the lowest-ranked members of Kamian society (just above orphans, who are actually shunned). With little education and no prospects, Saik joined the millitary, where his lack of connections relegated him to only the hottest and noisest posts in the entire armed services.
Needless to say, Saik deserted as fast as his little legs could carry him. He was smart about it, too, essentially getting himself "left behind" on a remote supply cache. His plan at the time had quite simply been, "get stranded at cache, live like king until war ends". Perfectly content to live on total solitude, Saik may have been at the cache site for years, ducking patrols and re-supply missions, until it was raided by coalition forces. Saik surrendered with as much resistance as a man in his capacity can muster (mostly shouting "don't shoot!").
Saik is a friendly sort, always there with a shoulder to cry on, very adept at assisting the crew with their personal problems. He explains, as the youngest, he got to watch all of his elder siblings go through "just about everything", and so had the benefit of knowing what mistakes they've made. He serves as the cook and unofficial morale officer, and also provides valuable intelligence to the captain about Kami. He is uneasy about his insights used to hurt other Kamians, but at the same time doesn't believe in the war, and knows that, long-term, his people are destined to lose the conflict. Further alleviating his guilt; while he has a lot to share about Kamian culture and thinking, he knows almost nothing about military strategy or weapons capacity. He will often beg the captain to show mercy on any cornered Kamians, but at the same time understands he is in a war zone, where soldiers must kill or be killed.
His rapport with the captain is often entertaining. There is mutual respect between them, but the captain does definitely view him as a subordinate and a prisoner. Saik, meanwhile. feels that since he has no military rank and cannot be punished in a military fashion, he should treat the captain as an equal and friend.
A running joke between the two is the captain threatening send him to the P.O.W. camps. Saik knows this is an idle threat, since it would "involve entirely too much paperwork" and further would hardly be a punishment. Saik knows the Foundation treats its P.O.W.s ethically; and while the camp may not be as comfortable as life aboard ship, he would have less work to do and probably enjoy his life better. The real threat is offering to re-repatriate him, an idea which Saik loathes. He deeply hates the thought of returning to Kamian life, and hopes to one day earn citizenship in the Foundation.
Admiral Charmander is the commanding officer for the region, and a professional ass. He's an obstructive bureaucrat trying to make himself look good in the local theater so that, when the region falls, he can get a better job elsewhere. He devotes significant resources to plotting his own escape, including operating his headquarters on a cruiser docked at the station, instead of actually onboard.
His relationship with Stardock is complex.
Begins with a close up of Stardock's nametag and slowly zooms out to show him in full dress uniform, chest covered in medals, as he proudly and solemnly reads aloud his orders granting him command of the ship. The camera then pans back further to reveal that he is standing alone on an abandoned bridge. After completing the ceremony he lets out a curt sigh and announces 'that it's time to put together a crew'.
Somewhat later in the pilot episode, he's told he'll only be getting about 1/4th the recommended crew compliment for a ship the size he's running, and that with the Crimson Blade stretched "a little thin" in the region, he probably won't be getting the best and brightest.
Scene that has to happen
Captain gives the order to form an away team, first officer grabs a few guys off the bridge.
Captain: "What the hell are you doing?
First officer: "Forming an away team?"
Captain: "She's flying the ship and he shoots the guns. Why are you taking half my bridge crew? Find some other people!".