The DIY Star Trek Script Flowchart

Have you ever wondered what kind of adventures the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk would have run into in the fourth year of their five‐year mission, if it hadn't been cancelled after three?  You have?  Well, stop it!  We all know perfectly well what they'd have run into – more of the same, as generated from the standard formula reproduced below.

To create a new Star Trek (TOS) plotline, simply run through the table from the top, following any path you like as long as you only go downwards or across within a cell, and assemble its output into an episode synopsis!  All resulting scripts are guaranteed to contain at least 20 percent authentic‐style Roddenberry flavouring and are practically indistinguishable from real episodes of the Original Series, not to mention the Animated Series (ever).

boldly going where no man has gone before ferrying bigwigs about on
investigating a carrying out a vital mission of mercy taking a short­cut through the Neutral Zone
strangely familiar world time
form of energy never previously encountered distress
Captain Kirk Spock Bones Scotty the crew of the USS Enterprise the guest star
in love
gets brain­washed is put
on trial
starts ageing rapidly apparently
when the Enterprise
an apparent
con­man mon­ster duplicate of mad­house para­dise
Kirk Spock an old friend a human being Abraham Lincoln some historical period on Earth the Enter­prise
which is which is
in fact in fact
an android a shape­changer not what it seems
– as well as
some­thing a horde of
little things
a godlike a gang of
a Klingon a Romulan
shape­less huge computer being captain with a
which tries to ingest which pisses them about grudge new secret weapon
them everything as a test for fun who ambushes them
and [pick one or more]
drains the dilithium crystals hijacks the Enterprise picks off the security guards isolates the landing party depletes the shields to 5 %
but their opponent turns out to be
mad all alone well meaning misled just a kid
vulnerable to
gibberish a show of emotion a cunning bluff a good talking to violence
dies, leaves, so
the guest star dies a heroic death, Kirk delivers a Bones develops a vaccine, Spock does Scotty jury­rigs the engines,
speech, right hook, something seemingly illogical, a mind­meld,
which means everything turns out okay,
and the planet is saved
in the nick of time.
give or take a few
personal tragedies.
and everybody forgets
it ever happened.
though a few regulations
have been broken.
Then, finally
Kirk Spock Bones Scotty Sulu Chekov
says something
smug witty worthy snappy
and they leave at warp factor [2d6−1].

2002 Sleevenotes

This precursor to my Star Trek Rant was on my webdesign back burner for years!  The original 1991 version was published as a centrefold in Edinburgh SF 'zine New Dawn Fades (NDF#10 also featured Ken MacLeod and Dave Green before they were famous, namedrop namedrop).  Then ever since I started moving things from dead‐tree to electronic format, people who'd stuck my ST:TOS Plot Generator on their bathroom walls have been on at me to put it online.  However, I didn't want to force it into the black‐box “press this button to see another combination” model that's standard on the web… and besides, I don't trust JavaScript and Demon Internet don't trust Perl.  So I spent years hesitating between option A, giving up and scanning the whole thing in as a bloaty great piece of text‐as‐graphics, and option B, tormenting the layout into something compatible with standard HTML markup.  In the end I settled for the table you see above; ironically enough it still won't work in non‐graphical browsers like Lynx, which can't handle such fancy cell‐layouts!

2005 Postscript

Those still wondering what this would look like implemented as a script (in the computing sense) can now find out thanks to John Sensebe's PHP version!