Mariner is the spinoff series from the popular hit Space Voyage 2245. It is scheduled to premiere in the Fall 2006 season. Unlike the original series, Mariner is based almost entirely from the timeline established in the television show rather than the books. The title refers to an exploratory ship kept in mothballs for decades but now recommissioned in the wake of the Starmada's losses against threats such as the Zeniaks and the Zmorite Horde.
These characters are definitely part of the new series. The first three were introduced during the SV 2245 series:
- Professor Gideon is an alien (specifically a Goracii raised by humans, most likely the only survivor of his world not "converted" by the Zeniaks. Yet he hopes that assumption to be wrong. His people are natural predators, and as such he possesses a vicious temper he keeps under rigid control. Part of this is viewing life in terms of rules. Professor Gideon secretly hopes to discover others of his species who may have escaped the holocaust that visited his world, Gorac. (Introduced in the second season episode "The Last Son of Gorac") Gideon is the senior Mission Specialist and as such their de facto leader. Brilliant by any standards, he is a physicist and a gifted amateur astronomer (as well as being a fully qualified pilot). One thing that his crewmate get a glimpse of only, and then rarely, is a virtual representation he has of Gorac in its prime. This was found in the spacecraft where Gideon, then a mere infant, was the only Goracii to be successfully revived from a slower-than-light ship containing several hundred would-be colonists in suspended animation.
- Shyanna the alien Torqua who was dissected and re-assembled by the R'Zikk in return for knowledge to help her people. She is brilliant, but (understandably) erratic and somewhat emotionally unstable. Her moods veer between ice-cold and almost disturbingly sensual, while her insights tend to be either fantastically correct or tragically wrong. Usually the former. Usually. (First introduced in the third season episode "Prices and Prejudices") Her speciality tends to be social sciences--anthropology, psycholgy, history.
- Magnus (played by Cherokee/Afroe actor Douglas Judge) is a human-built android who proved more advanced than his makers at the space colony Hither intended. He is in fact completely sentient and capable of feeling emotions, although so far not often or regularly. Since the cost of building another of him is so high, there are no other androids of his type. Yet he is genuinely interested in life, and sees things in an often suprisingly uncluttered and benevolent way. (Introduced in the second season episode "Pinocchio") His specialty is biology and ecosystems.
- Vulia, a Human (by all accounts), who is very difficult to locate except for when the ship is in duress, when she always appears as if by magic. Vulia is a Mission Specialist. Vulia is best described as very reserved; her psychological profile reveals her to be slightly autistic. This autism causes her to be almost robotic, showing no feeling. She is very easy to get along with, all the same, and quickly earns the respect of her co-workers. She has a brilliant scientific mind, but tends to babble on about technology. Her speciality (of sorts) is engineering.
- Tophora Stylm XI A large slug- or worm-like being from the ocean-planet Calish. A member of a Calishan regional royalty, Tophora Stylm XI is a Diplomatic Mission Specialist. It is discovered in the first season that he was actually exiled, as he was an embarassment to the world-government on Calish. Tophora Stylm is the size of an average human, but must be conveyed around the ship in an aquarium. His speciality is diplomacy and language. He takes an instant dislike to Professor Gideon.
The above comprise "Mission Specialists" in the exploratory mission of SUM Mariner. However, the ship will also have a complement of Starmada officers.
- Joaquin Klausfelder, Captain. He is descended of the Solms-Braunfels nobility of Tejas. Klausfelder has been seen as somewhat of a loose cannon by the brass of Starmada, who assigned him to this expedition as a way to "black-hole" him, or conveniently cause him to disappear from "public" view, if only temporarily. Klausfelder would've been an admiral at this point in his career, if he had not been known for infracting the rules, the which infractions have caused him to be demoted several times.
- Septa Zovanik, an Erdekan, Chief Engineering Officer and also First Officer. Septa is a very no-nonsense type who finds it deeply uncomfortable working with (and worse, sometimes having to obey) a pack of civilians. She has grave reservations about her Captain, whom she sees as a loose cannon she must--respectfully--save from himself. Septa's nickname, "Fiver," comes from a lucky five-credit-note left to her by her father, an archeologist.
- Han Dian Ning, ("Danning"), Chief Astrogation Officer, FuTaiNan.
- Sarukai, Sagittarian, Chief Security Officer
- Stavros Thessaloniki, Nea Illenicia, Chief Medical Officer, is widely considered the single most eccentric member of Mariner's crew. No small feat! Stavros would be a handsome man save for his generally dishevelled, almost slovenly appearance. He is given to quoting (sometimes mis-quoting) great men and women of the past, including those of other worlds. He also hints that he's converted to the Sagitarran religion, much to Sarukai's annoyance/interest. All this amuses him no end, but in his more serious moments (when drinking, for example) Stavros sometimes admits to being afraid he's doomed to insanity. Before very long, the crew notices this is also the one person who never asks anything to be explained. He seems to always "get" it and is often the least-phased by bizarre events. Yet he is also the crew member most easily moved to outrage. His own favorite shipmate seems to be the first officer--at least that is who he seems to seek out off-duty. Septa has no idea why.
The Mariner is one of three Argo-class explorer ships built in the 2190s. It is an unusual design with more than a few advantages as well as disadvantages. For one thing, it is huge. Over three times the length of the Vanguard, she surprisingly only needs a fraction of the crew due to both the high degree of automation in her design as well as large areas of the ship intended as storage space for colonists and/or material.
Another curious quality is the ship's speed. Although generally slower than most other starships, the Argo-class was built with tachyon drive. When activated, the tachyon drive is the fastest form of transportation known, but uses up a vast amount of power. Even the titantic batteries aboard Mariner will only last a few minutes before shutting down, and recharging is a process that generally takes a full 24-hour period, and usually more. In theory, these ships would be able to flee virtually any situation, their offensive armament was thus negligible. Fortunately, a full complement of force fields for protection were installed.
The tachyon drive of Mariner, while only active for a matter of minutes could propel the ship up to two lightyears away, giving the crew time to escape an attacker. Because the drive is not directional, Mariner can enter tachyon-space and come out anywhere, with no observable direction to outsiders. The transit is also instantaneous, whereas the normal Crenixian drive functionality suspends the traveling ship in time until they rejoin the time-stream.
The other two such ships were lost before Mariner was put into mothballs for almost fifty years. Interestingly, both were lost in very same region where the last of their kind is now assigned--the Antilles Cluster, a mysterious region over two hundred light years wide and almost entirely unexplored.