Lori’s friend Susan sent her an article from her local paper about the closing of the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. This was a exhibition and simulator ride based mostly around Star Trek: The Next Generation. Given that the show has been off the air for fourteen years, it really isn’t a surprise that they finally shut it down.
And yet, it’s sad.
These were the Voyages of the Star Ship Enterprise
Her 5-year mission was extended several times – The original show, The Next Generation, Voyager, and Enterprise. Each series had its own unique flavor, but they all stretched our imaginations and made us wonder about “what is out there” beyond the limits of our solar system.
We don’t consider ourselves to be Trekkies, although our lives have been heavily influenced by Star Trek. As children, we watched the original series with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. (Lori, of course, had a crush on Spock at the time.) Corey still remembers sitting on a couch with his family watching the season previews and how excited they were about the upcoming Star Trek show. Corey’s father helped run his father’s corner store in New York City and read every issue of Astounding Stories, If, Galaxy, and other pulp science fiction magazines. Corey grew up in a living room filled with books and magazines, many of them science fiction and fantasy.
The Prime Directive
Although the Enterprise crew seemed to forget it occasionally – when to do so was convenient to a story line – all starship crews were required to follow the Prime Directive. They were not to interfere with other civilizations, nor even to reveal the existence of the Federation or star ships to pre-spacefaring worlds. Wikipedia quotes it as:
“No identification of self or mission. No interference with the social development of said planet. No references to space or the fact that there are other worlds or civilizations.”
Of course, they proceeded to break the rules right and left, all in the name of the Greater Good. Sort of like the concept of the Quest for Glory Paladin who must decide between the laws and justice.
The Star Trek series took on issues of war and authoritarianism, of personal heroism and working for peace. It was set in a world with no borders and no race or sex barriers – no limits. Then there was the overall message of hope – we will make it to the future, and the stars will be ours to explore.
Those were pretty good lessons to grow up with.
To Seek Out New Life and New Civilizations
Quest for Glory owes much to Star Trek. Yes, there’s the USS ‘Exitprise’ in the Magic Shop of Shapeir. On the hero’s way in to Shapeir, the magic carpet almost gets hit by the starship going into warp drive. But there’s much more than that below the surface.
Star Trek was always about going to new lands and new civilizations. The crew’s missions were all about bringing peace to war-torn worlds and creating a better future. Uhura, the Warrior and Adventure Guildmaster in ‘Trial by Fire’ and in ‘Wages of War’ was named after the character in Star Trek for a reason. In Swahili, the word uhuru means freedom. (We learned this from a Star Trek filk song!) We wanted the player to set people free from fear and evil. We wanted the players to feel like true heroes.
To Boldly Go where no one has Gone Before
We have seen the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas several times. We ate at Quark’s Bar and Restaurant and talked to Klingons and Ferrangi there. We even got an Evil Tribble from it. This was a battery powered tribble that would wiggle and purr when we first got it… but little did we know its true nature. After a while, it would turn itself on at odd times and give low, growling noises and it wouldn’t shut itself down. I think we locked it away in a chest somewhere. Perhaps by now it has escaped and plotted to take over the world with the Evil Meep… but that’s another story.
We have a garland beside the kitchen with a string of lights and Star Trek ornaments. Our favorite drinking mug has a Klingon Bird of Prey. Lori even has a pressed coin with the Bird of Prey symbol on it from the Experience in her purse. She isn’t quite sure where she can spend that, but she’s well prepared for the Klingon Invasion. She even has a Klingon font on her computer, since you never know when you may have to answer an ultimatum from an invading alien species.
We’ve even played Klingon characters in D&D. Well, technically they’re Uruks, but the DM based them on Klingons, and they’re pretty much indistinguishable personality-wise.
We’re still not Trekkies. Er… by some definition. Even if we have gone to a Star Trek convention or two. And Grok Spock.
All Good Things…
Anyway, we’re sad that the Star Trek Experience has gone away. It’s sad that all of the Star Trek TV series have come and gone. Then again, they all seem dated and hokey in today’s world. They had their final voyage, and it’s time to let them sail away.
But the Legacy of Star Trek will live on.
Live long and Prosper. Q’plah!
Photos of ‘Corey gets Borged’ (he got better) and ‘Klingon Warrior’ were taken at the Star Trek Experience four years ago. ‘To Boldly Go’ is original art by Lori.