First Contact Day, the starting point for the Star Trek Universe is a special day for Trekkies. For me, it was extra special this year.
As many of you may know, April 5th is an important day in the Star Trek universe. In fact, it’s so important there was a whole movie made about the day. That day is First Contact Day when Zefram Cochrane made his historic warp flight drawing the interest of some Vulcans in a nearby system. This story is essentially the basis for the entire Star Trek universe.
A few months ago, the Kodak Center in Rochester, NY announced that they were showing a screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan with a special guest appearance by William Shatner. You could also pay to meet the man that helped make the series famous. This drew my interest since I live within an hour of the Kodak Center and mainly because I am huge Trekkie. In some way, shape, or form, I watch Star Trek everyday, I play Star Trek online everyday and I even named one of my two cats Sisko. I love Star Trek. Ultimately, I decided that the price tag to attend was a bit more than I was willing to pay, despite my love of Space, The Final Frontier. At the time the event was announced I must not have paid attention to the date, because I had forgotten all about it. My plan for First Contact Day was to play some STO and then watch Star Trek: First Contact. Well, a few minutes prior to leaving work, a friend called me, he never calls me, he always texts me. He said to me, “Hey I know this is short notice, but I have an extra ticket to go see Star Trek tonight?” My immediate response was “YES, THANK YOU!” That is when it clicked, either the Kodak Center scheduled the event on this day specifically, or it was a strange coincidence. I think it was the former, but either way I was excited.
I’m not going to talk about the movie a whole lot, because most of you have probably already seen it, and if you haven’t i don’t want to spoil it. Watching it with a few hundred fellow Trekkies added to the magic though. The anticipation of the event was palpable. Some people were dressed up. There was cheering when Khan made his first screen appearance. There was applause when the names of the original series cast were shown during the opening credits. During the movie, the audio cut out a couple times, but no one cared. In fact, I am sure some of the patrons recited the lines no one could here. Everything combined to create a magical night. For me, watching the movie wasn’t the exciting part, but watching it and knowing Captain Kirk was there watching it was made it special.
After the movie, William Shatner did a Q&A with movie critic Jack Garner. He talked about the role that the building we were in made movies possible. Kodak developed celluloid film that movies were shot on. William Shatner moves surprisingly well for a guy in his late 80’s. He cracked some jokes with Jack Garner as well.
It was a once in a lifetime event that I will never forget. I can’t think of a better way to spend First Contact Day celebrating one of the most popular Star Trek movies with hundreds of fellow fans. It certainly beat the plans I had for the night! If you have the chance to do anything similar to this, it doesn’t have to be Star Trek or with William Shatner, but a once in the lifetime event, I recommend it. I am now reconsidering going to see Monty Python and The Holy Grail with John Cleese this summer.
Live Long and Prosper