Aside from fish fingers, there has only ever been one constant love throughout my twenty-two years of existence so far. That love is Star Trek.
My name is Lydia and I am a Trekkie. For as long as I can remember Star Trek has been a part of my life. My parents are fans and so are my stepdad and extended family. As a youngster I would watch re-runs of the original series on BBC 2 with my Mum. (On a different note, this is particularly memorable for me as my Mum used to hate The Simpsons which always aired afterwards. We would watch Star Trek and change the channel promptly once it finished. Her opinion of The Simpsons has now changed with her hatred for Family Guy replacing it…) My parents and I would watch The Next Generation religiously, in the evenings and afternoons. I remember watching Deep Space Nine when it launched and watched every episode of Voyager from start to finish, the first television series I ever watched in entirety. As for Enterprise, well, we weren’t too keen on that…
And that was the main problem. Apart from my family, no one else I knew was keen on Star Trek at all. None of the kids at primary school watched it, no one at high school shared my love and the people I’ve met since tend to berate me for being a fan rather than join me in excited conversation. When I was at primary school, I once dressed up as Jadzia Dax from Deep Space Nine for a fancy dress disco. No one knew who I was. I remember girls dressed up as the Spice Girls, someone dressed up as the devil, there were cats and ghosts but I had decided that I wanted to go as a Trill. My Mum was great, she made the whole outfit, did my hair like hers, polished my Starfleet badge and drew the Trill markings down my face and neck. Secretly I wanted someone to recognise who I was meant to be, but no one did.
Because I never knew any other Star Trek fans, it became something I shared with my family. I was incredibly jealous when my younger cousin got Tricorder and Phaser toys for Christmas one year. I remember scanning the air as if I were Dr Beverly Crusher and my cousin shooting invisible alien life forms, the closet thing I was ever going to get to being part of a Starfleet team. On another occasion, my family made a trip to a Star Trek convention in London. Both my cousin and I were dressed up and I can recall our excitement at stepping on to the Bridge of the Enterprise! Some of my most vivid memories of watching films in cinemas are seeing the Star Trek films at my local pictures. Closing my eyes, I can still see the queues at the box office and the amount of people who had dressed up in costume. After seeing First Contact on the big screen, I remember wishing that some of the crew of the Enterprise would fall out of the sky and tell me that I was special in some future-historical way. I’m still waiting…
My most favourite memories of VHS also involve the series. My parents would record every pilot, finale and major episode on tape which we would watch again and again. I’m talking a lot of videotapes. I have seen The Trouble With Tribbles, The Best of Both Worlds, Endgame, The Menagerie, Trials and Tribble-ations and Caretaker more than any other episodes. I would watch the older films over and over again in all the faded, worn out glory of being recorded off of the television. I have never forgotten the floating Klingon bodies and their purple blood in The Undiscovered Country. We still have all the old, battered videotapes despite now owning DVDs and box sets of the films and series as they still hold big memories for us all. Whoever said VHS was dead was wrong!
Like most other Trekkie’s, I was really excited and anxious when JJ Abrams announced he was doing a reboot. I was all over the casting news, discussing with my Mum whether the new cast were going to live up to the original series or not. However, talking to my friends about it, I found that I was the only one who was interested in seeing it. My boyfriend and I hadn’t been going out long when we went to the cinema and the trailer came on. I was transfixed and leaned over, eyes still glued to the screen, saying ‘I’m so excited to see that. Cant wait!’. I will never forget his face when he turned around to face me and said in the bluntest manner ‘You’re not a Trekkie, are you.’ Clearly he wasn’t a fan either. And yet, when it came out, he liked it! Knowing I am a big fan, he promised he’d take me and true to his word, he did. When it got to the credits, I had tears of joy welling up in my eyes, not just because the film was fantastic but because he’d enjoyed it too. We even went to see it again. A few days later I started getting texts from my girlfriends saying how much they had liked it too. I waited twenty-two years but finally I now have friends who like Star Trek too.
Since the film came out, I’ve started embracing my love for the show more than before. I’ve recently finished watching The Next Generation from start to end, picking up on all the stuff I didn’t understand and overlooked as a child. I appreciate far more Data’s growth and developement, the way the crew support and care for each other as a family and the humour found in the culture clashes between different races. My boyfriend has even watched the odd episode or two with me, saying that I could easily play a Klingon without make up as I frown so much. I love watching Family Guy when they parody Star Trek and have shown as many clips as I can to my Dad who doesn’t watch the show, both of us laughing over the jokes. I follow lots of the cast on Twitter, making me feel one step closer to my childhood idols. I once received a reply to one tweet from Brent Spiner and you could hear my squeals of excitement from our garden. Upon meeting Simon Pegg, I apologised profusely for interrupting his night out explaining that as a Trekkie, standing next to Scotty was a dream come true.
Since revisiting the shows recently, I am determined to go to a convention and drag my boyfriend along so we can dress up as Riker and Deanna Troi (I think we’d be better doing that then going as Wesley Crusher and Robin Lefler). After teaching myself some Klingon as a kid, I want to go back and learn it again. And yes, I am aware it isn’t really a language I can use in the real world… I plan to go to other events to try to get my box sets signed. My Mum has also promised me that one day she will make me a birthday cake that looks like Deanna Troi , as seen in the episode Phantasms. With mint frosting, of course.
The thing I’m looking forward to above all else is sharing Star Trek with my own children. Whenever I think of the show, I always think of my own childhood and family; another generation of Trekkie’s would be a dream come true. Will they even like it? If they do, will they like it as much as I do? Who would their favourite characters be? If they had to pick between Vulcans and Klingons, which one would it be? Would they want to be a science officer or security? If they had to choose between the two for a better captain who would it be, Picard or Kirk?
I’ve already been told that giving my children Klingon or Vulcan names is something that’s not going to happen (… Want to bet?). All I hope is that it will be something that will bring my future family together, just like it bought my own family together in a mutual love. Last Christmas my Mum presented me with my very own Dilithium Crystal and a script page signed by James Doohan (courtesy of his son Chris Doohan, a lovely chap, whose website is here) which were some of the best presents I have ever received. I hope that one day, I can share that with a little Lydia of my own. Or Saavik, if I get my own way…