When the latest Star Trek was still showing in the local cinema, I went to see it with a friend of mine. We enjoyed it so much that we went twice, the second time in 3D! And I’ll definitely be picking up the DVD from a non-second-hand shop as soon as I catch it on sale. (I don’t have much income right now…)
There were many good things about the film, and it really did feel like Star Trek this time, and I absolutely loved Victory Through Classical Music, which has got to be just the most awesome way to win a fight if you can’t get out of having one. Weapons and power are not and never will be a match for intelligence, and even when sometimes it seems like it’s all we know, ultimately conflict won’t save us; we’re stronger together than apart, though trust can be the hardest thing of all to give.
I might write more about it later, or perhaps when I have access to the DVD and can see it all again, but for now, what’s really on my mind is the strangest, most tangential thing.
(There follows an account of the author practically having flashbacks.)
Both times, we stayed for the credits, for the sights, for the music. And that second time I sat there, watching my perspective loop around through the stars and the planets, through nebular gas and out into space, I thought of all those things and knew them all, and I realised…
I grew up watching Star Trek almost every day. Captain Picard was a more familiar figure to me than my real uncles and aunts, and as inextricably a part of life as extended family. It was family tradition to migrate to the living room after dinner and watch an episode of TNG, or DS9, or later Voyager, intermixed with Babylon 5 and other sci-fi series, many of which have now faded from my memory. (Does anyone out there remember Space Precinct? I recall almost nothing now beyond that I loved it at the time. Also I still can’t get on with the new “Battlestar Galactica”, not after the old one was such a fixture for my younger self. Problems it may have had, but all the same it is dear to me, TV and books alike.)
I used to watch the Star Trek intro and credits sequences, and stare at the planets (in between leaping across the room whenever the Enterprise warped; I’m proud to say I had perfect timing on that for many years before I outgrew it), and dream of seeing them. That one day I would know those distant worlds, walk upon them, know them each as the unique and beautifully alien places that they were.
Watching the credits of Star Trek in the cinema, my so-much-younger self reappeared all at once in a flood of memory, looking up to the planets and the stars, and it was almost as though she and I saw one another. I saw again my ancient dreams; the echo of my six-year-old self looked up at the stars and saw me there… for I understood everything that I was seeing, I knew that I could build those worlds and those stars and the whole of the galaxy and comprehend their component parts, how they came to be, where their futures would lie; there was nothing I saw that I didn’t at least partially understand.
I’d all but forgotten what it felt like to be that younger self, layer on layer of experience added to my memory and receding her into the past. There, suddenly, I looked at myself and I realised — I had done it. There I stood no longer looking up to the stars but amongst them, so many worlds all but in my hands, through all the choices that had brought me this far. I saw myself from the perspective of the past and I suddenly knew that I had succeeded, without even realising my success. And my past self was proud of me.