Do you have a Trek persona? One of the things that sets us apart from other fandoms is that many Star Trek fans have thought in detail about who they would want to be in the Trek universe.
Everyone knows we tend to go above and beyond as far as fan engagement is concerned, to the point where there are folks among our ranks who speak Klingon fluently or wear a Starfleet uniform to work. Trekkies–embrace or despise the term–have gotten some flak over the years, but nobody can say we’re not dedicated.
You might have a Trek persona if you’re a member of a fan club, an online RP, or even if you’ve put a lot of thought into your STO character. It’s an enticing question: If you could be anyone, in a future where humanity has achieved so much, would you want to be? Whether you think you’d rather attend Starfleet Academy, fight for the glory of the Klingon Empire, join the Maquis, or sit around counting your latinum, chances are you’ve thought about it at least a little bit.
In KAG (Klingon Assault Group), we call our makeup/prosthetics and costume our “uniform”, even though there is technically no standard. Members are encouraged to be as creative as they wish, as long as they are clearly something other than human. Perhaps the most important part of being a KAG member is showmanship; really getting into character. Recently there was a heated discussion on one of the many KAG groups about calling our uniform a “costume”.
Regardless of where you stand, there is definitely a difference between having a go-to original character, complete with backstory, and wearing cosplay for a few hours.
Sometimes people ask us why we love being Andorians so much. My first foray into Star Trek costuming was as the Andorian scientist Shar from the Pocket Books Deep Space Nine Relaunch. Looking back at pictures now, Vynni and I looked pretty silly, but we had such a great experience doing it–including meeting our hero Jeffrey Combs literally right after Enterprise’s cancellation was announced, and having Keith R.A. DeCandido recognize my character, having written about Shar in one of the books–that we couldn’t wait to “blue ourselves” again.
On our next foray into blueness, at our fateful first Dragon Con, I decided to go as my original character, Ell. I’d first come up with him for an RP; he was a civilian bartender on Empok Nor. The game fizzled out, but I still liked the idea of his character: a mischievous criminal who’d never join Starfleet in a million years, who shirked his responsibilities to Andorian society and favored a d’k tahg over a phaser set to stun.
I’ve caught myself wondering why I do it year after year, especially when I’ve missed panels at cons because I’m stuck in the hotel room getting my makeup just right, or when I come back in the wee hours and have to scrub it all off again. I think it’s because of the small things: when a kid wants a picture with us but is too shy to ask, or when we’re asked if our makeup was airbrushed (when we’d spent three hours applying it with sponges and brushes)–or maybe it’s just all the good memories we’ve made in costume.
Even if you don’t go out into the world as your character, it’s fun to come up with their background, whether you double-check every detail on Memory Alpha (or Beta) or come up with your own canon. Role-play in-game or online, draw a picture, write a story–even if you don’t think you have it in you.
Do you have a character? What’s their story? We want to hear it!
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