Ranting Redshirt: Convention Survival Guide

Greetings readers!

My name is Alex Calderwood and I welcome you to the Ranting Redshirt.  In this blog, I wish to address issues with Star Trek Online such as features that may need a new lick of paint, or possible additions to the game to give it a more polished feel. However in this first issue I’m going to discuss the topic of real life away missions to the happiest place on earth, Star Trek conventions, and how to make the most of your time at one.

So the dreaded moment has arrived, the captain wants you to join the away mission. Now you’ve heard the tales about redshirts who go on away missions and never return. Well then, we’ll just have to ensure your survival on this mission.


Think of Your Feet!

Sensible Shoes – Now if you want to walk around the convention in six inch high stilettos you might want to rethink your idea of “sensible” footwear. Wear something comfortable such as trainer/sneakers with comfortable socks. The convention centre is a big place, there is going to be lots of walking between panels, hanging with your friends and getting drinks.


Stopping Sickbay Visits

Like with any away mission there is a risk of you catching something. Remember to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and Cold Medicine, Antibiotics and Vitamins are always a good way to keep your personal shields up. Be sure to pack some hand sanitizer as well, that way you can avoid being stuck in sickbay with the dreaded Con-Cruds.


Don’t Drink Too Much

Pace yourself. Being hung-over isn’t a fun way to spend your convention time; you don’t want is to make a fool of yourself and last thing you want is to be remembered as “Ensign Drunk off Their Nuts” or “Chief Brew and Spew”. Focus more on the social side of the convention and drink responsibly.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move onto the fun part of conventions! Meeting other fans, the awesome merchandise and of course, the stars of the shows.


The Convention Venue, Know Your Heading

When you first arrive you may think to yourself that this place is bigger than a galaxy class and that you might get lost. Be on the lookout for others who might already have their convention badges or are in costume, I doubt that Klingons often make a habit of patrolling Earth’s social event. Ask them where something may be as most convention goers are always willing to lend a hand.

Pick up your own badge and sign in at registration, which may also be called Sign In, Programming or Badge Pickup, and then grab a program and plan where you want to go.


Planning Your Experience, Plotting a Course

You won’t be able to go to all the panels at the convention, unless you somehow have Q like powers. Bring a highlighter, sit down and highlight what panels you want to see, taking note of the locations and times on the rare chance that these might change. You’re going to want to stay prepared for the unexpected.

Be sure to pay to attention to any announcements or changes on the Photo-op or autograph boards as well. If the time does change, you’ll miss out on the opportunity you really wanted.

Depending on who’s running the show you may have to bring something along for the stars to sign, unlike some conventions, they may not provide you with anything for the stars to sign.


Soaking in the Culture

The convention scene brings out all kinds of amazing people, you’ll be in the middle of a huge group of people just like you who share a love and passion for all things Trek related, be sure to celebrate it! Raise a glass or two at one of the parties the convention has arranged.

You’ll see many people dressed up in uniforms, outfits, and even costumes. Remember, not everyone is a wiz with a needle as Garak is; the costume might not be true to canon, but who cares? These people are dedicated Star Trek fans. Are you really going to ruin their convention experience for them by saying it’s not canon enough? That will make you a dead shirt rather fast.

One of the best parts of conventions, the one that tests the structural integrity of your wallet, the Vendor room, the mother lode of merchandise! Now before you run up to the vendor screaming “Shut up and take my gold pressed latnium!” stop and think first. Take a walk through it all firstly, take it all in, see what catches your eye such as a used phaser prop and make a note of it, either mentally or on a piece of paper.

Now that you’ve had a look around go back to the vendor that has the “one” item you cannot do without and purchase it before someone else does, as they may have a limited stock of items. The last thing you want to do is find out that the item you wanted sold out while you were at a talk or an autograph signing.

Don’t forget to talk to the vendors and artists about their work, they’ll be more then glad to share. You might learn a few tricks of their trade and it’ll make you lots more friends cause remember, you just beamed down to geek-heaven!


I would like the staff of Priority One Podcast for their input, advice, personal thoughts and experiences to help create this convention guide.


Alex Calderwood


-Ranting Redshirt-

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