by Mike Medeiros
The Spirit of Star Trek was alive and well at this year’s Creation Entertainment’s Star Trek Convention in beautiful Las Vegas and I got a chance to experience it firsthand. This was my first convention, but I have to admit that I didn’t go for the stars or the panels; instead, I had made the journey for the people. Over the last two and a half years that I’ve been playing Star Trek Online, I’ve made so many new friends and this was my chance to meet a lot of them in person.
My trip to Las Vegas began on the Saturday preceding the con when I boarded a plane for Albuquerque, New Mexico to spend a few days with my friends Terilynn and Allen (Thank you so much for your hospitality). When I arrived, fellow fleet mates, Will and Brandon, were already there, and we still had a couple of days before Nick arrived. Although, I had never actually met them in person prior to the trip, we had spent a great deal of time talking to one another over Twitter, Ventrillo, Skype, Facebook, and Teamspeak; so they certainly weren’t strangers.
By Monday night, we were all together over dinner, where we decided to share it with our Internet friends by streaming it on livestream. It was a fun experience, and to say that it got a little crazy was an understatement. However, I believe it spoke volumes about the relationships that could be developed over the Internet, the strength of the community that rallies around Star Trek and Star Trek Online, and how easily it was for us to relate to one another through our common interest.
Tuesday morning, we packed our bags, and hit the road on an epic 10 hour road trip to Las Vegas. We took a couple of cars and tweeted the entire time, sharing the sights and sounds with all of our friends, especially those that could not be with us. En route, we explored the meteor crater in Arizona, and were actually turned away by security when we reached the Hoover Dam. I suppose they had watched the previous night’s livestream. By early evening, we had reached the Rio, our hotel and the site of the largest convergence of Star Trek fans this side of Vulcan.
While checking in, we bumped into a few more friends and fleet mates, and quickly fell into an easy rapport with them. As time went on, our group only got larger and larger as more people came to join us. I went to my hotel room to unpack with my roommate, Cushmanzada, and later met up with some of them for drinks and bowling in my first ever limo ride. I personally, got a kick out of meeting fellow Foundry Author extraordinaire, Alimac30, who had traveled all the way from the UK to be there and attended the bowling party.
The next morning, we were pool side at the G & T Show cabanas, where we met several fans of the show, many more Twitter friends, and even made some new ones. It was a great way to spend the day before the convention officially got underway. That evening, I preregistered for the con and took a quick tour of the vendor’s room before retiring early for the evening in preparation for all that was yet to come.
Thursday marked the opening of the convention. On the way to breakfast, I saw J. G. Hertzler (Martok) in line at the Starbucks. After meeting up with a dozen friends for breakfast, we went down to the convention center to get started. I spoke briefly with Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather) at his booth, where he was signing autographs and pitching his new graphic novel Miles Away. Trek Radio was also there with a booth packed with fellow podcasters and on air personalities. I was finally able to meet the lovely Risa and my co-hosts on Gates of Sto’vo’kor, Deyvid and Ross (Sskald). Trek Radio had graciously shared their booth with us and even gave us some time to talk about our latest episodes featuring the Women of the Empire with Adrianne, Risa, Terilynn and Kestra (who was unable to make it out this year). These were people that I had been working with for quite some time and now could finally place faces with their voices. It was great!
However, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. I had noticed a tweet that Podcast UGC’s host, Havraha had arrived. We made arrangements to meet up and after tracking down that elusive Romulan, we had some good times. He was not what I expected; he was so much more and am thoroughly proud to call him friend. Then, word came in that Star Trek Online Community Manager, Brandon, and the other developers had arrived. I went down to meet them and spent some time with them talking about the game. We returned to the vendor’s booth, where we met up with even more friends, including those wacky guys and gal from Priority One just before we went live with our Gates of Sto’vo’kor discussion.
That night, I went to out to dinner with several of the STO developers, podcasters, and a number of other Star Trek Online players, before we went to Creation’s Karaoke Party. Everyone was so supportive of those brave enough to take the stage. However, there were a few acts that really gave magnificent performances, including a rendition of Mr. Roboto sung by the stunning Holly Hearse and featured a costumed attendee, Dataest, dressed as Data doing the Robot. Adrianne from Priority One pelted out an amazing rendition of Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker. I even managed to get up enough courage to not only take the stage, but to also sing a memorable version of a Klingon war chant a cappella.
I spent most of Friday, walking the halls snapping photos of the costumed attendees. Although the costume parade wasn’t until Saturday, there were some amazing characters roaming the halls. Everywhere I turned, there were Starfleet uniforms from every era of Star Trek including Star Trek Online, and aliens from all over the quadrant. Some my personal favorites included a pair of Binars, the Assimilated Hirogen, a Vulcan that appeared in an Enterprise era jumpsuit one day and an elaborate robe the next, several beautiful Orions, various Borg drones, a Jem’Hadaar soldier, a Xindi Reptilian, and dozens of Klingon warriors. During the first few days, I only saw one Romulan, but as the convention went on, more and more of them began springing out of the wood work. It was an amazing experience seeing people from all over the world and aliens from all over the quadrant in one place sharing in the Gene Roddenberry’s vision of Humanity.
Ross and I shared a drink with Levar Burton (Geordi LaForge) and Stephen Ira Behr (DS9) at the bar with Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) seated nearby, before going on the air once again to talk about Star Trek Online’s Foundry with several other Foundry Authors including Alimac30, Duke-Of-Rock, Gingie, Rogue Enterprises, and Havraha. The discussion was interesting, but most notable was the agreement that Alimac and I would soon be collaborating on a Foundry project together. Later in the evening, we hung out in the Rio’s iBar where other foundry authors joined us. We loving referred to ourselves as Founders and our meeting, as the Great Link. Star Trek fans are some of the greatest and most creative people that I have encountered.
Saturday was the biggest day of the convention, and it seemed as if everyone was in costume. I even showed up as a member of Voyager’s crew attending Neelix’s Holodeck Resort program. However, I was the most excited about the Star Trek Online’s Discussion with the Devs panel and the Hanging with the Devs event later in the evening. I assisted Trek Radio, Massively, and Star Trek Online, by working the door and trying to get as many people into the theater as I could. With several hundred people in attendance, the discussion panel was a huge success. The developers that were present at the panel included Dan Stahl, Jesse Heinig, Thomas Marrone, and Brandon Felczer. I enjoyed speaking Dan Stahl briefly after the panel, before he had to go and spend time with his lovely fiancé who was celebrating her birthday that weekend.
In between the two Dev events, I was at the Trek Radio booth, when Rod Roddenberry was interviewed by Trek Radio. He discussed Trek Nation, Mission Log, and described his father’s vision for humanity. It was so touching that I was moved to tears, because the spirit of it was evident in Las Vegas. During the convention, I had met people from Australia, New Zealand, China, Germany, Scottland, the UK, and all over the states. Here we were, people from all over the world, coming together to celebrate and share in that vision of the future.
The Hanging with the Devs event was held at the iBar. Dan Stahl was unable to attend, but STO’s Environmental Artist, Nick Duguid, also known as Tumor Boy, was also present. Throughout the weekend, I had hung out with the developers on several occasions and spent the event ensuring that all of the players that attended the event had some face time with the developers. I had a great time, and hope that everyone else did as well.
After the event, Trek Radio and the podcasters that attended Star Trek Las Vegas went to a private suite to discuss their experiences at STLV, lovingly referred to as the Podcasters Round-Up. I represented both G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor with my cohosts Terilynn, Nick, Deyvid, and Ross. Priority One was in full force with Elliot, Elijah, James, and Adrianne attending. Havraha from Podcast UGC and PFDennis from Primetime UGC represented Starbase UGC. Stoked Radio’s Mav and Foundry File’s Admiral Murphy were also present. Of course, Risa, Kain, and Deyvid from Trek Radio recorded every moment of this wildly fun event. The developers were also present, but they kept their commentary to a minimum. I have it on good authority that the audio from that Podcasters Round-Up will be posted soon by the various podcasts involved in it.
Sunday was the final day of the convention. I spent most of it, getting together with all of the friends that I had met over the convention and wishing them a safe journey. The developers came by and spent some time with players and fans that dropped by the Trek Radio booth. Before they headed home, I was lucky enough to break bread with some of them. After that, I roamed from one farewell party to another. I met the lovely Mary Czerwinski while visiting with Teri and her sister-in-law Carolynn at the iBar. I had dinner with PFDennis and several Foundry authors as we watched the closing ceremony of the Olympics. Then, I stopped by a few other hotel room parties, hosted by Alimac and Subspace Radio respectively. On my way back to my room, I shared a turbo lift with Robert Picardo (the Doctor from Voyager) after he completed his charity auction to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity.
The next morning, I flew back home with new friends, a larger extended family, and enough happy memories to last a life time. The people that I had met all shared a common appreciation for Star Trek and some of them traveled half way around the world to be part of this amazing event. All in all, the Star Trek Las Vegas Convention was a life changing event that I will never forget. If you’ve never attended a Star Trek Convention, I highly recommend that you do. You won’t regret it.
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