If Only I Could Touch It

At the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Kirk and crew have saved the planet (again). They have all been cleared of charges with the exception of Admiral Kirk whom as “punishment” is reduced in rank and made Captain, the task he was destined for. The full crew are standing in a shuttle and are being taken to their new ship (after the original Enterprises’ sad demise over the planet Genesis). The crew begins to believe that they will be given a less then stellar craft. The camera slowly lifts over the saucer section of the USS Excelsior, the music swells. Then we see it. The familiar saucer of a Constitution Class Starship. The camera cuts back to the crew, eyes wide and jaws dropping. The camera shifts back to the ship. There she waits for her family… The USS Enterprise – NCC-1701-A… They have come home. The scene is warm and heartfelt. I always smile when I watch that scene, but I never truly felt the emotions that scene captures…Until last Saturday when the wonderful Jenn took me to the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle. (Insert angelic choir here).


Paul Allen, whom I can no longer hate, took his vast wealth and has been collecting enough Sci-Fi memorabilia to fill…well, fill a museum. It is all there. The model used in the credit sequence of Star Trek: TOS. First drafts of so many science fiction novels it boggles the mind (many of which are signed). The earliest fanzine pulps with handwritten notes by Isaac Azimov, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellision, Ursula K. Le Guin, HP Lovecraft, Robert E Howard, and others. The REAL helmet worn by Darth Vader during fight scenes; (I don’t say David Prowse cause he signs his real name as Darth Vader). The earliest facsimile machines that the original fanzines were printed on. The actually Queen filmed in Aliens. Captain Kirk’s chair.

I stood for full 30 minutes staring at that chair. I looked at it from every angle. I studied every little niche. I awed at every illuminated diode. The leather on the seat was cracking just ever so slightly. The plastic arms painted to look metallic and Starfleet’ish. I even (geekily) found myself reaching out to the glass in an attempt to touch the chair. It’s probably for the best that I COULDN’T touch and sit in it…There would be a good chance that I would still be there. Yea, yea this is completely dorky and geeky, but I don’t care. The moment will forever be burned in my mind and no matter how many times I return (and I WILL), the feeling will be there. To be sure there are hundreds of other items in the museum that took my breath away, (from pop culture icons to “real” science heroes), but nothing came close to seeing that chair…

If you have any interest in science fiction then you simply MUST take the trip to Seattle and gaze upon these icons. Doesn’t hurt that the Experience Music Project is it’s next door neighbor. Oh yea, Seattle is cool too…

There was one tiny, itty-bitty problem with the museum. It’s something that only someone with my level of obsession would catch, (and a young geekette who caught it too). I’m not gonna’ tell you here. Go tour the museum. Gaze upon the items. Then, drop me a line and see if you catch it. Although, as I am about to drop an email to the fine folks at the SFM it may be corrected by then.