On September 30th, my boyfriend drove me seven hours to the wonderful city of Chicago. Were we going to take an elevator to the top of the Hancock building? Or maybe we would visit the iconic Wrigley field? Would we perhaps gaze into Anish Kapoor's famous "Cloud Gate" sculpture, otherwise known as "that shiny bean thing"? No. We were going to a Star Trek convention.
We arrived in the city around 2:30AM and stayed the night at a friend's apartment. We had roughly 5 hours of sleep before we needed to wake up and get ready for the event. We took two trains out to the Westin O'Hare hotel and arrived just in time to see Nichelle Nichols (Uhura from the original Star Trek series) talk about her experiences filming the show and her pivotal role in the civil rights movement. When Nichols was finished on stage, my friends and I browsed and photographed the various vendors selling Star Trek merchandise. As a statement to the slowly diminishing franchise, the vendors were also selling commodities from other science fiction television shows such as Doctor Who, Firefly, Stargate, Babylon Five, and more; all of which my boyfriend described as playing "second fiddle" to the Trek empire.
Even though we had a blast exploring the vendors, watching the actors speak on stage, and observing the fans who dressed as their favorite characters; the greatest part of the convention was the overwhelming sense of camaraderie. Everywhere you looked, there were groups of fans disputing Trek canon and talking about their favorite episodes. The atmosphere was simultaneously friendly and reserved, in that shy-nerd kind of way.