Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Imagination Was Twisted, Even As A Kid

I was the greatest toy a young Trekkie could ever receive.

I started watching Star Trek when I was three or four, and for about nine or 10 years on, I rarely missed an episode, on Saturday nights and again, on Sunday mornings, on CBC TV. It didn't matter how many times I saw those episodes, how I knew so many lines, Star Trek was my show.

I collected many Star Trek toys. I had a communicator and a phaser, I had a model of the U.S.S. Enterprise. I designed many other starships—mostly, from paper—to interact with the crew as they sought new life forms and new civilizations. I pretended I was a crew member, and then later, a captain of my own starship.

But the best gift I received was the bridge of the Enterprise, and the action figures that worked with it. There was a captain's chair, helm and navigation console, and a main viewer that had interchangeable screens (I later made my own). A transporter allowed you to make figures disappear from the starship, beaming down to those strange new worlds.

At first, I received the top-three crew members: Captain Kirk, Spock, and Bones McCoy. Later, I would have Ensign Chekov, Lt. Uhura, and a Klingon.

Each figure was equipped with a miniature communicator and phaser; some had tricorders. The weapon and communication device were held in a belt that was difficult to attach, even for small hands. In time, the belts broke, and the crew would simply have to carry their equipment in their hands if they wanted to use them.

I recreated some of the episodes, plus I made up a few new adventures on my own. I expanded the ship with empty tubes from bathroom tissue or paper towels, creating the engineering section (though I never received a figure of Scotty). I used pastel green and blue Styrofoam egg cartons as medical beds in sick bay.

On one made-up mission, a Klingon vessel had sent out a distress call, its engines were malfunctioning and the ship's destruction was imminent. The Enterprise was having troubles of its own, having only one transporter available. As it beamed the first (my only) Klingon aboard, the ship exploded, killing everyone on board.

The Klingon, realizing he was grossly outnumbered, decided to cooperate with the crew of the Enterprise, becoming a member of Starfleet. Chekov was made the senior helmsman, the Klingon, Kang, was made an ensign and took over the job of navigator.

However, during one away mission, Chekov befell an accident, where he lost his arms and legs. In reality, the elastic that held his limbs together somehow snapped, and he literally fell apart. He was beamed aboard the Enterprise and taken to sick bay, but Dr. McCoy was unable to save him (nor was my mother, who tried to reattach the limbs with a different elastic band.

Naturally, suspicion for Chekov's death turned to Kang, who was placed in the brig. (I would only use him as a "different" Klingon for other adventures.)

It wasn't long after the demise of Chekov that Uhura's band failed and she befell the same fate as her crew mate. And, as with Chekov, Uhura's band could not be mended. I had two dead crew members.

Kang was released, and McCoy learned that these deaths were due to a disease that was affecting the crew. He worked to discover the cause of the disease and to work on a way to combat it.

Other crew members fell: Kang, McCoy, and then Kirk. Spock was the last remaining crew member. Starfleet ordered the Enterprise to a starbase, to be taken out of commission while they got to the bottom of the trouble.

I could tell that Spock would soon meet the same fate as his crew members. The limbs would slacken ever so slightly. My parents weren't happy that the action figures were so poorly made, and said I wouldn't get any more. I had six broken (dead) people, who I had placed inside the egg cartons, which had now become caskets. I buried them in the woods that surrounded our home, in Kirk's Ferry, Québec.

When I figured that Spock's days were numbered, I disassembled the engineering section and sick bay, and folded up the bridge (the transporter had its problems, and wouldn't always work). Spock, without his crew, admitted to killing them so that he could be the captain of the Enterprise. But, as he had known in the television series, wanting wasn't always as good as having. Starfleet found Spock guilty and sentenced him to death.

When my family lived in the Gatineaus, our custom-built house was three stories tall. On the top floor was my parents' bedroom and a room with a small television—the one on which I had watched so many episodes of Star Trek.

From this area was a door that led to an outdoor balcony, which overlooked the woods in which Spock's colleagues were buried. Spock would join them, soon enough.

I fashioned a noose out of a long piece of thread. With one end, I tied the thread around the railing; the noose went around Spock's neck. His last words: "Live long, and prosper."

I let go of him, and he tumbled over the ledge.

The cord itself was about four feet long. For Spock, he dropped more than 20 feet before his "rope" went taught. Had he been a human, such a hanging would have taken his head off. But it would seem that Spock had fallen victim to the same disease that had taken five "lives" before.

As he reached the end of his noose, his arms and legs snapped free, falling to the ground three stories below.

Starfleet determined that Spock was under the influence of the disease when he confessed his crime. He was given a full pardon. He was also buried with his crew.

My Spider-Man action figure also broke in the same way. Crappy workmanship.

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