Anyone who knows me that I’ve been actively involved with Star Trek fandom for over 25 years now. The thing that the Skipper asks us each year as convention season approaches is, why Starfleet? We get little to no support from Starfleet, and for the majority of us, small though it may be, it’s just another annual bill to be paid. However, there is one thing, above all others, that I HAVE gotten from Starfleet over the years – even dating back to that fateful first encounter all those years ago.
That thing is the ability to meet people and make friends in new places. Now granted, I’m not the world traveler that others are; to be honest, I’m very much a homebody, but at each stop along the way I’ve made one or more friends. Some are there just long enough to teach a life lesson or give me a laugh when I need it the most. Others are there to share the ride for a good long time – such as the crew of the USS Tiburon, whom I’ve been honored to “serve” with for over 8 years. And with these new friends, along with more that are added each year, I participate in new activities that I hadn’t considered in the past.
There are new community service activities to be encountered, new games to be played, twists on old games to be played. Nowhere to be seen amongst these groups of friends are the politics of Starfleet. What endures for me – the answer of “why Starfleet” – are the lasting friendships that I’ve made and continue to make over these long years of active fandom. We laugh, we cry, we tease each other just like siblings in a large, extended family. We try to recruit others into that family, and some leave just the lasting memories of their sometimes brief and sometimes long friendships. Why Starfleet? Come to a Tiburon event and look around . . . you’ll see it if you open your eyes and your mind to it.