When you've got 700+ hours of TV and 12 movies piled up from over 45+ years, the anniversaries can come at you thick and fast, and from any direction.
So I should hardly have been surprised at my own shock when I realized only a few days ago what was coming up in Trekland today, Feb. 7.
For it was on this date exactly 10 years ago—a Wednesday then, of course— that we rented a big-screen and hosted a view party for the first-air premiere of our Voyager episode "Prophecy."
Alas, I have no party pics from that night—but the story of "Prophecy" began long before that night, of course—and I mean long. Each of those 700+ hours of Trek in turn have their own tale of coming-to-be—some straight and easy with one name attached, some over a twisted and agonizing path with more hands involved than the WGA can ever know about. Of course, many, many folks have actually sold a story idea to Trek over the years—and, unless they were a seasoned veteran or an on-the-cusp up-and-comer, they never got the script assignment. Most of you know I enjoy telling those "how-to" story tales—my TNG Companion and many, many hours of interviews and writing over the years attest to that.
But this time, it was personal.
What started out as our token, easy "Klingon B'Elanna" idea about a generation ship of Klingons deep in the Delta Quadrant, back when all the characters were just babies and the format was in its infancy, was a surprising sell when all our more elaborate ideas went nowhere. First story meeting, though, Michael Piller wants to change our cheap, shipbound "bottle show" idea into an elaborate, planet-bound adventures where we see these Kirk-era Klingons actually subjugate another colony world (even with subtitles for the poor natives' dialogue, with a newly created language).
There's plenty more tales to tell about the whole process and the rest of the shoot; you'll have to ask us next time we cross paths at a con, or I decide to take my "Star Trek: Between the Cracks" show into our own slant on the world of "Prophecy." But the irony, of course, is that a big, expensive Klingon bridge set and funeral that was supposed to open the show all got cut for time—meaning you never saw this solemn moment, or the Klingon skyward howl of warning to Sto'Vo'Kor that was included:
We went on to pitch many times over the years, and still regret that some of the stories—especially on DS9— never got bought and produced. But "Prophecy"—aka "Reflections," aka "Untitled Klingon Story" ... aka "Now THAT would made B'Elanna really kick-ass in Season 1, if she has to choose whether to shoot either Chakotay or her Klingon lover" ....that will always be ours. Aboard the good ship IKV Nemecek.*
*Sorry. You'll just have to hunt me down and ask for THAT story, too.