Saturday, December 20, 2008

MIssing Majel

Majel Barret Roddenberry is gone. As they say, her health had been in decline for some time, but it never changes how that final break, even when expected, is still a shock we still have to deal with.

I had one take I left for Anthony at in his gathering of memorial thoughts: Majel's rising to carry Gene's torch after his passing in 1991, and how she always thought of the Trek office staffs and casts, even when Gene's absence meant he had longer cast or hired them.

What I didn't share then is a vivid snapshot I carry in my mind's eye from 1994. I only wish there was a literal photo of the moment: We were hosting Majel at ThunderCon 4 back home, and while our Trekland careers had launched Janet and I still "liased" with the convention monster I had birthed some years before.

So the long day was done and this June Saturday night was upon us, all holed up in the downtown hotel's open-space lobby bar: just us, Majel, Reyna her longtime assistant (and Rod's "second mom"), plus our fellow guest, dear friend and longtime Star Trek script coordinator Lolita Fatjo—barely two years into her own con career!—when suddenly, from out of nowhere, we were invaded.

Literally. With no warning we were awash in dozens of young bucks in uniform—and not of the Starfleet costume kind: Dress greens and blues were everywhere, plus banners and pennants, whoopin' and hollerin' ... sounding to all the world like unleashed testosterone and victory yells. Turns out there'd been some kind of joint Olympics-style competition going on with teams from all the various military branches, from all over the country—and now with the medals and awards doled out, the swarm had moved to our side of the street, the nearest watering hole and hangout.

You'd think those soldier-studs could care less about anything but a night to party ... but that was before word got out that the First Lady of Star Trek was right their in their midst. Hollywood or Kronos, both were just as alien and just as exciting—so it was sure a sight to see these 20-somethings all a-gaggle around a grand dame in her 60s, vying to buy her a drink, ask a question, hear a story—and of course Majel reciprocated. She was in such fine form with those adoring young uniforms around her, and the mutual admiration society went on for hours—a night none of them will ever forget.

That was not just the power of Star Trek at work, but the power of Gene, the power of adventuring, the power of the future, the power of American icons—and the power of Majel herself. It was a moment that says it all ... and now, savoring the memory, I realize no photo-paper image could ever do it justice anyway.

Peace, Majel .. and Gene. We'll all try to carry on.

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