Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Happy First Contact Day

On this day in Star Trek history:

Almost ten years after World War 3, a scientist named Zephram Cochrane converted an old Titan missile into the prototype for a technology he had developed: Warp Drive.

Warp Drive would allow us to travel faster than the speed of light, puttingpreviously impossibly distant locations within reach.

On the 5th of April 2064 (exactly 59 years from today) Cochrane climbed into the cockpit of the missile he had aptly renamed The Pheonix and used its chemical rocket engines to haul him and the Warp Engine up through the gravity well where he could give it a real go.

He gave the Warp Drive a brief but successful test run before returning to the missile complex in Montana for the celebration.

Unbeknownst to him, at that time a Vulcan survey vessel was passing through our solar system on unrelated business. The Vulcans had previously not had much interest in the primative Humans, but upon detecting the warp signature left behind by the Pheonix, they decided to change course.

They tracked Cochrane's trajectory, and in the midst of the fesitivities the Vulcan ship T'Plana Hath landed. The Vulcans stepped down from their craft and for the first time Humans were greeted with the traditional Vulcan salute and the words "Live long and prosper."

Realising that the humans were in no shape to enter the interstellar community on their own, the Vulcans stayed there to help them rebuild their civilisation and guide them into a new age of deep space exploration and diplomacy. A relationship that eventually led to the formation of the greatest organisation ever devised: the United Federation of Planets.