By Fleet Capt. Dave Mason
The afternoon felt like a USS Angeles party.
The difference was we were sitting in our homes or, if we chose, on a starship bridge, in front of a Borg regeneration alcove or some other place straight out of “Star Trek.” We varied the backgrounds digitally as we met through a Zoom video chat.
Wherever we were physically or digitally, we were together virtually.
It was proof that COVID-19 hasn’t stopped the spirit of the USS Angeles.
Fortunately, members report they’re doing well during the pandemic, and our hearts go out to the families and communities affected around the world.
Here in Southern California, the USS Angeles remains connected through video chats, which we’re calling Zoom Virtual Away Missions. Webmaster Chris Mulrooney led the first one April 18 from behind a big microphone at Starbase Karen in the Los Angeles area.
He lives there with Karen Hoagland, who also participated in the chat. At one point, Magpie (or “Maggie”), the Starbase Karen dog, joined Chris at the microphone.
Nearly a dozen people (members and a guest) gathered at their computers and smartphones from Los Angeles, Orange and Santa Barbara counties and elsewhere. Most of us were at our homes and saw each other on the screen, while others decided to chat by text. One way or another, we were together.
Participants showed creativity in their home studios. Second Officer Jeremy Kranz put himself at an aft station on the Enterprise-D bridge. (At another time, he was in front of a transporter platform.) And Founder Janice Willcocks appeared in front of the former TRW site, where USS Angeles members previously explored the filming location for “Operation Annihilate.” That’s the original “Star Trek” series episode with the parasitic, “flying pancakes.”
Jon Lane put himself in front of a Borg regeneration alcove from the old Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton.
“That’s where we met you, Jon!” said Elizabeth Critch, sitting with her husband, Kelly. They were both right at home in their colorful “Star Trek” bathrobes.
Elsewhere, Paul Lester was having fun during the chat, sometimes digitally flipping himself upside down.
Watching from our home, Lisa Sobien and I were impressed with the Nutley, N.J., resident’s uncanny ability to defy gravity. Anti-grav units in action!
From his home, Matt Cox asked how everyone was doing, and we said we were doing well. Maria, Matt’s wife, connected with us from her workplace.
Early in the chat, Chris led a bingo game, and Jon won. And Jon and other participants showed their memories of “Star Trek” stories such as “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” during a trivia game.
Chris read the questions. When one of us knew the answer, we buzzed in by saying “beep.” Questions varied from easy to challenging, and it was a great way to celebrate our love for “Star Trek.”
In addition to the games, Chris played funny videos for us. And we saw a video of Jon interacting with his son, Jayden.
We also discussed conventions and “Star Trek: Picard.”
“I love that it had Spot!” Elizabeth said, referring to Data’s cat.
“It was Spot 2, a synthetic cat,” I replied. “I think it’s really cool to have synthetic pets!”
“I agree!” Elizabeth said.
Several of us also quoted lines from movies, including the scene in which Dr. “Bones” McCoy (Deforest Kelley) goes to a bar and tries to secure a ship in “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.”
The chat was fun and therapeutic during this time of isolation. It was the next best thing to us being together in person. And there was the advantage of not having to drive long distances.
The video chat brought us together virtually, and Chris plans to lead more of these Zoom missions. Thank you for hosting, Chris!
The Zoom chats are open to USS Angeles members. Membership also includes access to our chat-list, participation in a weekly live Facebook text chat and our award-winning newsletter, Angels Flight. To become a member, click on Join us.
USS Angeles members gather on a Zoom chat. (Photo by Lisa Sobien)
Paul Lester, below left, flips upside down during the Zoom chat. Center screen, Chris Mulrooney leads the session from behind a big microphone, with help of Magpie (“Maggie”). Other participating were, clockwise from top left: Janice Willcocks, Lisa Sobien, Dave Mason, Jeremy Kranz, Jon Lane and Karen Hoagland. At this moment, Matt Cox was not visible. (Photo by Dave Mason)