Dude, in 2002, I totally missed seeing NEMESIS in theatres. Turns out I didn’t miss much. Now that that is out of the way, here is what the release of that movie did in my personal life.
First, here’s what happened in the millennium between INSURRECTION and NEMESIS.
Towards the end of 1999, I got married, went on a honeymoon and found myself stuck working at Target full time and hating the fact I was a cart attendant. This was before they had the motorized cart collector. I had a rope with a hook and some serious upper body strength. I came to Target just before Thanksgiving 1999 and stayed until October 2000. I was one of a handful of seasonal help to make the cut and keep my job. Everyone else was dismissed on New Year’s Eve — Yes, the famous one: Y2K.
I had been working at my favorite used book store, Best Books, and Penguin’s at the same time. I got back from my honeymoon to find Best Books was closing in a month. I still had Penguin’s
Nick Poindexter, the owner of Penguin’s, said he was buying the pizza parlor in the shopping center and selling the space Penguin’s occupied to the children’s dentist next door. Did I want to go with him? No, was my thought. I’d stay at Target, rise to the position of manager and then rule over the district. I would do this to support my family.
It turned out that the rise from Cart Attendant to Manager took a long time.
Allison was tired of working at Burger King and put in her two week notice without a lateral move strategy. Sher talked with me first and I agreed she needed to get out of there. She found a job typing up postcard. The faster you typed, the more money you made. Especially if you could type without mistakes.
In early 2000, Penguin’s closed.
I needed more than Target.
I became the manager of a Blimpie’s sandwich shop. The owners were nice, but never trusted me, ran the store with a tight fist, and made me sick to my stomach. Plus, I worked forty hours at Blimpie’s while maintaining a 32 hour a week schedule at Target. Within three months I was burnt out and Allison professed, tearfully, how much she was missing me.
One day, before a shift at Blimpie, I brought in my uniforms and quit on the spot. I felt relieved.
In September 2000, my father in law, Tom, made a connection to get me an interview at the Michael’s Arts and Crafts warehouse. For the Loss Prevention & Safety department. I hired in on Graveyard and worked for the Distribution Center for the next eight years.
Throughout my employment, I continued to write my brains out.
When NEMESIS was announced, I was somewhat indifferent to TREK.
You see, in late 2001, Allison was no longer sure of our marriage and she moved out. I went crazy trying to stay busy and not think about the dreaded D-word. I was 25 and looking divorce squarely in the eye. I hated it with a passion. My vows were “until death do we part”. While I felt like I was dying inside at the prospect, this did not count enough to uphold those vows.
So, in September 2001, about two weeks after 9/11, Allison moved back in with her parents. Our one bedroom apartment never felt so large.
I did go nuts. After working at Michaels all night, I’d come home at 7 AM, trying to learn new chords on my electric guitar and eat beef jerky and waffles (breakfast of champions) while watching pirated movies I downloaded. I would sleep for nine hours, and then try to wake up and act normal.
I told no one that Allison was gone. I couldn’t. If I had admitted it, it would have made it real. I could not handle that.
I did watch “Broken Bow”, the two hour premier of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE. I started to VHS those eps and watch them on the weekends at the guard shack at Michaels.
By New Year’s Eve, Allison and I had been dating and I asked her to move back in.
The madness was behind us. We could move forward. For now.
So when I heard about TREK X, I didn’t care. I was trying to re-invent myself as a writer and husband.
Then one day, while on my lunch break at Michaels, I thought, “The best time in my life was when I wrote for THE Q-CONTINUUM. Why not do that again?”
So, I did.
And I covered the story of NEMESIS as well as the critical reception. I started to notice that the press was not kind towards this movie and started to release reviews before the movie came out. I was concerned that the bad press might kill the franchise.
The first issue of Volume 4 came in early December 2002, just about two weeks before the movie came out.
Like THE MOTION PICTURE, I did not see this movie in theatres. Now, this was a precedent. I was too young to see TMP in theatres. I can accept that. But NEMESIS was the first movie I chose not to see in theatres. And this was the first time in my 20 year history with TREK that I consciously made this decision.
I did it because I was happy to be with Allison. I feared that, by showing my true TREK nature, she’d leave me again. I felt this even though TREK was not a factor when she moved out in 2001. I had made an effort in our short marriage to keep TREK in the background, to enjoy it casually and not to talk about it. To keep my marriage strong, I shut out a part of my life and tried not to let it bother me.
So, NEMESIS came and went.
I continued to make this new Q-CONTINUUM for a total of 18 new issues. I had a tribute to the Columbia disaster, an all “Back to the Future” issue and a new thing called “The Amazing Q-Stories” (AQS). AQS was a throwback to the old pulps, which I had always loved. These were original stories, centering around Riker, Troi and their crew on the USS Titan. I had this great design to capture the throwback feel. The Titan series lasted eight issues. And then Q-18, the last one.
I knew it would be the last one.
I started to hit a wall writing the stories.
I thought about publishing the original screenplays I had been writing, publishing pieces of the first drafts to get feedback, etc.
And then I scrapped the whole idea, believing it was a cop out. The Q had almost always been about STAR TREK. I didn’t want to dilute it with my screenplays “Ruby Clocks” and “Timely Comfort”.
See, 2003 became a pivotal year in my writing.
I took two weeks off from work, read non-stop and re-invented myself as a writer. I refocused from STAR TREK to original works. I thought, What do I want to be known for? The answer: Time travel and poignant stories.
So, “Ruby Clocks” was about time travel and drug addiction.
“Timely Comfort”, also about time travel, explored mortality and legacy.
Not STAR TREK.
And this is the course I ran full steam ahead on for years.
I had put STAR TREK behind me. Again. I thought I had to, to save my marriage and to be loved by my wife. I couldn’t be that STAR TREK guy. I just had to be me: A guy in Loss Prevention & Safety, on course to get a condo and a future with Allison. I could see a day with kids. I could see far into the future. And it seemed as if this future were possible, as long as I didn’t go back to who I used to be. You know, that STAR TREK guy.
I attended to my marriage and things were good. For a while.
NEXT TIME: Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence.