Star Trek: 50 for 50


Happy 50th Birthday Star Trek!!!!

“… a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars.”

I have written many times about my love of Star Trek.  It was the one show that started me down the path to Sci-fi Geek-dom and probably had more impact on my personal value system than I will ever understand.  Thank you Gene Roddenberry – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The world has changed quite a bit since those early days.  There was a time when only nerds went to Star Trek Conventions.  We didn’t let the cool people in because we didn’t want any more wedgies or beat-downs…  But, I digress.  Those conventions have evolved into Comic Cons where people from all walks of life peacefully co-mingle.  I get a little teary-eyed thinking about it.  Wasn’t that the premise and “hope” of Star Trek?  It is a beautiful, inclusive, minimal, self-actualizing future to strive for… a worthy goal for the human race.   It was a future that one would want to live in – not a corporate-run or post-apocalyptic future, as is so often portrayed these days in storytelling.

The question is going around the internet and I would like to weigh in:  My favorite part of the Star Trek universe (aside from everything) – the heroes.  Who were the heroes?  Everyday nerdy people: scientists, engineers, doctors, diplomats, historians, sociologists, etc.  And no one of those careers had more or less status than another.  Also, they often made a point of holding the arts in high esteem either by way of personal recreating or referencing a species cultural contributions to the universe.  Ex. Klingon opera, Bajoran art and architecture, etc.  It is nice to see the minimal aesthetic done so well – especially in TOS.  This could explain a lot about me now, as I watched it incessantly during my formative years.  And have you noticed how they never shop, watch TV, or obsess over social media, but instead – when off duty – they enjoy a meal out or in, attend a small art event (play, musical performance, etc.), and recreate with friends in healthy social interactions and without judgement?  It always seemed to me that the characters lives are both more simple and more culturally complex – in a good way.  May we all strive for such an enlightened and Zen future…

Here are 50 quotes for 50 years of Star Trek.  It includes a few of the greats and a lot of surprises:


Gene Roddenberry

1.”We stress humanity, and this is done at considerable cost. We can’t have a lot of dramatics that other shows get away with – promiscuity, greed, jealousy. None of those have a place in Star Trek.” ~ Gene Roddenberry

2. “It is important to the typical ‘Star Trek’ fan that there is a tomorrow. They pretty much share the ‘Star Trek’ philosophies about life: the fact that it is wrong to interfere in the evolvement of other peoples, that to be different is not necessarily to be wrong or ugly.” ~ Gene Roddenberry


Star Trek (1966 – 1969)

3. “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” ~ Said in part or whole by most Star Trek characters, past and present, at some time or other…

4. “Live long and prosper.” ~ Mr. Spock

5. “Beam me up Scotty.” ~ These words were never uttered on the show, but have become so much a part of the ethos and an American idiom that they cannot be left off the list.

6. *Soft trilling noise.* ~ Trilled by Tribbles.

7. “A little suffering is good for the soul.” ~ James T. Kirk

8. Scene from Mirror, Mirror:

  • SPOCK: Engineering, re-activate main transporter circuits.
  • KIRK: You’re a man of integrity in both universes, Mister Spock.
  • SPOCK: You must return to your universe. I must have my captain back. I shall operate the transporter. You have two minutes and ten seconds.
  • KIRK: In that time I have something to say. How long before the Halkan prediction of galactic revolt is realised?
  • SPOCK: Approximately two hundred and forty years.
  • KIRK: The inevitable outcome?
  • SPOCK: The Empire shall be overthrown, of course.
  • KIRK: The illogic of waste, Mister Spock. The waste of lives, potential, resources, time. I submit to you that your Empire is illogical because it cannot endure. I submit that you are illogical to be a willing part of it.
  • SPOCK: You have one minute and twenty three seconds.
  • KIRK: If change is inevitable, predictable, beneficial, doesn’t logic demand that you be a part of it?
  • SPOCK: One man cannot summon the future.
  • KIRK: But one man can change the present. Be the captain of this Enterprise, Mister Spock. Find a logical reason for sparing the Halkans and make it stick. Push till it gives. You can defend yourself better than any man in the fleet.
  • SCOTT: Captain, get in the chamber!
  • KIRK: What about it, Spock?
  • SPOCK: A man must also have the power.
  • KIRK: In my cabin is a device that will make you invincible.
  • SPOCK: Indeed?
  • KIRK: What will it be? Past or future? Tyranny or freedom? It’s up to you.
  • SPOCK: It is time.
  • KIRK: In every revolution, there’s one man with a vision.
  • SPOCK: Captain Kirk, I shall consider it.
    (He beams them away.)

~ Probably my favorite scene of all time from any ST series.  The shows premise is a future humanity interacting in a dystopian universe extrapolated from our present-day values. So impactful that I have remembered it since childhood.  The Halkan Empire spoken of repeatedly rapes the universe of its bounty and runs on greed, profit, and power and individual lives mean nothing to those who sit in power…


Star Trek the original cast movies: I – VI (1979 – 1991)

9. “History is replete with turning points. … You must have faith. … Logic is the beginning of wisdom, … not the end.” ~ Mr. Spock

10. “Everyone remember where we parked.” ~ James T. Kirk

11. “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” ~ Mr. Spock

12. “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life.” ~ James T. Kirk


Star Trek: The Next Generation and subsequent movies (1987 – 2002).

13. “I would be delighted to offer any advice I can on understanding women.  When I have some, I’ll let you know.” ~ Jean Luc Picard

14. Summary: “… A lot has changed in the past 300 years.  People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things.  We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions.  We’ve grown out of our infancy.  (Spoken by other character:  You’ve got it all wrong. … It’s about power. … to control your life, your destiny.)  That kind of control is an illusion. … (Later in show.) … This is the 24th century.  Material needs no longer exist. … The challenge … is to improve yourself.  To enrich yourself.  Enjoy it.” ~ Jean Luc Picard

15. “If you prick me, do I not … leak?” ~ Data

16. “Resistance is futile.” ~ The Borg

17. “Mr. Data, lay in a course for the 24th century.  I suspect our future is out there waiting for us.  … Make it so…” ~ Jean Luc Picard


Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (1993 – 1999)

18. “Cardassian rule may have been oppressive, but at least it was simple.” ~ Odo

19. “You’re overlooking something. Humans used to be a lot worse than Ferengi. Slavery, concentration camps, interstellar war. We have nothing in our past that approaches that level of barbarism. You see, we’re nothing like you. We’re better.” ~ Quark

20. “The truth is usually just an excuse for a lack of imagination.” ~ Garak

21. “I’m not so sure you can really get the measure of a man by knowing what he’s willing to do. It’s what he’s not willing to do that’s the real measure.” ~ Joseph Sisko

22. “Our gods are dead. Ancient Klingon warriors slew them a millennium ago.” ~ Worf


Star Trek: Voyager (1995 – 2001)

23. “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.” ~ The Doctor, Emergency Medical Holographic Program

24. “We’re Starfleet officers. Weird is part of the job.” ~ Kathryn Janeway

25. “Impossible is a word that humans use far too often.” ~ Seven of Nine

26. “Nothing makes us more vulnerable than when we love someone. We can be hurt very easily. But I’ve always believed that what you get when you love someone is greater than what you risk.” ~ Chakotay

27. “Without the darkness how would we recognize the light? Do not fear your negative thoughts. They are part of you. They are a part of every living being.” ~ Mr. Tuvok

28. “This is not reality — it’s an illusion.” ~ Harry Kim  Answered by: “When your only reality is an illusion, then illusion is reality.” ~ The Clown (That one is for Elon Musk. Sci-fi nerds know what I am talking about.)


Star Trek: Enterprise (2001 – 2005)

29. “And crewmen Bennett and Tainum over there, do you see them? … If I’m not mistaken, they are preparing to mate. … Do you think they might let me watch?” ~ Dr. Phlox

30. “Starfleet could’ve sent a probe out here to make maps and take pictures, but they didn’t. They sent us so that we could explore with our own senses.” ~ Jonathan Archer

31. “Someday my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine, something that tells us what we can and can’t do out here, should and shouldn’t do. But until somebody tells me that they’ve drafted that directive I’m going to have to remind myself every day that we didn’t come out here to play God.” ~ Jonathan Archer

32. Scene from Acquisition:

  • Krem: I’ve memorized all 172 Rules of Acquisition. Including the most important one: “A man is only worth the sum of his possessions.”
  • Archer: Back on my homeworld, that kind of thinking almost destroyed our civilization.

33. “… we’re pretty much helpless when we’re born. It takes us months before we’re able to crawl. Almost a full year before we can walk. Our deep space mission isn’t much different. We’re going to stumble, make mistakes. I’m sure more than a few before we find our footing. But we’re going to learn from those mistakes. That’s what being Human is all about. ~ Jonathan Archer

34. “We were a great society not so long ago when honor was earned through integrity and acts of true courage, not senseless bloodshed.” ~ Kolos, Klingon Lawyer

35. Scene from Impulse:

  • T’pol: I know you can’t keep me here so just put me on the next M-Class planet we find!
  • Archer: No.
  • T’pol: Why not?!?!
  • Archer: Because I can’t save humanity, without holding on to the things that make me human.

36. “You burst into my home, show me some twisted piece of metal, and tell me it proves I’m a mass murderer? I’ve never seen your species before, I’ve never heard of a planet called Earth, and whether you believe me or not, I had nothing to do with killing millions of its inhabitants.” ~ Gralik, Maker of “a part” of a mass extinction weapon.

37. “Of all the species we’ve made contact with, yours is the only one we can’t define. You have the arrogance of the Andorians, the stubborn pride of Tellerites.  One moment you’re as driven by your emotions as Klingons and the next you confound us by suddenly embracing logic.” ~ Soval, Vulcan Ambassador.  It was always obvious to me that each species in Star Trek represented an aspect or characteristic of the human condition.

38. “Once you rationalize the first mis-step, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of behavior.” ~ T’Pol

39. “And yet the more I’ve experienced, the more I’ve learned that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there, the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. They’re within us, woven into the threads that bind us, all of us, to each other.” ~ Jonathan Archer


The Reboot: Star Trek (2009 – ?)

40. “It was logical to cultivate multiple options.” ~ Mr. Spock

41. There will always be those who mean to do us harm. To stop them, we risk awakening the same evil within ourselves. Our first instinct is to seek revenge when those we love are taken from us. But that’s not who we are…” ~ James T. Kirk

42. “You think your world is safe?  It is an illusion.  A comforting lie told to protect you.” ~ Khan Singh

43. “I think you’re underestimating humanity.” ~ Nyota Uhura


The Star Trek ethos permeates pop culture.

44. “This is space. It’s sometimes called the final frontier. ~ Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures

45. From Jim Butcher’s, Ghost Story:

  • “Star Trek?” I asked her. “Really?”
  • “What?” she demanded, bending unnaturally black eyebrows together.
  • “There are two kinds of people in the universe, Molly,” I said. “Star Trek fans and Star Wars fans. This is shocking.”
  • She sniffed. “This is the post-nerd-closet world, Harry. It’s okay to like both.”
  • “Blasphemy and lies,” I said.”

46. “The president has listened to some people, the so-called Vulcans in the White House, the ideologues. But you know, unlike the Vulcans of Star Trek who made the decisions based on logic and fact, these guys make it on ideology. These aren’t Vulcans. There are Klingons in the White House. But unlike the real Klingons of Star Trek, these Klingons have never fought a battle of their own. Don’t let faux Klingons send real Americans to war.” ~ David Wu

47. Scene from Big Bang Theory:

  • Leonard: Okay, when you say make the best of it.
  • Penny: Sleep.
  • Leonard: Right. So we’ll just call the middle here the Neutral Zone.
  • Penny: The what?
  • Leonard: Star Trek. You know, the Neutral Zone between the Federation and the Romulan Empire.
  • Penny: Oh, okay. Just like old times.
  • Leonard: Of course, sometimes the Federation and the Romulans would enter the Neutral Zone to negotiate a temporary truce.
  • Penny: Sweetie, let me put this in a way you’ll understand. From the waist down, my shields are up.

48. “In the Season 2 episode “The Hounds of Baskerville,” the modern Sherlock Holmes paraphrases, once again, the same quote remembered by Data and both incarnations of Spock, saying, “Once you’ve ruled out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true.” Watson later says to Sherlock, “Alright, Spock, just take it easy.” The cleverness of this reference is that Watson had, presumably, been attributing the earlier quote to Spock in The Undiscovered Country, when in actuality he is quoting an earlier incarnation of Holmes himself.” ~ #10 From a blog post titled 12 Times ‘Star Trek’ and Sherlock Holmes Overlapped by Haley Herfurth.  We Sci-fi geeks live for this sort of thing – it’s worth reading.

49. “Even though most people agree . . . I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.” ~ President Obama, so close sir, so close…

And we circle back around (because that is the Zen thing – or time travel thing – to do?).  From the last movie with the original cast – The Undiscovered Country.

50. The last scene sums it up nicely:

  • UHURA: Captain, I have orders from Starfleet Command. We’re to put back into Spacedock immediately, …to be decommissioned.
  • SPOCK: If I were human, I believe my response would be ‘Go to Hell!’ …If I were human.
  • CHEKOV: Course heading, Captain?
    KIRK: Second star to the right, …and straight on ’til morning.
  • KIRK (Speak over): Captain’s log, U.S.S. Enterprise, stardate 9529.1. This is the final cruise of the Starship Enterprise under my command. This ship and her history will shortly become the care of another crew. To them and their posterity will we commit our future. They will continue the voyages we have begun and journey to all the undiscovered countries, boldly going where no man, where no one, …has gone before.

Star Trek: Discovery (2017 – ?)

51. “—–?——”  (I look forward to the possibilities…)