by Mr. Williamson
I've been accused of exaggeration. Perhaps.......
Bored with summer? Looking for something different, unusual, exciting, adventurous? Looking for bragging rights on the first day of school when everyone asks what you did this summer?
I'm going to let you in on a little secret - The Space Center.
Both the Discovery Space Center and the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center have simulator centered space adventures many say are better than Disneyland; and you don't have to drive ten hours to get there.
A couple weeks ago I watched the CMSEC staff do a dress rehearsal run through of their new summer camp mission Darmok Trials. Saying it was the best thing since Gone With the Wind would be a stretch. Saying it was better than Star Wars is closer, just shy of a coin toss. Saying it was more enjoyable than the last Star Trek movie is 100% correct!
Last Saturday I went back to watch a crew of campers do the mission. It was the first camp telling. It was great.
An essential part of being an officer in Starfleet is completing your emergency medical training. Erin gives you that training on the Darmok Trails mission. Erin is one of the Space Center's fully certified EMT's.
In this lesson Erin taught one of the campers how to deal with a distraught officer who is simulating an all too common accident - being thrown against a bulkhead wall during a torpedo attack while drinking a cup of hot coffee. Notice the officer has the styrofoam cup attached to her face. Steaming hot cocoa was used in this simulation. The Space Center is always mindful of the camper's religious dietary restrictions.
I exited the medical workshop to take a peak in the Magellan Control Room. Supervisor Lissa, assisted by a sympathetic volunteer, was taking a small subsection of campers on a simulated battle scenario.
Feeling a bit queasy after seeing so many simulated deaths, I continued my snooping and found this interesting set up in the gym. It's purpose was undefined. Possibly an obstacle course? It would make sense considering this is Starfleet and officer fitness is essential to survival in the depths of space.
Thirty minutes later I found the campers in the gym segregated into their respective ships and ready to start their missions. Mr. Porter was listing the rules for exiting the gym.
1. Stop and use the restrooms.
2. Wash your hands so you don't foul your ship's computers or spread disease. Remember, starships are small and everyone touches everything - not to mention everyone breathes the same air!
3. Get a drink of water
4. Put on your game face.
5. Lock in a winning attitude.
A mission briefing is essential. Starfleet officers are required to know the difference between the good and bad guys. Mission briefings also include a review of when and where it is appropriate to use lethal firepower. The girls usually nod their heads in agreement. The boys groan when they realize Starfleet expects them to be responsible with their arsenals.
The chief engineers from the four ships were introduced. Things are getting far too relaxed on the ships. Why aren't those engineers in their standard issue radiation suits? Warp core leakage is not uncommon on these older ships.
I suppose it's OK. They rarely get away from their engine rooms. Getting to use the turbolift up to the dizzying heights of a starship's bridge is a real treat. The crew enjoyed meeting them, despite the strange smells.
Ship operations training followed the mission briefing. The Odyssey crew was focused, especially the captain. I think he was still recovering from sitting too close to the engineers.
Dinner on the Darmok Trials.
The engineers sat far enough away from the campers to not ruin the camper's appetites. Rocky was wearing a radiation headband indicator. Engine room staff wear the headband as a safety precaution against radiation leakage. The headband is normally white when taken out of its protective packaging. You're in trouble if it turns yellow. Red comes next - meaning you're close to getting a dose of radiation which could cause hair and teeth loss. Blue comes next. A week's stay in Sickbay's deradiation chamber is the treatment for this level of exposure. Black comes next. It matches the color of space - where you'll spend eternity after they jettison your dead body after a short but moving memorial service in the weapon's room.
|The Magellan's Deradiation Suite|
This person remains a mystery. My hypothesis is that he's fearful of crowds. Apparently not a big fan of pizza and red liquid either.
We didn't know Magellan's Rocky had a drinking problem.
Then there was this guy with a golden bib and black cloak. He stood there with his mouth open until someone offered him a slice of pizza. You meet the strangest people out there on the cosmic frontier.
Ignore the normal looking female keeping her distance from Odyssey's engineer (for good reason).
It's the man in black to her left that frightens me. I think the camera frightens him. Probably didn't want his picture taken. Most likely on Starfleet Intelligence's Most Wanted List for bad choices in head gear.
"You say earthers like this gogurt swill?" The heavily armed female humanoid asked. "I've been to Earth twice and was never served something so foul."
Confused, the officer responded as best he could. "It's yogurt, made from curdled cow's milk. It's full of live beasties. I'm told they're good for your intestines."
The Starfleet officer spent the next 30 minutes in Sickbay having the plastic gogurt container removed from his nasal cavity.
The Odyssey crew made fast friends with the Klingons. Apparently they got too close for the picture. Klingon lice can jump up to ten feet. The poor boys left the camp with shaved heads and a bottle of shampoo formulated with partially neutralized acid. The treatment is guaranteed to force the lice to give up their upper scalp burrows. A painful treatment considering the screams.
"I'm selling colored cups. One for ten starfleet credits or two for twenty-five." Every ship has it's unlicensed peddlers willing to make you the deal of your life.
"Gosh, I'll take the two for twenty-five! What a deal!" replied the blond Phoenix officer. I don't think the Phoenix did too well on the trial.
A Few Highlights (No Spoilers)