*Edit* I realized I forgot to load the picture I’d intended to put on the post. Fixed now!
We ended up watching a few episodes of Star Trek before we went to the event, had food and all that jazz. Kyle, Amy and I were catching up from the long years of being apart, and it seemed like we would still get along wonderfully despite the years. I had been afraid that the years would change us and it would be awkward to get together with him again, but everything that we talked about enjoying, he did as well. Star Trek, the science fiction film club on campus, it even came out that Amy and I played Dungeons and Dragons occasionally. Basically, we all bonded over our collective nerdiness.
Which I don’t think he should have been too surprised about seeing as how we had invited him to a Star Trek simulation event. Seriously. If that doesn’t have “MAJOR NERD” written all over it, I’m not really sure what does.
One of the episodes of Star Trek we watched was from Voyager, and at one point they were being attacked by somebody and one of the crew shouted out, in brilliant and scientifically accurate Star Trek fashion, “Oh, no! The molecular integrity of the ship is compromised!” This was so well received that we still quote it to this day in reference to completely ridiculous circumstances.
As we were watching, Kyle mentioned that he needed to be back by six. One of his mission friends was coming down from Salt Lake and he was going to help her grade some homework, because evidently she was a teacher. I assumed this meant that he was either dating her, or interested in dating her, and that this really was just a “friends” thing. It made me simultaneously a little more comfortable (hooray for knowing what’s going on and how to proceed) and disappointed (well, darn, another boy who won’t like me.)
Then it came time to leave, but before that we needed to decide what everyone wanted to be. There were eleven of us, and we needed to figure out who would be captain, first mate, engineering, etc. Amy, Kyle and I kind of looked at each other sideways, and I immediately knew why.
We all wanted to be captain, and we all believed that we would rock at being in charge.
This sentiment came out, in the polite roundabout “Well, if nobody else wants to, I wouldn’t mind being captain…” way. We were all eyeing each other, when we realized that there was kind of a leadership “team.” There was captain, first mate, and the diplomat. Amy seized the first mate because she wanted to be called “Number One,” like Riker in Next Generation. I conceded that I would be a good diplomat, since I’m pretty good and maneuvering tense situations, and this landed Kyle with the job of captain.
Now, did I mention that this event was hosted by an elementary school, largely for elementary schoolers? Because it totally was. It’s a leadership, team-building activity designed to help kids work together and solve problems in the SUPER COOL context of a Star Trek-like environment. So we arrived and they had “costumes” for us. Costumes in this context means little vest things, most of which were clearly designed for 10-year-old kids. Witness:
I would post more pictures from the event, but honestly, they all fail my “don’t post pictures that make people look bad” policy (I even cropped Amy out of this one because she’s got a weird expression on her face; fear not friends, I try not to post pictures that you are horrified of). The costumes weren’t good, and most of the photos I took were blurry.
Despite the costumes, it was a blast. When you fail and your ship gets shot down, they reboot and bring you back to life so that you can figure out how to solve the problem correctly. This only happened to us once, and it only happened because the low-budget elementary school was using the same Macs that I remember using in elementary school. They were old, and they were slow. This meant that our shields wouldn’t get loaded quickly enough, despite Kyle shouting at people to get their butts in gear. When you’re working with 10 year old computers, nothing helps.
We had to dispense a vaccine to a number of planets that had been struck with some disease, but we only had a limited amount of the vaccine and time was running out before mass numbers of people started dying. I was an excellent diplomat and saved our butts from a number of tense situations, primarily by sucking up to the local royalty in a way our captain couldn’t do with dignity. Amy attempted to tell Star Fleet to “suck it” because they weren’t being useful, and when this notion was rejected by the captain, she proceeded to send updates to Star Fleet saying “We’re still here” and “Not dead yet!”
Our security people stayed by the doors and shot any aliens attempting to board, keeping us very safe. It got very hectic, and we were on Red Alert for a good portion of the time, but we managed to replicate the vaccine, and save millions of lives all in one afternoon.
In short, Kyle, Amy and I ran a tight ship and were fabulous.
Evidently, Kyle still feels a little bad about this experience because it was the first time he’d met any of my roommates and the first time he’d seen Amy or I in years, and he spent most of the time shouting at people to get things done. In his defense, in order to hear during red alert, you have to shout. And nobody cared because we played the game so well and it was so much fun.
Afterwards, we chatted a bit, and arranged to do dinner at his apartment the following Sunday so that Amy, Kyle, Oldest SIL and I could get together and catch up. And then I drove him home. This was slightly traumatic because as I was turning right on red, I missed seeing a car coming and almost got hit. I swore to Kyle that I wasn’t a bad driver, and then acknowledged that this was something kind of useless to say because the only driving he’d ever seen me do was when I almost got hit because I didn’t see a car coming. It wasn’t a good start. I was tripping over my words, trying to say something moderately funny or intelligent after putting him in a potentially dangerous situation. It was mortifying. I honestly don’t think he felt comfortable with me driving for months afterwards. Which was unfortunate because I was the one with the car (hee hee hee).
It became even more traumatic, because as I was dropping him off, he hugged me.
I am not a “huggy” person. I hug people that I am related to, and people that I feel very comfortable with. If I don’t know you, or haven’t seen you in seven years, please keep your distance. I don’t want your grubby hands on me, thank you very much.
I grinned and bore it with a modicum of grace (at least, he tells me he didn’t notice that it freaked me out), and proceeded to stew about it in the car. What did it mean? I’m socially inept enough that I was completely unsure if just-friends could just-hug and it was all ok and normal. I mean, he was essentially going on a date afterwards, and we certainly hadn’t been on a date. It had been a fun gathering of friends. Right?
Stew stew stew.
I did go home and talked with Amy about the day. I can’t remember if I mentioned the hug or not, but we both talked about how nice it was to talk to Kyle and for how excited he was to do things with us. He had volunteered to go see the new Star Trek movie with us, and perhaps to go to the science fiction film club with us. It was nice to have a friend who wanted to spend time with us.