April 5th 2063 is the day in Star Trek Canon where humans discover that they are not alone in the universe. It’s also the day when the first humans travel faster then the speed of light, thus attracting the attention of one the well known Star Trek alien races The Vulcans. First seen in the movie Star Trek First Contact April 5th is now celebrated the world over by Star Trek fans as a special day in the Star Trek calendar. (A bit like May the 4th is for Star Wars fans).
Currently in this Star Treks 50th Anniversary year, fans are of course looking for any excuse to celebrate this great franchise and have looked at April 5th as a highlight in a year of highlights, the announcement of a new series and a movie due for release in July just two.
In the movie First Contact the Enterprise travels back in time to stop an alien race known as the Borg from enslaving (through assimilation) the Earth in their past (our future) and thus preventing first contact with the Vulcans. In the movie the character of Troi (played by Marina Sirtis) along with Riker and LaForge (Frakes and Burton respectively) explain to a scientist by the name of Cochrane (James Cromwell) about what happens when humans realise they aren’t alone in the Universe and it goes something like this…
Cmdr. William Riker: Doctor, tomorrow morning when they detect the warp signature from your ship and realize that humans have discovered how to travel faster than light, they decide to alter their course and make first contact with Earth, right here.
Dr. Zefram Cochrane: Here?
Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge: Well, actually, over there.
Cmdr. William Riker: It is one of the pivotal moments in human history, Doctor. You get to make first contact with an alien race! And after you do… everything begins to change.
Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge: Your theories on warp drive allow fleets of starships to be built and mankind to start exploring the Galaxy.
Cmdr. Deanna Troi: It unites humanity in a way no one ever thought possible. When they realize they’re not alone in the universe, poverty, disease, war – they’ll all be gone within the next fifty years.
Cmdr. William Riker: But unless you make that warp flight tomorrow morning before eleven fifteen, none of it will happen.
Dr. Zefram Cochrane: And you people, you’re all astronauts on… some kind of star trek.
Leaving the humour aside there is a serious underlying message and that is that humans can gain peace and eradicate our ills when we discover that we aren’t alone in the universe and that is one of the reason I personally mark the date of April 5th in my diary each year and I will make sure my kids do as well. It is a day for thinking about peace and doing good in the world.
When you look at the world today I think it’s nice that a group of people united by the love of a TV and Movie Franchise have a day when they look towards a future where the human race has moved beyond the need for greed, violence and where people aren’t starving. How many shows can say they have made people think like that.