Forty-five years from tonight – on April 5, 2063 -- the Vulcan survey spacecraft T’Plana-Hath will land in Bozeman, Montana, after following the warp signature of the Phoenix, a ship that represented the human race’s first successful attempt at achieving warp drive. Soon after, a robed Vulcan, will offer the Vulcan salute and meet Dr. Zefram Cochrane, pilot of the Phoenix and the inventor of warp drive. First Contact will be etched in history, and it will pave the way for the formation of the United Federation of Planets.
Of course, First Contact and First Contact Day are fictional creations. That said, they’ve been well chronicled across the Star Trek franchise. Anyone interested in the finer details should be sure to check out some of the following:
On the Big Screen
Star Trek First Contact, with James Cromwell playing Cochrane as a man with a penchant for booze and rock and roll, and the nickname “Z.” Cromwell later reprised the role, in a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, in “Broken Bow,” the pilot episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.
“I had a delightful time,” Cromwell, a frequent Trek guest, told StarTrek.com last year of his experience on First Contact. “They were very supportive of me. I really enjoyed Jonathan (Frakes). I allowed myself to have as much fun as I possibly could with that character. I loved his cowardice and his way of avoiding everything, and he was a delight to play. The film was very successful, and I am always amazed by the intensity of the loyalty of the people who enjoy Star Trek. It's amazing.”
On the Page
The books First Contact (a novelization of the film), First Frontier, Starfleet Academy, Imzadi and Federation, as well as the TOS comic book, A Warp in Space.
On the Small Screen
The Voyager episode “Homestead.” In it, Neelix and Naomi Wildman throw a party celebrating the 315th anniversary of First Contact Day. There’s a retro jukebox, lots of Cochrane’s favorite munchie (cheese pierogis), and the particularly amusing moment in which Tuvok very reluctantly raises his fingers in the Vulcan salute and intones the legendary phrase, “Live long and prosper.”
OK, everyone, are you going to let your kids skip school? Will you stay home from work? In the meantime, happy First Contact Day!