Star Trek 101 serves two functions: succinctly introduce Star Trek newcomers to the basic foundations and elements of the franchise and refresh the memories of longtime Trek fans. We're pulling our entries from the book Star Trek 101: A Practical Guide to Who, What, Where, And Why, written by Terry J. Erdmann & Paula M. Block and published in 2008 by Pocket Books. An invaluable resource, it encompasses The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, as well as the first 10 Trek feature films.
Today, we share Star Trek 101's file on George and Gracie, the humpback whales from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home:
Humpbacks, already an endangered species in the twentieth century, are extinct in the twenty-third. But the space probe doesn't plan to leave Earth until it "talks" to one. Kirk and his senior officers retrieve the pair from the past so the whales can carry out the conversation. (What they ultimately discuss is known only to George and Gracie). After the probe leaves, the whales are free to repopulate their species in Earth's oceans.
Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are coauthors of numerous books about the entertainment industry, including Star Trek 101; Star Trek Costumes: Fifty Years of Fashion from the Final Frontier; Star Trek: The Original Series 365; and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. They currently are writing the latest in their series of Ferengi novellas, which (so far) includes Lust’s Latinum Lost (and Found); and Rules of Accusation. Their most recent non-Star Trek book is Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History.