My First Con in the World of Covid

As a lot of you listeners know ‘Blind’ to me is not just the name, it is true. I am legally blind, while I do have some sight I am also disabled to where I have to use a wheelchair, not to mention I am also on a fixed income. So, even though they try to have great accessibility, going to conventions is almost impossible for me unless they are local.

Now Covid has happened, where we have a new normal with masks and social distancing. A lot of our conventions have been either canceled, postponed, or even gone virtually.

I was given an invite to attend Virtual Trek Con, this is a convention is 100% online and best of all it is free. I jumped at the chance, counting down the days until it started. I was marking what panels I wanted to watch.

Finally, the day came the first-panel Pre-Con Viewing The 7th Rule presents: A Review of DS9’s “Civil Defense” Attention Bajoran Workers

I was one of the first people in the room waiting on it to start I didn’t know what to expect but I was glued to my monitor as they talked about everything from episodes to gold press Latium to the chemistry between Sisko, Jake, Nog, and other characters. I was impressed

After it was over, I quickly went to the next panel that started almost immediately, it was the welcoming ceremonies where I got to interact with Cirroc Lofton, Ryan T. Husk, Malissa Longo, Scott Baker, Michael Kenyon Rosenberg, Ann Marie Segal, and Katie Nickolaou

I was in heaven, I have never been able to ask a celebrity a question and they answer it. I was on a level playing field as everyone else. Nobody cared that I had a disability. We shared our love of Trek in the way Rodenberry envisioned the worlds of the future to be.

When I was watching the third panel (A Warning, Not a Blueprint | Past Tense: Part I, w/ Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe). This panel was prerecorded. I was shocked they were talking about the homeless, mental illness, and disabilities. How this would not be the way Rodenberry saw. They talked about people on the outside forgot the people on the inside. Even thought this was a pre-recorded panel it still spoke to me.

Later in the evening I got into the Welcome party and got to plug the station and was welcomed with open arms by everyone there, I never felt so included even when I let them know I am disabled.
We talked about everything from Covid to Conventions or lack-there-of.

On day two, I sat in a question and answer session for Star Trek Science where I loved having real-life experts compare real-life science and star trek, there I learned several things. Then I went into a panel with Kenneth Mitchell and Mary Chieffo, from Discovery, where I was saddened to learn that he has ALS and is now in a wheelchair like me. It makes me realize that even stars get elements that take away their mobility.

I was so happy to be in a trivia contest where I place 17th but I had a fun time matching wits with others

On day three I did not get to see a lot because of prior commitments but I did watch the world premiere video from Sons of Kirk named Warp Speed. If you are not familiar with the Group it has Gary Graham (Ambassador Soval from Enterprise), Neill Murzynowski, Marc Rivera, and Mike Thompson. I loved it. I learned they were going to have an album out soon.

On Sunday I watched ds9 2nd Generation Panel where I learned about some behind the sense of some of our favorite ds9 cast Andy Robison (Garak), Max Grodenchik (Rom), Hana Hatae (Molly O’Brien), and Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko). Also, Malissa Longo (wife of Aron Eisenberg’s wife) to give Aron’s perspective on Nog

Little later I watched a panel with some of the Discovery cast members including Doug Jones (Saru), Raven Dauda (Dr. Pollard), David Benjamin Tomlinson (Linus and various Klingon Creatures), and Hannah Spear (Siranna). They talked about various behind the scenes stories and how each took strength from their characters.

On Sunday I watched the message from Nichelle Nichols.
I was glad to see her but it was upsetting to see her having trouble talking. Then I got to watch a Facebook live with Neutral Zone Studios. They took us on a tour of the set were they shot Star Trek Continues. They showed us some behind the sense tricks they used.

Monday the final day I was watching Virtual Trek Con Closing Ceremonies where we got to say our goodbyes and reflect on what was good, what was bad, and what was ugly.

One of the things we kept laughing about was the running joke about Garak hijacking people’s internet feeds making them freeze. This happened to Cirroc multiple times. We took bets in the chat on how many times it would happen. He was a good sport about it laughing at it and would come in as name like Garak stole my internet and I got my modem from Quark.

If you are interested in watching the panels look up Virtual Trek Con on Youtube.  Most of them are there for everyone to see.  I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.    

I enjoyed this convention a lot. I learned I’m not alone on several fronts. Not only am I not alone as being a huge Star Trek fan, (Well sci-fi in general) but I am not alone with being a disabled fan and that’s cool. I learned several things about Trek I did not know. I gained several new friends. Aren’t the friendships one of the main things we go to conventions for? We love the friends and people sharing a common joy. I know we would love it to be in person, but you know what? if we have to have virtual, I am happy with that.


by Tia "Blindbat" Jenkins

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One Comments to “ My First Con in the World of Covid ”

  • Ms Subrina Wood July 22, 2020 at 1:10 am

    This is a great article. I so enjoyed meeting you at the Con. And thanks for joining the SyFy Sistas at the After Party. It was rad fun.