Hey, Star Trek is turning 50 this month! How’d I miss that? Well, I did a bunch of Star Trek comic lists five years ago, so let’s have some more fun, this time by looking at the shows themselves.
One of the (many) things I like about the franchise is that the crew always got to visit the most fascinating places in the galaxy. That would be one of my big reasons for joining Starfleet: the chance to explore strange new worlds that look like a helluva lot of fun.
And yeah, sometimes you beam down to a planet filled with alien Nazis or neural parasites or bored omnipotent dickwads — that’s part of the whole “to boldly go” deal. But is dealing with that kind of dangerous stuff worth it for the chance to visit any of these planets? You bet.
Though the Andorians can be an aggressive people (for real; mind your manners when you visit), they have achieved architectural miracles with their underground cities, which are powered by geothermal energy and connected to each other by tunnels stretching thousands of kilometres. This ice moon, just a hop and a skip from Vulcan, rarely sees surface temperatures above -30C — even in the summer — so you definitely want to pack your parka. But the skiing and snowboarding can’t be beat, and the planet’s caves are popular honeymoon destinations.
2. Amusement Park Planet, Omicron Delta Region
As Kirk described it, this uninhabited planet is “park-like, beautiful, green… almost too good to be true.” Doctor McCoy agreed, describing the lush green surface as “something out of Alice in Wonderland.” Even more so, with the sudden appearance of young blonde girls and rabbits in waistcoats. Forget Disney World; this planet’s caretaker literally knows how to make your fondest dreams come true. Just don’t be surprised if your childhood bully and/or long-lost love shows up unannounced. Or hell, maybe your childhood bully was your long-lost love. No judgment here.
3. Argelius II
“Come to Argelius II, where murderous incorporeal entities aren’t a big problem anymore!” At least, that’s how I would pitch the planet’s new tourism campaign. Well, that and lots of pictures of the local dancing girls. Also? The Argelians created an entire legal system based on love. You’re welcome, Rest of the Universe.
At first blush, Ba’ku might seem like a snore to the average thrill-seeker: with only about 600 people on the entire planet, its nightlife leaves much to be desired. And don’t get me started on the shocking lack of free wi-fi. On the other hand, the place offers rolling hills, crystal-blue lakes, abundant wildlife… oh yeah, and one other thing: a unique form of radiation that grants eternal life to everyone on the planet’s surface I mean hello!
Now that the planet has emerged from its decades of… unpleasantness under Cardassian rule, Bajor is worth checking out. Home to one of the oldest civilizations in the Alpha Quadrant, the planet is chock full of archaeological wonders and scenic vistas — that is, if you can tear yourself away from the discussions about prophets and spirituality your Bajoran hosts will insist on having. Take a swing by Deep Space Nine to try your luck at the dabo tables in Quark’s bar, but don’t go anywhere near his holo-suites with anything less than a bucket of Purell and a full hazmat suit.
6. Omicron Ceti III
What does this planet have to officer? Oh, nothing special — just complete happiness and contentment, is all. A native species of plant spore allows anyone on the planet’s surface to survive the constant bombardment of “berthold rays” the planet receives, with the nifty side effect of increasing a person’s happiness and bliss levels when inhaled. On the flip side, you might get too happy and decide you never want to leave, so make sure you have a “designated downer” who can beat some sense into you when it’s time to go.
Come on, you knew this planet had to be on the list. The natives have deployed only the most sophisticated weather control network and seismic regulators to ensure almost-constant desirable weather everywhere on the planet. Renowned for its beautiful tropical resorts and abundance of pristine beaches, Risa — also known as “The Pleasure Planet” for painfully obvious reasons — has more than 200 registered Nuvian masseuses and a populace with a very open attitude about sexuality. In other words, it’s not the best place in the galaxy to catch up on one’s reading, Picard.
8. Rubicun III
“Neat as pins, ultra-lawful, and make love at the drop of a hat” is how Riker describes the Edo, the dominant species on Rubicun III. Works for me. Just keep away from the flower beds when you visit, and you’ll do just fine. Huh — it’s funny how Riker got as far as “neat, lawful, make love at the drop of a hat” in his research and yet didn’t go that extra mile to learn what “ultra-lawful” really means. He must have been really excited about checking out all those famously tidy places on the planet.
9. Sigma Iotia II
Want to get your gangster on? This world is a planet-wide replica of Prohibition-era Chicago, right down to the Tommy guns and scruffy street urchins demanding “a piece of the action.” An extremely imitative race, the Iotians patterned their entire society after a book accidentally left behind by a Federation party titled Chicago Mobs of the Twenties. Thanks to the actions of the USS Enterprise, the place is far less prone to gang-related violence than it used to be, and visitors can delight in a near-perfect re-creation of one of Earth’s more interesting eras. Time your visit to catch the start of the annual International Fizzbin Finals.
10. Sol III
Also known as Earth to its inhabitants… though don’t call them “Earthlings,” as they tend to find that term insulting. Home of the United Federation of Planets Council and a wonderfully diverse place in terms of climate, geography and wildlife, there’s something for everyone here. There are too many sights of interest to list, but no vacation to Earth is complete without visiting Starfleet Academy in San Francisco, Sisko’s Creole Kitchen in New Orleans, the Chateau Picard vineyard in northern France, Montana’s Zefram Cochrane Memorial Statue, and the Sydney Opera House, where you can listen to renditions of such timeless compositions as the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.”