Ron D. Moore from AOL’s Message Boards
Subject: No Answers, Just Memories
Greetings from the Delta Quadrant.
Yes, it’s true. I’ve signed on for a two-year tour of duty aboard the starship Voyager and as you read this, I’m sitting down to write my first script for Janeway and the gang. I’ll be happy to talk about Voyager and to answer your questions, before I get into all that, let me say a few words about the end of one of my favorite television shows, Deep Space Nine.
For weeks and weeks, I’d successfully held off facing the end. Fortunately, the workload kept increasing as we began work on the final nine shows, and it was no great trick to simply bury one’s self so deep in the work that it was impossible to look up and see the finish line rushing closer. But eventually, there came a point when the work was over and there was nothing to hold off reality any longer. For me that moment arrived on April 22, 1999 at about 11:00 pm while I stood in Vic’s Lounge.
I was taking my second stab as a background player in the Trek franchise, my first effort on “First Contact” have ended without so much as a millisecond of screen time. This time, I had several good facetime opportunities with the camera and felt reasonably sure that I would make it into the final cut. I wasn’t the only one; the entire writing staff was getting in on the act, along with several others from the production crew and a handful of recurring guest stars who showed up sans makeup and worked as extras just to be a part of the “last” day. (Technically, we still had a couple of days left to shoot pick-up shots & bluescreens and so on, but this was the last time the entire cast would be together and in character.)
The day had flown by. A constant stream of well-wishers kept strolling onto the soundstage from Jonathan Dolgen and Bob Picardo to my wife and our son Robin. It was a fun day on the set and everyone was taking pictures and signing each other’s script covers. It was like the last day of high school.
Just after lunch, I grabbed my video camera and walked through the DS9 soundstages one more time. They’d already begun to strike the sets. The Promenade was still there, but all the signage and furniture had disappeared, leaving only the shell of the once-bustling hub of the station. Ops was covered in tarps and the Captain’s Office was completely gone. The crew quarters’ sets were filled with debris. As I walked past the Cargo Bay I saw Michael Logan of TV Guide doing an on-camera interview for something or other. I wasn’t in the mood to hear a post-mortem and I moved on. The Defiant was still intact and I sat for a few moments in the Captain’s chair and remembered sitting in another chair on another Bridge on the night before TNG wrapped. But although I’d set out to deliberately reminesce and wax nostalgic, I was strangely disconnected from the emotions I’d hoped to conjure up. No tears, no warm fuzzy feelings. Just a sense that I should be feeling something and wasn’t. I turned off the camcorder and went back to the shooting set.
The rest of the evening passed like the day before it. Fun, laughter, more photos and more guests dropping in to say hi. I was tapped to do a bit of business in the background of a shot featuring Avery and Penny and I had to stomp down my jittery nerves long enough so that I wouldn’t trip over my own feet and end up with the entire crew laughing at one of the executive producers.
I did it! Well, Avery and Penny did it and I managed not to screw up the shot. I turned to Rene Echevarria, who was standing nearby and fired off some smart-ass remark and was feeling pretty good when I noticed that the set was getting very crowded all of a sudden. The entire cast was lined up at the bar and they were trading odd, knowing looks. The First Assistant Director, B.C. Cameron stood in the center of the lounge and when she started talking, the entire stage fell silent. I was still feeling good about my “performance” and I was completely unprepared when she said, “It’s time to say good-night and good-bye to Avery Brooks.”
Applause and cheers and suddenly it hits me. It’s over. I’ll never see these people in those costumes again. I’ll never visit Vic’s again. I’ll never be here again.
“Good-night and good-bye to Nana Visitor.”
Five years of memories tried to press in on my consciousness, but I was too focused on the moment to think back to my first day or first script or to think about anything but B.C.’s voice.
“… Good-night and good-bye to Colm Meany… Rene Auberjunois… Sid… Michael Dorn… Nicole deBoer… Cirroc Lofton… Armin Shimmerman… Penny Johnson.”
And then that moment too was gone. The room collapsed into a paroxysm of raw emotion. Everyone was hugging and kissing and crying. I sought out the cast members one by one, hugged each in turn, but found that my lips trembled and I was unable to speak. Chase Masterson grabbed me in a hug and with tears rolling down her cheeks whispered, “Thank you for this world you created.” I managed to croak out, “The world we all created,” in response. Then I turned and walked off the stage and out into the welcome chill of night on the Paramount lot.
For me, it ended right there. Caught off-guard and unprepared by the deep emotional ties I’d formed with this show and this people, the pain of loss was a palpable thing which sat on the seat next to me all the way home.
I loved Deep Space Nine. I loved the people I worked with and I loved the world that we all created. It was a special show and a unique experience for me as a writer and as a person. I look back on it with a sense of pride at what we accomplished and with regret that all good things must come to an end.
I hope that you, the viewers, have enjoyed watching the episodes half as much as we enjoyed bringing them to you. Thank you for your long support and patronage of our show — without you there would’ve been no DS9.
Ronald D. Moore
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine