STAR TREK CONTINUES dealt with the sensitive subject of child abuse in its sixth episode, “Come Not Between the Dragons.” Greg Dykstra’s powerful story produced a flood of reactions from fans, many recalling how their own childhood was shaped by an abusive parent.
College student Tim Clark of New Mexico stumbled on STAR TREK CONTINUES after reading about it and other fan-based productions. But it was the story of “Come Not Between the Dragons” that really grabbed his attention.
“My father could be mentally abusive, as he was an alcoholic. When I finally pieced together that this story wasn't about an alien seeking refuge from his people, but rather a son escaping his abusive father, it resonated deeply with me.
“I was one of those people who needed an Eliza Taylor. My father was an alcoholic. He never really physically hurt anyone, or me at all, but for as long as I remember he abused my mother mentally and my brother through neglect,” Clark explains. Eventually, his father and mother split up and Clark’s dad re-married.
“He got better for a while after he remarried, but still he continued to drink. The last time I saw him, he was drunk, crying, broken. He, too, had been someone who needed an Eliza when he was young, and as a result he was self-destructive. After he was arrested for drunk driving, he died in prison.”
Clark was moved by “that beautiful scene where Eliza tells Usdi's father about her experiences with an abusive father, and how he would drive away Usdi unless he changed for the better. “At this point I cried. The ending was so poignant and so true -- and unfortunately not what I had with my father,” Clark said.
35-year STAR TREK fan Chris Muggeo from New York looked at the episode through the eyes of a father, thinking of his own children. He found STC by chance on YouTube. “I had exhausted all of TOS episodes and decided to try a fan film, because I wanted more TOS,” Muggeo says matter-of-factly.
Episode Six “rang close to home for me. I, like many others, am a dad. And I’m not perfect. I didn’t read the manual that came with my kids when I got them from the stork. Both of my kids are extremely intelligent, and sometimes because of their intelligence, I forget that they are just kids. And like kids they make mistakes, challenge us and test the waters to see how much they can get away with. I’m not going to lie -- often times I yelled louder and longer than I should have. Thankfully, we are very close with lots of love. As they grow and learn, I’m learning as well.
“The reconciliation between father and son in the episode was beautiful, Muggeo said. “Episode Six allowed me to revisit this time in my life and see it as an outsider. It let me see what my son was going through as a result of my ignorance and short fuse. I can’t lie -- I cried. And to top it all off I watched it on Father’s Day."
Texas fan Christian Bradley was also moved to tears by “Come Not Between the Dragons.”
“This whole episode was brilliant. Definitely my favorite of what's been produced thus far. I've been a STAR TREK fan my entire 33 years. I grew up with a big time STAR TREK fan for a dad. When I was little, staying up late and watching new Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Original Series rerun episodes with him was one of our ‘things.’”
Bradley wrote to STC right after viewing the episode. “I have to say, I was moved to tears. I grew up in a childhood much like Usdi's. My mother was physically, emotionally, and psychologically abusive. And it's taken a lot to get healthy as the result of it. Usdi and Ensign Taylor were characters that I identify with strongly.
“As someone that has suffered abuse at the hands of a parent, I felt such a bond with Usdi. I also enjoyed that the story was a portrayal of how child abuse situations could turn out, instead of how they most often are. I loved that Ensign Taylor was able to reach Usdi's father.
“Taylor understands that Usdi's father is broken himself, and urges him to find help and heal. It was actually pretty wonderful that she took that route, rather than scolding or the Enterprise hurting the father for hurting the child. You drove home a very healthy and positive message: monsters are people, just hurting and damaged people. They do love their children. It's just that hurt people hurt people. And should you find you are the monster, you can change,” Bradley said.
“I love and appreciate how the episode addresses a struggle I've lived through, and it gives me hope for others living through abuse now and it gives me hope for the abusers. Hope that they can change, for the sake of their children,” Bradley said. Episode Six “hit home for me in a powerful way. If that's not authentic STAR TREK, I don't know what is.”