In a battered Oklahoma City warehouse sits a jaw-dropping exact copy of a starship bridge Capt. James T. Kirk would be proud to command.
The computer screens blink with information, the captain's chair looks ready to order phaser fire and the bright orange doors open onto the elevator that might take one out throughout the fictional USS Ajax.
On a recent rainy day, sound and light technicians and builders Scott Johnson and Richard Wells and Hillsgate, Vt.-based Jim Bray were putting finishing touches on the bridge. Later this month, the web series of the adventures of the “Starship Ajax” will begin shooting.
Bray, the producer and director of the project, was in town a few more days before returning home.
He's coming back in a few weeks with his wife and children to film “Starship Ajax.”
One volunteer was outside the bridge area working with a power saw. That area is the future site of engineering, sick bay, a hallway, transporter room and shuttle bays for the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Three years ago, the set was left for dead in an Austin barn after serving as the bridge of the USS Exeter, hub of a fan-based “Star Trek” film series made in and around the Texas capitol. When production ceased in 2009, the entire set was scrapped and left to the elements.
In 2010, Oklahoma City area “Star Trek” fan John Hughes heard about the set.
“I was online one night, looking at different “Star Trek” series, and I found ‘Starship Exeter,'” Hughes said in an interview at a recent script read-through.
“I thought nothing could be more fun than making the best ‘Star Trek' fan movie ever. I thought if you gathered a group of “Trek” fans together and we did everything ourselves, we could do a really great thing.”
Coincidentally, a friend of his knew the bridge was in Austin.
Hughes didn't know if the sets were being used or if someone else had a claim on them but decided to call and ask Jimm Johnson, the man who had the bridge.
Hughes was told the bridge had been promised to some men who had yet to come pick it up. Jimm Johnson said he'd wait two more weeks and if they hadn't come, the bridge would go to Hughes.
The day he was set to leave Oklahoma City, Jimm Johnson called. The men had shown up with a long-bed trailer and a check for $2,000, ready to leave with the bridge.
Amazingly, Jimm Johnson told them no, sent them away and called Hughes to tell him to come get his bridge, no charge.