I used to watch Star Trek with a certain nervousness as a kid. I should have been at Cubs discharging my seconder duties and planning for the next week’s programme. I’d kept my promotion from ordinary Cub a secret because Star Trek was far more important to me. It’s not that I was that into it, but I hated Cubs and was delighted when my mum gave up on me and let me off joining Scouts at eleven. I was only made a seconder because I was one of the older ones and continuously ‘forgetting’ the planning nights led Arkela to warn more than once: ‘You’ll never be a sixer’. She made good on her threat and, exceptionally, when the time came I was passed over for a younger boy. (Arkela was far more pissed off at this than I was.)
Anyway. Star Trek was great for handheld gadgets. Now everyone has a mobile phone, the ‘beam me up Scotty’ thing’s not as exciting. But who’d have thought the little scanning gadget landing parties used to check the atmosphere would become a reality. Well now police are to get dirty bomb detectors built into their mobiles. As they wander the streets the mobile will constantly sample the air for radioactivity and ‘expose illicit stores of nuclear material’. Thinking about it now though, they weren’t so clever in Star Trek. They only ran the scans upon landing on strange planets’ surfaces and never wore protective suits.