THE BLOG

Stealing the Enterprise...

07/06/2013 13:26 BST | Updated 06/08/2013 10:12 BST

If those on the autism spectrum wish for their own tales of myth and legend, listen well!

I stole the Enterprise for my Helen of Troy, Juliet Landau, crossed the world for her and met her one Sunday morning in March on a boulevard west of Sunset.

Metaphorically speaking, of course. Rather than steal a ship, I rented a seat on an aircraft. But every era has its fictional icons whose feats we aspire to emulate, and if Jason had his Argo, Hornblower the Hotspur and my fellow Asperger T. E. Lawrence a ship of the desert upon which he crossed the Nefud, then it was only natural for this Asperger, geek and nerd to seek inspiration from his own pop culture idols.

Three years ago, barely recovered from workplace trauma, not very fit and doubtful whether I was up to independent travel again, I crossed my own Nefud to Los Angeles and met my Hollywood star.

One of my inspirations for this was the scene in Star Trek III : The Search for Spock, where Kirk stole off with the Enterprise to save his shipmate, and the scene where he did so struck a very strong chord at the time. Unlike Chris Pine's brash and cocky young captain of today, William Shatner's 1984 version was middle-aged and arguably past it while his Enterprise was a tired, battle-damaged heavy cruiser headed, like the Temeraire, for the scrapyard.

At the age of forty-five in 2010 I knew exactly how Shatner and his ship felt, but I faced up to my autistic fears of change and, after a twenty-one year layoff, managed to break out of Spacedock and get myself on the road again.

Never thought I'd actually meet Captain Kirk, though...

Three years later, and I'm at Wizard World's Philadelphia comics-convention. I've had a good time getting James Marsters' and Charisma Carpenter's autographs and I know William Shatner, like Elvis, is also in the building. But he's an American icon and I don't think I've got a chance in hell of getting anywhere near him. As another Huffington Post article confirms, Shatner is guest of honour there, ticket sales are up 47% from the year before and 6,000 people gamely queuing to see Captain Kirk have been turned away.

There is surely no way I can just waltz up to William Shatner without a moment's hesitation and pick up his autograph in the blink of an eye.

Surely.

Funny thing, I once heard Napoleon always appointed lucky generals. I'd say Kirk was a lucky commander and I'm a bit like that myself.

I walk past Shatner's stand, there are only three people in the queue. I leap without looking much as Kirk would have done, shoot through the crowd barriers as if pursued by Klingons and meet the man himself.

It's not a historic moment, but I tell my tale of theft and quest as best I can. We shake on it. Shatner signs my personal copy of Dear Miss Landau, and for the only time ever, the two men who (metaphorically speaking) stole the Enterprise, do actually meet.

Some moments make a life and some men still dream.

Remember this moment, say I was there and saw Kirk that day, for in Merlin's words in John Boorman's Excalibur, "it is the doom of men that they forget!"

James Christie is the author of Dear Miss Landau. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, at the age of 37 in 2002. He lives and works in Glasgow.