How to Drink Like a Starship Captain

Of the myriad challenges facing humanity that fall by the wayside post-traveling to the stars, liver disease is one of them. Here’s an exchange from Star Trek:

Dr. McCoy: That’s right. And in this derivative, mixed with alcohol, it merely deadens certain nerve inputs to the brain.
Scott: Oh, well, any decent brand o’ Scotch’ll do that.
Dr. McCoy: Oh? Well, one good slug of this, and you could hit a man with phaser stun and he’d never feel it, or even know it.
Scott: Does it make a good mix with Scotch?
Dr. McCoy: It should.
Scott: [heading out with the beaker of theragen derivative] I’ll let ya know.

Pick your favorite science fiction property and there’s probably a hard-hitting adult beverage in there that’s stronger than anything encountered by man. These drinks are turned up to eleven, as if the proofing system was a dynamic measurement that should be able to reach 300 rather than 200.

spock drinking

Star Trek has enough examples for us here, but there are quite a few more. Star Trek is an interesting stepping off point for this trope, however. Remember the scene in Star Trek 4: The voyage home where Dr. McCoy insta-cures a woman on dialysis? Implied here is that any ailment associated with alchoholism and binge drinking can be likewise cured, resulting in ship captains and crew alike chugging away like there’s no tomorrow.

LCDR. Worf: (holding his head and groaning) Romulan ale should be illegal.
LCDR. Geordi La Forge: (matter-of-factly) It is.
(From Star Trek: Nemesis)

worf drunk

Of course also in Star Trek 4, Romulan ale is touted for its medicinal qualities by Dr. McCoy, perhaps facetiously. So the reason for it being illegal within Federation Space must be because of its point of origin and that trade for a Romulan item violates commerce laws much like Cuban cigars in the USA during the Cold War. This provides Captain Kirk with an opportunity for cheekiness when he procures said contraband for a diplomatic function in Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered County. This results in a hangover, as preventative measures weren’t utilized or don’t exist in the Star Trek universe.

This scenes illustrate this:

Captain James T. Kirk: I’m going to sleep this off. Please let me know if there’s some other way we can screw up tonight.
Commander Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, M.D.: I’m gonna find myself a pot of black coffee.

kirk drinking2

And later, borrowing a line from Rosand’s Cyrano de Bergerac:
Captain Kirk: Note to Galley; Romulan Ale no longer to be served at diplomatic functions.

So it appears that the old-world problem of overindulgence doesn’t go away in this universe’s future. Avoiding or beating the hangover isn’t part of the technology or isn’t considered a socially-acceptable offer. Abstinence goes by the wayside when there’s Klingons to deal with diplomatically.

So the take away? “Jim Beam me up, Scotchy!” (from an old Fantasy Gamer magazine cartoon.)

–Gerhard Gehrke


Coming Soon: The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster and other beverages.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback!

Connect with me here:

Twitter: @gerhardgehrke

My first novel A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth is now available in paper or ebook editions at Amazon or Barnes and Nobles.

2 thoughts on “How to Drink Like a Starship Captain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s