Kansas City, Mo. Hundreds of "trekkies" this weekend beamed down to the Park Plaza Hotel here for one of several Star Trek conventions being held at various locations around the nation this summer.
The convention, which included vendors, information on regional Star Trek clubs and showings of episode videos, featured an appearance by actor Jonathan Frakes.
Frakes, who plays Cmdr. William Riker, First Officer of the USS Enterprise on the television show "Star Trek: The Next Generation," spoke to about 350 trekkies on Sunday.
"I like this job, I don't want it to go anywhere," Frakes said. "I feel privileged that I'm working on a show . . . that has a positive vision of the future."
Currently, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is the most-watched television show in syndication. This year, it was nominated for 10 Emmy awards.
A large following of loyal fans, sometimes referred to as "trekkies," has maintained Star Trek's popularity over the years, participants at the convention said.
"I'VE BEEN a fan since the original show," said Noel Rainbolt, 30, Kansas City, Mo.
Rainbolt, wearing makeup and a wig, was dressed in a battle costume of a Klingon, an alien race depicted in the show.
He said Sunday's convention was the fourth he had attended.
"It's nice being able to see the stars of the show . . . and meet other fans," he said.
Rainbolt also is one of several organizers of regional Star Trek clubs, several of which are located in the Kansas City area.
Although there are no plans for a club in Lawrence, organizers said a new club is forming in Topeka for Star Trek fans.
"This show has fans all over the world," Rainbolt said, adding that some Lawrence residents take part in the Kansas City clubs.
The first television episode of "Star Trek" aired in 1967.
The show was canceled a few years later, but made a comback in the early 1980s with several movies, and again four years ago with the current sequel series.
FRAKES, WHO answered questions for about an hour and signed autographs, said a major character who left the Enterprise at the end of this year's season would return.
"We got Worf back," he said.
Lt. Worf, a character played by actor Michael Dorn, left the Enterprise in the "cliffhanger" episode of this year's season.
Fans also will find out the identity of another character introduced at the end of the season, a Romulan played by actress Denise Crosby.
Frakes said the Romulan character is the daughter of Lt. Tasha Yar, a major character originally played by Crosby. Yar died in one episode, and went back in time in another.
Frakes said it takes about seven days to film each episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Episodes air about six weeks after filming, he said.
The convention, held Saturday and Sunday, was sponsored by Trekfest, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company that holds the conventions about twice a month.
Convention participants could buy a variety of Star Trek memorabilia from about a half dozen vendors who travel with the conventions.