5:00am PT by Aaron Couch
'Star Trek': The Story of the 'Next Generation' Crew's Greatest Movie
In 1996, Star Trek was at its apex.
On the small screen, Deep Space Nine and Voyager were carrying the Trek legacy — and on the big screen, the Next Generation crew was still in its prime, having delivered a hit movie with 1994's Generations after ending a seven-season run at the height of its popularity.
But the Trek creative team longed for more. Longtime writers Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga weren't completely satisfied with Generations — a film they wrote but that was saddled with mandates that saw Picard (Patrick Stewart) share top billing with original series captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). For their next project, the pair were determined to do right by the Next Generation crew, pitting them against their greatest nemesis, The Borg — a collective consciousness bent on assimilating all life in the galaxy — and creating of a time-travel narrative that examined the origins of Star Trek itself.
Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker) had proven himself to be a top-notch director on Next Generation, and was tapped to lead the crew of the Enterprise behind the camera for his debut feature. It proved to be a wise choice, with Frakes commanding respect and affection from the cast and crew and utilizing his TV director's ability to make the budget look much bigger than it was.
When Star Trek: First Contact hit theaters 20 years ago on Nov. 22, 1996, it went on to earn $146 million worldwide against a $45 million budget — making it at the time the second-highest-grossing Trek film ever. It also would be considered a high point in Trek lore, with many fans arguing only Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan can top it.
"WE WANTED TO REDEEM OURSELVES"
1994's Star Trek: Generations is still in theaters and screenwriters Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga are approached by producer Rick Berman about crafting a follow-up. The pair immediately agree — eager to get right what they feel they got wrong with the previous film.
Brannon Braga, screenwriter: When Generations came out, Kirk and Picard were on the cover of Time magazine and it's like, "OK, how much bigger does it get?" But at the same time, Ron and I felt that we had made some missteps with Generations and we wanted to redeem ourselves and make a really great movie.
Ronald D. Moore, screenwriter: The big difference between First Contact and Generations was right at the start, there really wasn't a list of things to do. There was no mandate. When we did Generations, there was literally a list of things that the movie had to accomplish. It had to be a transition from one cast to the other. You could only have the original series cast in the first 10 minutes. It had to have the Klingons in it, it had to have a big villain, it had to have time travel in it. It was all this stuff. With First Contact, it was really just, "OK, what do you want to do?" So the three of us worked on the story together, and I think Rick was interested in doing time travel and Brannon was interested in doing the Borg.
Braga: The first draft had Riker fighting the Borg on the ship and Picard down on the planet and everything was just backwards. Patrick Stewart, who had read that first draft, said, "Why am I not on the ship? I'm the one who got raped by this species." We were like, "OK. Obviously he is correct."
Moore: There were a lot of budgetary constraints. Even though the budget was obviously much bigger than your average episode was, it was still astonishing how quickly that got chewed up by visual effects budgets of the day. Paramount didn't really spend a lot on those movies. We were reusing the sets and reusing old stuff. At the beginning, when the Enterprise comes in and the Borg are attacking Earth and there's a huge fleet battle, that got way cut back. Likewise, a lot of the action that took place on board the Enterprise, you'll note that we are still down to counting phaser bolts, which was such a pain in the ass, where we're budgeting, "Well how many shots can the security guys take?" "Oh, it's $10,000 a shot" and you're negotiating with the production people.
Braga: There were a few "aha" moments. Definitely when we conceptualized the Borg Queen, because at an early stage we were realizing the Borg are zombies but they don't talk and we wanted some depth. We wanted these villains to want to be understood. And the other "aha" moment for me was the idea that the hero to all of the people on the Enterprise, Zefram Cochrane, was a drunk asshole who is creating warp drive for all the wrong reasons and him realizing why he needs to do it because it's going to change the world and I thought, if you could go back in time and meet one of your great heroes from history and they're a jerk, it's very shocking.
Jonathan Frakes, director and Commander Riker: Sherry Lansing, who ran Paramount at the time, said to Rick Berman, "I'll leave this in your hands because you know this franchise." First Contact was Star Trek 8. Ridley Scott was not going to direct this movie. Spielberg was not going to direct this movie. The big action guys certainly were not interested in doing the eighth version of a Star Trek movie. So I threw my hat in the ring with the rest of them and I was blessed to get arguably the best job of my life.
"GODMOMMY, I'M GOING TO DIRECT FIRST CONTACT"
The crew of the Enterprise welcomes three new additions — Alice Krige as the Borg Queen; James Cromwell as warp drive inventor Zefram Cochrane; and Alfre Woodard as Lily Sloan, Cochrane's assistant — who would challenge Picard in ways no other character ever did.
Alfre Woodard, Lily Sloane: We are the same age, but I'm Jonathan Frakes' godmommy. We were all young actors to Hollywood. We are like 22, and we would sit around and pool our money for chicken and beer and other things. It was a big gang of us and we would just crash at each other's apartments. Besides silly and bawdy conversations with Jonathan, we also had poignant conversations, and I was talking about what my godmother meant to me. His eyes were moist and he said, "I don't have a godmother." I said, "Are you kidding?" Then he looked at me and said, "Will you be my godmommy?"
Frakes: I think she's one of our finest actresses, and Rick shares that feeling. When he found out I had a relationship with her, we just offered her the part. We had met with a number of movie stars and then it became clear that casting Alfre in that part, not only is she a great actor, she isn't who you think of in an action-adventure-horror movie. She added a gravitas and she also could go head-to-head with Patrick. At the core of what makes the movie work is that wonderful scene in the conference room where she says, "You broke your little ships." It's brilliant.
Woodard: I got a call, and it might have been Jonathan saying "Godmommy, I'm going to direct First Contact." I said, "Yes!" My godson was going to direct me. "Hell yeah." Then I thought, I don't know anything about this. I remember that first day on set, Jonathan said, "You're from a different time anyway, so you won't even know half the things — it will work, it will work." That first day, I had to come through a Jefferies tube and I said, "Jonathan, who's Jeffrey?" And he looked at me and he said, "Oh my god, what have I done?"
Frakes: Cromwell was also unlikely casting. That was the year he was up for Babe [for an Oscar nomination]. He was an actor that Rick and I had discussed because we thought it was quirky, interesting. He was appealing, he was absurd and he seemed intelligent. He felt like he could be a mad scientist.
Alice Krige, the Borg Queen: I just got sent three scenes by my agent and I said, "I'll go in on this, but I need to see the script if they want to meet me." She said, "No, you don't understand. No one sees the script." I had never seen an episode of Star Trek. So I ran over to a friend's house, who had a whole lot of Star Trek episodes on tape. And I watched the Borg episodes. I did the audition for Jonathan and Rick and [casting director] Junie Lowry. In the course of doing those scenes for them, I suddenly kind of got her. I suddenly experienced the Borg Queen. I came out and I thought I had completely blown it. So I ran off the lot and found a payphone at a gas station and I called my agent and said, "I really, really messed that up. But I really, really want to do it. Would you ask them if I could come in again?" She phoned them and we didn't hear anything for three weeks. I thought, "Oh well. Another one bites the dust." And three weeks later they called and said, "Would you come in again please?" I went in and met the three of them again and, as I remember, as I left they made the offer.
Borgified aliens on the set (Courtesy: Dennis Tracy)
Scott Wheeler, makeup artist: That character would not have worked without Alice playing the role. They were talking about Cher playing the role. And no offense to Cher, she's had some great moments, but it would have been so gimmicky and I doubt she would have been willing to sit through the 4 1/2-hour makeup we were putting on Alice.
"THE BORG QUEEN WAS BORN"
The painstaking work of hundreds of movie artisans brings the film to life in an era when practical effects still ruled and CG was just coming on the scene. The Borg Queen is among the film's crowning achievements under a team led by legendary makeup artist Michael Westmore.
Wheeler: Jake Garber and I basically redesigned the original TV version of the Borg. I always thought of them as this metaphor for technology destroying humanity, like Communism over free will, the collective being prioritized over the individual. It started to represent technology almost raping humanity and biology. The whole basis of the actual paint scheme was based on cadavers to represent death.
Frakes: All the Borg were on a different clock. There was an entirely different crew that showed up at 2:30 in the morning, their own set of ADs, their own set of and makeup artists, and Alice was part of that. So by the time we showed up at 6 or 6:30, they had already been there for four hours getting Borgified.
Jacob Garber, special makeup effects artist: We were the first ones there and the last ones gone. I don’t recall anything less than a 14-hour day. I ended up sneaking in a bunch of hidden messages in the Borg head pieces. I think I got about every makeup artist's name in there somewhere. I snuck one in there that was Westmore's House of Barbeque, I put me and a girl I was dating at the time in there.
Stunt coordinator Ronald R. Rondell with the Borg between takes (Courtesy: Dennis Tracy)
Scott G.G. Haller, sound effects editor: It was a fun moment to be walking to lunch on the Paramount lot and seeing an extra in full Borg costume sitting on a chair outside of a sound stage, smoking a cigarette and reading a newspaper.
Wheeler: With the Borg Queen, the script had one simple description: hauntingly beautiful. I thought, "OK, why is she hauntingly beautiful?" Maybe the Borg needs a certain appeal. Maybe she's hauntingly beautiful, because she's sort of the seductress of the ideals that the Borg are supposed to represent. There was this beautiful face that is basically stretched over a biomechanical form. In the very front is a façade of beauty, and as you go further back and look at her, more and more you see the horror and the rot and the decay.
Krige: By the time it was all on and all done, quite simply, I felt like the Borg Queen. It was as if I had gone through a type of time warp or portal. By the time they put in the lenses, it was not me anymore. That was phenomenally helpful. And I always think of it as a collaborative performance, because you can't think of the character separate from what she looked like.
Wheeler: We did some tests and the film dailies came back without them being properly timed. They were way too contrasty and too saturated. Rick didn't really quite understand that was the situation. Rick felt it was way too dark and he asked me to lighten it up. His first note was just make it off white. "Don't have any of the discolorations or the rotting." I said, "No, I'm not going to make her into a giant egg head." I wanted to keep the paint scheme the same. I said, "Let me lighten it up and I'll show you." So what I actually did was I painted another head exactly the same way I painted the first one, and then I took the original and I darkened it. I took those up to him and said, "Here's the original, the one you don't like that's too dark, and here's the new painted version, are you OK with it?" He goes, "Yeah, yeah, that's much better." So I got to keep the paint scheme the way I wanted it.
Todd Masters, designing supervisor, the Borg: We actually made a special suit for Alice that we didn't put on the budget, because she was so awesome that we really wanted her performance to work. We initially made a suit that was a little too dense, a little too hard, and she was having trouble with it, so over the weekend, we made her a new one, which was not easy to do. The all-nighters were definitely a fact.
Wheeler: We did the initial makeup test, and it was one of those things where we didn't know how these elements were going to come together. We put her in the costume and we were in this special trailer just for her to do her makeup and wardrobe. Frakes was there, Mike Westmore was there and Rick Berman was just walking in while the lens technician was putting in the metallic contact lenses. When the lenses went in, Alice looked in the mirror and you could see how the look all of a sudden informed her about the character. She changed her posture and her presence. She turned around — and when she turned around, I kid you not, everyone gasped and stepped back. It was that moment when we went, "OK. It works." The Borg Queen was born.
Masters: The whole part of the Queen coming down from the rafters when the head and shoulders are plugged into her body — that was unexpected at that time, the manner we approached it. Practical effects were still the rock star of the set, but CG was coming in. And we were one of the first groups to start integrating the two. So the whole thing with Alice coming down from the rafters and plugging in — most of the production didn't believe we could pull it off.
A test for the iconic Borg Queen scene (Courtesy Todd Masters)
Tracee Lee Cocco, the Borg Queen's stand-in: They had me go up in a hoist on a flat kind of board and they turned the mechanism to make me turn over. And I'm so high and I'm afraid of heights anyway. Stand-ins have to do exactly what the actors do in every scene to get the lighting right.
Masters: I didn't think it would have worked as well if it was shot in two different parts, if we shot Data in month one and three months later we're shooting Alice on a blue screen. I really argued for shooting it all on one stage and no one knew what the hell I was talking about it. It was like, "Well how do we do that?" She doesn't have a body. We came up with this whole, bizarre system of old technology meets new — and it worked beautifully and ILM composited this thing together like gangbusters. And it's still shocking today. I have visual effects supervisors coming to me today asking how we did that shot.
Courtesy Todd Masters
A NEW ENTERPRISE
After saying goodbye to the Enterprise-D in Generations, a new ship needs to be constructed. To add to the pressure at Industrial Light & Magic, a key piece of equipment broke just before they began work on the Enterprise-E, which would end up being the final model Enterprise used for a film or television show. It takes around 35 people months to complete.
John Eaves, illustrator: The Enterprise-D in Next Generation was a much shorter Enterprise from what you had previously seen. They wanted to be able to show a ship that would fit on TV screens all at once as opposed to being way far away to show the whole ship. For the Enterprise-E, I went back to the old, original Matt Jefferies Enterprise, which was longer and used an Excelsior that Bill George at ILM created. It was a mix of the two and being able to make that length again added a nice balance to the whole ship.
John Goodson, model project supervisor: The model was 10 feet long. They really wanted to be able to look in the windows and see into the rooms. In the past, all those types of models, you wouldn't see anything inside the room, you'd just see a light. We tried a bunch of different solutions and we just couldn't get it to work. Eventually we cut little 16th of an inch window frames for each window on the ship out of plexiglass. We put a piece of 32-inch plexiglass in the window frame and in the back of it we mounted a piece of plexiglass that was a quarter of an inch thick. We took photographs from a technical manual that'd been done on CD-ROM for Next Generation and we photographed a bunch of the rooms, just taking a camera and shooting it off the monitor. We put the slides in the windows. Later we had to change the dish, because halfway through the show, they added the whole thing where they fight the Borg on the dish and they built a live-action set.
Frakes: [Production designer] Herman Zimmerman built the saucer on half of one of the sound stages. We storyboarded that sequence so we could tell the story that they were upside-down but shoot them right-side-up. I wasn't as thrilled with that scene in retrospect when I watch the movie again. That scene in one of J.J.'s [Abrams] budgets would have been visually more amazing. I think we would have seen more shots of them in medium-wide shots where you would feel like they were actually doing this in space. There were a lot of close-ups in ours. There were practical close-ups of the boots on the set and the people against a blue screen and there weren't a lot of medium-wides where you saw the whole dish and you felt it. But I look back at what we did for what we had and I'm very, very proud.
"WE KEPT THAT LILY AND PICARD RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TAKES"
Alfre Woodard's character Lily is at the heart of the film. Lily and Picard share a special chemistry, which culminates with a now-classic scene in which she challenges him to admit that he has embarked on an Ahab-like quest against the Borg.
Woodard: That one and the luscious day I spent in Picard's quarters with Patrick — that's one of those days you don't want to end. You have them occasionally with an actor and this is what we do. We're in the middle of the music right now.
Frakes: I remember like it was yesterday, sitting under the camera and looking up at these two heavyweights duking it out and just getting a couple of different sizes and let the acting tell the story.
Woodard: All three of us are from the theater, so we knew what the scene was. We worked the same way. We know about finding your intention and all that. The words will come. The words are the writers' direction to get you to the plot, but the real activity happens between what is said. What is said is not as important as what you mean, what you're not saying. Jonathan said, "Where would you be moving naturally?" And then one of us would say, "OK I think by this point …" and he said, "This is all I need you to do — be over here by the ships."
Frakes: Sometimes you tell the story with the camera, but this was just capturing and letting the actors tell the story.
Woodard: One of the things I was nervous about was the candy glass. When those kinds of things are set up, Patrick has got to hit exactly where it is, but you don't want to be thinking about it. Patrick I were great friends, but for that whole morning and afternoon, we kept that Lily and Picard relationship in between takes. You know you have a partner. But even though you focus and you are in your character and you are seeing from your character's reality, there is somewhere in the back of you, where you know that you are an Olympian running with a teammate passing that baton back and forth.
"The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century. The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." – Captain Picard to Lily Sloane.
Moore: The relationship between Patrick and Alfre's character was really strong. It was more of a romance in the earlier drafts and I think there was more to the kiss [at the end of the movie] and it was shot to have a more romantic element to it. I think what happened was, it wasn't quite playing as well on screen and that got kind of cut back through post and through the editing process. It wasn't an overt romance, it was never scripted that he falls in love with her, but there was definitely more of a chemistry between the two of them. The chemistry onscreen between the two of them was interesting, but it was a little more adversarial and they were challenging to each other on an intellectual level. It wasn't sort of sparking off romantic sparks the way we thought it would initially.
Krige: The day I got cast, they went off to the Angeles Forest for the Zefram Cochrane scenes, so it was more or less [Data actor] Brent [Spiner] and me back in L.A. So I spent some time with him on the lot and he was incredibly helpful. I was under the impression that it was all about the Borg Queen and Picard. Brent kind of put me right. He said, "No, no, no. It's all about the Borg Queen and Data." And of course he was right. She'd been there, done that in respect of Picard.
Moore: Once we were dealing with Data having an emotion chip, then you really started to have to face the question, "What would he do with the chip? How human could he be? What would he be seduced by emotionally?" For a while, we weren't quite sure what to do with Data. I think it was more of a comedic line for a little while, and then once we were developing the Borg Queen, I remember us early on saying, "Well you know, Data is an android. She's a cybernetic being, perhaps she can find a way to seduce him in a way that no one else really can, because she sort of understands his side of the equation as well."
Krige: In Data she meets her match. Whoever trumped the Borg Queen? But he manages to. I don't know where the sensuality or sexuality or visceral physicality came from, but it's kind of who she was, because she kind of does a similar thing with Seven of Nine with Voyager. It's just part of who she is. It's one of the things she does to draw people in. She uses it with Data, but she kind of gets hoisted on her own petard.
James MacKinnon, prosthetics makeup artist: Michael Westmore asked me to work on Data's arm. It's a little flap of skin. We're gluing wires from one side to the other and I'm squeezing the bottle of two ounces of super glue and it's not coming out. All of a sudden I squeeze hard and the whole bottle explodes on my arm. The super glue sets quick. My arm is attached to my chest. It's kind of smoking because it makes super glue go faster. Now my arm's burning. I finished my makeup with one hand and it takes me two hours to get out of the super glue.
Masters: The back office didn't like what we were doing, because we didn't have a budget. We kind of kept going until they told us to stop. Things like the Locutus suit. They told us to stop. They said, "We don't have the budget for the Locutus suit! We're going to use the Locutus suit from the television show." I put my foot down and I said, "There's a big difference between what we're doing here and what was done from the TV show." That was black long Johns with Battleship parts. It had phone cords wrapped around. No disrespect to the people who made that stuff, but it was made for a small screen. Our stuff had to be projected on these huge, 300-foot wide screens. I finally convinced the producer to bring in Picard's double, so we put the television suit on the double to prove to them. Still, they said, "We don't have the budget." My team somehow cobbled together a suit for Locutus out of Borg parts. So we didn't use the TV suit. We actually made it. I think the top is part of the Queen's suit and part of one the male Borg suits. It actually didn't close in the back, so you never see Locutus from the back.
"HEY, THAT WAS A REAL SUPERSONIC MISSILE"
First Contact was the rare Trek outing for the Next Generation cast away from the studio lot. They shot the Earth scenes in Angeles National Forrest and the Titan Missile Museum, south of Tucson, Ariz. The old missile silo doubled for Cochrane's lab and featured an actual (unarmed) Titan II missile.
Dennis Tracy, Picard's longtime stand-in: The Titan Missile Silo was closed down in the early '80s and officers who had been stationed there resigned their commissions and they got permission after many years from Washington, D.C., to keep it as a museum of missiles. They had to go through a lot of red tape. I remember one night we were shooting late and I wasn't needed, and I left the silo and I'm walking around in the desert with 50 trucks, motor homes, all this stuff in the middle of the desert, just humming, making this marvelous movie in the middle of the desert and the rest of the world is sound asleep and here is this little creative community at 11 at night, just humming in this missile silo, of all places.
Doug Drexler, designer/scenic artist: Star Trek fans can be picky. I had one guy come at me about the missile that was in the silo, that it was supposed to be a supersonic, but it had rivets on it. How could we make such a foolish mistake? I got to say, "Hey! That was a real supersonic missile. We just put a nose cone on it."
Frakes: It wasn't glamorous, but it was nice to get out of the studio. We were shooting at night in the woods. I think it was a couple weeks of nights. A lot of us ended up staying in hotels up there close to the Angeles Crest so we could sleep during the day and just roll into work.
Eaves: For Zefram's ship, the script read beautifully: They had built it out of a missile. They were using crude materials. We went back to the Apollo style of the big thruster cones and all of that. But we figured only the capsule came back to Earth. We hadn't read that in the script, and we're watching the movie and they are on this missile silo looking at it and Picard goes "Yeah, I've seen this in the Smithsonian many times," and I'm going, "What?! The whole thing comes back!" It was never designed to do that.
Courtesy: Dennis Tracy
David Takemura, visual effects supervisor: For the Vulcan ship, the actual landing was a computer graphic model. The art department built the landing foot, which was one of the landing legs on the ship, and the Vulcan ambassadors walk out of that. That was an actual set piece they walked out of. Then we had some additional shots where we blended the computer graphic Vulcan ship you see in some of the wider shots in back of the landing leg.
Braga: I think the most important plot aspect of the movie and what gave it its title was that Vulcan encounter at the end. This is what Star Trek is and this is where it all began. And you want it to happen. It's what's at stake — Star Trek itself — and that to me gives the movie such a strong core.
The film was perfect balance between practical effects and CG. After shooting wraps, there's more work to be done.
Takemura: We did Geordi's eyeball. There's a little gag where you see his now-bionic eyes. His bionic pupils rotating. In this high-tech, visual effects world that we live in, that was decidedly low-tech. It was actually a crystal faucet shower handle that I found at Home Depot. I just took some still photographs of it and I worked with one of the compositing artists at Pacific Ocean Post. It was just rotating that crystal shower faucet handle and doing some expansions of his iris to make it look mechanical.
Adam Howard, visual effects supervisor: I had one shot that I worked on where Patrick Stewart is in a night club and he pulls out a Tommy gun and fires it. There were two takes, apparently — and one of them had him reacting fully with the gun and the second take had him reacting much less. They chose the second take for us to work on to put the Tommy gun muzzle flashes into, but then they realized there wasn't enough kick in his arms or a real reaction in his body from the power of the gun. I literally cut his body apart digitally and I adjusted the kickback in his arms and added a very slight jiggle to the skin in his face and we put very slight blinks in his eyes so there were reactions to muzzle flashes going off in front of him.
Haller: I also was tasked with cutting a little buzz every time a light blinked on a Borg costume — and there were a lot. I ended up crafting Borg-ified tribbles with blinking LEDs as gifts to my supervisors.
IT'S A HIT
The film opens on Nov. 22, 1996, to acclaim from critics and fans. It's the biggest smash in Star Trek history at the time, only trailing the beloved 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Moore: Opening weekend, we rented a limo and Brannon and I, we drove around and went theater to theater, stood in the back, watched various crowds watching the different sections of the movie, then we'd drive off to the next theater. It was really fun and it was just a great night. You could just feel the energy in the house, when you were there and they were watching the sequences. Cheers and laughter and gasps and you just knew it was working.
Braga: When First Contact was released and did as well as it did, both critically and financially, I really felt — at least from my personal perspective — I never reached that height again. I would have great experiences on Voyager and became showrunner for it and all that stuff, but there was just something about going out on Friday night to go pop into audiences and see that theaters were packed and people were cheering. It was a fun time.
Frakes: Opening weekend, my wife and I went to stay with friends in Berkshires in Western Massachusetts and we stayed in a barn and I put my head down and one of my fondest memories from the entire weekend was I got a phone call from [original series star] Deforest Kelley, who I had only met briefly at Rick Berman's house. He was a neighbor of Rick's. And I guess he had seen the movie and he contacted Rick and asked Rick how to get in touch with me. And he called to congratulate me on how wonderful the movie is and on the success. And I carry that with me to this day.
Moore: It was still in theaters, and again, Rick said, "Hey, this comes from Sherry Lansing. They want to start working on the next one." Brannon and I — this time we didn't jump at it. This time, we said, "Let's think about this. Do we really want to do it?" There was a sense of get out on a high note. We just had a gut instinct that we didn't want to now risk it. We had just achieved what we wanted to achieve, we had bettered Generations. We felt like we had scored that. This was a big movie. Everyone liked it. Let's not push our luck. Rick was disappointed and Paramount was disappointed. Rick really pressed us for a while, because I think he was disappointed, but he understood ultimately and we just bowed out. We just walked off stage. This was it.