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20 out-of-this-world moments from the Star Trek anniversary convention

From a Borg-assimilated Darth Vader to a remote-control Horta, the 50th anniversary Star Trek convention in Las Vegas had plenty of surprising, weird and wonderful moments. Engage!

1 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

A quartet of Guinans

Star Trek turns 50 in 2016, marking a momentous milestone. To celebrate, thousands of fans came together with Trek luminaries ranging from William Shatner to Kirstie Alley at the official Star Trek 50th anniversary convention in Las Vegas last week. Spectacular costumes, entertaining celebrity panels and sci-fi hijinks ensued.

The 50th anniversary celebration also marked Whoopi Goldberg's very first Star Trek convention. Goldberg played the mysterious alien Enterprise bartender on "The Next Generation." She asked these three Guinan cosplayers to join her up on stage.

2 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Kirkiest entrance ever

Captain Kirk himself showed up for the 50th anniversary Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. His arrival, accompanied by a scantily clad woman wearing strips of silver material, may have been the Captain Kirkiest stage entrance ever made. Shatner spoke about diverse topics, including "The Twilight Zone," Pokemon Go and Star Wars.

3 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

The USS Balloon Enterprise

A massive balloon version of the USS Enterprise graces one of the halls at the Star Trek 50th anniversary convention in Las Vegas. The front of the ship even lights up.

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So many tribbles

The Star Trek 50th anniversary convention offers quite a few opportunities for fans to arrange their own themed photo ops. This spot includes a large screenshot from the classic Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." The herd of tribbles on the floor are all battery-powered and chirp and tremble when you pick them up.

5 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Edible salt monster

Quark's Bar is a special location within the Star Trek 50th anniversary convention. The bar hosted a collection of edible Star Trek art in the form of specialty cakes. This cake does an excellent job of capturing the look of the Salt Monster from original-series episode "The Man Trap."

6 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

City on the edge of today

"City on the Edge of Forever" is widely regarded as one of the best episodes of Star Trek ever made. This prop replicates the time/space portal from that show. It doesn't actually take you back to New York in the 1930s, but it does offer a great photo op where you can pretend you're returning from saving Doctor McCoy and the entire future of Starfleet.

7 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

LeVar Burton confesses

Here's LeVar Burton holding up a phone during a panel at the Star Trek 50th anniversary convention in Las Vegas. It's hard to tell from this image, but he's sharing a photo of fellow "Next Generation" actor Brent Spiner wearing Geordie La Forge's visor. This was part of the answer to a question about whether he kept any souvenirs from his time on the series.

8 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Darth Vader met the Borg...and lost

It's fun to imagine different sci-fi franchises colliding. This fan has an answer to what would happen if Darth Vader from Star Wars came up against the Borg from Star Trek. The Sith Lord would be assimilated. Resistance is futile and Darth got turned into a cyborg with a lightsaber attached to the end of his robot arm.

9 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Resistance is futile

I went to the Star Trek 50th anniversary convention and all I got was assimilation by the Borg. This wonderfully done prop lets fans join the Borg collective. You, too, can be just like Captain Picard.

10 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

The Trimbles

You might not recognize these people, but they were instrumental in making Star Trek the phenomenon it is today. Bjo and John Trimble were honored on stage at the Star Trek 50th anniversary convention.

Let's go back into the '60s. "Star Trek" was in danger of cancellation after its second season. Bjo Trimble started a grassroots letter-writing campaign to organize fan support and call for a third season. It worked. "Star Trek" was renewed and then eventually revived in the late '70s with the start of the movie series. That may never have happened if the show was shut down after only two seasons. That's why Bjo Trimble is known as "the woman who saved Star Trek."

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"The Devil in the Dark" is a memorable original-series episode thanks to Leonard Nimoy's acting and the unusual alien known as the Horta. The Horta is a silicon-based life form that just wants to protect its babies. This remote-control Horta roamed the show floor at the 50th anniversary Star Trek convention in Las Vegas.

12 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

How celebrity photos are made

A highlight for many Star Trek convention fans: meeting their heroes and having a picture taken. The lines are long, but they move quickly. This massive bank of industrial photo printers generates the photos for fans to take home. A graphics specialist from Creation Entertainment, the convention producer, personally checks each photo before it goes to the printer.

13 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Tribble claw game

Most claw games are full of stuffed bears or action figures. This claw game is full of tribbles. It's hard to tell if they've been breeding in there, but there are plenty of tribbles for the taking for anybody who has the skill, patience and spare change to play the game.

14 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

On the bridge of the NCC-1701

Fans at the Star Trek 50th anniversary convention in Las Vegas get to captain their own starship when they step into this colorful, lit-up replica bridge from the NCC-1701. The bridge set is incredibly elaborate, right down to the dedication plaque on the wall near the turbolift doors.

15 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

The Roddenberries

There aren't a lot of Star Trek tribute bands in the world, which makes The Roddenberries an extremely special act. Here, they party while playing the original-series theme song in front of the 50th anniversary logo. The Roddenberries provide entertainment every evening during the 50th anniversary convention at Quark's Bar.

16 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Santa Gorn

A lot of fans opt for Starfleet uniforms or alien costumes for their fashionable convention-wear. This fan decided to go just plain weird with a Santa Claus Gorn outfit. The green lizard-like alien might have wanted to kill Captain Kirk, but this one just wants to spread cheer.

17 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Hundreds of Trek cosplayers

Hundreds of Star Trek cosplayers stand on the main stage for a photo op during the 50th anniversary convention in Las Vegas. There are Starfleet officers, Klingons, tribbles, Andorians and unique characters from across all the series and movies. There were so many costumed fans, some had to stand on the floor.

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Plush phaser

The vendors' room at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas is full of costumes, action figures, autographed photos and a few oddball items like this extremely large, plush phaser. The droopy phaser looks like it would make for a very comfortable pillow to throw on your couch while you're marathoning your favorite Star Trek series.

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Costume contest

Costume-contest guest judge Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax from "Deep Space Nine") inspects an elaborate costume depicting the Crystalline Entity from "The Next Generation."

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Behind the scenes

Thousands of fans attend the Star Trek 50th anniversary convention in Las Vegas. What they don't see is all the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping the show rolling. This peek out from backstage looks out into the main auditorium, capable of seating 6,000 people. It was near capacity for Kirstie Alley, who played the Vulcan Saavik in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." This was her first Star Trek convention.

21 of 21 Amanda Kooser/CNET

Bonus: Peek at the Sharpie stash

Most of the Star Trek celebrities who attend the convention in Las Vegas also spend time signing autographs for fans. This collection of Sharpie pens sits behind the scenes, waiting to be distributed as needed. It takes a whole lot of Sharpies to keep the autograph lines going.

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