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In Star Trek First Contact there's line spoken by Zefram Cochrane which I've never understood.

And you people, you're all astronauts, ... on some kind of star trek?

Are the writers implying that the TV show exists in the Star Trek universe or are this an example of the character breaking the fourth wall?

Why doesn't he simply say "On some kind of space ship?"

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He's just saying they're on a trek, through the stars, and thus had the same simple idea that Gene Roddenberry had for the title, too. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 29 '13 at 17:12
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The line is simply self-referential humor on the part of the writers, and I guess you could say it's an attempt at breaking the fourth wall. The character of Cochrane isn't really intended to have any awareness of a TV show called Star Trek. The crew of the USS Enterprise are basically trekking around the stars, hence the name of the show. As such, when they tell Cochrane about all the things his technology will do for mankind in the future, he replies with some incredulity about the people telling him this.

The line could have been written as:

And you people, you're all astronauts on some kind of trek across the stars?

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He was not referring to their method of transportation, he was referring to their lifestyles.

He was trying to take in the fact that his invention lead to people casually being able to journey (aka trek/stroll/wander) around the stars.

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