A Story Of Two Men

By Fred Shedian
Posted at April 8, 2001 - 2:54 AM GMT

In a change of pace, I would like to take a few minutes to tell a story which doesn't seem to have too much to do with Star Trek. However, as the expression goes, never judge a Ferengi by it's ears...or something like that. This is a story about two men and how destiny caused them to meet. It is a story that raises several important points for us about determination and what we think about who will impact our world. Oh, did I forget to mention these are true stories? So let us begin...

The story begins in World War II, the Pacific campaign actually. It centers on a Texan lawyer turned pilot who held a position within the United States Army Air Corps. who flew B-17s in an attempt to help his country defeat Japan. Becoming very close friends with a man named Kim, this First Lieutenant, who had spent his youth the son of an Army Cavalry Officer, would in the end find himself working in Washington D.C. and for Pan American airways.

This pilot had ended his military career with close to ninety combat engagements...only to find himself aboard a crashing airliner almost five years after the war. After a crash which killed seventy-five percent of the passengers, the person who had orchestrated a successful rescue of the seven surviving passengers, decided he had enough with planes. He turned his attention back to law and became a police officer. Eventually moving to Los Angeles, he ended up on the "skid row" detail, working as a patrolman with police informants, narcotics users, drug dealers and of course prostitutes.

This cop eventually found himself the head of research within a section of the L.A.P.D. and became an expert on studies dealing with drug addiction. Officer 6089 would eventually retire from the force in the mid fifties, leaving behind a distinguished career in civil defense.

When we reach our second chapter, we move back to the year following the conclusion of World War II. Here, in New York, a family was pleased with the birth of a new baby boy. This child would find himself enjoying things on Long Island and would eventually attain a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late sixties.

This New Yorker would relocate to California and take up the talent of writing, eventually becoming the Director of Dramatic Development for a television studio. Here this speech major was involved in several television hits and worked heavily on the ABC hit "MacGyver." Finally, he reached the pinnacle of his career by becoming the Executive-Director of Dramatic Development.

Now a New Yorker and a Texan have very little in common, as most folks can tell you. In fact, the above forty year tale of these two individuals could be considered common for people who apply themselves. It is a tale showing how work, regardless of who you are, can get you almost anywhere. You see, these two individuals would meet and become partners...continuing one of the greatest legacies in television history. Allow me to clarify.

Looking at our World War II veteran, do you recall the brief mention of a best friend named Kim? Although this person lost contact with his friend after the war, you probably already know him. For you see, this man's full name was Kim Noonien Singh....perhaps a distant relative of Kahn Noonien Singh or maybe the creator of Data, Doctor Noonien Soong? And although he had a Buddhist wedding, our Texan lawyer turned pilot/policeman is indeed the founder of our beloved franchise....Gene Roddenberry.

The person he was destined to become friends with is one of those who hold the future of this franchise in the palm of his hand today. For you see, this man was indeed at the pinnacle of his career in 1986...acting as the head of Dramatic Development at Paramount Pictures. However, all this would change with a fellow named Roddenberry approaching him in 1987 about creating some show called "Star Trek: The Next Generation." The decision to accept eventually led to Richard Keith Berman to take control over the Star Trek franchise in 1991.

Some may be asking why I wrote the above today. I did it to point out how two completely different people and backgrounds came together to play important roles in what we consider the Star Trek Franchise. In addition, I wrote this to remind everyone to watch out...you see, that person you may be bullying at work or school may someday be responsible for determining what's in Star Trek 15...even if today they are a janitor at a fast-food restaurant.

Some of the lessons Star Trek attempts to teach are basic ones, and sometimes are often overlooked. Treating each other with the respect we wish to be treated is nothing new...going back to Biblical references. However, it is trait many of us often forget...and it is one we need to put in practice today if we ever hope to have a 23rd or 24th Century like those we've come to love over the last thirty-five years.

With that, I bid everyone a happy and safe Easter holiday. As always, comments are always welcome. Feel free to click below and post something on the message boards (which I do try to frequent when possible) or send a self addressed e-mail to shedian@treknation.com.

Until next time...

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Fred Shedian Produces the long running TrekNation column "A Take On Trek." For a complete catalog of Fred Shedian's columns, please click here and visit the Take On Trek website.