Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Yes indeed, it is that time of the year again. The Great Bird of the Galaxy has let our planet revolve around the sun one more time, and we again find ourselves on Trek Day! To celebrate Trek day this year, I made a custom Mirror Universe Sulu based on the new movie, and wanted to share a special Trek story with you as we all huddle around the glow of the intermix chamber and quietly sip our Saurian Brandy.
Once when I was but a young inquisitor for my firm, I was working for a pretty cool boss who was going to go have a nice little meet with a member of one of our competing firms (we were trying to get that firm to work with our firm, so it was actually a friendly conversation in a Neutral Zone!). We went to pick that guy up, when suddenly, he was joined by a DIFFERENT member of his firm, who was there to make sure he didn't say too much to my boss. In the old days, some people would call that guy a “political officer.” So, my boss asked me to distract the Political Officer so she could speak freely with the Officer she actually wanted to butter up and question.
We went to a cafe in the Eastern European city we were in, and we all ordered our food and “kava c shlagam” (coffee with cream) and sat down to chat. I immediately went to work trying to get the attention of the political officer, and was having a poor time of it. What does a 25 year old American, still just an E4, have to say to a 50 year old Eastern European political officer wearing Colonel rank? While fishing for subjects, I mentioned that back in the days before I joined my firm, my friends called me “Spock.” He immediately turned to me, his eyes wide.
“Spock like 'Star Trek'?” he asked. I confirmed that and told him I was a huge fan.
So was he. We spent hours mulling over the fine details of “The Corbomite Manuever” and “Balance of Terror” and since he'd never had a chance to see it, I was able to fill him in on the Next Generation, and first couple seasons of Deep Space Nine. He was enthralled. We were still talking Trek long after my boss had finished doing her thing with the guy who was actually the objective.
When we started to leave, this former Communist Political Officer- enforcer of his Empire's will, gave the young American his address and asked if he would send some Trek his way if he ever got the chance. I had to tell him there were rules which prevented that, and he obviously understood, though was a bit sad. Still, he thanked me, and asked if it was OK if we met again when my boss met with his friend again. Just to talk. He wanted to show me his Trek scrap book.
Mission constraints quite unfortunately prevented me from seeing him again. What an incredible experience though to be able to reach out and find camaraderie with a man who should have been an enemy. Knowing that for those three hours we were just fans discussing our beloved Star Trek meant a lot to me, and was a lesson on how to deal with other cultures and countries. I think it would have made Gene Roddenberry proud.
Here we are in the 43rd year of Trek, and it is stronger than ever with a new lease on life in the terrific new film. May the Great Bird of the Galaxy bless our planet for another year (at least until New Trek 2 comes out!).
And of course, goodnight Jolene Blalock, wherever you are...