When I was a kid, I loved Star Trek. I remember watching a fuzzy version of Star Trek re-runs on a 6-inch black and white television in our kitchen. Those were the days. During my final year of high school (at St. Charles High School in St. Charles, Illinois), our Advanced Placement English teacher told us we were going to have to write a short story – any short story – and my mind immediately raced to my favorite characters from my favorite show (and movies).
He asked if any of us had any questions about the assignment, and nobody raised their hand to ask one, so I raised my hand to ask the most obvious question there is on an assignment like that: “How long should it be?” Our teacher (who makes a special guest appearance as a character in the story) looked at me and said “There’s no length requirement, Biddle. You can write two sentences and turn it in if you think it tells a story.”
Naturally, I viewed this as a direct challenge and an affront. I resolved at that moment to craft the longest short story he had ever been handed as a class assignment. I set my mind on 100 pages typed, but we only had a couple of weeks to write the story, so I only managed thirty pages typed. I still think that is pretty impressive for a sixteen year old kid with no access to a computer or word processor.
The end result of my efforts was a story so long that when we read through the short stories aloud in class, it took two full class periods to work through mine and every one of the thirty-ish students in the class got to read one or more parts.
My vitriol towards my teacher within the text did not go un-noticed by the teacher or by my classmates. Our teacher’s special guest character got a paragraph description that ran for about half a page, and when we were divvying up the parts, he asked who would read the role of “Mr. Soved.” I told him I had thought about asking him, to which he responded “No, Biddle, I have to at least try to remain impartial.” The final piece of that is that the teacher actually got up and left the room while the descriptive paragraph about his doppelganger was being read. When it came time for the next person to read, there was silence for several minutes until one of my classmates said, “He looked really mad…”
Ultimately, I got an A on the assignment and an A in the class. Maybe the teacher realized that his efforts to stimulate creativity, critical thinking, satire, etc. had borne fruit in the person of me, or else he simply decided that since he was retiring at the end of the year he no longer cared to fight.
The story is so long that I will be breaking it into pieces (in some cases smaller than the original chapters) with commentary as appropriate (a few other characters were based on folks I knew at the time). I hope you enjoy this glimpse of what I wrote as a kid.
*Star Trek Historical Note – this story takes place immediately after the events in Star Trek V – The Final Frontier. It was written before Star Trek VI had come out and even before I knew there was going to be a Star Trek VI.