On Geordi

Original post on Medium

"The computer is notorious for not volunteering information."

The Star Trek character I most associate with is Geordi LaForge. As a kid watching ST:TNG with my dad, I always admired how he could invent solutions to impossible problems, then I’d watch Jean-Luc say, “Make it so,” and…done…crisis averted. Ship saved. Galaxy intact. Whatever.

The computer is notorious for not volunteering information. — Geordi

Geordi was a nice guy. Honest. Transparent. Brilliant. Creative. He used tools like the Enterprise computer to solve problems. But the tools never owned him. The solutions were all his.

There’s a great (famous?) interaction between Geordi and Scotty (you know, the episode when Scotty was mysteriously trapped in a transporter for 70+ years and was magically discovered by Picard and crew on the surface of a Dyson’s sphere? That one). Geordi tells Scotty how long it’s going to take to fix some damn thing on the ship. Perplexed and appalled, Scotty can’t understand why Geordi would reveal the actual time to Picard. After all, how are you going to be seen as a miracle worker if you tell your superior what it’s gonna take to actually get something done?

Inconceivable to Georgi to pad his estimate. I loved that about him. Tell it like it is, plan it out, get it done in the time you said it would take. Save the ship. Save the galaxy. Invent something new along the way.

At times in my life and career, I wanted to be Picard: lead the team, make the hard decisions, delegate, absorb the pain, revel in the victories. But no, Geordi’s engine room was where the magic happened. Bent over a computer panel, identifying a problem, coming up with creative ways to prevent a crisis. Leave it to Picard to placate to admirals and negotiate with other worlds. I’d much rather be powering warp cores and crawling around Jeffries tubes looking for answers.

Next month, I’ll probably want to be Picard again. But for now, I’m a Galaxy class engineer, minus the VISOR.

Copyright Eric E. Ellis. All Rights Reserved.