Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Debra "Debbie" Lynn Mirek, née Packard (born 1 October 1958; age 59), was a writer who had a single, albeit an influential one, official co-author credit as "Debbie Mirek" for the reference book, Star Trek Encyclopedia.

While Mirek officially has this one official Star Trek credit only, her contributions to the franchise actually expanded beyond the one credit. Already befriended with Denise Tathwell, Mirek came into contact with the franchise through Tathwell, when the latter became engaged to Michael Okuda. It was in this period that, "(...)Roddenberry asked Mike to write up a chronology to keep the facts straight between Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I think at the time, he thought it would be about 7-10 pages of dates. Well, Mike (and Denise and ME) is a pathological overachiever. He felt to do the treatment justice, we would have to watch each episode and take notes...we ended up with about 10 pages of notes for EACH episode and the chronology was born." [1] Though Mirek was mentioned as proof reader and editor in the long list of acknowledgments in the Star Trek Chronology itself, she was not officially credited for it. Nevertheless, her contributions as researcher to this work were explicitly mentioned in her mini-biography in the first edition of the one year later released Encyclopedia (p. 397).

Immediately upon completion of the work on the Chronology, the Okudas hit upon the idea of doing the Encyclopedia and, "Michael asked if I wanted to do it (ranked as the second most stupid question he ever asked me;) and I said yes." However, several reasons – the particulars Mirek was loathe to get into, only admitting the experience to be "less pleasant" and elaborating that, "We had some personal issues we couldn't resolve. It got ugly, so I decided to come back and live in the real world.", thereby declining to be part of the subsequent editions [2] – resulted in her author profile being deleted and her credit presented in lower-case fonts for the subsequent editions.

Nevertheless, while she was involved with the Okudas for the two reference works during the early 1990s, she frequently got to visit the production of Star Trek: The Next Generation and became acquainted with the other production staffers as well, admitting tongue-in-cheek that, "(...)they are very nice people. Most of them are really normal, too!;)." When becoming aware of her background as a certified nurse, Mirek was often consulted on specific medical issues, de facto serving as an unofficial science consultant, as she recalled, "I used to get calls about medical questions for scripts and had one very memorable conversation with Ron Moore about childbirth [note: for TNG: "Disaster"]." Mirek went even as far as loaning out the production actual items from the hospital she was working at, though that was not an altogether successful endeavor as far as she was concerned, "Also had another, not quite so pleasant conversation with the TNG props master about medical props they were borrowing from the hospital where I worked. He was a snot." [3]

By the time the fourth edition of the Encyclopedia was released in 2016, it was obviously massively revised, but Mirek was still acknowledged for her contributions to the first edition by the Okuda couple, they having added in the acknowledgments in Volume One, "Her absence from this edition is keenly felt."

Career outside Star TrekEdit

Originally a trained nurse by profession, Debbie Mirek has worked in that capacity in a hospital in Orange County, CA, and it was there where she met and befriended Denise Tathwell (with whom she shared her middle name). When Tathwell, upon meeting Mike Okuda a year later, moved to Los Angeles, Mirek stayed in close contact with her, ultimately leading up to her participation on the Chronology and Encyclopedia.

While she has been credited as a writer in her mini-biography in the first edition of the Encyclopedia, that work has to date remained her sole recorded writing credit. Mirek, mother of two daughters and one son, is currently making her home with her husband Thomas in Orlando, Florida. [4]


External linkEdit