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The Doclopedia #1,013
Guys Named Fred: Fred Melendez
On Earth 5, Fred Melendez is known as the “Father of Cold Fusion”, the power source that has pretty much wiped out the oil & gas industry.
Fred was a 35 year old tinkerer and inventor in 1996 when he stumbled upon the right chemical combination to generate energy in a cheap and sustainable manner. Using a few family connections at the patent office (as well as the skepticism of the general public), Fred was able to slip the patten application past energy industry spies. Once the process was patented all nice & legal like, he sent the info to a few trusted friends at NASA and a few big universities around the world.
Once everyone had a week or so to see that Fred wasn’t crazy, the new hit the street and everybody “went bugass crazy”, as Fred’s brother Albert put it. The energy companies tried to play it off as a hoax, but NASA and the universities shut that down. Even better, by then Fred had built a small cold fusion generator that could supply more than enough energy for the average American home.
Within three years, there were 23 companies making cold fusion energy systems for homes, businesses, cities and vehicles. All of them paid Fred a 2% licensing fee per generator, which really started to add up. Two years later, Fred was a billionare and could work on whatever projects he liked.
Which is how he came to invent the warp drive, but that’s another story.
The Doclopedia #1,014
Guys Named Fred: Fred Keen
Born Frederick Olanzo Keenelly on March 3rd, 1850, in Hapgood, Maine, Fred Keen was the greatest con man of the 19th century.
Standing 6 feet tall and blessed with both a well proportioned body and a handsome face, Fred Keen charmed the upper crusts of society from Montreal to Mexico City, from San Francisco to New York and all over the UK and Europe. He also charmed them out of very large sums of money, priceless art objects, stocks, bonds, real estate and the virginity of their daughters. Of him, Mark Twain once said that even if butter would melt in his mouth, you’d keep spooning it in just to watch it happen.
One of the things that kept Fred able to con and out of jail was that he was able to convince people that he was an even bigger victim than they were. After he had swindled Alfred Montrock, the railroad tycoon, out of millions, he pretended to be flat broke for months, until finally Montrock loaned him several thousand to “get back on his feet and put his losses behind him”.
In 1890. at age 40, Fred met and married Rita Grove, a teacher from Philadelphia. He ran a few more cons without her knowing, but retired in 1895 to be a full time father and husband.
After Rita died in 1935, Fred spent the remaining seven years of his life at their home on Long Island. His autobiography was not published until 1960.