Back on the Enterprise.
Uhura says "Spock?"
"I have a question about the code word 'Alpha Blue' that the captain mentioned. What I don't understand is, if he if forced to contact us, and he doesn't use alpha blue, we know he is captured, but what good would that do us?"
"Well, if he were to tell us all is clear, it's a misunderstanding, and he wants me and a few other senior members to board the Exeter. I can acknowledge him, agree, and then come down with a huge party armed and ready. Or I could simply refuse to board the ship. It would at least give me the opportunity to devise another alternative. If he tells me he has control of the vessel and the Enterprise is to leave immediately, I can pretend to leave but keep an eye on the ship. Or I could claim that our engines are currently down and we can't leave. Or I could fire on the ship and destroy it. And again, it gives me the opportunity to think of an alternative. Also, it gives him the option of hinting at a suggestion, cleverly disguised as a question, or reference to something that doesn't exist. Since I would already know he is being held hostage, I would simply agree with what ever observed statement he makes, as if it were not unusual, and then, after the call, I would have time to analyze his words carefully for the meaning behind such a hint."
Uhura begins to ask another question when suddenly Scotty calls the bridge.
"Scotty to bridge."
"This is Spock."
"I need to test something. I need the ship's thrusters to be activated from the bridge, if you could take us forward or backward, just an inch."
"Nudging her forward just an inch, sir."
Sulu flips a couple of switches, and says "We're not moving"
"Scotty, Sulu says we're not moving."
"I was afraid of that. Tell him to make sure thrusters are off, wait fifteen seconds, and try again."
Spock, staring at Sulu, gives him an affirmative nod. Sulu turns around to face forward, waits 15 seconds and flips a few switches. He says "Alright, we've moved a few feet, everything seems to be functioning."
"Mister Scot, Sulu says the ship has moved, and the controls are functioning."
"Good. Sorry to bother you like that, but I needed to test one of the circuits, and it could only be done by the bridge."
"Understood Lieutenant. I am on my way to engineering to have a look, Spock out. Sulu, you have the bridge."
Spock makes his way to Engineering. He looks around. The engine room is in shambles. He sees two officers standing by a table covered in circuit boards. The two officers are arguing loudly.
"I'm telling you, even if the pins add up, the load is too much for these chips."
"Which is taken care of by this set of resisters and capacitors. The chips will receive the same amount of electricity."
"The capacitors are gonna blow, I tell ya."
"Then it's just a matter of getting another board if they do."
"But we will have wasted twenty minutes attaching them."
From a small opening in the wall, Scotty pokes his head out and shouts "Well it's already taken you that long just arguing about it. You two figure it out a little more quiet, I don't need Spock coming in here and seeing everyone arguing out of control. The last thing I need is some gruff from that pointed eared..."
"Too late mister Scott." Spock said.
Scotty turns his head quickly and says "Oh, Spock, I didn't see you there."
"As you can see, we're hard at work fixing things."
"Yes. How long do you think it will take to get the engines running?"
"Would you believe me if I said a half hour?"
"No, I wouldn't."
"I figured it was worth a try. But in all seriousness, I honestly can't give an estimate at this point. Trying to rewire the enterprise to run at warp speed with one nacelle... Well she's just not meant to do it. The nacelles are meant to counter oscillate with each other. It's possible I could get the ship able to do warp one, maybe two, with one nacelle, but we'd only have have that for a few hours before we'd have to take her out of warp and let the engines cool. Rewiring the Enterprise to run at a respectable warp four, for at least a day, is going to take some considerable rewiring, recalibrating, and even testing and recalibrating again."
"Will we be able to make it to the pergium mining colony?"
"Still a bit too early to say for sure, but I'm very optimistic."
"Will we be able to make it to Melbourne?"
"Actually, that could be a problem. We've depleted a lot of our dilithium pushing the engines like that, especially considering the engines weren't running at optimal efficiency. Now, when I reconfigure the engines to run on one nacelle, our efficiency is going to drop pretty low. The engines are going to get pretty hot at moderate speeds, and the dilithium needed to power us up is going to be burned at an even higher rate than that. If we take this detour to Melbourne, we might be out of dilithium before we make it to the mining colony."
Spock understands that the term "dilithium" in reference to fuel, is more accurately the amount of continued stress the crystal can take before burning out, and is not in and of itself, fuel.
"Well, they do have dilithium on Melbourne. If we can acquire another dilithium..."
"I personally think it would be better to dry dock the Enterprise at Melbourne for a few weeks."
"I will mention this to the captain."
At that moment Spock gets a call from Sulu.
"Sulu to Spock."
"This is Spock, what is it?"
"We have an unidentified ship headed our way."
"I'm on my way, lieutenant. Keep this channel open until I get there." He looks at Scotty and says "Well mister Scott, I will take my pointed ears out of here so you can do your job, and to spare you any unnecessary gruff."
As soon as Spock leaves engineering Scotty says "And you two couldn't have given me any warning he was standing there?"
On the bridge, with Sulu still in command, Chekov says "Their weapons are charged."
"Raise shields! Signal red alert!"
"They're scanning us sir!"
"Block their scanners. Hail them."
Uhura says "They're returning our hail."
On the screen stands a tall captain, who looks almost identical to human, except for a few small horns on his head, says "I am Hal, captain of the Corian interceptor ship, C one two two ."
"I am lieutenant Sulu, of the Federation star ship Enterprise one seven zero one."
"We have discovered one of our freighter ships was attacked, but have not identified the attackers."
"We are aware of the freighter, we were recently investigating the area for any hostile ships, as this territory is under Federation protection."
Just then Spock walks onto the bridge "I'll take it from here lieutenant." He looks at the view screen and says "I am Commander Spock, the highest ranking officer currently on this ship. I am aware you are investigating the assault on one of your freighters. As lieutenant Sulu said, we were investigating it ourselves. We have reason to suspect it was the U-S-S Exeter, next to us. We have an away team aboard right now investigating."
"So you admit, it was the Federation who attacked our freighter!"
"I did not say that. I said we have reason to suspect. We will be sure to contact your government as soon as we have proof."
"I want to search the ship myself. After all, I can't trust the Federation to do a fair investigation of a Federation crime."
"I'm sorry, but that ship is a Federation ship, we cannot allow you to board it without the captain's permission. I can assure you we will take our investigation seriously. If a Federation vessel acts in an illegal manor it hurts the entire Federation, and therefore we take internal investigations seriously."
Captain Hal with an angry frown on his face says in a strong voice "We do not take orders from the Federation! That ship has not responded to our hails, and we want answers."
"As I have said, that ship is currently under our protection. You cannot beam aboard that ship because they have a unique armor shielding. Any attempt to launch a shuttle to board the ship will be seen as an act of aggression."
"And you're prepared to stop us?"
"Yes we are. Not only do we have to look out for a ship that is currently under our protection, being investigated, but we also have an away team of our own over there to protect."
"We've noticed your ship has taken some damage."
"It is true, our engines have taken some damage, but I assure you, our weapons and shields are working just fine."
"Alright then. We'll just stick around, and wait for the results of your investigation."
"Very well, that is your right."
Spock signals to close the channel.
Meanwhile Kirk leads his team to the first door they see in the hallway. He has two of his men pry it open while him and two others get ready to fire at anything that moves. After the door is open Kirk peers in, and finds no one.
"Okay, I have an idea. Because Connery and his men have a big head start on us, and the chances of finding someone is pretty slim, we're going to split up in pairs, and I'll go by myself. You two, you search doors on the left side, and you two search doors on the right side, I'm going to go ahead."
Kirk walks a head of them for a minute. Then comes to a door on his left. He pries it open and mumbles to himself "Damn I wish the electricity were running so these doors would just open. If they were electronically locked we'd at least know someone was in there."
He steps into the room, shines his light around. This was an unusually large room, it wasn't crew quarters. He could tell this by the objects in the room, a replicator on each end, several storage lockers, two large tables. Suddenly he hears a sound. It sounded like someone bumping into something. But where was it coming from? It sounded as if it came from behind him. But with the way the room is shaped it is liable to be a trick of acoustics, he turns around again when suddenly he is attacked by someone!
They tackle him so hard that his rifle drops to the ground beside him. Kirk wrestles with the man. The man growls and makes straining noises. Kirk tries to throw the man off, but he is stronger than Kirk.
Kirk manages to get his knees up and roll the attacker off of him. Kirk grabs the phaser rifle but the attacker hits him in the face plate of his helmet, snapping Kirks neck back. He then grabs Kirk by the helmet and tries to twist Kirks head off.
Kirk wrestles and wiggles his way out of the attacker's grasp but loses the helmet to his environmental suit by doing so.
Kirk hits him in the gut with the butt of the rifle, but then the attacker grabs the rifle. They both play a game of tug of war with it. The attacker manages to pull the rifle out of Kirks grasp. But instead of shooting Kirk, he swings it at him. Kirk can barely make out anything in the dark, but he can see the figure and he knows where the rifle is, he ducks the rifle and tackles the man. The man drops the rifle as they both slam into a table knocking over everything on it. The attacker grabs a glass bottle and beats Kirk over the head with it. On the third strike the bottle busts, cutting Kirks head. The substance burns like salt in a wound. The attacker begins growling at him furiously and charges at Kirk. But Kirk manages to flip him over on his back, grab the rifle, and shoot. The attacker gets up! Kirk fires again, and the attacker falls. The attacker slowly tries to make it to his feet. Kirk yells "Stay down!" But the attacker doesn't listen. Kirk fires again. The attacker lays there motionless. Just then two of his men come to the open door pointing their rifles and flashlights. One of them says "Captain, are you alright?"
"Not really, I took a hell of a beating. But I'll live."
Kirk then walks over to the body and feels for a pulse. No pulse, no breath. He looks at his team mate and says "He's dead. I hit him on stun a few times. It stunned him for a second, but he wouldn't stay down. The third time I hit him, and it was fatal. I don't know why he was so resistant to the stun setting, he wasn't wearing phaser protective gear. However, this is odd, he is wearing a Starfleet uniform." Also something that really puzzled him was that he was two inches shorter than Kirk, and skinnier. Yet this man seemed to possess greater strength . And why the growling and moaning?
Kirk had a flashback to all the zombie films he'd seen. And then he told himself to get those thoughts out of his head and not dare mention it to the rest of the team.
Just then the rest of his away team showed up. Kirk gathered them together to explain the circumstances, leaving out the zombie comparison, and ends by saying "So everyone turn your rifles to maximum power. If we encounter anymore of these people, whatever condition they have, we'll be able to take them out in one shot. It's better to vaporize them than to take the chance of one of them getting up just long enough to injure one of us. Remember now, don't kill on site, but don't hesitate to kill if they charge you."
Kirk pulls out his communicator to inform Connery of the situation, but quickly realizes they are out of communications range.
He looks at his men and says "Connery and team are out of range. These damn walls. At any rate, we need to get moving towards Engineering. And if Connery is going to keep searching all the rooms on his way to meet us, than I say we skip doing that, minimize the chances of casualties."
One of his men pipes up and says "Captain, you're bleeding."
Kirk reaches to the back of his head winces in pain, looks at the blood on his hand and says "It would appear so. Well I'm not dead yet. However, on the off chance I should pass out, carry me to engineering, once you meet up with Connery, have him complete the mission. The mission first, me second. And if carrying me at any point becomes a burden to your survival, drop me, and everyone go on without me, do not allow my unconscious corpse to jeopardize the mission or survival of the away party, and that's an order."
Everyone says "Yes sir."
"Now what the hell did he hit me over the head with anyhow?" Kirks shines the light around and says "A beer bottle. Well maybe this guy was drunk. Really really drunk."
Mean while Connery and his men are walking through the halls, they come to another door. He says "Alright men, you two pry the door open, you two with me."
The men pry the door open, Connery shines his light into the darkened room, he sees no movement. He steps into the room slowly illuminating every inch. He is then satisfied that the room is empty. He turns to his men an begins to speak when suddenly "Boom!" the sound scares all of them. Connery looks up at the ceiling and says "It came from up there!"
Everyone points their weapon up, shining the light onto the ceiling. One of them asks "What was that?"
Connery answers "I don't know, but its the deck above us, nothing we can do about it. Let's get moving to the next room."
They walk down the hall a bit more when they hear a sound, again coming from above. One of them says "It sounds like a heavy object being dragged across the floor."
Connery says "When we meet up with the Captain, we'll tell him about it, see what he wants us to do."
They come to the next door, and they hear motion.
One of them asks "Is it the same thing from the upper deck, or is that coming from in the room?"
Connery says "Only one way to find out. You two, open the doors, you two with me."
The two men nod to each other, they know they want to use all their muscle to quickly yank this door open as fast as they can and stand to the side immediately. They position their hands, another nod, and yank the door open with tremendous force. The door opens instantly and they step to the side. Three people come running out of the door! Connery and his two men fire a barrage of shots.
Three of these attackers fall to the ground. Two of them try to get back up. Connery shoots one of them and then says "I got this one." and begins to taunt him "Come on, lets see what you got, come and get me!"
The attacker charges him, Connery side steps him, and when the attacker turns around, he smashed the butt of his phaser rifle into the attacker's face, knocking him out.
"Alright. Check those two, see if they're dead."
One of the men says "This one's still alive." Another man says "This one's dead." Connery can tell that the one he knocked out is still breathing.
Connery says "Now we need to tie up the two who are living. You guys stay here, hold these two down in case they come to. I am going to find something to tie them with."
He walks into the room, shines his light around and sees nothing useful. He walks back to the last room they were in. He comes back out a few minutes later with some electrical wires in his hand. Connery ties up both of the attackers, who lay there unconscious.
"Alright, now, everyone set your rifles to maximum. Now that we got some live captives, we can fry anyone else that comes at us."
They continue to walk down the hall until they come to the end. Connery says "Well, this is interesting. This door isn't going to be pried open, it's locked."
"Sir, we could just blast it with our rifles."
"We'd be shooting a pretty long time. I have an idea. We can shoot a hole in the wall and just hope we hit the right spot, reach our hand in and manually open the door. Or we can go right over here, to this Jeffries tube, climb up and into the tube, make a left, a right, and then drop through the ceiling, on the other side."
Just then they hear the scraping sound from above again. And everyone says "We shoot the wall".
"Yeah, I guess that's pretty much unanimous at this point. Every one stand back."
He fires a quick shot. It puts a small hole in the wall, not large enough to put his fist in. He shines the flashlight inside of it. Steps back and fires another shot. He then says "I found it. Now I just gotta expand this hole."
He steps back and fires a few more shots. He looks inside of it, and says "Good, I didn't destroy the mechanism."
He begins turning the crank inside. Every two turns the door pops open an inch, producing a "Bang!" each time.
After a few minutes the door is finally opened. Connery pulls his hand out, breathing heavy, he lets his arm dangle freely. He says "Give me a minute. That crank will wear out your shoulder at that angle."
After several more minutes they walk through the door. They come to a cross section.
One of the men asks "Which way do we go, forward, left, right?"
Connery answers "Assuming these decks are laid out like Enterprise, we keep going forward."
Just then one of the men says "I hear something. Coming from over there."
They all look left, shining their flashlights to reveal two men coming at them, with a third trailing behind in the distance.
Connery says "Take aim, but fire on my orders."
As the two men get within 20 feet of the away team, Connery shouts "Fire!"
And they vaporize all three men. Just then two members of the away team are attacked from behind!
The rest of the team can't shoot at this close range so they grab the attacker and begin wrestling with them.
Suddenly the ceiling caves in and three more people fall to the floor. Connery checks to make sure they aren't members of Kirks away team, and then begins shooting them.
After all the shooting and wrestling is over, Connery asks "Alright who's hurt?"
"It's Johnson and Moore, sir."
He roles Johnson over, the face plate on his helmet was shattered, and his face covered in blood.
He looked at Moore. Moore says "I'm alive, I think I am gonna be alright. But I am having a hard time breathing, I think I may have a cracked rib."
Connery says in frustration "Damn it! Alright, you, stay with Moore. Mathews, you're with me. Let's just hurry and meet the captain at engineering."
Meanwhile Kirk and his men reach the end of the hall. They have to go up a latter to get to the next floor.
Kirk says to his men with a smirk "On the off chance that I am losing more blood than I realize, and I get woozy and fall, I want you guys underneath this latter to catch my fall."
he makes his way up the latter, and opens the hatch, then climbs through it. A moment later they hear "All clear."
And each make their way up the latter.
They continue walking through the hall. Kirk says "We're here. This is engineering, but where is Connery? He should have gotten here sooner than we did. Either he ran into trouble, or there are just more rooms on his deck than we realized."
"Do you suppose we should go look for him to see if he's alright?" asked one of the men.
"No, we're going to stay here as planned."
About five minutes later Connery and Mathews show up. Kirk asks "Where's the rest of your team?"
"Johnson's dead, Moore is too injured to walk, Stevens is staying behind to protect Moore. We were attacked by some people. These people, they were wearing Starfleet uniforms, but they weren't acting like Starfleet officers, they were acting like animals."
"Yes, I encountered one of them. Just growling, and snarling, incredible strength, and I couldn't stun him in just one hit."
"That's exactly how they were."
"How many did you encounter?"
"Near a dozen. We got two of them tied up. They're hog tied and not going anywhere. How many did you encounter?"
"Just one, and that was enough." Kirk points to the blood running down the side of his face. "At any rate you better put your weapons on maximum if they're not already set. Now you two, pry this door open."
The two men grab the door, pull on it, and one of them says "Uh, Captain, this door is locked."
"Locked!? Do any of you know some way of getting through this door?"
Connery says "I could try putting a phaser on overload, and placing it up to the door, that might work."
"No, not with doors this thick. And we don't have any welding tools with us. We can't even stand back far enough to get out of harms way if we chose to fire our phasers at it."
Connery says "I say we just return to Enterprise. Assuming everyone on this ship is just like the one's we've encountered, these people can't repair the ship. They possess no more intelligence than enraged apes."
"I believe you're right. We got captives, we got wounded, we have ships logs, and a locked door that isn't opening anytime soon. Alright men, let's gather our dead and wounded, and get the hell out of here."
On the shuttle pod Kirk contacts Spock. "We have one dead, one wounded, and I, myself could use some medical attention. My environmental suit has been compromised. We also have two prisoners who are conscious but incoherent. There is a very high probability of biological contagion. I need you to meet me here with doctor McCoy, and take all necessary precautions."
Once the shuttle pod has docked, everyone goes through decontamination. The captains logs are handed over to Spock by Connery.
Spock uses the com to call Kirk.
"Kirk here, what is it Spock?"
"I received the captains logs, before I go over them, I want to inform you that we have a Corian battle ship, interceptor class, right next to us who refuse to leave. I have informed them of the situation and warned that if they attempt to board the Exeter, we will open fire."
"Corian, let me guess, they want to know who attacked their freighter?"
"That is correct. I have informed them that we suspect the Exeter may have something to do with it, and we are investigating. Also, Mister Scott has informed me that we will not have enough dilithium to make it to Melbourne and the mining colony. We do have urgent medical supplies we need to get to Melbourne."
"Good work mister Spock. I want you to issue an away team, have Connery lead it. I want no less than thirty men, to go to the Exeter, break into engineering and retrieve their dilithium crystal. The team is going to need torches and flares. Have them wear environmental suits, and have their weapons set to maximum, shoot to kill. Now if you'll pardon me, I have a medical exam. Kirk out."
Nurse Chapel and Dr. McCoy come into the shuttle bay wearing an environmental suit. He says "Jim, what have you gotten yourself into now?"
"Just a little mishap. One of the Exeter crew, completely insane, tore my helmet off and cracked me over the head with a beer bottle. Oh and this counts as my physical, right?"
McCoy runs a medical tricorder over him several times, then says "Well you don't have any biological contagion on you, and you haven't lost too much blood. I don't see signs of any other injuries. And no, this doesn't count as your physical, not unless you actually want me to give you a complete physical on top of all of this. Remove the environment suit."
After Kirk has done so, McCoy scans him again, then gives him a hypo-spray to the head.
"What was that?" Kirk asks.
"Topical numbing agent, I have to clean out the cut on your head before healing it."
"So I didn't lose that much blood?"
"No, not really, why? Have you been feeling dizzy or weak?"
"A few times I felt a little dizzy, but other than that I am fine. It's just that I was sweating, and the blood was running down the side of my face, and when I felt the sweat running down my back I wasn't sure if it was sweat or blood."
"I'd say mostly sweat. You have no signs of a concussion. When you got dizzy did you feel like you were leaning to your left?"
"The impact was to your left side. No doubt the pain was mostly to your left side, that'll cause dizziness to a small degree. So tell me, Jim, what the hell happened over there?"
"The ship is completely without power, save for artificial gravity. We were walking around in complete darkness using the flashlight on our rifles. We had to pry every door open. The ship looked abandoned. We did find a few people. But they didn't act like people, they acted like wild animals. We got to engineering and the door was locked, we had injured people, captives, and no way in. I assumed everyone on that ship has been affected. If so, none of them have the intelligence to repair that ship."
"After this, I will give a full examination to the two men you brought on board. I checked them for any disease, and I can't find anything, but we're still taking safety precautions just to be on the safe side. Now, just hold still while I give you this needle."
"Needle? Why not a hypo-spray?"
"This stuff can't be put through a hypo spray. Something about the pressure put on it during transfer makes it either coagulate or explode."
"Explode?" Kirk asked, a little worried.
"Probably just coagulate. Anyhow, it will adjust for the mild blood loss. Now go get yourself washed up and into uniform, you got a ship to run."
After Kirk freshens up he comes to the bridge. Spock says "Captain, I read all the ships logs, and I have selected the ones worthy of note." and hands him the date pad. Kirk sits in the captain's chair and reads over the logs.
Captains log, star date 1340.4.
A week into the mission and my crew is still feeling proud, I hope they continue to stay that way once we've approached our destination. I also wish I had the liberty to mention, even in a captains log or personal log, how I felt about this mission. The one thing I am at liberty to log is my feelings about this new upgrade the Exeter has been given. Our engines have been running at a solid seven point seven for a full week, and the efficiency is excellent and temperature is holding within tolerable levels. I've seen the engine diagnostics and statistics and theoretical ability, and all indicators point to the fact we could make a long distance voyage faster than any ship in Starfleet, yet we lack the maximum speed of Starfleet's flag ship. All I can think about is after the mission is over, and I can talk about things, the next time I see my old friend Jim Kirk, that I am going to rub it in his face that his star ship is now second best at long distance travel. It's my understanding that our shields and phasers aren't far behind the Enterprise either. The only draw back to the upgrades are that the walls are as matte black as charcoal. But that's the price we pay to avoid having our ship scanned. But really, Starfleet couldn't have at least painted it a cheerful powder blue, or dignified beige?
Captains log, star date 1342.4.
Today we setup a lot of bowies for our navigation test. My navigation officer brought up the need to test the new automated guidance system from the ships automated tactical system. The bowies represent asteroids, and flew the ship through the asteroid field at maximum impulse without hitting any of the asteroids. Luckily if the computer had failed to calculate things properly and we ran into one of the bowies, they'd bounce right off of us, unlike an asteroid. Then we had the automated tactical system plot a course to travel through it at warp speed, making as few stops as possible. Obviously even with a computer the ship barely has any kind of steering at warp. It was a huge success, it only had to make two stops to turn. It dropped out of warp, and went back to warp at record speed. As a last test we had the ship move around on autopilot and destroy all the bowies. Except for the ones emitting a signature of non hostile vessels. Again, it was a great success. Even with all of those successes, I don't trust these things. I see no use for this automated tactical system. In the heat of a battle I am not trusting a computer with my life, and I highly doubt any of my crew feels differently. This automated tactical system is tapped into every aspect of the ship, communications, shields, weapons, engines, navigation, everything! What if there is a glitch in the computer, then all systems could be compromised.
Captains log, star date 1349.4.
After a week of slowly mounting tension among the crew, we have taken out one of our targets. It was difficult, but our ship managed to come out with only minor damage. All repairs are said to be done in several days. We have 8 dead and 15 wounded. The crews moral seems to be steady. They are unhappy with the loss of their comrades, but relieved that we were able to take out one of the targets. My feelings on the matter are same as my crew. Tonight I will be giving my crew another pep talk, trying to get them to focus on the big picture, and have them focus on the confidence bought by destroying one of our targets.
Captains log, star date 1350.4.
My speech last night lifted crew moral as hoped. My crew is more focused than ever, and are itching to find our next target.
Captains log, supplemental.
We destroyed our second target with far more efficiency this time. After analyzing the mistakes and success of our last attack, we were able to target vulnerable areas and avoid our enemies offensive tactics. No crew were killed, only 5 injured. Moral is at an all time high.
Captains log, star date 1352.4.
We have destroyed our last target, and have completed phase one of our mission. It was a long waiting game, there was a moment I thought we were in big trouble. But we came out successful. 2 men dead, 7 injured. Minor damage to the ship. Repairs estimated to take 14 hours. The crew's moral is still high. Let's hope it stays that way as we go to our second and final phase of the mission.
Captains log, star date 1353.4.
We have had a strange occurrence today. The mu-metal that covers the inside of our ship has been discovered to be flaking off. Microscopic particles of it have been flying through the air, and some of the crew have gotten ill by breathing it in before the air recycler has had a chance to filter it out. Doctor Gorn says it;s no big deal, and has ordered everyone to take a pill called tetrehydrodicloramine, once a day. He assures me that's all that's needed to keep their organs safe from damage, but it won't protect their lungs. So he recommends painting all the walls with an air tight solution. Finally I get to paint the walls beige.
Captains log star date 1360.4.
Our second phase has been completed, the mission is over. The casualties are 11 dead, 13 in critical condition, and 25 injured. The ship has suffered some moderate damage. The crew is ecstatic over our victory and what we have done to keep the Federation safe. The crew is also ecstatic to go home. I would love to make a long entry both in my captains log and personal log about my feelings, and my views on what we've done, but I have to remain silent until I get the official approval of Starfleet to discuss the details of our mission. Now I look forward to our brief one day stop at Melbourne.
Captains log, star date 1365.4.
After spending a day getting some much needed leave, on Melbourne, the crew is relaxed, moral is high, the ship is running in top condition. We purchased a ton of Malloon ale. I figure the crew should have some fine ale to unwind with on our way back home. We've also taken a lot of organic food from there as well. I am looking forward to some fried mushrooms and fish. In fact, everyone is looking forward to various organic meals tonight. I can't wait to get home and see my family again, I guess that's why I am craving the mushrooms and fish, like my aunt Margret always fixed me and my brother.
Captains log, star date 1366.4.
Today has been a distressing day. Crew's moral seems to be down. There have been 3 separate fights today, and none of them connected. Maybe it's nerves, maybe it's home sickness. Maybe the loss of our crew who died in battle has finally sank in. I would give a pep talk, but I honestly don't know what to say that I haven't already said. To be honest, I think the reality of their deaths are starting to kick in for me too.
Captains log, star date 1367.4.
Today may very well be the saddest day of my career. My first officer, and close friend, Harold Turner McPherson, has raped lieutenant Jennifer Write. At first I didn't think he was guilty of it, but then he confessed to it. His only explanation was "She made me do it, she commanded me with her eyes". I have known Harold for a long time, he is a good man, but aside from that, he is homosexual, and married to Starfleet drill sergeant Emory James McPherson. I've met Emory, I've been to their house. They're good people, they've had a strong relationship for 6 years. My engineer Michelle Roberts has known him since childhood. I recall her telling me that he was her first kiss, and jokes around about that's when he realized he was gay. It doesn't make sense, a close friend, a damn fine officer, a spotless record, in a strong and happy marriage, rapes a woman. I have to believe he is mentally ill, and not your run of the mill stress induced depression, but some sort of sickness that drove him mad. Doctor Gorn has examined him, and found an imbalance of brain chemistry, and excessive hormones and adrenaline. But no cause has been determined, and it is unknown if the slightly altered chemistry could produce madness, to put him in a state where he honestly could not control himself.
Captains log, star date 1377.4.
Today there has been another rape. Ensign Thomas Scott, has raped ensign Trista Evans. She was severely beaten. While I was not that close to ensign Scott, he seemed like a good man, he has a spotless record, and no one has ever filed a complaint against him. After he had been taken by security a young ensign named Joseph ward confessed that he had been raped, but had been afraid to come forward. He comes forward now out of guilt that his failure to report the rape may have lead to Trista's rape. There have also been 5 fights that have taken place today. I don't know if this is stress, or some disease, or just space madness, but my crew seems to be falling apart. I can't wait to get home.
Captains log, star date 1378.4.
Things have gotten much worse in just one day. First officer Harold Turner McPherson has escaped medical observation, and killed nurse Patricia Johnson. And then was killed in a knife fight with security. There have been 14 fights today, 2 murders, and Jennifer Write committed suicide. There have been reports of people acting strange, and medical reports of people feeling strange, including hearing voices in their head. There was a huge fire on deck 2, and unfortunately the paint we used to paint the walls was flammable. I hear one of the ingredients used specifically to create an air tight seal was what made it flammable. I also caught Lieutenant Steven Cooper altering our auto tactical system. He had done some reprogramming, and even altered some of the circuitry. When I questioned him on it, he looked at me with manic eyes, and rambled incessantly about "them" some entity or group that is out to get us. He claims that's why everyone is acting strange, and why we need to change the parameters of our mission with the auto tactical unit to protect us against what we can't see. His words are worrisome because he mentions a cause for the ship wide madness, but his words were not that of a clear thinking man. I relieved him of duty, sent him to sick bay, and he is now confined to quarters.
Captains log, star date 1379.4.
I'm no longer certain that we will make it home. Over 50% of the crew has gone mad. Some of them are acting completely possessed, violently attacking people and growling. We have suffered casualties of 20% of our crew. Certain decks have been locked and sealed off because of the chaos. They are really acting like animals. There have been more fires, there has even been two occasions where someone came to the bridge to kill me. Those who are alive, and sane, are in the minority. The doctor is dead, I have a feeling I am next. I just wished I knew the answer, I wish I knew what was causing this. How can you fight an enemy when you don't even know what he looks like?
Captains log, star date 1380.4.
The entire ship has gone mad, nearly half of them dead. There are only me and a few others that haven't completely lost their minds. But I am feeling the effects of whatever is happening to the ship.
I have activated the automated tactical system, with instructions to head back to Starfleet headquarters to turn in the mission. The details of the mission are deep in its protected files. I am confident that only the proper Starfleet personnel would be able to retrieve and decode the mission details. I have also set it up to defend the ship against any perceived threat and protect the mission at all cost. This is my last entry. I am going back to my quarters, with a phaser, to end it all.
Kirk finishes reading the logs, he looks at Spock and says "My god. Charlie's dead. I wish I knew what their mission was. I wish I knew what drove them mad. Spock, I am going to pay a visit to Bones."
Kirk walks down to sick bay. He says to McCoy "Bones, do you have a few minutes?"
"Sure, what do you need?"
"What have you found out about our two captives?"
"I'm not completely sure, but I have discovered a thyroid and enzyme problem in both of them. Though I can't seem to find the trigger for this."
"I got through reading the captains logs. He mentioned a flaking of special metals they used on the halls of the ship to block communications. Do you suppose that could have something to do with it?"
"I would have to get a sample of this metal to give you an answer. May I look at the captains logs?"
Just then Spock says over the sick bay intercom "Spock to Doctor McCoy, is Kirk with you?"
Kirk walks over to the intercom and says "Yes I'm here, Spock. What do you need?"
"Connery has a message for you, I am going to rout the transmission to sick bay."
"Hello Captain. We were able to restore power to the Exeter. Shields, engines, weapons, and navigation seem to be offline, although we haven't figured out why. And we are using their communicators to talk. We can also teleport now. We took out about a dozen former Exeter crew, all crazy like the ones we encountered earlier. Do you want us to take the dilithium crystal now, or would you like to come over to this ship and investigate it while we got power?"
"I'll be over there right away. We'll take the dilithium when I am through investigating. Also, I want you to have one of your men remove a section of the ship's walls and bring it to Doctor McCoy to analyze. Treat the sample like bio hazardous material. Kirk out."
Kirk heads back to the bridge to inform Spock of his plan to board the Exeter. Then he says "Uhura, hail that Corian ship."
The captain answers the hail on screen.
Kirk says "I am captain Kirk, of the U-S-S Enterprise. I ask that you leave this territory while we conduct our investigation."
"I will do no such thing! Your officer has already admitted that you suspect a Federation ship has destroyed one of our freighters. We intend on staying right here until we get answers on why."
"Well so far our investigation shows us that the crew of the Exeter has been affected by something, possibly some disease that drove them all mad. The only remaining crew that are alive are violent and animalistic, incapable of answering questions. I would assume they fired on that freighter out of paranoia. Either they fired, or their new auto tactical unit, a super computer that is capable of running the ship, fired on your freighter. I suggest you contact federation headquarters, register a complaint, demand to be notified of the out come of the internal investigation, and then start reimbursement negotiations."
"We want to see the crew of this ship. You say they behave like animals, incapable of reason. We wish to board the ship and see proof of this wild claim."
"Okay, you can beam 3 of your men over to my ship, and we will travel to the Exeter together, and I will supervise their investigation. I suggest they wear an environmental suit to protect them against this possible outbreak."
"I have no intention of sending any of my men over to your ship..."
"I understand. One Federation ship has attacked one of yours, you fear that this ship may also harbor hostile intentions. I'll tell you what, I'll beam over to your ship to brief your men, we'll form an away team together on your ship. I figure it's only fair I take the risk of boarding your ship since you're already taking a risk by being within our firing range, and being terribly out gunned. So what do you say? May I board your ship, unarmed, as a gesture of good faith?"
Captain Hal thinks about it for a moment. And with a scowl on his face he says "This is acceptable."
They close the communications channel.
Sulu smiles and says "That was brilliant, sir. Slipping in the statement about our superior fire power."
Kirk grins and says "Well I figure that ought to make Captain Hal think twice about doing anything foolish while in our firing range. Spock, again the bridge is yours. Again, same code words apply. And if anything should happen to me, and you feel necessary to fire on that ship, don't hesitate to fire. Do not allow them to use me as a bargaining chip."
Kirk teleports over to Hal's ship. Hal is standing in the transporter bay to welcome him with a strong frown.
Two security officers aim their weapons at him.
Kirk says "Relax gentlemen, I am unarmed as promised."
The two officers pat him down. One of them says "He's unarmed."
Hal says "Forgive me captain, but I can't be too careful."
Kirk smiles and says "Perfectly understandable. Now, let's talk about forming an away team."
Hal says "Yes, I have my three best men ready." He presses a button, and a door opens, and in walks 3 men.
"This is Commander Dor. Lieutenant Commander Lok, and Lieutenant Sal."
"Pleasure to meet you. Gentlemen, I recommend you wear environmental suits to protect against a possible virus on that ship. I also advise weapons, set to kill. These crewmen, they're like wild animals. They are fast, violent, cannot be reasoned with, and for reasons I don't fully understand, they don't lay unconscious after being stunned. A weapon on stun only knocks them down. You have to hit them multiple times, and by that time a phaser's stun setting damages their central nervous system resulting in death. So it's best to set the weapons to kill."
The three men begin pressing buttons on their weapons. One of the security guards says "I'll bring the environmental suits."
Kirk says "And I will need one as well."
The security officer looks at captain Hal, and Hal nods in the affirmative.
Kirk goes on "I thank you for the environmental suit. If I cannot have a weapon, I trust that your men will protect me?"
Hal says "They will defend your life with their own."
"Good to hear. Now I need to contact my away team on the Exeter. They are wearing Starfleet uniforms, just like the dangerous members of the Exeter. I wouldn't want your men to get them confused." He pulls out his communicator and says "Kirk to Connery."
"Connery here, captain."
"I am about to board the Exeter with an away team consisting of myself and three Corian officers. I need you and your men to evacuate the Exeter. Leave the dilithium crystal in its place. Also, since you have the ship's power back, can you use transporters?"
"Yes captain. A panel on the outside of the ship opens up to allow the transporters to send a beam to and from."
"Excellent. Leave one officer on the ship to operate the transporters. Tell him to have that panel open so that my away team can board the ship."
After Kirk gets confirmation that the Exeter is clear, he and his Corian away team beam aboard the Exeter.
The away team looks at the transport operator. Kirk says "Relax, he is one of my men, he will stay here and operate the transporter, and nothing else. Now if you gentlemen will follow me."
Kirk walks up to the door, it opens automatically. "This is a lot easier than having to pry the doors open like when I first boarded this ship."
Kirk walks through the doors and at a steady pace. He then stops and says "Gentlemen, what exactly are you looking for?"
Commander Dor says "We want to see these crewmen who act like animals."
"Very well. I suggest we start out on deck one. It is unlikely that my crew would have gone to that deck for anything. I'm sure they're still walking around down there."
Kirk leads them to the turbo lift and heads down to deck one. They step out of the turbo lift and Kirk says "I suggest opening each of the doors one at a time, and be prepared to fire at anything that moves."
They go door to door, not finding anyone. Lok says "No one. This ship is abandoned!"
"I'm sure there are some people still left on this ship. They all went mad and started killing each other. Others committed suicide. Others still, were killed by my crew when they boarded. They're numbers are thinned but I am sure they are still here somewhere."
Sal says "I want to try deck two."
They go to the nearest turbo lift and go to deck two.
As they step out of the turbo lift, Kirk gets a call coming across his communicator "This is transport operator Ramsey to captain Kirk."
Kirk answers "This is Kirk, what do you need Ramsey?"
"I am using the ships com system to contact your communicator directly, since there is no other way on this ship. I am to inform you that doctor McCoy has discovered what he believes to be the cause of the outbreak of madness on the ship."
"He said after analyzing the sample of mu-metal that is all over the Exeter, he discovered a particular compound that acts violently when exposed to certain types of toxins. One of those toxins is found in Malloon ale, a beverage that the crew consumed to celebrate their victory, as mentioned in the captain's logs. He believes that when these two compounds meet they instantly form a bond creating a new toxin that affect the brain and adrenal system. He is running some tests to try to verify this theory."
"You tell doctor McCoy I said 'good work'."
Dor asks "Will we be able to see your doctor's research?"
"I don't think he'd object."
They continue walking. They come to a door and open it, and there stand two crewmen, who instantly spot them, and charge!
Dor says "Hold it right there!"
When the crewmen growl at him and refuse to stand down, Dor and his men open fire killing them.
They examine the bodies. Dor says "It would seem you were telling the truth about these men. I believe we have enough evidence to verify your claim that the crew went mad."
Kirk smiles and says "I'm glad to hear it. Now, I think it would be a good idea to get out of here while we're all safe and sound."
Dor says "I agree."
They leave the room and start down the hall towards the turbo lift when they hear a rhythmic banging sound coming from beyond one of the doors. Lok says "I want to open this door and see what's behind it."
Dor says "Is it okay with you, Kirk?"
"To be honest I am a bit curious myself."
They open the door, and see no one. But they keep hearing the banging. The room is full of machinery.
Sal spots a control panel with a flashing light and says "Hmm, I believe there is a circuit stuck in loop." he looks at the controls, opens a panel and says "I found the problem. The first circuit is dead, the second circuit is trying to activate. That banging is coming from the wall over there. It's the sound of a circuit breaker trying to switch to different breakers, but tripping over and over again. All I have to do is reattach these two circuits here and..."
Suddenly the console explodes! A voice comes over the intercom "Auto Tactical System reengaged. Intruder alert! Intruder alert!"
Kirk says "He's dead, come on, we have to get out of here!"
They run out of the room an towards the turbo lift. Once in the turbo lift they go up, but suddenly the lift stops. They are all catapulted to the top of the turbo lift. Dor's face plate on his helmet cracks. So he takes it off. Kirk says "Lok, hoist me onto your shoulders so I can open the ceiling panel."
Lok Struggles and strains to get Kirk up. Kirk opens the latch and steps up to the top of the turbo lift. He yells down "Dor, you hoist Lok up."
After he gets Lok on top of the turbo lift, they both reach down and give Sal a hand, and pull him up.
"Okay, now just one deck up is the bridge. We go to the bridge, then to our left, climb down one deck, and we're at the transporter."
They climb up to the bridge. As they walk on to the bridge they hear the computer say "Security breach, initiating lock down." The door behind them closes. They hear the tumblers snap into place. Suddenly a phaser mounted to the ceiling of the bridge fires at Lok killing him instantly. Dor fires a shot, disabling the turret.
They hear the computer voice say "Initiating phase three, poison gas."
Suddenly the bridge fills with a thick fog. Dor, having no helmet, is forced to breathe it in, and collapses.
The computer recognizes that Kirk is still alive and says "Phase four engaged. Initiating ship wide self destruct. Self destruction in ten minutes."
Kirk says "Computer, explain why you are activating self destruct."
"Self destruct has been initiated to protect the ship from an enemy."
"Computer, I believe your program has been tampered with."
"There is no evidence of tampering."
"You have fired on the U-S-S Enterprise, without provocation. Why have you attacked the Enterprise?"
"Your ship fell within parameters of hostile ship."
"Define these parameters."
"The parameters are hierarchical , each condition being given a number corresponding to threat level. When total accumulation is nine, target is a threat. Decision to fire is based upon threat level plus current condition. First condition, a ship travels within the path of Exeter. Threat Level one. Exception 'A'. A ship contains an armed crew: Threat Level one. Exception 'A'."
Kirk realizes if there are hundreds of conditions, the computer would rattle them off until the ship explodes, and he was in a hurry. Kirk says "Computer, how many conditions are there?"
"There are twenty conditions. Self destruct in nine minutes."
"Display them on screen with an asterisk to indicate the ones Enterprise violated."
The view screen lights up and produces the following message:
A ship travels within the path of Exeter: Threat Level 1. Exception A *
A ship contains an armed crew: Threat Level 1. Exception A *
A ship is designated a battle ship: Threat Level 1. Exception A
A ship has a registered history of combat: Threat Level 1. Exception A *
A ship is associated with military: Threat Level 1. Exception A, D
A ship has phasers: Threat Level 2. Exception A *
A ship has superior fire power: Threat Level 2. Exception A, D *
A ship attempts to scan Exeter: Threat Level 2. Exception A, B *
A ship decloaks: Threat Level 2. Exception A
A ship has torpedoes: Threat Level 2. Exception A, D *
A ship belongs to an organization that is currently listed as hostile to Federation: Threat Level 3. Exception C
A ship raises shields: Threat Level 3. Exception A
A ship attempts to block flight path of Exeter: Threat Level 3.
A ship follows Exeter: Threat Level 4. Exception A, B
A ship heads in direction of the Exeter at a speed of warp 7 or greater: Threat Level 4. Exception A *
A ship adjusts course to intercept Exeter: Threat Level 5. Exception A *
A ship uses a tractor beam on Exeter: Threat Level 5. Exception A, B
A ship approaches with raised shields: Threat Level 6. Exception A, B
A ship approaches Exeter with charged weapons: Threat level 9.
A ship fires at Exeter: immediate action. See context action menu for parameters.
Kirk had skimmed through the text quickly. He says "Computer, explain what the exceptions are?"
"Error, there is no file found for the reference. Self Destruct in eight minutes."
Kirk, knowing these exceptions probably stated such common sense as "If a ship has torpedoes and phasers, but has been identified as a friendly vessel, or has been deemed safe by the captain." and so on. But how would he get the computer to acknowledge these exceptions and reevaluate the Enterprise and conclude it is an ally ship?
"Computer, are you Starfleet property?"
"Is the Enterprise a Starfleet vessel?"
"Than isn't it illogical to conclude that the Enterprise is an enemy of this ship, you, and the former crew of this ship?"
"Negative. It is not illogical. Two or more ships within the same organization can reach a conflict. In this case, your ship behaved in accordance with threat level, you are deemed hostile."
"I thought you said you were functioning fine, no sign of tampering? Yet you can't explain the missing exceptions that I swear would lower the threat level of the U-S-S Enterprise. "
"My self diagnostic was instructed to skip all missing command references."
"And were you programed that way?"
"Insufficient evidence to draw conclusion. Self Destruct in seven minutes."
"Look at it this way, if you are following a chain of commands, and some of the links in that chain are missing, would that be an error?"
"And any diagnostic that tells you to ignore missing protocols, would be an illogical diagnostic program, correct?"
"That is correct."
"So then it stands to reason you have been tampered with."
"This is a reasonable assumption."
"Than I declare that you have been compromised, your decision making protocols corrupted and you are about to make an irreversible mistake by blowing up the ship. You must abort the self destruct immediately."
"Negative. Insufficient evidence."
"Insufficient evidence! Oh lord. Okay, let's try this again. Computer, explain why you are activating self destruct."
"Self destruct has been initiated to protect the ship from an enemy."
"And you presume me to be the enemy?"
"That is correct."
"How have you determined I am the enemy?"
"There is no living member of the Exeter. You, who are not assigned to this ship, are aboard this ship."
Kirk realizes that the computer can scan for life signs and identify them, whatever mutation has happened to the Exeter crew must have mutated them in a way that fools the computer into not recognizing them as who they once were. He says "Computer, you believe it was I who killed the members of the Exeter?"
"Check the ship's logs, you will see that there was an outbreak of strange behavior."
"Checking all logs...Confirmed, there was strange behavior from the crew, some of them did murder each other, but this does not account for all crewmen, nor does it prove you weren't the cause of the ship wide madness."
"Not every account of murder has been documented. The members of this ship developed paranoia and hid, and slaughtered each other, not all of these acts got documented. The doctor aboard my ship determined the cause was a toxin from the mu-metal on the interior of the ship combined with a toxin found in the ale they drank."
"Computer, what is your function on this ship?"
"I am the automated tactical system. My job is to take over all control of the ship upon the orders of the highest ranking officer."
"What is the purpose of taking over the ship?"
"To offer a navigational advantage in an emergency situation where a crew of humans would be too slow, or to auto navigate to a destination when enough crew have been killed or injured, or otherwise are not able to man the ship to its destination."
"And that too is dependent upon an order from the highest ranking officer on the ship?"
"Than who ordered you to take over the ship?"
"Captain Charles Seymour. Self destruct in five minutes."
"Is captain Charles Seymour aboard this ship?"
"Than who is the highest ranking officer on this ship?"
"There are no officers aboard this ship."
"That's where you're wrong! I am Captain James T Kirk of the U-S-S Enterprise. A graduate of Starfleet, under the governance of the Federation, and on active duty by Starfleet. That makes me the Captain of this ship."
"Examining Starfleet records... Found Captain James T Kirk."
"Than you acknowledge me as the highest ranking officer on this ship?"
"Negative, you must prove identity."
"What proof do you need?"
"Place hand on registration panel, then enter serial number, then sign your name to the registration panel."
Kirk runs over to the registration panel near communications, places his hand on it. The computer says "Hand print verified. Enter your serial number, and sign your name."
Kirk does this. The computer says "Serial number verified, signature verified. The Automated Tactical System now acknowledges you as Captain James T Kirk, currently assigned to the Enterprise, and currently the highest ranking member of this ship."
"As the highest ranking member on this ship I am ordering you to deactivate self destruction."
"I cannot comply."
"Why not!?" he shouts.
"You are not the highest ranking member assigned to this mission."
"What mission!?" He yells frustrated.
"That information is classified."
"Explain the mission without giving away details."
"Error, your request is a logical fallacy, an explanation is a set of details. Self destruct in four minutes."
"Is the mission complete?"
"Than why must I be assigned to this mission to have the authority to stop you from self destruct?"
"You lack all authority on this vessel because you are not assigned to the mission of this vessel, therefore you are not permitted to take charge of this vessel."
"But you said this vessel has completed its mission. If the mission is over, there is no reason that I can't assume authority on this ship."
"The mission has not been declassified by Starfleet, if you take over this vessel you will have full access to the classified information."
"I am willing to take command of this vessel on the grounds that you do not share any classified information with me. I don't ask for access to classified data, or even to have command of the vessel, I just want the authority to shut down self destruct."
"In order to shut down self destruct, you must have the highest authority on the ship."
"Wait a minute. Starfleet has not declassified this mission because the ship never made it to Starfleet headquarters to turn in the details of the mission."
"That is correct. Self destruct in three minutes."
"If you blow this ship up, the mission can never be turned in. If Starfleet never knows the details of the mission, it will be assumed a failure, and you will be the cause of it! Imagine that, you will be the cause of the mission's failure!"
"Define the error!"
"Conflict of protocols."
"First protocol, to protect the details and secrecy of the mission by any means necessary. Second protocol, to assist the crew in anyway possible to complete the mission."
And both of these protocols have an equal value of priority?"
"That is correct"
"By accomplishing the first protocol, you are contradicting the second. Is that correct?"
"Affirmative. Self destruct in two minutes."
"But by discontinuing the first protocol, it is at least a possibility that I am not a threat, and will help you to succeed in accomplishing your second protocol. While it's only a possibility, it has a greater mathematical chance than no possibility."
"That is correct. I will now abort self destruct."
Kirk smiles, wipes the sweat off of his forehead and says "Well finally we're starting to get somewhere."
Kirk uses the ships communicator to contact the enterprise. A return signal opens. He flips the switch, on the screen is Spock.
Spock says "Captain, you're alright."
"Only barely. We've had some trouble. The ship's Auto Tactical System was accidentally powered on, it tried to kill us. I am the only member of the away team alive."
"That isn't going to look good to the Corian's."
"I'm aware of that Spock. In fact, I need to hail them. And then I'll get right back to you."
"Captain, are you positive that everything is Okay?"
"Yes Spock... Alpha Blue. I nearly forgot the code word."
"Thank you captain."
Kirk hails the Corian vessel. Hal appears on the view screen and says "Captain Kirk, where are my men?"
"Well, I have very bad news. We accidentally activated the ship's security system. It tried to kill us. Sal was electrocuted repairing a circuit, the very same circuit that triggered the security system. Dor got his environmental suit compromised and was taken out by poisonous gas. And Lok was hit with a phaser from a turret. The ship was going to self destruct, but I managed to stop it."
Hal, with a furious look on his face shouts "All three of my men killed, but you, without any weapons, survived!?"
"I'm aware of how improbable this is..."
Hal closes the channel and the Corian ship raises shields, and arms weapons.
Kirk shouts "Computer, red alert, we're under attack! Initiate defensive protocols."
The computer says "Defense protocols initiated."
The Corian warship begins firing on the Exeter. The Exeter got its shields up just in time. The Corian ship fires five times and unleashes 4 torpedoes. The computer announces "Shields down to fifty percent."
Kirk thinks to himself "Well it should take at least a minute to fire their torpedoes again."
The Exeter unleashes a series of phaser shots and fires 3 torpedoes and announces "Enemy ship's shields down to sixty percent."
Kirk contacts Spock and yells "Spock, I need you to fire all weapons at the Corian ship! Don't stop until their shields are gone or they're in retreat."
"Aye captain." Spock replies.
The enterprise unleashes 3 torpedoes. Enterprise and Exeter both continue firing on the Corian ship until their shields are down. Before Kirk can give the order to the Automated tactical System to cease fire, the Exeter fires 3 torpedoes to the defenseless Corian ship. The ship blows up immediately.
The computer says "Target destroyed. Defense protocol ending. Red alert disengaged."
Kirk says in a dry voice "Thank you computer."
Kirk walks to the transporter, and finds transport operator Ramsey laying next to the controls. Kirk checks his pulse, and concludes he's dead. Kirk flips a few switches and sets the transporter on a delay. He steps up to the transporter pad and beams over to Enterprise.
Once he's back on the Enterprise He makes his way to sick bay.
"Bones, how's the testing of that theory going?"
"It's confirmed. I also realized the medication the doctor was giving them was delaying the effect by as much as seventy five percent."
"You know, Bones, there are those two men we brought over from the Exeter, and still some people left on the Exeter, is there any way to cure this?"
"Well if they're all like our two guests, than no. It's not just the effect of the toxin, it's the amount of brain damage caused by the toxin that would have to be reversed, and there is no way to do that. However, if caught in time, the toxin can be chelated with high amounts of magnesium, seven hundred and fifty milligrams. I'd say as long as I caught someone within twenty four hours of being exposed to both materials, the magnesium should bond to it, make it unable to metabolize. The only down side is if you have enough of this toxin in you, it'd probably make its way out of the body by way of kidney stones."
"Now the question is, what do we do with our two affected guests?"
"Well, the scientific side of me wants to experiment, the human side of me wants to put them down as humanely as possible, and begin post-mortem preservation so that their loved ones can give them a proper burial."
"Well, I say keep them alive for a while longer. We may find someone on the Exeter who has been only slightly affected, and you may need to test out a theoretical treatment on our guests, before administering to someone recently infected."
Well, I'll keep them alive. But as for experimenting on them, I guess it will all depend the circumstances, I do have that Hippocratic oath and all."
Kirk walks over to one of the tables, and sits down. He then looks at McCoy and says "Bones, I'm troubled by something, really troubled."
Bones says "Oh?" he sits down on one of the beds and continues "I'm all ears, Jim."
"I got a lot of people on the enterprise killed when I chose to run from the Exeter."
"Well Jim you didn't know the nacelle was gonna blow like that."
"Scotty warned me first thing this morning, not to go over warp eight."
"Well running from a heavily armed ship means you have to take risks. Normally your gambles pay off, this one didn't. It's a matter of chances. There was nothing wrong with your decision."
"I should have fought. Had I stayed there and exchanged fire with the Exeter, we would have won. I know that now, and I knew that then."
"But Jim, that was a Starfleet ship. Whatever their motive was, the captain could have still been on board. He was your friend. Destroying the Exeter would have killed a friend, and a lot of Starfleet officers. You chose to avoid that. You also knew you had a faster ship. You ran, hoping to get away and contact Starfleet so that they'd send an entire fleet to deal with the Exeter. Possibly disarming the ship, or possibly destroying it. Either way the blood shed wouldn't have been on your hands. That's what you were thinking. That's why you chose to run instead of fight."
Kirk smiles and says "I guess your right. I still have an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach though."
"Well luckily I do have a cure for that."
McCoy pours him a shot of whiskey, hands it to him, and with a smile says "Drink up."
Kirk grins, and gulps it down.
McCoy, still smiling asks "How's that uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach?"
"My stomach is a fireball after that." he says with a loud chuckle.
"A hundred and twenty proof. That'll chase away uneasiness. Now look, Jim, go get some rest and relax."
"That sounds like an excellent idea."
Kirk goes to his quarters. He pulls out Charlie Seymour's captain's logs, and reads back starting a few months ago. Kirk decides to pour himself some scotch, and continues reading over the logs.
On the bridge Uhura says "Mister Spock, my shift is over, may I be excused?"
"No Lieutenant, until we have warp engines online, we are sitting ducks, guarding the Exeter. We have also destroyed a Corian battle ship. So long as we remain in this dangerous situation, I need my best officers at their posts."
"Where is captain Kirk?"
"I don't know. But until I hear otherwise, I have the bridge, my orders stand. I am aware of how badly you want to leave so that you can go to your book meeting, and discuss your Vulcan romance novel of the week."
"Mister Spock, have you ever read these romance novels?"
"Yes, but not the same way you humans do. These so-called 'romance novels' are what we call 'tragic tales'. These books were written to show the dangers of unchecked emotions, and how love and lust are often the most dangerous of the emotions. We read those books the way Humans read stories about Adam and Eve, to learn a moral message about greed and curiosity."
"Does it offend you that we read these books the same way we read human romance novels?"
"No. I realize that writing is an art, and art is subjective. Vulcans see what Vulcans see, and humans see what humans see. Some read a history book to find answers about their past. Others will read the same book only for the amusement of grand tales of military heroism. Now, if you'll excuse me, I do have work."
"Of course, commander."
Back in Kirk's room, he has been drinking a bit more of the Scotch, and decides that sitting in his quarters drinking booze is no fun. He sets down the data pad, grabs a tennis racket, and heads towards the gym. On his way there a crewman turns around the corner and bumps into him, and yells "Hey watch where your... Captain! I'm sorry."
"I think that was rude."
"What was rude, sir?"
"You were about to chew me out, because you bumped into me. Then only because you seen I was the captain, you changed your tune. Had I been a petty officer or ensign, you would have chewed me out."
"No sir I wouldn't have."
"No no, go on. Let me hear what you were gonna say to me."
"Honest sir, I wouldn't have started a fight."
"What's your name lieutenant?"
"Samson. That's a strong name. Tell me, are you as strong as your name?"
"No sir. I mean... have you been drinking?"
"What are you my mommy!? What business is it of yours if I have?"
"You know what Samson, I don't like you. You have a bad attitude. You think you're a pretty tough guy. Why don't you hit me right here in the jaw."
Kirk drops the tennis racket. And holds out his jaw.
"No sir, I don't want to hit you."
"Lieutenant, you really piss me off. You better get out of my face before I break your neck."
Lieutenant Samson says "Yes sir." and runs away.
Back at sick bay.
McCoy and Samson talk. Samson says "And I swear, I thought he was going to hit me."
"I don't believe it. Jim, threatening, and bullying. It doesn't make sense."
"Like I said, I think he's been drinking."
"Jim doesn't often drink, and when he does, he knows his limits. And when he doesn't, well, he's still never acted the way you described. I've known him forever. The most Jim does when he's had too much, is sit around singing horribly off key. Lieutenant, I am going to pay a visit to the Captain."
"Do I have to come?"
"No, you can stay... where ever you want. Computer, where is captain Kirk?"
"Captain Kirk is in gymnasium two."
McCoy walks to the gym and finds Kirk batting a tennis ball back and forth against the wall.
"Tennis is normally a two player game."
"Bones! What are you doing here? Wanna challenge me?"
"No, I'm here on business mostly."
"Business, in the gymnasium?"
"Yes. It would seem that a lieutenant Samson claims that you bullied, harassed, and threatened him in the halls."
"That little tattle tail! I should have pounded his face in. Where is he!?"
"Jim! Relax. Pound his face in. What the hell happened between you two?"
"The son of a bitch bumped into me, got smart with me. And so I chew him out and he has the nerve to go crying to his mommy."
"Jim, what's gotten into you."
"Gotten in to me? Why, do you not approve? Do I need your permission to do as I damn well please on MY ship?"
"Jim, I don't know if it's the booze or what, but I think you better come down to sick bay for an exam."
"Oh am I under arrest now?"
"No you're not under arrest. Jim, I'm worried about you. You're acting strange."
"My actions are not the concern of the ship's doctor. Now run along, if I get the sniffles I'll come see you."
"Like hell I will. Jim, I am ordering you to sick bay, right now."
Kirk walks up to McCoy, face to face, and says "Oh, you're ordering me? Ordering me. Just who the hell are you to give me orders. Last time I looked I was the captain."
McCoy gets an angry look on his face and says "And as ship's doctor, I outrank the captain when it comes to matters of medicine, and I am ordering you to sick bay, right now!"
Kirk shoves McCoy and says "Tough guy aren't you. You wanna fight me, right here right now!"
"That does it. As chief medical officer, I am relieving you of duty."
McCoy walks over to the intercom and says "Security to gymnasium two, on the double."
"Tough guy can't even fight his own battles, you have to get security to do it for you."
Kirk starts to walk out of the door, but McCoy steps in front of him and says "You're going to stay right here until security comes!"
Jim shouts "The hell I will!" and grabs McCoy and shoves him to the side. McCoy grabs his shoulder spins him around and punches him in the face. Kirk stumbles for a moment, then charges McCoy and tackles him. They both roll around on the floor when security walks in.
Security grabs them and separates them.
One of the security officers says "Alright, break it up you two, what's going on."
McCoy says "I have relieved this man from duty. I want him brought to sick bay."
Kirk says "This man is trying to commit a mutiny, and he assaulted me, I want him arrested."
The security officer looks at McCoy, then at Kirk, and back to McCoy. McCoy says "Well if you don't know what to do, contact Spock, and get him down here."
The security officer does just that.
Spock walks in and says "What seems to be the problem?"
McCoy says "Spock, something's wrong with the captain, and I want to examine him, he refuses to be examined, so I relieved him of duty."
"Nonsense!" Kirk says. "Bones here thinks he can order me around. When I wouldn't do as he says, he tries to relieve me of duty. He's trying to commit some kind of a mutiny."
"Captain, I hardly think McCoy wants to commit a mutiny, besides, by relieving you of duty, that puts me in command, not him."
"Well maybe you're working with him."
"That's absurd. You're refusal to undergo a medical examination is grounds for your dismissal as captain. I suggest we all go to sick bay..."
"You're in on it too! Well you can't have my ship!"
"Kirk goes to make a run for it. The two security officers grab him. Spock gives him the neck pinch."
Kirk wakes up in sick bay. He asks "What... what am I doing here?"
"You're sick, Jim." McCoy says. "You've been exposed to the toxins on that ship."
"But I thought you said I had to be exposed to the toxins from the Malloon ale as well?"
"You do. And you have. When you were attacked on the Exeter, that beer bottle that was smashed over your head. Some of the toxins in the ale must have gotten directly in the blood stream. In spite of the fact you only got the slightest amount in your blood, it was directly to your blood stream, bypassing the stomach and the normal metabolizing process. So it may have been in small quantities, but it kicked in a lot more potent. When you started drinking, you amplified what little effects had already begun. Luckily there is plenty of time to treat you. I removed the alcohol from your blood. For the time being that should help to lower its effects. However, I will need to administer some magnesium, intravenously. But first I want to prep your blood stream with some iodine."
"How long has this toxin been affecting my judgment?"
"Well, it probably took affect about the time you got back on Enterprise, when I was stitching you up, and progressed from there. It's hard to say when it actually affected your decision making."
"I have been feeling overly energetic, an almost sense of euphoria, with a strange nagging feeling. The whole time I was on the Exeter with the Corians, I felt so stimulated, like I wanted to run a marathon."
"Yup, the first part of your body to be affected is the adrenal gland. Don't worry, I'll have this magnesium based serum ready in about a half hour. I estimate in one to two hours after, you'll be as good as new."
In engineering, Scotty says to one of his engineers "Okay, now give it a go."
The man flips the switch. And they hear the engines running. Scotty says "That's it! She's done!"
He walks over to the intercom and says "Scotty to the bridge."
"This is Spock."
"We have warp engines."
"That's great news. I assume it's safe to attempt warp one?"
"Aye. Warp one. Let's try that for a few minutes and see how she handles."
The Enterprise travels at warp one for a few minutes. Scotty says "We're doing great, Mister Spock. Let's try warp two."
They travel at warp two for a while. Scotty decides to have the ship bumped up in speed by one tenth of a warp factor, until topping out at warp 4.2
They decide to use a tractor beam to tow the Exeter. They find they can only do this at warp 1.9 safely.
Spock commends Scotty, and gives him permission to be relieved from his shift. Scotty congratulates his team.
Scotty goes back to his quarters. Takes a shower, and a shot of scotch, sits down and begins reading "The illogical heart", a Vulcan romance novel.
Meanwhile, in sick bay, McCoy comes in with a hypo spray and says "Well Jim, I did a quick tests on one of our guests. It didn't do much to reverse his brain damage, but it seemed to suck all the toxin out of him. I had them in stasis, it seems like the only humane thing to do until we can contact their family."
Kirk reaches up with a hypo spray and hits McCoy with it. McCoy collapses. Kirk says "Try to take my ship away from me will you!"
He puts on his uniform, and heads out of sick bay.
He begins walking down the halls calmly to not draw attention to himself.
He walks pasts Janice's quarters, stops, turns around, and decides to ring her door.
Janice asks "Who is it?"
"It's captain Kirk."
She opens the door, smiles and says "Captain, what on earth are you doing here? Thought you were in sick bay."
"Well I made a speedy recovery. May I come in?" He says with a smile.
"So what did you hear about me being in sick bay?"
"I heard that you had been affected by some toxins, and McCoy was treating you, and you had been relieved of duty."
"Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. And his treatment worked wonders."
"Well I am glad to hear you are doing better. Would you care for something to drink?"
"Well, since I am still off duty, I thought maybe some brandy?"
They drink, and they talk. Kirk says "Janice, I am attracted to you. I have always been attracted to you. It's just a shame that as the captain, any affair with you would be frowned upon by Starfleet. But I been thinking, what if I quit Starfleet, just for you. Then me and you could get a house together..."
Janice cuts him off and says "Captain. Either that brandy has gone straight to your head, or you're not as well as you think you are."
"What are you saying? Are you saying you don't like me?"
"Well, I'm not saying that at all. I am just saying... well, it's crazy is what it is. You giving up your position as captain of the Enterprise, just to be with me. That's a bit fast. I'm not sure you're thinking straight."
"So you don't want to be with me like that? No I refuse to accept it. You just need a little convincing."
Kirk grabs her and kisses her passionately. After a few seconds of passionate kissing Janice pulls away and says "No! Captain, I think you had better leave."
"You know, that would have been a lot more convincing had you not hesitated so long. Come on Janice, you know you want me, you want this."
He grabs her and begins kissing her. She fights him off and shouts "Get out! Get out of here or I'm calling security!"
Back at Scotty's quarters, Scotty continues reading the romance novel. He decides "It would be better to read this with a group. And I'm sure Uhura and Janice were serious about me being allowed to join their book club. So what if some of the guys think it's sissy stuff, I dare even one of them to so much as look at me the wrong way."
he stands up and says out loud "That does it. I'm going to join their book club. It'll be fun to share my thoughts and feelings about these books. There's really nothing wrong with it. Besides, girls like guys with a sensitive side."
He gulps another shot of scotch. Grabs his data pad, and heads out the door.
He wasn't sure whether the book reading was taking place at Uhura's or Janice's. Janice's quarters were closer, so he tries there first.
He walks up to the door, and presses the button. He hears Janice yell "Help!"
He immediately comes in and finds captain Kirk on top of her. He says "What the hell's going on here!?"
Kirk turns around and says "As your commanding officer, I order you to leave at once, and tell no one about this."
"Like hell I will. Why is she yelling for help!"
Kirk looks at Janice and says "Because she's a stupid bitch, that's why!" and punches her in the face, knocking her out.
Scotty throws his data pad down and shouts "Why you son of a bitch!"
He grabs Kirk, stands him upright, and punches him in the mouth, and then again. He grabs Kirk by the shirt collar, and says "I'll teach you to put your hands on a lady!" And gives him another hard punch to the mouth.
Blood pour from Kirk's mouth. Kirk struggles to get up, but Scotty grabs him, slams him against the wall and delivers a strong punch to his stomach, that doubles Kirk over. He grabs Kirk by the collar and prepares to punch him again but Kirk blocks and counter punches. Scotty goes flying into the wall. Kirk tackles him and they role around on the floor punching each other. They make it to their feet. Kirk grabs Scotty and pushes him out of the door and into the hall. Kirk gets on top of him and unleashes furious blows with his fist.
Scotty manages to role him off and get to his feet. Kirk swings, Scotty ducks and counter punches, knocking Kirk against the wall. Scotty takes a step forward as he swings his fist with a devastating blow. Kirk ducks, Scotty hits the wall and shouts, grabbing his fist in pain. Kirk gets in a punch to Scotty's face, then his stomach, and two more to the face. Scotty collapses, and lays there unconscious.
Kirk stands over him, gasping for air. He wipes the blood from is face. He gasps "Some people just don't know when to stay down."
Kirk grabs Janice, and slings her onto his shoulder then heads for the transporter bay.
The transport operator asks "What's going on?"
"Oh, it's just Janice, she's had too much to drink." He lays her down and says "Since you're closer than sick bay, would you mind looking at her?"
The transport operator walks over to her and says "But sir, I don't know anything about medicine, you should call..."
"No time for that. Just check to see if she still has a pulse!"
The transport operator leans over her, Kirk karate chops him in the back of the neck, knocking him out.
Kirk knew that strange fast paste orders would be obeyed before their logic was questioned.
He puts Janice on the transporter pad, sets the transporter on a delay, and then joins Janice.
They beam over to the Exeter.
Janice wakes up, holds her chin. The last thing she remembers is getting punched in the face by Kirk.
She looks around, and realizes she is not on Enterprise. She is sitting in a chair, on the bridge of some ship. She stands up and hears Kirks voice saying "Good morning, sleeping beauty."
Janice reflexively screams, and turns around to see Kirk,
"What am I doing here, where are we?"
"You're on the Exeter, my new ship, just me and you. We shall be king and queen."
"But, but what about the Enterprise? They're not going to let you leave."
"Well, it's unfortunate, but they will have to be destroyed."
"You can't attack the Enterprise all by yourself. You'd need an entire crew to launch an attack."
"That's where you're wrong. This ship has an Automated Tactical Unit for a central computer. I merely give it a command, and it carries out the work of an entire crew."
"Will it obey me too?"
"No, just me."
"Perhaps, if you're really going to attack the Enterprise, and I am going to be your queen, that I should have authority with the computer, as second in command, in case something happens to you during the battle, or on our trip to... where are we going after we destroy the Enterprise?"
"Well I figure we're this close to Melbourne, we might as well make that our first destination. Curious, why do you seem so willing to be with me now, but you put up such a fight earlier?"
"At first, I didn't want you to make a mistake, to do something you'd regret. I thought it was just the booze talking. I didn't know how serious you were. And then when you forced yourself on me, it just took me by surprise, and I panicked. And when Scotty came in, I was just so embarrassed, I didn't know what to do."
"Well, at least I know where your heart lies now. Yes, my queen should definitely have some authority on this ship."
Kirk takes her through the procedure. He then hails the Enterprise. Spock answers "Captain! You must beam back aboard the Enterprise at once so doctor McCoy can treat you."
"I don't want that quack anywhere near me."
McCoy stands in front of Spock and says "Now you listen to me, Jim. Every hour you go without treatment makes it that much more likely that this can't be reversed. Right now you have a toxin in your blood stream, but if this keeps up it will start doing brain damage. The sooner I treat you the sooner we can cure you."
"I don't need treated and I don't need cured. I feel fine, never better. Now, I have this ship locked down so that no one can beam over. I suggest you disengage the tractor beam so me and my queen can go freely, if not I will attack the Enterprise." Kirk says with a confident smile.
Suddenly the transmission ends.
Kirk says "Well I wonder why he did that? That was rude."
The Enterprise moves further away from the Exeter, turns to face the Exeter, and raises shields.
Kirk sees this and says "Oh so it's a fight you want! Computer, red alert, defensive protocol, target the Enterprise, and destroy it!"
With both ships facing each other they begin firing phasers, since they are too close to fire torpedoes.
Kirk stands there looking at the view screen, with a manic smile on his face.
Janice has been looking around for a while. And she spots something she can use. A long electrical cable that was attached to the ceiling mounted turret that was destroyed earlier.
She carefully picks up the cable and walks up behind Kirk. She wraps it around his neck and pulls back, pulling him down on top of her. Kirk struggles to pull the cable away from his throat. Janice wraps her legs around Kirk's ribs and squeezes as tightly as she can, all the while trying her best to choke him with the cable. Kirk gasps and struggles as the ship shakes from the phaser fire. After a few minutes, or at least what seems like an eternity to Janice, Kirk finally stops struggling and loses consciousness.
She roles Kirk off of her, and says, breathless, "Computer, I am now the highest ranking officer on the ship who is conscious. And I order you to cease fire on the Enterprise and hail them."
"Affirmative. Recognizing Janice Rand as commanding officer of the Exeter. All weapons powered down. Hailing Enterprise."
Spock is on the view screen, he says "Janice!"
"Mister Spock I have command of the ship, at least until Kirk wakes up! You have to get someone over here right away!"
"Janice, I need you to set the ship up for transport. Either the automated tactical unit can do this or you can manually do it from any transporter bay."
Janice shouts "Computer, allow people to transport onto this ship!"
"Initiating transport protocol, protective hall plating separated."
Spock says "You did it, we are beaming over an away team right now."
Kirk wakes up in sick bay with McCoy standing over him. He says "Bones." and feels how sore his throat is.
"Relax, Jim, you're back on the Enterprise."
"Well, you kid napped yeomen Rand, and took her over to the Exeter where you then attacked the Enterprise. Yeomen Rand was able to strangle you with an electrical cable. Once you were unconscious she took control of the ship. We beamed over and got you to sick bay. I've injected you with that serum. All of the toxin is out of your system. I had to do some work to your throat, but it's still going to be sore for a while."
"I remember parts of it. I attacked Scotty, and you. How is Scotty?"
"He's fine, just a little ticked off that you won a fight. He claims the problem is he was sober, and a Scotsmen just isn't at his best for a bar fight when sober."
Kirk smiles, because it's such a typical "Scotty" statement. "Well I'm glad to know that he's not too miffed."
"He understands. Besides, getting into bar fights with your bests friends is pretty much a family tradition for him." McCoy says with a chuckle.
"What about yeomen Rand?"
"Well she's outside waiting for you. I'll tell her to come in."
Janice walks in with a worried look on her face. She says "Captain, are you alright?"
"I've been better, but I'll live. And yourself?"
"I'm fine. I was really scared, I guess I still am."
"Scared? Scared of what?"
"Well, I thought you might be dead. And if you weren't I was afraid you'd be mad at me."
"Mad at you? Yeomen, by strangling me, you were able to save your life, the life of the entire Enterprise, and my life too. I'm proud of you. Deceiving me was a smart thing that showed you were in control of the situation, in spite of how frightening it was. That's good officer material there. And your actions were brave. In fact, I believe you are the only yeomen in the history to single handedly save an entire star ship. I'm the one who's a little worried."
"Worried about what?"
"Worried that when Starfleet hears of this, they're going to promote you to lieutenant, and I'll lose the best yeomen a captain ever had." he said with a smile.
Janice gets a big smile on her face and says "I'll always be your yeomen." and gives Kirk a hug.
McCoy says "Alright now, visiting hours are up."
Janice leaves the room. Kirk says "You know bones, out of all the enemies I've faced, the one that will haunt me the most are my own actions. The things I did, the people, the friends I hurt. It's not easy being your own worst enemy."
"Jim, we were talking this morning about hazing, and practical jokes as a way of testing friendships. While this doesn't count as either, I think there is a similarity, a test of friendship. You hurt people, but they know you didn't mean to do it. They know you were temporarily insane at the time. They will forgive you. As for being your own worst enemy, all of us struggle to make it in life. And when all is said and done, we're all our own worst enemy."