Star Trek: Genesis of Command, Chapter 4

Chapter 4
Executive Decisions

Dan Soobzokov (Zoe’ob-zoe-kov) walked onto the small bridge.  Ricardo Gamez was sitting in the captain’s chair.
“What’s new, Rick?”
“Hiya, Dan.  A whole lot of nothing.  And, by that, I mean nothing works.  All I can tell is that nothing is wrong.”
Dan sat in the counselor chair.  “Come again?”
“Well, I showed up this morning and no one’s here.  So I start going through the checklist.  Everything looks fine, but then I tried to access a few systems.  Communications are out.  Sensors work, but can’t be accessed.  I can get exterior views on the main screen, but not inside.  Because the sensors are out I have no idea where we are, or what the course is.  The, ugh, biosensors are out; I have no idea who is on board, or if anyone is alive or dead.  But, and this is weird, all diagnostics work.  I’ve been doing that for almost twenty minutes.”
Dan scratched the back of his neck.  “You mean, everything works, but … nothing works?”
Ricardo thought for a second.  “Yeah.  Yeah, that sounds right.”
*
Jack Windsor stooped down, inspecting the area Ann had been working in when Marek found her.  He could tell something unusual had happened, but was not sure what.  He dabbed his fingers in one of the several tiny pools of blood.  Sniffing it, thinking he might be able to tell what it was, he tried in vain to determine what it was.  Rolling it with his thumb, he became more certain it was blood.
He wiped the blood on the leg of his jumpsuit.
He walked to the room designated a medical center in his usual stoic manner.  Majil was there, in one of the two beds.  The first shirt had a sleep inducer on his forehead, but did not look injured.  Obvioiusly not the source of the blood in engineering.
“May I help you, Chief?” Temmit asked.
Jack turned.  He looked at Temmit, then looked him over.  Without saying a word he started looking around the room.  Not looking back, he said, “I found some blood in engineering.  I was wondering if you might know why.”  He looked directly into Temmit’s eyes only after he had finished talking.  He did not move the slightest bit.
The short Vulcan maintained his composure.  “I was not aware there was any blood in engineering.  No do I know whose it might be.  I suspect the cause was the intruder we received during third shift.  He appears to be very dangerous.”
Jack was silent for a moment.  “Communications to the captain.  Skipper?”  Nothing.
Temmit sighed.  “Our intruder has somehow disabled our internal functions.  Communications are not functioning.”
“What about weapons?”  His stare had begun to wander, again.
“All weapons are useless.  The intruder has disabled them as well.”
Jack wandered out the door, without saying a word.
*
Ann was pacing while Marek sat on her bunk, looking at the book titles closest to him.  “I think you should sit down.”
“I’m fine.”
“No, you’re not.  You went into shock.”
“I d—on’t think so.”
“Really?  Why do you think I shaved for you, then?”
“What!?”  She stopped pacing, faced him, and planted fists on her hips.
Marek went to the next shelf of books.  “Oh, yeah.  I was holding your hand and you touched my check and said, his went higher, “’you shaved for me!,’” he waved a hand in the air, “or somethin’ like that.”
“You’re crazy.”  Ann went back to pacing.
“Actually, I thinik you are.  Do you wonder if you’re crazy?  Ever?”
Ann nervously laughed.  “Ha!  My sanity is beyond question.”
“Oh, I heard if you question your own sanity it indicates some sort of higher understanding, and crazy people can’t do that.  Or won’t.”  He looked up at Ann, “I think about that all the time.”  He smiled and went back to the books.
Ann was quiet.  Marek felt very self-satisfied, knowing the silence was her admission of shame.  He thought it was odd he would think such a thing, but still smiled inside.
He turned from the book he was holding, wanting to see the expression on Ann’s face.  Things were moving very slowly.  (It must have been the surprise of him being proven right.)  He knew Ann was crestfallen, yet he had the sensation she was happy.  He also knew she was standing just a few feet from him.
He must have been daydreaming, because he imagined Ann raising a stick of some kind.  That was silly, though, since she was so happy.  He could even see her smiling.
‘She is smiling, isn’t she?’ he wondered.
The reality was that they were both in a good mood, with no care in the universe.  But Marek could not understand why he was imagining Ann swinging a stick at him.
He raised his right arm in his daydream, just to be safe.
Pain shattered the illusion.  Ann had broken Marek’s arm; the (field hockey) stick had been stopped less than a hand span from cracking Marek’s skull.  Instinctively, Marek followed the block with a counter attack.  Before he could pull back, he felt his left palm loosen the teeth in Ann’s mouth.  Nothing broke, except flesh.  Blood began pouring out of her mouth when she tried to say something.
Marek stood up, to yell at her.  “Y– …, oh, this hurts.”  Ann watched him begin to lose balance, but she was beginning to lose her own.  “You,” he paused to blink, to regain composure, “are going to take me to sickbay, or whatever you have, and I don’t want any more nonsense.  Do you understand?”
Ann was holding her mouth with both hands, blood dripping through her fingers.  “Dyew may me buy my tmm.”
Marek figured out what she said, then said, “I’ll make you buy more than your tum, if you ever try that again, young lady.  Now, turn around and lead the way.”
*
The Skipper had awakened a little before.  She had cleaned up, dressed, and was on her way to the bridge.  The door opened.  She stepped into the hall.  Ann and Marek were doing the same, at the far end of the hall.
She was going to say something, but didn’t.  Instead she calmly walked down, took each by an arm, and escorted them to the medical center.
En route, Marek said, “I’m a very dangerous person, you know?  You should remember that.”
She rolled her eyes.  “You can be dangerous after we take care of that arm.”
Ann was silent, but Marek swore he could hear her think, ‘bun of a sitchen, blimey sastered.’
*
The medical center was on deck four, the bridge was on deck two, and the quarters were on deck three.  But there were more than one way to get to them, even on this small a vessel.  While the Skipper was taking Ann and Marek down, Temmit was following Jack “Windy” up to the bridge.
The doors to the bridge opened.  Dan and Rick were too busy in a conversation to notice.
“ … through the door, then back again.  And I ask her where she’s going.  She says she thinks she may have left her clothes in her own room, so she wants to go get them.”
“Excuse me,” Temmit interrupted.
Dan turned to see them.  “Oh, look, it’s the brain surgeon and the brain donor.”
“And it’s up to you to figure out who we mean.”  Rick added.  “Could you two hold it down, please?  I want to finish this, so my partner can change the names, and use it to further his own ego.”
Dan turned his attention back to the story.  “Was she still holding the towel, or had she dropped it yet?”
“Gentlemen?” Windy asked, politely.
“I thought I changed that to a doily.”
“Gentlemen?”
“No, it was a towel.”
“Gentlemen, please.”
“I think the doily would add something, don’t you?”
“Gentlemen!”
Dan stood up.  “Windy, go blow away!  I am trying to learn something useful.”
Temmit stepped forward.  “Have the two of you noticed anything unusual?”
Rick turned his head.  “For this tub of rust?  No.”  He looked up at Dan.  “I think I like you in pumps.  I get neck strain when you wear heels.”
“Oh, if only you meant that.”  Dan sat back down, ignoring Windy and Temmit.
Windy looked at the floor.  “I saw Mr. Majil in the medical center.  He had four broken vertebrae in his mid back.  One was shattered, so he has to wait for a surgeon to help him.  He may not be able to walk for six months, if we cannot help him in time.”
“Hmm,” Rick mused, “this bucket has no turbolift.  If poor, widdle first shirt can’t walk, then …,”
Dan interrupted, “he can’t get to the bridge.”
Rick grinned, “And?”
“And?  And …,”  Dan grinned, “he won’t be able to give us any orders for at least six months.”
Rick took a deadpan take at Temmit.  “If this guy is trying to get us to mutiny, I think you just talked us into it.”
Dan eagerly asked, bouncing in the counselor’s chair, “Do you know where we can sign up?”
*
Ann was laid out on the other table, a sleep inducer on her head.  A face mask covered her mouth and nose, without straps, with a few colorful lights blinking meaninglessly, and it was not connected to anything.  All new to Marek.
Marek was sitting on a stool, holding his arm next to his chest.  The black uniform blouse was draped over Majil’s legs (against amused protest from the Skipper).  He had a snug fitting short sleeved turtleneck undershirt.  He did not have much muscle mass, yet the mass he had was very well toned.  Unexpectedly, and deceptively hidden by the uniform, was a solid chest.  More than a hundred centimeters of prime rib.  The Skipper knew the chest was more important to overall strength than the size of one’s arms.
“That should stabilize her.”  The Skipper turned her attention to Marek.  His right forearm was bent, with a point toward his chest that was painful to look at.  “I don’t know what I can do for you.  Our holodoc has something wrong we can’t pinpoint, and I never set a bone before, not that I would ever want to.”
“I don’t want my arm to heal like this.” Marek said, raising it up a fraction.  The pain in his bulging eyes told the Skipper how much it hurt.  “What’s a holodoc?”
“It’s a holographic medical doctor.  They’re meant to allow starships to continue fixing people up, in case the doctor dies.  Or gets blown to bite-sized chunks.  You know?” she bent one knee slightly, put one hand on her chin, with the other arm supporting it, “the ship’s doctor is most likely going to be in sickbay.  So, if they die, that probably means sickbay got blown into the next world, along with the doctor.  So, ugh, what is the point, you know?”
“April, please,” Marek pleaded, “let’s see this holodoc of yours.  Maybe it can help me set this thing myself.  Who knows?”
She took a breath.  “Okay, I warned you.  Computer, engage emergency holographic doctor program.”
A balding man appeared in the middle of the room, wearing a black and greenish jumpsuit, the likes Marek had never seen.  It intermittently said, “Plea– … ee nature o—the– … gency.”  The image flickered with the gaps in the speech.
“I warned you.  The last time we used this, it kept going back to the beginning of the message.  We fixed that.  But it still has no memory.”  She waved her hands at the flickering image, like a game show girl showing a prize.  “A doctor just like in the good old days; he suffers from Alzheimer’s!”
“Perfect!” Marek blurted out, “He should fit right into this nightmare!”
The Skipper looked hurt.  “Hey …”
“Doctor!  I have a broken arm.  What should I do about it?”  The doctor, between flickers, looked thoughtful.  “I need it set as soon as possible.  It hurts, so I don’t see what waiting will gain me.”
The doctor approached Marek.  The Skipper began stammering.  “Wha–, but–, you, n–, bu–, …”
Marek, holding back the pain, held up his arm for the holograph.  “Ah, what are you worried about?  It’s a hologram.  All it can do is …,”  The holodoc had Marek’s arm in both hands; Marek felt fingers on his arm …, too late. “AAAAaahhhh, that hurts!”
Snap.
Marek stood up, pulling back his, now straight, right forearm.  “Oh, GOD!  That was … NOT visual; that was …!”
April softly said, “Tried to warn you.”
The holodoctor was busily trying to grab for Marek’s arm, so as not to reinjure it.  Marek was pushing it back, or at least, when it was solid.
“Please state the n– …,”
The Skipper held up a hypospray.  “I tried to warn you.”
Marek was watching the doctor, thinking it might try again.  “Stay away from me!”
Phtshhh.  “See you in twenty minutes.”  The Skipper turned to the holodoc.  “This man just broke his arm.  It was recently set.  See that it will heal correctly, while I get an arm brace.”
*
Windy was arguing, in his half-hearted, mousey way, with Rick and Dan (who were compelled to interject jokes and insults).  Temmit was watching the main viewer.  The old Vulcan was intrigued.  The stars he saw were the stars that should be there, but it took him a while to figure out why he had taken notice of them now.
“Quiet!” he shouted.  The three humans went quiet, caused by Temmit’s uncharacteristic volume.  “Excuse me, Mr. Soobosokov, but, do you recognize where we are?  In relation to where we should be?”
Dan studied the screen.  Then, after realization took hold, he answered, “We’re going in the wrong direction!”
Rick jumped up, moving to the helm.  “We are?”  He looked over the instruments.  “We are two light years off course, heading back the way we came.  If we continue on this course, we’re gonna cross into the Klingon Empire in fifteen hours.”
Dan moved to the navigation station, next to Rick.  He touched a few seconds.  Astonished, he leaned very close to Rick’s ear.  He whispered, quietly so the old vulcan could not overhear.  “I have control.  What should we do?”
Rick pushed a few of his own controls; they worked as well, which Dan could easily see.  Louder than he needed to do so, he said, “Nothing is working here, either.”  The two cautiously shared a sideways glance.
Very seriously, Dan said (overly loud), “Yeah.  So, what do we do now?”
Rick turned around.  “Would …. You two … go find the Skipper?”  I don’t know what we can do, but maybe we can do something.  While you go find the Skipper, I mean.”
Dan was a little befuddled by what Rick had said, but tried to follow it up.  Nodding, he said, “Yeah, it looks pretty hopeless.  Maybe she has an override, or something.”
Temmit, if he was suspicious, did not show it.  “You have made a very good point.  This must have been one of your … shared, lucid moments.”  He touched Windy on the arm, escorting him off the bridge.
When the bridge doors had closed, Rick asked, “What do we do?  All I know is the controls were frozen, and now they work.  The freak brothers say there’s a mutiny going on, but I don’t know what to think.  Do you?”
“Well, we are off course,” Dan offered, and “and,”
“And, you as well as I do, the Skipper makes these bizzaroid changes, all the time.  How do we know this isn’t one of her ‘keep the edge’ tests?”
“I don’t!” Dan protested. “That’s why I didn’t give anything away.  So, what do we do?”
“Oh, no.  I asked you first.  No fair changing things on me.”
“Um,” Dan thought, “we have fifteen hours before we cross into Klingon space.  I think we can figure out what to do in half a day, don’t you?”
“You know,” Rick said, changing his somber expression, “that’s why I like you so much.  I don’t have to make the decisions that could get me into trouble.”
“I think you’re coming around.” Dan added playfully.
“Down, tiger.  Now, let me finish my story about the gal in the towel.”
“I thought it was a doily,” Dan offered.
“Thank you very little.  I DO like the doily more …”
*
Temmit was listeninig outside the bridge door.
“What did they say?” Windy asked, quietly.
“It would seem we must convince the Captain to act a bit more sensibly.”
*
The Skipper was waving a whirring hand scanner over Marek’s arm, now in a clear, solid cast, when he regained consciousness.  She glanced up at the scanner dedicated to him.  The arrow began rising to normal range.  He raised himself from the floor, where he had to be treated, for lack of a bed.
“Wow,” she said, “You should still be out for another fifteen minutes.  How do you feel?”
Marek tried to orient himself.  “I, I still …, ugh, feel … woozy.  The, no!” He closed his eyes.  Rick and Dan, unknown to Marek, suddenly lost the control they had reestablished a moment ago.  “Oh, please, let me concentrate.”
“What’s wrong?” the Skipper asked.
“I, I …, I … am having problems concen– … trate– … ing.  I …, I just need … time.”
“Marek?” the Skipper asked, in a motherly way, “What can I do to help you?”
Marek gained a little composure.  Still a little hazy, he said, “Take me to the bridge.”  He mindlessly walked over to his blouse, draped across Majil’s legs.  He turned to the Skipper.  “Please, April.”
She looked at him, understandingly.  “Sure.  Just, this time, take it easy, okay?”
Taking him by the hand, the Skipper led Marek to the bridge.  She took him the short way.
Temmit and Windy had taken the long way down, searching each room for the Skipper.  They went back into the medical center.  When they found Ann unconscious, they took the medical apparatuses off her.  With only a small bruise on her upper lip, she looked fine.
Temmit turned to Windy, who seemed lost.  “Perhaps now we can take control of this vessel again.”
*
“Skipper!”  Rick exclaimed.  “Am I glad to see you.”
Marek walked on the bridge.  Dan, just turning, sat up erectly.  “And, might I add, I am glad to see you, too, mister.”
“Stow it, boys.”  The Skipper led Marek down the (oh, so short, so Marek thought) walk to the command chairs.  The space was barely big enough for two chairs, not three.
“This is it?” Marek asked, as the Skipper took her seat.  “You barely have room for six people up here.  How do you run this thing?”
“We don’t have more than five people up here at any one time, doy.” Rick offered, sarcastically.
“We let more up here, as long as they’re willing to sit on laps.” Dan followed.
“Quiet, all of you.” The Skipper interrupted.  She filled the command chair much … better than Ricardo.  “If I am correct, and I usually am, we are going to have three more joining us on the bridge, any moment.”
Dan leaned over to Rick, then whispered, “I know where the new boy can sit.”
Marek, who had vulcanoid hearing, caught the comment.
Dan felt Marek burning a hole in his neck.  A quick glance verified his … feeling of doom.  “I think he could fill that chair nicely.”
Rick, who felt no such discomfort, grinned.  “I …, you know, I think the reality is funnier than anything I could come up with.”
Ann was walking up the staircase, followed by Temmit and Windy, one on each arm.  She was still groggy from her recent experiences.
“Excuse me, Capta–,” Marek stood up, bowed, and pulled out his commandeered phaser, “Skipper.”  He aimed it at the door of the bridge.
When it opened, he had the weapon trained on Ann, while Temmit and Windy were to her sides.
“Enter.”  Marek had said it so clearly, it had to be heard as an order.  None of the three moved.  “I have this on wide spread.  I can fire faster than that door can close, or faster than either of you could move.”
Temmit looked to the side, while Windy’s eyes began to wander.
Temmit moved forward, and Windy followed.  The door swooshed closed.
Without turning around, the Skipper said, “That would be seven people.”
Windy, with his gaze darting, said, “Skipper, that man is an intruder.  He has injured your first officer, and most likely my assistant.  Now, he has a phaser, and he’s pointing it at us.”
“Actually,” she corrected, “he has it trained on you.”
Temmit noticed she was watching the view screen.  “If I may be so bold, he has taken us off course, and headed us toward certain danger.  He has violated several no less than four interstellar regulations.  Possibly as many as eleven.”
“But, only,” the Skipper corrected, “if the commanding officer deems it to be so.  And, since you have no idea what I said to Mister Marek in private, you have no idea what I have permitted him to do.  Do you?”
Temmit could only see the Skipper watching the view screen.  “No, I do not.”
Marek saw her pupils straining to catch his attention, while her head was facing forward.  He still had the phaser trained on them.  “What do you think I did?”
Temmit waited for the Skipper to say something.  She did not.  “I declare you have gained unlawful entrance aboard this vessel, in the performance of official duty.”
The Skipper spoke up.  “Political asylum is a legal right, and we were not on assignment at the time.”

The Vulcan considered this.  “He then attempted to commandeer this vessel.”
Marek was faster this time.  “That is a question that only the … Skipper can answer.  And,” he took a breath, “she has not made a definitive declaration, either way.”
Temmit spoke faster.  “You have an unauthorized weapon aboard a United Federation vessel, and a mission does not indicate validation; you are guilty.”
The Skipper shrugged her shoulders.  Marek kept his eyes on Temmit, since Windy was preoccupied with the far wall.  “As I recall,” he started cautiously, “Ann tried to fire this same weapon.  It … never fired.  So far as you know, I’m holding a toy.”
The Skipper chuckled, as softly as she could.
Marek continued, “Do you want to test me?  I am very dangerous, by all indications.”
Temmit straightened himself to his full, complete, short stature.  “You assaulted an officer.  There is no possibility of you hiding the damage to his back.  Even if you erased the computer records, the vertebrae are still damaged.”
“And if he disappeared?” Marek asked.
“I believe,” April butted in, “even if we can’t see them now, that the onboard security will show that it was self-defense.  Could you explain to me the case where self-defense was prosecuted, Mister Temmit?  Even in a fatality case?”
Temmit was silent.
“Let me see if I got this,” Rick pondered aloud, “this guy, escaping political persecution, who has not high jacked us, who has not attacked us, …”
“Except in self-defense,” Dan added.
“And, who hasn’t done, really, anything else, is some kind of bad guy, who we need to stop?”
Marek kept the phaser aimed at Temmit, not knowing what the setting was, much less the spread.  It dawned on him, just at that moment.  If he can talk to a large computer why not a small one?  A half microsecond later, and Marek knew he had a low stun, narrow beam on the aged Vulcan.  As shot might have stung him, even at his age, but not much more.
“I say we take a vote.”  All eyes fell on the Skipper, even Marek’s.  “I’m an easygoing person,” she said defensively.  “We head the reasons against him.  Now, I think we need to hear what we have in favor of him.”
Marek, who had resumed glaring at Temmit (Windy had begun a mental conversation with the wall directly behind him), incredulously gawked at the Skipper.
“Dan?”
“Yes, Skipper?” he responded crisply.
“Why is this boat named the Dahlquist?”
“Because once we finish one dull quest, we begin the next dull quest.”
“Mister Gamez,” she asked, “what happens to a crew when they have been abducted by a terrorist, or group of terrorists?”
He began laughing.  “They get at least a month of shore leave, plus extras, if it’s a civilian vessel involved in a government something-or-other.”
Marek, finally seeing what the Skipper was getting at, said, “And this is a civilian ship, even if it is on military duty.”
“Bango!” she called.
Marek had a feeling ‘bango’ was wrong, somehow.
“So,” she continued, not noticing Marek had reached a hand toward Ann.  Temmit was terrified, for a Vulcan, or Marek, so he stepped away from Ann.  Marek touched the bruised spot on her mouth.  The Skipper asked, “who is in favor of adding Marek as a …,”she made quotation marks with her fingers in the air, “temporary crew member?”
Rick waved his hand.  “I need to know something, first, before I vote.  Did he actually do anything, in your opinion, I mean, oh, most skilled of Skippers?”
She turned, seeing Marek pulling back from Ann.  “No, not that I would testify to.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Temmit interrupted,  “the executive officer has sustained real injuries.  Our captor, who is the only one holding a weapon, is the only suspect.  Since it was he who informed me where to find his victim, and no one else can utilize communications, internal or external, I submit he is very powerful, dangerous, and, therefore, untrustworthy.  To give him a vote of confidence is tantamount to suicide.”

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