This is the finale of the serialized episode – fan fiction taking place directly after the infamous episode in season three. That episode has a lot of problems, but it’s sort of enjoyable and has beats that pull in treky surprises and solutions. The biggest plot-hole for me is that the “Eymorg” would have let them go without a fight. Also, they mentioned a nearby planet had a civilization equivalent to 2030 era Earth.
Act 4 Scene 1
“Mr Scott, have you been keeping busy?” said Kirk, trying to project an air of confidence as he left the mobile hospital.
“Aye. But most importantly, I’ve been keeping tabs on the star overhead.”
“The solar storm?” Kirk said, stopping cold, hoping to hear it had stopped.
“It’s still going, but the radiation falling. 10 percent lower now.”
“10 percent? Well it’s something.” Kirk said as he continued walking.
“Aye, it’s enough that I could return with an engineering repair team.”
Kirk stopped again, taken aback.
“I’ve been thinking, with the radiation falling, as long as we all wore full radiation suits we could begin work. We should have enough suits on board. We can begin repairs. Enterprise will have been adrift in orbit getting blasted by radiation for a week. She’s going to need a lot of work now in addition to the-“
“I agree! You’ve sold me Mr Scott. I need as many ship systems online as you can muster.”
The chief engineer nodded and looked seriously at his captain. “The radiation is still too high to use transporters, and it might even prevent our communicators from working.” Kirk nodded at this. “Captain there’s no reason to return to the surface once we’ve taken the shuttles. Is it a good idea to leave the crew… marooned?”
“It doesn’t seem like we have any choice in the matter. This is a tense situation. People on this world are divided, fearful. They’re worried our bacteria are going to cause an ecological disaster.”
“I think they’ve got good reason to be scared, Cap’n.” The two men stood together in silent contemplation. There was nothing left to say.
“Mr Scott, I need every system on the Enterprise to be ready as soon as possible.”
“Comms. Sensors. Transporters. Weapons. Shields. Navigation and propulsion. I need these systems now. Do whatever it takes.”
“We can’t stay here Scotty. Get your team together and go.“
Act 4 Scene 2
Captain’s Log, Stardate 5439.5
“Yesterday the chief engineer returned to enterprise with two dozen of our engineering crew, a group that included only half of the senior and highly qualified engineering staff. Under normal circumstances they would have weeks of work ahead of them – but we don’t have time to spare. Half of my crew is showing symptoms that are worsening into hydrophobia. The planet we’ve landed on has tolerated our presence in a quarantine zone, but the threat of an attack is growing more serious by the hour. There is a bright spot, in that Spock is coming out of his coma, I’ve been asked to check on his condition within the hour.”
As the captain neared the makeshift hospital, he was reminded of how dire their situation was becoming. There were more crew here than at any other part of their encampment, and it was getting crowded.
Spock waved to him, beckoning. “Captain, if you would.” Kirk couldn’t help notice as he drew closer, that his chief medical officer was sweating through his uniform.
“The doctor and I have isolated a virus, and we can now test for it.”
“Good to see you too.” Kirk said with a gentle smile.
“An hour ago, I asked the doctor to inject me with a concentration of viral particles.”
“Good god, you asked to be infected, Spock. Why?”
The doctor stepped forward, and used an autosyringe on Kirk’s arm to draw blood. Kirk instinctively brought up his hand, but the wound did not cause pain. The sample of blood was placed into a medical tricorder, and the computer voice read out “positive”.
“You’re infected too Captain. We all are.” Said Mccoy, grimly. “Except him.” Repeating the procedure, he obtained a green sample of Vulcan blood and ran the same test.
“Negative.” Came the results of the test.
“You mean to tell me, Spock has somehow already developed an immunity to this alien virus? What about the rest of us?”
“Totally fatal if left untreated. No doubt it’s already in your spinal fluid – a neurological virus with a course very similar to Earth rabies. Without synthesizing an immunoglobulin compound, every member of this crew, except for our Vulcan friend here, will be dead within another two to three weeks, according to our analysis of this virus.”
“It was my brain, Captain.” Spock interjected.
Kirk was taken aback. “Your brain? Spock, don’t tell me you cured yourself with your thoughts?”
“Of course not. My brain was in a heightened state of immune response following the surgery, and some of the cerebrospinal connections made by the doctor were improperly connected to the lymphatic system, causing me to enter a protective coma while my body attempted to heal. There will be some small amount of scar tissue.” he said looking at the doctor in a way that for humans would seem accusatory.
“You’re welcome” said the doctor with his classic panache.
“It was this connection that allowed me to fight this infection, and eventually to develop an automatic immune response. My body produces antibodies for this virus, just like any other virus I’ve been exposed to.”
Kirk was elated. “Spock, that is extraordinary!”
The doctor continued: “This last test was what we needed to confirm it. Spock has cleared the virus from his system in under an hour. Now all we need to do is isolate the proteins he’s producing in response and we can synthesize an antiserum.” The doctor projected an air of confidence, relieved now to have such a simple task before him to lift the curse.
Kirk nodded and asked “How long until you have an antiserum ready?”
“Captain, Lieutenant Masters is near death. I thought you should know. We may not be able to finish this work in time to save her. We’ll know in the next few hours.
Act 4 Scene 3
Kirk enters the makeshift room occupied by Lieutenant Masters. She was incoherent and strapped down to the bed. One of the nurses hurried in, scanned her, gave her an injection. The nurse shook her head at the captain and rushed out again.
Kirk went to her side, looking for a sign of recognition in her eyes. Foaming drool and convulsions were all he saw until the injection seemed to lift her. He took her hand as she finally made eye contact and seemed lucid again. “Just rest, Charlene.”
“Captain. Am I dying?”
Kirk knew there was no reason to lie. “We’re not sure.”
“I’m sorry to have caused any trouble.”
Kirk looked at her intensely. “Dammit Charlene. Lieutenant. You know better than that. The only trouble is that you’ve got to stay optimistic. I have every reason to believe we’ll have an antidote for this.” He switched to a stentorian tone now, firm and professional. “Now your orders are to rest. I need you back in peak condition if we’re going to make it out of this, is that understood?”
Almost as soon as he left the scene, his communicator was going off. “Captain we need you here at once.”
Act 4 Scene 4
“You’ve been given an ultimatum. I’m sorry, but I don’t have the political will to resist this any more.”
Kirk looked at the man on the screen, trying to figure out, as always where he stood with him, and how valuable that was. “I am only an executive, and while I am technically in charge of one of the greatest countries on our planet, I am still a servant of the republic. A temporary servant.”
Kirk replied. “Come to it, what are you trying to say.”
“As part of the deal, our government has signed onto a planetary protection treaty. Any aliens which threaten biological contamination can be met with the ultimate force. I’m sorry captain but they plan to launch a nuclear missile at your quarantine zone unless you leave – after you leave too, in fact. Your bacteria are the aliens we fear Captain Kirk, not you.”
“I see. Unfortunately, we have a symbiotic relationship with our bacteria administrator Laren.”
The administrator looked at him with a kind of universal sadness. “It appears the solar maximum is at an end. I’ve convinced them to wait, and give you a chance to evacuate, peacefully.”
“My ship is adrift in orbit, and the radiation levels still too high…”
“Captain I’m sorry. I negotiated for as long as I could. The nuclear launch has been authorized and a 50 kiloton warhead will be on it’s way in 4 hours.”
Everyone present was stunned and silent. “Unfortunately, part of the treaty stipulated that once the ultimatum was delivered, our communication would cease. Farewell, and goodluck.”
“Uhuru, have you gotten through to the Enterprise yet?”
“Nothing yet captain.”
“Keep trying. If you get through at all let him know what has happened.”
Act 4 scene 5
With less than 4 hours until the nuclear launch, Kirk directs the crew to ready for transport, trying to busy those that aren’t sick with a task, hoping it doesn’t become a futile effort.
The time draws close, and as Kirk begins to sweat and cough, Spock approaches, “Ah, captain. You’ll wish to accompany me to sick bay. Lieutenant Masters is responding to the immunoglobulin therapy.”
“What does it matter, anyway?” Kirk realized he was louder than he meant to be, apoplectic. “We might as well die here in a nuclear fireball.”
“Captain, it would appear you are foaming at the mouth. I believe your infection is becoming more serious.” Several of the crew were drawn to the commotion.
“Don’t you see it doesn’t matter, Spock? None of it matters!” He gestured wildly around to the doomed crew around him. “It won’t be long now. Just as we’re saved from this disease, it is the very fear of disease that’s killed us.”
Several crewmembers gathered around him, one of them he recognized as Hadley. “Captain. Come with us. It will be alright.” Their expressions were blank and unfeeling and he unloaded every frustration and ounce of anger left in his heart, weeping; his crew lovingly helping him to the makeshift hospital, ignoring his cries and lifting him onto a gurney for treatment as convulsions overtook him.
Act 5 Scene 1
“Captain’s log: Doctor Mccoy has been able to synthesize an antibody serum using Spock’s immune resistance to this alien illness. In just a few hours I’ve started to recover enough to feel somewhat… normal, again. I fear it won’t matter. In minutes the missiles will be released, and we are marooned here, with no communication, no expectation that Enterprise will come for us.”
“It’s time Kep’tin,” Chekov said to him as he slowly drew near the command center near.
Uhura spoke up “incoming message… from administrator Laren.”
“Onscreen…Administrator? I didn’t expect to hear from you again.”
“I wanted to see if there was any hope you’d left. Some in my government, including me, see this as a horror.”
“Well don’t feel like you can wash the guilt from your hands so easily. You could yet do something to stop this, couldn’t you?” The man looked weary, and covered his face.
“Goodbye Captain. I’m sorry.”
The transmission ended, and the senior staff in earshot stopped, looking up at the clear sky for a sign of an incoming missile.
“Any word from Enterprise?” Asked Kirk of nobody in particular.
“Nothing, Captain,” replied Uhura.
Chekov, quietly: “Any minute now.”
Kirk opened his communicator and said “attention all hands of the USS Enterprise.” He heard his own voice echoing across communicators pulled out across the crew, still a thousand strong – still without a single casualty.
Suddenly a brilliant light drew their attention – bright as the sun of Sigma Draconis, but bright for only few brief seconds. The crew watched in amazement as the light faded – the detonation deep enough in space that it wouldn’t hurt them.
“What happened?” Asked Uhura.
Spock now stood with them and casually remarked “it would appear our shipmates have transported the incoming missile into deep space. Our technological advantage is clear. I suspect we’ll be hearing from Mr Scott soon.” It was a plain statement. Quiet. Precise.
Kirk just looked at him.
Act 5 Scene 2
The bridge crew is accompanied by Engineer Montgomery Scott on the turbolift to the bridge. The storm has passed, and the entire crew escaped to the Enterprise, unharmed. A few are still recovering in sick bay now, including Lt Masters. The engineers, including “Scotty” are still in protective suits, sweat covering their brows as they were getting sick aboard the Enterprise while working feverishly to restore ship’s system.
“Before we leave orbit we should use our phasers to sterilize the quarantine zone.” Said Kirk to Chekov, “I’d like you to work with Mr Scott to ensure the right power settings and achieve the appropriate yield. They did give us shelter from the storm, the least we can do is prevent them from having to use one of those terrible weapons.”
Scotty kept trying to get a word in on the captain but every inch they covered of the ship brought more instruction and orders, observations.“Agreed, Captain, you’ll see, we had to do some, extreme… things, especially to the bridge.”
“That’s alright Mr Scott. I’m eternally grateful not to have been engulfed in a nuclear fireball.”
“Well Captain, you see, the bridge”
“As long as the bridge is still there, Mr Scott, I’ll buy you a whole bottle of St Magdalene Single Malt Whiskey.”
The doors whooshed open, and Kirk stepped out in disbelief onto a completely empty deck. The conning station, science, engineering, tactical station were empty of consoles.
He turned around, speechless as everyone marveled at it. Scotty stammered: “As I was trying to tell ye,”
“Scotty!?” Kirk looked dumbfounded. “Where is the bridge?”
“Well, it’s here, but sir, I had to take, well, …some of the equipment and connect it directly to various ship’s systems. Most of it is in main engineering.”
Kirk just looked stunned. “But you left my chair here.” It was a monolith in an otherwise empty room. Kirk sat in it, with a surreal feeling.
“Yes, well, we didn’t really need chairs, sir. We were quite a bit busy. It’s frankly a miracle we got things working in here.” Kirk’s mouth hung open.
“About that whiskey, sir… I was wondering, what year were you thinking?”
Did you hear the music in your head at the end? Star trek episodes often ended on a humorous, tension diffusing, campy beat that was typical of TV at the time, allowing a feeling of finality for the audience an to tie up any lose plot. The whimsical flute music could have been the same in Gilligan’s island or Trek, and you probably wouldn’t have noticed. Who am I to depart from such a tradition? This is meant to be classic Star Trek.
The book “Endurance” was running through my head as I wrote this, it’s an incredible story of survival in which the crew survives against all odds when they should have all perished in Antarctica. In some ways the non-fiction aspect of that story is given weight by the fact that they did not have any fatalities. It seems like on star-trek sometimes weight was given to the gravity of a plot-line by killing someone off, especially in the original series. In that series, it may have seemed perhaps less believable if nobody died.
To me it was great fun to build up an impossible challenge and let the characters meet it and overcome it. The biggest challenge is to use old tropes freely, the plot armor of the crew and the deus ex machina of a simple transporter solution.
I decided to cut the explanation that the immunoglobulin would need to be injected into the cerebral-spinal fluid. Today that kind of treatment of the rabies virus would probably not be curative. Suffice it to say that future medical tech magic took care of whatever hurdles stand in the way of such a thing. Incredibly, for our rabies virus, we’ve had only a handful of people survive after showing symptoms and being diagnosed with a clinical rabies infection of the nervous system. The only hope is to receive a post-exposure prophylaxis, which includes antibodies. Incredibly, they figured that part out back in 1980.
Hadley and Masters were useful junior officers chosen almost at random, but they’re there to provide characters you can connect with directly across this storyline, in addition to the principles we’re all so familiar with.
So do I have cannon inaccuracies? Plot holes? Or is there a chance this slots silently and neatly into place?