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Rob Morris



U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701
Captain’s Log, Stardate 6922.33

My body is my own again, and the lunatic who took over my command is sobbing incoherently to her accomplice. Yet I feel a stain upon my ship. The spot where that chair stands belongs to Bob April, and poor Chris Pike. It belongs to a man like my own brother. It belongs to a handful of bright, talented people with whom I have forged a bond stronger than death. It belongs to my late brother’s orphaned son, who asked me as he sat there whether that was where I saved people from. It even belongs to Matt Decker and Charles Stocker, who usurped it with the idea that they were needed. That chair most pointedly does not belong to Janice Lester.

And yet she took it. Took everything that I had, really. Even though I now have it all back, an ugly strain of an old evil has been exposed aboard my ship. Rather than being a bulwark against Janice’s madness, five members of my security staff threw in with her murderous plans. Not because they knew who she was, or agreed with what she was doing. But because she was ‘The Captain,’ giving orders. God help us all. Because they were only following orders. I have decided against any sort of court-martial. But I have to know whether or not these people even belong aboard my ship any longer. A series of short interviews will tell me what I need to know.

Ensign Pavel Chekov, a person known and liked by most of Security, will act as witness to these proceedings. The questions I must ask will be pointed.


Kirk asked the first member of the security staff that oversaw his unintentional imprisonment, "Ensign, why wasn’t the prisoner who appeared to be Janice Lester simply kept under guard in Sickbay?"

The very young man shrugged. "As far as anyone could see, sir, the orders to place her in the brig were given by you."

Kirk didn’t care for what that answer left out. "When not under a red alert or other state of emergency, doesn’t Security advise the captain on the disposition of such people?"

Kirk cared even less for what followed.

"Well, sure, that’s what’s written down on paper. But you learn your first day from the more experienced guys to put all that nonsense aside. The chief calls the shots, and the chief answers to the captain."

Kirk dismissed him and called in Lemli who had at least four years more experience. "Mister Lemli, why did you and the others permit the person who appeared to be me to strike the person who appeared to be Janice Lester on not one but three occasions? One of those occasions included an instance of near-throttling."

This man seemed cockier than the last. Perhaps he was even the one who had told his friend to put aside the ‘nonsense’ of regulations. "I’m sorry you were hurt, sir. But she was the captain at that time. To me, that’s really all there is to it. When the captain is dealing with a perceived enemy, I don’t question his orders. Not healthy. And even if it was, I wouldn’t do it. Ever. We work for the captain."

Kirk looked him in the eye from across the table. "What if my given orders are unlawful? What if I kill an enemy in cold blood? And what if I said that you serve this ship before its captain?"

The cockiness vanished. The man now seemed confused. "Sir, with all due respect, how does any of that apply to my job?"

Kirk had Chekov dismiss the man and also had him call in the chief of security. "Commander Giotto, three years ago, a man who appeared to be me was relieved of duty, taken to the brig, and locked away. Why was this done?"

The easy smile the chief barely kept back told Kirk something of what he was up against. "Because he wasn’t you. Look, sir. That lunatic from the other universe was shouting at the top of his lungs. You have to admit, Doctor Lester was a bit more subtle about the whole thing."

Subtle, my borrowed ass, thought Kirk. "Was she? Striking a harmless prisoner? Suddenly invoking General Order Four, using as her basis illegal recordings of private conversations? Locking away half the senior staff on flimsy evidence? Where in all this mess is even any hint of subtlety, Chief?"

Giotto actually sneered. "My department regularly sends men to die for you. We keep hungry Klingons out of that chair you seem to worship. We let the color of our tunics become a running joke because the joke is, it’s no joke to us. We snap to like straight bedsheets when the captain tells us so. That is our job. So help me, you are not laying this fiasco on us. She wasn’t my psycho bitch ex-girlfriend."

Kirk’s words were to the point. "Get out of my sight, Paul."

Perhaps stunned that his tough talk hadn’t cowed the captain, the soon-to-be former security chief removed himself without further incident.

Kirk turned to a man who never stopped proving himself, and who would one day succeed him. "Comments, Mister Chekov?"

Pavel Chekov shook his head as he looked at his notes. "Nyet, Kyptin. Except to say the obvious, that they don’t get it."

Kirk was intrigued. "What don’t they get, Ensign?"

Chekov did something he seemingly rarely did, in quoting a source. "In Russia, during the First Vworld Vwar, the Bolsheviks believed that America was next for revolution, as Marx predicted. So they spread a story of a man in America charged under wartime sedition laws. He fought and lost all the way to the Supreme Court. One of the justices said that his First Amendment rights did not include the right to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. The accused man is said to have responded that this assertion was correct—unless there actually happened to be a fire. That is Security’s job. To determine how large the crowd is, to see if there is a fire, and to see how best to evacuate the crowd, and to perhaps put out the fire as well."

The captain felt something. Something right. "What about the theater management?"

"I vwould assume they vwant the crowd and the theater protected. Vwithout both these things, management is out on the street, so to speak."

Kirk nodded. "A bit strained, Mister Chekov. And I wouldn't make such a quote around Mister Spock, for fear of a thorough accuracy check, but I like the basic idea. So when get to Benecia, drop off Doctors Lester and Coleman, we’re going to be promoting Lieutenant Nored to Security Chief." He looked at the file on his terminal. "I’d like you to do three things."

"Of course, Kyptin. Anything."

The captain smiled. "I want you and her to work hand in hand and clean up Security. I want the attitude we witnessed today to be eradicated. Then—"

What was said next would change a stunned Pavel Chekov for the rest of his life.

"—I want you to be the best assistant security chief this ship has ever had."


U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701
Captain’s Log, Supplemental

I have found my body again—and a great untapped talent has once again been revealed to me. I expect great things from him.

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