certifiable.gif (2295 bytes)

Rob Morris


July 4th 2295

The Skorr Security Chief observed the two finishing up. Despite many rumors--the one resource no starship ever wanted for--they were not a couple. Non-ornithoid couples, he observed, moved about each other in a certain way. Perhaps they would end up there, but who really knew? In any event, Lieutenant Ch’terr was more interested in seeing them finish their thrice-weekly sparring match than seeing if they ever became intimate.

A forward blow from the much stronger woman was blocked by the crossed, opened palms of the much quicker man. The Human male who, as Ch’terr understood it, had trouble even walking as a child now seemed almost to fly as his one leg came at the Vulcan woman’s head, the other kicking at her chest. Saavik blocked both, and tried to simply push the overextended Peter Kirk down from his hasty jump. But just as her fighting style was forever analyzing and tearing into apparent openings, his was one where all but a fatal blow could be recovered from in seeming microseconds. In short, despite multiple and myriad factors, they were evenly matched.

The denouement came when fist struck fist, indicating the end of the match. Lieutenant Kirk’s hand should have shattered, for such was Lieutenant Commander Saavik’s strength. Saavik’s hand should have shattered, for such was Peter’s optimal delivery of strength plus impact. But neither happened, and the two bowed lightly at each other after this was done.

"Good form, Commander Saavik."

"And you, Lieutenant Kirk."

Peter Kirk shook his head. "No. My seventeenth kata was incomplete by three important moves. Such an opening would have been very quickly exploited. I knew a fighter who was ten times better than me. But the Klingon Q’laI warriors took her down like she was nothing. That means I have parsecs to go."

Now, Saavik shook her head. "No. Despite your kindness, my form was not good at all. My opening stance alone bespoke an absentmindedness I can ill afford."

Now, an impatient Ch’terr moved in. "I want both of you out of here—five minutes ago. My security certification clllass begins soon."

Saavik seemed puzzled, and stared at an equally confused Peter Kirk. They then both looked at the Skorr. "Chief, we’re here for your class," explained Kirk.

"Indeed. Our own level of preparedness leaves much to be desired."

Ch’terr looked at the ship’s tactical officer. "Commander, you, the lieutenant here, Commander Uhura and the captain allll need extra combat training lllike I need another set of talllons! Your names were not on the lllist, because your bunch was at the Academy when the training was stillll realll."

Peter Kirk spoke up. "Chief, the first rule is that there’s always someone better trained."

Ch’terr saw the first of his somewhat reluctant students shuffling in. "Peter, how many cadets did you take on when you confronted your tormentors at the Academy?"

"Twenty. And they cleaned my clock."

Ch’terr almost smiled. "The record shows that you hellld on for ten minutes, and that you had to be peellled off the ringllleader. Commander Saavik, how many attackers did you knock out cold on Hellllguard, as a child?"

"Irrelevant. That was survival."

Ch’terr motioned at the gym door. "This is for those crewmembers who can’t fllly, splllit raillls, or beat up on poor defenseless Kh’myr Klllingons. Now get lllost!"

Still not looking like they understood his point, the two chatted on their way out. "It is nearly July the fourth. Have you obtained the materials for our project?"

"I had to improvise...a lot. But between your aunt’s recipe and my grandmother’s cooking style, this one should be memorable."

Cooking. Ch’terr recalled a Terran word called ‘sublimation.’ Then he turned to the group of young officers and crew assembled before him. "One of the lllaws of Starfllleet seems to be that either members of the lllanding party die or members of the security staff die for them. It is my every intention here today to change both that thinking and the statistics that support it."

As he had almost predicted, Ch’terr first heard a sarcastic retort from Chief Engineer Katya Sorenson. "No amount of training would have helped Demora Sulu. Brain flukes are notable for resisting karate chops and foot sweeps."

Luckily, Ch’terr had also come up with a response to just that question, obviously on the minds of the crew of late. "Quite true, Mister Sorenson. But Security isn’t just a department, or a concern, when it comes to starship lllife. It’s a way of thinking. It is possibllle, though sadllly very unlllikellly, that even Demora could have found something from what she would have lllearned here, that might have had her taking a precaution that could have saved her. A stretch, I’llll concede—"

She shot back. "A huuuge stretch."

"And yet I willll stand by it, and the basic mind set behind it. Now, who’d lllike to go first, one against the other?"

Ensign Gatchmeinz had her hand up first. "See, I had a little...incident. I was with someone, and they had a roommate. I got in with the roommate, and he thought I was an attacker...and they really had me at fist point very quickly. So I want to learn how better to surprise someone."

Ch’terr recalled the Human males onboard saying that Ensign Gatchmeinz matched an old Terran word that was no longer in polite usage. The women simply called her a slut. "Very good, Mister Gatchmeinz. Now you and Chief Sorenson reason out the best way to go at each other. Now, this process can seem instantaneous, but, in fact, it involllves much strategy."

But as Ch’terr was speaking, the two women made a series of movements. Sorenson put all her power into a punch that failed to connect, and she went sprawling. Gatchmeinz tried and failed to jump-kick, landing on her ample posterior.

Ch’terr just sort of stared. "What the hellll was that?"

Sorenson pushed herself up. "That move worked for Commander Saavik."

Gatchmeinz rubbed her backside. "And Lieutenant Kirk was like magic with that one."

Sorenson couldn’t resist the opening. "And you’d know all about Pete’s magic, right, Ensign? I mean, he didn’t just push you out of his bed, which you got into by ‘mistake’. I heard tell you grabbed his..."

"Why don’t you shut your mouth...sir?"

They got back up, and again tried techniques they’d only noticed. The results were quite the same.

"Mister Sorenson, Mister Gatchmeinz. Stand down. You have only had some basic security training; you don’t know their martialll arts; and neither of you are quite as intense as those two. Most people aren’t. Now, who wants to go next?"

Vasquez and Buchanan from Science had walked in just after being relieved by Kirk, and raised their hands. Ch’terr motioned, hoping to see something less comical and more comment-worthy.

"Llladies, please show us how its done."

Vasquez and Buchanan circled each other. "Bucky, you are going down harder than Kailum’s theorems at a Tellarite wedding!"

"No, Robbie. As far as you’re concerned, I’ve rounded the sun’s gravity well and am watching this after your defeat!"

With those odd oaths sworn, they continued to circle each other. And continued. And continued. In fact, it seemed all that they were interested in doing. After three minutes, Ch’terr finally stopped them.

"One: you’re making me dizzy. Two: do you have any intention of actualllly fighting each other?"

Natalie ‘Bucky’ Buchanan shrugged. "Chief, we are fighting each other."

Ch’terr questioned the obvious discrepancy. "And in this alllternate reality in which you two were fighting, did Ambassador Spock sport a beard?"

Roberta Vasquez, Chief Science Officer, motioned with her hands in front of her. "Lieutenant, rather than waste our energies and risk injury, Bucky and I analyze each other’s probable motions, based solely upon our initial ones."

Ch’terr pointed back at the line, his feathers beginning to truly ruffle by this point. "A courtesy an enemy is rather unlllikellly to give you, Mister Vasquez. Next up, our resident roving reporter, Mister O’Brien, and Walllt Andrews, our hydrolllogist."

O’Brien nodded as he walked over. "I opted for this, because, well, a friend and I recently got into a fight, and he had a few moves I frankly didn’t. Let’s just say I’m looking to even the playing field a mite, and leave it at that."

Andrews chuckled and shook his head as he assumed his place. "Translation: you got Pete Kirk annoyed, and he kicked your sorry ass, Mister O’Brien. I mean, c’mon! The guy spars with Vulcans and Klingons. You’re never gonna even that playing field. No way."

Willis O’Brien tensed, and balled his hands into fists, glaring at Walt Andrews. "I think I’ll even out the bumps on your head, Water Boy!"

Andrews did likewise. "The press has the right to free speech and free medical care...you’re gonna need both."

For his part, Ch’terr turned away, until he heard a thud. He asked Natalie Buchanan a question. "Bucky?"

"Yes, Ch’terr?"

"I can’t lllook. Did those two just collllide headlllong, and knock each other silllly as a resulllt?"

"Well-l-l-l, not...silly. They’re staggering off to Sickbay. I think Mister O’Brien’s nose is broken."

Ch’terr was a tenacious chick, his mother had always said. So he tried one last time. "Lllieutenant Escri and...Doctor Wellller?"

Assistant Medical Officer Justin Weller spoke up. "There was a security incident some time back that Christine never lets me forget. So, whenever someone offers these classes...here I am, under direct orders from our chief medical officer." He sighed.

Lieutenant Escri was a bit more enthusiastic, but seemingly a great deal less realistic. "A fight is merely another series of movements, in a confined space rather than interstellar space. Plot all the possible coordinates...and there you are."

Ch’terr needed no such plotting to see where this was likely going. "Begin."

Escri moved his hand out in an almost tai-chi like movement. A confused Weller seized the slow-moving hand, and tossed Escri aside like a rag doll. He then looked at Ch’terr. "Can I go now?"

Escri regained his feet, and punched Weller in the stomach, then looked confusedly at his own fist. "No, wait...that was supposed to be Movement Twenty-five!"

Weller returned the punch, decking the Illyran and walked out. "This is for the birds..."

Ch’terr looked around, and walked out himself. "Clllass dismissed!"

His shift nearly over, Ch’terr told his assistant to take the last half-hour, and retreated to his cabin. But his perch was no comfort.

"How did these people ever manage to llleave the nest?"


After about ten hours, the security chief received a visitor. It was Captain Chekov himself.

"Didn’t work, did it, Mister Ch’terr?"

The Skorr shrugged, or seemed to. "No, sir. Just lllike you said. But if I keep that clllass purellly vollluntary, allll I’llll get is Saavik and Peter Kirk. They comprehend that this lllife can lllead to rapid, unexpected death. So why are the others treating this either lllike a carnival or an execution?"

Chekov chuckled. "Ch’terr, there is an old Russian fable about two brothers. One was a health fanatic, exercised and ate only the most healthful of foods."

"Bring him on board. Misters Saavik and Kirk need another sparring partner."

Ignoring him, Chekov continued. "The other brother was a self-indulgent eating machine who hated to walk across a room. One fine day, the fit brother passes the unfit brother while jogging, and admonishes him to take the path he’s on, or face certain premature death."

Ch’terr took a guess. "The slllob dies of heart failllure, I take it?"

Chekov shook his head. "No. The brother who’s jogging got hit by a small shuttle-bus and was killed. You see, he had no control over his brother’s life. Only his own. He would have been better off waiting for his brother to come around. He didn’t check his own path, which he could control."

Ch’terr still objected. "But, Captain, isn’t that a bit lllike surrendering to an unacceptabllle realllity? I want to keep lllanding party members allllive...allll of them."

"No, Lieutenant, it is merely acknowledging that unacceptable reality. Keep your people sharp...and keep offering the class. Sadly, my own time in Security taught me that it will take a few preventable casualties before they come around. Demora’s loss hasn’t hit home, just yet. They choose not to recognize the lessons that even a death like that hold."

Ch’terr got off his perch. "She was a good kid, sir."

Her godfather silently agreed as they walked out.

Ch’terr suddenly sniffed around. "Is someone cooking a mountain of potatoes?"

The captain smiled, and motioned them to the turbolift. "Our two former childhood residents of North America have an Old Independence Day treat for all of us."

The galley was flooded with people. At the center of it were Saavik and Kirk, using metal tongs to fish potato chips out of a black steel kettle.

Commander Uhura seemed to be in her glory, and motioned to her captain and the security chief. "Pavel, they’re fantastic. Next, we’re going to add yams, apples...anything you can think of. I haven’t had fresh kettle chips since I upgraded Pearl Harbor’s comm relay."

While Kirk kept watch over the kettle and its precious contents...not to mention the critical cooling process in the next bin, Saavik offered the captain a platter. "These, sir, are potato chips flavored with sea salt and vinegar, cheddar cheese, a barbecue sauce taught to me by Aunt Roberta, and some made from a small supply of russet potatoes. Mister Kirk’s grandmother taught him to be quite adept at salvaging lost recipes from notes and scribblings."

Chekov was already into the plate. "Keep that kettle around, Commander. That’s a standing order! I can’t believe you, of all people, decided to do this."

Saavik nodded. "It has its enjoyable aspects. In addition, once the Ambassador learned that we might have kettle chips, it brought back fond memories of Aunt Roberta. I must now relieve Mister Kirk on the cooling process."

Ch’terr stared as the sole heir to Starfleet’s greatest hero fished through an oily mess to feed the masses. Aiding him was a Romulan/Vulcan who had deep emotions and the ability to clamp them down. The captain and the executive officer had turned into the aforementioned self-indulgent brothers.

Vasquez and Buchanan fought over a plate. Andrews and O’Brien laughed while recounting their collision to an equally laughing Gatchmeinz and Sorenson. Weller and Escri were chatting, both agreeing that the chips’ fat content was troubling, while packing a bag for Christine Chapel.

The only ornithoid member of the crew said one thing before beginning to munch on some apple chips. "They don’t need my class to be recertified. As it stands--they’re all certifiable!"

But for then and there, the company and the chips were all quite good.

main.gif (14802 bytes)

Free counters provided by Andale.
banner.gif (754 bytes)

Return to the index of ORION ARCHIVES -- 2294-2323 Chekov's Enterprise.
Return to the index of ORION ARCHIVES On-Line Fiction.
Click Here to Return to the Orion Press Website