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Security Officer Baillie

Sooner or later they all get round to it.

"What's he really like?" they want to know, "He" being of course Commander Spock, First Officer of the Enterprise, and a Vulcan.

My answer usually depends on how much I've had to drink at the time. I guess I didn't think too much about it one way or the other at first. A starship security officer isn't usually given to asking too many questions about his superiors - better just to get on with the job. At least nobody ever pulled any strokes when he was around; some people tried it, but only once - he'd hand you that frozen stare, and cut you down to size without really trying.

Well, like I say, I kept my head down, and stayed out of his way as much as possible. I ran into him once, though, and after that I changed my mind about him more than somewhat.

I'd been working in Hold Four on the cargo deck, helping out Dr. Tarrant and her team of geologists. They were cataloguing some new specimens, and needed a hand with the heavy work. My shift was just about over, so I finished up, and set off back to my quarters, making plans for the evening. Just as the door to Hold Four closed behind me, the Red Alert went off, and the call to battle stations came over the intercom. In this situation you don't hang about, so I'm heading towards the turbo-lift when suddenly the world blows up in my face.

When I come to, the place is full of smoke, the lift doors are blown in, and the damage alert warnings are sounding full blast. I decide I'd rather be somewhere else at this point, so I'm heading off down the corridor when I run into Spock at the intercom; he's talking to the Captain, and by the look on his face, you'd think he was discussing the weather.

"Spock out," he tells the Captain; then he sees me.

"Mr. Baillie," he says, "are there any more security personnel on this deck?"

"I don't think so, sir," I tell him. "It was just about the end of the shift, and the replacements wouldn't have arrived yet. What happened?"

"The Captain informs me that we have been attacked by a Romulan cruiser, and our deflector shields have been seriously weakened. Damage is severe in this area; life support systems are unreliable, and there is a risk of fire in the cargo holds, as the heating circuits have been overloaded. In addition, the turbo-elevators are not working, so we are effectively trapped here until Mr. Scott can effect repairs,"

"Excuse me, sir," I say, "but Dr. Tarrant and a team of geologists were working in Hold Four; they must have been trapped there."

He turns back to the intercom, and speaks to the bridge. When he comes back he looks even more frozen-faced than usual.

"We have a problem, Mr. Baillie. Hold Four seems to be an area of high risk; repairs cannot be undertaken until the Romulan attack has been defeated. If the circuits break down in the meantime, Dr. Tarrant and her team will certainly die."

"Transporter?" I ask, pretty sure even then that it was too simple a solution.

"Contra-indicated, Mr. Baillie. Our power reserves are too low. It seems that we must attempt to effect a rescue."

He tells me to check the corridor to Hold Four, and I find that fire has already broken out here; the emergency doors have locked automatically, and will stop the fire spreading to where we are, but there's no way through.

Meanwhile the Romulans are still attacking. We're hit badly just then, and I go sprawling across the deck. I'd have crashed into the bulkhead, but Spock grabs hold of me, and keeps me on my feet. I hang onto him until the ship settles down, and I'm thinking that he must be a lot stronger than he looks to keep his own balance, and support my weight as well.

Then it turns out that at the same time he's been working on the problem of getting to Hold Four. I've heard McCoy call him "that walking computer," and I guess that just about sums him up, because he turns to me and says, "The inspection crawlway, Mr. Baillie. I believe I can use that to reach Hold Four, and bring Dr. Tarrant's people back through to this safer area."

It seems to be the only idea around, so I open up the access hatch; the crawlway is clear of smoke, but it's getting pretty hot, so he doesn't waste any time.

"Please remain here, Mr. Baillie," he says. "The doctor will undoubtedly require your assistance at this end. I shall send everyone through as swiftly as possible."

"Yes, Commander," I reply. "Uh, good luck, sir."

He raises an eyebrow at me, but mercifully doesn't stop to give me a lecture on the non-existence of luck. He's soon out of sight, and I've nothing to do but wait.

I'm just starting to feel nervous when I hear sounds from the crawlway, and Dr. Tarrant's people are coming through, six of them, some bruised, some with burns, but none of them seriously hurt. I look them over, then do a recount.

"Where's Mr. Spock?" I ask.

Dr. Tarrant peers anxiously along the tube. "He should be coming," she says worriedly. "He thought it might be possible to shut off the heating circuits in Hold Four in case they overload and spread the fire."

"I wish he'd get a move on," I grumble. To tell the truth, I'm getting anxious myself. The Romulan attack isn't letting up any, the heat is steadily getting worse, and I'd rather get Dr. Tarrant's people - and myself - well away from the fire area. I'm just thinking about sticking my head into the tube to see if Spock's coming, when I hear a muffled explosion, and a blast of smoke pours out of the access hatch. When the smoke clears I go back for a look, and I can see that the crawlspace has collapsed.

The only thing I can do is get the geologists well away from the area, then go looking for another intercom station.

At this point, I'm wishing myself in a more comfortable location, say a Klingon R & R base, because it's up to me to break it to Captain James T. Kirk that his favourite Vulcan is missing in the path of an explosion. I'll gloss over the next few minutes, except to say that some of his expressions are new even to me. When he's calmed down a bit, he tells me to stay where I am until a rescue team reaches us. They've disposed of the Romulans, he tells me, and damage control is already on the job.

It's about an hour later, though, that they get to us, and it's the top team in person. When Kirk comes through the door, I find myself very busy paying attention somewhere else; I don't want to see that look on a man's face ever again. I take over, and guide the security team to where the geologists were working. From the look of things, this part of the ship took quite a pounding. We've got floor plates buckled, wiring hanging loose, smoke everywhere. What we haven't got is one Vulcan Science Officer.

We reach the circuit control panel, and it's obvious he's been working on it. Scott takes a look.

"Spock managed to shut off the controls," he reports. "It's lucky he did, or the circuits would have overloaded, and the damage would have breached the hull."

Can't leave an engineering problem alone, our Scotty; he goes back to check the wiring for himself, then pulls back with a cry of pain.

"The metal must have been red-hot when Spock was working on it," he says, "and it's my guess that some of the wiring flared up in his face."

"Find him!" says the Captain, and we take one look at him and spread out.

Spock didn't get far; I spot the blue shirt at the end of the corridor and raise the alarm, Kirk beats me to him by a mile, and when I get there he has the Vulcan's head on his knee. McCoy's not far behind, and he gets to work fast, Spock's face is badly burned, and from where I am I can't see his hands, for which I'm grateful.

"His eyes, Bones?" It takes me a couple of seconds to recognise the Captain's voice.

"I can't tell; we must get him to sickbay," McCoy says, the same desperate anguish in his face.

Scotty doesn't say anything, just picks Spock up and heads off down the corridor. I'm about to make a tactful exit when McCoy notices that I've picked up a few knocks myself, and orders me to join the party.

In sickbay one of the nurses patches me up, while McCoy works on Spock - at this point I get a glimpse of his hands, and I feel sick. Seems, though, that's the least of McCoy's worries - it's his eyes that are the problem. It takes quite a while to complete the tests, and when McCoy says Spock can't see, I go cold; but then he says something about an inner eyelid, and that the optic nerve is undamaged - he'll be blind for a couple of days, but his sight will come back. Kirk doesn't say anything to this, but he sits down suddenly, and drops his head into his hands. McCoy leans over and says something to him, but the nurse has finished with me, and packs me off, so that's the last I see of them for a bit.

When it's all over, we find out just what happened. By shutting off the circuits, Spock prevented an explosion which would have breached the hull; that in turn would have ruptured our deflector shields, and, "Goodbye, Enterprise."

Now, say what you like about Vulcans having no emotion, but the way I see it, they must feel pain just as we do. Spock worked on those circuits with his hands on fire; if he hadn't stuck to it, I wouldn't be talking to you now.

So, if you catch me when I've had enough to drink, and ask me, "What's he like?"

I'll tell you that every man on the Enterprise would follow him blindfolded into Hell; and they'd know he'd bring them out again.


Copyright Valerie Piacentini