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Security Officer Baillie

For a Starship Captain, James T. Kirk has some pretty odd ideas at times; take shore leave, for instance. Most Captains insist on crews reporting back on time, correctly dressed, and sober. When Jim took over the Enterprise, he took one look at the crew, another at the charge-sheet after the last shore leave, and promptly had a fit at the amount of trouble involved. As usual, his devious mind came up with a way round it; he pulls everyone in twenty-four hours early, regardless of what shape they're in, and gives them a day to sober up and settle down.

Seems to work - we've had no trouble so far; well, not of that sort, anyway. After a rather nasty experience when Scotty, in a fit of misplaced enthusiasm, tried to smuggle a gorgeous Aldebaran stripper on board, the Captain likes to have a Security officer on duty in the transporter room to give the crew members the once-over, and confiscate any contraband they just might happen to absentmindedly bring on board.

Which explains why I'm hanging around chatting to Kyle while he's beaming up our wandering boys and girls. We're in the middle of a friendly argument over the attractions of a couple of girls we'd met, when the communicator signals someone waiting to beam up. We break off while he does the necessary. It's Spock, of course. I might have known - he's always first back. You'd think he didn't like shore leave, or something.

"Welcome aboard, Commander," I say. "I hope you had an enjoyable leave."

"Thank you, Mr. Baillie, most pleasant. I had the opportunity to visit the Institute of Science. Professor R'Ley and I had some most absorbing discussions on the theory of mathematics. When the Captain comes aboard, please inform him I will be on the bridge."

As he goes out, Kyle and I just look at each other. I mean, so O.K., he's not Human, but you'd think that after months in space, he'd want something a bit more relaxing than mathematics!

Next to return are Lt. Uhura and Christine Chapel, and it looks like they've bought up the entire planet. I'm looking at all their parcels and boxes, wondering how they intend to manage. I soon find out.

"Dear Mr. Baillie," coos Uhura sweetly, "I'm sure you can find a couple of men to help Christine and me with all this?"

For a smile like that, I'd round up Admiral Kor himself, and make him carry the entire load three times round the Enterprise on his head. However, Kor not being available, I call for a couple of Security men, help them load up, and collect another million-watt smile for my efforts. Some lady, Uhura. Pity she's a lieutenant...

I expect trouble with our next visitor, and I get it. Scotty is not drunk - not exactly - but he's getting on that way. He's clutching about eight bottles of Saurian brandy, and he's very talkative. I have visions of spending the next three hours listening - in detail - to Scotty's doubtless disreputable adventures, and I also have the problem of separating him from the brandy. Then I get a flash of inspiration.

"I think Mr. Spock is looking for you," I tell him. "I heard him say he was on his way to Engineering."

Scotty eyes me like a Klingon who's just been confronted with a shipload of tribbles. "Engineering, is it?" he rumbles ominously. "We'll see about that. Here, hold these, laddie."

He hands me the bottles and marches off to do battle for his beloved engines. Quite what he thought Spock would do to them I don't know, but I put up a fervent prayer that he wouldn't meet our First Officer in the corridor.

I stack the bottles on one side to dispose of later, and get back on the job. The crew are reporting in thick and fast now, and my pile of contraband grows steadily. At last things quieten down a bit, and I look up from my checklist.

"That just leaves the Captain, Dr. McCoy, Sulu and Chekov," I tell Kyle.

"Funny," he comments. "The Captain's usually one of the first back. There's the communicator, perhaps that's him now."

It's not, though - it's Sulu and Chekov. I have to try pretty hard to keep a straight face as they materialise; Sulu's bad enough, but poor Chekov looks as if he died three weeks ago and someone forgot to tell him.

"Hi, Pav," I call over, "have a good leave?"

He doesn't answer, just groans very quietly, and shudders. When Sulu stops laughing, he tells me, "I found him in a bar in the red light district. Out cold, couldn't even remember what day it was, so I thought I'd better bring him along."

"It's just as well, the Captain's due back any time. Take him to his quarters, and let him sober up."

To tell the truth, I've seldom seen anyone in as bad a state; he looks out on his feet, and his eyes are sort of fixed and staring.

"Maybe you'd better take him to sickbay," I suggest. "He looks like he's got more than a hangover to me."

"Perhaps. I'll see how he is after he's had some sleep. You know what our pet witch-doctor is like." Give Sulu his due, he's pretty concerned when he sees how bad Pav looks. "Come on, Russian wonder boy. Bed time."

As they go out, Kyle activates the transporter again, and this time it's the Captain and Dr. McCoy.

This looks like being a bad, bad day, because McCoy looks like a candidate for his own sickbay. He's white as a sheet, with a couple of cuts on his head, and he's limping badly. I alert a medical team, and go forward to help the Captain.

"What happened?" I ask.

"Hit and run," says Kirk. "We were on our way over to the transporter station when it happened, so we decided to come straight up. It's a miracle you weren't killed, Bones."

"I'm all right," says McCoy testily. "Just a few bumps."

"I've alerted sickbay," I tell the Captain. "Did you get a look at the driver?"

"No, it all happened so fast, and I was more concerned with Bones, but I'd like to get my hands on whoever it was."

"Probably kids joy-riding," I suggest.

"Probably. Well, come on, Bones. Sickbay. Captain's orders."

* * * * * * * *

So now we've got the whole crew back we can get on with normal routine. Twenty-four hours later, with everyone sobered up, we leave orbit, and head off to wherever Starfleet Command in its wisdom has decided to send us.

First clue I get that anything is up comes a couple of days later. I'm in the rec room chatting up a pretty young yeoman I've had my eye on; she's just getting interested in my sparkling personality when the ship's intercom undoes all my good work.

"Security Officer Baillie to the Captain's quarters."

My immediate response to this is a hasty examination of my conscience. I want to have my answers ready. The only thing I can come up with is one bottle of Scotty's brandy that got sort of accidentally lost on the way to disposal, but the Captain couldn't have found out about that. Could he?

Anyway, I don't hang about too long, James T. Kirk is not the most patient of characters, and a summons to his quarters instead of the bridge sounds ominous. Turns out, though, it's not a private party. Spock is there, looking about as concerned as I've ever seen him.- by which I mean that his right eyebrow is up about two millimeters as he reads through a report the Captain hands him as I come in. McCoy, though, looks worried enough for both of them. Last time I'd seen him he seemed to be recovered from his accident, but now he looks terrible. Scotty is muttering something under his breath, and from the tone of his voice, somebody has an unpleasant couple of minutes coming.

"Sit down, Mr. Baillie," says the Captain. "We are going to need your help." At once I compose my features into an expression of helpful attention, but he doesn't seem to notice. "You will remember that as Dr. McCoy returned from shore leave he was the victim of a hit and run driver. At the time we put it down to an unfortunate accident. It seems we were mistaken."

My ears prick up at this.

"There have been other... incidents... since. Nothing serious, but all potentially dangerous. Last night we had this." He holds up some sort of gadget that I don't pretend to recognise, though I've seen McCoy handle one. "Last night Dr. McCoy was about to treat Mr. Chekov for an infected hand. He was about to use this scalpel to lance the infection when something went wrong, and it pierced his own hand. Thinking it was just a faulty instrument, he completed the treatment, but later he became very ill. Luckily, Nurse Chapel had kept the scalpel; becoming suspicious, she examined it, and found that the blade had been poisoned. Thanks to her, Dr. M'Benga was able to treat McCoy in time. This scalpel had been tampered with, and substituted for the one McCoy intended to use on Chekov. It seems clear, Mr. Baillie, that someone on this ship is trying to kill Dr. McCoy, and I want him found."

To say I'm surprised at this is some understatement. I meant, McCoy of all people! I can't imagine anyone having a reason to want him dead.

"To begin with, Mr. Baillie," the Captain goes on, "we must take every precaution. Apart from Nurse Chapel and Dr. M'Benga, we are the only ones who know what has happened. I want you, personally, to keep an eye on Dr. McCoy. We must get to the bottom of this. I don't want to involve the entire security section, as we can't risk warning the killer."

"I'll look into it, sir," I promise him.

"Look, Jim, I don't need a nursemaid," growls McCoy. "I'm on guard now, and I can - "

"Bones, can't you see? We don't know who the killer is, and in sickbay you are vulnerable. Let Mr. Baillie do what he can."

"I suppose I must."

We finally work it out that while McCoy is on duty, I'll be out of sight in his office, ready to act if anybody tries anything. Scotty will share his quarters at night, and for the rest of the time we'll all take it in turns to keep him in sight.

As I go off to arrange my shifts, I'm doing some heavy thinking. Anyone could have arranged the hit and run accident, but the sabotage in sickbay is quite a different kettle of fish. The way I see it, how could the killer be sure that McCoy would use that particular scalpel? The substitution must have been made between the time it was laid out, and the time it was actually used. Seems to me this narrows the field somewhat.

I make a detour via sickbay, and corner Nurse Chapel; she's not much help though. She laid out the instruments for McCoy herself, then they were called away to an emergency. When they got back, Chekov was waiting, and McCoy started work right away. Looks like anyone could have made the substitution while the room was empty.

Right about then, I decide to go for some coffee and a meal - me getting ulcers won't help any. I'm sitting in the rec room thinking hard and getting nowhere, when I spot Chekov at another table with one of the passengers we picked up at the last stop. (Normally, of course, we don't carry civilians, but their ship had engine trouble, and as their destination was on our route anyway, we took them along.)

It comes to me then that I've seen Pav with this guy a couple of times, and it surprises me a bit; he's not the type Chekov usually hits it off with, somehow. He seems to be doing all the talking, and Pav is just sitting there with a sort of wooden look on his face. After a bit he nods, and the guy gets up and leaves. Being incurably nosy, I get myself another coffee, and move over to join Chekov.

"Hi, Pav," I say. "How's the hangover? That was some skinful you had back there." To tell the truth, I'm wondering if he's really got over it yet; he doesn't look right somehow - his eyes are too bright, and though he looks pale, he looks sort of feverish at the same time. As I sit down, he looks over at me, and it's as if he has to struggle a bit to focus on me. Then he gives a start, and grins, and I see the familiar Chekov.

"Hi, Baillie. I feel fine, thanks. Funny, I don't remember much about that bender I went on. Sulu hasn't let up about it though. He's going to make one crack too many pretty soon."

We sit talking for a bit, then he leaves for the bridge, and I'm back with my problem. Now, I wouldn't let on to the Captain, but I've got a personal stake in this. McCoy pulled me through once when I'd been pretty badly smashed up, and though I make the usual cracks, I've got a healthy respect for Blue Eyes.

Seems to me that playing it Kirk's way leaves too many loopholes. The killer is likely to start getting suspicious at never seeing McCoy on his own; all he'd have to do is hold off for a while, then move in when we were off our guard.

Then I get a brainstorm; the thing to do is to lay a trap for the killer and flush him out. I think I know just how to do it, too. I swallow the last of my coffee, and head off to see the Captain.

A couple of hours later, the grapevine spreads the news through the ship that poor old Baillie has flaked out on the bridge. Very proud of that act, I am, even though I did have some help from McCoy's little yellow pills. Yes, very spectacular. Very convincing, too; at least I hope so, because McCoy's life depends on how well we've fooled the killer. The situation is that I'm supposed to have this weird illness that I can't even pronounce; that I'm being kept in the isolation ward; and that McCoy is taking care of me himself, trying to find a cure. The Captain and the others are well out of sight, and we're hoping that the killer will take the chance to strike while Bones is on his own apart from one (supposedly) unconscious patient.

Which is why I'm lying in bed in the isolation ward giving a perfect impersonation of something nasty. The lights are dimmed, apart from one over McCoy's desk, and from where I'm lying, I get a good view of him. He's a lot calmer than I am, that's for sure. Our biggest gamble is that the killer won't risk using a phaser, knowing that its power would be picked up by the sensors, and Security alerted; we reckon he'll go for the quiet approach to give himself a chance to escape. I'm sweating more than somewhat as I lie there, because if I'm wrong.........

I freeze as the door of-the isolation ward opens, and someone come s quietly in-, I can't see his face - the lights are too dim. McCoy must have heard him, but doesn't move; he's sprawled over his desk as if asleep. He's not short on courage, our McCoy - I don't know if I could just sit there waiting to be attacked, and relying on the reactions of someone else to save me.

The figure stands in the doorway looking round the ward; I go on playing unconscious. I can't risk acting too soon, as this just might be an innocent visitor looking for Bones. He comes further into the room, and then I see he's got a wrench in his hand - the traditional blunt instrument, I suppose. That does it for me. Luckily I'm fast on my feet, and I'm across the room before he realises I've moved. As I close with him, I'm wondering what I've let myself in for. He's fighting in silence, but with a kind of frenzied desperation. For a bit, I have my work cut out to hold on to him, but I'm used to this sort of roughhouse, and once I get the wrench away from him, things are much easier, and at last I manage to knock him out.

Meantime, McCoy has pushed the panic button, and help is on the way. The lights go up as the Captain, Mr. Spock and Scotty rush in, and I can see that my prisoner is wearing Starfleet uniform. This I do not expect. Even less do I expect what comes next. Scotty turns the body over (none too gently) with his foot; and it's Pav Chekov.

Right about then, you'd think the Enterprise was running a contest in eyebrow-raising, but Spock beats us by a mile; it's the closest thing to surprise I've ever seen on his face. I guess he saw more of Chekov than the rest of us, and you can tell he's really floored for once. McCoy gives Pav a sedative to keep him out a bit longer, and Scotty dumps him on the bed I've just unceremoniously vacated; then we all stand round gaping at him for the next couple of minutes.

McCoy is the first to break the silence.

"Why? Why Chekov?" he asks dazedly.

Of all of us, it's Spock, the half-Human, who recognises McCoy's shock and distress. He pushes Bones gently into a chair.

"Some brandy, I think," he murmurs. "Perhaps Mr. Scott will oblige."

A few minutes later, Mr. Scott does oblige. As he passes me with the glass in his hand, he gives me a wink, and grins, and I know he's done it again. Somehow he's smuggled some of that triple-damned Saurian brandy on board. I'm just making plans for a suitable revenge, including doing something very nasty to his engines, when I get reminded of the business in hand.

The Captain has been looking at Chekov; now he turns to the rest of us.

"Well, gentlemen, we must come to a decision. What are we to do about Mr. Chekov? Incredible as it seems, he is responsible for attempting to murder Dr. McCoy. I suppose he must have substituted the scalpel himself while he was alone in sickbay; now we have the evidence of our own eyes." He sounds as bewildered as I feel, and no wonder. It's a terrible job for any man, to try one friend for the attempted murder of another.

"Well, I dinna believe it!" Scotty breaks in angrily. "I don't care how it looks, Chekov wouldna' harm Bones, I'd stake my life on it."

"Indeed, I am forced to agree," puts in Spock. "It is totally out of character. Captain, in the exceptional circumstances, I am prepared to meld with Mr. Chekov without his consent. I am convinced we do not yet know the whole story, and I may be able to learn something." At Kirk's nod, he leans over Chekov, and takes his head between his hands.

Now, I've never fancied this mind-link business myself. Don't get me wrong, I'd trust Spock with my life, but the idea of someone else wandering about inside my head gives me the shudders. Doesn't seem to bother the Captain, though.- I've known him link with Spock on several occasions, and more than once the Vulcan's weird powers have got us out of a sticky situation.

We stand around watching Spock, scared to make a move in case we break his concentration, until he lets Pav go and straightens up.

"It seems your confidence in Mr. Chekov has been well placed, Mr. Scott," he says. "As I hope to demonstrate, he is as much a victim as Dr. McCoy; in effect, he himself is the murder weapon. If I may trouble you, Dr. McCoy?"

He's really got me this time - I just can't see what he's getting at. As Bones goes over to the bed, Spock brushes back Chekov's hair, and we see a small scar just above his ear.

"If you will open up this scar, Doctor, and remove what you find there, I am confident we will make progress."

McCoy gives him a sharp look, but doesn't argue. We stand back a bit to let him work, and when he turns round, he shows us a small metal capsule he has removed from under Chekov's skin.

"Mr. Scott, your opinion, please," says Spock.

Scotty takes it gingerly, and has a good look. "It's a radio receiver," he says slowly, "very small, not very long range, but effective over short distances."

"Effective enough for its purpose," says Spock, and if I didn't know better, I'd say he sounded angry. "I sensed its presence during the mind link. More important, however, I managed to reach deep into Mr. Chekov's mind, and I have some of the answers. During his last shore leave, Mr. Chekov was drugged, presumably by the killer, and the receiver inserted. Under the drug, his natural resistance was broken down, and he was placed in a deep hypnotic state. In this condition he was trained to respond to orders transmitted through the receiver. When he awoke, he was unable to recall what had happened to him. Thereafter, he could be placed in a trance at any time by broadcasting a code word; he was then programmed to obey whatever instructions he was given. Another code would bring him out of the trance, and in his normal waking state he would forget what he had done. It was a most ingenious plan; had it not been for my knowledge of Mr. Chekov's character, and my telepathic abilities, the receiver would never have been discovered, and Mr. Chekov would have been deemed guilty of the attempts on the Doctor's life."

"So we're still back where we started," says Kirk heavily. "Chekov is innocent, but the killer is still on the ship, and we are no nearer to finding him. If he's really determined to kill Bones, he could try again himself."

Right then, I get one of my well known flashes of inspiration.

"Captain, I think I know who we want." I tell him about the man I'd seen with Chekov in the rec room. "You know he doesn't normally mix much with civilians," I go on. "He did look a bit odd at the time - I guess he must have been coming out of a trance when I spoke to him. I thought it was just the tail-end of his hangover. If I had only realised."

"There was no way you could have known," replies the Captain. "We are only too thankful, Mr. Baillie, that you spotted it. However, we still have problems. We need hard evidence - and I still want to know why he wants Bones dead."

Spock has taken the receiver back from Scotty, and he's looking at it. Then he says, "I believe the evidence will not be too difficult to obtain. The killer has no way of knowing that we have discovered the capsule. It is my belief that he will eventually issue further instructions. If we relay the transmission into the ship's computer, we will not only have a record of his intentions, but also a voiceprint identification which will stand up in court."

"See to it, please, Mr. Spock," the Captain tells him. "Bones, I think we should bring Chekov round, and explain it all to him."

As Spock and Scotty go out, McCoy gives Chekov an injection, and pretty soon he comes round. The poor guy is naturally somewhat surprised to find himself the centre of attraction in the isolation ward - last thing he remembers is going off duty on the bridge. Kirk and McCoy break it to him as gently as they can. Poor Pav! It knocks him all of a heap - he's white with shock, and almost crying by the time they get through. McCoy is real nice about it though, and finally makes him see that it wasn't his fault. There's times I think our tame witch-doctor can overdo the sarcastic bit, but when you really need him, he turns up trumps. By the time Spock and Scotty get back, Pav's good and mad; he's ready to take on our pet killer with his bare hands, and looking at him, I reckon he could do it, too.

Anyway, armed with our evidence, we all take off to arrest the killer - according to the passenger list, he's a bloke named Charles Ryan. When he opens the door, he comes the outraged innocent citizen act, but when Spock plays over the taped evidence, he decides to come clean. It's pretty much as Spock worked it out. He met Pav on shore leave, recognised he was from the Enterprise, and drugged him under the pretence of buying him a drink. While he was out, Ryan inserted the receiver, and set up the post-hypnotic suggestion. The hit and run accident was the first attempt, a sort of trial run. McCoy escaped, but Chekov acted as he was supposed to, so Ryan shipped aboard the Enterprise to finish the job.

While he's talking, McCoy is looking at him sort of puzzled. Then he says,

"But why? I don't know you, I've never seen you before in my life, as far as I can remember. Why do you want to kill me?"

"I'll just let you worry about that," says Ryan. "I know what happens now. You'll have to hand me over to the civil authorities for trial. I plead guilty, have a couple of years corrective training, then I'm out. Maybe I didn't manage to finish you off, but I'll get quite a laugh thinking about you going crazy trying to figure it out."

"Oh, no," says Kirk, and there's a very nasty gleam in his eye. "You're on a Starship, remember, and I'm the Captain. What I say here goes. You attempt to kill a man who is not only one of my officers, but also a close friend. I want the whole story, and I'm going to get it. I'm sure Mr. Scott and Mr. Chekov will be only too delighted to persuade you."

"That I will, laddie," rumbles Scotty menacingly. Chekov doesn't say anything, but he grins. I don't like that grin. Neither does Ryan apparently, because he gives in.

"All right, I'll tell you. What difference does it make to me anyway? I had no personal reason to kill you, Doctor. I'm a hired killer - I was paid for the job."

"Who paid you?" asks McCoy, deadly quiet.

Ryan ignores the question. "Yes, my client hates you very deeply, Doctor, paid well over the going rate for the job. I've never known anyone so determined."

"I believe," Spock breaks in, calmly as ever, "that the Doctor asked you a question. I suggest that you answer. Mr. Scott appears to be getting impatient."

Ryan looks over at McCoy, grinning; he's enjoying this.

"It was a Mrs. Sarah McCoy - your ex-wife."

Spock is the only one fast enough to catch McCoy as he passes out cold.

* * * * * * * *

A couple of weeks later, I'm called to the Captain's quarters again. He's alone this time.

"Sir down, Mr. Baillie. I have here a report from the police on Earth. They have investigated Ryan's allegations, and have sent me a copy of their findings to be used in evidence when we hand him over for trial. Dr. McCoy feels that as you were so closely involved, you are entitled to know the full story.

"You may not know that before he joined the Enterprise, Dr. McCoy's marriage broke up. The details do not matter, but it seems that his ex-wife, who from all accounts tended to be neurotic, blamed him for the divorce. As she grew more and more disturbed, her hatred of McCoy grew, until at last her desire to be revenged on him became an obsession, and she employed Ryan, with the results we know. The failure of her plan has driven her beyond sanity, and she is now receiving the appropriate treatment; it's too early to say with what result."

"I'm sorry," I tell him. "The Doctor must be feeling pretty bad about it."

"Well, he is a doctor, so he's more used than any of us to coping with the actions of a sick mind. I believe he'll get over it."

"I'm glad of that, Captain; he's a very special guy."

Kirk smiles. "I think so too. Well, I must thank you for your assistance, Mr. Baillie. I know I can rely on your discretion."

"Of course," I say. "By the way, how's Mr. Chekov?"

Completely back to normal, I'm happy to say. However, I think he'll be more careful who he drinks with in future."

* * * * * * * *

So that's how it ended. Next time I see Pav Chekov, he's his usual sunny self. McCoy's back to normal too, just as sarcastic as ever. So there's only one thing I want to know, and it sure keeps bugging me.

Just how the HELL did Scotty manage to smuggle that bottle of Saurian brandy under my nose?


Copyright Valerie Piacentini