In the Control Room, Morton picks himself up from the floor behind the chart table and realizes that the the ship is at last moving toward the surface. While he is still wondering how that happened and what to do about it, one of the consoles catches fire; simultaneously, an overhead steam pipe bursts and a jet of steam, stained an attractive pink by the emergency lighting, geysers into the room. That keeps him and everyone else in the Control Room nicely occupied as Seaview continues to ride upwards on the whale's broad forehead. The Admiral and Spock, meanwhile, have commandeered Crane's cabin--one of the few quiet and tidy places left on the ship--and are working on the design for a subspace radio beacon that should be able to re-establish contact with the Enterprise. At least, Spock is working on it; the Admiral is doing a lot of pacing about, struggling with increasing desperation to stay calm and therefore human. SPOCK: "Admiral, it would be more logical for you to conserve your energy and air supply." NELSON: "I know! It would be easier if those two would stop that infernal singing! It makes me want to howl!" RILEY and RILEY (over ship's speakers): "' . . . and wheeeeeeen the fields are fresh and greeeeeeen . . ., Aye'll taaaaaaake you to your hooooooome . . ., Kaaaaaaath-leeeeeeen.' WAH - UN MOR - OORE TY - IME! . . ." SPOCK: "I, too, find the sound somewhat distressing-- Vulcan ears are almost as sensitive as vulpine ones, I believe." Nelson shoots him a suspicious look, but Spock's face is absolutely deadpan. (This is the point at which they feel the ship start to fall, then rise.) NELSON (hanging onto the bulkhead): "Well, that looks like a good sign, anyway." SPOCK (clinging to the desk): "I am not so sure, Admiral. A starship moving at such an angle would be gravely damaged, if not disabled." NELSON (so intrigued that for a moment he forgets all his other worries): "But surely there isn't any 'up' and 'down' in space?" SPOCK: "In Federation space there is, I assure you. All ships adhere strictly to the same orientation-- much as your earthly traffic keeps to one side of the road. Even the Romulans obey those rules; it keeps our battles much simpler." NELSON (shaking his head in bemusement): "I'll take your word for it, Mr. Spock." Down in the Crew's Quarters, the two doctors are confronting a bunch of bewildered crewmen who claim that the old flute player who had them trapped just wandered off somewhere and vanished a few minutes ago, leaving only his flute to show he ever existed. McCOY (shaking his head disgustedly): "Looks like another fool's errand. We may as well get back to your Sick Bay--maybe there we'll find something useful to do." DOC: "I wouldn't count on it. Half the time I wonder what I'm doing on this ship at all--no one ever comes for treatment unless they're unconscious, and even then, half the time, they get better on their own when by all the rules they ought to be dead." The two physicians begin to wander down the corridor together, heading towards Sick Bay. McCOY: "I know what you mean. I guess it's part of being a hero--they can't admit to needing help, let alone rest, if there's anything more interesting going on. Mind you, I have had a few little successes in my time--like doing open-heart surgery on Spock's ol' Dad in the middle of a battle." DOC: "I wish I could say the same. The miraculous cures around here all seem to happen without any help from me at all. A lot of the time I just have to give the patient a sedative and hope for the best; they didn't cover possession by aliens or ancient mummies in my medical training--let alone cases of lethal radiation poisoning that clear up for no good reason and then suddenly recur years later." McCOY: "Well, considering the primitive state of medicine in your century, I guess you can't be doing too badly. Even in the twenty-third century, we've got a ways to go before we come up with a sure- fire treatment for alien possession." (He stoops to pick up a scrap of rotting bandage from the deck): "Hey, what was that you were saying about mummies?" DOC: "That was a long time ago." McCOY: "Then what's that noise up ahead? And that smell?!?!" In the corridor outside the Missile Room, a gang of crewmen, led by the ship's cook, have the Lobster Man and the Manfish cornered at last--until Kirk opens the Missile Room hatch to see what all the noise is about. The Manfish dives for the opening, knocking Jim flying; the Lobster Man lumbers after it, and the rest of the detail piles in after them. A free- for-all fight erupts, made all the more exciting by the erratic rocking of the ship. Two men try to climb on the Lobster's back, only to be shrugged off and sent cart wheeling against the torpedo tubes. Kirk picks himself up from the corner by the scuba-gear rack and flings himself joyfully into the fray; he launches a fine right cross at the Lobster, only to realize--too late--that its jaw is armor-plated. It swipes him aside with one claw, and sends another pair of crewmen spinning over to collide with Crane, who is still struggling with the missile controls. Winded, but not to be outdone, Crane drags himself up and staggers into the thick of the fighting. Kirk rolls (remembering to slap the floor) and bounces to his feet just in time to be knocked halfway across the room again by the Manfish's flailing, webbed arm. Grinning, he comes back for more. Crane snatches at the creature's other arm; it shakes him off and propels him towards the missile silos. He hits the base of Silo 1 and lies still, muttering, "Sorry, Admiral," before he lapses into unconsciousness for the second time in fifteen minutes. Kirk throws himself into the middle of the fight yet again, and gets in a series of blows below where the Manfish's belt ought to be, before someone else sneaks up on it from behind and pulls it over. Then the Lobster Man remembers to use his ultrasonic antennae to zap a couple of the crewmen, who go down and stay down. Yelling imprecations, Kirk aims a flying kick at the deadly tentacles, but slips on a patch of fish-scales and lands flat on his back. The Manfish surges to its feet again ... and so it goes on, until finally, one of the crewmen makes a break for the door and the creatures go after him. The other crewmen follow; after a few moments the unconscious ones wake up and stagger after their comrades, rubbing their bruises. Except for the still-unconscious Crane, Kirk is left alone; his shirt hangs in ribbons, and blood is pouring down his face from a cut on one temple. Just then, the Missile-Control Panel starts to emit a high-pitched, urgent beeping sound. Kirk gets to his feet and totters over to see what's the matter with it. Unable to make head or tail of the primitive wiring, he makes a brief, futile attempt to rouse Crane, and then grabs the nearest microphone. KIRK (in a voice almost as ragged as his shirt): "Admiral Nelson? Admiral, are you there?" NELSON (via the intercom): "I read you, Captain. What's the trouble?" KIRK (holding the microphone to the beeping panel): "Hear that? What does it mean?" NELSON: "It means the missile's going to blow in about a minute. I thought I gave the two of you orders to disarm it." KIRK: "Sorry, Admiral, we got a little distracted. And now Lee's out cold. Can you tell me how to disarm this contraption?" NELSON: "It's too late now. Unless . . . Maybe there's still a chance! Have you got that phaser-gun with you?" KIRK: "Sure." NELSON: "Good. Now listen carefully; we're only going to get one chance at this." THE PANEL: "Beep beep beep beep (pause) BEEEEP!" NELSON (his voice turning hoarse, almost growling from the strain): "Put the gun on its lowest setting." KIRK: "Phaser on stun, check." NELSON: "Now open the inspection door on the missile silo and fire a five-second burst into the works." SPOCK (also via the intercom): "Jim, I urge extreme caution. I fail to see what logical purpose--" NELSON (snarling): "Forget logic! If this doesn't work, we won't be around to worry about it--and besides, it's worked before. Fire that phaser, Kirk!" KIRK: "Whatever you say, Admiral." He walks over to the silo, pulls the hatch open, and fires. The beeping stops abruptly. KIRK: "Right, I've stunned the missile, Admiral. What now?" NELSON (with a little laugh of relief): "Wake up Lee if you can--if not, get him to Sick Bay--and meet us in the Control Room in ten minutes. I've got a hunch things are going to start happening now." KIRK: "Start happening?" Shaking his head, Jim kneels down and tries again to bring Crane around. It takes a while, but eventually Lee opens his eyes and sits up, groggy but insisting--of course--that he is perfectly all right. KIRK (unconvinced): "It's me, remember? No lower ranks within earshot. You don't have to fake it." CRANE: "No, I really am feeling better--a bit dizzy, that's all. I guess that makes sense, if that Doppelganger's gone." (He takes in Kirk's battered appearance): "Boy, that uniform of yours got torn up pretty good. Don't they have better fabrics than that in the twenty-third century?" KIRK (shrugging, and trying to pull the rags of his top together): "They have, but Paramount can't afford them--all the clothing budget goes on stockings and boots for the girls. The stockings have to go all the way up, you see." CRANE: "I thought mini-skirts went out of style last year!" KIRK: "Don't worry, they'll be back--in a big way. Come on, the Admiral wants us in the Control Room. Think you can make it?" CRANE: "I guess so." (With Kirk's help he gets back on his feet, and they stagger for the door together. Out in the corridor, Crane adds): "We'd better stop by my cabin first--I'll lend you a sweater or something." KIRK: "Fine, just as long as we don't have to squeeze down any more of those ducts to get there!" CRANE: "I hope that won't be necessary. Let's just keep on going and see what we run into, OK?" KIRK: "Sounds like a good plan to me. Say, what time do you have dinner around here?" CRANE: "Dinner? You're thinking about food at a time like this?" KIRK: "What better time than dinner-time? Anyway, a good punch-up always gives me an appetite." Crane sways suddenly, passing his hand over his eyes. KIRK: "Lee? Are you sure you're OK?" CRANE (faintly): "Will you do one more thing for me, Jim?" KIRK: "Name it, Pal." CRANE: "If I start acting strange, knock me out, will you?" KIRK: "Hey, no need to ask for that specially--it's standard procedure. But what made you bring it up now?" CRANE: "Oh, probably nothing. But I've got a bad feeling about what might be causing these dizzy spells." Meanwhile, in another part of the ship . . . After their respective Captains turned them out of the Missile Room, Scotty, Sharkey, Chekov and a few overalled Seaview crewmen have found their way back to the Reactor Room. They find the floor knee-deep in sinister flora; what's worse, a seven-foot high, white-furred creature is huddled up against the reactor, trying to keep warm in the radioactive glow. It's quite safe from anyone trying to engage it in unarmed combat, because the orchids hiss and spark dangerously as soon as a human foot comes near them. The reactor's hum has turned to an ominous throb, and its normally rainbow-hued light glows a constant and threatening red. SCOTT: "What in the name of all that's wonderful is that thing?" SHARKEY: "You'd have to ask the Admiral, Scotty. The day that thing came aboard was so mixed up and crazy, he never did get around to telling us what it was all about." CHEKOV (hefting his phaser): "Is it dangerous?" SHARKEY: "You'd better believe it, Kiddo!" SCOTT: "We dare'na try a phaser blast on it, that close to the reactor. But maybe I can adapt something else to do the trick." In a corner that is still free of the deadly orchids, he flips open his toolbox--and out tumbles a small, round, lump of purring fur. Scotty mutters something unprintable. SHARKEY: "Unless I've forgotten something, that wasn't one of our problems! What is that goofy-looking thing, anyway?" SCOTT (frowning): "A tribble, Laddie. Only the one-- but if you don't look sharp, you'll be waist-deep in them before ye know where ye are." SHARKEY (watching the tribble, which has started to browse on the leaves of the nearest orchid): "It don't look too dangerous to me. In fact, it looks kinda cute." SCOTT: "Not dangerous, Chief--just hungry. Still, if it could get rid of those nasty flowers for us, perhaps it might be of some use for once." The tribble, having devoured the orchid with every appearance of enjoyment, purrs even louder, and gives birth to a couple of mouse-sized but hungry offspring. For several minutes, the humans watch fascinated as the creatures continue to multiply, eating a broad swathe through the flowers. The Abominable Snowman sits there, with its head in its paws, basking in the radiation and apparently, half-asleep. Then, suddenly, the ship lurches, and the furry monster rouses. SHARKEY: "What happened to that gadget you were gonna rig, Scotty?" SCOTT: "Dinna fash yoursel', Chief--I'm nearly done." SHARKEY: "Somethin' tells me 'nearly' isn't gonna be good enough! Let's get out of here!" SCOTT: "Och, mebbe ye're right. Chekov, laddie, grab a couple o' those tribbles, will ye? The Captain ought to see them." CHEKOV: "Aye, zirr." As Chekov stoops to scoop up the nearest patch of the voracious furballs, the ship wobbles again, hard enough to dislodge a couple of the never-very-secure dampening rods from the reactor. Alarms start to go off all over the room, and the Snowman stretches to its full height and lets out a blood-curdling snarl. As Sharkey watches, trying to pick his moment to make a dash for the rods, IT speaks. It has a surprisingly gentle, educated voice, a little muffled by a mouthful of fur. THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN: "At last! At last I can take my revenge on Nelson for his interference." SHARKEY (grabbing a laser gun that someone carelessly left lying around, and aiming at the monster's furry head): "Get away from there or I'll . . ." A. S.: "Or you'll what, Chief? Shoot me down and damage your reactor even further beyond repair than it already is? I don't think so." SHARKEY: "Just get away from there, geek!" SCOTT: "Wheesht, Laddie, that isna the way. Did they never teach ye anythin' about first-contact protocols?" (He turns to the Abominable Snowman): "What is it ye want now? Whatever it is, I'm sure we can come to some kind of arrangement." A. S.: "I want Nelson, here, now. I want rope to tie him up with, and peace and quiet to finish my business with him. Can you arrange that?" SHARKEY: "Not on your life, buster! If you think we'd let you get your filthy paws on the Admiral, after all he's been through today already, you got another think comin'!" SCOTT: "As my colleague here says, that might be a little difficult. Why don't we sit down like civilized folk and talk it over some more?" (With a jerk of his head, he sends Chekov and his handful of tribbles towards the door.) Meanwhile, in another corridor . . . Doc and McCoy turn a corner and see the Mummy lurching towards them, trailing unraveling bandages and letting out unhappy little moaning noises. McCOY: "Tell me that isn't what I think it is." DOC: "If you're thinking what I'm thinking, I'm afraid I can't." McCOY (opening up his tricorder and pointing it at the undead figure): "This is extra-ordinary. It's not alive, but there are definite signs of neurochemical activity. If I could only get it tranquilized, I might be able to find out more." DOC (trying to hide behind his Starfleet opposite number): "Are you sure that's wise? Even I wouldn't suggest trying to give that thing a sedative--it's been dead for three thousand years!" McCOY (his eyes gleaming with the excitement of the true scientist): "I wouldn't be so sure. Here, you take this and keep me covered, will you?" He hands over his phaser; Doc, who doesn't often need to handle even regular sidearms, looks as if he would rather be holding a snake by the tail. McCoy rummages in his case and pulls out an extra-strength hypospray. He advances on the Mummy with the instrument on the ready; it takes a clumsy-- but fast and heavy--swing at him with one bandaged arm. The doctor ducks under the blow and manages to plant the hypo at the base of the Mummy's neck as it prepares for another punch. With a ghastly shriek, the Mummy crumples up--but even as the potent drugs work through the embalmed remains of its nervous system, it sends out an urgent psychic signal to the one man on board conditioned to receive it . . . In a corridor not far from the Missile Room, Crane stagers to a halt, clutching at the bulkhead in a desperate attempt to stay on his feet. KIRK: "Steady now. It can't be that much farther." CRANE (deathly pale): "I'm sorry, Jim. It's getting worse . . . I don't think I can go on." (His legs buckle, and he slides to the floor, with only the wall keeping him even in a sitting position.) KIRK: "That does it. Which way's your Sick Bay?" CRANE: "Never mind that--we haven't got the time! You go on without me; I'll catch up if I can." (He bends over, putting his head between his knees.) KIRK: "I can't leave you here in this state! The Admiral would have my head for dessert!" CRANE (in a vague, far-off voice): "Never mind the Admiral. You have to . . . I have to . . . I have to go and sabotage the Automatic Navigator." KIRK: "You have to do what? But we aren't even going anywhere!" (The implication of Crane's words suddenly dawns on him): "Oh, I see. Well, in that case . . ." Kirk pulls out his phaser and gives Crane a short burst on stun--enough to put him out for a few minutes. Then, thankful, for once, for his fellow-Captain's slim build, he slings Crane over his shoulder and struggles down the corridor with him. In Crane's Cabin . . . Now that there is a man on board, other than himself, who is capable of fabricating fantastic futuristic hardware, Harriman Nelson can afford to give in to exhaustion. As Spock inspects the wiring of what is soon to be the subspace radio beacon--primitive by 23rd century standards, but functional, nevertheless--Nelson pushes himself from behind the desk. NELSON (rubbing the back of his neck): "Mr. Spock, I think I'll take your advice and lie down for awhile." SPOCK (without looking up): "A sensible idea, Admiral, since the beacon will not be ready for testing for at least another nine point two four minutes." NELSON (grinning): "'Nine point two four minutes', eh? That's a pretty precise estimate, Mr. Spock." SPOCK: "I strive to be accurate." NELSON: "You not only strive, sir, you achieve!" SPOCK (cocking his head appreciatively): "Thank you, Admiral." Nelson taps the Vulcan on the shoulder, then moves to stretch out on Captain Crane's neat-as-a-pin bed. Resting his furry hands behind his head, Nelson laughs quietly to himself. SPOCK (picking up needle-nosed pliers): "Something amuses you, Admiral?" NELSON: "Hm? Oh, I was just thinking, if I wasn't so tired, I'd go ahead and short-sheet Lee's bunk." SPOCK (raising a brow, he attaches copper coil to metal electrodes): "For what purpose?" NELSON: "Just a . . . a practical joke. You see, Mr. Spock, Lee's really a wonderful fellow, salt o' the earth, and all that, but he has this tendency to get a little grim. It's mostly the writers' fault. Take our first season, for example. If he smiled once the whole bloody year, it was a lot. Oh, sure, he gets his share of babes on Shore Leave. Why the minute he sets foot on the pier, chicks are all over him like barnacles! See, the gals go for that polite, self-effacing, 'aw shucks' manner of his." SPOCK: "And, I would imagine, for his fancy-schmancy red Italian sports car?" NELSON: "Naturally. And of course, they go completely gah- gah over his matinee idol looks! The good news is, I get the cast-offs; the bad news is, it seems he'd rather be here plotting courses than out doing the Hustle in Santa Barbara. The boy is all work and no play. He practically sleeps at attention. Come to think of it, that's probably why he goes wacky on me every now and again. You know, one time, he actually left his post right in the middle of a mission! Just upped and went AWOL to go chasing after that stupid mermaid!" SPOCK: "Interesting. He also seems to have a rather unfortunate propensity for passing out." NELSON: "Yes, he's a regular jack-in-the-box when it comes to staying conscious. One minute he's up, next minute he's down. I was thinking of getting him one of those 'I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up' gadgets for his birthday. At least we'd know where to find him when we need him. Still and all, I can't complain. He's a great Skipper." SPOCK: "Judging from my observations, Admiral, I would say that Captain Crane is a highly-proficient, extremely conscientious officer." NELSON: "That he is, Mr. Spock. That he is." SPOCK: "And he appears to be much less neurotic than Ji-- than some other officers I could name." NELSON: "Believe me, Spock, Lee Crane is one of the finest men you'll ever chance to meet. He just needs to RUFF loosen up a bit." SPOCK: "I beg your pardon, Admiral?" NELSON (aggravated at having to repeat himself): "I said he needs to loosen up a bit. And you need to get the GRRRRR wax out of those ears, Mister!" Admiral Nelson swings his feet over the side of the bunk and begins scratching his left leg with his right foot. NELSON (coming to a standing position): "GRRRRR-RUFF! I feel like a hamburger. Raw. Shall I order up some chow for you, too, Mr. Spock?" SPOCK: "No thank you." (Still engrossed in his work): "Admiral, are you continuing your meditation exercises?" NELSON (scowling): "Get off my back, Spock!" SPOCK (turning to face the Admiral): "Sir, you are in dire need of a shave." Mutated once more to a completely feral state, Nelson growls threateningly at Spock. SPOCK: "My!" (Putting down the device and rising from his seat): "What big teeth you have, Admiral." Nelson lunges for Spock, but the Vulcan paralyzes him with a nerve pinch. Kneeling next to the uniformed beast, Spock considers then rejects the idea of a mind-meld. He also gives a thought to training the canine commander to sit, heel, stay, and fetch, but logic, a lack of time, and the absence of a leash dictate otherwise. SPOCK (reaching for the desk intercom): "Spock to Sick Bay." Moments later, the Vulcan responds to a knock at the door. His brow arches at what he sees. SPOCK: "Captain!" KIRK: "Give me a hand, Spock." The two men from the Enterprise step over the knocked-out Nelson, in order to deposit the catatonic Crane onto his bunk. KIRK (glancing at the wolfman on the deck): "What's with Lon Chaney?" SPOCK: "That, Captain, is Admiral Nelson. The virus has won out, I am afraid." KIRK: "I hope he's house-broken. This tin-can smells bad enough already." Kirk exhales tiredly and begins looking through Lee's closet for that sweater. SPOCK (noting Kirk's ragged clothing and bloody forehead): "Sir? Are you all right?" KIRK (checking the sizes on Crane's collars): "I'm fine, Mr. Spock. But Lee's in bad shape. Something's affecting his mind. He made a crack about wrecking the ship, so I had to stun him. Between that and the radiation sickness . . . You'd better get the doctors down here, fast." SPOCK: "I expect them momentarily." KIRK (pulling Crane's black leather flight jacket out for show): "Hey, Spock, check this out! Epaulets and everything!" (Putting it back, he pokes his head in the Head.): "Hmm. So they don't have any johns, either, huh?" SPOCK (shaking his head no): "According to the Admiral, ABC was just as inflexible on the subject of latrines as our own network." KIRK: "Figures." (Shedding his tattered top, he throws a black turtleneck sweater over his head. It's a tight-fit all right, but better than nothing.): "How'd they fare on the subject of residuals?" SPOCK: "Shall we say, Captain, that most of the Seaview's crew won't be retiring for a very long time." The doctors arrive presently and shake their heads at the medical mess waiting for them in the Captain's cabin. Treating the patients in order of rank, McCoy administers a potent nitrogen hypo to Nelson. Save for some itchy flea and tick bites, for which Doc prescribes Calamine Lotion, the Admiral recovers completely. The Captain is another matter. His color currently bordering on chartreuse, his pulse as slow as a stopped up sewer, Crane's prognosis is not good. Even so, he begins to stir. NELSON: "Look!" (Hopeful): "He's coming around!" McCOY: "Comin' a-ROUND?!?" Crane's eyes flutter open. McCOY (checking the readings on his whirring medi- scanner): "Beats me all ta heck how this boy's even still breathin'!" KIRK (winking at Crane): "Good genes. Right, Lee?" CRANE (smiling): "Right, Jim." With JTK's help, Crane sits up and braces himself on the edge of the bunk. A moment later, he attempts to stand. Doc prevents the maneuver with a hand to the Captain's shoulder. DOC: "Captain, don't you dare move from that bed! That's a medical order!" McCOY (whispering in Doc's ear): "Way to go!" CRANE (too weak to argue): "Ohhhh." (Running a shaky hand over his hazel eyes, and through his wavy black hair): "I feel like I've been hit by a bus." KIRK: "That's the effect of the phaser stun. Sorry I had to do it, Lee, but--" CRANE: "No, you did the right thing." (Looking up at the medical men): "Can you give me something to get me on my feet again?" McCOY: "Son, Ah doan mean ta be blunt, but yawl ah startin' ta git on mah nerves. Now you ah sufferin' from radiation poisonin'. That means you ah not supposed ta be runnin' aroun' lak a chicken without its hay-ed. Capeesh?" DOC: "Yes, Captain. Rest is definitely indicated." CRANE: "Rest?! I can't rest! That's exactly what the Mummy wants me to do. Then, as soon as I'm asleep, he'll exert his influence over me, and I'll screw everything up again!" NELSON: "He's right, Doc. Give him a stimulant. And that's my order!" McCOY (elbowing his colleague in the ribs and whispering): "Just stand up to him. He'll back down." DOC (full of confidence): "I'm sorry, Admiral, but I'm afraid I can't carry out that order." NELSON: "Oh yeah? How'd you like a swift transfer to 'The Love Boat'?" DOC (elbowing McCoy right back): "Give the man his drugs." McCOY (he shakes his head, pulls out a hypospray, and mutters out the corner of his mouth): "We'll go over those assertiveness training techniques again later." Within seconds of receiving the shot, a healthy color returns to the Captain's cheeks. He feels almost himself again. He even remembers his manners. CRANE: "Is everyone else all right? Admiral? Jim?" NELSON (scratching behind his ear): "Yeah. We're all dandy. Now let's get up to the Control Room. Chip's never been in command this long before. He's liable to get panicky and take off for Venus. Besides, we should be broaching the surface any second." CRANE (on his feet at last): "I'd better do this first, Admiral." (Grabbing the mike on his desk): "Master-at-Arms, this is the Captain. I want armed guards posted at all vital areas of the ship. Absolutely NO ONE is permitted to enter the Circuitry Room, the Reactor Room, Engineering, Maneuvering, or the Missile Room." KIRK: "Lee, don't forget the Officer's Mess!" CRANE (eyeing his favorite--and formerly, best-fitting-- sweater): "One more calorie, Jim, and you're gonna bust right through those seams. And that happens to be the sweater my Mom knitted for me last Christmas!" MASTER-at- ARMS (over intercom): "Skipper, when you say, 'Absolutely No One', does that include you, sir?" CRANE: "Especially me, sailor!" McCoy and Doc turn toward Sick Bay to go check on the Mummy. Nelson, Crane, Kirk and Spock head for the Control Room. NELSON: "What about that subspace radio, Spock? Does it work?" SPOCK: "In theory, yes. However, it has not, as yet, been put it to the test." Following Nelson through the heavy drapes at the Control Room hatchway, Spock spots a shiny object lying in a corner. The object in question is an old-fashioned pocket watch. Intending to show it to Nelson, Spock retrieves it from the deck and promptly forgets all about it as he takes in the near-chaos in the Control Room. Crewmen are sweeping up glass and mopping away extinguisher foam; Chip Morton is at the periscope, looking harassed. Nelson and Crane go to join him, with Kirk and Spock close behind. NELSON: "Well?" MORTON (doing a 360 degree walkaround): "We're on the surface, Admiral. And we seem to be holding trim. Rather, the whale's holding trim for us, till we get rudder control back again. Damage Control says another ten minutes oughta do it." CRANE: "That's one piece of good news, anyway. Let's see what's going on in the rest of the ship." The Captain grabs a microphone and calls up every section of the ship in turn, demanding status reports. Work is proceeding smoothly enough in Air Revitalization, though there's been some trouble clearing an infestation of jungle growth out of the main duct; in the Circuitry Room, a work detail is clearing up the mess left when the running Manfish/Lobster battle briefly spilled in there. From Sick Bay, the corpsman left in charge in the Doctors' absence complains that the queue of men with stubbed toes, bumped heads and burnt fingers is backed up halfway down the corridor; all seems to be quiet in the Missile Room. Scotty, in the Reactor Room, has more interesting news. SCOTTY: "Och, Captain, we cannae do much work on the reactor the noo." CRANE: "What's the trouble? You've been down there twenty minutes at least!" SCOTTY: "Captain, if ye know a good way to work on a reactor when ye're knee deep in tribbles, I'd be glad to hear it! Besides, the Professor here is still insisting he has tae talk tae the Admiral about the extension on his research funding." KIRK: "Tribbles? Give me that!" (He snatches the microphone from Crane's hand): "Scotty, this is Kirk. What was that about tribbles?" SCOTTY: "I'm afraid so, Captain. A couple of the wee beasties popped out of my toolbox, and they took a real fancy to those flowers that were growing down here. There must be a hundred of them by now!" KIRK: "Thank you, Scotty. Do the best you can." SCOTTY: "Aye, Captain." KIRK: "I'm afraid we may have even more problems than we thought, Admiral. If the tribbles came down with Scotty's equipment, who knows what else might be loose aboard the Enterprise. We've got to restore communications!" NELSON (turning to Morton again): "Any luck raising the Enterprise?" MORTON (coming away from the scope area): "No, sir. Sparks says he's on strike until we let him go on a shore-party, or at the very least, let him go for a swim in Lee's yellow wet-suit." NELSON: "That leaves your subspace radio, Mr. Spock. You'd better pray it works. If the whale decides to take a hike--" SPOCK: "Admiral, supplication to the Almighty is not necessary. The beacon cannot fail. However, I suppose a quick 'Hail Mary' wouldn't hurt." Needing both hands to operate the signaling device, Spock holds out the pocket-watch to Nelson. SPOCK: "Would you mind, Admiral?" NELSON (with saucers for eyes he takes the watch): "Where in the world did you find this?" SPOCK: "Just outside the Control Room." NELSON: "So Mr. Pem's around here, too!" SPOCK: "Who?" NELSON: "Mr. Pem. I told you about him before. Remember?" SPOCK: "No, sir. Perhaps the writers will go back and put in that conversation at a later date." NELSON: "Yes, I'm sure they will. But Mr. Spock, I can tell you right now, the beacon won't work." SPOCK: "Admiral, with all due respect, it must work. Otherwise, the Laws of Physics are not in operation. And if the Laws of Physics are not in operation, then--" NELSON: "Go ahead and try it." The device made from Spock's disassembled communicator, spare wires from the Circuitry Room, and a string and a cup from the Crew's Mess, does not work. The Vulcan is nonplused. NELSON: "Told ya." SPOCK: "Admiral, the Laws of Physics simply cannot be broken. According to Dr. Richard Feynman--" NELSON (recalling his last meeting with the eccentric, bongo-playing genius): "Take it from me, Spock, Dick Feynman is a certifiable kook! And you can also believe me when I tell you, with Mr. Pem, anything's possible!" CRANE (abruptly): "Never mind Pem. We've got enough on our hands without bringing him into it!" MORTON (rather startled at Crane's tone): "Lee? Is something wrong?" CRANE: "I'm fine--which is more than I can say for this ship! Where are those Damage Control reports, Mr. Morton?" MORTON: "Right here, sir." (He hands over a clipboard with a three-page list.) Leaning against the railing of the periscope platform, Crane reads through the tally of damaged bulkheads, watertight doors torn from their hinges, fused wiring, burst pipes and monster sightings with a steadily deepening frown. Meanwhile, Spock takes his device over to the table in the nose, clears himself a space among the coffee cups, and settles down to try to work out what went wrong. All but forgotten, Kirk wanders down to the nose window and starts in on the doughnuts left over from the earlier coffee-break. CRANE (finally looking up): "What a mess! If we go down again in this state, we've had it. I want work parties on those bulkheads and hatches right away. Send some men down to the laboratory to force-feed the creature down there with carbon dioxide, and details with stun-guns to round up any other stray monsters we've got wandering around. Oh, and send the duty plumber to investigate that steam explosion in Frame 32." MORTON: "Frame 32? Lee, there aren't any steam pipes down there." CRANE (jabbing an impatient finger at the relevant paragraph): "Then what's this report all about?" NELSON (peering around Morton to see the report): "Unless I'm very much mistaken, that was what happened when the Heat Monster met one of those Frost Men from that flying saucer we found in the Arctic. At least that's two things less for us to worry about." CRANE: "That just leaves about a hundred to go. Jump to it, Mr. Morton." MORTON: "Aye-aye, sir." (Shaking his head slightly, but not presuming to argue with his commanding officer in this mood, he goes off to arrange the work details.) NELSON: "Lee, slow down. You're not seeing the big picture." CRANE: "Admiral, every big picture is made up of small details. The more details we can tackle while we've got a breathing space, the more chance we'll have." (He strides over to the sonar station.) "Sonar, what's below us?" SONAR OPERATOR: "The whale, sir." CRANE (rubbing his temples, and looking confused for a moment): "Of course it is. Carry on." NELSON (coming up behind him, and putting a hand on his arm): "Lee, why don't you come and sit down?" CRANE (spinning round, and jumping several inches into the air): "What? Don't do that! Oh, it's you, Admiral. Sorry." NELSON (frowning): "What's gotten into you, Lee? I've never seen you this edgy!" SPOCK (aside to Kirk, at the table): "It would appear that the Doctor's stimulant has been a little too effective, Captain." KIRK (with his mouth full): "I hope that's all it is. Keep an eye on him, Spock." CRANE: "I keep telling you, I'm fine. It's just . . ." NELSON: "What? What's bothering you?" CRANE: "Nothing, Admiral. Nothing at all. Mr. Morton, is there any progress on the Air Revitalization System yet?" MORTON: "Not yet, sir. They're working on it." CRANE: "Well get more men on it!" MORTON: "But, Lee . . ." CRANE: "Do you understand your orders, Mr. Morton?" MORTON (uncomfortable, but determined): "Frankly sir, no I don't. Sending more men to Air Revitalization won't--" CRANE: "Now you're questioning my decisions?" NELSON: "Lee. Lee. We need to talk. Now." CRANE: "Admiral, I'd thank you not to interfere when I'm trying to run the ship. We haven't time for those games now." NELSON (having a hard time holding on to his patience): "Time is exactly what I want to talk to you about, but you don't seem to be in any state to listen." Crane flings away and goes to stand in the corner by the arms locker, facing the wall. Spock tenses, watching him closely. NELSON (following Crane into the corner): "You've had a rough few hours, Lee. We all have, but you seem to have got the worst of it. Perhaps you should go back to your cabin for a while, huh?" CRANE (still facing into the corner, as he opens the arms locker. His voice is eerily calm): "It won't do you any good, Admiral. Sooner or later, I'm going to have to kill you." (He turns to face Nelson, with a gun in his shaking hand.) "Just as soon as the voices in my head finish fighting over who gets the ship afterwards." NELSON: "Put the gun down, Lee. We can talk about this." Quietly, Spock reaches out and grabs the nearest weapon. Kirk watches with his mouth open, and one hand holding half a doughnut in mid air. CRANE: "Too late, Admiral." With a light of madness in his eyes, he tightens his finger on the trigger--but Spock's Vulcan reflexes are faster. A single shot rings out. Crane staggers, then falls; a spreading crimson stain over his heart makes it obvious that this time, no amount of hyposprays are going to be any use. Aghast, Spock stares at the weapon in his hand, as does everyone else in the Control Room. KIRK: "Spock! What have you done?" SPOCK: "It would appear, sir, that I have killed Captain Crane. I will, of course, stand trial and suffer whatever penalty the law prescribes." KIRK: "Later, Spock. At this moment, I'm more interested in knowing why." SPOCK: "If I had acted a fraction of a second later, Captain, Admiral Nelson would be dead." KIRK: "But you didn't have to put a bullet in him! A phaser-stun would have done the job just as well!" SPOCK: "I am aware of that, Captain, and I was fully intending to use a phaser. I am at a loss to explain why the weapon in my hand should have been this primitive hand-gun. A continuity error, perhaps." KIRK: "You do realize that now we'll never get back to our own time? Killing Crane must have changed the future." SPOCK: "That does seem a likely outcome, Jim. In all probability, we are now irrevocably trapped in this timeline." NELSON (kneeling beside Crane's lifeless body): "This can't be happening. It just can't be. Someone's playing games with us." KIRK (springing to his feet and beginning to pace around the Control Room, gesticulating in his most Shakespearean manner): "All right. Game's over. Come out, come out, wherever you are! You've put these men through nightmare after nightmare: fear, indignity, pain, madness . . . and now death. And you know something? You haven't the right. They've been through all this before; they've faced these things a hundred times and overcome them. They've triumphed, over and over, against these very creatures and phantoms that you've sent against them today. What can you possibly learn by throwing a lifetime's troubles at then in one afternoon? What can you hope to gain?" With Kirk's voice droning away in the background of his awareness, Nelson stares numbly at the timepiece that he's still holding, wondering if things could possibly get any worse if he pressed the anachronistic red button on its top. From what he remembers of Mr. Pem, they could. But, before the Admiral can make the fateful decision, Time stops of its own accord.
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Copyright 1997 Rachel Howe and Alison Passarelli