Stardate 6124.7--Just after lunch . . . While star-mapping a previously unexplored region of the Milky Way galaxy, the USS Enterprise unwittingly enters the gravitational field of a black star. Unable to maneuver away from the celestial hole of no return, the Enterprise is pulled inexorably, not-to-mention-swiftly, toward the star's deadly event horizon. Before Captain Kirk can wolf down the last white crumbs of feta cheese from his extra large Greek salad, the Enterprise vanishes. Sometime later . . . . SPOCK (picking himself off the deck): "Captain?" KIRK (picking out stray pieces of wilted lettuce from his back teeth): "Anybody have a toothpick?" SPOCK (from his seat at the Science Officer's station): "Sir!" KIRK (startled, he swivels toward Spock): "Whaat!" SPOCK: "Just thought you'd like to know, the ship is damaged beyond repair." KIRK: "Ah, come on. You know Scotty can fix anything." SPOCK: "Not this time, Jim." KIRK: "All right, what's the problem?" (Trying to fish out a particularly annoying piece of cucumber seed stuck between his two front teeth): "And gimme the short version, please." SPOCK: "Very well. In a nutshell, the warp drive is kaput, impulse engines are flooded, and dilithium crystals are burned beyond recognition. Life support is temporarily operating on battery power. However, that will not last long, as we never returned to Sears for our five-hundred-trillion mile check-up. Pity, since we had a coupon. Other than that, Captain, things are peachy." KIRK (still fighting that stubborn seed): "Man! I need some floss. Where's my yeoman?" SPOCK: "Sir, have you heard a word I said?" KIRK: "Keep your shirt on, Spock. I was just about to call a meeting in the Briefing Room." (Using the end of his stylus to dislodge the offending particle--to no avail): "But first, I gotta brush my teeth." A few minutes hence . . . His pearly whites sparkling, and finally free of cucumber, Kirk heads for the Briefing Room to hear Spock's report. And is it a doozy! Apparently, the Enterprise has been thrown not only through space, but through time. For some strange reason, the ship is locked in synchronous orbit around planet Earth, approximately 100 miles above the Hawaiian Islands. (Spock's only explanation for this unlikely turn of events is that it must be in the script.) The century is the 20th; the year, 1975; the month, May; the day, Tuesday. Gerald Ford is in the White House, The Brady Bunch has been canceled, and in the world of pop music, Disco is just beginning to rear its ugly head. Historically interesting as these facts may be, Spock says, none of the information is of any practical use. Kirk bangs his fist on the table and demands a plan of action. SPOCK: "Sir, our only hope is to find a nuclear reactor, steal its . . . I mean . . . borrow some of its fissionable materials, and use them to bring our burned out dilithium crystals back to life again. However, I am afraid we have a limited amount of time in which to accomplish this task. Reserve power levels are dropping rapidly. Soon, there won't be enough juice left to run a toaster on." KIRK (panicky at the thought): "How long, Scotty?" SCOTTY: "No more'n . . . eight hours. After that, the oxygen'll run out, an' we'll all die o' carbon monoxide poisoning." CHEKOV: "Sair?" KIRK: "Chekov?" CHEKOV: "Sensors peeked up a nuclear wessel steaming toward Hawaii only five meeneets ago." KIRK: "Of course. The United States Navy's Pacific Fleet!" SPOCK: "Negative, Captain. I have been monitoring military channels. The Pacific Fleet is currently on maneuvers in the Atlantic." KIRK: "With the Atlantic Fleet?" SPOCK: "No, sir. The Atlantic Fleet in on maneuvers in the Mediterranean." KIRK: "Really? And where, pray tell, is the Mediterranean Fleet?" SPOCK: "Indian Ocean." (Shrugging and explaining): "Apparently, one of the Joint Chiefs concocted the idea while watching his grandchildren at play. The Pentagon hopes 'Operation: Hopscotch' will rattle the Russians, or at the very least, confuse Congress. In either case, the strategy leaves only one vessel in this part of the world with nuclear capabilities." KIRK: "And that vessel is?" SPOCK: "The SSRN Seaview." KIRK: "Not the Seaview! Not Harriman Nelson's Seaview!" SPOCK: "The very same, Captain." KIRK: "Holy Toledo! That man is one of my heroes! He saved the planet more times than we did!" SPOCK: "Yes, he possessed a most brilliant mind." KIRK: "And he was one hell of an actor, Mr. Spock." SPOCK: "Agreed, Captain." Both men have studied the famous "Nelson Journals", which were published upon the Admiral's retirement in 1990. Spock praises the nautical narrative, and finds it not only extremely informative, refreshingly concise, and appropriately pithy, but a constant source of inspiration as well. Not wishing to be out done in showing admiration for Nelson, Kirk gets up, meanders around the room, hunches up his shoulders, throws out his hands, and begins waxing eloquent on the legendary Admiral's legendary accomplish ments. (He does not seem to hear the snores emanating from his subordinates.) However, Kirk declares, as much as he digs the Ad, it was Nelson's protege and best buddy, Lee Crane, who inspired him to go into the service. And while consciously modeling himself after the affable, well- mannered, super-efficient, ain't scared a nothin! Captain Crane, Kirk wonders, not for the first time, why such a good- looking guy never seemed to get the girl . . . A half hour later, when Dr. McCoy finally wakes up, he wonders, at the top of his lungs, why in blazes Jim and Spock are still flappin' their jaws instead of trying to get the ship fixed! Spock suggests risking contact with Nelson and Crane. Those men repelled more than their fair share of invading aliens, giant manta-rays, dinosaurs, and looney-tune scientists. If anyone can help the Enterprise out of this jam, it's HN and LC. Kirk concurs, and orders Uhura to open a hailing frequency. Within five minutes, Kirk and Spock find themselves sitting in Admiral Harriman Nelson's private quarters aboard the Seaview. Twenty minutes after that, when Spock's ears haven't come off after repeated pulling, Nelson and Crane are thoroughly convinced the story they have heard is genuine. Nelson places his ship at Kirk's disposal. Scott, Chekov and Riley are ordered to beam down to begin the delicate and dangerous job of siphoning off a few quarts of radioactive fuel from Seaview's nuclear pile. With all the enlisted men hard at work, this leaves the four officers with little to do . . .
Back to Title Page
Copyright 1997 Rachel Howe and Alison Passarelli