This module is about one of the most dangerous creatures known to Starfleet Command; a starship officer run amok. Only incidentally does this instruction regard the subject matter of the latest series: The scourge of alien technology.
We begin with the amok time manic depressive, Commodore Matt Decker, who before this incident was known as a stable, highly capable individual, the crème de la crème of Starfleet’s finest. Until his nemesis appeared. A foe so formidable, so horrific, that his staid and tidy mental abilities proved incapable of withstanding the onslaught.
Members of the starship, Enterprise, encountered Decker’s nemesis, aka the “Planet Killer,” after receiving a distress signal from Decker’s doomed, crew-depleted starship, the USS Constellation.
Upon arriving in system L-374, they discovered a solar system totally devoid of habitable planets. Where once there were seven planetary lovelies amicable to human life, only two planets remained. One, a molten mess of searing lava, the other, a gluttonous gas giant waiting to choke the life out of any alien being foolish enough to disregard his sensor readings.
And not far from these orbital fiends floated the Constellation’s dead hulk. A starship in this hideous condition is not pretty. Like a Ferengi with no assets.
Captain James T. Kirk, Dr. Leonard McCoy, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott and other irrelevant crew members promptly beamed aboard, only to find a now superfluous Decker mercifully unconscious in an equally redundant part of the ship, the auxiliary control room. Unfortunately, Dr. McCoy, was in possession of his every ready hypospray. The mad physician took it upon himself to inject Decker with it and revived the crazed and demented lifeform.
“They say there's no devil, Jim, but there is! Right out of hell! I saw it!!” Dazzlingly intense madness illuminated Decker’s face.
Its radiance inspired Kirk to ask suspiciously, “Matt, what happened to your crew?”
“On the third planet!”
“There is no third planet!!”
“Don’t you think I know that!” Decker’s eyes were now luminous orbs of psychotic intent. “There was, but not anymore!!”
Kirk backed away in horror. The ship’s logs were then beamed to Spock, posthaste, to discover what the devil Decker’s demon had done.
Subsequently, Spock communicated that Decker’s diabolical adversary was, in fact, “a robot, an automated weapon of immense size and power.” Whose mission was “to smash planets to rubble and then digest the debris for fuel.” Damn.
Between Decker and his demon, Kirk’s mind was reeling. “Bones,” he asked in an astonished whisper. “Did you ever hear of a doomsday machine?”
“No. I'm a doctor, not a mechanic.”
Kirk’s eyes watered at the doctor’s unfeeling response. “It's a weapon built primarily as a bluff,” he continued, “Something like the old H-Bomb was supposed to be. A doomsday machine used in a war uncounted years ago…. the machine is still destroying.”
Bone’s eyes shone in admiration. Fortunately, Kirk dispatched Decker to the confines of Dr. McCoy’s devilish sick bay, rivaled only by Earth’s ancient tortures of the Inquisitions.
Unaware of his impending doom, Decker accompanied McCoy to the Enterprise. But instead of the richly-deserved embrace of the infirmary, he was summoned to the bridge by the compelling siren of “Red alert!” Where Spock, correctly deducing Decker’s mad-hatter temperament, tried to retrieve Kirk and crew to no avail. Decker and the planet licker were ready for him, both having long ago grown too wily and insane for sensible retreat.
Commodore Decker’s planet killer stared at them from the viewscreen. A miles-long ravenous serpentine creature glazed with pure neutronium.
It turned its maw that could devour a dozen starships towards the Enterprise. It’s appearance as insane and demented as Decker’s. With an equally evil intent.
The deranged mechanism fired! A pure, absolutely pure, antiproton beam smashed into the Enterprise’s hull. The crew fell to the various decks more from embarrassment than the effects of the beam. A rust-bucketed technology had bested their most advanced systems.
And of those advanced systems, of course, the transporters were the first to go.
Decker promptly took command of the Enterprise using Spock’s freakish proclivity for adhering to Starfleet regulations. Not to be outdone in pure undiluted lunacy, he shrieked, “Fire!”
A few phaser blasts proved, of course, ineffective against the indestructible psychotic entity. A fact Decker undoubtedly erased from the memory of his own madness.
Jaws turned on them. Ready for its space pebble snack. It was drawing the Enterprise to their embarrassingly ignoble end. When...
The Constellation fired! Good ole Scotty!
After tag-teaming the mighty Goliath both ships safely maneuvered out of harm’s way.
Kirk frantically contacted the Enterprise. Decker answered. “You mean you're the lunatic who's responsible for almost destroying my ship?!!!” And having never held Starfleet regulations in high regard, bellowed, “Mister Spock! I order you to assume command on my personal authority as Captain of the Enterprise!”
Decker fixed Spock with a maniacal glare. “You wouldn't dare. You're bluffing.”
“Vulcans never bluff.”
Decker immediately relinquished command. But once again evaded the exquisite agonies of sickbay by escaping in a shuttlecraft.
Then, at long last, his murderous intent turned inward and he mercifully sought to throw his life away. "I've been prepared for death ever since I killed my crew," he informed the bridge crew from the viewscreen. (Thank you!)
Tepidly, Spock offered a wilted lifeline. “You cannot succeed, Commodore.”
But Kirk, still aboard the Constellation and monitoring Decker’s crazy communications, tried harder. For reasons still unfathomable to this day.
“Matt, we're stronger with you than without you!” Foolishness.
The world-gobbling ophidian swallowed the shuttlecraft whole as Decker’s maniacal screams echoed throughout the ship.
Fantastically, the ship’s sensors detected a minute drop in the robot’s power emanations. Did the shuttlecraft cause indigestion?
Determining that a starship’s fusion explosion of 97.835 megatons may cause enough of a belly-burn to make a difference, Kirk once again turned the Constellation towards it.
Surmising Kirk’s plans, Spock came to the logical conclusion. “Jim, you'll be killed. Just like Decker.”
But Kirk was adamant. Just like Decker.
Scotty summed up the thoughts of every sane individual aboard both ships. “A cranky transporter's a mighty finicky piece of machinery to be gambling your life on, captain.”
And little did they know that the transporters were in collusion with the globe guzzler. Phssss! The transporters fizzled when it came time for the captain’s transmutation.
“Gentlemen, beam me aboard! Beam me aboard!” Kirk shouted repeatedly, sounding much like Decker, after he’d managed to wriggle the Constellation within the planet eater’s chewing distance.
Spock, fed up with Kirk’s illogical cluelessness of the inevitable, tepidly threw out a suggestion. “Scott. Mr. Scott. Try reverse phasing.” Sulu was fed up too and taunted, “One thousand miles and closing. Five hundred miles and closing.”
The robot’s consumption neurosis drew steadily closer to the Constellation. “Beam me aboard!!!!”
Darn. Mr. Scott.
Later, Spock, studiously playing down his prior indifference, said, “I can't help wondering if there are any more of those weapons wandering around the universe.” Yes, Commodore Decker did prove to be formidable. As well as that onerous alien technology. More psychotic starship commanders yet to be discovered wandering around the cosmos? We certainly hope not. We found one quite sufficient.
Finally, made it to Risa for some much needed R&R. The planet is lovely: blue skies, green grass, crystal-clear waters. Very Earth-like. Will be here for as long as STB allows me. Don’t hate.
STAR TREK BIBLE
Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
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LOVE, KLINGONS AND A FLINTLOCK IN
THE ZETA BOOTIS SYSTEM
WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE
Let us prepare you to survive those light years in space.
COMMODORE DECKER'S OPHIDIAN
In this example of gratuitous societal manipulation, cultural contamination wasn’t as wide-spread as the Iotians’, but, nevertheless, still bode ill for the Federation. Why? Because the Klingons were involved. And it’s well known that Klingons aren’t well-endowed with the Prime Directive’s clarity.
Even today, they regard the Non-Interference Directive with the same contempt we religiously reserve for the imbecilic humanoid species who sided with the Changelings!
We begin on the planet Neural, where a Klingon, Krell, proved uncharacteristically subtle with barely a hint of barbarity, in his attempts to instill bloodlust in the planet’s indigenous population. Supplying only the Village people (as the city-dwellers were called) with archaic flintlocks to savagely and ferociously wipe out the more agrarian Hill people with whom for centuries they had neither a quarrel nor a tittle.
To sweeten the deal, Krell promised the humanoids, clearly incapable of handling the complexities of ornery and hostile trade negotiations with the Hill people, governorships in the Klingon Empire. The Villagers were not impressed. But, when limitless supplies of Hill valley females were thrown in the bargain, their complete and total lust was guaranteed.
Even the trio of sublime obliviousness, Kirk, Spock and Dr. Leonard McCoy, were unaware that evil societal tinkering was afoot. Innocently, they foraged the planet looking for medicinal supplies. Kirk, who had visited the planet before, obsessively romanticized his time spent among the peace-loving Hill folk. All the while, singing the praises of his friend, Tyree, one of the hippies whose character was especially tranquil and serene.
Kirk’s myopic reminiscing was rudely interrupted by a surreptitiously crouching band of Village people, who appeared ready to put flintlock bullet holes into his long-ago cherished memories. Seeing them take aim at Tyree and his band of brothers, Kirk hurled stones to stop the insult. Startled, one of the revisionists' rifle went off, alerting the passing pacifists.
Frustrated, they turned and encountered the historian and his friends. Kirk, not wanting to take Tyree’s place, took off in a sprint, with Spock and Bones on his heels. But the villagers were not armed with mere stones. One took aim and fired, his shot landing square in the middle of Spock’s back. Unceremoniously, he went down. Which was unfortunate, since it was not Spock who had embellished the past.
Phaser in hand, Kirk tried to rectify the situation, but Spock forestalled him. Not knowing the Prime Directive had already been stomped by the Klingon’s irreverence, Spock still sought to preserve it. After beaming back aboard the Enterprise, and placing Spock in the capable hands of Dr. M’Benga, Kirk and McCoy returned to the surface in traditional camouflage to prevent recognition and death.
But before vengeful villagers could catch them, a horned Mugato attacked them, spitting fire from its eyes as it longed to eat them. Never before had Kirk been so viciously accosted. Well, maybe, by a few past lovers. And likewise, he struggled desperately for his life. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the Mugato secured a firm grip and sank its venomous fangs into Kirk’s fleshy neck. Aaaaahhhhhhh!
Initially, Dr. McCoy was in shock. He'd never before heard Kirk scream so passionately. Well, maybe after a few new lovers. Now, it was McCoy’s turn to throw rocks, distracting said beastie long enough to phaser blast it out of existence. And finally making it to Kirk’s side, he heard, “Tyree! Some of his men! Cure!” before he passed out. Kirk that is.
Chancing upon a couple of Hill people, they were, in fact, taken to Tyree. Arriving in the village, however, they were introduced instead to Tyree’s tech-obsessed witchy woman, Nona. Later, they learned, along with a powerful hankering for technology, she had an equally potent lust for the dissolution of her enemies. A bloodthirstiness Krell could only dream of achieving in the Village people.
When Tyree finally appeared, he persuaded his shaman wife to save Kirk’s life. She began with a seductive chant, which is always a bad sign. “Return… Return!” as Tyree rhythmically banged a melancholy melody on his medicinal drum. Her black tresses swung back and forth, lashing Kirk’s chest with each beat of the drum, again and again, as she thrust the life-saving Mahko root into his open wound. Kirk strengthened with each pulse, each titillating stroke of her hair, moaning. Until… Until… His fever broke and he succumbed to a limp and weakened body. (*sigh*)
Later Kirk said to Tyree, “I knew you'd find a kahn-ut-tu to cure me,” speaking of Nona and, not long afterward, the sorceress sped up her intentions to seduce him. Ravenously, she kissed him but Tyree spotted the two in the throes of likely-to-occur passions. However, after only a moment’s thought of flintlock-induced permanent separation, like a true wimp, he dropped the rifle and stormed off.
However, a second Mugato intervened and tried to rectify Tyree’s spinelessness. But Kirk once again disintegrated another insatiable member of this protected species. Barely recovered from the Mugato’s affections, Nona, lasciviously coveting Kirk’s weapon, thumped his head with yet another of those darn stones, and took the phaser. Off she went to the enemy’s camp to share it with a male stronger than the testes-less Tyree.
But, the Villagers, seeing an opportunity to satisfy their true desires, drooled over the tech-wielding enchantress. “This weapon I bring you is far greater than your firesticks!” she howled, holding up the phaser, as several of the randy prospects slobbered on her. Again, they were not impressed. Seeing their indifference, she tried to use the phaser, but they knocked the insignificant trifle away. And continued slobbering.
By this time, McCoy found the sulking Tyree, the lump head Kirk and the tossed flintlock rifle. Kirk discovered his phaser missing and the three ran after the instrument-teasing Nona to recover it. Upon finding her, they witnessed the slobbering of Nona.
The villagers also spied Kirk’s crew and immediately deduced that trade negotiations were about to commence. And having inferred that Nona had single-handedly brought this calamity upon them, one of them, now properly installed with Klingon homicidal directives, whipped out his knife and stabbed her. Tyree screamed, “Nooooonnaaaaaaa!”
Tyree grabbed the flintlock from McCoy and felled one of the villagers. Never one to say no to a woman or a fight, Kirk joined the brawl. Even Bones got in a punch or two. But Tyree went mad, lifting yet another of those ubiquitously handy rocks, and (warning: it gets graphic here) bashed the bejeebers out of the last surviving Nona-ravisher.
So strong a lust for killing had been induced by Nona’s death that Kirk, aghast, had to stop Tyree from continuing his assault upon the villager’s corpse. Krell would have been proud. “I want more of these, Kirk.” Tyree demanded holding up the flintlock. “Many, many more.” With sadness, Kirk nodded.
Thus, this sad tale ends by showing us how the Klingons’ small instances of cultural contamination affected an entire species' trajectory despite the Federation’s never ending struggle to mitigate these kinds of pesky effects. The moral of the story? Whether stoned or not, Klingons will always attempt to manipulate a primitive society and their monkeyshines must always be balanced by copious amounts of trade negotiations and Mugato intervention.