Theodore R. Cogswell. Charles A. Spano Jr. Gene Szafran.
Captain’s log. Stardate 6720.8.
This is our eighth day in orbit around the Class M planet, Kyros. Dr. McCoy has reported that initial trials of the telescan cephalic implants devised by Starfleet Cultural Survey Bureau have been generally successful. Though some survey team members complained of disorientation on first being linked with the Kyrosian minds, Dr. McCoy is confident that once each team member realizes he can consciously control the feelings of personality intrusion caused by the link, present complaints of feeling like two different people simultaneously will cease.
Successful completion of our mission on Kyros will mean the acceptance of the telescan implant as a routine survey tool.
Captain James T. Kirk, commanding the United Starship Enterprise, pressed his forefinger against a button on the log computer’s control panel, shutting it off.
He yawned and stretched. The survey team had been beamed down for its third day on Kyros early that morning while he was still asleep. His watch had been strictly routine and a bit boring. He was looking forward to a long drink, a good meal, and an hour or so of solitude before the debriefing later that evening when the survey team was beamed up for the night.
He leaned back in his thickly padded black command chair and gazed around the bridge of the great starship, nodding his approval of the quiet efficiency with which the bridge crew went about the complex and demanding business of running the Enterprise.
The bridge was a circular chamber located on the top deck of the huge, saucer-shaped, detachable primary hull. It began to his left with the main engineering console, currently manned by Lt. Comdr. Montgomery Scott, and continued around to the ship’s environmental control console, engineering sub-systems monitor station, the visual display monitor—a viewing screen which could show any part of the ship’s exterior, but which now showed cloud- wreathed Kyros turning in its orbit some sixteen hundred kilometers below—then on to the defense sub-systems monitor, defense and weapons console, navigation, main computer and science station, now manned by the second science officer, Lt. Comdr. Helman, and lastly communications, where Lt. Uhura, a lovely woman of Bantu descent, was setting up another scanning program for the normal light and infra-red cameras trained on Kyros.
Directly in front of Kirk was a double console containing the navigator’s station on the right and the helmsman’s on the left.
Kirk raised his brown eyes from the twin console and studied the view of Kyros on the visual monitor. As he watched the televised image, he heard the turbo-lift’s doors hiss open behind him.
Navigator Vitali and Helmsman Shaffer swiveled in their seats and nodded to the entering officers.
Kirk turned and waved a greeting at the approaching pair.
“Lieutenant Sulu…” began one.
“Ensign Chekov…” chimed in the other.
“… reporting for duty, sir,” they finished simultaneously.
Kirk smiled. “Carry on, gentlemen, and a good evening to you both.”
The two officers—Lt. Sulu, an Oriental of mixed ancestry but with Japanese predominating, born on Alpha Mensa Five; and Ensign Pavel Chekov, a terrestrial Russian with bushy black hair and a round, youthful face—took their seats at the combined console in front of the captain, as their off-duty counterparts stood and stretched luxuriously.
“A long watch, Ensign Shaffer?” Kirk asked the young man.
Shaffer nodded and said, “Aye, sir.” He gestured toward the image of Kyros on the monitor screen.
“The first few days aren’t too bad; a new planet’s always sort of interesting, but after a while it can be a drag.” The ensign quickly added, “… sir.”
“After the long run out here, just sitting with nothing to do is pleasant,” the female navigator said. “Some of the courses I had to plot were a little hairy. Opening up star routes in an uncharted sector of the galaxy can put wrinkles on a girl.”
“We were lucky, Lieutenant,” Kirk said. “Finding life in only the third system we visited was like throwing ten sevens in a row.”
“Well,” said Sulu, “a routine one-on and two-off schedule with no problems for three hundred parsecs is infinitely preferable to spending the rest of your life as, for instance, the plaything of a superpowerful alien juvenile delinquent.”
See: “The Squire of Gothos,” STAR TREK 2, Bantam Books, 1968
“Small chance of that happening here, Mr. Sulu,” Kirk said with a chuckle. “The Kyrosians have a D+ rating on the Richter Cultural Scale, at least the city-dwelling lowlanders do. The hill clans are fairly primitive nomadic herdsmen, as far as we have determined. When Spock and the rest of the survey party beam up tonight, we should be able to fill in the blanks. But you can relax, Sulu; we’ve picked up enough to know that there’s nothing down there that’s a threat to the Enterprise.”
“In that case, sir,” Shaffer said, “Lieutenant Vitali and I are going to devote the first part of the evening to the pursuit of a thick pair of Terran beefsteaks.” Turning to the woman, he asked, “Care to chart a course in that direction, Navigator?”
As the pair stepped up a short flight of stairs to the upper part of the deck and entered the turbo-lift, Kirk gave the bridge a last quick glance.
“Everything seems to be in order,” Kirk said. “Mr. Sulu, you’ll take the con this watch.” He glanced to his left and saw Engineering Officer Scott stretching. “Ready to call it a day, Scotty?”
The big, bluff, red-haired Scotsman nodded and his relief, Lt. Leslie, slipped into the padded black swivel seat at the console.
“But, Captain,” Scott began in a thick burr, which somehow disappeared completely when he was under stress, “d’ye think it’s a gude idea to leave the Enterprise in the hands of sic a wee lad as Sulu?” He flicked his left eyelid at Kirk.
Kirk caught the wink, and fell in with the jovial feud between Scott and Sulu, which had been underway ever since a debate over the merits of hot saki, as opposed to Scotch.
“As helm officer,” Scott added lugubriously, “the bairn may be able to hold orbit—gie’en the proper supervision o’course—but the con, now; I think it’s a bit more o’ a load than those young shoulders can bear.”
Kirk gave a mock frown. “You’ve a good point there, Scotty.”
Sulu swung partway around in his seat to gaze in astonishment at the muscular captain who stood staring at him, hands on hips.
“But, if Chekov could just keep an eye on things…” Kirk went on. “How about it, Navigator? If Sulu should start pushing the wrong buttons and send the Enterprise out of orbit and into a nose dive, do you think you could show him how to get back?”
Chekov glanced at Sulu, then looked away. Helman snickered.
“I’ll do my best, Captain,” he said in a Russian accent so thick the last word sounded like “kyptin.”
“But would you straighten me out one more time… Do I push the green button for Up or the red one?”
“Don’t tell him, sir,” Scott said. “Let him find out the hard way.”
Laughing, the two officers turned and mounted the stairs to the raised deck, the engineering officer slightly ahead. As they were about to enter the turbo-lift, Chekov leaned forward, studying the screens on his console intently.
Kirk swung around. “What is it, Mr. Chekov?”
“The scanners have picked up a radiation front coming toward us on course…” Chekov paused, did some fine