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Episode 19 — Chekov’s Brain
View of a space junkyard. No, wait, it's not a junkyard,
it's Lagrange Point Space Vessel Museum. No, wait, what does
that sign on the side of the observation platform say?
*Paramount* Lagrange Point Space Vessel Museum! They must have
been bought out since the last episode! Well, anyway, we're at
the museum, parked far above the Earth at one of the two points
in space where the Earth's gravity is balanced by the Moon's. A
perfect spot to find space junk.
I should say `historically significant space flight
artifacts'. Plus an artificial wormhole ride that'll put your
hair on end. But we're here for the spaceships. A lot of early
earth-orbiters that managed to survive the natural forces of
gravity and atmospheric drag are here, towed to this point in
space by tractor beam as part of the twenty-first century effort
to make near-earth-space navigable once more. There was a while
there, just before the invention of warp drive, you know, when
the amount of space junk orbiting the planet made it practically
impossible to engage in earth-based astronomy. I mean it. There
was more light produced by colliding satellites at night than
starlight. No, it's really true. I just learned it from this
Door Repair Guy puts down the receiver and moves on to the
next window. A viewscreen built into the glass magnifies a tiny,
distant three-dimensional cross-shape into a sizeable piece of
space hardware. We see an assortment of modules and solar
panelling arranged radially around a core rocket segment. DRG
picks up a receiver and listens.
*Mir Space Station. To switch to Russian, press 1 now. For
Vulcan, press 2 now. For Klingon, press 3 now. For English,
stay on the line*
He presses 3.
*mIr Datu'. cha'maHDIch vatlhDaq 'oH ghomta' yejmeyDIvI'.
tengchaHvamDaq pagh tlham taHghach tamey law' chavta' beqpu'*
["You are looking at Mir. The Soviet Union assembled it in
the twentieth century. Crewmembers achieved numerous zero-
gravity endurance records on this space station.]
Further down the observation deck, at a souvenir kiosk,
Montgomery Scott is writing a postcard to his great-great-grand-
nephew's two kids. Voiceover:
"Dear Alasdair and Jeannie,
Here I am at the space vessel museum. There are many
interesting things to see here. The picture is of the USS
Potemkin, NCC-1657, a ship very much like our old Enterprise,
except that the Chief Engineer for some reason entirely beyond
human understanding kept his power transfer conduit plasma
injectors set at a constant 37.8 nanosecond cycle which, as you
children will appreciate, would lead almost invariably to a 5 or
God help us even 10 millisecond timing discrepancy in warp
velocity adjustments of over three magnitudes, the resulting
long-term distortion effects of which, I am sure you children
will readily agree, are simply horrifying to contemplate. You
can see the structural fatigue from the observation deck! I
trust you children will listen to your mother and never do the
While Scotty has been writing we have been parked just
across the counter, watching. After a while, though, our
attention has wandered and we have begun to watch a very old
gentleman totter by. As Scotty is signing off the old gentleman
comes over and exclaims:
"Scotty, can it be you?"
Scotty turns and glances over his reading glasses.
"Dr McCoy! I'd heard you were still kickin about, but I
never thought I'd meet you in this old junk yard!"
McCoy taps him on the arm with a forefinger, leans closer,
and says, "I'm on a mission."
"Don't tell me you're still on active service! Did the
pension fund run out?"
"Say now, you're talking to an admiral! I make the rules
now! If I want to keep my hand in, it's my business."
"Oh, you don't have to tell me. Retirement's nothing but a
make-work programme for spotty young know-nothings. I'm sure
half of the youngsters coming up today couldn't find their own
heads if they weren't stapled on. Take that one for instance."
Shot of Door Repair Guy wandering down the observation deck
with a piece of cardboard marked BAJOR in one hand.
"I see what you mean."
"Crawlspace. The final frontier. These are the voyages of
The Door Repair Guy. His mission: to install and maintain
proximity-activated entranceways, to stake out new rooms and new
service conduits -- to boldly go where no one with a pass key has
Grainy film-library clip of Skylab in orbit, complete with
undeployed solar wing and orange tarp.
Star Trek: Door Repair Guy
Door Repair Guy as
Grainy film-library clip of Soyuz-era Soviet cosmonaut
performing space walk.
James Doohan as
Captain Montgomery Scott
DeForest Kelley as
Admiral Leonard McCoy
Walter Koenig as
Grainy film-library clip of Alan Shepherd golfing on the
Michelle Pfieffer as
Jon Voight as
Grainy film-library clip of Saturn V second stage booster
[Commercial: Paramount Canada's Wonderland]
DRG comes up to the table where Scotty and McCoy have seated
McCoy: "Young man, am I to understand you require passage to
"Well, it just so happens that my friend here has a
Scotty sits back.
"I wasn't planning . . . ."
McCoy gives him a "play along with me" look.
"Och, weel, I think I might be swinging past there in the
next week or two."
"That's swell! Since I lost touch with the Enterprise I've
had the darnedest time even getting near the place."
Two jaws drop.
"Why [innocent blinking look] yes."
"Look here, son, I can tell when I'm being strung a line."
"No, it's true! We just got back from the Cuniculi Cluster,
and I was . . . held up . . . repairing the space doors on
Starbase 106. I missed my flight."
McCoy turns to Scotty.
"That Cuniculi thing is still classified."
Scotty fixes DRG a look.
"How many kilohertz must shield generator output be
upshifted to compensate for translational interaction between the
warp field and the deflector shield spatial distortion effect?"
"I don't know!"
"What is the primary function of Enterprise's lateral sensor
array pallet number three?"
"All right, now, laddie. You are in the starboard warp
nacelle monitoring station with a bowl of hot oatmeal porridge on
which you have just sprinkled a tablespoonful of brown sugar.
How do you get that porridge to the bridge in the thirty-five
seconds it will take the sugar to melt entirely? And be warned,
you may not reheat it."
"No reheating? Then the transporter is out. It would bleed
off a lot of the interior temperature, leaving the porridge
rubbery and unappetizing."
"Good . . ."
"Well, then, it's gotta be by turbolift. But you need a
clear path. No rerouting. Okay. Service ladder to single
person support pylon turbolift to Deck 31. Cross the corridor to
shipwide turbolift system terminus. Pull the override panel and
input emergency repair override followed by restricted Eddie
Shack code. That'll clear the track. Step in and specify
Turboshaft 12, Deck 25, Turboshaft 8, Battle Bridge, Main Bridge.
Turbolift doors open. `Your porridge, Captain.'"
"Well done! You're in Maintenance Division, either food
replication systems or . . ."
"So you're saying he's legit?"
"Oh, aye. I've made that run myself. I can't think of a
better way to get the feel of a ship's intraship transport
system. Now, what about that mission of yours, Doctor?"
McCoy becomes serious.
"It's Chekov. You might not know this, having been out of
circulation, but after he retired from Starfleet he decided to
devote himself to the study of the effect on the human body of
prolonged periods of microgravity. Much of that work had been
left unfinished when artificial gravity was invented. He thought
it would be a good idea to convert the Mir space station back
into a working microgravity laboratory. He got the Mayor of
Zvezdny Gorodok behind it, and she got the United Earth Space
Probe Agency on side. He set up shop there twenty-seven years
ago, and has been living like a hermit there ever since. The
trouble is, he hasn't reported in for six days."
"Do you think he's kicked the bucket?"
"His instruments are still sending out life readings. but
they're strange. I thought I'd better look into it."
"I'll come with you."
"Take me too!"
"All right. But remember, it's zero-G."
"Meaning I want everybody to go to the gentlemen's room
before we leave."
"We've made August's Taste of the Month a little Klingon!
For this month only it's rach!"
Customer comes to counter.
Employee: "What do you want?!"
Customer: "Rach! Quickly!"
Employee: "Here is your rach! What else do you want?"
Customer: "Egg McGakh!"
Employee: "Here is your Egg McGakh! Surely you want
something to drink!"
Customer: "Blood-wine! Suger-free!"
Employee: "Here! Drink up! Or are you a coward?"
Customer: "I will drink when it pleases me! Here is your
Employee: "Here is your change! You must have a good day!"]
Closeup of Mir Space Station. The camera moves past,
revealing layers of pealing paint. The Soviet flag can be seen
below its Russian successor, which is in turn covered over with
the emblem of the United Earth Space Probe Agency, itself
supplanted by the mountain and stars symbolism of Paramount
An interior view. The three investigators materialize in
the close confines and begin to float around. Scotty immediately
begins to examine the equipment. "Will ye look at these
antiques?" McCoy does a complete 360 degree flip and smiles, "I
feel younger already. Ouch!" Door Repair Guy brushes aside a
long pale tendril -- some sort of house plant? He cocks his ear.
"Did you hear that?"
"I heard something."
"Probably Chekov. Chekov! It's Dr McCoy! And here's
He brushes the tendril aside.
"There! I heard it again!"
"Like a tiny scream."
"I'm not sure."
"Scotty, check the service modules. We'll go this way."
Scotty swims away, knocking aside a couple of the tendrils.
"There! I heard it again."
McCoy and DRG move into the core section of the station. A
long pale branch twists and spirals down the length of it. The
Doctor begins to take readings off it. A concerned look crosses
his face. DRG is in the centre of the core section, pulling
himself along the pale tendril like a diver along an underwater
rope. He grabs a handhold and braces himself, the tendril in his
other hand. The thin screaming is almost constant.
"Look at this, Doctor!"
McCoy launches himself along, collides with DRG, and the two
wind up in a tangle with the pale tendril. The screams are now
Scotty comes swimming toward them.
"There are toenails at the end!"
"My God, I knew bodies elongated in zero-G, but I've never
seen anything like this!"
They all launch themselves toward the head end, and become
stuck in a hatchway.
"Pavel! We're coming!"
They undo themselves and, one by one, make their way into
the module containing Chekov's shoulders and head. His screaming
mouth is two feet long.
"Heaven help us!"
The top of Chekov's head has been tipped open and the brain
McCoy takes more readings.
"His body's still alive, operating on automatic functions."
"Poor Chekov. Screaming always came so naturally to him."
DRG: "But what about his brain? Who took it?"
Scotty and McCoy: "We know."
"Weekdays at 9:00 a.m., it's Regis and Kathie Lee."]
View of Scotty's shuttlecraft speeding through space.
The interior. Scotty is in the pilot's chair. McCoy is in
the rear, administering a hypospray to the loosely bundled up
body of Chekov. Door Repair Guy bobs around the cabin in
exaggerated bounces. Gravity has been set at a fraction of
normal-G to protect Chekov who is obviously unfit for weight of
any kind. McCoy is explaining:
"The inhabitants of the planet Sigma Draconis VI were
divided into two groups: the surface-dwelling Morgs, a collection
of neolithic cavemen, and the Eymorgs, a sophisticated group of
women inhabiting an advanced underground city governed by a
computer system called the Controller. The Eymorgs were highly
educated, but for only short periods of time. The Controller had
an interface called the Teacher which the Eymorgs would
periodically place on their heads to have their IQs enlarged."
"Sort of a brain-do."
"Exactly. Somehow the effect wore off after a time. About
eighty years ago, when Scotty and I were serving aboard the old
Enterprise, the Controller crashed, and the Eymorgs came looking
for a replacement."
Scotty, shouting over his shoulder: "They took Spock's
"That's right. And we went to get it back. The Enterprise
warped out to Sigma Draconis VI. I put on the Teacher and
learned how to reattach Spock's brain, but the effect wore off in
the middle of the operation and I almost didn't get the job done.
Captain Kirk decided that life under the computer was unnatural .
". . . so he taught the inhabitants about sex and left them
to develop from there."
"You know the story!"
"I've heard it before."
"So you see, laddie, all that needs be done is another
session with the Teacher and Bob's your uncle."
"There's more to it than that, dammit! That thing nearly
"Och, whatever you say. Tch!"
"When in God's name do we get there, anyway?"
"Coming up on it now. Dinna get your briefs in a tangle."
DRG: "There's a message coming in."
On screen is the image of a Morg, but a highly civilized
Morg (in a Victorian sort of way) with high-collared lapels,
brilliantined hair parted in the middle, and curling mustaches.
*You have trespassed upon Wemorg space. In the name of
honour you leave us no alternative but to fire upon you*
Explosions rock the vessel. Scotty grabs the console before
him and shouts: "Ye've stolen Chekov's brain, ye damned
The Morg glances off-screen and says:
*Don't look, darling. It's too ghastly*
Instruments burst into showers of sparks. Scotty wrestles
with the controls as McCoy shouts, Chekov screams, and Door
Repair Guy twirls over and over, spraying fire-retardant in all
Exterior shot of the shuttlecraft rocking and jolting amidst
Bob leans forward to speak but the prop television explodes
in a shower of pyrotechnics! He is thrown against the back of
the couch! An explosion goes off to his right, throwing him
stage right! An explosion to the left of the couch throws him
stage left! (Stage directions are from the audience's
perspective. Stage right is to the actor's left, and stage left
is to the actor's right. So the physical law about every action
having an equal and opposite reaction remains in force, even at
CHRO.) Cables and girders descend! The floor director dashes
into the shot, shouting "Emergency beamout!" into his headset.
The director and a very shell-shocked Bob disappear in the
transporter effect just as the whole couch goes up in a ball of
[Commercial: _Blown Away_]
A view of the shuttlecraft at rest, scorched and battered,
on the planet's surface. Cut to the interior. There is no one
A room beneath the planet's surface. The decor is very
nineteenth-century -- not full-blown Victorian bric-a-brac, but
of a similar era. There is an austere, woody, wintry look to it.
Nineteenth-century Canada? No, not quite. Scotty is flaked out
on a divan. DRG lies on his back on the floor, balancing the
heel of one foot on the toe of the other. McCoy is fretting
around the form of Chekov, who is folded several times on an
The door opens. Enter a Morg in late-nineteenth century
frock-coat and high collars and an Eymorg in a short black jacket
and floor-length black skirts.
"I am Vanya."
"And I am Tanya."
McCoy leaps at them.
"You stole Chekov's brain! Without it he'll die!"
Vanya nods sadly.
"Yes, we are aware of that."
Tanya puts a hand to her temple. "It is sad." She seems to
have a migraine.
"Well, what in blue blazes are you going to do about it?"
"We would like you to take it back."
"It is not what we expected."
"Come, we will show you."
Vanya waits as Tanya exits the room, then beckons to the
others. DRG leaps up, but McCoy shouts, "Hey!" and indicates
Chekov, and DRG returns and hoists Chekov up over his shoulder
like a roll of loose firehose. They all proceed down a corridor.
"No doubt you are aware of the history of our planet. After
the departure of the Enterprise we began to build a society in
which Morg and Eymorg could live together. At first it was
difficult. The Morg were cavemen, the Eymorg . . . cosmeticians.
It first, all we had in common was . . . bowling. You may have
forgotten that there are in truth three inhabited planets in our
star system. The inhabitants of Sigma Draconis IV possessed a
culture equivalent to your own twenty-first century."
Tanya: "Their planet is hidden by orbiting debris."
Vanya: "They reached our world soon after the Enterprise
departed, bringing their own culture, as well as certain
Federation influences. One of these was Chekhov."
Tanya: "We fell in love with Chekhov. We wanted to be
everything we found in his writings: privileged, bored, tragic."
Vanya: "Soon the invaders left. They were more . . .
carefree. They found life here . . . morose."
Tanya: "But we found that if we were to protect ourselves
from future invasion we needed the Controller. But the
Controller must have a mind. What better mind than Chekhov?"
Scotty: "But you got the wrong man!"
Vanya halts beside a door.
"You are correct."
The door slides open. The disembodied voice of Chekov can
"You are in a position to demand nothing! Admiral Kirk, he
tasks me! Mine is the superior intellect! I never forget a
face! From the fires of Hell I spit at thee! Full impulse
McCoy: "My God!"
DRG: "He's lost it."
Scotty: "Poor man, the solitude's addled his brain."
Vanya: "Which is why you must return it to its body, and
take it to a professional."
Tanya: "We do so hate to see suffering."
McCoy: "Prepare the operating theatre."
Shot of the Teacher.
"You're really going to put your head in that?"
"I have no choice, have I? I'm the only surgeon here!"
"But you're 146 years old!"
"I can still hold a scalpel!"
"Ach. On you go, then."
Close-up of McCoy lowering the Teacher onto his head. His
eyes bulge. He passes out.
"Tch, tch. I told you. Now what'll we do?"
DRG: "I'll put it on."
"But you're a mechanic! It'll never work!"
Tanya: "Perhaps the Teacher can impart basic surgical skills
in addition to the intricacies of brain surgury."
"Suit yourself. Do what you will. But I'm warning you.
I'll not bear responsiblity."
DRG sets the Teacher on his head. He squeezes his eyes
shut. He grits his teeth. He twitches his facial muscles. Then
a look of professional detachment comes over his face.
"Why, it's simple. An idiot could do it."
Film montage of Door Repair Guy reinstalling Chekov's brain.
The procedure is complicated by the elongated nature of both the
organ and the skull. Scotty paces up and down. Tanya grasps
Vanya by the arm. McCoy groans and sits up.
"My God! You're letting him do the operation? He's a door
mechanic, not a doctor! How long has it been? Has the effect
begun to wear off yet?"
As if on cue, Door Repair Guy staggers back from the table
and wipes his forehead.
"I could sure go for a Jolt Cola right about now."
Vanya passes him a Jolt Cola. He downs it and comes to. He
gets back to work.
McCoy: "That's the most brutal product placement I've ever
Door Repair Guy throws down his instrument.
"What? Done?" McCoy hurries up to examine the patient.
"Pavel! How do you feel?"
"You've got some intensive physiotherapy ahead of you, young
man, but we'll soon have you back to your own height."
"Could you stop around five foot elewen?"
"That's our old Chekov," exclaims Scotty, as he slaps him on
The shuttlecraft speeds through space.
Scotty: "Five minutes to rendezvous with Bolian freighter."
DRG: "Well, guys, it's been a blast."
McCoy reaches over and grabs him by the arm.
"One thing, young man. How long was it before the Teacher's
effect wore off?"
"It hasn't. I feel I could do the operation again right
"Of all the unfair . . . !"
Scotty: "Tut, tut, Doctor. A wee bit of professional
McCoy: "He's no professional! Listen here, son, if I hear
anything about you performing unlicensed brain surgery anywhere
in the Federation I'll have the entire Starfleet Security Section
down on your head so hard you'll wish you'd stood home in bed!
You hear me?"
"All right! I get the picture!"
The shuttlecraft speeds to the rendezvous.
[Enter Yeliena Andryeevna.]
Yeliena [opens the windows]: "The storm's over. What lovely
fresh air! [A pause.] Where's the doctor?"
Sonia: "He's gone."
Yeliena: "I left my last Jolt Cola right here. Did someone drink
Sonia: "And if someone did? We must go on living. We shall go
on living. We shall live through a long, long succession of
days and tedious evenings. We shall patiently suffer the
trials which Fate imposes on us; we shall work for others,
now and in our old age, and we shall have no rest. When our
time comes we shall die submissively, and over there, beyond
the grave, we shall say that we've suffered, that we've
wept, that we've had a bitter life, and God will take pity
Yeliena: "Found it!"
Written by Douglas A. McLeod (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Episode 19 — Chekov’s Brain
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