arrive at Starbase 11 for repairs after suffering damage in an ion storm. Kirk files a report with Commodore Stone, the Portmaster, and notes that he suffered one casualty: Records Officer Lt. Cmdr. Ben Finney. Finney died when Kirk had to jettison the sensor pod he was in during a storm. Kirk claims that he gave Finney as much time as he could to get out before jettisoning the pod. However, Finney's daughter Jame comes in and accuses Kirk of killing her father. Spock escorts her out while Stone goes over the computer report and notes that it contradicts Kirk's report, and the captain should consider himself confined to base while they determine if a court martial is necessary.
Then, Captain, I must presume you've committed willful perjury. This extract from your computer log says you jettisoned the pod before going to red alert. Consider yourself confined to the base. Official inquiry will determine whether a general court-martial is in order.
Kirk discovers that the other Starfleet officers are snubbing him, already assuming the worse. After he leaves, McCoy runs into Areel Shaw, an old friend of Kirk's who is looking forward to reuniting with him.
All of my old friends look like doctors. All of his look like you.
Stone holds a preliminary inquiry with Kirk in private. Kirk testifies that he and Finney were friends in the academy when Finney was an instructor and Kirk was a midshipman. They later served aboard the [i[Republic together where Kirk was forced to report an error that Finney made that endangered the ship. However, Kirk had no problem with Finney serving under him. During the ion storm, Finney was at the top of the duty roster and assigned to the pod automatically. He waited until the Enterprise
went into red alert and then was forced to jettison the pod due to static buildup. However, Stone says that the computer log recording shows a yellow alert at the time Kirk jettisoned the pod. Stone stops the inquiry and suggests that Kirk take a ground assignment for the good of the Fleet, rather than embarass the organization with a court martial. Kirk stands by his actions and demands a court martial to clear his name.
I'm thinking of the service. I won't have it smeared.
By what, Commodore Stone?
All right. By an evident perjurer who's either covering his bad judgment, his cowardice, or...
That's as far as you go, sir.
Kirk and Areel finally catch up to each other and as a lawyer in the judge advocate's office she's family with the case. She warns that the prosecution will do whatever they can to run him out of the service, using the computer records as the centerpiece of their case. He asks her to defend him but she says she's busy and suggests a Samuel T. Cogley. Kirk agrees and when he asks how much she knows about the prosecution's case, she admits that she'll be the one prosecuting the case. He finds Cogley waiting for him in his quarters. Cogley disdains computers and insists on using only books, but manages to impress Kirk with his knowledge of the law.
Books, young man, books. Thousands of them. If time wasn't so important, I'd show you something-- my library. Thousands of books. This is where the law is, not in that homogenized, pasteurized, synthesized... Do you want to know the law, the ancient concepts in their own language, Learn the intent of the men who wrote them, from Moses to the tribunal of Alpha 3? Books.
The court martial is convened and Kirk pleads not guilty. Shaw calls Spock to the stand and he testifies that the computer shows no signs of error. He tries to defend his captain, claiming that the premature pod jettison is not a logical action on the captain's part, but the court is unimpressed. Shaw then calls the Enterprise
personnel officer, who fills in the background on Kirk and Finney. Finnally Shaw calls Dr. McCoy as an expert on psychology, and has him testify that it's possible Kirk may have returned Finney's enmity, rseulting in his jettisoning Finney prematurely. as an act of revenge. Cogley doesn't cross-examine the witnesses, but calls the captain to the stand. Kirk testifies that he did everything he could and would do it all again. However, Shaw plays back the computer tape which undeniably shows the captain jettisoning the pod while the ship was still on yellow alert.
The prosecution does not wish to dishonor this man, but facts are facts. I must invite the attention of the court and Captain Kirk to this visual extract from the Enterprise computer log.
During the recess, Kirk initially wonders if he's losing it and acknowledges Spock's confirmation of the computer showing no errors. Kirk notes that he may get a more impressive chess opponent with his next captain. Spock considers the idea while Jame comes to visit Kirka nd Cogley and tries to convince Kirk to take the ground assignment. She claims that she doesn't blame Kirk for her father's death any more but Cogley wonders if there's more than that.
Mr. Cogley, we've got to stop this. Make him take a ground assignment. I realize it wasn't his fault. I won't make any trouble. Make him change his plea.
McCoy confronts Spock, who is busy playing chess against the computer. The doctor is angry until Spock reveals that he has beaten the computer: something that should be impossible unless someone tampered with its programming. They arrive at the court just as the attorney's give their closing arguments. Spock reports his findings and Cogley asks the court to give Kirk a chance to "confront" his accuser: the computer. They reconvene aboard the Enterprise
where Spock testifies that the computer has been reprogrammed and there are only three people who could do it:Kirk, Spock, and Finney. Cogley then confirms that Kirk ordered a Phase 1 Search which was unsuccessful. However, the search presumes that the person missing wants to be found. Assuming that Finney is alive, they evacuate most of the crew and meet on the bridge. They shut down the ship's engines to minimize the sound and then amplify the ship's sound sensors and electronically eliminate every remaining heart beat of those on board. Only one heart beat is left: Finney's. They pinpoint it to Engineering, and Kirk insists on dealing with the matter himself.
That accounts for everyone. (a single heartbeat remains) Finney.
As the ship's orbit begins to decay, Kirk tries to lcoate Finney in Engineering. Realizing he's been found out, Finney taunts Kirk from the shadows before holding him at bay with a phaser. The clearly deranged officer boasts that he's shut down the engines so the ship will plummet out of orbit, and that everyone who plotted against him and held him back will die. Kirk points out that Cogley has brought Jame on board, distracting him long enough to knock the phaser out of his hand. The two fight and Kirk eventually manages to get the upper hand. Finney directs him to the sabotaged circuits to save his daughter and they return to orbit just in time as the court dismisses the charges. Shaw meets with the captain on the bridge and gives him a book as a present from Cogley, noting that the defense attorney will be taking on Finney's case. The two have a brief kiss and Kirk admits that she's a very good lawyer.
Goodbye, Areel. Better luck next time.
I had pretty good luck this time. I lost, didn't l?