They say there’s no devil, Jim, but there is. Right out of hell, I saw it.
Module BI-02(a)T: Commodore Decker’s Ophidian
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, felling the crew to 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.
Finally, the world-gobbling ophidian swallowed the shuttlecraft whole as Decker’s hysterical 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 anymore 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.
Spinrad, Norman. “The Doomsday Machine.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 20 October 1967. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Doomsday_Machine_(episode)