Rewinding The Death Clock


By Diane Kachmar


Author’s note:  I was always dissatisfied by the jump cut at the end of this 4th season episode.


One minute Lee’s blowing up Mallory’s machine and next minute Lee’s been sent back to duty. So what really happened in between?  This short bit of a missing scene, written too long ago and never posted, will try to explain. I need something for dues and my current WIP won’t be done by Oct. 12!  Enjoy!



            Martin Kowalski gathered up all the cards and reshuffled them. At least Solitaire passed the time. He began laying the cards down again. It kept him busy, so he wouldn’t wander down to Sick Bay with another excuse to see how the Skipper was doing. He had to believe that Doc was right. The anti-radiation treatment would eventually work on Crane as it had worked for him and Patterson.

            Ski looked over to where his bunkmate was sacked out – a half read book face down on his stomach and now rising with each breath. Pat never worried about things like he did; Martin envied that ability of his best friend.

            Right now his worry was making it very hard to concentrate on the game. There were two higher ranking crew members working on the Skipper. There wasn’t anything he could do to help. That was what was really frustrating him. It was his duty to look after his Captain and yet Crane had been the one to rush into the reactor room and save both him and Pat.  

            The Skipper was now in a coma because of that action. It wasn’t right, but there was nothing Ski could do about it. He looked down at the cards and saw he had placed a wrong card down. Again. It was no use; the cards could not take his mind off where he wanted to be. In Sick Bay. With his Skipper.

            The sudden blare of the Fire alarm claxon blare made him jump. Not again…    Kowalski scrambled out of his bunk and headed for the locker with their fire control gear. He heard Pat’s book thud to the deck behind him as his mate was rudely awakened. Then Eric was beside him, waiting to grab his gear.

            “Fire control to Sick Bay. Fire control to Sick Bay,” the intercom yelled.

            Martin saw Pat giving him a bewildered look as he quickly donned his mask, gloves, and attached a spare breathing unit and tank to his belt. Ski then grabbed up the first red extinguisher and ran down the corridor.

            He ran into smoke before he was even at the Sick Bay hatch. Not good. He could hear Pat’s sneakers pounding the deck behind him as Ski forced his way through the smoke and into the small area.  

            The heat hit him and Ski immediately turned toward the flames and shot several blasts of carbon dioxide over them. Patterson was now beside him. They doused the anti-radiation machine until his canister ran dry. Several other DCP members joined them in spraying the unit with their extinguishers. The heat and flames died as the foam did its work.

            Martin dropped his spent canister to the floor and moved through the gray haze to where he knew Crane’s rack was. He had to get the Skipper out of this smoke now. His searching hand found the bed. Ski felt around for a leg or anything on top of it.

            Crane was curled up near the head of the bed and he was no longer comatose. The Captain was coughing heavily from the smoke.  

            Martin hurriedly stripped off his gloves, so he could work, grabbed the breathing mask off his belt and quickly turned it on. Working almost blind, he quickly found the back of Crane’s head and slipped the mask over it and down into place.

            The Skipper started at his touch and started pulling away from his grasp. Then he suddenly relaxed and stopped struggling.

            Ski eased down on the bed and pulled Crane to more upright position, leaning him against him, so he could breathe in the oxygen better. The Skipper’s body was still wracked by coughs. Ski quickly put his arms around him to further steady the Captain.

            He was a bit surprised when Crane relaxed into him, but Martin held firm. Through the thinning smoke, he could see the Skipper looking up at him through the oxygen mask. There was recognition in his eyes. As Martin looked down, Crane grimaced and said a muffled word. It sounded like “yesterday.”

            Before Kowalski could figure what that had to do with anything, Crane’s eyes slid closed and his whole body went limp in his arms. Ski freed one hand and quickly checked Crane’s pulse. It was racing far too fast for a coma patient and was much too strong for Crane to be in shock.

            Deciding quickly that the Skipper’s medical condition, whatever it was, would not improve by being in a smoke filled room, Ski slung one limp arm over his shoulder. He started to lift Crane to his feet and drag him out of there. A white blur joined him out the haze and he felt some of Crane’s weight being lifted off.       

            Martin pointed to where he was sure the door was. The two of them dragged

Crane in between them out of the door and in the opposite direction the smoke was now curling upward. The boat was rising as well. They turned yet another bend and left the smoke behind.

            “On the floor,” he was directed by a familiar voice. Ski eased Crane down to a prone position. Seeing that Frank had put his mask up, Martin did the same with his, so they could discuss treatment.

            “Smoke Inhalation.” It was not a question. Frank did a quick vitals check. Looking up from his watch, the paramedic shook his head. “These are not the vitals of a comatose patient.”

            “He was conscious when I found him,” Kowalski answered. “I know he shouldn’t have been. What the heck started the fire? I thought that machine was safe.”

            Frank shrugged. “Sharkey came tearing into the Chief’s lounge and told me the Skipper had a grenade and was going to blow up Mallory because he was some kind of alien. I ran out of there and to my quarters for my emergency kit, leaving him and his story for Doc and the Admiral to handle. I was on my way down to Sickbay when the blast occurred. I’m glad you got there first to help me get Crane out, being comatose he could have died from the smoke. Mallory must have overloaded the machine and set it on fire. So much for it being a breakthrough, if it shorts out once an operational load is placed on it.”

            Ski shrugged. “The Captain saved my life today. I owed him one.”   

            Frank redid his vitals check. “Looks like that cockamamie machine finally worked. His coma is gone.”

            Kowalski felt himself relax. “Then he’s going to be okay.”

            Frank listened with his stethoscope. “As soon as we get his lungs clear.”

            Ski lifted the tank attached to Crane. “Got a second bottle?”

            Frank patted the case by his knee. “Now I have something I can actually treat, we’ll have him back to duty in no time.”

            Kowalski looked over at the paramedic.  “A grenade?”

            Frank shook his head. “I don’t know what Sharkey thought he saw or who he was talking to, but you and I both know the Captain would never risk doing such a thing on board. Particularly, when he’s in a coma.”

            Crane mumbled something under his oxygen mask and twitched, rolling slightly on the deck. Kowalski reached out a reassuring hand, placing it on his right shoulder.  “Steady, Skipper. You took in some smoke. Breathe deeply. We got you out. It’ll be okay now.”

            The Captain’s eyes fluttered open and he looked up at them crouching over him, as they had so many other times. His gaze went from him to Frank and then back again.

Then his hand rose to the mask on his face.

            Frank intercepted it.  “Not yet, Captain! Give the oxygen a few more minutes.”

            Kowalski extended a hand, knowing what Crane wanted. He half lifted Crane, supporting him until the Skipper could lean back against the bulkhead in a seated position. Crane leaned forward, breathing hard, but slowly getting himself back together.

Their battle to keep him down had now begun.


            The End