On Jimmy Doohan

James Doohan, best known as Scotty from Star Trek, passed away today. He was 85.

I had the opportunity to write for Scotty in my Star Trek: SCE novella, Ring Around the Sky. Scotty is the officer in charge of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, and he doles out the assignments to the da Vinci and other SCE ships. The scene I wrote, which would have opened chapter ten, didn’t see through to the final draft, and though I was sad to lose it, I present it here as a tribute to Doohan:

“I have tae say, Captain, I’m verra impressed,” said Montgomery Scott, the head of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers. “When ye contacted me with the news the wee planet would have tae be abandoned, it was a dark day indeed. But then, to separate the elevator and drop it into the ocean, leaving the rest intact and saving the planet… why, that was an audacious plan.” Scotty’s smile beamed. “Why, it’s even the sort of thing I might’ve done back in the day. Jim Kirk would hae thought me daft, but when ye get results, even the maddest idea holds water.

“Commander Tev deserves the credit,” said Gold as he nodded in the direction of Tev, sitting to his right at the conference room table. “He brought the plan to the attention of myself and Commander Gomez, and then sold it to the Kharzh’ullans.”

Scotty smiled on the viewscreen. “Nae disagreement from me, though the Kharzh’ullan government has sent Starfleet a message saying that the SCE team wasnae necessary and they could hae done the job themselves.

“They couldn’t have, though,” said Gomez, sitting to Gold’s left side.

Och, lassie, I know. But if there’s a constant in the universe, it’s thae people dinnae like to admit when they need help, especially proud people. I’ve known proud people in my time, and Tellarites are especially proud.” Scotty looked in Tev’s direction. “Laddie, ye look sad.

Tev nodded slowly. “Where do we go from here? We saved the world, but at what cost?”

Ye saved their lives, though. And the Ring is still intact, still useful, and she’s in no danger of falling tae the ground anytime this millennium.

“Evacuation would have saved their lives, as well,” said Tev.

Nae, that wouldnae be the same. Ye preserved the way of life they had built for generations. Evacuating Kharzh’ulla IV wouldnae have done that.” Scotty paused, looking from Tev to Gold to Gomez in turn. “What was built can be rebuilt. I’ve nae doubt of that. It willna happen in my lifetime, probably nae in yours, but it will happen. The new elevator willna be the same as the auld, but that dinna matter, for the Kharzh’ullans will hae built their own future.

Gomez smiled. She looked to Tev. She couldn’t read his feelings behind his impassive, bleary eyes.

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