At the sound of the alarm, First Sergeant Spock Sr. (1SG) yells, “Incoming!”
At that, the entire Transporter Room crew is in body armor and Kevlar helmets, rushing into action.
Mr. Scott activates an intercom. “Bridge, this is Scott! We’ve got an incoming alarm. Advise!”
Sergeant First Class (SFC) Chekhov Sr, apparently not filming the scene with the camera on his shoulder, begins leafing through his file cabinet. “It could be this,” he shouts, “or maybe this, or…”
SFC Uhura Sr. barks through her headphones, “Engine Room, alert the gut, the heart, the lungs. Get ready to move, and then…”
SFC Sulu Sr., muscles tensed, gets the body ready to take action.
And all the Emotions rush toward the sound, screaming at each other, some saying, “Grab it!” with others saying, “Get rid of it!”
“Stand down, everybody,” yells Mr. Scott.
All eyes turn toward him. Then a familiar voice comes over a loudspeaker.
“All OK, folks. Building security out there in our workplace is just testing the fire alarm system. No problem. We’re good. Back to work. Kirk, out.”
With that, all the crew visibly exhales, but none appears particularly calm.
“What, in God’s name,” asks Jane, “was that?”
“That, ma’am,” Scott says. “was a trigger. That’s ‘Battlemind.’ Every combat veteran knows it well: after getting back home in your country, the sudden body rush you can feel when you drive below an overpass or see a garbage can along the side of the road. Or hear a sound like that one.”
“We get the first physical impressions of anything like that down here in the Transporter Room,” says 1SG Spock Sr., “and when we do, we move. It’s above our paygrade to figure out whether it’s ‘real’ or not. We take our cue from Chekhov Sr, and if it seems like something dangerous, our job is to prepare ourselves, no questions asked.”
“And did you see, ma’am,” says Scott, “that it took me a bit to get in touch with the Bridge? My job as the thalamus is to connect to the reasoning and evaluating parts of the brain to evaluate a stimulus like that, but that takes time. We’re soldiers down here, and if there’s a potential engagement, we all become infantry. We act.”
“That’s why,” 1SG Spock Sr says, “combat vets like you and Joe will have immediate reactions to the smell of diesel, the sight of an overpass, the sound of an alarm. It’ll take a moment or so to come to your senses and realize what’s going on.”
“OK,” Jane says. “that I know. Happened to me, especially when I got back. Still can happen at times, in fact, Fourth of July, the usual. If that were all I’m having to deal with, I’d make it work. But you know that’s not what is keeping me up most nights, making me hesitant to get too close to people. It’s much more specific, more real-feeling. Why does that keep happening? What happened to me in my brain? And how can that get better?”
Scott inhales deeply, then exhales slowly through his mouth.
“OK, ma’am,” he says. “As you wish. That I can show you.”
Scott looks at 1SG Spock Sr. “Ready?”
Spock Sr. slowly nods.
Scott then looks at SFC Sulu Sr. “You?”
Sulu Sr. swallows. “As ready as I’ll ever be, sir.”
Scott looks back up at Jane and then says. “All right. Here we go.”
He snaps his fingers. And the lights go out.