Chapter 10 – Charlie's Law

Author's note: I know that the TV episode was called "Charlie X" but apparently for a while during production, it was called "Charlie's Law", because there was an unaired scene where Charlie's Law is stated as "You'd better be nice to Charlie...or else."

Leonard wondered if his face showed the blood draining from it. "How are we going to do that?'

"Before we worry about that, if we are keeping to the script, you must change before you go to the Transporter Room. You've got to wear your green ceremonial uniform. Captain Kirk was wearing it when he met the officers from the Antares."

"Does it really matter?" Leonard asked wearily before realising his mistake.

"Of course, it matters. Do I have to keep repeating myself? We must keep everything as close as it was to the episode to make sure everything turns out okay," Sheldon told him.

Leonard told the elevator to change decks, so he could go change into his ceremonial uniform. The longer he kept Captain Ramart waiting, the longer the crew of the Antarres had to live.

"What can we do?" he asked Sheldon, once inside his cabin and rummaging through his cupboard to find his green ceremonial tunic.

"We can't let Captain Ramart warn us once he gets off the ship."

Leonard pulled off his red tunic and inserted himself into the green one.

"The solution is obvious," Sheldon said. "You need to make Captain Ramart aware that we know about Charlie's powers and you need to tell him about the warped baffle plate."

'And how am I going to do that?' Leonard asked as his head emerged from the top of the tunic.

"Good grief, Leonard, must I solve everything? I've told you what you need to do. Now think of a way to do it."

'Thanks for that,' Leonard said, turning to the mirror, and briefly admiring himself. The gold braid does look good.

"I swear, Leonard, you've become as vain as a peacock since getting Kirk's body," Sheldon told him, looking down his nose at him. But not as far down as he used to, Leonard thought triumphantly.

They were dining in the private dining hall. Captain Ramart, his two officers, Scotty and Dr. McCoy were seated at the long polished H'trakka wood dining table, as was Charlie. Charlie's gaze wandered around the room.

"This is much nicer than the Antares," he remarked with satisfaction.

Leonard caught the two Antarres officers beginning to scowl until a hard stare from Captain Ramart stopped them.

"Can I tempt you to a glass of wine?" Dr. McCoy asked.

Captain Ramart hesitated. "Is it real wine?"

"As real a Cabernet Sauvignon as the replicator can make it," Dr. McCoy replied, grinning. "And it's a damn fine replicator if I say so myself. One of the finest around."

"Can I have a glass of wine?" Charlie asked.

"No!" Leonard and Captain Ramart said in unison.

Leonard saw Charlie's mutinous expression and said, "Sorry, Charlie, but it's not ship policy to let anyone under 21 drink alcohol. You're not the only one. Some of our younger yeomen have that restriction too."

He wondered if they had pushed Charlie too far, but he merely said, 'Uh huh," and then, 'the replicator on the Antares was pathetic. The same boring food over and over again."

'It only has a limited menu," the First Mate said defensively.

Dr. McCoy and Scotty brought glasses of red wine over for the Antarres officers.

The condemned men ate a hearty meal. How are we going to save them? He needed to get the information to Captain Ramart without Charlie catching on. How about the Vulcan Mind Pinch? Sheldon wasn't even there, and Leonard was unsure if he would have been able to do it, even if he had. He shook his head mentally. Think, damnit, think. Could I get the captain alone? Could I pass him a note? Then Leonard had an idea.

"Did you know Captain Ramart, the Enterprise has one of the best, most up-to-date maintenance facilities in the fleet? Why don't you let our engineers check over your ship before you go?"

Scotty opened his mouth, then shut it. His thick eyebrows drew together in a frown and his mouth turned down.

'We couldn't impose like that," said Captain Ramart, "and we have a schedule to keep." But he sounded like he could be convinced otherwise.

'But surely you can't pass up this opportunity to have first class engineers give your ship a tune up?" Leonard argued.

Captain Ramart hesitated.

"For free," Leonard said. "Our way of showing our gratitude for you rescuing Charlie."

A strange expression flickered over Captain Ramart's face, but he said, "If you put it like that."

"I do," said Leonard heartily. "Scotty, it wouldn't take that long to check over the Antarres, would it?"

'Nae, captain. Not if I divert my engineers from all the other important work they should be doing."

Leonard ignored the sarcasm. "Great," he said. 'Make it your top priority."

Scotty scowled. "Aye, aye, captain."

I've saved the Antarres.

"Well, thank you very much, Captain Kirk," Captain Ramart said.

"My pleasure," Leonard said and meant it.

Charlie was also scowling. "I thought you said you were in a hurry?" he asked Captain Ramart.

Captain Ramart flushed and looked down at his empty plate.

"Now Charlie, don't embarrass the good captain, there's a good lad," Dr. McCoy said, beaming.

Leonard wondered how many glasses of wine he'd had. Charlie gave a cold stare to Dr. McCoy and Leonard froze in horror.

Dr. McCoy continued, "I'd like to give you a full medical tomorrow, Charlie. You look like a fine specimen of humanity. I'm amazed you stood up so well to all those years alone."

Charlie swelled visibly with pride at Dr. McCoy's words and then a hunted expression darted across his face for a moment. It disappeared, and Charlie said, "I was lucky, I guess."

Leonard unfroze but still felt tense. Lucky, my foot. Hurry up, Thasians.