|Assignment(s):||chief engineer, USS Chimera|
|Rank:||master chief petty officer|
With a career that spanned more than 50 years, Master Chief Petty Officer Burton 'Burt' "Hard" Knox's career began on his homeworld. He had the choice of taking care of some old X-34s or joining Starfleet. He chose Starfleet, bringing with him his "issues," such as mistrust of authority, lack of social skills and self-centered behavior. His saving grace, however, was the fact that he was a natural engineer and consummate tinkerer. Knox had a natural curiosity regarding how things worked. His career was marked by multiple ups and downs; by his own admission, his record had so many black marks it had become a black hole.
At some point in his career, Knox was assigned to the Andorian systems, where he served with Lieutenant Winchester Thomas, grandfather of Ensign Randy Thomas. Knox did not think highly of the officer, calling him a "moron."
It was when he reported aboard the Oberth class starship USS Chimera that Knox found his place. Assigned the position of Chief Engineer for the aging starship, which was permanently assigned to Deep Space Three, Knox found the ideal environment. Captain Montaine Buchanan, the commander of the station, was known for a running the station under severely austere measures - a situation which forced everyone on the station to make do with what they had. With little or no interest in following strict Starfleet standards, Knox became determined to make Chimera something akin to a work of art.
In his quest to make "his lady" one of a kind, Knox made several points of contact within the Pinchot Expanse, including a Ferengi on the Ferengi merchant ship Profitable Venture named Frastel. Knox also worked with the ship's Daimon, Yurrel. It was through these contacts that Knox obtained a neural interface implant which he had surreptitiously implanted in his brain, hoping to improve his connection with Chimera. Although the implant allows him to communicate in a rudimentary fashion with the ship, it did not function as well as Knox had hoped. Eventually, the device was discovered by Dr. Rachel Winston, the chief medical officer of the Chimera shortly after the Chimera's first battle with the pirate vessel Solar Winds.
Following Chimera's return to Deep Space Three, Captain Buchanan attempted to compartmentalize knowledge of the implant and eventually had Knox secured in the brig to curry favor with the representative from the Star Fleet's Judge Advocate General's office (Captain Taldeen) and to keep Knox out of the way of Admiral Bartholomew Thomas. During his incarceration, Knox was beside himself when he learned that the Chimera would be subjected to a forensic engineering action, a procedure which would certainly mean the end of his ship. Knox's demands for Lieutenant Commander Torkelson (the executive officer of the station and captain of the Chimera) to do something were fruitless. Knox's mental state deteriorated through disassociation as the forensic engineering action began. At one point, Knox muttered, "Captain Tyrellian wouldn't let this happen... Captain Tyrellian would make them get off the ship." Shortly thereafter, the weapons systems onboard the Chimera came online and fired on the station. After the weapons discharged, a ghostly image of the former Captain of the Chimera, Sayzar Tyrellian appeared in Engineering and ordered the forensic engineering team off the ship. Knox's incarceration ended shortly after, and he found himself in charge of those same engineering teams, but now they were tasked with putting it all back together. Later, Knox found out that it was Commander Torkelson that stopped the forensic engineering action and liberated Chief Knox from the brig.
Knox's implant's potential also manifested itself during Chimera's trip to the planet Melnora. Chief Knox had been accused of theft following a riot while he was on a covert away mission. The planetary leaders, Lord and Lady Ranteen, decided to consult the Ivory Throne, an ancient device of unknown origin which was able to sense the emotions of everyone in its presence. When activated, the Ivory Throne interacted with Knox's implant to create a true telepathic connection between Lord Ranteen and Chief Knox. The experience clearly placed a strain on both men.
After returning to the Chimera, Ambassador Briz Nemon, the head of the Betazoid diplomatic detachment that was sent to Melnora, desperately wanted to extract the implant and thoroughly examine it. Dr Rachel Winston adamantly refused, saying it would place Knox's life in danger.
Shortly following Chimera's return to DS3, the Station was discovered to be infested with a duranium-based, insect-like species of anthropoid never before encountered. They were invisible to standard sensors as they were of the same material as most of the station. It was Chief Knox that modified a standard tricorder into what he referred to as "a bug detector". It was effective for short ranges only, but it was effective. With the discovery by DS3 CMO Dr Arban Breetal that the bugs were vulnerable to certain frequencies of sound. In short order, Knox had fashioned sonic disruptors, along with sonic grenades. both proved far more effective than phasers. Knox set up a trap for the bugs in the plaza area, using a generator on a frequency the bugs found pleasing. The trap was a success, with most of the bugs on the station being killed instantly. The trap proved to be a double-edged sword, as the harmonic resonance created by the sonic detonation that killed the bugs created numerous fractures in the skin of the station. It began to leak atmosphere. Without the station's generators, which had been shut down to minimize sonic vibration were not coming back online easily. In less than 10 hours, the station would be unable to support life.
Through round the clock efforts, station power was restored with fifteen minutes to spare.
In 2365, Knox was informed by DS3 Station Commander Captain Montaine Buchanan that Starfleet Command had begun the process of decommissioning the USS Chimera. Knox's initial response, though subdued prompted him to seek out the Ferengi merchant and gangster Vodic to solicit his aid in purchasing Chimera from Starfleet, offering his services as part of a package deal. Though Vodic didn't decline the offer, Knox suggested he had "other options". As time passed, and Chimera's decommissioning date drew closer, Knox became more desperate, calling in markers, running down old contacts. At one point , he approached Chimera Chief medical officer Doctor Rachel Winston with an offer to "retire and go chasing after the Esschertites" Winston politely declined.
With his superiorsEdit
Lieutenant Commander Renova ExlerEdit
Although no one on Deep Space Three found Chief Knox an agreeable sort, Lieutenant Commander Renova Exler was about as close to family as Knox had onboard. Exler viewed the entire crew of the Chimera as a family, and Knox was no exception. In fact, she referred to Knox as the "uncle no one wanted to talk about." Their relationship was described by Lieutenant Karen Denali: "As I understand it, both Lieutenant Exler and Chief Knox are both people who enjoy their disagreements." This played out during a brief and unwarranted incarceration of the chief; he complained to Exler: "You know, Exler, you've gone soft. Torkelson shows up, and you've gone soft." Exler then retorted that Knox "...makes me so angry! I hate to see a friend getting jobbed, especially by a mate! The Chief has no right to act like such an ass! How can he not see that what he's doing is affecting so many more people than just himself! I could just strangle the big oaf!" Yet, despite not seeing eye to eye, the Exler and Knox developed a workable and amicable relationship.
Lieutenant Commander Jennifer ForrestalEdit
Lieutenant Commander Jennifer Forrestal, as the Chief of Engineering of Deep Space Three, was nominally Chief Knox's supervisor, but in Forrestal's words, "Master Chief Petty Officer Burt 'Hard' Knox works only for Master Chief Petty Officer Burt 'Hard' Knox!" Knox and Forrestal were constantly engaged in a battle over the meager scraps of Starfleet replacement parts that the station's commander, Captain Montaine Buchanan, allowed them. Competition for replacement parts aside, Forrestal depended on Knox as a point of contact for non-Starfleet sources of replacement parts. Following Buchanan's turbolift accident, it was Forrestal who sought out Knox for advice on whether or not Lieutenant Commander Torkelson would try to improve conditions on the station during Buchanan's convalescence. Despite Knox's insubordinate attitude, he and Forrestal shared a grudging respect for each other's skills.
Doctor Rachel WinstonEdit
Until the time that Lieutenant Commander Torkelson came to Deep Space Three, Knox had been playing a game of cat and mouse with the chief medical officer of the USS Chimera, Dr. Rachel Winston. At some point in the past, he arranged with Frastel, his Ferengi point of contact aboard the Profitable Venture to procure an neural implant of unknown origin, though it was believed it to be of Escherite manufacture. After obtaining the implant, Knox found a physician to implant it, hoping it would enable him to interact with the Chimera better. Since the time the device was implanted, Knox found ways to hide its existence, including causing Dr. Winston's biobeds to go offline at a particular time, with the exception of one, which he programmed to not detect the implant. The existence of the implant was exposed following the first battle between the USS Chimera and the pirate vessel Solar Winds. When Dr. Winston filed her report, it was flagged by a scanning program Knox had set up for station commander, Captain Montaine Buchanan. After failing to browbeat Winston into altering her report to hide information regarding the implant, Buchanan classified the existence of the implant and ordered her to "keep it quiet." The implant's existence became more widely known when the Captain himself inadvertently mentioned the doctor and her discovery during an interview with Captain Taldeen, a representative from the Starfleet Judge Advocate General who was inquiring about another piece of unauthorized non-Starfleet technology installed in the Chimera. The device Taldeen was investigating was one obtained by Knox on the black market; a weapon system Knox referred to as "The Big Gun." Buchanan, thinking Winston had "spilled the beans" about the implant, ordered Knox locked up for everyone's "safety" -- all in order to curry favor with Taldeen, as well as Admiral Bartholomew Thomas, who was on the station at the time. Like Chief Knox, Dr. Winston enjoyed the relative isolation of Deep space three.
Captain Montaine BuchananEdit
Captain Montaine Buchanan and Knox were as close to opposites in personalities as one could get: the former a heavy-handed martinet, the latter a chaos-driven freelancer. However, their relationship was very symbiotic in nature. The captain focused on short-term gains and he needed Knox and his connections in and around the Pinchot expanse to barter for non-standard parts and supplies for the station and Chimera, thereby minimizing requisitions to Starfleet. But the captain also needed Knox for this technical skill. The Captain had Knox develop a scanning program to monitor all outgoing messages. According to Commander Torkelson, Knox became "a product of his environment. "Captain Buchanan may not have created Chief Knox, but he certainly encouraged him. Starfleet, after all, could've stepped in at any time with the supplies that we should've had, or brought in a commanding officer whose vision is more in line with Starfleet norms. They haven't done any of that. Therefore, we have Chief Knox."
Captain Taldeen was sent by the Judge Advocate General's office at Starfleet Headquarters to investigate station operations at Deep Space Three after HQ computers flagged the station's requisition levels. Captain Taldeen made multiple attempts to interview Chief Knox, but the chief was well practiced at evading questioning, even with regards to a Vulcan. After the second attempt, Taldeen observed Knox during an EVA removing non-standard equipment from Chimera's main deflector dish. When Captain Taldeen asked about what it was, Knox admitted later, "I probably said more than I should've." After having a conversation with Captain Buchanan, in an attempt to curry favor, Buchanan ordered Knox locked up, despite the fact that not only did Taldeen not ask for Knox's incarceration, but he was unaware the two of them were discussing two separate subjects.
Lieutenant Commander Gregory TorkelsonEdit
Knox initially dismissed Lieutenant Commander Gregory Torkelson as "Just another up and comer buckin' to make pips." Knox discovered that Torkelson was immersed in etiquette and rules and regulations, and when Torkelson would not enter Knox's engineering space without Knox's permission, Knox ordered the computer to close and lock the door. Later, when Knox was tossed in the brig on the orders of Captain Buchanan, Torkelson announced he was going to seek out Taldeen to try and get the chief released. Knox flippantly dismissed Torkelson's efforts with a parting shot of "pantywaist," which earned Knox a venomous dressing down, courtesy of Lieutenant Exler. When Knox found himself sprung, and in charge of the engineering teams from the task force that were now charged with repairs, he recognized what the commander had done for him and granted him access to the engineering spaces.
Ensign Randy ThomasEdit
Along with a majority of the crew of Chimera and the senior staff of Deep Space Three, Chief Knox had little patience with Ensign Randy Thomas' spoiled, self-indulgent behavior. On Chimera's first trip into the Rough Seas with Thomas onboard, Knox had to throw him out of the ops station on the bridge because he froze in a pressure situation. When Thomas made a feeble attempt to use his family name to intimidate Knox while in the turbolift, Knox curtly replied, "If I were you, I'd watch myself." On their first away team mission together on the planet Melnora, Knox used Thomas as little more than a beast of burden, carrying all the items Knox purchased in the marketplace. When the marketplace came under attack, Thomas panicked and hailed the Chimera, requesting immediate beamout, against orders. Knox snatched his combadge from him and told him, "We're fine!" After Thomas suffered minor injuries, Knox picked him up and carried him back to the Betazoid safe house.
With his subordinatesEdit
Trust issues, eccentricities and ego aside, Knox said of most of the people working for him, "They may be the most worthless group of hacks and slackers that have ever graduated at the bottom of their class, but people and machines are alike in one way. You can't work em too hard, or they'll start to break down before their time."
"What do ya want? I'm busy!"
"Take it from me. They may be prissy, but you don't want to get in a fistfight with a Vulcan!"
"Hey, don't be growin no backbone on my behalf!
"You're useless you are. Tyrellian at least, he knew how to get things done."
"How else am I going to find out what's weak unless someone's working her hard? If the starboard power grid shorts out, then I know I need a stronger starboard power grid, don't I?"
"You want to know why I tolerate you on my ship? You and all your other Starfleet know it alls? You and all your etiquette and rules? Because you're supposed to try and break her, and when you can't, I'll know I'm done! Tyrellian, now he knew how to challenge the Chimera, and break what wasn't strong enough!"
"Well, ain't you a fine group of spit and polish. Useless! Every last one of you! Well, if you're the best Starfleet has to offer, Chimera's in worse trouble than I thought! This here's Takahara. He may be an NCO, but if he tells you to do something, you do it! If I tell you to do something, it had already better be done! You hurt her, and now you're going to fix her."
Burt Knox is played by John Specht in all his appearances in Star Trek: Outpost.