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Nilz Baris

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Nilz Baris was the Federation's undersecretary in charge of agricultural affairs for the quadrant of space bordering the Klingon Empire during the 2260s.

In early 2268, Baris visited Deep Space Station K-7 to take charge of the development project on Sherman's Planet, responsible for the successful transfer of the grain quadrotriticale from Earth to Sherman's Planet.

On stardate 4523.3, Undersecretary Baris summoned Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise to K-7 to protect the grain through the use of a priority 1 distress call.

Kirk was ordered by Starfleet Command to accommodate Baris, despite being angered at Baris' frivolous use of the alert for agriculture security, and imperious justification for it. Kirk endeavored to obey the letter of his request with a minimal effort to annoy him. That stormy relationship worsened during the stay with the stopover of a Klingon ship arrived at the station demanding shore leave privileges much to Baris' alarm and the rapid infestation of tribbles courtesy of a small-time trader, Cyrano Jones. Eventually, Kirk went out of his way to bait Baris at every turn, at one point threatening to hold him in irons if he did not shut up.

When the tribbles ate most of the grain, an outraged Baris vowed to put Kirk before a board of inquiry for both the mishap and Kirk's treatment of him. However, that move was preempted when a massive die-off of tribbles alerted the crew that the grain was poisoned. Furthermore, one of the tribbles revealed that Baris' assistant Arne Darvin was responsible as a Klingon spy. As a result, Baris satisfied himself with arresting Darvin. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles"; DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

Background information Edit

Nilz Baris was played by actor William Schallert. The script for "Trials and Tribble-ations" spelled the name as "Barris".

According to David Gerrold's book The Trouble with Tribbles, Baris was originally named "Damon Jones" in his original premise for this story entitled, "The Fuzzies", which later evolved into "The Trouble with Tribbles." According to Gerrold, Jones was originally conceived as being "fairly sympathetic," which was rather contrary to Baris, which he described as "a pretentious, self-important bureaucrat."

In the original premise, Jones was worried that his grain was going to be sabotaged by a rival corporation, known as the "Barth Neo-Corn Corporation." To ensure the safety of the grain, the USS Enterprise was called in to protect it and make sure it reaches its destination, the planet "Barth."

After revising the original premise, based on suggestions by Gene L. Coon, "The Fuzzies" evolved into a script outline, entitled "A Fuzzie Thing Happened to Me...", and Jones evolved into "Nil Baris." According to that draft of the script, Baris was "a coarse, heavy-set man" who was "a raw-boned farmer turned businessman" with "an air of roughness about him that is very unpleasant."

For the scene in "Trials and Tribble-ations" where Sisko and Dax observe Kirk and Spock talking to Baris over the intercom, Steve Tucker used dialogue from Baris elsewhere in the "The Trouble with Tribbles" to make the scene in "Trials and Tribble-ations" longer. (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations)

Apocrypha Edit

The short story "Dorian's Diary" in Strange New Worlds III establishes that Baris was still alive into the 2370s and was the great-great grandfather of Red Squad cadet Karen Farris. After Farris was killed aboard the USS Valiant in 2374, the elderly Baris visited the sole surviving original Valiant crew member Dorian Collins while she was recovering at Tycho City.

The Myriad Universes series features an alternate timeline, where Darvin's sabotage was never discovered and the subsequent disaster at Sherman's Planet cost thousands of lives, Baris assumed leadership of the remnants of the Human colonies there. He used his considerable expertise in dealing with Klingons (including Darvin, who revealed his true identity to Baris, whom Darvin had grown to respect) to deal with the situation, and eventually became President of the United Federation of Planets. While he had a long and distinguished presidential career and was fondly remembered by the citizens of the Federation (including Leonard McCoy, a lifelong friend), Baris never got over his long-standing feud with Darvin.

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