Author's Note: Okay, so it's been far, far too long since I've written anything for Star Trek. I'm going to get back into it as I have time (being in college severely limits available writing time). I'm actually thinking of making a sequel to this story, though it will be a few months before that is published. This story was begun over a year ago and I just discovered it in the depths of my laptop, so keep in mind that this wasn't written continuously. That being said, any mistakes are mine. I own nothing. I have all except the last chapter completed and will be uploading everything within the next hours (Certainly by the end of the day tomorrow, the entire story should be posted.) This was written mostly because the 2009 reboot gave me an insight into Pavel Chekov that I love to explore in greater detail. I don't think there are enough stories about this particular character. Please read and review.
Pavel Chekov made his way slowly to the Bridge. It was 0805 hours; he was already five minutes late, and he knew he really needed to get a move on. Somehow, though, he couldn't bring himself to pick up the pace. His feet dragged as he ambled to the turbolift at the end of the corridor. It had been a rough week on the Enterprise, and Pavel, like many of the crew, was feeling the stress. He wondered if he looked as tired as he felt. He hadn't bothered to look in the mirror.
A strange, empty sort of ache, one that provided him with a weary feeling, gathered around his midsection. He suddenly had the bizarre mental image of being gnawed apart from the inside by two or three small, relentless mice. The feeling was not pleasant. For a brief moment he considered skipping his shift altogether and going back to his cabin to take a shower and catch up on some technical journals he'd been reading. Normally a hard-working young man, Pavel simply did not feel like working today.
He stopped that thought dead in its tracks when he realized that skipping work would mean that he would have to explain why to the Captain, and then the Captain would be disappointed, and Mr. Spock would probably lecture him, and then on top of it all he'd have to take an unnecessary but obligatory trip to sickbay. He'd seen it happen with his crewmates from time to time. No; skipping work was simply not worth it.
With a sigh, he took a deep breath to push away the weariness and the aches and pains he associated with stress, forcing himself to pick up the pace ever so slightly. Even so, it took four times longer than strictly necessary to reach the turbolift.
"Sorry zat I am late, Keptin," he stated apologetically (and meaning it) when he finally reached the Bridge three minutes later. He took a look around, noticing that he was the last member of Alpha shift to reach his station. Pavel cringed, expecting a reprimand from Commander Spock. However, the stoic Vulcan remained silent, electing instead to raise an eyebrow and appraise the Russian with a look that made Chekov feel as though he was in one of those old-fashioned x-ray machines.
"Ensign Chekov," the Captain frowned, turning in his chair at the sound of the door sliding open and observing the young ensign critically, "Are you alright?"
"Yes, sir," Pavel affirmed, swallowing back an unexplained surge of guilt as he turned to face his captain and caught the glimmer of genuine concern in the older man's eyes. He felt that further explanation was due. "It ees nothing. I vas feeling a leetle… off zis morning." It was the closest he could come to the truth, he realized. He didn't feel sick necessarily, or overly tired; he certainly hadn't overslept, or been delayed in any way. It was just… he didn't quite feel like himself.
"I see," Captain Kirk replied, the concern on his face increasing. "Mr. Chekov, if you're feeling ill, Lieutenant Uhura can let Dr. McCoy know that you're on your way down to sickbay –"
"No, Keptin," Pavel interrupted, rather rudely, he quickly realized. He blushed. Face burning, he looked back up at the Captain. "I am sorry, sir. I am fine, Keptin. Perhaps I am just on edge after yesterday's incident with ze Romulans."
Kirk's face cleared, and for a brief moment the Captain suddenly looked twice his age. Eight crewmen had been killed and a half a dozen more had suffered varying degrees of injury in a firefight with a Romulan ship in Federation space. The shields had been weakened to less than ten percent strength, and the Romulans showed no sign of stopping. There had been no choice but to destroy the Romulans in order to survive. Everyone was still a bit shaken up about the whole thing, especially since it was the first time following the Khan disaster that the Enterprise had lost crewmembers.
"We're all a bit on edge," Kirk agreed in what Pavel thought to be a moment of uncharacteristic exhaustion. The captain sighed. "Lieutenant Uhura, open a shipwide channel. I have an announcement to make."
"Aye, sir," the communications officer acknowledged. "Channel open."
"Attention, crew of the Enterprise. This is Captain Kirk. I had meant to make this announcement at a later time, however…" he shared a look with Chekov, "I feel that now is as good a time as any. I'm sure we could all do with a bit of good news. The Enterprise is due in space dock for some routine repairs and maintenance. After our encounter with the Romulans yesterday, Starfleet Command has seen fit to bring us in sooner rather than later. The entire crew of the Enterprise is scheduled for a week of shore leave on Earth starting the day after tomorrow. We're on our way back there now at warp 7, and unless something interferes we should enter orbit in 46 hours. I know how much we all need this rest, but we're not on vacation yet. Until we enter space dock, I expect all of you to continue to perform your duties to the best of your abilities. Kirk out."
Shore leave, Chekov thought, shoulders relaxing as tension seemed to literally roll off of his body, leaving him feeling a lot lighter. Yes, shore leave would be a welcome relief. In fact, Pavel thought as he surreptitiously looked around the Bridge, the entire Alpha-shift Bridge crew seemed to be just as relieved as he himself. Everyone was chatting happily, and the atmosphere was much more relaxed. Kirk didn't even try to call the place to order, settling for sitting in his chair and smiling around at everyone, savoring the moment of tranquility.
Pavel sat happily back in his seat, working on calculations for establishing a standard orbit around Earth. It wasn't technically necessary; the computer could easily do the same calculations in the space of milliseconds. However, it gave him something to do while he waited for the captain to give new orders. Besides, computers were fallible, and it couldn't hurt to be prepared.
Pavel fought back a shiver. Suddenly it was very cold on the Bridge. Confused, the nineteen-year-old accessed the computer from the helm, checking the life support systems. They were functioning at full capacity, maintaining an internal temperature of sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. Not cold enough to be causing him to shiver. He tried to ignore it, but before long he felt goosebumps rising up on his arms and legs, and he became so uncomfortable that he could no longer concentrate on his computations. Frowning, Pavel rubbed at his forehead in frustration, pulling his hand away in surprise when he realized how much he was sweating.
Sweating and shivering at the same time? The young man thought in confusion. What was worse, Pavel suddenly realized that the same dull ache in his stomach was back, except he could no longer mistake it for stress or exhaustion. He also began to realize that perhaps the strange pain had never really gone away; rather, he'd been so caught up in the prospect of shore leave and calculating the necessary velocity and angles for establishing an orbit around Earth and docking in space dock that he hadn't paid any attention to what his body was feeling.
Perhaps I should go see Dr. McCoy, Pavel thought, then promptly shut down that thought, as if his own mind had betrayed him and burned him with hot liquid. He never went to sickbay unless ordered there by the Captain. He didn't like the smell, the poking and prodding, the invasion of privacy… he didn't like the way he had to give up control of himself. It was genuinely traumatizing to him.
"Mr. Chekov," Captain Kirk called, bringing the young man's attention away from his inner thoughts.
"Ensign, did you not hear the discussion that we have just been immersed in for the the past two point three minutes?" Mr. Spock interjected, and Pavel turned to see that the Vulcan had his eyebrow raised and was staring straight at him, surrounded by Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Lieutenant Uhura, and Mr. Sulu. They were all standing by the turbolift, apparently waiting for Pavel to join them.
"Oy… No, sir," Pavel admitted, blushing. "My apologies, Meester Spock. I vas… distracted."
"No harm, no foul, Mr. Chekov," the captain smiled. "We were just talking about taking a lunch break. Would you like to join us?"
"Yes, please," Pavel said before he really had a chance to think about it, rising from his chair only to be instantly replaced by a blue-shirted female lieutenant who had been standing by on the side. He was immensely relieved to be getting off the Bridge, even if only for a little while.
"You have the Bridge, Mr. Munroe," the captain ordered, and Pavel barely heard the responding, "Aye, Captain Kirk," before the turbolift door slid shut and the main Bridge crew plus Dr. McCoy was on the way down to the mess hall. Pavel suddenly realized that he was ravenously hungry. When was the last time he had eaten? It must have been before the Romulan incident yesterday. Yes, it must be, because afterwards he had spent hours visiting Mr. Scott in sickbay before going to bed. Why hadn't he thought to grab breakfast? But now that he thought about it, he hadn't been hungry when he'd woken up. His stomach had been bothering him too much to eat, anyway. He had been feeling fine the night before, but Mr. Scott had desperately wanted visitors, so he hadn't eaten.
"Doctor McCoy, how is Meester Scott?" Pavel asked in concern, but McCoy responded with a relieved smile.
"It was touch and go for a while, but I think he's out of the woods now," the doctor announced to the group. "We managed to save his leg, and the head injury wasn't a factor in the surgery at all. I've mended his ribs and broken arm, but he'll be in sickbay for at least the next week and restricted to rest in his quarters for another week after that. This shore leave will either be a very good thing for him or a very bad thing. He'll be transferred to Starfleet Medical as soon as we dock, but I'll be following up on his treatment plan. He's not going to be at all happy about the fact that he's back on Earth for the first and only time since the five-year mission began and he's stuck in a hospital bed."
"No," Captain Kirk agreed. "Then again, Bones, who would be?"
"Dr. McCoy, what is the status of the others?" Mr. Spock asked. McCoy sighed.
"They're all in stable condition. Ensign Campbell and Yeoman Barrell have both been released from sickbay. Brady's recovering nicely; I'm keeping him in just for observation and to make sure that he doesn't overdo it, but he should be fine and I'll probably release him later on tonight or tomorrow. Rogers' head injury was worse than we initially thought. He'll be okay, of course, and he regained consciousness just about an hour ago, but he'll be in sickbay for the next few days, and since we're going to Earth anyway I might send him to Starfleet Medical as well just to be on the safe side. As for Lieutenant Loyola, well, she was lucky she didn't bleed out before we got to her. We weren't able to save her arm. When the panel blew, shrapnel flew at her at just the wrong angle. The partial amputation wasn't clean, and because it took so long for someone to notice that she'd been injured and get her to me, the beginnings of infection had already begun to set in. I couldn't do anything to fix the damage, but I was able to stop the infection from spreading. The technology for prosthetics is fantastic, and it improves all the time. With a bit of patience and physical therapy, she'll be able to live an almost normal life. If she can adjust to the prosthetic, it's likely that she'll eventually be able to forget almost entirely that she's even using one. But… her career in Starfleet is over."
"Does she know?" Captain Kirk asked, and Pavel frowned at the pain that was in the older man's voice. The Captain didn't even try to hide it. Even Mr. Spock's forehead had creased in an expression that Chekov had come to suspect might be something akin to concern.
"Not yet, Jim," McCoy frowned. "I've been keeping her sedated. I wanted to make sure she was in a more stable condition before I woke her up and let her know. I was going to tell her sometime this afternoon."
"Let me know when you do, Bones," Kirk sighed. "I'll be there."
Pavel shivered again as he thought about the people in sickbay. He knew only two of them personally, but he could place a face to each of the other names. These were people he lived with, served with, worked with. To know that they were all injured, even if he didn't know them on a first-name basis, made his blood boil.
The group arrived at the mess hall to find it empty save for a couple of red shirts playing chess. Pavel waited in line behind the Captain and the others for his turn at the replicator. When his chili and crackers materialized, though, he suddenly found that he wasn't very hungry, after all. He sat with his friends and listened halfheartedly to their conversation, staring at his lunch in an attempt to convince himself that he wanted to eat it.
"Hey, Pav, are you alright? You haven't touched your food, and you're so quiet," Hikaru Sulu asked, naturally drawing the attention of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Uhura. The young navigator cleared his throat.
"Da, Hikaru, I am fine," he answered, but despite the multiple pairs of eyes trained on him, he could not bring himself to perk up and take a bite of his food.
"Ensign, you do not look well," Mr. Spock observed, and Pavel noticed that the Vulcan's forehead was doing that creasing thing again. "Perhaps you should go to sickbay with Dr. McCoy."
"Nyet, I am fine," Chekov sighed, and it was more or less true, although he had to admit to himself that he was not feeling one hundred percent and that he'd probably only end up in sickbay later, anyway.
"Now, none of that," Dr. McCoy began, and Pavel sighed again, immediately recognizing from the doctor's tone that he was in for a long lecture. He was saved from the ordeal by the sounding of the red alert klaxon. All attention shifted to Kirk, who had leapt from his seat and quickly made his way to the nearest comm panel.
"Kirk to Bridge, report," the captain ordered, suddenly all business.
"Sir, two Klingon warbirds are materializing off the Starboard bow," the Bridge reported. Chekov didn't recognize the voice. "They've got their shields raised. We can't get a good read on them."
"On my way," Kirk said, and without a word he left the mess hall, the rest of the group hot on his heels. They made it to the Bridge in record time. Pavel made it to the helm and relieved the Lieutenant seated there just in time to be ready for the explosion that rocked the ship.
"Report," Kirk ordered.
"One photon torpedo has detonated between decks six and seven. Shields are holding. Only minimal damage is reported," Spock informed the Bridge.
"Sir, no casualties," Uhura stated.
"Hail them," the captain ordered.
"No response, sir."
"Zey are firing again," Pavel reported, feeling a horrible sense of déjà vu as he realized that this was just how it had started with the Romulan ship the day before.
"Sulu, evasive maneuvers," Kirk said, and Sulu, having anticipated this, leapt into action. The photon torpedo missed its target. "Uhura, any response?"
"None, sir. They are receiving the message."
"Lieutenant, send a message to Starfleet Command," Spock ordered. "Inform them that we are being attacked by two Klingon warbirds and that we need immediate assistance."
"Sulu, fire photon torpedoes full force at the ship closest to us," Kirk ordered, and Chekov watched as Sulu pressed the firing controls, sending no less than six torpedoes at the nearest ship.
"No major damage to the structure of the ship," Spock reported, "However, sensors indicate that the warbird's shields have fallen."
"Mr. Sulu, fire phasers. Target that ship's weapons array and impulse engines. We don't want to destroy them, just disable them."
"Yes, sir. Firing now." The phasers fired just as an identical phaser blast from the other Klingon ship caused the Enterprise to rock again.
"Shields down to eighty-five percent," Mr. Spock reported.
"Sir, we hit the Klingon ship," Sulu reported.
"Mr. Spock, report," Kirk ordered. Pavel listened as the Vulcan first officer replied (and if that wasn't a smug tone of voice, Pavel would eat his hat.)
"Extreme phaser damage to the ship's drive section as well as damage to their torpedo bay. The ship does still have functional phasers at a short range only. Be advised that the ship is crippled until their engines can be repaired."
"Sir, sensors indicate zat ze ozzer ship is activating its cloaking device," Pavel stated.
"Sulu, be prepared for evasive maneuvers. They might not be able to fire on us when they're cloaked, but that doesn't mean they won't try to sneak up on us and surprise us," Kirk stated.
"Aye, sir," Hikaru agreed, watching the sensors closely, keeping his hands on the controls as he and Chekov wordlessly communicated about a proper course of action.
"Captain, Starfleet Command has ordered the USS Grant to our sector immediately. ETA is four minutes at maximum warp," Uhura announced. Pavel turned in his seat, watching as Kirk smiled.
"Uhura, inform the Grant that one ship is crippled with phaser capabilities and that the other has cloaked. We don't want them running into this blind."
"Sir, the second warbird is rematerializing!" Sulu announced.
But the torpedo hit before the helm responded.
"Sir, respectfully recommend attempting to disable the ship before it disappears again," Uhura stated. Pavel didn't need to look to know that Kirk was nodding along in agreement.
"Sulu, fire photon torpedoes and phasers, maximum spread."
"Firing now, sir." Everyone waited with baited breath. "Clean miss. The ship has dematerialized."
"Damn. What are they doing this far into Federation space, anyway?" Kirk mused aloud. "Alright. Spock, what's the status on the shields?"
"Shields are back up to ninety-six percent, however the Starboard side is weaker," the Vulcan replied.
"Chekov, calculate the course that ship would have taken had it continued on its path before it dematerialized, then fire in exactly the opposite direction. There's no way they would have continued on their course knowing we'd try to fire at them."
"Aye, Keptin," Chekov agreed, quickly inputting the proper information into the computer. "Hikaru, fire," he said, and he watched as his best friend quickly pressed the firing controls.
"Got him!" Chekov exclaimed as a small explosion lit up space and the Klingon ship reappeared.
"They have sustained minor damage. Sir, sensors indicate that the Grant has arrived. The Klingon ship is powering up its weapons." Spock turned to face the view screen.
"Sulu, fire!" Kirk ordered.
"Controls aren't responding sir. Checking… Sir, you won't believe this, but we are out of torpedoes."
"We're out of torpedoes? Mr. Sulu, is this a joke?" Kirk asked, and the entire Bridge crew flinched at the irritated tone of their captain's voice. Dr. McCoy, from his place behind the Captain's chair, smirked at his best friend's tone, knowing that it did not spell good news for whoever had failed to keep track of the number of torpedoes aboard the ship.
"Sir, the Klingons are firing."
The Enterprise rocked heavily, and for a moment the lights flickered off.
"Sir, shields have fallen to thirty percent. That hit knocked out warp drive. We have impulse power only. Phasers still operating at one hundred percent."
"The helm is not responding, sir," Sulu told the Captain. "We are unable to properly maneuver to either evade or attack."
"Uhura, contact the Grant. Tell them we need them to destroy that ship."
Uhura spun in her chair and did as told, and the Enterprise crew watched with baited breath as the Klingons began to come at them in an attack posture. They never got a chance to fire, as the USS Grant's phasers quickly took them out.
Pavel took a moment to take a deep breath, becoming aware as he did of a sharp, searing, horrible pain in his abdomen. He grunted, crying out before he had a chance to rein in his reaction. The pain was accompanied by nausea such as he had never felt before, and he experienced one moment of humiliation over what was about to happen before he lost control of himself and vomited the nonexistent contents of his stomach all over the floor.
"Pavel!" he heard the captain calling to him.
"Chekov!" The doctor's voice echoed the captain's.
The Russian had just enough time to register the blurs of blue and yellow that ran towards him before he was overcome by dizziness. The edges of his vision turned gray, and he was vaguely aware that he had toppled out of his seat onto the floor. He realized in one moment that he should be embarrassed; in the next moment, his vision had blurred and he found that he was having trouble thinking of anything at all.