Pavel Andreievich Chekov was shy. Well, shy was more like an understatement. Unnaturally nervous around people was more like it. He was both shy and unnaturally nervous around people until it came to Hikaru Sulu. Something about the Japanese American just clicked with the young Russian and they were as thick of friends as glue. Superglue mixed with concrete and wood chips. They had a bond like no other. Hikaru was the sun, moon, and stars in Pavel's mind. Nothing was better than his company. He could listen to Hikaru ramble for hours on end about plants that Pavel otherwise would have absolutely no interest in. He could sit through long, boring shifts on the Bridge without complaint or fidgeting if Hikaru was by his side. Their consol was stretched out far enough that it wasn't exactly side-by-side, but it was pretty close. Just Hikaru's presence was enough for the teenager. At only seventeen, Pavel hadn't had many friends. A timid boy-genius didn't make many friends as a child. Other kids were more interested in playing outside in the mud or scribbling doodles on PADDs in class while the teacher was talking. Pavel had done those things, yes, but not the excess like the others. He studied, excelled, and made it into Starfleet Academy at fourteen years old. After that he was even more rapid in his academic career. That action had eventually led him to the Enterprise and then to the Navigation consol of the flagship of Starfleet right beside the best pilot there ever was. Pavel was convinced there wasn't any better pilot than Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu and he was perfectly content to being oblivious of all of the greatest pilots in history that originated in Russia. Everything that was holy and great was invented or originated in Russia, but Hikaru Sulu was above and beyond the Motherland.
After Hikaru that was his best friend was Scotty, his close-to best friend. The Scottish was the best engineer in all of Starfleet, Pavel claimed. Even with the incident involving Admiral Archer's dog, Scotty was like no other. He could make a piece of pipe, a string, and a bit of glue into a warp nacelle if he had the chance. In Pavel's studies of 20th Century culture, Scotty would be called a "MacGyver". Pavel liked the Scot alright, who wouldn't like a man that treated a teenager like an adult or gave them alcohol after a long day's work? They hung out in the officer's lounge after their shifts, Scotty drinking Scotch and Pavel drinking Vodka. They would invite Dr. McCoy with his bourbon and Captain Kirk with his Budweiser Classic. Spock never came to their get-togethers and Lt. Uhura only attended when there was wine and a cause for celebration. Sulu regularly attended when he wasn't working on a project or had a shift. The Scot and Russian would trade stories for hours about their respective Motherlands and then other crewmen (once they received word that there was a get-together) would chime in with heroic tales and epic tragedies. It was fantastic fun and the only setback was that there was always a killer hangover in the morning.
Next on his friend's list, so to speak, was Captain James T. Kirk. Surprisingly, the pair had hit it off well. Jim was friendly and easygoing most of the time and Pavel didn't have long to warm up to him. They would meet up and go jogging or play different strategy games. Jim often wrangled himself out of a conversation about warp equations if the topic was brought up. Pavel caught on eventually and left that subject out of the conversation for future chats.
Uhura was right up there with her entourage. She, Yeoman Rand, Yeoman Worthington, Lt. Gaila, and Nurse Chapel was their own little clique of female superiority. Those women were the estrogen force on the ship and also the best of the absolute best. They hung out sometimes, he and one or a few of the said women, either talking about Earth or what had been going on. Pavel had in turn learned about feminine trades. He could adeptly paint fingernails and toenails and assist with hair grooming. The women understood that even though he helped them with their self maintenance, Pavel would not partake with them sprucing up him. He refused offers for his nails to be polished, buffed, or anything of the sort. Instead, he had a deal with Yeoman Rand that she would trim his curls if they became too long for regulation.
Relations with Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy was weird, to say the least. Whenever Pavel came into Sickbay, Bones fussed at him first and then the tirade was accompanied by endless bitching, complaining, and nagging. It was not a pleasant time when he was in Sickbay for routine shots or medication refills. However, once they were out of Bones' Lair (a.k.a. Sickbay), Bones was a changed man. He talked casually, not going too deeply in depth about his former life though he did complain about his ex-wife Jocelyn when he was in a horrible mood. There were many things that the older man did regret, Pavel gathered, but the Russian teen was not the one to poke at them or interrogate Bones about them.
If there was anybody aboard the USS Enterprise that Pavel feared other than Bones on a bad day, it would be Commander Spock. Just the looks that the half-Vulcan gave him sent chills down Pavel's spine. It was bad enough that Pavel had to give announcements over the com, but when he was speaking about the Vulcan colonies or Vulcans in general, it always came out as "Wulcan". The stare Pavel received for that grievous flaw in his accent was unbearable at times. It was as if his accent was the bane of Spock's existence.
One time, Pavel went to Jim about the accent problem and the Captain had suggested to go to Uhura for lessons to remedy his incorrect pronunciation of words. So on to Uhura Pavel went, begging that she had the solution to his problem. After a month of working with "V" sounds, nothing was helping. Unfortunately, Pavel was stuck with a certain half-Vulcan's evil eye. So, in light of that situation, Pavel made for certain that he would perform his tasks to the utmost of his abilities. Though, it seemed as if whatever he did never was enough for Spock. He still gave him the evil eye no matter what. Plus there was the disapproving stare that Pavel knew that Spock had to practice in front of a mirror for a few hours each day.
Everything aboard the USS Enterprise seemed to be running smoothly. There were the usual glitches in the ship which kept Scotty busy, Jim was leading the vessel to diplomatic mission after diplomatic mission with their usual incidences, Bones was always complaining about patching up Jim after these incidences, Uhura was going over a new dialect of Romulan, Spock was working on various studies in their travels, and then there was Sulu with his botany and fencing. Pavel pitched in with his own tasks and assisted the others with theirs, except for Mr. Spock's of course. Pavel was making great advances with his warp equations that were constantly improving their engines and warp fields.
Then everything that was in the norm decided to turn upside down. Once they entered the space of Alpha Gemini, everybody started to act the opposite than they usually were. Suddenly, Hikaru hated plants and Scotty hardly bothered with fine-tuning the instruments in Engineering. Jim left the Command Chair vacant during shifts and Spock had a short attention span. Uhura and Bones were less hostile to the people they usually were to (i.e. Jim) and paid scarcely any attention to their tasks. It seemed as if Pavel was the only one of the senior staff unchanged. Hell, most of the crew was acting different. Pavel was definitely concerned. A ship couldn't run smoothly with the commanding officers not performing adequately. Pavel, in essence, then took over running the ship. He took great pains to coordinate a schedule in which they could still function at sufficient efficiency. Sure, Jim was still in command as Captain and Spock was ever-persistent as first officer, but Pavel was running the show behind the scenes. They were nowhere in range of Starfleet and as soon as they were, Pavel would inform Command of the discrepancy in the flow of the ship.
Until then it was time for Acting-Captain Ensign Pavel Andreievich Chekov's mission to keep the Enterprise in one piece.