A/N: Sorry for the looong delay with this story, I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with it plus I've had school to deal with. Not to mention the huge Star Trek writer's block I had going on. Anyway, here's the first official chapter of the story. Please review!

It was the middle of the beta shift when Pavel awoke from a deep sleep. He sat up in his bed and glanced around his quarters in bewilderment. Something didn't feel right. Maybe it was the way that the ship felt when it was moving through hyperspace at that moment or the way that he felt like he left the lights on somewhere.

Strange. . .

Pavel, disturbed from a fitful sleep, was now wide awake and determined to find out what caused him to awaken at such an unholy hour. It wasn't like him to do that and his brain must have had some reason to trigger an alarm. Besides, if something was really going on Pavel had to go take care of it. It wasn't like anyone else would.

For some reason, the Alpha Gemini system had made everything the opposite than what it had been. The entire crew was acting strange and Pavel seemed to be the only one unaffected. They had lost contact with Starfleet once they had entered the system when one of the engineers had damaged the transceiver array in the midst of the football war in Engineering. Nobody had been down to fix it because the ones that could fix it didn't really care about anything at the moment. Pavel couldn't do it himself because he was usually stuck all day on the Bridge holding the Enterprise together with glue. The transceiver was the least of their problems.

It had been weeks since the Enterprise had made any contact with the outside universe. After entering the system, the crewmen that were focused enough to work had to assist Pavel in navigating around the vast anomalies that plagued the spatial region. Pavel hated anomalies. They were highly destructive and could very well tear the ship apart.

In addition to spending time on the Bridge, Pavel spent his free-time with the star charts he had mapped of the region, trying to predict the future waves of anomalies. Most of the time he felt as if it was a wasted endeavor, but sometimes it worked toward his advantage when they'd avoid a particularly dangerous anomaly.

Pavel went up to the Bridge in his pajamas consisting of loose, thin, light green drawstring pants and a thin white t-shirt. He padded along the corridors that were unusually deserted, but he was grateful for the silence. Usually it was chaos in the halls with the crewmen doing nothing except goofing off continually. It was most often hard to navigate around the loitering people in the corridors. Now, it was eerily vacant. Not that he minded, of course. It didn't take long to get up to the command center and once he arrived, he saw that there was nobody there on duty. Pavel sighed, maybe this was what he had been woken up to take care of.

Instead of calling someone to come on duty, Pavel checked each station and then sat in the Captain's chair, curling up there and staring out of the viewport. The attempt to get someone up there to the Bridge would be futile and he knew it since it was the middle of the night and most people were asleep. The personnel that were supposed to be on the Bridge were probably hiding somewhere, playing one of their games again. The games were what drove Pavel crazy. The crew had divided into teams by department. Each of the senior staff had their own little gang and they were constantly competing for dominance in the ship that continually threw off everything that Pavel was trying to accomplish.

Maybe that was the worst part. Nobody was there to understand what tough times Pavel was going through and nobody cared. There was not a soul to talk to about his predicament. No crewman, no alien. The Enterprise hadn't even encountered anyone while they had been in the region and it had already been six weeks.

Sighing, Pavel got comfortable in the chair. It was going to be a long day ahead of him.

Seven weeks into the region, Pavel was pouring over the starcharts in frustration when he heard Hikaru come up behind him.


"Yes, Hikaru?" Pavel asked tiredly. He had worked a double shift that day since Jim Kirk was taking an extended vacation down in the gym instead of being in the Captain's chair doing his duty. Nobody had been doing their jobs anyway so Pavel didn't know why he was so worked up today, but he was more exasperated than usual.

"Maybe you should take a break from. . .whatever you're doing. . ." Hikaru suggested, pulling out his Katana. Pavel glanced at his friend and his sword with a small, tired smile, "Sorry, Hikaru, but I have to keep working, no matter how much I'd enjoy joining you."

"You sure? You look kinda tired," Hikaru frowned with concern flooding his voice. Pavel fully turned around to his friend with raised eyebrows. He hadn't heard that tone from his friend for several weeks. Maybe things were turning back?

"I'm fine," Pavel waved off his friend's concern with a hand gesture, "I really have to keep working."

"Okay then," Hikaru brightened a little, "If you say so." Pavel's face fell farther than it had been set in a frown. That definitely wasn't his friend's usual attitude. Before entering the region, Hikaru would have probably stayed in the lab with him to help him work or to at least keep him company. Now. . .now, he didn't care just like the rest of the crew.

"Okay," Pavel echoed Hikaru softly with sadness as his friend turned to leave the astronomy lab, "Oh, HIkaru!"

"Yeah?" The swordsman turned back in a flash.

"Please be careful during your sparring practice. I don't think Doctor McCoy is on duty today and I wouldn't like to think of your demise as you bleeding to death on the floor of the gym," Pavel gave Hikaru a weak smile. Somehow, the only way to convey what he meant to the crew was through harsh reprimands and stark, grim imagery. They seemed to respond to that more than they did with the normal tone of voice and calm demeanor.

Hikaru seemed to understand what he said at least because he gave Pavel a clear and serious nod, "Will do. See you later?"

"Da. See you later."