James Kirk blinked in the light, trying to coerce his mind into operating through the hazed that seemed to have settled over it. His vision finally focused enough for him to make out the face of Hikaru Sulu looming over him.
He was on the ground, Kirk realized, lying on his back. Sulu had knelt beside him and was staring into his face. A chill swept through Kirk as he met the helmsman's eyes; there was no concern there, only suspicion.
Kirk slowly began to sit up. Sulu moved back away from him as another person moved in. Kirk was hauled roughly to his feet and shoved into a chair.
He looked up into the cold, emotionless eyes of Pavel Chekov.
Kirk opened his mouth to speak, but was silenced by Chekov. "Shut up." The words were spoken flatly, the tone cool, but the threat behind the order was obvious. Kirk would be silent, or Chekov would make him.
Sulu moved to stand beside the other man. He and Chekov stood there, arms crossed, and studied Kirk in silence.
Something wasn't quite right here, but Kirk was still too dazed to figure it out.
Finally, Sulu spoke. "Escort him to the brig. Hold him there for questioning." Sulu turned his back on Kirk and went to speak with one of the crew.
Again Kirk was hauled up; Chekov practically dragged him across the bridge and into the turbolift. "Don't try anything." Chekov warned as the doors closed. "You'd be dead before you could even think about it."
Kirk didn't argue with him. The lack of sense behind that action was only part of it; he wondered where Chekov's accent had gone. The Russian tinge that Kirk had grown so used to hearing in the man's voice was missing. It was unsettling.
As if in a dream, Kirk was escorted down the hall and to the Security Department. Chekov shoved him into the brig and activated the force field in the doorway. He left Kirk there without another word.
Kirk sat down as dizziness threatened to overwhelm him. He blinked as his vision clouded, and had to force back the darkness. He needed to think.
Why had Sulu and Chekov been acting so oddly? Why had they thrown him in the brig? He tried to remember what had happened before he had awakened on the bridge, but his head was throbbing. He couldn't remember.
He stood to pace, unable to sit still any longer. A spasm of pain shot through his right leg, and he fell.
Dizziness again overwhelmed him, and his vision blurred. This time he could not resist the darkness.
Kirk was somehow on the bunk when he awoke, leaning against the wall behind him. Chekov was there again, sitting in a chair he must have brought with him.
His right foot was propped up in Chekov's lap, and his pants leg had been cut away just above the knee. It made Kirk almost ill to see what was left of his leg.
Chekov didn't seem bothered by the sight of the blackened, burned flesh, nor did he seem to notice the smell. His head was bent over Kirk's leg as he studied the damage.
"You don't allow prisoners to be treated by a doctor?" Kirk gasped as Chekov prodded at his injured leg.
"We don't have a doctor." Chekov replied. "You felt that? Good."
Kirk's heart skipped a beat. Where was Doctor McCoy? And why was Chekov acting as if he didn't know Kirk? Nothing was right here, hadn't been since he had awakened on the bridge.
"Who are you?" Chekov asked, reaching into what Kirk hoped was a medikit. He pulled out a dispenser of some sort and showed it to Kirk. It was merely some type of ointment used for treating serious burns.
"You don't know?" Kirk replied to Chekov's question with one of his own. He gritted his teeth as the other man began treating his leg.
"If I knew, I wouldn't ask." Chekov answered evenly. This was not the Chekov Kirk knew. This man was cold, unemotional, and dangerous.
"James." Kirk told him. "James Kirk." Somehow he sensed that his rank meant nothing now, at least, not to Chekov.
Chekov asked nothing else while he bandaged Kirk's leg, and Kirk couldn't think of anything to say either. Finally Chekov released Kirk's leg. "Any other injuries?" He asked.
"My head feels funny." Kirk admitted. "And I may have done something to my wrist."
"Head down." Chekov brought Kirk's head to rest on his knee. In contrast to his hard, cold demeanor, gentle fingers examined the back of his head thoroughly, running lightly through his hair and over the back of his neck. Kirk winced as Chekov found a soft spot, but more out of reflex than because it was very painful.
Chekov lifted his head and studied him intently. Kirk's eyes, ears, temples, Chekov read the man's face with an almost excruciating intensity. What he was looking for, Kirk had no idea.
"You have a slight concussion." Chekov told him. "It will heal. Let me see your wrist."
He quickly examined Kirk's wrist. "It's sprained." He announced shortly. "Anything else?"
"I don't think so." Kirk told him. "Thanks."
Chekov eyed him critically. "I am merely doing my job." He replied.
Kirk opened his mouth to ask just what his job was, but his question died as Chekov snapped to attention.
Sulu had entered the brig. "Why is it the brig is the only place on the ship free of monitoring devices? Sit down."
Chekov didn't blink. "Because you locked me in there for two weeks to make sure it was escape proof." He replied as he sat back down.
"I should lock you in my quarters sometime, then" Sulu mused.
"Then I could plant more than I already have." Chekov reminded him. "Then I might actually be able to get something on you."
It sounded like Chekov and Sulu, like a conversation they might have had, but something was off. It didn't feel right to Kirk, but he wasn't sure why.
"Of course." Sulu agreed. "I'll take it from here. You were supposed to go off duty half an hour ago."
"Given the circumstances-" Chekov began.
"I said I'd take care of it." Sulu snapped.
'Yes, sir." Chekov replied stiffly. He turned back to address Kirk as he left. "Harm him in any way, and I'll kill you." He informed him. Then he was gone.
Kirk stared after him in shock. This was unbelievable.
Sulu sat down in the chair Chekov had vacated. "Who are you?" He asked.
This time Kirk simply told him. "James Kirk." There was no recognition in Sulu's eyes, just as there had been none in Chekov's.
"Where are you from?"
Kirk hesitated, uncertain of how to answer.
"I'm from San Francisco." Sulu offered. "He-" Sulu nodded towards the door Chekov had left through, "is from Russia."
"Iowa." Kirk supplied, wondering what that could possibly tell him.
"How did you get here?" Sulu asked.
Kirk shook his head. "I'm not even sure where 'here' is, to tell you the truth." He admitted. "I'm sure it's not where I'm supposed to be, but then again I'm not even sure where that is."
"Sounds like a problem." Sulu offered. "Especially if you turn out to be a spy. Then we'll have to kill you. Don't worry," Sulu said easily, standing up. "we'll find that out in the morning." He picked up the chair and left Kirk alone in the brig once more, one thought echoing through his mind over and over again.
Something definitely was not right here.
Kirk woke up in sickbay, strapped into one of the beds. Chekov stood over him, some sort of device in his hand.
"I did not find any signs of implants when I checked his head last night." He was telling Sulu. So that had been what he was looking for, though what kind of implants he meant, Kirk didn't know.
Chekov turned on the device and began scanning Kirk's head. "Of course, they might have laced the implant in his spine instead." He added.
"Can they do that?" Sulu asked.
"I could." Both were silent as Chekov continued scanning Kirk for these implants, whatever they were. "Nothing." Chekov finally said, setting the scanner down and undoing the restraints that held Kirk. "Sit up." He ordered. "I need to check your spine." Kirk obliged the younger man. The sooner they decided he wasn't a spy, the more likely it was he would be able to figure out just what was going on here.
"Nothing." Chekov said again. "He's not a spy."
"Good." Came Sulu's response. "One of you is enough."
Chekov didn't flinch at the accusation. "I've paid for my crimes." He retorted. "Have you?"
"Not yet." Sulu admitted.
"You will, soon enough." Sulu didn't respond to Chekov's prediction, but instead turned back to Kirk.
"The question remains," he addressed Kirk almost cordially, "if you aren't a spy, who are you?"
"He cannot be James Kirk." Chekov supplied. Both Sulu and Kirk turned to stare at him. "James Kirk from Iowa is dead."
"Yet here I stand." Kirk said, when finally he could speak again.
"Yet here I stand." Chekov echoes, and Kirk thought he detected a note of bitterness in his words. He turned to Sulu. "Nonetheless, James Kirk died at the age of thirteen, shot down in an alley on the way home from school."
"Shot down?" Sulu demanded. "By what?"
"Phaser, judging by the report. Set on high intensity." Chekov replied.
"None legally obtainable." Sulu allowed himself a small, almost evil smile as Chekov continued. "The first blast caught the left side of his face. The attacker then fired again multiple times. The victim's side and chest were severely burned."
"Being thorough?" Sulu speculated. "Or something more?"
"If I wanted someone dead-"
"I've seen the remains of people you actually wanted dead." Sulu interrupted. "So who is this?" He asked, looking back at Kirk.
"James Kirk." Chekov replied. "Blood type matches, retina scans match, even DNA. This is him."
"How?" Sulu demanded.
Chekov shook his head. "I don't know. It isn't possible, but here he is."
"I need a drink." Sulu decided after a moment's silence. "Care to join me?"
Kirk wondered, as Chekov took him by the arm, if he had a choice.
Sulu poured out three glasses while Chekov prowled his quarters. He handed Kirk a glass before taking up his own, and proceeded to sit down in one of the chairs situated around what seemed to be a small conference table. Aside from the bed and the computer desk, this table and chairs were the only objects in the room. It bothered Kirk more than he expected that there were no plants, no foils, no signs of any hobby of any sort in Sulu's quarters.
Sulu propped his feet up on the table and took a sip from his glass. He wordlessly motioned for Kirk to take one of the other two chairs. Kirk did so, uneasily, and waited.
When Chekov finally joined them it was to sink unceremoniously into the remaining chair. He picked up his own glass and drained it. Sulu wordlessly refilled the glass, and Chekov emptied it once more.
"So?" Sulu finally asked.
"Fire your yeoman." Chekov replied. "We can't afford for them to know you know it's him, though, so dislike him for something stupid and fire him."
"Like what?" Sulu demanded.
Chekov shrugged. "He's French." He suggested.
Sulu drained his own glass and moved to fill his and Chekov's. Kirk's remained practically untouched. "I hate you." Sulu informed the younger man.
"I don't like you either." Chekov reminded him. It would have been reassuring, it was the kind of thing the two might have said to each other, but here and now these two were deadly earnest in this.
It wasn't right.
"So Kirk is dead." Sulu said. "Some sort of mistake? Some sort of secret? Some sort of trick?"
Chekov shook his head as he drained his glass a third time. Sulu frowned at him, but let it go. "Kirk is dead." Chekov said. "By all counts."
Sulu studied his own glass before setting it on the table. "Tell us about yourself, Kirk." He said at last.
Kirk frowned. "Before I woke up on the bridge I was a Starship Captain." Sulu's eyes flashed, but it was Chekov who asked the next question.
"The Enterprise." Chekov was up and at Sulu's computer in an instant; Kirk was surprised to see him using an old styled keyboard.
"So you were a captain." Sulu repeated, waiting for Kirk to continue.
Kirk hesitated, unsure of how to go on. Whatever was going on here, this was obviously not the Sulu, or Chekov, he knew. The men he now spoke with were strangers in familiar guise, but strangers all the same. Could Kirk trust them? He wanted to. As different as they were, Kirk still wanted to trust them. The question was, did he dare to?
"I served with First Officer Spock," Kirk finally continued, "and Doctor Leonard McCoy." Chekov was typing furiously away on Sulu's computer. "Nyota Uhura was my chief Communications Officer; Montgomery Scott was my Chief Engineer."
Chekov was scowling at the computer. Sulu noticed.
"What?" He demanded.
"They're all dead." Sulu stood and went to peer over Chekov's shoulder. "Except for Scott." Chekov amended. "He's in an institution. Mental." He added before Sulu could ask.
"What's going on here?" Sulu asked, frustrated. He turned to pace the small quarters. It was the first genuine bit of emotion Kirk had seen from the man.
Chekov drummed his fingers on the desk. "It is possible Kirk is lying to us." He suggested.
Sulu wheeled back to stare at him. "Do you believe that?" He demanded harshly.
"No." Chekov replied quietly.
"Exactly. Why do I believe him?" Sulu demanded. "Why do you believe him?"
"I don't know." Chekov admitted.
Kirk decided to take the plunge. "You two were on the Enterprise as well." He told them. "Helm. Navigation."
Sulu and Chekov exchanged a glance. Chekov stood abruptly. "I'm drunk." He announced; his words were actually slurred now where they had been clear only seconds before. "I'm going to my quarters and going to bed." He looked Sulu directly in the eye. "It's been bad lately."
Sulu nodded. "Don't forget to lock up." He reminded Chekov as he left. Sulu locked the door behind him. "No witnesses." He said softly.
He came to stand before Kirk. "What you say cannot be possible." He said, his voice low. "Your alleged crew, or most of it, is dead. Neither of us ever made it through Starfleet training, and there is no way a human would ever become Captain of a Starship. You have to be either lying or insane." He hesitated. "And yet for some reason I believe you. Chekov believes your telling the truth, even though there is no way you could be."
Kirk scowled. "This isn't the way things are. Were." He corrected. "This- none of this is right."
Sulu turned to gaze at the files Chekov had left on the computer. "So we assume you speak the truth. You were a Captain. We were your crew. What happened? How did you get here?"
Kirk shook his head. "I don't know. I just woke up, and here I was."
"You woke up?" Sulu asked. "Were you sleeping?"
Kirk tried to remember. "I fell, hit my head." He recalled. "There was a fight."
"That explains your injuries." Sulu agreed. "Who were you fighting?"
A siren went off, and the lights flashed red. Chekov's voice came over the comm. "Red alert. We are being fired on by an enemy vessel. All hands to battle stations. Repeat, all hands to battle stations. Sulu, get up here fast. Bring our guest."
Sulu was out the door and running before Chekov's announcement had even ended. Kirk had no choice but to follow him to the bridge.
Disclaimer: Star Trek does not belong to me.