Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, Harkin V

A snowball's chance in Hell was the only way that I was going to get off the damn backwater planet alive. Or un-captured for that matter. I seemed to have the worst luck with Away Missions. Either I was drugged, shot, thrown in a cell, or beaten into submission by whatever hostile aliens there were on the planet of the day. This time it was shot with a disruptor rifle that had torn my abdomen apart. I could tell by the amount of blood I was losing and how my guts seemed to be flowing over the hand pressed to the wound that I was going to be going down quickly. My vision swam as I shot my phaser at the nearby enemy. How did this happen? Kirk pissed off another alien leader and in retaliation, the goon sent his subordinate army after our Away Team of myself, Ensign Peters, Kirk, and Commander Spock. For once, one of our red shirted boys hadn't been killed. Thanks to me. I had thrown myself in front of Peters during the beam up waiting period where one of the goons had had the bright idea to shoot at us. Somehow the blast disrupted my signal so the Enterprise couldn't sweep me up. Plus, to make matters worse, that was the end of our window of opportunity. The planet, Harkin V, was surrounded by an energy field that scattered signals, scans, and other technological devices trying to break through the planet's atmosphere. So, essentially I was stuck here. Not to mention screwed.

I was currently hiding from the Harkalians in the deep foliage of the forest where they couldn't find me as easily. Every few minutes an enemy would come upon my hiding spot and I'd be discovered. Therefore, I'd have to shoot my phaser and be sent packing again after the attacker fell to the ground. I knew how to play hide and seek and I played fairly well. This was going beyond just a method of survival. It was a cat and mouse game. The Enterprise Lone Ranger versus the Harkalians in a quest to see just how evenly matched we were and who was going to dominate Harkin V. Apparently, their ruler King Siggozzi had found Captain Kirk challenging and decided that there needed to be a macho man contest. Unfortunately, I had been planted in the middle of the thick.

I was glad that we had the landing party that we had. Kirk and Spock could take care of themselves and I could take care of Ensign Peters. Though, it seemed that I couldn't take care of myself getting off the planet. I was grateful that Ensign Chekov, my best friend and roommate hadn't been assigned to this mission. I had had a bad feeling all along and I convinced Kirk to allow Peters to come along. I couldn't bear to see anything happen to Chekov, he was too young, too sweet, too innocent to die at seventeen.

It wouldn't be fair.

I had no idea how I was going to get off of Harkin V. Believe me, I had thought of all of the options already. Though with an interference shield that orbited the planet and didn't have a spot weak enough for a beam out in eight years and me currently bleeding to death, there really wasn't much of an option.

I pressed my hand against my abdomen harder, wincing and nearly crying out in pain as I manually held my guts inside my body. I fell backward against the tree trunk I was squatting in front of in the ferns and breathed heavily. My hands sticky with blood adjusted and I let out a moan. Then I heard a rustle in the nearby foliage. Wrong move by me. I staggered to a sitting upright position, hefting my phaser to a firing ready. Then the ferns in front of me were pulled back, revealing the face of a young woman. She was beautiful, I could say. Her eyes were wide and luminous, curious yet wary. She reached her hand toward me and I held my fire. I couldn't shoot her, she wasn't one of the soldiers sent out by King Siggozzi. Watching her movements as carefully as she watched mine, the woman took my hand off of my abdomen and reached inside a pouch at her waist to pull out a handful of a yellow appearing powder. My alarm senses went haywire and I struggled away from her as she came toward my wound with the powder. Too late, she slammed her hand down and I screamed in pain as the powder seared my flesh. My voice became hoarse with the howling I was making, but I couldn't contain the agony brought upon by the yellow mystery powder.

I watched her smile through tearing eyes as she stood over me. My vision became hazy and I couldn't breathe properly. My flesh sizzled and I moaned after the screams dissipated. Then my vision went dark and I was lost to the world of Harkin V.


Ensign Pavel Andreievich Chekov, USS Enterprise

Keptin Kirk came back with Commander Spock and Ensign Peters an hour after they had left. Spock was his usual stoic self, the Keptin looked grim, and Peters appeared shaken up. I glanced around the Transporter Room, looking for Hikaru. He was not among the Away Team personnel. I hadn't been on duty when the team was being beamed up, I had just arrived. I immediately knew something was terribly wrong. Where was Hikaru?

"Keptin?" I asked with a worried frown as I approached him, "How did it go? Where is Hikaru?" Usually I never used my best friend's first name with anybody other than Hikaru himself, but this proved I was worried and serious. I knew the Keptin could see that since his frown deepened. He stopped, allowing Spock and Peters to move past them to where Doctor McCoy was waiting with a sour expression, turning toward me, "I'm sorry, Chekov, but Sulu wasn't beamed up with the rest of us. He took a disruptor blast to the stomach and wasn't beamed up as a result. He was hit while trying to protect Ensign Peters."

Why does he always have to play hero and get hurt? I thought bitterly. Couldn't Ensign Peters take care of himself? The rest of us did, why couldn't he? Okay, so maybe I was thinking irrationally since I was angry and upset, but that's just a logical response for a human. Or at least that was what Commander Spock was always preaching. Well, preaching might not be the best word to describe it. More like lecturing, I supposed.

I stood stock still as the Keptin moved past me. My eyes lowered to the floor in contemplation. There wasn't any way to get to Hikaru, I already knew. Shuttles were blown up immediately from the intense energy bursts that made up the shield. Beaming through with the Transporter was out of the picture since the atoms that made up the person that was being beamed would be scattered once it hit the shield and there wasn't any way of collecting the atoms again. The person would be dead. Scotty couldn't even find Admiral Archer's dog since he had beamed the poor thing to God knew where. They weren't about to try beaming a human down to Harkin V. The shield seemed to be a natural phenomenon so there wasn't any generators that created the shield to destroy. They were helpless and Hikaru was most likely dead by then.

A disruptor blast to the abdomen could kill somebody if they didn't have the medical treatment performed right away, I knew. Dammit, this was not good! Smiling only briefly and merely mentally, I remembered Hikaru teaching me how to "expand my vocabulary" into using English swear words instead of Russian. I admit, it had rubbed off on me even though I used the dirty Russian ones when I was around Hikaru. I didn't want him to think I had a foul mouth. I wasn't ever going to see Hikaru ever again. It took eight years for a window of opportunity to arise, but Hikaru could be dead within eight hours with a severe injury. Hell, they didn't even know if he was alive when he had been hit.

I glanced back up as I began to walk out of the Transporter Room. I tried to not let the despair and hopelessness get to me, but it was difficult. Hikaru was my best friend and I secretly loved him. Now I would never get to tell him how much I appreciated him or cared for him.

All of the should'a-could'a-would'a simulations (as the Keptin liked to call them) ran through my head as I walked down the gray corridors to my quarters. The quarters I shared with Hikaru, no less. I entered our…my code in the keypad at the door. I walked past Hikaru's desk that was parallel to mine, one on either side of the door. Then there was the two beds. Mine was messy and Hikaru's was neatly made up. He had a ritual to clean up his side of our quarters before an Away Mission so that he'd have a nice place to crash when he returned home. Now he wasn't coming home. His bed would remain made up.

I glanced momentarily at the orchid that he had sitting under a lamp that was healthily growing. Hikaru had loved flowers. He was growing that particular orchid in his room since it was a special color. Baby blue flowers with pink bursts of color which I had found fascinating. I was always intrigued by colors. All of the plants in Russia were colorless and looked lifeless. So Hikaru had grown this plant with delicate care and tenderness, naming it the highest honor I would ever receive. He had named it Andreievich after my middle name.

Crossing over to Andreievich, I sprayed the plant with water as Hikaru had taught me to do. He had taught me many things. He hadn't taught me what to do if he was ever gone, I would have to learn that myself.


Captain James Tiberius Kirk, USS Enterprise

I couldn't hardly believe it, Sulu was gone. Trapped or dead on an alien world, irretrievable and lost. I held my face in my hands as I sat on the edge of my bed. It had happened in a blur, Sulu shouting and knocking Peters out of the way. Then he got shot with a disruptor. Angrily, I got up and began pacing my quarters. Sulu was like a brother, why did he have to be gone? He was the first command officer to be--no, not dead, he wasn't dead, I refused to believe that. He was my first command officer to be lost. Not much better of a choice of words, but it would have to suffice. Within five minutes of being back onboard, I had ordered from Bones' Sickbay for all science teams to get on the case and see if there was any way we could bring Sulu back. Three days later, they all reported that the answer was no. We had to keep moving to Starbase 094, I had already stalled as far as I could push it.

Sighing, I supposed that in eight years we could come back though I knew that it could definitely be far too late. I went to my desk and pressed the button that established a link with the com on the Bridge.

"Mr. Chekov," I kept my voice level just barely as I spoke, this was no time to be emotional, "Plot a course to Starbase 094 and engage at Warp 4."

"Yes. . .yes, sir," I could hear the conflict in Pavel Chekov's voice. I couldn't blame the kid either. Sulu had meant the universe to the kid. I couldn't even pretend to know what he was going through. A moment later, I felt the shift of the ship as the vessel went to warp. I closed my eyes, still standing beside my desk even though the com was deactivated. This was going to be a long four more years if this was going to happen often.


Three days later. . . .

Commander Spock, USS Enterprise

Three days after the mission to Harkin V and the abandonment of Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, the senior officers gathered in the meeting room where the long table had been removed and replaced with a row of chairs one for each officer and family member. I took my seat beside Jim, silently observing the proceedings. I hadn't attended any human ceremonies except for the anniversary of the destruction of the USS Kelvin. I knew that Jim attended that one every year and we had observed the ceremony via subspace communication last year since we were too far out to make it back to Earth.

I watched as Ensign Chekov entered with Doctor McCoy. The Ensign didn't look well at all. He sat down beside Dr. McCoy who sat on the other side of Jim. The Captain felt tense, I could hear his heart thumping erratically from where we sat next to each other. I glanced over just in time to see Doctor McCoy give Ensign Chekov a pat on the shoulder without saying anything. Lieutenant Uhura entered next with Engineer Scott and Sulu's mother. Mrs. Sulu was the only remaining member of the Sulu family now that she had lost both her husband and her only son.

The ceremony began with different people coming up one by one to the podium where Sulu's picture was with a wreath of Japanese flowers. I watched with fascination as one by one the attendees said their dues and sat back down. Then it was between Jim and Chekov. Jim waved Chekov forward when they had rose simultaneously and Chekov nodded to Jim with gratitude.

"Hikaru Sulu was my best friend," began Ensign Pavel Chekov, speaking with his thick Russian accent in place, "Also my roommate and companion. I lowved him and I don't vheenk he ewver knew just how much I did. I cannot begeen to say how much I appreciated heem being vhere meant to me." His accent grew increasingly difficult to understand as he spoke with emotion choking his voice. This was another reason why I was thankful that Vulcans restrained their emotions.

"I'm going to miss heem," Chekov's eyes seemed to reflect a galaxy of despair, "I weel not be vhe same without heem."

It seemed that Chekov couldn't coherently say anything more so Jim took the initiative and went to the podium, settling a his hands on Chekov's shoulders and speaking quietly to him so nobody else would hear. His voice was so soft that even I with my superior hearing couldn't make out what they were saying. I was not skilled in lip-reading as someone such as Lieutenant Uhura, but I knew the words must be something of comfort for Chekov nodded and took his seat beside Doctor McCoy.

Jim stood at the podium with almost as despondently as Chekov had appeared. He cleared his throat and I could see the emotion in his eyes that he was attempting to hide futilely.

"Hikaru Sulu was a good man," Jim began, "I've known him as long as any of you, with the exception of Mrs. Sulu, and I knew that he was a beloved crewman. I valued him not only as my Pilot, but as a friend. I could confide in him, talk with him and know he wouldn't judge me or have any prejudice because he was that sort of man. An honest, loyal person that I'm glad I had the honor of serving with. He will be greatly missed by everyone, especially me."

As he sat down beside me, I resisted the human urge to put my arm around his shoulders. Instead, I stood still and watched the remainder of the proceedings. Not all human emotions were unwarranted, I discovered, some were out of pure sincerity.


Two months later. . .

Ensign Pavel Andreievich Chekov, USS Enterprise

Watering Andreievich had become a testament to Hikaru, I discovered. I was still reeling over his loss and I knew that the rest of the crew were treading around me as if I were broken glass. I supposed that was true in some sense. I was lost without Hikaru. Caring for the last living element of his life aboard the Enterprise was a duty that I had not only to the plant, but to myself and more importantly Hikaru's memory. The counselor aboard the ship which I had been ordered to see by Mr. Spock had told me that often the memory of a loved one fades away as old emotional wounds heal. Of course I wanted to move on, but I wasn't about to let go of Hikaru. So two months after his loss, Hikaru still lived on inside me. And inside of Andreievich.

One day I was watering the said plant and I decided to look inside Hikaru's drawers. I hadn't done this yet since I was still spooked by Hikaru's passing. He hadn't liked me messing around with his personal belongings unless I asked when he had been living and while he was gone, it still felt like a violation. I knew he was never coming back, but I still held apprehension to going through his personal belongings. Finally, I relinquished to my curiosity and opened the top drawer of Hikaru's dresser. I smiled sadly when I saw the clean, golden-yellow uniform shirts that smelled of him neatly stacked inside the drawer. I picked one of them up carefully, holding it to my face so I could smell his scent. It was still there. On the verge of tears from the nostalgia, I set it back inside the drawer and then something caught my eye. It was a PADD that we used to send messages to each other on the Bridge during a slow shift. I didn't know what possessed me to do so, but I picked up the PADD and turned it on. Immediately greeting me was a draft of a letter addressed to me. I backed up and sat on the bed, reading the draft.

Dear Pavel,

We've known each other for a while now and I've grown to care for you. Not just as a colleague or roommate, not even as a best friend. It's more than that. These feelings I have toward you all point to love. I haven't actually experienced love before, but I'm sure that this is it because whenever I'm around you all the bad things in the universe seem to melt away. Your smile makes me have butterflies in my stomach. Your laugh fills me with warmth. When you touch me I feel wanted, like I belong. When I'm with you, I feel completed. Undeniably, you're such a large part of my life that I couldn't even imagine living without you. To think of even a possibility close to that is a blow to my heart. I would never want to see anything happen to you. I'd give my life for you in less than a second if you needed yours saved. I'd sell my soul to the devil if it meant you could live just a minute longer. You make the best and worst parts of me come out. I want you to be safe and happy so much that I'd do horrible things to keep you exactly that way. I know it sounds terrible and that you wouldn't want that, but it's the truth. You make me happy, Pasha, more happy than I have ever been in my entire life. I wish we could spend an eternity together, to have a family, a home, to grow old together. Maybe that's just wistful thinking, but just being with you every day is perfect already. You've probably been seeing straight through me all this time since I'm just so obvious about how hard I've fallen for you. I want to shout my love for you from every mountaintop so everyone can hear. That's my devotion, I am proud of my love for you.

With all honesty,

Hikaru

I set the PADD down on the bed and broke down. How could I have just accepted Hikaru's loss and moved on with the Enterprise? We should be trying their hardest to get him back, dead or alive! Anger coursed through my body from my brain to my toes as I got up from the bed, tears shining in my eyes. I would make this right. For Hikaru, I would make this right. Without a second thought, I began to compose a letter at my desk addressed to the Keptin.

Hours Later. . . .

". . .cannot ensure my devotion to the crew of the Enterprise or to my station or Captain due to the emotional ties I hold to this vessel and a former crewmate. Hereby, I, Pavel Andreievich Chekov submit this letter of transfer to Earth, Starfleet of the Federation Headquarters." Levelly, James. T. Kirk looked at me with a expression of incredulity. I stared him down, or at least that was what I told myself I was doing, as he approached me with the PADD containing my transfer letter in hand.

"Why? Because of Sulu?" he asked simply, face and voice growing devoid of all emotion.

"Yes," I answered as bravely as I could muster, "I lowve him, Sir. Eef there ees any way vhat he ees still alive, I weel find heem."

"You're going to devise a way of retrieving Sulu from that planet without killing him?" the Keptin's voice softened, "How would you even know that he's alive?"

"I hawve to hope," I answered as stubbornly as I have ever been in my entire life, "I cannot giwve up hope. I lowve heem, Sir."

"I know," he sighed in response, "I just hate to lose you or see you heartbroken if he really is dead."

"If I do not try, I weel be heartbroken anyway," I reasoned.

"I suppose that's true," the Keptin nodded, "What is your plan, exactly? Are you going to go up to Starfleet Command and demand a team to research Harkin V?"

"I was hoping you'd heelp me vith conwincing Starfleet Command to allow me a team."

The Keptin was silent for a long moment before finally saying, "I'll see what I can do. Transfer request approved, Mr. Chekov. You will be relieved of duty once we arrive at the next Starbase."

"Vhank you, Keptin."

"I just hope you're making the right decision."


A/N: Did you like it? Do I need to continue? I love feedback and loads of reviews :)