A/N - Just a little vignette, loosely based on the beginning of A Just Determination, by John G. Hemry.
Summary – Chekov is temporarily posted to a new ship. In some ways it is a relief.
Disclaimer – I don't own Star Trek, any of the canon characters, situations or settings. No money was made in the writing of this fic.
"Permission to come aboard?" he asked the young ensign greeting all the new arrivals in the transporter room. Potemkin was taking on new crew and new supplies, getting ready to head out in the next twelve hours.
"Permission granted," she said with a friendly smile. "Lieutenant…?"
"Chekov," he answered, offering his hand. "Pavel Chekov." The sight of the single strip of braid on his cuffs was still new enough to thrill. On Enterprise's return from its five year mission, she had been ordered into Spacedock for an extensive overhaul and refitting that would take up to three years. In the meantime, Pavel had been promoted and assigned to Potemkin.
"Good to meet you, Lieutenant Chekov," she said as they shook hands. "I'm Ensign Blaine. You've got your luggage?" The shimmering hum of the transporter effect sounded again. "Chief Petty Officer Thrask," the ensign indicated a solid, no-nonsense Andorian in operational red, "will show you to your wardroom."
Even as Pavel grasped his luggage and nodded to the Chief, the ensign stepped forward to greet another arrival.
"This way, sir," Thrask said, all efficiency, and led him out into the dimly lit corridors. "Have you served on a starship before, lieutenant?"
"I was on the Enterprise, Chief."
For a bare moment, the Andorian's eyebrow rose. "Then you'll be familiar with the basic layout, sir. Potemkin is a couple of years older than Enterprise, but they're still sister ships. There are a couple of basic differences, of course…"
Pavel made a point of listening to the Chief's advice. Though technically he outranked Thrask, Pavel knew that Chief Petty Officers were the true backbone of Starfleet, the people who knew how to get things done. And lowly lieutenants barely five years out of the Academy would do well to pay attention.
They headed down crowded corridors that Pavel knew well, if a little smaller than he was used to, out of the main decks and towards the junior officers' quarters. Finally Thrask came to a stop. "Here you are, sir. Lieutenants' wardroom."
"Thank you, Chief," Pavel said, grateful for the Andorian's help. Thrask nodded a little and slipped back into the flow of the passing crew, leaving him alone before the wardroom door.
He drew in a deep breath. There was really nothing else to do but square his shoulders and go in.
Like all junior officers' berths in Starfleet, it was cramped and crowded. There were four beds, four desks and computer terminals, and a small communal table; Pavel dumped his bags on the floor and sighed, wishing for the day he made the jump to higher rank and better quarters. Until then, it was communal living.
Two human officers in command gold, one male, one female, were playing poker desultorily at the table. They looked up at his arrival, threw their cards in, and then stood to greet him. The senior of the two, a tall, lanky lieutenant, extended his hand.
"You must be Chekov," he said, his raw-boned face open and friendly. "They said we were getting a new navigator."
"Yes," Pavel answered, grasping the hand firmly. "Pavel Andreievich."
"Pleased to meet you, Pavel Andreievich," Anders said, his eyes twinkling. "I'm Robert Anders, and my friend here," he waved at the woman, another lieutenant, "is Jane Vo. Welcome aboard the Potemkin."
Vo stepped forward to shake Pavel's hand. She looked small and delicate, but her grip was strong and sure, and her eyes were utterly serious. "Welcome," she agreed.
"I am pleased to be here," he said. "Thank you."
Anders grinned and waved him towards a seat at the table, before sinking down lazily himself. "Well, let me tell you, we're pleased to have you. I heard you were on Enterprise before this – your reputation precedes you. I thought you'd be a bit older, though."
Vo slid him a sidelong look, her eyes gleaming with amusement.
Pavel flushed, cursing his fair complexion and his irrepressible curls. "I am 22 years old," he answered a bit defensively.
"Whoa," Anders said, holding up his hands. "Sorry, didn't mean to offend you, Pavel. I just meant – I'm 23, and I'm only a year out of the Academy. You must have about five years' deep-space experience, and all of it on a starship. That's remarkable."
It was not something Pavel had thought of as extraordinary. It had simply been life on the Enterprise, every day seeming to bring some new wonder or terror, hurtling through the black with nothing to believe in but Captain Kirk and his fellow officers. For a brief moment he longed for that simple camaraderie, but Anders' open admiration was something new and heady – he was no longer the youngest and most junior, but an experienced deep-space veteran.
Slowly, he grinned. This change might be a very good thing.
"I cannot stay long, I am afraid," he said. "I have been ordered to drop my bags off and report to the XO."
Vo sighed. "You might want to watch out for Commander Brophy," she said. "He's old school."
Pavel frowned. "Old school?"
"How can I put this?" Vo paused to consider. "Let's just say he does not approve of Captain Kirk."
Anders snorted. "That's one way to put it." He got to his feet. "Come on, Pavel. I'll show you the way to the XO's quarters."
Anders left Pavel at the XO's door, solemnly wishing him luck before heading back to the wardroom. Pavel took a moment to collect himself, straightened his uniform, and tried to make himself believe that Commander Brophy had nothing on Commander Spock. And then he rang the chime asking for admittance, and slipped inside once he heard the gruff command to enter.
"Lieutenant Chekov, reporting as ordered, sir," he said, drawing himself up to attention.
Commander Brophy was seated at his desk. His face was craggy, authoritative, and stolid; he had none of Commander Spock's dark, sharp-edged brilliance. He looked exactly as Vo and Anders had said: old school, with no patience for any young officers who had been rushed into commission after Vulcan's destruction.
"Ah," the Commander said, leaning back in his chair, looking Pavel over. "Our new lieutenant." He picked up a datapadd from a stacked pile. "Mr. Chekov. Oh, at ease, at ease. How old are you?"
Pavel relaxed his stance. "22, sir."
"Good God. And you've got five years' deep-space experience already." The Commander looked down at the padd, which Pavel assumed displayed his Starfleet jacket, and frowned. "Ah. Enterprise."
The tone in his voice was one that Chekov had heard many times before. He fought not to react.
"Well, you will find that the Potemkin is very different to what you are used to, Mr. Chekov. Captain Ludlow is a very different leader to Captain Kirk. Discipline and hard work are the key factors to our success – we don't go off half-cocked on this ship. Do you think you're up to it, Mr. Chekov?"
Commander Brophy stared at him, calculating, weighing him and sizing him up. But he was nowhere near as intimidating as Commander Spock at his most terrifyingly Vulcan.
"Yes, sir," he said. It was the only thing he could say.
The Commander snorted. "We'll see, won't we? Dismissed." And he turned his attention back to the padd.
Pavel drew himself up to attention, wheeled, and left the office.
Once outside, he sagged against the bulkhead and took a moment to breathe. And then he braved the increasingly crowded corridors to make his way back to the wardroom.
"Well?" Anders said lazily. "How was old Brophy?"
Pavel sighed, slumped down on to his bunk. "You were right. He didn't like me."
Vo laughed. "He doesn't like anybody much except the captain. Don't worry, Pavel – chances are your duties will mean you fly under his radar most of the time."
Pavel hesitated. Commander Brophy had not yet been assigned him any duties, but Pavel had assumed that he would be the alpha shift navigator just as he had been on Enterprise. But this was a different ship, an established crew, and Pavel was the newcomer – there would already be an alpha shift navigator, one familiar with the Captain and the XO.
The Enterprise's crew had been very young, most of them barely out of the Academy, only a very few with actual experience of other ships, other captains. They had been brought together by the Battle of Vulcan, bonded by shared danger and grief; in their five years hurtling through unknown space they had grown very close, a tight-knit community more loyal to each other than to Starfleet itself.
It was…difficult, to make the transition to a completely different dynamic.
"Pavel?" Anders' voice interrupted his reverie. "Hey, Pavel? You'll be fine."
He dredged up a bright, empty smile. "I am not worried. As Mr. Spock says, worry is illogical."
"Commander Spock, right? Enterprise's Vulcan XO?" For the first time, Anders truly sounded as though he were just out of the Academy. "Can we…do you mind if we ask you a few questions? About your missions?"
"Really?" Pavel cast his mind back over some of the more outrageous, improbable missions. "What do you want to know?"
Anders and Vo exchanged sidelong glances.
"– Seriously? They turned you into geometric solids?"
"– built a working bazooka from scratch?"
"– So is it true what they say about, you know, sex pollen…?"
Pavel lay back, folded his hands behind his head, and laughed.