Away missions did not often go very well.

Today must be a special day, thought the Ensign to himself as his atoms rematerialized on the transporter pad.

No one was dead.

That was always a good start, in Chekovs opinion.

Glancing around the transporter pad, Pavel reassured himself that this fact was correct.

McCoy, Sulu and Emburfield quickly regained material form in a shower of lingering white light, completely unharmed other than a few minor scratches and scorched uniforms.

McCoy was quick to scowl at the Russian.

"What the HELL did you think you where doing, Ensign?"

He grabbed Pavel by the arm, ignoring the squeak of protest, dragging him off the transporter pad as the Engineer manning the system watched curiously.

"You could have been KILLED, and goddamn it, as if i don't have enough to do with Jim breaking a leg every time he fuckin' BREATHES"

Pavel pulled his arm away from the iron grip, returning it to its job of cradling the bundle of fire blanket that he was clutching to his chest.

"I couldn't just leawe it, sir! It vould heff been burnt to high hell!"

The CMO felt his glare soften round the edges as the Ensign cuddled the bundle, putting on his infamous puppy dog eyes that had cost so many their resolve.

He put a hand on Chekov's shoulder.

"Look, son, ya can't go plunging into goddamn forest fires every time an animal looks at you. It could have been only three of us gettin' beamed back up. Ya have to learn that sometimes, shit happens."

The doctor sighed, running a hand through his floppy brown hair, as the ensign before him drew himself up, pouting childishly.

"Vell I'm fine, Doktor, no need to vorry, and i saved an innocent life. I do not regret it, no matter ze personal risk." He sulked.

McCoy had half expected him to add 'so there' and stick his tongue out.

He turned to Sulu and Emburfield for backup...only to raise an eyebrow at the latter's gooey expression.

The blue-skinned female was gazing, slack jawed, eyes wide at something behind him.

She opened her lips a little to whisper:

"aaaaaawwwwwwwwww...lookititslittlenosey..."

Sulu merely looked bemused.

The CMO's attention was drawn by a little gasp from the young Russian.

He felt his own jaw slacken a little as he stared at the bundle.

A tiny, crimson-scaled snubby snout pushed its way, snuffling, through the material. A bright pink tongue flickered out, tasting the air, followed by a miniature, scaly paw that waved in the air for a moment or two, before finding the gold material of Chekov's shirt.

The ensign winced a little as chocolate-coloured claws kneaded his skin, much like a cat.

Emburfield, Sulu and McCoy edged closer, surrounding the bundle and peering down at the orphaned reptile as it stirred.

It was the relative size of a young cat, with crimson scales and chocolate-coloured claws and tiny, blunt, chocolate-coloured horns. It even sported a fluffy forelock of chocolate-coloured...floof.

It was very cute, thought McCoy grudgingly to himself.

He was secretly glad that Chekov hadn't left it to burn in the forest.

Secretly.

On the bridge

The wingless dragon enjoyed being fawned over, licking people's fingers and emitting tiny 'meep's that caused people to almost melt into a gooey puddle of cuteness.

It stuck close to Pavel, occasionally pouncing into his arms to be cuddled, blinking clear, sapphire eyes slowly at him while he absently stroked his long, pointy ears.

Kirk scratched the dragon's back, smirking as it closed its eyes and meeped its appreciation.

"So, Pavel."

The Ensign started. "yes, Keptin?"

"whats your new pet called?"

Pavel's face lit up. " i Can KEEP him, Keptin?"

Kirk laughed at the expression on his face. "well, duh. Its cute. No-one will find out, kid. So come-on, what's it called?"

Pavel pondered this question for a while, resuming his absent stroking of the red dragon's ears.

Suddenly, he froze in position.

He stared at the scaly ears, then turned to stare towards the captain's chair, where Commander spock stood, gazing back at him blankly.

Back to the ears.

Back to spock, who raised an eyebrow at the ensign in puzzlement.

Chekov once more turned his attention to the little red dragon, staring at it with intense fascination. The dragon, wondering why the soothing petting of its ears had stopped, stared up at its impromptu 'mama'.

It slowly raised one scaly brow.

Chekov almost cried with laughter.

Kirk stared at his navigator like he had grown two heads.

Pavel saw the look and pointed at a very confused spock, then the dragon.

"Ze-heheh-eyebrows- ha- and ears! They are ze same!" was all he managed to get out before collapsing in another debilitating fit of giggles.

It finally dawned on kirk, and he chuckled to himself quietly as Chekov regained himself.

He turned to the captain with a grin.

" i think he vill be named after a wery close friend of yours, Keptin."

He giggled again.

"say hello to Spock Jr"