Author's Note:

Before we begin, I would just like to point out that, yes, there are probably plenty of stories like this out there. But we decided to do our own take on Chekov, and thus, the story that has presented itself before you. It may not be the most original thing in the world, but here it is. This is a collaboration with with Marcelle Dupont. Enjoy!

"How are we lookin' down there, Scotty?"

"She's as ready as she'll ever be, Captain!"

"Excellent."

Captain James Tiberius Kirk swiveled slightly in his prized captain's chair, turning to face his Vulcan first officer, who was seated at his post with an expression of utmost concentration on his face. Kirk, noticing this, of course had no other desire but to disrupt him. It was his personal habit to annoy his crew whenever he could, and it was a skill he had honed and refined to the point where he was now quite proud of it. And Spock, being who he was, was one of the Captain's favorite victims.

"Spock! You hear that?" Kirk said loudly, although his first officer was seated only a few feet away. Annoyance flashed on the Vulcan's face for the briefest of moments before he glanced back at Kirk, obviously slightly peeved at the grin plastered on the man's face.

"What is it exactly that you are presuming I have heard, Captain?" he replied almost blandly, as per usual. The crew's generally cheerful morale seemed to have no effect on him, but then it usually took something very extreme for Spock to even show the slightest emotion.

"Looks like we're ready to ship out! I assume you're prepared as ever, are you not?" Kirk inquired, although he already knew the answer. For Spock to not be prepared was like Scotty not being Scottish - it was simply not possible. Kirk was so confident in his first officer's unvarying ways that he turned away from him without an answer, instead focusing in on the helm.

"Mr. Sulu... are we all set to warp? Everything in order? External inertial dampeners engaged?" He couldn't resist poking fun at the man about the embarrassing blunder made on the pilot's first day on the job, as he knew that any efforts to live it down would all be in vain. Although Kirk hadn't been there himself to witness it, he had heard about it through the ships' grapevine and that was just as good as actually being there.

"Um... yes, Captain. Of course," Sulu answered, his mouth set into a small grimace. He was obviously choosing to ignore Kirk's little jab at his pride, but he still reacted in the slightest - as was to be expected. No one can be picked on by the Captain and not want to just turn around and put him into his place. Sulu, though, endured it all with his usually calm persona and unwavering loyalty. Although, as most of those on board had seen, the Asian pilot could be quite intimidating if he needed to be. He wasn't afraid to "play some hard ball", as Bones might put it. Perhaps he had developed this quality from the example of Kirk, who had already moved on, twisting slightly in his chair to face the boy seated next to Sulu.

"Mr. Chekov, I expect everything is shipshape with you, too, am I right?" he addressed the eighteen-year-old prodigy, who smiled back in return.

"Yes, Keptin, everything is in order," Chekov confirmed, punching a few commands into the screen at his station.

"Good. Hopefully you're a little better at the helm than you are down in engineering, huh?" Kirk joked lightly, but the way the ensign's brows furrowed told him that his words were taken to heart.

"I am sorry, Keptin, but I must mention zat what happened when I was in engineering was not my fault-" Chekov began, looking flustered but coming to an abrupt stop as Kirk began to laugh.

"Relax, kid, I was just messing with you. You were fine down there...you saved me and Scotty's lives, remember?" He tried to smooth things over, not wanting to upset his youngest crew member. Pavel Chekov had contributed to the current success of the Enterprise several times, that success mainly being that the ship was still in one piece. Kirk was honestly impressed with the kid; his mathematical abilities were unmatched by anyone else on board, and he was just as determined to serve as the rest of them. However, he was still just a young boy; eighteen was cutting it a bit close.

The older man thought back to the days of his own youth. When he was eighteen, he shouldn't have been allowed drive, let alone handle large Starfleet property such as the U.S.S. Enterprise. In high school, his life had mostly consisted of girls, fast cars, parties, and drinking. Pavel, on the other hand, seemed to have it together. His mind was more career driven and focused on his future than Kirk's had been at that point. He had been just a fly-off-the-handle "townie" farm boy when he was eighteen -while Chekov had already developed a reputation as the Russian Whiz-Kid at an even earlier age. The kid had the "annoyingly smart" qualities of some Vulcans familiar to Kirk, while still suffering from the teenage hormones of a regular human boy going through the rough transition from boyhood to manhood.

In a way, Kirk pitied him. Pavel had so much more pressure put on him during the most pivotal years of his life, sometimes having to perform in a way that could make or break the mission at hand. However, Chekov had proved on every occasion that he was up to the responsibility, such as when Kirk and Sulu had been plummeting to their death on Vulcan, or when he had been put in charge of the Engineering Department in Scotty's place. He was such a nice kid, too - a bright smile ever present on his face, always eager to please. Kirk almost envied Chekov; why couldn't he have been that kind of kid himself?

The captain suddenly turned away from the boy, his mind having reached the point where he knew it had wandered too far. The mission they had been given that day was vastly important, and Kirk couldn't afford to waste time analyzing the young navigator if he wanted to continue to be his usually successful self. He quickly pressed a button on his chair (gosh, he loved that chair) that enabled a ship wide broadcast, allowing his voice to be projected across all decks of the Enterprise.

"Hello, everyone, this your captain speaking. Now, as I'm sure you all know, our mission today was sent to us directly from the top of the Starfleet food chain, so it must be treated with the utmost seriousness," He paused, as he knew most of his crew would be taking a moment to laugh at the fact that the word "serious" had just been spoken by their captain, who was definitely not known for being a serious man. "It seems as though a currently unidentified Class M planet in the Vulcan system has been acting hostile towards other Federation ships passing by. It is our job to get to the planet, find out what's there, and see if we can strike up some sort of peace negotiations. A small landing party will be sent out initially, but others should be standing by, especially in medbay, in case something goes wrong. Kirk out." He looked towards Sulu, who nodded obediently and deported from the space dock, sending them speeding into warp.

"Captain, do you have even the slightest indication of what could be waiting for us on that planet?" Spock inquired, standing beside Kirk with his hands folded neatly behind his back. Kirk spun his chair to face him, a small smile playing on his face.

"Not a clue," he stated simply, before rising and clapping a hand on the Vulcans' shoulder. "That's why you and I are going to find out. And we'll take Uhura along...I bet you'll like that, huh?" His grin grew larger at the sight of Spock's slightly flustered face at the mention of his girlfriend, although it was unofficial and no one ever used that term on board.

"My own pleasure regarding the fact that Lieutenant Uhura will accompany us to the planet is irrelevant, and I request that you leave my happiness out of the question when making these decisions, Captain," he retorted in what he most likely thought was a snide manner, but it merely drew a laugh out of Kirk.

"Whatever you say, buddy," he chuckled. He scanned the bridge, taking in the smirks and grins on the crew's faces before heading towards the lift. He and Spock had almost made it there before a voice, a bit tentative and decidedly Russian stopped him.

"Um... Keptin Kirk... Mister Spock, sir... I was just wondering if-if maybe..." Pavel attempted to get out, something about his question seeming to make it difficult for him to speak properly.

"What is it, Chekov? Come on, spit it out," Kirk encouraged, the knowledge that he was somewhat pressed for time at the moment made evident by the hint of impatience in his voice.

"Well, sir, I wanted to know if perhaps I could come with you and Mister Spock on ze expedition... I have never been on one before, and I would like ze experience," the boy finally managed to say, looking at the captain with hopeful eyes from his place at the helm. Kirk simply faced him for a moment, working out how to handle the situation in his mind. He could see from the boy's face that he very much wanted to come along with them, and Kirk hated to be the one who would have to tell him no.

Chekov was right, of course - he would need the experience if he ever wanted to move up in rank on the ship and join them on future missions. That being said, however, he was still only eighteen, barely of legal adult age. Kirk knew how capable Pavel was, he had shown this on many occasions, but that was still aboard the relative safety of the ship. The captain and first officer themselves didn't even know what exactly was on the planet below them, but so far it hadn't proved to be friendly. How could he lead his crew into danger like that, especially his youngest and most vulnerable member? Spock was one thing. He always insisted on joining Kirk on these types of missions, so he automatically included him because he couldn't think of doing otherwise unless under extreme circumstances. Uhura usually came along as well, to assist with any types of communications. But Pavel was different - he was youthful, easily excited, and obviously eager to prove himself even more than he already had. There would be no telling what could happen down there, and Kirk wasn't sure if Chekov would be ready to give his life or do something equally dangerous for them if it came down to it. And honestly, Kirk didn't want to put him in a situation like that, he was still too young. So, as much as it pained him, Kirk knew he had to let the kid down easy. Spock, however, began to speak before he had figured out just how to do it.

"You are a navigator, Mister Chekov, and a newer crew member at that. It would be highly illogical for you to be coming on an expedition. We need you aboard the ship, in your place at the helm." Pavel's face fell, his smile wiped from his place, yet Spock took no notice. "Besides the fact that you, Mister Chekov, are-"

Kirk put a firm hand on Spock's shoulder to stop him. The first mate looked miffed, and mildly confused, but did nothing to question it. "What my entirely too Vulcan friend is trying to say here," The captain interjected, his words slow as he tried to work out exactly what to tell his navigator. "Is that we need you at the helm on call, for..." He looked about, trying to think of something for the kid to do. "Feeding us any alerts and directional information, over the con."

"With all due respect, Captain, this is not crewman Chekov's job," Spock pointed out, causing Kirk to shut his eyes in frustration, knowing that his first mate was going to crush Pavel's hopes right then and there, and do it bluntly. "We could use a navigator on hand for scouting out the terrain of an unfamiliar planet. In fact, this would be a rather logical course of action. However, we do not need an inexperienced student with us, as I calculate that it will slow us down exponentially."

"Excuse me-" Chekov, his cheeks burning red, felt the eyes of every crew member in the helm. "Mister Spock, sir, I am no longer a student, and as for my experience-"

Spock, who hated to be cut off, but couldn't help stopping him, had to interrupt. "Mister Chekov, you are still not at the same level as many other members aboard this ship. Your age and place in rank makes it difficult for us to choose you over someone who may have more experience, as you humans would put it, 'under their belt.'" He worded the idiom with a slightly disgusted face. How he hated to dumb things down with odd phrases like that.

"Sir, are you...are you calling me a child?" Chekov was indignant, trying to stand taller, though his small stature couldn't be helping much. "My age has not much to do with my level of competence." He said, his voice laden with accent, his anger confusing his English a bit.

"I am merely pointing out that at your youthful age-"

"Spock," a new voice, feminine and stern, added into the mix. She stood at attention next to her rumored love interest, refraining from putting a hand on his other shoulder. "Stop. You are not helping anything by demeaning him like that! You know Chekov is just as capable as anyone else on this ship, you have no right to tell him otherwise." Her words, though calm, were meant to strike the Vulcan as a powerful force to reckon with. Spock, hiding his annoyance with the whole situation, simply nodded in response.

"Keptin?" Pavel, his voice a bit smaller now, stared towards his Captain with faithful eyes. He expected Kirk to stand by what Uhura had said - he had protected him earlier. It was Spock who made his hands curl into fists, but Chekov would not start an argument with him. He was holding onto the hope of his captain overlooking his age, seeing the man he was inside. Age was but a number, he had heard said plenty a time.

"Look, Pavel," Kirk started off slowly, and Chekov knew from his reluctant tone that this was it. "I know that you feel prepared, but scouting expeditions are tricky." He sent a searing gaze towards his first mate. "Though he worded it terribly, Mister Spock is mostly correct. You'd need more experience before we could take you into the field. I'm sorry, kid," He put a heavy hand against Chekov's shoulder, and the boy almost staggered by the weight.

"But, Keptin!" he called, as Kirk turned to walk away, Spock and Uhura flanking him. "How do I get experience if you won't allow me to join you?" he cried almost desperately, watching as his authority figures, people he had looked up to, began to fade into the distance down the corridor. "I'm not a child!" He frowned at the floor, knowing no one was listening. Everyone went back to their jobs, and ignored the "kid" who was still standing on the bridge, hating his life.

A link to my writer friend's Figment - figment users/ 238429- Marcelle- Dupont

Marcelle is quite the writer (: