Fandom: Star Trek (nuTrek)
Characters/Pairings: McCoy/Chekov, Kirk
Spoilers: Uh… none really. Movie only.
Warnings: Men kissing, discussion of medical shenanigans, WAFF
Disclaimer: Star Trek sure doesn’t belong to me.
A/N: Written for takhallus’ birthday.
Summary: When the Enterprise is stuck on a long voyage, Chekov tries to find a way to keep Bones from getting cabin fever.
“At Warp Five. Mr. Scott thinks the engines will do well, we shouldn’t have to stop to get new fuel-.”
“Weeks?” McCoy repeated, his seldom-idle hands limp on the desk in front of him.
“It’s a very safe trip,” Chekov explained, tapping out the route on the padd with rapid gestures, eyes alight with enthusiasm. “See? Like the captain said, Torian is a very remote planet, but the route is safe. We’ll be able to reconnect with the probes set up at some of the nebulae and other phenomena on the way and get new readings on them, and then we can drop new probes at anything new we find…”
McCoy didn’t exactly tune Chekov out so much as simply turned his mind off. He should have gone to the briefing. He usually attended every briefing he could, whether or not the opinion of the CMO was called for, just because he knew what mischief Jim Kirk could get up to without a restraining hand on him. Spock did what he could, but sometimes a few cutting comments did more than all the logical arguments in the world.
Jim wasn’t stupid, far from it, just more inclined for “adventure” than Bones. He was young, the whole crew was relatively young, and Chekov was the youngest of all. Of course he thought traveling to the ass-end of this sector to answer Torian’s call for Federation technical assistance on whatever flipping anomaly they couldn’t understand was the most interesting thing that could have happened this week.
McCoy had been looking forward to at least a day planetside, not another two weeks cooped up in the ship without the possibility of reprieve. He resolved to talk to with Jim at the earliest possible opportunity. It wouldn’t change the mission one whit, but McCoy preferred to vent his spleen on the man responsible instead of the messenger.
“Fun for you, Pavel,” McCoy said finally, when Chekov paused for breath. “I have to deal with whatever boredom-related injuries people end up inflicting on each other during a two-week run.”
“I will tell Hiraku to use the blunt swords,” Pavel said with utter seriousness.
“You ever travel planetside? At least there you can look out the damn window and see something passing by. The crew gets too damn creative when they’re on long voyages with nothing to do, and only the science division is going to be doing any real work. God help us when the engineers and the security staff get bored.”
Pavel smiled, not his earnest genius smile, or his “I’m trying my best, Captain,” smile, but the deceptively sweet one that meant, “I’m going to prove you wrong and make you love every minute of it.” He’d worn that smile every second he’d spent worming his way into Leonard’s life.
“Perhaps it would be better to go at Warp Four, to put less stress at the engines,” Pavel said thoughtfully, a rather wicked glint in his eye.
“Do that and you better not come within reach of my hypospray anytime in the next six months,” McCoy growled.
Pavel just smiled and set his padd down on the desk. “This is the route we will be taking. It’s beautiful, Len. I will show you.” It showed endless long lines of numbers and equations, a mathematician’s dream.
“Looks like your typical navigator’s jargon,” McCoy groused, not amused.
“I promise, you will like it.”
The third day into the voyage, two security officers got into an escalating bet over who could lift the most weight in the squats, and ended up bypassing the safety protocols on the lifting machines to try to prove it. McCoy and his team spent hours putting back together several sets of blown quads, and more hours trying to adjudicate the bet so they wouldn’t end up back in sickbay again in another day.
When he finally was able to sit down, feet aching and head throbbing, he found a strange padd on his desk showing a picture of a glowing nebula, a shimmering blue spiral seeming to spear through its heart. There was a note from Pavel underneath:
This is the Helix Nebula, we’re passing it right now on the starboard side.
McCoy stared at the picture for long moments. You couldn’t actually look at the nebula like this in warp, so this must be download data from the probe… He shook his head at the technical details underneath and just kept his eyes on the picture.
“If you try to drink two gallons of Andarian fire-water in an hour, not only will you not be able to do it, you will almost die,” McCoy explained to the blearily blinking crewman who’d just spent two hours having his blood filtered. You could have taken a sip out of his veins and gotten hammered, it had been that bad. Security crew, again. They thought they were immortal.
McCoy left the man on the biobed to finish processing his statement and admonition, walking back to his office. Another padd had appeared, this one showing a faintly glimmering dwarf star, like a pale diamond, suspended in a golden cloud of gasses and particles.
It’s Dwarf PL-0952-T-4. The unofficial name is Drabin’s Golden Queen. He named it for the ruling family on his homeworld. We’re coming up on it in a half hour, starboard side.
McCoy looked over at starboard and then back at the picture, smiling a little.
“Wait… die?!” the crewman finally called from the other room.
“I don’t care what Ensign Pri told you about the aphrodisiac qualities of Rigellian spicebush seeds, it doesn’t work. Now, if you’d like all your parts back in working order, stay still dammit!”
Knowing there was a new padd on his desk was the only thing keeping McCoy from unloading even more than his usual amount of vitriol on the poor science officer. It wasn’t her fault that spicebush seeds had a distressing tendency to swell when they came in contact with human mucous membranes…
“Bones, how’re things down here?”
Jim Kirk’s voice interrupted McCoy’s absorption with Purple Star of Urlix V, and he put the padd down with irritation.
“Great, considering that three quarters of the crew has nothing to do. You have them all so used to running around like headless chickens to rescue the ship from whatever fresh disaster you got us into that a week of downtime has them all competing for the honor getting into the medical logs for ‘Most Unusual Thing Pulled Out of An Officer’s-.’”
“Whoa! Ok, ok, things aren’t that bad, right?” Jim’s smile was distressingly earnest.
“Worse,” McCoy said shortly. “I only give you the bare bones in my reports.”
Jim had the grace to wince.
“I better find some way to keep you in a better mood or the kids’ll be finding ways to avoid coming to you.” Jim looked thoughtful, “Well, more ways to avoid coming to you.”
“How about you do something about the problem in the first place? They have cabin fever and they’re bored!” McCoy snapped. Pavel’s notes were the only things keeping him sane right now, and Jim would have to come up with something pretty spectacular to top them.
“It’s only another week to Torian. I’ll figure out something to keep people busy, even if it’s scrubbing down the decks with toothbrushes.”
McCoy looked skeptical; that sounded far too responsible for Jim.
“Or maybe a fashion show…” Kirk’s eyes were sparkling with mischief.
“If you’re going to do a comedy act, take it out of my sickbay, Jim.”
“Departmental pride parade?”
Pavel typed in Leonard’s door code, slipping inside so he could leave the latest padd on the bed. They barely got a chance to see each other during deep space navigation; even though the computer did most of the hard number crunching, this sector was so remote that the route needed constant updating and guidance from all the new data they picked up at every probe. Nebulae spread, comets wandered, asteroids broke off from the main masses, it was constant work. Fascinating work, but constant. And unfortunately his shift was opposite Leonard’s this quarter. It had been all he could do to leave him notes about where they were going…
The door swished shut behind him as Pavel stood, stunned. In looping arcs across the walls of Leonard’s quarters were dozens of picture stills: a gas giant that glowed like a setting sun, an asteroid belt that looped around two planets in a figure-eight, a comet with three apparent tails caught in different spectrums of light, a shimmering constellation that looked like a heart…
And Leonard McCoy was sitting on the corner of his bed, a small glass in his hand, looking at the latest padd Pavel had sent down to sickbay.
The Zatar Star Cluster, he remembered. They had passed it a half hour ago, a beautiful collection of three stars in close proximity, solar flares igniting the gasses around them in an incandescent display, fireworks on an epic scale. It hadn’t been very close, relatively speaking, but Pavel hadn’t been able to resist the thought it might make Leonard’s day a little brighter.
“Jim finally let you go?”
“I-. He said I could take a break,” Pavel said softly, still a little stunned at seeing the entirety of their journey thus far laid out on the walls.
“After the fourth idiot came in with their skin stained blue, Chapel kicked me out of sickbay.”
“Nobody kicks you out of sickbay,” Pavel said automatically, repeating Leonard’s most ironclad rule.
“I thought I’d stop and enjoy the scenery before I accidentally murdered the crew. Come ‘ere,” he said.
Pavel came over and sat, wrapping his arms around Leonard and resting his chin on his shoulder. “It can be beautiful, yes?” he asked.
“I’ve had a dozen of the crew in for pranks gone wrong, two dozen for bets they were too stupid to refuse, and a handful in for things I can’t even discuss in the abstract. We have a week to go, and then we do the whole damn thing over again when we come back.”
Pavel hugged him hard, and heard Len set down the glass. Leonard’s devotion to duty was as strong as Pavel’s, otherwise nothing could have made him stay on an exploratory ship. Well, nothing but…
“Those notes of yours are the only things that make a trip like this worthwhile, Pavel.”
He pulled back, turning so he could press his lips to Pavel’s, the warmth and strength of him suffusing Pavel’s body like sunshine.
“Only thing?” Pavel asked, pulling back for breath, smiling broadly.
“Almost,” Len said, and pulled Pavel back to him until they saw the stars together.