Universe: Star Trek XI (Reboot)
Characters: Pavel Chekov, Jim Kirk, with Leonard McCoy, Montgomery Scott, Spock, and others
Word Count: ~5700
Warnings: mild swearing, moderate violence
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue; all Trek belongs to the Roddenberrys, Paramount, JJ Abrams et al. Written for fun, not profit; no harm intended.
A/N: Written for the Kirk Challenge on st_respect as an entry in the Leader/Negative (Stubbornness) role/category. (Cleaned up a bit from its original version.)
Summary: Pavel Chekov doesn't quite understand why his new Captain is so stubborn about everything, until he realizes that sometimes stubborn saves the day.
The first time Pavel encountered the Captain’s stubbornness, the Captain wasn’t exactly the Captain, not yet. It was during the Narada incident, of course, and James T. Kirk was stubborn about everything—about getting Captain Pike to stop the Enterprise, about going after Nero, about rescuing Admiral Pike. But then again, who wasn’t stubborn? Everyone had been rather stubborn during the Narada incident—it was stubbornness to not die, to not let Nero win; stubbornness to keep going even when exhaustion and injury said they should all be sidelined. It seemed that stubbornness in the face of certain death and universe-changing cataclysm was a natural extension of their fight-or-fight response—pure adrenaline- (or the equivalent for any given crewmember’s species)—fueled defiance giving them an extra push to never give up.
So, it wasn’t until a few months into their official five-year mission on board the Enterprise that Pavel Chekov began to notice just how stubborn, obstinate, and unyielding Captain James Tiberius Kirk really was.
“I’m not going to sickbay, Bones, no. If I do, you’ll just stick me with another hypo or say I’m unfit for duty or put me on mandatory medical leave or something,” the Captain pleaded to Dr. McCoy, his words tumbling rapid-fire from his lips, desperation bleeding through the gloss of lighthearted playfulness in his tone.
“Jim.” Dr. McCoy’s voice was full of gruff annoyance, a tone Pavel was beginning to understand was part of the Doctor’s standard operating procedure. “You were exposed to a Kintaran wai fruit,” he sounded exasperated, “while you insisted on eating one, I ran a bioscan on them. They’re similar in chemical composition to a Terran Kiwi fruit. At least let me run a scan on you, make sure you’re not going to have a delayed reaction.” As the doctor continued, Pavel thought he heard a hint of patient pleading pushing through the irritation in the doctor’s voice.
Pavel had stepped out of the turbolift on Deck 9 intent on joining Hikaru for lunch in the botany lab, but as soon as he reached the first corridor junction he found himself pausing he heard the voices of the Captain and Chief Medical Officer arguing. He’d been staying out of sight around the corner ever since.
Over the past months, he’d learned the hard way that when the Captain was in a particularly obstinate mood he would often try to drag others into his current argument or debate, asking the crew for their opinions, seeking someone who agreed with him—or perhaps who at least didn’t think he was crazy. It was entertaining and good spirited at times, but at other times, it felt awkward, almost unprofessional when it was clear that the crewperson in question clearly felt uncomfortable disagreeing with the captain.
Pavel had spent enough time working with Captain Kirk to understand the Captain actually enjoyed dissent; he wanted the crew to speak up and give their ideas, but some on the crew, those who were less intimately familiar with the James Kirk’s somewhat unorthodox command style, did not understand. That worried Pavel. He liked the Captain, wanted him to succeed, but at the same time, he did not understand why the Captain seemed to either insist or resist everything to the utmost.
Pavel reluctantly edged out around the corner and was greeted by a scene he’d seen repeated all too many times in the five months since their mission had started.
Captain Kirk was standing defensively, taking up most of the hallway, holding up his hand in an attempt to fend off the advances of the Enterprise’s CMO. Dr. McCoy, in turn, was steadily advancing on Kirk, holding out hi medical tricorder to attempt a scan.
“If I was going to have a reaction, wouldn’t I be in anaphylactic shock already?” Kirk argued, taking a step backwards and glancing around the doctor as if looking for an escape route. “The reception ended an hour ago. If I’d eaten a kiwi, I would have died already.”
Pavel, as yet unobserved, pressed himself to the wall and glanced in the direction Kirk was looking. Ah, that makes sense. Pavel saw the open door to the briefing room where members of the Kintaran and Marellian delegations were gathered. The Kintarans had recently petitioned for Federation membership, and as such, the Federation had agreed to send its flagship to assist in negotiations over resource rights to the asteroid belt that ringed the outer reaches of the Kintaran system. The Marellians had a trade route that ran through the Kintaran system, and also claimed rights to mining the selenium-rich asteroids.
The Enterprise, and namely Kirk, were tasked with acting as arbiters, keeping the peace and trying to make the Kintarans happy, since their petition was almost certainly going to be approved. But they had also had to avoid pissing off the short-tempered Marellians, as the Federation was not interested in making any new enemies, especially given the realities of the galaxy post-Narada. Pavel remembered hearing there was going to be some sort of on-ship reception, in honor of a Marellian tension-breaking ritual during the course of the negotiations. By the look of the elegantly robed people mingling just inside the briefing room’s entrance, the negotiations were reconvening and waiting for the Captain to return.
“Jim, I said the chemical compositions were similar, not identical,” Dr McCoy huffed. “You might not have a reaction, or the reaction might take longer to develop, or you might be fine for now, but a second exposure—even as slight as being in the same room with the fruit—could set you off.” He took another step toward the Captain and grasped the Captain’s hand. “Come on, Jim, just let me check—”
“No,” Kirk insisted, his voice sounding a little raspy. “If you find anything, it will take too long, and if you don’t you’ll just want to run more tests. The negotiations need me, and the delegates are waiting.” The Captain shook his head, flicking his hand sideways so Dr. McCoy’s grip was broken. Moving lightning fast, Kirk reversed the situation, twisting his hand a little more to grasp McCoy’s wrist, effectively shoving the medical tricorder away from his body, and pulling McCoy towards him so he could speak into the doctor’s ear. “We need this treaty, Bones, the Federation needs it, and we need the Kintarans to join. Their asteroids have possible dilithium reserves, and we need the Marellians to want to join us too.”
Pavel noticed the Captain was watching the robed figures pacing inside the briefing room as he spoke. Even at a distance of twenty-five meters, Pavel could tell the delegates in the darker blue robes were looking agitated compared to their behavior of only a minute before.
“They have trade contacts the Federation needs. Rumor has it they have particularly skilled weapons engineers and they even have a source of advanced medical supplies,” Kirk added, his voice sounding insistent and still a bit rough. “We need them. Pike told me personally that this is our top priority, and the negotiations can’t wait. I can get them to agree, but I need to go now,” Kirk concluded, pushing a stunned McCoy towards the corridor wall and sidestepping both the doctor and his medical tricorder as he hurried up the hall to the awaiting delegates, jogging a little as he neared the door.
Pavel saw the two figures with the most elaborate robes greet Kirk with deep bows, before the doors slid shut with a faint swish.
“Stubborn idiot,” McCoy grumbled, pulling himself off the wall. His gaze lingered on the closed door, and he shook his head resignedly, only then noticing Pavel, who was still hovering in the corridor junction.
“Sorry sir,” Pavel stammered, “I was on my way to see Lieutenant Sulu in botany,” he tried to explain, feeling his cheeks burn red. “I did not want to interrupt you and the Keptin.”
McCoy shook his head again, “It’s alright, Chekov,” he sighed. “Jim’s just insistent about getting these negotiations concluded.”
“His dedication is most admirable, sir,” Pavel commented, not knowing what else to say. He still felt like he’d been intruding on a private moment.
At that moment the nearly forgotten medical tricorder in Dr. McCoy’ hand beeped. McCoy turned his focus to the readout and swore. “Shit, stubborn, illogical idiot!”
“What, what is it?” Pavel asked hesitantly. Dr. McCoy’s tricorder certainly wasn’t any of his business, but since he needed to pass the doctor and the now-closed door to the briefing room to get to the botany labs, he felt rude just barging on past or worse, getting in the way of the CMO during a medical emergency.
“Jim, the Captain, his white blood cell and histamine counts are elevated and rising. He is having an allergic reaction, and it’s getting worse.” The doctor glanced down at the tricorder again, “Shit, he knows it too. That whole song and dance was just to keep me from treating him.”
Pavel watched as McCoy jogged down the corridor towards the briefing room door. Watched as the doctor tried repeatedly to get the door to open to no avail. Cautiously, Pavel followed. It was on his way to the botany lab, so he might as well see if he could help.
“Bastard’s locked it with a command override code. Even my medical overrides won’t get through,” McCoy explained as Pavel approached.
“Can I do anything to help?” Pavel asked, concern for the wellbeing of his stubborn captain growing.
Dr. McCoy seemed to think about it for a moment, then shook his head. “No,” he answered with a resigned sigh, “Jim knows what he’s doing. If we try to open that door, it will just interfere with his negotiations. Better I just figure out how to treat him and get ready for him to come stumbling out of there when they sign their damned treaty.”
Pavel wasn’t sure he agreed with Dr. McCoy’s assessment, but he wasn’t a doctor, after all, so he nodded his head in acknowledgement. “All right, sir,” he answered, before continuing on his way towards Botany.
Later that evening on Gamma shift, Pavel overheard Commander Spock and Dr. McCoy discussing the Captain’s condition. It turned out Kirk had been right, the Kintarans and Mellarians had come to an agreement quickly, with terms agreeable to both civilizations that were also most advantageous for the Federation. On top of that the Merellian delegates’ comments to Spock made it sound like Kirk’s timing and determined insistence when they had returned from the post-reception recess had been the deciding factor.
Of course now Kirk was stuck in sickbay under observation having succumbed to respiratory arrest just after the negotiations had concluded. Apparently the delegates had all been drinking a hot beverage made from steamed wai fruit, so Kirk had been continuously exposed to small amounts of the allergen. Pavel thought it was ridiculous for the Captain to risk his wellbeing like that, but apparently some of the ensigns who’d been serving as security detail inside the briefing room were inspired by Kirk’s dedication.
Commander Spock on the other hand, couldn’t stop commenting on how illogical the Captain had been.
Foolish or brilliant, the Captain was going to recover, and the Federation had the treaty it wanted. Maybe it was worth it, but Pavel just wasn’t sure he understood.
“It’s a defense mechanism,” Dr. McCoy explained one night in the officer’s mess after Pavel had witnessed a particularly heated exchange between the Captain and Mr. Scott.
An unexpected encounter with a cloaked Klingon battle cruiser had resulted in the port nacelle taking a lot of damage. The Klingons were very jumpy since the Narada incident. It was hard to remember sometimes that the Klingon Empire was in as bad shape—if not worse—when the losses the Federation had taken were so fresh and so ever-present.
Everyone had lost someone, usually a lot of someones, what with half the fleet destroyed and Starfleet Academy taking additional damage from the Narada’s attack on Earth. And for all his lack of emotion, their First Officer wore his grief like a shroud, at times it was like the soul of all six billion of Vulcan’s dead followed him around the ship. But yes, the Klingons had suffered greatly too, and at least some among the Empire’s ranks were responding with hostility born out of a warrior’s sense of honorable battle and self preservation. At least that was what the Captain had told the senior staff at the briefing after he had negotiated a truce that just might set the Federation and Empire on a path for peace.
But now, the Enterprise was in need of repairs. The closest Federation vessel would take three weeks to reach them, and they were needed for a diplomatic mission to on Gideon before then. Their best option was to slap together repairs as best they could and limp to the nearest starbase at the fastest wasp factor they could manage. But it was starting to look like their limping along wasn’t fast enough.
“I canna do that Captain,” Mr. Scott was shouting. “If I push her any harder, either the warp field will destabilize or the warp coils in the starboard nacelle will give out altogether, and we’ll be marooned out here with naught but impulse engines. Besides, I’m not gonna treat ‘er like that. ”
“Scotty, ‘no’ is not an option,” the Captain responded his voice rough and gravelly from the shouting or generally from the exhaustion of the last several days, Pavel wasn’t sure. The Captain sighed, running a hand through his hair. He looked up, eyes wide with embarrassment as he saw the audience he had accumulated. Like he realized maybe accosting his chief engineer in the mess wasn’t such a great idea. “What about repairs to the port nacelle, if we can get it functioning even a little, the warp field will stabilize and we’ll be able to safely achieve a higher warp factor,” Kirk insisted.
“How are we supposed to do that, Capt’n? The warp coils are toast and it’s not like we ‘ave spares just lying around,” Mr. Scott replied, arms gesticulating wildly.
“Scotty, come on, you’re a miracle worker,” the Captain insisted.
“Aye, maybe, but I canna pull spare warp coils outa thin air!” Scotty shook his head. “I dunna know wha else to tell ya Captain, but warp 2.1 is the fastest she can go. You’ll have to tell the Federation to send someone else, or get the Gideons to wait.” Scotty started to walk away, shaking his head in frustration.
“There is no one else,” Kirk said more quietly, resigned. “The Gideons said they’d meet with me or no one, and failure is not an option,” he added, raising his voice a little more, but still not shouting like he’d been moments before.
Mr. Scott paused in his retreat. He turned to face the Captain, scratching his head and running his hand through his messy hair. “I… we could cannibalize a couple warp coils from the starboard nacelle,” he suggested with a distraught sigh as if the thought of intentionally damaging the Enterprise was physically painful to him. “Use them to replace a couple coils in the port nacelle. It’d decrease the starboard nacelle’s capacity, and we’d have to drop outa warp to make the repairs, but if it worked, we could manage warp four safely. If we skipped the starbase, we could make Gideon, get proper repairs la’er,” Mr. Scott suggested.
Kirk cocked his head to the side, thinking. “How long would it take?”
“If I took ev’ry engineer on the ship, ten hours,” Mr. Scott calculated.
The Captain seemed to run the calculations in his head. “You have seven hours, Mr. Scott,” he replied at last, a tone of finality in his voice.
“Aye, aye, Captain,” Mr. Scott acknowledged with a salute, “We’ll do our best.” He looked a little like he didn’t quite believe it would be possible, but maybe seeing the pleased smile on the Captain’s face gave him a boost of confidence, because as Mr. Scott exited the mess, Pavel swore he had a spring in his step.
“What do you mean?” Pavel asked the doctor, still a bit taken aback by the Captain’s persistence.
“Jim, his behavior… his stubbornness,” Dr. McCoy explained, his faltering speech belying the steady way he held Chekov’s gaze. “He never had much control as a kid, or well ever, and now, even as Captain, he still seems to think he’s gonna lose that control at any moment.” The doctor paused to take a sip of water. Took a gulp, then another, as if the liquid might lubricate his thoughts.
Pavel was curious, hoping maybe the doctor could shed some light on the Captain’s strange attitude, so he ate his stew as quietly and patiently as he could while the doctor collected himself.
“You know about the Kelvin right?” McCoy said at last, putting down the water and trying a different tack.
Pavel’s eyes opened in surprise, well of course he knew about that.
“Stupid question,” McCoy grumbled, his customary grouchiness slipping over him again as he grew frustrated, with what Pavel was unsure. McCoy took another gulp of water, and slammed the cup down on the table, the liquid inside sloshing a little. “Damn, I need a stiff drink for this,” he grumbled before continuing. “Jim doesn’t believe in a no win scenario. But what that really means, is he’s terrified of failing of losing. He seems to think that if he accepts things at face value, if he takes reality for what it is and doesn’t try to fight it, then he’s gonna get stuck, give up in the face of death or something like that.” McCoy shook his head, jabbing his fork into the potatoes on his plate and jamming them into his mouth. “He’s got this idea that if he just keeps insisting and pushing and poking at the things he really doesn’t like, eventually he’ll find a flaw, a whole, something no one else thought of before and that will save him or save the Federation. And when he knows he can’t do anything about it, he pushes other people. Figures that way, maybe they won’t give up either, and have some damn epiphany that will save us all.” McCoy shook his head and jabbed at his plate again. “Annoying thing is it works a lot of the time.”
“Ah,” Pavel replied, not entirely sure he understood.
“It’s most illogical,” Spock muttered as he walked past.
Pavel chuckled. That sounded about right. After all, refusing to accept the truth was a sign of insanity, not good leadership, right?
Of course, in the end, Kirk’s stubborn streak paid off, and Scotty got the repairs done in six-and-a-half hours, and the Gideons did join the federation, only they did sort of kidnap Captain Kirk first.
Pavel finally figured out why Captain Kirk was so unwaveringly stubborn about nine months into their five-year mission. The Enterprise had been conducting a survey of a supposedly uninhabited system in what was supposed to be unclaimed space when they came across an anomalous readings on a small moon orbiting the third planet. The Enterprise’s scanners showed life forms and strange energy readings. The Captain had beamed down with Mr. Scott and a handful of security ensigns, but before they reported back, the Enterprise had lost contact. Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy and Pavel had beamed down as a rescue party when they discovered some sort of unidentified signal was blocking all attempts to beam the away team back and was causing problems with their long-range communications. The hope had been to find the source of the signal, disable it, locate the away team and beam everyone back.
They hadn’t counted on the Cardassians.
Cardassians were militaristic, ruthless, fond of torture, and apparently immune to a Vulcan nerve pinch.
They’d found that out the hard way, of course. Shortly after beaming down, they’d been surrounded by six heavily armed and armored grey-skinned, vaguely reptilian–looking Cardassians. Spock had tried to knock away the phaser rifle of the Cardassian closest to him and proceeded to attempt the nerve pinch, but nothing happened. Soon the three of them were bound and led to a small, underground holding cell where they found the away team, or at least what was left of them.
Two members of the security detail had been killed in the fight with their Cardassian commanders, and Mr. Scott had been shot, but was still conscious. The same interference that was preventing the transporter from beaming them out seemed to also be masking any signs of phaser fire, so the Enterprise had no indication shots had been fired.
Within an hour, the Captain was hauled away. When he returned and hour after that, bruised, bloody, and missing a tooth, they found out the Cardassians had tortured him, prodding and digging for information on the Federation’s strength, its plans for expansion, and its present military capabilities. It seemed the Narada had made the Cardassians very jumpy, and rather than diminishing the threat the Federation posed, in their eyes they now saw the Federation as a bigger menace, assuming that such a moment of weakness would make the Federation reach out and crush its neighbors. They weren’t interested in reason or logic, just in finding out everything they could and exploiting it to the advantage of the Cardassian people.
Things went down hill from there. Another member of the security detail was shot and killed when he tried to escape, against Kirk’s strict orders to the contrary, as the Cardassians came to collect the Captain for another round of torture. The doctor had been able to help Mr. Scott—at least the Cardassians had let him keep some things in his med bag—somewhat, but without a fully socked sickbay and without adequate food or water, Scotty wasn’t doing too well.
Their communicators had all been confiscated as had their weapons and tricorders, and with no way for the Enterprise to lock onto them and beam them out, and no way for them to establish contact, things weren’t looking good. The Federation wouldn’t even figure out anything was wrong for weeks (as that was how long the survey was supposed to last) unless the broke orbit and got outside the range of the jamming signal. Considering that would mean disobeying a direct order and leaving a significant portion of the ship’s senior staff behind, albeit temporarily, that was very unlikely to happen. The Captain was also very concerned someone else might try to make it down to the surface only to get trapped.
By the seventh day, Pavel was feeling hopeless. No one else from the Enterprise had wound up in the detention cell with them, but that was the only good news. One of the guards had hinted they were going to be shipped off to Cardassia Prime, and the ships that were being sent to collect them would make quick work of the Enterprise. Scotty wasn’t looking good, Spock had developed an allergy to something in the air, and the Captain had torture-induced wounds that were becoming infected, but McCoy was using all the antibiotics they had left to keep Scotty’s blaster burn from getting infected, so Kirk was left untreated.
Pavel was hungry, exhausted and demoralized.
“We’re getting out of here.” Captain Kirk’s voice was firm and definite, and in stark contrast with his shaking limbs. He’d just been hauled back from another round of torture.
“How, Keptin?” Pavel asked warily. He knew how stubborn Kirk could get, and right now, he was pretty sure getting berated and harangued by his commanding officer would only depress or frustrate him.
“Their transporters work around the jamming. I think it’s because they use different technology than us.” Kirk opened his closed fist to show a small device that appeared to be some sort of hand-held control. “I took this off one of the guards.”
“What is i’?” Mr. Scott asked weakly, but with renewed interest, straining forward to get a closer look.
“It’s the door control to the transporter room,” Kirk said, sounding pleased and exited.
“But we’re stuck in here, Keptin,” Pavel protested, his momentary relief hampered. “How will that help?”
“When they take me out of here, the room where they’re torturing me? Well, it’s only about two doors down a hall from here.” Kirk drew a diagram in the sticky red dust that covered the floor of their prison. “They hooded me and took me all over the place at first, but they must have been leading me all over the base, trying to confuse me. The last two times they’ve taken me back, they’ve gone direct. It’s just two doors down from here,” Kirk said with a smile. “What’s even better is the transporter room is right here,” he jabbed at the room next to the interrogation chamber. “I’ve seen people beaming out of there when the door was open, actually there’re two doors, one to the hall,” he jabbed at the diagram again, “and one to the interrogation room. I heard the door open and then the sound their transporters make when I was coming back this time.”
“But what? How are we supposed to use the key to get in there, if we’re locked in here?” Pavel asked.
“With this.” Kirk pulled something sharp-looking out of the tattered waistband of his pants. “I broke this off the chair. Been working on it since the fist day.” He nodded towards the metal door set in the stone walls that made up their cell. “You should be able to slip that into the lock before the door closes shut behind me, stop it from latching.” Kirk coughed, the speech clearly tiring him. “They don’t use the transporter when they’re interrogating me, only when I’m finishing up. So, if Pavel and Scotty sneak out while I’m getting tortured, you’ll have a chance.”
“What? What are we supposed to do when we get there, Keptin?” Pavel asked, alarmed at the idea of dragging Scotty in his current injured state on some sort of wild goose chase.
“Figure out how the controls work, beam the rest of the team out of here—along with Ensigns Shraly, Bove, and Gniller’s remains—beam me out, and then beam yourselves out,” Kirk replied matter-of-factly.
“Nay, Captain, how am I supposed to do that? I haven’t got a proper receiving pad here, have I?” Scotty insisted, his voice much stronger than he looked. “And how am I supposed to beam us to the Enterprise if I got no way a communicatin’ wi’ her?”
“You know the formula for transwarp beaming, you beamed us onto the ship without knowing exactly where she’d be, you can do it,” Kirk replied with an encouraging nod.
“Bu’ tha’ was wi’ Federation technology. I don’ know how the Cardassian stuff works,” Mr. Scott said, surprised. “And I don’ kno’ where the ship is right now.
“That’s part of where Chekov comes in,” Kirk explained hurriedly, pausing to wipe over the map he’d drawn on the floor and lowering his voice as they heard heavy footfalls outside. “Chekov here is an expert at stellar cartography and in-system planetary physics. If he knew where the Enterprise was when he last left her, he can plot its probable course based on her standard orbit and orders and procedures the crew would be following. You can get your beaming coordinates that way.”
“I don’t know, Keptin,” Pavel said, uncomfortable with the entire idea. He wasn’t an expert, and even if the Captain really thought he was, he still doubted he could calculate and predict the ship’s course with the degree of precision they’d need. If he missed…
“You can, Chekov,” Kirk replied, squeezing Chekov’s hand, “I know you can.”
“Keptin, someone could die. You could die if we beam to the wrong place.”
“We’re all going to die if we stay here,” Kirk said sadly. “I overhead the guards saying the fleet that’s coming to get us is only twelve hours out. If that fleet arrives and the Enterprise is still in the system…” Kirk let his voice trail off as they all knew what that would mean. Their ship would likely be lost, their friends killed, and their only chance of escape gone.
“You want us to figure out all these calculations in twelve hours, sir?” Pavel pondered uncertainly, grimy fingers tugging nervously through his curly hair.
“Five,” Kirk replied. “And that’s an order. No refusing it. You’re going to succeed.”
“Five?” Scotty’s voice was shocked this time, his eyes wide with surprise.
“That’s how long we’ve got until my next session,” Kirk groaned. “I know it’s a long shot, but we don’t have much time either way.”
Pavel opened his mouth to protest again.
“The Captain is correct,” Spock wheezed from his position next to Dr. McCoy. He was half-propped on Dr. McCoy while McCoy slept in a heap—passed out from sheer exhaustion, was more like it. The allergy was making it difficult for Spock to breathe, and since the floor and walls were covered with a layer the very dust he was allergic to, he was trying to stay off those surfaces as much as possible. McCoy was acting as a willing pillow. “Mr. Scott will likely not last the trip to Cardassia prime, unless they change their course and begin offering us medical treatment,” his tone was even, serious. “My allergy is getting worse. I calculate I will succumb to respiratory arrest an hour before the Cardassian convoy arrives. While not entirely logical, the Captain’s plan does seem to provide better odds of our survival than waiting for an improbable rescue.”
“But we can’t just beam us out there without knowing if the ship is actually there!” Pavel protested.
“Yes you can,” Kirk countered, sounding maybe a little childish. “But more than that, I know you’ll figure out a way to test it, so we know for sure. I’m counting on you,” he added, looking Pavel deep in the eye, his gaze filled with a degree of pride and confidence that surprised Pavel.
“Keptin…” Pavel tried to protest, still unsure.
“NO!” Kirk’s voice boomed, open palm slamming down on the dusty ground. “No,” he repeated, voice quieter, softer. “You will do this. You can, because I know you can. I’ve seen you work. You pulled me and Sulu out of that dive on Vulcan,” his voice caught as he said the name of the lost planet. “You saved us. This isn’t the time to just give up. We’re not accepting this. We can get out of here,” Kirk insisted.
Pavel stopped and thought. He really didn’t want to die. He really didn’t want to wind up going to a trial on Cardassia. He didn’t want the Enterprise to be destroyed and his friends with it. And he really, really didn’t want to let down his Captain, no matter how stubborn the man was being. And then he thought of Dr. McCoy’s words. Figures that way, maybe they won’t give up either, and have some damn epiphany that will save us all. Well, maybe Pavel could have that epiphany!
“If I can figure out where the Enterprise should be, we can try to beam something from there, see if we can establish a lock… If, if we can adjust the transporter beam to the precise frequency of the Enterprise’s shield harmonics, we just might be able to pull something through and get us back, in one piece,” Pavel said at last. It sounded crazy, but he was almost in awe of his own hypothesis.
“Could work,” Mr. Scott agreed sounding the most hopeful he had since the rescue team’s arrival.
“Good, then do it, that’s an order,” Kirk replied, collapsing in apparent relief against the closest wall.
Over the next five hours, Pavel and Mr. Scott worked and theorized, ran the math in their heads, sketched it on the floor when they couldn’t do that, until finally they were pretty sure they knew both the location of the Enterprise and the modifications they’d have to do to simultaneously lock on to all three sets of coordinates (Kirk in the torture chamber, Pavel and Scotty in the transporter room, and the remainder of the crew in the cell) to do it. (Mr. Scott didn’t want to chance leaving anyone behind.)
When the guards collected Captain Kirk for his next round of interrogation, they even managed to break out of the cell according to plan, use the door control to get into the transporter room from the hall, and make the necessary modifications to attempt their test beam.
“On three,” Scotty croaked, “One, two, three.” Scotty energized the transporter while Pavel struggled with the unfamiliar controls to get a transporter lock.
At last he did, only what materialized was half a chair from the Captain’s ready room, and not the full chair like they’d intended. What was worse was the chair made a resounding ‘clang’ when it fell to the ground, unable to balance with half itself gone. And that noise attracted attention.
“Aw, shite,” Scotty murmured.
“No, I can do this,” Pavel insisted. He could hear Kirk screaming in the next room, thought about how weak Spock had looked before they’d left the cell, how exhausted Dr. McCoy was, and how horrible Scotty sounded next to him. They were down, but they would not be beaten. They could escape, get the Enterprise out of the system before it was too late.
He could hear steps coming closer, hear Kirk’s screams escalate—he’s probably trying to distract them from what we’re doing—“I can do this,” Pavel repeated aloud, running the math faster, figuring out where in the infinitely intricate calculations he’d gone wrong, making the adjustment. Pushing himself, finding the solutions he hadn’t thought were there, until finally, he said to Scotty, “On three, one, two—”
The door opened, Cardassians rushed inside, weapons drawn—“three!” And the room disappeared in a reddish blur of light and energy as the entire away team dematerialized and rematerialized a split second later in the Enterprise’s cargo bay, much to the shock of the tense security staff on duty.
“Thank you, Keptin,” Pavel said tiredly, catching the Captain’s attention in spite of the flurry of activity around them.
“What for? You did all the work,” Kirk rasped, his voice rough from screaming, his body looking more battered than ever, but his eyes filled with a knowing glint.
“For being so stubborn,” Pavel answered with a smile.