[identity profile] oddmonster.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] scotty_chekov
Title: Rigel-17
Author: [livejournal.com profile] oddmonster
Genre/Rating: R, slash, action & adventure
Wordcount: 8500
Notes/Warnings: I've only ever seen the Riseaway court mentioned in Melissa Crandall's The Shell Game but I grabbed it, clutched it to my heart and ran. Also, I totally stole a line from Real Genius because it was too good not to. And I have damn good betas: [livejournal.com profile] little_tristan and [livejournal.com profile] amonitrate.

Summary: Someone's always got to get left back on board the Enterprise, worrying about the Away Team. This time, it's Scotty.



Rigel-17

---

"This was the truth of separation and reunion, of loss averted and heartbreak, so close and yet so far. There was heartbreak, yes, for someone else—for Mercer’s wife up on deck twelve, and for his friends in the science labs—but not here." --little_tristan, "The Road Less Slept In"

---

From all appearances, Rigel-17 was nothing more than a ball of ice, snow and inert gases, hanging in orbit around absolutely nothing.

Scotty hated it on sight.

Its amorphous, liquid surface filled the bridge viewscreen, undulating unpleasantly and reminding Scotty of the type of things he'd found under rocks as a boy. No wonder it was situated out here at the arse-end of the universe. The distance from it to the next nearest star was staggering, easily--

"Ten t'ousand, four hundred and sewenty-two meters squared," Chekov announced.

"Thank you," Kirk said in a tone of voice that conveyed no such thing. "Any signs of intelligent life?"

Spock frowned. "It appears that nothing organic has yet attained what is conventionally referred to as 'sentience'. And yet--"

"We'll take that as a no, then, Mr. Spock." Kirk sagged down in the captain's chair and sighed. "Why is it we keep stumbling across these planets with nothing on them? I mean, what are the odds we could stumble across a planet full of bouncy, happy intelligent life that's just dying to meet us, as well as having some type of pleasing shape and great big--"

"Captain." Spock's frown deepened.

"Maybe three of them that light up, just for variety," Kirk muttered.

"Odds are four hundred million, six-hundred and sewenty--" Chekov began, but Sulu laid a hand on his arm. Catching Chekov's eye, he shook his head minutely.

"Captain," Spock began again, "sensors indicate some anomalous readings inconsistent with the planet's predominantly dormant organic makeup. The last known attempt at contact with the planet was stardate 2106, when the USS Magellan received a distress signal originating from below the surface. When they responded to the transmission, they found the planet entirely deserted."

Kirk looked over interestedly. "Any casualties?"

"Three members of the team are reported as having simply...vanished, and two other members experienced severe frostbite of a...highly unusual nature."

"We'll have to remember to dress warmly, then." Kirk sat up in his chair. "Sulu, Chekov, you two come with me. We'll grab Ensigns Patterson and Mouiau and see just how anomalous these readings really are." At Sulu's questioning look, Kirk answered, "C'mon, it'll be educational. Maybe you can parry an anomalous reading in the throat again."

Sulu glared but the captain paid no attention. He was halfway to the door. "Let's go, you two. Get a move on! Let's not keep the readings waiting. Commander Spock, you have the bridge."

Kirk stalked out and with a quiet snort, Sulu followed. Chekov shot Scotty a cheerful grin, then darted out of his seat after them.

The Enterprise's chief engineer managed to wait a decent amount of time before following the three of them off the bridge, but lingering in the corridor, he felt, was too juvenile. He was the chief of engineering on the Federation's lead starship, not some lovesick schoolboy swanning about after the most popular girl in school.

All of which changed the minute Chekov pounced on him just outside the transporter room.

"Nngh," Scotty managed as he was driven back against one wall of the corridor. Thank God that due to its immense size, the Enterprise always had at least one bulb out in any given space. It provided for a lot of convenient dark corners.

"I am going! Wit' ze Away Team!" Chekov bounced up and down in place against him. The motion rubbed his erection against Scotty's thigh.

Scotty grabbed Chekov's hips and held them still to stop himself from screaming. "Indeed you are!"

"For ze first time!" Chekov's eyes shone with excitement.

"Indeed!" Scotty managed. Well, at least he could be fairly sure the lad wasn't with him for his exquisite conversational skills. "I suppose you're leaving, uh, right away then?"

"Yes! But I will be back before you can say Луч меня от далеко!"

"Erm, yes. Well. You might be gone some time then."

Chekov grinned and wriggled in Scotty's grip, angling in for a kiss that took most of his body to administer. Scotty was suddenly glad he had the wall to hold him up. Despite the ensign's age, in bed, Pavel Andreievich Chekov was the most wickedly inventive person Scotty'd ever been with.

When they finally came up for air, Chekov stared for a moment, excited and exuberant. Scotty reflexively tightened his grip. He leaned in close and kissed Chekov's nose, clinging to their connection for just a few moments longer.

"Ensign Chekov." Kirk poked his head out of the transporter room and gestured emphatically. "If you're quite ready." He disappeared again just as quickly.

Scotty felt himself flush.

With one last kiss, a grinning Chekov pushed himself hard against Scotty's hip, then darted off down the corridor and ducked into the transporter room.

Gone.

Scotty leaned back against the corridor panel and stared after him, fighting to regain his breath.

---

After spending a tense few hours on the bridge, hanging over Uhura's shoulder, listening to the away team's updates, Scotty took himself off to Engineering.

Actually, if he was being honest, at the point Uhura told him he could leave the bridge with or without her boot up his ass, Scotty decided on the former and opted for a strategic retreat.

True, she hadn't put it quite like that, but being raised by a houseful of strong women had given Scotty an ear for nuance. Besides, there was only so much geologic and meteorologic data he could listen to before his mind wandered, and he was really only listening for Chekov's updates, anyway. Why the blasted captain had wanted the ship's brilliant young navigator investigating frozen water was a mystery for the ages.

Down in Engineering, Scotty ran a practiced eye over the driver coil output data, scanning for anomalies. He'd had his eye on the EPS conduits for some time now, and finding himself with some time on his hands, thought he might as well make the most of it.

"Right!" He clapped his hands excitedly and over at the nacelles monitor, Ensign Lew jumped.

"You, laddy, are in for a treat. By the end of this shift, you and I will know more about plasma flow through Federation-class fusion reactors than the man who invented them! Ha ha!"

The ensign's face fell.

Scotty paid no attention. He crossed briskly to the main controls for the ship's plasma monitor and began programming the sequence for a truly exhaustive analysis of the conduits in question. "D'you know, I've always wondered whether, given a sufficient amount of time and the necessary processing power, it would be possible to create a model for a new EPS conduit? You know, one where the friction's been reduced to nearly nil by the manipulation of the polymers in the material lining the inside. Or possibly just one that makes toast. I haven't quite decided yet."

Ensign Lew's face fell further, then he nodded sharply and retrieved a PADD from on top of the plasma monitoring bank and crossed to Scotty's side. By the time he got there, he almost looked enthusiastic, if you'd never seen a human face before.

Scotty decided to take pity on him. "Lad, the toast bit was a joke."

Ensign Lew bit his lip and after a moment's indecision, nodded again. "Yes, sir."

"Och, I can tell your heart's not in this at all." Scotty held a hand up as the ensign began to object. "It's no bother, really. Look, advanced materials physics is more of a hobby of mine than anything official and it's certainly well beyond the scope of your normal duties. Go ahead, take the rest of the shift off, okay? With my blessing. Just go--go on, lad. Go."

With nary a backward glance, the ensign went.

Finally alone in Engineering, Scotty sighed and returned to programming the conduit analysis. He consulted the time in one corner of the monitor's screen and did a quick calculation. Two hours and seventeen minutes without worrying about Chekov more than twice, three times a minute. Something of a record.

The computer signaled its readiness with a beep, and quietly started on the epic task. As lines of code rolled by, Scotty kept a desultory eye on them. Around him, the Engineering bay hummed with activity, warm and comforting. Scotty figured there were enough tasks needed doing here, he could easily keep himself occupied until the Away Team's return. Their safe return, he amended.

Glancing up from the scrolling code, Scotty's gaze fell on the grid leading to the ventilation shaft. His cock responded automatically, remembering that first time, the two of them hiding from discovery, disheveled and flushed and hard and desperate. Of course, being pressed up against each other in the confines of the shaft had done little to remedy the situation, and before Scotty knew it, Chekov had--

Scotty groaned, gripping the console tightly as memories flooded through him. That first time had been so surreal, so unexpected and mind-blowingly good. He was surprised he could even name one of the laws of thermodynamics afterwards, let alone all three.

Once the conduit analysis was complete, he started in on the Jeffries tubes, scanning them one by one for any signs of structural weakness or anomalies. He'd recruited Keenser for the task as well, equipping his craggy little friend with a wide array of monitoring devices and sending him, protests notwithstanding, deep into the bowels of the ship, into places that had never even heard of plasma flow optimization, let alone needed scanning for it.

Nevertheless, Scotty pressed on.

In the end, it took a direct order from Spock to dislodge Scotty near the end of his third consecutive shift. He'd voiced his objections in no uncertain terms, and Spock merely responded by sending two Security personnel to ensure Commander Scott made it to his quarters safely.

Bloody Vulcans. No sense of humor at all. Scotty toed his shoes off at the heel and kicked them away as he headed for his bed. Truth be told, all the worry was starting to take its toll. Well, that or being thirty-four and shacking up with a seventeen-year-old who existed on four hours of sleep if Scotty got lucky.

And he'd been getting lucky a lot lately, he admitted, sinking down onto the bed. Lying back against the soft pillows, Scotty closed his eyes, letting exhaustion win a little.

Everything about the lad drove him crazy: Chekov's boundless enthusiasm and his keen, agile mind. The way he pronounced "relativity" and the fact that Scotty was starting to suspect the young ensign might know more about it than he did. How Chekov froze, sighing happily when Scotty sucked his earlobes. The way Chekov arched and flexed his feet, toes spread wide when Scotty rubbed over his sweet spot just right.

Scotty hardened in his trousers and groaned in frustration. He couldn't just lie there fantasizing while the lad was away doing God only knew what down on the planet (falling into ice crevices, freezing to death, being eaten by abominable snowmen, his brain helpfully supplied).

Grimacing, Scotty told his brain to sod off and sat up with an effort. He searched for his shoes.

No matter Starfleet regulations, no one'd mind him spending a few more hours in Engineering. The core's teradyne output had been showing some fluctuation lately, and Scotty suspected the dilithium articulation frame needed calibrating.

And if it didn't, well, that was its tough luck. A good hard calibration never hurt a body.

Scotty made his way over to the door. It opened at his approach and he stopped cold, staring.

McCoy stood outside in the corridor with a bottle of scotch and a wry grin. "Just thought you could use a little company."

"Ah..." Scotty hesitated. "You know, I was just about to head down to Engineering, run a few more wee tests on the reaction assembly. She's been a bit bolshy lately, and I dunna know if it's--"

"It's busywork, is what it is, man. Something to keep your mind off the Away Team."

Scotty nettled. "Can ya blame me? We're all just supposed to sit on our arses up here while down there on that unstable ice bucket anything could be happening. Anything!"

Expression unchanged, McCoy fished in his pocket and held up his communicator. He flipped it open and raised an eyebrow. "McCoy to Kirk."

After a long few moments, the communicator responded. "Kirk here."

"What's your status, Jim?"

"Up until two seconds ago, it was asleep, Bones. As you well know, having last checked fifteen minutes ago."

McCoy's expression remained unchanged. "Just wanting to be thorough."

For a moment the device stayed silent. Then, with a very terse "Kirk out," the gleaming green light went dark.

"See?" McCoy slipped the communicator back in his pocket. "A couple hours ago, they found themselves a nice warm cave and bedded down for the night. Nothing to worry about."

Scotty relaxed a little, the weight of the past twelve hours starting to take their toll. "Sorry, sorry, it's just--ah, forget it. Sorry."

"Don't be. Do you have any idea how much fun that is? We can wake him again in a few minutes, if you'd like. He's the captain. He has to answer, you know, every time. It goes with the chair."

Scotty allowed himself a chuckle and ushered the doctor inside.

---

"First time's always the hardest." McCoy swirled the amber liquid in his glass, setting the ice cubes clinking. "First time away, that is."

The two of them were sitting opposite one another on the somewhat battered chairs Scotty kept in case of visitors and making heroic inroads on the scotch.

"I don' know what you're on about," Scotty lied.

McCoy snorted. "Of course not. I'm just here as a good friend with access to quality libations, okay? Would that be better?"

Scotty scrubbed a hand over his face. "Um, yes. Well, now that you mention it--"

"Fine. Great. Let's not talk about anything to do with the Away Team being off on a hostile planet. Let's talk about Starfleet politics. Or the symptoms of neuroleptic shock. Have you ever seen a man in the grips of full neural metaphasic shock? That discussion'll kill at least an hour before they get back, and the thought of it will likely keep you up the rest of the night. But at least it won't be you worrying about your..." McCoy gestured.

"Point taken, man, point taken. But I'm telling you, you're overreacting. They're all fully accredited Starfleet officers and I'm sure the mission's going just fine." Scotty sat back in his chair and stared up at the ceiling. "Actually, now you've brought it up, no chance of a wee top-up is there?" He pulled himself up and held out his glass.

Smirking, McCoy shook his head and poured him another measure. "Just let me know when you're ready to talk."

"There's nothing to talk about! Certainly not..." Scotty's resolve nearly weakened. "I'm fine. I'm not worried about Chekov in the least."

"And yet, for the past four months the two of you have been inseparable unless directly ordered to be in two different places. And," McCoy gestured with his glass, "I wouldn't put it past either one of you to figure out some weird physics-fangled way to make the places meet. Plus if even half the stories Sulu tells are true, I'm frankly astonished that there are any personnel left on board who haven't seen the two of you together. Lieutenant Dorrit might've missed out, but he's been in a coma since that incident with the K'hphr shitworms, so he's got some excuse."

"We're not that bad." Scotty took a long swallow of scotch to help the words go down. He frowned. "What d'you mean, 'the stories Sulu tells'?"

"What about that time he caught the two of you with the dry ice and the bowl of jello?"

"Pfft. The lad's exaggerating. It was regular ice and to be fair, I was hot and Chekov was hungry."

"What about that time Patterson found the two of you together in the ventilation shaft?"

"Physics experiment. Very complicated to explain."

"And the time on the Riseaway court?"

"Is there some type of newsfeed going round I've not been privy to? Also, in my defense, anti-grav has a lot to recommend it when there's naked in the offing. You should give it a go."

McCoy snorted. "Who says I haven't?"

That gave Scotty pause, and a few disturbing mental images besides. He took a long drink of scotch, the burn in his throat stilling his tongue, which he recognized had started getting entirely too chatty for anyone's good. Exhaling slowly, Scotty stared down at the gray industrial carpet. Even if the whole crew had watched it on the viewscreen, Scotty wasn't sure he'd take that afternoon on the Riseaway court back. There was a lot to be said for zero-gravity nobbing of a seventeen-year-old genius whose specialty was physics. A charley-horse or two was entirely worth it. He grinned at the memory and McCoy raised his glass in a silent toast.

Scotty coughed into his fist, and thumped his chest. He cleared his throat for good measure, too.

McCoy stared off into some middle distance and the silence between them lengthened. "You can't keep him, you know," he said quietly. "Nothing's forever on a starship. Hell, nothing's forever anywhere in the damn universe. And if by some chance there is a forever planet, with my luck it'll have my ex-wife on it."

Scotty's remembered glee evaporated like the scotch at the back of his throat. "I am aware he's not a pet, you know. Besides, no one's said anything about forever." Yet, his brain amended. Scotty took a long swallow of his drink.

McCoy looked skeptical.

"Anyway," Scotty continued, "Newton's first law of motion: a body in motion stays in motion unless intercepted by a second body. Or unless some old busybody sawbones decides to interfere."

"My God, man. You do have it bad." McCoy poured himself another. "Well, there's no fool like an old fool."

It was Scotty's turn to snort. "You should talk. If I'm not mistaken, there's something going on between you and our young pilot."

McCoy choked on his drink. Eyes watering, he asked, "Who, Sulu?"

Scotty's confidence faltered. One look at McCoy's face told him how far off-base his guess had been.

McCoy shook his head."You got me, you cunning old bastard."

Scotty went along with it rather than guess again. "Takes one to know one."

They clinked glasses, then McCoy reached for the bottle and raised an eyebrow. "In for a penny, in for a pound?"

Scotty nodded, banishing all thoughts of the wide, empty bed that should have held a brilliant and naked young navigator. He held his glass out for a refill.

---

Scotty's quarters were spinning and screaming at the same time, and neither activity suited his liking. It took him a few precious seconds to orient and he grabbed futilely at the place where Chekov should've been.

The emergency klaxons continued to whoop, and Scotty tried yelling at them to shut up. The morning suddenly got a lot worse, and a crisis on the carpet was averted only by a Herculean act of will. Scotty crawled over to the bed, using it to pull himself up to a sitting position. At the same time, Spock's voice came over the comm. "Commander Scott. Are you aware of a situation in Engineering?"

"Ah bugger," Scotty muttered.

"Indeed, Commander. At this point in time, it would be helpful if you were to report to E Deck. There are anomalous readings coming from the warp core. It appears that the teradyne outputs are steadily decreasing, and will reach critical levels in--"

Scotty made a frustrated noise and continued to lie on the safety of the carpet.

"Your response is ambiguous," Spock continued calmly. "Nevertheless, I suggest you proceed with utmost speed. Spock out."

The comm went dead and Scotty forced himself to his feet, cursing well-meaning doctors bearing single-malt in the process. But when he arose, he found Spock was right: something was definitely wrong with the warp core. He could hear it in the ship's off-pitch hum. Scotty hustled out of his quarters and into the nearest turbolift. His head pounded and his stomach wanted to be elsewhere, but none of that mattered when his gal was under the weather. Not a bit of it.

Leaning on one arm against the wall and wishing turbolifts were faster, Scotty reflected dimly that or the first time in nearly forty-eight hours, he had something to worry about besides Chekov.

His worries increased once he reached Engineering.

The vast dark space was cold as a tomb and beads of moisture rimed the huge metal pipes carrying energy and effluvia round the ship. Most worrying of all was the warp core herself: the glass enclosure was clouded with frost, and even as Scotty stood transfixed he heard it; the normally cheerful hum was too low, the fundamental tone slowing as he listened.

Scotty whirled.

Keenser stood next to the plasma array, mute and staring. He was wrapped in his and Scotty's parkas both, and a blanket tied round what might be his waist besides. He blinked. Behind him, Ensigns Lew and L'hontk stood similarly dressed. Their eyes were large and round.

"Aye," Scotty whispered. His breath plumed on the cold air. "We're in it now and no mistake." Crossing to the plasma drive controls, he ran a simple monitoring routine and swore at the results. Teradyne output down forty percent, warp coils two and four already offline, power failing to decks seven, eight, nine and eleven. Scotty typed in another command and confirmed his suspicions: warp operating temperature had dropped seven degrees Celsius in the last nine hours. Scotty looked up sharply at the frosted warp core.

His ship was slowly freezing to death.

The klaxons continued their unhelpful wailing.

"Report, Commander Scott." Spock's voice rang out across the stillness of the normally bustling bay.

Out the corner of his eye, Scotty caught Ensign L'hontk fighting to control a shiver, pulling his scaled claws back into the safety of the cold weather parka. "You. Lad. Lehonka." The ensign winced, but Scotty decided he'd apologize later. "Yer no use to me down here. Leg it to deck ten, they've still got central heating."

The ensign, a member of the L'tars, a race of lizard-like beings whose home planet closely resembled a sun, hesitated.

"That's an order. Last thing I need's someone freezing to death while they've got live plasma on their hands. Go!"

With a nod of thanks, L'hontk hurried for the door. Ensign Lew watched, envy written plainly on his face.

"Commander Scott." Spock's voice was implacable. "Report."

Scott returned his attention to the readouts. "Canna tell so far, Spock. All I know's it's colder 'n a witch's teat in here, and getting worse by the minute."

"The illogical nature of your colloquialism notwithstanding, I have to concur. The ship's temperature is continuing to drop." Spock paused. "If we experience another two degrees of heat loss, the transporters will cease to function."

Scotty froze over the plasma drive's controls. If the transporters went offline...Pasha. For a few moments, Scotty's nightmares took over, swarming like wasps.

"Commander Scott."

Keenser elbowed him none too gently and Scotty snapped out of it. "I heard you, Spock. Look, can we at least kill the sirens for a minute. I'm tryin' to think, here." His mind raced. Heat didn't just dissipate like this, not without a catalyst. Some input of negative thermal energy that was driving the entropy, stealing away all the heat. Either that or the Enterprise had blown one hell of a leak somewhere. Scotty punched buttons on the monitors furiously. "I'm running diagnostics now. Somewhere in the system, somethin's gettin' in or out, but until we know which--"

Keenser touched his elbow and jabbered, pointing to a grid in the right upper corner of the controls. The ship's temperature had sunk another degree. Scotty swore, loudly and creatively, the words hanging in clouds before him in the cold, dark bay.

"Under the current circumstances, I concur, Commander. It has occurred to me, however, that we are currently in orbit around an unstable mass of frozen gas and water. Perhaps some of the gases--"

Scotty laughed mirthlessly. "That's impossible, man. Why, the energy necessary for frozen gases to make it from the surface of the planet up to the ship--their mass would have dissipated in space, not to mention--"

"Incoming message from the Away team," Uhura sounded simultaneously authoritative and out of breath. "Go ahead, Captain."

"Kirk to Enterprise." The captain's voice was nearly obscured by the sound of rushing, moaning wind. "Requesting immediate evacuation from the planet. Beam four to the transporter room, and one to Sick Bay. One officer down and in need of critical assistance." The transmission faded in a burst of static.

Scotty looked up from where he was frantically tracing the flow of plasma through the warp cores. No. He slammed a lid on the thought before it could get near the equations he was trying to finish. Not Chekov. Someone else. Anyone. Not Chekov.

"Hey, you guys hear me?" Kirk sounded petulant. "Let's go. Beam us up, Scotty."

The temperature readout dropped another degree and as Scotty watched, horrified, the modules went offline, winking out one by one, their lights turned red. A new buzz joined the klaxons, powered by a red flashing light on the controls: Transporters offline.

Transporters offline.

"Let's go, guys! What's going on up there?"

"Erm, yes," Scotty said, hammering at the buttons on the console. There appeared to be a localized energy flux centered on the starboard nacelle. Scotty typed frantically. The hydrogen levels there were off the charts, and the cloud of evaporated scotch in his head was not helping him parse why that was significant one little bit. "Seems there's a bit of a--"

"Scotty."

In Kirk's voice in that instant, Scotty knew it was Chekov being beamed direct to Sick Bay, and that knowledge did wonders for clearing his hangover.

"Working on it, cap'n!" Scotty focused on the nacelle. Excess hydrogen. Falling temperatures. While they're in orbit around--

"If I may, Commander Scott," Spock interrupted, "there appears to be an excess of hydrogen in--"

"The starboard nacelle," Scotty answered. He glanced over at the frosted warp core containment field while the remaining routines ran in parallel: chemical composition analysis in the starboard plasma conduits versus available non-essential power. "You think I canna see that, man?" Two degrees, that was all he needed to get the transporters back online. Just two.

Scotty poked the screen and stared, calculating rapidly. "We could direct the excess hydrogen back out through the nacelle and ignite it, thus solving--"

"Whoa!" Kirk yelled over the sound of the wind. "No igniting anything on the ship without my say-so!"

Scotty grimaced. Ice now rimed the metal piping leading toward the dilithium chamber.

"Commander Scott," Spock started again, "it's possible the ship is under attack from, as unlikely as it seems--"

"A metric arseload of ice, yes I'd figured that bit out, Mr. Spock. Thank you." The weight of the water plus the concomitant temperature drop--

"Indeed. However, if we were to reroute all non-essential power--"

"Scotty," Kirk warned. Down on the surface of the planet, the wind continued to howl.

Picturing Pavel's wide, trusting eyes, and the soft smile that toyed with his mouth whenever Scotty called his name, the chief engineer came to a decision. "Spock, I'm already rerouting power from all non-essential functions to that starboard nacelle, and thirty percent power from the impulse drive." Scotty keyed in the command as he said it. "Sit tight, Captain, I'll have you off that ball of ice before you can say--"

"Commander Scott," Spock interrupted, "At seventy percent power, the impulse drive will not have enough power to remain in orbit around the planet for longer than one point three-five-four minutes. At that rate--"

"It'll take two-thirds of that to dispel the ice from the warp core and bring the ship's temperature back up. And a fraction of that to beam the Away Team back on-board." Scotty keyed in the commands. "Cap'n, we'll have you back here in three shakes of a lamb's tail."

"Make it two, Scotty."

"Aye aye, sir." Scotty finalized the transfer, then watched as the temperature began to increase with agonizing slowness.

"Commander Scott," Spock began again.

Scotty turned off the comm. At his elbow, Keenser shook his head.

All around him, Scotty could almost hear the ship slowing down, could feel her falter in her progress, and he imagined her tossing her head, shaking questioningly in her reins.

"Please, girl," he whispered. "Just for a moment. Come on." In the middle of the Engineering bay, stretching floor to ceiling, the glass-enclosed warp core hummed as it absorbed the borrowed energy. The strange, exotic lights that were a hallmark of the core flickered and danced like will o' the wisps, trapped within the chamber. As Scotty watched, they seemed to grow in strength, and brighten, and the frost turned to condensation, beading and running down the glass. Clear patches started to appear at random.

Keenser tugged his sleeve and pointed. "Go."

A light in the upper righthand corner of the monitor had returned to green. Transporters operational.

Scotty ran.

The doors of the turbolift opened just before Scotty reached them and he darted inside, stabbing at his destination. M Deck. Now. Faster than now. Yesterday.

The lights of the lift dimmed briefly, then there was the stomach-lurching drop, the feeling of decks flying by until the lift stopped again, door sliding open.

Scotty ran, harder than he could ever remember running before. Muscles unaccustomed to the strain throbbed and he gasped for breath as he bolted down the corridor, his thoughts on Chekov.

M-6085.

M-6087.


The way he looked when he first woke up, curls wild and eyes wide and curious, excited to greet another day by rolling into Scotty's arms, full of ideas and physics and wriggling, anxious need.

M-6091.

M-6093.


The soft, pleased noise he made when Scotty ran his hand up the inside of one thigh. How he raised his eyebrows pleadingly when Scotty stopped. How he asked for more.

M-6099.

M-6101.


The way he'd gotten all worked up with excitement when Scotty first asked him about the possibility of locating one particular beagle in a very large quadrant of the Laurentian system. He'd gotten so excited he'd knocked a salt shaker across two tables and straight into Uhura's lap, and looked absolutely terrified when she'd stalked over to return it.

Scotty's lungs burned. M-6107.

How his fingers danced over the flat glass screen of the conn when he set a new course. Faster than anything Scotty'd ever seen. Faster even than when they delved beneath Scotty's jersey and played across his bare skin. Asking. Taking.

M-6110.

Scotty skidded round the corner of the transporter bay, grabbing onto the edge of the door as he went. Regaining his balance, he darted to the transporter conn, elbowing a startled Andorran ensign out of his way and sobbing for breath. A man his age shouldn't have to run that fast, not for any reason. Certainly not for this.

Transporters operational. The light was still green. Pinching fiercely at the stitch in his side, Scotty locked on the positions of five targets down on the planet's surface and hit Enter. There simply wasn't time to split the group, not while still repelling the ice attack. Scotty panted into the comm, "McCoy?"

The door opened behind him. "Already en route. We got 'em yet?" The Enterprise's chief medical officer strode into the room, Nurse Chapel at his heels, and peered over Scotty's shoulder.

The room filled with the telltale high-frequency tingle of matter in motion. Scotty jabbed desperately at the stabbing pain in his side, still gasping for breath.

"Good God, man. You've got to take better care of yourself." McCoy looked him up and down meaningfully.

Scotty contented himself with a glare.

The transport seemed to take forever. And despite the fact that Scotty well knew the transference of mass to be constrained by several inviolable rules of physics, he realized at that moment he would have cheerfully sold his gran to violate several of them. Just to have everyone home a little faster.

But finally, the Away Team coalesced on the transporter pads, still clad in slightly battered cold weather gear. Kirk, Sulu, Patterson, that one guy from security whose name Scotty always forgot, and Chekov.

Pasha.

As soon as the two of them locked gazes, Chekov grinned, and Scotty came out from behind the console and started towards him. Then he was distracted by the sight of the security guy grabbing at a gaping, bleeding wound in his side, eyes rolling up in his head just before he crashed to the deck.

So much chaos, so much motion: Chapel and McCoy at a run, surging up onto the transporters, clustered around the security guy whose name Scotty now wished he knew. The quick hydraulic hiss of hypos and then they were gone, them and their patient both.

There was blood on one of the pads, drying quickly under the hot lights. Scotty stared at it until he felt a tug on his sleeve.

Chekov. They grabbed for each other at the same time, not caring who knew, but as Scotty slipped his arms around the lad he felt tattered cloth and bare skin interrupted by the unmistakeable rough nap of synthetic sealant, the good old Starfleet battlefield stopgap.

"Monty," Chekov whispered, eyes wide. Then his legs gave way and he fell heavily into Scotty's arms, eyes still wide and staring.

---

The flat glass display above the bed gave the full range of Chekov's vital signs in glorious technicolor, showing all the different ways the ensign was not waking up. Sitting next to the bed, Scotty hung his head.

Chekov's injuries had seemed worse than they really were: a few broken ribs, a grazed spleen and internal frostbite. That last one was a bit mysterious, but McCoy had assured him that all of it was easily fixable with twenty-third century medicine. But lying pale and still in Bed Four, still not awake yet, Chekov looked every bit as fragile as Scotty'd feared.

The Enterprise had turned out to be much more hearty, and the ice-gases in the starboard nacelle had been contained, and were currently sitting in the hold, under Kirk's orders. The impulse drive hummed along under Scotty's feet at full power, and the temperature was, if not cozy, then at least liveable again. Nearly everything had been set to rights.

Scotty took Chekov's hand and squeezed.

McCoy had said four to six hours for the sedatives to wear off and it had been five and a quarter. The boy was a genius, after all. Ahead of everyone else in every other damn thing, so why couldn't he manage this as well?

He brought Chekov's hand to his lips, then rested it against his cheek. "Come back," he murmured, soft as he could. He thought of mushier things to say, but they were in public and apart from that time on the Riseaway court they'd managed to be remarkably discreet. Besides, there were senior officers in the room.

"Let me get this straight," McCoy said slowly. "You were trying to have sex with a cloud of gas?"

"You make it sound so dirty," Kirk responded. "Besides, she started it."

Scotty looked up despite himself. There were some sentences you just didn't hear every day. Chapel, restocking a cart, met Scotty's eyes then looked quickly away, biting back a grin.

"She?" McCoy sounded incredulous as he held a hypospray to the captain's neck.

"Ow! How the hell do you make those things hurt?" Kirk raised an eyebrow. McCoy raised one right back. "And yes, she."

"Oh really."

"Really!"

"And how exactly do you determine the gender of a cloud, Jim?"

"She had a feminine...I dunno, a presence, something about her."

"A presence. As opposed to a face or anything actually tangible."

Kirk looked up at the chief medical officer and narrowed his eyes. "You are no fun at parties, are you?"

"Good God man, have you no shame? Is there nothing you won't try to procreate with--or on?"

"Don't forget near and under, Bones. Those can be just as fun if you're open-minded."

Scotty returned his attention to Chekov. A murmur. A frown. A sigh. He'd take anything right now. But despite having saved a Federation starship a few hours earlier, Scotty's silent plea met with stoic uncaring from the universe. Scotty resigned himself to waiting, running his thumb over the pad of Chekov's hand.

"Face it, Jim. You've never met an organism you haven't tried to procreate with."

"...Do you have a point?"

"Manwhore."

"What? Don't be ridiculous."

"I'm simply stating a fact, Jim. Now that we have it out in the open, we can talk about some simple prophylactic bacteria we can pre-inoculate you with, so that whenever you get these urges--"

"Pre-inoculate? Prophylactics? Bones, I really didn't get that far with the...the..."

"The what?"

"The cloud, okay? I struck out with a cloud of freezing gas. Are you happy now?"

Scotty blocked out their voices and focused all his energy on Chekov's hand in his.

"I think you're overreacting, Bones."

"Oh, I'm overreacting. That's rich."

Scotty placed Chekov's hand gently atop the covers and swept over to the other side of sickbay, where Kirk was sitting on the edge of Bed Nine, pantsless and rubbing one leg. Scotty bared his teeth. "What happened down there, cap'n?"

On the other side of the bed, PADD in hand, McCoy didn't look up. "Easy, man. Starfleet regulations state you can't deck him for at least another two hours."

"Thanks for that, Bones." Kirk said levelly. "What happened down there was that we encountered meteorological phenomena that displayed unexpected patterns of aggression."

"'Unexpected patterns of aggression'?"

"Oh don't mind him. He's just testy on account of the frostbite on his inner thigh."

Kirk shot a frown at the doctor. "Apparently Starfleet's regulations no longer cover doctor-patient privilege. Thanks once again, Bones." He returned his gaze to Scotty. "Yes, the frozen gas turned out to be more anomalous than anticipated."

"And him?" Scotty pointed over at Chekov's bed, quivering with indignation. "What happened to him?"

Kirk waited a moment before responding. "Chekov thought perhaps that he could find a way to decrease the aliens' hostility."

"How?"

"He was...cheerful at them."

Oh, hell. Scotty closed his eyes and took two deep breaths, listening to the high-pitched whine of sickbay monitors at work. "Was he--might he also have been exuberant at them, as well?"

"That would be a good word for it, Commander Scott. I'd definitely say he was exuberant. Unfortunately, the aliens--"

"The she-clouds," McCoy explained helpfully. Across the room, Chapel snickered.

Kirk glared at them both in turn. "They were less than receptive to Chekov's enthusiasm. I think they were sort of startled, and replied with hostility."

Scotty closed his eyes, seeing it all in horrible technicolor. Pavel raced towards new people and new situations with a fierce and innocent excitement, confident he could win anyone over simply by being exactly who he was.

And so far, it had worked.

Scotty couldn't think of a single soul on board the Enterprise who didn't have a soft spot for the lad. Not like his, of course, but Chekov was the sort who could walk into a roomful of strangers and befriend everyone there with his naive charm. Of course, this was the first time he'd tried it on a hostile planet. "And--and you just let him? Cap'n with all due respect, what were you--"

"Thinking? Scotty." Kirk's voice was low and soft and harder than ergamite, and he got to his feet with only a trace of stiffness. He looked directly in Scotty's eyes. "I was thinking that this kid's so smart he made it to the Academy at an unheard of age and zipped through it in record time. Not only that but he beat out three hundred other physics geniuses to become this ship's navigator, and a damn good one, too. But you know what else he is, Scotty?"

Scotty shook his head.

"He's still just a kid."

Scotty groaned inwardly.

"He's impetuous and proud and nationalistic and smarter than ninety-nine percent of the people on this starship--hell, there are things he knows about transporter theory that probably don't even exist yet, but you know the one thing he doesn't know? He doesn't know people, Scotty. He's-he's like a puppy. Y'ever watch a puppy? It doesn't understand how the world works yet, so it runs at things with its tongue hanging out all--"

The captain demonstrated, and Scotty thought that wasn't a sight he'd soon forget.

"But the universe doesn't keep puppies from harm any more than it does anyone else. You understand what I'm trying to say?"

Scotty shook his head, then the words sunk in. "Ye thought it would turn out better than it did, sir?"

"I read the Magellan's notes, Commander Scott. Those entities down there, the gases? They're the ship's missing crew members. They're people, just like you and me, only...gassier. Somehow, that planet has been trapping and--and icing visitors a helluva long time, and somehow our appearance provided a way for all those--"

"She-clouds."

Kirk looked over sharply. "Bones."

"Sorry. Go ahead...Captain."

Scotty turned and looked across Sick Bay at Bed Four, where Chekov lay pale and still, eyes closed. She-clouds or no, he still wanted to give someone a good kicking for this.

"Somehow, those people got transformed and then trapped on the planet. But gas or no, they're still Starfleet personnel, which means it's our duty to try and rescue them, try change them back. I won't leave anyone behind."

Scotty turned back to the captain. "And the bit where all the gas-people nearly destroyed the Enterprise? Was that bit in the notes too, sir?"

"Well, I admit that was kind of a surprise, but it turned out okay in the end, right? Minor communications mishap. Hardly anything to worry about."

"'Hardly anything to worry about'? With all due respect, sir, yer horny little rainclouds very nearly caused a truly epic amount of damage! Not to mention all the lives lost--my own included and--"

"The key word there is 'nearly'. They're in the hold now, right? Contained and not even--"

The brightly colored display above Chekov's bed began beeping and Scotty dashed over. He took Chekov's hand in his again. Still too cool. Still too not-awake. "Bones?" Scotty managed.

McCoy appeared at his shoulder, scowling, and punched a few buttons on the interface. The screen chirped back brightly, seeming to speak the doctor's language.

"Bones!"

McCoy turned around and held up his hands. "He's fine, Scotty. He's in shock. Just exhausted and a little underfed. Even a guy with double-jointed hips needs to eat three square meals a day."

Scotty was going to find Sulu and give him a good solid thumping in the name of discretion. Right after Chekov woke up and got better.

Kirk appeared at his shoulder, having managed to get upright and locate some pants. He dropped a friendly hand on Scotty's shoulder. "Take him outta here, Commander Scott. As soon as he wakes up, make sure he knows just how much you missed him. Not how much you worried."

---

"It's not fair," Scotty complained, back in his quarters. "You shouldn't get to have cute feet on top of everything else."

It had taken precisely seventeen more minutes before Chekov's eyelids fluttered open and he sighed, looking over at Scotty and squeezing his hand. Three minutes under McCoy's deadline.

One more test, passed.

And Scotty, being nothing if not thorough, had promptly taken Chekov to their bed and checked the lad out, stem to stern, before becoming fixated on the stern.

The cute feet wriggled their toes. "Is not true. Feet are at bottom of everything else. Not top. Besides," Chekov continued sleepily. "Lots of things are not fair. You worried when I was away. I am fine! It was like...like a training exercise. At the Academy. I did wery well."

"Yes," Scotty said carefully. "Except for the bit where you nearly froze several vital organs past the point of recovery, I think we could say you did fantastic."

"I am back. We are back together! That is wery well."

"You cocky little beauty." He nuzzled Chekov's lightly peach-fuzzed jaw.

"This is not so beautiful," Chekov replied. He ran a hand down over his ribs to his stomach, where a mandelbrot of scarring marred the long, pale expanse of flesh.

Scotty's heart tightened in his chest and he placed his hand over Chekov's before tracing the markings with his fingers. "I canna think of anything more beautiful," he said softly, feeling Chekov's stomach rise and fall beneath his hand.

"I should've gotten out of the way faster. Will be better next time."

Scotty froze, hand still covering Chekov's scar. Next time. Until now, he hadn't let himself think about a next time. Now, the knowledge that he would have to let the fragile, brilliant lad in his bed get beamed off to God only knew again where twisted in his gut like a knife.

You can't keep him, you know. Scotty heard McCoy's voice again. Nothing's forever on a starship. Scotty spared a moment's thought for the ensign from Security, whose name he still didn't know, but would make a point of finding out at the start of the next shift. Somewhere on board this ship, someone was keening that name in their sleep and Scotty was terrified to admit he didn't want to imagine how that felt. Was actively pushing the thought away.

"Monty?" Chekov asked hesitantly.

Scotty curled around Chekov as tightly as he dared, slinging a thigh over one of Chekov's and moving his hand up to Chekov's heart. He swallowed hard, trying to feel a pulse against his palm.

"Monty." Chekov swore softly in frustration. "This will likely happen again. Perhaps the next time I am called to go down to a planet. But is my job. Just as yours is to work next to a contained field of antimatter that explodes sometimes!"

Scotty awkwardly shifted, pulling Chekov close until his head rested in the crook of Scotty's neck. Sighing, Scotty slid his other hand up to the soft brown curls, a little shaggy and in need of cutting. For a minute the two of them just lay together and Scotty focused on the glossy hair curled between his fingers, finer than silk. "You sound...so calm, lad. So smart."

There was no response save a slight trembling.

Scotty pulled back and stared. Chekov's eyes were round and wet and he looked his age exactly and not a day more. His bare skin was pimpled with goosebumps.

"Pasha," Scotty whispered. "My poor beautiful genius. Och, no..." His own vision blurred and he pulled Chekov closer, holding him as tightly as he dared.

"Whenever explosions are reported in Engineering," Chekov said after a few moments, "I think perhaps I should not breathe, in case you need that breath." He pronounced it "bret", with a soft puff of air at the end. "It is silly superstition, maybe, but..."

Scotty's eyes did fill then, and he was man enough to let them, with barely a snort to keep them in check. The two of them lay together, rocking gently.

"All that and smart, too," Scotty said eventually. He wiped his eyes and looked at Chekov, really looked. "It's not fair. I love you, you know," he said shakily.

Chekov nodded. "I love you, too! Now is good, yes?"

Scotty's breath escaped in a rush. "Well yes, I s'pose so. Everything's..good."

"But could be better." Chekov resolutely guided Scotty's hand to the edge of his briefs, where his erection strained against the fabric.

Scotty decided it must be easier to just stop thinking and act. He peeled Chekov's briefs down and palmed the throbbing cock beneath. Chekov mumbled something incomprehensible, hips bucking. His eyes were closed, brows raised as if pleasantly surprised.

Scotty fisted Chekov's cock and pushed his thumb up against the underside of the head, enjoying how that changed the tenor of Chekov's murmurs. In truth, he ached for this, for them. There was nothing he wanted more than to be buried in his Pasha, to know they still had that, the way they could enjoy each other's bodies just as much--sometimes more--than each other's minds.

"Please," Pavel murmured. His hips bucked desperately, a high whine escaping his lips. "Please."

Scotty nodded dumbly, and raised up on one arm to fumble in the nightstand for lube. The door was locked, the bed was soft and in a few days, even Chekov's scar would fade. Right now, Scotty needed to make his Pasha move and writhe, taking and giving as much pleasure as he could.

Nothing was fair, but everything was good.

After all, there was no time like the present.

Date: 2010-09-03 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hollsh.livejournal.com
OMFG, I needed that, that was so beautiful! Love this pairing so much, and you hit a few of my favourite things about it hard!

Date: 2010-09-04 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kirke-novak.livejournal.com
Fatastic! I live you for writing this - Scotty's anguish, his fears, pavel's child-like enthusiasm; everything was perfect. I was biting my nails when Scotty tried to transport the crew back!

Don't have me started on the entire Kirk had sex with a cloud debacle. LOL!

Date: 2010-09-13 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katmarajade.livejournal.com
THIS IS EVERY BIT AS GOOD AS I KNEW IT WOULD BE!!!!!

Sorry it took me so long to get to it. I was busy and then I spaced it and then I saw a different fic get posted at [livejournal.com profile] scotty_chekov and nearly knocked over my tea in my "Hocrap-- I forgot Oddmonster's fic" flailing.

This was so funny-- oh my goodness, I was laughing so much.
"What about that time he caught the two of you with the dry ice and the bowl of jello?"

"Pfft. The lad's exaggerating. It was regular ice and to be fair, I was hot and Chekov was hungry."

"What about that time Patterson found the two of you together in the ventilation shaft?"

"Physics experiment. Very complicated to explain."

Chekov's energy and puppy-dog-like-ness was utterly endearing and I loved bad-ass Kirk who was a little darker and colder than I usually read but perfectly tempered with his waving off the gas people attack like it was nothing, which made me laugh. And I loved how you structured the section with Scotty running-- the countdown of the decks interspersed with memories. Very tension-building.


This made me laugh out loud, bite my lip with anxiety, and gave me a happy tummy twirl when Scotty and Chekov were being so sweet in the aftermath. That's a good combo. :D

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