Summary: Sometimes, there are flashes of something... other.
Categories: Alternate Original Series Characters: Chekov, Pavel (Yelchin), Ensemble Cast - AOS, Kirk, James T. (Pine), McCoy, Leonard (Urban), Scott, Montgomery (Pegg), Spock (Quinto), Sulu, Hikaru (Cho), Uhura, Nyota (Saldana)
Chapters: 7 Completed: Yes
Word count: 2710 Read: 15719
Published: 20 May 2013 Updated: 26 May 2013
1. Chapter 1 by ErinJean
2. Chapter 2 by ErinJean
3. Chapter 3 by ErinJean
4. Chapter 4 by ErinJean
5. Chapter 5 by ErinJean
6. Chapter 6 by ErinJean
7. Chapter 7 by ErinJean
It's no the first time it's happened.
Oh, aye, I know. It's just a thing. One o' those little oddities of the human mind, perfectly explainable, labeled, understood, placed in a cupboard with all the rest of the potholes that come with bein' born from Terran stock.
Sorry. That was a wee bit exclusionary, wasn't it? I'll have t' ask Commander Spock sometime if he ever feels like he's walking the same steps in the same way he's done before.
He'll probably point out the inevitability of repetition on a starship. He'll be right.
Except I canne think deja vu usually comes t' any race with a feeling like ye've had a night of drinking injected suddenly and directly into yer past.
Just lately. Last few months, maybe a year.
I dunno why I'm remembering it now. It all slides off like salt water from the hull when it's over. Like dreaming. I can remember the sick. Can remember the remembering. But I couldne tell ye the dream, and wouldne anyway. I'll no risk assignment to the back o' beyond another time by makin' 'em think I've gone round the bend.
When it happens, everythin' stops. Maybe tha's why I've got it on the brain now. Because it's stopping. Like yer foot's fallen t'sleep, except it's the corners of your mind tinglin' at ye. Ye blink, but it doesne go away, and ye lean forward, because if ye don't, ye know you'll fall.
The console - my ship - holds me up. The ship goes quiet. She never goes quiet, not completely. I've done this before. This exact set o' motions: my hand here, glance over there. Seasickness hits, and... Aye. Now I remember.
I think I see it in my dreams.
A window appears overlaid on reality; a great semicircle right in front o' my face that makes no sense at all. Not that anything ever does in the strange rinse cycle that's become my life. It's blurry, streaky, flickery. Lots of -y type words. I'm ready to volunteer to the nearest nurse that I have rounded the bend and I'm barreling a skimmer full speed into a peaceful cul-de-sac, when behind the window there are people.
I canne recognize the species, nor the ship besides, but there's metal. No elegant, beautifully designed metal; not even the bonnie sort of beaten, greasy and ugly. It's the brutal sort. The cold, unloved kind o' machinery.
The lights flicker. Perhaps the windows themselves. The bloke looks up at me.
He's speaking. I canne hear it. Can't even make it out.
"Mister Scott." The words don't match the lips.
Something snaps. I almost hear it.
--och. Deja vu. I bloody hate that. The hair is standin' up on the back o' my neck.
Kirk is staring at me.
"You okay, Scotty?"
"Aye," I sigh. "Long day."
I love my job, but besides the monotonous regularity of life-threatening danger, the galley's the worst part of it.
Cubes. Food in cubes. Sometimes I poke it with my fork and half-expect it to arrange itself into a neat little wall. Wouldn't be shocked if it was made of a base of drywall. This neat portion is flavored like... some cinnamon dessert. If there's fruit in it, I wouldn't try guessing from what planet.
Ever catch episodes of that old Earth show, M*A*S*H? I did. It's still in the databanks, a monument to what humanity should have learned about war, differences and imperialism and the pointlessness of it all. Right now what it's teaching me is that food in the service - any service - warrants thorough sniffing before you choke it down.
I'm not the only one, I guess. Chekov's staring into his tray like it holds the stuff of life, waiting to be excited into cell division. He looks about as healthy as his plate, actually.
He's kinda... listing forward. Pale faced. I nudge my tray forward in case of nausea; I don't mind losing out on the meal, and it'll save some poor galley grunt from having to clean it up if Chekov's choking-down just reversed polarity.
He doesn't answer.
"Sulu to Chekov, do you read?" I'm half-laughing, snapping fingers in his face, but it dies. He's looking up, now. At me; through me.
Both our cubes hit the floor as he shoots up out of his seat and out of the galley. Everyone's looking at us. Or me, now. Wanting an answer.
I don't even bother shrugging before I bolt after him.
I'm out the door in time to see a blur of curls and command gold disappear around the corner. Chekov can be flighty; sometimes his thoughts hit warp and he barely has time for breath, much less English. But I've never seen him leg it over freeze-dried mashed potatoes.
I almost slam into him past the corner. He's staring at the wall. Catching his breath. His hands skate over the wall like it's grown a console, but there's literally nothing there.
"All hands... abandon... all hands." They're whispers. Almost mechanical. I'm not even sure I've heard them right.
"What...? Pavel, what's wrong?"
He doesn't seem to see me. I pass my hand in front of his face, but he still stares into the middle distance. When I put a hand on his shoulder, he seems to whiplash back to the waking world.
"--vhat?" He stares like I've just materialized in front of him.
"Are you okay?"
"I-- Zere vas... screaming."
"No, Chekov. Nobody was screaming."
He shakes his head. Like he's shaking out morning cobwebs, one hand buried in his hair. I watch him pointedly. Maybe I'm waiting for the punchline. None is forthcoming.
"Okay, that's it. Sickbay."
I guess the most jarring thing about it is that he doesn't even resist the pull.
With thanks to amaguena for the Russian accent primer, and to SLWalker for brainstorming, linking me to said primer, letting me make little references to her universe, and overall being very sweet indeed.
"Ghost in the damn machine."
I hate this tricorder. I've put it in for repair three times. All three reports came back clean, only for it to go bonkers on me again.
It's always this one, with the dent in the side. I've started calling it Jim: always under review, always comes back way too clean. And always in need of some damn percussive maintenance.
At least the metal against metal sound is satisfying.
"I cannot see how striking it against the bulkhead will improve its performance, Doctor."
And that sound is pretty damn unsatisfying.
"Hold very still, Spock, and I'll show you."
"Such an action would be in contravention of your Hippocratic oath, Doctor McCoy."
The readout flickers again. The stupid machine wanted to be a metal detector when it grew up; the first time I used it, it portrayed a shrapnel victim of a man with a mild flu.
"It's seeing things that aren't there." Another good whack. Wait. Did the Vulcan say something? Oh, I don't give a damn. I give the screen a good hit with my fist, and it flickers again, this time giving a whole different readout. "Schematics? What the Hell--? Some red-shirted moron rewired this piece of junk to suit his own ends."
"Hey!" I don't recognize that red-shirt; must be a new transfer. Whatever I say in anger, I try to make a point to recognize all my potential patients. Won't be hard after this. I glare at him. He glares at me. I toss him the useless box of circuits.
"Call it a gift."
I turn around to shout at Christine to get me a different one, before I remember that Jim's inability to keep his command in his pants chased her off. I rub a temple, turn around, and hand over some of my frustration.
"I'm up to the tips of my nice round ears in work, Spock. What do you want?"
Anyone who says Vulcans can't feel has never tapped a decent vein of Spock's irritation.
|Communications is not an easy job. I wouldn't have wanted it if it was. It can be listening to three different languages at once, in two different ears, and being absolutely sure that you can recount all three in a totally different language from the ones in which they were spoken.|
There's a music to that. Rhythm, harmony, grace. Even the harshest-sounding languages. They're just different instruments in the symphony.
Spock would decry it as a pointlessly romanticized view of something logically constructed of the need for semi-uniform communication, but what he won't admit is that he finds beauty in the logic of it all. Either way you have it, it's, well. Fascinating.
That's the most optimism I can find in this, anyway. Monitoring subspace, ear to the metaphorical ground, waiting to catch a stray whisper of our potential hostile and being lucky to get run of the mill docking requests instead of some of the more colorful chatter that men of every species, it seems, will fall into when bored at the wheel. Sometimes it's amusing. Sometimes it's repulsive. This time it's--
--I catch something in Denobulan, which is one of the secondary languages I'm looking out for. I try to isolate and clarify. The crackle on the line suggests equipment so old the make might actually be dangerous to the poor grunt using it, but then it screeches in my ear and I very nearly tear the earpiece out.
"Captain--" Captain Kirk is not on the bridge. Spock answers.
Overlaid is something tinny, uncharacteristically harmonic, and English.
English, but... whispers.
Drawing up the text for the transmission throws me; it's either corrupted, or a mix of several languages left to right and up to down, garbled into one. It scrolls almost too fast for me to read, and I feel Spock at my shoulder.
He can be an intuitive man, for someone who blocks out his emotions.
He leans over me and then it's gone, crackling with another whistle-screech that has me cupping my ear.
The pain hasn't even faded before we're both trying to backtrace the source.
As it happens, we both fail.
Nobody exactly expects command to drop on them straight out of academy, but I like it. Maybe it's destiny, with everything the older Spock told us before he clamped the lid on that timeline. I don't know. I'd like to think I'd tell destiny to shove it if it wasn't going my way.
But it is.
I've got a knack. People need a captain who can bend the rules, break them, when it really matters. When the pointless red tape starts to wrap around and choke. Spock disagrees totally. That's how I know I'm right.
I love command. I hate the filler work. Seriously, if that Yeoman brings me another thing to sign this shift, she and I are walking down to the nearest airlock and sending the thing on a cold, lonely mission.
Then maybe she'll let me walk her home.
Eh. She doesn't come back. That thought had gone from nails raking chalkboard to pretty interesting in a few seconds' fantasy, but no joy.
Maybe I'll bother Spock.
"What are you doing, anyway?"
He's sitting at a console, absorbed in something. No answer. It's quiet. I know he heard me.
"Captain?" It's testy. Oh, don't give me 'Vulcans don't get testy.' This one does.
"What are you doing?"
"Attempting to reconstruct something from memory."
It's like playing the 'Why' game. No reason an adult can't indulge now and then.
"A rogue transmission that has eluded trace. You will receive my full report along with--"
"No. No more reports. Let me see." Up out of the chair I come. The helmsman's ducking a grin, and I don't mind. A good game of Poke the Vulcan needs spectators. I didn't know it was possible for Spock to get even stiffer, but there he goes.
"...if you insist," he sighs as I lean over him, and yes. Yes, I insist. He adjusts the display, letting me see the whole thing. Looks like someone sneezed the letters onto the screen. He's having to draw, not type. There's only a few lines, or hundreds, depending on how you look.
"I can almost make out..." English.
My head feels a little fuzzy for a second. The screen blurs. I lean in further. Squint. Blurring it.
"I'm very captainly in real life," someone whispers. ...might've been me.
"Clarify, sir?" Spock's looking at me for that one. I don't know why I feel sick. Head's swimming.
Why's he looking at me? Out of the corner of my eye, whatever he's drawn almost seems like it's... crawling.
"'Real life', Captain?"
I rub the back of my neck.
"Are you all right?"
I blink. No idea why I've got a fuzzy head. Might be better off if that Yeoman doesn't come back; if anything else is fuzzy, my rep would go up in flames.
"Think I'm a little... short on sleep. Sorry, Spock."
Yeah, yeah. Look surprised, Spock. Sometimes I have to drop an apology in there. Keeps him on his toes.
I am nearing something.
I have no name for it. I feel as though something glaringly illogical is all around us, but for its size, cannot be seen.
There have been reports of malfunctioning, minor items of equipment. They mysteriously return to proper function when examined by repairmen.
A small number of the crew have begun experiencing anxiety issues previously absent from their medical history. They have no memory of the trigger.
Our Chief Engineer is in sickbay, apparently delirious.
Finally, the seemingly random transmission seems to call to me as I transcribe it from memory. I am not human. Mere text should not seem to attract me as though it is sentient.
Something is happening aboard this ship. The Captain has elected to ignore it, declaring his own incident as a case of the 'heebie jeebies'. He's recommended vacation for his Chief Engineer. He recommended something for me that I see no reason to repeat.
It seems that very few of the crew wish to acknowledge that something isn't right. Convincing them will be difficult without concrete evidence.
I've drawn my memory. I've taken the information to sickbay, with care taken not to read it for extended periods of time. I have every intention of handing it to Mister Scott, whose delirium I have begun to suspect is part of the greater happening.
Doctor McCoy is not in attendance. Mister Scott appears irritated; disheveled, sitting on a biobed, not laying. He appears uncomfortable, likewise, when I approach.
"Sir," he says, before looking away.
"Lieutenant Commander Scott." I say nothing further. I intend to test the theory. I hand him my work; the transcription of apparent gibberish, though I have found some pattern in it, none of great assistance.
He looks it over. He appears tired. He rubs his eyes. His breathing appears labored.
He looks confused. Eventually, he answers.
"Override seven nine zero one. Enable.
" He speaks with no accent.
I raise an eyebrow. "Please exp--"
He falls off the biobed with the force of whatever has rocked our ship. The standard lighting dims in favor of flashing red.
"Unidentified ship, request you stand down and identify yourself!"
"They've got to be weapons ports, sir. Scans indicate no other function is likely."
"Who are they, why have they opened them at us
"No response, Captain."
"--evasive maneuvers, return fire!"
"All hands, brace for further impact!"
"It's not real."
"You have to get up, Scotty, we have to secure the medical bay and I can't do it if you're standing under--"
"Dinne bother, it's no real!"
"You're coming if I have to drag-- hey!"
"Leave off! It's no real 's no real 's not real program 647 experiencing catastrophic failure, total decompilation imminent, compensate, load file 94--"
"M'Benga! Your job is to follow that idiot and make sure he doesn't hurt himself. Go!"
"Aye-- no-- wait, it canne-- get oot o' my heid
"Dinne touch me, I dinne want t'rap yer jaw but I will-- What?! Tell me! Hod yer wheesht, one at the bloody time--
"Calm down and tell me what's wrong
"--leave off! Deid in five minutes if she canne stabilize-- if she canne--"
"Oh. Oh no. What's... what's...?"
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.