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.
Chapter End Notes: 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.